Quinlan Release Blitz & Giveaway

Sometimes, Rogue didn’t much care for her job, but it paid well, and she was damn good at it. As a forensic photographer, Rogue’s job was sometimes a bit more than she could handle. Especially when there were kids involved. But she could always vent to her college buds, Loman and Cass Foster.
Quin had heard all about Rogue from his brothers, and he was anxious to meet her. Loman and Cass said they owed their lives to Rogue, but they wouldn’t give Quin any of the details.
As soon as Rogue arrived, Quin realized she was his mate, but as soon as she met Don’s mate Parker, it was chaos, leaving Parker heartbroken and Rogue hurt. Rogue was steaming mad, and Quin’s lion wanted to protect her, but Parker was family too. Quin was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
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Brook Garrett had learned to live by her wits. When she was very young, she lost her father to a car crash. When her mother remarried, her nightmare really began. A few years later, her mother died the same way. She was next.​Ronan Foster was an officer out on medical leave. He was a lion and wasn’t hurt in the least, but the guy responsible for shooting him would go free if he didn’t take the sabbatical. The guy was for much more than shooting him, and justice needed to be served. Trust was hard for Brook. Her stepparents had seen to that. Now the big lion was telling her that they were mates and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She had been doing just fine without a man in her life….

Parker Carter spent eight years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit—murdering her father. Now that the justice system had finally admitted their mistake, Parker was set free. Parker could have left anytime she wanted, she was a powerful witch, but for reasons of her own, she had remained locked up and didn’t use any of her magic.
Donahue Foster, a teacher at the local school, was having a hard time resting. Taking a run and stretching his legs as his lion was something he hadn’t done in a while. He hadn’t gotten far when he noticed two things, he smelled fresh blood, and he felt a presence. Don was dumbfounded when the woman used a mind link to communicate with him. She told him her name was Parker Carter, she didn’t like people, and she was his mate.
Don was so stunned with that news that he was nearly run over by the night hunters Parker chased off.
Now that Parker was back, her past needed to be settled. Half-truths and well-kept secrets needed to be exposed. And the possession of her mother, Meggie, was the most mind-boggling of all. What kind of screwed-up magic was this?

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Glancing at the clock, Lily counted down the time she had left to work. Her feet hurt, her back was killing her, and she thought if she were to sit down right now, she’d never get up again. This was the problem with being overeducated, unmarried, with four kids at home wondering where their next meal was coming from. Smiling, she thought of her sister and what she was going to say to her when she arrived tomorrow night. Lily knew the first thing she was going to say to her. She’d want to know where the hell her head had been when she’d taken on three kids that weren’t hers. Lily would tell her what she said to anyone that asked. She loved them. But she also knew Rogue would love them too. If nothing else, her sister would strive to be the best aunt to them and would love them as much as she did. Her sister was one of a kind.

A year and a half ago, Lily had been happy, about to be married and living in a home for the first time in her adult life. Then, as life would sometimes do, it shit on her. Mark was killed in a robbery. She assumed, sadly so, that she and the kids would be taken care of. But that didn’t pan out either. His ex-wife had sued her for the house and insurance before Mark had even been buried. Not only did she win the suit against her—even though everything, from the insurance and house to the cars in the garage, were in her name with Mark’s—in the end, Lily had been left with nothing. Less than nothing because while she’d been earning a nice check each week, the money had been in the checking account she’d shared with Mark. The bitch had gotten her money too. The kids, however, had been nothing Missy, his ex-wife, had wanted.

They were hers, of course, but since Mark had won full custody of them, she saw no reason to take them with her when she robbed them of even a home to live in. The attorney for Missy had told Lily several times how sorry he was and that he wished he’d been on her side. Lily was glad she was there for them when their father had loved them so dearly. Even her own son, Gabe, Mark had treated the same as he had his own children. “Lily, there’s a phone call for you. I think it’s your daughter.” Nodding, she took the call in the boss’s office of the restaurant she worked in. Billy, at fifteen, was in charge of the others when she had to work. “Mom, there is a person here who says she’s your sister. She’s nothing like you, is she? If she is your sister.

I don’t know if I like her or not.” Lily laughed and asked her to put her on the phone. “I’d have to let her in. Are you willing to bet she’s your sister?” “All right. To test your theory, and it is a good one, ask her what her first name is. If she won’t tell you, it’s her. By the way, her middle name is Rogue. She won’t allow anyone to call her by her first one.” She heard Billy asking her what her first name was and the reply she got from Rogue. “You tell your mother that I’m going to kick her ass all the way to my car and back if she so much as gives anyone my fucking first initial. You tell her I didn’t come all this way to—” Billy must have believed her because she was talking to Rogue as she finished talking about the things she was going to do to her when she found her.

“I’m not above kicking your ass, even though you’re older than me.” “I believe you. I’m so glad you’re there. But I thought you weren’t coming until tomorrow. What happened?” Rogue didn’t answer her but asked a question of her own. “Yes, we’re staying in a one-bedroom apartment. It’s all I can afford. There is plenty of room if you discount the fact that I’m rarely home anymore, trying to keep up with the rent and food for the five of us.” “One of them is giving me the evil eye right now. Doesn’t she know I’m her aunt and the one she should be buttering up?” Lily told Rogue they didn’t understand buttering people up, as they didn’t know anyone with anything they would share with them. “You need to get you a good attorney, Lily. If I had been around, she never would have gotten away with this.” “Yes, well, that costs money.

Money I don’t have. I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve missed you. Where are you going to stay?” She asked her if she could move them in with her. “I don’t know, Rogue. Are you still living out of a suitcase?” “Pretty much. But today I’m in a hotel that has three rooms and a kitchenette. I’m going to gather the kids up, hit a pizza place, and meet you after work.” She told her the name of the hotel she was staying at. “If you want, I can come pick you up. The kid in charge here said you walked to work because you have no car. Didn’t I tell you I’d pay for one for you to use until I could make it back here?” “That would be Billy. She’s fifteen.” Rogue asked her how she could keep them all straight. “You can do that when you love them as much as I do. I’ll be getting off here at around eleven. If you could pick me up, I’d love it.

I’m too exhausted to walk much more today.” Lily knew that by the time she got home, not only would Rogue have all their names straight, but she’d know everything there was to know about them. She’d even bet they’d have a few changes of good clothing, a toy or two if they wanted, and Billy and Gabe, the oldest two, would have some kind of handheld game that Rogue knew how to play as well as any teenager. At eleven, Lily clocked out. She’d done well in tips tonight and was still counting them out when her sister pulled up in a gray SUV. All four of her children were in the back seats and buckled in properly. Lily asked her what she was doing with such a big car.

“I rented it while I’m here. By the way, I was told none of them needed to be in a car seat. I’m still thinking smart mouth back there, Donna, needs to have a roll of tape over her mouth. She’s just like me.” With a large grin from Rogue, Lily turned to look at Donna. She gave her a thumbs up. “I’m moving you into a house I rented. I don’t want to hear about how you’re fine in that place you were at. There is only one bathroom and five people sharing it. You know me, can’t stand to share anything.” “You’re a wonderful sharer. Is that a word?” Rogue pulled out of the parking lot and onto the road. It was on the tip of her tongue to ask her how far she was going to be walking now but she didn’t. The kids were talking quietly, the music, something that Rogue had on all the time, was just background noise, and the seat was comfy.

Being awakened by the door opening and the light coming on startled her. Turning in the seat to count the kids, something she did every time they were out, she saw they were pulling things from the back of the car. Getting out, Rogue handed her a heavy bag of what appeared to be food and told her to take it into the house. It was just after one in the morning when the kids finally made it up to the bedrooms. Lily just wanted to lie down and never wake up, but Rogue said she wanted to talk to her about something. Lily had seen how much she’d paid for the food before Rogue had snatched the receipt from her and wanted to say a few things to her as well.

“Okay. Two things. I can afford whatever is running through your mind to say to me about the purchases tonight. More if you need it. The house belongs to a buddy of mine who is out of the country right now. In effect, we’re doing him a favor, he told me, by being here and keeping the lights on. Also, I have another friend that has a brother who is an attorney. I’m going to call him first thing in the morning. There is no reason whatsoever she should have gotten anything at all from Mark’s estate.” Lily felt her eyes fill with tears. “If you start crying, I’m going to cry, and we’re going to be a slobbery mess when the kids get up in a few hours.” “I’ve so missed you.”

They hugged again. They’d been hugging since they got here, and it felt better every time they did. “Missy, the kids’ mom, told the judge right there in the courtroom that the kids were heathens anyway and should be with me. Rogue, the kids were in the room when she said that. How could anyone do that to a child, let alone their own child?” “There are plenty of people out there that would, and who do it daily. She’s shit, and we’re going to take care of her as soon as possible.” Lily told her she hoped so. “I know you’ve not done it yet, so I will. We need to call Dad and make him aware of what is going on. I know you and him parted on bad terms, but this isn’t likely to get resolved soon, and it would be nice if he was in your corner.”

“He was having an affair when Mom was laying there dying.” Rogue didn’t comment, but she knew what she was thinking. “It doesn’t matter that Mom had been in a coma for eight years. He should have been faithful to her. Getting married not a month after she was laid to rest was a terrible thing to do to her memory.” “What sort of memories do you have of Mom, Lily? Want me to tell you about mine? She had a stroke when I was barely two. From that point on, the only time I saw her was when Dad would load us up in the car and take us to see her at the nursing home. I haven’t any idea what her voice sounded like. I don’t know the color of her eyes. She wasn’t ever able to do any of the things for me that she did for you when you were younger. No cookie baking. No PTA meetings. Mom was in a coma when I needed her. How do you think Dad coped when he needed someone?” Lily told her it wasn’t Mom’s fault. “No, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. Mom had a stroke that took her away from both of us, but especially Dad. And he did try. You know that.”

“I know. But only a month. I was just getting used to not going to see her when he married again.” Rogue again said nothing. “I guess we’re still going to agree to disagree about this.” “I suppose so. But I have something I’d like for you to think about. We had each other when Mom was alive. Dad had no one. Did he ever bring her to our home? Did Dad ever once mention to either of us that he was finding love someplace else? No, he didn’t. You want to know why he might have done that? Because he never wanted us to be hurt. I think what he did in sparing us was more loving than anything anyone could have done for us.” Lily hadn’t thought of it that way.

“Another thing he did too. He didn’t ever not visit Mom every day. He took care of her the best he could when she came home from the nursing home in those last days. He did this, all by himself, while we got to live and have a life. Dad did all of that for us. Then after Mom passed, Dad got to live for himself. I think what he did took a great deal of courage. Things could have been a great deal different if he’d not loved and respected Mom the way he did.” When Rogue went to bed, Lily sat there for another hour. Everything Rogue said was true. Some of it was things she’d said to her before, but thinking back on the way they had lived while their mom was alive, Lily could see their dad trying hard to make their lives as normal as possible.

Yes, he’d done that, and more, for both of them. Lily decided to give him a call tomorrow. Lily got up at seven, nearly an hour after she should have been up and moving. The kids were going to be late for school. They didn’t have their lunches made, and she was really thinking about letting them stay home for the day when she made it to the kitchen. The house was empty of any sound. The note on the table had her snatching it up, sure that someone had taken her children from her. “Breathe and calm the hell down.” She let out a long breath when she read the first words that her sister had written on the note. “I gave the kids lunch money and took them to school. Gabe has given me a list of things they’ll need now, and I’m picking it up on the way home.

If you’re reading this, just sit down, calm down, and have whatever you drink in the morning, and I’ll be there soon. Christ, I love these kids.” Lily was brewing a cup of tea that was on the counter when Rogue came back. Her usual brew was a cup of coffee, but there didn’t seem to be a coffee maker in the room. Helping her bring in the things she’d picked up, Lily was positive that a computer wasn’t on the list her son had given his aunt. “It wasn’t. I need it. If they can use it too, that’s fine by me. But I have several shots I need to take care of and get them printed. Your boss called this morning. He said the place has been closed up for the next ten days. Something about a fire inspector. Are you really working at a place that needs to be shut down by the fire marshal?” Lily told her sister what had happened last night. “Okay, having the fire extinguisher go off over the stove is messy. It’ll be more than ten days, I’m betting. They’ll have to inspect it before he’ll be able to reopen. If they find any of that retardant on anything in the kitchen area, he’ll shut you down again.”

Lily didn’t care how messy it was to clean up. All she could focus on was not having money coming in for ten days or more. Rogue shook her shoulders. She must have said something to her several times. There was a look of complete concern on her face just then. “Are you going to listen to me now?” Nodding, she said she would. “Good. As I’ve told you several times, I have enough money to support you and the kids until we get this court thing looked into. If you can hold the fort down while I make a few calls, maybe I can get it resolved before the restaurant reopens, and you won’t have to go back. Just chill out. Together we can keep the kids happy and fed. Don’t freak out about money, Lily. I told you, I make great money at my job, and I don’t have anyone or anything to spend it on but you and the kids. All right? Say it’s all right, Lily.” “It’s all right.” Hugging her sister, something that she was coming to depend on to get her going, she looked at her when they were apart.

“I’m also going to call Dad. You’re right. I was being selfish to him.” “I never said that.” Lily said she knew that too but felt that way. “I have his number. I’ll give it to you. Then I’m going to call my buddy. If he can’t help us, I’m betting he knows someone that can.” Lily got the number and wondered at the area code. It occurred to her that she had no idea where her dad was living nor what he was doing with his life. Picking up the phone to call him, she decided that she needed to get help. There wasn’t anything she could do alone that wouldn’t go much better with help. Lexi answered the phone on the second ring. “Hello, Lexi. It’s Lily. Is there any way I can talk to my dad for a little bit?” Lexi said he’d just gone to the store, but she’d love to talk to her. “I’ve a major problem here….” Telling her everything she had going on, Lily and Lexi were both sobbing by the time her dad was back home and available to talk to her. She wanted her daddy here. After promising Lexi a hug, Lily wanted a hug from her dad too.

Donald Dalton Kiss Release Blitz&Giveaway

Donald had been in the room with the women for a while. He knew one of them was his mate, but their scents were so similar he couldn’t tell which one it was. He took the women home one at a time. CJ and Rachel were the last to leave. It was then that Donald knew which one was his mate. He didn’t know which one of them was taking it harder, either.
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Kelly Roman was good at her job. As a forensic anthropologist, she could help the dead and help the families find closure. The one thing she hated about her job was her boss, Shamus Van. That man was out to sabotage everything she did. And when he brought in the new chief of police, Bancroft Dalton, to make her look bad, that was the last straw. She’d quit before they had a chance to fire her.

When Bancroft showed up at her front door, he asked to be invited in, and when he told her he couldn’t lie to her, it set off all kinds of bells and whistles in Kelly’s suspicions. It wasn’t the fact that he was a vampire that bothered her, it was the part about him not being able to lie to her. She knew shifters couldn’t lie to their mates. There was no way in hell she was letting a man barge into her life and take over….

Elizabeth Strickland, Lizzy, to her friends, found herself in a predicament. The last thing she remembered was attending her own bachelorette party, then waking up in a cave with six other women. They all had wounds, just like hers, only they were dead. Lizzy had awakened as a newborn vampire. She had no idea why they died, and she had lived, but she had wished every day that she had died with them.

Stanley Remy, better known as just Remy, was an old vampire and close friends with Bancroft, their leader. He had his own issues. He was being falsely charged with making baby vamps and leaving them to fend for themselves.

Lizzy just wanted the bodies of the other women found. Once they were, she had every intention of meeting the sun. What she didn’t need were two overbearing old vampires dictating to her what she could and couldn’t do. She had killed her maker, she wouldn’t hesitate to take them out if they didn’t let her be.

But then Remy gifted her with something she never thought she’d have again. To feel the sun without burning. She could have her life back. Maybe this mate thing wouldn’t be so bad after all.

If only it were that simple….

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CJ stretched out on the lawn chair and looked up at the sky. It would be snowing before morning, and she, for one, was looking forward to the cold that would end things for a while—bugs and the like. Smiling, she stood up and felt the snap of the cold touch her skin. The way the breeze blew through her hair, making it feel colder when it touched her skin again. Once she made her way into the house, she gathered up the things to make some brewed tea. She’d not had any in so long her mouth was watering for a little sip. “I heard you come in. Have you had enough sunshine today?” Circe Jane Montgomery told her sister, Pfeiffer, that she’d never have enough sunshine. “The rest of us in the world are scrambling for something warmer, and you’re outside without a coat. Or shoes, for that matter.” “I love the cold.” That was an understatement. CJ couldn’t think of a word that would say how much she loved the cold. “I was thinking of having a nice cup of apple tea. Would you like a cup?”

“I would love one. Also, I baked apple scones yesterday.” She told her sister that was more than likely the reason she’d been craving it. “Could be. Before I forget to tell you yet again, there is a schedule opening at the store in the morning for you if you’d like to pick it up.” “I would love to pick it up.” She would love to go to work tomorrow. That would leave her the rest of the day to do her other job. The one that paid their bills and made sure they had money in the bank. Working was one of the many ways she helped her big sister. “Are you and the girls going to be working on cookies tomorrow? I know they are planning the entire day around being with you.” “They’ve told me. I don’t know how much energy I’ll have for it, but I’m going to spend the day with them.” Pfeiffer wasn’t just her big sister, but she was her much older one. There was almost twenty years difference in their ages.

Pfeiffer’s daughters, Sally and Rachel, were about the same age as CJ. “I saw that you picked up the ingredients for snickerdoodles. Don’t you like any other cookie than that?” “I can eat other cookies, but I don’t like them as much as I do those. Sally makes them just right, just enough cinnamon to sugar all over them.” Both her nieces could cook and bake like their mom. CJ was lucky if she could brew a pot of tea without forgetting about the water until it was all gone. Twice that had happened to her.

“When is Rachel coming home?” “Tonight sometime. She said she was going to drive straight through. I begged her not to, but she’s as stubborn as you are.” That, she was sure, her sister didn’t think of as a compliment. “Then we’re all going to get up early and go out for breakfast.” CJ would join them in their baking if she was off, but she didn’t enjoy herself. She did love them all, but they were mother and daughters, and having her there made them have to divide their time with her too. She wanted them to spend time with their mother. CJ would if she still had hers around.

Sipping her tea with her sister, they talked about the cookies they were going to bake. The three of them could have several hundred dozen cookies baked in two days and not eat a single one of them. CJ would be sick after eating a lot of cookie dough and then trying any cookie that came out of the oven. Her weakness was sweets. But her biggest was snickerdoodles. At six, they both sat in the living room to watch the news. Dinner was over, they’d cleaned up the kitchen, and now this was the time they settled into the couch. CJ didn’t much care for sitting idle, so she would work on her laptop to get a fresh start for the morning. The house belonged to her sister now, so she set the rules for the television. Before that, their mother had owned it. Mom had left the house to the two of them. When things got to the point where Pfeiffer needed to take a loan out for college for Sally, Pfeiffer bought her out so she could use the house as collateral. CJ never bothered having it transferred back into her name. It wasn’t something she was worried about. When the news was over, they watched a couple of game shows.

It was a nightly thing they both had been doing before their mom passed away. It was also their time to talk about what was going on around town, which Pfeiffer knew the most about. “Did I tell you that Mr. Rogers got off with no fine and no jail time?” CJ loved that old man and would have taken him to see his wife had she known. “There is a new program getting started to help people out that don’t have much in the way of food or transportation. I hope it works out. There are a lot of people out there that need help most of the time.” They had too before she got a good job. Like when a big bill came due at the same time as the taxes. It didn’t happen as much as it used to, not with them simply not using the credit cards to pay for things. Borrowing from a credit card company to pay the electric bill or whatever was coming due had nearly made them lose their home. They were doing all right now.

Sally had graduated from college to be a teacher at the same time CJ had. Rachel was in her last year. As soon as Rachel graduated, she’d get a good job as a nurse and be able to pave her own life. “I heard from the bank again today.” CJ asked her what he had wanted. “Other than for me to go out with him, he wanted to know if we wanted to refinance this house. I have no idea why we’d want to refinance a house that we own. I told him no again and no to the dating thing too. I’m not ready for that.” “Not that I think you should date Daniel Benson, but you really should be dating again.” Pfeiffer just looked at her. “Okay, we both should be dating, but it’s been almost ten years. Aren’t you ready to get your body waxed up for some sex-starved man?” “He would have to be sex-starved to want to sleep with me.”

CJ told her sister they didn’t usually do much sleeping when they were sex-starved. “Very funny. When are you going to date again? I think it’s been longer than I have since you went out on a— Oh, CJ, I’m so sorry.” “It’s all right.” She looked away so her sister wouldn’t see the hurt. “It’s been a while, I know that. But he hurt me, and I’m afraid. It took me four years to learn it wasn’t my fault, even though he blamed me and to say that he hurt me.

I think it was money well spent.” They didn’t speak for a few minutes, and she was all right with that. She and her sister could go days without really talking about anything serious, and it never really bothered either of them. Sometimes the quiet was better than emptying out one’s brains, as her grannie said. “I was just thinking of Grannie myself.” Pfeiffer was like that. She could latch onto whatever a person was thinking without a second thought. “When was the last time you saw her? I’ve not been in about a week. She doesn’t like me as much as she does you anyway.” “She loves you. And the girls. I went to see her just this morning on my way back from my run. Grannie still asks me why I run if there isn’t anyone chasing me. But we had a nice talk. And she and I had breakfast together.”

Pfeiffer asked her if that was her second or third breakfast this morning. “I do believe it was only my second this time. Anyway, she was telling me about this blanket I should make. I don’t know where she comes up with this idea that I can quilt, but she always has a rough draft of a pattern when she thinks of one.” “You look so much like Mom. Maybe that’s it. Mom loved to quilt. She wasn’t as good as Grannie, but we stay warm all winter with her quilting. Well, most of us do. Do you have any more than a sheet on your bed in the winter months?” CJ told her she had one quilt on her bed. “Small wonder. I remember Dad being like you are, overheated all the time. However, I don’t think I ever saw him walking around in the snow without shoes on. It’s a miracle you have any feeling in your feet at all.” “I have lots of feelings in my feet, thank you very much.” They both laughed, and CJ asked her why she’d brought up Grannie. “I was just thinking about how she would always have some saying about something you were doing. Like emptying your brains out.”

