Brooke Rickson had been working the pottery wheel and pulling clay with her great-grandfather almost as long as she could remember. Her work was famous even though no one really knew who she was. She preferred it that way and had become a recluse since her great-grandfather died. He had left her everything.
Mac Harrison loved rare pottery, and when he landed two tickets to the big art show he was thrilled. He could get his prized Rickson pottery piece appraised and get to see new work at the same time. He brought his brother, Darcy, along for the ride.
When Darcy caught Brooke’s scent, he knew he’d found his mate. Unfortunately, the beautiful recluse made no bones about telling him that she was alone and liked it that way, and that no man was barging in and taking over her orderly life. She was living her life just the way she wanted it and that didn’t include taking orders from a man–any man. He could get that thought right out of his head….
I Book Coming Soon
Riordan Harrison can’t believe it. Everyone is pissed at him and he doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. All he did was tell the woman that she was his mate. He couldn’t help it that his tiger caused him to pin the woman to the counter and she proceeded to throw him to the ground and cover him with sticky pastries. Now, no one will talk to him, including his secretary. He hasn’t claimed the woman yet, and it is all seeming like it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Storm Browning, Stormy to her friends, is a wounded war hero. She’s done her duty and just wants to live a quiet life―run her little bakery without any hitches. The majority of the men she commanded in the war had been shifters so she wasn’t surprised when the big oaf sniffed her out claiming that she was his mate. But that doesn’t mean she has to agree with it. What else could she do? He had to go. He’d hightail it and run anyway when he saw her scars―they all did. She couldn’t emotionally handle that, not again at any rate.
But if Riordan is going to get back on everyone’s good side, he’ll have to make peace with the woman. Even though he thinks he’s innocent, he’ll go for a visit and maybe apologize, but after he gets there things go from bad to worse. Stormy is targeted for assassination and he’s in the line of fire….
Cormac Harrison, Mac to his family and friends, has a good thing going. He has a brand new home, a successful business, and is truly happy with the direction his life is heading.
Andi Collins can’t seem to catch a break. The last time she’d encountered her father, she’d ended up in the hospital. Now, Stormy Harrison, is giving her a break and helping her get back on her feet. So when this big handsome man tells her that she’s his mate she’s scared to death.
Mate. She’d heard the term before. And what it meant. She would belong to him. Not just him, but whoever he wanted to sell her to. Andi reached for the door handle, thinking that rolling from a moving car would be better than being passed around like a napkin at a banquet hall.
“Don’t do that.” He reached for her hand just as she touched the handle. “Please, just listen to me and I’ll explain.”
“I don’t need you to explain. I know what mate means. My friends at school, they told me what happens when you become a mate to men. And what they didn’t tell me, my father and aunt explained the rest. Mates use you, and then when they’ve had enough, they pass you around to all the other men they know. I won’t have it.”
The car suddenly stopped. Her seatbelt cut into her neck, and she nearly hit her head on the dash it stopped so abruptly.
Nikki Neal was damn good at her job. As an undercover cop, she had just about enough information to put the local crime boss away, but she needed more to make it stick. But when someone blew her cover, Nikki found herself on the wrong end of several guns.
Aedan Harrison was on the fast track to winning the Governor’s seat for the state of Ohio. He had his whole life, or at least his immediate future, planned out. What he didn’t need was a mate he hadn’t made plans for throwing a monkey wrench into the mix.
The last thing Nikki needed was an overbearing jackass ordering her about, and telling her how much he didn’t need her in his life right now. Well, she didn’t need him either. She had work to do and needed to get herself and her grandda to safety.
It didn’t take long for Aedan’s family to convince him in the error of his ways, and when he saw what he’d done he felt like an ass. All he wanted to do was make it right, but could he grovel enough for her to accept him?
