Julian: The Stanton Pack Release Day & Giveaway

Julian Stanton was eating breakfast and rethinking his life as a PI when a stranger walked into the diner looking for Tess O’Rourke. Julian felt the hackles rise on his neck. He wanted to take his gun out and blow this guy’s head off for no apparent reason other than he didn’t like him. He’d never had an instant dislike for a person before. He didn’t know who Tess was, but he was going to make sure this stranger didn’t find her.

Tess was at her wit’s end. Dexter had once been her best friend, now she couldn’t get far enough away from him. He was everywhere, attacking her at every corner, emptying her bank account, and now he was after her baby daughter, Ruby. Only the Lord knew what he’d do to the baby if he got his hands on her.

Sent by his parents to help, Julian was to be Tess’s escort to the family home for dinner. The hotel was no longer safe since Dexter had found her there too. When she opened the door, she shoved the most precious squalling baby girl into his arms that Julian had ever seen. And when the woman walked by him, her scent hit him like a brick.

The job went from a favor to personal in the blink of an eye, and Julian would protect the girls in his life with his own if necessary.

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Dane had no idea who she was. She’d been shot and couldn’t even remember who she was hiding from. All she did know was she needed help, and when Julian Stanton found her, he took her to his family.

Brayden Stanton was just tired of everything. It was time to leave Africa and go home to family. He called his dad to tell him that he was fed up with the job and he was on his way home, and he was bringing a fiancée with him. She wasn’t his mate, but he was going to make it work. He realized his mistake the moment he proposed.

Danger comes at every turn. The women in Brayden’s life are surrounded with it. Both are lethal, but one has Braden’s heart from the beginning. The question is, can the family survive it?


Being a country lawyer was something Christian Stanton had always wanted to do. Taking a client he really didn’t want to represent was not what he had in mind.

Allie had been hired to teach the Stanton men hand to hand self-defense. She loved her job and was quite good at it. She knew about shifters, but had never really worked with them before. And when the big cat shifted into a very naked man proclaiming to be her mate, Allie wanted nothing to do with him.

When it came to Allie, Christian was in big trouble. She was no pushover and the sooner he figured that out the better off he’d be….