“Yes, she did at that. I remember thinking she was nuts when I was a kid. She’d say something like that and then just walk away like I was supposed to be able to decipher whatever the heck she was talking about. My least favorite one was, ‘Bachelor’s wives and maid’s children are well taught.’ That is a contradiction all the way around.” “Of course it is. I know the meaning. Do you want me to explain it to you?” Pfeiffer looked at her oddly, and CJ smiled. “I promise you I know what it means. It means that a childless man and a childless woman have no knowledge about maintaining a good idea about things they don’t have. You see? They have these opinions about child-rearing that are wrong because they have nothing to base it on.” “Okay, that does make it sound right. What other tidbits of information do you have about her sayings? Let me think of one.” While her sister thought about what Grannie used to say, CJ read over the email that had just entered her box. It was from her boss. As her emails were coded, she put in the password to open it up. “Something wrong?”

“I’m not sure. I have this email about the last job I did. He’s saying he didn’t get it. However, not only does it have the work order number on it that I assigned, but the attachment is attached to the reply he sent.” Pfeiffer asked her if that made better sense in her head. “Yes. What I mean is, I attached the job to an email that he just replied to me on. On it is the attached job. It’s been opened too. The email and the attachment.” “How do you know he opened them?” She said her email told her that. “You can fix it, so you know if someone opens your email? I’d like to have that on mine. I have people telling me all the time they didn’t get their bill.” “I’ll fix it for you in the morning. Not only will it tell you if someone opened it, but also which computer it was opened on. Like you’d know it was me that opened it because of the IP address that’s there.” She looked at her sister’s expression. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you? How can you live here with me and not have a clue what I’m going on about most of the time?” “Because you’re brilliant, and I’m just a homebody that loves you to pieces?” CJ hugged her as she dug into the popcorn bowl. “As for Grannie, I’m not sure I will ever figure her out.

She’s a great deal like you in all ways. I think I remember her being warm all the time too. Must have skipped me. Thankfully.” CJ laughed. They watched television until ten, then CJ went up to her room. She didn’t go to bed but worked from her computer for a while before she’d lay down. Never being one that needed a full eight hours of sleep, CJ could sleep for an hour or two before getting up fresh as a daisy. Not her sister or nieces. If they didn’t get at least eight or nine hours, they were crabby all day. And she’d never get in the way of their first cup of coffee. CJ didn’t have vices like that to get her going. She could even skip eating a meal sometimes. Her phone ringing woke her from a dead sleep. It took her only seconds to realize the person on the other end of the phone had the wrong number. She asked him to slow down and say what he needed once more. “I’ve found a woman on the side of the road.”

Okay, CJ sat up in her bed, pulling on clothing as he continued. “She’s been hurt badly, and I’m helping her along. The last number she called was this one. I don’t know her name, but I was wondering if you could meet me at the hospital.” “Where are you?” He told her which road he was on and the mile marker. “Okay. You said the woman had been beaten up. Can you tell me what she looks like?” Instead of answering her, she got a picture of the woman. It was her niece Rachel, and she did look really bad. Her mind skittered over his comment that he was helping her along, and she refused to think he was helping her along by hurting her more. CJ grabbed her keys and was out the door before she spoke again. “I’m on my way. The hospital closest to you is Mercy. Can you get her there?” He said he was standing outside their emergency room doors now. “What are you? Who are you?” “My name is Brian. Vampire. Are you going to have a hissy fit now about this?” She asked him if that was the usual reaction he got when he saved someone’s life. “Yes. Vampires have a bad rep.”

“So long as you’re helping my niece, I’m all right with you being whatever you need to be. I’m leaving my house now. I’m not telling her mom until I’m positive it’s her.” Brian asked her if she was usually so cautious. “You have no idea.” It was the longest drive of her life. Twenty minutes cut down to fifteen wasn’t bad, but she wanted to get there in one piece. As soon as she walked into the ER, she stopped at the desk. Whatever was going on, CJ had a feeling that somehow it was her fault. ~*~ Brian watched the two women. CJ had called her sister when Rachel was taken to surgery. Her voice was calm, and even though she’d not shared the information with him, he knew that CJ was blaming herself for her niece being hurt. Pfeiffer, he assumed when they hugged, came in just as he was going to try and leave them to their family.

The much younger woman hugged her as well. He knew they were all related by the way they looked like clones of one another. “Don’t leave.” He shook his head at CJ and said he couldn’t add anymore than he already had to the police. “I understand. You did save her life. You have no idea how much that means to all of us.” He could have told her more than he had the police. Brian could have told her that he had the scent of the two men that had beaten the young lady. The place where her car had been run off the road, and the woman trying to get away from them. However, he didn’t. Being involved at all was something he didn’t feel comfortable about. But when he got to Bancroft’s, he was going to tell him everything, including who the men were and how he’d killed them both. There was evidence, too, that they had thought they had the woman in front of him. CJ was wanted by a lot of unsavory people.

“I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.” She pointed to her lip and said he had a little spot on him. Licking away the drop of blood, he smiled at her. “You’re taking this very well for not knowing about my kind.” “I know a great deal about your kind. I don’t believe I’ve ever met a vampire before, but….” When she looked around, he did as well. But instead of talking to him about it, she pulled him into the ladies’ room. After checking each stall, she locked the door. “Do you happen to know a person by the name of Bancroft? I’m not sure if that’s his last or first name. Wait, don’t answer that. I doubt you were going to anyway, but don’t answer.

If you happen to come across him at any point soon, you should tell him a task force is being put together that is hoping to kill him off.” “Do you happen to know why? I mean, if I ever run across him in my lifetime, he might well ask me the same question.” She nodded. This time she put out her hand and put a thumb drive into his palm as they shook hands. He nodded. “You just happened to have this on you in the event you found a vampire?” “No. I have that on me all the time. If it were to fall into the wrong hands, I wouldn’t be found.” Brian wondered what was on the drive and why she trusted him with it. “I can see you have thousands of questions. I do, as well. However, I can tell you this much here. I work for different companies by putting security systems in place.

Firewalls if they want them. Sometimes it’s only putting in a program that gets employees to clock in and out. With that, I can walk around in their brains, the ones on their computer. I came across that three days ago when I was working for an office.” “And you trust me with this. Why?” She told him she had no idea why, but she did trust him. “I have your scent now, CJ. If you’re trying to fuck me over, I’ll hunt you down and kill you.” “All right.” She put out her hand again. “Would you please have a connection to me? I know how that works. You’ll be in my head all the time. I would like that, so if I am in trouble or I find out something more, I can give you fair warning. Also, if I’m taken, which I think will happen daily, then perhaps you can save me as well.” “Again, I don’t understand this. For whatever reason, I have the same sort of trust with you.”

She nodded and stood there. “All right, CJ, I’ll take your blood, but you must take mine as well. That will give us a tighter connection so that I will also know where you are if you’re taken.” “I’m all right with that. However, if it comes to a choice for you to save me or my family, they’re to be at the top of your list. I won’t have anything happen to them because I’m good with computers.” He said he would do that for her. “Promise me, Brian. I can’t stand the thought of someone harming them. But they will to get to me. Promise me.” “I promise that if there is a time I can either save you or your family, I will save them.” He grinned, not even bothering to hide his fangs. “However, I will do my damndest to make sure you’re safe as well.” She left the bathroom before he did after they exchanged blood drops. Pulling shadows around him, he waited until someone came in and left when the door was still open.

Brian didn’t know what to do now. If he stayed here, CJ and her family would be safe. If he went to talk to Bancroft, he’d be able to figure out what was going on with the drive. Smiling to himself, he thought of the perfect plan. Hello, Bancroft. I’m in serious need of you to send someone here to Mercy Hospital. I have something for you. He asked him why he couldn’t come. I don’t know precisely, but your name has come up attached to someone wanting to kill you. I see. Do you happen to know who this person is? He explained to his oldest and dearest friend what had happened in the last few hours. Okay. This woman, do you know her name? Anything about her?

Her name is Circe Jane Montgomery. She goes by CJ. I do know that she works on computers. However, we have exchanged blood, and she is someone that I instinctively trust. I have no idea why, but I know she’s not lying to me and that she’s scared of being killed. Bancroft told him that Kelly wanted to go get whatever it was he had. Thumb drive. And make sure Kelly isn’t alone. I don’t know what’s on this drive, but they might have some knowledge of her as well. Brian, you’re scaring me a little. He told him he was sorry, but he thought this was important. I agree with you, but it doesn’t make me any less afraid. I’m an old vampire, and to think that someone out there thinks they can kill me makes me wonder what sort of lengths they’re willing to go to.

By the time Kelly and Donald showed up, Rachel was out of surgery and in recovery. The other women were with her. CJ told him she was going to make a full recovery, but it was going to be a long road. “I have someone that is going to take the drive with them. I’m going to stay here to make sure the four of you are safe. I don’t know who might be coming to get you, but you’re vulnerable here. Too many people coming and going all the time.” “Thank you.” She didn’t say anything for a few seconds, and he decided this woman knew a great deal more than she was letting on. I was just thinking about something. Something that I got back from one of my clients last night. He said he didn’t get the program I sent him. However, it was opened, as was the email. I wonder if his computer has been compromised.

It can’t be mine. I’m too good to let that happen. But what if someone is trying to get to me through some of the people I work for? Then, in turn to Bancroft? I know squat about computers at the level you seem to have. But I’d say if they were trying to get to Bancroft—who I do know, by the way—then they’d do whatever they can to make you a target. She told him that was what she was just thinking. I know you love your family, CJ, but you shouldn’t stay around them. The farther you are away from them, the safer they can be. Also, I’m going to send someone to your home when your family leaves. My Grannie. I forgot about her. Can you make sure she’s safe as well? He said he would. CJ told him where she was and the code word to give to her if she had to leave with someone other than her. I’ve left nothing to chance, I thought, but right now, I feel my life unraveling at a high rate of speed. I’m going to do my best at keeping you all safe. Even Bancroft will if it comes to that.

Can you tell me, through our link, what is the reason they want to kill my friend? She was thinking. It was tempting to look into her mind to see what all she knew, but he also knew to do that would put a wedge between them and their trust for each other. You don’t have to if you don’t think— Bancroft is a lord of a kiss. I’m not sure what that is. A kiss, I understand, but not what him being a lord is. Several hundred years ago, Bancroft purchased a large chunk of land that is now worth billions. His wife is human and corrupted. Their words, not mine. Their plan is to kill him and take his wife. I know that doesn’t sound like much of a reason to kill him, but that’s only one part of the information on the drive. That drive holds information about six different companies and their mentioning of Bancroft.

He asked if that was the worst. Not even close. They want to take him to a lab and drain his blood to give to the highest bidder. They believe by draining him and selling his blood, they’ll have humans all over the world wanting some of it to live forever. I’m not sure, but I don’t think that’ll work. But then, that’s one of the other plots. The worst one I came across was a satanic group that wishes to use him to call forth the devil, so they can be one with their god. Christ. CJ told him that she thought so as well. All right. I’ve given the drive to Kelly, and Donald, the man that came with her, is going to pop her home. I’m not leaving here until you decide what you wish to do. I guess you’re right. I have to leave. He said he was sorry. As am I. They’re all I have, and I don’t want to leave them. He didn’t tell her it might not do any good to leave them. If they knew about her family, they’d used them no matter where she was. Thinking along those lines, he thought he was going to need more help than he’d first thought.

They needed to just disappear, the entire family. He looked at Kelly when she sat down next to him. Telling her everything through the link they had because of her being mated to Bancroft, he also told her what he wanted to do. Hide them. All of them. All right. Let me make a couple of calls, not to my work. As yet, we don’t know how these people are affiliated with other people. We can put them in our home, and they’d be safe for a while, but I think they need to be hidden deeper than that. Brian thanked her for going to so much trouble for him. You would have done the same for us. Yes. Without a second thought. She smiled at him, and he felt his face heat with embarrassment. I walked right into that one, didn’t I? I won’t hold it against you.

But I’m glad to know that, even though we’ve only just met, you’d take care of me. Okay. You and Donald stay here, and I’ll see what I can do from home. For now, we’ll just have them as guests at our home. I think that it will be safer than at their home. By the way, did you kill the men that beat up her sister? Yes. She said she thought so. They’d found their bodies an hour ago. I was pissed off that they’d hurt someone. They really did a number on her too. Without my blood, she would have surely died before I could get her to the hospital. I’m assuming neither of them are your mate. He explained to her the feelings he had concerning CJ. Is that something important? What I mean is, is she one of the others’ mates? I’m still learning things here. I never thought of that, but she could very well be. He thought of how the other vampires he knew were protective of women. It could also be that we’ve been ingrained with the need to protect all females.

I know I was sort of beaten over the head with how to protect the women of any species. We can test that theory when Donald gets back. It certainly would make her safer if she was one of their mates. She stood up and hugged him. Donald is going to pop me home, then come back. I’ll let you know what we find on the drive. We’re going to only open it with a laptop without any access to other computers. Perhaps we should send someone to their home to clean it out. Good idea. She hugged him again, and Donald appeared behind her. Don’t forget to let me know. I like this woman, and I don’t want anything to happen to her family. I’ve sent someone after Grannie too. After Kelly left and Donald returned, the two of them sat in the lobby of the ER and watched people. It was somewhat fun. They made up a game together where they would guess why they were there before looking.

CJ reached out to him to let him know that her niece was in her room now. After getting that from her, Donald and he walked up the stairs to the second floor and waited for them there. In less time than he thought it should have taken them, the Montgomery family was sitting with them. Looking over at Donald, he asked him what was wrong. Nothing. He asked him a second time but asked if one of the women was his mate. Yes. I’m thinking it’s the one walking around. But they’re all so close together I’m having a hard time figuring it out. They smell the same.

I’d not mention that if I were you. I don’t know how a woman’s mind works, but if you tell her she smells like other women, I’m sure you might lose your head. He nodded but kept watching the four of them. This is good, right? I mean, whatever one you are mated to, you can be happy in knowing that they’re all right as humans. Laugh it up, Brian. This only means you might be next. Teasing his friend was fun. Brian thought he might be the only one to welcome a mate into his heart. He was looking forward to it more than he had anything for a long time. Convincing the women wasn’t nearly as difficult as they thought it would be. They knew that CJ wouldn’t have told them it was dangerous if it wasn’t. The fact that one of them had been hurt badly helped to persuade them as well. Taking them home one at a time. CJ and Rachel were the last to leave. It was then that Donald knew which one was his mate. He didn’t know which one of them was taking it harder, either.

Watson Wilkerson Dynasty Release Blitz&Giveaway

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Rayne just wanted to finish nursing school and take care of her grandda. He was all she had left. She had only left the house for a short time, and when she returned, he was gone, and there was blood everywhere. She panicked. She called the number her grandda had written down for emergencies.
When Watson answered his phone, he had trouble understanding the hysterical young woman on the other end. And when he got her to calm down enough to find out what was going on, being a doctor, he was ready to help where needed. When he arrived at Mr. Oliver’s house, he was met with the most captivating woman he’d ever seen. She was perfect. Wats was so smitten, he was afraid he’d screw up before he even had a chance to ask her out.
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When Marsden Wilkerson received the phone call that his mother had been in a car accident, he wasn’t letting anything get in his way to get to her. Not a pushy boss, and especially not his Aunt Eita. Then his world crumbled when the doctors told him that his mother, Holly, didn’t make it.
Gabriella Farley, Abby, could hold her own, and she wasn’t about to take any flack from a rich bitch like Penelope Wilkerson.

All the Wilkerson women, with the exception of Holly, could fit that description. Abby stood up for Mars at the funeral home even though she really didn’t know him. What she did know was his mother, Holly, was a fine woman, and the family had given them both the shaft Mars’s entire life.

Mars wanted to apologize for his Aunt’s actions, but there was something about Abby that sparked a flame in his heart. From the first kiss, they knew they had something special, but going against the Wilkerson family could be very dangerous. Will this new love be doomed from the start?

Amy Hamilton never had much of a home life growing up. Her sister Phoenix and her mother demanded all the attention, so much so that she and her father didn’t have a relationship at all. Now that her father was filing for a divorce, he felt guilty for not being a part of her life and wanted to make up for it, but Amy wasn’t sure she was ready for that.

North Wilkerson had a similar upbringing. Although his mother was dead now, before her death, she was an awful person and an even worse mother. After having sworn off family ties to his parents, he was just now allowing his father back into his life.

Amy and Booker Wilkerson were close friends in college. Amy was only supposed to be in town for a few days, and when Booker called inviting her to dinner, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to catch up on old times. When Booker’s cousin North and his uncle joined them for dinner, they all had a blast.

But when North just showed up at her father’s house and took over, Amy wasn’t sure what to think of him. What did he think he was doing? She barely knew him. Amy needed to nip this in the bud before it went much further. She was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She didn’t need a man now, or would she ever need a man, any man….

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Wats leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He loved being able to work for himself, but he’d been working much too hard. The family alone was keeping him hopping. Thinking of the conversation he’d had with his cousin Shawn today, he wondered what was going to happen to him when he figured out that life could throw you a curveball without any notice. “I’m going to take some time off.” Wats asked him what he was going to do that for. “I’m thinking if I don’t get my home in order now, I’m going to be sitting here with an empty house when I’m sixty years old. Not that it’s old, but the house is so empty, it’s like living in a tomb.” “All right. Not that I think you’d need time off to buy some furniture, but I hope you get it done the way you want it.” Shawn told him he was going to fill it with things he loved that he picked up at estate auctions. “Why? I mean, great, but why?”

“When was the last time you were at my parents’ home?” Wats said he didn’t remember. “Yeah, well, it’s all steel and glass. I don’t know if Dad even likes it. Anyway, I’m going to get things that speak to me. Dad is going to go on this trip with me. He’s thinking he is going to love living in the condo. At least his brothers are close by, and he can walk to town if he wants. We’re going to have some fun getting to know each other.” “Now, that I can get behind. What is your dad doing with his home?” Uncle Hank hadn’t been in his house since Penny had been arrested. They all called her that now, and it was fun. “My dad is going to sell his as soon as he gets it emptied out. It seems none of them were very thrilled about returning to their homes.”

“Dad is donating the house to the city. I haven’t any idea what they’re going to do with it—it’s really run-down—but he gave them the property there too. That’s about fifty acres. I’m thinking they’re going to tear the house down then put in something equally ugly.” No doubt. Wats told him about North’s dad running for mayor. “He’d be really good at that. With as long as this family has lived here, he’d know just about anything and everything about the town.” Wats sat up when his phone rang. He thought he’d put it on the service, but he might not have gotten it right.

There was a learning curve on just about everything he did lately. Saying his name, Wats waited while the person at the other end calmed down enough to speak. “My grandfather is gone.” Wats didn’t know what she meant—gone as in missing or gone that he’d died. “He’s not here. I came in this morning to stay with him while I finished up my classes, and we had a nice breakfast. Then when I went to the university to see about the classes I would need, I came home, and someone had been in here. There is blood all over the place too.” “Did you call the police?” There was a long pause, and Wats asked her again. “I don’t even know who this is or what your grandfather’s name is.”

“My grandda is James Oliver. My name is Rayne Oliver. Why do you think he had your phone number in his phone marked as police?” Wats said that he didn’t have any idea. “I’m going to call the police now. I’m so sorry to have bothered you.” “It’s no trouble. I’m on my way there with my medical bag. When we find him, I’ll be able to see how he’s faring.” He didn’t want to say anything about him maybe being dead. Lots of blood could be scary enough. “I’m going to call my cousins in too. All of us can look for him.” Wats called the others and told them what was going on. He also mentioned how his number was listed as the emergency number. He called North last, as his number had been busy when he’d called him the first time.

“He’s with me at my house.” Wats turned his car around and headed toward North’s home. “As for the blood, I don’t know. There wasn’t any there when the two of us left there a few hours ago.” “She said there was a great deal of it.” Wats parked in the parking lot of the store he was nearby and tried to catch his breath. “What should I do? Go there and find out what is happening or just go back to my offices?” “Why don’t you go and see if you can talk to Rayne in person? Then perhaps bring her to my house. I don’t think she should be driving if she’s that upset.” Wats told him he’d go out there now. “Be careful, Wats. Since we have no idea what the blood is from, someone might still be in the house.” “Well, thank you very much for that thought.” He made his way to the house carefully. There didn’t seem to be any cars along the way that were parked without anyone in them.

Nor did he see any indication of trouble. By the time he was pulling up in front of the house, there were two cruisers there, and a young woman on the front porch rocking in the rocker set out there. “Your cousin called here. He told me that my grandda was with him.” Wats told her he’d take her there if she wanted to go. “I do. I hope you don’t mind, but I have to wait on the police. They’re doing their thing in there now. I was terrified.” Wats checked her over. He told her he didn’t want anything to be wrong with her and checked not just her blood pressure, which was just a little high, but her temperature too. When he was able to give her a clean bill of health, he sat down on the porch in front of her. “I’ve known your grandda for a while. When I was in med school, he was one of the free patients that, as students, we were to work with. He’s a very healthy man for his age.”

Rayne told him he didn’t sit around on his duff like a lot of people his age. “I think I remember him being about eighty? I could be wrong.” “He’ll be ninety-three on his next birthday. Which is coming up. He’s all I care about in the world now. My parents are both gone. I don’t have any sisters or brothers. No aunts that I want to be around either.” She laughed. “The last time I was here, he and his sister, my aunt Carol, had this big to do about him living alone. Christ, he’s a few years older than her and looks like he could be her kid. Not really, but Grandda is in really wonderful shape.”

