When Juli Gunby left Missoula, Montana, she didn’t intend to come back. Not to her exacting alpha werewolf father, and certainly not to Neil Statham, the beta who rejected Juli’s girlish advances. Her father, as usual, has other ideas, using his dying breath to pass pack leadership to his daughter. Juli resolves to carry out her duty to her father and her pack, but the one man she wants on her side has made himself her enemy.
After years of loyal service to the pack, Neil expects to take over as alpha when his mentor dies. As good as it is to see Juli again, he knows he can’t trust her. After all, she abandoned both him and the pack years ago and never looked back. Neil determines to fight for his rightful position in the pack, even if that means going up against a woman who fills him with an overwhelming urge to mate every time she walks into the room.
Someone needs to lead, and the more Neil and Juli fight, the more they attract interference from those who would control the pack and destroy the ties between them.
“Neil.” She lifted her big, blue gaze to his. “Since I have to stay to lead the pack, maybe we can talk later about... what happened between us years ago. If you want. If it’s something you regret.” Neil gritted his teeth. He remembered this look. She’d looked just this way the last time he’d seen her, the only other time they’d been alone together. One hand fluttered toward his. If she touched him, he’d be lost.
Neil pulled his hand away, shoving it into his pocket. The cab of the truck felt too damned small. “You’re not thinking clearly right now. How are you going to win the trust of the people you abandoned five years ago?” Then he threw his biggest pitch. “What are you going to do without me?”
She actually gasped. “Without you?”
“Without me. I’m not a possession, Juli. You don’t get to inherit me. I’m not going to be on your side.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Neil?” All the softness had gone out of her expression now.
He expanded his chest, knowing she would pick up on the animal body language. “Darrow should have named me alpha. We both know it. I could have taken it any time I wanted. He had no right to deny it to me after the respect I showed him.”
Her eyes widened. She barked a short laugh. “No right? Since when is it a rule that when werewolves are nice to each other, we give each other things? If you wanted to be alpha, you should have challenged him. End of discussion.”
“Juli, you don’t really want this.”
She folded her arms across her chest. “Try me.”
Annabeth, thanks so much for stopping by. So, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
I play a lot of video games and role-playing games. I'm obsessed with listening to music and finding cool new songs. Despite these two facts, I am actually not a teenager—I'm in my 30s.
How did you get started writing?
When I was really little, I was fascinated by my parents' typewriter, and wanted to use it! To be more serious, I decided when I was in seventh grade that I wanted to be a writer and never looked back. There have been many important "starts" since then—first full-time writing job, first fiction sale, that sort of thing. I expect to feel like I'm always starting, because I'm always pushing myself and trying to develop my skills.
What was the inspiration for your book?
I wrote a previous book set in the same world, Not His Territory. After I finished it, there was a lot more about the setting and the way those werewolves lived that I wanted to explore. I wrote Not the Leader of the Pack after sitting down to think about what else I wanted to know.
What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
Sometimes, I edge toward comedy, but I've never had the guts to totally go for it. I'd be interested in trying a full-out comedic novel sometime, but it's a very difficult form, so I've always been intimidated. Still, I've noticed funny moments cropping up in my work lately—my recent Ellora's Cave release, Get Laid, is full of them. That makes me think I might be able to pull it off.
Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
I make it a point of pride to read and write widely and to move outside of my comfort zone. There's nothing I can think of that I wouldn't read. Certain genres might not be natural for me to write in (before I could attempt, say, a cozy mystery, I'd have to do a ton of research on how they're typically constructed), but that doesn't mean I'd be unwilling to give them a try if there was a compelling reason. This flexibility is important to me because I love novelty, and I think it's one of the ways that my writing skills develop.
So, what are you working on right now? Got any releases planned, or still writing?
My next Ellora's Cave release, Design and Scandal, will be out Sept. 18. It's part of their Curve Appeal theme series, and is about a Rubenesque costume designer's romance with a smoking hot Hollywood A-lister. Later this year, Breathless Press will release Run for Your Love, an erotic romance that takes place against the backdrop of the zombie apocalypse. I don't usually talk about my works in progress while I'm still writing them, because I'm sort of superstitious about that.
Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions. Favorite color?
It's either Clueless or Tombstone. I realize those are really different from each other—that's part of why it's hard to choose one.
Book that inspired you most recently?
When I read something that really floors me, it inspires me to write all over again. I love seeing the range of emotion other writers can cover, or how they put words together, or all kinds of things. This struck most recently when I read an anthology called Duty and Desire: Military Erotic Romance, edited by Kristina Wright. The stories in that collection explore so many different military-related themes, and they're incredibly passionate at the same time.
Alright, you have one superpower. What is it?
I'd have the power to nudge—to make a person move just a little to the left, or eat just one more bite of chicken, that sort of thing. Not only would this be helpful when walking down a crowded city street, I would enjoy coming up with creative, subtle uses for it.
You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Sam Rockwell, Richard Armitage, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, though the combined hotness would likely render me incapable of speech.
Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
I try not to make my characters too much like me, because that would mean my books would be repetitive. However, I can't help constructing them out of pieces of myself and my own interests. It can be weird to look back on old work, because it's often revealing in retrospect to see what themes I was playing up. My recent work includes characters who embody the things that have recently been on my mind. For example, the heroine of Not the Leader of the Pack, Juli Gunby, is very concerned with her duty to her family and her struggles with going home, which were two themes close to my heart at the time I wrote the book. The hero, Neil Statham, is also very concerned with duty. Together, Neil and Juli represent two takes on duty—she needs to take on more, and he needs to take on less. They reflect the things I was struggling with at the time.
That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
Thanks so much for having me, and for the delightful interview!
Annabeth will be awarding a $10 gift card for Breathless Press to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!
August 5: Books to Light Your Fire
August 12: Literal Hotties Naughty Books Reviews
August 19: Deal Sharing Aunt
August 19: Whit's Book World Review only
August 26: Musings From An Addicted Reader
September 2: Dalene's Book Reviews
September 2: My Reading Obsession
September 9: Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess
September 16: Musings of Mistress of the Dark Path
September 16: Sharing Links and Wisdom
September 23: All I Want and More
September 23: We Love Kink review only
Author Bio and Links:
Annabeth Leong has written romance and erotica of many flavors -- dark, kinky, vanilla, straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. Her titles for Breathless Press include Not His Territory, Not the Leader of the Pack, and a contribution to the Ravaged anthology. She enjoys writing about the tension between passion and control that werewolves embody. Unfortunately, when Annabeth loses control of herself, she does not gain the power to change shape. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Buy Links:Breathless Press