As a writer who dips into both the paranormal and the contemporary pools, I think there’s world building that occurs in both of them. It’s far more obvious in the paranormal– will my werewolves need a bite for the change to occur, or not? What about the humans around them? Are they aware of the existence of the shifters, or not? Those questions need to be answered, and hopefully not simply in a list of ‘here’s what to expect.’
But even in a contemporary as a reader I need to discover what kind of world am I stepping into. A fast moving, high energy big city life? Or a slower pace where not only you can leave your doors open, you have to be careful not to gossip at the hair dresser because chances are high someone in the room knows exactly who you are taking about. In fact, they are probably related! And seriously–if an author has ever broken down and messed up in a contemporary world building, you’ve noticed. It doesn’t “feel right.”
Here’s a snippet of world building from a paranormal. Wolf Games. Nothing huge– just a feeling for the hero and heroine who have acknowledged they both feel the connection that calls them to be mates, but she’s refusing to accept it yet. How they relate to each other, how wolves fit into the world we know. All the clues are there…
“She’s a nice girl.” The deep timbre of his voice hit her low in the gut. “You okay?”
Maggie nodded. The familiar protective layers she’d built around her for years were disappearing fast. Now she headed into dangerous territory. Oh damn, was it possible to get comfortable being around a huge group of wolves again? Would she ever feel safe?
“I left the boys at the Canada Games Center to play for a while. I’d like to take my mate out for lunch.” He slipped an arm around her, tugging her to his side.
A thrill shot through her at the layers of meaning she could read into his words. His claim on her—she couldn’t deny it was real. Her wolf pranced at the thought of going anywhere with him. Especially somewhere private where they could remove a few articles of clothing and get intimate.
She shook her head to break free of the images taunting her. She couldn’t. They shouldn’t. Not…yet. “I told you we’re waiting. I meant it.”
He twisted to face her, their bodies sliding closer. “You think it’s too dangerous to share lunch with me?” Heat rolled off his skin and she had to look way, way up to see into his eyes. Her mouth watered, her hormones kicking into high gear.
Bastard. He knew how much his touch affected her. “You’re a royal pain in the ass.”
“Not yet.” He stroked her hip intimately, cupping her butt cheek in one palm briefly. He winked, then pressed his wide hand on her lower back to direct her steps toward the parking lot. Heat shot through her core, and her wolf sat up and begged. Maggie jerked free from his touch by picking up the tempo. Of course, since her legs were much shorter, she almost had to run to outpace him. She twirled and planted her hands on her hips. She needed to regroup before they headed to Haines.
“Look. I know you’ve got direct orders from your chief Pooh-Bah, but I’d like some time by myself. No one is going to accost me on the streets of Whitehorse. I’m perfectly safe. I used to live here. I just want to be left alone and…”
Lordy, how was she supposed to stay angry with him when every time she gave him hell, he did nothing but smile? It wasn’t just any kind of smile, it was a do-you-want-to-crawl-into-bed-with-me-now kind of smile. The expression had a lot of impact when you placed it on his six-foot-five frame and added in his gorgeous features and his dark sparkling eyes.
Did he have to smell so damn good?
“You can’t walk by yourself in Whitehorse. I don’t know if you noticed over the past couple days, but there are a lot more wolves living here than in Vancouver. Not only are you a member of a rival pack, you’re also related to a couple of the most powerful wolves in the North. Keil thought you were single. He didn’t want any young pups trying to take advantage of you.”
“I am single.”
He growled softly and her core muscles tightened in reaction. Oh shit, she’d pissed off his wolf. Icy fingers of dread raced up her spine and her heart pounded. She wanted to drop to her knees and bare her throat in submission. Another part wanted to scramble away, to flee from his anger. Somehow she kept her eyes open in the hopes she’d be able to duck if he swung at her. With his height advantage, he towered over her, and she felt overwhelmed by the sheer size of the man.
He lifted her chin with a single finger and spoke firmly. “You. Have. A. Mate.” Her wolf panted in agreement and crawled closer to the surface. She grabbed her stomach as cramping pain rocked her. “Damn it, what the hell…?” Erik wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. Somehow she ended up in his lap as he squatted on his heels, his back against a rental car. The world spun in circles and she scrambled for the vial of pills in her pocket. He took it from her, shook out a few and handed them over. From somewhere he produced a water bottle and she gulped greedily. She kept her gaze averted. Between her fears and her rising need for him, she felt completely out of balance.
It didn’t take long for the pain to ease. When she opened her eyes it was to stare into his concerned face.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” He cupped her face in his big palm, examining her carefully.
She nodded slowly. All she sensed was his concern and desire. She ignored her tangled nerves and forced herself to calm down. He’d been nothing but trustworthy, and he deserved to be treated with respect.
“You want to tell me what’s wrong?”
Maggie bit her lip. “Chemical imbalance.” For now, that’s all she wanted to admit.
He frowned. “You’re a wolf. Change and you’ll heal.”
She scrambled off his lap and wavered for a second before his strong arm supported her. That was one topic she was nowhere ready to discuss with him. “I’m hungry. Can we have lunch?”
Erik eyed her as he led her to his SUV. “Nice try at changing the topic. Why are you fighting this so hard? You need—”
“I need lunch. Something raw. Is that possible here in Whitehorse?”
He smiled wryly. “I know just the place.”
More snippets to go and enjoy:
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