with dates NEWSLETTER HEADER Quiet In Her Bones - Feb 2021

Welcome to the Newsletter

To read this in your browser, click this link, or copy and paste this address into your browser: https://madmimi.com/s/fb54021


I'm very happy to share the international cover of LAST GUARD to the left. Isn't it fantastic?!

LAST GUARD should now be available to preorder at all your usual bookstores. Audio preorder links take a bit longer to go live, but don't worry, the book will be available on audio, too.

Also in this newsletter is information on two upcoming New Zealand appearances, links to a couple of new interviews, info on two new French releases, and last but not least - part 3 of Wildcat Blues!

Happy reading!

p.s. if you'd like to read the previous newsletter, here's the link

Last Guard

Ebook: AppleBooks, GooglePlay, KindleAu, KindleNZ, KindleUK, Kobo
Print: A&R, Bktpa, BookDepo, FshPnd, Hive, MtyApe, Waterstones
Audiobook: links to follow

USA & Canada
Ebook: AppleBooks, Kindle, KindleCa, Kobo, NOOK
Hardcover: Amazon, Amazon.ca, B&N, BookDepo, Bookshop, BAM, Chapters, IndBnd
Audiobook: links to follow



I recently did a couple of email interviews and they are now both live:

Suffolk Libraries Meet the Author Q&A

North London Story Festival


ALT Text: "Nervy and unsettling noir [with] a legitimately and believably unreliable narrator." - The New York Times Book Review (on Quiet In Her Bones)

Quiet in Her Bones

Thank you for your support of my second thriller. I know it's quite a departure from my romance books. And for those who found me with Quiet In Her Bones or A Madness of Sunshine, welcome!

I also know many of you have recommended my book to thriller-loving friends and family even if you don't read thrillers yourself, and you have my thanks for that. :-)

It delights me that Quiet In Her Bones - a book set in my home city in New Zealand - has been on the bestseller list in NZ since its release. I'm having fun writing NZ noir alongside my other projects, and I'm already pondering ideas for my next thriller. Which beautiful, dangerous location in NZ will we travel to next?

USA & Canada
Ebook: AppleBooks, Kindle, KindleCa, Kobo, NOOK
Hardcover: Amazon, Amazon.ca, B&N, BookDepo, Bookshop, BAM, Chapters, IndBnd, Powells
Audiobook: Amazon, AppleBooks, Audible, Kobo

Ebook: AppleBooks, GooglePlay, Hive, KindleAu, KindleNZ, KindleUK, Kobo
Print: AmazonAu, AmazonUK, A&R, BookDepo, Bktpa, FshPnd, Hive, MtyApe, Waterstones
Audiobook: AmazonUK, AppleBooks, Audible, Kobo


ARR Award

I am so happy to share that ALPHA NIGHT, recently won the Australian Romance Readers Award for Favourite Paranormal Romance 2020. Yay Selenka and Ethan! And thank you to ARRA!

If you haven't checked out their book, you can read an excerpt from it on this page of my website.

ARRAwards 2020 01 PNR - Copy

New Releases in French

French Alpha Night

Psi Changeling: Rêves de loup now out (French edition of Alpha Night)

French Cherish Hard

Un brin fleur bleue now out (French edition of Cherish Hard)

writers-readers-logo 1 - Copy

Upcoming Appearances: New Zealand

Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival
6-9 May, 2021

I'll be doing multiple events at the Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival in May, including a writing workshop.

Here's a list of my events:

​* Gala Showcase – What Does the Future Hold?
* Crossing Genres
* Workshop: Lusting for Words
* The Books that Made Me
* Writing Romance in the 21st Century

Each event is separately ticketed, so you can choose which sessions you want to attend.

Click through on the links above to go to the page for that specific event, or this link will take you to the main page of the festival website. All ticket info and prices are on the website.

Auckland: Criminal Minds - 10 Crime Writers in 100 Minutes

This event featuring readings and Q&A with 10 local crime writers (including me!) is taking place April 15th at 7pm.