Wats told her about the house that was going to be built for him and how his cousin, North, was going to make sure he was going to be all right living out here alone. Rayne told him she had planned on living with him until she graduated next year, then she was hoping she could get him to move in with her. “I’ve had a little house since my parents died. It’s not much, but it’s a damned sight better than this is. I guess North, as you called him, saw what he was living in here.” Wats told her how he’d only just bought the house a few weeks ago. “The banker that was holding the place didn’t want to do anything for him. Told my grandda he’d be better off in a nursing home if he didn’t like this place. Grandda lost Grannie here. He doesn’t want to leave without going to her, he told me.” By the time the police were finished up with the house, they’d discovered that a raccoon had made its way into the house when it had been attacked by something larger. The blood was all animal blood.

It was confirmed it was a raccoon when they found his body in the bedroom that Grandda used. “I think he’s been feeding the poor thing. Grandda is allergic to cats and doesn’t care for dogs. They’re too big for him to handle, he told me. But this little raccoon made his way into his heart, and he’s been taking care of him. I think it was making the loneliness more tolerable.” Wats thought that was the nicest thing he’d heard in a while. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to stay here now. At least not tonight.” “I have a condo you can stay in. I mean by yourself. With your grandda. I’ll be someplace else.” Wats let out a long breath. “I have a furnished condo the two of you can stay in. I’ll bunk with my dad. He’s close to where you two can stay.” “I don’t want to put you out.” Wats assured her she wouldn’t be. He was enjoying spending time with his dad.

“If you’re sure?” “I am sure. You gather up some things for him to wear, and tomorrow we’ll come back here to see what we can salvage out of the bedroom. After that, North is going to take care of getting something more livable in here for the two of you.” Wats hoped his dad didn’t mind him staying with him a few days. “You get some things, like I said, and I’ll make a couple of calls. That way, by the time you’re finished here, I can have my arrangements made as well.” As he figured, Dad was happy to have him. North said he was his hero for doing this. All Wats had wanted to do was go to bed and not wake up anytime soon. It was stressful being the worrier of the family. Taking Rayne to his brother’s house, then to the condo, was about all he could handle this evening. Going to his dad’s condo, Wats was thrilled that he didn’t seem to mind him rushing off to bed and let Wats go without bombarding him with questions. As soon as his head hit the pillow, Wats knew he wasn’t far from sleep. When a phone rang somewhere in the place, he had to catch himself from getting up and answering it. Being dead tired as he was, he didn’t think he could make a sound decision on whether or not he liked chocolate ice cream or vanilla. Or even both, for that matter.

Thinking briefly of the list he’d brought from his office, Wats wondered if any of the others would help him out with it. He needed someone to work for him to answer phones. To clean up after him and his patients. Also, Wats needed to get laid. Laughing a little, he rolled to his side and smiled. Tomorrow was going to be a brand new day, and he was going to try his best not to be running all over town again. Yes, he thought as slumber took him under, tomorrow was a brand new day.

Rodney Marshall’s Shadow Release Blitz &Giveaway

Rebel had been called to the US when she’d been informed that her brother was dying, but she arrived too late. He left behind a devastated wife, two small children, and a load of debt. Rebel stayed to help out as best she could, taking a job at the local hospital, but working conditions there were unbearable, and she had no choice but to quit or kill someone—namely the head nurse. And as a doctor, she had taken an oath to save lives, not take them.

Rodney ran a small practice. He handled the medical care for the local schools and worked at the hospital when needed for emergencies. And when a little boy came into his office to get stitched up from being ambushed by bullies, Rodney knew he had to get to the bottom of the problem. When the boy’s Aunt Rebel shows up and takes over, Rodney instantly knows who she is to him—his mate. Having to approach her with the subject had his cat curling up inside him. He had watched his brothers flounder around with their new mates, and he didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

It didn’t take but a minute for Rebel to assess the new situation, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about it. She also needed a job, not a handout. She was a doctor, damn it, and a good one. No man, especially one she didn’t know, was going to order her around. If he thought he could, she’d let him know fast that she was no pushover.

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Harrison Parker had no family and no ties. She was invisible to be traced. Her job with the government was top secret. So secret that she only reported to two people. Now, she was the target and she had to figure out who wanted her dead. Hurt, and laying low, she reached out to the only man she trusted, an old man she had befriended in the cemetery, Sheppard Marshall.

Sheppard Marshall had been grieving the loss of his Millie for the last fifteen years. He would sit by her grave every day. He was an old man of ninety, and he looked forward to the visits he received from the sassy woman, Harrison Parker. Over time he had grown very fond of her, and when he received the message that she needed his help, Sheppard would help her or die trying.

His grandson, Sheppard or Shep, wasn’t letting the old man go alone. If he got hurt, Shep wouldn’t be able to live with himself. Even though the Marshall men were jaguars, that didn’t mean the old man couldn’t get into a situation that got him hurt or possibly killed.

The bullet had gone clear through, but the poison it had been laced with left Harrison with a high fever and near death. Shep didn’t know what this woman was into, but he knew two things—she was dangerous, and she was his mate. What kind of mess had the old man gotten him into now?

Isabella Booth was tired of all the sexist crap handed to her on a daily basis.  When her father wouldn’t even consider her as an heir to his lawn care business because she wasn’t a man, and left it to her brother Hunter instead, she had done the next logical thing. She opened her own lawn care business, and it thrived.

Dean Marshall was renovating his family home. As far as the landscaping was concerned, he was told to go big or go home. When Shep invited the owner of the landscaping company to his home for dinner, Dean wanted to be there to see about getting some things done for his place. He didn’t mean for his jaguar to knock the woman to the ground.

Bella was thoroughly pissed when the big cat ruined her jeans and favorite shoes, and when he announced that they were mates, Bella was seeing red. No way, no how, was she having another sexist, overbearing man in her life. Not if she could help it….

Lachlan Russell had been rushed into emergency surgery. Her boss’s daughter took exception to Lach, telling her no, and went ballistic, throwing anything and everything she could at Lach until Lach finally collapsed from her injuries. Lach was also pregnant at the time, tricked into being a surrogate to carry her sister’s child.

Harris Marshall, Shep’s wife, was called in on the case. Lach’s boss and daughter were now both in jail, but Lach’s family was another matter—they were worse. Harris would make sure this woman pulled through if she had to kill Lach’s family to see to it. Calling in reinforcements, her brother-in-law, Oakley, was the first to arrive at the hospital.

Oakley was thrilled to have found his mate. As far as he was concerned, Lach was perfect. But her sister and brother-in-law were both insane. Would he and his family be enough to protect her from their madness?

Marshall’s Shadow
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Rodney was ready to close up the office for the day when a little boy came in with blood all over his face and hands. Calmly, so as not to freak him out any more than he seemed to be already, he asked him if it was his blood or someone else’s. “Mine. Most of it anyhow. I was wondering if you could maybe fix me up before my aunt wakes up. She’s going to have a cow when she figures this out. Man, is she going to brain me.” Rodney took him into the exam room and asked him if he could call his mom. “Yeah, call her. That’s a good idea. Mom won’t freak out until after I’m fixed up. I fell out of the tree and hit my head too.” After cleaning most of the blood off the kid, he could see that he was going to need some stitches. Also, his head was going to need to be X-rayed. Aaron, he told him his name was, said he’d been in the tree hiding from a bully at school. His sister Angie, he said, had run home when he distracted the bully. “All right. We’ll need someone here that can okay you getting sewn up. Tell me your mom’s name.” He did. Sheila Walsh was working, but she’d come home for him. “I would imagine she would. And this aunt of yours—I don’t suppose you can tell me why she’s sleeping when you’re out with bullies? You don’t have to, but you do seem to be afraid of her.”

“Nah, I’m not afraid of her. But she told me she’s so stressed out that if she was to fart, she’d have a heart attack. She quit her job. We really need the money, Mom said, but we need Rebel more. She’s my best friend. When she’s not freaking out.” He heard the door open and his nurse talking to someone. When she laughed, Rodney relaxed a little. “Oh no. That’s my aunt. Tell her I’m not going to die as soon as she comes in here, or she’ll have me naked in a minute and her poking and prodding at me.” “Aaron James Walsh, what the hell were you thinking sending your sister home all by herself? I canna believe you would have— What happened to you?” Aaron told his aunt what he’d told Rodney. “Let me have a look at you.” Aaron had been right. She had him stripped of everything but his underwear in seconds.

She looked him over, commenting in a language he didn’t know about something she’d find. Rodney stood back, waiting for her to notice that he was still in the room. He knew who she was. The other night he’d spoken to her at the meeting at the school. Rodney had a feeling then that she was his mate but hadn’t pursued getting close enough to her to find out because of the things he had going on here and at the school. But with her so near him today, he knew that not only was she his mate, but she was much prettier than he remembered. “Whatcha doing with that thing?” Rodney noticed that his nurse, Adaline, had brought in a kit to clean up the wounds and stitch them up. Rebel told him what she was going to do with the scissors. “No way are you going to cut my hair away from anything. I’ve seen you hack at your own hair. You leave my hair alone and let Doc Rodney do the cutting.

You’ll have me as bald as Grandpa Walsh was before he passed on.” “It’ll only be a wee bit.” Shaking his head, Aaron looked at him. So did Rebel. It seemed to occur to her that she was in his offices taking over. “I’m sorry. I kinda get myself in Dutch when I’m worried. He’s my nephew.” “I gathered that. I can cut away the hair. In fact, it would be my pleasure.” Rebel handed him the pair of shears. “We were about to call his mom. He was telling me that you freak out about blood.” “Nay, not blood on others, but on my family does bother me. Especially this one. He’s somewhat of a daredevil at times. You’d not be able to call his mom either. She’d lose her job if she had to leave work.” He asked her what she did. “I was an emergency room doctor until last night. I couldn’t take it anymore. They don’t seem to like foreigners for some reason.” “You’re Rebel Walsh.” She nodded.

“Yes, I’ve heard that the nurses are giving you grief. Harris, my sister-in-law, is looking into that. There have been complaints from the patients that they’re being pitted against you. For some reason, she thinks you’re a much better doctor than most of the staff that works there. Are you?” “I donna know about that. I work hard. It’s hard to do when the staff is forever making it difficult for me. They wouldn’t believe I was a physician. Or they did but kept telling the patients in my care that I was in over me head and only a nurse. Not that I have anything against being a nurse. But I worked very hard to be a doctor the same as anyone has.” He finished up with the hair trimming, then moved back. “I should have sent him someplace to get X-rays. I just wanted him to be better and not bleeding. I should have been careful about watching them.” “I was going to suggest an X-ray. I have the equipment here to do that.” Aaron didn’t say much, but he did tell them that not only did he have a headache, but his ribs hurt too. “We’ll get all that taken care of, young man.” A little girl joined them in the examining room and sat quietly on one of the chairs. When asked if she’d been hurt, she burst into tears. Adaline comforted her while he went down the hall with Aaron to get some pictures of not just his head but his chest and arm too. “This gonna cost very much, Doc Rodney?”

He said he had been on his way home when Aaron came in, so after hours was free. “Oh good. I’ll remember that from now on. We don’t have a lot of money. Mom doesn’t get insurance where she works yet, but Aunt Rebel had some that didn’t cover me and Angie. Life sucks, doesn’t it?” “Sometimes.” He reached out to Harris and told her what was going on. I don’t know the whole story about what’s going on, but if you could check into this little family, I’d appreciate it. They’re really down and out, it looks like. I have some information on Rebel. Hell of a doctor. She graduated at the top of her class, like number one. She took her exams here to be able to practice right after her brother died, leaving his wife and two children. Rebel came to the States to help her out. I don’t know what the issue is at the hospital yet, but I’m working on it. She quit, did you know that? He told her that she’d told him. Good. Perhaps you can work with her. I don’t know. There is some insurance that should have been paid by now, and I’m looking into that as well.

It would put them in the black for a long time. Aaron has been hurt. I’m still getting details on that. But apparently, they’re being bullied. He climbed a tree to give his sister time to get away. She’s here too, sobbing in one of my exam rooms. She said she’d heard about the kids being hurt as well. Why haven’t we done anything about it then? I mean, we need to stop this before I have to step in as my cat and take care of it the wrong way. Harris was quiet for several seconds before she spoke again. Rebel is your mate, isn’t she? He said even if she wasn’t, he’d want the kids safe. How about we do this, then? It’s a long shot because I don’t know everything yet, but we put them up in one of the houses we own. No rent for the time being, or ever, and hire the mom to work for us. She was a secretary before her husband passed away, and right now, she’s barely making enough money to afford food and rent at the same time. Also, it looks like at one time, she was an LPN. Licensed practical nurses are someone you can work with, correct? You take Rebel in as a partner, or whatever you call it, and I’ll see about the kids being able to go to the pack school.

That would keep them out of harm’s way with the bullies until I can figure out what the fuck is going on there. And just how do you propose I make that work? In the event that it might have slipped your mind, Rebel is my mate, and I don’t want to start this relationship with her being pissed off at me. Harris told him that all of them had pissed off their mates at one time or another. That doesn’t mean I want to go that way first off. Invite them over for dinner tonight. He asked her how that was going to work. Just charm the shit out of her or something. The mother will be home from her job at about six or so. Did I tell you that she’s working as a dishwasher at one of the restaurants we own? Anyway, you invite Rebel. I’ll take care of the mom. Tell her you were coming over anyway and would like to get to know her better. Yeah, that’ll work. He said he’d do it. If this bites me in the ass, I’m going to take it out on Shep. Why Shep? I’m the one making you do this? He told her.

Ah, you’re so sweet. I didn’t know you were that afraid of me. I love you too, Rodney. But get to work. Before I have to go there and do it for you. He had no doubt that she would, too. After looking at the X-rays, he took them to the exam room with Aaron. Angie was calmer now and coloring in one of the books he’d purchased for the kids that came in. Rebel wasn’t anywhere to be seen, but Angie said that she’d had a phone call and had gone outside. Nodding, he waited for her to return to tell her what he’d found on the X-rays. When Rebel came back inside, she spoke before he could. “I don’t suppose you need an assistant, do you?” He smiled at her. “I need a job. One that I can work in and not be told I’m overqualified or even underqualified for. This shite stinks.” “I was going to ask you if you’d like to work with me. I have the schools and this office. I’m also part of the hospital team when necessary. It would help me in keeping up with those different things.” She asked him in what capacity she’d be working. “Doctor. I don’t need an assistant, really. Adaline is working with me. If you know of a nurse or someone that will be helpful to you, then, by all means, hire them.”

“My sister-in-law is a licensed practical nurse, but there isn’t much in the way of jobs for her either.” This was working out much better than he thought it would. “I can have her come by, and you can meet her if you’d like.” “I tell you what. I’m having dinner at my brother and Harris’s house tonight. How about you join us there? It’s nothing fancy. I think we’re having grilled foods. I’m not sure what that means, but it’s always good.” She asked him what the catch was. “Catch? I’m not sure what you mean by that.” “I’m not stupid, you know. And I would appreciate it if you’re going to be treating me that way if you just keep your mouth shut. In fact, just shut up.” Rodney told her he’d never thought that. “We’ll see. You’re something to me. Mate, I’m thinking. I didn’t know what it was until I came here today. The other day, you didn’t say anything when we touched. You’ve known for a while.”

“I didn’t really. I thought as much, but your scent was covered by all the others in the room. And your touch, really, was very brief.” He looked at the X-rays, then back at her. “I don’t know what you have against being my mate, but you can already—at least I hope so—tell that I’m not going to pressure you into anything you don’t want. It looks like Aaron has two broken ribs, as well as a clean break in his arm. There is a little bruising on his head that is concerning, but nothing I don’t think a little rest will take care of. I’d like your permission to give him something for the pain now.” He didn’t wait for her to reply. Instead, he stepped out of the room, closed the door, and leaned against the wall for a minute. Rodney felt like he’d been running a marathon. It hadn’t been but a couple of minutes, but he was sure he wasn’t going to be able to be in the same room with her if she was forever going to be taking shots at him. Standing up, he went to ask Adaline to fix him up a shot for pain for Aaron. “You all right?” Rodney told her he was fine, just a little overwhelmed.

“I know she’s your mate. But I’m telling you right now, if she’s going to talk to me like she did you, I’m going to take her down a few notches. I’m just putting that out there.” “I’ll have a talk with her.” Adaline told him she’d do it if it came down to it. “Just, for me, go easy. I know you will, but I’m working through some shit here, and I don’t care for it.” When he had the syringe ready to give to Aaron, he went back into the room. Rebel was missing again, but he didn’t ask this time. After giving Aaron the shot, he watched him as he seemed to mellow out and close his eyes. Well, he thought, at least I’ve made one of the Walsh family happy. ~*~ Rebel hated herself. She wasn’t usually so snappish to people, especially people she didn’t know that well. But there was something about his calmness in the face of all this stuff that was going on that irritated her to no end. When she’d come out here for a few seconds of relief from her own mouth, she called and left a message on her sister’s phone. “We’ve been invited to have dinner with the Marshall family tonight. If we play our cards right, perhaps we can have leftovers.” She thought about that and told Sheila she was sorry.

“I’m going to go into practice with Rodney Marshall, and I’d like you to give your notice there and be my nurse. We’ll work out the rest of the details later.” The Marshalls were very wealthy. She didn’t know how much they were worth, but she was positive it was a great deal more than she and her sister had made in their entire lifetime—probably several hundred lifetimes. Sitting on the little bench right outside the offices, Rebel looked around the little town. She’d only been in this country for about two years total. Once when her brother had married, she’d stayed for about six months. Then when her brother had died, she’d packed up everything she owned and came here. He’d been living here with their father since the divorce from their mom, whom she’d been living with. It had been several years since she’d seen Thomas since his marriage, and she was heartbroken when she’d come home for his funeral.

“Doctor Walsh, there is a phone call for you.” She looked at Adaline and told her she was sorry. “I am too. I was ready to bite your head off for talking to Rodney that way, but he told me you were stressed out. It’s been hard on him, trying to make all this work on his own. He loves it, don’t get me wrong, but the schools are in worse shape than anyone wanted to believe.” “I’ve been volunteering there one day a week, and I canna believe no one has done anything before now.” She followed the older woman into the building and picked up the phone. It was her sister. She was crying and screaming at someone else, and Rebel waited on her. “Can you see what I need for Sheila Walsh to be able to come here as my nurse?” “Rebel? Where are the kids?” She told her what had happened and that she was at the doctor with them. “I came home to find someone here shutting off our power and no kids. I was worried more than I could—” She was cut off.

More than likely, the power had been cut. They’d been expecting it for several days now, and apparently, their time had been up. Putting the phone back in the cradle, Rebel wanted to find a nice dark room and sob. Things couldn’t get any worse, she told herself, then amended that to say it could and more than likely would. While she was standing there, Rodney came out of the exam room and asked her if she was all right. “Not particularly, no.” She told him, starting with the power being cut off, what she’d been dealing with in the last twenty-four hours. “The water is next. Though I have explained to the company that we haven’t gotten a bill so I donna know what to pay on it. Not that we have the cash for that either. Angie needs money for a class trip. Aaron is hurt. His mom is at her wit’s end, and I’m right there along with her. I haven’t any income, and the fucking insurance company won’t get off their collective arse and pay up on the insurance that Thomas had when he died suddenly at home. Not suddenly, but he did die, and they should have to help out his family when he made the payments every frigging month.” “Come with me.” She didn’t have much in the way of a choice when Rodney took her hand into his and dragged her down the hall to another exam room. There he pulled her into his arms and held her.

Nothing sexual about it, but it felt wonderful to have a pair of very strong arms holding her. Even if it was only for a little while. “Harris is looking into the insurance money for you. When she did a search on the two of you, she said it came up.” Rebel looked at him. “She did this before today, and if I know her, she’s going to have answers for you by the time we have dinner there tonight. Now. There is something you can do for me that will help you in ways you can’t imagine. As a family, we own several homes. One of them is being cleaned up and filled out for you right now. I’ve spoken to the others, and they’re going to move you and your little family into it today. In fact, Shep and two of my other brothers are at your home right now with your sister-in-law, Sheila. I have a home as well. If you’d like to move in there, for the time being, I’ll move in with one of my brothers so you can have the entire house to yourself.”

“The landlord is a creep.” Rodney asked her what he’d done. “Nothing much other than he just comes into the house when he wants, using his own key. If we were to change the locks, he said he’d sue us. That as our landlord, he has the right to come and go as he pleases. Twice now, he’s been in my room when I’ve been sleeping, Aaron told me. I’ve not an idea what else he’s been up to when we’re asleep or not around.” “I’ll take care of him.” She told him not to kill him. “I’m not making any promises on that score. However, if you’d like to go home and help out with the moving, that would be all right with me. The kids can stay here until I go to see my brother. Aaron is resting now, the best thing for him, and I’ve put a cast on his arm. Angie is taking a nap. She said she did it after school every day.” “You’re serious.” Rodney pointed out that he wasn’t very good at jokes, and he was rarely, if ever, not serious. “What am I going—?” “Don’t. Don’t ask me what the catch is. Or how much I’m going to take from you for this. There is no catch. I promise you that I have nothing untoward in my head about you having a place to stay that is safe, as well as something you can afford.” He grinned at her.

“Your family is now my family, and I need to do this for them. To make you happy. I swear to you on my mom’s heart that I’d never ask you or trick you into anything you don’t want to do.” “I was wrong to say that to you. I’m sorry.” He said he was all right with her being upset. Taking it out on him was better than her killing someone. “That was going to be the next thing on my list of things to do today. The landlord again. He’s been…. Perhaps I should tell Harris about it. She’d be less prone to kill him.” “Doubtful. She’d just find a way so it would look like an accident.” Rebel didn’t know if he was serious or not but let it go. “All right. You head back to the house. Shep said that Sheila is helping a great deal, but she’s upset. Something about a call from someone. I’m betting insurance company, but I don’t know yet.” After handing her his cell phone and telling her to call when they were about done, he said he’d take care of the kids and make sure they were both all right. For some reason, Rebel thought they’d be in better care with him than they would be with anyone else she knew. As she drove back to the home she was sharing with Sheila and the kids, she thought about what it would be like to have someone love her. It had been a while since she’d even dated anyone that she liked.

