Not the Leader of the Pack
by Annabeth Leong
When Juli Gunby left Missoula, Montana, she didn’t intend to come back. Not to her exacting alpha werewolf father, and certainly not to Neil Statham, the beta who rejected Juli’s girlish advances. Her father, as usual, has other ideas, using his dying breath to pass pack leadership to his daughter. Juli resolves to carry out her duty to her father and her pack, but the one man she wants on her side has made himself her enemy.
After years of loyal service to the pack, Neil expects to take over as alpha when his mentor dies. As good as it is to see Juli again, he knows he can’t trust her. After all, she abandoned both him and the pack years ago and never looked back. Neil determines to fight for his rightful position in the pack, even if that means going up against a woman who fills him with an overwhelming urge to mate every time she walks into the room.
Someone needs to lead, and the more Neil and Juli fight, the more they attract interference from those who would control the pack and destroy the ties between them.
Rival alphas Juli Gunby and Neil Statham want to tear each other apart — but will they do it in battle or as mates?
Juli smiled for only a second before her expression turned serious. “Neil, I wasn’t ready for any of this.”
He tightened his arm around her. “Of course not. How could you be?”
Neil cleared his throat. It was just like her to take him off balance by diving straight into the heaviest part of the conversation. He needed to respond carefully. “Juli, if that’s a burden to you, I may be able to help.”
“I hope so! I don’t know what I’ll do without you staying on as beta. What if people don’t accept me?”
Neil blinked. He’d expected to find her desperate to relieve herself of the responsibility Darrow had dumped on her. She’d left years ago, after all, and had never seemed to spare a backward glance for the pack, or for him. “You mean, you actually want to do this?”
She pulled back a few inches and stared. His body cried out at the loss, and he had to resist the urge to close the distance she had opened between them. “I have to do this. My father used his dying breath to pass this on to me. I have a duty. You of all people ought to understand.”
He spoke before he had a chance to think. “Maybe it’s time to stop worrying so much about duty. Maybe it’s time to think about what’s right for us individually.” He should have kissed her that night years ago. She shouldn’t take this responsibility now, when she clearly didn’t have the resources or the training for it. Both these things could be fixed.
On Being Someone Else
by Annabeth Leong
When I contemplate being a character in a book, I immediately have to decide if I’m thinking about who I want to be or who I would be.
I have always wanted to be the tough-as-nails fighting type, blessed with superhuman endurance as much as martial arts skills. Seanan McGuire’s Toby Daye series is a good example—this woman takes unbelievable amounts of punishment in every installment of the series, but hands it out in equal quantities. Though she sometimes wearies of her troubles, when she’s needed, she always steps up to the task at hand.
I have always wanted to be whip-smart and shrewd, like Detective Rebecca Feldblum in Laura Antoniou’s erotic and comedic mystery, The Killer Wore Leather. I would love to notice every detail and deliver sly one-liners and refuse to take nonsense from anyone.
I have always wanted to be the pitch-perfect religious hero, the sort who is righteous but not self-righteous, who handles mockery with grace and humor, and who ultimately wins everyone’s respect through cleverness and spiritual backbone. For example, I cheered aloud at the biting wisdom of Sheikh Bilal in G. Willow Wilson’s Alif the Unseen, and wished I possessed the quiet conviction of that book’s heroine, Dina.
I have always wanted to be as sexually adventurous and creative as Mason in Thirteen’s exceptional m/m BDSM series, Fancy Man. I wish I had his love for humanity in general, and the sparks of mischief and compassion that cause him to devote himself to fulfilling sexual fantasies. It wouldn’t hurt to also have the sheer physical magnetism to make people want me to be the one to do the fulfilling.
I don’t think I actually would be any of these characters—they are exceptional, and I don’t measure up. That’s why they’re heroes, though. They give me something to aspire to, and, in creating them, their authors have shared thrilling glimpses into the farther reaches of human potential. I have my moments of glory, but am ultimately ordinary, and the person I am is different from the person I want to be—sometimes for better, and sometimes for worse.
The person I would be is probably better demonstrated by the characters I create when I write. They are the ones, after all, who are woven from the cloth of my own being. They will exemplify the things I value, share my blind spots, and feel most keenly the emotions that matter to me. That’s not to say I populate my worlds with Mary Sues, because I give my characters flaws as well as skills and aspirations. Still, they are probably the best examples out there of what I would be given this or that exceptional circumstance.
Juli and Neil, for example, my heroine and hero in Not the Leader of the Pack, are each fiercely loyal in their own ways, and that’s a virtue that matters to me. They’re foolish sometimes, and often don’t act in their own best interests, but I do that, too.
Ultimately, however, characters are characters and I am myself. Much as I love writing and reading, at some point every day, I put my books down and live my own life my own way.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Annabeth Leong has written romance and erotica of many flavors -- dark, kinky, vanilla, straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. Her titles for Breathless Press include Not His Territory, Not the Leader of the Pack, and a contribution to the Ravaged anthology. She enjoys writing about the tension between passion and control that werewolves embody. Unfortunately, when Annabeth loses control of herself, she does not gain the power to change shape. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Buy links for Not the Leader of the Pack:
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-nottheleaderofthepack-1216512-149.html?referrer=5148b13c78ae0
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Not-The-Leader-Pack-ebook/dp/B00D3OUT4C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369993135&sr=8-1&keywords=annabeth+leong+not+the+leader+of+the+pack
Breathless Press: http://www.breathlesspress.com/index.php?main_page=product_free_shipping_info&cPath=13&products_id=452&zenid=nipaehvv20bbjv9041ico7epf1
Annabeth will be awarding a $10 gift card for Breathless Press to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a $5 gift card for Breathless Press to a randomly drawn host.
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