I'm super excited to introduce you to one of the best new authors I've found this year. Please welcome Jacqueline Rhoades!
Would you tell us a little about yourself?First off, I want to thank you for having me. I truly am thrilled to be here. It's a scary thing to put your work out there for the first time and your review made me feel welcome. My sales have grown steadily and that's certainly a positive reinforcement, but reader comments have been few. Your review and those of a few others mean more than I can say.
Now about me. Where to begin? Let's see. I'm older than I ought to be. Where did those years go? I've fallen in love over and over, fortunately with the same man; my husband, who tolerates my craziness, brings me coffee every morning and still makes me laugh. I have a degree in Biology, but must have slept during the human reproduction lecture because I ended up with five kids in rapid succession. What was I thinking? I now work in a public school with Middle School kids. Again, what was I thinking?
My husband and I live in a rural area of Ohio and we've camped in most of the contiguous forty-eight states (Hotel in Hawaii, Yeah!). I wish I could list all the exciting things I've done, but most of my adventures happen in my head. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't change my life for love nor money and now I get to do what I always dreamed of doing and never thought I would. I am the luckiest of women.
Do you have any hobbies outside of writing?Gardening. When my kids were young, I didn't have time and the huge vegetable garden I tended was just another of those never ending chores. Now it's become a leisure activity (Husband raises eyebrows in disbelief. Leisure?). It's one of the ways we spend time together, working side by side on each new project or planting, taking breaks to sit by the pond and count the fish. My life sounds so exciting, doesn't it? J In the evenings we pour a glass of wine and stroll through the yard admiring our handiwork and talking about our day. I love my gardens.
When you're writing do you listen to music? If so, what are some of your favorite artists/albums/songs to write to?Sorry, no. I've always envied those who can set the mood with music, but when I read a book or write one, I become so immersed, the real world fades away. I only hear music if a character hears it. I do like music, though. My tastes are eclectic. I like classical, country and old time rock 'n roll. I'll sell my eye teeth for Jimmy Buffet tickets and Frank Sinatra always makes me close my eyes and sigh.
Do you have a process in you writing routine?
This should be an easy question to answer, but it isn't, because sometimes I feel like my plots are as big a surprise to me as to the reader. I have to have my characters first and those characters have to become real to me. I've known that person for their whole life even though you only see a small part of that backstory. I put them in a setting or situation and they take over. If I try to force them onto a course they wouldn't take, I can't do it!
Only once have I had a complete plot in my head. I wrote a five page synopsis. I was so excited! I couldn't wait to begin. Except for the characters involved, that story is nothing like the synopsis. The best I can do is put my people in place, give them a push and see what they'll do.
It sounds bizarre when I try to explain it, but there it is.
Who are some of your favorite authors?Another tough one. I read a wide variety of genres, but among the paranormal authors I would have to say Ilona Andrews, Kim Harrison, Christine Feehan, JR Ward and Molly Harper. If I had to choose the one whose style and prose I admire most, it would be Nalini Singh and her Guild Hunters. Her writing is like music. I get so aggravated with the mainstream press because (of the genre) they largely ignore such shining talent and then promote… well, we won't go into that.
Out of the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite hero or heroine? If so, who and why.Of the four that are published, I would have to say Hope of Guardian's Hope. She became so much more that what she believed she could be. I loved watching her come to realize that she's smart and capable, brave and beautiful. She, more than any of the others, learns to stand up for herself and be counted. I loved how her compassion saw beyond Nico's handsome form to the tortured soul beneath. Hope is (to borrow from Ms. Ward) a female of worth.
I have to say that I love the twins Dov and Col. Any hints on who their leading ladies might be? (Carole is a good name if you’re having any problems with that. LOL)Sorry, Carole. Dov and Col are much too young by Paenitentia standards to be settling down any time soon. That doesn't mean they won't feel the bitter pangs of a broken heart. First love - you know? Maybe her name will be Carole? They could be rivals for her affection. :)
And there's more bad news. It looks like they won't be in the next book. It was supposed to be Broadbent's turn, but Faith is crying out to have her story told and to do that, she'll have to leave the comfort and security of Canaan's House. The good news is the intrepid imps will be back, just not as soon as I expected.
There is a baby expected in the Guardian house; with a Guardian father and a Daughter of Man mother should we be expecting any surprises?According to legend, a girl will follow her mother's line and a boy will follow his father's. I'm not sure yet what will happen, but I know it will be part of Broadbent's story!
