Parker Williams’ Scent of the Heart
Seriously y’all. If you haven’t read Parker Williams’ Shifting Needs series, you need to go out right now and get the first book in the series. The stories are amazing and I’m beyond excited the second in the series is out now. I’ve read it and I loved it! Parker stops by today with a bonus scene from the book that you won’t find anywhere else. After reading that amazing scene read all about this wonderful book, plus an excerpt that will make you want to read more! At the very bottom, enter for a chance to win a $25 gift card and an adorable skunk plush.
“Zak, we need this. Our people need it,” Casey said again, his voice rising an octave.
“These people do not even know what the meaning of the holiday means. I do not wish to interject another religion on them. They believe in the guidance of the spirits, and Casey is their conduit. To muddy the waters would serve no purpose but to further divide them.”
“You’re right. They don’t know what Christmas is and they don’t need to know. But the celebration is something they can all get behind. One of survival. Of strength. Moving forward when the odds were against them. The ancient druidic people celebrated the solstice. We can do the same thing.”
Zak sighed and rubbed his chin. His lack of follicles had always amused Casey, and Jake enjoyed watching his mate and his best friend trade barbs, because Casey had finally found someone with less face hair than him.
“What do you think, Jake? And know that you will be paying for those comments later.”
“I didn’t say anything,” Jake protested, even though he knew he was busted.
“You know well what I mean. What do you think of Casey’s idea?”
“It’s got merit. It might do the people good to cut loose for the day. Cyndil could pull some things from storage and the staff could put together a buffet of foods everyone can eat. We could decorate a tree, tell stories, share something beyond Elizar, Kell, and… everything.”
“Very well, we shall do it. Casey, you have my permission to go ahead with your plan.”
Casey gave a fist pump as he jumped up from the overstuffed chair he sat in.
“You won’t regret it, Zak.”
He grabbed Zak’s chin and planted a loud, wet kiss on his cheek, which caused Zak to sputter and blush.
“I think he already does.”
“You sit there and let someone paw your mate?” Zak complained.
“If I was going to share you with anyone, it would be Casey,” Jake said, his voice deadpan.
“No! No no no no no. We don’t share. We don’t want to share. I don’t go for the boy bits any more than you go for the girl ones. You got yours, and I know there is a perfect woman out there for me.”
“Keep telling yourself that,” Jake replied. “In the meantime, keep your lips off my mate.”
“Oh, now you speak?” Zak said haughtily.
“Only because now you’re thinking about withholding sexual favors. Again.” Jake muttered in reply.
“Yes, well, we would not want me to get too loose in the caboose,” Zak answered, cupping a hand over his butt cheek.
Jake spun on Casey. “You… he’s been hanging around you too much.”
Casey rolled with laughter until Jake wrapped a big hand around his neck. “Get out. My mate needs a reminder of who’s in charge in the bedroom.”
“The two of you don’t listen,” Casey whined. “I don’t want to hear it.”
Zak tucked himself into Jake’s side, and ran fingers over the broad chest. “Stay a few more minutes and you will more than hear it.”
“Argh! You guys… how do you ever get any work done? Aren’t you supposed to work out a trade agreement or have something enclave related to deal with?”
“Did them,” Zak purred, as Jake nipped at his neck.
“Shouldn’t you be walking around, seeing how everyone is?”
Zak moaned when Jake latched onto his neck, sucking hard.
Casey couldn’t help but sigh. Jake sat up and looked him in the eye. “Where you going? Don’t you want to stay for the show? I’m sure Zak wouldn’t mind.”
“Stay. Go. It does not matter.” The hitched breath and the glazed eyes caused Casey’s chest to burn. How he wanted someone to look at him that way.
Jake scooped Zak into his arms and strode toward the bedroom.
“No, no. Don’t worry about me. I’ll show myself out,” he grumbled, even as the door slammed.
Casey hadn’t made it out the door when Zak’s plaintive cries reached his ears.
Surprisingly it wasn’t at all difficult to put together a party for the enclave. When he approached Cyndil, she was more than happy to provide the food. Elizar had kept a huge supply of rare treats in the pantry, and Zak wanted it all gone. She sat with Casey and made up the menu, chuckling when Casey would make a comment about food and waggle his eyebrows. He knew she didn’t understand the double entendre, but it was still funny to him.
That afternoon he made his rounds through the streets of the enclave, stopping to speak to everyone and invite them to the party. Everyone knew what the solstice was, but few understood why they would want to celebrate it. Casey explained it was an excuse to get together, gorge themselves on good food, and reconnect with their neighbors. That was a good enough reason as far as many were concerned.
