OS: Welcome to SJ Himes! We are lucky enough to have her here today to talk with Kane and Ghost – the “stars” of her Wolfkin series.
If I had more time, and things weren’t so dire when we met again, I would have done things much the same, I think. Because Ghost was stuck as his wolf so very long, away from our people, his loneliness, and the need to reconnect with other wolfkin, his family, those had to be met first. If I had met Ghost on his return to Baxter without danger snapping at our paws, I think a day or so to ourselves, then keeping his return to ourselves past that would have been cruelty. He was deeply loved–by both his grandfathers, his uncle, the family that spread out across the world after the tragedy–he needed them as they needed him. Now that we have time again, I think there’s plenty of family members we need to call, let them know the wolf they loved as Luca is home. Ghost is less a man and more a wolf–romance to him is unnecessary. Not that I won’t romance him–he would just see it as a waste of time, something too akin to lies and human frailties. He knows I love him. I know he loves me. Time alone, for just each other, no matter what we’re doing, is what makes him happiest above all things. Whether a moment to breathe in a hectic day, or a week in a den in the woods, it has the same impact. With Ghost, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of now.
Ghost: Please me most about Kane? *ponders* *Grins* I don’t need to think about it. What I love about Kane is that he is beyond honest about who he is, what his role is, his purpose and place in this life. He knows himself. And he shows who he is to our people and the world. He is honesty. There are no lies between wolves. He doesn’t even think to try. What displeases me the most though is less a displeasure and more of a frustration. He values rules and Laws and traditions that come from fallible wolfkin who came before us, and not from Wolf or Goddess. He would adhere to Clan Law even to his own detriment. Many of those Laws shouldn’t even exist. The influence of humanity on the wolfkin has corrupted the good, and glorified the bad. But I know he can see the dichotomy and is willing to work around it if he must.
SJ: There are two, maybe three, books planned in this series. I named it a Saga because it is a long, complicated series arc that involves many characters and journeys. There next pairs in the books will be new, as Ghost and Kane have found their HEAs (for now) and the newest pairs will involve wolfkin we have met in the last two books. I won’t be taking two years between books, Fate willing–I should have the next book out by this time next year. (Each book is over 100k words, and that will be a standard for the series.)Thank you for having me!
Title: Wolf of the Northern Star
Author: SJ Himes
Series: The Wolfkin Saga, #2
Release Date: June 15th 2017
Genre: Gay Paranormal Shifter Romance
Ghost, once known as the cub Luca, is finally home. Back among his kind and learning what it means to be both a man and a shaman, Ghost battles the expectations of his people, his family, and the pressures of a society that is both foreign and familiar. His power is greater than any seen before, dwarfing that of even the legendary Shaman Gray Shadow—and his union with Kane places him in the center of a controversy that rattles wolfkin society around the world.
Kane, greater alpha and Heir to Black Pine Clan, has finally defeated the traitor and murderer that destroyed the heart of Black Pine years before. Freed at last from guilt and pain, Kane has a new enemy to face: his own people. Placed on trial for violation of Law and blasphemy, Kane will have to fight to the death to preserve his bond with Ghost and keep his mate and people safe.
The soulbond between Ghost and Kane is forged by the creator and Goddess of the wolfkin. Usually, a sacred and treasured union that honors the pair and their clans, this soulbond is seen not as a gift, but a threat to eons of tradition and Clan Law.
The union of a Shaman and Alpha is anathema—but how to reconcile that belief when it is the wolfkin Goddess who forged it? Can Ghost and Kane save themselves, preserve their bond, and find a new future when the laws of the ancient past threaten to tear them apart?
*This book is part of a series and should not be read as a standalone. Prior books should be read to understand content. 104,000 words*
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“Decisions need to be made,” Caius began, fingers of his right hand idly scratching the table top. “About many things. Some are more urgent than others, but we are out of time, so choices must be made now.”
“Out of time?” Ghost asked, tilting his head to one side, eyes locked on his grandfather. He paused, seeing the minute tension around Caius’ eyes, the way he held his shoulders. A faint whisper threaded through the air in the silence between them, and Ghost listened. Wordless, yet still conveying a sense of urgency. Kane reacted, though he hid it well, and Caius showed no sign of having heard the whisperer. “Someone is coming. Someone or something is coming, and you wish to act before you can’t anymore.”
“Damn shamans,” Caius grumbled, exasperated, but without malice. Caius gave him a narrow-eyed glare, and Ghost grinned in response. He was not intimidated in the least by his grandfather, though everyone else treated him with caution.
“Who is coming, Sir?” Kane asked, maintaining his respectful composure. Caius gave Ghost one more glance, then returned his attention to his heir.
“The first members of the Tribunal are arriving soon. I just got word that Greater Clan Leaders from Dread Claw, Birch Grove, and Red Wraith Clans are arriving, as early as tomorrow. They will be bringing honor guards and some of their advisors.” Caius’ words were calm, but the tension around his frame was telling.
“You mean they’re bringing in greater alphas,” Kane said, mouth in a grim line. “An honor guard is easily six greater alphas, and that’s per Clan Leader.”
“Why not the Clan Leaders alone? Why honor guards? What were they told when notified of Heromindes’ request for a Tribunal?” Kane was angry, each word layered in frustration. “These clans are our allies, and they’ve never traveled across borders in such numbers outside of a gathering!”