The last relationship she had recently had been with a control freak. Even after that, she scolded herself. Here she was planning a wedding with a man she barely knew. As soon as she pulled up in front of the house, she knew something had happened, and it wasn’t going to bode well for their ex-landlord. Getting out of her car, she made her way past the police cruiser and the large SUV that was parked in the driveway. Mr. Cort was sitting on the ground with his hands behind his back, with one of the police standing over him. The officer tipped his hat at her and said that Harris and the others were inside.

She nodded and went into the house, noticing that there was blood on the front stoop as well as the front door. Mr. Cort was screaming at someone, her she thought, about getting off his property and that he was suing her. Oh well, she was no longer worried about him. “You must be Rebel.” She said she was. “Rodney said you were on your way. That piece of shit out there is lucky that Sheila found him in the house before I did. I would have killed him where he stood.” “You must be Harris.” She grinned like it was wonderful that she’d made such an impression. “Rodney said you’d find a way to kill Cort without it looking like anything but an accident.” “I have before. Tell me what is yours in here, and we’ll get it on the truck. Wait, the truck isn’t back yet. I knew we should have rented a trailer. Oh well. Are we taking your things to the new home or to Rodney’s?” She stared at the other woman. “Okay, I’ll take that as a new home. Though I can tell you, we’ll just be moving you again soon. I’m pushy like that, just in the event you don’t know that yet.” “To Rodney’s home.” Harris stared at her for several minutes before nodding once and told her she was a smart girl.

“I don’t know about that, but he’s promised me I’m not going to be pushed into anything, and I believe him. You? Not so much. But I also know you’ll stay out of whatever is going on with us if asked. You will, won’t you?” “To a point, yes.” She turned away to go into the next room but stopped just short of being out of her sight. “I don’t have to tell you not to hurt him, do I?” “I have no intentions of hurting anyone. But, as I told him, I’m not going to be pushed into shit I don’t want either.” She nodded and left her there. Going into the kitchen where she could hear Sheila, she was nearly taken to the floor when she leapt at her, laughing. “They came through. Look at this. It’s the full amount. Harris said they’d had it ready to go for weeks but were lazy.” Sheila whispered in her ear, “I’m not sure, but I think she made them pay me. Oh, Rebel, I can afford to pay our bills now. And with giving my notice, I don’t have to fret as much about having to wait for my first check with you. I can still work for you, correct?” “Yes. I need you there.” The check was for ten grand. It wasn’t much of a policy, she supposed, but it was enough to get her some cushion in the bank. “What happened with Cort? Did he hurt you?”

“No, that’s his blood. He used his key to come into the house, and I’d just gotten this check. Instead of begging him, like I think he wanted me to do, I offered to pay him everything we owed him. He grabbed me and tried to shove me against the wall before I could get away. I hit him and then kicked him in the nuts while he was down. Harris is the one that made him bleed. She’s kinda scary, isn’t she? But I’m happy now. So we’ll have to forget the little shitter and move into a better home.” Harris was making notes when she caught up with her again. She asked her what she was doing, and when she told her, Rebel told her she could add to her list. The house was in poor repair, and the roof leaked like a sieve when it rained. “I don’t think the furnace works either. The air doesn’t work at all, even though he told us it did. Also, if you’ve not made it to the upstairs bathroom, let me warn you now, don’t go in. It won’t hold your weight. The kids’ either, for that matter. I’m terrified that one night the tub is going to come down onto us while the kids are bathing.”

Harris wrote it down. “Why are you doing this? I mean, we’re moving out— thank you for that, by the way—and he can’t bother us again.” “He needs to have his ass kicked, is what he needs. These are terrible conditions here, and no one should have to put up with this. Sheila told me he just barges in when he wants to. That’s not right either. The fucker is on my shit list, and I’m going to take care of him.” Rebel didn’t tell her about her waking up with him standing over her. She figured the man wouldn’t make it to the hospital if she did. Harris was one intense person. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve made sure that there is food and supplies at the new house for your family. I had no idea that things were that bad for you guys. The insurance company is going to have to pay for that. There isn’t any reason for them to have held up the check for that long.” “I was going to call them today, but then I had to go and see to my nephew.” She asked about the bully. “I don’t know a great deal about him as yet, but I will before too long. I think the kids have been keeping things from us because they know how bad things are here. Or how bad they were.

I was really worried about what we were going to do when I didn’t have any more time coming to me from work.” “I want to talk to you about that as well. Soon. There is no reason for that either. We’ve had some issues there for a little while, and I’ve had enough.” Rebel asked her if she took on problems like this often. “Yes. We work on things as a family usually, but I’ve decided I need to step up some work with the hospital. If I have to go there for anything, I want to know I don’t have to worry about petty shit going on that will upset me more.” “Good point. I didn’t think of it that way.” Harris and she went through each of the rooms that were nearly devoid of their things. They’d not just been loaded up, but it looked as if someone was going into the rooms after they left and cleaning up. “When I came here for my brother’s funeral, I thought for sure that Sheila was joking about paying nearly nine hundred a month for this place. It’s not worth nine hundred dollars to purchase if you ask me. But she was grieving, and I didn’t want to upset her any more than she already was. Now, with the things taken out, I can see that it was much worse than I thought. It’s small wonder the kids didn’t get sick more than they were.”

“He’ll have to either pay for this place to be brought up to standards or sell it off. I’m hoping he sells. The Marshalls own the houses on either side of this place, and I’d love to be able to tear the three of them down and put in a nice place for kids to go after school.” Rebel liked that idea and told Harris so. “Also, you might not realize this yet, but you have the same input that all of us do on things the family does. Any ideas you have or even suggestions will be welcome.” “I’m not ready for that just yet.” Harris said she understood, and they finished up the house inspection. “I’m wondering if I should have told Rodney I was having my things brought to his house. He must think I’m off my rocker a little. We had a little spat before I came here. I might have given him the impression I was a bitch.”

“I’m sure you are when you need to be. But I’ve told him already. You’ll have to share your blood with us so we can talk to you through a link. Also, in the event that something happens and we need to find you. But that’s not anything we have to be in a hurry for now.” Too much, Rebel thought. There was just too much right now. Harris seemed to understand and changed the subject to something less personal. She told her of the babies coming, as well as a vampire friend of hers that was coming to see Harris to tell her of the vampire line she was a part of. Jason, she told her, had been looking into it for her since he’d tasted her blood. It was going to be hard to keep up with this family without a notepad. Rebel decided she’d get one when she was out next. It might help her to keep all this stuff straight. Or not. She had no idea right now. But she was thinking it would be fun.

Carroll Morgan’s Leap Release Blitz & Giveaway

Carroll Golden and his five brothers were the first of their kind. Born leopards, they were blessed with the magic of being the first leopard shifters. Morgan, their mother by proxy, raised them to blend in with humans and to be good men. Blessed with immortality, they all lived together on Morgan’s Leap, a sanctuary for all nature.

Hanna March worked for the FDA. She had always wanted to visit Morgan’s Leap, but it was closed to the public, so when she was given the opportunity to inspect their orchard on some bogus complaint, she jumped at the chance. The place was beyond anything she ever expected, and Morgan was the perfect host. But when someone took a pot shot at Morgan from the field, a huge leopard came out of nowhere and took them both down. Hanna, hitting her head on the way to the ground, was down for the count.

Carroll shifted back to human as soon as the women were out of danger, but finding out the pretty FDA agent was his mate took Carroll by surprise, and boy was she going to be mad when she woke up.

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Morgan made herself into a tight ball as she hid herself in the tall grasses in the field. She knew the men chasing her would find her soon enough, but for now, she was going to make them work for it. Closing her eyes, trying her best to calm her breathing, she did the only thing she could to not think about what was going on around her. Morgan counted to fifty in all the languages she knew. She had awakened out here. All she remembered was having dinner in the kitchen with the staff and then waking out in the middle of the moonless night. She did not remember going to bed or putting on the nightgown she had on now. Nor did she remember waking when brought out here in the cool night. Soon after waking, she heard the voices of the men, six she thought she’d counted, saying the first one that found her could have her. At fourteen, Morgan knew exactly what that meant. They were going to rape her, then more than likely kill her. Her parents would be looking for her. She would admit, only to herself, that they’d not be too upset about her being gone. Morgan had a habit of getting up in the middle of the night to see to one creature or another. So it might be days before anyone— The hot breath of air on her forehead had her whimper just a little. Lifting her head without opening her eyes, she felt it once again. It was hot but not sour-smelling. Opening her eyes, she looked right into the golden eyes of a leopard. Their noses touched. They were so close. The lick to her face scared her. While she’d seen the wild animals around the compound where she lived, she’d never been this close to one so dangerous. The farmers would kill them when they would take down a cow or something they raised, but no one could have prepared her for their beauty being this close.

The big cat put her paw on her head and pushed it back down, so it rested on the dirt. When she started to lift it again, the cat pushed her down again. Understanding that she was to stay where she was, Morgan closed her eyes. If she was going to be eaten, she was glad the cat was sparing her from knowing when it was coming. The sound, soft as a coin dropping onto the dusty ground, was all she heard before the large cat screamed. There was gunfire too. Something frighteningly close stirred up some of the dirt she was hiding on. The screaming of men was next. It wasn’t long before it was quiet, and she knew on some level that the cat had killed the men. The paw to her head again had her lifting it up to see if she was next. The cat had been hurt. Blood was pouring from her shoulder at an alarming rate. Sitting up, unmindful of whether it was safe to do so, Morgan tore at her nightgown to staunch the blood as she spoke to the leopard. “I think you saved me.” The cat just let her poke around at her wound, soon lying down when she asked her to do so. “The bullet needs to come out. If it doesn’t, I’m afraid you’ll get sick and die from it. I wish I had my knife here. But I think I can see it enough to get it out with my fingers. I won’t do any more than I have to. All right?”

Morgan worked for fifteen minutes in getting the bullet out. The cat never hurt her. Never tried to get away from her as she worked. Sweat poured off Morgan’s forehead as she finally got it free. When she was finished, she showed it to the cat. “See? Someone got a shot in. I promise you, I’ll make sure you’re all right. Do you have a lair? Someplace you can rest?” The cat stood up, and that was when she noticed she’d had kittens recently. “Oh no. Where are they? You left your den to come to save me? Come on. I’ll help you back.” It wasn’t far, only about a hundred yards from where the cat had come to her. It occurred to her that the cat was more than likely saving her kittens from being found when she killed the men, but Morgan was ever so grateful she’d spared her. Helping the cat into the den, she saw that she had three of the pudgiest little kittens she’d ever seen. “They’re beautiful. Oh, look at them. You are a good momma, Golden Eyes. They’re very fat. I’ll stay with you until you need to eat again. Then I’ll hunt for you.” The cat didn’t seem to mind when Morgan picked one of the kittens up, so she touched each of them in turn. “You’re very lucky those men didn’t find you too. But I guess you knew that.” She stayed with the family overnight. There wasn’t any way she’d be able to make her way back home in the darkness, so it was fine with her to be in the cave for the night. The kittens woke hungry a couple of times in the night. Instead of having Golden go to them, Morgan carried them back and forth to their mother. She seemed to be all right with her helping that way.

When the sun was coming up, Morgan not only made sure the family had water, but she also scavenged as much as she could from the horses the men had come out here on. Hardtack was in abundance, but she was also able to get herself some much-needed flint, as well as some blankets. Taking it to the cave, she put the kittens on one of the blankets and then sat down to watch them fall over each other until they had their spot picked out. It was calming to watch them, she thought. They were just too little to do much more than be roly-poly little kittens. Giving the hardtack to Golden, she made her way to her home. It was further than she’d thought it might have been, and she didn’t arrive there until the sun was nearly down. Going into the house by way of climbing up the back stairs, she heard her parents speaking from their balcony. Sliding out onto her own, she stood deep in the shadows to listen to what they might be saying. Her mother was standing at the railing, her father deeper in the room. “I cannot believe she’s gone.” Morgan started forward, wanting to assure her mother she hadn’t been hurt at all. “This was a brilliant idea you had, Malcomb. To have it look as if she’d been kidnapped, then killed. I have never wanted anything more than that child dead.” Her heart hurt. Her mind didn’t know how this was really what her mother was saying. They weren’t close, but she never thought she’d want her dead. But when her dad came out to the balcony too, she watched the two of them as they stood there in an embrace.

“Well, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be to get some men gathered up to take her. As you said, it’s a good thing now that she’s gone. When they find her body, it will be blamed on anything but me.” Mother said it wouldn’t be her fault either. “No. No one will bother with blaming you, my dear. For all they know, you’ve committed suicide because your daughter is gone.” It took her less time than it apparently did her mother to understand what her father was saying. As soon as he nearly pushed her mother over the railing, intending, she was sure, to make it look as if she had fallen to her death by her own hand, Mother grabbed her father’s coat. The two of them hung there for what seemed like forever. Would they both fall? Would they be able to save one another? She didn’t care. So when her mother’s weight took them both over the edge, Morgan stood there for several minutes, thinking about what had just befallen her family. Looking over the edge of her own balcony, she saw them there, tightly embraced as if in a lover’s hug and dead. Blood spread out beneath their heads as if a bucket of it had been poured over the two of them. Making her way to the kitchen area, she staggered twice in her grief. Not that they were dead—no, it was that they had planned her demise in such a cold way. Lincoln was there, the butler of the house when she entered. He took one look at her and sat her in the chair she’d spent more time in than the ones in the formal dining room. Lincoln, she knew, would be her family from now on. “Child, what is it?” She must have been a mess. Or looked on edge. The slap to her cheek stung enough that she was brought out of whatever thoughts she’d been having.

“What’s happened? Your parents, they told the household you’d been kidnapped. Are you hurt?” She told him everything, not leaving out anything, including the cat that had saved her. Also, leaving no doubt to the older man that her parents had planned for her to be killed this night. Lincoln sat down across from her after making her a cup of tea that was mostly bourbon. “You are mistress of the house now. Tomorrow we will find their bodies whilst you are still abed. You will say you were out with the creatures of the field. They will believe that well enough. That is where you are most of the time.” She asked him about the cats. “’ Tis your decision. However, if you were to bring them here, none of the rest of the staff will mind. It is you we stayed for all these years, and not your parents.” “I’ll need help bringing them here.” He said he’d go with her. “They’re far. Much further than I had thought. But I wish them to be safe, Lincoln. She saved my life, and I will do the same for her and her family.” “You have a good heart, child—a very good one. We shall leave now and take lanterns with us. A basket too so we might carry the little beasts.” She asked him if he didn’t want them here. “Nay, I want what you want. We all do. Tomorrow after your parents are found, we’ll be as we should have been. A good home and a safe one. Mark my words on that. I will talk to you, as we go about now that you are mistress of the house, what men will do to get to you.

They’ll want you, but you’re too stubborn to be a good wife to anyone seeking your hand. It might be well that there are cats here to protect you. You have become a very wealthy woman.” As they were making their way to the cave, she wondered if he knew how safe the house would be with leopards in it. Once the kittens grew up, they’d be as big as she was now. Smiling, she thought perhaps she wasn’t all that upset about her parents being dead. They’d been treating her as if she were dead for as long as she could remember. Golden seemed happy to see her. She licked her face and brushed her with her large paws. As Lincoln gathered up the kittens, she helped Golden outside to do her business. It took a great deal out of her, and Morgan had to carry her back into the cave. Once they were all loaded up in the buggy, she sat down with Golden to tell her what had happened. “So I’m motherless except for you. I know you’re a cat, and I’m only a human, but I think we can get along. When the men start to come—and according to Lincoln, they will—I’ll need you to protect me too. I shan’t ever marry. Not only that, but I’m also going to make it my life’s work to make sure animals such as yourself are as safe as I can make them.” Arriving home well after the sun had settled in the sky again, she made sure the mother and kittens were safe in her parents’ big bed. There was a fire in the fireplace for them should the night turn too cold. Morgan also made sure the mother had plenty to eat, having given her one of the steaks her father would treat himself to daily, while she had whatever else he had with his meal. Sleep didn’t take its time capturing her, luring her to a night’s rest. It hit her right between the eyes and had her nearly sick with exhaustion. As she closed her eyes, sleeping in her own bed as if nothing had happened, she knew she’d keep her promises to not just Lincoln and the other staff but to herself as well. The animals here would need her, and she was going to make sure they were as safe as they could be while she was still living. ~*~ Four years later Morgan watched the man as he ran out of her home.

How he’d gotten in was beyond her, but now that he was gone with a little less of his fancy clothing, she sat down on the front veranda and waited for the cats to come to her. Over the last month or so, men had been showing up at the oddest times to tell her she must marry them. They would all come around sooner rather than later. All of her leopards, as well as a plethora of other such creatures, would come to make sure she’d not been harmed or taken away from them. None of the animals would be harmed here, and daily another one or two would come limping into the compound and be welcomed. Golden came to sit at her feet, and she smiled at her when she looked at her. “He had it coming. We both know that. The pompous ass thought if he could tear at my clothing, I’d allow him to marry me so I’d be happy. He said I’d need someone like him to watch over my money and keep me from dying an old spinster.

Apparently, women aren’t meant to think beyond having a man around. I’m much happier without him, I think. What did he think I’d been doing here all alone since my parents died? Waiting on someone to rescue me? Not likely.” Morgan slid to the floor and put Golden’s head on her lap. Running her hand down the length of the cat, she could feel her newest litter wiggling around. “I am worried about you, mistress cat. You’re heavier this time with your brood. Not to mention, I know the wound you suffered for me so long ago bothers you more daily. The babes you brought here that night, they have gone on to have their own children. I cannot believe so much time has passed since that night.” She thought of something and put her forehead to Golden’s. “I just realized you’re a grandmother. Congratulations.” “That would make you an aunt in her eyes.” Morgan reached for her gun, something she’d been carrying since that night, and found it gone. “You cannot kill me, mistress, but I would prefer that you not harm me either. I have come to speak with you about the good works you are doing here. The one you call Golden, she has asked me to come to speak to you about a great many things. In addition, I have some things I need to ask of you.” “Who are you?” The beautiful woman asked if she could tell her in a moment. “So long as you know that whatever it is you’re hawking, I want no part of. We’re doing very well here on our own.” “You are doing better than well, I think. The ground is fertile here, thanks to your way of doing things.

Not all humans would leave an animal to rot on their land without doing something with it.” Morgan told her that other animals took care of it. “They have indeed. Even the things the larger breeds cannot eat or use, the smaller creatures come to salvage what they can. You have a good system here. A system that will not be popular for a great many years.” “I don’t want to have to go into town.” The woman nodded, her smile something she thought more than beautiful. “You said you came here because of Golden. She is a cat. How is it possible that she would call to you?” “Let me start at the beginning, please. The night your parents died, the night you came to help Golden, it was thought that you should have died along with them. Sometimes, with humans, the apple does not fall far from the tree. But you are nothing like them, are you, sweet child? You were not only different from them, but a kinder, gentler person than any of us have ever seen before. We have all been watching you these last years.” Morgan asked her who they were. “Ah, that brings me to your first question. I am Tellus, the terrestrial being that cares for and is wholly a part of the earth. The earth and the land that you have here. Not from my doing but your own, this land is rich beyond anything man has ever seen before.” Morgan didn’t speak, letting all the woman told her to settle into her mind. She’d been alone for most of her life now and had learned not to prattle on when there was no one to talk back to her. Petting Golden, she was glad to hear her purring. The rumbling of her throat was soothing to her for some reason.

“Mother Earth. I’ve read about you. You’re Roman.” She said that was correct. “All right. So you’re here because I have good land. However, I still don’t know why you took time out of your…what I’m sure is a busy day to tell me that.” “You are a jewel among all the stars in the sky, Morgan.” Confused at the words and their meaning, Morgan continued to pet her cat. “We, the other earth creatures, have been watching what you were doing here since that night. We’ve not once had to intervene in helping you care for the animals, all that you protect here. You have lifted a great burden from all of us. Even creatures you may not yet be aware of have found a home here among the others and have been safe from harm. One such creature sits there on your leg. His name is Button.” Morgan looked down at her leg and saw the tiny creature standing there. She put out her free hand, and when he hopped upon it, she brought him closer to her face. Yes, he was a little man, just like the men that had been coming around except for his size. Then while she was watching him closely, he spread out his wings and fluttered above her palm for several seconds before settling down again. “Faerie.” He bowed before her. “I have read of such creatures as this one. They are thought to be a myth. Such as you are, Lady Earth. I have either hit my head, or I’m being visited by creatures as magical as the sun coming up and then resting in the other sky.” “You are seeing magic, my child.” Nodding, she laid her hand back on her leg. Button didn’t sit on her leg again but stayed on her palm. “He wishes to be with you.

To help you in the coming years. For as much as I’d like to say your life will be filled with only riches, we both know it is never that way.” “Nay, it is not. The banker says I owe him great funds for a loan my parents took out before they died. Also, I have a man who is trying his best to catch me unawares, so he might rape me to take my lands. I don’t think he means to keep me around much longer than it takes for me to say, ‘I do.’ They only want what I have.” Tellus said she could help her with those things. “Thank you, my lady. But I’m sure you have enough to do now with the earth as large as it is.” “I do. But helping you is not something I take lightly, my child. We, all the creatures in charge of the parts of the earth you now own, are happy to help you. And in doing so, they will get the help they need as well.” Morgan asked her what they wanted her to do. “You will do it, will you not? Even not knowing what it is we ask of you.” “I will help the earth for as much as it gives back to us here. And that, as you know, is a great deal. We are self-sufficient here. Water is ours to use as we see fit. There is a roof over our heads when necessary. The fields, as you have pointed out, are rich and give us back so much more than we can eat. I share what I cannot have put up or preserved.” Tellus told her she knew that as well. “If you need me to do more, I will do it to the best of my ability.” “Thank you.” Tellus looked at her, then at Golden as she continued. “Golden will stay with you until the kittens are born. Her children will be the first of many creatures that will take on this new magic we wish you to help with.”

