Hybrid Rejected by Romy Lockhart Genre: Reverse Harem Paranormal Romance
Amanda is heartbroken when her true mate rejects her because she’s a hybrid. Realizing she’ll never be accepted by full-blooded shifters, she accepts a place at Gemini Academy.
Her new life gets off to a rocky start when she’s stalked by a dangerous shifter she managed to attract before she left her old pack. Rescued by an Alpha, she soon finds out Wolf Creek is much more accepting of hybrids.
Even so, she doesn’t expect to find another true mate there, never mind three of them. She can’t deny her attraction to them, but she’s afraid to have her heart broken all over again.
Can she let go of the past, or will it come back to haunt her?
Hybrid Rejected is a standalone new adult rejected mate reverse harem romance with college-aged characters, serious steam and an HEA.
The thrill that burns through me every time I connect to my witch half is beyond compare. I don’t know if it’s the risk I’m taking indulging in the side of me that my pack would have me ignore, or the sheer excitement that I have something that feels like it’s totally, utterly mine. Something no one can ever take away. Something that makes me more than just a lowly half-breed wolf in a pack that prefers to keep their hybrids hidden from sight. I’m not really one of them, so I don’t get invited to their rituals. That suits me just fine. It means I have time to spell. My aunt would be horrified if she found out I’ve been hunting the forest for items to allow me to make potions whenever her back is turned. She’s a fully fledged wolf shifter, and constantly despairs that her brother chose to have a child with a witch. Sometimes I wonder how different things would be if my parents hadn't died when I was young. I don’t think they would have wanted this life for me. They’d taught me to be proud of both sides. Witch, and wolf. It makes me sad to think that I’m letting them down like this. I’m starting to hate my wolf. She’s the reason I’m trapped here. The reason I’m partially accepted in this town, and this pack. When I was younger I didn’t know any better. I was grieving the loss of my parents. I’d thought having so many other kids around to play with was amazing. That was back when I was too dumb to notice that they were treating me differently. I hear the front door open downstairs suddenly, and the small vial in my fingers drops. The smoky potion stains my sheets bright purple. Oh, Artemis! There’s going to be hell to pay if I don’t fix this before Aunt Maria sees it. She can’t find out I’ve been doing magic. I can hear the stairs creaking. She’s coming up to check on me. I stare at the mess I’ve made. There’s only one real option, and it’s not a good one. I put my fingers into the mist and invoke the spell. The magic seeps into my skin, vanishing without a trace from the bed. I hide the vial in my drawer, making a mental note to move it later. I pick up the book on my nightstand and open it. It’s all about the history of shifters, and I’ve read it too many times to glean anything new from it, but it makes a handy cover when I’ve been doing something else and I need a prop in a hurry. My heart speeds up as my eyes move over the first line in the book. I force myself to actually read it. I kind of have to. I’d been working on a truth spell. If my Aunt asks what I’m doing, I can only physically say reading if I’ve at least read a little. Otherwise, it’s a lie. She taps the door quietly before opening it, and peering in, standing in the doorway as if the thought of coming inside is too disdainful. She looks like she usually does. Tightly wound and miserable, dressed like a librarian twice her age with her long dark blonde hair pulled up in an elaborate braided bun. She never wears make-up, and she always gives me a suspicious frown when she looks in on me like this.
“Everything okay?” she asks. Oh Artemis. I try to nod, but I can feel the truth spell working it’s magic.
“Sort of,” I hear myself say. She raises an eyebrow at me. “What’s the matter? Is something bothering you?” Now, she takes a step into the room. And I start to freak out internally.
“I need to know if Jake really likes me,” I tell her, my cheeks burning the instant the confession is out. It could be worse. I know that, but I never talk to my aunt about guys. Never. She blinks. “Jake? Jillian’s brother?” I nod. I’m glad I only spilled my reason for working on the spell, rather than anything about my parents or how unhappy I am here. I know it would hurt her, even if she acts less than comfortable with my presence most of the time.
