Practise Social Distancing by Reading

Need some more books? Of course, you do! We all have our ways of dealing with this pandemic – I bake and there’s hardly any room left in this house because I’m growing things. How I’ll fit it all in our garden once it’s warm enough to bring the plants outside, I don’t know, but every day I put a few seeds in a pot and I feel like I’m at least doing something. False security at its best.

But, another great way to deal with social distancing is to read. I’ll get there soon, I hope, to that place when I can sit down and relax with a book. Right now I’m in a more frantic state *hysteric laugh-sob*. Nah, it’s not that bad…let’s pretend it’s not that bad.

A couple of weeks ago, JMS did a huge giveaway to help cure the boredom of quarantine. Now, we’re doing it again. It’s different books than in the last giveaway, and last I checked there were 96 titles.

So check it out!

My contribution this time around is Pine Tree Mary.

Pine Tree Mary

Hush slid off the moose, patted her on the flank, and went into the cave where he’d slept the last week or so. He didn’t have much in ways of belongings—a few dresses, a bearskin wrap, deerskin moccasins, and a few other items to keep him warm in the winter.
He chewed on a piece of dried meat, more to have something to do than out of hunger. Food, while nice to consume, wasn’t what kept him alive.
“You need to get rid of him.”
Hush bit his tongue in surprise as Solstice walked into the cave. The coppery taste of his blood mingled with the meat. He swallowed and winced as the too-big piece slid down his throat. He’d believed he’d managed to hide his whereabouts, though Solstice could just as easily tap into the animals’ consciousness as he could, so there was no hiding.
“Petal’s gonna have your head if that man doesn’t stop calling for you. Disturbs the entire forest.”
“He’s here?”
Solstice fluffed her fiery hair and gave Hush a pouty look. “Why isn’t he reacting to us?”
“I don’t know.”
“I think Petal hates that more than the disturbed peace.”
She probably did.
“Is he feeding you, Hush?”
The no was on the tip of his tongue, but he had, hadn’t he? Only a few trickles, but they had been there. “A little.”
She nodded. “Go to him.”
Of his sisters, Solstice was the least terrible.
Hush packed away the meat, grabbed his bag with all his belongings, and went toward the clearing. Solstice melted away between the trees and soon he heard the familiar sound of a moose moving away.
Hush’s heart was thudding in his throat as he neared the clearing. Manning was standing by the tree he’d been tied to. The thorny string was still there.
“We should remove it so no one hurt themselves on it.”
Manning whirled at his words.
“Hush.” His shoulders slumped as if he’d been…worried. Hush’s stomach somersaulted. No one had ever worried about him. It couldn’t be worry. He studied Manning for a few seconds. He was tired. His hair was tousled, the stubble on his cheek deliciously dark, and he looked far more worn out than when he’d left Hush at the police station. He needed energy.
“Come on.” Hush nodded in direction of the city. “You need to eat.” It was how humans recharged, right?
“Eat?” Manning didn’t move. His eyes slid from Hush’s face down his body and up again. A small, almost undetectable drizzle of desire spilled from him.
Hush smiled.


Pine Tree Mary

Detective Quinn Manning wants nothing more than to see Diamond Dace, one of Fagerdal’s most notorious drug lords, behind bars. After years of the man eluding the authorities, when Manning accidentally stumbles onto an opportunity to catch the powerful dealer red-handed, he doesn’t hesitate. But what should be a simple tail, instead drops Manning into a real-life world of myth and legend.

Hush is a hulder, a forest spirit also known as a pine tree Mary. Since the beginning of time, his people have lived in the forest, feeding off the energy they derive from the lust and desires of passing hunters. But Hush is an abomination, the only male of his kind.

After a lifetime of starvation, Hush has struck a deal with a human. A simple trade that will give the human what he desires and keep Hush from wasting away completely.

When Manning saves a young man from Diamond and one of his men, his view of reality is altered forever. And Hush, who has never met anyone like Manning, finds the man’s attraction to him enough to finally stave off his constant hunger.

When together they set out to rescue Manning’s partner, their connection to one another grows. But can a human detective have a future with a creature of the forest, a creature who isn’t supposed to exist?