C.G. Coppola is the author of the sci-fi adventure series, Arizal Wars, and the contemporary romance series, Better Than This. In addition to stories that explore magic and the paranormal, she writes realistic fiction set in fantastical universes, usually with a lot of kissing. Married with two fur-babies she spoils rotten, C.G. Coppola lives in Florida where she grew up and attended college. When not writing, she can be found decorating the house, bantering with her husband, or dancing to Meghan Trainor–sometimes all at once.
June aka Quick Claw
After Nik saves me, I’m hopeful things will return to normal, especially now that we’re together. I didn’t expect to be dating Black Coyote, but he’s welcomed me into his group of vigilantes, and I couldn’t be happier. Unfortunately, peace doesn’t last long in the city. Monstrous creatures have invaded Perish, and they’re targeting me. After a few attacks, I discover the reason—and the person who helps me discover it.
Someone I thought to be dead.
With startling revelations about my friends and family, I work with the group to prepare for the approaching storm. But I’m not sure we’ll be enough. Nik’s old enemy is unleashing a wrath—and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
Nikolai aka Black Coyote
Now that I’ve got June back, I want to enjoy life—especially since she’s my girlfriend. But Jack Napier and the Pharaohs have other plans. Mutated creatures are being released all over the city, and they’ve got their focus on June. Using all the tools we have—including new vigilantes with surprising talents—the group works to protect Perish until outside help steps in.
And it’s the last person I expect.
After learning pivotal news, and experiencing multiple visits down memory lane, the monsters keep coming. Armed with a team ready for battle, we work to save the city. But it isn’t until a visit from an old friend that changes the direction of the war—and the fate of Perish.
Content Warnings: sexual content and profanity only
I can’t take back my decision—nor do I think I should—but I need to make sure this is okay. Or at least explain my side. Heading over, I slip my hands in my pockets. I pause at June’s side, keeping my voice low, hoping no one pays us much attention. “Can I talk to you?”
She glances at the stairs and then back at me. “Yeah.”
I nod once, indicating for her to follow. No one says a word as we ascend the steps and enter the office above. I close the hatch after June pops into the small work space, then slip my hands back in my pockets. Giving myself a moment to think, I shift toward her, clearing my throat. “Sorry for all that.”
“Ruslana.” I shrug. “Just…showing up like that. Letting her train with us.”
June pauses a moment, chewing that bottom lip. “Not your fault.”
“And same with the other night.”
“Again, not your fault. I mean…” She crosses her arms and pops out a hip. “Do I like that your ex-girlfriend suddenly showed up and will be hanging around going forward? Not particularly. But what can I do? I understand why she needs to be here.”
June studies me. “I’m not intimidated, if that’s what you think.”
“Didn’t think you could be intimidated.”
“I can’t.” She smiles brightly, the expression turning tight as she tilts her head. “Even by your Ukrainian supermodel of an ex-girlfriend.”
“She’s not a supermodel.”
“Okay.” June laughs. “But it’s fine. Think she knows her place.”
“Even if she doesn’t, I’ll remind her.”
“Speaking of…” I step closer, rubbing the back of my neck. I hope it’s the right time to bring this. It seems like the right time. “I was thinking…” I clear my throat, my heart pounding fast. “I—uh—could take you out. Like, on a date.” I look at her. “Like a date-date.”
June grins, completely amused, visibly holding back laughter. “A date-date?”
“What does a date-date constitute?”
“We get dressed up. I take you to a fancy dinner. I pay.”
“So, like a regular date?”
“Yeah.” I rub the back of my neck again, not sure why I’m nervous. She’s my girlfriend. But, even though we’re together, we haven’t done this part of it. The Pearl Nightclub was pretend, and other than hooking up, we haven’t explored the dating part of dating.
June grins. “That’d be great.”
“Um…sure. It’s Friday though.” She makes a nervous face. “Places will be crowded.”
“I made a reservation.”
She pauses, confusion in her eyes. A moment passes before she speaks. “You already made a reservation for a date I just accepted?”
“I rolled the dice. Made reservations for tomorrow and Sunday too. Wasn’t sure when I was going to ask. Or when we’d have time.”
June stares at me.
She shakes her head, a beautiful smile blooming. “Nothing.” Her eyes meet mine and she smiles.
“Where are we going?”
“A little Italian place. Think you might like it.”
I grin, rolling on the balls of my feet, wanting to lean in. But that would be stupid. If I give into my urges, I won’t be able to stop. Like usual.
“What?” June asks.
I shake my head. “Just…really want to kiss you.”
“You don’t have to ask, you know.”
“Yeah, but I won’t stop. And I need to be focused downstairs… not thinking of all the other places I want to put my mouth.”
“See? And I haven’t even touched you.”
June grins again, biting that bottom lip, almost like she’s testing me. Or teasing me. “Maybe we’ll save that for our date-date tonight.”
“We’ll see how long you can resist.”
“It won’t be long.”
“Let’s find out.” June winks, heading for the latch in the floor. She pulls it open and goes back downstairs. This will be one of the most distracted trainings of my life. Not only am I going to imagine what I hope might occur later, but she’ll be right in front of me the entire time—sharing the same space.
