Hiya guys! We have the super talented S.J. Himes popping in today with her llloooonnnnggggg awaited release Wolf of the Northern Star, we have an excerpt, an exclusive excerpt (you can stop drooling now) and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and click that giveaway! ~Pixie~ p.s. Wolves of Black Pine is free until the 19th June!!!!
Wolf of the Northern Star
Ghost, once known as the cub Luca, is finally home. Back among his kind and learning what it means to be both a man and a shaman, Ghost battles the expectations of his people, his family, and the pressures of a society that is both foreign and familiar. His power is greater than any seen before, dwarfing that of even the legendary Shaman Gray Shadow—and his union with Kane places him in the center of a controversy that rattles wolfkin society around the world.
Kane, greater alpha and Heir to Black Pine Clan, has finally defeated the traitor and murderer that destroyed the heart of Black Pine years before. Freed at last from guilt and pain, Kane has a new enemy to face: his own people. Placed on trial for violation of Law and blasphemy, Kane will have to fight to the death to preserve his bond with Ghost and keep his mate and people safe.
The soulbond between Ghost and Kane is forged by the creator and Goddess of the wolfkin. Usually, a sacred and treasured union that honors the pair and their clans, this soulbond is seen not as a gift, but a threat to eons of tradition and Clan Law.
The union of a Shaman and Alpha is anathema—but how to reconcile that belief when it is the wolfkin Goddess who forged it? Can Ghost and Kane save themselves, preserve their bond, and find a new future when the laws of the ancient past threaten to tear them apart?
*This book is part of a series and should not be read as a standalone. Prior books should be read to understand content. 104,000 words*
“Decisions need to be made,” Caius began, fingers of his right hand idly scratching the table top. “About many things. Some are more urgent than others, but we are out of time, so choices must be made now.”
“Out of time?” Ghost asked, tilting his head to one side, eyes locked on his grandfather. He paused, seeing the minute tension around Caius’ eyes, the way he held his shoulders. A faint whisper threaded through the air in the silence between them, and Ghost listened. Wordless, yet still conveying a sense of urgency. Kane reacted, though he hid it well, and Caius showed no sign of having heard the whisperer. “Someone is coming. Someone or something is coming, and you wish to act before you can’t anymore.”
“Damn shamans,” Caius grumbled, exasperated, but without malice. Caius gave him a narrow-eyed glare, and Ghost grinned in response. He was not intimidated in the least by his grandfather, though everyone else treated him with caution.
“Who is coming, Sir?” Kane asked, maintaining his respectful composure. Caius gave Ghost one more glance, then returned his attention to his heir.
“The first members of the Tribunal are arriving soon. I just got word that Greater Clan Leaders from Dread Claw, Birch Grove, and Red Wraith Clans are arriving, as early as tomorrow. They will be bringing honor guards and some of their advisors.” Caius’ words were calm, but the tension around his frame was telling.
“You mean they’re bringing in greater alphas,” Kane said, mouth in a grim line. “An honor guard is easily six greater alphas, and that’s per Clan Leader.”
“Why not the Clan Leaders alone? Why honor guards? What were they told when notified of Heromindes’ request for a Tribunal?” Kane was angry, each word layered in frustration. “These clans are our allies, and they’ve never traveled across borders in such numbers outside of a gathering!”
“If they are allies, why are you angry?” Ghost asked, interrupting before Caius could speak. He paced forward, yet skirted around the table, eyes locked on Caius. His grandfather, for all their blood connection, was still an alpha. Ghost respected his power, yet was not afraid of it—but he would also stay out of reach. Older wolves in the wild would snarl and snap at younger, impetuous younglings. Not that he expected such from Caius, but caution was wise.
Kane made a noise in his throat, half-strangled snort and half a sigh. Ghost gave his mate a quick grin, but went back to watching Caius. “Why are you angry at those you would call friend?”
“Luca—,” Caius began, Ghost quirked a brow at his grandfather, who shook his head and corrected himself when he spoke again. “Ghost, they are bringing honor guards. Almost twenty greater alphas who do not answer to me, in the company of my peers. In a gathering, there are many greater alphas, but also a hundred times more betas to temper the imbalance of power that results when greater alphas congregate in too large of a group.”