“That boy is about to have his mating ceremony,” she tells me. “It wouldn’t be wise to get attached, Amanda. He’ll have a true mate soon enough.” I let out a sigh. This is why I don’t talk to her. She doesn’t seem to feel much of anything, so she can’t understand when someone else is upset, or happy, or anything, really. I can’t stand it.
“Please tell me, you’ll leave him be.” She watches me carefully and I know I can’t lie.
“I know he’ll have a true mate soon,” I say, holding back on letting the rest spill out. Omission isn’t the same as lying so I can get away with it. She nods. “Good.” She looks around, as if she’s not sure what else to say.
“Well, get some sleep,” she tells me, finally. “You have a big day tomorrow.” She leaves the room and I let out a sigh as I close the stupid book. She doesn’t know Jake kissed me at his eighteenth birthday party. I felt something in that moment that I can’t fully describe. I’m almost certain it was the mating bond. But this pack relies on ceremony for every major rite of passage. He’ll have his true mate revealed to him in three days at the ceremony. Jillian’s talked about nothing else. They’re twins. They’ll have their ceremony on the same night. I’m not invited, as per usual. No hybrids allowed. I don’t know what’s going to happen if I can’t be there. I’m his mate, I know it.
Romy Lockhart writes paranormal reverse harem and M/F contemporary romance. All of her books contain steamy scenes between consenting adults. All of her reverse harems have harem ever afters, and all of her romance novels have happy endings.
What inspired you to write this book?
Well, that’s kind of a long story. To answer it, I have to go back to creating my Hybrid Shifter world.
Last year was tough all around and it made me reassess my writing priorities. I took some time to find what I loved writing most and what I wanted to narrow my focus to concentrate on, and that resulted in my most successful release to date, which was the first book in this world, Vicious Love.
I’ve always loved writing paranormal stories, and shifter romance was a great fit for the protective, devoted heroes I prefer to write. I also identify more with outsiders, so that’s where the hybrid part fits in to the world I created. In general, I prefer writing standalone novels but there’s a lot of demand for series amongst readers so I had a tough time deciding how to write these novels. In the end I followed my heart and stuck to writing what I love most. I wrote standalones that interconnect but can be read on their own. It turned out to be the perfect format for this new project.
That decision led to me concentrating next on the groups of characters I wanted to write about, and starting to build their stories based around who they were and what they needed.
Different things had to happen to each of my main characters to take them on the journey that would lead them to their mates, and the inspiration for that basically came out of who they are as characters. With Hybrid Rejected, Amanda is stuck in a situation where she’s treated like an outcast by her pack, but she doesn’t expect to be hurt by her best friend’s brother, the only guy in town who doesn’t seem to care that she’s a hybrid. What happens next leads triggers a big decision and that leads her onto a better path.
What can we expect from you in future?
More fated mates, protective heroes and twisty plots!
For the most part, I’ll be writing more books in my Hybrid Shifter world, so this means more standalone fated mates reverse harem novels.
The next book is all about Jillian, who is Amanda’s best friend in Hybrid Rejected. She’s kind of wild, she’s a wolf-gator hybrid, and her novel has been a ton of fun to write. Runaway Mate will be out before the end of this year.
I’ll then be writing second standalones for Cheryl, Rachel, Amanda, and Jillian, and I’ll also be adding in vampire novels for a couple of characters who were introduced in Hybrid Rejected.
Do you have any side stories about the characters?
The short answer is yes!
I’m working on a few short stories set in my Hybrid Shifter world right now, which should be ready to release in a short story collection before the end of the year. I’ll be giving this collection away to my newsletter subscribers before the collection releases on Amazon/into Kindle Unlimited.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Well, this is an interesting question. Usually, I would go with something that just seems to fit the character, and I like to have a mix of unusual and ordinary names. If I’m struggling, I’ll Google names that mean something that relates to the character, or have a look at some lists of names online until something clicks. However, with the Hybrid Shifters books, things happened a little differently.
