Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: A WOLF APART (The Legend of All Wolves) by Maria Vale

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A WOLF APART (The Legend of All Wolves) by Maria Vale

Publication Date: July 31, 2018 

Gesnre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

2A9821B7-2E59-4C07-9F50-2D31942A3D63Can a human truly make room in her heart for the Wild?

Thea Villalobos has long since given up trying to be what others expect of her. So in Elijah Sorensson she can see through the man of the world to a man who is passionate to the point of heartbreak. But something inside him is dying…

Elijah Sorensson has all kinds of outward success: bespoke suits, designer New York City apartment, women clamoring for his attention. Except Elijah despises the human life he’s forced to endure. He’s Alpha of his generation of the Great North Pack, and the wolf inside him will no longer be restrained…

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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Giveaway

5 Copies of THE LAST WOLF

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Excerpt

Elijah intentionally lost a challenge that would have brought him back to Homelands. He is battered inside and out and turns to Thea, a woman he doesn’thave any claim on. But she takes him in and cares for his injuries (“a fight” is all he tells her) and when a snowstorm moves in, he stays.  The peace he had hoped for turns to something else.

*****

“‘The great man’”—I try to remember the quotes and strip away the emendations that John made, altering them to our circumstances; “the great wolf” was what he actually said—“‘is the one who in the midst of the crowd’”—John said “of humans”—“‘keeps with perfect sweetness the stillness of the forest.’”

She stares at her book for a moment and then puts her finger on a passage.

“The quote is ‘keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.’ I like yours though.”

“My old English teacher loved Emerson. But I learned it a long time ago. Must have mixed it up.”

Of course, I didn’t. The summer before we were to go Offland, Leonora did her best to make sure that those of us who were leaving understood how to appear human in the world they had re-created in their image.

John tried to do something altogether more subtle and difficult. Whatever disguises we were wearing, he wanted to make sure that we preserved the Homelands within us. He wanted us to make sure that there was a place for the wild inside, even if there wasn’t a place for it anywhere else.

“You liked your English teacher?”

“What? My… Yes. Very much. He was more than an English teacher. He was kind of the…head of our little rural community. We’re very tight-knit, but tempers can run short. He worked hard to keep everyone together.”

She dunks the tea bag a few times before fishing it out with a spoon and, wrapping the string around it, squeezes it dry. “Was it worth fighting for?”

“I didn’t win, if that’s what you mean.”

“Not really. A good fight isn’t about the outcome. It’s about knowing that you’ve made things better by trying.”

Then I hear Victor’s voice. “You will win, Alpha,” he says. My one advocate with his sour, judgmental voice and his sour, judgmental face.

“Honestly, I don’t know if it was worth fighting for. I don’t know anything anymore. And no one seems to know who I am.”

When she blows across her tea, she sends the damp-orchid-and-honey scent to my waiting nose.

“Do you? Know who you are?”

“Of course, I do,” I snap, all the Pack’s skepticism and my own self-doubt suddenly brought to a head by this woman who doesn’t know me from Adam. Then I remember what she is. A woman. A human. “I am a partner in one of the most powerful law firms in the country.”

“You’re not just a lawyer, any more than I am just an ECO.”

“So what else would you say you are?”

“All sorts of things. I’m a woman who doesn’t listen to music in the background, because that’s not actually listening. Who is a vegetarian gun owner.Who makes her living helping people but likes to be alone. Whose ancestors were on this landmass when the people who yell at her to ‘go home’ were sleeping with pigs in Europe. Who likes caffeine and Cheetos. Who was in a sorority for four months. Who is the daughter of dead parents and the sister of a dead brother.

She lifts her tea to her lips.

“What happened to your family?”

“You’re changing the subject. I’m saying that I’ve never met anyone who was just one thing. Who was just ‘a lawyer.’ So, Elijah Sorensson, Esquire, what else are you?”

What else am I? I’m an exile. A disappointment. An Alpha without a Pack. A leader no one wants to follow. A flashy vessel hiding something unspeakably sacred and undeniably fragile. I am a monster: neither one thing nor the other, belonging nowhere.

“Lost,” I say, staring at the fire until my single working eye begins to dry out. “Just. Fucking. Lost.”

My throat feels achy and full, and I turn back to the page, pretending to read, because I feel her ironwood eyes on me, and I know what she sees: an angry, defensive, broken, defeated man in a human’s castoffs and with a wolf-ravaged, bruised-gourd face.

