THE THING ABOUT WERES
A Mystwalker Novel from Leigh Evans
In the never-ending saga that is my love-hate relationship with Robson Trowbridge, I, half-Were Hedi Peacock, have had a change of heart. Ever since I shoved Trowbridge through the Gates of Merenwyn, I've been the leader of the pack—hard to believe, right? The thing is: I'm half-Fae. So even though my Were side is ready to heed the call of the wild, the other part of me is desperate to take flight. And much as it pains me to admit it, life without Trowbridge is really starting to were me down…
To make matters worse, the wolves of Creemore want my blood—and the North American Council of Weres wants me dead. So I'm just counting the days until Trowbridge returns from the other realm…and comes to my brave rescue…and becomes my alpha mate. Wishful thinking? Of course it is. But given all the mess I've been through already, what's the harm in doing a little bit of daisy-plucking? Besides, Trowbridge owes me bigtime. A girl can dream.
About the Author
Leigh Evans was born in Montreal, Quebec but now lives in Southern Ontario with her husband. She's raised two kids, mothered three dogs, and herded a few cats. Other than that, her life was fairly routine until she hit the age of 50. Some women get tattoos. Leigh decided to write a book. A little tardy, but then again, her mum always said she was a late bloomer.
Leigh Evans was born in Montreal, Quebec but now lives in Southern Ontario. She's raised two kids, mothered four dogs, and herded a few cats. Other than that, her life was fairly routine until the day she decided to write a book about a half-Fae, half-Were girl who's a magnet for trouble. The first Mystwalker novel was grabbed by St. Martins, and released as THE TROUBLE WITH FATE in 2012. Second and third books quickly followed: THE THING ABOUT WERES and THE PROBLEM WITH PROMISES. At the age most people start thinking about retirement, Leigh is slinging words and pummeling plots. Leigh's destiny has finally been met: she's a writer. A little tardy, but then again, her mum always said she was a late bloomer.
Read an Excerpt
The Thing About Weres
By Leigh Evans
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2013 Leigh Evans
All rights reserved.
Wishing upon a star is a foolish exercise. I'd gone to bed late, after a quiet dinner of two maple-glazed doughnuts and a Kit Kat, followed by a chaser of grape juice.
"I'm dreaming again," I said, feeling miserable and happy all at once.
Because I was, and because it was as good a way as any of saying hello. The alternative was saying "Hello, beautiful," and that was both obvious and repetitive.
On his worst day, my guy is a freakin' work of art.
I've seen him on his worst day.
Robson Trowbridge stood hip-deep in the Pool of Life, caught in the act of raking his long, curling hair off his forehead. I could waste time wondering why each visit begins the same way — his hand lifted to his brow, his bicep flexed, his abdomen muscles ridged like some lucky girl's washboard — but I won't. It's my dream or his dream or our dream, and it never ends well, so it seems fitting that it begins with him hale and hearty, and so insanely sexy that a girl's heart picks up at the sight of him.
As mine had.
Evidently, art appreciation does that to me.
Blame it on his hair. Except for a few faint silver threads, Trowbridge's mane is as dark as a lump of coal and enviably thick. Though, at present, it was wet, and mostly, so was he. Beads of the Pool of Life's water stood out on the slope of my mate's shoulder — little translucent blips of healing Fae power that paid no heed to gravity — seemingly content to stay there, clinging to his collarbone and the rounded swell of his upper deltoids.
Therein lies one of the inherent problems about being around Trowbridge.
He's so damn beautiful that it's really hard to think in a straight line around him. For instance, when I saw those little beads of water on his hard shoulder, I didn't think "baby needs a towel." Nope. Instead, I imagined myself licking the moisture off.
Sad, the direction my brain slithers when I'm around my mate.
To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with the full body flush of sexual desire that nearly levels me when I see him standing there, utterly desirable and absolutely unreachable. I don't trust it. There was no reason to it, no natural progression from first stirrings of attraction to my current level of "wave my panties over my head" lust.
I grew up in the same small Ontario town as he. His house was just on the other side of the pond. As a kid, I'd been the uninspired witness to many Trowbridge sightings. But one day, a few months before puberty, I looked at him, and it was like someone had pressed my sexual identity's switch to on. Bam! Bye-bye, Barbie. Hello, Trowbridge.
Like my body was preset for him, and him alone.
Behind my lover, Merenwyn's forest climbed a series of hills in rolling swells of golden yellow and deep green, providing a scenic foil to Trowbridge's own particular dark beauty. I studied the tree line until my heart settled down, then said with faux calm, "It's cold tonight."
Gorgeous grimaced and pulled his fingers free from his damp locks. "Why does it always have to be water? I hate water."
