The Call of the Wild, byTeresa Noelle Roberts

My idea of a great weekend involves time spent outside, renewing my connection to nature. This weekend, for instance, approached greatness. I got to play in my big vegetable garden, weeding, fussing over my plant babies, and harvesting peas, herbs, lettuce, and Asian greens of several kinds. I went for a hike in the nearby state park with my husband (our tenth anniversary’s June 20th and we still hike hand in hand where the trail permits). My husband and I lit a fire in the fire pit and sat on the back deck, sipping hard cider, listening to the peepers in the pond across the road, and watching the stars come out. The only thing that would have made the weekend better would have been time on the beach—if you look at my Website, you’ll notice the ocean background and the photograph of me on the beach—but time didn’t permit. (In case you’re curious, my favorite beach is in Ogunquit, Maine, about 2 hours from our house.)

 Maybe spending all that time in the great outdoors explains why, when I sat down to write today, I felt serene and centered and was able to let the words flow like water. I recently came back from a great vacation in New Orleans. It was an amazing experience, one I wouldn’t trade for the world, but all that time in a city left me badly in need of getting my hands in the dirt, of listening to the birds, of moving on a rocky trail instead of a sidewalk.

I scarcely live in the wilderness. The big garden is on a quarter acre lot in a town halfway between Boston and Providence. But the racket of birds behind the house, the peepers, the garden, all keep me grounded and productive.

Maybe the “call of the wild” explains why I write so much about shape-shifters—they’re called duals in my world—and witches who work with the forces of nature. On July 17, the third book in my Duals and Donovans: The Different series, Fox’s Folly, comes out from Samhain Publishing. Unlike the first two books in the series, Lions’ Pride and Foxes’ Den, both of which were firmly rooted in rural settings, Fox’s Folly takes place in a city. Takes place in Las Vegas, in fact, where glitz and glitter rule, where nothing is quite what is seems, and where Paul, a young witch who’s been summoned from his family home in rural Oregon to track down a magic-using serial killer, is distinctly uneasy and having trouble tapping into his magic. Luckily he meets Tag, a fox dual. Hot sexual attraction flares instantly between the two men, but as they work together to track down the serial killer, Paul and Tag realize there’s more between them than lust. In the scene below, Tag uses their emotional connection to help Paul tap into the magic of nature in the heart of Las Vegas—a need that, in my own non-witchy way, I understand.

This book is a prequel to Foxes’ Den.
Available from Samhain Publishing

Blurb: What happens in Vegas lasts forever…if you’re lucky.

Las Vegas is the wrong place for an inexperienced witch like Paul Donavan. But he has no choice; his family owes a debt of honor to a half-fae casino owner, whose guests have been dying under mysterious circumstances. The normy police haven’t connected the dots between the deaths, and the owner has called in his marker.

When Paul literally runs into fox dual Taggart Ross, the instant, powerful attraction between them bristles with red flags. Not only should there be no sparks between him and this “hillbilly with a tail,” the fact is a dual couldn’t have committed murder-by-magic. But until he’s got proof, caution rules.

Tag’s own suspicions are on high alert. Magic killed his favorite uncle, and Paul, who senses Tag’s dual nature way too easily, should be a prime suspect. Except Tag’s libido responds to the witch in a way that shouldn’t happen.

Whatever this thing is between them, the raw sexual energy feeds a power that becomes their best hope of drawing out the killer out before he, she, or it strikes again. Until love gets involved, and things get real complicated, real fast…


The familiar powers of earth, air, water and living things Paul could tap in Oregon were far away, and the analogous powers felt far away here in the heart of a city forced to bloom in the desert. “It’s dead here,” he muttered. “No life, just concrete and steel and plastic.”

 “Thought so too, when I first arrived. But it’s not dead, just dry and citified.” Tag took his hand. “You’re telepathic, right? I’ve heard duals are hard for humans to read because we think differently than humans do. But you’re not like most humans. You get nature, feel it in your body the way we do. I think you’ll understand enough.”

Tag pulled him in for a quick, thorough kiss that lit both red magic and simple desire. “Come on in, Paul,” he whispered, his bourbon-and-smoke voice inviting so much more. “Experience Las Vegas the way I do.”

Paul wasn’t used to stepping into anyone’s head but his twin’s—and he tried to avoid doing the whole Vulcan mind-meld thing with Portia when it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Among witches, high levels of telepathy were considered more a disability than a gift, and while his was nowhere near as strong as Portia’s, he still kept it locked down most of the time, especially around normies, who leaked thoughts and emotions without realizing it.
And his witch-sight was too damn strong. Even when he wasn’t trying to use it, he still saw auras and essences as clearly as he did the solid objects everyone could see. The idea of probing with it, in this city of fools…

But Tag was with him. Tag said he saw more to Las Vegas than he did, and everyone knew duals didn’t lie.

Paul opened his mind and his witch-sight to the man in his arms and the city around them.

Life. Las Vegas was full of foolishness and a sad, desperate greed for material gain and a kind of packaged fun that Paul, with his witch upbringing and his inclination to seriousness, didn’t understand. But as easily as he could dismiss so much of Las Vegas as false, Tag, with his keen dual senses, perceived things differently. And the witch-sight, fully engaged now and irresistible, seductive, showed him more.

Disjointed sensory images: hawks circling above the Strip, stars only a dual could perceive against the brilliant lights of the city, the smells of crowded humans, ugly in the aggregate but each one individual, full of life, telling its own unique story. The desert outside the city was full of life in its own right, though it was a sere, austere kind of life, different from the lushness he was used to at home or in Ireland, or that Tag knew from the mountains of Tennessee. Living energy flowed everywhere, whether it was people enjoying touristy pleasures—the pleasures might be phony on some level, but the enjoyment of getting away and doing something new and different was real—or the two housekeepers making out in the supply closet on the next floor below them, or the Las Vegas residents going about their daily lives, far from the Strip. The plants in the city’s various gardens and the water flowing underground had their own energies. Even house pets and performing animals contributed. Tag’s wordside wasn’t consciously aware of most of it, but his fox perceived the web of energy and life on a level beyond words, and, linked to the fox’s keener senses, Paul’s witch-sight became something greater.

He swayed. The world dimmed except for the magical energies that linked everything, absolutely everything, even the dead trees used for furniture, even the unimaginably ancient life that had become oil and since then plastic.

He’d heard about this, heard that the right lover could bring this dizzying clarity, but he’d never known anyone who’d actually experienced it, even those happily married to the witch of their dreams.

He woke on the floor of the fae circle, vision blurred by the swirling colors of witch-sight, power thrumming in his veins. Tag knelt next to him, holding him, his gorgeous face fraught with concern. “What the hell…”

“Power surge,” Paul croaked. “It’s good, or it will be once my eyes focus and my nerve endings stop jangling. Thank you. You helped me find the power.” He drew Tag down to him and into a deep kiss, passionate for its own sake, not intended to lead further but to hint at some of what was in his heart.


Hope you enjoyed. I’ll be giving away an advance copy of Fox’s Folly on my Website. Go leave a comment here or on the giveaway blog post before July 18 for a chance to win!

Teresa Noelle Roberts

1 comment:

  1. Damn, that was good. Now I want to read it! When does it come out? July 17? A week. I can hold out for a week. Maybe.