“What he means, little wolf, is that there is potential for aggression, fighting, frayed tempers, and extreme violence. Red Fern is all betas, but they are not enough to even out the rough nature of so many dominant personalities in one space, especially if the situation is tense already,” Kane said, reaching out for Ghost, taking his hand. “I don’t think the clan leaders would bring wolfkin guards with control issues, but we see problems like this during gatherings, too. Better to be prepared.”
“Andromeda reigns in Baxter,” Ghost stated, squeezing Kane’s hand but still watching Caius. “She will allow no violence to spill out amongst her clan.” Of that, Ghost was certain. She would never allow her people, her family, to be in danger. Andromeda was power and authority personified—she was the White Wolf, clan leader to the core. For a female, unheard of—for a beta, even more so. Though Ghost had his doubts about her beta status. “And why tense—because Kane is charged with blasphemy?”
Caius blanched at the word, and Kane’s hand tightened on his, almost painfully. Andromeda came to them the day before, warning Kane of the pending charges of blasphemy. Apparently, the clan leaders, Heromindes leading the way, discussed the bond between Ghost and Kane and decided Kane was guilty of two violations of Law in one occurrence—using the Voice to force a mating bond on a shaman.
“Yes, because of the charge of blasphemy,” Caius said, a subtle growl in his voice. “It is almost unheard of for that charge to be levied against any wolfkin, much less an heir to a clan. We have so few religious Laws.”
“I don’t understand,” Ghost said, brows lowered, biting his lip. He sent Kane a searching glance, then looked back to Caius. “Kane’s thoughts give me the meaning of the word, but the…concept? The concept is hard for me to understand. We are soulbonded, and She made it so. That has always been a sacred gift. Always.”
“They doubt that we share a soulbond, my love,” Kane told him, tugging on his hand and making him look down. Kane gave him a half-smile, a twist to his full lips that spoke of anger and some odd pain. “Heromindes, whether through bruised pride and fear, or ignorance, believes I have forced my gift upon you. I used the Voice against him in Worcester, and he cannot fathom how an untrained whelp of nineteen could withstand me. He leads the others in their mindset—there cannot be a soulbond between us, because I am alpha and you are shaman.”
“I see our bond with every glance of my Spiritsight,” Ghost replied, leaning on Kane’s shoulder, speaking now to his mate, his grandfather forgotten for the moment. “Every touch we share, every time we have sex, it grows stronger. We’re almost one soul now. How can they not see it?”
Ghost knew other wolfkin could sense the bond between them. They may not be able to see it, as he could, but their mental abilities gave them the ability to recognize a mated wolfkin. Some were better at it than others, and surely a clan leader would have the experience and skills to understand the bond between he and Kane.
“A soulbond is incredibly rare, Ghost,” Caius said, leaning back in his seat, the chair creaking. “Last count, there was only a dozen soulbonds scattered between the clans. There’s just over two hundred clans across the whole world. Hundreds of thousands of wolfkin, and only twelve pairs. Well, thirteen, now. There is only one other wholly male pairing, but those two wolfkin are a beta and an alpha, not alpha and shaman.”
“So, because our Great Mother has only gifted twelve pairs before us, that rarity makes our bond less likely?” Ghost was fed up. He growled, a soft rumble in his chest. This was not the welcome home he’d dreamed of when he was trapped in his wolf-form lost in the North. Though then, he’d been worried his people wouldn’t want him because he was defective and Gray Shadow died saving his life, but now it seemed they did want him, just not bonded to Kane.
How was their pairing wrong?
“Ghost, it’ll be alright,” Kane said, his free hand rubbing over Ghost’s stomach in soothing circles. Ghost rarely felt his temper slip free from his usual calm, but it was escaping his control now. Last time he got this vexed he tore apart an ugly couch back at the sanctuary, but he was a man now, he didn’t think his mate or the White Wolf would appreciate him destroying furniture.
“Then we prove we are bonded,” Ghost said decisively. “Show them the truth, and they must leave us be.”
Caius sighed and shook his head, and Kane hugged him even as he frowned. Ghost could see the doubt and the underlying worry that weighed down both alphas’ shoulders, but he had an unshakeable faith in his soulbond with Kane and the support of the deity who created it. They would be fine.
