Wednesday, August 18, 2021

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: Moon Bound by M.L. Philpitt

Today, we have a Release Day Blitz celebrating the book birthday for M.L. Philpitt's Moon Bound, the second installment in the Witches Bind trilogy! To celebrate this book birthday, we have an exclusive chapter excerpt to share! And, that's not all, M.L. Philpitt has a giveaway (pinned post) on her Facebook page celebrating this release! So... Head on over to her FB page and enter for a chance to win! So... Be sure to check it out and grab your copy now!

Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Witches' Bind, #2
Publish Date:
August 19, 2021

Cover Designed by:
Sarah Hanson

All I wanted was to get away from my coven and its archaic rules. My dream is to live a regular human life, but when my wish is to leave the coven is granted, of course there’s strings attached. Given to the shifter pack near us, freedom is even further away.

The only good thing about my new life is the sexy, new alpha of the pack, Ryder. But submitting to this life still means captivity, and no matter what kind of attraction we have, I refuse to accept it regardless of what fate may be trying to tell me.

I needed magic to save my dying father, and what I got instead was a witch who wants out of the supernatural life. She gives me more than I bargained for when I realize she’s my future. We reach an understanding, but she’s bound and determined to leave the pack and coven life behind.

But I won’t let her go, as even if she’s chosen to fight me on this, she belongs with me.

*FREE on Kindle Unlimited*


Chapter 1 – Ryder – Present Day

Small beams of sun cast light through the dark clouds overhead. The sun wants to shine bright, but the gloomy clouds threaten rain—a direct reflection of my mood. After the morning’s events, despair weighs down on my shoulders while my stomach curdles with the unknown.

The door to my father’s cabin opens and I jerk to my feet. What comes next will either enforce the grey clouds or allow the sun to peek out freely.

Marissa, one of two pack elders, steps into the doorway, her eyes scanning the camp until finding me near the fireless pit. The souring in my stomach explodes into a full-blown punch, stealing the breath from my lungs at the sight of her expression. I focus on breathing, on my heartbeat pulsing sluggishly.

Because the look of hopelessness in her eyes could only mean one thing.

“Ryder, you should get in here.” Her low, gravelly voice sends chills down my already stiff spine.

I inhale once more and hold the breath in my body, knowing I’ll need it to get me through what happens next. As I stride past other pack members, some working, some waiting for news like I am, the sun’s beam is overtaken by the clouds.

The small shard of hope I was hanging onto disappears with the sun. It doesn’t get lost though, just lodges itself deep into my soul as I step into my father’s cabin, shutting the door and any daylight beyond behind me.

The breath I’m holding in isn’t enough to help me handle what I see. Father—my alpha— in bed with a small blanket stretched across his body. His familiar dark hair is plastered to his forehead, damp with sweat hanging above pinched eyes. The blanket moves with his rapid breaths—breaths that seem to stab my heart until injury. His large body consumes the majority of the bed tucked in the corner, his limbs spread wide, twitching.

“Oh my god,” I breathe. There are no other words.

This morning, Father and I were out on patrol, and mid-run he fell to the ground, convulsing before he stared back at my wolf form from a human body. No matter what he tried, no amount of focus would allow him to shift back.

Something I have never seen happen to any wolf in the pack. For that exact reason, dread laid in my stomach—dread that hasn’t dissipated yet.

I glance away, unable to look upon his form any longer. Already, he seems frailer. Sicker. Shifters can’t get ill, so his symptoms send chills down my spine.

I try to focus, instead, on the space around me. The cabin seems larger without Mother and her constant desire to fill the room with flowers and homemade crafts she’d do in her spare time. It’s been three years, but now the table that often held a fresh bouquet is bare and pushed into the far corner. A chest of her clothing sits beside it, along with items Father hasn’t yet been able to part with, still holding onto anything reminding him of her. Thinking of her, while in the cabin with my sick father makes the room begin to spin. This small, simple area has seen so much death in recent years.


His broken voice yanks my attention back to him. Father’s hands fist in the blanket and the corner of his eyes go damp.

“Son, never shed tears. Tears mean weakness.”

When I was a pup, learning what it means to be pack alpha, he repeated those words to me often. An alpha should never show tears because tears mean weakness. They mean I care about something or someone and that can be used against me at any time.

A belief he holds strongly, having not once cried in front of others, including me. There was one time, three years ago when we lost Mother, that I had seen him cry. After her funeral, I found him crying in the woods. But now, in front of Marissa—someone who’s been a friend for his entire life—and me, his tears flow freely.

I regard Marissa, standing nearby. “What’s happening to him?”

Her weathered gaze flicks to my father before settling back on me and her shoulders sink with her sigh. “He won’t be able to shift anymore.”

Her words punch me in the stomach, stealing what’s left of the air still contained in my lungs. “At all? How?”

