It is hard to believe that we are at the third book in the Kai Gracen series. Black Dog Blues was one of the first full-length novels I’d written inside of an urban fantasy genre I’ve always wanted to explore. The best part about writing Kai Gracen is creating not just the personalities but also the world they inhabit and it’s been great to blend in the fantastical with the mundane.
In his third outing, Jacked Cat Jive, Kai is faced with unique challenge of realizing he really is not as human as he thought and that the Court and its inhabitants mean something to him other than a thorn in his side. And of course, there is always Ryder, the Sidhe Lord who gets under his skin in the best of ways. I’ve enjoyed writing the push and pull of their relationship but also the growth between them as characters. They started off at very different points of view and are slowly working towards an understanding while also fending off any challenges that come at them.
This time out, Kai is not only set to rescue a group of refugees from the Badlands beneath San Diego, he also has to come to grips with his growing friendship with Ryder and how the humans in his life are getting older, something he won’t experience himself for quite a long time.
So I hope that you join Kai and his next adventure and also enjoy this serialized story of Ryder and the trouble he gets into when he doesn’t listen to what Kai says.
Also, I invite you to enter the giveaway on each of the blogs during the tour and get a chance to win a $25 USD gift certificate from an e-tailer of your choice (see below for more information)
Ryder’s Folly: Part One
by Rhys Ford
I was going to die.
It was too soon. I still had too much to do with my life; a Court to establish, discover a way for my people to be more fertile but most of all, I still hadn’t convinced Kai Gracen he belonged at my side. I should be sitting safe — barring Sidhe politics — as Ryder, the Lord of the Southern Rise Court.
Instead, I’d allowed myself to be convinced by Kai to go on a run and once again ending up in a situation where I would die far from my family with the possibly of leaving nothing behind of my body except for what a wild animal shat out near his den to ward off other predators.
I think that was the main reason he was trying to kill me. Given enough time, he would give in to the tight desire brewing between us but as in all things, Kai never did anything the easy way. He had to fight with everything, chew through all possibilities and then choose a course of action I never even considered.
Which was why I was clinging to the side of a large, hairy beast while it thundered us both to certain doom over a sheer cliff.
I’m not sure how I get talked into such precarious situations. No, that is a lie. I know exactly how I get talked into these things. I do this to myself. Because I cannot resist the challenge in Kai’s dusk-hued violet eyes when he throws down an impossible task at my feet.
There wasn’t much time to contemplate why, and how, I was holding onto the shaggy behemoth of a mammal — or at least I thought it was a mammal — instead of working on cementing the Court’s relations with the human world surrounding it. The beast itself smelled. Mostly of manure but also of dried grasses and dirt. Its thick wooly hide scratched my fingers and any other bare skin I had pressed against it, including my belly where my shirt rode up nearly to my chest, inching towards my throat with every thundering stride the monster took. There were bound to be biting insects riding the beast along with me and if I survived the experience, I was sure to be taking them home to the Court if I didn’t get a chance to disinfect myself.
Why didn’t I simply let go?
A few reasons. The first was the creature moved at an alarming speed, carrying us in magnificent leaps over the stretch of plains below the lava fields teeming with dragons. Secondly, those same plains were ripe with razor-sharp grasses and releasing my hold would mean a dangerous tumble through the knife-like surface where I also had a good chance of striking a prickly, shards-of-glass like patch of paho’eho’e lurking in the golden sheaves.
And lastly, but certainly more importantly, if I let go of the bison, I would instantly become a meal for the pride of lions chasing the herd down towards the sea.
I couldn’t hear the cats’ screams and roars as they chased the herd. Not above the gnash of hooves slamming into the ground and the terrified snorts of the angry beasts. For all I knew, the lions hunted silently, slipping through the grasses in a rush of whispered sounds. These were human creatures, so far removed from my experience I had no knowledge of how they hunted but one thing was certain, their teeth were massive, their claws were deadly and their fur so closely matched the swaying grasses, I couldn’t see them chasing us.
But they were there. I knew it. The bison knew it. And it would simply be a matter of time before one of them caught up with the beast I rode and I would be torn apart, leaving nothing for Kai to find once he caught up with me.