What’s with that pesky little cat? She’s like the Cupid of the Guardians of the Race world!Ah, the cat. She's more than a cat, isn't she? And that's all I'm going to say.
You’ve recently released the first in a new series “Alpha’s Mate”. Can you tell me more about it?There's a Scottish legend about creatures called Wolvers, werewolves if you will, that aren't the vicious beasts of other legends, but kindly creatures who were known to help lost travelers. That doesn't mean they won't fight if they have to or that they don't follow a social order that conforms to pack law. Now, the interesting thing about these creatures is their Alpha must mate with a human woman genetically predisposed to be an Alpha's Mate.
City bred Elizabeth doesn't know she's such a woman when she comes to the little mountain town of Rabbit Creek nor does she know she's the center of a town wide conspiracy to find their Alpha a mate. She only knows her orderly life is turned upside down from the moment she arrives - she meets our hero while wearing granny-style undies and covered in mud!
The Alpha's Mate is a light hearted comedy/drama with a cast of secondary characters I've truly grown to love.
Is there any chance of a Guardians/Wolvers crossover in the future?They're two different styles of books and yet, now that you mention it, there was that Police Chief, Sam, in Guardian's Hope who is mentioned again in Guardian's Joy. He seemed to understand there were beings other than human…Hmmm.
Thanks again for your time, Carole. It's been a pleasure.
Joy “JJ” Justice has spent her adulthood lost and alone and vulnerable to the haunting of a past she can’t remember. It’s no wonder she feels different from other people and not surprising that she chose the police force as a way of standing up for others who are defenseless against the evils of the world, but when her only friend and partner is brutally murdered by a creature not of this world, JJ discovers a greater purpose. She is called to hunt the monsters only she can see. Once again, she resigns herself to living her life alone.
Guardian of the Race, Bernardo ad Tormeo, longs for a woman of his own, one that’s as fun loving and loyal as his Liege Lord’s Lady, Grace, and as soft and gentle as his fellow Guardian’s mate, Hope, but the chances of meeting such a woman seem slim to none. What with the nightly patrols and his gaming business, he hasn’t the time to go searching for love. Besides, he’s seen too many matings that didn’t work out. Nardo is sworn to protect his people and their human cousins from the demons who cross over from the Otherworld. He never thought he would be hunting a vampire; just like he never thought of falling in love with a leather clad ex-cop who can kick demon butt with the best of them.
How do you romance a woman who thinks more of knives than roses? And how do you help her fight the demons of her soul when she can’t remember who they are? Nardo doesn’t know, but he’s determined to find out. He only hopes he and his new love can find the answers before a monster from Joy’s childhood and a myth from the Paenitentia’s ancient past take away the only woman he will ever love.
Excerpt from Guardian’s Joy
She watched him walk toward her with long, slow strides, his shoulders rolling with each step and she knew, by the movement of his body, that this was an accomplished athlete. She hadn’t outrun him, hadn’t evaded his pursuit. He’d been toying with her, running her up one alley and down the next. He wasn’t even breathing heavily. She rubbed her thumb across the tips of her fingers to bring forth the fire, but it was useless. For six months, she’d been fully in control, yet now, when she needed it most, the power abandoned her.
He paused in a pool of moonlight half way down the alley and JJ had time to study the face of the man who might kill her. His sharp, almost too thin features sharpened even more with his anger. His fangs flared, piercing his gums and forcing his lips back into a snarl. His muscles hardened, seemed to grow, thighs bulging in definition against the narrow cut of his jeans. His eyes blazed with a golden fire.
He stalked toward her, his body language daring her to flee. She couldn’t, though everything in her screamed at her to run. This creature, this vampire, was something feral. If she ran, she would trigger the primal instinct to chase and maybe the other, more deadly instinct; the need to kill one’s prey.
All this flew through her mind in an instant as she watched him close the distance between them, his eyes locked on her face. She shifted her weight to the balls of her feet and moved her hands up and out, ready to defend. There were nights in her past when she’d prayed for death. Now that death was here, her anger rose against it and the anger overrode her fear. She might go down, but she would go down fighting.
Nardo saw the shift from fear to fury, saw her ready herself for battle and had to admire her courage. Not many humans could face down a Guardian transformed by rage. She was awesome in her anger. He’d never killed a woman before, never dreamed he’d have to, but he was a Guardian and it was his job to do what must be done. He flashed to white light and was on her before she had time to react.
