Emmie Rankin didn’t trust men. She had been brutally raped at fourteen and now had her daughter, Olivia, as a result. Olivia was now a teen herself. Although an attorney by trade, Emmie had had to give up her practice to stay at home and take care of her father and her child.
Kylan Prince was a black tiger shifter. He had been waiting a long time for his mate to come into his life. Now that she was finally here, he was determined to do everything he could to convince her that he was what she and her daughter needed in their lives.
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I TUNES COMING SOON
Harper Wilson and all her siblings were relieved when they received the notice of their parents’ demise. No one deserved it more, and the only reason Harper agreed to go back to that little town in Ohio was to make sure they were truly dead.
Bryant Prince and his family were immortals and hadn’t aged since they’d reached the age of twenty-eight. He and his family had always lived next door to the Wilsons, but he never knew the Wilson children. The Wilsons had always kept to themselves, so no one had any idea what was going on in the little house of horrors. If they had, the Wilson parents would have been dead a long time ago.
There was nothing left of the Wilson house but one wall. The fire had taken the rest. The garage, however, was still intact, and this was where Harper wound up. Drawn in by dark, morbid memories from her childhood. Bryant watched her, knowing that he’d found his mate.
Allison Sheppard had come back to town to bury her siblings. Allie’s sister and two brothers had robbed the local bank. Samson Prince had killed two of them to protect the innocent people in the bank, her baby brother was sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial. Allie wanted to wash her hands of all of them.
It didn’t take Allie but a moment to realize that the entire town looked on her as a pariah, like she was responsible for what her siblings did. Not that she could blame them, but the silent accusations did hurt. The sooner she was finished with this mess, the better. She would leave this town and good riddance.
Samson only wanted to make the woman understand that they weren’t monsters, and he had no choice in the bank, but from the moment he was within two feet of her, her scent overwhelmed him. Allie was his mate, and this changed everything….
Piper James was at the funeral home doing the hardest thing she’d ever had to do—bury her mother. The last ten years had been difficult, with her dad’s illness then him ultimately dying, and then her mother being diagnosed with cancer. Her siblings, Mary and Louis, had been no help at all, financially or lending a hand with their care. Now that their mother was gone, those two were going to be a handful, Piper just knew it.
Fisher Prince, a rare black tiger shifter, had a gift. He was able to find people and things with little effort. When a judge called him and asked him to find Piper and keep her safe from her siblings, Fisher agreed to help him out, but he wasn’t expecting to find his mate in the process.
The bond between the two was nearly immediate, and when he gave her a ring gifted to him by Aurora, queen of the earth, neither were prepared for what happened next.
Mary and Louis were never going to stop pursuing Piper unless someone intervened. Would the Prince family be in time to stop the inevitable?
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Kylan was running behind, as usual. He had been at his apartment cleaning out his fridge when he was told they were having dinner together tonight. Just as he was finishing his clean up, Summer came to speak to him. “Your house is complete, sir.” He looked at Summer and asked her what she was talking about. “Your mate. I’ve been to see her, and she has wonderful ideas about your home you’ll share with her. I’d not be surprised if she were to fall in love with you this night.” “I don’t have a mate, Summer.” She smiled at him. “How do you know what my mate wants in a house when I don’t know a thing about her? In addition to that, what do you mean, she’ll fall in love with me this night? I don’t have any plans to leave the house.” “She is coming with her family for dinner tonight. Lady Piper spoke with her just today.” Kylan asked her what that had to do with him. “Why everything, my lord. You’ll be so happy with her daughter as well. Your mate’s daddy, he is most ill, but we can fix him up when he is ready.” Kylan sat down and thought about what she was telling him. “What’s her name?” Summer asked him if he meant her daughter or his mate. “Both. For that matter, who told you she was my mate?” “I know these things. But it was Lady Piper that told me about her. She is so very beautiful, sir. Her hair is like the sunshine, it is so bright. Her daughter has dark hair like yours. Also, your mate—her name is Emmaline, but her dad calls her Emmie—has one blue eye and one green eye. She covers it with contacts, but even without them showing, she is very lovely. A perfect match for you.”
