As far as paranormal Novels go, lately my attention shifted (no pun intended) from dragons and vampires to Werewolves. and this story, where the Heroine is the one sent to help the Hero, sounds like so. Much. Fun. She came by for an interview, too, and it was fantastic.
The story is Wolves’ Gambit (The Free Wolves Book 3) by
Wolf-shifter Lori Grenville was rescued from near-slavery and a brutal pack leader by the Free Wolves. To pay back the favor, she’s dedicated her life to helping others in the same situation, leading shifters to safety and a new start, risking her life in the process. She’s faced down alphas and has no qualms in undermining pack structure.
Now she’s challenged with the task of restoring an alpha to his rightful place. If she gets it right, she can stop a war from ripping apart two packs and spreading across an entire state. If she fails, she’ll be among the first to die.
There’s still the option of walking away and letting the Jaeger and Destin packs destroy each other. That means she’ll fail in her original mission of rescuing the daughter of the Jaeger alpha before the girl is forced into marriage for political gain.
Lori hasn’t failed in a mission yet. This one may be the exception.
Although Wolves’ Gambit is the third book in the Free Wolves series, each book can be read as a standalone.
Hi Lori, and thank you for being here. I know it may seem silly, but let’s start with tour name.
Lori Grenville. At least, that’s what I’m using right now. I have several other identities.
Have you ever had a nickname?
A bunch of them. Some I can’t repeat in polite society. I kinda like the one where I get called “little human.”
What is your profession?
Right now- bar manager. I’ve also been a waitress, a receptionist, a dog walker, and a dishwasher. Anything that I can do under the table and be paid in cash.
Are you happy with your life?
Mostly. I get to meet a lot of interesting people and see a lot of the country. And I like knowing that I’m helping a few people have a better life.
Your thoughts on love.
Don’t have time for it. Besides, most of what people call love is just convenience.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Books. I love to read. But I never get to take them with me when I move on to the next job.
Your quirky habits.
Some people would say my entire existence is quirky. But most of my quirkiness is really about survival. Like sniffing a room when I walk in. It’s one way to figure out who’s there.
The quality you most like in a man/woman.
Trustworthiness. I risk my life in the process of making rescues, and I have to trust them as much as they trust me.
What is the trait you most despise?
Bullying. It’s the reason I left my pack of origin. It’s real easy for alphas and betas to think they are better than everyone else in the pack and act like it. But brute strength isn’t everything.
On what occasions do you lie?
It’s part of what I do. I have to present myself as something I’m not, and lie and manipulate people to accomplish my mission. It gets easier the longer I do it. I rarely feel guilty about it any more, because I know it’s all for a good cause.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would you like to be?
I’m not sure the world would be willing to have me back, but if I had a choice I think I’d like to be a dragon shifter. I’ve never met one, but I know they exist. How cool would it be to be able to fly and throw flames?
What kind of impression do you make on people when they first meet you? Is that accurate?
Depends on the job. Sometimes I try to make myself appear shy like a kindergarten schoolteacher, other times I go for the swagger. You know, like a gal in a motorcycle club. Hell, sometimes I forget who I am. That’s why its nice to whole up in the cabin in the woods between jobs. Gives me a chance to get back in touch with who I really am.
Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done?
I’ve always wanted to go to Yellowstone. Hang out with the local wolves and see what it’s like living in the wild in wolf form. Hunt with them, sleep with them, howl at the moon with them. Maybe teach them how to confuse the local rangers who keep tabs on them.
What are you most afraid of?
Having my cover blown while I’m in the middle of a job. Luckily, most packs don’t socialize with other packs whole lot so it’s pretty rare to bump into someone who knows me from somewhere else.
What is in your refrigerator right now?
Leftover spaghetti. A few cans of soda. My favorite creamer.
Steak. Rare. It’s the wolf in me.
What would you change about the Hero?
What would I change about Hyrum? I’d like him to see there’s a whole world outside of the pack structure and maybe he’d be better off leaving the pack. I’ve tried to convince him to try a couple of times but haven’t been successful.
What do you like about him?
I like how he’s willing to stand up to other pack members to protect me. ‘Course, a lot of them are scared of him, so it doesn’t take much for him to get them to back down.
What was your first thought and impression when you first met?
He’s a big guy. I mean, a lot of people are big compared to me, but he’s huge! Still, he’s a nice guy (most of the time) and I’d like to hang out with him sometime when he wasn’t on the job.
What would you do if:
someone tried to blackmail you. How easy or difficult would it be?
There’s a lot of things people could use to try to blackmail me, but they would have to find me first. And I know a thing or two about staying hidden.
You arrive home to find your door unlocked and slightly ajar, and you’re sure you locked it on your way out.
Here’s the thing. If they left the door ajar, it means one of three things. 1- they want me to know they are there. 2- they left in a hurry and aren’t around anymore. Or 3- they are careless. I can use any of the three to my advantage.
You wake up in a room and bed you don’t recognize.
Happens all the time. When I’m traveling, I do it mostly at night when it’s harder to make out faces. So when I finally get to a safe place to stay, I don’t take time to get a really good look at the room before I hit the sack. I usually don’t stay more than one or two nights in any one place until I get to my new job or the safe house.
Why did you choose the shirt you have on?
This shirt? It was cheap at a thrift store after I wore out a couple of others and needed to replace them. At least it fits. It’s hard to find adult clothing small enough to fit. Half the time I end up buying large children’s clothing.
Do you miss being a child?
Nope. I was miserable as a kid. Always getting picked on. It wasn’t until I was rescued by the Free Wolves as a teenager that I realized that I had a certain set of talents that could be put to good use.
Is marriage outdated?
Marriage is a human invention. We wolves know that a piece of paper doesn’t mean a mating is going to last forever.
Strangest place where you’ve brushed your teeth?
In the back of a pickup as we bumped down a dirt road. It was the first chance I’d had for several days, and I wasn’t about to let a few ruts get in my way!
Thank you, Lori!
With a smooth motion, she swung the shotgun to her shoulder. Without taking time to aim, she squeezed the trigger. The recoil pushed her against the wall, which held her up. The wolf, still advancing, snarled and tightened the muscles in his hindquarters. Lori didn’t have time to figure out his plan of attack. She fired the second barrel. He dropped to the floor, whined, and crawled under a table.
She retrieved two more shells from her pocket and reloaded. Outside, a lone wolf howled. It echoed in the night but received no answer. Surely Eugene hadn’t taken down an enemy already? Or had he abandoned her?
With her back against the wall, she took a deep breath and braced herself for another attack. An oppressive silence, broken only by her breathing and the soft whimpering of the wolf she’d shot, blanketed the bar. Lori jerked her head, trying to shake a few stray hairs away from her eyes. She didn’t dare loosen her grip on the gun.
Then two wolves, side by side, emerged from the darkness outside and hurtled through the window frame. A third followed. The first two paced towards her shoulder to shoulder. When she pulled the trigger, the scatter of one shot hit both of them. One stumbled for a fraction of a second, but didn’t stop. In two steps, they’d be on her.
She fired again, the recoil pushing her hard against the wall. The double damage at close range forced them back. One limped to the window and crawled out. The other sought refuge behind the bar.
She still had the third wolf to deal with and empty chambers.
Author Bio: Born and raised among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, P.J. MacLayne still finds inspiration for her books in that landscape. She is a computer geek by day and a writer by night who currently lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. When she’s not in front of a computer screen, she might be found exploring the back roads of the nearby national forests and parks. In addition to the Free Wolves’ stories, she is also the author of the Oak Grove series.
P.J. MacLayne can be reached on: Facebook https://facebook.com/pjmaclayne