His hands grabbed her biceps as he pushed her to the wall. Through the silky softness of her sleeves, he felt her muscles bunch beneath his fingers, still ready to fight and he tightened his grip. He should have snapped her neck and ended it there, but he brought his body close to hers and set his pelvis against the tops of her hips never taking his eyes from that arresting face.
Nardo was surprised by the strength of her slender body as she strained against him. She’d looked so delicate when she stood alone watching the dancers. Her skin was smooth and unblemished, a dark, dusky rose though whether it was from nature or from anger, he couldn’t tell. And she was more angry than afraid. Her body vibrated with it and the vibration set his own body thrumming in response. Her eyes were defiant as she boldly returned his stare. Lightly lined and mascaraed, they were pools of liquid smoke, a dark and glistening grey that looked almost black. Her face was long and narrow, her nose long and straight. Her wide sensual mouth, now tightened and shaped with anger, beckoned to be softened with a kiss. She was beautiful in a way that sucked the air from his lungs and all thought from his head.
He snarled, a reminder to himself that she was the killer of a Paenitentia child, and shifted his stance.
JJ was pressed into the wall, her shoulders grinding into the brick. He’d moved so fast she didn’t have time to strike or dodge. She struggled against his hold, but it was useless. When he pulled back slightly from his full body press, she raised her knee, aiming for his groin, but the maneuver seldom worked and this time was no exception. He shifted his body so that his right knee hit the bricks between her legs and his thigh and hip pressed into her abdomen effectively repinning her lower body. Her hands were still free and she should have been able to call on her power to zap him with enough energy to stop his heart. She could feel the blue fire crackling at her fingertips, but she couldn’t send it out. When he raised his thigh into her crotch and lifted her off the ground, she gasped.
Her pulse quickened beyond the adrenaline rush of fear and flight. She closed her eyes and silently cursed the tingle of desire that crept from the juncture of her legs where his thigh was pressed tight, up to her abdomen where muscles constricted in anticipation and fingers of heat curled through her stomach. Her breasts stood taut against the confining leather of her vest and when he spoke, inches from her lips, her body quickened with desire. Goddamn him.
“Who the hell are you?” he asked in a whispered growl.
Her lips parted against her will to drink in the warmth of his breath and her body trembled slightly with her sigh.
“Why did you do it? Who are you?” he asked again without the growl. He didn’t want to do this, didn’t want to question her, didn’t want to hurt her. He bent his head to her neck and took a long, slow breath, trying to place her scent. She smelled of something spicy and sweet and delicious. Goddammit, he couldn’t do this.
“Who are you?” he asked a third time and his lips touched her neck. Recognition came as the scent and the taste blended together in his memory and he couldn’t help it. He smiled. It was those little red candies Grace used to decorate cookies.
“Joy,” she whispered and swallowed hard. Why had she given him that name, the one she abhorred? His lips were on her neck, over her jugular and their whisper soft movement sent another sexual shiver through her core. Was this what it was like to die from a vampire’s bite?
Joy? Nardo pulled away from the sweet temptation of that long slender neck. He shook his head to clear it of the fantasy that was swirling through his brain and hardening his cock against the fly of his jeans. There was a job to be done.
“No joy for the kid you killed,” he said quietly.
Her mouth opened and closed several times before she could speak. “Killed? You think I…? She was…”
Her fist came up and clocked him in the ear. She’d been held in some kind of vampire thrall and hadn’t even realized she was free. He only grunted with the blow that would have knocked a normal man off his feet. As he was planting his feet more firmly to steady himself, she struck again, twisted and slid beneath him.
This time, he was ready for her and when she struck, he grabbed her wrist. She snapped it downward, trying to break his grasp and he heard the crack, saw the pained shock in her eyes and let her go. She scrambled backward, bracing herself with her good hand and kicking out with her legs.
“You bastard!” she screamed. She yelped as shards of glass pierced her palm. “I didn’t kill that girl and you know it. I heard her cry out. I was trying to help. It was your kind that did it. Your kind. A monster. For all I know, it was you.”
Tranquility and contentment, however, are a state of mind and Elizabeth soon finds that her state of mind doesn’t even come close. The bucolic cottage she’s rented turns out to be a run-down cabin without phone service. And that gorgeous Chief of Police, Marshall Goodman, the one she met while covered in mud and wearing granny underwear? The one who sends her heart spinning the first time they meet? It looks like he’s gay. He’s also her landlord and had no idea his family cabin had been let. Then there’s Charles, Marshall’s metrosexual brother, who can make her body feel things she never thought possible. He’d be her mother’s choice as an ideal husband, but Mother’s choices are exactly what she’s running from. These two men so upset her equilibrium, she’s constantly forced to resort to her mental stack of Lists Elizabeth Lives By.
