Vivi Andrews writes with a sparkle I adore and her romance is spicy hot. Her stories have won awards (Golden Heart, RT Top Picks) and include the best-selling Serengeti Shifters series. Please welcome Vivi!
Thank you so much for having me here today, Mary! I am beyond grateful for having writing buddies like you ladies (rockstar goddesses that you are) shoulder to shoulder with me in the writing trenches. Ya gotta have a buddy system – whether you’re looking for love or writing about paranormal beasties on their quest for a mate. :)
My besties and I have gotten one another through our share of romantic drama and heartache, so when I started my new shape-shifter series, who else should be right at the heart of it but a pair of BFFs? Patch and Lila couldn’t be more different. Lila is frilly and feminine and a pleaser to her core—always focused on making sure everyone around her is happy—while Patch is a loner with a darker sense of humor and an intense longing for privacy in a nosy pride of shape-shifters. But they both love and need one another. Especially when their lives are in romantic upheaval.
Who is the first person Lila calls when her arranged marriage is scheduled? Patch. Who does Patch tell when she finds herself in a lip lock with a big strong lion? Lila. Sometimes it feels like a kiss isn’t real until you tell your best friend. Though Lila—the more open of the two—surprised me by keeping her developing forbidden relationship close to the vest, not even telling Patch. Who knew my heroine could keep a secret?
What about you? Do you have a BFF to gush to and guide you through romantic land mines? Are you more a Patch or a Lila? Do you like linked books about besties? Which is your favorite?
Thanks again to my friends for letting me crash Lust With A Laugh today. Here’s a little snippet of Patch and Lila, my dynamic duo from Jaguar’s Kiss (and Taming the Lion – coming this September!!!).
* * *
“You don’t have to marry him, you know.”
If it had been anyone else, Lila would have deflected, turning the conversation back to light topics, but this was Patch.
“I don’t have to. But I will.” She sighed and dropped her empty into the bucket, taking Patch’s as well and handing out the next round. “Do you think that makes me a coward? Because I’m always doing the easy thing, trying to make everyone else happy?”
“Is that always the easy thing?”
It wasn’t. Trust Patch to know that. “I don’t please people because I’m scared to be myself.”
Patch looked at her, the gold of her eyes gleaming a little in the darkness. “You aren’t a coward, Lila. Where’s that coming from?”
Santiago. “It’s nothing. Just something someone said.”
“Well, someone is an ass. It takes a brave woman to sign on to be the Alpha’s mate.”
Lila took another swig of beer. It was darker than she liked, the taste sharper than the fruity ales she preferred, but tonight she liked the bite. She didn’t feel brave. She didn’t know what she felt. Not how a bride was supposed to feel, that was for sure. “I don’t know why I’m not more excited. I get to plan a wedding. And force you to wear a dress loaded with ruffles and flounces.”
Patch ignored her attempt to goad her with bridesmaid dress hell. “You don’t love him.”
“I don’t see how that matters. My parents don’t love each other. It’s never been a problem for them.”
“You aren’t your mother.”
“No. More’s the pity.”
A white fence appeared out of the darkness beside them. The elk enclosure. They’d come farther than she thought.
“You know I didn’t mean it like that.”
No, Patch was her staunchest ally. She would never say what Lila always thought the pride elders were thinking. That Lila didn’t have her mother’s strength. That she didn’t have her poise and intellect and leadership ability. That Lila wasn’t Alpha’s mate material at all. That she was just a girly pleaser who could play the role when it was easy but would buckle under the first real threat.
“I just meant that you’ve always wanted to be in love,” Patch explained. “Ever since we were kids.”
She had. It was almost embarrassing to admit, since she’d known since birth that no fairy tale prince was going to sweep her off her feet. She had a role to play and falling in love wasn’t part of it. “Maybe I’ll fall in love with Roman. He’s very…” She couldn’t think of anything. He was handsome. He was smart. He was strong and powerful. He was everything a lion should be. “He’s a great man.”
He just never looked at her like she was even remotely special. He looked at her like a duty. She supposed there was affection there, but no interest. No passion. No heat. He didn’t look at her like…
Like Santiago looks at me.
* * *
To get what he wants, he’ll have to rattle her cage...
Lila Fallon, the Lone Pine Pride Alpha’s only daughter, has been betrothed since childhood to marry her father’s chosen successor. The match is designed to maintain peace by shoring up any cracks in pride solidarity.
She’s always known she would do her duty—she just never expected to meet a man who would tempt her to throw it all away.
As a black panther, Santiago Flores couldn’t be a less suitable mate for the Alpha’s purebred lioness daughter. But that doesn’t change the fact that for every one of the five years he’s been with the Lone Pine Pride, he’s been head-over-heels in love with her. And when the Alpha announces that Lila’s indefinite engagement is about to end in a very definite marriage, Santiago is through holding his peace.
From their very first kiss, Santiago rattles Lila’s neatly ordered world. But can a lioness who’s always lived to please everyone else risk everything to please herself?
Warning: This book contains tempting lone-wolf jaguars, lionesses who long for fairy tale endings, arranged marriages, tangled emotions and a pride full of trouble.
Vivi Andrews is an award-winning paranormal romance novelist with a travel addiction. Born and raised in Alaska, she currently lives in Manhattan when she isn’t bouncing around the globe. Whether at home or on the road, she’s always at work on her next happily-ever-after. For more about her books or the exploits of a nomadic author, please visit her website at www.ViviAndrews.com, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.