Traveling from fantasy to reality with the same woman while I’m trying to focus on slaying enemies—yeah, not difficult at all.
But it’s only a matter of hours before our date. Another training, another day at the garage, and spending time with Ana, then some much-needed alone time with June. Just got to get through the rest of the day.
Then we get our date.
With this thought in mind, I follow her back downstairs into the bunker.
I have a very attention-hungry husband and two dogs just like him. In the blocks of space where I’m not writing, I’m usually with one of them, playing fetch, giving neck scratches, or bantering over the most ridiculous issues. In general, I love traveling and trying new experiences—except anything to do with heights as I’ve recently come to realize.
I start the next book! Honestly, there is no real celebrating other than the internal excitement that the story is done. Not just because I’m done with it, but because I’m able to offer it to the world. Sometimes, I will go out for dinner, but inflation has slowed that shit down recently.
I’m honestly not sure I celebrate. I think I just kind of pat myself on the back and keep going. I think the celebrating part comes when people actually buy the book—looking at you readers
Easy. It’s the second book that picks up right after the first one ended. The first book took *several* drafts to get it right—to tell the story I really wanted to tell. The real hardship went into writing A Royal Pairing in Perish, so A Return of Ghosts was easier because the initial storyline was already conceived. But, for general story creation & inspiration:
My husband is a huge DC fan. When I say huge, I mean I’ve been forced to watch every Batman film, cartoon series, the documentaries. Everything. You name it—I’ve seen it. I know the villains and back-
stories and more than I ever thought I would about the universe. It’s also why I refer to my husband online as “Batman” – his request. With this said, my The Coyote And the Claw Series (and Companion Series) is inspired by the DC universe and its vigilante superheroes.
Not really. A little of my witty/sassy personality may make an appearance, but mostly…nope. These are brand-spanking new characters for me.
I’m not really sure there was a challenging part. It flowed easily, and it’s because I’d already written the beginning—that was book one. The first and the final are always the most difficult. But the middle babies are cake.
Uh…probably all of Nik’s inner monologue about Paul. HAHA he hates that dude.
I’ve always been a fan of Jennifer Armentrout, Rainbow Rowell, and JR Ward. I feel like they all tell such wonderfully, beautiful romance stories that always feel very authentic.
In her usual black ensemble, Ana strolls toward the edge of the roof and crosses her arms, peering out over Perish’s slow streets. “Thought tonight might be a little more exciting.” She sighs down at the city, disappointed. “I’m kinda bummed.”
I walk over to stand on the edge beside her, following her stare. Two sirens wail in the distance but they’re ambulances headed for Perish General. They don’t need our help. Besides, Michael would alert us to any issues. Right now, Ana and I aren’t needed. Examining the streets, I cross my arms. “I think you’re restless.”
“Why? Cause I need something to do?”
“Cause you’re looking for a fight.”
She shrugs and glances around the roof. She looks out again at the city, pausing before she responds. “I’m looking for entertainment.”
“And you haven’t gotten enough of that?”
She laughs, the sound sending a joyous shiver through me. It sounds like childhood—like the good times. “Apparently not. But you remember Mom and Dad—don’t trust the stillness. It’s there that danger lurks.” Ana stares ahead, her good humor fading. She’s gone somewhere, lost in a memory, perhaps. I wonder which one. “It’s everywhere.”
That’s fucking true. “Thank God we had the parents we did.”
Ana agrees with a nod, her eyes sharpening. She glances at me, and then ahead again. “They taught us how to survive. How to teach ourselves to survive.”
“They knew we’d need it.”
She looks at me again, silent. A thought grows in her eyes but it sits there a moment. Finally, I see the transition, and the spark in her features when she decides to share. “You know Mom told me something once when I was little. I didn’t understand then, but I think I get it now. She said—she always wanted us, but never wanted to have us.”
Before I can think through it, Ana explains.
“Means she wanted children, but not enough to bring them into this world.” My baby sister looks ahead again, staring off. “And when she had us, she did what any soldier would do. She trained us.”
“She would’ve trained us even if they weren’t coming for her.” I let out a deep breath, shaking my head. “She had a target on her back with two kids. I’m surprised we grew up in a house, to be honest. Not living in the woods.”
“Like Dad could’ve survived without his Monday Night Football.” Ana rolls her eyes with a soft chuckle, and I join in. It’s true.
“Only reason we stayed civilized.” I laugh, peering off into the city. “Dad would’ve been fine in the woods. He could’ve built us anything, but he needed his damn football.”
Our snickering slows and it’s quiet for a moment.
“I miss him,” Ana says.
“I miss him too.”
“I miss them both.”
I try not to think about Mom or Dad, but the shield that I fought so hard to keep my parents at bay dissolves every time I look at my baby sister. Because I see them in her. And it both fills and breaks my heart.
“Dad’s the only reason we didn’t grow up in caves.” She laughs again, lightening the grief. It’s one thing I love about Ana—she brings me back to the light.
Submit your review