After wrecking her car on a deserted country road and fighting both fire and wolves on her very first night, peaceful isn’t a word Elizabeth would use to describe Rabbit Creek. Oh, the people there are wonderful. Friendly and down to earth, they welcome her with open arms. It’s like moving into Mayberry… if Andy and Aunt Bea were wolves.
Only an outsider would call them werewolves. They’re wolvers, a community of man/beasts that have lived in these hills since their ancestors emigrated from Scotland three hundred years ago. They’re just like you and me, with a few minor exceptions like; their men changing to wolves under the full moon, Pack Laws that must be followed and their Alpha needing a special woman to be his Mate.
As if this all isn’t more than a sane, reasonable woman could handle, you guessed it; Elizabeth is a woman born to be an Alpha’s Mate. Which might work out well if Marshall actually wanted a mate or if his brother Charles hadn’t gone into business with Calvin Everest, an old Rabbit Creek enemy whose touch fills Elizabeth with revulsion. Charles and Calvin want the pack’s mountaintop for a high priced residential development and Everest wants Elizabeth for his own Mate and for revenge.
Challenges are issued, a battle is looming and the Chase is on. Literally. Everest invokes an antiquated Pack Law that requires a contested Alpha’s Mate be chased down under the full moon and forcefully ‘taken’. Elizabeth, being that sane and reasonable woman, wants no part of it, but if she refuses to participate, the people she’s grown to care about will lose everything and she’ll lose the one man she was born to love. There just isn’t a List that covers this!
Excerpt from The Alpha’s Mate
She awoke in a panic, bolting upright and fighting the sheets tangled about her legs. She wasn’t sure where she was or what awful sound had awakened her. It came again from outside her window. Not one sound, but many. The barn. The horses! She grabbed the robe and ran for the hall.
“Marshall! Chief!” she yelled as she tied the robe in place.
She banged on the door he’d said was his and opened it when he didn’t answer. The bed was undisturbed. He wasn’t home.
Halfway down the stairs, her toe caught the hem of the robe and she started to fall. She landed against the handrail, pirouetting like a drunken ballerina, and stumbled down two more steps before half leaping, half falling over the last three. She landed on one knee, pushed off of her stable foot and burst through the wooden screen door. It crashed against the outside wall and she felt the closer spring whip over her head when the screws holding it ripped free of the frame. Sometimes being short was a plus.
Faint yellow light was flickering from the small square of window at the near corner of the barn. Fire! She could hear the horses screaming and stomping inside. Elizabeth ran, the robe flying out behind her like a superhero cape.
Three dark shapes milled around the closed barn doors snarling and snapping at each other and the door. There were no trees here to block the sky, no skidding car to distract her attention. In the pale light of the half moon, they were outlined clearly and the soft light reflected off their fur. These were the same as the giant beast she’d seen on the road. Massive dogs. No. Wolves. She was sure of it when they turned as one to stare at her with blazing yellow eyes.
She choked, screamed and turned back to the house, moving faster than she ever thought possible, but not fast enough. A fourth beast came around the corner from far side of the house just as she reached the stairs. It snarled and leapt. Its teeth ripped viciously at the back of her legs and out of nowhere came the thought. That’s how they bring down prey. They hamstring them. It’s what he’ll do to me.
It was the robe that saved her. The wolf grabbed a mouthful of cloth where her legs should have been. It lunged again and she let the robe fall from her shoulders to tangle around the animal as she ran through the open doorway, grabbed the heavy inner wooden door and slammed it behind her.
She ran to the kitchen, grabbed the phone off the wall, dialed 911 and got… nothing.
“Someone help me,” she cried and then she saw the numbers printed neatly on an index card over the phone. Fire. Police. She dialed. Marshall would come.
“Marshall, oh god, Marshall, the horses are trapped,” she screamed into the phone, “There’s fire and wolves. Oh god, Marshall, there’s wolves.” She was sobbing, couldn’t make the words come out as she wanted them.
“Honey? Who are you? Where are you?” It was a woman’s voice.
