Please welcome Bru Baker to the blog today. She has an exclusive excerpt (below) of her latest release in the Camp H.O.W.L. series, Hiding in Plain Sight wich comes out tomorrow, Sept. 18.
Thanks for joining me at Gay Book Reviews for the second stop on my blog tour for my upcoming release, Hiding in Plain Sight. Today I’ve got an exclusive excerpt for you which gives you a look at the big friction point between Harris (who was featured in the last excerpt) and his mate Jackson.
Jackson doesn’t know they have a mate bond because Harris has never talked to him about it. On some level Jackson has to know, but his wolf isn’t ready to accept it yet. He’s a very career-focused guy, and right now his sights are set on a promotion to the big leagues–the elite Werewolf Tribunal Enforcer team. Unfortunately members of the team can’t have any outside ties, including Pack bonds or mate bonds. That spells trouble for his growing bond with Harris, even though Jackson doesn’t know he has one yet.
A Camp H.O.W.L. Novel
Happily ever after is right under their noses.
Harris has been keeping a big secret for years—his unrequited mate bond with his best friend, Jackson. He’s convinced himself that having Jackson in his life is enough. That, and his work at Camp H.O.W.L., keeps him going.
Things get complicated when Jackson applies for a high-ranking Tribunal job in New York City—far from Camp H.O.W.L. The position requires he relinquish all Pack bonds… and that’s when his wolf decides to choose a mate. Suddenly Jackson sees his best friend in a sizzling new light.
Their chemistry is through the roof, but they’re setting themselves up for broken hearts—and broken bonds—if Jackson can’t figure out a way to balance his career and the love that’s just been waiting for him to take notice.
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Jackson hauled his duffel bag up on his shoulder and pushed through the crowd at the gate.
He’d been up for forty-eight hours, and he didn’t have any patience for the people chattering around him.
He hadn’t checked any baggage for his two-day trip to New York for his interview with the Werewolf Tribunal. His usual uniform of a polo shirt and cargo pants had been as dressy as he needed to be, especially since most of his interview took place on a sparring mat in the Tribunal Enforcer gym.
Jackson nearly wept with relief when he saw Jordan’s car waiting at the curb. Jordan could be a gigantic flake sometimes, but he almost always came through when it was important.
“You look like warmed-over shit,” Jordan said when Jackson opened the door and slid into the front seat.
“Then I look better than I feel,” Jackson muttered. He tossed his duffel over his shoulder into the back and slumped against the seat.
“Worse,” Jackson said. He closed his eyes, which felt dry and scratchy from his lack of sleep and the recycled air on the plane. “The interview lasted a day and a half.”
Jordan whistled through his teeth. “That’s a lot of meetings.”
“No,” Jackson said, cracking one eye open to look at him. “That’s one meeting that went for thirty-six hours. They were looking at how I handled stress.”
“Damn. What did they do?”
“After the face-to-face interview, I sparred with a few Enforcers, and then they had me research some cold cases. After that I was put in a hood and dumped on some Pack land outside the city. There was an obstacle course, and once I completed it, more sparring and some shifting drills. Then I had to find my own way back to the Tribunal headquarters.”
“That’s one toughass interview.”
It was, but there was a good reason for it. Tribunal Enforcers were the best of the best. There were twenty district Enforcers applying for the open spot, and all of them had impressive track records in their own region. Jackson had tough competition for the job.
“You made it back, though.”
“I did. And as soon as I got back they took me to the airport and told me they’d be in touch in a few weeks.”
“That’s kind of fucked.”
“The test or the wait time?”
“Both,” Jordan said, and Jackson snorted out a laugh.
“It’s the big leagues.”
“Sucks you have to wait, but since you’re going to be here for at least the next few weeks, I guess I should tell you I signed with a new client while you were gone.”
Jackson sighed and rubbed a hand over his face, sitting up. “Can this wait until tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow Harris is coming, and I know better than to expect you’ll get anything done with him around.”
Jackson’s stomach lurched. He’d forgotten Harris was coming. They’d made the plans weeks ago, well before the Tribunal Enforcer job had opened up. Jackson hadn’t told him he had applied. He usually told Harris everything, but for some reason he’d held this close to his chest. He’d told Drew, but he’d asked his stepbrother not to mention it to anyone else. Jackson needed to be the one to tell Harris.
“What’s the job?”
“High-profile camper. Anne Marie sent over the file. We’re going to need to do a full overhaul and come up with some new security protocols.”
That must mean very high profile, then. They made the two-and-a-half-hour drive a few times a year to clear the camp when a tycoon’s kid or some foreign royal came to Camp H.O.W.L., but they usually had more lead time than this.
“They didn’t want the news to leak, so her parents didn’t enroll her until Thursday.”
Fuck. An upgrade at Camp H.O.W.L. would usually take a month or more to plan. Luckily things were pretty solid there, but there were additional layers Fang and Fury would have to put in place and not a lot of time to do it.
“Who’s the camper?”
Jordan’s face lit up, so Jackson knew this was going to be bad.
The name didn’t ring a bell. Jackson kept track of all the prominent Were families because Pack politics was an important component of his job. He knew a lot of the Weres in both government and entertainment, but only because Fang and Fury had worked for most of them.
“She’s an actress. Her parents are going to bring us on to consult on her personal security and exposure risks after she finishes at Camp H.O.W.L.”
“They’ll be bringing you on. I’m going to be moving to New York, and Tribunal Enforcers aren’t allowed to freelance.”
“Or have Pack bonds or relationships or anything that would make them like the rest of us mere mortals, I know,” Jordan said. He’d turned away, but Jackson could hear the eye roll in his voice.
Jordan didn’t want him to go out for the Tribunal job because it meant he’d have to leave the Garrison Pack, and it pissed Jackson off that Jordan couldn’t see why it was so important.
“There’s a good reason for all that.”
“You don’t have to cut ties to be a regional Enforcer. I don’t see how it’s any different.”
Jackson ignored him and settled back into his seat. They’d had this argument half a dozen times since Jackson applied for the job. Jordan kept talking, but Jackson sank into his exhaustion and fell asleep.
Camp H.O.W.L. Series
Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.
Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.