Panther's Heart: The Next Story in the Texas Wolf Pack World
Now that Wolf's Destiny, the box set of the first six books is published, I am working on three different books. I mentioned two of them, To Risk the Unicorn and Pirates, in a February 12 post.
I also mentioned working on more shifter stories in the Texas Wolf Pack World. At this point, I have over 10,000 words complete on Panther's Heart: Texas Wolf Pack Panther Clowder.
This is Flora and Will's story and begins just after the pack's return from the attack on the Oklahoma Huntsmen Headquarters in Book 6, Wolf's Reign.
Flora and Will must deal with his head injury. At the same time, Flora's widowed father, Ben, and Dottie will enter a new phase of their lives.
I hope my readers enjoy reading the stories as much as I love writing them.
This is a short excerpt from chapter 8:
Flora kept her arm tight around Will’s waist and took another step with him. After a restless night, he was even more fidgety. Even though the doctor said to walk once a day, he was pushing himself. Twice now, she found him trying to walk alone when she left the room for more than a few seconds. “Slow down,” she muttered. “You have plenty of time to get better.”
His stubborn eyes met her gaze. He shook his head and took another step. “I have work to do. Can’t stay in bed all day.”
“You are excused from work until you are well.”
“And if I don’t get well?”
Flora frowned at the blush that stained his cheeks. “Will . . ..”
Still stubborn, he ignored her and took another step. “I have to get better.”
She sighed and took a stronger hold on his waist. When they finally got to the door then back to his hospital bed, she was relieved. A relief that didn’t last. He turned and took another step back toward the door. “That’s enough, Will. You’re trembling.”
Pulling him to the bed, she gently pushed him to sit on the edge. Standing straight, right thumb tucked in her front jeans pocket, she studied him. He turned his face away from her, but not before she saw the anguish in his eyes. With a soft breath, she pulled her hand from her pocket and took his hand. “Will, what’s wrong? Let me help.”
Fingers curled under his chin, she pulled his face toward her. The moisture in his eyes surprised her. Dr. Travis said he may be emotional for a while. At Leesha’s reminder, Flora swallowed. “Will . . ..”
“Go away, Flora.” He swallowed and turned his head to face the opposite wall. “Just go away.”
Flora blinked. Go away? She huffed. “I’m your Queen, Will. You’re my tom. My beta. Don’t tell me to go away!”
His shoulders curled tight, and he leaned away from her. Flora put her hand on his shoulder. “Will.”
When she tugged on him, his shoulder twitched. “I’m nothing. I can’t shift without you or Nate helping. I can’t even walk by myself. I’m no good to you, now. Go away, Flora. Find another tom.”
Will’s words echoed in her mind. The pain in her chest, the one she thought would kill her when his heart stopped at the hospital, hit her. Shaking with agony, she fisted her right hand and pressed it against the pain. “I can’t do that.”
He looked at her. Anguish swam in his eyes. “You have to. I can’t protect you.”
She shook her head. The words she whispered seemed torn from her very soul. “I won’t. I can’t. You’re my mate. Mine! I won’t live without you.”
“Mate?” His shoulders grew even tighter, his back straighter.
Bowing her head, she felt hot liquid run down her cheeks. “I thought you died. I wanted to die with you.” She swallowed, sniffed, then took a deep breath. “Right now, it’s my turn to protect you. The clowder and pack will protect us both until you are well enough.” She sniffed. “Besides, I can take care of myself, you know.”
She felt him turn toward her, but she couldn’t look at him. How he could think she would want another? Never! Mate! The pain and anger in her panther’s thoughts matched her own.
“You’re crying.” His hand cupped her face. “Ah, Flora, don’t cry. I don’t deserve your tears.”
Wordlessly, she leaned against him. He nuzzled his face into her hair, sniffing. He caught his breath, then sniffed again. “Flora.” She pulled back and met his gaze. His eyes searched her face, and he swallowed. His eyes glowed with the power of his panther. Reverently, he lifted her hand, kissed her fingers, then lightly ran his tongue over her fingertips. He closed his eyes and swallowed.
His mouth worked as if he was trying to speak, but no words came out. He cleared his throat, swallowed, then tried again. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “You deserve so much more.”
“I don’t want more. I want you.”
Back to writing! Later,