He knocked at one particular door. A small hut, set back from the Alpha’s compound. He’d been here many times, but no one ever answered when he came. He knew people lived here, their names were on the registry. Tsvetok, Mikhail, and Vadim Yerokhin. How, in all the months he’d been here, had he not seen them? Or why hadn’t they come to him? He’d asked Jake once, but the only answer he got was Jake averting his eyes and saying they’d met.
He scribbled a note on a piece of paper he’d gotten from one of the members of the enclave and slid it under the door. Perhaps the family would join the celebration and he could get to know them.
Tsvetok picked up the slip of paper and read the words on it. He held the sheet to his chest and sniffed deeply. His skunk wanted its mate in the worst way, but Sev held it at bay. He couldn’t afford to get too close to the shaman, especially since he hadn’t heeded the Protector’s edict and spoken to the man.
The celebration was amazing. Mikhail and Vadim had begged to go, and Sev gave his permission, as long as they promised to stay away from the shaman. They were confused, but agreed. As he had been doing since he realized Casey was his mate, Sev watched. The man was warm and charming, moving from person to person with greetings, offering them some of Cyndil’s food, and in general being the spirit of his people.
A deep sigh and Sev stripped off his clothes. He would run the woods, that would take his mind off things. He shifted, a painful mix of his lanky body compressing itself into a compact form, and an indescribable joy that went with it. With his senses heightened he could separate the smells and pick out his mate. He took three tentative steps toward the party, then stopped, and hurried in the other direction.
This was foolish. They couldn’t be mates. The spirits must have made a mistake.
Casey Scott grew up being told he’d never amount to anything, and despite the unwavering love and support from his best friend, Jake, the idea sticks in the back of Casey’s mind. When he discovers he has a unique destiny in an enclave where shifters and humans live together, he seizes the chance, wanting for once in his life to be someone special.
Tsvetok Yerokhin lost his parents to the evil ruler of the enclave when he was a boy. The responsibilities of raising his two younger brothers nearly overwhelmed him and self-doubt took over. When the new Alpha and his Protector arrive in time to save his life, Sev is grateful, but he’s even more shocked when he scents his mate with them.
Casey isn’t prepared for the feelings that sweep over him when he meets Sev, but he refuses to act on them because he’s straight. Still, there is something so alluring about Sev that Casey can’t help being drawn to him.
As the two explore the edges of their new discovery, an evil returns, determined to control the enclave or destroy it. The Alpha and Protector are powerless to stop it, but Casey holds the key to victory. If he can discover what it is, he has a chance to save them all. To be the hero.
Unfortunately, the hero has to be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, and for Casey that means losing his heart.
“This night is shot,” Casey mumbled. “Hakii, if you’re there, I’m sorry. I need to find him. I’ll try to be back as soon as I can. Oh, and if you’re not there, I hope you’re getting a damn good laugh at me talking to myself.”
The night air had chilled considerably. Casey threw on a sweater and hurried to the Alpha’s house. Before he could pound on the door, it swung open. Jake stood there wearing nothing at all.
“Oh god, my eyes.”
Jake sighed. “You’ve seen me before. A lot, if I recall correctly.”
“And every time I do, I remember that I need to create eye bleach.”
Jake faked a laugh. “Yeah, you’re hilarious. What do you want?”
“A guy came to my house tonight. His name is Sev, and I think he’s in trouble.”
All humor fled from Jake’s face. “What happened?”
Casey told him about the visit. “He…called me his mate. What the hell is that about?”
“Later. We’ve got to find him.”
In an instant, Jake transformed into a beautiful black jaguar. Zak came rushing to the door. “What is wrong?”
Before Casey could answer, Zak grabbed a heavy coat and squirmed into it. “Jake will track him. You will come with us.”
“Zak, he called me his mate. Why would he do that?”
“You worry about this now? I do not see where this matters. If you prefer, you may stay behind.”
Casey sobered immediately. “No, you’re right. I’m sorry.”
They tracked Jake as he hurried to the woods. When they heard him roar, Zak and Casey ran to the edge of the forest. Jake had transformed back to his human form and, man, was he pissed.
“Come out here, now,” he demanded.
There was no movement, but Casey heard a clicking noise, followed by the familiar stamping of feet.
“You spray me and I swear to the gods I will neuter you. Put your damn tail down and face us as a man, Sev.”
Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.
Living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Parker held his job for nearly 28 years before he decided to retire and try new things. He enjoys his new life as a stay-at-home author and also working on Pride-Promotions, an LGBT author promotion service.
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