I sat on the step slightly bored again. Watching him assemble the swing set had been a nice distraction. I sighed and he moved to sit by me.
“I bought a movie when I went to the store,” he said, looking out over the yard.
I turned to study his profile, strong jaw, straight nose with a slight bump on the bridge, firm lips, and my stomach dove for my toes for half a heartbeat before it sprang back with a twist. I caught Nana watching me from the chair she’d brought out to the porch and blushed.
“Would you like to watch it with me?” he asked softly.
The way he said it, a soft rumble of invitation, made my heart jump with excitement. I looked away, focusing on my brothers playing in the yard, as I struggled with what I should say versus what I wanted to say.
Nana interrupted my thoughts before they fully formed. “I can watch the boys out here if you two want to go in.”
That decided me. He and I needed to talk. I called to the boys that I would be right inside if they needed me. Emmitt stood with a smile and let me lead the way to Jim’s apartment.
The movie waited right next to the TV. Emmitt went to it and lifted it with a dimple-showing smile. I stood behind him schooling my features into a serious expression while my insides went crazy.
“Emmitt,” I said with quiet reluctance. “I really appreciate you letting us stay here, but I need to say something,” I said to start my ‘let’s-be-friends’ speech. His smile faded with my words and I swallowed hard. “I don’t know how long we’ll be here and can’t afford any emotional distractions.”
“What are we talking about, exactly?” His voice, low and firm, sounded a bit upset.
“The way you look at me…” I whispered with a blush.
Though my mind would willingly paint us in a white-picket-fence dream, the reality was that any emotional connection with these people would just be another way for Blake to hurt me when… no, if… he caught up with us. Plus, I couldn’t afford any entanglements that would prevent me from leaving when the time came.
“I see.” He didn’t sound mad, just thoughtful. “Michelle, when I saw you in the diner, and again when you faced David, you needed a friend.”
As if someone had thrown a bolder down my throat, something heavy hit the bottom of my stomach and embarrassment began to flood me. Had my attraction to Emmitt twisted what I thought I saw into what I’d wanted to see? I wanted to disappear. Instead, I tried to salvage the humiliating situation with a feint at ignorance. “Even a friend might be more than I can manage.”
He slowly nodded his head looking down at the movie in his hands, making it hard to read his thoughts. After a moment, he looked up with a relaxed, easygoing smile and slightly lifted the movie. “So, is that a no to a movie?”
Cherry red and wanting to run, I still couldn’t say no, I was too curious about my reaction to him, too tempted. At least we both knew where we stood and I could breathe again. Well, not really. Not with him so close, but he didn’t know that.
(Mis)fortune by Melissa Haag
Series: Judgement of the Six #2
Genre: NA Paranormal Romance
Publication date: April 30th 2013
Our world is being judged and even they remain unaware.
Michelle, another young woman with an unexplainable gift, finds herself surrounded by the previously undiscovered werewolf society. Kept prisoner for the predictions that torment her, she meekly follows orders waiting for her opportunity to run. When her stepfather dies, she takes a chance and escapes.
After witnessing Blake, her captor, grow canines, she knows he will do anything to find her. She needs a place to hide and someone to listen to her predictions so her head doesn’t explode, but knows there’s nowhere she can hide forever, and no one who can protect her… unless she can find someone just like him.
Part of the fur wearing faction wants to use her, another part strives to keep her safe. The second book of the Judgement of the Six series will raise more questions about the purpose of these gifted few and Michelle will need to fight for answers. Will what she discovers be enough to help her keep those she loves safe from an emerging evil?
I washed dishes in the silence of the apartment exhaling a sigh. The boys cried encouragement shouting Jim and Emmitt’s names.
With a hot dishrag, I began to wash the counter, and lifted the wine bottle Emmitt had forgotten out of the way. Downstairs Aden erupted in a fit of giggles.
Playing with a werewolf. No… werewolves. My brothers were playing with werewolves. I grimaced at the thought, and continued to wash the counter. Dinner had gone well. Jim had brought the boys upstairs, they’d served themselves as Emmitt and Nana joined. My stomach had turned to ice as I still struggled to come to terms with the reality of my decision. I was deciding to stay – to live – with three werewolves. What exactly did that mean?
I threw the dishrag into the sink and shook my head in frustration. I needed to settle this in my head, settle what it meant for us. I needed to start asking questions. I needed to talk to Emmitt. But the thought of seeing Emmitt change again made my insides turn to Jell-O.
My eyes fell on the wine bottle I’d set back on the counter. More than half remained, enough to give me courage to ask hard questions and listen to scary answers. I pulled the cork back out with a pop and slugged down the remains breathing through my nose. Lowering the bottle, I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and then washed the counter.
