Lucas The Manning Dragon Release Day and Giveaway

 

Micky had been alone since her fiancé had taken his own life, just days before they were to be married. The note he’d left had put all the blame on her. It was in his handwriting, but she wasn’t so sure that it was a suicide. She had her suspicions that it was staged to look that way, but the police were in a hurry to close the case and that was the end of it. So, Micky had packed up and moved to a small town in Ohio, took employment as a cashier in a grocery store, and kept to herself. She liked it better that way. No one else would die because of her.

Lucas Manning hated hospitals. His dragon hated hospitals even more. Only days after becoming an immortal, during a bank robbery, he took a bullet to the chest. By all rights he should have died. His doctor told him he was under too much stress as well and if he didn’t do something about it, immortal or not, he could be in some serious trouble.

Taking the doctor’s advice to heart, Lucas decided to make some serious changes in his life. Eating healthier was a smart change, so he went shopping.

When the man put his things on the line she was in, Micky told herself that she was going to quit at the end of her shift. There wasn’t any point in working much longer. And the sooner she got moved, the sooner— She realized that the man was staring at her oddly.

“I’m sorry. Did you say something to me?” He shook his head and she started ringing up his things. A health nut came to mind when she rang up salad makings, coconut milk, and vitamins. When she was finished and told him how much it came to, he stared at her as if he’d never seen a woman before. “Are you all right?”

“I am now. What’s your name?” She pointed to her name badge, thinking that he was off his noodle. “My name is Lucas Manning, and you’re my mate.”

Micky could have gone her entire life without those words.

 

 

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Cooper Manning and his five brothers were true dragons. Centuries ago, when the humans had turned on their kind, their father sacrificed himself to save his sons by casting a powerful spell which allowed them to walk among the humans. Even centuries later, Cooper couldn’t seem to let go of the past and despised most humans.

Carson Langley was exhausted. After being forced to work thirty-six hours straight, she unwittingly complained to the new plant owner, now she knew she was fired. There was nothing left to do but go home and cry about it later.

Cooper was sent by his brother to retrieve the helpful woman and bring her back to the plant, and he wasn’t happy about it either. It didn’t help that when she answered the door she shared his sour mood, and when he touched her hand, the magic that surged between them meant only one thing—she was his other half, and she was human…. Cooper was seeing red.

 

 

Winnie wasn’t happy with Cooper at all. She had only done as ordered and had spent five years in prison because of it. Cooper was supposed to protect her, but he didn’t. Now the dragon king wanted her to protect them all from the new slayers in town? How was that fair? The sooner she completed her mission, the sooner she could move on and leave it all behind her.

Hudson had been told that Cooper had hired a man by the name of Wendall. He just wanted to meet him so he could measure his worth, but when the door opened, the woman behind it was writhing in pain. He only meant to help her, but the moment he touched her, her pain became his as well.

Winnie had been appointed by the Dragon Board to be their protector long before last names were given. She had hunted her first, expecting to be paid by coin, but was rewarded instead with magic and a title. She didn’t have time to take a mate, much less a Manning. She had too much work to do.

The word “no” wasn’t in Hudson’s vocabulary. Winnie was his mate and he’d do whatever he had to claim her.

With slayers lurking in the shadows, Winnie has her hands full, and can’t let a new mate distract her. She had to remain on her toes or all would be lost….

 

 

Lincoln figured the new artist in town would be one of their mates. He’d heard she was a real ball buster and thought that maybe she would be Tristan’s mate because Tristan said he couldn’t handle that. But when Ginger introduced him to her sister, Grace, he knew from the moment he touched her she was meant for him.

Grace was in shock. Garrett had taken her into his office when the show was still going on and told her that she had all but one of her paintings sold, including the twelve that she’d given him permission to sell. Twice now she’d had to put her head between her knees, which wasn’t easy with the dress she had on, in order to not pass out. Sold all but one? How was that even possible?

Lincoln sat at her feet on the hem of her dress. His attempt to to calm her shaky nerves had her about addled, and when Grace suddenly stood, the dress ripped from shoulder to hip. Standing there trying to get herself covered, she felt her temper snap. Now what was she supposed to do? Grace didn’t know whether to kick him or beg him to help her.

 

The Manning Dragons
Cooper http://amzn.to/2wrHvtu
Hudson http://amzn.to/2xqqpiR
Lincoln https://amzn.to/2H2lHxN

 

 

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Lucas hated to be in the hospital. Actually, he hated any place where he was inside. He preferred the outdoors, even when it was cold or raining. It was where he felt the most alive. When someone knocked on the door, he gently turned his head to it. Since being shot, Lucas about puked every time he moved too quickly. “How you feeling?” He told Cooper that he was feeling pretty good except for the dizziness.

“Yes, I would imagine that would be something that you’d have. You were shot. Did they tell you that?” “No. No one mentioned me taking a bullet and it took me a while to figure out. I’m guessing the reason that I’m still here is because it was either iron or steel.

Where is my doctor? I think she’s avoiding me.” Lucas frowned at his older brother. “I’m embarrassed at the things I said to her. When she came in here this morning, I realized my mistake. But she did smell great.” “Yes, she had a talk with all of us, asking us if you ever had this sort of issue before.” Lucas asked if she really called it an issue. “Yes. She knows all about us, as you can imagine with her being a doctor and all. But the fact that you claimed she was something else to you sort of set her off into the world of unknowing. Not mad, but she had thought that the bullet might have done more damage to you than she’d first thought.” He could see that. When the door opened again, Lucas started to tell the good doctor that he was sorry once more when she simply lifted her hand up. Cooper laughed and stood up. Lucas asked him to stay and he declined. “I have baby duty later—I still have a lot of things to get done while she’s with her mother.” He turned to the doctor and put out his hand. “Thank you so much for taking such good of my little brother.” “You’re very welcome.” Doctor Carver sat down beside the bed when Cooper left. Her smile, for some reason, was not very reassuring. “I wanted to tell you straight up that you should be dead.

The bullet had pierced your heart. If it hadn’t been for your sister-in-law telling me about you being an immortal, I would never have believed it.” “Lucky for me that was a power given to me just the day before.” She nodded. “I’m truly sorry for saying those things to you. I think, as you asked me once, I hit my head a little harder than I thought. You also told me that the man and the bank manager are both dead.”

“Yes. Someone here was treating him for his mental problems and had been for some time. They adjusted his meds for some reason, and we’re believing that is what had him going to the bank.” Lucas nodded. “The entire county and beyond think that you nearly died. As you’ve more than likely done in the past, we have to play it up for the cameras and the others out there. I would suggest a couple of more days. In fact, I’d like to insist on it. I know that you’re still having trouble with the dizziness, correct?”
“Yes. It makes me ill to move too quickly.” Doctor Carver asked him if he was still sick after he stood up. “Just a little. Not as much as when I move my head. I can walk well, just the quick movements.” “I’ve done an MRI on you and had someone come in and have a look, as you know. I’m thinking that it’s a pulled muscle or a pinched nerve. There is no other explanation that I can find to tell us why that is going on.” He nodded, saying he supposed a neck sprain was possible. “I’ve talked to your family, and they told me that you’d been under a little stress lately.” “Yes. I’m helping the family out with some investments. As well as a few other projects that I have a hand in. It’s very time consuming, but I like it.” He looked around the room slowly and noticed that there were more flowers than had been there yesterday. “I’ve been an attorney a few times in my lives, and it’s served us when it was needed.”

“Your brothers also told me that you’ve bought several buildings downtown, help the kids at their garden plots when you have time, as well as being involved in four more ‘projects.’ You’re not going to get any better if you don’t slow down. Do you have anyone working for you?” He told her his helper was on vacation. “Alan Peck?” “Yes. How did you know?” Doctor Carver told him that Alan had been in to see him, and one of the others told her how Alan had been on vacation. “He didn’t come home for me, did he?” “I wouldn’t know.” She stood up. “Mr. Manning, you have family. I would like to suggest that you start having them or someone help you out. You’re stressed, and you need to calm down. Having immortality would be horrific if you couldn’t enjoy it.

” After she left him, he lay there on the bed thinking. He could have gone home, she told him, but he decided to do what she said and stay on a few more days. Also, he was scheduled to have a cat scan soon, and that might tell them what was going on. Closing his eyes, Lucas tried to relax his body. How about I tell you a bedtime story? I can even modify it so that there is blood and guts in it if you wish. He smiled when he realized that Carson had spoken to him. The doctor just called Cooper and told him what she thinks and wants you to do. If I were you, I’d jump on that so that you tell Cooper what your plans are before he gets to order you to listen to the doctor. It’ll make my day. He did just that and could hear the frustration in his voice when he told Cooper he was going to stay at the hospital for some extra time and would try his best to delegate more when he was working. Lucas was still laughing when he told Carson what he’d done. He’s none too happy with me at the moment. She told him congratulations on upsetting Cooper’s plans to make him do it. You sound a little sad. What’s up? Anything I can help you with? That is the very reason you’re stressed, you know. He told her that loving her wasn’t stressful. Yeah, sure it’s not. No, I don’t have anything going on that you could help me with. Unless, of course, you’re lactating and would come and help me feed my baby.

No. No thanks. I don’t think I’d enjoy that all that much. But seriously, what is it? She didn’t answer him, and he tried again. I might not be able to help you, love, but I know a great many people that would jump at the opportunity to do something for me. Just say the word. I’m bored. I love being a mom, especially when the boys came here. They’re like a breath of fresh air in my day. But I’m not able to be gone for long because I have to feed the little one, and even when Cooper is here, he’s not really. I mean, I love him to death, but he’s not much in the way of conversation when he comes home and shuts himself up in the office. He asked her why she’d not told him that. I don’t know. I guess because I figured that if the door was closed, not to come in. Not bother him. Nah, he’s just closing the door because he’s done that all his life. He might leave it open once in a while, but he’ll eventually get up to shut it. I’m sure that it still stems from being hunted for so long. You have to remember that Cooper was the oldest of us, and saw how the humans treated our kind a lot more than any of us. She said she’d not thought of that. I’m sure that if you asked him, he’d say he didn’t even realize he was doing it. I thought for sure that he was telling me to stay out of his domain. Lucas said that Cooper would never do that to her. I think that you’re right on that. I’ll work on that for myself.

So, you didn’t find your mate. I have to tell you, you were funny right after you were shot. I’ve never seen someone so hell bent on leather as you were to have a mate. I’m just glad that the doctor wasn’t her, by the way. She has three children and a husband that worships her. But she’s out there, Lucas. Don’t give up because of this. I want to see you happy—all my new brothers happy, as a matter of fact. I won’t. I promise. This was just a bump in the road, I guess. He looked around the room. I have a favor to ask of you. There are a lot of flowers in vases in my room. I’m going to be here for a few more days. Do you think you could arrange for them to be picked up and put out for the little creatures before they’re no longer good for them? Carson said she thought that was a wonderful idea. You remember that, so you can tell my actual mate what a guy I am. She was still laughing when the connection was broken

. He, like his brothers, loved Carson—hell, all the women in the family. They had taken his brothers to a level of kindness that he’d never seen before. Not that they’d not been kind before, but now they were more accepting of change and showing their affections. When his supper was brought to him, he was surprised to see the bag it was in was from one of his favorite all time restaurants. Opening it up, he read the note before digging into the food. Hey. Knew you had to be sick of the food there, so I thought of you when I was at Submarines this afternoon. If I can, I’ll have the rest of the guys bring you something better for each meal. Love you, little bro, Hudson. Opening the foil around the first of two subs, he was so happy to find that it was also his favorite—meatball. He could literally eat them for every meal. Biting into the crisp bread with the soft inside, he moaned when he also tasted the sauce and meatballs. If he kept getting food like this to be delivered, he might survive staying in the hospital. Not really, but it would make it slightly more tolerable. Lucas ate both subs and the large bag of cookies that were in the bag. He usually didn’t eat sweets that much—they were something that he really enjoyed but kept
himself from eating.

Now that he knew that he needed to be less stressed, he decided to enjoy food a little more. In moderation, he told himself. There wasn’t any point in over indulging too much—he’d burn out. Lucas lay back. Things were going to be better for him soon. ~*~ Micky ran each item over the scanner as the two women in her line spoke. Well, argued. The woman in line behind the person she was checking out was screaming at the first woman. Something about food cards and eating things like frozen pizza and other convenience foods. Micky didn’t care so long as no one killed anyone. Murdering someone had become the way people dealt with things that they didn’t like. If someone were to argue with someone, or even have a driver cut them off on the highway, the solution was to pull out a gun and kill them. It was one of the reasons that she didn’t drive. Another reason was that she didn’t own a car. Not that she couldn’t afford one, she told herself as the produce was weighed and bagged; she could. But that would mean dipping into her savings account, or any number of places that she had money stashed, and she wasn’t going to do that. Just as she was finishing up the groceries, the second woman totally lost her shit when the total for the first woman came to over two hundred dollars. “Why are you able to spend that much on groceries when I can barely afford to feed myself on what I make?” The woman she was helping didn’t engage but handed Micky the card that would pay for her food. “You have to answer me. I’m the one making it so you can have food on your fucking table, by God. I work my ass off so that you can laze around your house, eating whatever you can microwave or pop in a toaster, as your—” “You think I like being on this card? You think that I’m sucking on the tit of society?

Well I have news for you. If it were to bring my husband back to me, I’d surely give up being able to feed his four children and myself. He died for you and your freedom to have free speech. Well, right now, you can go and fuck yourself and your freedom of speech. I’m a mother of four small children that have no idea why their father isn’t coming home to us. I was suddenly thrust into being the head of a household that I’m barely holding on to, if you fucking care. And since going back to work just after giving birth to his fourth child, his little boy, his sisters and I are needing some help.” She looked at Micky with tears in her eyes and on her cheeks. For the first time since working here, Micky wanted to hug someone.

“I’m sorry, but you’ll have to help me trim this down. I didn’t realize that I’d gone over.” She’d gone over by twelve dollars. When Micky started to tell her she’d cover it, the man behind the two women spoke up. He told her that he’d get it, that it would be his pleasure. Everyone in the store had heard the exchange, she realized, when a few more people decided to help her out too. After Milly—that was her name—thanked them all, especially the first man, for helping her, she went to her car. But while she was loading up, the man, finally getting his turn to check out, asked Micky to hurry, as he wanted to give his cart load of food to Milly as well. Fourteen men and woman also donated, not just groceries, but cash. One
woman bought her a gift card, telling her that she might have bills that it would take care of. Micky was walking home that night when she thought of the woman. She wondered if it was a scam. She’d heard it had happened before. Not where she worked, but another grocery store. The person would stand in line and wait to be abused. Then when the shit hit the fan, so to speak, they’d have this sob story all thought out, so they could get not just food, but cash as well. Micky smiled. She needed to think of better things than scams. There wasn’t any trust in her either, not for human kind. She was human herself and she knew a great many shifters, but she didn’t trust. Anyone. She hadn’t always been like she was now. Micky had learned the hard way not to even trust family. She had two sisters and a mother that were around, but she never engaged with them, nor did she try and seek them out when she had time to visit. They weren’t people that she trusted either, especially her mom. Mariam Mantle was as shifty as anyone she knew.

So were her sisters; Me-Me—her nickname that she’d given herself— and Bethany. Me-Me’s actual name was Mariam too. Giving herself such a cutesy nickname was something that she had done to differentiate herself from their mom. Bethany hadn’t stood for any nickname. It had always been Bethany, which she supposed was the reason that Micky called her Beth. And Me-Me, she was called Mariam the Second. It was the small things that got her through. Micky’s apartment was small, but she loved it. It wasn’t in the best of neighborhoods, but it wasn’t that bad either. She could come and go as she pleased, and there was a front doorman, the landlord’s son, who wasn’t there more often than he was. Micky was glad for that too, since every time she saw him he bugged her to go out with him. There wasn’t any way that she’d go out with Sam Adams for all the money in the world. He was a jerk. Putting her smock up, she sat her purse on the table. She would have a sandwich and then sit on the couch until it was time for her to go to bed. Yes, she thought, you do have a sorry life lately. Micky thought of her life thus far. She had been engaged once. The man that she had fallen in love with had hung himself rather than spending the rest of his life with her. It had devastated her so badly that she had cut herself off from everyone and everything for a long time. Actually, she sometimes still had trouble with people. Micky turned on the light on to read a bit. At just after seven, someone knocked on her door. If it was someone begging for money for some campaign, or even Sam, she was going to go straight to the landlord and complain. This was just annoying. Opening the door, the man she saw standing there looked confused for several seconds before he spoke. “Mariam Mantle?” She said that she was Micky. And like everyone over the age of ten, he asked about her name.

“Are you really Micky Mantle?”
“So it says on my birth certificate. Mariam is my mother or sister; depends, I guess, on what the birthdate is.” He told her. “My mother then. She doesn’t live here. Never has, as a matter of fact. You have the wrong Mantle.” “I’m to serve her.” Micky told him that she couldn’t help him with that either. “You have no idea where your mother might be?” “Not if I can help it. And if I did know, I’d tell you. Someone needs to put her behind bars.” He asked her if she wanted to know what she was being served for. “Nope. Whatever she’s done, not paid for, or stolen, I had nothing to do with it. The only time I see her is when she’s breezing through town and needs a place to flop. Not that I allow that, but she tries.” “You don’t like her.” She said nothing, but he seemed to understand. “All right, Miss Mantle. I’ll try elsewhere for her. Thanks for your time.” Shutting the door, her phone started to ring. Micky thought that she was about the only person in the entire state with an actual phone. She didn’t have a cell phone, cable, or even a computer. But she had a phone that hung on the wall. Smiling, she answered it. “What do you have to say for yourself?” Mariam the Second, her voice as shrill and nasal as it could have been. “I asked you a question, Micky, and I expect an answer.” “You asked me what I had to say for myself. Since I haven’t any idea what this could be about, just tell me so that I can either tell you to go to hell or to fuck off. It doesn’t matter to me.” She heard Mariam’s sharp intake of breath and knew that she was going to scream at her about something.

“When you call the next time, make sure that you explain yourself better than you did this time.” Hanging up the phone felt good. She knew that it would be short lived, this feeling. It would piss off her sister to the point of her making a real nuisance of herself. So, when it rang again, she took her time answering it, waiting until the machine kicked in to take her message. Instead of answering it, like she’d planned, she let Mariam the Second rant. “You fucking bitch. Wait until I tell Mother what you’ve done this time. You are going to be in so much trouble.” Micky wondered if her sister realized that she was nearly twenty-five and had stopped caring what her mother had to say about her personal life when she’d been a teenager. “You need to bail out Bethany. I don’t know what they’re accusing her of, but she’s always been the nice one. You never have. She’s at county—” Micky was glad that there had been a timer on her machine. That way Mariam the Second had to call back. And she did so, three more times. The entire exchange could have just taken the one message, but Mariam the Second had to pull out all the stops and call her every name in the book. It might have been funny if it wasn’t so pathetic of her sister. When she called back the sixth time, Micky answered the phone.

Mariam was on a roll now and cursed at her again. Hanging up on her without saying a word, she waited until it rang once more before picking it up again. Mariam was much calmer this time.
“I want you to go to county lock up and pay to have Bethany gotten out of jail. This is all your fault anyway.” Micky asked her how that was possible. “You didn’t let her come and stay with you when she left her husband. The jerk was curtailing her spending. Like he didn’t have the money to burn.” “I didn’t even know Beth was married.” Mariam corrected her on the name and said that she’d been married last year. “Last year? Well, I guess by now she’d have it down pat on divorcing husbands. What one is this one? Four? Five?” “Seven. And what do you care for? It’s not like you send out Christmas cards or birthday cards. You’ve never sent one to my children, much less me.” Micky said that she didn’t care for her or her children. “What a horrible thing to say. My children are my life.” “I’m sure that they are. And someday they’re going to get life in prison for the way they act like rules don’t apply to them.” Mariam told her that they were exploring the world and that wasn’t a crime. “No, I don’t suppose you’d think so. But armed robbery and selling drugs, to most people anyway, is a crime. I guess you have your own set of rules, just like Mom and Beth do.” “It’s Bethany. And why shouldn’t we? We pay our taxes. We aren’t on welfare like most people that you more than likely hang with. Why shouldn’t we have a set of our own standards as to how we live?” Micky just laughed. “When can I tell Bethany you’re coming?