Shifters don’t just lose their ability. It’s impossible… I think. We’re ingrained into nature, so unless nature stops responding to us, someone did this.

“Someone had to do this, Marissa.” I scrutinize her, hoping she realizes what I do. I wouldn’t put it past the coven down South to be responsible.

Witches and shifters have been at war since the beginning of time—or at least that’s what the books make it sound like. While we’ve ignored the nearby coven, being hours away from one another, I also believe all this time they could have been lying in wait. Witches are sneaky like that.

Marissa shifts. “Maybe...”

“Tell him.” Father’s voice rises from the bed. He coughs once, clearing his roughened voice, before repeating, “Marissa, tell him. Tell them all.”

“Tell me what?” I demand, my stare whipping between them both. The weight in my stomach expands up my chest, tightening around my heart until I gasp. “Tell me.”

But they ignore me, stuck in a silent battle of their own. After a long, hard stare from Father, Marissa lets out an accepting breath. “Fine, I will gather the pack then.” Her hopeless gaze flits to me. “When you’re done here, come outside.” She leaves before I can say more.

Father lifts his arm, reaching for my hand. It’s a sluggish, frail movement and something in me snaps. I fall to my knees in front of him, ignoring the spark of discomfort shooting up my legs from my landing on the wood flooring. The emotional pain tearing up my soul lessens the physical one and I wrap my hand in his reaching one.

“Father, I—”

“Ryder, I’m dying.”

I blink, glancing away from his passive face while my insides crack. An outcome he’s clearly accepted, but I refuse to. My breath comes out shallow as I focus on it, resisting the urge to cry in front of him.

As a son, I want to cry for my father, but as a wolf, I want to howl away my sorrow.

“You’ll be alpha.”

I shudder under the weight of his words. “No, Father.” I knew eventually this would be my role, but it’s too soon. I’m not ready. With a shifter’s long lifespan, it should have been many more decades at least. Father is fifty, though he appears much younger, but if the magic in his blood is hindering his shifting, then how long will it keep him from aging?

“You must, Ryder.”

“No,” I repeat, voice hardening. Saying yes to him means he will leave me.

His weak hand tightens, as if trying to hold mine. “Ryder, you’re a smart boy. You know what will happen.”

My jaw clenches. “What do you know? What is Marissa going to tell me?”

What he says next, I feel in the depths of my soul. “Something I won’t be able to.” He draws in a deep, shuddering breath and adds, “You’ll be a great alpha. You’re twenty-four, for fuck’s sake. Take a mate and lead the pack well, and one day—” His voice cracks, and when he speaks next, it’s rough, as if forced. “One day… teach your own pup the ropes. Teach him everything I taught you.”

Mate. Pup. He wants me to have the happy ending he and Mother did. Wolves mate for life, so choosing a strong female is important. Love sometimes accompanies the union, but not always. Most often, it’s a way to link packs together. It’s what mine will likely be, even though what I genuinely want is that rare connection; the thing elders refer to as a bond—when matehood chooses you. A shifter finding their true mate is rare, and I’ve only ever heard of it happening once, but it was before I was born, so I doubt I have one. It would be nice though. Or at the very least I’d like to take a mate and actually fall in love with her, like Father did with Mother.

I nod, the wad of cotton in my throat obstructing my words.

“Now, leave,” he finishes. “Marissa is waiting.” I hear his words, but the brick on my heart keeps me grounded to my spot and my hand tightens around his. “I won’t be going anywhere,” he adds when I don’t move. Not yet are his unspoken words.

And so, I finally leave, finding the strength of the entire pack to take me away from his side. My eyes remain firm on my path and I don’t dare peek back one more time, not if I want to make it outside with an even expression.

Most of the pack, the few dozens of us, are gathered around the bare fire pit. Cubs sit on their mother’s laps, and I glance away from their happiness. Everyone peeks over at me when I approach, all with somber expressions. As if they know.

Marissa stands with Amos, the other pack elder, off to the side, heads bent in conversation. I train my eyes on them as I stride past some of the pack, making it to Lucas’s side. As best friend and future beta, his gentle smile eases my tense muscles a little bit and I take the open spot on his left.

Mia, Mark, and Ian sit on his right. “The young pack,” as we’ve been nicknamed. The generation that will construct my mini pack of warrior shifters—a job we’ll all have much sooner than believed.

Marissa and Amos join the pack then, each of them scanning the crowd before settling on me. Amos’s gaze remains focused and determined, as usual, while Marissa only shows compassion. They’re the yin to each other’s yang—a balance the pack needs in its elders.

“What we have to say will affect us all,” Marissa starts, her eyes on mine, as if we’re having a private conversation. “When your mother got sick many, many moons past, your father got scared and desperate, and he made a deal with the Fortuna coven.”

The coven south of us.

Bile climbs up my throat and my body goes heavy, unable to move. Still, I breathe through my anxiety, weaving my hands together tightly and tuning back into her words.

