Sneak Peek: To Snarl or to Snuggle #2

The third book in my Hidden Lines series will be out later this month, and to celebrate I’ll be sharing some sneak peeks from Chapter One. To Snarl or to Snuggle concludes the trilogy that charts Chloe and Jorge’s journey to their happily ever after. Sneak Peek #1 can be found here.

Before Naomi can say anything, there’s a commotion at the entrance. A boy, maybe twelve or thirteen, careens into an empty table just inside the door, almost knocking it over. I know puberty can have its awkward gangly growth spurt phases, but this is no ordinary stumbling. At first, I assume he’s drunk or stoned or something—sad, I know, for a young teen— but then I notice some awfully shaggy hair sprouting from his neck and spreading under his shirt.

Shit. He’s a shape-shifter, and by the looks of it, one who isn’t prepared to be going through a transition. Given his age, this is probably his first shift or close to it. Odds say he’s an orphan shifter—born into a family who doesn’t know shape-shifters exist but have some rogue genes in their DNA. Puberty takes hold, and boom, you find out you’re a shape-shifter.

A barista is heading from behind the counter right for the boy, and things might get ugly. I’ve never witnessed a shifter hitting his first change before, but from what Jorge told me, it isn’t smooth—especially when the person doesn’t know it’s coming.

I look at Naomi, who is watching events with wide eyes. She and I are probably the only people in this coffee shop who know shape-shifters exist—and it needs to stay that way. My voice is low and surprisingly calm given that my body is taut with tension. “Hey, Naomi.”

She turns to me. “What?”

“Call Jorge now. Tell him we’ve got an orphan shifter changing.”

Other authors are sharing their sneak peeks. Find them here:

T is for Tea #AtoZChallenge

I admit that I do not like coffee. I don’t even like the smell of it. I make my husband use mouthwash after he drinks it. I can go into coffee houses, but I don’t like the smell; I just don’t think about it.

So how do I get my caffeine fix? Black tea. For a long time, I got my fix from Barq’s and Mountain Dew, which meant that I really didn’t drink caffeine all that often after college. I thought black tea all tasted like the bottom of the barrel cheap tea that is so ubiquitous in the United States. Sometime in my late 20s, this myth was abolished.

I often drink my tea with cream and honey or agave nectar.

My gateway tea was a chocolate black tea from Adagio that my husband received for Christmas and shared with me. From there, we both started trying other varieties. Like Scotch, wine, cheese and other delicacies, I’ve come to appreciate the differences in flavor and nuance produced by location, preparation and packaging.

I prefer loose, whole leaf tea, but I have had some good crushed tea. A few of my favorites:

What do you think? Do the leaves of Golden Monkey tea resemble monkey paws?

  1. Darjeeling (India): This is a very delicate tea that is low on the bitterness factor–as long as you brew it for no more than five minutes. The spring crop is generally lighter bodied than the fall harvest.
  2. Assam (India): A full-bodied tea, it is often a main ingredient in Irish breakfast blends.
  3. Ceylon (Sri Lanka): A good all-around tea, I find it’s flavor a bit milder than Assam but more robust than Darjeeling. It’s often used in breakfast blends, too.
  4. Keemun (China): A good Keemun will have a delightful smokiness that I find pairs well with sweet foods, like french toast. Keemun is a traditional ingredient for English breakfast tea.
  5. Golden Monkey (China): A wonderfully light yet flavorful tea, this is one of my favorites. It does well with cream and sugar or straight up, depending on what you’re looking for. Plus it’s unique looking. The name comes from the leaves’ resemblance to monkey paws.