She’s been in holding all day, and she wants to go home.” “I’m not sure what you think I’m going to do, but I’m not paying to have her bailed out. You do it.” Mariam told her that her husband had put her on a budget, which didn’t include bailing her sister out. “I always knew that Michael was a smart man.” “I’ve not been married to Michael for nearly ten years. You should be ashamed of yourself for not knowing that. But my new husband, Neil Patterson, is a great deal smarter than I thought he was. I will be filing for divorce from him soon enough. I just have to stash away more money first.” Micky decided to find out who he was and let him know what his wife was doing. “Now that we’ve established that I’m not able to do it, that only leaves you.” “No, it doesn’t. And no, I’m not doing it. You’ll have to figure something else out. What did they arrest her on, anyway?” She told her. “Making a nuisance of herself? Yeah, well that does sound like something that Beth would do. Who did she bother? I’m sure that it was someone she wanted to accuse of something.”

“It’s Bethany, which isn’t that hard of a name to remember, Micky. Say it with me. Bethany. And she had every right to be there at her former home. She hadn’t been able to get her things out of the house before he had the locks changed. What a horrible man to do that to our sister.” “She’s only my sister when she or you want something. Same with you. I’m not going to do it. And don’t call here again. I won’t be answering the phone when you call.” Hanging up this time felt better than it had before. Taking the phone off the hook so that it would ring busy, she went back to her book and decided to just go to bed. Her family always landed on their feet, and this time, Micky knew, would be no different.

Going to bed, Micky knew that she wasn’t going to rest well. Whenever she had to deal with her family it was the same thing. She’d be all stressed out and her belly would rebel. Micky tried to count sheep and then name the presidents and their vice presidents. When neither worked, she got up to go to work. Today was going to be hard, she knew that. One or all of them would be looking for her. Micky decided at the last minute to leave her purse at home with her cards and money in it. All she had on her when she left was her lunch, having left her keys inside as well. There was a hidey key that she could get in with, so she felt like she was safe from them taking what didn’t belong to them. She told her boss about them as she clocked in. He said that he’d be ready for them. She hoped she was too.

 

 

Griffith: The English Dragon Release Day & Giveaway

 

Griffith was a very old and powerful dragon and just the opposite of his twin James. The only thing they had in common was their looks, they were identical. James, although first born and immortal, didn’t inherit the dragon gene and had held that over Griff’s head their entire lives. Anything Griff got, James felt it should be his instead.

Griff found his mate, Lilac, by chance. She had just barely escaped James’s evil clutches, and the moment she saw Griff she was terrified that they were one and the same.

Lilac was a water faerie, and daughter to the queen of faeries which made her queen of the water, but that was a secret she would have to keep to herself. That knowledge in the wrong hands could spell disaster, especially if James found out. Lilac was slow to trust, but Griff made it difficult not to love him. And when Griff suddenly disappeared, would he be able to forgive her for holding such a secret? Trust worked both ways and that was one huge secret.

 

Amazon USA https://amzn.to/2Pk7qgl
Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2MyHqiO
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/griffith-kathi-s-barton/1129187834?ean=2940161642849

SmashWords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/883670

ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/griffith/id1418800342?mt=11

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PAPERBACK  https://amzn.to/2MrrQGJ

 

 

Danburn English is the ninth earl of the English castle. He and his dragon alter ego have been on this earth for a very long time. Danburn is accustom to his orders being followed to the letter, no questions asked, so when this feisty young woman bucks his authority he is beyond angry.

Kendrick Barrera can’t seem to get caught up. Every time she turns around, her sister is in trouble again. Now, because of her sister’s new mess, she’s being evicted and has nowhere to go.

Danburn’s intentions were to defend her honor, but when Kendrick intervenes, she steps in front of a punch intended for her mouthy landlord. Now Danburn has to step back and take a good long look at himself, and he doesn’t much like what he sees.

Kendrick doesn’t care for the overbearing lord of the manor and makes no bones about telling him so either. No one, especially him, is going to tell her what to do or how to act or dress.

There is something about the feisty woman that has touched Danburn’s heart. She has a rare honesty and bravery that has him take notice. A woman like that is hard to find and should be protected and cherished. The chemistry is there, they’ve both felt it, but controlling his mouth just might get in the way of winning Kendrick’s heart….

 

 

Cassie had just arrived in Danburn’s territory and she knew as a dragon she had to report to him. Whether she liked it or not, she’d gone from one ruling male, her father, to another. Being a female dragon, and unmated, she felt cursed for her lot.

Everette Welsh, Rett to his friends, was having a hard time making ends meet. He was a good attorney, but it seemed to do him little good. His good friend, Danburn, insisted he quit his job and come work for him. Rett had no intentions of taking Danburn up on his offer, but when his boss called him into his office and was demanding that he apologize for threatening a man who blackmailing him, the words “I quit” spilled from his mouth without thinking. However, once said, he felt better for it.

Rett found himself on the wrong end of a shotgun blast, and Cassie gave a bit of herself to save him. There were only three conditions of taking dragon’s blood that a human would survive, and the other two didn’t apply to him. Rett and Cassie were mates.

Only two things stood in their way: Rett’s obnoxious mother, and Cassie’s father, a lethal combination…

 

Quinn Langley knew her mother didn’t have long to live. Soon it would just be her and her little sister, Carmine. Nearly recuperated from her own injuries, Quinn knew the first order of business would be to find a job and get out of Danburn and Kendrick’s hair.

Danburn had invited his friends to his home to spend the holidays, and that included his good friend, Hanson McClain. Hanson’s parents had run off and left the estate in a shamble and near financial ruin. It had taken Hanson months to repair the damage, and he was ready for a break.

Quinn had no idea that her cousin, Kendrick, was mated to a dragon, and that she and her sister were the only humans in the house. And now, the handsome stranger, Hanson, also a dragon, had claimed that she was his mate. It was time to leave. The ever practical, Quinn didn’t want solutions just handed to her on a silver platter. She’d make it on her own. But in life things don’t always go as planned. Like it or not, Hanson’s parents were a problem she’d be forced to deal with, and she discovered her sister, Carmine, had abilities Quinn didn’t quite understand.

Thrust head first into a world of immortals, Quinn found she had a whole new set of problems. Now, the first order of business would be to protect her little sister and hopefully not die in the process.

 

The injured women in the bed, Emerald, had been poisoned with lead. Dana could smell it on her and he wondered why Danburn hadn’t. With Danburn being the king of the dragons he should have been able to smell it right off, or at least Dana thought so anyway. With the woman’s surly temper Dana should have left her there to suffer alone, but he could smell his mate on her. Since Em was an emerald dragon he deduced that his mate must be another gem to compliment his diamond.

Sapphire had been summoned with the rest of her sisters, Ruby and Opal, to Em’s side. The young girl, Carmine had powerful magic that could extract the lead from Em, but she wasn’t strong enough to get it all out on her own. The sisters would have to combine their magic with Carmine’s or Em wouldn’t survive.

Sapphire knew instantly that Dana was her mate and she wasn’t thrilled about it either. She and her sisters had been around for thousands of years, why did a mate have to muddy the waters now?

Dana wanted to take it slow. They had the rest of their lives to get to know each other. He wanted to court her and ease into the relationship. They were both immortal, so time was on their side, right? Melville James had other ideas. If he couldn’t have the emerald dragon he’d just take the sapphire. After all, her mate hadn’t claimed her yet, and by dragon law that made her easy pickings.

 

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Kip moved along the walls and decided that he didn’t care for the smell or anything about this place. Not now, anyway. After it was abandoned, it had become a place to flop for all manner of things. It was dirty, filled with scents that made even his dragon sick. Well, he was going to take care of this place, once and for all. As soon as he was able to shift, to burn the place to the bare walls, Griffith showed up. Like he needed him to be there to witness his shame.

“I just heard. I’m so sorry, my friend.” Kip asked him what he’d heard. “You know what I’ve heard about this place. And before you ask, no, neither Danburn nor the others know. I’ve come to help you. If you’ll allow it.” “They ruined it all.” Griff, what he’d been calling him since they’d met, nodded and told him he was sorry again. “Yes, well, so will they when I find them. Have you seen your brother again?”

“No, not since yesterday. He’d been by the house a couple of times before I brought Em home, apparently—I was out of town. But no, we’ve not spoken since yesterday. James is going to be trouble, I think. That’s not right—he is definitely going to be trouble. I don’t understand him most of the time. I mean, why the fuck hasn’t anyone taken him to task yet?” Kip asked him why he’d not done it either. “I can’t. I made a promise to my mother that I’d not harm him. Then she revised that to I couldn’t kill him after James killed my father. I don’t want to do either, to be honest, but he’s after something that belongs to me. I found her, Kip. Just before my brother would have killed her. He would have, too.” “I’m so glad that you’ve found your mate.

And so you know, I really like her too.” He looked around the castle that had been in his family for several hundred generations. “They have been here too long, I think. I know that you’re aware of my family situation, and I have to tell you, I’m ashamed to be related to them, especially my mother, in all this. Why couldn’t we all have parents like Danburn does? But I guess we don’t get to pick our relatives.

I just want to get rid of all this and then start anew. I was just going to do that when you showed up.” “I’d gladly help you.” Kip didn’t want to be beholden to anyone, but of all the people he knew, Griff would be the most helpful and the kindest of anyone. “I can start on the upper levels and you at the bottom. We can meet in the middle and then start on the lawns around the place.” Kip told him that he was grateful for his help and made his way to the lower level. Kip felt the pull of his dragon and let him consume him. His dragon was much like Danburn in that he was several hundred times larger than his other self, but he wasn’t nearly as strong as the king was. Spraying flames all over the sub flooring of his ancestral home, Kip watched as everything that had been left behind by his family was burned away. Good riddance to it all. He thought about what he’d had to endure by living here as a young dragon. Not just the hatred of his parents, but that of the town here as well. Few knew that he had
spent his life living no more than a few leagues from Danburn, but even fewer knew that the inhabitants of the castle here were his parents and his siblings. And he liked it that way. None of them had been happy that he’d been born and that he’d lived. He had an older brother and a sister that had had their lives pretty perfect, according to them, when he’d come into the world to upset their lives.

Kip had no idea how they’d come to that conclusion, but they had made his life a living hell from the moment he’d been hatched. And had nearly killed him on several occasions. But now they were all gone, and he hoped that they’d stay that way. He’d not heard from them nor seen them in more years than he could count, which by his estimation wasn’t nearly long enough. Not to say that they were dead—Kip knew that it was only a matter of time before they’d return now that he was the sole owner of the family castle. What they didn’t know was that he’d become much more powerful than any of them, even all together, due in part to his being on the good side of a dragon who was very powerful, not to mention the king of them all. He was on the second level of the castle when he could see that the heat of the stone was burning things on this level too.

His work was nearly finished here in cleaning things out. The real work, getting it back to its former glory, would take a great deal longer. But he was up for the task. He only hoped that in a few months, he felt the same way. The walls of the castle would not crumble under the heat of his breath, but they would remain hot for a very long time. Since it had been created for a dragon and by one, it would not burn and fall under the heat of one. It was said that if a dragon were to heat a stone with his breath, it would be a decade or more before it would be cool enough to touch. He hoped in his case that it was true, and that it would be just hot enough to keep his family away. But he knew better. Watching it all burn away with a kind of contentment that he’d not had in a while, he looked at Griff when he came toward him as his dragon. The two of them shifted and became themselves, basking in the heat they’d made as well as what they’d been able to do in such a short amount of time.

Not that Kip couldn’t have done it on his own, but having someone with him made his heartbreak better. They looked to be a matched set of dragons, both of them as green as the grasses that had once been around the keep—but that was about as far as the similarity went. And, he thought, that was what had made them such good friends over the decades— opposites attracting. The two of them were perfect in that saying. Kip was one to jump into a situation that might get him into trouble, and most of the time, that was the point. Griff was more cautious, and someone that never took chances that he didn’t have to. Kip supposed it was because of his family, namely his brother. James had been a troublesome person since he’d been born, and was forever taking chances on things that were better left alone. And having Griff around just made it clearer, to anyone who was around them for very long, just how horrific James was.

They were standing outside the castle walls when they sat down to watch the heat dance off the top of the turrets. It really wasn’t much to see, not out here, but the glow
and ebbing of the castle walls from hot to cooler was a beautiful sight to behold. Neither of them said much as the darkness spread over the lands, with only the lights from the stone in front of them to light the way. Kip asked Griff what he’d found out about James. “He’s been around hurting women again. And he had my mate for a time as well. He’d not raped her, thankfully for him, but she’s been hurt. I have her at the house now, as safe as I can make her. But she doesn’t trust that James and I are two different people yet, so I’ve introduced her to the staff and told her that I’d return. James now looks for her, thinking to take all that she has and make it his own before he kills her. Or before he would have tried to kill her.” Kip had heard from others how sadistic James was. And that he never left a woman—or man, for that matter—in one piece if he had the time to make them suffer in horrific ways.

“My mate, she’s a faerie of some considerable age. But her magic has been depleted by trying her best to stay away from James and heal herself. Right now I have Bud working with her to get her wounds healed.” “Does James know that it was you who bought the family home?” Griff nodded with a large grin. “I wish I could have been there when you told him. I can only imagine what he had to say about that. I’m sure that he wasn’t particularly nice about it.” “No, not even close to it. He wants me to give him money. Or gems. I told him that I wouldn’t, thinking, and rightly so, that he’d only be back for more and more.” Griff looked at the castle while he continued. “He killed our father and mother. I don’t know how it happened with Mother, but Dad had his head removed, and James left him for the buzzards to feast on. Had I not come along, I have no idea what might have happened to his body.” Kip told him what he’d heard about James. It wasn’t as if he’d been spying on him, but Griff had asked him to keep an eye out for him and anything that he might know of women he might have harmed.

And there had been plenty over the ensuing years. James was making quite a name for himself when it came to his murderous ways. “There are four women that I know of for sure that he’s killed. For two of them I’ve compensated their families, and the other two, their entire families were killed as well. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but he’s wanted by the council as well. Why they’ve not found him yet is beyond me. It’s not as if he is keeping himself hidden away.” Griff nodded and told him that he’d pay Kip back for the other families. “No need for that, Griff. You would and have done the same for me. Not for a death, but in helping me get back up on my feet.” “You’re my friend, Kip. Forever and a day will you have a friend in me as well. But with James…. The council has contacted Danburn about him. He only came to me yesterday about it. I’m aware of James’s misdeeds, but not all of it, apparently. He’s been on a murderous streak for the last few months. And I’ve been given permission to take care of him, anyway that I feel necessary.” Kip whistled.

“Yes, you can well imagine the ways to rid myself of him too. Except for the promise I made.” “Your mother, do you think he actually killed her? I mean, she was a very powerful dragon on her own. But she was also one of the founding women of the set of bylaws.” Griff said that there was no other explanation for where she might have gone. Her body
had disappeared. “Yes. There is a rumor that she was so heartbroken that she died just to be with her mate. There is a faerie garden that is hers and his as well. I have seen it.” “As have I. The faeries about, they’ve made sure that it hasn’t been discovered by anyone with ill intentions. And yes, that would include James. Some think that he would rob their graves just to be able to take what doesn’t belong to him.” Kip knew that as well. “Did you know that he has made it his business to find where there are faerie gardens and destroy them? He doesn’t even have to know the person there, he just destroys everything about it. I cannot believe at times that we’re from the same parents. The only thing I can figure that’s going to stop James is someone to kill him.

But it can’t be me.” “I know about blood promises, Griff. I myself had to promise that I’d not harm anyone in my family as well.” But his promises were not made between him and his parents, but him and Danburn. And Kip was sure that if it came down to it, Danburn would allow him to do whatever was necessary to end their reign of terror. Starting on the lawns as the sun was coming up around them, they burned most of it away because of the neglect. Kip thought about all the things he’d have to do to bring the house back to its former glory. First and foremost, he was going to find someone to help him with putting a ward on the place, to not only keep the vermin away, but his family as well. Laughing to himself, he thought they were just as much vermin as any other animals that could breach his home. By the time daylight was fully making itself known to them, he and Griff had burned away all of the fallen trees and pulled what the brownies could use to one side. There wasn’t as much as he’d hoped, but it was there for them to use however they wished. Kip owed a great deal to all the creatures of the lands. ~*~ Em woke up and looked around. The man, her mate, had brought her here several hours ago, and now that she was in a place that she could not only rest but heal, she wondered what he’d want in return. Everyone, to her anyway, wanted something for the smallest of deeds they did for you. This man, related to the horrid James, would be no better. The door opened just as she was getting up, and she stared at the woman standing before her.

Em dropped to the floor when she realized that she’d been rude in her greeting. The laughter that came from the beautiful woman had her peeking up to see what had been so funny. “Please don’t do that. It makes me feel silly, and I’m sure that having your bottom up in the air like that isn’t the least bit comfortable to you either. I do envy you being able to do that, however. Feeling like an overgrown elephant doesn’t give me the agility that I once had.” Em looked at her while sitting on her knees. “Come now—you’ve been hurt, and I don’t stand on ceremony when you’re family. And you are, as Griff’s mate.” “I know his name, but I’m not going to be the mate to a sadistic bastard. If it’s all the same to you, now that I’m better healed, I’ll just leave.” The woman, the queen of dragons, sat down on the chair that was by the bed. When asked to have a seat as well, Em wasn’t sure what to do.

“Please, have a seat and we’ll get to know each other.” She had no choice but to sit on the side of the bed, trying her best to keep her head lower than the queen’s. “Don’t do that. Don’t think that you are less than myself when I’d like nothing more than for us to be friends. What’s your name? I forgot to ask Griff when he told us that you were here.” “I’m Emerald of the Water. My family dates back more years than could be counted by any human. You’re the queen of dragons, mate to the king, Danburn.” The woman laughed and told her that was her. But for her to call her Kendrick. “I cannot do that, my lady. Even with you saying that you wish us to be friends, I’ll not breach protocol and be so familiar with you.” “All right. For now, anyway. I’ve come to talk to you about Griff and his brother James. I wasn’t even aware, to be honest, that he had a brother, much less a twin. I’m to understand that they look like the same person. And other than James being so heavy, there’s no way you can tell them apart. However, from what I’ve been able to find out, that is where the resemblance ends. They’re as different as night and day when it comes to temperament and kindness.” “So you say. I spent two days with James, and I can tell you that there is not another person like him, thankfully.

” Em watched the other woman and knew that she was breeding—the size of her belly made her think that she was close, too. She wondered if she knew that she was having a girl, but didn’t say anything—it wasn’t any of her business. “The other man, he said that his name was Griffith. Is this his home? He told me that he was bringing me here to heal, but that’s all I know.” “Yes. This is his home. And he’s away right now helping Kip. Griff asked me to come by and see if you needed anything. And since he knows what you are, he’s asked that I tell you that the lake nearby is there for you to use. Danburn had the lake made so that his dragon could swim in it without any troubles. It’s very deep, from what I’ve been told. But I do know that it will hold his dragon, so you should have no problems with it.” “I will need to submerge myself to heal completely. What sort of tax will I need to pay to be able to use the king’s lake? I have little money with me, and nothing to show for my life here on this earth.” Kendrick told her that it was there for her to use. “For free? I doubt that you believe that either. Everyone wants something.” “Not here we don’t. And especially not family. You’re going to have to learn to trust us, Em. We have nothing but your goodwill in mind when we offer you something. I’m not sure why you’re so hard on us when you’ve only just met us. However, I’d very much appreciate it if you didn’t lump all of us in the same category as you have James.” Her temper was showing, and Em had a feeling that it wasn’t often that she lost it. “Now, we’re going to get you dressed, unless you can do that on your own.” “I can. I have magic to keep myself safe.” Kendrick nodded and stood up. “I don’t want to be here, my lady. James will find me, and I will not subject myself to his kind of…to him at all.”

“I don’t know him, as I have said. But Danburn does, and his hatred of the man is enough for me to dislike him too. I know that James is around, and that he’s not a dragon. But as far as what he’s done, as I said, I don’t know yet. There wasn’t time for me to do a complete search of him and his trouble. But you can trust me to know that before he comes sniffing around here again, I’ll be better prepared for his ass.” Em didn’t want to like this woman, didn’t trust her either. But she had a feeling that she would get to the bottom of anything she set her mind to. “You should meet the staff here. I know that you’ve talked to Bud, but there are many more here that are excited to meet you.” “I have nothing to offer them.” Kendrick asked her what she thought they’d need from her. “I don’t know. A lady of the house? A person who might know how to have a staff? I’ve been on my own longer than you’ve been around.

Not to say that I’m insulting you, never that. But I don’t know how to be a proper lady to a house like this. Nor to a man such as Griff. I’m just a faerie.” “Just a faerie? I don’t know you well yet, but I have a feeling that you are no more just a faerie than I am just a woman.” Kendrick stood up and Em dressed, then did the same. Taking her cues from the other woman, Em dressed in jeans and a large T-shirt. No shoes, however. Em didn’t care for them. “Now, I’ve heard from Griff. He’s on his way back here from helping Kip. Griff also said that he’s not seen James around, so you might be all right to venture out if you wish, but not too far. I guess he no more trusts James than you do.” “He tried to rape me. James did, I mean. He’s not a person that I’d be around at all if I could help it. You should also take it easy. He’ll harm you and your child if given the chance.” Kendrick turned to look at her as they were going down the stairs.