“In exchange for three more years of your mother’s life, he would give up his shifting abilities.”

Murmurs run through the pack and Lucas curses, but the blood pounding in my ears tunes it all out. Fury, dread, hopelessness… it all tumbles through me at once. I need to stand—to punch something. Preferably I’ll tear apart the coven. They did this.

This is why covens and packs hate each other. The ball of vengeance never stops rolling.

Marissa goes on, her stare dropping to her feet. “He will die soon. Likely another month or so. Years back, they placed a curse on him with a timeline only they’re aware of, that when activated, the magic will leave his body. His shifting will be no more and his body will weaken.” She peers up then, scanning the circle of heartbreak, before once more settling upon me. The red rimming of her eyes indicates this is hard for her too. Marissa has been around since Father was a pup—was there when he became alpha. “He did it so he could gain a few more years with your mother.”

The sharp pain in my chest coupled with dismay are soon overwhelmed with the feeling of anguishing anger. Both at Father and the coven. Father for making such a deal, and the coven for their fucking spell. My hands fist, eyes zeroing in on Father’s cabin.

As if sensing a shift in me, Lucas’s hand lands on my shoulder. The weight of his compassion presses into me and I breathe a bit easier. He knows what I’m feeling and doesn’t expect me to bury those emotions like everyone else believes I should.

“I’ll attack the coven. They will fix this.” My mind whirls with what I could possibly give them in exchange because they’ll require a deal advantageous to them.

Amos moves his feet, both he and Marissa eyeing me warily. “There’s nothing we can do to stop his death at this point,” he comments.

“They’re witches,” I say, determination heavy in my tone. My legs tighten, ready to stand and sprint off. “They created this mess. I’ll make a new deal in order to get them to undo this.”

Marissa and Amos share another look, which is beginning to grind my nerves. My teeth clench down on the curse wanting to be said.

“What?” I bark.

“Fortuna disappeared last Spring,” Marissa murmurs. “We lost track of them right around then, clearing out from the town they were holed up in.”

A growl builds in my throat, one accompanied by a few others around me. This news was hidden from the entire pack.

Witches are fucking cowards.

I refuse to lose Father because he held onto Mother longer than he should have.

Aren’t you doing the exact same thing then?

I swat away the logic as I focus on settling the churning in my stomach and the itch on my skin.

“Why did they do this?” I demand.

Amos shifts again and says, “We don’t know.”

They’re lying. I know it, but for now, Father’s death remains too important to dwell on it.

Lucas chimes up from beside me. “What about the coven in the next province over? On no occasion have we dealt with them, but they could assist. Whip something up to restore his magic, I’m sure.”

I forgot all about them. My teeth sink into my bottom lip, plans building. I could offer them… what? What would they agree to in order to restore the magic in Father’s blood?

Mia speaks up. “And do what, dumbass? They won’t work with wolves. They’re likely in on it all with Fortuna.”

“We have to try,” Lucas throws back.

I swing my hand out, an unspoken command. “Stop, Mia. He’s right. It’s an idea and the only one we have so far. No harm in trying.”

Appreciative murmurs sound out from the pack, but Mark drowns them out. “No harm against a coven of witches?” His barking laugh rings with skepticism.

“I’ll go alone,” I insist, glancing at the elders. They won’t stop me from doing this—from trying. “In the morning.” If I travel now, I’ll arrive in the middle of the night.

“And when they say no?” Mark’s brows lift.

“It’s not an option.” My hands fist on my leg. For the first time all day, hope wraps me in its arms. I can help Father. This time tomorrow, Father will be out on patrol again, on four legs.

Not wanting to stick around to hear Marissa tell me all the reasons this is a bad idea, without another word, I stand, pushing away from the pack and out of the camp between two cabins. I break the line, shedding my clothes as I walk. A run is what I need to clear my head and put myself into a better mental state—one that won’t have me destroying every witch I see.


The Witches' Bind trilogy:
(covers link to Goodreads)

*FREE on Kindle Unlimited*
***Pre-order book 3, Union Bound***


**About the Author**
M.L. Philpitt is Canadian-born and raised, and enjoys representing Canada within her novels. As a Ravenclaw, she loves education, having undergraduate degrees in English Literature and Sociology, a certificate in Autism and Behavioral Sciences, and a MA in Counselling Psychology. She writes in various romance new adult genres including but not limited to paranormal, fantasy, dark romance, and contemporary. She has lots of crazy trapped in her head for readers to enjoy.

When M.L. Philpitt isn’t making up stories, she’s enjoying those imagined by other authors. Her love of reading began when she was a young child and only grew with age. She likes many genres, as reflected in her writing preferences. Despite being an author, she’s an active ARC reader, book buyer, and moderator for The New Adult Book Club on Goodreads.

Stay connected with M.L. Philpitt

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