Monday, September 2, 2013

Not the Leader of the Pack by Annabeth Leong with Guest Post

Letting the Setting Lead

by Annabeth Leong

I visited Montana several years ago, and the experience stayed with me. I loved how wide and wild the highways were, surrounded by rolling red hills, smooth and welcoming and tempting me to drive fast. Every time I stopped in a town, I was aware of the natural world pressing in on me, and of how tenuous the hold of civilization actually was against that powerful landscape.

When I started writing about werewolves, Montana came into my mind as a place that represents the collision of the primal and the civilized. It's also a place where the primal seems poised to win, and I liked that.

I plan books in different ways, but in the case of Not the Leader of the Pack, I let the setting lead me. I wanted to write a follow-up to Not His Territory, and in that book I'd made a reference to "the situation in Missoula," so I knew I wanted the next events to be set there.

Missoula, which I visited on my trip to Montana, really embodies that contradiction I was talking about. It's full of breathtaking natural features, but also houses a university and a lot of medical facilities.

Since I find places inspiring, I started by researching Missoula for several days. I looked at photographs and wrote down places that seemed interesting. As I took notes and learned about different parts of the city, I let myself daydream about things that could happen there. "This would be a nice place to take a date," or, "This would be a good place to have a fight." Then I took my favorite places and the scenes I envisioned there and built the outline around them.

I was really proud of how this came out, because I felt like the story wound up anchored in a setting in a way that's rare for me. Despite being inspired by places, my imagination doesn't tend to work visually. When I daydream and envision scenes in a story, that usually means I'm hearing dialogue. I can have an extremely long imaginary conversation, but if I'm not careful it'll wind up being at a light wooden table in a white room, between two characters with no discernible features.

The planning method I used for Not the Leader of the Pack allowed me to create a much more vivid setting than I usually manage, which meant a lot to me because I believe a werewolf book really needs to show the world around the characters.

Not the Leader of the Pack
by Annabeth Leong



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.


The door to the ICU loomed ahead. A multitude of notices posted on and around it inundated her with specific instructions.

No food or drink. No cell phones. No visits by groups larger than four. No entry without notifying the nurses’ station.

The restrictions brought home the severity of her father’s condition. He would never let someone else dictate so many things if he were well.

“You made it,” a familiar voice said behind her. Deep, masculine, and a little amused, it matched its owner perfectly. Juli blushed, remembering all her past embarrassing reactions to the man with the single most perfect torso in all of Montana. She turned once she’d mentally prepared as much as she could. Neil Statham, her father’s protégé, dressed in jeans and an old Missoula Ospreys jersey. Apparently, he still played pro ball. She would speak to him in a normal tone for once or die trying.

Juli greeted him with a little nod, not trusting her voice. To her horror, instead of stammering, she burst into tears.

He froze, then reached out for her. “I’m sorry, Juli.” No way could she handle being gathered against that chest. She dodged and held up a hand. A fur-covered hand.

Neil’s eyebrows shot up. A split second later, he burst into action, picking her up and carrying her to an empty waiting room nearby. She didn’t protest or struggle. Juli knew how dangerous it would be for a human to catch her hairy.


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 for Not the Leader of the Pack:

Annabeth will be awarding a $10 gift card for Breathless Press to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Comment often for a better chance at winning.  You can follow the tour here.

My Review:  July 2013   ~ Review Copies ~

Not the Leader of the PackNot the Leader of the Pack by Annabeth Leong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Annabeth Leong for giving me this book for an honest review. I like the story to an extent, the main characters Juli and Neil, had pros and cons going for them. Neil acted like a pompous ass and Juli kept going back for more heart break from this guy. Yet, they were mates, meant to be together letting their human selves overrule their wolves. Having the council is all good, I mean I have read other were/shifter stories with councils, but this one was pathetic as telling them that they could only shift on the full moon, that is like saying cut off your natural instincts or don't be yourself or we will drug you up and/or punish you. Nope didn't like this council. There were plenty of things that made this story not what I like in a were/shifter story. It has potential to be better, but as is, its mediocre to me.

View all my reviews


  1. I really liked this series. I can't wait to hear more from this world of Annabeth's.

  2. Thanks for sharing the excerpt. Sounds like my kind of book and I am looking forward to reading it. evamillien at gmial dot com

  3. Rhonda, thanks so much for your kind words! My next book in this series will not be coming out for a bit, but I do have another book on the way from Breathless on October 11th! It features a pacifist hero dealing with the zombie apocalypse.

    Eva, I have your entry recorded! I am really excited that you are so interested in my work!