Being a wolfkin man was harder than he thought it would be…being a wolf was easy. Hunt, run, play, sleep, repeat. No arguments and veiled frustrations, no seething resentments and fractured trust. There was dominance to determine in packs, but such events were about willpower and strength, and wolves settled in naturally and with no resentments once the hierarchy was determined. Laws did not exist; religion did not exist. There was a type of faith, but it was less defined, with no rules attached except that all creatures must eat, and some will be eaten. Some will lead, and some will follow. Each creature to its own nature, and none to say, or even think, that one way was not the right way, or that another was wrong. Such concepts did not exist. Barring illness, animals truly did not care.
Ghost headed up the mountain, away from the cabins and park center. The scents of other wolfkin faded away and the trees thinned out the higher he climbed. *Little wolf?*
*I am well, my mate,* Ghost whispered to Kane, his alpha’s worry a slight sting upon his conscience. He had left without a word, stripping his human clothing and running for the door, shredding frustrations as he shed his human form in a rush of silver-white energy. Kane had called after him, but thankfully his mate did not follow him. He needed some time alone.
Kane sent back a wordless mental caress of affection, receding from Ghost’s higher mind, their bond still intact in the recesses of his brain. Kane was an anchor, a touchstone, and was always with him.
Ghost continued to run, his body flowing over rocks and snow, the wind cutting through his thick gray coat in random gusts. His heart thudded with his race, blood roared through his ears, the sunny sky blinding him as he reached the scraggy peak.
Ghost took in the world once his eyes adjusted. Mountains dipped and swelled in all directions, black pines blocking out great swaths on steep inclines, the valleys dark even in the daylight, and he could see the mirror bright surface of the river as it wound through Baxter. Below him was the park center, and the wolves of Red Fern who kept the park. Red Fern maintained the illusion that only human caretakers for the state park resided in Baxter. Ghost had been here before, as a child, though he had never seen Baxter like this—a wilderness, a rare, almost untouched sanctuary for his kind. Humans came here only during the summer months, and every step they took was watched.
He was no longer alone. He was surrounded by hundreds of his kind, with more to come any day now, and his humans, Glen and Cat, were down there in the valley, too. Ghost was soulbonded and mated to a fine alpha, and he knew happiness. He wasn’t alone—so why did he feel like he was?
The Wolfkin Saga!
Wolves of Black Pine
An ancient civilization long hidden from humanity is on the brink of chaos and war. Peaceful for thousands of years, the wolfkin clans are mysteriously losing packmates, kidnapped and killed by unknown foes.
The nightmare begins with an ambush by humans at a gathering of their kind, and lives are lost. Among them is Luca, youngest grandson of the two most powerful wolves in the Northern Clans. Thought long dead and gone, he is forced into a half-life, hidden in the far northern wilds of Canada and cut off from his kind. Those who raised him have no idea the creature they harbor in their midst, and name him Ghost. He begins to lose himself over the long years, and though he barely recalls his true name, the one wolf he never forgets is Kane.
Kane, Heir to the wolfkin clan Black Pine, is charged with hunting down the traitors who betrayed their kind to the humans. Years fly by, and more wolves are dying. He refuses to give up, and he vows to never again fail another of their kind, as he failed young Luca years before. His heart tells him Luca lives, but his mind tells him that it’s foolish hope, his guilt eating him alive.
Fate and magic change the course of their lives, and the two wolves long separated by the years find their paths intertwining. Though the gift of their reunion doesn’t come without price. Faced by the consequences of their growing love, and the goddess-forged bond between them, Kane and Ghost are besieged on all sides. Enemies are coming for their blood, and without the steadfast loyalty and love of family and friends, they may not be safe from the very people they fight to protect.
Book One in a series, The Wolfkin Saga. 150,000+ words, contains graphic sex between men, dubious consent, mentions of abuse. Contains gore and violence. Mature readers only.
**BUY Wolves of Black Pine (The Wolfkin Saga #1) for FREE until June 19th***
About S.J. Himes!
I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with ocasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), and The Wolfkin Saga. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.
I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.