“It was more than that, a great deal more, but I knew that as soon as he was finished with me, he’d murder me. That day wasn’t one of the days when I’d gladly have that happen.” “You wish to die other days?” Em saw no reason to lie to her, not that she could anyway, so she nodded at her. “I see. And this day, is it a good day or one that I have to watch out for you?” “I don’t appreciate you making fun of me. I don’t want to be around most days. It’s difficult to be what I am and have to deal with the shit that comes along all the time.” Kendrick said nothing. “I need to get out of here. I don’t want to be here any longer than I have to be.” “I’m sorry that you thought I was making fun. I wasn’t. I can understand completely how down you can be. I was for most of my life before meeting Danburn. I had a sister and a mother that were as bad, I think, as James is. My mother shot me in the head and left me for dead, and then couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t help her and Louise when I was put in foster care to heal.” Em felt terrible for being so short with her and said as much.

“It’s all right. How would you have known? But you have to trust me when I tell you that we’re all here for you. All of us.” “To what point? I mean, what will you want from me in exchange? I have nothing, as I have said, but my magic. And while it’s considerable, it’s not much in comparison to what dragons might have. Especially dragons that are the king and queen of their
kind.” Em went down the rest of the stairs and turned to look at the younger woman. “I afraid that whatever Griff might want from me, I won’t submit to him. I’m my own person, and he’ll have to deal with that.” “I have no idea what this conversation is about, but you’ll never have to submit to anything that you don’t wish to. I’m not my brother.” Em turned to look at the man as he stood in the doorway to the other part of the house.

“My name is Griffith Alexander Farley, the fourth Earl of Alexander’s Folly. The Duke of Winebarger and Baron of Windemere Castle. I’m a dragon of good standing, and have always been. I’m not my brother.” “So you say. But how would I know that?” She felt rather than saw Kendrick leave them. But Em was going to make a point and it wasn’t going to be nice. “You have a lot of titles. You seem to be very proud of them. However, you’ll find that I could care less what you have attached to your name. I only care what you think you’re going to be doing to me.” “Do to you? Why, nothing that you don’t want. As I have said to you repeatedly, I’m not James. He’s a sadistic fuck that I have hated most of my life. He killed my parents without regard to what they were to us, simply because he could. He has murdered and taken anything that he wanted since we were children. He thought that as the first born, by only mere minutes before me, that he should have anything and everything that he wanted. And if he didn’t get it in a conventual way, he’d take it, killing whatever got into his way when he did.

” He took several steps toward her, and Em lifted her chin and didn’t move. “I’ve spoken to him about you. Or he has told me that you’re his mate and that you’ve escaped. He has no idea that you’re here, and this household will make sure that he doesn’t.” “You’re the second born? And you’re a dragon? How did that happen? He should have been given your parents’ all. No matter what he is.” Griff told her that he didn’t know, but perhaps the fates knew what sort of person James would turn out to be. “Perhaps. But I still don’t trust you. And more than likely never will. I’m very sorry for that. But I want you to know from the start my feelings on this. I might be your mate and I may have to stay here, but you’ll never own my heart. Nor my body, even if you use it.” He pulled her body to his. His grip was tight, but not painful. It was like he was possessing her in some way. When he said her name, gently, like a caress, she put her hands to his chest to push him away. But touching him, she could feel his heat, his magic, as it blanketed over her like the sun did when she had a chance to be out in it in the early morning. “I have no wish, none at all, to take anything that you aren’t willing to part with. That would include your body.” She struggled and he held her tighter. Em could feel his erection and stopped moving. “My body is reacting to how lovely you are. That you belong to us, my dragon and me. But there isn’t any way that I’d take from you, not with your heart as broken as it is. I promise you this, Em. You’re as safe with me as you would be with your own mother, if she is as kind as you are.”

He let her go and took a step back. Em was slightly unsteady on her feet, but held onto the table that was just behind her. Watching him, she could see the struggle he was having too. Whether it was from wanting to take her, his anger, or something else, she couldn’t tell. But when he turned and made his way back the way he’d come, Em held tighter to the table so that she’d not fall on her face. “Christ.” That about summed it up, she thought. She was mated to a dragon—a very strong and old one. And his brother was out there, trying his best to take her and then kill her. Em sat down on the floor and called out to her own faerie. Sunny came to her immediately. She needed the strength that the small faerie would give her, and closed her eyes when her magic healed all her wounds but the deeper cut on her leg. It was painful, but not nearly as much as her heart was broken right now. She thought about leaving—just disappearing into the outside and hoping no one would find her. But she also knew that once she left there, Griff would find her. And while she didn’t think that he’d hurt her for leaving, she just didn’t know. He was, as she thought, a dragon with considerable strength, and not one to fuck with. Getting up, she made her way in the direction that Griff had taken. It led her right to the kitchen, the heart and soul of any home that a dragon had. Sitting down when she was asked, a large platter of greens and flowers was set in front of her.

Griff was having a sandwich as large as her arm, and a salad as well. Picking up the fork to fortify herself with her meal, she kept a careful eye on her host. Em didn’t smell poisons or any other kind of mixture to make her ill, but she was very cautious as to what she put in her mouth. The salad was good, just the right mixture of different greens with a beautiful array of edible flowers. It wasn’t until she was finished that she realized that he was staring at her. Pushing her plate away, she stared right back. “I’ve some news if you’d like it.” Em asked him what it was about.

“You and James. Mostly him and what he’s saying about you. He is spreading the word that you’re his mate and that the two of you had a tiff—his words, not mine. No one is saying anything. Not that they knew you were here, but Danburn is making sure that everyone knows that James is trouble and they shouldn’t interact with him. Also, he’s asked that everyone go around in pairs or more so as not to be a target before he can be caught. I’m to understand from some of his other victims’ families that it matters little to him whether you’re male or female.” “That’s right. If he’s around, why is no one catching him? It would seem to me that this is an easy catch. Or am I wrong about that?” He said that she wasn’t. “Then why is he still on the streets?” “He’s not a dragon.” She started to ask him what the hell that meant when it occurred to her. “I can see by your face that you get it. There is not one group that wants to take responsibility for his actions. The dragon council knows that he is the son of a dragon, but he’s not one. The paranormal council won’t touch him for the same reasons. Everyone wants him put away, but no one wants to do it. I call that lazy, but then that’s just me.”

“And what happens when he kills again? Will someone step in then?” Griff shrugged. “You don’t care if he kills again, or you don’t care who takes him away? I know that he’s your brother. Is that the reason why he’s still out there terrorizing people?” “I care very much if he kills again. But I cannot, for personal reasons, do anything about it. And I washed my hands of James long ago. Just after our mother was presumed dead by his hand. Would I like to have him killed? Yes, with all my heart.” Em asked him what had happened to his mother. “My mother was fed iron every day for several weeks. He admitted that, in addition to admitting that he killed our father. James removed our father’s head one afternoon when our father refused to turn the family fortune over to him. As you can well imagine, he’s not welcome around here or anywhere that he might put his hat.” Em started to tell him that she’d gladly kill James when Griff suddenly stood up. She did as well and waited for him to tell her what was going on. As he rushed to the door, he told her not to leave the house, that James was nearby. Sitting back down, she had to wonder what James had done now.

 

 

 

Hawkins McCullough’s Jamboree Release Day & Giveaway & Winner Announced

Hawkins McCullough didn’t like his life. Army was his life, he lived and breathed it, but he wasn’t “regular” army. His life was filled with one covert mission after another and he was tired of it. He had done so many awful things in the name of “justice” that he felt he didn’t deserve to be happy. He felt broken and unredeemable.

Jamie had always loved children, and this small infant crying out to her broke her heart. These children were on their way to a baby farm and she was determined to stop this from happening. There was no way she would allow these babies to grow up the way she did, as a lab rat, not as long as she had breath left in her.

“I have to go. No, I’m going to go now. I only stuck around here to find the babies.” Lauren stepped in front of her. “Do you have a death wish? I would have thought someone with your obvious training would know not to stand in front of a dangerous bullet.”

“Is that what you are? Dangerous? I’m not so afraid of you. More that I’m afraid of what they did to you.” Jamie put up her hand and morphed it into a gun. Then a sword. And again, she turned her hand into a monster, long claws and all. “Nope, not going to work. You’re his mate, and that means something to this family.”

“Well, it means shit to me.”

Hawk never thought in a million years that he’d be happy to find his mate, nor would he have believed that she’d be more powerful than he was. Jamie was just more….

 

 

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Colin McCullough gets the phone call that all military families dread―his brother Hawkins has been shot. Colin only wants to thank Hawkins’s commanding officer for saving his brother’s life, but he can never seem to get past the guards in the hospital’s hallway to personally thank the man.

Major Lauren Burcher is all Army and head of a special task team usually sent in to clean things up. This time, her team is ambushed by friendlies, and Lauren and her best man Hawkins McCullough barely make it out alive―they were set up. Someone wants them both dead.

Another attempt on Lauren’s life in the hospital fails miserably, and when Colin scoops her up in his arms to place her back in the hospital bed, he finds a gun pointed at his forehead at point blank range. In that moment he realizes this bad-assed scary woman is his mate.

Lauren wants no part of this mate business. Relationships get messy and this jerk is bossy as hell. And Lauren doesn’t take orders…she gives them. But it will take all of them, his family and hers, to keep her and Hawkins alive…

 

 

Who rescued who was still a little vague, but they escaped just the same. The lab called him SA-8, and they had made him into a very powerful weapon. But to Reese he was just Josh, a boy that could do amazing things, but a boy none the less—not a lab rat. That was two years ago—the lab had been relentless and lethal in their pursuit. With her big rig running on fumes, and their last dime spent, they wound up on a small town in Ohio….

Parker McCullough found an abandoned big rig parked on his land. It had been there a few days, and he wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. Calling the authorities seemed like the logical thing to do, but when he tried to do so, his cell phone went flying from his hand and a teenage boy appeared from nowhere. Parker thought the boy was an Elite Shifter, and after hearing a little of the boy’s story he wanted to help.

Reese didn’t know who all these people were, but if she and Josh didn’t get away from them, the “others” would find them and they’d all be dead, just like all the other people who had tried to help them along the way…. And now the gorgeous shifter, Parker, had her trapped in the kitchen claiming to be her mate…. She didn’t have time for herself, and she didn’t want to see them all die because they’d helped her and Josh—Reese was out of options

 

Mackenzie’s shift at the hospital had just begun when they told her that a patient friend of hers was back in the ER and asking for her. When she entered the curtained room, the last thing she expected was for a McCullough to be sitting next to her patient. It wasn’t Hawk, thank god, but the man looked enough like him he could have been his twin. Hawkins McCullough was on her shit list, and if this man was related to him, she didn’t want anything to do with him.

It didn’t take long for Dustin McCullough to figure out that this feisty doctor was his mate. And when he found out that his brother had hurt her, it took a great deal of strength to keep his cat from killing him.

Mackenzie was at her wits end. Random attacks to her person and bullets flying had the entire McCullough family in an uproar. And just when they thought they had everything about under control, Hawkins drops a bombshell that had them all stunned.

Can Mackenzie find it in her heart to forgive Hawk before it’s too late?

 

 

Virginia is a bestselling paranormal romance author. She does much better with her stories than with people. When she’s in her “writing zone,” she won’t even eat unless her mother hands her a plate and reminds her to do so. She wouldn’t be making the trip to the McCullough’s if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Go, see the child, make sure he has a good home. That is the plan. Simple…not.

Larson is having his own issues. Being blamed for the murder of one of his clients, which he didn’t do, has him closing up shop and laying low for a few days. His mom insists that he show up for dinner to meet their visiting guests. Larson would rather stay home, but she’d have his hide if he did.

Larson sees the beauty from across the room and makes his way to her. Before he even reaches her, he catches her scent. She is his mate. Now what is he supposed to do? He has his life just the way he wants it and a mate wasn’t figured into that equation. On the other hand, the way she flushes when she returns his stare has him thinking anything but pure thoughts. Maybe having a mate wouldn’t be so bad after all.

 

 

Boyd lost his mate before he’d really found her. He found her in college, but his studies were important too. He figured he’d have plenty of time to meet her, after his exams. But a tragic car accident robbed him of his future before it had begun…. At least that is what he had always believed.

Reilly was just trying to make ends meet. She wanted to get through the day with her slimy boss keeping his hands to himself. But when she got the call from the hospital that her dad had been in an accident, she had to go. Her boss had other ideas.

The pileup on the freeway had Boyd working overtime. All the injured had been coming into the hospital in droves. He had treated so many patients that he was just exhausted. When he stepped out for a breather, he saw her. She was the sexiest woman he’d ever seen, and when he approached her, her scent had his senses in a whirl and his cat reacted. The word mate flashed through is mind. But that couldn’t be right, it had to be lack of sleep making him think that.

 

 

McCULLOUGH’S JAMBOREE

 

 

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Jamie figured that she’d give someone ten more minutes, then she was leaving. She’d been at the hospital longer than she thought was necessary for fainting. Well, she’d really just passed out from shock, but she’d never done that before. Tossing off the cover that had been on her when she woke, she heard the baby crying so close that she ventured out of the room she’d been in and followed the sound. Her heart broke for how pitiful the tiny person’s voice sounded. There were ten babies in varying ages in the bassinets, all of them under six months old, she’d bet, and all of them asleep but the child that had her finding them. Lifting the little girl from the bassinet, she sat in the nearby rocking chair and started rocking her. “I have been looking for you for so long, I thought that I’d been mistaken about it.” Rocking a little more, the baby quieted down and stared up at her with the most beautiful green eyes that she’d ever seen.

“There is this guy here—you’ll know him as soon as you see him—who is a bully. And he’s a big hulking sort of person. Not like he’s stupid or anything—at least he didn’t sound that way. But he’s big, like that green guy that used to be on television. I know you wouldn’t know who that is, but I’m just making a reference.” The baby’s tiny hand wrapped around her finger and she smiled. Jamie loved babies—all kids really, but babies had a special place in her heart reserved just for them. When the baby’s eyes started to close a little at a time, Jamie decided to talk to her more. “When I was a little girl, I was dropped off at one of those safe places. I’m not sure why anyone would think that it was safe. I spent the next five years there, and let me tell you, it was not a place I’d go back to even on a threat of death. Then I ended up where no one should ever be allowed to stay. It was horrific, and the things they did to me were twice that bad.” Jamie heard the door near where she was sitting open and then close. “Anyway, the place. It wasn’t a baby mill like you were in, at least I don’t think so.

But a real place that unwanted children went. I say unwanted because we were told that every day—that we were there because no one wanted us for one reason or another. But the lab did. They needed me for a lot of things that I didn’t want to do. So that’s where I grew up. I think the place has shut down now. The house was a showstopper, really beautiful if a little out of date, and I loved it. Just not the people there.” She looked up when the curtain was thrown back. There stood her nemesis with a gun pointed at her again. Jamie started to stand and give him a big part of her mind when he slipped the gun back in wherever he’d gotten it from and sat down on the floor in front of her. “I thought I’d just sit here in the event you wanted to hit me again. This way I’m closer to the floor already.” She wanted to stick her tongue out at him, but knew that he’d laugh at her. “You said that your name is James. Why would anyone mistake you for a male? I’m Hawk, or Hawkins if you prefer.”
“I was a great deal younger back then, you idiot. Don’t you have someone else you can harass?

I mean, I was having a nice conversation with this little girl, and you—” “Her name is Lily, Lily Anderson. Her parents are on their way to see her. All the children have names now.” She just looked down at Lily, and her heart hurt to know that someone loved her. “Why do you think that no one loves you?” “You’re reading my mind. Why the hell would you think that isn’t rude?” He just shrugged and leaned back on his elbow, smiling at her. “What are you in here for, besides pulling yet another gun on me?” “I only pulled one out on you. The first time, it wasn’t meant for you but the guy holding you.” She rolled her eyes at him and started rocking again, anything to get the man to leave her alone. “You aren’t afraid of me; that’s a first. Usually people who see me for the first time never hit me in the face. Then you hit me in my balls too.” “Perhaps it’s because you’re nicer to others than you have been me.” Kicking his foot away from the front of the rocker, she glared at him. “I swear to Christ, you have to go away. I don’t like you one bit, and you’re taking up all my air while you’re here.”

“You’re not human.” Jamie felt every part of her body tense up. Then she looked for a way to escape. “I’m not sure what you are, but you’re not going anywhere now.” “Why is that? And let me remind you that I’ve hurt you twice now. If I want to leave, then I will. You won’t be able to stop me.” He looked at the exit door and she did as well. There were men standing in front of it, and she could tell they were armed. “You’re holding me prisoner? What the fuck for?” “They’re here for the children. And for me.” She asked him if he was going to be arrested. “You’re very defensive; anyone ever tell you that before? No, they’re not here to arrest me. They work for me. I’m considered a big deal by some people.” “Whatever.” She stood up, and he was suddenly standing too. Like he’d just willed it or something. “You’re a cat. Jaguar, I’m guessing. I could have told you that before you were shooting at me, but I was distracted. By you telling Ben to shoot me.” “That was before I knew you.” She pointed out that he didn’t know her now. “True. But I’m hoping that we can remedy that soon.” She was missing something in what he was saying, but she was too stressed to figure it out. Putting Lily back in her crib, she moved to leave the same way that she’d come in, by the back door. When she opened it up, there were three men standing there with the woman from the house. Miss Laughs a Lot. The two in uniform aimed their guns at her and she backed up a couple of steps. And right into the arms of Hawk. She struggled to get away from him, thinking that she’d be safer with the guns pointed at her, when Miss Laughs a Lot told them to stand down. No one moved. “Did you hear me, soldiers? I said to stand down.” Neither man moved, but they were looking at the man behind her. “Hawk, you’re going to lose these two idiots if you don’t make them behave around me. My word is my bond.” “Stand down.”

Both put their guns to their sides when Hawk said for them to do it with a great deal of authority in his voice. The other man laughed. Miss Laughs a Lot
didn’t seem to find it funny. Getting out of Hawk’s embrace was a good deal easier now. “They work for me and only me. This was a good test for them. Thanks, Burcher.” “It wasn’t a trial for anything, you fucking bastard. I don’t care for being ignored. Perhaps they don’t know me.” She turned to both men and they were nodding like their heads had somehow come loose from their necks. “So, you do know me. That doesn’t explain to me why when I give you an order, you don’t obey.” “They’re not dogs. Christ, you got your panties in a twist because they didn’t listen to the great Burcher, or whatever the fuck your name is? You on some power trip, or are you always a fucking cunt?” Every one of the men backed up from her and Burcher.

“You might get a lot more done if you ask politely when you want something to go your way. Like, and this is just an example, ‘Would you mind putting your guns down? I don’t want any more bloodshed—’” Jamie was lifted from the floor by Burcher. She was holding her there like she didn’t weigh a thing. Hawkins reached out to touch Lauren when the third man got right up and in his face. Jamie did the only thing she could think of before she passed out from lack of air. She shifted. Her beast roared when she told her to calm the fuck down. The people were afraid of her, that she could see, but she really didn’t care. Right now, she needed to get out of there before they spoke to someone about her. The presence of another being felt calming. Even the beast inside of her seemed to know that someone less than but like her was coming. Before the door opened, she as her beast, a great black bear—bigger than any normal—moved away from it. Whatever was coming, it wasn’t angry, but it was concerned. As soon as he walked through the door, she knew him for what he was. Not a name, but she and him had been created at the lab. When he came toward her, talking softly the whole time, Jamie whimpered. He wasn’t close to as powerful as she was, but she knew he had a great deal more than she did in knowledge of what he could do. She’d love to learn from him, but that would be dangerous. Nor could she hurt him. “Hello. I thought that all the others were found. I had no idea that you were there.” She let the bear go and stood before him. He was taller than her by a few inches, but nothing near what Hawkins was. “May I take your hand in mine?” “No. Don’t touch me.” He nodded and put his hands behind his back.

“I saw you there. In the room when I’d look around at night.” “Jon?” He looked at Hawk when he said his name. Then Jon looked at the others with a smile. The service men were guarding the door again, and didn’t look as if they gave a shit about what was going on around them. “Is she like you? Someone from the lab?” “No. She’s very different than I am. Just as dangerous, but no less hurt by the men there.” She watched Hawk when he moved to come closer to her. “I wouldn’t, Hawk. Not yet at any rate.” “She’s my mate, Jon.” No one said a word, but seemed to focus all their eyes on her. She lifted her chin and decided it was well past time for her to get the fuck out of there. “What do you mean, she’s very different than—?”

“And she’s standing right the fuck here. You are the rudest man I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. I’m leaving here.” Jon asked her to wait. “For what? For them to call someone and tell them where I am? Thanks, but no thanks. I’ve been down that road more times than I’d like to think about. “Tell them what you are.” She looked at Jon then at Hawk. Jamie knew what a mate was, but there was no way that anyone would want her after what she’d been through. “You’d be very surprised at what these people can do for you.” “I was dropped off at the home for wayward kids when I was an infant. During my first five years, I was a troubled child.” Hawk snorted. “Fuck you. What would you have done if you became a monster that didn’t have any idea where she was? I was a bear shifter and didn’t have any idea how to control her.” She looked at the floor, anywhere but at Hawk.

“I wasn’t one of the lab rats like you were. I wasn’t a human when I was taken there at the age of five—I was a shifter, so I guess that qualified for me to be discarded when they were done with me. Taken from the home I had been in since birth. After a while they got tired of me not doing what they wanted, and I was put away to be destroyed. When I slipped out of the cage they had me in, I wandered around the building to keep up with what they were doing.” “They messed with you with drugs too, then.” She nodded at the man near Lauren. “I’m Colin McCullough. Lauren is my wife. And Hawkins is my brother. He’s Army.” “Yeah, I got that part.” Jamie ignored Hawk. She looked at Jon and spoke only to him. “They did the first experiments on me, before you were given anything. The trouble was, no one took into consideration that I hadn’t been human, so they would affect me differently than you. Second, I was a way for them to figure out if whatever they were set to give you would maybe kill you. And if it didn’t me, then they’d give it to you.” “You were five when they did this to you?” She told Jon how they’d find her every month or so then use her again. “They knew where you were at all times, I’m thinking. The men there only gave you the illusion that you were free to roam.” ~*~ Hawkins watched her. He knew as surely as he was standing there she was going to bolt. And he’d bet any kind of money that he’d not be able to find her unless she allowed it. Marking her wouldn’t do him much good either. She was just as strong, if not stronger than Jon, Hawkins would bet. “I have to go. No, I’m going to go now. I only stuck around here to find the babies.” Lauren stepped in front of her. “Do you have a death wish? I would have thought someone with your obvious training would know not to stand in front of a dangerous bullet.” “Is that what you are? Dangerous? I’m not so afraid of you. More that I’m afraid of what they did to you.” Jamie put up her hand and morphed it into a gun. Then a sword. And again she turned her hand into a monster, long claws and all. “Nope, not going to work. You’re his mate, and that means something to this family.”

“Well, it means shit to me.” Jamie looked at him before speaking again. “I’m nothing you want to fuck with or fuck. I am dangerous, and I’m not as stupid as some people may think I am. I will hurt you if you try again to detain me.” “I’m asking you to please not leave me.” She shook her head and looked at the doors again. He knew her plan to leave was rapidly coming to fruition. “I’m asking you to take a chance here. No one will be able to touch you again. I will swear this on my life.” “And you? Will you claim me? I’m guessing that’s what you think is going to happen. And you might be immortal, but removing your head will be easy enough for me.” He nodded and told her that he knew that she was stronger than him. “Hell, I’m stronger than even Jon is. Don’t you get it? I’m nothing more than a taste tester from long ago. If I lived, then they would inject the shit into him. Sometimes more than once.” “I don’t care about any of that. I was bemoaning the fact that someday my mate would come to me. Basically because of what I do. I’m not such a cup of tea either.”

He moved closer all the time, hoping that if he could touch her once, his cat would feel much better. “You know what I am. A jaguar first and foremost. My cat is pissy with me, because he too knows who you are to us.” “Again, I don’t care.” She looked at the exit then back at him just before he was able to touch her. Hawk felt himself being tossed back. Hitting the wall behind him, he braced himself for whatever came next. He was sure, too, that there would be more put upon him. Hawkins watched her while she calmed herself. She’d not lost total control, he knew that, but had punched him with magic just enough to keep him away from her. Sitting up, he sat there while the rest of them left. Even his men walked out the door. “You did that? Made them leave us?” She nodded. “And can you make me leave too? Or is it the mate thing that prevents you from making me do anything I don’t want? By the way, you’re not supposed to be able to hurt me. I guess we can chalk that up to being a falsehood.” “I can’t make you leave. Had I been able to, then you’d be gone. And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with you thinking I’m your mate.” She looked down at her arm where he’d touched her, and he could see the marks on her arm. Standing up and going to her, he asked her if she was all right. Then he pulled her arm over to have a better look at what had happened. She was burned. Like his fingers brushing over her, and that had been all it was, had caused her to be blistered and in pain. “Why did you touch me? I told you, several times, not to touch.” He let her arm go but didn’t back away this time. “I don’t want to be here.” “No, I got that.” He laughed a little, and saw a tease of a smile on her mouth. Then she became hard again. “Why did you burn when I touched you? And why not the second time that I held up your arm?” “You were intending to detain me. For lack of a better word, my programming knew that and lashed out at you. The second time you weren’t as aggressive.

I didn’t
need to harm you again.”

Hawkins nodded and touched his fingers to her cheek. “That doesn’t mean that I won’t fucking hurt you. Go away. And then I will. You’ll be much happier without me around, trust me. I know this for a fact.” “There have been others that you hurt?” Instead of answering him, she walked to the window and looked out. “I can help you. You can tell, I’m assuming, that I’m a bit more than a cat. I’m in no way as powerful as the two of you, you and Jon, but I can hold my own.” “They won’t care what you are. If you have loved ones or even if you’re an immortal. They’ll take you apart right there along with me once they figure it out.” He shivered, thinking of all the shit she’d had done to her. “I’m trying my best to save you, and you’re too dense to understand that forgetting about me will be the best thing that happens to you.” “Doubtful. I mean, I was afraid of when I found my mate. Not afraid, but concerned that I’d been too long in the military and might not be good for a woman. Hell, I’m barely good to my family on a daily basis. I can see you have no trouble putting me in my place and making sure that I understand when you’re pissed off.” She didn’t laugh like he had hoped she would. “I’m not a gentle man. I don’t know how to be romantic. I haven’t the first clue how dating works anymore. When I was seventeen I signed on to become something more. What I hadn’t counted on was Burcher finding me and recruiting me for her team.” “I’m assuming that was her last name before becoming McCullough. I’d toss her into a deep hole or cage and lock the door, but that’s just me.” He told her what her name was before. “Colonel Lauren Burcher? I knew that she was something more than just a woman. She’s a bitch.”

“Yeah, she might say the same about you. But she’d be happy with it instead of pissed off like you are.” She looked like she didn’t understand, and he’d bet she didn’t want to. “I was called Mac in the service. My family is the only people that call me Hawkins. Or sometimes Hawk when I’m not in too much trouble with them.” She didn’t say the obvious next line of “that must happen a lot then.” Hawkins realized that she was going to forever do the unexpected and not care a bit if it offended or even pissed someone off. She was a great deal like Lauren, but Jamie would be meaner when pressed, he guessed. “Why don’t you come home with me?” She turned and looked at him then. “I have a nice house. My brother helped me buy it when I was in the service.” “You still are. In the service, I mean.” He nodded, not saying anything. “I’m not going home with you. I have one that I like well enough. But you’re to stay away from me. I don’t want to get involved with you at all.” “I’m afraid it’s too late for that.” He pulled her body to him, and was surprised that he didn’t hurt her again. Pressing his mouth to hers, hoping that she’d allow him a taste of her, he moaned when she finally did. Her body fit his. When he pulled her closer, letting her feel what she was doing to him, he thought he would happily die right now the way she’d wrapped her arms
around him.

Before he could pull her up from the floor, find a hard place to lay her while he feasted on her body, she pulled her mouth away from his. “I’m sorry.” He started to tell her that she had nothing to be sorry about when she disappeared. Hawk was left holding air, and was no closer to finding anything out than he had been before. And Hawk wanted to know everything. Reaching to Burcher, he asked her if she’d do him a favor. If you’re going to ask me if I can find out something about your girl, I’m already on it. Your mate is a piece of work, by the way. She isn’t the least bit impressed with me, nor does she care that I could snap her like a twig. Hawk wisely said nothing. He was reasonably sure that Jamie could not just snap Lauren, but get rid of the body without any trouble.

There isn’t much when I do a regular search, but I’m digging. Where is she, by the way? Gone. She was here, then gone. I need to talk to Jon too. Maybe he can shed some light on things. Lauren said she doubted it. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking too. I might have to return to Washington, but I’ll be in contact with you while I’m gone. I’m assuming that Mom and Dad know that I’ve found my mate? Yes, but it wasn’t me. I was really pissed about that too. Colin told them before I was able to. She paused for too long, but he knew better than to hurry her along. Hawk, your mate is really in the shit. She’s not just wanted by some very unsavory people, but there is a warrant out for her arrest as well. Murder and robbery. But they know her as an entirely different name. Holly Tree. Even I can tell that’s a fake, and I’m not looking very hard. I’ll need what you can find. I don’t have a clue where she is, or even if she needs a place to stay. But she’s my mate, and for what it’s worth, I’m sorry I ever doubted that I wanted one. She said that she’d have it couriered to him. Thanks. I owe you one. Never, Mac. Never that. I owe you so much, I don’t think being immortal is ever going to be long enough to pay you back for most of it. He said nothing. I’m printing it up now and making arrangements to have it brought to you. Should be there by this evening. Hawk could disappear too. He didn’t care for doing it, because when he reappeared, he had to be careful where he was landing, so to speak. But this time he had no choice. He should have been in Washington yesterday. He only had a few more missions to go before he was done with everything military. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t dreading it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boyd: McCullough’s Jamboree Release Blitz & Giveaway

 

Boyd lost his mate before he’d really found her. He found her in college, but his studies were important too. He figured he’d have plenty of time to meet her, after his exams. But a tragic car accident robbed him of his future before it had begun…. At least that is what he had always believed.

Reilly was just trying to make ends meet. She wanted to get through the day with her slimy boss keeping his hands to himself. But when she got the call from the hospital that her dad had been in an accident, she had to go. Her boss had other ideas.

The pileup on the freeway had Boyd working overtime. All the injured had been coming into the hospital in droves. He had treated so many patients that he was just exhausted. When he stepped out for a breather, he saw her. She was the sexiest woman he’d ever seen, and when he approached her, her scent had his senses in a whirl and his cat reacted. The word mate flashed through is mind. But that couldn’t be right, it had to be lack of sleep making him think that.

 

 

Amazon USA https://amzn.to/2LCk74u
Amazon UK https://amzn.to/2GTigV7
B&N https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/boyd-kathi-s-barton/1128709199?ean=2940162126430

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KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/boyd-3

I Books https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/boyd/id1385962632?mt=11

 

 

 

Colin McCullough gets the phone call that all military families dread―his brother Hawkins has been shot. Colin only wants to thank Hawkins’s commanding officer for saving his brother’s life, but he can never seem to get past the guards in the hospital’s hallway to personally thank the man.

Major Lauren Burcher is all Army and head of a special task team usually sent in to clean things up. This time, her team is ambushed by friendlies, and Lauren and her best man Hawkins McCullough barely make it out alive―they were set up. Someone wants them both dead.

Another attempt on Lauren’s life in the hospital fails miserably, and when Colin scoops her up in his arms to place her back in the hospital bed, he finds a gun pointed at his forehead at point blank range. In that moment he realizes this bad-assed scary woman is his mate.

Lauren wants no part of this mate business. Relationships get messy and this jerk is bossy as hell. And Lauren doesn’t take orders…she gives them. But it will take all of them, his family and hers, to keep her and Hawkins alive….

 

 

Who rescued who was still a little vague, but they escaped just the same. The lab called him SA-8, and they had made him into a very powerful weapon. But to Reese he was just Josh, a boy that could do amazing things, but a boy none the less—not a lab rat. That was two years ago—the lab had been relentless and lethal in their pursuit. With her big rig running on fumes, and their last dime spent, they wound up on a small town in Ohio…. Parker McCullough found an abandoned big rig parked on his land. It had been there a few days, and he wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. Calling the authorities seemed like the logical thing to do, but when he tried to do so, his cell phone went flying from his hand and a teenage boy appeared from nowhere. Parker thought the boy was an Elite Shifter, and after hearing a little of the boy’s story he wanted to help. Reese didn’t know who all these people were, but if she and Josh didn’t get away from them, the “others” would find them and they’d all be dead, just like all the other people who had tried to help them along the way…. And now the gorgeous shifter, Parker, had her trapped in the kitchen claiming to be her mate…. She didn’t have time for herself, and she didn’t want to see them all die because they’d helped her and Josh—Reese was out of options.

Mackenzie’s shift at the hospital had just begun when they told her that a patient friend of hers was back in the ER and asking for her. When she entered the curtained room, the last thing she expected was for a McCullough to be sitting next to her patient. It wasn’t Hawk, thank god, but the man looked enough like him he could have been his twin. Hawkins McCullough was on her shit list, and if this man was related to him, she didn’t want anything to do with him.

It didn’t take long for Dustin McCullough to figure out that this feisty doctor was his mate. And when he found out that his brother had hurt her, it took a great deal of strength to keep his cat from killing him.

Mackenzie was at her wits end. Random attacks to her person and bullets flying had the entire McCullough family in an uproar. And just when they thought they had everything about under control, Hawkins drops a bombshell that had them all stunned.

Can Mackenzie find it in her heart to forgive Hawk before it’s too late?

 

 

Recommended for 18+ Erotic Shapeshifter Romance. Book 1 of the McCullough’s Jamboree Jaguar Shifter Series. This full length novel can be read as a stand-alone. McCullough’s Jamboree 1. Colin 2. Parker 3. Dustin 4. Larson 5. Boyd (Coming Soon) 6. Hawkins (Coming Soon) Virginia is a bestselling paranormal romance author. She does much better with her stories than with people. When she’s in her “writing zone,” she won’t even eat unless her mother hands her a plate and reminds her to do so. She wouldn’t be making the trip to the McCullough’s if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Go, see the child, make sure he has a good home. That is the plan. Simple…not. Larson is having his own issues. Being blamed for the murder of one of his clients, which he didn’t do, has him closing up shop and laying low for a few days. His mom insists that he show up for dinner to meet their visiting guests. Larson would rather stay home, but she’d have his hide if he did. Larson sees the beauty from across the room and makes his way to her. Before he even reaches her, he catches her scent. She is his mate. Now what is he supposed to do? He has his life just the way he wants it and a mate wasn’t figured into that equation. On the other hand, the way she flushes when she returns his stare has him thinking anything but pure thoughts. Maybe having a mate wouldn’t be so bad after all.

 

 

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Stoking the Flames II: Tales of Legend, Lore and Everlasting Love  Now Live 

 

 

Find everlasting love in the clouds. Go back in time. Spring into the future. Soar on the wings of magic.
Discover Legends of Fate, Destiny, True Mates, and Forever Love that’s written in the Stars.

Take flight with fifteen amazingly talented bestselling authors as they bring these special Dragons to life. In each life-changing journey you will see that the heart gets what the heart wants, happily ever after is so much more than simple words at the end of a Fairy Tale, and Dragons prevail no matter the time, place, or obstacle.

This is Stoking the Flames II – spread your wings and soar with our Dragons. Once you’ve touched the clouds, felt the wind in your hair, and held the power in your hands, you will forever fly high.

 

Amazon Global: smarturl.it/4v505w
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2HU9LLW
iBooks : https://apple.co/2qOwq4C
Nook: https://bit.ly/2qWcGeF

 

 

 

Lauren didn’t like not having answers. She supposed that was an understatement, but things just weren’t adding up for her. As she began writing down what she knew and what she didn’t, the sticky notes began taking on a bizarre color scheme that only she could figure out. When Colin came into the office with her, she stood and started sticking them on the wall with the pictures that she’d hung up. “Are these the people that you’ve been searching for?” She told him that the world was searching for them, it seemed. “Yes, well, whoever they are, they’re wanted in four countries, you told me, and that wasn’t even counting the countries that they’ve not been found out in.” “Yes, well, I’m working on that one too. There are several deaths that I can have tagged to them, but nothing to stick so far.” She hung up the notes and then stepped back. “Things aren’t adding up in their usual fucking order like I like them to do.”