Location: Antique Alley, 240 Dominion Road, Mt Eden
Attendance is free.

April 15th

Exclusive Extra: Psy-Changeling Short Story

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This is part 3 of Wildcat Blues. Please go back to the December 2020 newsletter to read part 1 and the February 2021 newsletter for part 2.

I almost didn't get this done in time for this newsletter, but these two were done waiting, so here we go!

p.s. I had to censor a few words with an * because some email programs bounce back anything racy, or put a dangerous content warning on it. (If it does the latter, please mark the newsletter as safe, or whitelist it, so you continue to receive it). Trust me, the only thing dangerous in this short story is the heat. ;-)

Wildcat Blues

Part 3

By Nalini Singh

Tanner’s eyes flicked to the farmhouse. “Hold that thought, kitty cat.” It came out hoarse, Tanner making no attempt to hide his response to her. “I have a feeling we’ve got an audience.”

Zara didn’t much care, but then, she was a cat. She could be a showoff at times. “The twins?”

“Nope. I think it’s Ma.” A wicked grin. “Probably praying to all the gods in the universe that you rope me good and well, and she can finally stop worrying about her bachelor son.”

Zara snorted. “I don’t think you have any trouble getting dates, Tanner Larkspur.” He was a tall drink of sexy deliciousness. Just the kind of man who’d ride her hard and probably leave her wanting.

A twinkle in his eye, he put her into the passenger seat, then shut the door.

As he ran around to get into the driver’s seat, she frowned to herself. This was Tally’s brother, and Tally was Zara’s friend. “We’re not about to do something stupid, are we?” she said when Tanner got in.

He shot her a dark-eyed glance, a sudden seriousness to him that made her skin prickle. “You worried about Tally?”

“I just don’t want to overstep.” It sounded so stuffy put that way, so she tried again. “There are rules when it’s the brother of a friend.”

Another slow smile. “Shall I tell you how many times she’s told me I need to meet her friend Zara, that she’s sure we’d get along like a house on fire?”

Blinking, Zara twisted on the seat. “She did not.”

He reached out to tug on one of her curls, watched it bounce. As if he was the cat and not her. That she was allowing him all these skin privileges…yeah, she was in trouble.

“She showed me photos too,” Tanner said. “Oh, she’d send them through saying it was of her and Clay, or the kids, but oh, what a coincidence, there’s Zara in the background, or posing with Noor on an ice cream date, or oh, look, there she is being a badass architect on a building site with Clay.” He winked. “I like your cute pink hardhat and black work boots with silver stripes. You look like you could kick ass.”

Zara’s mouth had fallen open halfway through that recitation. Snapping it shut, she fought the blush on her cheekbones. “I spray-painted my hardhat pink when I was on my first building site and assh*le men kept trying to talk down to me. I thought, if I’m going to deal with this sh*t anyway, I might as well do it in gear that’s me.”

Tanner chuckled as he pulled away from the house. “You still have problems?”

“No, not these days.” She’d built her reputation, earned her stripes—and was no longer young or unsure. “And I never really had it with DarkRiver. They’re used to strong women—those work boots were a gift from the pack after a major project where I pulled an architectural solution out of thin air when we ran into an environmental issue no one had foreseen. Leopards had them custom made.”

Her lips curved. “The rush of finding the solution was enough, but I wasn’t about to turn down freaking amazing steel-toed boots designed to be protective and stylish.”

Tanner shot her a considering glance. “You really love your work.”

“Yes, I really do.” And she couldn’t do what she did out here; her specialty was in urban builds that catered to changeling needs while being welcoming to humans and—of late—Psy as well.

Frowning at the errant thought, she looked out at the wide open landscape around them, at the cows doing cow things, at the horses who hung out by the fence, watching the world go by, at the farm vehicles moving out in the distance. “Family members driving those?”

He shook his head. “No, Sam and Dad are on the other side of the farm, and Samara’s got a meeting with a supplier. We have a few permanent crew. They live in the white-painted red-shingled house you would’ve passed on your way in.” He raised his hand in hello to a man in a tractor closer to the road, but didn’t stop.