And then I feel something else. I feel Thea’s hand hanging loose between us. She has returned to her book, but the wordless invitation is there. The cabin being what it is, when I let my hand drape to the side of the bed, I’m close enough to touch her.

In the snow-muffled peace of no expectations, I stare sightless at the pages, every nerve focused on the shared heartbeat between our fingers.

When I finally look up from the blurred pages, the mottled fire is reflected in the warmth and welcome of her eyes. I can’t stop myself. I collapse to my knees, my head at her lap, my arm wrapped around her knees, silently asking if thiswoman who makes a living finding people can find me too.

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About the Author

2519C8DF-822E-41D5-9F32-6809592F1626Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at https://www.mariavale.com/.

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Spotlight, Guest Post & Giveaway: THE LAST WOLF by Maria Vale

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THE LAST WOLF (The Legend of All Wolves Series, Book 1) by Maria Vale

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

B20AF3DE-2270-43C0-B517-1815CCA45346For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.

If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.
But if she stays…

Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…

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Buy Links

Kindle | Amazon Paperback

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Giveaway

2 Copies of THE LAST WOLF

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Guest Post

LETTER TO THE READER

Dear (Potential) Reader,
There is so much vying for your attention, I’m grateful you’ve read even this far.
I know I’m asking a lot from you.
I’m asking you to take time with a new writer when there are so many great ones already out there.
I’m asking you to take a chance on a new direction in a well-loved genre, in which the wolf is not a vicious beast to be subjugated and feared, but rather the human form is a useful tool for protecting the wilder self.
In this reworking, werewolves fall into two categories: Pack, who must be wolves for three days out of every thirty—self-aware wolves, but not magic, any bullet can kill them. And Shifters, who don’t have to change and so remain human, the apex predator, rather than wolf, the maligned and despised outsider.
Still like any romance, its foundation is in the growing love between two characters: the worldly half-Shifter Tiberius who hates the wolf inside him as bestial and monstrous. And the unworldly Silver, who is fully Pack and believes her wild self to be sacred.
Silver is a runt with a displaced hip when she is a wolf and in a society that determines position by fighting wild, this means she is at the bottom of the hierarchy—the last wolf. Tiberius, however, discovers real strength in her perseverance and fierceness. For her part, Silver recognizes something about him: that by denying his wild, Tiberius has sown the roots of despair.
But this is not only a love story between two people, it’s also a love story about the Great North Pack, because despite our fascination with lone wolves, it is the pack that really defines this most social of all animals.
I imagined the Great North as something beyond family or community, something tight- knit and loving and brave and frightened. And intensely vulnerable. I imagined, like most embattled societies, the pack would be very conservative, with a traditional culture, a history, a language that was part of its identity. I chose to base that culture loosely (very loosely) on the world of 9th century England, partly because I love the sound of the language of Beowulf. To me, it is gruff and beautiful and haunting, like a wolf’s howl. But also because 9th century England was a place of great insecurity. One never knew when Northmen might show up and destroy everything you loved.
It was the Great North’s first Alpha, Ælfrida, who forced her pack to change. With humans decimating the forests of England, she dragged her pack from the Old World to the vast forests of northern New York, she re-wrote laws in order to allow new wolves to join their bloodlines, she forced her wolves to leave their isolated territories, so that they could learn human ways and protect the Pack using human law.
What results is a society that is both human and decidedly not, both harsh and loving, severe and tender. The way I imagined wolves fighting daily for their lives would be.
I have loved every minute of researching and writing these books. I can only hope that you will enjoy reading them.
Stay wild,
Maria

