Frazier A Cross To Bear Release Blitz & Giveaway

Amelia wasn’t too happy with her mother, the grand witch when she told her she had a mate out there, and if she didn’t act fast, the man would die before she could claim him. Amelia was fine with her life just the way it was. Men tended to mess things up. Before she could argue her case, her mother tricked her into taking her powers, making Amilia the new grand witch.

Frazier Cross, along with younger brother Ewing, was giving a tour of one of the park’s caves when chaos erupted. The walls and ceiling were caving in on them. There was nothing he could do. They were all going to die….


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Jamie Kemp was good at her job. Working for the FBI in search and rescue as a dog trainer and handler was fulfilling work. Never laying down many roots, Jamie was ready to head out on assignment with her dogs at a moment’s notice.

Mark Cross and his family had lived in the Smoky Mountains for ten generations, and he loved the land, but of late, he was feeling rather lonely. Mark and his entire family were bears, black bears that blended into the wooded areas better than any wild ones in the park.

Jamie and her dogs were called in to find a missing woman. Instead, Jamie found herself in the crosshairs of a serial killer. Mark showed her pictures of the women this maniac had killed, and she could be their twin. And to complicate things more, Mark was her mate….

Sunny Meadows wasn’t a people person. She had anger management issues, and most of the time, she didn’t even like herself. Working as a government agent, Sunny found herself in the Smoky Mountains tracking down a serial killer. A run-in with a park guest landed Sunny in the hospital and off the killer’s trail.

Dexter Cross and his family were black bears and lived in the Smoky Mountains, where he worked as a ranger for the park where they lived. He was to deliver a gun and a badge to the injured agent. He’d been told she was caustic, but he wasn’t prepared for her being his mate too.

When the killer discovered that Sunny was injured. She was making a move to end Sunny’s life, and anyone else’s that got in her way. Will Dexter and his family be able to protect her?



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Chapter 1
Amelia gave the list of things that had been Phil’s to the council. They weren’t happy about the fact that it went to non-witches, but she didn’t give a rat’s ass. Phil, as they had wanted, was dead—which he was—and he wasn’t going to be hurting anyone ever again.
“Once you found out where he was, why didn’t you take care of him later when they weren’t around.” She told them that everything still would have gone to them as they were the ones that had found him. “You could have taken care that it didn’t go to them somehow, couldn’t you? I mean, that’s a great deal of money, and we’ll get no part of it as they’re not witches.”

“Is that what this is about? You couldn’t pad your own money with his? Christ, no wonder it’s getting more and more difficult to keep witches from turning to the dark side. At least they don’t have to pay you guys when they make a little money on the side.” Number two told her to be civil to them as they were her council. “Perhaps you are, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with you. And as usual, I don’t. The money has been given to them, and they’re the rightful owners of it. It’s done.”

It wasn’t, not really. The money was still in her possession, but the magic had been given to them. Unbeknownst to her, the entire family got the magic. There certainly was more than enough to go around. But she didn’t tell them that nor the fact that she’d been given a boost too. If they had gotten their heads out of their asses and not thought about themselves for a change, they should have noticed it. As it was now, she thought she could take them on and come out on top. Instead, she just let them talk among themselves about the injustice of the magic not coming to them. Then the five of them looked at her.

“We’ve made a decision.” She was just pissed off enough to ask them what it was going to cost her. “Good that you’re on board with us. We’ll take half your monies—there is a great deal of it, we know and have your magic spread out between the six of us. That way, we are compensated for your mistake.”

“What mistake would that be? The fact that you assigned me to make sure that Phil was no longer around, and I did that? Or the mistake I made in coming here to tell you the truth. Either way, you’re not getting shit from me or my magic. Also, and this might surprise you, too, I don’t give a shit if you were compensated or not. Not that you deserve anything, but you’re not going to get anything from me.” All she did was lift her hand, and the five of them disappeared. “Christ, love a duck.” She dropped to the floor.
“Hello, Amelia.” Amelia didn’t move from her position on the floor, not even to look up when she heard the woman speaking above her. It wasn’t that she didn’t know who it was. She just decided that she had better be paying her respects today. “Oh, do get up from there and talk to me. It’s been decades since I’ve had a conversation with you. Come now, get up.”

Not moving from the floor, she noticed that the five men that made up the witches’ council were gone. Not even the large elaborate desk they’d been sitting in was there any longer. Lying her head back on the floor, she spoke to the voice of the woman in the room with her.
“I didn’t kill them, did I?” She still hadn’t moved from the floor but raised her head just enough to look at the woman standing before her. “Mom, you look amazing. What have you been doing with yourself?”

“Thinking. Get up, Amelia. You’re going to make me get a crick in my neck like this, and I do need to speak to you.” She stood up, and a table and two chairs appeared beside her. “We’re having tea. Well, I am. You’re having some juice. In answer to your question, yes, they’re all five dead. You killed them, so when you leave here, I’d expect to take yourself someplace where you can rest. You won’t need to hide, darling. They’ve been causing trouble for far too long, anyway. Their magic, pitiful as it was, will come to you as well. You need to be prepared for it.”

“I told you before, I’m fine with what I have now.” They sat, and two under witches came to serve them. Not only were there several kinds of juice that she could choose from but there were fresh sandwiches and tea for her mother. “Why didn’t you do something about the five of them before today? I told you they were taking money that didn’t belong to them. Why today?”

“You were here to make sure that I can’t be blamed for their demise. You won’t either. I think that everyone will be thrilled to know that they’re dead. But with me being the grand witch, there would have had to be an investigation as well as an inquiry about shit. I’m not in the mood to go through all that. The way you took care of them will suffice the others more than adequately, I think. How have you been, darling?” She told her that she’d been great. “I’m so happy to hear that. I’ve been looking ahead—I know that you hate when I do that, but I’ve seen that you’re to have a mate soon.”
“You’ve said that to me before, mom. And my answer hasn’t changed in all this time. I don’t want a mate, and I have no need for one.

I’ve seen how mates can destroy each other enough for several lifetimes of meanness and pettiness. I’m not going to allow anyone to treat me less than I deserve to be treated. Like a person, not a dishrag.” She told her that this man would never do that to her. “I’m sure you’d like to think that, but all men are dirtballs, and we both know it. Remember my father? He was jealous of everything you did. Even though he could have been better himself, he had too much fun making us feel bad for our ambition and worth.”

Her father had been gone so long that she couldn’t remember his voice, much less his face anymore. Amelia couldn’t even remember the last time she’d been to his garden to talk to him, either. The faeries took care of it all the time, and since she and her father had never been close, she just stopped going to talk to him. It would have been the same way when he’d been alive, she thought with a little laugh. All one-sided. Though it would have been hers this time.

“I will agree that he was a terrible role model for you, but not all men are like him. It took me a few hundred years to figure that out on my own as well.” She said
that most were. “Perhaps you would know that better than me as I rarely have contact with anyone but you. However, you’ve met his brothers. And their wives.” She had to think about what she was saying and stood up twice before sitting back down on the chair.

“Mom, you don’t mean that I’m going to be mated to one of the Cross bears, do you?” Her mom smiled and nodded. Telling her that she was brilliant in the way she’d figured that out on her own. “I don’t think you understand how powerful they are in their own right. Not to mention the whole thing about me not wanting a mate. I’m sure I’ve explained that to you before, correct?” Her mother never listened to her when it came to what she wanted for her. She was as…well, as stubborn as she was at times.
“Sure you do. You just need to meet the right man. His name is Frazier. Such a good strong name, don’t you think? And he works with the elements of the earth when he works with his artistry. I’m not sure that he understands that he and the earth are a great deal alike, but you should see some of his work. Amelia, he’s a brilliant man, and he loves the earth as much as you do.” She didn’t bother speaking to her mom about it. She knew her feelings about having a mate. “He and his family will need you in the very near future, child. He, along with one of his brothers, will be dreadfully murdered if you don’t accept my word on this. As soon as you do, he’ll have all the power he needs to survive what is coming his way.”

“Just fix it, so he’s all right without me being his mate. You can do that, can’t you? For your only child? Mom, do you have any idea how much I’ve worked at being single.” She nodded at her. “Then you understand why I won’t do this. Just fix it up for them, and I’ll go about my merry little way. You and I will pretend that this conversation never happened. What do you think about that?”

“I’m dying, Amelia. I want to die, but it’s coming to me faster than I had thought when I made plans with the earth to bring the two of you together. You must listen to me when I tell you that Frazier will be a great man to you and not a better mate to have around either.” She asked her what she was talking about, fearful of what her mom might say to her. “I’ve been around longer than most of the earth, and its creatures, child. You know this. I am exhausted. More so than I’ve ever been. My magic, while strong, is boring to me too. Without a mate here, I have no one I can depend on. I know I can depend on you, but even that is becoming too much for me. I’m lonely and bored to pieces, child.”
“As you said, you can depend on me. I come to you every time you call for me, don’t I? I’ll always be here for you, Mom. I’ve said that to you before. Just call, and I’ll be right here for you.” She said that it wasn’t the same. She had no one to share with. “Of course you do. You can share with me.”

As soon as the words left her mouth, Amelia realized her mistake. Giving her mom the opening she’d been waiting for, Amelia knew she was going to be in big trouble. Her mom took her hand into hers, and the magic poured over her. Even as she was overpowered with her mom’s considerable magic, she could see the trouble that a man she thought was Frazier was going to be killed in. As soon as it occurred to her who he was, the magic pulled him to safety along with his brother.
Christ, she was going to have to sleep for years at the rate that the magic was coming to her. The magic and the knowledge that came with it made her head spin around. She was, at one point, sick with it. Just as she was thinking that it might be coming to an end, where the magic was all shared with her, another wave of it hit her, taking her under and out.

Waking up, she was in her old bedroom in her mother’s home. Sitting up, she sat there for several seconds until her head or the room, she wasn’t sure which it was, stopped spinning. Her body ached as well. Painfully in places that she’d forgotten existed on a person.

Finally thinking that she could move without falling over, she made her way into the hall to find her mom. Damn it, there was going to be hell to pay when she found her. She’d tricked her, plain and simple. Instead of finding her mom, Amelia found one of the under witches that worked for her.
“Where is she?” She bowed before her and told her she’d been lain to rest. “No, I mean…what do you mean she’s been laid to rest? She wasn’t to leave me right now. Where is my mom?”

“Your mother left you a message, my lady. Shall I bring it to you?” Amelia asked her to take her to her mother and bring her the note there. “She is in the faerie garden not far from here. As per her magic, once she had transferred the magic to you, she was magically put into the garden where she could rest until eternity. Also, per her wishes, she is not near your father. He is on the outer rim of the castle here so that he’d not disturb her during her resting time.”

