From the Archive in honor of the fact Jamokan has just been released on Amazon as a paperback!
VS Note: This post first appeared on Pauline Baird Jones’s blog…
2020 was a challenge as far as writing. With all that was going on with the pandemic, lockdowns, social distancing, not seeing the grandkids, political stuff – wow, the Muse didn’t want to write. I thought I’d just do a short novella about Jamokan, the third Badari Alpha, and at least put out something.
Turned out Jamokan is a much more complex guy than I anticipated and the book ended up being 85K words and taking two extra months to write!
I’ve kind of been ignoring him since the series started – he’s been getting shunted aside fairly often, to be in charge of the sanctuary valley while Aydarr and the others go off on missions. I wondered how he’d be feeling about that – not very happy, I’m sure. So that was one taking-off point for the story and another was the question of who exactly Jamokan was as a person. I decided he was a fairly happy- go-lucky guy, not much given to deep thinking or strategy, although he was a good pack leader, an excellent soldier and of course an Alpha. When the book begins, he’s not happy about being third in line behind Aydarr and now Daegan, the South Seas Alpha and he’s decided what he needs is a mate to help him advance. And of course he assumes the woman will be a tough soldier like Jill or Flo, the mates of Aydarr and Daegan respectively.
So then I pondered who would be the most unexpected mate for a man like Jamokan, who could help him transition to being someone who thought more about the future needs of his pack. As the Badari goddess points out with considerable annoyance early in the book, after Jamokan and his men have a night raucously celebrating the three full moons, if he continues on the same heedless path he and his men risk becoming hermits and allowing the canid DNA pack to go extinct. He has to set the example and work on building a future.
All of which leaves Jamokan annoyed and puzzled as to how to proceed.
Enter Rosemari Parcher, human in dire need of rescuing from a grim Khagrish lab. I decided the most opposite person to what Jamokan thinks he needs is a somewhat dreamy artist.
But to keep her alive, he has to break a major Badari commandment, so there’s fallout from his choice.
And Rosemari has a mind of her own about becoming an Alpha’s mate and all that the position entails.
Plus the sneaky, devious Khagrish aren’t done with Rosemari or the Badari…
I really enjoy writing in the Badari world, and work hard to deliver a fresh story each time, not simply repeating the basic plot elements. I hope you’ll think I succeeded.
Badari Alpha Jamokan and his pack are growing discontented in the sanctuary valley, tired of coming in second place to the pushy new South Seas pack when it comes to assignments and everything else. On top of the discord within his pack, Jamokan is distracted by the search for the right woman to be a proper Alpha’s mate to partner with him in combat and in everyday life. Even the Badari goddess is warning him in visions that he and his pack are on the wrong path for a happy future. In desperation, he receives permission to take his entire pack north to the mountains for a two week hunting expedition, where he hopes to use the time and rugged surroundings to settle the soldiers down and restore order and discipline.
And figure out his own future.
When his men unexpectedly locate a hidden Khagrish lab, he goes to investigate and see if there are humans to be rescued. Little does he suspect he’ll be called upon to break one of the highest commandments of the Badari packs and bring a new disaster to those who look to him for leadership.
Before she became a Khagrish prisoner,
Rosemari Parcher was a hydroponics technician on a gritty colony world, who unexpectedly won a planetwide contest. Tapped to receive her heart’s desire and move to a totally different life in the luxurious Inner Sectors, her life had become a happy dream. Kidnapped in space by enemy aliens and given to the Khagrish, she and other humans are the unwilling subjects of a bizarre medical experiment where a quick death seems to be her only hope. Rescued by Jamokan and his pack, she finds herself deeply attracted to the Alpha but the devious Khagrish aren’t through with Rosemari or the experiment.
This is the fifteenth book in the Badari Warriors world (and the thirteenth book in the numbered series) and each novel or novella has a satisfying Happy for Now ending for the hero and heroine, not a cliffhanger. Genetically engineered soldiers of the far future, the Badari were created by alien enemies to fight humans. But then the scientists kidnapped an entire human colony from the Sectors to use as subjects in twisted experiments…the Badari and the humans made common cause, rebelled and escaped the labs. Now they live side by side in a sanctuary valley protected by a powerful Artificial Intelligence, and wage unceasing war on the aliens. Some overarching issues do remain unresolved in each book since this is an ongoing series but romance always wins the day in my novels!
Excerpt (edited a bit from published version):
When had he and Aydarr stopped being equals? When had he slipped down the dominance rank?