“If they are allies, why are you angry?” Ghost asked, interrupting before Caius could speak. He paced forward, yet skirted around the table, eyes locked on Caius. His grandfather, for all their blood connection, was still an alpha. Ghost respected his power, yet was not afraid of it—but he would also stay out of reach. Older wolves in the wild would snarl and snap at younger, impetuous younglings. Not that he expected such from Caius, but caution was wise.
Kane made a noise in his throat, half-strangled snort and half a sigh. Ghost gave his mate a quick grin, but went back to watching Caius. “Why are you angry at those you would call friend?”
“Luca—,” Caius began, Ghost quirked a brow at his grandfather, who shook his head and corrected himself when he spoke again. “Ghost, they are bringing honor guards. Almost twenty greater alphas who do not answer to me, in the company of my peers. In a gathering, there are many greater alphas, but also a hundred times more betas to temper the imbalance of power that results when greater alphas congregate in too large of a group.”
“What he means, little wolf, is that there is potential for aggression, fighting, frayed tempers, and extreme violence. Red Fern is all betas, but they are not enough to even out the rough nature of so many dominant personalities in one space, especially if the situation is tense already,” Kane said, reaching out for Ghost, taking his hand. “I don’t think the clan leaders would bring wolfkin guards with control issues, but we see problems like this during gatherings, too. Better to be prepared.”
“Andromeda reigns in Baxter,” Ghost stated, squeezing Kane’s hand but still watching Caius. “She will allow no violence to spill out amongst her clan.” Of that, Ghost was certain. She would never allow her people, her family, to be in danger. Andromeda was power and authority personified—she was the White Wolf, clan leader to the core. For a female, unheard of—for a beta, even more so. Though Ghost had his doubts about her beta status. “And why tense—because Kane is charged with blasphemy?”
Caius blanched at the word, and Kane’s hand tightened on his, almost painfully. Andromeda came to them the day before, warning Kane of the pending charges of blasphemy. Apparently, the clan leaders, Heromindes leading the way, discussed the bond between Ghost and Kane and decided Kane was guilty of two violations of Law in one occurrence—using the Voice to force a mating bond on a shaman.
“Yes, because of the charge of blasphemy,” Caius said, a subtle growl in his voice. “It is almost unheard of for that charge to be levied against any wolfkin, much less an heir to a clan. We have so few religious Laws.”
“I don’t understand,” Ghost said, brows lowered, biting his lip. He sent Kane a searching glance, then looked back to Caius. “Kane’s thoughts give me the meaning of the word, but the…concept? The concept is hard for me to understand. We are soulbonded, and She made it so. That has always been a sacred gift. Always.”
“They doubt that we share a soulbond, my love,” Kane told him, tugging on his hand and making him look down. Kane gave him a half-smile, a twist to his full lips that spoke of anger and some odd pain. “Heromindes, whether through bruised pride and fear, or ignorance, believes I have forced my gift upon you. I used the Voice against him in Worcester, and he cannot fathom how an untrained whelp of nineteen could withstand me. He leads the others in their mindset—there cannot be a soulbond between us, because I am alpha and you are shaman.”
“I see our bond with every glance of my Spiritsight,” Ghost replied, leaning on Kane’s shoulder, speaking now to his mate, his grandfather forgotten for the moment. “Every touch we share, every time we have sex, it grows stronger. We’re almost one soul now. How can they not see it?”
Ghost knew other wolfkin could sense the bond between them. They may not be able to see it, as he could, but their mental abilities gave them the ability to recognize a mated wolfkin. Some were better at it than others, and surely a clan leader would have the experience and skills to understand the bond between he and Kane.
“A soulbond is incredibly rare, Ghost,” Caius said, leaning back in his seat, the chair creaking. “Last count, there was only a dozen soulbonds scattered between the clans. There’s just over two hundred clans across the whole world. Hundreds of thousands of wolfkin, and only twelve pairs. Well, thirteen, now. There is only one other wholly male pairing, but those two wolfkin are a beta and an alpha, not alpha and shaman.”
“So, because our Great Mother has only gifted twelve pairs before us, that rarity makes our bond less likely?” Ghost was fed up. He growled, a soft rumble in his chest. This was not the welcome home he’d dreamed of when he was trapped in his wolf-form lost in the North. Though then, he’d been worried his people wouldn’t want him because he was defective and Gray Shadow died saving his life, but now it seemed they did want him, just not bonded to Kane.
How was their pairing wrong?
“Ghost, it’ll be alright,” Kane said, his free hand rubbing over Ghost’s stomach in soothing circles. Ghost rarely felt his temper slip free from his usual calm, but it was escaping his control now. Last time he got this vexed he tore apart an ugly couch back at the sanctuary, but he was a man now, he didn’t think his mate or the White Wolf would appreciate him destroying furniture.
“Then we prove we are bonded,” Ghost said decisively. “Show them the truth, and they must leave us be.”
Caius sighed and shook his head, and Kane hugged him even as he frowned. Ghost could see the doubt and the underlying worry that weighed down both alphas’ shoulders, but he had an unshakeable faith in his soulbond with Kane and the support of the deity who created it. They would be fine.
About the Author
I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with ocasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), and The Wolfkin Saga. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.
I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.