Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the amazing
In our final post, we will take a look at the Camp H.O.W.L series, all of which are also Dreamspun Beyond titles. Plus, we have our author interview and one more chance to win one of Bru's books.
First up in the series, Camp H.O.W.L.
Moonmates exist, but getting together is going to be a beast….
When Adrian Rothschild skipped his “werewolf puberty,” he assumed he was, somehow, human. But he was wrong, and he’s about to go through his Turn with a country between him and his Pack—scared, alone, and eight years late.
Dr. Tate Lewis’s werewolf supremacist father made his Turn miserable, and now Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L. to ease the transition for young werewolves. He isn’t expecting to offer guidance to a grown man—or find his moonmate in Adrian. Tate doesn’t even believe in the legendary bond; after all, his polygamist father claimed five. But it’s clear Adrian needs him, and if Tate can let his guard down, he might discover he needs Adrian too.
A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But is Adrian up to the challenge?
Adrian hung his head for a moment and took a deep, bolstering breath before meeting Tate’s eyes. “I was trying to get to sleep, but I was really restless. I have been, lately. Just kind of itchy and miserable, I guess.”
He shook his head when Tate tried to get a word in. “It’s normal, I know. But it’s so different from how I’m used to feeling, and it’s got me totally on edge. And then I picked up some noises from in here, thanks to my new super hearing,” he said dryly, rolling his eyes. “And I convinced myself it was okay to be nosy and invade your privacy, so I came into the bathroom to get a better vantage point.”
Tate couldn’t imagine what the Turn would feel like as an adult. It had been bad enough when he’d been a teenager, but teenagers are basically hormone soup anyway, so while it had been uncomfortable and awkward, so were most things at that time. At nineteen he’d still been battling random boners and growing pains, and those had blended in with
the aches, pains, and heightened senses from the Turn. It must be incredibly disconcerting to feel those as a grown man. Adrian was doing amazingly well, considering.
But what could Tate have been doing that would be so distracting? He’d been in here watching a curling match with the volume turned off.
“Vantage point?” he prompted.
“Yeah. Or whatever you’d call it for eavesdropping. I guess vantage point implies sight, and I swear I wasn’t going to take it that far. I respect your decision to take things slow. I’m not going to pressure you into anything,” Adrian said, chagrined.
He rubbed the back of his neck, causing the blanket to fall open and expose more of his toned, gorgeous chest. He had a body that would make any werewolf proud, which was all the more impressive because he’d gotten those rangy muscles as a human.
Tate wondered if Adrian would fill out a bit more now and take on the more muscled physique most adult male werewolves developed or if he’d stay lightly muscled and compact.
“What could you hear?” Tate asked, curious.
“Ah,” Adrian hedged. “Your breathing and heart rate were fast, and you were, uh, talking.”
Tate was used to living by himself, but he’d been mindful of the fact that Adrian was just one room away tonight. And he didn’t think he talked to himself, did he?
“About the game, I guess,” Adrian said, his tone embarrassed. “But, uh, I thought it could be something else. And I wanted to find out for sure, because apparently either the Turn or this weird bond we share has made me into a creep as well as a slavering wolf beast.”
Tate laughed. “One, you’re not a slavering wolf beast. You’re a werewolf. A man who can turn into a wolf by his own will, which is pretty damn cool. I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but you will gain control.”
Adrian was still leaking pheromones all over the place, which had Tate on edge himself. As his fear and anxiety receded, it was impossible to ignore the arousal he was broadcasting. Tate couldn’t tamp down his own response, no matter how hard he tried. How mortifying to be lecturing Adrian on control when Tate could barely control himself. He’d never felt attraction like this to anyone else. He could barely think straight.
“And two?” Adrian prompted, his head tilted quizzically.
Tate tried to ignore the way the gesture made Adrian look even more kissable. “Two?”
“You said one, so I assumed there was a second point.” It had been easier to keep a lid on his libido when Adrian had been pale and shocky. Now his cheeks had a rosy cast to them, and his eyes were sparkling with amusement, and Tate was so, so screwed.
“Uh,” he murmured, glancing away from Adrian to try to compose himself. “Two, you’re not a creep. You’re getting used to your new senses. You can’t be blamed for letting your curiosity get the best of you.”
Adrian shook his head ruefully. “Thanks for trying to give me a pass, but super senses or not, I didn’t have the right to invade your privacy.”