The Stanton Pack
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Julian was enjoying his breakfast at the little diner when the man walked in. There was something about him that made Julian want to pull out his gun and blow his head off. No reason that he could see right now for such a violent reaction, but he hated the man on sight. Taking his handgun out of his pocket, he laid it on the seat next to him. There wasn’t a safety, but had there been one, he would have taken it off as well. Something—something very bad was surrounding this man. “I’m looking for a friend of my son’s. Tess. Tess O’Rourke. She’s some kind of doctor.” Sally told him she didn’t know her but did know Ericson O’Rourke. The man’s voice was off too. Like he was trying his best to project a woman’s voice. Odd, even to him. “Yeah, that’s her granddad. Where is he?” “I’m sorry, but I don’t know you from Adam, and I’m not going to tell you that.” She went by him with a pot of coffee in her hand. When he was close enough to touch her, Sally, a wolf shifter, stepped back when he grabbed her. “You touch me without my permission and they’ll be picking up pieces of you out of this place for the next fifty years.” She poured the coffee for the table next to Julian’s, then came to him. He could tell that she was upset, but all he did was lay his gun on the table. For that reason alone, he was sure, she looked relieved. Saying nothing and going back to the counter, she asked the man if he wanted anything to eat. “I already told you want I wanted. Now, either call him up or send some kid to find him, but you’re to do as you’re told.” Sally cocked her brow at him. “You heard me. I’m not in the habit of repeating myself to people. Get him or face me.” Finished with his meal now that this ass had interrupted it, Julian wiped his mouth with his napkin, picked up his gun, and put it to the back of the man’s head when he stood up. Julian winked at Sally before speaking. “Sally, honey, if you’d be so kind as to call the police, I’d surely appreciate it. If I have to kill this man for simply being a rude fucktard, then I want them here to make sure that I did it by the law.” The man started to lunge, to where he had no idea, but Julian popped him hard in the back of the head and the man fell like he’d had strings cut that were holding him up. “Now look what you made me do. Sally, tell them we’re going to need the wagon too. I hurt him.” When the police arrived, not really in any kind of hurry since Sally had told them it was Julian, they took one look at the man on the floor and laughed. Apparently, he’d been all over town ordering people to do his bidding. “Mr. Merkel, he’s none too happy with him either. I guess when he was busy with another customer, this guy here swiped his hand over the counter, breaking his wife’s best glass of tea. The glass, not the tea.” Julian laughed with them. “Have you ever had her tea? Good God oh mighty, don’t, if you haven’t. It’s sweet enough that I’m betting she uses five pounds of sugar in it to make it that sweet.”
The medics brought the man around, and after a few minutes he finally stood. But when he looked around, trying, no doubt, to figure out who had hit him, his gaze settled on the man at the table, one of the nicest men in town. He was also Julian’s father. “You touch him, and it will be over before you can get all your fingers wrapped around him.” The man looked at Julian, then at his dad. “He didn’t hit you. Not that he might not have, but I did it. For being an ass. In this town, we don’t order people around, nor do we suggest they fetch and do as told for an asshole.” “Julian, behave.” He told his mom he was sorry, but he didn’t take his eyes off the man. “Come sit with us and let the police handle this one. Perry is doing a very good job as our new sheriff. That man there is unbalanced.” “Listen here, bitch—” He got no further because Julian’s sweet little mother got up and punched the stranger in the face. Then she sat down and picked up her menu. “I think I’m going to have the eggs and bacon today, Denny. Julian, I said come away from there before you have to hurt that man again.” She laid her menu down and smiled at him. “I do not usually resort to violence, but he drove me to it. Now, what are you having, Denny?” Julian might not have ever believed it if he’d not seen it for himself. His mom was taking some self-defense training from Allie, and it seemed to be paying off. Julian had thought his mom was scary before; now she was simply terrifying. He sat back down as the man, still the only thing he knew him by, was taken out. “We can’t arrest him for being a dick—pardon, Mrs. Stanton—being a bad-mouthed man, but we’ve told him to move on. I don’t think he will.” Julian told Perry, his brother-in-law, that he didn’t believe he would either. “We’ll just keep an eye out for him. You’ll help us out, won’t you, Jules?” Lately, just in the last couple of weeks, he’d been having his name shortened. He didn’t hate it as much as Brayden did; he actually thought it was nice. Friendly. As he drank a nice cup of tea with his parents, who had entered the diner when the man was out, he asked them if there was a Tess around. “Oh yes. I think that’s her name. She’s the granddaughter to my buddy, Ericson O’Rourke. He’s going to be working on that vet that came in with the bullet in his head. Why no one tried to remove it when he was hurt is beyond me, but he’ll be operated on in the morning, I guess.” Julian nodded and sipped his tea while his mom took up where Dad had left off. “The young woman, Kendal Wayne’s wife Sandra, she’s been helping out at the veteran’s office. I’ve never seen anyone so organized before. When the donations started coming in, she had them all in the proper order in no time. So, we put her in charge of procurement. I thought it was a nice title. And she’s being paid.” Julian said that was good. “But this man, what does he have to do with Tess?” “Don’t know. I guess, according to Perry, that he’s been all over town asking for her—well, you heard him—demanding her to come to him. I don’t know what his deal
was.” Mom told him that she wasn’t married. “Don’t set me up. I have enough going on right now without trying to untangle myself from a woman that you think is pretty.” “I’ve never met her yet, as a matter of fact. But I was saying she wasn’t married because whoever this man is, he’s not her husband.” He told her he was sorry. “But would it hurt you to go to see her to see if she is your mate? I heard that she’s as sweet as pie, too.” “Mom.” Mom laughed when Dad did. “I sign on my house in the morning. Also, since you did ask me, the furniture comes with it. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of it, but for the most part, I’m going to keep it. Sort of swap it out for something that I find while keeping the house looked lived in.” Julian had an apartment too, one that he’d never released when he’d been working. For some reason, he didn’t want to let it go. There might be a good reason for him keeping it someday. “Mom, do you think that Dane or Allie would want the baby stuff that was left behind? There is a lot of it. Girl stuff.” “I don’t know, you’d have to ask them. But I think that Allie and her parents are having a good time getting the nursery ready for the baby. And Dane will more than likely hurt you if you suggest that she needs pink in her baby’s room.” He laughed with his dad, saying that camo would be better for any child born to Dane and Brayden. “Oh good heavens, you don’t really think that’s what she’s doing, do you? Camo? Oh my.” “I’ll just leave it then. It’s not like it’s bothering me.” But it was. He had no idea why, but he had the most incredible urge to not just fill the nursery, but the house too. Telling his mom and dad he had to go, he left them there. The streets were cleaned of the early morning snow now, but he didn’t care. There was a feeling of hope in the air too. The new year was here, the stores were getting ready for spring, and he had an interview with a police force in the next town over. It would be a good drive, about forty minutes, but he thought it was better than just sitting around the house and being bored. His cell phone was ringing when he got into his truck. Julian was startled to hear screams first, then shots fired. Perry asked him to meet him at the local hotel, and he was to come hot and ready. “Fucking hurry.” He did, and when he pulled up in front of the place, he saw three people that he didn’t know, as well as child services. Not having any idea what he was walking in on, he decided that safe was better than sorry. Taking his gun out, he approached the man from the diner. “What the fuck are you doing now? I thought we had this conversation not ten minutes ago.” The man turned and swung, and Julian dodged it. The man went down, and Julian put his boot on his back, glad to see that he’d landed in some mud. “Now, this is what you’re going to do. Tell me what the fuck is wrong with you?” “She’s not supposed to have that kid. No kids, no kids, no kids. I told her she didn’t need them.” Not sure who he was talking about, he looked at Betty Cobb, the town social worker. The man continued speaking. “Tess is a terrible mom; she’s a whore that
doesn’t need to have children. I’ve seen her beating that baby and leaving it out in the cold. Just let me have it and I’ll make sure that it’s taken care of.” Whatever the man meant by his statement, it made Julian feel sick to his stomach. A combination of the woman-like voice and the way he said “Take care of it” made his skin crawl too. Julian would rather die than to give that kid over to this person. He looked at Betty. “The baby is fine. But we’ve taken her to the hospital with her mom.” He asked if she was all right. “Yes, but the baby is a little upset, if you can imagine. No indication of any marks on her, and she’s a chubby little thing too. Cute as a button.” “He do anything to hurt them?” Betty told him that Ruby, the baby’s name, had a cold, but that they were checking her out because of what he’d said. “And what is he doing here? Father? Brother?” “Nuisance.” Julian looked at the older gentleman when the idiot under his foot struggled to get away. Julian just pressed him harder into the mud until he was gasping. “He’s not any relation to us, but he has it in his head that he needs to have the baby for some reason. I know this man; this isn’t like him at all. Usually he’s so quiet and timid. And he doesn’t want my Tess, just her baby. Like I said, I don’t know what’s come over him. This isn’t him. Oh, by the way, my name is Ericson O’Rourke. You have to be related to Denny.” “His son. Julian Stanton, third son to them. And you’re the doctor that came here to operate on Kendal.” He said that he was. “Kendal is a good man, doesn’t deserve this. I surely hope you can do some good for him.” “I will give it my best, but before you drown Dexter, let him up.” Jules grinned at Perry when he finally showed up. “I had to escort Ms. O’Rourke. She’s pretty upset too.” After Dexter Jorden was taken in, Julian asked Perry if he needed him for anything else. Perry said the same thing he always did, to come and work for him. He told him again that it wasn’t in the cards. Just as he was leaving his parents showed up, and he hung with them to figure out what the guy’s deal was that was after this Tess person. ~~~ Tess watched her little girl as the nurse examined her. Ruby had a bruise on her right shoulder, but otherwise was all right. Dexter was off the deep end, and she didn’t have any idea what to do about him. When the doctor asked her to come into his office, she asked if she could pick up Ruby and was told she could. Holding her little girl tightly, she handed her the binky that she had and watched her little eyes drift closed. It really had been a long day, and it wasn’t even ten in the morning yet. “She’s had a rough day, I think.” She told Doctor Colton that she had. “I’m sorry. I’m Doc Stanton. My first name is Colton. You’re Tess O’Rourke, the surgeon we’ve heard so much about lately.” “I am. My granddad is the one that was called in, but word travels fast. I guess that happens in a small town. You’re related to the man that called my granddad, then.” He said that he was his son. “I see. Is my little girl going to be all right? I mean, he grabbed her pretty hard when he tried to take her from me.”
“Yes, she’s just fine. And so you’re aware, I’m only here helping out—I’m actually a retiring psychologist. I work here when they’re short of staff or need a break.” She thanked him for coming in. “My pleasure. I had no idea that Ericson had a great granddaughter, much less a granddaughter.” “I’m his only relative, and since I’m not working at the moment, I decided to come along with him. Ruby likes to travel too. See things like snow. I had no idea there would be nothing left of it already.” He told her it was Ohio—tomorrow it might be in the seventies or the teens. “I’ve heard that before, I think. Sally at the diner told us.” “Yes, she’s good on sayings. And talking.” They both laughed. “You can take Ruby home with you if you’d like. On one condition.” Her body stiffened. “I might have a child, Dr. Stanton, but I’m not easy.” He laughed, and she felt her temper flare up hotter. “You would be well enough to just leave me alone.” “Feel better?” She wasn’t sure what he meant and asked him. “I’m not that other man. I was just asking you if you’d like to have dinner with me. At my parents’ house, with them there. I have my own home, but I know that your granddad is going to be there, and I didn’t hear that you would.” “I wasn’t invited.” Her temper now was turned onto herself. “I’m sorry. I’ve had a rough few months too. No, Ruby and I are trying to lay low with Dexter around here now. I don’t know what’s come over him lately. He used to be such a loving, kind man. But if he keeps this up, we might have to take off again. I don’t want to, but I don’t want my daughter hurt by him. He’s not usually so violent.” “Yes, he is. How many ribs do you have broken right now.” She didn’t say anything. “You have two, I would say, on your left, more on the right. You’re breathing hard and shallow. And you carry the baby on the less pained side. Also, there is a ligature mark on your neck. Most might not see it, but I’m paid to. Where are the rest of them? When he hits you, he’s usually so careful, isn’t he? This man Dexter or your husband do that?” “I don’t have a husband, as you well know. But yes, it’s Dexter. He is still mourning the death of his mom. I don’t know why he’d be like this—they weren’t close. Actually, I never liked her at all, even when we were children. But I think it’s affected him somehow and he’s acting out.” He asked her how long it had been. “Let me see. Ruby is six months old, and it was about eight months before that, so I’d say a year and a half. No more than that.” She watched as he looked at her daughter. “She’s not his.” The tears started to flow and before she knew it, not only was she sitting down, but in a very nice office too. Ruby was gone from her arms, and she had a box of tissues as she told him everything. “Dexter told me that he didn’t want me to have a baby that day. I was just a little over nine weeks pregnant. Kenneth and I, we weren’t in love, but he was security for me at work. So men would stop hitting on me. And I was security for his place of work as well. Kenneth had a lover and we were all going to live together. But they wanted a child, so they helped me with my student loans and I helped by being their surrogate. Then one day after I’d heard that his mom was dead, Dexter came at me, screaming at
me to get rid of it. He kept saying no kids, over and over. He must have hit me.” Colton asked her if she’d been hurt by it. “No. Just a nasty bump to the head, and it knocked me out. But they told me when I woke that Kenneth was gone. We’d not gotten married yet, and now I have Ruby, which I wouldn’t change for all the money in the world. But I do miss him and Daniel.” “There’s more too, isn’t there? Tell me, Tess, so that I can help you.” She didn’t want his help, but after today, knew that she was going to need it. “What did he do recently that has you so terrified?” “I’ve lost my job because of him. A couple of weeks before I did, he would come to my office and would harass me. Once, when I was in surgery, he hurt three of the staff to get to me, then had to be arrested when he tried to enter the operating room.” Colton said nothing, but now that the dam was opened, she couldn’t stop the flow of words. “I have nothing. He’s taken all my cash somehow, and then when I go to the police, there isn’t any proof that he took it. Nothing. I’ve changed banks and cards. Nothing seems to stop him. I’ve been beaten so many times that I can’t tell where a new bruise begins and the old one ends. I’ve lost everything since he’s been like this. My car, my job, my reputation. Thankfully he never bothers Granddad or me when I’m with him. But he’s obsessed with Ruby and her going with him. And for some reason, I think he means to hurt her.” “You’re a surgeon, like your granddad.” She nodded, telling him that she’d only just gotten her license to practice here. “In this hospital? You’re going to move here?” “Granddad wants to, but now, with this, I don’t think I should. I mean, he could, and Dexter might hurt him to get to me. And I can’t have him hurt the only man that I love.” He looked at her sharply. “Yes, Kenneth and I did like each other like friends, and I liked his partner Daniel too, but…. He was…his parents were pressuring him to marry a woman. But I knew from the very beginning that we weren’t suited. Yes, I liked him, very much. We did create a child together too, by artificial insemination, but we never really loved like a man and woman do. We both knew that going in.” “All right. This helps me a great deal.” She asked him how. “Well, for starters, you’re going to have dinner at my family home tonight. Then we’re going to get you out of the hotel. There isn’t enough protection there. Not to mention, he might hurt others in trying to get to you. Which he won’t again.” “And how do you think you’re going to do that? He’s already been released. And in the event that you didn’t notice, Dexter doesn’t seem to get into trouble for shit that he does.” Ruby had just started crawling, and instead of going to her, she crawled to Colton. “That’s a first.” “Do you believe in shifters?” Yes, she told him, he was a cougar, all his family was. “Okay, yes, your granddad would have told you. I’m sorry. But that makes it easier for me to tell you that so long as you’re around here, you’ll be safe. We protect family, and since you’re a friend of my dad’s, then you’re family.” “I don’t think it works that way.” He, much to the delight of her daughter, bounced Ruby on his knee. When she laid her head on his shoulder again to take a longer nap,
she assumed, he laid her back in the crook of his arms and held her. “You’re very good with babies.” “My sisters-in-law are both breeding, so I’ve been practicing. I can even change a poopie diaper, fill a bottle with one hand, and feed a rambunctious two-year-old.” He kissed Ruby on the forehead before rocking her back and forth. “I’ll have one of my brothers come by later and get you packed with the rest of your things, if that’s all right. I’ve spoken to my parents, and since your granddad is helping out, then they’d love for the three of you to stay with them. Mom needs practice too, she said. She’s not held a little girl for years.” As he was ready to go when she was, he gave her a lift to the hotel. The snow had begun to fall again, and she was afraid for Ruby. The little girl’s car seat was at the hotel, so she held her tightly as they took the slickest roads she’d ever been on. At least since living in Florida most of her life. Colton drove slowly but she was still afraid. Even as they made it there in one piece, she didn’t want to leave again. But Colton insisted that they come to his parents’ for dinner, and she couldn’t turn him down again. He’d been a nice man to her—the first nice man in a long time, it seemed. Gathering what she would need to perhaps stay all night at a strange home, she was taking the car seat to him when his phone rang. While he was putting the cheap car seat into his truck, the back split open and it simply fell apart. She looked at him as he threw it in the back of his truck and smiled at her. It was too much. Dropping to sit in the snow, she started crying again. “Come on now, get up before you get a cold where you can’t take medication. I have no idea what that means, but my grandma used to say that to me all the time. Asses can’t get colds, and cougars don’t catch them anyway.” He helped her inside and handed her a box of tissues. “My mom is coming with my brother. And they’re picking up a car seat for Ruby. And if you tell me no, I’m going to make you deal with my mom. She’s not one to mess with.” “Everything I have is cheap, or second hand and cheap.” She stopped crying enough to check on Ruby. “This child can sleep through anything. I swear, I wish I could have one nap as good as she does.” “You’re not very good at changing the subject. Which is all right. But I have to go to the hospital for a psych evaluation. That’s why my mom is coming.” Again she tried to tell him she’d just stay there. “No, you won’t. If you don’t agree, now that my mom is coming, she’s going to bully you into coming anyway. And Julian, my brother, he’s not having such a good day either, and a hug from Ruby will be just the thing for him. He’s the one that had Dexter arrested today.” “Then he’s great in my book. Probably could be king for the day too.” They were laughing when he went to the door with her. She smiled when he told her to lock up. “Yes, Daddy, and I won’t answer the phone until it rings once, then you call back.” Laughing, he thanked her. As he moved out the door, Colton turned back to look at her once again. There was a strange look on his face and she nearly asked him what was
wrong. But he was gone before she could. Strange, but nice man. Going inside, she locked the door and went to check again on Ruby. She, of course, was sound asleep.



Vance: The McCade Dragon Release Day & Giveaway


Vance had always felt like an outsider to the family, disconnected, a part of them, but not. He had been content to see his brothers mated and happy but knew in his heart that happiness wasn’t meant for him. He was cut out to be a soldier and made the Army his life. He was good at it, a little too good. Until recently the government had been good to him, now the powers that be were targeting him.

Micky, a fae warrior, was a secret weapon of sorts for the government, that was until recently. Now, those in the White House were corrupt and wanted to see her dead.

They found each other out of necessity, but together Vance and Micky were a force to be reckoned with—unstoppable and lethal.

Now that Vance had found his mate and the final piece of jewelry was in place, the prophecy and the final battle with Butler was at hand. When Vance placed the final piece of jewelry, the necklace, around Micky’s neck as a wedding gift, the entire family felt the magic, but Vance’s dragon was nowhere to be found. For the first time in his life, Vance was worried that he wouldn’t be good enough to defeat his opponent. Were they all domed to die and start the McCade life cycle over again? Find out in the final installment of The McCade Dragon—Vance


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Emma Gentry felt like she was losing her mind. From the time she had picked up the pretty ring to examine it, she’d been hearing a voice in her head. When she ran from the demolished building, she’d slipped the ring on her finger so that she wouldn’t drop it, now she couldn’t get it off. She was in dire need of medical attention, but the voice wouldn’t let her stop to get help. There were others looking for the ring and would kill her for it. Emma was on the run.

Kenton McCade was the doctor in the family. When found Emma in his office treating a badly infected wound on her leg, he had to help her. The infection had spread and she was near death.

Kenton and his brothers were dragon shifters born without the ability to shift into their other half. The magic, it seemed, lay dormant in a sleeping dragon that was tied to six pieces of jewelry. When the ring found its way to Emma, her touch had woken the sleeping beast. When Emma touched Kenton’s sigil on his chest, he shifted to his beast for the first time. But the beast from the ring would not be complete until all the jewelry found its way to their rightful dragons….

Emma was still on the run…they need her to survive…but Emma trusted no one…


Jasmine Tyler was wishing she had never found those earrings in that box of junk she bought at auction. They were so pretty, and the dragons had so much detail, that she simply had to try them on. That was the biggest mistake she’d ever made. Once they were on they weren’t coming off. And those men in the black SUVs meant business. She’d hand the earrings over or they’d kill her. They’d more than likely kill her anyway even if she could get the damn things off. Now she was on the run with her young son, Gavin, and her ailing granny. A voice in her head that started when she put the earrings on was directing her to find the McCades.

The dragon had told Kenton and Jorden McCade that another piece of jewelry had been activated, and the boy that had just come into Jorden’s studio was her son. The dragon didn’t know which brother she was mated to, but she had sent the boy and her granny ahead to keep them safe. Now, another attempt had been made on her life and she was in a hospital an hour away.

The cop at the scene had been in on it, and Jasmine found herself in a pickle. She’d been drugged and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it. Her body hit the floor by her hospital bed and she was looking into the lifeless eyes of her nurse.

As soon as Jorden scooped Jasmine up off the floor and her earring touched his skin, he knew that this woman was his. The earring left a brand, marking them both. He couldn’t be happier about finding her, now to convince her to stay was going to be the problem….



Harper Bailey was in way over her head, and the trouble just seemed to keep coming. Her brother-in-law had frozen her personal accounts, and now she was on the run because she wouldn’t do as she was “told.” She had been told to abort the baby. Harper hadn’t wanted the baby she had been forced to carry in the first place, but now that she’d felt life, she would protect the child with hers.

Grady McCade knew that his mate had been found when she touched the piece of jewelry. The dragon had told him that if he didn’t hurry to her side, she would be found by the dragon slayers and her life could be ended as well as the life of the babe that she carried.

With Grady and Harper together, the dragon grows stronger, and the slayers pick up the pace in their quest for all the pieces of jewelry. Can the McCades stop them before they strike again? Are any of them safe? Find out in The McCade Dragon—Grady


Dr. Gabriela Nola, Gabe to everyone, hadn’t been in town long. Kenton McCade was looking for a partner in his practice, and she was hoping to fill the spot. A nice small town beat the last hospital job she’d just recently quit—90 hours a week with a shorthanded staff. She just wanted normal, and the voice in her head to stop already about opening the box and wearing the item inside.

Dalton McCade knew when he heard the dragon’s voice that he was next on the list, and ready or not his mate was coming. According to the dragon, she was already here and had refused to put the combs in her hair.

But as always, danger followed the jewelry, and Gabe was no exception. The mysterious stranger would have all the pieces for his own collection, and didn’t care who he had to kill to get them….


Raven Wood, an ancient and powerful witch, had been forced to help King Butler gain immortality. Butler had killed Raven’s mother anyway and for her part, even though it was unwilling, she paid the price for the deed with her sight. For centuries she has lived in darkness with only the earth and her pet raven to help guide her way.

Lewis McCade would be opening his restaurant, The Dragon’s Lair, soon. Between the pressure of the opening and a wedding he was catering for his brother, his nerves are shot. And the news that his new mate is probably nearby and blind to boot couldn’t come at a worse time.

Butler may have forced Raven to extend his life, but she cheated him and put a time limit on his magic and immortality. Now his time and magic are running out. He has to bring all the pieces of jewelry together and call forth the dragon before it’s too late. He will do whatever is necessary to see all the McCades dead….





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“Where is he?” Morton Elliot, his vice president and right-hand man, said he didn’t know, but he’d been at home until an hour ago. “And you saw him? I mean, this isn’t a case of him just getting the things out of his body, is it?” “No. I don’t even think he’s aware of them, to be honest with you. Yeah, we saw him. I have pictures of him with his brothers. And the markers that are on him were with him every step of the way. I made sure of that myself.” Abe was handed a sheet of paper that meant as much to him as anything else that was scattered on his desk. It was window dressing. Every note, every file, even the fucking pens that had his name on them, were things that people expected him to have on this desk. But it was the desk that he had in his upstairs office, the one that he had the only key to, that was his alone. The desk that had all his businesses, information on them, as well as everything in the world that he owned and that people owed him. The room that no one, not even his wife, could enter. There were files and charts in there that would get him put before a firing squad. Things that no president, not even a citizen, should be going over. The country was going to be in for a huge surprise, and he could not wait until they figured it out. President Abe Melton, “Honest Abe,” was anything but honest or working to help them. When Morton’s watch made a noise, Abe waited for the news. He knew that sound as well as he did the ring tones on his own phone. It was indicating that there was movement. And when Morton sat down hard in the chair, Abe stood up. “What is it? He showed up, right? Where is he, Morton?” Morton said something, but he didn’t understand him. It wasn’t mumbled, as it usually was, but a whisper. “What are you saying, you moron? Tell me.” “I said that he’s here. In the building.” Abe sat down and stared at the door in front of him, expecting it to be slammed back. Him being shot was all he could think about. “I’m going down to check on it. You stay put.” “Fuck that shit. I’m going with you.” They made their way to the lowest levels in the White House. Few knew about this area, and those that did had more than likely forgotten about it. “When we get there, I want you to show me how to use that machine. I’m sick of not having any idea where he is when I want to.” “Sure, sure. But if he is indeed in the building, then it’ll matter little. We’re both dead if we can’t get to him first.” There was that. “Christ, of all people to be still hanging around.” That was true. Vance McCade had been a pain in their asses since Abe had taken office. Before that, really. He was good, too damned good at his job, and it had cost them a lot of sleepless nights as well as a great deal of money. He was just danger. And he was a killer. The idea to track him with small devices had been Morton’s. But he had suggested that they put them on him in all kinds of places. In the event that he lost a leg or an arm,
they still wanted to know where he was. Abe didn’t think that the loss of a limb would slow him down, so he didn’t want to take any chances. There were only two men that worked this computer. They each worked a fourhour shift, never left the area, and were pretty much chained to the desk at all times. Food was brought to them. Their laundry was cleaned. And twice a week, someone would take away anything that was considered trash. Even that was gone over so they’d not be sending out any messages. Three times since he’d been in office they’d had to deal with one or both the men that had worked in there. Abe thought that with the example they’d made of the previous ones, these would work out the best. At least for their sake, he hoped that they did. “He’s all over the fucking place.” The blinking lights did seem to be all over the map—in the building they were in, outside the grounds, as well as back in his home state of Ohio. Fucking asshole knew. “McCade is aware of us.” Morton said no shit. “Well, Mr. Know-It-All, what the fuck are we going to do about it? It’s not like any of your ideas to kill him have worked. He’s like a fucking ghost.” “I still have people out looking for that woman. The one that was working for us a long time ago. Seems she’s made herself known again.” He asked him how. “She killed four of our men in a restaurant a couple of days ago. Actually, two different restaurants. She’s as bad as he is when it comes to getting information that we have out there.” “We have to get rid of him. Now.” Morton said he was working on it. “Well, work harder. Have you any idea what it’s costing us to have him out there?” They left the little room and made their way up to his offices. Morton was still talking about how they were going to get this woman, but Abe didn’t see that working. If she was as good as McCade, then there wasn’t going to be any getting her to do anything. She’d more than likely turn against them too. “What makes her so special?” Wording, he knew, had to be worked around. While he knew there were recording devices everywhere, there wasn’t any kind of audio in this room. But that didn’t mean that they didn’t have them on themselves. “I mean, is she all that special that you want to bring her onboard to work for us?” “She’s said to have a bit of a magical touch that we like to use.” So, she was magical, so what? So were most of the men who protected him. “And she has no qualms about using her magic however she sees fit. As I said, she took out four of our men in seconds.” Morton got up and handed him a thumb drive. Putting it in his personal laptop, Abe watched a video of an old woman having a meal. When she stood up two of his men were down, then she and one of them disappeared. He asked where they’d been found, and he got his answer when there were pictures of his man dead. “Christ. How long was this? I mean, between point A and point B?” Morton told him a matter of less than an hour. “He was tracked too?” “Yes. And she took out another one in a restaurant about six hours before. A nice little place that served sandwiches and had free wi-fi. We think that’s why he approached her, the idiot. To tell her he knew what she was about. She shot him three
times in the gut and just walked out. It’s a fucking mess there we had to work hard to contain.” Every day something else was put in his way. All he wanted to do was make a shit load of money, keep his head on his shoulders, and not end up in prison. Abe didn’t think that was a lot to ask for. He was president of the free world. Yet every time he turned around, someone was trying their best to take his freedom away from him. Well, it was time for that shit to end. And it was going to start by ending that fucking McCade once and for all. “I want you to find me someone that can bring him to heel. I don’t care if you have to go to his mother’s house and hog tie her to make him see reason. Also, see if you can get anything on that family. There has to be something somewhere that will make them see reason. Mother fuck, this is the dumbest damned thing that I’ve run across.” Morton reminded him of the cameras in here. “I’d not have to worry about them had you done your job at the house that day. Did we ever figure out what happened to that video? Or even if the pictures we got from them can be cleaned up at all?” “No. All we know for sure is that one of the women took the drive from our man, but she handed it right back to him. There wouldn’t have been any time for her to make any kind of adjustments on it. But all it has on it is fuzz, as well as some audio. Nothing that we can use.” Of course not. Why should that be anything different? “Also, the pictures. We did manage to figure out some of that. The camera that was being used by the department there, it was just some old camera. But ours, as you know, are all messed up as well. It’s like they— Mother fuck, Abe. Do you think she is magical too?” “You think?” Christ, he was beginning to hate the world today. “Get her here. I want to talk to the bitch that had a hand in this. In fact, invite the entire clan here. We’ll have a nice little get together, and I’ll see what I can find out from them. And if I can’t find out what I want to know, then we’ll have a case of food poisoning that will kill them off and make me deathly ill. Perhaps we can say they brought it, and place the blame squarely in the McCade’s laps.” When Morton left him, Abe sat at his desk and thought about all the plans he’d had and how many of them were now shit because of one man. McCade. The things that he’d done and people he’d killed should have had him in jail, but they’d all be counted as justified, and he’d saved the American people with each one. There just wasn’t any stopping the guy. Not legally, anyway. Twice he’d had him in his sights. Well, not his own personal sights, but close enough. And both times he’d gotten away without a scratch. Abe had been told numerous times that McCade had been shot or killed, and come to find out, the fucker was going home and being repaired there. Repaired was a strange word, he knew, but they should have been making funeral arrangements instead of patching him up. Abe couldn’t even get him for being AWOL, absent without leave. Because every time he brought it up to someone, they told him that he was an American treasure and that for as much time as he spent working for the government, a little R&R, rest and relaxation, would go a long way in making him a better man.
“Better man, my ass. He’s more of a pain in the ass then even my own kids are most of the time.” Abe looked at the picture on his desk, the one of his family taken out in front of this very building. There wasn’t any denying that they were a good looking bunch, but Abe hated every single one of them. Working on his game of solitaire, he thought of all the things he had on his plate at the moment. There was an arms deal that was just a few days away that would net him and Morton about ten million apiece. He had a shipment of drugs coming into the country next week that would get them even more cash. Money that he had planned to retire on. As it stood right now, he’d be lucky if he’d be able to run with it. He and Morton both stood to lose a lot if they couldn’t get this one man to die. When his day started, his secretary getting him going to some meetings and shit, he closed up his computer and made sure that the password was in place. There were few that came in here when he was out, but he didn’t want anyone to see the shit that he had on it. He’d never make it to the upstairs if they did that. Laughing, Abe went about his morning, but never lost sight of what was really bothering him. ~~~ Vance watched Micky as she worked through the computer. He didn’t speak much, but then she didn’t either. Just watching her work was a pleasure that he thought he’d not enjoy. Nor had he ever dreamed that they’d be in a house within walking distance of the beach. Looking at the view again, he thought that he could get used to this. “They’re sending out two men to your family home. Your mom’s in particular.” He asked her why they were doing that. “I’d guess to take them as hostage or some shit. But they’re supposedly there to escort them to the White House for a dinner. I’ve already contacted your brother, Kenton, and he said thanks. He thinks you’re the one that warned him, just a heads up.” That was another thing that she did that made him like being around her. She didn’t ask him for permission when she did things, not that he thought she would. But she got the job done and did it as well as—a couple of times better than—he might have. Like today. They’d split up with the trackers. She was much better at getting places quickly. So, while she was flittering around the country with hers, he was moving around the grounds of the White House. They really needed better security there, he thought with a laugh. But he did feel better now that Raven had destroyed the trackers that she’d had. They had shown up on the computer too, the ones that he’d only just found out about. But Micky not only found it, but had hacked into the system, and now they knew as much as the men there did. “Hey, I was wondering if you had figured it out yet.” Vance leaned back on the couch again and asked her what. “That we’re mates, or whatever you guys call them. I was a little slow about it, to be honest. It never occurred to me until I was in the shower this morning. When did you figure it out?” “When I saw you the first time.” She nodded as if she’d figured he had. “Do you have a problem with it?”
“No. I mean, you bathe regularly. You don’t seem to have any kind of nasty habits that would infuriate me enough to have to kill you, and you’re semi smart.” He laughed; he’d been doing that a lot since she’d come around. “You don’t do that much, do you? Have a good time, I mean?” “Are you making an offer?” Her face turned red and he laughed again. “No, I don’t usually have any fun. I’m not a fun-loving sort of person.” She nodded. “I didn’t think so. And so you know, when you changed your shirt yesterday after coming in from the ocean, I saw the scars. You’ve had a rough life for someone that is as young as you are.” He nodded. Vance had had some close calls since he’d been in the service. “You also have the sword of Caelin. It’s meant, I think, to kill his father. You’ve been chosen to do that. But with all of this, I was wondering what we do now. I mean, a lot is hinging on us being at your family home, isn’t it?” “I don’t know how any of this works, to be honest with you. But until this other shit is taken care of, I’d rather not bring it down on them. They—the men that I’m after, with your help—are getting desperate, I think.” She said that they were. “I would like to see this through. Not just the thing with Melton, but all his crew too. Then bringing forth the dragon will be a piece of cake, I think.” “Nothing is ever a piece of cake.” He just smiled at her. “You want to have sex? I mean, sometime?” “Yes. All the time.” She nodded and leaned back in her own chair. “I’m not forcing you into anything. You want to have sex with me, then I’d suggest you let me know. But I’ve wanted you since I first saw you, more so when I realized what you are to me. And me to you.” “I’m not sure what I want to do right now. You’re kind of scary, aren’t you?” He told her that he’d never hurt her. “No, because if you ever tried, you’d be in a world of hurt. Not that I could kill you, but you’d surely wish it.” “I don’t want to hurt or kill you. You’re kind of scary too.” When she grinned at him, Vance felt years of his bad feelings about life in general roll off his shoulders. “I’ve not told my family that you’re here or that you’re my mate. I’m worried that if I did they’d want to come here and meet you. Then they’d be in the line of fire too. But soon, we’ll have to make an appearance before them. And I want you to know, you think I’m scary? Wait until you meet my sisters-in-law.” “I know Raven. Well, I know of her. I’ve talked to her before, on a couple of things that I had going on, but nothing face to face. And through working with Jeff, I heard about Emma. She’s had it rough too. I knew her brother, Bart. There was a monster if there ever was one.” Vance agreed with her. “The others I don’t know but have heard about. Your mom, she’s a nice person, from the things you’ve told me about her. Nice, but stern.” “My mom raised us when our dad wasn’t around. Pretty much all the time. Then once, when he was pissed off at my mom, he held Lewis down with his boot to his neck and was going to cut his head off. Dad was pissed off because when he’d shown up, again unannounced, there wasn’t enough food for him to have a steak. I’d never even had a steak, and he wanted one.” Vance thought of that day. “Mom pulled a gun out of
her pocket and shot him right between the eyes, like she’d been practicing every day. For all we knew, she might have been. But he was dead, and she had enough proof in the form of hospital visits, as well as police calls, that she got off. I don’t think I’ve ever respected anyone as much as I do my mom because of that.” “I would imagine that she was terrified out of her mind. I mean, killing him, even to save Lewis, she had to wonder what would happen to her sons had she died or ended up in prison for it.” Vance told her that she called them her boys. “Boys? I wonder if your mom has had a look at you guys lately. None of you are just boys.” “No. And I’m the only one not married, at least not yet.” She didn’t say anything, but he felt like he needed to explain. “I’m not trying to make you feel bad. We’ll come together, or we won’t. But right now we’re working together, getting comfortable with each other, and I think that’s as good a start as any. Don’t you?” “Yes. But I’m not a pushover. Nor do I want to wait on the man of the house. I don’t cook unless I want to. I don’t do windows, not even on threat of death, and there isn’t any way that I’m going to be the cute little housewife that waits for you with your slippers every night when you come home.” He laughed. “I’m not trying to be funny.” “Oh, I know that. I was just trying to picture you with a little white apron on, standing there with my slippers—which I don’t own, by the way—waiting for me to tell you to get me a beer. Which I don’t drink.” He stood up and stretched, and she did as well. “What I would like to see you doing, and this might just be me, I’d love to see you standing in the hallway of our home, naked and ready for me. Where I would take you against the wall, hard and fast, and have you keeping up with me. That’s the way I picture you. But for now, I’m going to go take a swim. If you’d like to join me, I’m going to be naked. I don’t have a swimsuit either.” He moved out the open doors to the sandy beach beyond. Vance knew that she wouldn’t join him. The few times that he’d been in the water since they’d gotten here, she’d stayed on the deck. And when she was in the water, if he joined her, she’d leave the water. Vance wasn’t sure why, but he thought perhaps she was as shy about her body as he was his. The water was warm and calm today. Swimming out as far as he could and still see the house, he decided to float around for a little while, just to try and not think of the woman in the house. She was a conundrum. Beautiful and deadly didn’t bother him. It was her shyness that he was puzzled about. Also, she seemed to have other things about her, magical things, like the porcupine move that he’d not seen as yet. Vance wanted to find out all he could about her, but little of it had to do with her magic, and more to do with the woman beneath it all. When something touched his skin he thought it was a fish, but turning toward it, he nearly fell back on his ass when Micky was standing not a foot from him, with her breasts bared for him. “I have a lot of scars. A lot of them are old, but they still are there.” He nodded, trying his best to look at her face and not her nakedness. “When I was in the war between the trolls and faeries, I was nearly cut in half. You can still see that scar where I
was put back together badly. The magic that was to be mine for helping never came. Not because we lost—we won—but because the troll decided not to share it.” “I’ve never seen a troll.” She nodded. “Are you telling me this because you think I’ll think less of you because of them? Or do you want me to know so I can believe how bad assed you are?” “Both. Neither. I want you to know that I don’t show people, men mostly, my body, because I’m not pretty and smooth like most they’d know.” He looked at her then, what he could see of her above the water. “Some of the wounds on my body are like yours. Knife wounds. Bullet holes. I have a few that are also from chains around me. Iron has been wrapped around my legs, too, to keep me from being able to run.” “This person who trapped you like that, is he dead?” She said not yet, but she hoped that he’d help her take care of him. “Butler.” “Yes. Because of what I am, what I can do, he thought I was a witch. A person who could help him with his magic. That’s one of the reasons that I’ve been shunned by my kind. My parents, he told them that I did help him and that I had his child. A boy child.” Vance told her that Butler could have no male children. “Yes, I found that out as well. But the damage had been done. I had no child by him. Nor did he have sex with me to even create one. Once I was freed of him, I was…. It took me a great many years to train myself so that no man would ever touch me again. Not unless I allowed it.” “Are you now? Allowing me to touch you?” Micky didn’t so much as blink at him. “I’d never hurt you. Not even it we weren’t mates, I’m not a man who harms someone that is smaller or weaker than me unless it’s necessary for what I do. You’re not either of those, but I have just as much respect for you as a woman as I do my own family.” “I want you, Vance. I do. But don’t you feel that we’ve been manipulated into this?” He started to tell her that he was all right with that when she spoke first. “I like you. I enjoy your company, and you’re smart and good to work with. I guess relationships are based on a lot less. So, in answer to your question, yes, I want you to touch me. Make love to me.”


