Lure of the Wolf was one of those stories that just flowed, almost telling itself. I felt more like a scribe taking dictation than an author at times! However, it did take a while to set up the foundation of the story in the first place. Find out about the inspiration and look behind the scenes of Lure of the Wolf here!
I always wanted to do an amnesia story so that was one of the earliest concepts in place when I started outlining the Aloha Shifters series a year before writing Book 1. In fact, this originally going to be Book 1 in the series! I eventually decided that Lure of the Dragon would be a better way to introduce the Aloha Shifters series, setting, and the core characters. And Boone wasn’t exactly rushing into love at the time, so I figured he could wait while Tessa of Lure of the Dragon couldn’t - not with an evil dragon hot on her heels!
I quickly realized how well an amnesia story combines with the idea of an unwitting heiress on the run from a murderer - and including a precious jewel just triples the tension! In the process of writing, I learned how naturally an amnesia story lends itself to twists - some of which took me by surprise, too! I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with the story rushing around my mind. One thought lead to another and another so quickly, I can’t even pinpoint what inspired each idea. That doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s so much fun to write - and read! I hope you agree!
Boone played a strong supporting role in Book 1 of the series. He’s a bit like Cody Hawthorne of Desert Blood (Twin Moon Ranch, Book 2) in that he’s an easygoing, happy-go-lucky kind of guy. But Boone’s sunny smile hides the pain and regrets in his past. That was engineered, in a way, because what better way to make a scrumptious hero that much more appealing?
Nina is his perfect match is that she’s much more serious and responsible. I loved writing Nina because she’s experienced a lot of tragedy and yet she always looks on the bright side of life. One telling scene comes early in the book when she’s trying to pep herself up while crying at night. “Nights were for hunkering down and getting it all out — the loneliness, the fear, and anxieties — so that the next day, she could dig deep for a smile and the energy to face the world again.” What I love about that is that we see the sorrow beneath the surface and the determination not to let it get her down. Nina’s life is far from perfect, and yet she soldiers through each day, doing her best to share smiles instead of frustrations. Destiny hasn’t been very kind to her until the fateful day when she washes up on Boone’s private stretch of beach at Koa Point. So in many ways, hers is the Cinderella story we all wish for. Of course, she doesn’t get a prince. In fact, she’s more like a princess in disguise!
You might have noticed that many of my heroines are like that: women with hidden qualities that aren’t immediately obvious. That’s so real life, I think; we all tend to see ourselves as plain or average and overlook our unique qualities. What I love doing is forcing those inner qualities to the surface and letting the heroine shine.
Boone and Nina are the main characters, but I’ll also mention Tamara here. She’s the woman we all love to hate for her selfish, arrogant ways. The succubus part came out of nowhere, though. I was writing the scene in which she first appears and zing! Out of nowhere, I realized she had to be a succubus to have seduced Boone so thoroughly in the past. Of course, she gets what she deserves in the end which I have to admit is pretty satisfying, too!
My favorite scene
I love a lot of things about this story, but my two favorite scenes are like bookends - one comes at the very beginning and the other at the very end. I love the scene in which Nina washes up on the beach and meets Boone in the first place. I love how she goes from total misery to a cozy sense of security. Nina has been through so much, and suddenly, there’s a tender, hunky hero there to help her when she can’t manage another step alone. It’s kind of a knight in shining armor moment, but one that allows the heroine to have overcome a huge hurdle on her own first. Nina saved herself by swimming all the way to shore, so all Boone really does is help her on the home stretch. I think every tough woman has experienced that moment of having given everything and not really being able to face another hurdle, so I think we can all relate to Nina in that scene. And we all cheer for her when she gets the help she deserves! (Aren’t you glad it really was Boone and not a hairy hermit, as she feared?!)
My other favorite scene in the epilogue in which Nina and Tessa are quietly plotting to help the other men of Koa Point find their happiness one day. I hope you can feel Nina’s joy as keenly as you can feel Hunter’s sorrow. It’s my favorite way for a book to end (speaking as both a reader and an author): one story is wrapped up exactly as the door to the next story cracks open.
Biggest change from early drafts to final edition
The biggest change from my original draft was having Tamara and Kramer act as the primary villains. I had originally considered bringing in Lewis McGee’s second wife and stepdaughters as the baddies, but Kramer and Tamara quickly proved themselves to provide all the evil one story needs! A minor change was in the final fight, in which I originally had Nina being kidnapped in the helicopter and Boone making a dramatic rescue by hanging on to the helicopter’s skids as it flew away. I can visualize that so clearly, but somehow, the fight went in a different direction. But who knows - I might save that idea for a future story!
Cross-links with Twin Moon Ranch
Boone is a cousin of the Twin Moon Ranch Hawthornes, so that forms a bridge between the two series. Did you catch his reference to Ty Hawthorne, the big, bad alpha of Desert Moon falling hard for his fated mate?