My favorite part of starting a new story is really diving into the characters in search of what they need. I know, it seems like they’d all need to find his or her other half. That’s the heart of any good romance, right? And sometimes that’s the case. With other heroes and heroines, they need something more.
When I started writing Long Road Home I was really drawn to Hank. What did he need? What had driven this Wolf to a life on the road as a truck driver? Every time I thought about a Wolf being on the road it just seemed like such a solitary and lonely life. Wolfs lived for pack and community. What did he need to bring balance to these realities? Finding love wouldn’t be enough for him.
Hank needed to find peace. A return to the Tao Pack seemed like a perfect place for the start of his journey.
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Thom is suspicious, flirty, and—worst of all—human. He believes the whole town of Los Lobos is one large cult. And if that isn’t bad enough, somebody seems determined to kill him. The man might as well have a huge, Do Not Touch sign painted on his back.
None of that stops Hank from wanting the farmer the moment they meet. Just because he wants something, however, doesn’t mean he’s going to get it. He learned that lesson early on in life. Thanks to his sexual orientation, he’ll never find the one thing every Wolf craves: a pack. Best for him to do his job and get back on the road.
But time spent with a human can do funny things to a Wolf. Especially a human as addictive as Thom.
“If I come back to the pack....” Hank kept his gaze trained on Drew’s hands. Drew may not be his Alpha yet, but he was Alpha and he’d been a decent enough guy in their youth. He deserved the respect of a lowered gaze. “If I come back, what guarantees are you willing to give me?”
“Same as every other Wolf living in Los Lobos. A new start.” Drew leaned forward, and Hank caught the inviting aroma that always surrounded the Alpha. Back in their school days, he had imagined he’d had feelings for the man. Now he knew that hadn’t been the case. He’d mixed up respect, admiration, and pack loyalty with something else. Everything about those years had been confusing and mixed up for him. “Acceptance.”
Hank’s heart stuttered at the word. As simple as concept as acceptance might be, he’d never actually found it, and he was wary of how easily Drew offered it to him. “Acceptance, huh? You don’t, by any chance, know why your daddy kicked me to the curb all those years ago, do you?”
A soft growl rolled from Drew. He understood the anger. If their roles were reversed, he wouldn’t want to be reminded of the monster who had been the pack’s last Alpha either. Still, he had to ask the question. The challenge could prove to be dangerous for him, but the risk had been a carefully calculated one. He needed to know Drew and his old man weren’t cut from the same cloth. If they were, the meeting had been a waste of time.
He glanced up to gauge how angry the Drew had become. If he were about to retaliate, Hank needed to be ready. Instead of finding Drew half crazed, as he had feared, he found the man to be remarkably calm. The one soft growl was the only indication the question struck a nerve. An Alpha capable of self-control would be a nice change of pace. The only Alpha he’d ever had was Magnum. He’d been on his own since he’d left.
“Nope. If it doesn’t put my pack in any danger, I don’t give a shit why Magnum exiled you.”
His secret definitely didn’t endanger anyone. “You have my word it doesn’t.”
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