The garden was just where she’d been told it would be. There were fresh flowers, most of them bachelor buttons, her mom’s favorite flower, around the small stone that marked her passing. The note she’d left for her only said that she loved her dearly and that she hoped that she’d be as happy as she was at this moment.
The stone was cold. However, she didn’t take her hand away once she touched it. Asking her what she’d done to her, Amelia cried. Her heart was broken. Her mother was gone, and she’d been given the magic that had all been hers. Also, her title of the grand witch. Another thing that she hadn’t wanted but was now in charge of.
Amelia decided it was time for her to go and see her mate. There was very little she could do but take him on now. Simply because she didn’t want a man in her life didn’t negate the fact that she had one. Her mother had always been tricky, but Amelia thought this was her biggest slick trick of all time.

Frazier didn’t speak to anyone as they made sure that Ewing, his youngest brother, was all right. He was still having trouble wrapping his mind about what he’d seen as well as felt when they’d been in the cave that—Frazier didn’t let his mind go there for now. He was outside of what had been a cave, and he was alive. As was his little brother.
There were other people with them. A large group who had needed the two of them to help on the walk. They were visiting the mountaintop where the first settlers had been. Their mark of time they’d spent up here was about his favorite part of tours in the summer. Frazier had been glad for the extra hands of his brother, too, when
everything went to shit because of two men that wanted to cause some trouble below them.

“Other than a few scratches, you both seem to be all right. The people, for the most part, are all right too. Scared, as you can well imagine, but it could have been a good deal worse, I’m thinking.” Nodding at Mark, afraid to open his mouth for fear of what would spew out, he didn’t even look up when he said his name. “Something more happened than the mountainside falling in on your group, I’m assuming. Do you want to talk about it?”

A bubble of laughter spilled from his mouth, and he closed his lips tightly, so he didn’t appear insane. At this point, he was starting to doubt his sanity. Mark didn’t leave him but sat there on the ground with him while he tried to gather a sense of what had happened and what he’d seen when everything went to shit. He did ask about the people that had been above them on the hillside.

“Both dead. Not because of the landslide they caused but because the TNT they were using to make the mountain come down exploded before they could get away. They wanted to split the mountain in two to get to the treasures they were sure were in there. The police are handling notifying their next of kin as well as the things that they left behind. When they’re satisfied with what they could get out of their bodies, they’ll turn them over to us. Not that I think it will—” Another burble of laughter before Mark spoke again. He then asked about the others in their party, the families that had been with him and Ewing on the trail that they’d been walking with them. “If you’re going to keep asking me the same questions over and over, this is going to take a lot longer than I thought. All are fine. One has a broken arm. They said that you tossed the man out of the cave when he seemed to freeze up. Also, cuts and bruises that will fade. I doubt their memories of this will fade, so—”

“There was a woman there. Not with us, but I saw her when I suddenly had this extra strength. Magic too. I could feel it even as I was feeling my last breath leave my body.” He looked at Mark. “I should be dead. All of us should have been dead the way that happened so quickly. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why I’m not. That big assed bolder hit me on the head, and I could feel my life slipping away then I saw her.” Mark didn’t say anything. Over the last several days, they’d all gotten some magic from the kid Phil. He’d been hoarding black magic and money since well before their grandparents were born. Playing around with the magic couldn’t have prepared Frazier for the surge he’d gotten about an hour ago. “She’s my mate. I don’t know why I know that, but she’s my other half. And she’s a witch.”

“Amelia? I don’t know her last name, but she was just over at the house the other day. She’s very beautiful. Earthy too. I’m not sure why that word popped into my head when thinking about her, but that’s what I’m thinking.” He said that was her. Frazier then told him what he knew about her. “Grand witch? I didn’t know they were real. I mean, I would guess now that I have time to think about it that it makes sense. There would need to be someone in charge of their group.”

“It’s called a Coven. And her mother passed away, leaving all her magic to the two of us. Amelia is very old too. Several thousand years old. Much older than grannie
and grandda are. Again, I don’t know why I know this, but the information is simply right there for me to pick up.” Mark nodded. “Is that all you have to say about what I just told you? I’m only here because her mother decided to give her daughter all she was, and it saved me, and Ewing, along with those other people, is to nod at me? You do know that this isn’t anything that happens every day, don’t you? Shouldn’t you be, I don’t know, Christ, happy that we’re still here? I’m barely hanging on here, Mark.”
“Honestly, Frazier, you don’t look like you’re hanging on at all but over the deep edge of shit. What do you want?

Do you want me to be upset that you’re still here and not dead? Or that Ewing is all right? I’m sorry, but I can’t do that. I’m thrilled to death about all of this. If she had turned you into a toadstool to save you, I’d be just fine with that as well. Damn it, Frazier. Calm down and tell me when will we all get to welcome her to the family?” Frazier simply looked over his brother’s shoulder, and there she was. It was almost as if he could feel her coming near him. Mark turned to look as well and stood up when he did. “Hello again, Amelia. I’m so glad to welcome you to the family.”
“My mother is dead. She died so that I could save my mate. I’m not very thrilled about shit right now.” Mark laughed, and they both turned to look at him. “You think this is funny? That my mother is dead? I have news for you right now, buster. I’d gladly kill any one of you to bring her back.”

“I’m so profoundly sorry for your loss, Amelia. But I will be forever thankful that you were able to save my brothers from certain death.” He got down on his knees and put out his hands. “I pledge to you my undying gratitude. I am forever yours in anything that you wish from me. Except for harming my family.”
“I don’t want a mate. I don’t…Christ, I told her I didn’t want one, so I could go on with my life.” Frazier cocked his head and tried to figure out what she meant by that. “I will not be ruled by you, Frazier. I swear I’ll die before I give up any part of my life you demand of me.”

“You think I’m going to make you do something that you don’t wish? Or to ask you to do things that will make your life miserable? I’d never do that. You have it on the word of my grandparents’ hearts that I’d never do anything to harm you in any way. And I do believe that it would harm you terribly if I were to even suggest that you were to give up your magic.” Amelia told him that she didn’t believe him. “That’s all right too. Painful, I will admit, I won’t lie to you, but I can understand you’re not trusting me. We were thrust together by magic, strong magic, too, if I don’t miss my bet, and it’ll take us both time to get used to it. But as far as you being able to go on with your life, Amelia, I have no intentions of taking that away from you. I might well enjoy hanging out with you, too, if you were to allow it.”

She sat down on the ground and then stood up. A table and four chairs appeared beside them, and she told them to get up off the ground. In a matter of seconds, not only did another chair appear, but Jamie and Sunny joined them at the table. Neither of which seemed the least bit put out that they’d been brought here.
They were in the middle of the woods with the nicest table and chairs sitting atop a lovely floral rug he’d ever seen. With tea and, if he didn’t miss his bet, scones too
being served up by who, for some reason, he knew to be lesser witches. Amelia told him there was no reason for them to be uncivilized when he asked if this was normal for her.
While she answered questions from the women as they ate and drank their treats, Mark took him to the medics that had been dropped in by helicopter. There was going to be a big fucking mess to clean up—Well, perhaps not that big. Only the road would be cleared up so that travel could be made through here. The rest would be left where it had stopped.

Several hundred tons of rocks and other debris had traveled down the mountainside, and it hadn’t cared what it took with it on its way down to the waterway below. Frazier knew that in a few years, it wouldn’t be noticed that it was a newer landslide than the hundreds that had happened before today. The land would move on around it as if it had been put there for the sole purpose of making new growth.

Frazier was sitting where he’d been told even after he was given a healthy check-up from the team. They were still keeping an eye on him when Amelia joined him when he was just thinking about how he would be taking the next couple of days off to rest up. He’d already been told that by Mark. The department head at the park told him that was what he was going to be doing as well. Resting.

“You’re all right then?” Frazier nodded at Amelia, and she sat down on the stone that he’d been on. “I’m sorry for the way that I spoke to you before. I’m not nearly as bitchy as I was then. Most of the time, but I didn’t need to take my shitty mood out on you. But with losing my mom today and knowing that you’d been in the cave when it went down, I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be nice. Not that I am usually, but today has been a shitty day all around. I ask you for your forgiveness and tell you that I’ll try very hard not to take it out on you from now on. I said I’d try because I usually take my moods out on anyone around me when I’m pissed off.” They both laughed a little.

“I’m still reeling from the cave incident too. I can’t call it a near-death thing, as that’s just too much for my mind to take in. If you’d not received her magic and passed it on to me, I’m not sure…I am sure that we’d not have survived in there. None of us would have. So I have to be thankful for that. However, I am sorry about your mother. I’ve never met her, but if she raised you, then she couldn’t have been all that bad, right?” She laughed and said her mother had given up on her decades ago to be anything but what you see today. “Yes, well, my grannie is still trying to get me to behave all the time. All of us, as a matter of fact.”

“Mom passed her magic to me, well, the two of us. I’m not entirely sure what all that entails at the moment. Because, like you, it’s been a lot to go over in the last twenty-four hours. However, you and your family are immortals that much I did want you to know about in the event you didn’t get it through our connection. Your grandparents are elderly, I’m to understand, so they don’t have to be. But they’ll never be hurt or sick again. Even their bodies will be given a boost, and they won’t hurt at all, even from the most severe aches they might have.” He thanked her for that. “My skin feels like it’s crawling over me I’m getting so much magic right now. How do you feel?”

“I’ve been trying my best not to think about it. However, the strangest part is that I know about the magic I’ve been given and how to use it. Rules, too, on what I can and can’t do with it. Is that something you gave me?” She thought it had been her mind as she didn’t know some of the things that her mother had. “I guess I can see that. I have the next couple of days off to rest up. I’d like to use that time to get to know you better. Nothing sexual or untoward, but just getting general information on you. There is a great deal of it in my mind, but it’s all in bits and pieces right now. Besides, I think I’d like to get to know you through you. If that’s all right.”

“I’d like that. However, there is a huge list of things I have to do with the witchcraft that my mother passed to me. Also, I killed the council just before I was to meet up with my mom. I need to figure out what I’m to do about that as well.” He asked if he could help. “I’d like that. But we won’t be around here while working, at least for now. Mom has…had several homes, and one of them, where she did most of her work, is where I need to be. I’d like it if you were to come along with me.”

“Will my family still be able to get in touch with me?” She said that so long as they had a link to him, then there wouldn’t be a problem. “Good. I’d hate that they might need me and couldn’t find me. Also, you should exchange blood with them so they can contact you as well. If you don’t mind.”

“No, I wouldn’t mind that, but if I need them, or you need someone you don’t already have a connection with, you only need to reach out to them. As a familiar to my grand witch, you’re as powerful as I am. Perhaps more so with you being a shifter bear.” He could only nod at that. It was becoming overwhelming to him again. “How about we just go to the house and work from there? It’ll be much more relaxing there than here with all this going on, and we’ll spend our time getting things squared away between us.”