"You know, you look so real in my dreams. Sometimes I think —"
"That you're not dreaming. Well, check the list, Hedi Peacock. Am I wearing any clothing?" Trowbridge ran his hand down his gleaming chest, sliding it along the landscape of all that lovely taut flesh, to disappear under the water. "That's a definite no. Do you know what happens to skin when it stays in water for a long time? Things get shriveled. Important things, like —" He frowned, his hand busy under the water. "God, they feel like stewed prunes."
My mate pulled out his dripping paw, inspected it with a fierce scowl, and gave his hand a savage flick. Droplets of water sprayed — a bullwhip of diamond beads. "Why here? We could have this conversation anywhere else. You know —"
"I know. Weres can't swim. You hate water."
He wasn't listening. Instead he was concentrating on dragging his wet mitt across the single dry patch on his pecs — once, twice, and — ah, there we go — three times — before he was satisfied that his hand was dry enough to plant on his narrow hip.
Now his chest gleamed in the most distracting way.
"You making any progress on getting these nightmares under control?" he asked.
"This isn't my nightmare."
"Tinker Bell, if this was one of my dreams, you'd be naked and we'd be in bed. This is one of your nightmares. I'm standing in the middle of some damn millpond that the Fae consider healing and sacred, without a gun, a knife, or an Uzi. You're under the cherry tree, looking like ..."
He let his gaze casually roam. First to my mouth, where it lingered on my upper full lip, then slowly down the line of my white throat, from there to the hollow that he'd kissed, and finally to my breast, where it rested for a heated moment or two.
There went his nostrils. Flared as if he could scent me.
"Don't stare at me like that," I whispered, flattening a hand over my stomach.
"Like what?" His hooded eyes glittered.
As if your gaze were leaving a trail of heat on my skin. As if I were the sexiest thing you'd ever seen. As if you —
"You are. You are my fuckin' catnip," he said simply. "And I'm getting beyond tired of the whole 'look but don't touch' torture. Come to me, right now. Walk down that hill and meet me in this goddamn pond."
Eyes the color of the Mediterranean challenged me. Not the soft warm hue of shoreline shallows — with mellow hints of turquoise and green — no, more like the saltwater just past that, where the sea is deep and filled with unexpected currents.
Now, they demanded.
I took an unsteady step toward him and then ... found myself wobbling, my balance destroyed. I could not move forward one more inch. My muscles seemed frozen, incapable of the slightest task. No matter how I willed myself, no matter how I struggled.
With a ragged breath, I retreated. "I can't, Trowbridge. She won't let me join you."
"I've told you. There is no such thing as Karma. All you need to —"
"I can't! I cheated her when I pushed you through the Gates of Merenwyn. This is Karma's revenge. She brings us together every night, and she won't let me move."
He shook his head once, sharply, in denial. "She doesn't exist."
Anger momentarily tightened his features. Then he assumed control, taking in a long, slow breath. "Okay. We'll just talk about the weather for a bit. So, is it fall in Creemore yet? All the trees are yellow here." His gaze traveled as he spoke. A soft hiss of air escaped his lips. "God, I wish you could see what's behind you."
I can't. I'm stuck in my head. Just a dreamwalker without a true body, my gaze somehow fastened on you, as if you were the quavering needle on my compass, watching you and knowing that I won't be able to —
"Mannus was right about one thing: this slice of heaven has never met a douchebag with a chain saw. Most of it's virgin forest." His head swiveled left, then right, his brow furrowed. "That's the thing about Merenwyn. The land's whole in this realm. You can taste it — pure and clean — on your tongue. The wind smells —"
"Sweet," I whispered. "It's the magic in the air."
"Maybe. Mostly it smells clean without the humans polluting the place. They smell, and they don't even know it. Their accessories are worse. Their cars, their barbecues, their —"
"You liked driving."
He frowned, as if surprised he'd forgotten that. "Yeah, I did." Then with a light shrug, he pointed to a hill at least a mile in the distance to his left. "There's some whitetails up there. Smell them?" I shook my head to remind him — I'm only half Were, my little Fae nose isn't as keen as yours, Trowbridge — but his eyes had become slits, predator sharp; his concentration turned to fix on the quarry in the forest. "One of the bucks is rubbing his antlers against the bark of a tree. Hear it? He's telling all the other bastards to keep out of his way. He's chosen his doe." He listened for a bit, his face rapt. "There's so much game up in those hills."
His nose is perfect. Long and straight. Not misshapen and bleeding.
Trowbridge rubbed his shoulder and stared thoughtfully at the narrow lane that had been cut into the old woods. "How long do we have before the Fae come?"
"They won't come tonight."
He blew some air through his teeth. "They always come. How about giving me a crossbow to fire back at them?"
"I ..." My voice trailed off.
"Can't or won't," he finished quietly. "That's our basic problem. You keep making decisions without consulting me first."
Not fair, Trowbridge.
The trees behind him swayed, their leaves rustling and parting to reveal the glint of the sinking sun: a yellow-orange ball of fire, as luminous as one of Threall's brightest soul lights.
He lifted his nose to the wind. "Wait ... something's on the wind."
Not yet, don't let the guards come yet. Just a little longer.
Another inhale, deep enough to flare his nostrils and lift his pecs. "Someone's burning something in the hearth ... peat? Yeah, I'd say it's peat. Wouldn't it be better to have this conversation beside a cozy, warm fire?"
"You know what burning peat smells like, huh?"
"I'm a figment of your imagination, kid. So, basically, I know everything you know. Hear your thoughts, too." He began a slogging march through the hip-deep water. Six paces to the left, a sharp turn, and eight paces to the right. With each lurching step, the pool's water level rose and fell on the high-water line on his tawny skin. One step and the water was up to his waist, drowning his hands, with the next, it had lapped away, providing a coy glimpse of the soft swell of his ass.
The yearning to touch him began to grow again. Long roots had my desire — like weeds growing between cobblestones.
Trowbridge shook his head. "You know, the only bearable bit in the first twenty pages of The Highland Warrior's Mistress was the news that burning peat smells like scorched dirt. One day, I'm going to toss a handful of peat moss on a campfire, just to see if it does. Probably doesn't."
"Why are we talking about this?"
"I'm telling you, I'm well past done with that romance shit. Seriously, who calls his woman 'my sweet wee lassie'?" Water churned behind him in swirling eddies. "The next time you send Biggs to Barrie to satisfy your book binge, let the poor bastard come home with a few thrillers. Lee Child, Robert Crais, maybe an Ian Rankin or two. I don't know how he stands going through the checkout line at Walmart. Why don't you go buy your own books?"
Because you might come back while I'm gone.
"Not going to happen unless you've suddenly remembered the words to summon the portal. How's that going?" He paused in his pacing, his head shifted to one side, his eyes cast down, seemingly intent on something beneath the surface of the water.
Over and over, I've tried. The Gates of Merenwyn are summoned by song. One with very specific lyrics. Which I couldn't remember for the life of me.
When I didn't speak, he sighed, the way men do when they're trying to be patient — through the nose, teeth lightly clenched, jaw hard, impatience a stretched, jagged shadow behind his façade of tolerance. Very softly, too softly, he said, "If I can't find a way home, you're going to have to take your role as Alpha a whole lot more seriously."
"I am taking it seriously. I sign stuff. I —"
"For starters, calling yourself their Alpha-by-proxy is just asking for it. The pack has zero sense of humor about shit like that. Can't you see it's messed up, the way you approach the pack? For us, it's always about status. Who's higher than me, who's lower than me." Water sprayed as my mate swept his arm to demonstrate his point. "You can never let your guard down. You must act, think, and smell like top dog ... not ..." He scratched his ear.
A Fae? "I'm doing my best to hold on to your pack but being a leader doesn't come naturally. Until you come home, they'll just have to make do with me. It won't be for much longer anyhow. Sooner or later, I'll find a way to get you home."
"Sooner or later one of them is going to challenge you for leadership," he said.
For a bit, neither of us said anything. Trowbridge swished water through his fingers. I watched a dark smudge in the far distance, winging its way toward us. A bird. Long wings, torpedo-shaped body. Perhaps a duck, but they never flew alone.
"I have my flare," I said.
The bird dipped low, skimming the tree line. An emerald-green cap, a flash of gray and white.
"You have to turn into your wolf, Tink. They have to believe that you are one of them."
"It's a really good flare."
Wings beating furiously, the mallard came in for a landing. It reared back, wings arched, feet thrust forward. A splash and then a long glide. The duck preened its feathers, then paddled sideways to give us a bird glare from its beady eye, before it swam to the end of the pool where the water was murky and the trees hung low.
"Friend of yours?" Trowbridge asked.
I scanned the sky but it was night-gray and heavy, and as far as my gaze could sweep, I could not spot another dark smudge. "Shoo," I said to the mallard. "Go find your mate before winter sets in."
Trowbridge watched the bird, his lips twisted. "Let it go, Hedi."
"Tell me about your life there," I asked softly. "Have you found Lexi yet?"
He shook his head, ever stubborn. "It's moontime there, isn't it?"
