Recovery is never an easy road. Even less so when you’re a famous model known for being dangerously underweight and the media buzzards don’t realize that your bones have already been picked clean.
Kai Riviere just wants a bit of solitude, a place to rest, a place to heal. Wolf Melua has been captivated by Kai Riviere since he first laid eyes on nothing more than a glossy of her. Over the last five years, she’s been his muse. He’s followed her career almost obsessively and every time she disappears from the limelight, the temptation to find a way to connect with her, to come to her rescue, drives him to his knees.
But Kai is no Cinderella in need of a prince. Her shuttered eyes say it all to him—she’d spit in his face, break a foot off, and strut her stuff in the other direction if he ever tried. Three months into her longest disappearance yet, fate, kismet, the universe, or plain old luck has landed her in his backyard. And… she’s healthier. Now, if he can get her eyes to un-shutter just a little bit more, maybe then she can see the reason why a certain Wolf loves ‘seas’ and ‘rivers’ oh, so much.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I've struggled with malnutrition and being underweight here and there over the years but never allowed that struggle to define me. I wanted to write a character exuded both kind of vulnerability it takes to fall into that sort of conundrum and one who had the strength to rise above it. And plus, I just love a good love story.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I usually take concepts for titles and try to fit character names into those titles. So when I came up with "House Made of Rivers" I started researching female names that meant "river."
Masculine. Everything about him screams it. Even his feet. Kai attempts to shake off the observations and focus instead on his oddly gentlemanly behaviors. Voice more tremulous than she would like, she says, “Thank you for chasing off that paparazzo the other day.”
“You’re welcome,” he says in his fathomless rumble of a voice. “You should know,” he growls, wide shoulders seeming to strain against his too tight skin, “he came back. Twice. Nowhere near the homestead, though. Still, I’m going to press charges.”
His words are almost glib and ring of a self-possessed civility, of a modern course, but something altogether arcane surfaces in the depths of his arctic gaze as he speaks, superheating the icy depths. Kai’s breathing falters and she drags her suddenly tingling lower lip through her teeth as she nods her understanding.
His own breathing roughening, he looks away briefly then pins her with his startling gaze. “We need to talk about your tendency to sunbathe naked,” he says softly.
Tensing, she accepts that on the one hand, as her landlord, he is well within his rights to address the matter. On the other… The rebellious iconoclast within her who wants to tear down the erroneous, patriarchal establishment built under the premise of some likely mythical sin wants to put up a fight. Caught between the two abstractions, Kai remains silent.
“The trees,” he carefully begins with a toss of his head to the right, indicating the thick cluster of pines and other low growing evergreen firs that offer her rental and little stretch of shoreline a modicum of privacy, “don’t block the pier completely from view. Anyone visiting the main house can see you from parts of the lounge and upper balcony, and from parts of my side of the shore.” Flexing his tight muscles, he goes on to say, “Eventually there’ll be boat traffic to contend with, as well. Once the trading post at the mouth of Hannah’s Creek opens back up.”
Spine rigid, feeling too much the part of castigated heretic caught red handed with her girlie parts on full display, Kai rushes to stand. He follows suit. She’s momentarily thrown by his greater height. It’s been a few years shy of two decades since she last had to tip her head back so far to look most people in the eye. She began towering over the boys in the sixth grade and over the years, she’d grown accustomed to being taller than most of her acquaintances. “How tall are you?” she asks inanely, flustered.
“Six-eight,” he responds quietly as he takes a small step towards her. “Kai—”
“Have dinner with me,” she impulsively whispers.
Stepping closer, well into her personal space, he frowns down at her, angry censure written into every one of the few lines that add character to his handsome face. “No.”
Hurt by the bald rejection, Kai steps to the side with a snappish, “Fine,” and quickly makes her way towards the cabin, trying not to run as tears begin to burn her eyes. Arrogant […]. Then—Stupid. […] that was stupid. Why did I ask him to have dinner with me? Halfway up the backyard, a large hand gently circles her left wrist. Yanking out of his hold, she spins around, eyes cutting him into long stringy ribbons of desiccated flesh. “What!”
Pocketing his hands, he briefly tilts his shaggy haired head at her. “You don’t even know my name,” he reproves.
Embarrassment colors her face with a hot stroke, and crossing her arms tightly, Kai struggles to control her breathing. After several long silent moments, Kai almost buckles under the pressure and very nearly allows tears to stain her cheeks. Instead, desperate to lock the muddy emotion away, she drops her arms and gives the justifiably resistant man a tedious look.
Sighing, he removes his right hand from his pocket and extends it to her. “Wolf Melua.”
Her breathing spikes again as she stares down at the large, rough palm. He couldn’t possibly be… Could he? The fierce determination to regain the upper hand has her sliding her palm into his, trying to pull off ‘bored flirt’ as if it’s the latest trend and she’s on the runway. “Kai Riviere,” she still rushes to say. “Now will you have dinner with me?” she asks again, doing her best to stare him down as electric tingles race up her arm—little sparks that then shower other parts of her body in hot consensus. Without releasing her hand, he steps all the way in, sucking up the air as he bends his head. Mouth mere inches from hers, Wolf offers her a soft but seething reply.
Author, poet, musician, and lover of love. You can find me somewhere out in the wild, windblown plains of the American Midwest. I chase sunbeams during the night and ride moonlight during the day. When I’m not writing, I read (and bike and hike and play and laugh). I heart romance (all steam levels) second only to my wonderful grizzly bear of a husband and our absolutely precocious children and furry babies. Don’t be afraid to connect with me on social media. I only bite vampires (kidding, vampires are welcome, too).
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