HARRISON AMBUSH – TIGER SHAPESHIFTER ROMANCE
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Hello! My name is Kathi Barton and I’m a award winning, best selling author of dark fantasy erotic paranormal romance . I have been married to my very best friend Paul, a potter, for at times seems several lifetimes – in a good way, honey. And together we have three wonderful children and then the ones we brought into the world – Paul and Dale Barton, Jason and Wendy Barton and Danielle and Ben Conklin. They have given us eight of the greatest treasures on Earth. They don’t live at home seven days a week! No, seriously, eight grandchildren – Gavin, Spring, Ben, Trinity, Sarah, Kelly, Kian and Bailee
“Here, let me show you. You have to remember, Brooke, that you weigh a bit more than that little bit of mud. Just lay your weight over it like I showed you, and center your start.” She did that, bending her body nearly in half to do it. But she was too short and couldn’t get the clay to center correctly no matter what she tried. Standing up and leaning over the wheel again, she got it to do just what she wanted. But she knew that doing it this way was going to hurt her back. Brooke looked at her grandda and asked him for some help. “Okay, so you have to stand. We can work around that.” He nodded as he took measurements of her and the height of the wheel. “Heard tell that some potters stand when they throw. Me? Can’t do it no matter how old I get. But you, I think you can make it work for you, beings that you’re young starting it this way.” It took them two weeks to get the wheel at the right height for her. Every little adjustment was written on the wall beside the kilns and then dated. They were going to get it perfect for her, and she had no doubt that she’d be throwing pots right alongside her grandda before too much longer. After a month she was pulling up the long line of clay almost as well as Grandda. He was letting her experiment with forms and some of the tools he’d made on his own too. Brooke felt like a real potter when he treated her this way…like she was his partner, not just his great granddaughter. Some of his tools were as old as her, others as old as her mom would have been had she not died. When Brooke asked him about other designs that she wanted to make, he showed her that as well. Not only how to make the small wooden tools that were as standard in a pottery shed as the clay would be, but how to use the things that were right outside their door. When she threw her first large piece, one that she was as proud of as anything she’d ever done, he stood back and looked at it. It wasn’t finished, not by long shot, but still raw, the clay only just beginning to turn leather hard. When he walked around it for the fourth time, not saying anything but really looking at it, Brooke looked too. She could see every line of it, every little finger mark, and where she had paused with the wet sponge in the process. Pausing in front of it, his hand on his cheek, she knew that Grandda was going to tell her she could do much better, which she could, and that someday she might be half as good as him. “What’s your plan? I mean, when you had that raw ball in your hand, what did it say to you?” Grandda had told her that each piece spoke to him. Even before he knew what it was going to be, the clay did. Brooke looked at the forms she’d thrown and tried to think how to tell him what she thought it said. “Come on now, you know that of all people, I’ll understand what it said.” “I’m to keep it like it is, raw for now, at least until it’s firm enough for me to work with. Then I’m to put some of the stones in it that I found in the mountain.” He nodded, still not looking at her but at the piece. “When I fire it, the clay said that the colors will be
like none other…that once we take it from the fire it’ll show a brilliance that the earth has never seen.” Grandda walked around the piece once more. It was going to be tall, about five feet with all the pieces stacked atop one another. The batts, the board that she’d used to throw it on, was still attached until it was dry enough to remove. She’d had to throw three pieces to get it the way she had seen it in her head, each of them a little different, a little wider or taller, but they would stack atop one another to get the height she knew it had to be. And it wasn’t a clean fit…the clay hadn’t allowed her to be perfect about her technique. Now, it was in its last stages of drying enough to work with, to put the final art to before it had to be put in a kiln to fire the first time. Brooke could see what stone to use as well as where it was to be put in the clay before the finally firing, the one that would bring it to life. “When you’re finished, I want to help you with it.” She nodded, hoping that he’d say that. “Not the finishing touches, but with the firing. It will take a delicate firing, slow to burn and hot. You’ll need to stay with me when we do this; the fire cannot ever cool too much or get too high. The kiln, it will need to be watched over, like the pieces that we fill it with. You willing to do that? To come and be a part of its next journey?” “Yes. I want to do this.” He nodded and looked at the piece again before turning to her. “You think it will be a nice piece? Not show quality like yours, but nice?” “Never say that it will not be perfect before you even see it. The clay, it has a heart, same as you. Otherwise why would we bother?” She nodded, not sure what he meant. “It will be what it wants to be, using you as its canvas, not the other way around. All right?” She nodded. Yes, she was the way for the clay to speak, not her to speak to it. Over the next three days she gathered her stones, laying them out in the order that she could see in her head. She’d tried to plan them out on her own, matching the colors in groups, the size of them going from smaller to larger. But her muse, her clay, wouldn’t let her finish when she tried to change the design to suit herself. The piece, it seemed, knew just the way it was to be. The day before the firing, a full month after Grandda had said he wanted to help her, he and Brooke had started the fires in the lower part of the kiln. Lucky for her there were enough pieces to fill the cave kiln. Otherwise she might have had to wait for several more months to see her finished piece. Her grandda had built the kiln in the forties when there wasn’t a kiln big enough to fire the pieces that he wanted to glaze. He designed his own anagama kiln, built right into the mountain and fed at the bottom in a continuous feeding of wood, when no builder would help him. He and several other potters, all but him now out of business, had spent the better part of a year digging out the cave and making a fire pit large enough to heat it to the right temperatures. The fuel, mostly trees felled on the property where the kiln was built, was perfect for the firings. Each different type of wood would add a chemical product to the firing that could never be duplicated. It was what made this type of firing so amazing.
