Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Michelle Osgood, author of Huntsmen. Hi Michelle, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.
Hi! Thank you for having me. I’m a queer romance writer from Vancouver, BC. My first novel, The Better to Kiss You With, was a F/F paranormal romance published by Interlude Press in 2016. Huntsmen, the next book in the series, is a F/NB romance with a bit more of an urban fantasy feel, and follows Kiara, the Alpha-designate of her werewolf pack as she’s forced into hiding with her genderqueer ex-lover, Ryn.
I am currently working on my third book in this series, which will focus on Nathan Roberts and Cole Lyons. Nathan and Cole met in The Better to Kiss You With, when Nathan and Deanna were facing down her cyber stalker and rogue werewolf, Crywolf. In Huntsmen, Nathan and Cole’s attraction deepens, and when this third book begins they have been dating for several months.
Nathan is Deanna’s best friend, and in Huntsmen it’s his apartment where the pack and Ryn find themselves holed up as they try to figure out who the Huntsmen are, and what they want. Nathan is a pansexual, poly librarian, and one of my favorite characters to write. Along with Deanna, he is human, and is struggling to adapt to a world that suddenly includes werewolves. He can come off as flippant and careless, but his clever quips hide a shrewd mind. Nathan likes to be surrounded by people, and when he begins to isolate himself in this third book, it’s more than a little worrying…
Cole Lyons is Kiara’s older brother, and a werewolf as well. Cole works as a paramedic, and is known for his level head and ability to adapt to any situation. He is often the voice of reason in the group, and someone others will go to for comfort or advice. Cole cares deeply for the people in his life, and when Nathan’s obsession with the supernatural becomes dangerous Cole is the first to voice his concern.
Unsure what believe, Nathan doesn’t take Cole’s intervention well and wonders if Cole might be hiding the truth. After all, if Cole can keep the fact that he is a werewolf secret, what else isn’t he sharing? And if werewolves are real… what else might be?
HUNTSMEN ~ SUMMARY AND AUTHOR
Months after saving Jamie and Deanna from crywolf, Kiara and her brother Cole have moved into the city. While clubbing one night, Kiara is stunned to see her ex, Taryn, onstage. But before she can react, Jamie notices a distinctive tattoo in the crowd: an axe rumored to be the mark of the Huntsmen, a group of werewolf-tracking humans. The girls need to leave immediately—and since Taryn is also a werewolf, they need to take her with them.
The Huntsmen are more than a myth, and they’re scouring the city for lone wolves just like Taryn. Until the General North American Assembly of Werewolves lends a plan of action, Kiara’s small pack is on lockdown in a friend’s apartment, where she and Taryn must face the differences that drove them apart. Furthermore, the longer the group waits, the more it seems the Huntsmen haven’t been acting entirely on their own.
HUNTSMEN ~ EXCERPTS
She couldn’t imagine a future without a pack… could she?
* * *
The hallway was eerily quiet. At this time of day Kiara’d expected at least a few people headed off to work. They rode the elevator in silence down to the garage level. She was taking Nathan’s car, something she knew he wouldn’t thank her for, but the car keys had been on the same keychain as the house keys, and it had seemed too perfect to resist. Besides, once they got far enough away she’d dump it and find something else.
For the first time since that night at Kings of Hearts, there was no tension between her and Ryn. The silence as the elevator moved could have been awkward, but their shared purpose burned away any discomfort. Kiara felt herself falling back in sync with Ryn. A part of her worried at the ease of it. Would it be as easy to pull back if—when—she had to? But she’d cross that bridge when she came to it. For now, she had one goal, and that was to get Ryn as far from the Huntsmen and GNAAW as she could.
The elevator doors opened, and they stepped out into the empty lobby. The parkade was through another door, where the pop of lime-green glowed bright in the concrete lobby, and Kiara pushed through it. She jogged down the few stairs before she stepped out into the parkade. “Nathan has a Mazda3 hatchback,” Kiara said. “I don’t know where he parks it, but—”
“Kiara.” Ryn’s voice was sharp. Kiara froze, all her senses suddenly on alert. They weren’t alone.
* * *
“You can’t come back here.”
Confronted by an upheld palm, Kiara halted at the stairs that led backstage.
“This area is for performers only.” The Latina woman’s face was set in bored lines; her yellow shirt identified her as one of the club’s staff. Clearly it was not the first time she’d turned someone away that night.
“Look, I’m meeting—”
“Hun, I don’t care if you’re meeting Evan Rachel Wood herself. Performer’s only.” The woman enunciated the last part without managing to pull her attention from the room behind Kiara.
The prickling behind Kiara’s eyes mounted and was echoed in the flesh of her gums.
“Maria, hey.” Ryn pushed back the black curtain. “Come on, let her through.”
“Tar—” Reluctance was heavy in the woman’s voice. “You know I’m not supposed to.”
“I won’t tell if you won’t, ‘kay? This is my girlfriend. We won’t cause any trouble. Promise.” Ryn held out her hand past Maria.