It was settled then. The two of them would work with the things they’d inherited and get to know each other as well. While he didn’t know where they were going to be staying, just that it was home while working, he decided to ask her about packing himself a bag.

“You won’t need anything you can’t pull out of the air. However, whatever you want to have, it can’t be extravagant. Just the necessaries. You already have the ability to change your clothing at will, correct?” He said that he did. “The house that we’re going to will be prepared for us both. In that, it will accommodate itself to things we’ll need. Toothbrushes, linens, and such. There will be under-witches there, too, that will strive to make food for you that we wish to eat as well. But if you need anything else, just ask. I’m sure you’ve enough knowledge about magic to know the rule in making your life better and about returning to whatever you borrowed from back three times.” Frazier told her that he did know that rule.

Having a few days off didn’t mean he wouldn’t rest with Amelia. Getting the extra magic had zapped both of them badly. Not in pain, not really, but the magic that was working through his body was making him exhausted all the time. Amelia suggested that he drink a great deal of juice and eat fresh fruits and vegetables to battle the fatigue they were both having. Once they were where they were headed, he thought
that a good nap would help him out. It was that, or he was going to be falling asleep in his soup.

Laughing, he wondered if he asked for potato cheese soup, would someone make it for him. It was Frazier’s go-to quick comfort food. And if there was a loaf of homemade bread to go with it, he’d be as happy as he’d ever been with that. While having no idea why that had popped into his head, now it was all he could think about having.
Telling his family where he was headed, he went with Amelia to the home. They had the power to make themselves come and go as they pleased, but he was thrilled when she suggested that they take his truck to the opening of the house. Like him, he thought that she was overwhelmed too.

He didn’t know what he had expected when she said they’d be working from a house that a grand witch owned. It was like a large hotel setting with the most beautiful gardens he’d ever seen. Not picking any of the flowers, he did stop at some of them to smell their strong scents before moving on. Even the trees, full of blooms and fruit, were beautifully maintained and healthy.

As with the witches in the household, plenty were working in the gardens as well. Some of them weren’t as young as others, but they all worked well together. He asked her if there was any kind of prison, not having any idea where that thought had come from.
“No. I remember there might have been one centuries ago, but it has long since been abandoned. Even with taking their craft from them when they’d be put behind bars, most of them would be able to escape. Or harm those that were caring for them. After a time of losing more than we were imprisoning, mom did away with it and dealt with their crimes in a quicker way.” He asked her if that meant death. “It does. I think because of that, there was less crime. If you have it in your head when you start some shit that if you’re caught, you’re most assuredly going to die, it keeps most people on the good side of the rules. Not that we don’t get an occasional bad witch, but we deal with them the same way.”

He was shown around the house by one of the witches. Amelia had to take care of some personal business before she could sit down and talk to him. Frazier was fine with that. Walking about her ancestral home was as much fun as he’d had in a while. Then he came across one of his pieces of art. Amelia joined him near the work just as he was looking for the year on the painting.

“Mom loved to collect art made with natural things. I hadn’t any idea this was yours until just now. She was right in saying that you were brilliant. The way you’ve used what you found in the world to create such a piece makes me think she was also right that you’re as one with nature as I am. I pull from the elements as I’m sure you will be able to do now too.” He said he used sticks he found in the woods to paint with. And the colors from other things like flowers, moss, and leaves when he needed a certain color. “You’ll have to set you up a studio here too. I’m sure you can find yourself plenty of colors here that you might not have on the mountain where you lived.”
Frazier was glad that he was shown a bedroom when supper was over for the two of them. He was positive that his head hadn’t hit the pillow before he was out. Exhaustion had never taken him under so quickly before in his life.

CLAY Strong Manor Release Blitz & Giveaway

When Clay Strong was admitted into the hospital for emergency surgery, he first thought it was the worst thing to ever happen to him until he laid eyes on his OR nurse Lizzie. He could only see her eyes but knew he wanted to see more of her. She laughed and told him it was the medicine talking, but Clay knew better.

Clay had been working with Jade in a complex job for NASA for the past five years, developing intricate equipment for them, and a new position was opening. Clay was a shoo-in for the job, or so he was led to believe. But when the idiot told him his girlfriend’s “pedigree” didn’t meet their standards, Clay was livid, and so was Jade. Heads would roll for this….


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Jade Anderson would miss the restaurant where she had worked her way through school. The closing was bittersweet, but she was happy that Ms. B was getting to retire. It wasn’t the money. She had more lucrative endeavors than waiting on the tables. It was the regulars that came in she’d miss the most. Especially the elderly Strong couple that used to come in all the time before they passed away.

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The slap to Clay’s back had him turning around to see who had hit him. His temper flared so quickly that he was sure had he had a gun, he would have killed the person behind him. When he saw his brother Trevor there, he had to shake off his anger before speaking. It was the most difficult task he’d ever set for himself. And that had been happening a great deal lately, too.

“What’s wrong, Clay? Why are you looking at me like that?” Clay told his brother that he’d hit him. “I’d been saying your name for the last ten minutes, and you were off someplace. It looked like you were getting more and more pissed off the longer you sat there. What’s up with you lately? You act as if the world is against you or something.”
“I don’t know. I feel pissed off all the time lately.” Trevor told him that he’d noticed that he’d been avoiding the family lately and asked him if that was the reason. “Yes. I don’t want to be in this mood, and one of you would hurt me for being pissy to you because I have no control over it. I’ve been hurt enough over the last few days.

My head is killing me, and I feel like I’m tense all the time. Then when I try to relax, I can’t because my body is too stiff and hurting. Like a never-ending loop of pain and stress.” “Yeah, mom told me about Martin Jameson and his split personalities. To think that he’s been dealing with that all his life, and it had to take him coming to work with you for him to be deemed dangerous. I’m sorry, Clay. It’s a scary thing, mental illness. Especially if you’re not up on your meds the way he was supposed to be.” He asked his brother what he wanted. Even he could hear the snarl in his voice when he spoke to him. “Okay, first of all, take it down a notch. I’m here because mom sent me. Don’t bite my head off for no reason.”

Clay had to stretch his neck to shake off hitting his brother. He walked away from him rather than engage to the point of anger again. It wasn’t until his brother put his hands on his shoulders that he realized something was seriously wrong. He’d been looking for a reason to turn and kill his little brother. Clay sobbed that he was going to die.
“No, you’re not. You’re going to be all right, and I’m going to be by your side until we know what is going on and get it taken care of. I’m going to take you to the hospital right now, and we’ll see what is going on. We’ll just keep it between ourselves until we know anything. Maybe it’s something as mild as an ear infection or something. We’ll go, find out, and then we’ll go from there.” Agreeing to go was one of the hardest things he’d ever done. While he wanted to be angry with his brother, he knew he’d just knock the shit out of him and take him anyway. He told him that. “You’re so right on that. There is something off about you, Clay, and I’m worried about you. If it takes me knocking you out to get you help, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

In less time than he thought it should have taken, they were in the emergency department. Since there didn’t seem to be anyone in the lobby, he was taken right back to one of the rooms. After asking questions, most of which his brother answered for
him, Clay could feel his temper getting the best of him, and he had to bite his tongue before speaking. He fucking knew how to answer his own health questions, damn it. But he didn’t say a word and held onto his bedrails so he’d not hit anyone.

“I’d like to get a look at your entire body. I don’t think you have an ear infection, as your brother suggested, but it’s hard to tell sometimes. Once we get the Cat Scan back, we’ll have a better understanding, or at the very least, we’ll be able to rule a few things out.” He agreed with the doctor and was surprised that he was told he’d need an IV. “Also, Clay, I’d like to give you something to lower your blood pressure. It’s higher than I’d like, and there isn’t any sense in you suffering when you don’t have to. It might also take the edge off the headaches you’re having at the same time. All right?”

He was given meds to calm him down, and Clay felt his body relaxing, and just as he said, his headache began to lessen. Once he was feeling good, he was taken to get his scan. Trevor said he’d be there in the room waiting for him when he returned. True to his word, he was sitting in the chair watching television when he was finished being scanned. Clay started to sob he was so relieved that he’d not left him. Trevor asked him if he had heard anything. Again, his temper flared up.

“I just got back. Do you think they just told it all to me coming down the hallways on what they were able to find?” Counting to ten, he told his brother he was sorry. “I hate feeling like I’m ready to kill someone. All the fucking time.”
“I’m glad that you agreed to come in, Clay. I’m seriously worried about you.” Trevor held his hand while he dozed in and out of sleep after getting another dose of medication. He knew, too, that he’d not been sleeping all that well and was glad for the meds to allow him to be out. When he woke once, Trevor was gone. He wasn’t angry this time, but he did wonder where he’d gone. As soon as he came into the room, having gone to get something to eat, Clay realized that it had been a couple of hours since he’d had his scan.

“I was talking to one of the nurses in the cafeteria. She said the hospital has been running so much better since Pauly was fired. Not to mention, she said that the raises that they were promised are coming through and backdated. They’re thrilled, as you can imagine.” He said that he was happy for them all. “You’re looking a little tense again. I’m wondering if the drugs are wearing off.”

“I feel tense again. Like, I want to bite your head off. You’ve not done anything yet, here I lay wondering if I could snap your neck without having to move much.” Trevor asked him if he wanted to kill him. “No. Not kill but just hurt you. That’s not like me. Not at all. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think of shit like that.”
“No, it’s not like you.” A nurse came in and gave him more of the same medication that he’d been given before. As he began to mellow out, the doctor came to speak to them. First, he asked if it was all right if Trevor was there.

“He’s responsible for me being here, so yes, I want him here.” Grabbing his brother’s hand, he looked at the doctor. “Is it bad? I mean, I don’t want to tell you that I can take it because, frankly, I’m terrified out of my mind right now.”
“We found something on your brain. We’ll have to run some tests on it to see what we’re dealing with. However, I don’t think it’s cancer.” Clay wanted his parents.
Right now. Asking the doctor if he could hold off on talking to them until their parents arrived. He nodded. “I was going to suggest that, but I didn’t want to step on your toes. You were smart to agree with your brother about coming in here, Clay. As I said, I don’t know what we’re dealing with right now, but it’ll help you to have your family here to help you cope.”

Mom and dad showed up in twenty minutes. They’d been out, going to dinner, when Trevor called. He’d not realized that he’d called his brothers until they started showing up one at a time. Even Jade and her mom came into the room with them. Eventually, they were moved to another, larger room, and everyone, including him, where seated around a large conference table. His scans were put on a monitor so that everyone could see them.

Clay could see the mass in his head. It was just above his ear and seemingly large. He felt his anger and other emotions begin to take hold of him when his mom put her hand on his. That was all it took for him to regain control. Christ, he was a mess right now.
“As you can see here, there is a mass along the left side of his face. The darkness around it is approximately two centimeters. When he’s stressed, as he was when he came in, it presses against the amygdala triggering his emotions. It could well have been fear or any other emotion, but anger is the one that is making its presents known to all of you around him.” Jade asked him why no one had seen it when he’d been in the hospital yesterday when Martin had punched him in the face. “I don’t think they were looking for anything other than to make sure that there were no cracks in his skull. Which there isn’t. But I went and had a look at the other scan that they did, and it’s visible. We’re lucky that Trevor here knew something was off about his brother and made sure that he was brought in.”

Clay looked over at Jade when she said his name quietly. Clay felt the tears of stress start to roll down his cheeks. He told her that he was beyond terrified right now and didn’t know what to do.
“You’re going to do as your told, and we’ll get you fixed up.” He nodded. “No, you don’t believe me. Say it, Clay. You’re going to be just fine, and we’ll all work together to help you with this. All right?”
“Yes. I’m going to be just fine, and I’ll do what I’m told.” She kissed him on the cheek. “I needed that, Jade. Thank you. I just thought I was going through a phase or something.”

“You’re much too young to be hitting your menopause, Clay.” He told her he thought it was a mid-life crisis when you were male. “If you give me any shit, you’re going to wish for it to be a crisis and not another injury.”
Clay couldn’t help it. He laughed. Drawing attention to himself in the process, he waved the others back to the conversations. For the first time since he started having these unwelcomed meltdowns, he did believe that he was going to be all right.
“I have a surgeon coming in tomorrow to evaluate you, Clay. I’m going to put you on a clear liquid until midnight. Then, if he thinks it’s what I’m telling you, he’ll do the operation at that time. While it’s not life or death that it happens soon, I’m sure you
and your family want to get this over with so you can get on the mend.” He was all for that and agreed with the doctor. “All right then. We’ll set you up in a room on the surgical floor tonight, then you’ll be taken back there after recovery. You’re going to be a fine, young man. We’ll keep you on the medications you’ve been taking so you can rest well.”

Trevor left him before his parents did. They wanted to spend the night, but the doctor said they’d be better in their beds tonight so that they’d be rested up so that tomorrow wouldn’t feel so stressful because they’d be approaching it with a good night’s sleep in their own bed. Clay didn’t want to argue with him about someone staying with him, but his parents were going to need to sleep. He even gave them a little bit of a relaxant to take when they got home.

It was nearing midnight when he’d had all the tests he’d need in the morning. Trevor came into the room with a knapsack. Taking out an air mattress as well as a sleeping bag and pillow, Clay cried for nearly an hour before he was able to get his emotions in check. His brother hadn’t left him alone. He didn’t know what he would have done if he’d not been there for him all along.
“I came here to see you through this big brother. I’m not going to leave you here by yourself, no matter what the doctor says. I’ve eaten so I’d not tempt you with food and had plenty of drink. I’m staying right here until you’re ready to bust out of this place and head home.”

The nurses were in and out of his room. A couple of times, he woke up to Trevor talking to them. By the time the sun was coming up, he’d already had his gown changed out and his hair put in some kind of netting. The doctor had seen his scan and saw no reason to put off the surgery. Clay’s family came in when they were giving him something more to make him relax. Clay could barely form words but thought he’d gotten it across that he was glad they were there.

Being wheeled down to the surgical floor, Jade stopped them before he could get on the elevator. She kissed him on the mouth quickly and told him to behave himself, or she’d be the one cutting him open. He winked at her, about all he could manage at the moment, and she smiled. By the time he was put onto the table to be operated on, Clay was feeling his tension build back up.
“No need for that, young man. I’ve got you. And I’ve done this kind of surgery a few times. You’re in good hands.” He nodded and asked how long it would take. “You’ll never know anything other than you’ll close your eyes, and when you open them, it’ll be over. Just let me do the worrying, and you relax. I’m going to take good care of you, son. Trust me.”

“Nervous.” He nodded over his shoulder, and Clay turned to look. There was a woman standing behind him dressed in so much paper that he could only see her eyes. “You have pretty eyes. I bet the rest of you are pretty too.”
The woman laughed. Wiping his chin, she told him that he was drooling and that she was going to bump up his meds so that he could sleep. Clay felt the medication drift over him so much stronger than it had when he’d been getting medications from the nurse. He must have spoken out loud because beautiful eyes spoke to him.
“I have the good stuff in here. You just breathe in and out, Mr. Strong, and you’ll be sleeping better than you have in a long time.” He tried to ask her what her name was. “Lizzy. Short of Elizabeth. And I don’t usually date the people that I have to work on. So keep that in mind when you wake up.”

“Did I ask you out?” She nodded, and he felt himself drifting. It was getting hard for him to focus on anything until she told him to stop fighting it and let it work. “I’d like to have dinner with you soon.”
As soon as he closed his eyes, there wasn’t any way for him to open them. Clay didn’t know what they were giving him, but it did feel like the good stuff. He was going to invest it in when he was awake, he told himself before there was nothing left of his thoughts.

Jenson listened to the surgeon as he explained what he’d found when he’d cut open Clay. The doctor, Doctor Jamison Fields, said that Clay would be just fine after he woke up and that he would be going home tomorrow so long as he would do as he was told, nor did he have any side effects from the medications that had been used in surgery. It was their mom that said he would be on his best behavior. Then Jade said she’d knock him around if he tried anything stupid.

“Having family support will be good for him. For all of you. As I was saying, it was fairly simple to remove. I looked to make sure that I got it all and sent it off for testing. I don’t believe that there is anything to worry about, but I don’t like to take chances with something on the brain.” Mom asked him what would happen if it turned out to be cancerous. “Let’s not build bridges that we’re not needing right now. Let’s just focus on what we do know. He’s a young, healthy man. Which is the best thing going for him. Clay has a good support system, and we’re going to leave it at that.”
He wondered if the doctor knew that it wasn’t going to happen, to let it wait. Clay was his younger brother, and the very fact that he’d had to have surgery bothered him on all kinds of levels. Jenson wanted to talk to Trevor and ask him what made him bring Clay in. Trevor started speaking almost as if he heard his question.

“When I went to see him in his office the other day, he was pissed off beyond what I thought was right for him. He was trying his best to hold onto his temper, but it would get away from him too. When I told him I was worried about him, he seemed to be relieved that someone was going to help him. I’ve never seen Clay like he’s been for the last few months and less since I’ve been out of town. I can tell you that I noticed right away that whatever was wrong with him was getting worse. I have to admit, when he agreed to go to the E.R. with me, I doubled my worrying.” Doctor Fields said that the headaches alone would have been crushing to him. And having his head hit the way he did might have made it worse. “I’m just glad that he agreed to go in. I told him that if he hadn’t, I had plans to knock the crap out of him and take him anyway.”

“Good for you, young man.” They talked about other things that were going to be happening with Clay. It was unknown how long the mass had been there, but he explained that it might take him a while for the damage that had been done to go away. Jade asked him what sort of damage. “His hearing would have been affected. I’m not
sure how much, but it was pressing against other parts of the area around his face and head. Clay might have lost a bit of his taste. With the brain, it’s difficult to tell what may have been giving him trouble when the mass started to enlarge.”

He didn’t want to hear anything more, so he left the room. A nurse asked him if he’d like to sit in recovery with Clay while he waited for him to wake. That was the best news that he could have heard all day. After getting dressed in a gown and mask, he went into the room with Clay and sat by his bed.

“You can touch him so long as you’re gloved, Mr. Strong.” He told her to call him Jenson. “I can do that. I was in surgery with your brother. I can answer questions you might have now if you’d like. I will admit that he asked me out. He also said that I had pretty eyes. I’ve been flirted with before, but he seemed so sincere about it.” She laughed nervously with him.

He looked at her. “They’re very pretty. A sort of lavender, right?” She nodded and adjusted something on Clay’s IV. “I hate that this had to happen to him. Clay and I have always been close, and this tears me up that he’s going through this.”
“Yes, he is. However, he’s not going through it alone. A family around a person who is ill or has had surgery will make them feel better quicker. He’ll depend on you all a great deal, but the trick is for him to be able to take care of himself too.” He asked her if she was going to go out with him. “I’ve been thinking about it since he asked me. Do you have any objections to him going out to dinner with a surgical nurse? Well, I’m actually an anesthesiologist.”

“So long as he’s happy, I could care less if you had fifty kids and twenty-five ex-husbands.” She laughed with him. “No, really, I don’t care whom he dates. We’re all good men, and I do not doubt that he’ll treat you like a princess.”
“Thank you, Jenson. I might go if he remembers that he asked me. Sometimes it’s the juice they get before surgery that makes them less inhibited about asking people out. We’ll just have to wait and see what he wants.” Jenson had a feeling that Clay would remember and want to date this woman frequently. He liked her and could see why Clay had asked her out.

As he sat with Clay, he told him everything that he could remember about his surgery. He even told him that Jade was going to be upset with him if he didn’t do as he was told. Then Jenson laughed.

“I’m sure that mom and dad will be on your ass too about doing what you’re told. I’ve never seen them so stressed out before. But it’s all good news like we were hoping for, and we couldn’t ask for a better surgeon.” He then told him about the pretty surgical assistant. “Lizzy was just in here. She told me that you asked her out. She’ll go out with you if you remember to ask her again. I’ll try to drop some hints to you when you wake up. I like her if that makes a difference. Not that it should, but I do.”
Jenson watched as the nurses came in and out of the room. He was hooked up to a blood pressure monitor he watched diligently every time it turned on and read his pressure. It never seemed to rise very high, for which he was glad. After the nurses left the two of them again, he spoke to Clay.

“Thanksgiving is tomorrow. We completely forgot about it. Mom said that when you got home, she’d make sure she had everything ready for us all to have a meal together. Then after that, Christmas. After that, I’m going to be married. Can you believe that? I can’t. I’m excited and nervous at the same time.”
He thought about all the plans that were taking place to get himself married to his fast-becoming best friend and the love of his life. Telling Clay about the venue building, he was glad that they’d paid for the other repairs going on. To make it seem less like it was repayable favor.

“I’m not unhappy about the big wedding. However, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone that doesn’t have a great deal of money. The food alone is costing more than I paid for my first year of law school. Mom is so excited to have this going on that I find that I can’t tell her no to things that I don’t care about. I also think that Jade is having fun planning it.” He thought about the gifts that he was going to give his brothers for standing up with him. “No pressure here, but unless you want to be standing up there with a stranger, I’d suggest to Jade that you can find your date.” His dad came into the room with him, dressed like he was, and sat down. “I was just telling him about the wedding.”

“I can’t take any more of the information that the doctor is giving us. I know he was telling us good news all the way around, but it’s about my son, and it was just too much for me. You too?” Jenson told his dad that was why he’d come here. “It’s a good place to be. Have you told him anything about the surgery?”
“Not really. I’ve been rambling about different things. Mostly nothing that matters at all.” Dad nodded. “Before I forget to tell you something, the other day, I heard mom talking about a cruise. When was the last time you took one with her? I think it’s been too long, even if it was only a month ago.”

“I was thinking that same thing just this morning when we were driving in here. That was where we were headed when Trevor called us. To make plans.” Jenson told him about the honeymoon that he was planning with Jade. “Oh, she’ll love that, Jenson. A tour of Europe? I’ve not been there in ages. I’m not going with the two of you, but I am going to think about planning a trip with your mother soon.”
The two of them talked to each other and Clay. When the nurse came in to take his vitals again, she told them he’d be going to his room soon. That they were lowering his medication so that he’d wake up. He asked if he’d be in any pain when he did.
“No. He’ll still have a lot of leftover medications in his system. Getting him to wake up will help us determine if there were any short or long-term issues with him being operated on. Also, with the medication, he was given to put him under.” Dad asked if they thought that would happen. “I can’t tell you for sure, Mr. Strong. But as the doctor pointed out to you, he’s young and healthy. You have to believe that he’s going to be just fine.”

“We will.” When she left them, Dad looked over at him. “It’s difficult to watch your child be in pain. Even more so when you can’t do anything about it. He’ll be fine, I’m sure of it, but no parent wants to see their child hurting like this.”
“I don’t want it either.” About twenty minutes later, Clay turned to look at him. He couldn’t talk yet, his face was tightly bandaged, but he put out his hand to dad, and he took it. Watching dad cry while he told Clay that he was going to be fine hurt his heart too. Seeing his big strong dad crying hurt him deep within his heart.

The surgeon came in to remove some of the bandages just after he and dad had gotten some lunch delivered. Mostly the bandages that were the ones that were wrapped around his head. When he cut them away, Clay could move his mouth. But he was cautioned about doing too much. It would make him sore.
Clay would doze in and out while talking to them. Clay would ask the same questions over and over—did they find any cancer? Was he going to be all right? Things that they didn’t have an answer for yet, but Clay didn’t seem to mind. Then he asked about Lizzy. After explaining to dad who she was, he told his brother what she’d said.
“Why would I care?” Clay dozed off with the promise from him to be awakened if she came by. They were moving him down to his room when he saw Lizzy standing by the nurse’s station talking. Clay woke up and saw her. Smiling at her, he reached for her hand. “There is my pretty date.”

She laughed and asked him how medicated he was. Clay took her hand into his and didn’t let it go when he fell asleep again. Every time she tried to take it back, he’d wake and take her hand into his.“We’ll have dinner.” She asked him if he was hungry. “Not really, but I will be. I’m betting if you kiss me right now, I’ll be so much better.”

“I can’t do that, sir. I’m on duty until midnight. However, I will come by your room to see you after I’m done. I’m not saying you’ll be getting a kiss, but I will go by to see how you’re doing.” He thanked her. When he was in his room again, Jenson thought that the pain was making itself known to him. As soon as he was moved over to his bed, Clay asked for pain medication. That alone told him that he was hurting badly.
Lizzy did come by to see Clay, but he was still in and out of it. He didn’t wake up to talk to her, but she asked him to make sure that Clay knew that she’d kissed him when he did wake. Dad thought it was funny that Clay was doing better with women knocked out than his other brothers were doing fully awake.

“What are you talking about, dad? Clay has always had an easy time getting dates. I swear to you, he’s been practicing his moves since Charlene Bauer kissed him in preschool when he was five.” The two of them laughed. “You should go on home, dad. I’ve got this. He’s going to be released sometime tomorrow, and I know that you and mom are going to be dealing with him, and you’ll need all the rest you can get. Trevor is coming in later to stay with him all night too.”

“I’m so proud of my boys.” Emotional, Jenson told his dad that they had good role models. “I never thought that there was anything wrong with Clay. I have to admit that I was ready to knock him around a bit when he made your mother cry the other day. But he came back into the house and hugged her. To know that he was dealing with this makes me feel like a fool for not making sure he was all right.”

“I don’t think that anyone of us knew what to look for. Trevor had been gone for a week, and when he returned, he saw it. We were too close to him to see what was happening.” Dad said that he should have checked. “You can’t check on us whenever we’re having a bad day and think that it’s something seriously wrong. As I said, we were all too close to him to see anything. The doctor did say that it had grown. There isn’t any telling how long it was there before Trevor came home.”
“I know that. I do. But it doesn’t make me feel any better knowing that he was suffering.” Dad stood up. “I think that I will go home. I told your mom that I’d be home before too much longer. She’s worried, as you can well imagine, and I want to be there for her too.”

Jenson hugged his dad tightly and told him to drive carefully home. Once he was seated with Clay again, Trevor showed up. He’d brought an extra sleeping bag for him, saying that they’d take turns watching him.

“You think we have to watch his every move?” He said that Jade and mom both made him promise that one of them would be awake all the time. “They’re worried. But I don’t know that I could sleep very well without knowing he’s being watched over anyway. This scared the shit out of me.”

“Me too. When he agreed to go to the hospital, I knew that something was wrong. He’s like you in that respect. Stubborn as all hell.” Jenson said he didn’t think of himself as stubborn. “You’re not now that you’ve met Jade. You were close all the time to losing your shit. But differently, than Clay had been. You were just pissed off. He wanted to kill. He told me that. Scared the crap right out of me when he said he wanted to snap my neck.”

“I was hurting.” Clay didn’t move when he spoke from the bed, but they both asked him if he was all right. “Yes. Better but still in pain. But not from the mass or whatever it was. Do you know yet? I’m not nearly awake right now, but if you tell me, I’ll try to remember what you say.”

“We won’t know anything until later. When they come to tell us, do you want us to wake you?” Clay said no, he wanted to rest. “I can understand that. The nurse that was in here before Trevor arrived said they might keep you an extra day. Depending on how well you do tonight. I’d stay if I were you. They’re not going to be giving you the good stuff when you leave.”

“Right now, I think I’d have to agree with you on that. I’m sore like I said, but it seems like my body is hurting too. More than likely, I think, because I was so tense all the time.” Clay couldn’t yawn yet, but he did try. “I’m going to sleep now. See if you two can keep your mouth closed for a while, and we’ll talk tomorrow.”
Telling his brothers good night, Jenson stepped into the hall to call his parents. Telling them that he’d been talking to them, but he was still in pain. He could tell they were both relieved to hear that, and he told them that he loved them.
“We both love you too, Jenson. You stay with Clay and Trevor, and we’ll see you sometime in the morning.” Telling them good night, he hung up. When he went into the room, Trevor was in the chair, and his sleeping bag was on the mattress. He told him it was his turn to watch over him.

Letting him take the watch was all right with him. Jenson messaged Jade to tell her that he loved her as well. Jenson laid down. He was exhausted and worn out. Tomorrow was going to be a much better day. He knew it.

Loman Foster’s Pride Release Blitz & Giveaway

Loman Foster wasn’t opposed to finding his mate, but he was tired of his family shoving him in that direction. He would find his mate when he was good and well ready to. Parker magically appeared before him when an uncharacteristic bout of anger washed over him. Loman wasn’t himself at all. He keeled over into Parker’s arms. He had been poisoned with iron.

Lindsley Benson watched the man sleep. She was drawn to him. Lindsley was familiar with shifters as they had several working for them at the art gallery where Loman had originally scheduled a showing. By how she felt when she was near him, she had a feeling Loman was her mate, but would he be happy about that if he ever woke up?

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Brook Garrett had learned to live by her wits. When she was very young, she lost her father to a car crash. When her mother remarried, her nightmare really began. A few years later, her mother died the same way. She was next.Ronan Foster was an officer out on medical leave. He was a lion and wasn’t hurt in the least, but the guy responsible for shooting him would go free if he didn’t take the sabbatical. The guy was for much more than shooting him, and justice needed to be served. Trust was hard for Brook. Her stepparents had seen to that. Now the big lion was telling her that they were mates and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She had been doing just fine without a man in her life….

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

Quinlan 453x680

Sometimes, Rogue didn’t much care for her job, but it paid well, and she was damn good at it. As a forensic photographer, Rogue’s job was sometimes a bit more than she could handle. Especially when there were kids involved. But she could always vent to her college buds, Loman and Cass Foster.

Quin had heard all about Rogue from his brothers, and he was anxious to meet her. Loman and Cass said they owed their lives to Rogue, but they wouldn’t give Quin any of the details.

As soon as Rogue arrived, Quin realized she was his mate, but as soon as she met Don’s mate Parker, it was chaos, leaving Parker heartbroken and Rogue hurt. Rogue was steaming mad, and Quin’s lion wanted to protect her, but Parker was family too. Quin was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Sarah had been on the run her entire adult life. As soon as she found out she was pregnant, she faked her death to keep her children safe from the prick who’d fathered them. Now, nine years later, her twin boys were her entire world, and she was petrified he would find her. When she received the voicemail from Cass, she thought the end had finally come for both her and her boys.

Cassidy Foster was only helping a client find his long-lost grandchildren when he contacted Sarah, but when a distress call came in from one of her boys, Cass told the boys to hide before Cass’s lion took him. It only took that split second for him to know the woman inside screaming was his mate. Would he be too late to save her?

Kerri Terrell nearly didn’t make it. With her house burned, her accounts frozen, being fired from her job, and her daughter taken, Kerri had nearly given up.

Keegan was happy to discover he had a new mate and a daughter now too. Protecting them from their supposed family would be his top priority.

Although both lions, when Keegan and Kerri came together, Kerri was more than Keegan anticipated. A lot more. As the magic flowed through them, neither was sure if they’d survive it.


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Allen wished that he’d screened this call before he answered his phone. But he’d been counting the money that he’d be getting soon and forgot that he was avoiding bill collectors in addition to anyone else that called in. Mr. Foster was telling him things he didn’t want to hear. Not that he thought that the man was right about his brother dropping out of the gallery show, but he knew when to talk and when to shut up about such matters.

Loman Foster, photographer extraordinaire, was his ticket to making a big windfall. Not that the kid would see much of it, but Allen didn’t care about him. Once he got him to send him the pretty pictures he took, it would be a walk in the park for him to be a millionaire several times over. The kid was famous, and that was just what Allen needed. He remembered then that he was on the phone with his brother. Christ, didn’t anyone care that he was a busy man? Apparently not.

“I have the contract right here. That’s all I need to own that brother of yours if he doesn’t come through like he said he would.” The man, he thought said his name was Keegan, asked him if it had been signed. “It’s a verbal agreement that your brother and I have. He’ll be bringing me photos, or you’ll be holding the bag on this. I won’t be messed around with this. He said he’d bring them to me, and that’s what I’m going to be holding him to.”