“She’s going to die.” Tellus nodded but didn’t look at her. “I thought when I’ve seen her around this time, she wouldn’t make it for long after. You do know she’s the only friend I have besides the people that work here? I’ve thought about, for long hours, how I will make it without her counsel. Without her snuggling up to me when I need it. I don’t know that I want to. But I must, for the others.” “Yes, you will,” Tellus told her of the magic that would be given to her. About the babes Golden would have, and how they would go on to be great men, to help her in ways that Tellus and the others hadn’t thought of yet. “The magic they will get will help them to be a part of the world of men. To breach such places that even now frighten us a little. We will need you to help them blend into such places. To walk, talk, and act like real men. The abilities we will give them will make them a prize should anyone find out. So it is important they do not give themselves away while men. Do you understand?” “Yes. I’m to be their teacher.” Tellus told her that she would also be their mother. “I have questions now, but I know I will have so many more when the time comes. I will teach them everything I can. Give them whatever step up they’ll need so long as I live. I promise you they will be the best of men. Not like the ones that come here sniffing out an easy way to my home.” “You will not die either, Morgan.

You will be around for their children to come into the world, as well as all the shifters that are to be born.” Morgan asked her about the men coming around. “They will not come around again should you wish it. Button will have an army of faeries that will come to your aid in that and anything else you might need them for. Do not be fearful of using them either. Rightly so, they are excited to serve one such as yourself. You have been titled with the name Queen of Shifters.” “You don’t have to do that, my lady. I said I would help you.” Tellus laughed, and it made Morgan smile. “I will do as asked. The rest I will accept as part of my duties, but I don’t see myself using it overly much.” “I foresee you using the magic given to you much more than you think you will.” Tellus laughed again, bringing yet another smile to Morgan’s face. “I will also give you a list of things you will need to invest in. They will fund you better than a bank will, and you will remain self-reliant at the same time. Also, the bank has been taken care of. He will no longer bother you about funds he thinks you owe him.” “Thank you for that.” Morgan looked down at her friend and ally in all this. “What will become of me when you no longer have a use for me, my lady?” “There will always be a use for you, child. A creature such as you will forever bond with the earth and make everything around you a better place. I have such faith in you.” Morgan told her she could only do her best. “And that, my child, is all I could ask for.” The two of them talked throughout the morning and into the evening. Ending up in the living room where there was a fire roaring in the hearth, they were served their tea there, as well as juice. She was told she’d need to be drinking a great deal more of the elixir. And that the fresher it was, the better it would be for her after using magic.

At some point, Tellus took her hand into hers and gave her the magic she’d need. The power of it washed over her in waves. So much so that for several minutes she had to sit still in her seat and wait for it to settle out. Not only did she receive the magic, but the knowledge of how to use it. Also, things she’d been told she must invest in. Things that Tellus told her would be worth a great deal in the future. After Tellus left her to rest, she was told, Morgan sat in the yard at the back of her house. Lincoln came to sit with her a spell, telling her there were faeries in the kitchen now that would make sure the household was safe. Also, he said, he’d been given magic as well. “It is to keep the house in order. To build out, when you need it, my lady.” She said she’d been told she’d need to have a larger house. “I find that hard to believe, but I will do what it takes to have you safe.” “I now have more land as well. Tellus told me there are now five thousand acres here that will be used for the animals in need. No one will be able to enter the land if they wish to harm anything that calls this place home. What am I do to with all this knowledge and wealth, Lincoln?

I know I’m to teach the next generation of cats born to Golden, but how much do you think they’ll need from me? What am I to do when they go out and have their own leap? I shall be an old woman with only you to keep me company.” He asked her if he was immortal as well. “You are. But I was told if at any time you wish to die, I could take it from you. No harm will come to you with it either.” “I think I shall stay with you, my lady. I think we will need each other in the coming years, don’t you think?” She said she needed him every day. “You are so kind to me, Morgan, that I wonder at times why your parents wanted you dead.” “They were in love with themselves.” She knew that to be true as soon as she said it. Looking at the older man, she smiled at him. “You and I will do the best we can and hope it’s right. Someday, I think we’ll look back on this and wonder what all the fuss was about. Don’t you?” “I think I will hold my thoughts on that until such time as it comes to an end.” He laughed a little. “Do you believe it will come to an end, my lady?” “No. I don’t. I don’t have any idea why, but I think we’re going to be having something new and strange happening as a daily routine.” She stood up when he did. “Let us begin this new phase of our life, Lincoln, and hope we make it work better than the thoughts in my head are making it. All right?” “Whatever you wish, my lady. We will do well together, I believe.” She hoped so. It seemed like a great deal was depending on her doing just that, making it work for the safety of all involved. She only hoped she knew enough and was strong enough to make it work for all of them.

Pierce McCray Sleuth release Blitz &Giveaway

Joey wasn’t dealing with the best of news. The phone call informing her that her niece was dead was bad enough, but her great-niece, Becky, was also in danger. Then finding out her twin sister, Margie, had Joey’s office bugged just about sent her over the edge. And now her mother’s life was being threatened for information on Becky. Joey was going to have to kill someone before this was all over with.

Pierce was having a time dealing with stress lately. Trying to please everyone and not giving himself any slack was about to do him in, and no one was helping him at all by telling him he needed to find a mate. Just thinking about that prospect was stressful too.

Pierce was gifted. Not only was he a bear, but he could read the minds of others. He was a great profiler. Meadow sent him to help Joey find the spies in her organization. As soon as Pierce met Joey, he knew he had found his mate at long last, but telling her would have to wait. With everything else she had going on, that information might make her head explode.

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AMAZON AU http://amzn.to/2ZPo4ex
B&N  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/pierce-kathi-s-barton/1138871349?ean=2940162393351
GOOGLE PLAY https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Pierce?id=0ksfEAAAQBAJ
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1070411
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/pierce-4
ITUNES Coming Soon

















Meadow Springs had been locked away in a hospital for several years. At sixteen she was a victim and sole survivor of the mass murder of her family. The ordeal had left her semi-comatose for a long time. Since she was the only survivor and couldn’t talk, the police tried to pin the murders on her, but it didn’t stick.

Josiah McCray was there the day that Meadow was brought to their home to go into hiding. The beautiful blonde in the wheelchair was a shadow of the woman she should be. All Josiah saw was his mate, and he loved her no matter what.

The killer was still out there, and Meadow had his identity locked inside her mind and the killer knew it. Everyone previously in charge of her care was now dead. There was no way that was a coincidence.

Meadow was a loose end, the one that got away. There was no way the killer could let her live….

Melody Austin was afraid of nearly everything, but like it or not, she was a survivor. When she was seventeen, she had survived a harrowing attack that left her mentally and physically scarred. Now, ten years later, her brother, Daniel, repeatedly asked her to talk about the disturbing events, to tell him what happened so that he could understand, but she remained silent.  She knew he meant well, but telling him a bear was behind the attack at the school would get her locked up in a mental institution. No one would believe that story, and she couldn’t blame them.

Daniel had taken a job working for the McCrays. He made Mel promise that she’d join him in just a few days, but instead, Daniel received a call that his house was on fire, and Mel had been burned in the process. Daniel took Gannon with him to check on his sister.

Daniel had told Gannon that Mel was a bit skittish before they arrived on the scene. But the moment Gannon caught her scent; he knew she was his mate. He meant to reassure her by telling her that she was his mate and that everything would be all right, but the instant she heard that he was a bear shifter, she went wild, running back into the fire to get away from him.

When Gannon discovered that a bear was the cause of all her fears, he didn’t know how he could get past this. He couldn’t change what he was…. Was this doomed from the start?




Things hadn’t been going very well for Lucy and her two sisters. When their parents died, their uncle had moved in and took over. The girls, apparently, were too much trouble to worry about, so he’d dumped them onto the streets to fend for themselves.

It was just luck that Ian McCray and his family had found Lucy that day. Both Lucy and her sister, Jilly, were in bad need of medical attention. Ian was just thrilled to have found his mate alive. In their situation, it could have been much worse.

Lucy was thankful for the help, but she was just going from one man to another lording over her and dictating what she could and couldn’t do. It was marry Ian or lose her sisters for good. Ian was a nice man, but she was tired of everyone telling her what to do.


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Josiah  https://amzn.to/2SyOLzG

Gannon  https://amzn.to/2WsiyxT
IAN https://amzn.to/33Iw7gk





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Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback

Your prizes will be mailed on
Tuesday, Feb 23rd, 2021


Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery

Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas  Mystery Prize
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback

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Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback

Nicole Morgan Signed Cup
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Happy Reading,



“Joey, there’s a call for you.” She turned and looked at the man she’d hired just yesterday to answer calls for her. “He said it’s important he speaks with you now.” “Tell him to fuck off.” Turning back to the work she was doing, she knew that Harvey, her secretary, wasn’t going to last the day if he didn’t stop bothering her with little shit. “Well? Did you tell him?” “No. He said he’d have to have the police come here if you didn’t want to hear what he has to say. I’m not sure telling him to fuck off is such a good idea.” She stomped toward him. “Don’t hurt me.” That stopped her dead in her tracks. She’d never hurt anyone. Joey knew she had a volatile temper, but she never hurt people. Telling Harvey she was sorry for snapping at him, she picked up the phone and gave the idiot who called her today all she wanted to in the way of anger. “You had fucking better have your ducks in a row, you uneducated couch potato. I’m working in the event no one told you. What the fuck do you want?” His laughing wasn’t something she thought was helping. “I’m hanging up now. If you ever call here again, I will—” “Your niece, Rebecca Hightower, has been murdered.” Joey slid to the floor, her legs suddenly no longer strong enough to hold her up. She asked the man if her husband had done it. “At this point, we’re only assuming he did. Not that he was the one that pulled the trigger, but I think you understand what might have happened. Her daughter, Becky, is staying with my family. Becky told me I wasn’t to trust your sister, Margaret, with any information.” “No. Don’t call her. She and Peter are close.

I think she is still having an affair with him despite him being married to Rebecca. Where are you?” Ian told her his name as well as where they were. “And Becky? Is she hurt too? It wouldn’t be any sweat off his balls to kill his own child.” “She’s fine. Scared out of her mind. The doctor told us she was dehydrated and malnourished. We’re taking care that she is getting plenty of food and water. Rebecca is tagged as a Jane Doe for now. The police are friends of the family and have taken precautions to make sure no one knows of her death or that she was found. Becky told my daughter that her father would kill us all if he were to find us helping her.” “More than likely, he would. He’s not the best of people to be around.” Joey thought of all the things she knew about Peter. “I’d like to come and see Becky if you think it’ll be safe. I don’t want her hurt either. She and Rebecca have been through a great deal while she was married to that fat fuck.” “You certainly have a way with words.” She laughed with him. “If you don’t mind me saying so, I thought that with you being Becky’s great aunt, you’d be—at least sound a little older. You can’t be much older than Rebecca was.” “We’re all three the same age. Margie and I are twins. Rebecca is my older brother’s daughter. He was only sixteen when he got this girl, Sheila, pregnant. Mom had just found out that she was going to have us.

It was a race, Mom used to tell us, to see who delivered first. We were born a day earlier than Rebecca. My brother committed suicide about a week after his child was born.” Ian told her he was sorry. “Me too. I have no idea why I’m telling you this. You more than likely have a lot of things going on there too. Anyway, I’m not going to be coming there until I hear from you. Also, call me on my cell phone from now on. If you call and I don’t answer, it’s because I’m working. But I will return your call if you leave me a message.” After giving him the phone number, she told him she wanted to speak to Becky if she could. Ian told her he’d make sure she called her back when he returned home tonight. She was staying with his wife and her sisters. “Christ, man. How do you live in a house full of women? You must be the most patient person in the world to be able to do that.” Ian laughed, and she had to smile. He had a good laugh, one she thought she’d like to hear more often. “Just keep me updated, please. And when the time is right, I’ll tell my sister. She’s a pain in the ass most of the time, so I won’t subject you to that. Also, if you could tell Becky I love her, that would be great. Thanks for telling me, Ian. I’m sorry you’re involved in this. But I do appreciate you taking care of Becky for me. She’s the best thing Peter ever did.” After hanging up, she sat there on the floor, wondering what she was supposed to do now. If it were up to her, she’d hire someone to kill Peter off, then live a very happy life behind bars. But she’d made a promise to Rebecca that she’d not kill him or hire anyone to kill him. She’d feared for her life. “Joey? Am I fired?”

She looked up at Harvey and realized she had to be a nicer person. When a man older than her was afraid of her, then she was most certainly doing shit wrong. She told him she was sorry. “I knew you said no phone calls, but when he told me the police would be involved, I thought it best that he told you instead of the police showing up. That really would have upset you.” “It would have. You did the right thing in that.” She told him again she was sorry. “I’ve been under a great deal of pressure with this work. I don’t want to mess it up, and with all the stress of that, I tend to be snappish. I’ll work on trying not to make you fear me in the future.” “I thank you for that.” She nodded, then stood up. When he went back to his desk, she went back to her workroom. Being a clothing designer wasn’t as glamorous as people saw on television and in movies. It was difficult work trying to keep one step ahead of the people in the same industry. Not to mention having an idea what colors would be hot when the next season rolled around. Not that Joey put that much stock in the trends. Joey designed for the everyday woman. No puffy sleeves for her. Nothing made of taffeta or silk for this line. She did design clothing for evening wear, but her meat and potatoes were the things that women wore every day to work or even for shopping— sturdy clothing that stood up well to time, washing, and the seasons. “If you were to ask me if I’d wear that color, I’d have to tell you no. What is that called?” She looked over at her best friend and the woman that had given birth to her. Her mom was her partner too. Joey told her mom the color. “Pumpkin pie? You have got to be kidding me. If I had a pie of that color, I’d think it had turned.

What are you going to mate it to?” “Purple.” When she picked up the paisley print she’d been searching for before the call came in, she hung it on the board in front of her next to the pumpkin pie. She knew it would work, but she still wanted her mom’s opinion. “What do you think? Too much?” “No. I think it works well. I can see this in a shirt and the pie in a pair of shorts, or even a nice pair of pants. I know you hate the word slacks, but that’s what I was thinking of when I saw it. I really do like it.” Nodding, she put the two colors on the plate with the design. “I have a feeling you’re avoiding telling me about the phone call.” Joey nodded but didn’t look at her mom. “What is it, baby? Does it have to do with Rebecca?” “She’s gone.” Mom nodded but didn’t say anything as the two of them spoke quietly. “Becky is all right. Staying with a family in Ohio. I can’t go there until they figure out what to do about Peter. I’m also not telling Margie.” “No. She’d be all over that. Crowing to the winds that she is going to be the next Mrs. Hightower. The two of them should have married, to begin with. Then it would have been over with for this family. You know as well as I do that she would have cut ties with us so quickly we’d need a birth certificate to prove she’s related to us.” It was nearly nine that night when she heard from Becky. They talked for over an hour, and Joey felt so much better for it. She was being watched and taken care of. Also, she’d turned over the book and all the other things she’d collected in her young life to be put in the family safe. Joey wasn’t sure how good of an idea that had been, but there was little she could do about it from here. After hanging up with her niece, she was ready for bed. But a call from her sister, of all people, kept her up for the rest of the night.

“What happened today at work?” She asked Margie what she was talking about. “You. You got an important phone call that sent you to the floor. What is it? Rebecca again? If you know anything about her, you’d better be telling me, Joey. You know she’s run off again with his child.” “How would I know she’s run off? And the last time I remembered, Rebecca is a grown woman and can run off without people knowing about her whenever she wants. Are you having me spied on?” Margie said she was. “Why? What could you having me spied on do for you? I run a design shop, Margie. What on earth do you think you’re going to find out by doing that?” “You never know. I did find out you were upset, didn’t I? Were you going to call me and tell me about it? Doubtful. When did you become so secretive, Joey? It’s not a good look for you.” Joey asked her sister when she’d become so paranoid that she had to have her watched. “When you started not taking my side when it came to Peter. He’s a good man, you know. You should have more respect for him. All those things the paper is saying about him are lies, and you’d know that if you were to get to know him a little.”

“I’m not even sure why you’d think I should care what his life is like. As for what the papers say, your little spy should have told you I don’t have a newspaper delivered, nor do I own a television.” Margie told her she told her that. “Goodbye, Margie. I don’t know where you got your information, but I’m not discussing my personal life with you. Call off your spy, or I will. And press charges.” It was a woman. Joey decided she was going to take measures she’d never thought she’d have to with her own family. Making two phone calls, she felt better for taking a stand. In the morning, only a few hours from now, she was going to do what she should have done long ago, start keeping an eye on those that worked for her. Joey had been slacking on a lot of things of late. Well, no more.




Kylan Prince Of Tigers Release Blitz & Giveaway


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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AMAZON AU http://amzn.to/3oXlJrO
B&N  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kylan-kathi-s-barton/1138778942?ean=2940162594970
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1068128
GOOGLE PLAY  https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Kathi_S_Barton_Kylan?id=q1UaEAAAQBAJ
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/kylan
PAPERBACK https://amzn.to/2YXsZJC


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?



BRYANT  https://amzn.to/2vfp107

2.Samson https://amzn.to/2PruUBc
3.Fisher https://amzn.to/3gp4OtV
4.Kylan https://amzn.to/3cNLOY3




Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning A   Signed Mystery Paperback Or Signed CupOr Coloring Book ADD MYSTERY PACKAGED to pick your prize






Congratulations to the  winners
Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas  Mystery Prize
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback

Your prizes will be mailed on
Monday, Feb 8th, 2021


Please allow 7 to 10 days for delivery

Karen Bradburu Signed Cup
Elaine Thomas  Mystery Prize
Nicole Morgan Signed Paperback

Julia Bystedt  Signed Coloring Book
Sarah Black  Signed Coloring Book
Linda Brashears Signed Cup
Annie Kavanagh Signed Paperback

If you have not gotten your prize please contact my PA Denise at denisek0319@gmail.com  

Happy Reading,

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.



Joey The Whitfield Rancher Release Blitz & Giveaway


Autumn was born the seventh child of the seventh child, and what no one else realized, she was also the seventh generation to be born, making her the seventh of seven. That alone brought her a great deal of magic. But her parents mistreated her as a child because she wouldn’t share her magic. After her mother made an attempt on her life, she grew up living with a kind uncle. As a result of the abuse she received from her parents, Autumn was dying from cancer.

Joey Whitfield wasn’t the biological son of Blake and Shadow, but they loved him just the same. Joey was different. He had always been a loner, but a near-death experience as a teenager had granted him powers and abilities so strong even he didn’t understand. It wasn’t safe to be around others. Rather than hurt those he loved the most, Joey had struck out on his own until he could discover exactly who and what he was. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into years. Joey couldn’t bring it upon himself to face his family.

Even from afar, Joey knew what Autumn was to him. But he’d been alone for so long, could he trust himself to be around others? He knew he should and could save her, but that would require getting past his comfort zone to do it.

Joey was at a crossroads in his immortal life. It was do or die. He just needed the courage to do what had to be done or risk living an eternity alone.

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Dylan Hutchinson lived and breathed Army, and she’d been undercover so long she’d forgot what it felt like to be a civilian. But the last mission took a turn for the worse and not only was she hurt, but she’s been informed that she could no longer do her job. It’s either a desk job as a recruiter, or she’s out.

Evan Whitfield didn’t have to work, but he loved his job as a surgeon. And when as his tiger he found an old man wandering in the woods with Alzheimer’s and confused, he wanted to help the family. The family had a daughter in the hospital too, and they were struggling. Evan thought the daughter might be not as sick or hurt as she claimed to be, so he took it upon himself to check her out. Evan was surprised to find that she was not only hurt worse than they claimed, she was also his mate.

For a doctor, Dylan thought Evan was dense. What part of go away didn’t he understand? She wasn’t the mate or marrying kind. Her life was over, not beginning. He needed to just go away….

Sunny, or Sunshine Davis, is a well-known investigative reporter. After her recent article shuts down a drug lab, she just disappears. People everywhere are looking for her. Truth is she’s been shot and left for dead. Tanner, a vampire, has other plans for the feisty reporter. He needs her help, so he saves her. His old friend, Ollie Whitfield, owes him a favor, so he sends her there to lay low for a while.

David Whitfield is on a deadline with his publisher. When he’s writing, he’s in a world of his own. When his grandda, Ollie, asks him to hide out a friend, he’s all for it. He’d do anything for his grandda. What David doesn’t expect is for the woman he’s supposed to be hiding out to be his mate. A very hurt mate that has his tiger in a possessive uproar.

Because Sunny technically died before Tanner could revive her, she has a little difficulty remembering the events just prior to her death, but when she does the revelation rocks her to her core. And her baggage can put all the Whitfields in danger.

Josh had taken a month off from his Realtor job to get the construction finished on his house, but he was leaning toward it being a permanent vacation. He still liked selling houses, but something was missing. It didn’t excite him anymore and he was tired of the rat race.

All Carter wanted was to get a job and start her life over again. She had just spent the last ten years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit, and that made finding a job difficult, if not downright impossible. She didn’t want to go back to the halfway house, but things weren’t looking good.

Ollie Whitfield took an instant liking to the young woman and her sister, Rachel. He’d make sure his grandson gave her a job in the new greenhouse he was opening up. There was no since in her beating the pavement for a dead-end job when he had one for her. He just had to convince her of that. She had some dad-blamed notion in her head that she’d bring danger to the family.

Josh’s grandda had already told him of the scary things the woman could do, and he was worried that Carter and her sister might be taking advantage of an old man. But when Josh walked behind her at the dinner table and caught her scent, he was floored. He had found his mate and neither of them were prepared for it.