“Hawk was just here. He said to tell you that he’d be back in a couple of days. It’s too much for him. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean either.” She told him. “How can we be driving him insane when he doesn’t hang around us all that much now? I mean, he was in here for about two minutes before he took off again. How am I supposed to be driving him crazy?” “You’re around. And don’t ask me questions if all you’re going to do is try and prove to me why I’m not right. We both know that I am, and the sooner you get that in your thick skull, the better off you’re going to be.” They both laughed. “What do you see when you look at this?” He had helped her a few times when she’d had something staring her right in the face over the last few months. Mostly it was because he was fresh eyes and wasn’t tainted by her jadedness. And she knew that she was. Lauren didn’t trust anyone, and didn’t like people twice as much as her trust level was. Colin got up and looked over the board. “The blue notes, what are they?” She told him they were facts. “And the yellow ones? I’m assuming you have this color coded. It’ll help me to figure it out if I know it all.” “Yellow is for unknown factors. Such as I don’t know how the fuck they’re being funded. The blue ones are place markers. As you can see I’ve only put numbers on them. The questions are eluding me as well.” He nodded, and he continued to look over her board of pictures and notes. “The red ones are names that I know that they’ve killed. And as you can see, some of them are straddled between two names. So I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking at here.” “Is it the same person that might have killed the ones you
have straddled between two names?” She looked at the board and asked him what he meant. “The people that you have under two names. You think they might have been killed by two different people. Maybe it’s just one person that looks like two to throw you off. I mean, are you sure that they’re not one and the same murderer?” “Why do you ask that? I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but I never thought of that yet.” She looked at the traits of both men and women on her list. They were similar, but not terribly so. But when Colin pointed out that the names were nearly the same, she then noticed a few other things about them as well. “This one stays in the same type of hotel. High end and lots of room service. They always go out for drinks with their intended victim before taking them back to the room to murder them.” She took down the second picture but laid it aside. She didn’t know which one the right person was, but it was getting easier to see them now. “These two people always wear a wig that is made not from manmade hair, but of different animals. The only reason we know this is because the latest victim pulled out a lot of their hair when he was trying to defend himself. He had a lot of defensive wounds.” “These two have the same initials as well.” She nodded and put the picture with the other one. “Don’t you think these are the same picture?” “I thought that as well, but I’ve concluded that they’re not. Unless they’ve had some work done since the first one was taken.” She showed him the nose and how it was shaped, and the lips. “I guess they could have had collagen put in, but I don’t know how that affects the body as well as say, a doctor
would. I’ve called Boyd over to look at them.” Lauren was a mess working on this one. It was something that she’d pulled from the cold files at the police station. She wasn’t working for Jarvis as much right now—he was trying to close his end of being president right now. He still had two years to go, but he wasn’t running for reelection, so she wasn’t sure what she was supposed to do now and when he was finished. She told Colin what she was thinking. “I thought you were a lifer.” She said that she’d be a dead one if she didn’t have something to do soon. “Yeah, I figured that was why you asked for the files to be sent over. If you want, I can show you how to use a sander and you can help us out.” “No thanks. I have all my fingers just where I want them.” She moved a few of the folders and sat down. “I’ve talked to Boyd about Sandy, and he said that she’s not his mate. They get along well but decided that they’re not going to be involved. I had no idea that he’d lost his mate years ago.” “I didn’t know either until he told us at dinner a couple of weeks ago. He said that she was a student at the college when he was. But he’d had his head so buried in studying that he didn’t notice her until it was too late.” She asked him if there was a chance that he could have been wrong about the other woman. “No, I don’t think so. He knew it was her. Had the overwhelming need to be with her but knew that he had to study too. Then when he came out of his study session one night, she’d been killed by a hit and run driver. Mom took it very hard too, I think.” Bea had too. And so had Rich. He must have told their son he was sorry a thousand times at dinner, then had to go
out on the deck to get himself under control. Rich wanted his kids to be happy, and thought that having a mate, each of them, was the only way they were going to be. Anastasia had come to her last night and answered a few questions about mates, things that she hadn’t wanted to ask Colin about. Like could they get a second chance sometimes. “Yes, anyone can. But I have a feeling that our young Boyd doesn’t care to look for it.” Lauren had asked her why. “He’s so set in his ways, don’t you think? I mean, it’s like he’s found her, she’s gone, and that’s all she wrote. The guy could be a poster child for anal retentive men.” “I don’t think he’s that bad, but I do see your point.” Lauren thought of his office as compared to her own. “He puts me to shame every time he has to come here. He tisks at me like an old woman and tells me that I should have more respect for my things. I just put my gun on the table and tell him I do, for the ones that could save my life.” When Colin left her to go back to his job of working with his brother and dad, she sat down at her desk and looked around her office. There wasn’t much more she could do on this, but she knew that sooner rather than later, she’d figure it out. Since she was working on several other things now, she thought about Christmas which was in two weeks. There were decorations all over the house right now. A great many of them were where they should have been, gracing the staircase or hanging on the tree, but other things were still in boxes and hadn’t been put up. Lauren was excited to have a family Christmas. It would be her first one in a very long time. The tree alone had her coming downstairs in the middle
of the night and turning it on. The decorations on it, all of them, twinkled around the room like a sparkler on the Fourth. Then there were the packages, more every day, that were under it. She’d not gone snooping in them—she knew what they were…they were for their children. But she was just as excited as any child for this coming holiday. They were going to have Christmas Eve at their own houses, with their own families, then on the big morning they were headed to Colin’s parents’ house, her parents too, to have a long, fun day with them. Then there was food all day, as well as massive amounts of football. She herself had fallen in love with the sport long before she knew that his entire family would schedule a meal around their favorite teams. Looking at the time, she gathered up what she needed and waited for Boyd to come over. He and Mac were closing the clinic after today to take a much-needed vacation. Mac and Dustin were planning a nice getaway after the holiday, and she and Colin were going to spend a couple of days in Washington with Jarvis. She’d never spent a holiday with the president before and thought it might be fun. At least she wouldn’t be working the entire time. Boyd showed up about half an hour later, saying that he’d just delivered his one hundredth baby. The man was a wonder, she’d give him that. One hundred babies brought into the world, and he acted like it was the first time every time. Smiling, she brought him into her office to work and loved that he didn’t disappoint her in pointing out what a slob she was. Boyd could make her laugh quicker than any of the McCullough men. ~~~
After Boyd and Lauren finished up his help to her, they sat at the big desk and looked over the work she was doing now. He couldn’t offer her any help on her notes and pictures, but he did tell her that the two people in the picture were one and the same. He said that she’d have to learn eyes. Not that she didn’t know a great deal about people, but the eyes never lied to you. “I’ve been looking at houses. Dustin is helping me find something reasonable.” Lauren asked him if he was looking for big. “I wasn’t, but there isn’t much of a choice in the smaller houses that I was looking for. He said that bigger is better.” “Yeah, he would. I was noticing the house that they’re working on now. That’s a little bitty thing, at least compared to all the houses that the rest of them own.” Boyd laughed with her. He told her that the house was sold already. “That was fast. I had no idea that it was even on the market yet.” “It’s not, but they were working on it the day before yesterday and a couple came in to look around. Before they knew it, they were picking out carpet colors and paint colors for them. I guess they got a loan yesterday, and now they’re working with them to make it their home.” “That’s good for them, I guess. Why smaller, if you don’t mind me asking?” Boyd had been telling his family that he wouldn’t have a mate coming his way. He had told his family so far, and decided that he might as well tell everyone else too. He mentioned it again to Lauren. “I’m sorry, Boyd. I never thought that you guys could just not take your mate. And you told us that she was killed too. That really sucks. But in talking with Anastasia, she said that there is always a chance that you could find another mate. It has happened before.”
“I know. I thought I had plenty of time. I guess I do now, but I no longer have anyone to spend it with.” He didn’t like feeling sorry for himself, and tried to think of something to talk about. Anything else but a mate. “I should get going. I know you have a lot of work going on here.” “Actually, I’m just helping out on some cold cases for the moment. You and your brothers, you all have contributed something to the cause. I’m just biding my time until something comes along with Jarvis. But I have solved one of them so far.” He asked her about it. “They thought it was a robbery gone bad, but I found receipts in the man’s things that said that he’d sold off all his worldly goods then killed himself. A good job of it too, meaning that he did it in a way that really did point to murder.” “And what does it matter? I’m not belittling your work—I think it’s fantastic. But what does it matter to the system if he’s murdered or killed himself?” She handed him a sheet of paper, and on it were the same names and dates. “I don’t understand this.” “Insurance claims. They want his insurance, and if he was murdered, it would have been doubled. I was asked to figure out if I could find the murderer. Instead, I found that he killed himself. They’ll not get it now.” He told her that he thought that was sort of sad, and cruel too. “Yes, it is. And I agree with you that he fucked over his family. But that’s the truth of the matter, and that’s what I found. Now the case is closed, and no more man hours will be wasted on it.” “Do you think that was his purpose in making it all neat and tidy?” Lauren nodded. “All right, I guess, but he must have had his reasons, that’s all I’m saying.”
“I’m sure that he did.” She shoved the file under the other files on her desk and Boyd stood up. “You want some help house hunting? I’m about done here, and I could use a break. And if you’re really nice to me, which I don’t know why you wouldn’t be, I’ll let you buy me lunch.” “Sounds good to me.” They were out the door and in his car before he realized that he hadn’t been planning on house hunting today. “Dustin hasn’t lined up any houses for me to look at. I have nowhere to go.” “I know. But you seemed sort of down and I needed to get out. We’ll wing it.” Boyd stared at his sister-in-law. “All right, all right, I know I don’t wing it well, but I really did need to get out of the house. So, where do we start? I’m thinking that we hit a realtor and go from there.” The office of the only agent in town wasn’t busy, and he was able to get someone to give him a list rather than follow them around all afternoon. Boyd supposed that it was because of Lauren. She’d said no, they didn’t need the realtor to go with them, and no one disputed her claim that they had this. He was still laughing at the expression on the woman’s face when Lauren told her no. He’d bet few people told her that and got away with it. Much like Lauren. They hit two houses before they stopped for lunch. The first one had too much work that needed to be done on it. And Dustin had already told him that he had five houses that he had to work on before summer, as they were homes for vets. Dustin and their family did that when they could, helped injured vets with homes that would suit their needs. They were eating their lunch as they looked over the map they’d been given. Lauren crossed two of the dozen or so
houses off the list right away. She said they were too far from the family for him to think about purchasing them. “Perhaps I don’t want to live close to all of you.” She snorted at him. “You know, you’re not as pleasant to be around as you might think. I mean, I’ve had wild cats with more friendliness than you display all the time.” “Yes, but I can save your ass if you need it, and you know that I will tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it. But I can also lie right to your face and you’d never know.” He asked her how she thought that was a good thing. “It is. Like the shirt you have on. I could have said to you, Christ, Boyd, that’s a shirt an old man would wear. And you’d change. But I held my tongue.” Boyd looked down at his polo and then back at her. “What’s wrong with this shirt? You have one on that is just the same. Only mine is blue and yours is black. By the way, do you own any other color than black?” “No, I don’t. And you could use some color in your life too. I’m too set in my ways to change my style. But you, you should wear colors.” He pointed out that blue was a color. “Nah, it’s a mood. Blue is a mood. You should wear green or yellow. You’d look good in yellow.” He didn’t even know what to say to her. There were times when he had no idea if she was giving him a hard time or not. Like her being able to lie to him and he wouldn’t know if she was telling him a lie or the truth. So instead of engaging with her, he ate his burger and fries. Before he was finishing off his malt, she had marked two more off the list and had circled four of them. Paying for lunch, he looked around the diner. It was a
place he’d been coming to since he’d been a kid. And it really hadn’t changed all that much. In two weeks the new owner, Reese, would close it down and have the entire place updated, expanded, as well as adding an ice cream area for the local kids. This was all done on the sly—she wouldn’t know it was hers until Christmas morning. Jon and Parker had bought it for her. “You think they’ll keep the bar stools?” Lauren asked him why he’d want them. “I don’t know. It’s something that the six of us would sit on when my parents would bring us here for a treat. There used to be a soda fountain machine in here until it died with the old ways. I guess I’m a little nostalgic for my childhood.” Lauren popped him in the back of the head. “Get over it. You need to focus on the here and now, my dear brother. And when you get a house, I expect to get full credit for you buying it. Even if you have to lie about it.” They were still laughing as they made their way to the next house. He didn’t care for the neighborhood, but he was willing to give it a chance. But the closer they got to the place, the more uncomfortable he felt—like dread or the feeling of impending pain. When he sat in the car, just staring up at the house, Lauren asked him what was wrong. “I don’t know. I can feel something here.” She asked if it was just what he’d been thinking, and he turned to her. “You feel it too then?” “Yes. Like I’m going to open that door and sixty men with guns and knives are going to come out and fuck up my wonderful day. I hate having to kill someone before dinner. It gives me heartburn.” He asked her what she thought it did to
the people she killed. “I never thought of that, not that I care, but I never thought of that. Thanks.” Instead of moving on to the next house, they got out to see what was making them feel like that. As soon as they stepped up on the porch, the smell of fresh blood flooded his nose. He looked over at Lauren when she cursed. She pulled out her gun and he stood there as she took her booted foot and slammed it against the doorway. The stronger smell hit his nostrils first. Blood and a great deal of it. Then he could feel something akin to sorrow. Boyd stayed by the door when he was told to and waited for her to tell him to move. But before he could reach out to his brothers, not even sure what they were going to be needed for, he saw the movement near the stairs and nearly ran toward it when Lauren stopped him. “Do you know what stay here means?” He said that he did and pointed to what had moved. “It had better be something more than a dead rat or I’m kicking your ass all the way to the car. This is not how a person finds them a house.” Not only wasn’t it a dead rat, though he had seen it move so that ruled it out right away, but it was a body. A man’s body that was still breathing, though barely so. As he told Lauren to go and get his medical bag out of his car, he started assessing the man for injuries. The blood was everywhere, and he seemed to be bleeding from every part of his body. “What’s your name?” The man moaned and pointed to the stairs. Looking up, Boyd could see that he might have come through the railing. He didn’t tell him his name, and Boyd began searching for any kind of identification on him. “What the fuck are you doing?” He told her that he was
looking for alert bracelets or even a necklace that said maybe he had something else wrong with him. “Another thing I wouldn’t have thought of. But then, I don’t know that many people that I’d care enough about to check on that.” He knew that she was kidding around. There were plenty of people in her life that she loved enough to check for things like this. And Boyd was pretty sure that he was one of them. When he found that the man was on a blood thinner, he tried his best to find the biggest source of blood loss. Even small cuts could make him bleed more than usual. About the time he got the IV in, the paramedics showed up. Boyd knew that even though they’d gotten to him fast enough, he still might die from his injuries. He had a feeling that the man was lucky they’d not driven off and had stuck around to inspect the house. Boyd rode to the hospital with the man while Lauren talked to the police. The house, it seemed, wasn’t going to be one that he’d buy anytime soon, if ever.

 

Joshua The WhitField Ranchers Release Day & Giveaway

 

 

Recommended for 18+ Erotic Shapeshifter Romance. This full-length novel can be read as a stand-alone.

 

The Whitfield Rancher

  1. Evan
  2. David
  3. Joshua
  4. Adam (Coming Soon)
  5. Adrian (Coming Soon)
  6. Blake (Coming Soon)

 

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 down right 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.

 

 

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Dylan Hutchinson lived and breathed Army, and she’d been under cover 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.

 

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Carter didn’t move as she sat in front of the desk. Today was her fourth day out trying to find a job, and the second time that she’d been asked to wait while they checked on something. While she knew what they were checking on, calling the police to find out if her story matched what they were told, they had no intention of hiring her. “Miss Compton, I have a buddy that will hire you.” She looked at the secretary, who came in when the boss left her. “He’s a good guy. He and his brother are opening a greenhouse and they’re hiring a lot of people.” “I have to find me a job or go back to the halfway house.” The woman nodded and smiled as she handed her a piece of paper with a name and address on it. When their fingers touched, Carter looked at the woman. “Don’t go home at lunch. He’ll kill you if you do.” Startled, the woman just stared at her. “He’s having an affair.” Carter nodded. “I thought so. So, if I don’t go home for lunch, what happens to me and my children? We have to have someplace to live now that he’s out fucking his secretary.” “If you trust me enough not to go home at lunch, it’ll all be cleared up and you’ll be safe.” The woman stared at her for several seconds, and only stood when her boss returned. Carter nodded when she did. The boss, however, wasn’t pleased. “You should know that we are a nice reputable company, and don’t condone having convicts working here.” She didn’t even bother telling her that she had been exonerated of all charges. Standing, the boss did as well. “You should have known not to come in here looking for a handout either. We don’t do that. Now, I’d like for you to leave.” Carter could have told the secretary that her husband was also having an affair with the man that did their books for them. She could have told her that her nice company that didn’t deal with convicts was making meth for the local drug lord down the block, but didn’t do that either. Instead, she left there without saying a word. If the woman didn’t go home for lunch, which she didn’t think that she would now, the two people in the bed would be killed by the man who cooked the books for her husband and was his part time lover. Not only that, he’d kill himself too while he was there. It would be a mess, but the woman would be able to get her insurance on her husband and a very nice settlement from the man’s insurance. She would be safe with her children from now on. Walking in the bright sunshine, she made her way back to the apartment her sister had set up for her. Her friend was there, Dylan Whitfield, and Dylan’s sister-in-law Sunny. They had been here for two days with an elderly man, and didn’t seem inclined to go home without her and Rachel. Carter looked at the same elderly man as he came toward her on the sidewalk.
“You get the job?” She told him that she’d not. “Didn’t think you did. Some people aren’t as forward thinking as I am. I’ve come to take you to lunch. And then you and me, we’ll have us a nice conversation.” “Mr. Whitfield, you guys would be much safer if you just left me here. I know what I’m doing.” He said he knew that too. She was smart, he told her. “It’s not that. You don’t know what I’m capable of.” “Is that why you won’t let me touch you? Or anybody for that matter?” The man really was smart, but she had been at this a lot longer than he had been guessing. “I noticed that right away. When someone gets too close to you, you back up fast and far. Leaving your hands in your pockets all the time too, that’s so nobody will try and shake your hand. What can you do? Read minds and the such?” “Yes, and the such is much worse.” He nodded and opened the door to the little deli that he’d led her to. When they were seated, she looked at him. “I’m able to do things that you’ve never thought of. I see things that people don’t need to know. I could kill a person halfway around the world and never touch them. I won’t if I don’t have to, but if it came to protecting my sister and myself, I would in a heartbeat.” The waitress took their order, Ollie ordering for her when she wouldn’t. Then when the waitress was gone, returning once with their drinks, he stared at Carter but didn’t say anything for long moments. She didn’t squirm or get nervous. This was a good man, and she had no reason to fear anything about him. “Rachel said she won’t go without you. Can you make her go?” She said that she could but would rather not. “You lift things up too, don’t you? Not just little, but big stuff too.” “Yes.” Her answer was short, but that seemed to be all he required for now. Their salads were set in front of them when he looked around the restaurant. Then when he looked at her, she could see determination in his eyes. “Who’s coming for the two of you? Can you tell me that?” She told him who was coming and why. “Your parents, they want you for bigger things. I’m guessing for some of them abilities that you’re not talking about.” Again, she gave him the short answer and he nodded. Eating the salad, she thought about what this man knew that she’d not even shared with her sister. And there was plenty more that he didn’t know. Or, and this was likely most of it, he was afraid of asking her. “I want you to come back home with me. Now hear me out before you tell me no. Your sister, she ain’t going if you don’t, and even though you can make her, I got it in my heart that it won’t do you no good to send her to my place, because your parents will take you and that’ll bring her back here.” Carter asked him if he’d stop Rachel. “No. I know about family and the ties that bind. She ain’t gonna stop trying until she wears me plum out. Then she’ll be hurt anyway, or killed. When they coming, these socalled parents of yours?” “You believe me.” He said that he had no reason to think that she’d lie to him. “Mr. Whitfield, I’ve been in prison for the last ten years. I’m sure that you know convicts better than that.”
“I’m gonna tell you again to stop calling yourself that. You got out because they just figured out that you didn’t do those things they said about you. That don’t make you a convict, that makes you a victim. And while I know you can take care of yourself—I don’t doubt that one bit—that sister of yours, she’s not going to be so easy to protect with knowing you’re out here all by your lonesome.” She looked around the restaurant, then back at him. “The man over there with the woman in green—he’s having an affair with her. Not because he wants to, but she’s his boss and she’s making him. His wife knows now, he confessed it all to her, and she’s going to try and kill her. But she accidently kills her husband instead, and three lives are ruined.” He asked her if she could stop that from happening. “Yes, I could, but there are repercussions to doing that. If he is set to die, then something else will happen that will kill him. Maybe not today, but soon after. His wife isn’t a good person either, but she loves her husband and the money that he makes. So instead of just talking, as they should, she’ll take matters into her own hands.” “There are other stories you could tell me about the people here. I’m sure that you could tell me about myself too. I don’t want to know nothing, by the way. But I do know that if you don’t come along with your sister, she will be killed, and you’ll end up killing your parents. Is that something that you could live with?” No, she told him, Rachel had been good to her. “But your parents you don’t care about.” “No, not at all.” He nodded, and when her burger with fries was set in front of her, she looked at the man who in the last few days had been kinder to her than anyone, except for her sister Rachel, had been in a decade. “I’m not a person that people like. I’m very prone to being nasty, and sarcastic too.” “I like you. Very much. You’re a good deal smarter than you let people know about. You have a sense of goodness about you that no one sees. You’re witty and funny. I get peeks of it occasionally, that humor that you hide, but you got one.” Carter just smiled at him. “There it is, that pretty smile you got. What do you think of my deal?” “All you said was to come home with you to make sure that Rachel was safe. While I don’t have restrictions on where I can go and work, I do need a job so that I can stop sponging off my sister. She sold everything so that she could try and take me to Dylan and your family, and I don’t want her hurting for that.” Ollie told her that he’d give her a job. “I’m not a puppy that needs for you to take care of me.” “Don’t care all that much for dogs, me being a cat and all, but I like the wolves on my property and that of my grandsons. The wolves, they’re out to protect us when they can. We do the same for them.” She took a bite of her burger and moaned at it. It was the first one that she’d had in ten years, and it tasted so good. “You come on home with me and I’ll make sure you get fattened up with food like that all the time. My daughterin-law, Eve, she can make a pie that’ll make you sing her praises to the heavens.” “Ollie, I’m trying very hard to save you and your family from all this. You’re making it very difficult to say no to you, and you have to know that I have to stay here.” He said he understood that, but she could use a backup, everyone needed that. “You do understand that I’m a good deal stronger than the wolves and your family as tigers, don’t you?”
“You might be able to lift up a car and make it twirl in the sky, but you ain’t that strong when it comes to somebody loving you.” Carter looked away, unable to say anything around the lump in her throat. “You come home with me, darlin’ and I’ll show you a whole passel of people that will love you like you deserve. And I’m thinking of all the people that I know, you need to be loved more than most.” “You could be hurt. Perhaps even killed by this.” He said that he’d been hurt before. “But they’re coming, Ollie, and they mean to get what they want at all costs.” “So do I. I mean to save you the same way, if you’ll let me.” Walking out of the little restaurant, she didn’t tell him yes or no. But she did pause at the table to look at the man there. Putting the suggestion into his head that he needed to find another way of making a living now, she touched her finger to his forehead and let him see what was coming. It was up to him whether he did something about it or not. She heard the woman screaming at him when he got up and left. “You did save his life, didn’t you?” She told him all she’d done was give him information that he could use or not. “And that’s all it takes? For you to help someone that needs it. give them something they can do or not?” “Sometimes it’s not so easy as that, but yes, occasionally it does work. If he had stayed, then it would have been his own fault what the outcome would have been.” When they were outside of the place she’d been staying, she stood and looked at the nice man. “If I go, you’ll heed what I tell you? Everything I say, and so will your family?” “They’ll listen to you. Dylan, she’s a bit on the rough side, but she’s not afraid of someone having more information than she does and using it.” She nodded and looked up and down the street, then back at him. “You gonna tell me what’s going on that has you looking over your shoulder so much?” “They’re within ten miles of here. Not my parents, but someone is out there looking for me. I think perhaps it’s someone that they contacted.” He nodded and told her that they had to get going. “It’s not going to do much good—you know that, don’t you? They’re determined, and they have people that want to explore me. Cut me up and use me in ways that hundreds will die from.” “Together, we can do something that’ll keep them away. We, you and I, we’re good together, see if we ain’t.” He laughed then. “Come on then. I noticed that you don’t have much to pack up, but we’ll get it gathered. I’m telling Dylan and Sunny that we’re leaving. You can ride with me in the back. It’ll be fun.” She knew that this was a mistake. And though she couldn’t see her own future, she knew that they were going to regret her coming back with them. She only hoped that they could forgive her when the time came. Carter knew that they’d be afraid of her too. ~~~ Josh was showing a house when he heard from his grandda that they were coming home. He was glad to hear that, but wasn’t able to talk to him right now. The rest of them had plenty to say and to ask, but Grandda just said that he was coming home with
two beauties. Only Grandda would think that a woman was a beauty and get away with calling her that to her face. “Why is it you keep showing us houses that are too small?” He looked at Mr. Riddling and asked him what he meant. “My wife and I want a big house. One we can show off to our families that we got money.” “When you filled out the card, you said that you were downsizing and that you were only looking for a two-bedroom house, with not much in the way of a yard.” He handed the man the copy of the search he’d been given. “If you’ve changed your mind about that, then I’ll take care of that right away.” “We only want to live in it for about a month.” Josh was confused. “We want them to think that we own it, but we don’t want that big. Just for the holidays. And if you could make sure that it has nice furniture in it, that would be great too. We don’t have anything that’ll fit in a house as big as we want. We want to lord over our parents that we’ve done so well that they’ll be jealous.” “You mean to rent a house that’s large? That’s furnished as well? I don’t think that’s going to work. Not to mention, it would be expensive, even if I could find something.” Mr. Riddling said if they weren’t buying it, they shouldn’t have to pay anything for it. “You just want to stay in a lovely home that’s completely furnished for a month, as well, as I would assume, the lawns to be completely done. Did you want it decorated too?” “Yes, that would be really nice. Nothing too elaborate though. We don’t do that normally. But it should be ready for us to live in. Food we can bring in for ourselves, I guess.” Josh just shook his head at Mrs. Riddling when she spoke. “Also, if you could make sure that there is at least one car, and a limo that we can use while they’re here, that would be fantastic as well. Oh yes, and a staff that will do all the cooking and cleaning for us. Just for the month.” “All for you to use for free.” Now they looked confused as they assured him that was just what they wanted. “I don’t have any kind of service for that. I doubt very much anyone in this line of business does. We’re not into renting so much as we’re into selling. And as a whole, I don’t think anyone in this industry would do the things for you that you’ve asked me for. If there is nothing else I can help you with, then I’d like to get back to my office.” “Why are you so snippy all of a sudden?” Josh didn’t even bother saying anything. “All we wanted to do was to have a little fun in pissing our families off. I don’t see why that should make you angry. It’s not like you’re going to be able to tell them we didn’t really buy it. And perhaps we might even throw a little cash your way. You know, like ten or fifteen dollars for helping us out. And your boss told you to make us happy.” “I’m sure she had no idea what you were really wanting, or she wouldn’t have set this up for me.” Mr. Riddling actually got huffy with him. “If there is nothing else, then I’d really like to go. You’ve wasted enough of my time.” Josh called his boss as soon as he got them out of the house, which wasn’t easy, as they were still trying to convince him that there shouldn’t be a problem with this. When he was put on hold, he was sure that the Riddlings had beaten him to it. Not that it
mattered to him. He didn’t think he’d get fired over this, but if he did, then so be it. Josh was getting sick of people like these. Carol was laughing when she came back on the line. “As you might have guessed, I just got a call from Peter and June Riddling. They had quite a story to tell me about you. And I swear to you, Josh, had I known what they were about, I never would have assigned my best agent to them.” He said that he knew that. “The nerve of some people. He said you got nasty with him when he mentioned that he didn’t think he should have to pay for a house that he was only going to use for a little while. He also said that you promised him a staff, as well as having it furnished. Then you backed out for some reason.” “They had it in their head that I’d not only provide them with this grand house, but have it decorated for the holidays, as well as a limo that they could use. For free, I might add.” She said she was sorry. “So am I. Carol, I need to take some time off.” “Whatever you need, Josh, you know that.” He did and told her that. “I think you should be thinking about taking over this firm like I spoke to you about a few months ago. I’m too old for this shit too.” “I love working for you. I don’t know how I’d be as a boss.” She told him he’d be as good at that as he was at whatever he set his mind to. “Maybe, but I need some time to get my head together. And Adam and I are opening this greenhouse, and I’d like to get a good start on that as well.” “But you will come back to me, right?” He said that was his plan, but the more he thought about it, the more he was thinking he’d not go back at all. “Tell me how long you’ll need, and I’ll put you in for your vacation and such. I think you must have amassed about a month.” “Two, I think. And you don’t have to pay me for all of that. Just about a month of it for now. I don’t want to hurt you while I’m trying to figure out my life.” He saw his grandda coming toward him in the old truck. “Thanks, Carol. If you need me, just call. And if I can help you out I will, but I’m seriously in need of some me time.” When they were together, they hugged as they usually did. He’d been gone longer than he’d thought he would be, and was glad to see him. After telling him about his last client, they both had a good laugh about it. Then Grandda turned serious. “I brought home these two women with us.” He asked if Grandma knew. “It ain’t like that, you turd head. They’re in trouble, and there might be a bit more to it than just saving them. One of them is purely scary in what she can do. Not that she’d hurt me or any of you, but they want her.” “Who does? And you know that we’ll help them in any way that we can. But what do you mean, scary with what she can do? You mean kick ass, like Dylan and Sunny?” He said it was magical. “I understand that, Grandda, but that doesn’t tell me very much.” “She said that she can kill someone halfway around the world and not leave her chair. That she can lift up cars and throw them should she need to.” Josh didn’t say anything. He wasn’t sure that he believed his grandda; not that he’d lie to him, but the girl might have to him. He asked him if he’d seen her do it. “No. You can’t just kill
someone like that for a demonstration, now can you? And what do you think would happen if she was to toss a car around like it was nothing but one of them toys that them boys of Evans plays with?” “Okay, you have a point. But she might be telling you a tale.” Grandda just glared at him. “I don’t know why you’re upset with me—if you believe in her, that’s great. But I’ll hold out for proof.” “Her momma and daddy are coming to get them. They’ll use Rachel to get to Carter. That’s their names, Carter and Rachel Compton. Carter is the one that is all powerful. Rachel is a human. She knows a little of what her sister can do, and her parents know some too, but not all, I’m betting.” He asked him why they needed them if she had all this power. “Joshua, you’re getting on my last bit of nerves. I’m a knight to them, and I want you to help me by being my steed.” “Oh, so I’m to be the horse in all this.” Grandda laughed when he did. “Really, what she told you could be a fabrication of a sick mind. Is this the family that Dylan went out there to get? Does she know what’s happening with this girl?” Josh had it in his head that she was just that, a little girl. The other sister was someone that went to school with Dylan, so he knew that she couldn’t be very old. And if she was telling his grandda big tales, someone needed to talk to her. He looked at his schedule on his phone and asked him if he could meet this paragon of magic. “Not if you’re going to be nasty about it. She don’t need that any more than I do. She’s been hurt, Josh. Been in prison for ten whole years for nothing. They let her go because they figured out finally that they had the wrong person. It was the parents all along.” He nodded, and then realized that she wasn’t a child at all. He asked his grandda how old this girl was. “I think she’s about your age. Might be a little younger by a couple of months or so. She was seventeen when they tried her as an adult, due to a cop being killed.” Josh had heard some of this, but he’d been in the middle of shit here and hadn’t paid attention. Well, they had his attention now. He talked to Grandda a bit more as they walked to his car. By the time he’d left to go and see about dinner plans with the entire family, Josh had a name and something to go on. No one was going to come here and take advantage of his family. And especially not his grandda. As soon as he was back to the trailer he was living in until his house was just a little more livable, he pulled out his old computer. Putting in the name Carter Compton, he got a hit right away. He changed while thinking of the news he’d gotten today before sitting down to read about this woman. In a week, less he was told, he’d be moving into the bedroom, and the kitchen would also be done. The rest, he’d been told, they could work on around him. He was going to take this month off and help his brother in their new partnership, and get his house furnished. He could not wait.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanner Release Day & Giveaway