Allen didn’t know what that meant even to his own ears, and it bothered him that the man was laughing. While he didn’t mind a good joke when it was about someone else, he couldn’t stand the fact that this man was laughing at him.
“Where is that brother of yours anyway? I have a good mind to call him up right now and tell him how you’re treating me. I don’t care if you are his brother. I can tell you right now he won’t care for the treatment I’m getting from you. This is a respectable gallery, and I won’t allow him to back out of a good thing for the two of us. I hate to use a threat, but I’ll ruin him if he doesn’t come through like he said he would.” Allen waved his daughter off when she simply barged into his office. He hated that she came into the office without so much as a knock. Keegan was talking, and he realized he had missed some of what he’d said. “What is it you’re going on about?”

“I said that my brother has been trying to reach you for the last several weeks. Then when he leaves you a message, you call back at an ungodly hour and talk about how the show is going to be fantastic. You should go ahead and call him. He can tell you the same thing that—” Andi reached over his phone and put it on speaker. Christ, there were times when he hated her. Like right now. She was talking to Keegan like she’d been speaking to him all along. After telling the man her name, she also told him she was the daughter of the asshole he’d been talking to. Keegan, or whatever his name was, told Andi that his brother wasn’t going to be in the show.

“I can understand your hesitation, Mr. Foster. But we have spent a great deal of money advertising this showing for him. The least he could do is give us a good reason
for not showing.” Keegan told her that he’d found out from a good source that her father was skimming the sales for his own. Andi looked at her father. “I’m assuming that you have proof of this?” “I do. Even if I didn’t, it won’t generate you much in the way of patrons out there when they hear it too. According to the things that I’ve heard from a very reliable source, he plans on ruining my brother by making sure that it’s a terrible showing. That’s a threat that I don’t think your firm can stand by. You should ask your father, Ms. Allen, how much he’s spent advertising for the show. I’ve been looking through all art and gallery magazines that I can think about, and there is not one mention of Loman’s show coming up. Nor is there a word about it on the internet that I can find. Anywhere.”

“I see,” Andi asked Keegan if she could call him back. “I have to speak to my father about this. If what you say is true, and knowing my father the way I do, I don’t doubt you. I’d say that your brother is right for pulling out. I’ll give you a call back when I have more information to give you.”
When the call was disconnected, he asked Andi why she’d said those things about him. She told him that they were true and that Loman was right in saying no. Allen stood up and then sat down. He hated that his daughters were taller than him by a good foot.
“How the hell do you know what I’ve done or not?” She told him that the checking account was overdrawn by thousands of dollars and that she had come here to talk to him about it. “So? Why do you think I’m pushing to have this showing so badly? You just ruined it all by sticking your nose in where it doesn’t concern you. You’re just like your sister and mother. You are Nosey as hell and not at all as smart as you think you are. Now I don’t know that I’m going to be meeting payroll on time.”

“Oh, but you will now, father. I found your banking information and took care that everyone gets paid. Imagine our surprise when there were several accounts with your name on them that you’ve been stashing cash in. Cash that didn’t belong to you.” Allen told her to put his money back. “I won’t. And so you know, mother knows too. She’s on her way in here now.” “You told your mother? Why would you do that to me? I’m your daddy, darling, and now you’re going to be making trouble for me. Tell her that you were joking.” Andi just sat there, and he heard his wife when she got off the elevator. “See that you take care of this, Andi. I won’t have you ruining me when your mother thinks so highly of me. You know that she does too. Just the other day, we were talking about a second—” His wife came into the room. She looked like she could spit fire at him.

“Highly of you? Not on your life, you big overgrown moron. Christ, when I think about the things that I’ve had to do to keep this family in a home, all I want to do is hire someone to take you out.” Meggie kissed Andi on the head, thanking her for giving her the information. Then she stared on him again. “Allen, we’ve been married for thirty-one years, and you’ve not changed one bit. Still out for a fast buck at someone else’s expense. Well, you’ve gone too far this time. My father built this place up by having showings in his own home. And now look what you’ve done to it.


“It’s just a little misunderstanding, Meggie. I would never take all their money.” He had hoped that she’d not notice that he’d said not all of their money. But Andi did. She pointed it out to her mom. “Damn it. Why are you two even here today? I have things going on, and I want you two to get out of my office and leave me to my work.”
“It was your office, Allen. Now it’s mine and my daughters. We’re taking over.” Allen told her that she couldn’t do that. “Of course, I can. And I am. Here is a copy of the paperwork you signed before we were married. Also, I’m thrilled to be able to tell you that I’m divorcing you. As of right now.”

A thick file landed on the desk just as four men in security shirts entered his office. When they asked him how he wanted to be escorted out, he just stared at them. What the hell was going on with his wife and daughters today? There was no way that they could simply push him out of his job, one that he’d been doing for decades without any kind of trouble.
Once he was out on the sidewalk, after having been dragged to the elevator and then out of it. They had even dragged him through the lobby and out of the door before releasing him. He tried to get back into the building only to be told that if he entered again, he’d be arrested. Christ, this was a nightmare. He had things in his office that were stashed for him. Money being the biggest thing. Then he saw his other daughter coming toward him.

“Lindsley, your mother just tossed me out of the building like I’ve not been working there for most of my life.” Lindsley just stared at him. “You have to get me inside. They’re going to mess things up for the business, and what would your grandda say about that? He’d be livid. That’s what he’d be. Get me inside, and I’ll make sure that you have a job working with me for the rest of your life.”
“How much will you pay me?” He asked her what she was talking about. “How much will you pay me for working for you for the rest of my life? I think that’s a good question. Since you’ve never paid me for working for you when I was a child. How much, dad?”

“I’ve not thought about paying you at all. The business is heavily in debt, and people are already leaving because they found out that your mother is going to be in charge.” She just stared at him. “What is wrong with you? You’re acting like this isn’t any of your problems. Well, it is. Who will pay your rent for you when I’m not working? Who is going to be able to get you the best gifts when Christmas rolls around? It’s always me.”
“First of all, I know that mom is divorcing you. I’m the one that talked her into it. Secondly, the business isn’t in heavy debt because Andi found out where you were stashing money and took it all back so that the business could come out on top. Thirdly, and this one is one I think you should think about really hard, Dad, you’re a thief. Not only that, but you’re an asshole that hasn’t paid any mind to any of us since you’ve been sponging off the gallery.” Allen told her that she was ungrateful. “Am I? You’ve not a clue about anything about Andi and me. Nothing. Both of us have been out on our
own for a very long time. I’ve been paying my own house payment for the last five years. I own my own car. Have adult credit cards as well I haven’t gotten anything from you for Christmas or my birthday in the last ten years. Andi either, for that matter.”
“That would be your mother’s fault. She never told me the dates or reminded me to send them to you.” She pointed out that Christmas was the exact same time it was every year, December twenty-fifth. “I know when that is. I meant your birthday.”

Lindsley reached for the door handle, and he moved closer to her to get in. Instead of opening the door for herself so he could sneak in, she told him to back off. He couldn’t believe his own flesh and blood was treating him like this and told her that.
“It’s only convenient for you to remember that we’re related when you want something from me, isn’t it? Is there anything else, dad? I mean, do you have anything else to tell me before I have you arrested for trespassing?” He told her that she was an ungrateful child. “To you, perhaps. But Andi and I are going to be taking care of the business with mom from now on, and you’re going to be out on the streets. As it so happens, my job here is finished with you. I was told to delay you until the locks were changed on the house that you used to share with mom. Also, the car that brought you to work this morning is no longer anything that you’re going to be able to use.”
Allen was still standing there when he realized his daughter had gone into the building without him. He couldn’t understand why they were all of a sudden treating him like this. Then he thought about the things that his wife and daughters had said to him over the course of the last few months.

He realized then that not only had they told him that he was going to be leaving the company, but now that he thought about it, they had even given him the date that he was going to be out on his ass. Damn it all to hell and back. Had he paid attention, he would have been able to put himself some cash away that he could get to so that he could ride out this shit storm that his wife was making for him. Allen wasn’t worried about it, however. He knew that she’d be taking him back soon enough. She was just pissed off right now, and he’d be able to sweet talk her into letting him go back to the way things were before soon enough.

There wasn’t any way that she’d be able to run his company without him. Walking to a hotel, glad now that no one had bothered to take his company credit cards from him when he’d been given the boot. He’s show them.
Right then, Allen decided to splurge on the best hotel he could go to and have room service bring him the finest steaks in the land. Waiting in line at the counter to get a room for the next few weeks, he was actually giddy with the prospect of hitting the business with a huge bill right now.

“My name is Allen Benson, and I’d like a room for the next week or so.” The man told him the price, and he didn’t even flinch at the ungodly amount of money that it was going to cost the gallery. “I’d also like to have dinner brought up to me as soon as possible. Steak and all the trimmings. And a bottle of the best wine you can find.”
The man said nothing, but then Allen wasn’t paying attention to him as he was thinking about his wife’s face when she got the bill. As his credit card was handed back to him, he smiled at the clerk. Telling him to have a nice day.
“I’m sorry, sir, but your card has been denied. Do you have another form of payment?” Allen pulled out the other cards that he had in his wallet, pissed off now that he’d been embarrassed because of his own family. Every card in his wallet was denied. “Do you have cash?”

“No, I don’t have any cash on me. Christ, just send the bill to my office.” The man simply lifted his nose at him. “I don’t have time for you to be messing around with me today, buddy. Just charge the room and dinner to my business. You’ve done it before.”
“I have, sir. But your wife called here last week and told us you’d be trying to do what you’ve done and said you’re on your own. I didn’t realize what she meant until your cards were denied. If you’d not mind, sir, I think that it’s time that you were gone from here. We’re a well-thought-of establishment, and riff-raff like you aren’t the clientele we want here.” He started to protest, but the man snapped his fingers, and three big men in security shirts showed up. “Now, as you’ve been told before, you can leave the easy way or the hard way. It’s entirely up to you.”

He left. Christ, what the hell was his family thinking when they took everything away from him. He was going to make them pay when he got back in business. He wasn’t going to forgive them for some time, either. Damned family. He wondered not for the first time why he’d even claimed them as his own.

Sarah worked the line of food alongside of her mate, Cass, while they served up Christmas dinner for the townspeople. She’d had a feeling that something was going to happen, but she just couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Even reaching out to put her hands on some of the people in the room didn’t make her feel any less anxious about her feelings.“You should know that people are beginning to think you’re pissed off at them. You have that look on your face that isn’t all that friendly. I think you’ve even scared a couple of children with your look.” Sarah looked at Cass and frowned. “I’m assuming this has something to do with what you were telling me about when we were home. That feeling you had of foreboding.”