Owen: Winchester Brothers Release Day & GiveAway

Clare Macintosh didn’t know what was going on. Her brother, Conrad, had been called in for a meeting and they’d already been waiting over an hour. They were leaving, they had waited long enough.

Owen Winchester had called for the meeting with Conrad. He had no idea the young man was handicapped, but what he had to show him would make his life easier, or at least he hoped so. The trunks Owen had found in the barn of his new home belonged to him. Conrad was the only living relative he could find of the previous owner. Owen was a bit surprised to find Conrad had a sister and she was his mate to boot.

All Clare wanted to do was take her brother and hide. Her parents, Con and Ava Macintosh, weren’t nice people, and neither were the people they stole from. Even though Clare had distanced herself from them, it wouldn’t stop their associates from seeking revenge. She didn’t need the handsome stranger pushing his way into her life.


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Caleb Winchester didn’t care for his boss, in fact he despised him. He hadn’t meant to quit that day—the words ‘I quit’ spilled from his mouth without thinking—but once said he had no regrets. He was a good ad executive, he could find another job.

Quinn Dorsey and her father, Alexander, had seen Caleb’s work and that was the artist they needed for their dog food labels. When the agency couldn’t deliver the ad campaign they ordered, and then lied about Caleb working on the project, they went looking for the man himself.

Caleb hadn’t expected his customers to seek him out, but when Alexander shows up at Caleb’s house with his daughter, Quinn, Caleb is floored—she’s his mate and she’s been marked by another alpha.

Caleb’s not going to let an alpha beat him out of his mate. This lunatic has been marking females left and right, but if Caleb claims her, he risks not only his life, but the life of his mate and family as well….




Gabriel Winchester was finally opening his own practice. After finishing the final details, and meeting his first patient, he sat back in his unfinished office and closed his eyes, just to rest them, he told himself. When he opened them, a burly stranger was there, and he wasn’t that friendly. The man was looking for a Rayne McFarland and “I don’t know who she is” wasn’t an acceptable answer, so Gabriel called his brothers through their link for help.

Rayne was on the run from her father, and knew when he caught up with her she’d be dead. Rayne could speak to the deceased and they warned her every time her father’s henchmen were near. What she didn’t count on was falling in the woods and injuring herself.

When his brother, Owen, brought the unconscious woman into his office, Gabriel’s wolf knew immediately who she was to them. Ready or not, Gabriel had a mate, and while he knew he could handle the threat to her, he wasn’t sure he could live with her ability to talk to the dead.

18+ Erotic Shapeshifter Romance, fantasy romance, paranormal fantasy


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Henry Forbidden Series Release Day & Giveaway

Recommended for 18+ Forbidden Series M/M LBGT Erotica Paranormal Romance


Henry Myers never kept his gender preferences a secret. His mother supported his choices and stood by his side even when his acting career tanked because of it. Now she was gone, and so was his career. Henry was at a loss.

Patrick Garrett, Paddy, was now in a bad place. He had worked at the precinct since he was in his early twenties, and now he could trust no one. Not his captain nor his partner it seemed. He was shot and bleeding, and it seemed the whole precinct was on the take.

Henry had been able to talk to ghosts since a near death experience he had as a child. They had been following him around ever since. Now it seemed Paddy could see them as well. But when Wally, Henry’s ghostly companion referred to Paddy as Henry’s mate. Neither man was sure how to take that news.

Henry couldn’t deny the attraction to the rugged cop, and if the man didn’t put back on his shirt, he wasn’t so sure he’d be able to control himself.


Forbidden Series
M/M LBGT Erotica Paranormal Romance

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Jake Winslow’s marriage to the money grubbing shrew is over. Cutting off her funds, and the simple use of the word “no” sends her packing. When he comes home from work and finds his house empty of everything, including food, he feels—liberated.

Jake’s grandmother, Jenna, calls her friend and attorney, Forrest Stout, to handle Jake’s messy divorce. She can’t stand Jake’s soon-to-be ex-wife and is leaving nothing to chance. Only the best for her grandson, and the best is Forrest.

Forrest is a Were Tiger, and he knows “who” he is. He is an oddity in his paranormal world because he is gay. His kind mate for life, and after a recent disastrous attempt to find companionship, he has given up hope of ever finding his life mate.

From the moment Forrest meets Jake for the first time, he knows that Jake is his life mate, and he wants to run in the opposite direction because Jake isn’t gay. To claim and lose a mate would spell disaster for him. How can he ask a straight man—that he wants with every fiber of his being—to conform to his way of life? He can’t….

Ex-lovers, and ex-wives can be a dangerous combination. Especially when neither are right in the head….