 

 

Giyanna had fled to Ireland when she was seventeen to get away from her abusive brother, Rogan, leaving her twin, Tyrrell, behind to make his own way in the States. Even though she missed Tyrrell fiercely, she vowed to never return. But with Rogan now in jail and facing serious time, she’s back to defend the man she hates most. Giyanna and Tyrrell are both good attorneys, but her goal was to make sure Rogan never gets out.

From the moment Chris Bentley called Tanner for a favor, he suspected it was a ploy for him to meet his other half. His brothers were all married now, but he wasn’t in any hurry to follow in their footsteps. He liked his life the way it was—uncomplicated.

She and Tyrrell were invited to the Calhoun home for dinner, they even sent a limo to pick them up. Giyanna wasn’t good with people, especially big men, and when they arrived, the door was opened, and she was staring into the eyes of the most incredible looking man she’d ever seen. But when the entire family rushed to welcome her into the family, Giyanna was not only confused, she was petrified.

Trust didn’t come easy for Giyanna, so Tanner had a long way to go to earn her heart. But when bodies started coming out of the woodwork, Giyanna was riddled with guilt for not acting on her instincts years ago. Now it’s up to Tanner to see her through it.

 

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Johanna, better known as Joe, had been a day walker for her only friend, Noah, for centuries. An immortal with eight hundred years under her belt, she had become proficient in several languages and occupations. When her friend Noah talked about meeting the sun, she had every intention of following in his path.

Joe had only gone to the Calhoun’s office to catch a ride to the estate. When she entered, it took her breath away to see the younger man on the floor and no one doing a damn thing to help him.

Trent Calhoun had forgotten how to have fun. Diving into his work was what kept him happy. At 33 he had no life, so when he had a heart attack, his doctor said to change his ways or else.

When the gorgeous woman stumbled into his hospital room, Trent thought his dad was up to his old tricks again―that was until he caught her scent…. Now, because of his wolf, he’s face to face with an angry vampire….

 

Noelle was in somewhat of a pickle. She had researched the Calhoun firm―Elijah Calhoun in particular―before she made the appointment, but she was having second and third thoughts about hiring the firm after she got there. All her research indicated she could trust them, but big men scared the hell out of her, and the place was full of them.

Elijah had been running a tad late for work, so his brother Trent took his first appointment. Elijah never dreamed that the woman he had an appointment with was his future mate…and she needed his protection.

Noelle’s stepfather wasn’t their only problem. Elijah’s brother Sterling’s nightmares had gotten worse and somehow the creature that had marked him was controlling his actions as well…no one was safe….

Chloe Davis was giving up. She thought for sure the owners of the computer shop she worked for were responsible for her father’s death, but in all the time she’d worked there she’d not been able to find enough evidence to prove it, so as far as she was concerned she was out of there. Her boss, George, on the other hand had other ideas. As far as he was concerned she wasn’t going anywhere…by force if necessary.

Scott Calhoun was just trying to help his grandfather get the young woman to safety, the last thing he expected was for her to be his mate. And he wasn’t happy about it either. Scott was a Dom, and he liked his sex hard and rough and his women submissive…this woman was a spitfire, and he was pretty sure he’d scare her off with his demands…. As far as he was concerned he was a deviant, not mate material.

But when Chloe and Scott come together, they both find more than they expected…Scott has finally met his match. Now, if everyone would stop trying to kill them, they might live long enough to enjoy each other.

Marty liked her life just fine. She was alone in the world, and waiting on tables would get her by until she finished college, but the girl she was training wasn’t working out. And the girl got her fired—now what was she supposed to do? She needed that job to survive.

Sterling Calhoun’s encounter with the she-devil was over, but the nightmares still lingered. The only thing that helped him deal with the nightmarish pain were his paintings. And through is Grandda he met Marty, his mate, but Sterling hadn’t been himself for a very long time….

Marty knew a few shifters, so she knew what it meant when Sterling told her she was his mate. Oh, hell no, this guy had to be nuts, the “mates” she knew were a strange lot, and she didn’t want any part of it….

Randal loved teaching at the elementary school, but there were a lot of underprivileged children attending and it tore at his heart for them to do without, especially at Christmas. Donating food to all the families was his way of helping make their Christmas brighter.

Randal hadn’t expected a parent to take exception to his Christmas present and wield a gun in his direction much less use it. What was this world coming to?

Laney Price had only planned to pick up her sister, Heather, from the Calhoun’s care and head back to Las Vegas. Everything was so messed up and nothing was going as planned. Her stepmother and her father were coming to take the child and there wasn’t much she could do about it. No child deserved to be put into their care.

Randal knew Laney was his mate, and he couldn’t stop her from leaving, but he was going with her if she left. He wouldn’t force her to claim him, but he had a solution to her problem if she’d agree to it.

 