They drove on in a silence that wasn’t uncomfortable…but was filled with the kind of tension that only exists between a man and a woman who want to tear off each other’s clothes.

Zara blushed at the thought while trying not to stare at Tanner’s thighs oh-so-close to her, the heavy muscle pushing up against the faded denim of his jeans. When her eyeballs decided to disobey her commands, she jerked them up to his arms.

No help there.

The short sleeves of his black T-shirt revealed sun-kissed forearms ropy with muscle, his hands solid and blunt fingered. She could imagine how those hands would feel on her skin, imagine the slight abrasiveness of them, wondered if he’d be gentle or rough. She could go with either, depending on her mood.

She almost squirmed in her seat in anticipation.

Rein it in, Zara.

It was a harsh order from the sensible side of her, a reminder that Tanner wasn’t for her. Tally might’ve tried to play matchmaker, but she’d have been thinking a long term relationship.

Girl was crazy stupid adorably in love with Clay and wanted the same for Zara; the rose colored lenses of romance had apparently blinded her to the fact such a thing just couldn’t work with a city girl whose roots were buried in asphalt, and a farm boy who thrived in the open air and in the feel of soil between his fingers.

Then Tanner turned a corner and she gasped. Ahead of them lay a little slice of forest that made her wildcat’s claws prick her fingertips, the feline heart of her wanting out, wanting to run in the green. “Oh, I like that.” It came out a near purr.

“Part of the original forests that once covered the land,” he said. “Long gone by the time my parents bought the place, except for this little piece. They love it and, over the years, we’ve planted more trees in a bid to expand it.” He parked under the shade of a large tree with shiny green leaves as large as her palm. “You eaten?”

Her stomach rumbled right on cue. Super sexy there, Zara.

Chuckling, he said, “I’ll take that as a no. Which is good, because I packed us a picnic.” Then he reached across the seat and, when she made no move to tell him to back off, he kissed her.

Just kissed her. Just like that.

Moaning, she gripped at the soft cotton of his tee and sank into the kiss, into him. His lips were firm, his breath hot, the masculine burn of his body a welcome conflagration against her skin. And his scent. Oh man, she loved his scent, could burrow her face into his neck and just breathe it in for hours.

When she nipped at his lower lip, he said, “Cat,” in a deep voice that held so much affection that she melted.

One big hand landed on her thigh atop her dress. Her body sizzled. Then he pushed up the fabric to settle his palm directly against her skin and it was an electric shock right to the juncture between her thighs. Breathing hard, she broke the kiss. “Wow.”

His eyes glittered, color on his cheeks. “Yeah.” Another kiss, this one deeper, wetter, more intense. All tongue and demand. Her nip*les grew hard, her cat’s fur rubbing against the inside of her skin.

He was so big and she wanted him over her, his weight crushing her into the ground. She also wanted to jump on him and ride him into the ground herself. And that was just the start.

This time when they broke the kiss, Tanner said, “I thought a kiss would be a good idea, would break the tension.” His chest heaved, his breath unsteady. “I did not think that through. You’re tiny but boom, you hit a man hard.”

Overwhelmed by a wave of unexpected affection at this man who was so blunt in his appreciation of her, she stroked his jaw. “No. It was the right call. I was about to combust.”

He rubbed his cheek against her hand. “Yeah, but we didn’t exactly break the tension. I’m not sure I can walk.”

She found herself laughing at the self-deprecating comment. Nipping once more at his lower lip, she petted his wide chest before saying, “I’m starving.”

He raised an eyebrow.

And her cat lunged at him, utterly delighted. Because a man who could play? Oh yeah, he was her catnip. “For food.” She poked that gorgeous chest. “I’m saving you for desert.”

That slow, slow, smile. “Yes, ma’am,” he said before moving to get out of the truck.

She waited for him to open her door just so she could enjoy him taking her by the waist and lifting her out. She ran her hands over him as he did so, stole a taste of the strong column of his throat. Skin privileges with him felt so effortless, so easy. As if they’d been meant to be doing this all along.

