Guest Post: “Tabby’s Pride” by K-Lee Klein
Hi, all! K-Lee Klein is stopping by today to share an excerpt from her upcoming release, Tabby’s Pride. Check it out! And be sure to follow the rest of her blog tour and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!
TABBY’S PRIDE – Lion’s Pride 1
Available: May 18 from Amber Quill Press
Genres: Gay / M/M / Romance / Paranormal / Shapeshifter / The Arts / Series
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (34k words)
Levi is ready to do anything to make his rock star—and hopefully, personal—dreams come true.
Levi Tabberton has dreamed of being a rock star ever since his brother’s best friend, Alexander, showed him his guitar when he was young. But becoming a member of his boyhood crush’s band, Lion’s Pride, is even more important.
Growing up, Levi emulated Alexander Morrison and, years later, his feelings remain unchanged when he auditions for the band. Xan is laid-back, caring, gorgeous, and takes Levi under his wing—paw. But Levi’s guilt and insecurity hold him back from letting Xan see the real him.
Levi needs to prove himself worthy of the band and deserving of Xan’s attention, but the lengths he’s gone to have left him reeling with anxiety and exhaustion. Levi’s not sure how much longer he can pull off the charade he’s been acting out to reach his goals and to keep Xan’s affections.
Has he made the right choice or will his dreams fade in a catastrophe of lies and uncertainty?
The venue for the charity show wasn’t big, but it was far larger than any of the ones Levi had played before. It was scary and important, and his heart raced like a runaway train. He kept to himself, clutching his guitar like it was his last possession in the world.
The other guys huddled together just before they were due on stage, encouraging Levi to join their circle of three. He stood with Xan on one side and Kevin on the other, reveling in the warmth and companionship of being part of something special. It was a feeling of inclusion that sent tingles up his spine and unbelievable calm to the nerves that had been wreaking havoc on his body.
When they were finally announced, Xan dragged Levi into his arms for a powerful embrace. “Knock ’em dead, babe. You’re gonna be awesome.” He kissed the side of Levi’s head, whispering against his ear before he released him, “See you on the other side.”
Levi was the first to take the stage, head held high as his knees wobbled and threatened to toss him to the floor. The crowd reacted in a positive way despite the others taking their sweet time following behind him. He was thankful for the bright lights and the tiny monitor tucked in his ear, both enabling him to slip inside his head before he threw-up on his shoes.
Lion’s Pride kicked ass, and Levi soared to new heights of jubilation and self-confidence. His solos rocked the house, his vocals were spot on even if he did say so himself, and Xan’s half-naked body had stayed in his peripheral vision for the whole night.
No one had been more surprised with his sudden shifting than Levi—especially after Xan’s kind assurance that he didn’t have to do it for the first show if he wasn’t ready. But the excitement of the crowd, the glowing accolades in the form of clapping and hooting and cheering were so exhilarating, were so validating, and exactly what he’d always dreamed of. The band had moved to the back of the stage, huddling just beyond the viewing of the audience, high-fiving each other for an amazing show while the audience screamed for an encore.
Levi’s fatal error began with glowing awe and overpowering love as he watched Xan strip off the rest of his clothes, the happiest smile slapped on his face as he laughed and celebrated. He handed his things to Marv, winking before he flashed Levi a wide grin. The golden gaze swallowed Levi’s heart as Xan splayed his hand over his chest then tapped his fist over his own heart. He mouthed, “All yours,” and Levi was doomed.
It was like some sappy old-fashioned love story his mom had made him sit through when he was young, as she wept and smiled beside him. It was crappy romantic drivel and it was all Xan. Then before Levi had a chance to question or even reply in any way, Xan was shifting and changing. He fell to his knees, the sounds of popping and grinding only partially disguised by his groans and whimpers, and those of Kevin and Don. His body lengthened, muscles elongating, twisting, squirming under the pale skin that quickly turned to coarse white fur.
Levi struggled for breath when three larger-than-life lions stared back at him—majestic, regal, beautiful but distinctive in their own ways. Kevin was light gold, his mane even paler than his body, smaller in stature than the others but with his head held high just as he always did in his human form. He even seemed to retain the sarcastic smirk that was his trademark.
Don was more golden brown, his color darkening from mid-body to his hind legs and tail with the same chestnut as his mane. He was bigger, too, tall and wide, and Levi could clearly make out the rustling and repositioning of muscles beneath his fur as he completed his change.
But Xan…Xan was a white lion, a beautiful creature that still retained the deep emerald of his human eyes, gold now rimming the vibrant green like the setting of a beautiful gem. Levi had seen him in his lion form before, had seen them all, but close up he could barely breathe. When Xan stepped toward him, his gaze never leaving Levi’s, it was a struggle to just stay standing.
Unfortunately, in the end, standing hadn’t been the problem because with one of nudge of Xan’s warm lion nose against his palm, Levi’s cat ignored every fiber of resistance and sent him sprawling to the floor in a whoosh of biting pain and waving nausea. His clothes were suddenly too big, forming a puddle beneath his tiny feet as he yowled out the steely pain that accompanied his shift.
For barely a moment, his vision blurred and reddened, quickly resolving itself as he briskly shook his head. When he could focus and function again, Xan was the first thing he saw. He looked up into stunning turquoise eyes, beautiful in their wideness, but heartbreaking in their confusion. Xan moved a little closer, his scent surrounding Levi—musky but sweet, wild but familiar, intimate and possessive in its intensity.
Seconds felt like minutes, then minutes like hours as Levi stood fearfully still, all four paws glued to the floor. Movement behind Xan startled Levi, and he was certain he’d jumped and hissed. Kevin and Don joined Xan, a fortified line of defense beside their leader—then Levi ran.
The Tabby’s Pride blog tour runs from May 12-20 and there are three prizes up for grabs—2 ebook copies of Tabby and a $10.00 gift card from Amazon. You can enter by clicking the Rafflecopter and also earn extra entries by commenting on this post. Thanks for stopping by.
Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/dba3d42/
K-lee Klein has lived in one part of Western Canada or another for her entire life. She’s a doting mother of three now-grown kids, and has had characters and plots running around her head for as long as she can remember. Her days consist of fighting off an abundance of fabulous gay men, large and small, bouncing off the walls of her skull, competing for their turns to tell their stories.
Among her favorite sub-genres to read and write are rock stars, cowboys, shifters, and opposites-attract relationships. But to be honest, she’s open to almost anything if it involves messing around in the heads of her characters. She’s also big on series—because she has a hard time letting her characters go—and is usually working on a handful of stories in various stages of completion all at the same time. You can find her books on her website kleeklein.com
Link to main blog tour post: