Hi guys! We have Bru Baker stopping by today with her upcoming release Hiding In Plain Sight, we have a brilliant guest post from Bru and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
Hiding In Plain Sight
Happily ever after is right under their noses.
Harris has been keeping a big secret for years—his unrequited mate bond with his best friend, Jackson. He’s convinced himself that having Jackson in his life is enough. That, and his work at Camp H.O.W.L., keeps him going.
Things get complicated when Jackson applies for a high-ranking Tribunal job in New York City—far from Camp H.O.W.L. The position requires he relinquish all Pack bonds… and that’s when his wolf decides to choose a mate. Suddenly Jackson sees his best friend in a sizzling new light.
Their chemistry is through the roof, but they’re setting themselves up for broken hearts—and broken bonds—if Jackson can’t figure out a way to balance his career and the love that’s just been waiting for him to take notice.
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Thanks for joining me here on MM Good Book Reviews as talk about Hiding in Plain Sight, the third book in the Camp H.O.W.L. series. To be honest, I’m a bit astonished we’re here launching a blog tour for my third paranormal book–and editing the fourth, but that’s something I’ll talk about later.
Before the Camp H.O.W.L. series I’d never written in the paranormal genre before, and honestly I wasn’t sure I could. But wait, you might say. Didn’t you write a book with Lex Chase about two dead guys bumming around a homegoods store?
I did. But Some Assembly Required didn’t require the heavy lifting that Camp H.O.W.L. has. Sure, there was worldbuilding. And yes, pretty much everyone in the book was dead. But it was insular. I didn’t have to worry about how the microcosm of that homegoods store existed within the rest of the world, because it didn’t. It was a purgatory, and purgatory exists outside the universe. Plus Lex was there to hold my hand through all the middle-of-the-night freak-outs about whether or the ghosts could become solid and touch things and if time existed differently for them.
But then I had the idea for a werewolf training camp hidden in the forest in Southern Indiana, and before I knew it Camp H.O.W.L. was born. I’ve always been a voracious paranormal romance reader but dipping my toe into the genre was challenging at first. And exhilarating. Creating a new werewolf lore and then later, populating the universe with other supernatural creatures–it was a blast.
Werewolves in the Camp H.O.W.L. universe are only born, not made. There are no Alphas out attacking unwitting humans on full moon nights, turning them to fill out their Packs. Born werewolves are entirely human until they hit their second puberty, which falls on the first full moon after their nineteenth birthday. Facilities like Camp H.O.W.L. exist to help these hormone-riddled teenagers figure out how to find a balance between their wolf and their human side. (And to keep them from outing the supernatural secret–can you imagine combining the selfie generation with fangs and fur?)
But werewolves are just the tip of the iceberg in the Camp H.O.W.L. universe. In Hiding in Plain Sight readers will be introduced to the fae (the elite of the supernatural world–and the most reclusive) and selkies, who like werewolves and other shifters can blend easily with the human world.
I had so much fun exploring this paranormal universe and learning the ins and outs of worldbuilding. And while Hiding in Plain Sight is the last book in the Camp H.O.W.L. series, it’s not the last we’ll see of Harris, Jackson, and the rest of the Camp H.O.W.L. guys. They’ll be showing up in my next series, along with a host of other supernatural creatures. I can’t wait to keep sharing this wonderful world with you as it unfolds in the Connoll Pack series, which will be published in 2019!
HARRIS GROANED when his alarm went off, rolling over and slapping his palm over the snooze button for five more precious minutes of sleep. He buried his head under his pillow to block out the light and cursed Anne Marie for calling an emergency staff meeting at 8:00 a.m. on the only Saturday he had off all month.
He’d planned to sleep in, indulge in a little self-love, and spend the day binge-watching shows. Tomorrow he had plans to make the long drive to Lexington to spend the day with Jackson and Jordan. There was a Korean barbecue place with killer kalbi he’d been craving for weeks. It was a little mom-and-pop place that seated ten, tops. The atmosphere was a lot like his grandmother’s kitchen in San Francisco, where he’d learned to make crispy lumpia and other dishes she said were important because they reminded the family of their history.
There weren’t any Filipino restaurants in the Midwest, but he’d learned to take what he could get. The Korean place was in a seedy neighborhood, but everyone respected the owners enough not to cause any trouble for them. Besides, only an idiot would try to mug a werewolf. Harris was packed with lean muscle, but he was scrawny for a Were. Jackson and Jordan were both stacked because of their jobs. Even without letting the werewolf secret out of the bag, they radiated danger.
Maybe he’d try to convince Jackson to wear his police uniform. Just for safety’s sake. The sight of him in his uniform never failed to make Harris’s palms go sweaty and his heart race.
Harris snorted and burrowed farther under the pillow. Jackson in uniform was a favorite jerk-off fantasy for him, but he didn’t have time for that right now. He needed to get his happy ass to the staff meeting. Anne Marie wasn’t above sending a search party if someone was late, and Drew and Nick would burst right into his bedroom no matter what he was doing. Assholes.
He got up with a growl and turned off the alarm, proud of himself for not taking the whole five minutes to sulk. He ran a hand over his barely there stubble and decided it could go another day as he stumbled into the bathroom to get ready. Even without a shave, he’d be cutting it close, but he wasn’t willing to forgo a shower. It was just common decency when you lived with a bunch of werewolves.
By the time he’d showered and changed, it was five till, so there was no chance of grabbing breakfast. Luckily Drew always kept food stocked in the infirmary kitchen, including Harris’s favorite tea.