I came across a post in a reverse harem reader group one day where someone was asking why no main character is ever called Cheryl. I lost the post before I could respond to it, but the name actually fit the main character of Vicious Love so well that I used it and dedicated that book to all the Cheryl’s out there. I went with Rachel for her best friend’s name as I wanted to stick to using regular names for the characters. I then asked in a reverse harem reader group for suggestions for the main character in Hybrid Rejected, and I got a ton of responses. In the end, Amanda was the name that fit the character best, but I also found a couple of names I’ll be using for other future characters from that post too.
Readers seem to like the idea of seeing their name used for the main character, and I love finding names that are more commonly used for side characters and giving them their own stories.
Who designed your book covers?
The amazing Saruuh at LSK Designs created my covers. I bought Vicious Love as a premade because it was just gorgeous and I knew I had to write a story that fit that character. If you don’t know, cover designers often create covers as ready-to-be-used designs as well as creating custom covers for authors.
I love my covers for this world. They aren’t typical shifter romance covers, but they showcase each of the main female character’s personalities very well which for me was more important than having wolves featured on there.
Are the characters based off real people or do they come entirely from your imagination?
I never base my characters on real people. I write as an escape and there’s nothing less appealing to me than thinking about real life while I’m writing.
Very occasionally, I’ll give a character a habit or quirk that someone I know has, if it’s something that fits for them. On rare occasions I’ll base some of a character’s looks loosely around an actor or model if I’m finding it harder to picture them fully while I’m creating them, but in general they appear in my thoughts fully formed and kind of organically add in their own personality traits and habits while I’m plotting and occasionally even while I’m writing the novel.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I read a lot of books across a ton of different genres. I love paranormal romance, which is probably obvious, but I also have a major soft spot for horror. I prefer reverse harem books in general at the moment, but I read all different types of those too.
My preferences really just depend on my mood. I’m the same with movies and TV shows. I love watching stuff in a lot of different genres and will watch according to how I’m feeling.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at one time?
I don’t know how many books I’m currently at the various stages of plotting and writing, and I pretty much never do, but I tend to stick to a couple at a time as my main works in progress and I keep going with one more than any other until it’s complete, just letting myself write little bits of others when I’m satisfied I’m on track with my main work.
My problem is I get a lot of ideas all the time and sometimes it’s not enough to write up an outline and wait to get back to it. Sometimes, I have to just let myself start the book while the opening is fresh and ready to be written. Very occasionally, I let myself do this to the point where a brand new idea ends up jumping the queue and getting finished before books I planned on completing first.
Some ideas are just like that. They’re queue jumpers and make all my other works in progress mad.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
No. I’m very much a problem solver, so I don’t believe in writer’s block.
If I’m stuck, there’s a reason I’m stuck and I just have to figure the reason out to get back to work.
If I’m worn out or have been working too hard, I’ve learned to recognize when I’m too tired to keep going and take a break. If it’s something relating to the story, that can be a pain and I usually jump over the part that’s a problem and move onto the next scene after, then I’ll go back to the problem and fix it. Sometimes, I’ll move on to another work in progress and that helps recharge my creative battery. Sometimes, I’ll read back over what I’ve written, and the previous chapters until I identify what’s wrong to fix it.
I hate having to start over when something isn’t working like it should. It feels awful when I have to go back and cut thousands of words and find another way to get the plot back on track, but it’s just part of being a writer.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
That really depends on the length. I usually need about a month from getting the idea and doing the plot and character work for it before I start writing, so keep that in mind. Generally speaking, it takes me a couple of months to write the first draft of a 70-90K word novel. I can write the first draft of a 40-60K word novel in about a month. Editing and proofreading etc. is harder to average out, but generally once the first draft is done, it takes about half the time it took to write the book to go through the editing processes.
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