“That’s just it, though. Your senses are on overdrive. Everything is hyped up right now after the Turn. Your brain is trying to figure out how to process all the extra input it’s getting, and that has some side effects, like distractibility, irritability—”
“Curiosity?” Adrian interrupted, his tone dry. “Sorry, but I’m going to have to call bullshit on that one. I totally agree my brain is struggling to catch up, and it’s definitely giving me problems with my attention span and making me cranky. But it’s not increasing my curiosity or any other ity you’re planning to throw in there to make me feel better. The only one that matters is responsibility. As in, I’m a big boy. I can take responsibility for my actions, especially when I’ve done something that sucks, like listening outside your door because I thought you were jacking off and I wanted to hear more.”
Tate swallowed hard. The thought of Adrian listening to him getting off was making him want to get off. The fact that Adrian was standing in front of him wearing next to nothing wasn’t helping, either.
“Oh,” he said, the word coming out breathy and off.
Adrian looked up, his eyes widening as he studied Tate. Tate could imagine what Adrian was seeing. Flushed cheeks, rapid breathing, dilating pupils—pretty much the mirror image of what Tate was watching happen to Adrian.
Was this their natural attraction, or was this simply another symptom of the bond amplifying their emotions? Damned if Tate knew, and the longer Adrian stood there tempting him, the less he cared.
“Tate,” Adrian said, hesitant. “If you want me to leave....”
He should. But he didn’t. “I don’t.”
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Second in the series, Under A Blue Moon
Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.
Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.
Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?
Agility training with Luke was offered in the late afternoon, so they hit that up first after they’d both taken care of their office chores. It didn’t look like anything Nick had ever done before, but he fell instantly in love with the course. It was like the love child between a ninja gym and a skate park.
“Agility training my ass,” Drew muttered as he looked around. “This is some straight-up werewolf parkour shit.”
Nick grinned at him. “Nervous?”
“Hell yes I’m nervous. Have you seen the course? It’s insane!”
Luke walked over with two bundles in his arms. “Great to have you with us today! Since we’re upside down a lot, we wear these while we’re on the course. There’s a changing room at the back of the gym.”
Drew looked at Luke’s skintight outfit and frowned. “Is it optional?”
“Nope! Safety first. Surely you understand, Dr. Welch. This course can be dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions.”
“It looks pretty dangerous even with precautions,” Drew said lowly. “And please, call me Drew.”
“Have we finally met a staffer you aren’t intimately acquainted with?” Nick asked as they made their way back to the changing room.
Drew ignored him and swept the curtain aside and stepped into a room lined with cubbies. Nick followed.
“I mean, you yourself admitted you’re attracted to multiple people here. So I was just asking.”
“You were just probing to see if I’d slept with him,” Drew said. “Which I haven’t.”
“Hit a nerve, have I?”
Drew tossed his shirt into the cubby and turned to face Nick. “We’ve talked about this. I can’t keep up with all the mixed signals you’re sending. I get it if you don’t want to date me because I’m human. But it’s either/or, Nick. You don’t get to toss me aside and also be jealous.”
Nick stepped in closer. “I’m not trying to send mixed signals. I’m trying to figure this out. But I’m sorry. I was out of line with the comment about Luke.”
“I like you, Nick. You’re hot as hell and funny. You’re smart, and you’re surprisingly kind when you want to be. But I’m going to be honest here, the longer you string me along, the less likely it is I’m going to say yes if you ever get your head out of your ass.”
Nick couldn’t take his eyes off Drew’s lips. “I want to get my head out of my ass. I’m working on it.”
Drew leaned in and kissed him, lips soft and pliant, and Nick gave himself over to it, letting Drew control it. He kept it disappointingly sweet, pulling back before it escalated.
“I’m still okay with waiting—for now.” Drew looked down at the spandex shorts in his hands.
“And I’m going to do my best not to look at your ass while you’re werewolf parkouring.”
Thirty minutes later, Nick was soaked in sweat but exhilarated. Ridiculous outfit aside, the agility course was fun. Luke had helped him literally run up a brick wall like Spider-Man. Drew was good-naturedly struggling through the course, though he hadn’t tried the wall.
“Why don’t you grab a drink while I work with some of the others? You’re golden on all the obstacles, man. Jump back in wherever you’d like when you’re done,” Luke told him.
Nick helped himself to a sports drink from the cooler and leaned against the wall, relishing the burn in his muscles from overexertion. This was better than a ten-mile run for burning energy. He wondered if the gym was open to staff after hours or if he had to come during class time.
