|Cover Artist: Catt Ford|
Whiskers of a Chance
by Tempeste O’Riley
Genres: Gay (M/M), Contemporary, Paranormal, Romance
Jason Grant runs his own IT business from home, owns his own home, and has the best friend he could imagine. What he doesn’t have, or believe he will ever have, is love. When Jason catches a glimpse of his new neighbor on moving day, his libido ignites and his fascination in piqued. He even manages to concoct an excuse to go over and meet the man who makes him hope and want for more than he has in years.
Keith Skyler is a shifter in a world where his kind is known to only a few, but they don’t often mix and they never mate. Keith has been hoping for a mate since before he can remember, but gay lynx don’t have true mates. As far as he knows, they don’t have mates at all. However, while moving his little family across Seattle—and away from their tribe—his reality tips and spins more than he thought possible.
When these two men meet over a dish of five-cheese broccoli-noodle casserole, sparks fly. Who knew a welcome to the neighborhood gift could give both of them their chance at love?
This storyline is so different from your usual style. What made you deviate from your usual style and setup for how to build a strong and lasting relationship?
Part of that has to do with what brought me to writing this story and part simply has to do with the characters themselves. You see, I wrote the first sex scene before anything else in the book, and then wrote the rest of the book around it. The thing is, writing the sex so early is really the only way for this story to unfold. I thought of going back and having them wait, of having them build something first, but that just doesn't fit. I'm not giving anything away (this is not a spoiler as DSP and the excerpts I've given out already show this, the sex is that early, lol) I promise.
I don't honestly think I've deviated, though. The characters still have to learn to trust, love, and depend on one another. They have to grow as a couple and as individuals. They are not just simple words on pages, then sex, then "the end." There is conflict, internal and external, there is the annoying best friend (can't forget those, lol), the sex (oh... we have smexy times! I promise ;) ), and yes, there is a happily every after—like I'd do you any other way. Life is hard enough, why make reading depressing too?
But in the end, I hope that even though Whiskers of a Chance is a "new" style for me, that you will give my backward built relationship between a kitty and a human a chance ;) I promise, you'll have fun, LOL.
“Jason?” Keith asked after a few minutes of lying there quietly, holding Jason around his waist.
“I’m sorry,” Keith mumbled into his shoulder.
Sorry? “What for?”
“I’ve never lost control like that. I didn’t mean to hurt you,” he continued. “Be still and I’ll clean you up.”
Jason lay there, trying to figure out what Keith was referring to, but his mind drew a blank. All he could think about was how wonderful and perfect being with Keith felt. When Keith returned with a warm cloth and a towel, he wiped the spend and lube off Jason from his navel to the top of his butt. He then produced another cloth and dabbed carefully along Jason’s hip.
“Ow!” Jason snapped and pulled away. Confused, he looked down and noted not only the marks he knew would be finger-shaped bruises shortly but also four puncture marks just above his hipbone. “What the hell?”
“I, um…. Be still and close your eyes for a moment,” Keith murmured, not meeting his gaze. “Please.”
Even with the evidence that Keith could, and had, hurt him, Jason still felt safe with Keith. He nodded and closed his eyes, unsure why he did so. He gasped a moment later when Keith’s tongue ran up his hip, slowly tracing the small cuts. Every time Keith licked him, he moaned as a flash of heat ran up and down his spine in a way he’d never felt before. The logical part of his brain wanted to push Keith away, knowing that human mouths and wounds didn’t mix; the rest of him told that part to shut the hell up and enjoy the moment.
“All better.” Keith’s voice was soft and tentative, which it hadn’t been since they’d met.
Jason opened his eyes and met Keith’s, again falling into the depths of the oceans within. “What?”
“I’ve waited for you, waited for so long to find someone like you, and when I do, I go off and hurt you the first time we’re together.” Keith whispered as if he were talking to himself, not Jason, which confused him even more.
“I don’t understand, Keith.”
“I know, just please believe me when I say it wasn’t intentional.”
Jason thought about it before he nodded. “It’s just a scratch, Keith. I’m the one who pushed you to be rougher. Now,” he added, looking around the room, “you think we could find a more comfortable place to cuddle than the floor?”
He didn’t want to move, but the cold tile wasn’t doing anything good for him. Keith helped Jason pull off the stubborn pants still clinging to one ankle. Jason then let out a yelp when Keith fluidly stood and proceeded to scoop him off the floor and carry him to the couch. Keith sat and pulled Jason between his thighs so Jason’s back rested against his chest and loosely wrapped his arms around Jason’s waist.
“Um, you have no drapes and we’re both still naked.”
“The only window with a view to where we’re sitting now is yours, so unless you have someone at home,” Keith rumbled, his tone turning possessive, “I don’t see the problem.”
Knowing Keith couldn’t see him, Jason smiled, pleased at the words and tone. “No, no one lives there but me. Not even a pet, unless you count my laptops,” he mumbled, post-sex lethargy claiming him quickly.
“Good—now rest, Jay. We can talk later.”
The last thing Jason felt and heard before sleep claimed him was Keith’s warmth and what he could have sworn was a cat purring.
5 of 5
I love the idea of destiny and imagining what it would be like-- finding the person you are meant to be with forever. Knowing, really knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that this is the one for you. Well, at least Keith knows. He's a lynx shifter who is shocked to discover the true mate he never dreamed he'd find. Now he's willing to do anything, defy anyone, to have Jason by his side for the rest of his life. Despite his determination and the assurance that destiny is on his side, Jason's going to take some convincing. He's human. Despite feeling irresistibly drawn towards his new neighbor, Jason has a hard time imagining what a sexy man like Keith sees in him, Mr. Average.
What I love about O'Riley's writing is that she always gives readers something extra, something more. Yes, there's the guaranteed moment of at-first-smell that I love about paranormal romance, but it's a sparkling attraction and the best is yet to come. There's laughter- how in the world do I explain to my human neighbor that he'll have to vacuum my fur off the furniture?- adventure, drama, and more. It's all mixed together within moments, actions, misunderstandings, challenges and joys that surpass the pull of biology and turn strong attraction into love.
Love is the gift I always find in Tempeste's books. It's what brings me back to her stories time and time again, what Whiskers of a Chance is all about. Finding happiness, fighting for love, living ever after with the comforting glow of something more.
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud omnisexual / bi-woman whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic that loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.
Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA.
Learn more about Tempeste and her writing.