Well firstly, happy new year!
Here at Julia Firlotte Author we're 'roaring' into 2022 in style with my all-new romance anthology:
Dark At Heart, which goes on sale on Valentines Day - Feb 14th 2022
Via Kindle Unlimited (ebooks) and Amazon / multiple retailers for paperbacks (links will follow - subscribe to my mailing list to be kept updated).
The anthology Dark At Heart is collection of four short stories, starting with the leading title:
Dark At Heart - Dark Romantic Biker Thriller
An Outlawed Heart - Historical Dark Romantic Suspense
Heart Of A Lion - Dark Paranormal Lion Shifter Romance
In A Heartbeat - Steamy Contemporary Romance
And check out this fabulous front cover!
As promised, below is an extract from Heart Of A Lion:
The breath burns through my lungs as hot as the fire in my blood, yet I push my legs harder.
With each bound I will my muscles to be stronger. Each reach of my paw goes just that little bit further.
My heart pounds as the ground blurs beneath me, but all I see is the bobbing, long, dark tail in front of me and the rear hooves and juicy muscles working hard under the surface. My mouth is watering at the prospect of my first meal in days, my stomach growling that if I don’t succeed in this chase, with each day that passes I’ll grow weaker. I can smell her fear, sense her heart beating and almost taste the warm, sweet blood on my tongue. With an agility intended to surprise me, my prey makes a fatal error. A swift dart to the side and I’m on her, my claws ripping deep into the muscle of her rump and my teeth piercing the hide where I’ll hang until she weakens and falls. She bellows, rears and kicks, attempting to buck herself free but I’m too hungry to let this one get away.
With each passing moment my pounding heart slows, but my stomach cramps harder, the coming meal yearned for and long overdue. All I can smell is the rich intoxicating musk of her hide.
When the fawn finally succumbs, I clasp my mouth over her nose and bite hard, soon succeeding in cutting off her air, and then ripping into her stomach flesh the moment I sense the thrumming through her veins stop.
The potent smell and taste of fresh meat is heady and fills my every sense. I rip off chunks and gorge myself, knowing the change and oestrus is coming soon. I’ll have a long and hungry walk back to civilisation if I don’t eat my fill now.
As the meat starts to reach my empty stomach, a contented rumble leaves my throat. I lap at the sweet flowing juices that will sustain me until I make it back to the human world again.
Then the wind shifts, and with it my luck.
The pleasant tickle of the wind on my whiskers shifts and strengthens to a gust from in front of me, carrying on it the scent of another. Before I register what I’m doing, I inhale deeply, a spasm of awareness stirs deep in my belly, loosening my muscles before my stomach cramps up and my heart rate soars as if I’m back in the middle of the chase. No! I’m too hungry, this can’t be happening!
I rip a larger section of meat off the carcass and swallow it whole, ignoring the discomfort in my throat as the lump slides down.
I lick the juices from my muzzle and take another bite, then raise my head in the direction my nose is drawing me. There is a virile male close by. Far too close. His scent is more powerful than any I’ve experienced before. I can smell his sweat, the scent of his breath. My ears strain, filtering through the scurrying feet of rodents, the distant cries of hyenas and the creaking of branches in the distant trees, until I hear it. The gruff inhale and exhale of his breathing. My eyes scan over every tall blade of grass for a sign of movement as I tear off a final chunk of meat from the fawn and swallow it whole, before springing to my feet, the fur on my back raising and my front shoulders hunched for flight. I know better than to hope he’s still young enough that I can chase him off. The rich scent of him is too powerful – this is a mature male, and if he’s hungry that means one of two things.
Either I surrender my prey to him and leave with my life, or I’ll be next.
I see the quiver of the long grasses and my eyes home in on the movement. As expected, I see him stalk arrogantly through undergrowth, stopping just a few leaps in front of me. He is large and powerfully built, his mane a deep blue standing out in my world of greens, and his head and shoulders so much larger than mine. It’s too close and I’m in danger. I roar, as fierce and as loud as I can, but I’m no match for him and he knows it.
He pulls his eyes from his prize for barely a second to take me in, his nostrils flaring as he fixes me in his gaze. Then his lips curl and a roar like thunder sends my heart racing and my paws shuffling backwards without my permission. I’m outmatched. He keeps his eyes fixed on both me and the meal as he turns to the side, and my insides drop through the earth under my paws.
My eyes take in the meal I couldn’t finish, still oozing its goodness into the ground, and I puff and roar again with misery. The male in front of me shifts again, showing me his other side and stalking forward at an angle, allowing me time to retreat. When I don’t, his nostrils flare and a warning rumble leaves him. He reaches the food, and I know that if I don’t leave now, at any moment he might spring an attack. Even if he let me walk away, it wouldn’t be unscathed, and I wouldn’t be able to hunt if I was hurt.
I have no choice. I back away swiftly, turn, and then run. I hear bones crunching in his powerful jaws before I’ve even cleared the edge of the grasses, and my stomach cramps again.
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