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Excerpt

The day of the first waxing crescent of fall is when all of the wolves who live on the Homelands traditionally run the perimeter and make sure that our land is properly marked before the ground freezes and damaged posts become hard to replace.
The entire Pack is wild. Barking and wagging tails, they lick each other and jump around each other, their ferocious jaws open and gentle. They chase mice through windrows, their hind legs scratching leaves into a brightly colored explosion high in the air, so that the pups can twist and turn and catch them in snapping teeth as they spiral down.
Not me. I have to pull on heavy muck boots over thick socks with jeans shoved inside. And I won’t mark our territory the way wolves are supposed to. I will mark it on an iPhone 6 Plus, crammed into the big pocket of a thick orange vest. All because Ti refuses to phase and John doesn’t like it.
“He tells himself he’s human,” John says. “But if he lies to himself, what makes you think he’s not going to lie to us?”
So because I am Ti’s schildere, I have to stay in skin too. Keep an eye on him.
“I mean, what were you thinking?” I ask as Ti fits the Outlast cap over his clipped skull. “When you came to a bunch of wolves asking for protection. That you’d just keep on being a human? Was that your grand plan?”
“I didn’t have a grand plan. What I had was a hole in my stomach, a vague set of directions to my mother’s pack, and a need to survive. I changed long enough to fight; I never thought you’d be asking me to give up my humanity.”
“No one’s asking you to give up your humanity, but if you refuse to admit what you are, it is going to rise up and bite you in the ass.”
“Well, how about you?”
Me? I love changing. I—”
“I know you love changing. You do it all the time. The second Sten doesn’t need your thumbs, you evaporate, and there’s nothing left but clothes hanging from a branch. I may be a crappy wolf. But you… You’re a crappy human.”
I cringe, because he’s right. I’ve never been happy in skin, but then those stupid fire fairies burrowed into my body all those days ago, and that spark has caught fire and burns so fierce that now when I walk beside him and hear his quiet, low voice or look into those gold-flecked black eyes, my tendons strain and my muscles coil and my lungs open up and my blood beats hot and fast. The only way I know how to deal with need is to run hard and far until I collapse, unable to feel anything at all.
A brindle pup barks worriedly at my feet. All of the other wolves have disappeared, fading like a whisper in the woods.
“I know, Leelee. We’re coming.”
“She’s going with us?” Ti asks.
“We’re supposed to take her along. Help her learn the farther reaches of the Homelands.” Leelee scampers on ahead, leaping awkwardly over a huge downed log and sliding down the other side, her fur covered in the sooty brown decay.
Ti clears it in one stride and stands close, not helping me exactly, but I know if I falter, his big shoulder is there for me to grab on to. I make it by myself, but I appreciate his silent gesture.
Leelee watches, her head cocked to the side, as I take a running jump over one of the numerous small, mucky streams that crisscross our land. I slip down the other side, my foot sinking into a soft bruise in the moss. She yips and worries, waiting for me to pull my boot out with a dull sucking sound.
I lift her up and give her an open-jawed kiss on her ear, but she sees a squirrel and won’t stop squirming until I set her down.
“No farther than the Stones, Leelee.”
When we finally catch up, she’s clambering over the variously sized rocks that form rough circles around the ancient central stones. Over the years, the circle has encroached farther and farther into the forest, surrounding the trees.
Leelee marks one of the stones.
“What is this?” Ti asks.
“It’s, um…the Gemyndstow? The memory place? But we just call it the Stones.”
“Like a graveyard?”
“Graveyards are for bodies, aren’t they?”
“Yes.”
“So, no. Coyotes eat our dead. That’s why we call them wulfbyrgenna. Wolf tombs. The stones are only for wolf names and the date of their last hunt so that we can remember.”
When Ti crouches down and looks at one near the front, Leelee runs up to him and looks too, trying to figure out why it is so interesting.
As soon as he stands, she marks that one too.
An ill-advised squirrel runs across the outer rim of the Stones, and Leelee turns quickly to run after it, the wind tickling her fur and the scent in her nose. I know that feeling of taking it all in—moldering pine needles, owl pellets, borer beetle, tree sap, two-year-old porcupine den, sassafras bush—until the scent of prey hits you right in the back of the throat and everything tenses and you chase, even if your tummy’s little and full and all you really want is for the thing, whatever it is, to escape so you don’t have to eat it, but still you can’t help but hunt.
She peels off after her squirrel, looking behind to make sure we’re watching.
The squirrel chitters at her from the safety of a maple. Ti stares, his hands fisted by his sides, as Leelee scampers and bounds and falls on her back and twists her little legs in the air, her belly dotted with leaf litter. A tiny furrow cuts through his usually impassive brow, and his mouth, while still tightly closed, turns down a little at the corners. His wild—that seductive scent of crushed bone and evergreen—radiates thicker now, and when I touch his arm, he jolts as if from a waking dream and blinks down at me, looking in this moment like a lost boy.

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About the Author

2519C8DF-822E-41D5-9F32-6809592F1626Maria Vale is a journalist who has worked for Publishers Weekly, Glamour magazine, Redbook, the Philadelphia Inquirer. She is a logophile and a bibliovore and a worrier about the world. Trained as a medievalist, she tries to shoehorn the language of Beowulf into things that don’t really need it. She currently lives in New York with her husband, two sons and a long line of dead plants. No one will let her have a pet. Visit her at https://www.mariavale.com/.

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