Now he was headed to Fisher’s home for dinner and to meet his mate. The big rig in the drive of their home was the first indication of what she did for a living. Going to the back door, not wanting to be pushed into something that was wrong, he saw Piper there waiting on him. She looked too slick for his tastes. “Summer told you, didn’t she?” He asked Piper if it was true. “It is. She’s very outspoken but nice when it suits her.” She told him about the man who was now working for her. “How are you finding this out, Piper? Did you get some sort of vision magic that you’ve not told anyone about?” She grinned and told him she had. “Is she going to be happy to find out I’m her mate? Or are we going to have a battle on our hands? Is her family going to come around and beat me up too?” “The only family she has is her father and daughter. The father of her daughter, Olivia, is dead, killed by his father when he raped Emmie when she was only fourteen years old.” Kylan sat down at the kitchen table, waiting for the next part of Piper’s tale. He knew there was more to it than she was saying, but he didn’t ask. “There is no one chasing them—no bad people after them. They’re not wealthy like you are, but they have learned to stretch a dollar until it screams, as her dad says. There isn’t a bad skeleton in their closet that they’re going to keep from anyone.
Collier, her father, is a recovering drunk but has been sober for nearly eighteen years. They’re just a family that has had some bad things happen to them, but they’ve recovered nicely.” “Who else knows she’s my mate other than the three of us?” She told him she’d not even told Fisher yet. “What’s going on here, Piper? I don’t know why, but I have a feeling things aren’t as cut and dried as you’ve made them out to be.” “She’s an attorney. A damned good one too.” Nodding, he told her he and his brothers had been attorneys several times over their lives. “Emmie specializes in corporate law. Like I said, she’s damned good at it too. We need her in this family as much as you’re going to need her as your mate.” “I don’t understand this.” She told him that was all right. He would. “You’ve told me I have a mate, then leave me hanging about why she’s so important to this family. That’s not very sisterly of you.” “No, I suppose it’s not. What if I told you she needs to be a part of this family so you can save her father’s life? Make him have a good feeling about himself.” Kylan told her he could do that without taking a mate. “Why are you being so obtuse about this? I’m trying to do the right thing here and not give you too much information before you’ve met.” “Is that important?” Piper nodded. “All right. I’ll not ask you anymore about her. But I do have to know, why is it that you’ve told me this?
I can understand you’ve got rules about not telling too much of what the future holds, but you’ve told me a great deal.” When her house phone rang, she told him it was for him. Going to the phone, he picked it up and said his name. He heard the words being said to him, but he was having a difficult time making them into information after the first comment. After telling the officer where he was and how long he’d been there, he hung up the phone. “My apartment complex blew up forty minutes ago.” She didn’t say anything but did hand him a glass of water. “Everything is gone. No one was home, so they’re all safe. You knew this. Didn’t you?” “When I saw what happened, I knew I had to get you from the house. You would have been there had I only invited you to dinner. You would have come here, but it would have been too late for you to get out. So I told you of your mate so you’d leave early enough not to be there when the boiler burst.” He nodded. “It was the only way, Kylan. I didn’t know what else to do. I can’t see you hurt.” “Thank you.” He thought about what she’d said to him. “You said I have to save her father’s life. Was that it? Did he come to my apartment too?” “No. He needs you in another way.” Getting up, he staggered a little but made his way to the living room. He saw Olivia first. If she looked only half like her mom, he was going to be in deep trouble with the beautiful women to come into his life. Kylan hugged his mom and dad, introduced himself to Collier, and sat down on the couch where his brothers were. He looked at Emmie as she spoke to Harper about the runs she’d taken out for them today. When Emmie looked at him, Kylan knew he’d been wrong.
He was going to be in more than just trouble with his new mate. He was going to be running around with his tongue hanging out whenever he saw her. Christ, she was more than beautiful. She was gorgeous. The poke to his ribs had him looking at his mom. “You’re staring at her like you’re going to eat her alive. If you keep that up, young man, she’s going to hurt you.” He looked at his mom. “I’ve only just met her, but I have a feeling she won’t hold back if you do something to cause her trouble. Is she your mate?” “Yes.” Mom nodded and leaned back on the couch, pulling him back with her. “She’s beautiful, isn’t she? I mean, all women are beautiful, but she’s…she’s beyond that.” “What the hell is wrong with you?” He looked back at the woman they’d been speaking of. “You’re staring at me like I’m some sort of shit under your foot. Either say what you have to say or stop looking at me like that.” “You’re my mate.” There was a deafening silence in the room. “I only just found out myself. You’re very beautiful.” When Emmie stood up, he did as well. Not only was she good looking, but she was also nearly as tall as he was. He’d estimate she was at least six feet, if not a little more. Before he could pull her to him, if he had that thought in his head, Olivia stood between them. She was shooting daggers at him with her eyes. “Hello.” Olivia didn’t so much as utter a single word to him.