Kiara placed her hand in Ryn’s and plastered a smile across her face. “I’ll be good.” She added a flutter of her eyelashes and coaxed a blush to her cheeks. Ryn’s skin was hot under her palm. Touching Ryn had always felt like touching the sun.
“You’d better be,” Maria warned as she stepped aside and let Kiara through.
“Thank you.” Ryn winked at Maria, and Kiara heard the woman’s heartbeat accelerate in response. With a valiant effort, Kiara swallowed her huff of annoyance.
The back of the stage was dimly lit. Ryn kept Kiara’s hand in hers as she led the way, deftly avoiding the few other performers who loitered about, waiting for their turns on stage.
“We have to go,” Kiara repeated. She spoke more loudly now that they were away from everyone else.
“I heard you the first time.”
“Then what are we doing?” Kiara’s fingers curled perfectly around Ryn’s. She wanted to yank her hand free. She wanted to kiss the spot where they fit so well together.
“I have to get my bag.”
Ten years. Surely ten years was long enough for feelings to fade, for the memory of what they had been to dull. She shouldn’t feel the bright hurt, the greedy hunger, as though it had been yesterday.
In the back of her head a siren screamed, a warning that she didn’t have time for this. Kiara’s grip on Ryn’s hand tightened involuntarily.
“I’m not leaving it. There’s five thousand dollars’ worth of equipment in there.”
“Ryn, you heard me. The Huntsmen are here.”
“Maybe.” They reached a set of lockers, and Ryn wriggled her fingers free of Kiara’s. “Aren’t you the one who told me they’re a myth? Do you really think they’d show up in Vancouver? At a drag king show?” But even as she spoke she opened the locker door and pulled free a large duffle bag.
“Werewolves are supposed to be myths, too.”
“And yet,” Ryn conceded. She slung the bag over her shoulder. “My bike is out front.”
* * *
Kiara spilled out into the night with Ryn’s hand tucked securely in hers. The snow had stopped, finally, but the night had been cold enough to steal Kiara’s breath away. She tugged her coat tighter now that they were outside the smoky, sweaty club and wished she hadn’t worn a skirt.
“We’re never going to get a cab,” Kiara moaned. “And the busses don’t start again for another,” she checked her phone, “Two hours.”
“Aww, poor pack princess,” Ryn teased. “Did it ever occur to you that there’s another solution? One that doesn’t require us to stand in the cold for two more hours.”
Kiara furrowed her brow. “Do you know someone who can come pick us up?”
Ryn laughed delightedly. “Love, we don’t need a ride. The night is ours—we’re made for this.”
“Ryn,” Kiara said reluctantly. “We’re not supposed to shift when someone might see us.”
“Who’s gonna see?” Ryn threw out her arms. “It’s three in the morning, and it’s colder than my Aunt Nari’s side-eye. No one’s gonna see us.”
“We’re in the middle of downtown.”
“Come on,” Ryn gave Kiara a gentle shove. “Live a little. Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like? To run through the city and know you own it? That no one can take that away from you?”
Kiara glanced at the street behind them. Now that they’d moved farther from the club, it was deserted in all directions. She’d lost track of how many shots she and Ryn had done in the club, but it was enough that alcohol buzzed through her system and awoke something wild and reckless.
“I’ve done it before,” Ryn coaxed. “It was fine. No one saw me. And I got home in one piece, well before the sun rose and people started venturing out. It’ll take us like, half an hour, max.”
“Our clothes though, my purse?” Kiara was wavering, and Ryn could tell.
“We’ll stuff them there.” Ryn pointed to a stack of milk cartons at the edge of a nearby alley. “And tomorrow we can come back for them.”
“Well…” Kiara had a midterm tomorrow afternoon and she’d been planning to get up early to study since she’d missed the last few classes. Not too early though, she thought giggling, remembering that it was already tomorrow. “All right. As long as no one sees us.”
Ryn grinned and grabbed Kiara so she could kiss her. Ryn tasted like alcohol, and warmth, and the menthol cigarettes Kiara had been smoking. Kiara’s resolve crumbled, replaced with a mounting excitement. She had wondered what it would be like, but neither she nor her cousins had ever gotten up the nerve to disobey their parents and shift in a city.
Ryn let out an excited, drunken whoop and started to shed her clothing.
* * *
About the Author
Michelle Osgood writes queer, feminist romance from her tiny apartment in Vancouver, BC. She loves stories in all media, especially those created by Shonda Rhimes, and dreams of one day owning a wine cellar to rival Olivia Pope’s. She is active in Vancouver’s poly and LGBTQ communities, never turns down a debate about pop culture, and is trying to learn how to cook. Her first novel, The Better to Kiss You With, was published by Interlude Press in 2016.
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Huntsmen is available from Interlude Press on April 13, 2017. Connect with author Michelle Osgood at michelleosgood.com; on Twitter @osgoodmichelle; and on Facebook at facebook.com/osgoodmichelle.