“Where’s Marshall? He needs to come home!” Elizabeth was pacing back and forth. The adrenaline pulsing through her veins made her feel like she was going to explode.
“Honey, slow down. Where are you?” asked the voice again.
“I’m at Marshall Goodman’s house and there are wolves outside.”
“What are the wolves doing?” the woman asked reasonably.
“Other than trying to kill me? They look like they’re guarding the barn door. The barn is burning. The horses are screaming! Help me, please!”
The woman must have finally heard the panic and fear in her voice. “I’ll get someone out there as soon as I can. You sit tight.”
“Thanks.” She slammed the phone into its cradle. “For nothing.”
The horses. The poor horses. He said they were his babies and she was letting them die. She started searching the kitchen for something she could use as a weapon. Pots and pans were tossed to the side. A cast iron fry pan she thought might work was too heavy for her to swing. In a mudroom off the kitchen, she found what she needed. Not the baseball bat she was hoping for, but a shotgun. It rested on the shelf over a row of old coats hanging from pegs. She had to drag a chair in from the kitchen to reach the box of shells tucked into the corner. This was no time to worry about what her fellow members of Silverton Citizens Against Guns would think.
She’d never fired a gun before, but she’d read enough books about firearms and munitions to know which end was which. This was a single barrel pump action and she’d watched one being loaded at a hunting safety seminar at the library; something she’d adamantly protested at the time. She was so glad her protests had been ignored. She shakily loaded three shells into the magazine, pumped one into the chamber and loaded a fourth.
Without the robe, she had only a t-shirt of Marshall’s for clothes and she grabbed a coat from the rack not to cover her nakedness so much as for protection and a place to carry more shells and then threw it aside when she realized the too long sleeves would get in her way. The sleeveless vest on the last peg would do the job. The quilted plaid fell mid-thigh and the armholes left her plenty of room to maneuver.
Armed and uniformed, she headed back to the front door. A glance at the mantle clock told her only seven minutes had passed since she picked up the phone. She hoped she wasn’t seven minutes too late.
Cautiously checking to the right and left, Elizabeth stepped out onto the porch. The purple robe lay muddied and torn at the foot of the stairs and she stepped over it carefully keeping her eyes on the barn. The window was now more orange than yellow and behind the horse’s screams she could hear the fire crackle.
All four wolves were pacing back and forth in front of the barn doors, snarling at each other as they passed and yipping pitifully at the doors. Elizabeth raised the gun to her shoulder with her finger on the trigger and moved closer. She couldn’t remember how far these things shot and she had to make this look real. She didn’t want to hurt them. They were a part of nature that should be preserved. She only wanted to scare them away.
The wolves were concentrating on the door and paid no attention to her. When she thought she was close enough, she took her stance, left foot slightly forward, butt snug against her shoulder seam. She aimed above the center of the pack and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.
“Shit, shit, shit.” What did she do wrong? In the safety class… The safety! Her fingers scrambled over the trigger area until she found the button and pushed. She felt more than saw it poke out the other side.
The wolves must have heard her swear because now their heads swiveled from the door to her and back again as if they weren’t sure where their attention should lie. She thought she saw the barn door begin to open, but she clearly saw two of the wolves turn and take several steps in her direction.
With their wild eyes glaring and sharp pointy teeth jutting out from jaws large enough to make a snack out of her arm, she decided they were a part of nature she could do without. She swung the gun back to her shoulder, all thought of preserving life forgotten, and fired.
She had no time to appreciate the cries of the injured wolves. She was flying backward, the ground scraping the skin from her bare rear end. Her shoulder felt broken. She wanted to do what she always did when she was hurt; run around in circles yelling, “Ow! Ow! Ow!” until the pain went away, but the animals didn’t give her time. Two other wolves were coming at her and behind them a dark upright figure seemed to waver and fold in on itself in a strange play of firelight and shadow.
She pumped the gun, ejecting the spent shell and loading another into the chamber. This time, she didn’t aim. She fired blindly. Pumped and fired again. Pumped and fired again.
A series of sharp howls behind her made her turn. Three more wolves charged directly at her from the curving drive in front of the house.
There wasn’t time to reload. There wasn’t time to scream. They were on her before she could draw breath. She raised her arms to cover her head and closed her eyes against the snarling faces of death.
The Guardian's of the Race series and The Alpha's Mate are available at Amazon and Smashwords *remember to deactivate the adult filter
For more information on Jacqueline you can find her
At her website
Or on Goodreads