Carter knew he was a shifter, but the things she could do would get them all killed, and she wouldn’t allow that. She would somehow convince him that this mate thing was a bad idea.

Ivy Walton loved her job as a surgeon but hated her boss. What part of “I’m on vacation” couldn’t the woman understand? She’d just lost her house to a fire, and she needed this time away with her sister. They’d been on their way to the coast when Ivy’s car broke down, and this little town they’d found for repairs was a breath of fresh air. Ivy found the non-hectic life of a small town to be appealing to her raw nerves.

Adam Whitfield was a farmer and, like his brothers, a Bengal tiger. He had just purchased his grandparents’ home and was putting on the finishing touches. The home was large, too large for a single man, but he liked it. Furniture was still sparse, but he figured he could add to it in time.

When Adam met Ivy at a family dinner, he knew instantly who she was to him. But could a renowned surgeon be happy with a simple farmer? He hoped so. He hadn’t been looking for his mate when he found her, but now that he had, he wasn’t letting her go. If she went back to the city, he’d go too whether she liked it or not.

Mason Jane Barnhart had nothing left to live for. She was dying and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Rather than suffer a long agonizing death, she wanted it to be on her terms. She’d let the icy water claim her, and if she was lucky, she wouldn’t suffer.

Oliver Whitfield had been watching the girl. He couldn’t believe that anything could be so bad as to want to take her own life. But when she jumped from the bridge he had to go in after her. His tiger, bigger and stronger, would have to save her. When they got her to shore, Evan said that changing her was the only thing that would save her. Oliver didn’t want to, but he couldn’t let her die. He had a strange feeling that she was supposed to be the mate to one of his sons.

Adrian wasn’t sure he was ready for a mate. The timing wasn’t right. He still had so much left to do while running for public office, and if word got out that she tried to take her own life, he’d have that scandal to deal with too. But when he caught her scent, he knew, she was his and all thoughts of not being ready for a mate fled his mind.

When Mason opened her eyes, she was fit to be tied. She wasn’t supposed to be here, she was supposed to be dead. That’s what she wanted. What had those meddling Whitfield’s done now?

Shadow Henderson was grateful to the Whitfields for taking them in. She had to keep her mother and grandmother safe from her Uncle Thomas. The man was heavy fisted and had kidnapped her mother and was set to starve her to death just because he was embarrassed by her, he had his sights set on becoming the next president. His sister’s affliction with Altzheimers was an embarrassment to him. Shadow even suspected that he had killed her husband, but she couldn’t prove it.

Blake Whitfield was trying to adopt two boys he had taken into his home to foster, but with being a single parent, the judge went off on him, and Blake wound up taking a bullet for his troubles. Blake was immortal so the bullet wouldn’t kill him, but it still hurt like hell. His parents insisted that he recuperate in their home.

Several of the Whitfields had been pushing Shadow to meet the yet unmated Blake just to see if they were mates. Shadow wanted no part of it. She wasn’t happy in her last marriage and had sworn to never marry again. There was no way she would let anyone push her into anything she didn’t want to do ever again. That included the high and mighty Blake Whitfield.


Autumn was born the seventh child of the seventh child, and what no one else realized, she was also the seventh generation to be born, making her the seventh of seven. That alone brought her a great deal of magic. But her parents mistreated her as a child because she wouldn’t share her magic. After her mother made an attempt on her life, she grew up living with a kind uncle. As a result of the abuse she received from her parents, Autumn was dying from cancer.


The Whitfield Rancher
1.Evan http://amzn.to/2vCYKM5
2.David http://amzn.to/2fOK6dk
3.Joshua https://amzn.to/2IdH4wT
4.Adam https://amzn.to/2znvmcI
5.Adrian https://amzn.to/2HsBl5k
6.Blake  https://amzn.to/2pzDvZK
. Joey  https://amzn.to/3iNEmx8




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“Autumn Hunter?” Autumn stood up and made her way to the medical assistant. “Your name is really Autumn? Your parents hate you or something?” The same question, along with a few others she got every time she met someone new. Smiling, she did not tell the assistant they did indeed hate her, but not until later, after she’d been older. Instead, she stepped up on the scale and thought about how much weight she’d lost in the last year and a half. Being terrified of being caught up in shit and on the run, all the time would do that, she supposed. “You’re here about your belly issues and the results of the test, correct?” Autumn told her she was also out of her pain medication, could she get a refill. “We’ll have to clear it through the doctor first. Once he’s told you—” The assistant looked at the folder in her hand, then at Autumn. She knew it was bad, but how bad was something she was about to learn. Reaching over to take the folder from her, Autumn read the words there before the woman asked for it back. Handing it to her, Autumn was at a loss for words. “He’ll be able to explain your options.” It was on the tip of her tongue to tell her she knew what her options were. There was only one. Death. It was just how she chose to do it. “You’ll need those pills. I’ll make sure you have samples before you leave.” Nodding, Autumn wondered if she should even stay. They’d told her— Well, she’d found out she had stomach cancer. She supposed knowing how she got it would be good, but it wouldn’t change the outcome. Standing up, Autumn was ready to leave when the doctor came into the room.

“I’m sorry, Miss Hunter.” She nodded, sure that he knew she’d read the notes on her chart. “There are things we can do to make things easier on you. A great many more than we had even ten years ago. We’ll make you as—” “How long do I have? I mean, you know that, don’t you?” He nodded. “I don’t know if you remember my first visit with you, but I don’t care for bullshit answers. Just tell me how long I have and whatever pertinent information I need right now. The rest of whatever you tell me is going to go in one ear and out the other otherwise.” “Yes, I remember. You have just about a month. I don’t know how far you got to read, but it’s spread all through your body. Had someone bothered to give you good care when you were ill the first time, you would have had better chances of survival than you do now, two years later.” She asked him what he thought caused it. “Someone tried to poison you, as you know. And that weakened your immune system, which was ripe ground for cancer to dig in. I’m really sorry, Autumn.” “I need to go.” He nodded and told her to come back in a week. “Do you think I’ll be around then?” “I hope so. You’re going to hurt a good deal more than you are now. I’ll make sure you have what you need to deal with it. Autumn, whoever did this to you, it’s the same as if they’d used a gun to kill you.

In fact, as you like it right to the truth, a bullet would have been much faster and far less painful for you.” “I know, but there is nothing I can do about that now.” Autumn got off the table and started to pull on her jacket. “I don’t know what I’m going to do right now, so I’ll call you soon and set something up.” “Autumn, please don’t end your life.” She looked at him and realized he had every right to think that would be something she’d do. “I promise you, when the time comes, you’ll not feel a thing. I’ll be there with you to make sure of it.” “I promised someone once that I’d not do that. And even though she’s gone, I won’t break my promise to her.” She could feel the tears building up in her eyes. “I need to go and think. Your assistant said she had some samples I could have, maybe.” The woman came in and handed her a white bag. It was heavy, but Autumn didn’t bother looking inside. She had enough to think about instead of whether or not she had been given a bag of rocks. Once out in the sunshine—the rain had stopped for now—she pulled on her sunglasses and made her way to her car. Crying without anyone seeing was an easy way to avoid the strange looks that she got. Getting inside her car, she drove to her home. There had been a plan to pick up a few things at the grocery store, but Autumn didn’t feel like that now. As she pulled into the driveway, she saw a car there that she recognized and decided she wasn’t in the mood for her sister either. Moving up to the porch, she saw April sitting there with an angry look on her face. “You locked the door. And my key doesn’t work anymore.”

Pulling out her keys, Autumn unlocked the door and slipped them in her pocket rather than her purse. “Why would you change the locks? I’ve been coming and going out of this house since before you were born.” “Only because someone carried you in and out. You’re only eighteen months older than me. I changed the locks because it’s my house now, and not everyone’s drop in whenever you’re in town place. What do you want, April? I’ve had a shitty day, and you’re not going to make it any better.” “Well, aren’t you in a shitty mood?” She didn’t point out that she’d just told her that. When April opened the refrigerator door, Autumn pushed her own body against it and shut the door. “I want some juice. You always have the best kind.” “I have the best kind because I like the best kind. I don’t care for sharing it today. What. Do. You. Want?” April sat down. Flopped would have been a better word for it, she supposed. “This is getting you no closer to leaving me alone. I want to think.” “Grant is kicking me out of the house,” Autumn asked her why she thought she’d care. “I know you never liked him, but he was my husband. We have a child together.” “First of all, I like Grant. It’s you I don’t care for. And it’s debatable if the child is his or not. I told you he wasn’t as stupid as you seemed to hope he was. For Christ’s sake, April, the man is a doctor. It’s doubtful to me that they allow you to practice medicine when you’re stupid.” April asked her why she was taking his side in this.

“Because, and this should be no surprise to you, you’re a bitch. You cheated on him several times in his own bed. The kid you shove aside for some other rabble isn’t his, and he’s a nice man. I said I like him.” “Uncle Ross should never have left you this house. There are seven of us girls from his sister, and it should have been divided between all of us and not just you.” Autumn explained to her, yet again, that he didn’t like her either. “You’re very obtuse today. What’s up with you?” “I have cancer from the poison Mom and Dad gave me, and it’s spread throughout my body.” April just stared at her for a moment, then asked her who she was leaving the house to. “Get out, April. Now, before I hurt you. You’re wondering why Grant kicked you to the curb? Perhaps you should record yourself having a conversation with someone and listen to it. Maybe that will give you a clue. You certainly don’t have any compassion anywhere in you. And the word you meant to use isn’t obtuse. It’s fucking rude. Get your insults correct. Get out and don’t come back. Ever.” Shoving her sister out the door, she locked it after checking to make sure she had the keys. Then she bolted the door, going to the back and side doors to do the same. If anyone came around now and thought to get in, she was going to blow them away with her uncle’s shotgun in the cupboard.

“He left me the house because I stayed with him for four years while the rest of you acted like he was nothing more than a bank account for yourself.” She was glad he’d pulled his money from the bank after having a wall safe put in the house. There were no credit cards for them to steal. No checks to write out for cash. And everything he owned had been changed to her as the owner with him so no one could take whatever they wished from a dying old man. The house wasn’t much—two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and a single bathroom. What it did have going for it was the three hundred acres surrounding it, as well as the rigging that pumped out oil, the wide creek that supplied water to several towns below it, as well as a mine. The mine alone produced coal and gems, such as gold and diamonds, at a nice rate. No one, just her and Uncle Ross’s attorney, knew the amount of land she’d been left, nor the other operations supplying her with a good amount of income yearly. Autumn sat down on the couch and thought about her day. She had had so much planned for the afternoon after her appointment, but all that had gone to shit. Knowing you didn’t have long to live sure put a damper on things, she thought. The seven of them that April had been talking about were her sisters, all but one older than her—April was the closest to her in age—and all named for a month in the year. Autumn had always wondered if they’d planned to have twelve children. The sisters were named January, February, and April. There was May, June, and July, September, and then her, Autumn. The reason she was the odd one out was because she’d been born in September too—the thirtieth, as a matter of fact. Her name would have been October had she been born just twelve hours later. That was only one of the reasons her parents had hated her.

Autumn was also the seventh child of a seventh son. It might not have made a lick of difference that she’d been born in September if she’d been a boy, what they’d been told they were to have. But being a daughter, the seventh one, it caused all kinds of shit to happen. Her father had a long line of sevenths born to his side of the family. It would only be skipped over when there was a different sex born to that line as the seventh child, such as her being a boy. Autumn was the seventh of a long line of seventh same-sex children. Autumn was magical. “But not magical enough to keep from getting cancer.” Trying not to think about what her parents had done to her so they could, she supposed, cut off her magic, she looked at the things from her mailbox. Credit offers were nothing new to her, and she made sure they were shredded. With those applications in the wrong hands, her sisters would cause a disaster. She had a cell phone bill, as well as a bill for something called Dispatchers. Opening it up, she knew just who had put her name on the billing. It was really too bad on January’s part. Autumn had made it perfectly clear that any bills not okayed in writing by her would not be paid. She would have thought all her sisters would have figured this out by now. Pulling out her phone and making the call come from a restricted number, she didn’t think January would answer. When she did, Autumn asked her about Dispatchers. “Oh, they’re this amazing company that will pick up anything you order from anywhere in the state and bring it to you within twenty-four hours. That way, with me, just having a baby, I don’t have to bundle her up and take her out. It’s so she won’t get sick.” Autumn pointed out that it was eighty-five degrees where she lived. “I know that, silly.

But she could still get germs. Why do you ask?” “I’m not paying this bill. Not one dime of it, January. I made that clear to you guys when Uncle Ross died.” January tried telling her about germs and the baby. “Since I didn’t knock you up, nor did I have her for you, she is not my responsibility. Not now, not ever.” “You got the house, Autumn. The least you can do is pay for a few things extra for the rest of us. What’s it going to take for you to realize you’re not all that special?” Autumn thought about her sister’s house and tossed an expensive glass vase to the floor. “Did you do that? Damn it, Autumn, that was a wedding present from his parents. You’ll pay for that.” “Yeah, good luck on trying to prove I did it from Ohio when you live in California. I’m not paying this bill. And I have no idea how many things you’ve had delivered, but for six grand, I would have thought it would have been cheaper to let the baby have a cold instead of paying this bill.” January called her a bitch. “Perhaps, but you’ll be hearing from my attorney.” Hanging up on her felt wonderful. When the phone rang again, her sister’s number, she turned the phone off and put it back in the coffee table drawer. It was only used to call them anyway. Feeling better about herself and what had happened, Autumn decided to have a salad for dinner. ~~~

“It’s been two years. How do you feel now?” Joey told Tanner he felt like he could hold his own with his magic now. “Good. I’m sorry to spring this on you, but you don’t have a lot of time to get to your mate. She’s having issues.” “What sort of issues?” When Tanner didn’t tell him, it left him to guess or rape his mind again. “Tell me, Tanner, so I can tell if I really do need to hurry along to get to her.” “She’s dying. And soon, from what I’ve found out.” Joey asked him what she was dying from. “I don’t have all the details just yet, but some form of cancer. She’ll need you to heal her before the big guns, as Ollie used to say, come for her.” “How long will it take us to get to her?” Tanner pointed to the tiny looking house that sat back from the road a good way. “We’ve been here the entire time?” “Yes. I didn’t know she was so bad when we came here. But I thought it could do us no harm by being as close as we could in the event she needed you. I should have told you, I suppose, but I don’t like having things changed around when I have no say over them.” Joey just cocked a brow at him. “Saving you from the flames is not the same thing. We needed to make sure of your abilities, and in the end, we were so wrong about that.” “Yes, no shit.” Joey had been sleeping in his tent for the entire time they’d been here. With the magic he had, he’d been warm and toasty when the cold came in. Now it was summer again, and he was starting to feel the heat at night. He also wanted a meal he didn’t cook over the grill and a long hot shower. As he packed up his gear, he realized Tanner was gone again. It was just as well. They had worked hard in the two years, and he wanted to move on as well. Gathering up his gear, he started toward the house. Might as well get this over with. Meeting his mate might be good or bad, but he’d not know until he got there. The screaming had him dropping everything he had and taking off at a run. His tiger took him over before they got too far, and the screaming was cut off. Whatever was going on, he knew it was pain and not just someone letting off some steam.

Gunner Bishop’s Snowy Leap Release Blitz & Giveaway

It would take Hodge time to get used to Gunner’s family. She’d used a little magic to help Raven deliver her twins without any pain. The Bishops were crowding her, wanting answers Hodge wasn’t ready to give. She was a loner, and all these people around her would take some getting used to. Gunner felt the same way and told his family to just go home. His mom wasn’t too happy about that.

To the world, Gunner was retired from his service with the military, but he was too good at his job to just stop. Someone had placed a price on Gunner’s head. He just had to figure out who. They’d come close once, but Hodge had sensed the threat and took care of it. But more attempts were inevitable. Would Hodge be able to intervene the next time?

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Raven Addington was happy with her life the way it was. She and her daughter, Molly, were doing just fine on their own, despite what her mother had to say about it. Merriam, Raven’s mother, never had anything nice to say about anything, so why should now be any different.

Sawyer Bishop had turned in his notice at the police force. No matter how bad he needed the money, he wasn’t about to let a hot-headed partner make him a mark for an early grave. His parents needed his help on the farm, so he was happy to leave the force.

Sawyer was supposed to be on desk duty, but they were shorthanded, so he took the call that came in from the 911 dispatch. It would be his last, and then he would be a poor but free man.

When Sawyer arrived on the scene, it was bad. The poor woman had been beaten until she was unrecognizable and barely breathing. Although he didn’t know her personally, he knew Raven Addington was extremely wealthy, and that bothered him more than he cared to admit. Being a Bengal tiger, he knew from her scent that she was his mate. Her station in life was so far above his, he didn’t think it was going to work. But when she coded in the hospital, he had to make a quick decision and hope it wouldn’t come back to bite him in the ass later.

Sasha Harvard had returned to the small town in Ohio because Hailey Riddle, a ghost, had led her there. Sasha had been speaking to the dead for as long as she could remember. In working with the police, Sasha had been in the field, helping to look for Melinda’s spirit when Melinda Havard had found her. Melinda told her that they were sisters, and the man that had killed her thought that she was Sasha. Melinda had done the best she could to deliver the child she was carrying before she succumbed to her wounds. The child was marked like Sasha, and the dead would find her when she was older. Melinda wanted Sasha to raise her child, and she warned Sasha that the man who had killed her would come after both her and the child because of what they could do. Sasha pulled out the business card of Sawyer Bishop, the officer in charge on the field, and told him that she’d like to meet him at his house and to send someone to pick her up.

Chandler Bishop knocked on Sasha’s door to pick her up. He heard a scuffle inside and broke down the door. A man was standing over Sasha with a baseball bat, and she had been beaten. When Chandler yelled at the man, he just disappeared. Sasha was shocked that he’d seen the man. Chandler thought the man was a vampire, Sasha told him the man was dead.

Chandler had found his mate and could see the dead now too apparently. And the little girl, Pip, her niece, would be theirs as well. A ready-made family and he couldn’t be happier. But would he and his tiger be able to keep them safe from both the living and the dead?

the living and the dead?

Wesley Bishop was helping out a friend by letting Emmie stay with him. He knew she wasn’t his mate, but she was good company. Emmie was hiding from her abusive brothers. When she asked Wesley to take her to the bank, she was meeting her best friend Penny and Penny’s grandfather, Joe, to go over their accounts, Wesley readily agreed.

Wesley thought Penny was about the prettiest woman he’d ever seen—feisty too, and when her scent hit him like a freight train, he was the happiest tiger shifter on the planet.

Penny, not so much. Like Emmie, Penny’s family had a way of getting their point across with a heavy fist. Trusting a man wasn’t easy for her.

Wesley was no quitter; he’d convince his new mate to trust him if it was the last thing he did. And keeping her safe was proving to be more difficult by the day.

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Happy Reading,

Dressed in her blues, Hodge looked over at Gunner. He, too, was dressed in his dress blues, what the service considered dressing up. His, however, were covered in medals and ribbons all over his blouse or jacket. Plus, his arms were decorated with patches and other items that she was sure no one, but he and a few other people had ever obtained. Hodge did know that if he were promoted again, he’d be in a whole new level of medals. He looked over at her while the funeral that she’d been brought to today proceeded. His wink, something that he did quite well, didn’t deter her from thinking this was a colossal mistake in them coming together. Tuning out the minister, she wondered what anyone would say if they knew she didn’t know this man any more than she had the other three that had died over the few days since she’d been rescued from the vets’ hospital. But, as a vet, she wouldn’t know how to do anything else but to honor his death the way he’d deserved. The same with Gunner. The man’s family, a young wife and three children needed to know that someone from the veteran’s administration would be there for her.

No one had since her husband had been brought into the States and treated for wounds he’d acquired while serving abroad—treated poorly, as it turned out. Hodge knew all too well what kind of treatment they and herself had received there. Captain Penhall had been killed by an enemy, not on foreign soil but right here at home. Also, the man that had taken his life was a friendly. A doctor that should have been helping him and the others instead of hurrying their deaths along, as he had “better things to do than cater to losers.” His words rang through every newspaper in the world when they were leaked from his military trial. The doctor did not have a friend in the world, it seemed, after that. Today was the fifth day she’d been out of the hospital. She wasn’t any happier than she had been while there, but at least she wasn’t hurting, nor did she feel she was going to be killed off every second—just a few times a day rather than all the time, as it turned out. She was, however, still very weak. Her body had had an infection so bad that it was a wonder she made it through Gunner changing her. Hodge looked over at Gunner when he touched her arm. It was time, he told her. The folding of the flag was something she’d seen done a hundred times, much more than she thought should have been necessary. But this was the first time she’d been one of the few that were helping at taking the draped flag from the casket and preparing it to be given to the wife of the fallen. Not only that, but it was going to be her duty to hand the flag over to Mrs. Shirley Penhall. It was an honor all within itself to do something so profound. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” Mrs. Penhall nodded, her face red from the tears she shed in her sorrow. “If you need anything, please make sure you let me know. I’m here for you.” “Thank you so much, Captain.”

Nodding once, she moved back to stand with Gunner. Nothing could have prepared her for the overwhelming need to have him hold her. It was crippling, this need, and it took everything in her power to remain stiff and ready when the guns were fired for the man’s funeral. She’d not realized that the entire Bishop family had attended this funeral. Hodge didn’t know why she was surprised—they’d attended each of them so far. They all dressed for the part too. Sawyer was in his police uniform, and the others in nice suits that looked as if they’d been made with them in mind. When the family was leaving, she made her way to the car, leaning heavily on the cane that she’d been given. “I could help you with that if you’d let me.” She told Gunner that he’d helped her enough, she was already a cat. “I meant that I could carry you. You don’t weigh all that much, so it wouldn’t be that hard to pick you up.” “Such a charmer you are. No, I don’t want you to pick me up. I’m fine walking. Besides, wasn’t it you who told me I needed to get up and moving more?” He told her not to the point of exhaustion. “I couldn’t not attend this funeral. It’s not right that anyone within a mile shouldn’t attend this one because the man gave up so much to fight for us.” “He did. So did his family.” She was at the car by then and leaned against it while looking at Gunner. “Are you looking for a place to stick a knife? It won’t work, you know. We’re both immortal. I believe you were told that.” He grinned like he was off his meds or something. “I know that, but you can’t fault me for thinking about it. Don’t you have someplace to be?

