Tomorrow, Standoff, the last book in this story arc of my Cascadia Wolves series, releases from Samhain.
I love this cover! Anne Caine does a great job but I must say I’ve loved every single cover in this series. They’ve all been so pretty and done so well – I’ve had great cover mojo.But it’s over. In the last year I’ve ended two series – this one, my Cascadia Wolves and my Chase Brothers books. I’ll continue on with both worlds. In fact I’ve already contracted Unexpected, Megan’s story for August and I really want to write Nathan Murphy’s story to revisit Petal. But while I love series and the sense of home I can build with a cast of characters readers can revisit time and again, I think it’s best if they don’t drag on too long. I want to end when readers want more, not when they’re reading and thinking, “Gah, she really neededed to stop this series two books ago!”
Series enable an author to really dig deep, to create a world built over many books. What that means is I can take a town like Petal and breathe real life into her. I can give Petal traditions like Homecoming, which I’ve come back to in every story. Or in the case of this particular family, the Christmas proposal or wedding. I love that. I love that as a reader! I love how I can take werewolves and create government. Law and order and lawlessness too. I’ve had four books to build a paranormal universe in, which has been a treat. Four books to build the suspense with the werewolf mafia. I’m spoiled and it’s been a great ride.
I think about Nora Roberts’ trilogies and I think she as the right idea. She builds enough to give readers a sense of something big and sweeping and yet intimate at the same time. Very few authors can take it more than four books in the same story setting and make it work over and over. Kim Harrison can (I just finished The Outlaw Demon Wails this last week and OMG! it was fab), Nora as JD Robb can do it with her In Death books – but in a fully realized romance world you don’t see it as often and after book five, it begins to seem all a big stretch (sister’s best friend’s baby sitter’s brother in law’s best friend). I do love spin offs though! Like I love cupcakes. I’ll eat up every book related to the family Jenny Cruisie introduces us to in Welcome To Temptation (and Davy’s story was so good!), or the Chesapeake books from Nora, or SEP’s Chicago Stars. There’s something really special about returning to a world you’ve loved so much.
What about you all? What do you like best about series? Do you read them? Which ones?
PS – I’ve been lucky enough to get early reviews on this one: 5 Nymphs – I’ll say up front that I loved this story. It has everything needed to make a great book…a well written and plotted ongoing storyline, great secondary characters well integrated from previous books and two sexy, determined and dedicated individuals as our hero and heroine. It’s a thrilling story that pulled me in from the very first words and kept me racing through its pages until I reached the action filled end.
4 1/2 stars from JERR: Lauren Dane has done a magnificent job of combining awesome characters and a sparkling plot. I only hope that this is not the last installment in the Cascadia Wolves series.
5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies: I loved the intensity of this storyline and the emotional connections between the characters, but I especially adored Grace’s honest reactions and willingness to stand up for herself. She does it with such style that I found myself immersed in each heated scene. If you’re reading this book solely for the romance, Ms. Dane doesn’t disappoint there either. There’s tons of red hot steamy sexy scenes and of course with a couple that butts heads as often as Cade and Grace do, there’s plenty of make up sex that’ll leave you hot and bothered. Beautifully written Ms. Dane. I’ll be anxiously awaiting more Cascadian Wolves tales in the near future.
How about an excerpt? Behind the jump…
CASCADIA WOLVES: STANDOFF BY LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2008, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Samhain Publishing
Releasing March 4!
“Grace, tell us what you came here to say and why we should believe you.” Jack Meyers, a man who pulled no punches, said what needed to be said but it did annoy Cade on some level.
Still, the woman seemed to be made of sterner stuff and looked unruffled by Jack’s straightforward question. “When Warren was shunned and left Great Lakes to start his own Pack, I was in medical school. I lost my status here with Great Lakes just like the rest of my family did.” Her eyes cut to Maxwell briefly. “I had no Pack but for what Warren created. But I’ve never been close to my family. I’ve been estranged from them for several years but seven months back a body came through my emergency room and I smelled my brother on him. He’d—the victim—been partially transformed but his DNA wasn’t all wolf or all human. It was broken. His entire system just sort of collapsed in on itself.”
Cade pushed a glass of water her way and she sipped it before speaking again.
“I’d heard the rumor he’d…Warren…stolen a copy of the lycanthropy virus but I thought he’d lost it. That body in my ER said otherwise. So I went to him and said I wanted back in the family. I was alone, without a Pack, it wasn’t so hard to believe really. After a while, I offered to help with my medical skills and he didn’t trust me so he gave me nickel and dime stuff. But I did it and kept at it and the bodies showed up in my ER until I went nearly mad with the anger. I confronted him about it but pretended I was mad he was being so careless. That’s when he let me in part way and I’ve been working my way closer and closer to this project ever since. When he lost the big lab two weeks ago after you rescued Tegan, he let me in even more because he lost a lot of data. But I don’t know how much more I can get. He’s suspicious and I can’t hide how distressed I am with all this.”
