The older I get the more I enjoy the company of women. When we're kids it's a whole different thing. There are competitions, petty jealousies, and a basic lack of maturity getting in the way of long lasting friendships. But I find these days that I enjoy my gal pals more than just about anything. I mean, seriously, isn't it nice to just kick back, no stress, no meals to fix or kids to yell at? Those 'girl times' become more rare the busier our lives become and it seems to me that hanging with the girls is so energizing, so freeing, that maybe we should try to carve out time to do this.
During last years Romanticon convention, several of us decided that waiting a whole year to see each other was out of the question so we traveled to the Texas Hill Country last week and invaded Desiree Holt's house. Everyone brought something to stick in the fridge to munch on and we hung around talking about everything under the sun. Did we sleep? Not all that much, let me tell you! We laughed until tears rolled, drank mass quantities of alcoholic beverages and basically let our hair down. As I headed home, I realized I was suddenly relaxed and ready to tackle challenges at home after having a little break from things. We're already planning the next get-together for this summer at my place and then we'll hook up again at Romanticon.
I think, as women, we often neglect ourselves and little things we need. Getting a mani/pedi treatment, shopping, or a trip to the hairdresser just isn't enough. We need the company of other women to tell us we are not alone in the world. I highly recommend it.
In other news: Panther Moon, book one in my Savage Sanctuary series, releases on Friday at Ellora's Cave. Hope everyone likes what I've done with this one.
Set in the same world as Feral Moon.
Running for her life, Chantrea Morgan, unmated and approaching her time of change, stumbles through the night only to be rescued by a gorgeous yet dangerous male. Blinded by instant recognition of her mate, she clings to him, her only means of salvation. Her body burns for him. Her heart aches with the need to be claimed by this wild Texas panther.
Hudson Cates, warrior of the Turquoise Moon tribe of shifters, saves his grieving mate and brings her home to claim her in the only way he can…with orgasmic pleasure, savage possession and a raw sensuality that is inbred into their species. In a ritual as old as time, only he, aided by another male from their tribe, can help Trea embrace her panther beast.
An Excerpt From: PANTHER MOON
Copyright © REGINA CARLYSLE, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Chantrea carried an armload of supper dishes to the sink, the muted sounds of the television playing in the living room, making her smile. Sounded like a baseball game to her. Being an addict to the game was her dad’s one true vice. Her mother, Celia, laughed at something Brant said. Typical evening in the Morgan household. Outside the modest Texas home, crickets chirped as the wind rustled the leaves of ancient oaks and cottonwoods. An owl hooted from a faraway branch. “Hey, Mom, dinner was great,” she called as she loaded the dishwasher, turned it on and headed into the living room.
Celia smiled from her position curled up against her husband of several centuries. “Love it when a new recipe turns out.”
Brant kissed the top of his wife’s blonde head and winked at Trea as she wandered into the room. “You did good, hon.”
As an unmated female panther, she had grown up knowing she wanted what her parents had. Love. Affection. The deepest kind of understanding between mates. It was so heartwarming to witness their love firsthand. She was constantly in awe.
Wandering to the wide mantel over the fireplace, she shoved her hands in the pockets of her worn jersey shorts and looked at the pictures lovingly displayed there. “I miss Maxwell.” Her sigh was soft but even over the sounds of the game she knew her folks heard it.
“Your brother had to leave, honey. It was his time,” her mother said with calm conviction. Trea turned at the slight hitch evident her mother’s voice in her voice and knew Mom missed him too. “He likes his job in Houston though he still hasn’t found any females of our species. There are just so few of us left but maybe, just maybe he’ll be one of the lucky males to find the perfect mate. You would think it easy in a city of over five million people. I know it hurts that he had to go but it’s natural, honey. He’s a man and gods know there is no future out here in the boonies. We’ve lived like hermits for so long.” Celia lifted a brow and glanced at Brant. “It hasn’t been fair to either of our children.”
Trea picked up the framed photo of her brother and herself taken during one of their rare family vacations. Tracing the handsome male face, she blinked back moisture from her eyes as a blast of love caught her off guard. Like her, Max was blond and green eyed but there the similarities stopped. Where she was slender, small, and to her way of thinking, rather ordinary, her brother Maxwell was a bonafide heartstopper. The gorgeous rascal was built like a tree trunk, broad-shouldered and handsome as sin. He was the kind of guy who’d made the local girls melt but he had carefully avoided all but the most necessary entanglements with humans. Smart dude. Trea was so proud of him and couldn’t help but wish him well in finding a mate of his own. The lady would be a very lucky feline. No doubt about it.
Behind her, Trea heard her parents shift position and she turned, surprised, when her dad pushed a button on the remote to turn off the television. Silence, sharp and somewhat ominous, fell into the depths of the small cabin. “We need to talk, princess.”
Frowning, she replaced the photo and gingerly sat on the edge of an overstuffed chair to look at her parents. Something about her father’s tone sent worry to dance over her spine. “What’s up, Dad?”
Brant Morgan focused his gaze on her. “Your mother and I have been talking.” He cleared his throat, obviously uncomfortable. “Chantrea, you are nearing your time. Maybe this is a good moment to—”
Trea’s face burned. “Dad!”
Celia patted Brant’s arm. “Love of mine, you are so clueless. Let me.”
He shook his head and sighed heavily, seeming downright relieved to let someone else tackle the delicate subject of a female were panther having her first heat. “Good. Go for it.”
Celia wasn’t deterred, focusing an intelligent gaze on her. “For all these years, we’ve tried to keep you safe out here in the country. You know panthers are solitary creatures and it’s uncomfortable for us to live among crowds. It’s stifling. Invasive. It was a huge risk for us to even let you attend the public school in town but, honey, we have worried so much about you. You’ve been so isolated out here in the woods of east Texas. No friends. Nothing that normal human girls come to enjoy. You don’t have a real life out here.”
“But I’m not human, Mom. It’s okay.” Chantrea knew darn good and well her life wasn’t normal. Sometimes it made her sad but this wasn’t the fault of her parents. They had to protect her. It was their duty and she would never fault them for the lonely state of her life. She shook her head and smiled not wanting them to stress about the choices they’d made. “Really. Don’t worry about me.”
“We have to, Trea,” her dad said, leaning forward to prop his forearms over his sturdy thighs. “It wasn’t possible for you to date the local boys, honey. You know we don’t mix but you are a woman now. Things are, um—”
Once again, Celia put her hand out to stop him. “Happening to your body.”
Trea swallowed hard, knowing the utter truth of Mom’s words. Already she felt flashes of heat zip through her with astounding effect. Soon she would be helpless to the oncoming change and facing the shift from woman to panther would be the most horrible thing imaginable when dealing with it alone. She knew she couldn’t do it. The time to mate was upon her. Discomfort climbed over her flesh and buried itself deep in her belly. “Do we have to talk about this now?”
“We’ve decided to move to Sanctuary,” her dad baldly stated. “It’s time.”