A frown wrinkled her brow again as he went to grab the picnic basket from the back seat. This, she realized all at once, could never be a playful vacation fling—no matter what. Even putting aside the fact he was her friend’s cherished big brother, there was already too much between them. Too much heat, too much affection, too much liking.

“We’re going to get in trouble,” she said solemnly when he returned with the basket in one hand. “I’m a city girl, country boy. If you don’t want me to break your heart, we’d better just eat breakfast and go home.” Her cat hissed inside her, not liking that particular idea. At all.

Taking her free hand, he leaned in to press the sweetest kiss to her cheek. “No, I think I’ll just keep on kissing you, city girl.”

Well, she’d tried.

Of course the speed with which she’d abandoned the effort told her that Tanner wasn’t the only one risking a broken heart. Zara De Lêon was on the cusp of making a very serious mistake with Tanner Larkspur. “We’re playing with fire.”

“Well now, kitty cat,” Tanner drawled, “I always did like a good blaze.” Stopping in a pretty green clearing surrounded by trees and blooming wildflowers, he set down the basket, then grabbed the picnic blanket she hadn’t realized he had folded under his arm.

He snapped it over the ground in a checkboard pattern of green and blue, then bent at the waist like a fancy waiter. “Your table, my lady.”

Laughing and oh-so-charmed by him, she felt her eyes change as she took a seat, her cat surging to the fore. This man… Exhaling hard, she watched as he began to take food from the basket to put onto the blanket. Watched his strong shoulders, his powerful thighs, his muscled arms. But more than that, she watched the lines of his face.

Strong, caring, protective lines.

Tally’s big brother.

Noor’s favorite uncle.

The Larkspur’s eldest son.

The kind of man on whom dynasties were built and families founded.

Exactly the kind of man to appeal to this particular wildcat’s yearning heart.

When he sat down next to her and lifted an enormous bread roll filled with fried egg to her mouth, she took a bite. After swallowing, she said, “Interesting idea of picnic food.” Two of those giant rolls, what looked like breakfast biscuits, a couple of random pieces of fruit, and a slice of pound cake. To wash it down was a thermos filled with what she guessed was coffee.

“Hey, you want tiny food, you got the wrong man,” he said, that smile easy on his lips.

Despite his tall, dark, and gorgeous looks, this was a man who smiled often, and who was rarely moody or angry, she thought. Laugh lines flared out from his eyes, curved his lips. “What do you know about tiny food?”

“I had sisters,” he said. “And back in school, Sam was really into a girl, and he looked up how to make perfect picnic lunches—and he begged me to help him.” Tanner rolled his eyes. “By the time you cut off the crusts and cut the sandwiches into triangles, it’s like a bite. Why even bother?” He fed her another piece of his breakfast roll creation.

Grinning even as she chewed, she listened to the song of a bird, the rustle of the wind. But most of all, she listened to the rumble of Tanner’s voice as he told her stories of growing up on the farm, and of where his family saw it going next.

At some point, she realized he wasn’t mentioning his own plans. “Where are you in all this?" She wanted to know his dreams, wanted to know him. "Aren’t you the logical person to take it into the next generation?”

“That’s just it, Miss Wildcat.” Food finished and basket set aside, he lay back on the blanket. When he patted his chest, it felt natural to fold her arms on the firm muscle of it and half-lie on him, while she looked down at his gorgeous square-jawed face. “I’ll always be a farmer. But this farm? As far as who’s going to take it over—has to be the twins. It’s in their blood. They love how everything’s run, and they’re really good at doing what needs to be done.”

“You don’t?”

“I love it because of my family.” Tanner ran one big hand down her back. “But I want to try new methods, do things on a smaller scale so I can experiment and develop innovative techniques. I could just ask for part of the farm here to run as I see fit, but I don’t want to go around breaking up the Nest.”

Generous heart, she thought, adding that to the list of all the things she liked about him. Loyal, generous heart.

