Dark Nights and Headlights is a story that’s been in my head for a long, long, time—or at least, most of the opening scene, anyway. Ever since I saw An American Werewolf In London as a kid, I thought about what would happen to a person if they were driving along a dirt road and a big ol’ werewolf jumped out in front of them. I’d seen it happen in my imagination over and over again.
So I was thrilled to finally get that written down and a story built from it. Joe Jacek is a good guy, albeit a lonely one. He has his brother to keep him company while they work together, and sometimes they hang out in the evening and drink a few beers.
That isn’t the same thing as having someone to love in a romantic sense, and Joe figures he’ll never have that.
Then a werewolf jumps on his truck, and Joe’s life will never be the same again.
One more interesting fact—readers picked the cover for this book. Totallybound had two lovely book covers made for it, and the one you see is the winning cover 😀
Available for pre-release July 4th at Totallybound
Excerpt from Dark Nights & Headlights
Copyright 2014 Bailey Bradford
He’d meant to leave. He really had. Diego didn’t hang around one place too long for good reason. To his knowledge, he hadn’t been tracked to Texas, or at least not this part of it.
Didn’t mean it’s safe to tempt fate. Yet he couldn’t help but hope that Joe would come searching for him, really search for him and find him. Diego had fantasies about it– Joe running him to ground, cornering him and forcing Diego to admit who and what he was, what they’d done. He wanted Joe to want him that badly, and it was that need that held Diego in place there on the ranch.
Even so, he fought it. Every morning, he told himself it would be the last day he spent watching Joe. It sucked that the Texas dirt felt so good beneath his paws, and even the heat soothed the aches in his bones that acted up now and then. Diego liked to find a nice, sunny spot to curl up in, or stretch out in, depending on his mood and where Joe was. As much as Diego would have loved to sneak closer when Joe was alone, he never dared. Even his fantasies weren’t powerful enough to give him that kind of courage.
Until nighttime, when Joe was settled into bed. Diego was becoming quite the voyeur since Joe left the curtains open. He wondered whether Joe had always done so or had only started since their encounter a week ago.
Did Joe look out at the stars? What if he searched for Diego in the darkness? By the time Diego had allowed himself to get closer to the window, Joe had been asleep every night.
Tonight was an exception. Diego was determined to leave and give up on the senseless yearning he had for a human. He still smarted from knowing Joe believed their encounter to be a dream. Diego wanted to be memorable, not that he’d ever been before.
He had to get moving, and couldn’t hang around, eating shitty dog food or fantastic steaks, mooning over Joe. It was a stupid waste of time, not that he had a schedule to follow or any goals other than survival, honestly. If he hung around the ranch or any place for too long, even that goal would be cut short.
But he was so tired of being afraid. He yearned for Joe, and having that small taste of the man before only made him ache for Joe more.
It was stupid, dangerous, a risk he shouldn’t have taken then and shouldn’t take again. But he did.
When he dared to step out of the shadows and peer back at Joe through the kitchen window, Diego quivered inside and out with a need he couldn’t define. Joe stared back at him. Diego saw his mouth moving, understood that he was being pointed at. What he didn’t comprehend was that Joe was coming outside, for him, until it happened.
The front door came open and Joe stepped out onto wrap-around porch. He had his gaze trained to Diego’s almost from the instant he left the house. Joe didn’t stand still, either. Diego’s paws were glued to the ground by his inability to have more than one functioning brain cell.
He wanted Joe to come to him. Diego realized it in that moment, as he stood still as a stump. It was stupid, a stupid thing to want. Diego was going to leave. Nothing good could come of Joe getting any closer.
Yet Diego remained where he’d been, his focus all on Joe, but his gaze dipping down to Joe’s boot-clad feet, each step bringing him closer. The boots and earth sounded like they were battling each other, rocks crunching, leather soles slapping at the dirt. Joe took long, steady strides even though his pulse was fluttering again and his breathing was choppy.
“Come here, boy,” Joe crooned. “Come here and prove that I ain’t crazy. Come here.” Joe whistled and Diego cringed.
He took a half-step back then. Whistling the way Joe had done it had always hurt his ears.
“Aw, now don’t go doing that.” Joe slowed his approach. He made kissy sounds that Diego was sure were meant to be enticing or interesting instead of just silly. He hadn’t known it was possible to get goose bumps while in wolf form, but it was. Diego was scared and hopeful all at once. Joe was making goofy noises to try to entice him closer. Had he been in human form, he’d have laughed his ass off or ran like hell.
Joe was a dozen feet away when he extended his hand. “Man, this ought to be Trent’s job since he’s the one wanting a dog. I don’t even know if I should be approaching you or waiting for you to approach me.” He smirked. “Maybe if I apologize for turning the windshield wipers on you, huh?”
Did he want Joe to come closer or to leave him alone? Diego couldn’t decide. There was no logic to the turmoil inside of him. He should have run, yet he remained as if his paws were glued to the ground.
“That was really you, wasn’t it?” Joe continued, still coming closer albeit at an even slower speed. “You know what happened that night. I keep having these dreams that—“ Joe stopped talking long enough to snort. “See, there was this… I had…So I— Why the hell am I talking to you, and why is it so hard to say?” Joe narrowed his eyes. “Are you even an animal, or are you some kid pranking me? If you are, I’ll put you over my knee and paddle your ass, fuck what society says about spanking.”
Heat pooled in Diego’s groin. His dick slipped from its sheath as he was aroused by Joe’s words. Diego liked the idea of the man dominating him, holding him down, doing things to him Diego wouldn’t have wanted from anyone else.
“Was that a real growl?” Joe asked. “You gonna bite me?”
Diego hadn’t realized he’d made a sound.
Joe’s voice dropped to a lower register as he continued speaking. “What’s with those eyes? I can’t find any animal on this planet with eyes that color. I’d think I was crazy but I’m pretty sure you’re really out here with me. If I didn’t hallucinate you, then maybe I didn’t hallucinate what came after.
If you’d like to enter to win an ebook copy of Dark Nights and Headlights, please comment below and a winner will be chosen on the 26th. I’ll announce the winner here in the comments, and on my blog at baileysplayroom.blogspot.com . Winning copy will be sent via your account at Totallybound.com.
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