The day Aydarr’s human mate set Jamokan and his pack free in return for his allegiance to her and Aydarr. He’d had no choice but to agree—he had to save the lives of his men and cubs so he knelt to Jill and gave his word.
But perhaps Aydarr and I were never actually equal, no matter how it galls me to consider the idea.
Jamokan, acknowledged Alpha of the canid-descent pack of Badari Warriors, watched the man at the head of the table as he ran the meeting, not even making any particular effort to project his dominance, although the effects were felt by every Badari in the room. No one could ever forget who the unquestionable Supreme Alpha was. Even the humans sensed Aydarr’s power, or so it was said.
Jamokan had had this same debate with himself more than once since his kind gained their freedom and fled the deadly Khagrish labs, to shelter in this sanctuary valley and wage war on their old nemesis like true insurgents. No one questioned Jamokan’s status as a powerful Alpha, leader of fearsome warriors. Aydarr acknowledged him and his contributions but…he was undeniably second.
No, third. Jamokan’s attention shifted to Daegan, the newly arrived Alpha of the South Seas pack. The islander was only slightly less dominant than Aydarr. To be honest with himself, Jamokan thought the outcome would be uncertain if the two of them ever faced off. He was older, more experienced at defending his position. Daegan possessed a high degree of power and was a cunning opponent, however. Of course such an event was completely unlikely. Aydarr ran a well-disciplined operation and all three packs were blood allies. Blood sworn to him. Woven tightly into a structure suitable for battling the enemy. He’d never allow matters to become so heated between two of his Alphas that combat was the only answer.
He drummed his fingers on the table, talons slightly extended, until Aydarr frowned at him and he stopped, annoyed with himself for allowing his mood to show even so slightly. As the meeting continued, he reverted to his internal musing and his original topic.
Do I want to be at the top of the hierarchy? All the responsibility on my shoulders?
Again, to be honest with himself, Jamokan really didn’t. What he wanted was to run his own pack as he saw fit and not have to worry so damn much about all these other Badari, not to mention the hundreds of humans now dwelling in the valley. He allowed himself to daydream a bit about taking possession of a huge swath of the northern territory, with its unparalleled hunting and fishing opportunities, the mountains, the crisp air and other enticements which called to the wolfish predator whose alien DNA was combined with his. To run there in a pack or to go off on solo expeditions would be a gift from the goddess.
Let Aydarr rule the entire planet, as he fully intended to, should they ever manage to win this war. Let Daegan have the southern hemisphere he craved.
Give me the highlands and the mountains.
Of course he and his men would show up for combat. He’d never shirk the responsibility to fight the Khagrish but right now the confines of the valley and the life he was living chafed at him.
Free of the labs, yes, but yoked with responsibilities and protocol.
With a firmly repressed sigh of longing, Jamokan tuned back into the external discussion underway. Long meetings were not his favorite occupation. He craved the action and adrenaline of the combat missions, destroying their enemies.
Jill, Aydarr’s mate, was speaking, arguing for a continuation of the efforts to take down labs where large groups of humans were being held, despite the fact the valley was hard pressed to absorb them right now. The Badari were all sworn to rescue humans where and when they could but in Jamokan’s opinion, the focus had become a distraction to the real mission of ending the Khagrish. He’d make the point again when it was his turn to weigh in. In this case, Daegan was on his side, he knew, and Aydarr willing to listen.
Jamokan studied her as she made her points efficiently and in crisp, pithy arguments. He had no doubts about her capabilities, her bravery or her devotion to Aydarr and the Badari-human future.
The moment Aydarr began to evolve into the supreme Alpha had come when he mated this fierce human woman, who was a former soldier herself. She completed him in ways no Badari could ever have dreamt of but obviously the Great Mother wished to have happen. The couple were a team outside anything the Badari pack had ever known.
And Daegan had Flo, another tough human soldier, as his mate.
Even Darik in his own pack, mated to Nicolle, who basically ran the human administrative side of the valley for the Badari, was showing signs of increased dominance and power. Jamokan grinned inside, while maintaining his stern Alpha visage. Darik had been the ultimate carefree soldier, happy to carry out his missions and then to kick back, play cards and take it easy. Then he met Nicolle and now he was damn near enforcer level.
Aside from Darik, his pack wasn’t doing too well at this mating business. Clearly the Alpha had to set the tone, as Aydarr and Daegan had.
He, Jamokan, had to get serious about this topic of mates, find the woman meant to be his and claim her. The change in his personal status would boost his pack dominance apparently, as well as helping his men find partners and put him on a more equal footing with Aydarr and Daegan.