“I’ve got money saved up,” he said, playing with her curls as he spoke. “I’ve spoken to my folks, and they know I’m looking for my own piece of land to farm.” Dark eyes held hers. “Thing is, kitty cat, I now have another qualification for said piece of land.”

Her heart thundered. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.” His voice vibrated against her. “It’s gotta be close enough to a city that a woman who does city-type work could commute.”

Zara swallowed. “We just met.”

“Funny,” he murmured. “Feels like I’ve known you my entire lifetime.” When he shifted, she rolled with him, ending up underneath him while he braced himself above her on one forearm, his other hand cupping her hip with possessive familiarity. “You fit something in me.”

Her chest hurt, his words hit so true. “I’m not human,” she whispered, playing with the bottom edge of his T-shirt. “I need to be near my pack—or another pack I consider family.” It was critical to her mental wellbeing.

“So we add that into the mix.” He smiled when she pushed up his tee so she could spread her hands on the ridged surface of his abdomen. “We have time to look. I still gotta court you and convince you to hitch your wagon to mine.”

Zara’s lips twitched. “You’re pulling my leg now with all that country boy talk.” She saw the laughter in his eyes, knew in her bones that this man would make her smile always.

“And we are moving way too fast farm boy. Speed of light has nothing on you.” Words spoken in self-defense, because oh, this man... With his smile and his heart and his way of looking at her, he could smash right through all the walls she'd put up to protect her soft, vulnerable core.

A shrug that rippled the muscles under her touch and drew her attention to the fine trail of hair that led into his jeans. “Just putting my cards on the table so you don’t stop this before it starts.” No laughter now, his expression solemn. “I see the worry, the skittishness in you—and it scares me.”

Her breath caught.

“I’ve been on this planet long enough to know myself, and I’ve never once reacted to a woman like I do to you. I haven’t stopped thinking about you since the instant we locked eyes.” No shields on that handsome face, no attempt to play the wrong kind of game. He was putting it all out there.

Generous. Loyal. And brave. So brave that she had no chance against him.

“I’m telling you my plans and I’m moving fast," he said, "because I want you to know that what you see as a major obstacle isn’t one at all. Give us time, Zara—the time to find out if this thing is going to be a slow burn that lasts a lifetime or a short brushfire that scorches us both before it burns out.”

Looking into the open and rawly honest intensity of his expression, her cat on the surface of her skin, Zara knew. She knew. They might spend time playing on the way to getting to their forever, but this precious new flame between them wasn’t going to burn out. It was too bright, too scary in its promise.

The wildcat inside her stretched, batting at him with playful intent.

Yes, both parts of her were quite smitten with Tanner Larkspur.

It was a good thing he looked equally smitten in return. “Be my girl?” he asked, his voice husky.

“You asking me to go steady?” Her voice wanted to tremble.

“Yup.” He stroked her hip, his gaze potent with unhidden emotion as he said, “Just you and me. Dating. Courting. Becoming.”

Zara was already a melted pile of woman, but he wasn’t done.

“For starters,” he said, “I’m wanting to take you to a barn dance tomorrow to introduce you to my friends. And when you’re back in San Fran, this country bumpkin will fly in to see you, walk the streets of your city.”

Her shoulders shook even as her heart sighed. “Country bumpkin, my patootie as my grams would say. You’re a smooth talker Tanner Larkspur.”

His smile deepening, he lifted the hand on her hip to cup her cheek. “Have I talked you into it then, kitty cat with the bright, bright eyes?”

Curling her fingers into his chest, she pricked him with her claws. When he shivered in pleasure, she knew she was sunk. “Yes. Now, kiss me, farm boy.” And he did. And it was the perfect first kiss for the beginning of their story.

Copyright © 2021 by Nalini Singh

Author’s Note: I think that’s a good place to leave Zara and Tanner, don’t you? I’m sure we’ll drop in on them in the future, but for now, let’s leave the city girl and her farm boy to find their way to their perfect forever.

If you haven't tried the Psy-Changeling series, you can dive in at either Slave to Sensation or Silver Silence.

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