Drew was doggedly making his way through an obstacle course made up of tilted boxes, but he wasn’t moving fast enough to build up any of the momentum that made it easy. A split second between jumps, Nick saw Drew’s sneaker slip. He pushed off the wall, trying to get to Drew before the inevitable happened. He didn’t make it in time to help, but he had a front row seat to Drew falling short of his last jump and hitting his head on the edge of the wooden box on the way down.
Panic flared through Nick as he shot to Drew’s side. Drew wasn’t moving, curled into a ball on the floor with his head cradled in his hands. Luke was there in an instant with his phone out, ready to call for help.
Drew cracked an eye open at Luke and groaned.
Nick highly doubted that. He’d just about swallowed his tongue watching the way Drew’s head had hit. His sister had been hit by a car a few years ago while they’d been out jogging, and even that hadn’t been as bad as watching Drew fall and knowing he couldn’t get there in time to stop it. Then again, he’d known his sister would heal. He didn’t have that kind of guarantee with
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And book three, Hiding In Plain Sight
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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1. What inspires you? What gets you writing?
I love telling a good story and really digging in and getting to know the characters. Finding out what makes them tick and giving them their own personalities. I love writing dialogue because the way people talk to each other really tells you a lot about them, and it’s a great way for the characters to come alive with their own quirks and tells. Sometimes it can be hard for me to get over the initial hump as I get started on a project, but once I’m into it I can’t wait to get back to the page and watch the characters develop.
2. What's your writing process? Seat of your pants, lots of sticky notes, complex spreadsheets?
It depends on whether I’m writing a standalone or a series. I’m pretty much a pantser when it comes to a standalone book (and always with a standalone novella), but I’ve found I need a really good outline when I write a series. I keep spreadsheets and character maps for those so it’s easier for me to keep track of things.
3. Which character from your books is your favorite, and why?
Drew from Under a Blue Moon, which is the second book in the Camp H.O.W.L. series is probably my favorite. I love all my characters, but he’s a plucky, perennially happy human who can keep up with a Pack of werewolves. What’s not to love about that? He has a great sense of humor and is extremely compassionate. He’s also my most patient character--he had to be, to hang in there and get his HEA with is stubborn werewolf mate, Nick.
4. Which character is your least favorite, and why?
I have a soft spot for redeemable assholes, so they show up in my books a lot. (My favorite Shakespearean play is Othello, my favorite superhero is Dr. Strange, and my favorite broody book hero is Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, so I think it’s safe to say snarky, complicated antiheros are my jam.) That said, I hated Ian in Island House so much I had to give him his own book to redeem him. He’s a complete asshole in that book, but we get to see him stop running from his problems and get his own HEA in Finding Home. It was really satisfying to saddle a confirmed bachelor playboy with a child and watch him rise to the occasion.
5. If you could go back into one of your books and change one thing, what would that be? And why?
I’d give Duncan more resolution with his homophobic father in King of the Kitchen. We get to see him find his HEA and stand up to his father a bit, but there wasn’t a good, satisfying showdown where Duncan drew his line in the sand. I’d love to write a sequel that shows Beck and Duncan opening up their own restaurant and learning how to blend their very different cooking styles--and personalities--and also moving on in a way that shows how they resolved the conflict with Duncan’s father (and how Beck got out from under the micromanaging hand of his uncle).
6. What's next for you? What amazing book are you working on?
I’ve got two things in the works right now. The first is a Dreamspun Desires book inspired by my hellacious 40-some hour trip home from Romantic Times in Reno last year. I ended up renting a nap pod for a few hours when I was stuck in the Dallas airport, and it struck me as the ideal scenario for a rekindled love story between two former lovers who run into each other at an airport on the way to a wedding. I emailed my editor about it while I was still delirious in the airport, and One Night In Dallas was born.
Book one in the Camp H.O.W.L. spin-off series The Connoll Pack will be out in March. It’s called Stealing His Heart, and we’ll see cameos from some very familiar Camp H.O.W.L. faces since it’s set with the New York City Pack that a few of them joined after they left the camp. I’m working on book two in that series right now--it’s going to be a really fun, humorous take inspired by the trip to an indoor waterpark resort I take with my kids every year. The main character is a selkie who gets a summer job at one of those resorts. All of the lifeguards are selkies, but most of the staff and guests are human, so it’s a comedic romp as he tries to keep his supernatural secret from his very human--and very attractive--roommate.
About the author:
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.
Visit Bru online at her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Thank you for celebrating this fabulous author with us all month. We hope you found out a few interesting things about Bru Baker and added a few more books for your TBR.
Until next time, happy reading!