Like, I don’t know, overseas or something?” He said he was retired. “Sure, you are. Like I’m retired. I doubt very much either of us would be able to retire after all we’ve been through. I know for a fact that you’ve seen shit that no person should.” “And how do you know this?” She said that her bedroom was just down the hall from his. “You hear me cry out? I’m sorry for that. I’ll sleep in another room from now on. Or outside. I don’t mind if—” Hodge punched him in the gut. When he stood up again, she drew back to hit him again. Before she could, Raven told her to stop. Glaring at her, she asked her why the fuck it was any of her business. “I don’t know, but people are watching us, and I didn’t want you to be slapped all over the front page of the paper. They’re just waiting for something like that to happen.” Raven looked at Gunner. “Behave yourself, Gunner. Wait until she’s fully recovered before you start driving her to beating the shit out of you.” Raven just stood there, rubbing her belly. There was a stiffness in her stance, more so than there normally was. Hodge moved closer to her and put her hand on her large belly. When Raven knocked it away, Hodge put it back and told her to fucking standstill. “You’re in labor.” Nodding, she saw the first bit of fear on her face. “How long? Do you have them timed?”

“They just started while we were standing there. But they went from little twinges to something powerful.” Hodge asked her if she realized that shifter labors were different than human labors. “I was told they’d be quicker, but not too much else. I’ve been putting off getting things ready.” “Ready or not, here it comes.” Hodge helped her to the other side of the limo they’d been standing next to. “Breathe. And don’t give me any shit about what I’m about to do.” “What can I do?” She told Gunner to make sure that Sawyer or the others didn’t come here. “All right. I can do that.” He kissed her on the mouth, then took off. She was still staring at him when she realized what she’d been doing. When Gunner disappeared over the hill, she looked down at Raven, who was lying on the back seat of the limo. It was good, she supposed, that they didn’t go for little cars. Not that she thought any of them would fit in one. The limo was going to be perfect. However, this was going to cause some shit to hit the fan. But this was an emergency. “Look. I can do this thing. I want you to just do what I tell you, and it’ll be over in no time. All right?” Raven asked her if she was going to be all right. “You’re an immortal, moron, what do you think?” “Snarky. Just what I need. All right, you do your thing. But I’d like Sawyer here at some point. He’s the father.” She nodded and looked up over the hill again to tell Gunner to bring Sawyer and his brother Quincey. They might need him. This link thing was kinda nice when things like this shit was happening. “What is it you want me to do?” “I want you to listen to my voice.

The timber of it, the calmness of it. Do you hear it? The way that I’m calm? That I’m not upset?” Raven said she did. “Close your eyes for me. Close them and think of something that is calming to you. No matter what it is, it calms you to the point of relaxation.” “Do I need to tell you what it is?” Hodge told Raven that she could see it, but to tell her calmly what it was, describing it in detail. “I’m sitting at my desk. There is no clutter on it. The board in front of me is cleared. I’m going to make it home on time today, and I’m excited about that.” “Good. Now, put it in a bubble above your head. I want you to be able to open your eyes and see the bubble there with you doing just what relaxes you. Do you see it?” She said she did. Hodge saw Sawyer coming down the hill and reached out to him to tell him to keep his fucking mouth shut, or she would shut it. “Reach your hand up to the bubble now, Raven, and touch it. It will attach itself to your finger, and I want you to bring it closer to your head. Like you’re able to see into a building from all levels.” What can I do? She told Sawyer to wait for her to tell him. That’s my wife there, and if you hurt her— You finish that, and I will hurt you to the point where you wished you weren’t immortal. Now just stand there while I finish this for her. Talking to Raven, she told her to bring the bubble over her head. It would be safe, she could breathe, but she could make adjustments in her work environment to get ready for the next day. Hodge kept up the magic she used to calm someone while she delivered the baby.

“All right, Raven, I want you to stay where you are and tell me what it is you see now. Look out the window from your office. Below you, there are others. Family that has come to bring you home to them to have dinner.” “Yes, I see them. Sawyer is there. And Molly. Even my grandma Holly.” Hodge handed the baby to Quincey and waited for Raven to speak again. “They’re waving at me. I can see them. Oh, Andi, this is the most wonderful way to relax. I have to have you do this for me again.” “You have no pain, do you?” She said she didn’t, and Hodge stuck her tongue out at Sawyer. “All right, Raven. You’re going to go to sleep now. Close your eyes, and then I want you to take ten steps in relaxing the rest of your body. Start at your toes. Relax them so that they’re not stiff. Then your calves and knees.” As she worked her way up the other woman’s body, relaxing her as she went, Hodge delivered baby number two. She’d known all along that there were twins, but not what the sex was. A boy first, then the daughter. Both of them were healthy and looked wonderful. As soon as Raven was deep into her sleep, Hodge fell back against the door and slid to the ground. It wore her out something terrible to do this, and she also fell into a deep restorative sleep. ~*~ “If you ask me that one more time, Sawyer, I’m going to pound your head in so far that you’ll need to start talking from your fucking ass.

I don’t know. All right? I don’t know what she did or how she did it. I only know that your wife is fine and dandy. And so are your children. Now, I want you to back the fuck off before I really do test the theory about all of us being immortal.” Raven came into the living room where he and Sawyer were. “Don’t. Just don’t ask me.” “I wasn’t going to. But I noticed that you don’t have any juice in your house, so I had your cook order some. Is he really an army grunt?” Gunner nodded and said that they were in the same holes together. “Well, he’s a great cook. I had one of his cupcakes. He said that he bakes when he’s nervous. Sawyer, leave your brother alone and go see how your parents are doing with the babies. I can’t believe I feel this good after giving birth to two nine pound children.” When she went toward the kitchen and Sawyer to the living room, Gunner made his way up the stairs to the bedroom where he’d put Hodge when they’d gotten home. She was still in the bed, but she wasn’t sleeping like he thought she should have been. “How are the twins?” Gunner told her they were both doing fine and dandy, something that he’d caught himself saying a lot today. But he explained to her that their parents were going to die. “Yes, I heard you telling Sawyer you were going to hurt him. By the way, who else besides them knows what happened out there?” “My family. Was it supposed to be a secret?” She shrugged and sat up in the bed. He started to help her, but one glare in his direction had him standing back. “Would you tell me what you did? That way, I can get them off my back and on to their own homes. I’m not used to having this many people in here at one time. It’s too much.” “Why do you think I’m still up here? I’m not good around people either. In fact, you being in here is pushing it. Are you all this hulking?” Gunner laughed. “From

where I am, you look to be about seventy feet tall. Sit down, will you? You’re making me a nervous wreck.” He sat down but was up again when she staggered a little going to the bathroom. She allowed him to help her, and that made him think she really shouldn’t be up and around just yet. But he knew better than to point that out to her. If nothing else, she was a fighter. “My mom is directing the cook to make you something brothy. I don’t know what that means, but Grunt, as he likes to be called, knows and is currently making it. I think he’s afraid of her.” Hodge asked him if he was. “Of course, I am. She’s my mother, but she is also the one person that can make me feel about two inches tall when I get out of line. Which I do quite often, but not where she can see me.” “Good to know. So when you piss me off, again, I can just go and see her.” He helped her as far as the door, and Hodge grabbed the vanity before turning to him. “I have a little bit of magic given to me by an old witch. I don’t know if she gave me more, but that one spell is all I’ve ever used of it. As I’m sure you’re aware, sometimes there isn’t time for a doc to come around and pull a bullet from one of your men. Also, men cry like babies, and it would keep them quiet too. I’m going to pee, then I’m going to go back to bed. I suddenly feel like death warmed over.” “Do you think she gave you more?” It took her a few seconds, but she did nod. “All right. We can work on that if you want. Or not. The very fact that you delivered Raven and Sawyer’s children is putting you in good standing with the rest of the family.” “What about you? Am I in good standing with you?”

He leaned against the door frame and told her that she was his mate, his everything. “Didn’t really answer the question, now did it? Go away. I have to pee, and I can’t if you’re going to be lurking right outside the door. Go get me something to drink. Please? Don’t hurry back.” “I’ll go and get it for you if you promise not to try and do anything but go from the bathroom to the bed.” She promised him she couldn’t do anything else. “If you can’t make it back, Hodge, I’ll carry you. Don’t overdo it again. I can’t stand to see you this weak.” “I can’t either. I might be here when you come back.” The door shut, but she didn’t engage the lock. “I’m not locking it in the event you have to come carry me back. I don’t want you busting down a door just to find me laying on the floor with my nooks and crannies hanging out.” Gunner was still laughing when he entered the kitchen. His mom was there, as was Penny, Raven, and Quincey. They all turned to look at him as he moved to the refrigerator to get out something to drink for Hodge. Mom asked him what was going on. “Nothing. She’s up and in the bathroom now. Weak, but stubborn about it.” He looked at Raven when he continued. “She said that she got a little magic from a witch once and that she has been using that particular thing on her men when they’d been shot. It also kept them safe, as the person was no longer feeling the pain they might be in and crying like a wimpy baby in the field. Are you satisfied with that answer?”

“No. And I’m sure you’re not either. She delivered twins from me, and I didn’t know a thing was going on.” Gunner asked her if she was mad about that. “I’m not. But I would like to know where she got it. I know you said witch, but I’m also sure you know witches don’t go giving out magic to just anyone.” “That’s all I know. If she wants you to know more, I’m sure she won’t have any trouble telling you. I’m not trying to be rude here, but I’d really like it if you all left us alone. She’s not very good around a bunch of people, just as I’m not.” Raven pointed out that they were family, not strangers. “No, you’re right. But you’re still in the house of two people that have spent a better part of their adult lives with only the grunts around them. It’s a little noisy and disconcerting for both of us to have to share much space. I’m sorry about how that sounds, but you have to understand that we’re different than the rest of you are.” Raven stared at him, and he wasn’t worried. Gunner, too, had a few tricks up his sleeve. Raven could read minds—all of them could, but not one of them would get past the barrier he had in place. Not unless they wanted to hurt themselves. “Come on, everyone. Gunner is right. We’re only making the situation worse by hoping she’ll come down here.” Mom looked at him before leaving the kitchen. “You take care of her, Gunner. All right? I know you will without me telling you, but she isn’t as strong as she might think she is.” “I think she’s stronger than even me.” Mom asked him how he’d come to that. “She hasn’t had any trouble at all ordering me around.

Nor does she have any trouble telling me she needs help. I don’t ask for help unless I’m dangerously close to losing it all. That makes me dangerous. Her? Well, she is going to keep me sane, I believe, and that will take someone with a strong heart and strong will. Which I’m thinking she has by the bucket full.” “I worry for you, Gunner. I always have. You know that, don’t you? That I love you?” He kissed her on the cheek and told her he loved her as well. “I want you to be happy. Will you be, you think? The two of you holed up in here all the time without family around all the time?” “We both need to re-establish ourselves in the population, Mom. That’s all. Like I said, we’ve been alone for the most part, and it’ll take us a little bit to get used to having a social life again.” Mom smiled and told him that social would be good. “I think you’re right. Don’t worry about us, Mom. I’m sure that if Hodge needs help with me, she’ll call you. She’s going to make me a different man than I am. One that you can be proud of.” “I’m always proud of you, Gunner. Always know that. No matter what you do, how you do it, I will forever be proud of you.” She kissed him on the cheek, then slapped him none too gently. “Don’t run me off again, young man. I’m still your mother.” “You are. And I’m sorry.” She left him there, with not only his juices to take to Hodge but some soup that Grunt had made for her. Gunner wondered how this was going to go. Two people living in a huge fucking house with no one but a cook. He decided that he was going to

need staff too. Someone to come in and clean up. Now that he was in the house all the time with Hodge, he figured it could use a nice going over once in a while. You’re talking to yourself. Or something like that. He told Hodge he was making a list of things he needed to get done. I’m still in the bathroom, by the way. I don’t think I can make it to the bed again. I’m sorry to put you through all this. I promise you, it’s no problem. I have some juice and soup that Grunt made. She asked if his name really was Grunt. No. His name is Alexander Parkinson the Fourth, but in the service, everyone referred to him as Grunt. It sort of stuck, you might say. Gunner got her out of the bathroom after helping her wash up a little. By the time he got her into the bed, she was nearly asleep again. He asked her if she’d take a little of the soup. He fed it to her, as she wasn’t in any shape to feed herself. “I think I overdid it today. This entire week, as a matter of fact.” He told her how they’d been running since she’d been released. “I have been sick before, but nothing like this. I feel just so zapped all the time. That infection, it took a great deal out of me.” “When you were rushed to the hospital, Quincey was in the ambulance with you. He told me that you coded twice while on the way. He didn’t know what you’d had done to you, but he ran a lot of tests. I guess he’s still waiting on the results.” She asked him why his brother would even care. “You’re my mate, and in turn, his sister. You should have seen him when he came out of the emergency room when you were taken up to your room. He looked like he’d gone a couple of rounds with you and didn’t come out on top.”

After feeding her about half the soup, Gunner watched her as she drifted off to sleep. He could have sat there all day and watched her, but he wouldn’t get shit done. Reaching out to his mom, he told her that he needed some staff. I see. You do know they’re going to be in the same house with you and Andi, don’t you? I mean, if you hire them, they’re going to show up for work. He told her that he was sorry. Again. I know, Gunner. But I can worry about the two of you and tease you a bit. Is she resting? Yes. Hodge ate some soup and a few cookies that Grunt sent up to her. Right now, she’s sleeping. It’s worn her out going to these funerals while trying to heal too. I hope she sleeps for a couple of days. It might do her some good. Mom told him it couldn’t hurt, that was for sure. Then she asked him if he was going to call her Hodge. I think so. I guess it suits her more than Andi does. You can call her that as well, but I’m sticking to Hodge. Call it a pet name, if you will. I think it does suit her, but I’m still going to call her Andi. He told her that was fine by him. I’ll get you a staff. While I’m at it, I’m going to be looking for things to fill out your home. Why do you only have two rooms on the main floor filled? I was sleeping outside until Hodge came along. It just never seemed the right thing to do, filling up a house that no one was living in. Mom asked him if he still slept outdoors. Not much since I brought her here. Once or twice. Mom, I have terrible nightmares, and I felt safer where I had room. I’m working on them. See that you do. And Gunner, you stay safe. I don’t want to be reading the paper and find out my son has been hurt. I know you’re still going out—I see it in your eyes.

So whatever you’re doing, please make sure you’re doing it safely. He told her he would. I love you, Gunner. You’re the only son that I never worried about getting into trouble. Never doing one of those silly things that young boys and young men do. You’ve always shown that you have a good head on your shoulders, and you know how to use it. Thanks, Mom. She told him again that she loved him. And I love you with all my heart. Even with my mate here now, you’re still the number one woman in my heart. I hope someday you say that to Andi. A girl like her, I don’t think she’d get into pretty words or romance, but she’ll need to hear that you love her. He said that he’d tell her, daily. But only when she was ready to hear it. Good. I’m going to hold you to that. All right. I’m going to start making a list. I’ll talk to you later. Let us know if we can do anything for the two of you. Gunner kissed Hodge on the forehead and left the room. He’d done nothing the last few days but try and keep her safe. He should have realized this a couple of days ago, but she was more than likely being safer than he was. He’d even given her a gun to put under her pillow so she’d feel safe. Going out into the waning sun, he stretched every muscle in his body before shifting to his other half and taking off to the woods. It only took him an hour to make his body feel better. Running as his cat, he could do things with him that he could never do as a human.

When he reached the fake dead tree that he’d had been put in the woods for him, he pressed the keypad to allow him access to the rooms below the tree. When the tree moved back, he took the stairs down to his lair, locking the door behind him. Gunner would have to bring Hodge out here soon. He knew it was about the safest place to be when someone came calling that wanted him dead. There were enough factions that had his nickname high on their list, but no one that he knew of had his real name. If they did, they were dead before they could tell anyone. Ghost. That’s all the people he was after knew him by. Even the people he worked with only knew him as Gunner, and not the name that he was called. Someone that could slip in and out of a situation and never be seen. He had four messages from his handler and two messages from his attorney. Answering the ones from his attorney, he was glad that the man was going to fax him the information he needed to put Hodge on his accounts, as well as having her the beneficiary to his insurance. He’d never claim it, but no one knew that but him and his family. One of the messages from his handler told him that his money was in the account set up for payment. Making sure there were no viruses on the thing, he opened it up and transferred the money to one of his many accounts. Just as he answered the last email from handler number seven six-eight, he got another message from them. He read over the job description twice before he realized he wasn’t supposed to be getting this, and it wasn’t a joke. Printing out a copy of it, he was ready to answer it when the email simply disappeared. Looking at the printer while it geared up for the job, he hoped the fuck he’d gotten it. As soon as it started to print, he got another email from his handler that told him he’d been hacked.

There wasn’t any way Gunner’s computer had been hacked. Also, there wasn’t any way for them to tell if he’d been the one that had his computer fucked with. As soon as the printer was finished with its job, he took his phone out and took pictures of it. Then he set to work on where it had come from. After an hour, he knew that it had come from his handler. The IP address on the computer had been the same. Now all he had to do was figure out why someone had put a hit out on him and mistakenly sent it to him to be done. Something was really fucked up here. The third email he got from his handler, he ignored, as he had the first two he’d gotten from her when the email stated he’d been hacked. Something was wrong here. Something dangerously wrong. As he was shutting down his computer and turning on the tracker, he was ready to go back to the house. He was nearly to the stairs when he turned back and picked up the letter. He wouldn’t ask his family for help on this, nor would he tell them what he’d gotten. First of all, they’d want to help him out. Secondly, they’d be hurt if he told them, of that he was positive. Going back to the house, he was both surprised and pleased that not only had Hodge gotten up, but she’d made it to the kitchen with his friend and cook. “Everything all right?” He told her he wasn’t sure. “Well, that’s not terribly helpful.

I wanted to tell you that I got the strangest email while I was resting. I was going to show it to you, but you seem to be really stressed right now. I can help you by listening if that will take that scowl off your face.” “Tell me what you think is strange about an email.” She stared at him for several moments, and then he put out his hand, knowing somehow that she’d printed hers as well. “I’ll tell you about what is going on later. I need to think first.” “All right.” Handing over her email, she watched while he read what it said. It was the same email he’d gotten. However, he noticed something on hers that he’d not seen on his own. She’d printed it up with who it had been sent to. It looked to him as if it had been emailed to everyone on the sender’s list. Instead of telling her, he handed his to her. “I printed it out in your office. I hope you don’t mind. Why would someone send out a hit on you? Or, for that matter, why would they send it to you and I? I don’t know any of these people.” “I don’t know. But I intend to find out.” He looked over her email with all the names of the recipients on it. “Are any of these people here, are they people that you’ve worked with before?” “No. The only name I sort of recognize is the first one. The president. I mean, I can’t for sure say it’s him, but that’s what he goes by, correct?” He told her he thought so. “Perhaps this would be a good time for you and I to have a long talk about shit. You know, just airing out our dirty laundry. Like, you tell me what it is you do for a living with the special services, and I’ll tell you what I did.” “All right. But first I have to show you something.” She said she was game. “How are you feeling right now? I mean, up for a walk?”

“Yes. I think I was just stressing out over all this shit and had me a good nap. Then taking a chance, I took a long bath to soak. I feel tons better.” She watched him as he paced the room. “This is going to be bad, isn’t it? Something I’m betting your parents don’t even know about.” “No, they don’t. I’d like to keep it that way too.” She nodded. “Come on. I want you to see what I’ve been doing. But if you don’t want to know, or it’s too much, let me know now.” “I want to know. I want to help you.” Gunner wasn’t sure she could, so he just nodded. “All right. I’m ready. Let’s take a walk.”

Beckett Robinson Destruction Release Blitz & Giveaway


Allie Langley was upset about losing her job. It wasn’t the teaching job she wanted, but it helped pay the bills. It was just how her luck had been running since she’d moved to that town: first, she’d been kidnapped and tortured, now the job. What next?

Becket Robinson’s car had broken down, and he needed to use the phone. He hadn’t expected to find his mate when he knocked on the door, but now that he had, he couldn’t wipe the grin off his face. It didn’t matter how much she ranted and raved about it either. She would fit right in with the rest of the family.

But when Becket discovered her injuries and how infected they were, he called in Thatcher, one of his brothers, to help.

Allie collapsed in Beckett’s arms when her fever spiked. Allie’s brother begged Beckett to change Allie into a tiger to save her. Thatcher agreed that converting her would be the only way to save her. Beckett knew he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. But, he couldn’t let her die…. He knew he was going to have one pissed off mate when she finally woke up. If she woke up….


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A fresh start was what Rogan Hall needed. A small town, out of the way, where no one knew her or her brother was where they’d start over. She worked from home, and they kept to themselves. The only thing Rogan couldn’t give up was her early morning run.

Like clockwork, she ran every morning, and again, like clockwork, the same family would pass her on the country road heading to who knew where. The little boy in the back seat would wave at her with such enthusiasm, it made her heart melt. However, that morning, everything would change. Only moments after the car passed her and drove around the bend, she heard a loud commotion. Another car barreled past her, and she found the quaint family’s car overturned and on fire. Rogan did the only thing she could do, she saved them.

Thatcher Robinson was on duty at the hospital when his parents contacted him through their link and told him about the accident and what to expect when the ambulance arrived. Thatch, his dad, told him they had to save the woman by changing her, but her burns were severe, and his dad wasn’t sure that the new tiger would survive.

