Today I looked up the date that I published Shades of Honor. I couldn’t quite remember when it was, but I was still shocked that it’s almost been two years.

Two years!

It felt like one, and it’s just crazy that it’s taking me so long to write the third anomaly novel. But I know why it’s not done.

It’s hard. Like, really hard. I can’t get the words to match the story. I love the characters and the plot and the spaceships and all the action. I don’t love the third person POV.

There. I said it. That’s what’s kicking my ass. 3rd person POV! It’s my kryptonite, and that seems so crazy because all my practice books were written in 3rd. It never felt awkward then. 1st person PRESENT tense felt awkward. So awkward I swore I would never, ever do it. And look how that turned out. lol

I can’t stand this two years, no new book thing. It’s killing me. It’s making me feel like I’m not and never was a real author.

But I can’t NOT write the anomaly books.

I can, however, re-prioritize what I’m good at. And that’s Urban Fantasy, 1st person POV (although I’m still claiming that the anomaly novels are urban fantasy books set in space!).

My focus for the rest of this year will be the first Kennedy Rain book. I’m 30k into it, and it’s soooo much easier to write. And probably a better book too. The anomaly novels will still be published, but I can only work on them in between the Rain books.

I really owe you guys an apology. You guys have been so patient and supportive, and I’m so, so sorry Ash and Rykus’s story isn’t ready to be read. The third book is awesome and exciting and might be the best book of the series so far, but I can’t release it until it’s right.

I am happy to focus on Kennedy’s story, though. It’s plotted out both in my head and on paper (the latter is shocking because I’m not really a plotter!), and the 30k I’ve written is pretty darn solid. It’ll need revising still, but not a whole heck of a lot.

I feel like I’ve posted the first chapter of this book before, but I’ve looked at my website and newsletters and several other places and haven’t seen it, so I’ll post it below. If you’ve read it before, do let me know! Then I’ll know I’m not completely losing my mind. lol

Kennedy Rain Series
Book 1
Chapter 1

For the first time that semester, I wished I was sitting through one of Dr. Campbell’s lectures. Boring was good. Boring was safe. Boring meant I wouldn’t say the wrong thing and start an interspecies war.

Nora Lehr, the only daughter of Octavian Lehr, the alpha werewolf of the New England Territories and quite possibly the strongest alpha on the continent, turned away from the arched window. I met her gaze from behind my parents’ over-sized desk.

“Could you say that again, please?” I asked, making my voice as sweet and naive as a human with no idea of the existence of paranorms.

Nora’s green eyes narrowed. When I didn’t look away, she clenched her teeth. Spiders crawled up my spine, not because I was intimidated – her dominant-gene juju didn’t work inside the hotel – but because I could practically hear the warning my mom gave me over and over again when I was a kid: Don’t antagonize the paranorms, Kennedy. They’ll eat you on the way to school.

They could eat me, but they wouldn’t. I’d learned that in 6th Grade P.E.

Nora lifted her chin and straightened her shoulders, her signature alpha-stance. Her posturing had always annoyed the hell out of me in high school. Four years of college hadn’t made it any less irritating.

I really wanted to be in Campbell’s class right now.

“On May 16th,” Nora said, leaving a small, but pointed gap between each word. “I will be wed in the Garden Courtyard. The reception will immediately follow in the Silver Ballroom. You will reserve a block of sixty rooms and twelve suites. I’m prepared to pay all costs now. In cash.”

I held her gaze for another three seconds then set my pen on the desk, taking the time to make sure the Hotel Rain logo was face up. In other words, stalling, because that’s wasn’t what I needed Nora to repeat. It was the earlier part, the part where she said the name of the prospective groom, that had me freaking out.

But I couldn’t let her see I was rattled. Don’t show weakness in front of the paranorms, Kennedy. That’s what my dad had taught me.

I took a few extra seconds to make sure the pen was lined up precisely parallel to the edge of the desk.

I adjusted it half a millimeter.

Then half a millimeter more.

“You will do this, Kennedy Rain.”

I looked up. Nora expected obedience. The aggravating thing was, she usually got it. People – or, rather, paranorms and a very tiny group of humans – knew her father was in charge of the Northeast Pack, but even men and women who had no clue about the underworld went out of their way to follow her orders. Not only had she been born with the alpha-gene, but she’d been born beautiful, too.

“My parents-”

“Would do this,” Nora cut me off. “It doesn’t violate the treaty.”