After a few minutes, I grew warm and the tension eased from my shoulders. Not all of it, but enough. I wished I had more wine, but headed to the stairs anyway. I wasn’t trying to use alcohol to hide from the answers, just make them less… shocking, weird, scary – the list went on in mind.
At the top of the stairs, I hesitated. Part of me – the part that was still listing off reasons alcohol use when discovering the existence of werewolves was completely reasonable – wanted to march right back into the apartment and go to sleep. The other part… agreed. I turned to go back into the apartment and stopped myself. No. I needed answers. Better now, not later.
I made a face and turned back toward the stairs, marching toward knowledge I really didn’t want to face yet.
“What are you thinking about?” Emmitt asked, his thumb trailing softly across my cheek as I became aware of the present.
My heart skipped a beat at the close contact and I struggled to breathe.
“Nothing,” I whispered.
He dropped his hand, but stayed close, his eyes searching mine. “We all have our secrets, Michelle.”
I wanted to snort in disbelief. What secret did Emmitt have that could possible rival the laundry basket of secrets I carried?
He continued to watch me and then frowned slightly. “I want to show you something,” he said slowly as if just making up his mind. “My secret.” He moved half a step back, giving himself room to show me his forearm. “But I don’t want it to freak you out. I just want you to see you can share your secrets with me. I want you to be happy here.”
I doubted it, but dutifully looked at his arms. At first, I thought I needed to find a tiny hidden tattoo or something. As my eyes searched, I noticed his arm hair change. It grew longer and thicker. Startled, my gaze flew to his.
“You can make your hair grow?” My gaze flitted to the hair on his head. It didn’t look any longer than it had a moment ago.
“Sort of,” he said lowering his arm. “There’s more.” He pulled back his lips in a parody of a huge smile.
I stared at Emmitt in horror, all my hopes crushed with the single telling revelation of his elongated teeth. Panic bloomed. Clutching the glass in my hand, a growling scream erupted from my throat as I drew back to throw it at him. At the same time, I lifted a knee, clipping his groin. He dropped like a stone before the glass touched him.
Eyes wide, I looked down at his prone form. His eyes closed, he gritted his teeth, canines still exposed. Panting, I tried to make myself move. Run. Run! RUN!!! It echoed in the cavern of my mind until I broke free of my paralysis. Dropping the glass, I sprinted for the door. I cleared the door as glass shattered and he grunted.
Steady pounding woke me. I groaned and pulled the pillow over my head. It didn’t block out the pounding.
“Mimi,” Liam said shaking my shoulder. “Someone’s at the door. I think it’s Uncle Jim.”
Uncle Jim? What? I threw my pillow off my head, lifted its weight from the mattress, and struggled to focus on Liam’s face.
Last night came back in a rush and I groaned aloud, letting my head fall back down.
“Should I get the door?” Liam insisted quietly, shaking my shoulder.
Worst. Sister. Ever. I pulled my hung-over butt from bed and looked at Aden who still slept on my other side. Stumbling into the kitchen, I checked the clock. Six am. I was going to kill Jim.
I yanked open the door with a scowl and glared not at Jim, but Emmitt. In one hand, he offered two coated pills, in the other, a glass of water. He elevator-eyed me with a slight quirk on his lips. I took both without comment and swallowed them.
“I heard Liam moving around and wanted to know if he’d like to come down for pancakes,” he offered in a warm, soft voice that melted my middle.
The melting brought back the memory of last night’s question and answer session following Emmitt’s big reveal and I cringed.
Emmitt: “If you’re not worried about David, who are you worried about?”
Me: “Can I sleep in your shirt tonight?”
Emmitt: “Why did David keep you locked away?”
Me: “Blake told him to. I really liked when you kissed my neck even though I tried not to.”
Notable pause in questioning….
Emmitt: “Who’s Blake?”
Me: “I like you without a shirt. A lot.” Long pause. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
It could have been worse.
“I’m never drinking again,” I whispered to myself.
Emmitt grinned. “I like your pajamas.”
I looked down at myself. I wore his t-shirt. Damn.
Our world is being judged and we remain unaware.
In a world filled with people, Gabby is uniquely alone. The tiny glowing sparks filling her mind that represent the people around her, confirm it as does the bizarre inexplicable draw she has on men.
Struggling to find an explanation for her sight while dodging unwanted male attention, Gabby meets Sam. The chance encounter leads to a startling revelation - werewolves are real.
Hoping the existence of something so extraordinary might lead to the answers she is seeking, Gabby enters into a hidden society where fur is optional. There she meets Clay, the werewolf delusional enough to think he has a chance with her. Gabby's plans for her future do not include a mate, but rather college, career, and then a huge 'we'll see'.