“Yes. Something is going to happen. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but I just can’t shake the feelings. It’s more than likely nothing to worry about, but I can’t shake that feeling.” He asked her if he could help her. “Yes. Can you just gently reach out and see what you can find on what people are thinking about?”
He did just that. Telling her what each person was thinking as he went around the room as he continued to serve up the food with a smile. Sarah was ready to tell him to stop when he paused. Sarah asked him what was going on. He told her just to give him a second, and he’d tell her. Right now, he was getting more information to see what exactly was going on. With a glance, he nodded toward the doorway.

“See the three women that are over there by the door? The ones that are just sitting there and looking around?” She nodded. “They’re the Benson women. The ones that Loman and the others were talking about last night that own the gallery that he wasn’t going to be a part of when the mister was involved.”
“Yes, they have the gallery that he’s thinking about helping out because they’ve fired the dad or something. What’s going on?” He asked if he told her if she would do as he asked. “I think you know the answer to that even before you asked me. What’s going on?”

“Mr. Benson is here as well. He is not in the building, but he’s close enough to being around that they’re a little afraid to leave the building, with good reason. While they don’t think he’ll hurt anyone else around, they’re afraid that if they go out the door, he’ll cause trouble, and someone will get hurt. He’s upset that they have taken away his money maker. They don’t want anything to happen to anyone here. They’re very afraid that he’ll ruin the day for a great many people here.” She asked him if he knew where Mr. Benson was. “No, not yet. I don’t know him well enough to know his mind. I can only assume that he’s close like they fear he is. Since you won’t go someplace safe, tell me what you’re thinking about doing to keep this from being messy.”

“I say that we go over there and talk to the women. Then we see what they want to do. We could, I suppose, take care of it right now by having Parker go and mess him up, but that won’t solve their issue down the line. Correct?” He said he liked the idea of Parker taking care of him, but she was right. “I’m forever right, Cass. Haven’t you figured that out by now?”

“I must have forgotten myself for a moment. All right, you head over there and see what you can find out. I’m going to go outside and see if I can feel anything there. Please be careful, love. I don’t want anything to happen to you.” She kissed him on the mouth and made her way to the women.

As soon as she was close enough to them, she could tell they were indeed terrified. Not just of whatever was going on with Allen but at getting anyone in here hurt like Cass had told her. Sitting down with them, Sarah introduced herself to the three of them.
“Also, I have a bit of magic that I’ve been using since we got here today. I’m assuming that you’re aware that we’re all lions.” Meggie introduced herself to her and her daughters, saying she had just found that out when she’d overheard someone talking about it. “Good. Do you know where Allen is? I mean, any idea where I can send my husband and the others to keep you guys safe?”

“We saw him when we first arrived. None of us have seen him in town before we left, but he must have figured on coming here to talk to Loman himself. I don’t know what he thinks he could say to him, but that’s all we can think of right now. I don’t want your brother to be hurt by anything he says. Just don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth. Please?” Sarah asked if they thought he was dangerous. “Only to himself, we think. But then, I never expected him to rob other people for their sales
either. I’d like to tell you that he’s not the man I married, but he’s exactly the man that I married. But I’m taking care of that as we speak.”
“We’ll take care of him if you’re all right with that.” She nodded, as did her daughters. “All right. I’m going to send the others out to find him. To either have him move along or be arrested if he’s so much as spitting on the sidewalk.” The three of them laughed. “Good, you’ve not lost your complete sense of humor. All right. Give me a second, and I’ll see what I can figure out.”

Sarah didn’t leave them, but she did make sure that the others in the building knew what was going on. As soon as Ronan and Loman went out to where Cass was, she felt a good deal better about her mate going outside to take on a moron.
As soon as Ronan came back in, she thought that something had happened to Cass. Then when he joined his brothers behind the line again, she told the women that she was going to find out what had happened. Before she could get up and find her mate, he sat down next to her.

“He’s been arrested. Just now.” Cass kissed her on the mouth and smiled at the women after introducing himself. The women were concerned about why he’d been arrested, and Cass laughed. “He was standing next to a Christmas display in town, in one of the shops and decided that he was going to mess it up. I haven’t any idea why he thought that was going to be a good idea, but he tore it down and kicked the broken pieces into the street. As he was just about to start the mess on fire, the police caught him in the act and took him in. Donnelly, one of the officers there, said that he’d make sure that he was in a cell until after New Year’s. That’s when the shop owner is planning to come back from their vacation. They’ll hold him until they find out if they want to press charges or not.”

“Oh, thank goodness that no one was hurt. I’ve been worried about what he’d do when he got desperate.” Meggie looked at her daughters. “Andi said I should press charges against him for running us off the road on the way here.”
“You should. For no other reason than to keep him out of your hair while you’re here.” Cass said that he’d make sure that the police talked to them before they left here today. “I’m glad that you allowed us to be helpful in this. If you’re hungry, there is plenty to eat. We’re just waiting on the last group of officers to come in and eat with their families. Then people will begin to gather up the leftovers they want to take home, and we’ll start the cleanup. We’re going to start doing this every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s worked out very well for everyone.”

The three of them decided they’d eat but insisted on helping them clean up when they were finished. Telling them they’d appreciate their help, the family got themselves plates of food and sat back down. Sarah made her way to the back room to begin the clean-up back there as the line was taken care of for now. However, there were already a group of men and women there washing up the pans they’d used to serve.
It was well past seven when they were finishing up. Even the Benson women looked like they were having a good time cleaning up the tables. As they were storing away the tables for another time, Loman came out of the room in the back and began taking the trash out. Meggie helped him.

“Do you suppose he’s the mate to one of them?” Sarah looked up at Cass when he asked her that. “I mean, he’s the last one of us to be mated, so it stands to reason they might be. I think it would be good for Loman to have someone in his life. He’s such a loner.”
“I didn’t even think of that. How do we tell? It seems to me that everyone else knew that we were mates before you did. Is there some kind of tell?” Cass told her that her best bet was to ask him when he came back in. “You’re thinking that it’s the mom?”
“No, I mean, I don’t know, but if she’s not, then he’ll have a feeling about her, a protection feeling that will tell him that she’s close to someone that he’s mated to.” Sarah nodded and kept an eye out for Loman and Meggie to come back in. However, if she was looking for a tell, she was disappointed when he came in by himself and walked right by the daughters.

For the rest of the evening, she thought about things she wanted to talk to Loman about. He was going to be staying with her and Cass until his furnace was finished being put in, and she was happy about that. As they were watching a Christmas special on the television, just the three of them, Sarah, just asked him if they were his mate.
“Are you thinking I’m man enough to handle both of them?” She was embarrassed, and he continued to tease her about it. Finally, he shook his head. “I don’t think so. I didn’t really get all that close to either one of them, but the mom, and she’s not my mate. However, I do like them. Meggie was talking to me about the things that are going to happen at the gallery when it’s closed down, and I think I’m going to help them out like I’ve been talking about for a few days. It’s a win-win for them and me, I think. I think too that it might be a good relationship with us and them for a while as well.”
“I’m glad to hear that. I’m sort of disappointed that they’re not your mate. I liked the three of them and could see they’d fit well in our little group.” He said they could still fit in. “Yes, I suppose, but having them as sisters would have been much nicer. Don’t you think?”

“Yes. But as I said, I didn’t get close to the daughters, so it might still be a good thing for you. Because, as you know, me having a mate is all about you, my dear sister.” She smacked him on the shoulder, and he laughed. “I’ve been traveling for a while to be here, so I think I’m going to go up to bed. Mom wants me to remind you guys that tomorrow morning she is coming here for breakfast. Something about you owing her bacon and eggs.”

After Loman left them, she asked him what that was supposed to mean. Laughing, Cass told her that his mom had a bet with him. About how long the cherry pies would last from the moment they opened today. Then for him to tell her who got the last piece.
“There weren’t any cherry pies left over there,” Cass said there had been eight of them, but as soon as they’d been sliced, they disappeared. “Disappeared? Or did your brothers eat them all? I can’t see that many pieces of pie go so quickly. However, that’s not what happened at all.”

“It was Ronan, wasn’t it? He was responsible for three of the pies being gone. He was asked to take some of them over to the nursing home for those who couldn’t get here today. There were dinners too that went with him, so that leaves five. Loman and myself took two more of them to the police station. After that, we’ve no idea what happened to the other three pies. The best we can figure is that people saw them being laid out and snatched them right up. I didn’t get a slice of any of them. Shit head. I’m going to make him pay for that.”

“So what does that have to do with the bet you lost to your mom? Not that I care, but I’d like some details.” He told her what the bet was about. “You bet your mom that you’d be able to find the other pies, and you didn’t? That’s why you owe her breakfast?”
“Yes. It was funny too. I kept an eye on those pies all afternoon, and I never once saw anyone take a single slice of them. There was plenty of pumpkin and apple left but nothing of the cherries.” She smiled at him. “You know what happened to them, don’t you?”

“I do. And you shouldn’t have to cook for your mom since she cheated.” Cass asked what she was talking about. “They’re here. She had me bring the last two pies here before they were sliced. And I wasn’t to tell anyone that we had them. Your mom wanted to win, so she had me take the pies out of the building and bring them here so she could have them, what she told me anyway was that she wanted a slice tomorrow.”
“I’ll be damned. My mom cheated.” Sarah laughed along with Cass as he went on about how his sainted mother had cheated him out of breakfast. “What are you going to do with the pies now that you know it was a scam?”

“I’m going to have a piece. How about you?” The two of them enjoyed two slices each of the pie with ice cream and whipped cream because they could. It was a great dessert, especially since she knew that it was part of a plan to get back at Cass. Tomorrow he was going to make his mom confess to what she’d done, and it was going to be funny for her to be a part of it. Who knew that Camilla had a dishonest bone in her body?
When they made their way up to their room, she thought perhaps this was the best tradition she’d ever been a part of. Feeding families and being around them at such a time was not just fun, but it was fulfilling too. Even as she got into bed, she thought that long after this year, she was going to keep up with helping the community like this and have their own children be a part of it as well, just as she’d told the Benson women. Things like this it was what made people more willing to help others when it was needed. Yes, Sarah thought, this is what people needed to make them all feel welcome and a part of something.

William Archer’s Dynasty Release Blitz & Giveaway

Nothing was going right for Tally. Her brother was threatening to sell his kid off again if she didn’t pay up. She was afraid he’d do it this time, too, if she didn’t come up with the money. Now, the neighbors were fighting again. When the gun next door went off, Tally took a bullet. William Archer was already in a bad mood. The woman had taken a bullet for him, then slammed the door in his face. He would help her, and that would be the end of it. The entire family had been trying to marry him off, and the last thing he wanted was a wife. He made no bones about it, either. Tally didn’t like him much, either. And when he implied that the situation with her brother and her nephew was her fault and she should have done more, she knocked him on his butt. Realizing too late that he might have been a little harsh, William scrambled to rectify the situation, but Tally wasn’t having any of it


Merce was a go-getter. She ran a contracting company with her father, and when she saw something that needed to be done, she did it. Archer’s company had a new product that needed to be produced, and Merce knew her company was in a perfect position to fulfill that order. She just didn’t understand why they weren’t on the list for consideration. She’d see about that.