"Tomorrow." Three nights of hell. "How'd you know?"
"You're more anxious around the full moon. That's when the worst dreams come." Trowbridge's shoulders flexed as he spread his arms wide. He bent his head, his fingers skimming the surface — seemingly poised for a dive.
Don't. Not yet.
Water curled up to his navel and then dipped back. "Have you heard from the NAW yet?"
The letter came this morning. I didn't explain how the air in the trailer had thickened with the sharp spice of Were anxiety after Harry, Cordelia, and Biggs had taken their turns reading it. But then again, in my dreams, I didn't need to.
His wince was the type that happens before a trigger is reluctantly squeezed. And for a second, it was all there. Despair worn down to weary acceptance, fatigue etched into bone weariness — the visual equivalent of a heavy sigh if my Trowbridge was a man given to such things. But he was not. He wiped out the bad and replaced it with a smile that promised hell and havoc. "I have to get out of this pool." My mate started walking toward me, the sound of the churning water loud to my ears. "I'm coming out now. We need to —"
"No!" I closed my eyes. "One thousand, two —"
"Shit! Stop with the counting!"
"Three thousand, four —"
"It's freaking annoying. Hedi," he called, his tone sharp and demanding. "Open your eyes and look at me. I'm good now. There's no scars on my chest or wrists. No silver in my gut. I'm healed."
"Five thousand, six —"
"That's it, I'm coming out of this water right now," he promised, the sound of his splashing progress getting louder, closer.
My eyes popped open. "No! You have to stay in the Pool of Life."
If anything he moved faster. "Dammit, I'm healed!"
"No! Every time you walk out of it, you die!" Acid began rising in my throat.
"I'd rather die on dry land!" he shouted back.
The wind came from nowhere. It whistled through the trees — frost tipped and javelin sharp — and whipped the water into a vengeful chop. It thrashed the trees and shredded their leaves. The remnants came in a whirl, a veritable barrage of dead and broken things; dry whispers of brown, bright flickers of yellow and red. They swirled and danced over my lover's head.
He hunched his shoulders as he batted them away. "Hedi, you're going to blind me with these damn things! I need to see! Chill. I mean it! Close your eyes and think of something else."
I did. I covered my eyes and thought of something easy, but in the landscape of my dreaming mind, the wind still moaned.
"Okay, okay. Shh, sweetheart, I've got you," he whispered in my ear. "Breathe deep. Steady now. It's a dream. That's all it is." A sigh — I swear I felt his warm breath on my face and the soft press of his lips to the peak of my ear.
"Please, Tink, go back to sleep. Dream of Krispy Kremes and napoleons, not of me."
Excerpted from The Thing About Weres by Leigh Evans. Copyright © 2013 Leigh Evans. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 stars (or B grade) ... Heartache, Karma, Lessons Learned, and Love It’s been six months since half Fae-half were Hedi gave Robson Trowbridge the life-saving push into Merenwyn, a deadly place for weres. The alternative would have been to watch Trowbridge die. There really wasn’t any choice. Hedi hasn’t lost hope, but it has nearly flickered out. The Creemore Pack needs a true alpha, which the mouse-hearted ‘alpha-by-proxy’ isn’t able to deliver. If matters couldn’t get worse, the North American Council begins investigating the pack. Hedi needs to step up or she will lose everything. Of course, this is only a taste of what is to come. The Thing about Weres has a strength and consistency that was missing in series debut. Hedi’s voice often had sounded immature, and it was almost as if her character was being stretched and molded throughout The Trouble with Fate. This time, her personality is settled. There’s less focus on her outward appearance – not being thin and beautiful like her mother – but having a very big and very kind heart. She’s a young woman who doesn’t belong; has lost her family; and seems to have lost her one true love. Hedi’s heart and soul are battered, as she runs through a gauntlet. Choosing the potentially best option of grim choices, lead to her indecisive moments. Which consequence is worse? Who should benefit? What is the right thing to do? How will she live with her choice? Her moral conundrums wring out the emotions; they’re an exhibition of her humanity. Hedi’s compelling, even at her weakest times. I felt sympathy for her plight. She keeps getting knocked down, and forced to crawl; yet, she manages to rise and carry on. Hedi shines through the darkest moments. The Thing About Weres proved to me the Mystwalker series and Leigh Evans is worth investing in. There could be less time spent in her head and more time with Trowbridge. Plus it’s hard to forget Cordelia, my favorite cross-dressing were! We can depend on her to verbally slap Hedi around when she needs it! In a way, Hedi reminds me a little bit of Harry Potter. She appears almost wimpy, but has great potential to be something epic! All roads lead to Hedi becoming a formidable leader, lover, and ally. The villains are exposed. The challengers presented. How Hedi overpowers them has me eager for the next book! ARC compliments of St. Martin's Press via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed following Heidi and Trowbridges story.
