Hiya guys! We have Ari McKay stopping in for a quick visit with their upcoming release Out of the Ashes which is the first story in Dreamspinner Press’s exciting new imprint Dreamspun Beyond. We have a short guest post from McKay and a fantastic exclusive excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
Out of the Ashes
In their differences, they’ll find strength—and love.
Alpha werewolf Eli Hammond returns from a fishing trip to discover a nasty surprise—five members of his pack murdered and the rest missing. He needs help locating and rescuing his pack mates, but the supernatural council in Asheville, North Carolina, turns him away.
Except for one man.
As they work together, Eli is stunned—and not especially thrilled—to discover half-elf Arden Gilmarin is his destined mate. But as Arden and his friends struggle to help Eli in his quest, Eli surrenders to the demands of his body—and his heart. They’ll need to bond together, becausethe forces opposing them are stronger and more sinister than anyone predicted. The evil has its sights set on Arden, and if Eli wants to save his mate and the people he is entrusted with protecting, he’s in for the fight of his life.
Release date: 1st August 2017
Pre-order: Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback | Amazon | B&N
Hello, everyone! I’m the McKay half of Ari McKay, and I’d like to thank MM Good Review for letting me stop by as part of our launch tour for Out of the Ashes.
Out of the Ashes is the first book in our new Asheville Arcana series. There will be three books in the series, each one featuring a self-contained romance with a different couple, but also progressing the overall story arc, which involves a demonic invasion.
I’d like to share an exclusive excerpt from Out of the Ashes, which takes place after Eli’s unproductive meeting with the members of the local paranormal council. He’s discussing possible strategies for finding his missing pack when one of the council members shows up unexpectedly.
We hope you enjoy Eli and Arden’s romance!
“We can take them. We’re strong.” Beau, a big man with red hair who probably wasn’t even fifty yet, still seemed to have the cockiness of youth. “Let’s just do it, Tharn!” Beside him, the other young werewolf, Jim Bob, nodded enthusiastically.
Without glancing away from the map, Tharn cuffed Beau upside his head none too gently. “Don’t be a dern fool,” he said mildly. “Or more than you can help, at any rate. Eli’s pack couldn’t take them out, so we gotta think this through. This ain’t a game, boy, and if we fuck it up, they’ll probably kill us and the rest of Eli’s pack.”
Beau looked suitably chastened, rubbing the side of his head, while Earl pointed to the community building Eli had indicated on the map. “I’d bet they’ve got them in a central place. Need fewer guards that way, and if they’re tied up and gagged, they can’t exactly plan an escape.”
Tharn nodded slowly. “Makes sense.” He glanced at Eli and raised one shaggy gray brow. “Well, boy? What do you think? You’re the only one here who knows the alpha of that pack. Think he’d keep them all together?”
“I think he’d have to,” Eli said, placing his finger on the drawing of the settlement’s large common hall. “We were twenty-five strong. They killed five of my people. They ain’t got enough room for nineteen werewolves anywhere else or any other holding area that I know of. Seems like dividing everyone up would spread his manpower too thin.”
“Not if they have access to magic, or keep them drugged up.” A voice spoke up from the doorway, and Tharn snapped his head up, glaring at the newcomer. Then he relaxed slightly.
“I figured you might show up, Arden,” he said, nodding a greeting. Eli immediately recognized the younger elf from the council meeting. “You ain’t much like those fools on the rest of the council.”
Arden smiled slightly. “I take that as a compliment,” he replied, then looked at Eli. “May I join you?”
Eli hadn’t paid much attention to Arden at the meeting, too angry at the council’s dismissal to pay attention to individual members. But now he noticed that while most elves were tall and slender, this one was nearly a foot shorter than Eli, and he seemed boyish compared to most others.
“If you got ideas on how to get my people back, I’ll hear them,” he said.
“All right.” Arden walked over to the table, moving to stand between Earl and Jim Bob. Earl reached out to ruffle Arden’s hair, and Arden snorted and nudged him with a shoulder, hard enough that the big man actually had to take a step to keep his balance. Then he continued as though nothing had happened. “I have a couple of suggestions, at least. Like using magic to find out what’s going on, without you guys running in there and getting yourselves killed.”
“How are we gonna do that?” Eli asked, giving Arden a puzzled frown. “Ain’t none of them witches or wizards on the council ready to help.”
“Those idiots don’t speak for all of us in Asheville,” Arden replied, grimacing in obvious disgust. “They’re complacent and self-centered because they’ve had peace for so long. I want to help you, and I have friends. I’m sure they will want to help you too.”
“Can these friends use magic to rescue my pack?” Eli felt a surge of real hope, the first he’d felt since returning to find his pack mates dead or missing. He didn’t know much about magic, but he’d heard about things like scrying and divination that could possibly locate them even from a distance.
“They can certainly try,” Arden said. “If you’d like, I’ll take you to them.”
“You know these folks?” Eli turned to Tharn, looking for verification. If Tharn vouched for Arden’s friends, then he wouldn’t hesitate to accept the offer.
“Yeah, I do.” Tharn gave a snort of amusement. “You, Whimsy, and Julian, right? The three of you been thick as thieves for a while. You hiring them out now?”
“They’re my friends.” Arden straightened to his full height. “Whimsy is a talented wizard, so I think he could help.”
Tharn chuckled. “Don’t get your back up, son, I was teasing you.” He turned his gaze to Eli. “Arden’s respected in Asheville, and he’s got a lot of connections. If he says he’ll help, then you can count on it.”
Eli looked Arden up and down. Arden was pretty rather than handsome, with wide green eyes and a sensual mouth, and he had an open, guileless air that Eli was inclined to trust.
“Then I’ll accept your help and be grateful for it,” he said.
“All right.” Arden smiled, then reached across the table, holding out his hand. “I’m Arden Gilmarin, by the way. Or Arden Half-Elven of Gilorean and Marin, if you prefer the old form of address.”
Earl laughed. “But we all know him as Sweet Cheeks,” he drawled teasingly. “I’ll leave which set of cheeks we mean to your imagination.”
Eli snorted, but he wasn’t surprised. Werewolves tended to be a lusty, bawdy lot. He hadn’t heard of a werewolf carrying on with an elf before, though. He clasped Arden’s hand—and he almost reeled back from the electric impact of the touch. His wolf rose and started growling a demand. Suddenly Earl’s comment didn’t seem so funny, and he wanted to punch that knowing smirk off Earl’s face for talking about Arden that way.
For talking about his mate that way.
Aw, hell. He released Arden’s hand quickly and stared at Arden with growing dismay.
Arden’s eyes widened, as if he’d felt something in the contact of their hands as well. But then he frowned, seeming concerned. “Is something wrong? Are you all right?”
Beau and Jim Bob were looking back and forth between the two of them in confusion, but Earl and Morag blinked in obvious surprise. Tharn cackled. “Well, I’ll be damned.”
Eli couldn’t tear his gaze away from Arden, wanting to wrap his arms around Arden and hold him close, to familiarize himself with Arden’s scent. The wolf wanted to wallow in it. But this wasn’t anything close to the best time for him to find his mate, and he wasn’t ready to deal with it on top of everything else.
Swallowing hard, he glanced over at Tharn—and valiantly resisted glaring at Earl—and then looked at Arden again. “I’m okay.”
About Ari & McKay!
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.