Sunday, November 2, 2014

[Blog Tour ] Giveaway: Plover Landing by Marie Zhuikov


Plover Landing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 978-0-87839-727-3
Book Length: 225 pages
Publisher: North Star Press 

This sequel to “Eye of the Wolf” finds Melora St. James working to restore an endangered shorebird to the coast of Lake Superior. Melora’s peace and her focus on the piping plover are interrupted when Drew Tamsen, the boyfriend she thought she lost to another woman and another way of life eleven years ago, shows up on her office doorstep. He wants her back. They have a few things to work out first: Drew chose life as a werewolf over being with Melora, and after a painful divorce, Melora is in no hurry to trust or give her heart to another man -- even if he’s one she never quite got over.

Their story is interwoven with that of the plovers, who are threatened by foxes, loggers and the Federal Aviation Administration. Then there’s Demetri, a mysterious boy Melora and Drew find lost on the beach. In helping Demetri discover who he is and make his first real friends, Melora and Drew learn secrets about themselves, building community, and coming to terms with the past.



On the drive home, Melora stopped and bought some wine for the evening. When they got to her house, Spencer barked, greeting them enthusiastically; any trace of his former coolness toward Drew was gone.
Drew and Melora sat on the couch, drinking wine and watching the evening shadows lengthen over the harbor. Lightning played across the thickening clouds in the distance over Wisconsin, creating quiet snakes of brilliance.
“How do you think Demetri knew I was a wolf man?” Drew swirled his wine and took a sniff.
“I have no idea,” Melora said. “He knew stuff no four-year-old should, if you ask me. Kinda spooky. And then there was that thing he said about the plovers, that they would come to nest.”
“I feel sorry for his mom,” Drew said. “That kid’s going to give her a run for her money. I suspect it won’t get any easier for her.”
“Still, he’s a neat kid. I wouldn’t mind having a child like that, even if he made me prematurely gray.” Melora took a sip of her wine.
Her hand was next to Drew’s on the couch and he took it in his own. “Want to get started on that? The children part I mean, not the gray part . . . I could help.”
“Drew!” Melora broke his hold and playfully punched him in the thigh. She knew what was about to happen between them was as inevitable as the approaching storm. It couldn’t NOT happen. That would be an insult to the cosmos. But she couldn’t let him get away with such flippancy.
“Sorry,” he said. “My seduction skills are a little primitive.”
Drew’s face turned serious as he put down his wine on the side table. This time, he took Melora’s hand in both of his, rubbing it as he looked into her eyes. With his voice soft and strained, he began. “Melora, even though we saved the wolves, even though I was finally part of something – the pack – staying with them wasn’t worth it without you. I realized that much too late.”
Tears sprang into Melora’s eyes and she looked down.
“I didn’t choose Lana over you. She just came along with the wolves . . . there’s been so much wasted time, so many excuses.” Drew paused. “That stops now. I apologize for hurting you. I want to be with you, whatever it takes, however long it takes. I won’t waste any more time without you.”
Melora looked back up at him, her eyes brimming. “I’ve missed you so much,” she said. A tear escaped and slid down her cheek. Drew reached up and wiped it with his thumb, his hand cupping her face. Melora put her wine glass on the coffee table. She leaned forward and their lips met.
Their kiss felt like coming home on Christmas morning. Like hot chocolate on a snowy evening. Like tulips in spring. Like jumping into a pile of fall leaves. It began soft and slow, becoming harder and more urgent.
Drew’s hands moved from her face down her body, hugging her to him. Melora responded in kind. He felt so good, so fit and solid -- all man.
After a while, they broke to breathe. Spencer whined from his post next to the couch.
“It’s okay, Spencer,” Melora breathed. “Lay down.”
“Good idea.” Drew leaned over her. Melora laughed and scooched her legs underneath him. They lay on the couch, Melora on her back, Drew on his side, his back against the back of the couch.
“Sorry, Spencer’s not used to people coming here and accosting me,” Melora said.
“Oh no, not accost.” Drew stroked her cheek again. “Just love.”
And they kissed again. Drew’s hand moved from her face to her neck, to the tops of her breasts. “Oh my god, you are soft,” he said.
Melora arched her back in pleasure and then rolled onto her side, facing him, so that her free hand could roam his body. It rested on his butt, kneading the muscles there, roamed up his back, and then was drawn back to his butt. She lifted her leg and laid it atop his, bringing him closer to her.
Dimly, she noticed the sound of thunder. The room darkened as the storm drew near. 

Marie Zhuikov has had a long interest in environmental issues and helped with efforts to restore piping plovers to Wisconsin Point on Lake Superior. A nonfiction writer for a water research program, Zhuikov is also a poet and is active in the writing community of Duluth, Minn., which she calls home.