She reached into her pocket and tossed a small memory card on the table. “There’s some data there. Not a lot because he’s got the computers in the labs monitored very closely.”
“Does he have the virus?” Cade asked.
“Not the full virus. What he has is partially correct. That’s why he’s been experimenting on the homeless humans. But he gets closer every week. What he used on the Enforcer he murdered was very close.”
Maxwell leaned forward. “What?”
“It’s not the complete virus. He had that once, back when he assassinated your Third two years ago. But he lost it then and apparently has spent the intervening time attempting to re-create it.”
“No, not that. We know that, or suspected anyway. We didn’t know what happened to Gina, our Enforcer. We never found her body. We’d heard he killed her but we didn’t know how.” Maxwell heaved a troubled sigh.
“Ah. Yes. He used a bastardized version on her and it killed her. I’m sorry for her and her family. I never met her of course, she came on after you so unceremoniously shunned my entire family from this Pack, but I’d never want an innocent to suffer for what the guilty did.” Her eyes held Maxwell’s, and Cade’s wolf agitatedly pressed against his human skin.
“I did what I had to do. Warren was a cancer in this Pack.”
“Yes. Well you must be so proud of the outcome.” Grace cocked her head and glared at one of the most powerful wolves Cade had ever met. An amused smile dragged one corner of his mouth up. Gutsy, this wolf. “You had a responsibility to all your wolves and you tossed everyone in our family to the wind to punish my brother. It seems…unnecessarily overbroad. But what do I know? I’ve been without a Pack for years now because it was my criminally insane brother or nothing so I chose nothing.”
Maxwell rubbed his face and sighed.
Tegan settled in just behind Cade, he felt her amusement. Cade wondered idly just what he’d have done in Maxwell’s place. It seemed a bit of an overreaction to shun an entire family but having members in your Pack who were so openly criminal and destructive was a cancer. It ate away at morale. His brother-in-law Nick’s Pack, Pacific, had a similar problem, only it had been at the top. Some years before, Cascadia had its own issues. It was Monday morning quarterbacking to try and second guess another Alpha in a situation like this one.
“Can you speak with some of our researchers about this?” Cade asked her. “We’ve got a lab, have had one for several years now. I’m sure they’d understand you far better than we can.”
Those amber depths met his and settled in at the base of his spine.
“We can get you back to your location safely,” Maxwell said.
Cade turned, a growl trickling from his lips. “We can’t risk her now!”
“There’s no reason to believe anyone saw her meeting with us, Cade.” Maxwell’s eyes widened a moment as they moved back and forth between Cade and Grace.
“Can you just so casually put her in danger this way? We know what he’s capable of, Maxwell. Will you just throw her to the dogs because you’re done with her? Just toss her back like you did the rest of her family?” Whoa, that was out of bounds. Cade knew it and yet, he couldn’t quite stop the flow of anger driving his words.
“That’s not fair, Cade,” Tegan said quietly.
“No, he’s got a point.” Maxwell shrugged. “I did clearly make too broad a choice when I shunned Pellini’s whole family. Grace was one of my wolves and I didn’t do my duty by her or the others in Warren’s family when I shunned them all. But I’m not just tossing her into danger unceremoniously because I don’t care. I truly think she’s been unexposed. Ben said so and I trust my Enforcer.”
Without meaning to, Cade stood and moved to her. Alarmed, she’d stood as well, pushing her chair back, her stance mirroring his.
Things were moving fast, teetering on the edge of sliding out of control but Cade’s wolf had taken over.
Cade breathed in to try and center himself and push his wolf back down. Instead, he got a gut full of her scent. He grabbed her hands and she swayed. His entire world rocked on its foundations and re-settled as he truly saw her for what she was.
Dimly in the background he heard Megan curse and felt her move back.
“Someone want to tell me what the hell is going on?” Ben asked. “Do we have trouble or what?”
Possessiveness and protectiveness nearly blinded Cade as he grabbed Grace around the waist and put himself between Ben and her with a snarl. Ben stood his ground, examining Cade’s face.
“Not the kind of trouble you think.” He turned to face Grace again. The fear on her face softened when he touched her cheek, wanting to calm her. “Thank God you’re not his wife.”
Shocked laughter exploded from her, strained at the edges.
“I’m not going to send you back. You know that, right?”