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Scott sat at the bar and watched the other men and women. He didn’t care for beer, not the kind that was served here, but he ordered it so that they’d not run him off. Not that they could, for the most part, but people—humans—had a way of making life difficult when they wanted. It mattered little to them who or what they were up against. Waiting for the man to come in that was to meet him here, Fred, Scott thought of his life so far. He had not a pot to piss in; not even a pot of any kind, really. And that was the way he liked it. He had money, a great deal of it, but no house, no car, not even a real paying job. He liked his life like it was, without attachments or any kind of strings. It was why he moved from one place to the other without having any roots. The door opened behind him and he knew that it was Fred. He had an odor about him that even humans could smell. Scott thought him positively repugnant…not just his smell, but everything about him. Even his teeth were a shade of green that made him want to ask if he’d been eating a field. “I have a handle on her.” Scott asked him what sort of handle he had. “The mother is in the hospital now. And when she has the brat, the nurse is going to call me and let me come in. Things are working out much better than you thought they would.” “Doubtful. It’s been my experience, and I have a great deal more than you ever will, that once things start to look good, you should look over your shoulder for the next bad vibe. What hospital is she in?” “Mercy. She’s been brought in to be induced, or some shit like that. Something about the kid being a little larger than they thought for her size. That made no sense to me whatsoever. Women get fat when they’re having a kid. Even I know that.” Scott told Fred what they meant. “Oh. Well, why don’t they just say she’s having a fat kid and that she’s too little to do it on her own? You know what that means, don’t you? The dick that planted him there was a little one.” And again, Fred’s logic wasn’t anything that he understood. The man was a wonder, saying things that were so off the wall that Scott wondered if he even knew what they meant. But Scott started thinking about the hospital. “Mercy Hospital is the one that takes in degenerates, correct? I know that place. At one time, the land that it sits on was farmland that belonged to a man who raised cows.” “There ain’t no cows there now.” Scott said nothing as he took a sip of his now warm beer. “There are a lot of cops hanging around though. I didn’t think about all the crime in that place when I was there. Sure can get a man hurt looking for information.” “You’ve been paid enough.” He thought about the baby he was about to take, and what he was to do with it once he had it. Scott had no qualms at all about killing people, but a baby was something way different. He wasn’t to drink from it either. Just kill it and be done with it. “Wonder what they want this kid out of the way for. You heard anything?”

“Nope. Just snatch it and bring it to you. I’m guessing you have your orders too.” Scott nodded. “I thought so. You’ve always been close mouthed, ain’t you?” Fred Hogan was anything but close mouthed. Scott would bet money on the fact, too, that the nurse helping him take the little boy knew all about why he needed it done. And most of that would be lies. Fred knew less than he did, and Scott knew very little at all. The people that wanted the kid taken and killed had only told him that it was a half breed. Nothing more…not even a half breed of what two creatures. They wanted it killed because those kinds of creatures out there would make a bad name for them. He hadn’t any idea why that would bother anyone…he was a made vampire himself. But he’d do what he was told, when he was told, and reap the rewards that came along with it. Fred was being paid, yes, but Scott was to get him to leave town as soon as he had the child. It would keep him safe and hopefully away from Devon’s fury. “I’m gonna go out and enjoy the night. I’m thinking that when that nurse calls me, I should be close by. That way I can get it and get back to you before anyone is the wiser. Oh yeah, I forgot. Did you know that the momma isn’t taking the kid? She’s putting it up for some kind of private thing.” Scott knew that as well. That was why he’d been called in instead of just killing the mom when she was out and about. She was going to live simply because she didn’t want the kid. There were all kinds of people around her all the time now, he’d noticed. It had taken him the better part of a month to figure out where they’d taken her when she’d disappeared. One day, when he’d gone by the apartment where she was living, she was just gone. And not only that, every bit of her place had been devoid of even her scent. And that was what had Scott worried the most. Someone had a lot of pull in this thing, and he was afraid of who that might be. Scott figured that there were any number of vampires out there that would want a child. And it would matter little to them if it were something else too. Some of them were with humans that weren’t their mates, and needed to have their nests filled up. Like having a child in the house would make anyone happy. It had him at one time, but no more. Shuddering at the thought of a little kid around, he thought of the two kids he’d fathered of his own. Both long dead, but that didn’t lessen what they’d made him feel like…a man of the world. Scott had been a good man, or so he thought. He was also a husband and father that had provided well for his family. However, he didn’t find out until later that he’d been a failure at that, to his wife. So one night, in a fit of stupidity, he’d gotten himself turned around on the road and ended up at a party. A bloodletting, he’d figured out later, and he was dinner. They hadn’t killed him, mores the pity, but they had changed him into what he was today. He’d gone back to see his wife and children, spying on them all during the night. But for the most part he left them to assume, as did everyone around, that he’d fallen off a cliff and was dead. But that didn’t mean that he left them on their own.

He provided for them as best he could. Giving them what money he could steal or earn, he’d leave it on the stoop. And sometimes he’d kill a deer or some other big game and leave it as well. They were well fed, his family, and when he heard that his son was sick, he went to the window to see if he could help him. His wife, Margaret, was there waiting on him. “I knew it was you.” He stared at her from the darkness and said nothing. “You’ve been the one leaving us food and money, haven’t you? Do you have yourself a new whore, Scott? Someone to warm your bed? I hope so.” He moved out of the darkness and stood before her. “So you’re one of them? The night monsters? I should have known you’d not leave us to our own. Why didn’t you just die, Scott? You never do what I need you to do, do you? I had hoped that you’d die from their treatment of you. But I guess I can’t be that lucky, can I?” “You wanted me dead?” She told him how she’d told the vampires that they could have whatever came across them, and to not let it get to her. And that he was to be found, no matter what. “You murdered me? You set them upon me?” “I did. And I’d do it again if I could have.” He asked her why she’d do such a thing. “You think I was supposed to live like this? That I wasn’t to have two coins to rub together? To have children that I can no more stand than I could you? Nay, Scott. I don’t love you. Never did. You were just a means for me to leave my home. And once I was here, I had plans all along to kill you in your sleep.” He had staggered back then, his body just too shocked to do much more than let himself fall to the ground. “Come here no more. I will not have you around, and don’t be leaving any food either. I’ll not take it from you now that I know that it is from you.” “What of our children? You are nearly starved now.” She said that she hoped that they’d die first so that she could leave them in their beds and not return. “You cannot mean that, Margaret. They’re just children, small boys that had no part in you and me coming together.” “Had I had the coin, Scott, there would have been no children born at all.” She looked at him then, and he could see the hatred that he’d never seen before. “Now, go on your way and don’t bother us again. I had no use for you then, and not now either. Be gone.” He left her then, but kept a close eye on the house. After several days he went back to see why there was no smoke curling from the fires. No scents of meat searing in the air. But what he’d seen there had left him broken. His wife hadn’t waited for the boys to starve, she’d killed them herself. Scott had taken their small bodies to the yard that night. After wrapping them in a thick blanket that his own mother had made for them, Scott buried them deep in the ground, and even made a marker for them both. His sons were not yet seven and five, and they were dead by their own mother’s hand. It took him nearly a week to find her. He wasn’t surprised to find her in bed with another man. What had surprised him was who it was. He knew as surely as he saw them together that he was his sire. And since he already knew that Margaret had set him up to be killed by them, Scott had had no trouble at all in murdering them both.

Even the Council, newly formed back then, had justified his killing of the man who had changed him, without permission. After that, Scott had wandered around for a long time…several decades as a matter of fact. He had very little use for coin, but would hire himself out as a mercenary when he was approached. It had made him good money, enough that he could do what he wanted, and he had a hell of a reputation. Anyone and everyone that wanted something done that they were squeamish about, he was the man to call. But even that had grown to be boring. He didn’t want to join a nest—he hated people too much—and vampires for the most part were a whiney group of beings. They had to show off their abilities and dress like they had not a care in the world what people thought of them. When in reality, they were the vainest people ever made. He looked to his left when the door opened again. Quincey was the only vampire that he knew that was more well-known than him. When Quincey stared at him, looking at Scott like he knew he was up to something and what it was, Scott felt his balls tighten up and his blood run cold. “You should go home and forget this.” He said he was a man of his word. “Sure you are, Scott. But with this, you’d be better off just going back to your lair and leaving it alone.” “What business is it of yours?” Quincey said nothing, but moved down the bar. “I asked you a question—” He was at Scott’s throat before he could even finish the statement, holding him up from the floor without the use of his hands. Scott looked around. He’d get no help from any of the patrons of this place. They were not seeing what was going on. When he was set back down on his feet, Scott sat back on the bar stool and waited. “Do not presume that you might ask me questions, or that you might demand anything of me, Scott Huff. I will not just end your miserable life, but I will make you suffer in ways that even you, with all your deeds, cannot fathom.” Scott believed him. Not only that, but he knew that he’d not just make him suffer, but would do so over a long period of time. “Leave the child where it is. Nothing good will come to you should you take it.” “What makes this child so special is that I was paid a large sum of money to snatch it, then kill it?” Quincey nodded, and Scott felt the compulsion ride over his skin when asked who he worked for. “I don’t know his name or that of the firm that paid me. It’s a front.” “Good to know.” Quincey walked away again, and Scott wanted to run. Not just run but to meet the sun, he was that afraid. “Leave here. Don’t return, Scott, or so help me, it’ll be the last thing you ever do.” Scott left the bar. He didn’t know where to go, but there wasn’t any way that he could pass this up. It wasn’t just the money he was going to receive, but the man who had him doing it, he had a marker of Scott’s. That made it impossible to refuse. Several hundred years ago, Scott had thought himself so powerful that he’d given tokens to those that helped him. Coins really, that had been marked with his sword. All a person had to do to use it was to give it to him. And then, whatever he was asked to