“I’m Kylan Prince. You must be her daughter.” “I’m the spitting image of my mother. If you don’t back off right now, mister, I don’t know people’s space bubble—I’m gonna hurt you. I’ve been trained by the best there is in defending myself and others.” He smiled at her and told Olivia he was glad to know that. “You won’t be if you’re picking up your nuts from across the room.” “Now, see here.” Mom got up and came to stand by him and his new family members. “You might be able to speak that way at home, young lady, but you will hold your tongue on—” “She’s not allowed to speak like that anywhere,” Emmie told Olivia to apologize to Mrs. Prince. When she did, Olivia also told her that her mother raised her better than that. “I’m going to keep right on raising her better than you did this moron. Not that I’m blaming you. I guess not everyone takes to being a good person like the rest of your family apparently has.” “Kylan does have his days. How about we all have a seat, then we can see what there is to know about the rest of you.” Alarm ran over his body when he heard one of his brothers calling to Collier. Moving toward the man, he could see that not only were his eyes glazed over in apparent pain, but his lips were blue. Kylan heard his mother speak as he was helping Collier to the floor. “Call an ambulance. Be quick about it.” Taking off the tie he had on, Kylan spoke to the elder man. He told him what he was doing with each step that he took. Emmie was on the other side of her dad, telling him to open his mouth. Before he could do what she wanted, his eyes closed, and Kylan knew the man was going to need more than just his help, but everyone’s.
Performing CPR, he didn’t stop until Emmie said it was her turn. Before the ambulance arrived, two of his brothers had helped with the rotation. Not that he couldn’t have done it for a lot longer, but he didn’t want to mess up by hurting her father while he was trying to save him. The EMTs came in with their equipment and switched off with him when they had his chest exposed. It only took them seconds to hit him with the defibrillator and bring the man back. They were hooking Collier up to an IV and calling in his vitals when Olivia came and hugged him. “He’s my grandda. And besides my mom, all I have in the world. You saved him for me.” Holding her as he stood up, he wasn’t the least bit surprised to see Emmie sitting on the couch now with her head between her knees. “Can you talk to my mom? Don’t touch her. She’ll scream if you do. Just talk to her and not touch her.” Kylan didn’t understand the no touching part, but he did sit on the couch with Emmie and spoke to her. He wasn’t telling her anything substantial, but just telling her what the EMTs were doing as they worked to keep her father alive. When Emmie sat up, he asked her if she was all right. “I should have noticed he wasn’t well.” Kylan said those closest to people sometimes didn’t see things. He was guilty of the same thing. “Don’t pamper me with niceties. I should have noticed he wasn’t feeling well when we drove here today.
He said his head hurt and that his belly was upset. If you think you might have even the slightest chance of making me your mate, you’ll never lie to me or try and sugarcoat things that are going on. I won’t have it.” “All right. I had a little bit of a warning when I got here that he might need me. I was on top of it because of that.” She asked him if it had been Piper. “It was. She and my brother work for some very powerful people, the queen of the earth, Aurora, and she gifted them with all kinds of magic. That’s me not sugarcoating things. Why did your daughter tell me not to touch you?” “I’ve been raped before, and sometimes I have trouble with sudden moves and touches. What did she tell you about us?” He told her about the explosion and the reason he was told about her. “So you only know I’m your mate because someone told you I was. Is that the way it works?” “No. I can smell you. Your scent calls to me. It also warns other males, other cats, that you’re a mate to someone powerful.” She asked him what that meant. “I’m a very old and very powerful tiger. Black tiger, as a matter of fact.” “I won’t give up my daughter without a fight. And I’m including death to you if you even try.” He said he’d never ever do that to her or to Olivia. “We’ll see. I have to go to the hospital. My dad is going to need me. He’s on all kinds of antidepressants.” “May I go? The hospital might need me to answer some questions about what happened.” She told him to suit himself. “Will Olivia want to go?” “I’m not leaving her alone with strangers.” But in the end, Olivia wanted to stay. Kylan knew it was costing Emmie to leave her only child there, but Olivia said she’d be fine and was stressed out too much to wait on someone to tell them what was going on. “All right. But you know the rules and what to do.”
“I do, Mom. I’ll be fine.” His mom didn’t say anything, but he could tell she was curious. He was as well, but he didn’t ask either of them what the rules were. Instead, he got his car so that Emmie could ride with him to the hospital. He had a feeling it was going to be a long night. Kylan only hoped it was going to be a good night rather than snipping at him like she had been doing. Although, he was enjoying her show of temper.