Holding a Witch by Lauren Connolly

He will always wait for her… Denton fell for Cordelia before he knew how much loving her would hurt. Every time the traveling witch disappears through a portal into another realm, he never knows when or if she’ll return. All the bear shifter can do is wait. On the sunrise of the spring equinox, Denton and his sister set up a magical altar in hopes of guiding Cordelia home. But when the witch arrives, she has a new companion in tow and shadows in her eyes. As the holiday of Ostara unfolds, the bear shifter attempts to discover the root of Cordelia’s pain, while hiding the depths of his love for her. Because on the day she inevitably leaves again, he only wants one heart to break.

Lauren Connolly

Give us the one to two sentence tagline for your book.

He will always wait for her…

What surprised you the most while writing this book?

How much I love writing beta shifters. I’ll read all kind of heroes, but there’s something about writing, where I prefer to be in the head of a man who can shift into a bear and just wants to be a supportive presence in the life of the woman he loves.

Why did you pick the setting you used for your book?

I have family in Roanoke, Virginia, and I find the nature in the area beautiful.

What is the sexiest trait of your hero(s)?

For Denton (my hero), I think it’s how he quietly cares for everything and everyone around him. For Cordelia, it’s her passion.

What is your favorite scene/moment in your book?

The end of the first scene, where Denton pulls Cordelia into his arms after she’s been gone so long. I think I cried while writing it.

What did you have to cut out of your book but wish you could have included?

I’d originally planned to have more description of the other realm Cordelia traveled to, but it didn’t fit in the flow of this story. Still, that world now exists (at least in my mind) and I can send future characters into it!

Tropes get a bad name, but they’re often the biggest draw for readers. What tropes do you love to write and read?

Love to write: Friends to Lovers, Only One Bed, Brother’s Best Friend, Grump and Sunshine. Love to Read: (All the ones I said I love to write and…) Beaty and the Beast, Unrequited Love. Plus a million more I can’t think of now. I LOVE TROPES. Please give me more, all the time, I’ll never stop eating them up!

What are your favorite genres/sub-genres to write in? Are there any you love to read but cannot write in?

I like switching back and forth between paranormal and contemporary/new adult. Sometimes I’m feeling magical and sometimes I want to write in the real world. I ADORE reading historical romances, but I’d never be able to write with the proper voice for those time periods. I’m happy to keep them as pleasure reading.

Which do you love to write best: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?

Dialogue! Witty banter is my bread and butter. A lot of times I’ll just write straight dialogue and have to go in later to fill in the rest.

Which do you hate to write: dialogue, setting, action, love scenes, or other?

I wouldn’t say I hate this, but I always struggle with physically describing characters. I feel like I get stuck on the same descriptive words I use in every book. But sometimes I do it beautifully, and I’m so proud of my creative brain!


“Thank you,” I manage to press through my suddenly stiff lips.

Denton only offers me a blackberry scone in response. A dangerously large lump forms in my throat, and I worry I won’t be able to eat the delicious gift. When he moves to stand, most likely to leave me be, I drop the flower and pastry in my lap—only keeping hold of my scalding tea—to clutch his hand.

“The Realm of Meztra doesn’t have bears.”

The last thing I want to ask, after Denton and Harriet have done so much for me, is for more from him. But, I can’t help the subtle plea in my voice.

I need you.

The dense black beard crinkles with another hint of a smile, and his thick fingers give mine an understanding squeeze before slipping from my grasp.

Denton reaches behind his head, clasping the neck of his shirt and removing it in one smooth tug that sets all my nerves to clenching. Ever since grade school, he’s been a big man. But after living surrounded by lean individuals for so long, his mass assaults my gaze and leaves me sucking in a steadying breath. Black hair covers a meaty chest, thinning over his stomach, but still drawing the eye downward.

With deft fingers, he undoes his belt, not bothering to slip the leather from the loops before his thumb seeks out the button at the top of his fly.

A good friend would drop her eyes.

But I was never that good.

Denton turns at the last moment—right as the denim and briefs drag down his thighs—blocking his front while giving me a glorious view of his behind. Before I can take my time admiring the pale globes, the air condenses around him, and the shape of an animal overtakes his body.

Thick, dark fur covers his massive form, which weighs maybe a hundred pounds more than a real black bear. Still close enough to fool a human who might catch a glimpse. Grey eyes rest above a long snout and below a fuzzy set of ears I’ve always found entirely too adorable.

The bear shifter shakes off the effects of his change while I recover from the intimate glimpse I’ve longed for what seems my whole life.

I can never recall the exact moment I fell in love with Denton Bluebell, but I know I was at least five years old before it happened.

Lauren Connolly is a Colorado Book Awards Finalist and an author of contemporary and paranormal romance stories. She’s lived among mountains, next to lakes, and in imaginary worlds. Lauren can never seem to stay in one place for too long, but trust that wherever she’s residing there is a dog who thinks he’s a troll, twin cats hiding in the couch, and bookshelves bursting with the diverse stories written by the authors she loves.

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