Gabby leaves the furry hidden society behind when she moves off to college, but trouble has a way of following and finding her. When other werewolves start stalking her, and anomalies in the sparks she sees begin to appear, she must count on Clay's help or risk loosing the chance to find the answers she searches for.
Barnes & Nobles:
Melissa Haag currently resides in Wisconsin with her husband and three children. Touch is her first published novel. She is currently working on book three of a separate five book series.
To learn more about her upcoming projects, visit her at:
Why I Write.......
You are curled in your favorite chair enjoying a quiet read. The book pulls you in. You forget where and who you are. You never want the story to end…
I have no idea why other authors write, but I write because that’s what I want to bring to my readers: hours of entertainment that completely captures the imagination, a world worth diving into. Throw in a man (or men) to drool over and what could be better?
Clay, the hero in Hope(less) is the strong, silent type. When I say silent, I mean SILENT. I had so much fun imagining and then writing about him. He was written to be loved, flaws and all. Emmitt, the hero in (Mis)fortune is the solid rock Michelle needs to feel safe again. His ginger handling of his relationship with Michelle helped get me through folding many loads of laundry.
But how do I know I’ve done my job? Often, I don’t. Every now and again a reader is brave enough to put their applauding (or booing) in a review. The information is invaluable not just to me to help me hone my skills, but to other prospective readers.
I encourage you to post a review of the next book you read (applaud or boo as you see fit) and help other readers by giving them an idea of what to expect from the book they are considering. There are worlds, and the drool-worthy men who live in them, waiting to be explored by our imaginatio
Interview with a werewolf…....
Character interview of Clay from Hope(less): Book One of the Judgement of the Six, by author Melissa Haag
A knock sounds at the door. Melissa scrambles to tuck the latest novel she’s reading under a sofa cushion and then runs to answer the door. The afternoon interviewee has arrived. Melissa peeks out the door and finds a scruffy looking man staring back. His longish hair partially covers his eyes and a beard covers his face. Despite his dubious appearance, she opens the door with a smile.
Melissa: Hi! Come on in. **steps aside and motions Clay in.**
Clay nods in greeting and enters.
Melissa: Please have a seat. **motions Clay to sit and takes a seat across from him in her slightly dusty living room.**
Melissa: I was so excited you agreed to this interview. After finishing Hope(less), I have so many questions for you. Can I get you anything to drink before we start?
Clay declines with a shake of his head.
Melissa: ** leans back into her chair and picks up a pad of paper to take notes.** Tell me, what did you think of Gabby when you first saw her?
Clay smiles slightly. His whisker’s twitch.
Melissa waits for a few seconds for Clay to say more, clears her throat, and then moves on when he remains quiet.
Melissa: What exactly happened that night you brought her back to the compound? I’m really curious about the leaves in her hair.
Clay shifts uncomfortably and shrugs.
Melissa: **blinks at his taciturn response.** Let’s talk about your favorite color. Why pink?
Clay: **grins wickedly and shrugs.** Bikini.
Melissa: Oh? **leans forward anticipating more detail, but is left waiting. Stifling a groan of frustration, moves on to the next question.** What made you decide to get a job from Dale?
Clay: **gives a full grin, showing teeth. His eyes crinkle at the corners.** Opportunity.
Melissa: **the sexy smile evokes memories of several scenes from Hope(less). Melissa shakes herself, and barely avoids sighing in a dreamy fashion.** What did you think of Gabby’s attempts to get rid of you?
Clay: **a quick laugh escapes him.** Expected.
Melissa: **looks down at the blank note paper and scowls briefly before returning her focus to Clay.** I don’t want to give anything away for anyone who hasn’t read Hope(less), but tell me… how do you feel about how the book ended?
Clay: **the heart-melting smile returns.** Satisfied.
Melissa: **desperate for something to put to paper asks a simple yes or no question.** Have you shaved for Gabby yet?
Clay shrugs enigmatically.
Melissa: **quickly asks the next question.** Do you have any insight what will happen in the next installment of the series?
Clay shakes his head.
Melissa: Will we learn anything more about Gabby’s abilities?
Melissa: **tries a different approach.** Now that Hope(less) is finished, what do you plan to do?
Melissa: **frustration creeps into the next question.** We can expect to see you again, then?
Clay shrugs enigmatically.
Melissa: **makes a show of looking at her watch.** Well, look at the time! **Stands and extends hand.** I appreciate your time and your succinct answers. **leads Clay to the door.**
Clay nods and exits.
Melissa returns to the couch, digs out her Novel where the men actually speak in complete sentences, and escapes into another world.