Guest Post by JC Hay
Note from Carol: I'm thrilled to be a part of the Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 science fiction romance anthology, in part because I get to work with fabulous authors such as JC Hay, author the TriSystems Rangers series, among others. Luckily, JC agreed to come to my place for virtual tea and biscuits (but no cats—you'll see why below) to tell us all about the pet in his anthology story, Shadows of the Past.
Guest Post by JC Hay: Shedding Light on Shadows of the Past
I love dogs. I feel like I need to say that up front. Nothing against cats, I’ve met a number of really fine ones, but I’ve never bonded with them the way I do with canines of all persuasions. The way I see it, cats and I fight over the same ecological niche, and there’s only room for one ego-driven, mildly sociopathic attention seeker in the house.
Also, I’m seriously allergic to cats, so…
Anyway, it was my love for dogs, and my fascination with animal-soldiers that prompted me to start writing about the JTF Rangers and their umbra wolf bondmates. I knew I wanted the bond to be something more than just a working relationship, which led to the idea of the wolfbond being a deep empathic connection. From those two pieces, most of the rest of the world-building snapped into place, including the trauma that results when one half of a bonded pair dies.
I knew that I wanted to write a story about Rafe Penzak, the Rangers’ commanding officer, before I was invited to write for Pets in Space anthology. When the invite came I realized Rafe, with his wounded psyche, and the grief over his fallen wolf, would be a perfect match for a book about heroic animals and the people who care about them. Rafe’s pain and his inability to feel have been his defining characteristics in the previous books about the rangers, where he’s the emotionless, brooding commander. Prying back that surface and helping lead him toward his own happily ever after was important to me. Part of his road to happiness is about healing, and it’s an encounter with his past that acts as his first step on that journey.
In this excerpt, Rafe’s entered the house of Nafisi, the veterinarian who breeds and trains umbra wolves for the rangers and discovers that the past he’d thought was behind him was far from gone.
Stepping through the door brought him face-to-face with a wall covered with pictures. A simple plaque in the center of the wall had been engraved with the TJF Rangers’ logo and the simple words Fallen. Unforgotten.
Even after the wolves had gone on to their bonded partners, she and her husband had kept track of them.
It took him less than a heartbeat to find Actaeon’s picture just left from center. In the photo, he was young—it had probably been taken right before he and the wolf had bonded. Polarized light prevented the wolf’s famous coat from lensing and rendering him invisible. Instead, he was midnight black. Muzzle open and tongue lolling in a canine smile. Ears upright and their tufted tips alert.
Seeing it almost punched the wind out of him. Of all the things he'd expected to find on Hephaestus Secundus, a picture of Actaeon hadn't been on the list. He traced the edge of the familiar figure with the tip of his finger and felt the reprimand in his head. This should be more. More grief, more sorrow. Something. Anything. But losing his wolfbond had left all of his emotions feeling like they'd been wrapped up and mothballed. Like a toy from childhood that felt smaller and dingier than remembered.
You can find out what happens next in Shadows of the Past in Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3.
Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity.
Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. 10% of all preorders and first month's profits go to this wonderful charity. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!