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Tyrrell watched the little plane land. He’d been in Ohio for a whole day now, and he’d decided that it was a cute place. The town that he was staying in, a quaint little burg, had all the amenities that one might need—a grocery store, library, schools, as well as a doctor or two. The only thing that he could find fault with, and that wasn’t such a big deal, was that it lacked places to eat. Not that the few that were there didn’t cater to your every whim, but all he could get delivered to him was subs and pizza. Laughing, he wondered what his sister would think after living in a part of Ireland that was mostly farmland and sheep. She’d think she was living in a metropolitan area around here. He was at the end of the gate when she came into the building. Tyrrell felt his eyes fill with tears at the sight of her. She’d changed so much that he was surprised. It had been just over ten years since he’d laid eyes on her, but he had talked to her often. Giynna had her red hair pulled back in a long braid that had pulled loose in several places, but she had the face of a porcelain goddess, freckles and all. He had missed her so much, and it occurred to him then that it had been far too long since they’d even spoken. They hugged for a full five minutes, both saying how much they’d missed each other, their words tumbling over one another like they used to as children. He had missed her so very much. And she him, she told him. “The flight was long. And I’m exhausted. Hungry too. The food on the plane was good, but far too little to sustain someone for hours, I think.” He helped her with her luggage, just one bag and a carry on. “I didn’t know how long I’d be here, so I took two months off. It was difficult to find someone to watch my house, so you owe me half of that as well, Tyrrell.” She told him that she was joking, that she had it covered. “No, no, I told you that I’d go half. Just tell me what you want. Anything you need, I’ll do it. I’m just so very glad to see you. But two months and you have one bag? Are you planning to spend some time while here to shop?” She glared at him. “Ah, so you’re a better packer than I. I don’t doubt that either. I just haphazardly throw things toward the suitcase, and if it lands in it, it goes with me. God, it’s so good to see you after all this time. We should have done this years ago, Giynna.” “Yes, we should have, but I’m telling you right now, I won’t be drawn into Rogan’s mess other than to try and get him a reduced sentence. What is it he’s been taken in for?” Tyrrell handed her a thick file as he carried her bag out to the car. “Restraining order violation? That’s it? Damn it. I thought for sure I could just let him float his arse to prison. How is Bridgett? Have you spoken to her yet?” “No, I’ve not, and your Irish is showing. But yes, there is more. Breaking and entering. Parole violation. Also, he has a list of other charges about a mile long that he’s been avoiding. And by avoiding, I mean that he’s been not seeing his parole officer when he was supposed to. Intoxication. Robbery. Selling stolen goods. They decided that since they know where he is right now they’ll hit him up for them all at once. So
you might get your wish after all with him. But he’s been beating Bridget, and that has gotten him into the worst of it.” She was still reading over the file when she asked him where he was now. “Jail. Apparently, he was asked to leave the house that Bridgett was living in with him and he didn’t cooperate. He beat one of the men nearly to death, and the other man has a broken arm. They’re also charging him with the destruction of a government building. He tore up the house pretty good. His defense on that was that when Bridgett returned, she’d fix it up. And she is going to return, he’s told everyone that will listen.” “He’s a moron and a bully. It saddens me on so many levels that she had to do this. Running away is seldom the answer, but in her case and ours it was the only way to survive him. And she had to take his children so far away to hide from him.” Tyrrell told her that he’d sent her some money. “I did as well. At least she’ll be able to feed them until she can get a job. I’m to understand that her brother is there with her, and he’s already lined up a job for himself. These people that are helping her…do you know anything about them?” “I’ve been doing some research, and they’re about the best thing this town has ever seen. They’re wolves that are wealthy beyond anything I’ve ever heard of.” She nodded as they drove to the local bed and breakfast. “One of them is an attorney that has been asked to take on the case, but he declined. Something to so with him being in private practice. I don’t know. But it’s probably just as well. He’s really the best they have around here. And as much as I’d hate to say it, I do not want Rogan free to run around any more than Bridgett does.” “I’m better as an attorney, I bet.” She laughed with him. “But I have to tell you, Tyrrell, I don’t want to do this. You have to know that.” He said that he’d do it if she would second chair with him. “I don’t even want to do that. I really dislike him. Rogan has been nothing but a bully since we were children. I’d just as soon he went to prison and never got out.” “When he called me, all I could think about was finding the state’s prosecutor, whoever that might be, and giving him even more shit to pile onto whatever they have on him. And as you can tell, there is a great deal of it.” She closed the file and leaned back. “Honey, you’re tired. Why don’t we hit the place we’re staying, and you take a long nap? That way when you wake, you’ll be fresh enough to go see him with me.” “I think I’ll sleep for a week.” He just grinned at her when she looked at him. “I want to spend time with you, and before I have to go back, I want us to go out and see the kids. Hopefully they’ll be all right out there. I have to admit, though, I’m so glad that she was able to do this. Even if she had to take them all the way across the States to do so.” “Bridgett is terrified that she’ll lose the kids if he’s able to get out. I don’t foresee him getting even visitation rights, but I don’t practice in this state, so things could be different. With him having a criminal record it might go in her favor. But they’re not hers, remember.” She said that she did. “The fact that they’re his might not go so well for her since she’s unemployed and took them out of state. However, she has called the
police on him several times, and I’m to understand there is a restraining order that he broke too. I’m thinking she’ll be all right, but I don’t want to promise her anything.” “She took them for safety reasons, and that alone will keep her from getting into trouble. That’s what I would do if I were on her side. Where, I might add, I wish I was.” He said that he did as well. “Oh well, so we’re here. When do we go and see the dumbass?” “When you’re rested. I think right now you’re not in the mood to talk to him, am I right?” Giynna yawned and nodded. “You get some rest. I’ll go tell Rogan that we’re both here and see what he has to say for himself. I’ve been sort of avoiding him since I got here. For good reason, I think, but I still have no desire to even be in the same room with him.” Their brother had been cruel to them when they were children. It was the reason that they’d left home so young and never returned. Not even to talk to their parents, who Tyrrell had lost contact with years ago. He wondered if Giynna had spoken to them, but she was exhausted, and he didn’t want her more upset. “All right then, seeing him has to come first, I guess. But wait for me. I’ll go with you, and that way we can try and hold onto our tempers as a tag team.” She was nearly asleep when he laughed. “I’m really exhausted. I would have slept on the plane, but there was this kid behind me that I swear to you had daggers at the end of his shoes, and he was using them to hit me in the back. The entire trip.” Tyrrell glanced at her every so often to see that she was sleeping again. He didn’t envy her the trip back, nor seeing Rogan. As he’d said, he had no desire to see him either. And when he thought of that, it sometimes hurt his heart. They had never been close as a family, except for Giynna and himself. But they were twins, so that helped a little, he supposed. She woke once the car stopped. He helped her into her room and then went back for her luggage. Giynna was asleep on the bed when he got back. Taking off her shoes, he covered her up with the blanket at the end of the bed and left her. He’d talk to her when she was up and around. To deal with their brother, they’d need all the strength they could get. He decided to go and see his brother, just to test the waters. The jail where Rogan was being held was a nice one. It sort of reminded him of the jail on a black and white show that he’d watched in reruns as a kid. There was even a rocking chair down the long hall where the cells were. Rogan was in the last cell. It looked like he’d never broken his habit of being a slob since they’d left home. “Hello, Rogan. I’ve come to help you out as you asked.” Rogan just glared at him. “I could just go back home and tell Giynna that you don’t need either of us.” “She came? Well la-de-da. The bitch wouldn’t even take my calls when I tried to call her and ask her to come here. She still a bitch like she always was?” Tyrrell told him she was never a bitch to him. “Yeah, because she has you all pussy whipped. Either of you bring me any money? I want you to bail me out. That’s the least you can do for making me sit around here and wait on one of you to come around.” “There is no bailing you out of this, Rogan. I’m sure you were told that. The judge didn’t set you one because he thought you’d be a flight risk. Not to mention there are
too many things in your jacket for them to think that you’d not just hide out until they forgot about you.” He said that they’ve told him a lot of shit. “Perhaps it would do you better to listen next time. Giynna and I are going to try to get you a reduced sentence, and after that—” “Reduced? That’s bullshit. I want out of here for good. I don’t belong in here anyway. You tell her to get me out of here, and all them charges they’re supposed to have on me dropped. Some of that shit is really old, and there should be some kind of expiration date on them. Hell, even my milk has one of those.” Tyrrell just stood there. “Did you hear me, moron? I said for you to get me out of here. Right now.” When his brother stood up, Tyrrell backed from the cell. It was then that he realized that his brother was a mess worse than his cell was. And not just because he was in jail, but about three hundred fifty to four hundred pounds of fat was hanging out of his too small jumpsuit they’d given him, and his chins were touching his chest. His dirty hair, usually pulled back in a ponytail when he was younger, now hung down his back in a stringy mess, and he was bald on top. “When was the last time you had a bath?” Rogan just grunted at him. “You’ll need to clean up before we take you to court. And I’m warning you right now, Rogan, you piss either of us off too much and we’ll go back home. You’re not going to fuck this up by being yourself. You asked for us, and we dropped everything to come here and help you out. The very least you can do is behave.” “Don’t be a shit, Ty. It’s your big brother you’re talking to. Bridgett has to pay, and pay big. She took my damned kids.” Tyrrell told him they were better off without him. “What a thing to say to me. They’re my damned kids, and she had no right to do that to me. And I’m betting she took that fucking card with her too.” “Really? Tell me, Rogan, how old are they? Just one of them. Tell me how old the oldest is.” Rogan stared at him with that blank stare he always had when he didn’t want to answer. “You don’t know, do you? Then tell me. What are their names? I’m betting that you don’t even know that, do you? You’re a terrible person, and a worse father. And as far as I can see, nothing about you has changed in ten years. Your kids and Bridgett are better off where they are. They deserve more than they ever had in you. Instead of beating her to shit every time you could, you should have been telling her thank you daily for raising your children to be better people than you are or ever will be.” “I’m a good person. She asks me for it when I have to knock her around.” Tyrrell asked him how she ever did that. “By not doing what I told her to do. All I wanted was peace and quiet when I came home, and she couldn’t even do that. Always harping on this or that. Making me get out and find a job. What do I need a job for? The government, they take from you if you work, and that ain’t right. Also, when I have a job, I can’t go hang out with my buds. You know how much I like doing that—don’t you remember, Tyrrell? We have shit to do, my friends and me. And that brings me to her card again. She spends it on shit that I don’t want her to. Going to the grocery and spending almost every dime of it so I can’t go and trade it off for other shit. Shit that I want.”
“Yes, I’m sure that you having your shit is much more important than your children you want back having food in their bellies when they need it. What must she have been thinking, to take the card and use it for what it was intended for.” Tyrrell just looked around his cell and shook his head. “Is this the kind of mess you left her when you got into her house? If so, it’s small wonder that she didn’t leave you long before this.” “Not for lack of trying, I’ll tell you. Once a week she’d leave and take the kids. I’d have to beat her hard after that. And one of the kids. That’d be all it took to bring her in line. Of course, all they did was whine when I hit them, but that’s what she needed— and it’s always her fault too.” He laughed like it was a huge joke to hurt one of his own children. “And she was starting to hide the card on me. Or spending it all before I could get me a handle on it. I think she has another mail box or something. But I’ll find it. And that card, it should be mine. I’m the reason that she gets it anyway. That card was as high as it was because of my kids. Damn it, I should have had it when I wanted it.” “You don’t want her to spend it on food for the children?” Rogan told him how they got government handouts all the time. “I see. And how much of that do you eat? Of this government food? You look like you eat more than your fair share of it.” “I think you’re not being nice to me, Tyrrell. You know I don’t like that. Come over here and let me plunk you like I used to do when you was a kid.” Rogan laughed at him when he took another step back. “You’re a pussy. It’s a wonder that you ever made it alive out on the streets when you left me. And don’t think I’m not mad about that either. The two of you left me without any kind of help around the house. You should see that place now. It’s going to shit. I go there sometimes when I need some breathing room. It’s mine, you know.” Tyrrell knew just who owned the house and why. He hated it, but when the bank had called him and not Rogan, he did the only thing he could think of and paid the back taxes. And in return, he was given the deed to the house so long as he kept up on the taxes. “Whatever. You clean up and Giynna and I will be back tomorrow. And you’d better be nice to her, Rogan. If she leaves, then I do as well.” Rogan told him they’d better do right by him or when he was out, he’d take care of them too. “It’s tempting to not do right by you. As far as I’m concerned, everyone is better off with you right where you are.” “That ain’t right, Tyrrell. We used to have fun as kids.” Tyrrell asked him when that was, and Rogan looked like he was thinking about it. “All right. I used to have fun. But you and Giynna, you begged me to hurt you. Just like Bridgett did all them times. Then she goes to the police, so they’d tell me to stop. Not going to happen, I told her. She belongs to me. And both of you always stashing away cash and not letting me have it. That ain’t the least bit fair. I’m the oldest, and you should be proud to have me as your brother. And giving me all that you had, that’s only fitting because you should want me to have it.” “By letting you have all we had? You think that’s the way it should be?” Rogan said that was right. “No, it’s not right. Giynna had to go to another country to get away from
you. And I had to change my number over and over to get away from you too. You’re not a nice person, and I don’t care that you are my brother, I don’t like you at all. And it’s doubtful that you care, but you should know that as soon as this trial is over, I’m going to wash my hands of you completely, Rogan. I’m no longer going to answer the phone when you call.” Tyrrell left him after that. All Rogan could focus on was how much he’d been wronged. It had been that way their entire lives. He wanted, he took. When he was hurt, everyone was hurt. And he had been a bully, a bastard all his life. Tyrrell went back to the bed and breakfast thinking that it was a mistake to have come to this town for him. He just hoped that they lived, first of all, and didn’t live to regret this. Rogan was going to cause them trouble, even from behind bars. ~~~ Tanner looked over the calendar to figure out what was going to happen today. Mostly it was just over the phone meetings that he had to take care of for Noah. Then he had a luncheon with his mother on her projects. Life wasn’t as boring as he’d thought it would be taking on a single client. “You have a call on line one. Its Chris Bentley.” Excited to have his day interrupted by the witch, he took the call. He’d drop everything just to talk to the wonderful woman. “Hello, and how the heck are you? You should see my house. Myra did a fantastic job of it.” She laughed with him. “I’m sure that she told you. But anyway, what can I do for you today, my dear?” “I have a favor to ask of you. There is this fellow that you’ve been dealing with. Rogan McGowan. I’m to understand that you and your family have taken his wife and children under your wing, so to speak. You’ve sent them away to keep them safe, right?” He told her what they’d done. “Sending her away is the best thing for her, I think. She’ll be safe, and the children will as well. But it’s her that this is about. She needs to never return. No matter what happens, do not let them make her return. She’s safe, and that’s what she needs to be from now on.” “I think that you’re right. Being here, that’s not terribly safe for anyone, but especially her and those children. I mean, you just said how she’s going to be fine out there.” Chris said that Bridgett needed closure on this, but she could get that from a distance. “I’m afraid that she has to deal with her husband at some point. But I will try my best to make them see the big picture when it comes to her returning.” “Yes. Otherwise, those poor children will become a ward of the state and never have anyone to love them as she does. She’s terrified of men, and with good reason, I think.” He could understand that and told her so. “Also, I know that you can’t help with the attorneys representing Rogan. But they’re in town, and not from around there. They’ll need someone to show them around. I was wondering if you could get one of your brothers to help them out.” “Is this a ploy for me to meet my other half?” She asked why he’d think that. “I don’t know. I’m the last of the Calhoun men that is unattached. I have my house in order. I’ve a good job, money in the bank. I’m surprised every time I see someone new in town that she’s not falling all over me saying that she’s the one.”
They both laughed, and he was embarrassed that he’d voiced that out loud. He really had been worried about that. Not worried, but concerned enough to start avoiding the grocery store, as well as any place that had a crowd of people. “Yes, you are, but I’m reasonably sure that you can find yourself a mate all on your own. Besides, they’re sister and brother to Rogan.” He wondered if they were like him, but said nothing. “The woman, I think her name is Giynna, is from Ireland. Been living there since she was about seventeen. The brother, Tyrrell, he’s been living in Texas for the most part, moving around where the job he has takes him. They’re both single—yes, I’m aware of that—but I don’t think that she’d be suited to you. Not with you being so close to your family.” “Which, I’m saying this because you’ve always been there for us, she’s going to take me back with her because of her being my mate. And I’ll be singing ‘Wild Irish Rose’ and eating haggis with every meal.” They both laughed. “Is she? My mate? I’ve never come right out and asked you before, and you did promise me that you’d never lie to me.” There was a pause there, and he was sure that he had his answer. So, when she finally did speak, he wasn’t the least bit surprised when she told him she was. “I wanted it to be something that you took care of. I did.” He said that he understood. “I don’t think you do. But that’s all right as well. She’s been hurt, and badly so, by her brother, Rogan, and hasn’t had a moment’s peace since leaving home. Giynna lived with an elderly aunt until she passed away, and in all that time, she never dated. Not once since she moved there, and that’s just sad. She’s a wonderful woman, and you couldn’t do better than if I had picked her for you myself.” “Is she afraid of men as well? I mean, is she going to hurt me if I touch her in the wrong way? I don’t want to make her upset with me right away. I’ll save her being pissed off at me till when we’re together for a little while.” Chris said that she was more than afraid of them. “Because of Rogan. And this guy, they’re here to get him off? To let him out with people that he can and will harm? Or are they only going through the motions with him?” “It’s not like that, and it is. Her and her brother are here to make sure that he gets a fair trial, but they’d just as soon he ended up in jail for the rest of his life too.” He asked why they were helping him then. “Family, I think. And maybe a little bit of closure. You know more than most what you’d do for your family. And I think that the only reason that they agreed was so that they could have time to see each other. Tyrrell and Giynna are twins, and used to be very close.” “I understand that. I don’t like it, but I understand. And since she’s going to be my mate, no matter how much I’m not ready for her, I can’t take the case against him. Not now.” Chris thanked him. “Don’t thank me yet. I still must convince her that I’m her mate. And knowing how well that went over for my brothers, she’s not going to go easy on me.” “No, she won’t.” He wondered what she’d say to him if he decided to leave town and not return until Giynna was gone. “It wouldn’t work, and you know that. When the
fates have your life planned out, it matters little when you get together, but you know that you will.” He did, but said nothing else. His mind was going over the things that he still had to finish up. Not just his home, but there were a few things that he wanted to take care of here as well. Tanner had his life planned out too, right down to what he was going to have for dinner tonight and tomorrow. But this, having a mate, he knew as well as Chris did that it would consume him when they came together. “You have such a shitty outlook in all this. Why is that?” He told her that he didn’t know, but he wasn’t keen on having a mate. And asked her to stop reading his mind. “I don’t have to tell you what she’ll bring to you. Or how you’re going to feel when she comes into your life, do I?” “You know me and what I’ve had going on since I was a kid, so you know what sort of things I’m dealing with.” She said that she didn’t. “Chris, I might be the youngest, but I think that I’m more set in my ways than even Joe is. I don’t care for change. It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, quitting my job and working for Noah. I can’t give a woman, any woman, what she will want. I’m not built like that.” “And what is it, Tanner, that you think a woman might want from you other than your undying love?” When he didn’t have an answer for her, she didn’t continue her train of thought. “If you could please tell Bridgett not to come home. No matter if she wants to face her demons or not, that would be disastrous.” “Are you mad at me?” She said that she wasn’t. Disappointed, but not mad. “I don’t want you disappointed either. But I know what I am.” “Yes, and so do I. All right then. We’re planning a large picnic for the summer. You all will be invited as well. And we hope to be notified when Noelle has her babies. It’s soon, correct?” He told her in two weeks. “Good. Let me know, and I’ll come out to see her. Thanks again, Tanner.” Then she hung up. He felt all twisted up inside when he couldn’t give her what she wanted. A mate would want children, and he just couldn’t give that to her. Not like the others could. As he worked through the rest of the morning, he tried hard not to think about what was going on. His mate was here. And she was an attorney. He decided to do a little digging on his own about Rogan McGowan, and see what he could find out to either hurt or help their case. It was funny really—he’d never thought of himself as not being able to take a side on something like this. He knew just what he wanted as soon as he’d been approached with a case. But this one, he knew that it was going to change a lot of lives, his included. “Sir, there is a Mr. McGowan to see you.” He looked at his cook and friend, Mabel, his heart doing a little jump. He asked her where her husband was. “He’s gone to the market, and the young man said to tell you that he’s Tyrrell, not Rogan.” “Send him in, please.” She said that she would, and would bring refreshments as well since he’d worked through lunch again. “I’m sorry. Did you go have some?” “I did. And I’ve made you a bowl of soup. Beef and vegetable. You can have it later. If you don’t piss this young man off. He looks like he’s had a rough time of it. I’m sure he has too.” Tanner asked her why she’d think that. “He’s related to that dreadful man,
isn’t he? Poor man. I’d hate to have him on my coattails. You need to know something about him, just gossip mind, but I can tell you.” Tanner thanked her and shut off the monitor on his computer when she went to get Tyrrell. Tyrrell looked just like he thought he would except for the hair. While Rogan’s was silvery white as the clouds and nasty stringy, Tyrrell’s was as red as the roses that were blooming in his mother’s garden. He had a moment to wonder what his own mate’s would look like, and squashed that thought down. Not now, he told himself. “Hello, Mr. Calhoun. My name, as you know, is Tyrrell—Rogan McGowan is my brother. And I assure you, we’re nothing alike.” They both laughed as they shook hands. “I’m new to this area and state, but I do have a federal license that takes me pretty much where I need to go. I work for the government. Mostly to do with paperwork, but I wanted to let you know that I won’t be representing him without a license.” “He’s got a lot on his plate right now. And, I would imagine, you as well if you’re taking this on.” He said that he knew that. “I’m not going to be involved in this. First, he had an issue with a public defender—I think you know who that is.” He said that it was his sort of brother-in-law. “Yes, that’s him. Phillip Chester is now safe, as is Bridgett. The second thing, along with a list of other items that they’ve put on his docket, is that he destroyed a public housing home and made a public nuisance of himself.” “Yes, I called and got Bridgett’s address from your sister-in-law before coming here. My sister, Giynna, came to the States to second chair with me. I’m going to be honest with you, sir, I have no desire to be here any more than Bridgett did.” He asked why then he was here. “My sister and I haven’t seen each other for a very long time. Just once since we turned seventeen. She went off to Ireland to be with a relative, and I stuck around to get my law degree here. This is a way for us to—sort of, I guess—write off a way to see each other and have a little time together. We don’t want him out of jail any more than anyone else might. Rogan is and always will be a bully.” “I’ve been reading up on him. He’s a bit more than that, I’d say. But as for you and your your sister, that’s a very long time to not see someone you’re related to, I think. My entire family lives near here. It can be both a blessing and a pain in the butt most of the time. But I do love them.” He said he knew about pains in the butt. “What can I do for you?” “I was hoping that you could help Giynna and I out with the judges. As I have said, neither of us wants to help Rogan out, but we’re stuck with him as a brother. But I do have to go through the motions so that he can’t say he didn’t get a fair trial. That would just piss him off, and he’d take it out on a lot of people.” He said he understood. “Also, we don’t know the area, and we were kind of hoping you could steer us in the right directions of a nice place to have a meal. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but Giynna will want cloth napkins. It’s been a sort of requirement of hers since we were kids when nice dinner was suggested.” “She sounds like a stickler.” He said that she was usually laid back. But he’d not seen her in ages. “I take it she’s here?”
“Yes, today as a matter of fact. She’s resting now at the local B&B. It was a long flight.” Tanner told him that was good that they were staying so close. “Why don’t you come to the house tonight? The two of you can meet my family—they’re a little on the large size—and then we can figure out a plan for the two of you to find a nice place. There are several in Columbus, but around here, about all we have is burgers and pizza. The one restaurant that we do have, they’re not open on Mondays. But the food is good and filling.” “We don’t want to impose. We can just have dinner at the pizza place.” Tanner told him he insisted. “Well, if you’re sure no one will mind, then yes, we’d love to have dinner with you. Is there anything I can bring? I don’t know what it would be, but I’m sure I can bring something.” “No, that’s all right. Just come casual. We are a big family, as I said, and they’re very casual about things. My sister-in-law is due in two weeks, so we’re sort of on pins and needles too.” He nodded. “I’ll send a car for you, and that way you won’t get lost. It’ll be at my parents’ house. They’ll be happy to see you.” After he left, Tanner wondered what the hell was wrong with him. He’d just invited his mate to meet his family. A mate that he’d not met yet. Laying his head on the desk, he was still there when his cook cleared her throat. He took the soup and thanked her. He was so fucked right now. Tanner had no idea where to begin. But changing his attitude might be a good place to start, he thought as he ate his soup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

News and Updates 4/23/18

Coming April 30th 2018

 

 

18+ Erotic Shapeshifter Romance, fantasy romance, paranormal fantasy

Calhoun Men
Trent
Elijah
Scott
Sterling
Randal
Tanner

Giyanna had fled to Ireland when she was seventeen to get away from her abusive brother, Rogan, leaving her twin brother, Tyrrell, behind to make his own way in the States. Even though she missed Tyrrell fiercely, she vowed to never come back. Now Rogan was in jail and facing serious time. Now, she was back in the States to defend the man she hated most, Rogan. Giyanna and Tyrrell both were good attorneys, but her goal was to make sure Rogan never got out.

From the moment Chris Bentley called Tanner to ask him for a favor, he suspected it was a ploy for him to meet his other half. All his brothers were married now, but he wasn’t in any hurry to follow in their footsteps. He liked his life the way it was—uncomplicated.

She and Tyrrell were invited to the Calhoun home for dinner, they even sent a limo to pick her and her brother up. Giyanna wasn’t good with people, especially big men, and when the limo door opened, she was staring into the eyes of the most incredibly good-looking man she’d ever seen. But when the entire family rushed over to her welcoming her into the family, Giyanna was not only confused, she was petrified.

Trust didn’t come easy for Giyanna, so Tanner had a long way to go to earn her heart. But when bodies started coming out of the woodwork, Giyanna was riddled with guilt for not acting on her instincts years ago. Now it’s up to Tanner to see her through it.

 

 

 


Dana The English Dragon Release Day & Giveaway

 

The injured women in the bed, Emerald, had been poisoned with lead. Dana could smell it on her and he wondered why Danburn hadn’t. With Danburn being the king of the dragons he should have been able to smell it right off, or at least Dana thought so anyway. With the woman’s surly temper Dana should have left her there to suffer alone, but he could smell his mate on her. Since Em was an emerald dragon he deduced that his mate must be another gem to compliment his diamond.

Sapphire had been summoned with the rest of her sisters, Ruby and Opal, to Em’s side. The young girl, Carmine had powerful magic that could extract the lead from Em, but she wasn’t strong enough to get it all out on her own. The sisters would have to combine their magic with Carmine’s or Em wouldn’t survive.

Sapphire knew instantly that Dana was her mate and she wasn’t thrilled about it either. She and her sisters had been around for thousands of years, why did a mate have to muddy the waters now?

Dana wanted to take it slow. They had the rest of their lives to get to know each other. He wanted to court her and ease into the relationship. They were both immortal, so time was on their side, right? Melville James had other ideas. If he couldn’t have the emerald dragon he’d just take the sapphire. After all, her mate hadn’t claimed her yet, and by dragon law that made her easy pickings.

 

 

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Danburn English is the ninth earl of the English castle. He and his dragon alter ego have been on this earth for a very long time. Danburn is accustom to his orders being followed to the letter, no questions asked, so when this feisty young woman bucks his authority he is beyond angry.

Kendrick Barrera can’t seem to get caught up. Every time she turns around, her sister is in trouble again. Now, because of her sister’s new mess, she’s being evicted and has nowhere to go.

Danburn’s intentions were to defend her honor, but when Kendrick intervenes, she steps in front of a punch intended for her mouthy landlord. Now Danburn has to step back and take a good long look at himself, and he doesn’t much like what he sees.

Kendrick doesn’t care for the overbearing lord of the manor and makes no bones about telling him so either. No one, especially him, is going to tell her what to do or how to act or dress.

There is something about the feisty woman that has touched Danburn’s heart. She has a rare honesty and bravery that has him take notice. A woman like that is hard to find and should be protected and cherished. The chemistry is there, they’ve both felt it, but controlling his mouth just might get in the way of winning Kendrick’s heart….

 

Cassie had just arrived in Danburn’s territory and she knew as a dragon she had to report to him. Whether she liked it or not, she’d gone from one ruling male, her father, to another. Being a female dragon, and unmated, she felt cursed for her lot.

Everette Welsh, Rett to his friends, was having a hard time making ends meet. He was a good attorney, but it seemed to do him little good. His good friend, Danburn, insisted he quit his job and come work for him. Rett had no intentions of taking Danburn up on his offer, but when his boss called him into his office and was demanding that he apologize for threatening a man who blackmailing him, the words “I quit” spilled from his mouth without thinking. However, once said, he felt better for it.