I did not get this book. Ok so I know the paranormal genre is still new to me and this may not have been the best choice of book for a novice such as myself, but I really didn’t enjoy one thing about this book. In my opinion, it was hard to understand and read. It was really unbelievable — yeah, yeah, I know paranormal is not real, but this was just really outlandish. It was way too “paranormally” for me. The book centers on other worlds and realms and crossing over. I simply could not follow the story line and just simply did not enjoy this book. I was expecting a book more about werewolves, but truly I was left asking myself what is the thing about weres. Rating: 2 Heat Rating: Mild Reviewed by: A. Lyn Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Reviewed by Guest Reviewer/Leigh & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog THE THING ABOUT WERES is the second installment in Leigh Evans’ Mystwalker series, and just like the first, Evans delivers a fantastical read in a fabulous urban fantasy series. WERES picks up six months after FATE’s cliffhanger ending for which urban fantasy novels seem to be known, and we find Hedi trying to keep her head above water as she struggles to figure out how to bring her Robbie Trowbridge back from Merenwyn. Now that she is Robbie’s mate, and since he is gone, being in charge of the Creemore pack has been bestowed upon her. Unfortunately, she is barely holding it together. She struggles with how to lead the pack, and basically does only what is necessary, often deferring to her right-hand pack mates, Cordelia, Biggs, and Harry, for their assistance. In addition, she rarely sleeps. When she does, she lands in dreams with Trowbridge that never end well, or she is thrown into Threall with the wizard and mad-one. Her inner were and her inner fae are in a constant tug of war, always fighting for dominance, but Hedi still hasn’t figured how to control them as she wishes. On top of it all, the pack is going to be visited by the Council of the North American Weres (NAW), an organization that is likely investigating the events that took place at the end of FATE, which culminated in werewolf deaths and an Alpha who hasn’t been seen since. To say that Hedi is barely hanging in there would be an understatement. Just as a representative of the NAW appears, and the most of the pack idly stands by while Hedi is more or less offered as a sacrificial lamb, more action kicks in, leading to two grand surprises. One is related to her past, and the other is related to her present. Hedi is uncertain, though, how either will play out in her future. As with her first novel, Evans has penned a fabulous story in this creative and extremely well written series. The world building of the fae world is sometimes complex but constantly intriguing. We learn so much about fae history, and that of the mages and the mystwalkers. At times, it can be confusing, but Evans does well with flushing out the issues, making them more understandable as the story continues to unfold. Then there is the pack. Oh, there are times I wanted Hedi to blast some of the pack members back to last week, but she stays strong and surprisingly mature about the ugly politics that surround the pack. I just love how Evans has built this fantasy world that interweaves these two very different groups of fae and werewolves. I look forward to reading about both in more detail in future books. As a main character, Hedi is not like most heroines found in urban fantasy novels. She is not kickass. She is not badass. She is young and has been thrown into a situation she never expected. She is special in that she has both were and fae blood coursing through her veins, but having lived a life mostly in hiding, she hasn’t had time to hone in on her gifts and learn how to control them with great adeptness. Still she continues to try. And it is that inner strength and will that carry her through some difficult decisions and tumultuous times. It is due to these traits, and how she is different from so many other heroines, that I really like Hedi. While I don’t think she really gets whiny, she often looks upon so much with a dismal resolve, however. Can I blame her? Not one bit. I do hope, however, that she becomes more confident as the series progresses. Her character needs to grow in self-assurance, which should come with time and experience. One of the things that I was worried about going into WERES is whether we would get to see Trowbridge at all, or rather, enough. I am happy to say that we do. He is definitely coming into his own as an Alpha, and while there were moments that I wanted to reach into the book and slap him for things he said, or didn’t say, he certainly redeems himself, and I am really enjoying watching him grow as a leader and a mate. Being a sexy beast doesn’t hurt either. ;) Overall, WERES is an excellent read, and this is a series I highly recommend. Evans pens her story with amazing imagery and excellent aptitude. She has created a fantastical story of weres and fae in which I love to get lost. Hedi and Trowbridge are not similar to most heroines and heros, and for that, I commend her creativity and style because who they are works especially well for the storyline. WERES is a page-turner, and Evans keeps the surprises coming and coming, leaving the reader wanting more and more. *Review copy provided by publisher
I have really enjoyed these books so far. Hedi would probably make me crazy if I knew her, but she is fun to read.
Was a little slow going for me but turned out graet