They would get ash from the wood, and salts that mixed with the chemicals of the glazes would give colors that might never be seen in an electric or gas fired kiln. Even a raku firing—one where the piece was heated to a certain temperature then taken out, almost molten, to be dropped in different elements such as newspapers or straws— couldn’t compare to a wood firing. It took three days for the anagama kiln to cool enough to open; the same number of days it had taken for it to get to temperature. She went from wishing the process would hurry to just wishing that it had never been fired. Brooke was afraid of what they might find inside. There were hundreds of pieces in the large kiln that had been brought in by local potters, schools, as well as people just starting out in this sort of media. Some of them had brought their work to them months ago, others just that morning. Things had been busy getting the kiln loaded. Grandda’s rule was, you want it fired, then you help with the firing. Which meant chopping wood, loading the pottery, staying up when it was your turn to stoke the fire, as well as help out with the food. There was always plenty of that latter to go around too. Pieces would be put in, sitting on the steps up the high hill, stacked on large shelves, or even buried in the dirt so that the effect would, hopefully, be amazing. The heat would reach each piece, while the fumes, some of them noxious, would be vented out of the top, nearly at the top of their mountain. Each piece had been marked because sometimes months would go by and they’d have to remind the person that their pieces were ready to be fired. Brooke had met a great many famous men and women when they’d come to their farm to party with their grandda during a long firing, and had remained friends with them long after. Brooke knew that it wasn’t going to be a quick firing, as he’d told her slow and delicate. And when they were satisfied that they’d done all they could for the pieces, not just hers but all pieces in the kiln, they let the flames slow to a low burn for another day, then let it die all together. All they could do now was wait. Upon opening the great door, there were shattered pieces just inside the doorway. Broken shards of pottery, some of it melded to another piece of work and ruining both the pieces of art. Walls of pottery were still too hot to touch, while others had cooled enough to be removed with heavy asbestos gloves. Brooke tried to avoid the area where her pieces were sitting. Her piece, her first art piece, was in the middle, still some feet from where they’d entered. “You know, child, that not all of my pieces make it out of here. This is the worst kind of torture for an artist, to find that something happened in the firing and it’s all for naught.” She told him that she understood that, but she’d still be disappointed. “As you should be. It’s a fine piece you put together. I hope we can display it in the store in town.” It would be an honor for her to have her work displayed in the store, Brooke knew this. But no one, except a select few, would ever know that it was hers. It was the way her grandda had lived his artistic life, and the same way she would live hers, she’d decided. Being famous, she’d always believed, had gotten her mom nowhere but dead, and that was enough limelight for her.
She saw the first of the three pieces sitting just where she’d put it. Walking slowly to it, Brooke held her breath until she saw the second one. It too seemed to be all right; no pieces had been broken around it, and hers had survived and not exploded onto someone else’s. Then she stood over the third. “Brooke?” Grandda stood beside her as they looked at the pieces. They were all complete, with nothing touching them. Her first piece had fired well. “We can’t take it out just yet, a couple more hours. Have to be careful yet that it don’t get a cool breeze, either.” Stacking the pieces up in the store had been more than she could have hoped for. The stones had lent a natural element to the piece that she hadn’t seen in her visions of it done. Some of them had melted just a little, leaving the holes that she’d set them in with a beautiful watery dripped look. The glazes that she’d sprayed on it before putting it in the kiln had given the piece a matt look in some places, and a bright shiny glaze in others. The ash from the wood along with the salt from the mountain had also changed many of the colors to be entirely different than the clay had told her about. Matching the stones and other elements on it had given it a very earthy look. Brooke was so proud of it that she’d taken several pictures and had them printed and framed. The piece stood in the front of the store for two weeks. People had come in asking how they’d found such a wonderful Rickson piece. She’d had so much pride in those comments that she’d taken to putting a penny in a jar each time she heard it. It wouldn’t ever be much, but it was something akin to having them know it was her. The price on it, only a token one really, tripled what she wanted for it, had she really wanted to let it go. Brooke had no plans to sell it, so when a man had come from some large pottery shop and paid her price, she was both excited and sad at the same time. But the money had gone to getting more supplies for their shop, and she’d had her first piece sold. It wouldn’t always be that way, she knew this, but now she had a goal, a bigger one than before the sale. To make enough money to pay for her own supplies, as well as a part of the monthly bills on the shop. Brooke knew she was well on her way to becoming someone her grandda could be proud of. But she also knew that no matter what she did or didn’t do, her grandda would love her with all his heart.