When Rogan regained consciousness, she was unsure where she was, but she knew she was different. She could feel the tiger move just beneath her skin. Rogan knew very little about shifters, but what she did know had her cringing. Why someone would take it upon themselves to change her, she didn’t know, but when the young doctor, Dawson, said his brother was her mate, she was furious. If the big, bad, Thatcher thought he was going to order her around, he had another thing coming….



Anna didn’t know what to do with the man who acted like he was attached to
her hip. Every time she moved, just to get up and move to the bathroom,
he’d be right there with her, helping her into a panic attack. Not really,
but that was what it felt like to her.

Morgan wasn’t sure what he’d have to do to convince Anna that he wouldn’t
just up and leave her. She was a tiger too, and she knew they were mates
just as well as he did. But for some reason, he couldn’t get her to trust

“I don’t think that I’d offer you my hand. You’d more than likely bite
it off.”

She growled at him.

“I’m not sure if you feel the same way I do about me growling at you,
but all it does when you do it is making me want to spread you out before
me and lick every square inch of you.”


Trudy Justice was good at her job, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t vulnerable. Caught unaware by a fellow FBI agent, the gunshot wound to Tru’s gut nearly did her in. To the world, Tru was dead. Rogan was hiding her out until they could figure out who had marked her to be a target.

Houston Robinson, a tiger shifter, was preparing to shift and take a much-needed run when a strange woman’s voice interrupted him before he could remove his pants to shift. At first, he was irritated, but when he saw the blood, he wanted to help.

Hurting bad and suspicious of everyone, Tru was in no mood to listen to anyone, especially a shapeshifter claiming to be her mate. She didn’t care how nice he pretended to be….


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Houston finished up the paperwork that had been piling up on his desk while they’d been gone. Three of the most fabulous weeks skipping around the world, and he’d not wanted to come home. He didn’t think he could have stayed forever, but a few more weeks wouldn’t have been too bad. Looking up when he heard a noise, he smiled at Sam when he came into his office and flopped down on the chair. Looking up at him again, he nearly had a massive heart attack when he saw his face. Taking a deep breath before speaking, he asked him what had happened. “The school nurse said it was my fault. It wasn’t. I have to have a meeting with her and my grandpa tomorrow.” Houston asked him why he was stitched up. “This kid, he’s in a higher grade than I am. He said I was stupid. I’m not. But when I tried to prove to him that I was smart, that ticked him off something terrible, and he used his notebook to beat me up. Why? Why does everyone have to think that beating someone up is a good way to solve something?” “I don’t know. But I’d say you’re going to have to talk to your aunt about those bruises too. Did you know she’s here today?” He looked around like his aunt was going to jump out of the woodwork at any second.

“Who did the work, Sam? Was it the school nurse?” “Yes. She said it was too distracting for her to fill out paperwork on me while I had this gaping hole in my face. I wanted her to call Uncle Thatcher or Uncle Dawson, but she told me they more than likely had better things to do than to come down there and mess with me.” Sam looked upset. “They’d not think that, would they, Uncle Houston?” “Never. I’m going to contact them now and tell them they need to have a look at you. Are you hurt anywhere else?” When Sam stood up, Houston had a very difficult time holding onto his tiger. The kid looked like he’d been run over a couple of times, then once more just for the fun of it. “Did the school nurse see these as well, son?” “She didn’t let me show her. I told her I was hurting, but she said that since I’d started the fight, I’d have to deal with a little pain. Nurse Calendar sent me back to class after she fixed my face. Uncle Houston, do you think the aunts will have a hissy fit and kill her?” It was tempting for Houston to run out and do just that himself. “They sure do get powerful mad when they figure someone is getting the shaft, don’t they?” “They do at that. I’m assuming they didn’t notify your grandparents either, did they?”

Sam started to shake his head and put his hands to his temples. “Right. All right, we’re going to the hospital. And I’m calling the police as well as the family. There are some important laws being broken right now, and I want someone’s ass to be roasted for it.” Sam started to laugh but stopped. Houston was so pissed off right now he had to take in and let out several long breaths before he could speak. Yelling for Tru because it gave him a way to let off a little of the steam, he was glad to see her almost as soon as he finished saying her name.

While she fussed over Sam with him telling her what he’d told Houston, he reached out to his family. I’m going to take Sam to the hospital. Would someone please take his grandparents? I don’t want them thinking the worst. It is bad but not life-threatening. At least not his life. He told them what he’d heard from Sam. She didn’t notify anyone and put the worst looking stitches in his cheek and forehead that I’ve— She didn’t have permission to do that, did she? Houston told Thatcher that, as he was saying, he didn’t believe she’d even called anyone. I’ll meet you at the emergency room. I’d say bring him here to the clinic, but I think this needs to be done with the police involved. The police are going to have to question Sam. Is he going to be all right with that? I would think so. He didn’t have any trouble telling me. I think that with him having Tru there, he’s going to be a little better. She will also be able to make sure he’s not bullied. Thatch thought that was a great idea. He’s pretty beat up, guys. And the longer he sits here, the more the bruises are showing up. And his back. Christ, it looks to me like he was dragged through gravel. Or was beaten with a whip. I’ve not asked him which. I’m barely holding on here as it is. Tru sat in the back seat with Sam and Jacob. He could tell that Jacob was upset, but he was trying very hard to be brave for his brother and aunt. Every time Houston got a spare second, he would turn and speak to the younger one. Jacob was the most tender little guy he knew. Something occurred to him while he was sitting at a light, and he turned to ask him about it. “You’ve not had any trouble with the school, have you, buddy?” When he didn’t answer right away, Houston glanced at Tru. “Jacob, is there trouble with your teachers as well? We don’t want to have you suffering if you don’t have to.” “Tell them, Jake. You have to tell them too.” So, his brother knew as well. This was beginning to be serious now. Pulling over into the grocery store lot, he waited on Jacob to see what he had to say. “I told them. Now you have to do it. It’s not right like he said.”

“Some of the other kids knock me around when I’m going to my lunchroom or class.” Houston knew it was more than that, so he waited for him to get things in his head organized so he could tell him. “I don’t tell the teachers anymore. They said I’m lucky anyone wants to have me around them. That my dad is a womanizer and that my mom didn’t even want us. They were going to sell us off, so we’re nothing to anyone. I don’t know what that is, but I think it’s a bad word.” “It is the way they’re using it. Houston, please take us to the hospital. Please.” Tru touched his mind, and he could almost feel her anger. I’m not going to go to the school. I’m not going to go to the school and kill every last one of those fucking bitches. I know just what you mean. He pulled out into traffic again and told her what he’d done. I didn’t want your parents to freak out, so Beckett is going to pick them up so they don’t drive. It’s bad enough that they’ve hurt Sam, but Jacob is about the sweetest kid in the world. Why would anyone want to hurt him too? I’m so pissed right now. I don’t know how you’re driving so calmly. I’d be driving too fast and running every red light. He told her he was having a hard time of it as well, but he was concentrating hard on driving safely. Not me.

Those fuckers are going to pay for this. You wait and see. Both his brothers were at the hospital when they arrived. Thatcher took one look at Sam and ordered an entire set of X-rays, as well as a CAT scan. Dawson had to keep breathing deeply in and out to keep his cat under control. The Justices showed up just as his parents did. Hell was going to be paid if the looks on their faces were any indication. Then Andrew, chief of police, showed up with two deputies. “Don’t say a word.” He smiled at Tru when she got up in his face. “I want to do this by the books, and if I have to arrest you to keep you from telling my men what to do, you know I’ll do it. You have to lay low because everyone is going to say you’ve forced my hand in this. All right?” “Yes. I understand. I don’t have to like it, but I do understand. Wait until you see them, Andrew. They’re a fucking mess.” He said he’d sent two of his men to pick up not only the nurse at the grade school but also the principal and the lady that ran the desk in the office. “Thank you. I do appreciate you doing this.” When the other two women showed up, Andrew told them the same thing. Houston thought he was lucky to have been the one to tell them. He’d have not wanted to be anywhere near any of them right now. They were as pissed off as he’d ever seen them. A message came from Jacob to have him come and see him. “Hey, buddy. What’s wrong?”

He’d been crying, and it hurt Houston in ways he couldn’t explain to anyone if asked. “Your grandparents are out there. Do you want them to come and see you too?” “I’m not going to prison, am I? I don’t want to be there where the other parents are that gave birth to us.” They’d decided that even though Trudy and Blake had adopted their grandsons, they’d continue to call them their grandparents. “That kid that hits me all the time, he told me that if I told on him, I’d go to prison just like the other parents did. And the nurse, she told me I’d better be keeping my mouth zipped, or I’d be just another name in a book. I don’t know what that means, but I don’t think she meant it in a good way, do you? Don’t tell my grandparents. I don’t want them to have a stroke or something and leave us behind. We do worry about them all the time, Sam and me.” “That’s very good of you, but I think you need to keep them in the loop from now on. But no, I don’t think she meant that as anything but a bad word. But you’re not going anywhere except home when they release you. The police are here too. They’re going to ask you some questions about what happened. Jacob, you tell them the truth about all this, even if it embarrasses you or makes you feel bad. I swear to you, nothing is going to happen to you or Sam.” He asked if his aunt could be there with him. “Yes. She’ll like that. But don’t let her yell at the police too much. You and I both know she’s a little protective of the two of you.” “She sure is.” They both smiled. While he was telling him about the work he was doing at home, Tru and Andrew showed up. Houston stood up to leave. “Uncle Houston, can you make sure that my brother is all right? And tell Grandma and Grandpa that I’m all right?

I don’t want them to worry too much. They’ve been really good to me and Sam.” Houston said he would and had to leave the little area quickly. He was so close to sobbing about how much he loved these kids that he was sure he’d be a soggy mess before talking to the Justices. Finding them in one of the private rooms in the emergency room, Houston told them what he knew and what had been done about it. “Thatch was in here a few seconds ago. He’s going to find out what he can about Sam. I didn’t know any of this was going on.” Houston assured Blake that he’d not known either. “It does explain a lot, though. The last week or so, the two of them have been spending a lot of time in their rooms. I was thinking they were regretting that we took them. But now, I think they were nursing their wounds. Don’t you?” “Someone told Jacob that he’d end up in the same prison as his parents if he were to tell anyone.” Trudy started crying softly when he told them that. “Did Sam come and ask you if he could come to our house?” “We weren’t home when he got there. We told him so long as he gets his homework finished up, he could always go to one of your homes. I found his bookbag outside of the house like he’d never even gone in when your brother showed up to bring us here. I think he’d had enough and decided to get you and Tru involved. I hate to ask you this, but why didn’t the two of them come to us?”

Houston told him what the boys, both of them, had said to them. “They think that we’ll have a heart attack and leave them? I guess I can understand that. I went to the doctor the other day, and neither of them believes I got a clean bill of health. I’ve been sort of acting my age lately. You know, moaning and groaning about every little thing. I was doing it just to be funny. I won’t do that anymore.” “No, I don’t think you should. Not until the two of them are a little more secure with you and themselves.” Houston looked up when the elevator dinged for this floor. “When you see Sam, just know that he’s getting the best of care. Thatcher and Dawson are working together to make sure of that.” Sam was laying back on the gurney when he was brought out of the elevator. He thought that every time he saw him, he looked a little worse for wear. Neither Blake nor Trudy moved to follow him back to a room. He thought they were just as upset as Sam was right now. In pain too—a different sort of pain, but still hurting. Houston followed Dawson when he went by him. He didn’t pepper him with questions like he wanted to but just stayed with him. As soon as he entered the little room with Sam, he got word that Jacob was going up for X-rays as well. Dawson sat down on one of the little stools that he moved closer to Sam’s bed when he was ready to speak.

“Do you want this like a man, or do you want me to sugar coat it a little for you?” Sam looked at Houston, and he told him that Dawson was good at both ways. “I’m a sight better than your aunts would have been. You tell me, and I’ll tell you what I’ve found out. Thatcher is working with your brother if you’re going to ask me.” “I was. He’s hurt too.” Dawson said he’d found that out. “I want to be a man about it, but I’m still afraid. I didn’t start this fight, Uncle Dawson. I swear I didn’t.”
“I know that, son. We all know that. All right?” Sam nodded. “You have a fractured wrist and a couple of cracked ribs.” Houston had to sit or lean onto something, or he might well have fallen over. “Also, this is going to suck, but I’m going to have to redo the stitches that were put in. Do you know if she washed them out before she did it, Sam?” “No. She told me I was making a mess and distracting her, so she laid me down on the bed and put them in. It hurt too.” Dawson looked at him before Sam spoke again. “I don’t want to have to go back to that school. I don’t care if I have to be a deadbeat. I just don’t want to hurt anymore.” A nurse came in and gave Sam something to relax him. It was enough that it also knocked him out. Dawson had to leave the little room before he could work on Sam— he was that angry. Houston was close to hunting down the woman who had done this and tearing her apart. That wouldn’t be a figure of speech either.

~*~ Tru sat with the boys after they’d been admitted. They were both in the same bed in Sam’s room. She was glad for it. The two of them needed each other now more than ever. Sam was still out from earlier, and Jacob had been given something as well. The two of them were so stressed out having to deal with this on their own, Dawson said he didn’t think that either of them had gotten a good night’s sleep lately. She was still sitting there with the boys when her mom came into the room. “I feel like the worst kind of parent to these two,” Tru told her it had nothing at all to do with her and Dad. “I know that in my head, but my heart isn’t having any of it. Do you suppose this has been going on from the very beginning? Them being bullied, I mean?” “I don’t think so. They’ve been going there for a month and a half. What I think happened is that the kids were having their fun with them, and when the teachers didn’t say anything, they went for the big time. The kid that hurt Sam is going to be put in jail. I don’t know for how long, but long enough that he sees the error of his ways. Five boys had been hurting them, with the encouragement of their parents. I’m taking care of them.” She expected her mom to tell her not to kill them, but all she said was good.

“Mom, they didn’t want you and Dad to worry. They have it in their head that if anything happens to the two of you, they’re going to be taken to prison to live with their parents. I don’t know who told them that bunch of bullshit, but you can bet that I’m going to find out.” “I hope you make them see the error of their ways as well.” She put her hand on Jacob’s head as it rested on his brother’s pillow. “They look so tiny right now. I thought they were beginning to come out of their shells around us. Not that they’ve been terrible to us. In fact, they’ve been as good as gold. We couldn’t have asked for better children. But I always felt that they were holding back some part of themselves. I wish it had only been that they were not trusting us in some way. Holding back on being hurt like they have been makes me feel like I failed them.” “There is no telling what Shasta told them about the two of you. Or me, for that matter. She wouldn’t have been happy with anything that we supposedly did to her by not giving her money or anything else.”

Mom said she’d not thought of that. “Also, they would have heard her bitching with Mike about all of us, and you know as well as I do that kids hear more than anyone thinks they do. I can’t imagine how much shit we’re going to have to fix because of them.” “I should have thought of that myself. I used to tell Shasta that she shouldn’t say things like she did in front of them. That they’d hear her and take it to heart. When I think of all the things they heard about you when you were away, I could just scream. I’m so sorry, honey.” Tru told her she didn’t care that she had made her peace with Shasta hating her. “When you told me she said that she hated you, I could have just sobbed. My goodness, when I think of all the things I’m finding out now about her and Mike and what they did, I want to bury my head in the sand. You were right about telling us to never lie to the boys about anything that we find out. It’s difficult at times, but we do it. Simply because we want them to be able to handle anything that comes along.” There was a very timid knock at the door, and a little boy came into the room. He looked lost for a second, then saw the boys. Clark, she thought his name was, and she asked him if he was there to see the boys. “Yes, ma’am. I am. I didn’t know they was having trouble. I’m going to a different school now, and we don’t see each other as much. I’m doing my homework.” Tru told him that was wonderful and moved so he could sit next to the bed to see them. “I surely wish I’d known what was going on. I would have been in trouble for them. They’re my best friends, you know.”

Overnight, after one night of staying with the boys, Clark really had become a different child. He started studying his homework, paying attention in class, and was no longer a bully. In fact, Tru had heard that he was making a name for himself, telling others to straighten up their act. Tru stepped into the hallway while Clark talked quietly to her mom. She’d been missing the little boy too. Rogen was coming down the hallway, almost as if she knew she’d be standing there. “I have some news. Want to go and get something to drink with me so I can talk to you?” Tru asked her if she could tell her mom. “Yes. If she wants to come too, that’s fine with me.” Mom didn’t want to leave the boys. Plus, she and Clark were talking about his new school. Tru would bet anything that by the end of the day, not only would Sam and Jacob be pulled from the other school, but they’d be joining their best friend at his. “I’ve found the video of the nurse putting the stitches in his head. Christ, she didn’t even give him anything for the fucking pain. You can see him gripping the side of the bed hard enough to leave an impression on it. Fucker is going to pay.” She asked her if she’d been picked up yet. “Yes. Thankfully, or not so much, without any incident. The principal was telling the officers that picked her up that she had nothing to do with the failure to report. I didn’t know that was a state rule until then. Did you?” “Yes. I did a stint as a teacher once. They have all kinds of rules like that. Also, that a nurse cannot administer pain medications to any child unless an adult that is related to them is there. She gave Jacob an aspirin yesterday when he was in the office for his injuries.” Rogen asked her if she’d heard about what had happened to Jacob.

“Houston told me that he has a sprained wrist as well as some deep bruises. His back is torn up like his brother’s as well. Apparently, the teachers are using flyswatters and a smallish whip on them when they’re called upon in class. Not to answer questions, but to have them stand up and tell them about their parents. The boys wouldn’t do that, and it would make the teacher pissy enough that she took her frustrations out on them.” “I have had them arrested too. The entire school is closed down for a few weeks. Long enough for me to get the lowdown on all of them. I did hear from one of the kids that the custodian would hide the boys in his closet so they’d not have to go out on the playground. That is where most of this shit happened. I’m so sorry, Tru. I know you well enough by now to know that this is killing you inside.” “It is. But more than that, I want to hunt them down and take them out. Not even say a word to them, just kill and move on.” She looked around when she realized they weren’t alone in the cafeteria. “What have you figured out so far? I’m sure you didn’t bring me down here for a glass of the nastiest tea I’ve ever drank.” “No—not only that, anyway. And I’m sort of glad your mom decided not to come. I have two things to tell you that are going to make you madder than you already are. Jacob’s teacher is an ex-con—for child abuse. How she got by the background test is something else that I’m looking into. You can bet that heads are going to roll with that one.” Tru asked if she could take care of her. “Seriously, it might well come to that. I’m looking into things. The second thing I have to tell you is that your nephews aren’t the first to get treated this way. Not nearly as bad, but almost so. I have six grown men coming to me about the treatment they got while in school there.

It’s going to close this school up faster than anything when it gets out that they covered things up. Same principal, same nurse.” “What else?” Rogen told her she was working up to it. When Anna joined them, she turned a file that she had in her hand over to Tru. Tru opened the file and stared at the pictures she saw there before looking up at her friend. “Is this who I think it is?” “It is if you think that’s the president of these here United States. He was a child in one of the earlier schools that these two worked at early in their career of harming children. I put in a call to him about it, and I’m waiting for a callback. He’s running the country, I was told, and couldn’t be bothered. I’d like to hear what he has to say about that when he finds out what has happened here.” They both laughed, and Anna came back from getting a bag of chips and some juice. “I was bringing her up to date on the names of some of their victims. Especially our president. He still has a hard-on about having us work personally with him. I believe that’s just too much power to give to one person. If he keeps hounding me about it, I’m going to up and quit. See how he likes that. The fucking bastard isn’t taking no for an answer.” “Word has it that these two change their name and move on when things start to get hot. Someone warns them that there is going to be a police call, and they both skip town. They’re roomies, not lovers that I can find, but they do live in the same household most of the time. Not this time, for some reason that I’m looking into, but they do spend a great deal of time together. Anyway, have you tried this new brand of chips? They taste like horse hay.”

Tru was getting used to Anna’s way of drifting in a conversation if she had things that she didn’t think you’d be happy with. “I have seventeen people that are going to be given their summons to appear in the morning. Everyone at the school, including the cooks, is going to have to appear at some point when this hits the court system.” “Do you think they were all involved?” Anna told her they were and why. “So just knowing about the abuse is going to get them shit canned. Good. I’m betting that in a few weeks, there are going to be a lot of people demanding their money back. I think my parents are wishing they’d not put them in this private school now. I know I didn’t even look at anything about it when I should have. I take some of the blame for that.” “As I said, the school will close down, and then maybe—and that’s a big maybe—it will reopen when they have a new set of teachers. I was going to ask Morgan if he’d mind helping us with that for a few months. Not teaching, but just interviews.” Tru asked if she thought he’d do it. “I do now. Perhaps not before this happened, but he will now.” Nodding, the three of them were still talking when Houston joined them. Her dad was with him, and they seemed to be having a very serious conversation.

However, when they sat down, they talked about how the boys were holding up well and would more than likely be going home in the morning. “My parents are going to help with some of the care they’re both going to need. Not a great deal, but Thatcher wants them to have a good bit of fun for the next couple of weeks. After they heal up a little. Then they’re going to go to the pack school with their buddy Clark.” Tru had forgotten about that and was glad that Houston mentioned it. She knew that Clark was going to a different school and that his mom worked for the packhouse. Tru had simply forgotten. “There will be a lot of arrests over the next few days. Even some parents are going to be taken in concerning this. The two main people are in jail now. I’ve never been so glad of someone being arrested as I am the two of them.” Everyone agreed. When Tru made her way back to the room, she thought about what other things had been in the file. There were pictures of other abused children, each picture accompanied by all the information of the now adults. The one that bothered her the most was the one of the young boy that looked to be about seven. His death certificate said he’d committed suicide when he couldn’t handle what they were doing to him anymore. Tru was going to make sure that no matter what happened, the boys were going to be all right mentally. She might talk to her parents about having them see someone now before they got in any deeper. Making herself a note on it, she was happy to find the boys both awake and talking to Clark. Kids could bounce back from just about anything, she thought.