Technically, no, but good God. Her father would flip. Jared’s master would flip. The hotel, its workers, and my family would be caught in the middle, treaty or no treaty. This was not a decision I could make.

And it was not a decision I should be dealing with. I should be across town in Campbell’s class while my parents handled this lunacy.

My parents excelled at handling lunacy.

I glanced at my phone. Mom still hadn’t answered my text. I didn’t know where she and my dad had run off to. Just that it was somewhere with very poor cell service. They’d been gone for over a week and all I’d received was a handful of texts saying they were busy.

The last time I’d received a handful of texts saying they were busy, they’d been on a second honeymoon.

Or a third or fourth one. I didn’t ask details. I didn’t want the details I already had. The only reason I had them was due to a tragically timed pocket dial – one of them had apparently rolled over while they were together in bed.

“At least they still love each other,” my roommate had told me, laughing. I’d thrown my phone at her head.

I wanted to throw it at Nora’s head now. She didn’t have her supernatural reflexes inside the hotel. I bet I could hit her.

“Put the date on the schedule,” she said.

I rolled my eyes toward the computer screen. May 16th was, unfortunately, wide open.

“Can’t you just marry somebody else?” I asked.

Nora’s smooth expression finally cracked. That made her look more human than stepping into the hotel’s null-zone.

“Seriously?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said, standing. “Seriously. Jared’s, what? Three centuries old? You can’t have anything in common.”

“He’s two centuries old,” Nora snapped. “And we have everything in common. You don’t know him.”

“I know he’s a vampire.”

“He’s a person.”

“He’s Arcuro’s scion. His second in command. His freaking henchman. Your dad will kill both of you.”

“I’ll handle my father.”

“Really?” I asked, skepticism riding heavy on the word. “Because I doubt that. I’ve met your dad. He’s kind of a hard ass, Nora.”

“My father-”

“And shouldn’t a man who’s two centuries old ask permission to wed someone’s daughter?”

“I don’t need to ask permission.”

“Jared does. Come back when he has it.” Or come back any time later, when my parents are home and I’m across town sleeping through Campbell’s class.

I rolled the chair under the desk, intending to walk around it and show Nora the door, but before I took a step, she grabbed the briefcase she’d brought with her and slammed it down on the desk.

“Just put us on the damn schedule.”

Her green eyes blazed with so much fury that, for a moment, I thought the null-zone might have shattered. I was almost intimidated.

A second later, when she opened the briefcase, I was intimided.

“Um,” I said eloquently, “I don’t think we accept cash deposits.”

I held her gaze, she held mine, and I could suddenly hear the ticking of the clock on the wall behind me. If my parents chose that moment to walk into their office, my mom would freak out. She’d tell me I was asking for trouble and go on and on about how fragile the peace between the paranorms was, and how this hotel – our hotel – would become a battleground if the treaty was ever broken. All the paranorms wanted The Rain. It was the only place on Earth where vampires could see the sun rise and where werewolves could stay human during the full moon. If Lehr or Arcuro broke the treaty, the hotel would burn to the ground, and the vamps and wolves would lose their oasis forever.

Or so the legend said. I’d never seen the treaty. I wasn’t even sure it existed, but if it did, I’m sure the whole burn-to-the-ground thing violated all sorts of fire codes.

The briefcase of money lay open between me and Nora. I was a starving college student—I wanted to look at it—but I’d stopped submitting to paranorms years ago. I might not live in The Rain anymore or be immersed in the world of vamps and wolves, but I wasn’t about to back down.

“Please,” Nora said on a heavy exhale of air. She still held my gaze, but since I was fairly certain she’d never uttered that word before, I took it as a submission.

And as a sign of something else.

“You’re really in love with him, aren’t you?” I asked.

Her nostrils flared, and I swear to God her eyes turned glassy.

“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”

“And your father doesn’t know? Arcoro doesn’t know?”

Nora drew in a breath. “Not yet.”

I caught a flicker of fear in her eyes.

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. I’ve always been a sucker for tragic love stories. If she and Jared were really serious about each other, it could turn out to be Romeo and Juliet to the extreme.

“I’ll put you on the schedule,” I told her, “but my parents will take you off.”

“They won’t,” she said, lifting her chin and sounding one thousand percent confident. Welcome back, spoiled little rich Were.

I countered her chin-lift with a raise of an eyebrow. “Don’t tell me you printed up save the date cards already.”

She gave me a tight-lipped smile. “You should check the hotel’s financial records.”