do, he’d have no choice but to do it. The magic, the powerful magic that he’d had put on the coins, was as strong as any that he’d ever used since then, or even before. He’d been a fool to do such a thing, he knew that now. When Fred found him, just beyond the bar, he looked pale. It wasn’t until he was right atop him that Scott could smell the blood. Fred didn’t just fall, but fell on him. As soon as he saw the knife in his belly, a scalpel, Scott knew that this was much larger than he’d been told. “She’s had the brat.” He asked him where it was. “Don’t know. Two men, they come in and took it. They were ready too. Had all the stuff to take it away.” “What does that mean?” Fred coughed, and blood poured from his mouth. “Fred, who did this to you? Who killed you?” “I don’t know…a man that was sent by someone. He said to tell you his name, but I plum forgot it. You should run.” Another cough and more blood, this time thick and dark. “He said to tell you that he’s watching you. Am I really dying?” “You’re as good as dead. When did you see him? Fred, when did you see this man?” Scott wished he’d made Fred stay in the bar with him. He’d be alive had he thought of that. Fred didn’t answer him. There was nothing more he could do for the man, so he left him where he laid. Scott pulled shadows around him tightly and walked quickly to his lair. He was going to get answers, and he was going to get them fast. This shit was going to get someone killed, and he thought it might be him. ~~~ Jake sat in the back seat with the baby in the car seat while Forrest drove them home. He’d taken the back roads instead of the highway, and Jake had to laugh at the slow speed he was going. He asked him if he thought they’d get home before she was old enough to vote. “You drive then, so I can be back there with her. Christ, she’s beautiful, don’t you think?” He did, and touched his finger gently to her fine cheek. “Her mom, we’ll have to tell her about her, don’t you think? I mean, the baby’s father was your dad, so I’m not sure what you’d say about that. But we’re going to make sure that she’s well loved, right?” “Yes. I wasn’t sure what to do when they said that her mom died on the table. Do you suppose Stacy just gave up? The last time we spoke to her, she seemed really down.” Jake looked at his baby sister. “Forrest, we’ll have to keep her safe too. You heard what Quincey told us.” “Yes, I did. And even if he’d not told us about others trying to find her, we’d still care for her.” Jake nodded and looked where they were at being home. “We’re almost there. To be honest with you, Jake, I was afraid to go straight home. After that man was stabbed in the hallway right outside the delivery room, I just didn’t think the straightest route was the best.” “I agree. While I have no idea what that was about, I don’t want to take any more chances with her than you do.” He wanted to take her out of the seat and hold her in his arms. Just to be assured that she was really theirs.

They had found Stacy about three months ago. She’d been living in a shelter then, her parents having thrown her out when they found out that she was going to have a baby. The poor little thing was younger than him, and scared out of her mind that the baby’s father would come after her. It had taken them several trips to see her before she confessed who the father was, and what he’d done to her. As she sat there, sobbing out the story, Jake had held her hand and told her how sorry he was. Then he told her who he was. That nearly got him and Forrest arrested. It wasn’t until he’d had his attorney talk to her that she began to see that he was nothing like the bastard that had raped her, repeatedly, over a two-day period. They had set her up in a nice apartment, furnished with all the things that she wanted. Stacy wasn’t greedy, nor did she want much in the way of money. Just enough to keep her fed and healthy. Her plans for after the baby was born were something they could never get her to share with them. Now, Jake thought he knew why. “Do you suppose we should name her after her mom?” Forrest just looked at him in the mirror in the car. “I mean, it would be nice, don’t you think?” “I don’t know. There were people there looking for her. Calling the baby Stacy might give them a clue as to who she is.” That was very true. “I think we should name her Jenna Beck Winslow, just like we decided.” “I miss her; my grandma was the best there was. She’d be over the moon with her, don’t you think?” Forrest nodded, both of them still raw about his grandma being killed a few months ago. “My dad goes up for trial soon. You think that is what got her spooked?” “No, that’s not it. Can we talk about it when we get home? I want to tell you what I know. And to be face to face when we do it.” He asked if it was bad. “Yes, some of it. But we’ll get through it. I’ve called a couple of buddies of mine to come help us. They’re going to be here soon enough.” “I hope they know more about babies then we do. I know we took those classes, but I think this is going to be much harder than we thought.” Forrest laughed and said he knew it was going to be. “At least we have those books. Not that I think they’re much help either. But we have them.” “Mary said she’d help us too. I know she has a lot of experience with babies.” The woman had seven children, ten grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. If anyone had experience, it would be her. “And I’m really glad that you went shopping yesterday for diapers and such. We’ll be set for a while. Doubtful anyone would come snooping around thinking the two of us had a kid.” It had been in the papers that he and Forrest had opened a practice together. And in the same article, it mentioned not only that Jake’s ex-wife had been a murderer, having killed her own mother, but that he was gay. Nothing much had been said about it, and because of it, they had a lot more work than they could handle at times. The gay community was supporting them in a big way. Mary, their housekeeper, met them at the door. She was so excited for them too, and when they’d moved into his grandma’s house just after the funeral, she had asked

to come with them. The other staff, much older than he had realized, all retired except for Thomas, Grandma’s butler and good friend. After getting Jenna settled in her crib, the two of them fussed in the nursery. Jake knew what they were doing…waiting for her to wake up and need them. And they wanted to be the first to help her. But Mary came in, shooed them out, and told them to find something to do. He and Forrest went to the living room but took the monitor with them. They would not let her down. “Okay, what I know. Or heard. Quincey is keeping an eye out on things for us. And the reason might surprise you. I know it did me. You have a younger half-brother.” Jake leaned back on the couch and asked how old he was. “Just a few years younger than you. He’s been notified of your father’s arrest, and that your grandma left it all to you. He wants his share.” “And Jenna? What does she have to do with this?” He didn’t answer him when Thomas brought them in some scones and tea. Jake wasn’t ready to enjoy them just yet. When what was happening and why occurred to him, he didn’t even wait for Thomas to leave but blurted it out. “He wants her murdered, then he’ll come after me. For the money.” “Yes, that’s it.” Forrest played with his cup but didn’t drink either. “I guess your father’s name isn’t on the birth certificate. But this guy has had tests done to prove who he is to him. Your father was a real fucker, just in the event you didn’t know that. Anyway, your grandma found out about this bastard son before she was murdered. And it wasn’t until this morning that I was told about it.” Jake wasn’t sure what to say. Or even to do. Protecting his sister was going to be something that he’d devote his life to, but to have his own flesh and blood out to murder them both, her only an infant not even a day old, was almost too much. It made him think that the man was more like his father than he ever wanted to be. “Do you have anything on him? His name?” Right then, the monitor went off and they both stood up. “You go. I need to digest this information. If you bring her down, that’ll be good too. Just…I don’t know what to think at the moment.” “All right. But here is what I have on him. And it’s not pretty.” Forrest started out of the room and stopped. “We’ll be all right, Jake. I have friends coming to help us out with this mess.” Jake certainly hoped so. Right now all he could think about was how his life had been full of murderers and murderesses, and he’d been the only sane one in the bunch. Besides his grandma and Forrest, of course. “Oh, Grandma, I miss you more and more every day. What am I going to do now? What are we going to do now?”