It was ten past by the time he ambled onto the infirmary’s porch, sipping his ginger tea. He raised a brow when he saw only Scott and Kaylee.
Harris settled into a rocking chair. It didn’t look like the other two had been there long. They were alone on the porch, though he heard heartbeats upstairs, so he knew Drew and Nick were there. Probably grabbing a quickie. Bastards.
He was glad they’d finally gotten their heads out of their asses and admitted they were gone for each other. He was. But now he’d had a full year of them stinking up every room with their hormones and making googly eyes at each other. Not to mention coming to every staff meeting reeking of sex. Maybe they should find a new place for staff meetings. Drew’s screened-in porch was outfitted with comfortable furniture and large enough to hold all the Camp H.O.W.L. staff, but there were more important things than physical comfort—like the assurance that no one would be walking in on them having sex. Drew was a great guy, but he was also Jackson’s little brother. He would entertain zero fantasies of Drew.
“Where is everyone, anyway? I thought the queen bee said eight.”
“There’s a huge food fight in the mess,” Kaylee said with a grin.
God. They happened every few months. It was a natural hazard when dealing with teenagers, especially teenagers who had super strength and the ability to shift into wolves. Their adrenaline and stress needed an outlet, which was why the staff worked so hard to keep them busy. But every so often a group cropped up that was… extra. Extra rowdy, extra loud, extra stupid. This was one of those groups.
“Great day to be alive, isn’t it?” Scott asked, wrapping his arm around Kaylee.
She snorted and pushed him away. “Great day to have off, you mean.”
Harris grinned. They’d all three be in the mess at ground zero if it wasn’t their weekend off. The knowledge that everyone else was having a terrible day tempered his annoyance at having to get up so early.
Scott gave Kaylee a noogie and yelped when she bit him. “We’re going into Bloomington to see a movie and get dinner and drinks later. You wanna come?”
Harris wondered if the two of them would stop pulling each other’s pigtails long enough to watch a movie. Unlikely. Odds were good they’d be kicked out of the theater.
“As enticing as that isn’t,” he said, earning a laugh from Kaylee and an indignant sound from Scott, “I’ve got a date with Netflix.”
“Come with us,” Scott said. “Friends don’t let friends waste their weekend off holed up watching Bruce Willis movies.”
“I’m not watching Bruce Willis movies,” Harris snapped. “Besides, I’m not wasting anything. I’m going to Lexington tomorrow for the day.”
“Ooh,” Kaylee chimed in. “Gonna get some?”
He wished. “No, I’m going to go see Jackson and Jordan. It’s been a few weeks, and they want to catch up.”
It had been over four weeks, but who was counting? Having Drew here at camp meant he was seeing a lot more of Jackson than usual. But things at the station had been busier than normal, so Jackson missed the last monthly dinner.
Scott laughed and elbowed Kaylee in the ribs. “That sounds good. Wanna ‘catch up’ later, Kaylee?”
She punched him hard in the thigh, but from the look on her face, some catching up was definitely in the cards. Gross.
Harris ignored them and sipped his tea, watching birds flit around the feeders near the pond outside. He’d still rather be sleeping, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend the morning.
He scented Drew before he saw him, his nose wrinkling. As he’d predicted, Drew smelled like he’d rolled around in Nick’s scent before coming down. Hell, Harris bet he had. They were newly mated—he didn’t care what bullshit Pack law said about humans and Weres not mating; they were mated, not just married—and Nick had been aggressively scenting him since the wedding.
Harris didn’t begrudge them their happiness at all. Finding a mate was a huge deal in Were culture. Harris didn’t know what a fulfilled mate bond felt like, but he often wondered if it was as euphoric as it seemed. Mates were so connected and in tune with each other. He’d do anything to have that with his own mate, but their incomplete bond meant he was empty—there was nothing to pick up on besides his own longing and loneliness. That was hard to deal with, but Harris had been best friends with his mate for years before the mate bond formed. Jackson had always made it clear he wasn’t interested in settling down, so when Harris realized he’d bonded with him, he’d kept it quiet. Friendship was all he could have with Jackson, and Harris would rather have that than nothing. Unrequited bonds were hard, but rejected ones were a million times worse.
“I was all prepared to make up excuses for being late, but I guess I’m in the clear,” Drew said as he sat in the rocking chair next to Harris’s.
A few moments later Nick appeared in the doorway with two steaming cups of coffee. He handed one to Drew and stole a kiss before sitting down on the wicker couch a few feet away.
Apparently, his inner wolf was satisfied by the way he’d painted Drew in his scent earlier, which was fortunate. They’d spent more than one staff meeting with Drew sitting in Nick’s lap.
“Food fight in the mess,” Harris explained.
Drew’s eyes lit up. “Excellent!” He held up his coffee cup and clinked it against Harris’s mug. “Cheers.”
“Hallelujah. Praise be to days off,” Nick muttered after a sip of his own coffee. “I had syrup in my hair for days after the last one.”
Drew’s scent took a cloying turn after that announcement, and Harris hurried to take his mind off whatever memory it had sparked.
“You two staying here today or heading off campus?”
Drew blinked and smiled. “We’re going to Indianapolis. There’s a driving range Nick wants to try, and I want to visit a few medical supply stores to see if I can do better than the place I’m ordering things from for the clinic.”
“Romantic,” Harris said.
“I know my man,” Nick said, fluttering his eyelashes. “The best way to woo him is a good selection of stethoscopes and an unlimited supply of gauze.”
Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.
Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.