I’m pleased to host Chris Quinton and the guys from Tawny today. I’ve had the pleasure of reading a few snippets of this story and really enjoyed it.
Thanks for visiting, Chris, and congrats on your release!
Four men stood grouped around a fifth, and the contrast between them struck Hal as odd. The quartet looked to be city-types in their mid and late twenties, were well-dressed in Barbour jackets, smart jeans and leather shoes. The fifth man was a fair bit older, in his late forties maybe, dark-haired, and with a rugged, unshaven appearance that matched his serviceable but well-worn clothes and boots. His air of authority was palpable, and made the four seem like posturing schoolboys. A large black and tan dog that might be a cross between a German Shepherd and a shaggy bear lounged at his feet. The scene seemed off to Hal, and tension began to gather in his belly.
“Who is he, Betts?” he asked over his shoulder. “I haven’t seen him around here before.”
She joined him at the window. “No idea, sweetie. He’s a stranger to me. Is he ticking them off?”
“No, I’m pretty sure not.” Hal frowned. “It’s more like he’s telling them something. I’m going to see if I can hear what’s going on.” A few empties on some of the picnic tables gave him a valid reason to be outside, so he picked up a tray and walked casually into the beer garden. He collected the glasses and bottles from one table and edged nearer to the group.
“—and wait behind the hedges,” the dark man was saying. “Go now, they’ll be here soon.”
“Okay, and we can do what we like, right?” one of the four said with an eagerness that set Hal’s hackles up.
“You can,” the man drawled, and two hurried away, laughing and jostling each other.
“You said you’d make sure there won’t be any repercussions,” another said, “no matter what.”
“I did. But only if you are victorious. Fail and I won’t be able to protect you.”
“We won’t—” A rumbling growl from the dog cut over the words and Hal glanced down to see he was the focus of the animal’s gaze.
Hal didn’t hesitate. He approached their table, ostensibly relaxed, his expression easygoing and friendly.
“Sorry to interrupt, folks. Let me clear away your empties.” He reached in front of the dark man and began to gather up the bottles and glasses. “Can I bring you refills?”
“Fuck off, yokel!” a burly blond snarled and shoved him. Hal swayed easily with the push, and the man caught Blondie’s wrist and held him back.
“That’s enough, Harry. Thank you, no,” he continued, his smile for Hal genial and unthreatening. “We’re about to leave.”
“Have a good day,” he responded, stacked the last glasses on the tray and left. Before he reached the door of the inn, the three of them were on their way out onto the footpath, the dog at their heels.
“Thank God for that,” Betty said as he entered. “Did you hear anything?”
“I think they’re planning to ambush someone, and I don’t think it’s supposed to be a joke. If they’re already slagging off Jesse, perhaps—”
“Oh, damn! What do I do?” But she was already reaching for the mobile phone in her pocket. “I’m calling the cops. I’d sooner have Bob Henshaw tear me off a strip for wasting police time than leave our lads to get a beating from those little shites.”
“Good idea. I’m going back out there to see what they’re up to.”
Hal gave her a swift smile and hurried out to the garden. He didn’t get far. Tawny stood in his path, back arched, fur on end and ears flattened.
No. The word punched into his brain with enough force to rock him back on his heels. Stay here. This is not yet a fight for you.
Not for a second did Hal doubt where that message came from. He gaped at the cat, but before he could rally himself, Betty rushed out of the doorway and grabbed his arm.
“Bob and Ayesha are on their way—he says stay out of it and leave it up to them.”
“As if.” He snorted and started for the door.
No! Another mental blast struck him, and Hal flinched. At the same time, raised voices came from down the path. Jeers and laughter reached him, then shouts of consternation, and Betty gasped in alarm.
“Oh, heck! I heard Will just then.”
Hal swore under his breath. Jesse and Will ran together most days, and showed up at the Black Dog on a regular basis. If the strangers were here to duff Jesse up, he and Will would need all the help they could get. This time, Hal didn’t get that silent rebuke, and when he looked down, Tawny had disappeared.
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Meet the author:
Chris started creating stories not long after she mastered joined-up writing, somewhat to the bemusement of her parents and her English teachers. But she received plenty of encouragement. Her dad gave her an already old Everest typewriter when she was ten, and it was probably the best gift she’d ever received – until the inventions of the home-computer and the worldwide web.
Chris’s reading and writing interests range from historical, mystery, and paranormal, to science-fiction and fantasy, writing mostly in the male/male genre. She also writes the occasional male/female novel in the name of Chris Power. She refuses to be pigeon-holed and intends to uphold the long and honourable tradition of the Eccentric Brit to the best of her ability. In her spare time [hah!] she reads, or listens to audio books while quilting or knitting. Over the years she has been a stable lad [briefly] in a local racing stable and stud, a part-time and unpaid amateur archaeologist, a civilian clerk at her local police station and a 15th century re-enactor.
She lives in a small and ancient city not far from Stonehenge in the south-west of the United Kingdom, and shares her usually chaotic home with her extended family, three dogs, a Frilled Dragon [lizard], sundry goldfish and tropicals.
Where to find the author:
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29066180-tawny
Publisher: Kouros Books
Cover Artist: Meredith Russell
Pages or Words: 62,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal
Book Name: Tawny
Series: Melusine’s Cats
Can be read as a standalone
Release Date: March 1, 2016