Rett found himself on the wrong end of a shotgun blast, and Cassie gave a bit of herself to save him. There were only three conditions of taking dragon’s blood that a human would survive, and the other two didn’t apply to him. Rett and Cassie were mates.

Only two things stood in their way: Rett’s obnoxious mother, and Cassie’s father, a lethal combination…

 

 

Quinn Langley knew her mother didn’t have long to live. Soon it would just be her and her little sister, Carmine. Nearly recuperated from her own injuries, Quinn knew the first order of business would be to find a job and get out of Danburn and Kendrick’s hair.

Danburn had invited his friends to his home to spend the holidays, and that included his good friend, Hanson McClain. Hanson’s parents had run off and left the estate in a shamble and near financial ruin. It had taken Hanson months to repair the damage, and he was ready for a break.

Quinn had no idea that her cousin, Kendrick, was mated to a dragon, and that she and her sister were the only humans in the house. And now, the handsome stranger, Hanson, also a dragon, had claimed that she was his mate. It was time to leave. The ever practical, Quinn didn’t want solutions just handed to her on a silver platter. She’d make it on her own. But in life things don’t always go as planned. Like it or not, Hanson’s parents were a problem she’d be forced to deal with, and she discovered her sister, Carmine, had abilities Quinn didn’t quite understand.

Thrust head first into a world of immortals, Quinn found she had a whole new set of problems. Now, the first order of business would be to protect her little sister and hopefully not die in the process.

 

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Em was exhausted, but more than that, she was terrified as well. To be in the house of the king was unnerving, but the way that everyone kept coming in to check on her was also making her afraid. Like instead of checking on her, they were making sure that she wasn’t harming the household and the people there. She looked at Sebastian when he growled low. “What is it?” Someone comes, he told her. “Well, that’s not at all helpful. People have been coming in and out all day long. It would be easier for you to say that no one is out there.” The door opened and a man she’d not met before stood there. He didn’t enter the room, but he did watch her. Asking him what his deal was, he told her nothing but continued to wait. Sitting up in the bed cost her, but she thought it was worth it to have him go away. Which he did not. “My name is Dana Blankenship. You are an emerald dragon, fittingly called Emerald.” She nodded. “Your gryphon is called Sebastian and he is not one to mess with. He’s been caring for you for many decades. You ask yourself why I know this. Well, the household has spoken of nothing else but the beautiful woman who is an emerald dragon. Oh, and her sidekick, Sebastian.” He was very handsome. His face was hard, but she knew that when he smiled, like he was right now, he could not just open doors, but women would swoon and men would be jealous. He was a man that people paid attention to. She was not going to be charmed by him though. “Yes, so what? You know what everyone in the house does, big deal.” He nodded, then shook his head. “You’re getting on my last nerve, and if you knew anything about me, you’d know that I don’t care for that.” “You’re the queen of the emeralds. That part I figured out all on my own.” Her heart began pounding in her chest and she thought about what she needed to do now. “You make all the emeralds in the world. Meaning that all you can make, cry, is the same gem. Your job is to make sure that there are just enough and not too many in one place. Correct?” Terror made her snappish. Well, more snappish than she normally would be. And while she rarely held back when she was mad, this time it got away from her even before she opened her mouth. “What the fuck are you doing? Reciting my entire life’s history? What are you doing here anyway?” He asked if he could come into her room. “Not yet. I think I like you better right where you are. And I want to know, what it is you think you know that I don’t?” “I’m sure that I know a great deal, but not necessarily more than you. You’re the sister of the opal, ruby, and sapphire. I’m assuming that since you’re Emerald, their names are accordingly.” She told him that was right. “Are the others safe?”
“Why would you even care? I don’t know you from anyone.” He just nodded and leaned against the door jamb like he had not a care in the world. “What are you? Other than a dragon. You must have some kind of special powers. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to figure this all out.” “What I have is a tenacious sister-in-law that has read over the rules and regulations of our kind. Which would include you and your family. Quinn is the one to see if you have any questions about any kind of dragon. And she’s reading the books that are a part of the council as well. Smart girl, that Quinn. And she has an equally smart sister. Her name is Carmine if you ever get the chance to meet her.” She nodded, thinking that this could be really bad for the rest of them. She was in the house of someone that could hurt her worse than she was already. “I don’t know what’s going on in your head right now, but I’m not going to hurt you. None of you.” “And you think that I should just believe you? Not likely. I’ve been around longer than you have.” He said that she hadn’t, actually. “That’s…I can’t smell you.” “No, you cannot. Where are the others, Em? Are they safe? I know that you travel together, wherever you go. Are they safe?” She didn’t want to answer him, but the truth was, she didn’t know if they were or not and told him that. “If you’d like, we can go and bring them here. This is a safe haven for dragons.” “You tell me why I can’t smell you, then perhaps I’ll trust you.” He asked again if he could come into the room. “Why do you need my permission?” “For the simple reason that you won’t give it.” As she was growling low at him, he turned to his right and smiled. It was a smile that made her heart flutter and her body warm. When he took a tray from the woman that had been in here earlier, she sat up higher in the bed when he brought the tray to her. His whispered breath touched her cheek. “I’m a diamond dragon. You’re not my mate as I had assumed. But one of your sisters, perhaps? The smell on you, it gives me only a hint of her, one of the other three. Which is it, I wonder? And what would a diamond dragon have with a gem one should they have children? All things that I plan to figure out. With or without your help.” She shook her head, telling him in the same low voice that she wasn’t going to help him. “All right then, Em. I’ll see you later. And if you change your mind, let me know.” Change her mind about what? Then she remembered that he wanted to keep the others safe. In all this time she’d not reached out to her sisters, and looked at Sabastian to send him on his way to find them. “Bring them back if you do find that they need me.” He said that he could do that. “Sebastian, while you’re with them, warn them where I am. The diamond dragon is tricky.” “My lady, if you don’t mind my saying, I think you’re tricky as well. But he knows a great deal. It might not harm you to be a little nicer to him.” Em pointed out that he wasn’t terribly nice to her. “Yes, but you put up your shield well before you knew what he was to one of your sisters.” After they left, both Sebastian and the dragon, Em thought about what had happened. The dragon had warmed her body. Not in a sexual way, but more like one
would a relative, a brother so to speak. He had given her a hint of what he was. Yes, he’d told her he was a diamond dragon, but that could have been nothing more than wishful thinking on his part. He had even told her his name, knew hers as well. But the thing was, he could have been lying. I don’t lie. His voice echoed through her mind like he was standing in the room with her. You and I, we’ll have to learn to trust each other. Because we both know that I’m going to be mated to one of your sisters. Which one, I haven’t any idea, but we’ll be related. How do you know that? He laughed, and it warmed her more than the small breath had. I don’t think I’d like to be related to you. You’re not a nice person. Then we should get along splendidly. His laughter made her think that he’d just insulted her. And Em didn’t like it any more than she did the man. As the day wore on and she was feeling better with all the fresh meat and vegetables, Em was even happy that someone had taken the time to know what she needed to eat. However, it was her leg that scared her the most. The man who had hit her with the iron, he had known what he was about. She wasn’t cut badly, but until all the iron was out, and there would be a great deal of it, she would get weaker until she was no more. Not die—she was too strong for that—but she’d not be able to produce tears, nor would she be able to help her sisters when necessary. Weakness was not an option when you were a gem dragon. Your sisters are coming to you. They are terrified, if you wish the truth of it. I have told them of the man. They are both excited and afraid that he will not suit them. Em pointed out that they could hide out in the woods and meet him one at a time. After a brief pause, he told them that was what they were going to do. They wish to know how you are faring today. I told them that you were getting stronger, but that someone will need to take the iron from your body. And that you’re being most stubborn about it. I’m not being stubborn, I’m being practical. And that is not going to get us all killed. She laid back on the bed and thought about what it would take for her to be healed completely. I will need a great dragon to help me. And the king will not bother himself with a lesser dragon such as myself. And what, pray, do you think the world would do without your beautiful gems? She smiled at the tone of her sister, Sapphire, and had to laugh when she told her not to be a dimwit. They were forever picking up words to insult each other with. Ask for help or you’ll be gone. Em had met the king. But because of what she was, he’d not known about the iron. Now that she had time to think about it, she knew that then would have been the perfect time to ask for the help. But she’d been as stubborn as her sister had accused her of being. Things were not going well for her at the moment. “Hello.” She looked at the little girl standing at the foot of the bed, startled by her appearance. “I’m Carmine. My sister said that I could come and see you. But I’m not to bother you if you don’t want me to.” “It’s all right. I was just thinking. Do you live here?” She nodded. “I’m sure you can visit me any time you wish. My name is Em. I’m a dragon too.”
“An emerald dragon. Uncle Dana told me that you’re very special, and that we needed to never ever tell anyone that you’re here. Otherwise they’ll come for you, like they do me.” That scared her too. Was there nothing normal about this family? “I can help you.” “Help me what?” Instead of answering, Carmine moved to the side of the bed and pulled the blanket away, unwrapping the leaves that Em had wrapped around the wound. Em hissed when they stuck to the wound. “It’s not that bad.” “It’s terrible. The man who did this to you, he’s on his way. He doesn’t know where you are, but he does know that you’re close to him. The wound there, it’s going to keep festering until you’re dead. Iron wouldn’t normally kill you, but you’re much too weak now. I would say if its not removed very soon, it’ll hit your brain and kill you. As simple as that.” She didn’t want to believe her, but she knew that her words were true. “I really can help you. But you have to let me. Quinn said that its rude to assume that I’m smarter than everyone in the world.” “Are you?” The little girl seemed to think of her question when it had only been a joke. “Your name is Carmine, you said. Why are you so smart?” “I have this brain thingy. My sister said that it’s because my brain is so big. But the doctor, a vampire, he told me that I have a nudge in my brain. It makes me use most of my brain, a lot that most people don’t. I use ninety-four percent while the average person uses ten percent. Some even less.” She asked if the less were the handicapped. “No. Some of them use a great deal of their brain, more than a lot of smart people. But they have trouble with it because they don’t know how to process it. They know what to do and how to do it, it’s just harder for them because they don’t know the names of things, such as a hammer. They might know pounding thing, but that’s what gets them labeled as a handicapped person to begin with. Their lack of ability of what to call them.” “I see.” She did too. “How are you able to fix my leg? And you’re right, it is badly infected. I’m afraid of having to cut my leg off.” “It’s well past being in only your leg. It is racing over your body as we talk. But Dana is going to help me.” She started to tell her that she didn’t like the other man, but he was in the room before she could. “He’s very strong and he can hold you down. I’m really sorry, but you’re going to hurt like the dickens.” “Why would he need to hold me down? Isn’t there anyone else? I mean, he must have things to do.” But he got onto the bed with her and behind her. When she was wrapped in his arms, he handed her a small stone, a dark emerald. “I can crush this and eat it? How did you know…the sister-in-law?” “Yes, but not until she’s done, please?” She said that she’d wait. Afraid of what was going to happen, she held onto him while he wrapped her into his arms. This was going to be painful, she knew that. The room filled with light and all her sisters were there. ~~~ Dana was careful not to breath too deeply. One of them, the Sisters of Four, was his mate. But now was not the time to try and figure that out. Emerald needed him. She
was strong, and could hurt Carmine while she was in pain. And he knew that she was going to be in a great deal of it before this ended. Each of the women surrounded the bed, lending, he had no doubt, their magic to Carmine. “I’m going to pull it free of you, but you’re going to be really hurt. Like I said, it’s all over you now.” Em nodded in his arms. “It’s all through your blood, and that’s going to have to be collected too. Enough so that I can make the shard it came from. You understand me?” “Yes. All right. But where is the king? He must be here in the event I don’t make it.” Carmine told them all that he was coming. Ruby, dressed all in her color from head to toe, smiled as she continued. “He’ll not be happy about this, I think.” “He’ll be fine.” Dana had already let him know what was going on. And that they were going to take out the iron. He’d been surprised to know that; he’d not smelled it on her at all. “I mean, don’t you think, being the dragon all mighty, that I should have smelled something?” His mom hit him on the head. “I was just joking, Mother. Honestly, how did we all miss that?” “More than likely because she didn’t want you to know.” Danburn asked why she’d do that. “You’re the king. She’s a dragon. You add it up.” “She’s afraid of me? Why? I’m a puppy.” Kendrick snorted. “I am. I’m very nice, all the time. I mean, I have my moments, but everyone does.” “But not everyone rules, nor are they big enough to stomp on a house and kill everyone in it. Blend into the trees and woods surrounding him so that no one sees him. Oh, and let’s not forget that you have teeth that are longer than most grown men, and they’re as sharp as razors.” “Minor things when someone is seeking help.” She snorted at him again and Dana had to laugh. “Darling, you should get that looked into. You seem to have a slight cold.” And now Danburn was there with them, lending whatever help was needed. Dana wondered in that moment why he’d taken so long to come and visit his friend. He was a great one too. The men here, probably the only true ones that he had. “You have to help me a little at a time, please. Like one of you touch me when we go searching, and then when they’re tired, the next one.” She grinned at them all and Dana laughed. This child was so young, yet had the soul of a very old person. “Okay, let’s do this.” The first bit of iron came from the wound, and when it hovered just above Em’s leg, Dana had no idea what was going on. He thought, wrongly so, that he was to reach for it. But when the second, then a third piece came from Em’s flesh, he knew that Carmine was forming the shard to make sure that it was all there. It took a lot longer than he thought it should have. Em had passed out from the pain. He’d never thought of how it would be removed from her body, but the fact that wherever it was it just came out of her skin startled him. There were bleeding marks all over her body that made him slightly ill. To him it looked like they had it all, but Carmine, who was covered in sweat, said there was one more.
Danburn had long since fallen to the side, as well as most of her sisters. Sapphire was still standing, lending her magic, as was Danielle, their vampire friend. Dana had started to move, since he was doing nothing more than sitting on the bed, when Sapphire told him to sit still. Don’t move. You’re keeping her strength up. She might be passed out from the pain, but you’re keeping her alive. He looked down at the bloodied woman. She’s going to need something fresh, with a great deal of red meat. I’ll arrange that now. Sapphire nodded, but said nothing more while he asked Kendrick for help with it. She’ll make it. You know that, don’t you? I know no such thing. Had I known she’d been hurt, we’d have taken care of it days ago. Not waiting until it was nearly too late. Her tone was nasty, much like Ruby’s was. Opal was gentler than the other two. She wasn’t without a temper, but she had a nicer way of getting her point across. Just pay attention to what you’re doing, and perhaps we can all be hopeful. He didn’t have a clue what he was supposed to be doing that needed his undivided attention. The patient was out cold, and he was not supposed to move. Whatever, he thought. If Sapphire was his mate, someone was going to be in for a rude awakening. And he had a feeling that it was going to be him, he thought with a smile. When the tiny piece was added to the shard, Carmine passed out too, just tumbling to the floor like a rag doll. Quinn came in to get her then, afraid to be in the room for too long while they were working for fear of her child. That was why Kendrick wasn’t allowed to join in the help. The babes needed their mothers to be very strong. Dana loved this family, and figured that when Hanson had found his mate, it was only a matter of time before him and the other two got theirs. Kip was biting at the bit for his mate, while Griffith was more sedate about it. He couldn’t care less either way. Dana thought that it wasn’t a front either—Griffith was really that laid back of a man and dragon. But he had a temper. Like the rest of them, their dragons would take them in no time if there was a problem. But he did notice that the men with mates, their dragons were different, treading lightly, literally, when the women were about. He’d laughed his ass off the other night when all of them had ganged up on Griffith. He’d apparently trampled the flowers that were newly planted and had killed a prize rose bush. In less time than he thought it possible, not only was Griffith out there replanting the flowers, but he’d brought one of the roses from around his own castle, a very rare and old breed, to replace the one that he’d killed. Everyone was happy after that, and Griffith and the rest of them had found a new respect for the ladies of the household. He certainly had. Picking up the young woman, he held her while the staff cleaned the bed and then turned on the bath. He hadn’t planned on joining her in the bath—she wasn’t his mate, but she was beautiful. His plan was to put her in the tub, clothing and all, and then let someone else take over. But Opal saw him headed that way and nearly took his head off with her sword. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” He let a little of his own beast take him while he yelled at the woman. “You could have hurt me badly, you moron.”
“You are not taking my sister.” All kinds of things ran through his mind, none of them very nice. But he wasn’t feeling it right now and slashed out with her with his dragon’s magic. He knew that she’d not die, but he did encase her in diamonds anyway. It was all he could do not to slam his tail against her and break her to pieces. Instead he entered the bathroom, put the woman in the tub, just as he’d planned, and left the room. Then he left the house. There wasn’t anything he wanted to do more than to fly. But he’d been warned that there might be poachers around, so he only took off running for the woods. Dana had been running for pleasure—in meets, yes, not just for fun—for a long time. And he found that while not as relaxing as sailing through the skies, he did love the feeling of getting his heart pounding. You all right? He told Hanson that he was. They’re a little protective, don’t you think? I mean, that Opal, she could beat a bear with a switch, I think, and come out on top. I think you might be right on that. They both laughed, and Dana slowed his steps. I wonder which one is my mate. I know that one of them is. I just don’t know if I want any of them, to be honest. I heard you telling Kip that one of them was. Speaking of which, he’s as odd as ever, isn’t he? Dana laughed and stopped by a felled tree. Sitting on it, he looked around for inspiration. Are you still dabbling in stones? You know, making things from granite? I’m in need of a slab of it for the kitchen. Quinn wants to make candy, and I guess that is the best material that you can get. I have some at the house that are being brought here. Do you care what color? I have a pink one and one that has about ten different shades of gray it in. And no white at all. Very rare. Tell her for a box of candy, I’ll give it to her. Hanson laughed. You should know that she’s going to open herself a nice restaurant soon. Not just with candy, though all of it is really good, but also sandwiches and fruits. I think it’ll be a nice addition. Her sister is going to help her with it too. I’ll be her first customer. I’ve never had chicken fried steak before, but I think there wasn’t any better than hers. As for the slab, as soon as it arrives, I’ll make arrangements to have her come see it. But for now, I’m working in jewelry again. I missed it. He pulled out his phone and took some pictures of some of the things in the woods. You know, I have an idea that I’d like to open a branch here. You think there is any kind of need for a very expensive jewelry shop? He didn’t have any need for money. With as old as he was, and the fact that he could have diamonds any time he needed them, he was very wealthy. Not as rich as Danburn or Hanson, but he’d never have to work again if he didn’t want to. I think you should do it. Setting down roots here. Also, you have to look at this house that is perfect for you. It’s a Tudor. And the back end of it has been added onto a few times, so it’s massive. Also, and you’re going to love this, it has a couple of turrets. Not just a little one either, but worked into the design, and the bottom part of it looks like it could be the dining room area. Hanson laughed as he continued describing the house. I think the sucker has like nine
bedrooms or more, plus this dining room that will open up to hold about two hundred mingling guests. Like I said, it’s big. When can you get me in to see it? They were still laughing when he said that he’d take him today. All right. Also, the stuff I have in storage—I don’t suppose there is a place I can have it stored here until I can purchase said home, is there? It’s not going to be any trouble storing it. It’s just that my lease is about up at this place, and I didn’t want to have to pay a full year for something I don’t need. He did have money, but he was also smart about what he had, never overspending on things he didn’t need. When he could, he’d fly for himself rather than to take a plane. He also bought pieces that he wanted on sale, at tag sales and auctions. Dana was very frugal. Not cheap, but prudent. The house is empty and has been for about a year, I was told. The brick is brown, the roof of it is all slate, which is a big seller for me. And plenty of wooded grounds. There is also a stable with several paddocks and a big barn. He asked Hanson why he didn’t buy it. I don’t need it, my dear fellow. I have a wife and a home that I love dearly. Mostly the wife. And a child on the way. I did think about buying it, but I didn’t want to spend the money on it. I’m like that, you know. You are not going to tell me that you’re broke. He said that he wasn’t, but he loved that his wife was making them more money. Jackass. All right. I’ll meet you back at your house in about an hour. I want to check on Em, and then I need to get a shower. I needed some time out in the fresh air. I wish we could be more secure around here about the dragons. It would be nice to just go fly instead of waiting on the weather. He agreed with him. All right, one hour at my house. See you soon. Instead of going in the house, he made his way to the car. If there was a problem, someone would call to him. Right now, even the thought of meeting his mate was too much for him. So instead of telling anyone where he was headed, he made his way to Danburn’s house to get cleaned up. He wanted a place of his own, and the sooner the better. Not that Danburn and his lovely wife weren’t the best sort of hosts and such, but he wanted his own things around him. It was time, he thought, that he really did settle down. Make roots, as Hanson had said to him.

Julian: The Stanton Pack Release Day & Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

Vance: The McCade Dragon Release Day & Giveaway

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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