Friday, March 30, 2018

Forgiveness by Grace R. Duncan - Blog Tour with Excerpt and Guest Post


Nine years ago Eric Joyce went wolf when his chosen mate broke the bond, and he hasn’t walked on two legs since. Convinced he lost his friends when he ran out on them, he cut himself off from the pack. But a surprising visitor prods him back down the mountain, and he finds himself welcomed warmly.
Ben Arellano grew up in Texas with a human Catholic mother who didn’t understand a thing about wolves—and didn’t try to learn. He spent his whole life being told his wolf was a demon that needed to be exorcised, surrounded by a wolf pack made up of good ole boys who had no tolerance for his Mexican ancestry or his bisexuality. When he’s given the opportunity to relocate to an accepting pack in Pittsburgh, he jumps at the chance.
When Eric and Ben meet for the first time, neither is ready for it. Where Ben expects rejection, Eric is convinced yet another mate will leave, break the bond, and put him through the same hell all over again. Can they get past their reservations and have a happily mated life?

Learning to Wolf by Grace Duncan
Both Eric and Ben had problems with their other halves during the course of the book. Eric struggled with having to relearn all things human. At the same time, Ben had a similar, if opposite problem.

He didn’t know how to wolf.
Ben grew up in a house with a mother who didn’t understand his wolf and had no wish to try to understand. She believed it was a demon he needed to exercise. As such, shifting at home was out of the question. When many of the other young wolves were understanding how to trust their wolves and give over to instinct, Ben’s mother was spanking him for spontaneously shifting.
To make matters worse, Ben and his family were not overly welcome in their pack.
I live in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area in Texas, where Ben is grew up. One of the things I have seen is a pretty big divide here between the Lantinx population (most of which are Mexican) and the good ole white boys. There are a lot of them.
I had two Latinx kids in my college class (of 3 students). I heard quite a bit from them about times and places they weren’t welcome or were talked to or about. My sister-in-law told me of more than a few instances when she was at the very least side-eyed and at most outright insulted for her heritage.
Racism is alive and well—and brutal—in this neck of the woods. (That’s not to say it isn’t everywhere. This is simply about what goes on around me here.) This racism extends into the packs in my books, especially the one here. The pack Ben and his family were part of was run mostly by the good ole white boys with the same type of attitude many of my Mexican friends/relatives have dealt with.
As such, his experience with learning to wolf were… lacking. Ben’s father did the best he could, but the wolves are part of a pack for a number of reasons, not the least of which is support for each other and their young.
Ben questions whether he is even good enough for Eric. The effects of the racism Ben faced travel with him and he is worried about how he’ll be received. But even more than that is how… useless… he feels as a wolf.
Chad, yet again, comes to the rescue. As a newly-made wolf, he has a unique perspective many of the others don’t. Jamie, Eric, Tanner, and Finley all grew up as wolves in close packs. They didn’t understand not being comfortable as a wolf. With Chad’s help, though—supported by Eric and Jamie—Ben finds himself a lot more welcome and, eventually, much more a part of the pack.

Ben nodded and let out a breath. “So, I should practice shifting?”
“Yeah, but not too many times or you’ll eat the entire contents of the fridge,” Jamie said, grinning. “Chad used to go through so much food.” He laughed when Chad glared, but it was clear he wasn’t really mad.
Ben blinked. “I would eat that much?”
Jamie laughed. “Well, you might leave a steak or two.” He waved a hand. “But you would need to refuel. Shifting takes a lot of energy.”
Ben nodded. “Oh. Yes, I have had that happen a few times. It’s been a while, though.”
“Right, so, a few times shouldn’t be too bad. Much more than that at once, though….” Jamie shrugged a shoulder.
“Okay.” Ben took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and imagined stepping behind his wolf, giving control over to him. By the time he landed on four paws, he knew without looking at the others that it’d taken too long.
“He’s a pretty one,” Chad said, tilting his head.
Ben growled a little, surprised when Eric growled too.
Eric grinned sheepishly. “Uh, sorry. Two naked gay men near my mate….”
It felt good to hear Eric echo his own previous thoughts.
Chad raised a hand. “Say no more.”
“He is, though,” Eric said, turning back to Ben, who growled again.
Jamie snickered. “I think he takes exception to being called ‘pretty.’”
Ben sat back, curled up, and deliberately licked his balls. Chad and Jamie started laughing like crazy. Ben sat up and looked at Eric, tilting his head.
“I have no idea,” Eric replied, correctly guessing what Ben was asking.

And when he’s still fighting with the last remnants of worry, he gets a visit of his own to help him along…

Why couldn’t he seem to get this? What was so different?
You believe there’s so much more depending on this.
Ben opened his eyes and blinked into the sunlight. The voice in his head had not been his own. As he sat up, a figure seemed to materialize across the clearing. Female, that was all he could determine at first. As she stepped forward, it seemed as if her bare feet didn’t even disturb the grass. Her long dark hair spilled over one shoulder, not quite covering the quiver on her back. Simple clothes adorned her—a tunic and plain pants that Ben thought were called leggings—and very little else except for the bow that went with the quiver.
She stopped, knelt in front of him, and ran her hand over his head. Ben closed his eyes as she petted him. Who was she? Where did she come from? She didn’t feel like other humans did, when he’d been in wolf form. She didn’t smell like them either. What was different about her?
“I know you don’t know me, but I understand your struggles, little one.”
When she cupped his face, Ben opened his eyes again. He considered shifting to talk to her, but as soon as he had the thought, he knew he wouldn’t be able to. His wolf wasn’t going to cede control in that moment. Letting that go, Ben turned his attention back to the woman and tilted his head in confusion.
“You were taught I don’t exist. I understand that. But hear me now and try to believe. His fear is not because of you. His worry is not of your making. He will figure this out soon. Just have a little more patience.”
Ben tried, maybe a little desperately, to accept her words. Is that true? Is this really not the problem?
“No, little one, it isn’t. Trust in your bond, trust that I have put you together for a reason.” She bent forward and kissed the top of Ben’s head. Ben closed his eyes as warmth and a sense of calm filled him. “Just a little longer.”
When he opened his eyes, she was gone. He sniffed, but the odd scent had disappeared as well, and there was nothing to show she’d ever been there. He lay back down, once more resting his head on his paws.
Was that who he thought it was? Had he just met their goddess? Why?
Patience, little one….

Thanks for the space today to share a bit about Ben’s struggle with being a wolf. I hope you enjoyed the tidbits I’ve shared.

About The Author

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble.  Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.
A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.
As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.
Find Grace here:

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