When Heather Grey received the phone call from Merce Archer that her brother was dead, she wasn’t surprised, but when her sister-in-law, Judy Grey, claimed to be pregnant with her brother’s child, Heather knew better than that. There was no way in hell that child was his. Heather decided right then and there that she’d go to the small town and set things straight.

Elizabeth Monroe moved from Chicago to a small town in Ohio to live with her grandda, Bingo. He owned the construction company updating Peter’s house. Elizabeth was helping out until she could take her medical boards to transfer her license to Ohio.

Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning
Packaged one T-shirt and cup cooler
PACKAGED TWOhat and mouse pad
PACKAGED THREE BBQapron and tote bag
PACKAGED FOUR a cup and a tote bag
PACKAGED FIVE signed paperback

Congratulations to the winners !!!!!!!
Eva Millien Signed Paperback
Kristin Peterson Signed Paperback
Debbie Whitley Signed Paperback

Your packages will be mailed on
Friday 17th 2023

Winners of 2023
Debby Hudson T-Shirt & Cup Cooler
Lovie Ball Apron & Totebag
Julia Bystedt Signed Paperback

If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at

Happy Reading,


There was no hope for it. Tally was going to have to go to Ohio and figure out
what the fuck was going on with her brother. The fucker. He’d better be sick or dead, or
she was going to get his ass in trouble again. All he had to do was tell her Clay was
doing all right in school and send her a list of things he needed for winter. She’d buy
them, never sending him money, then send them on to him.
Tally had been afraid that he was selling the things off instead of giving them to
her nephew. Since Allice had left Howie, he’d been using more. Not that she thought
he’d ever stopped, but he had some way of getting around Social Services when they’d
show up at his house when she called.

Letting the phone ring and ring, she tried to remember when the last time it was
that she’d been to see Howie. It had to be at least a month now. The bastard had made
her stay in a hotel rather than letting her bunk on the couch in order to see the little boy
who had come to mean the world to her.

“What the fuck do you want?” She wasn’t bothered by his tone anymore. It
didn’t even bother her that he sounded drunk. Recording each and every call to and
from him was something that the internet told her that she should do. “Tally, I’m busy.
What the fuck are you doing calling me when I know for a fucking fact that you can’t
afford to miss a day of work. You should be at work right now. My rent is coming due.”
“I’m not working right now.” She sat down while he began screaming at her
about his money. “Shut the fuck up.” That seemed to get his attention.
“What do you mean you’re not working? You’d better be. I’m telling you right
now, if I don’t have rent money from you, I’m going to sell off this fucking kid. He’s not worth spit as it is now.

Just last week, I had to go into a meeting with the school because
he wasn’t bringing himself any lunch in to eat.” She asked him if he’d packed him
something. “No. Why should I have to get him something to eat to take to school? He’s
old enough to know what he’ll eat or not.”

“He’s six, Howie. I don’t think I should have to point that out to you that a six-year-old doesn’t know that he’s supposed to hit all the food groups when making his
lunch. Why the hell aren’t you making it for him?” He said that he wasn’t getting up
that early. “Then make it the night before. Though I don’t know why you’re not getting
up to put him on the bus in the first place. Why aren’t you?”

“Ain’t none of your beeswax. Get off my back. When are you going to be
sending the money for my rent, Tally? I’m telling you right now, I won’t put up with
you delaying it again. You know that I’m serious about selling him off?” While she was
glad that he was saying these things for the recording, she wasn’t happy to know that
he would do just what he said he would again. “I need that five hundred dollar

“Your rent isn’t that much. It’s only one-fifty because you live in government-subsidized housing. Which you said you didn’t. And you don’t pay any utilities like
you told me, either. I’ve been doing some research, Howie. Nothing you’ve said to me
is true.” He didn’t say anything. “What have you been doing with the money that I’ve
been sending you? I was also informed that the school would supply him with a free
meal if you were to go in and fill out the paperwork for it. Why haven’t you done that

“I was told that it would affect my food card.” She hadn’t realized that he was
getting a food card either. It never occurred to her that he’d lie to her about so many
things. “With me and little Howie here, we get a nice size of money that can fill the
fridge up a few times a month. But it won’t go as far if I have to go in there and tell
them to give him some food when I ain’t got anymore left for him. He don’t eat much
anyway. And don’t think that I didn’t notice that you didn’t tell me why you’re not
working. I want that money, Tally. I deserve it for having to be around this kid all day.”
“He’s a good kid, and I doubt very much he wants to be around you either,

Howie. Will you stop calling him little Howie? His name is Clayton. There isn’t any
reason whatsoever that you call him that.” Howie told her that Beth should have named
him after him. “She should have kicked your sorry ass to the side of the road when you
went to prison for robbery. The very fact that she put your name on his birth certificate
at all is a surprise to me. You’re nothing but crap. Where is Clay? I want to talk to him.”
“Not unless you have some money for me, you’re not.” She cried then, careful
not to show her brother how much his words hurt her. “You’re not working. Why the
fuck not?”

“A big company bought the place and is tearing the building down to put in a
parking lot. I guess they think that a little grocery store isn’t as important as having
people have a place to park.” She wanted to scream about how it wasn’t her fault that
the building was as old as rocks.

It leaked like there wasn’t a roof on it when it only rained a little. The furnace
was temperamental, as in it would only work if you begged it to work. There was no air
in the place, but up front, when you first came in, and all that came from a window air
conditioner. The freezers had given out about a year ago, so they no longer had ice
cream. Meats were all right, she supposed, but that fridge was going out as well. Well, it
did go out the day that the new company that owned the building came in. Christ, she
didn’t know what she was going to do now.

With paying her brother a thousand dollars a month when she didn’t have to
was killing her on top of her own bills. If she never ate another peanut butter and jelly
sandwich, she’d be happy. Also, ramen noodles. Tally had a list of things that she could
do with them longer than she thought most people had thought of. All just so she could
save her nephew from being sold off like Howie threatened to do weekly. It was then
that she realized that he’d hung up on her.

When Beth had left Howie, no one believed Tally when she told the police that
she thought he’d killed her, the baby was left behind. Beth would never have left that
little boy, and when she did leave, she would have come to her and told her that she
was leaving. But Howie had won that battle, and he’d been stuck, his words having to
care for a little baby all on his own. She’d gone to help him for a while, staying in a
hotel that she could ill afford after buying diapers, formula, and other items that Clay
had needed.

But it only lasted for the first couple of months before she had to return to her
work. Each day she would care for Clay while Howie did whatever he did during the
day and at night. She’d hunt for clues that would tell her where Beth was. She’d been
close, she thought, when Howie had caught her looking around. Christ, she’d barely
made it home with all her injuries after the beating that she’d taken that day.
After that, he’d forbidden her to come around. But it didn’t stop her from having
to send him money. Then she’d found out, quite by accident, that Howie was getting
not just a food card but insurance and subsidized rent for housing.
Going to her cot, not even the size of a twin bed, she laid down on it to try and
rest. Tomorrow she was going to have to find a job, or she’d not even have this wreck of
a place to live. When the couple next door started their nightly fight, she got down off
the cot and hid under it. There were always guns involved in their kind of nightly

The knock at her door sometime later woke her up from a nightmarish sort of
dream. It was nearly always the same. Beth begged her not to tell her brother that she
was having a son, and him finding out and chasing her all over the place with a gun.
Staggering to the door, she opened it without looking.
“You didn’t even ask who it was. For all you knew, I could have been a
murderer. Or come here to rob you.” She slammed the door in his face and went to the
bathroom. She could hear him pounding on the doors when she went back to her cot to
lie down again. “Open the fucking door. I don’t want to be here anymore than you
want to talk to me. It’s about the place you used to work. I have a check here for you to
help you get along until you find another job.”

“Fuck you. If you’d just left the place alone, I’d still have a job, and I wouldn’t
have to be wondering where my next meal is coming from.” She did get up, curious
about the check, had her opening the door and taking the envelope from the big man.
Tally was ready to slam the door in his face again when he put his foot in the door. The
couple took that opportunity to start firing at each other again, and she knocked the
man back when one of the bullets went by her nose. When the guns were finished, she
sat up and looked at the man beneath her. He had his eyes closed, so she smacked him
around—which actually felt pretty good, considering. He looked at her with one eye.
“You’re bleeding.” She shrugged at him. “You were shot. Is this something that
you have to put up with all the time?”
“No, I only stay in this house in the winter months. My summer home is much
more bullet-riddled. I’ve been shot before. If you don’t have anything else to impart to
me, I’d like to get back to what I was doing.”
“Plotting the deaths of other people?” She moved off of him, making sure that
she elbowed him at least four times before she was on her feet. “You’re really bleeding a great deal. I’m going to call an ambulance.”

“Well, I hope you get in it on your own because I’m not going to be able to pay
the seven hundred bucks they’ll charge me for not taking it to the hospital. That is if
they show at all. This isn’t exactly the best of neighborhoods in the event that you didn’t
know that.” She looked at the blood on her blouse and then put her hand over the
wound. It hurt like hell, but she wasn’t going to go anywhere. “What else did you want
to tell me? That you’re all making it so that we don’t have to look for jobs? That there is
one that is providing transportation as well? Go home, whoever the hell you are, and
have a nice life.”

She did get to slam the door in his face this time, as he’d sat up enough so that
she could do that. When her neighbors started screaming about her making all that
noise, she didn’t bother speaking to them. They’d just fire into her room again, and she
didn’t have time for that shit. Going to the bathroom again, she pulled out her
dwindling first aid kit and looked at what she had to deal with.
The man must have left because when she went out of her place to go downstairs
to get her milk and eggs, the snow had already covered his prints leaving the building
to a parking lot. Getting her things out of the snow that had piled up overnight, she was
glad now that she’d been able to get some food the day before. Otherwise, she’d be shit
out of luck in getting out now. Taking it into the house to cook, she was suddenly not
all that hungry. Her wound was bleeding badly now, and she wasn’t sure that she
shouldn’t at least call someone to fix it for her.

The only doctor that she knew was the vet that lived below her. Well, he wasn’t a
vet any longer. He’d lost his license some time ago when he’d been doing illegal things
to the poor animals left in his care. Tally never asked, but she had a feeling that it
wasn’t just cutting them up but sexual things too. Shivering, she put her things out the
window onto the little deck—that was too dangerous to hold a plant—and warmed
herself up in her cot.

Sleeping fitfully, she had strange dreams about shit that she didn’t know what it
meant. There was a woman in white that was standing over her, yelling at the man that
had been at the door. Police had come in and were taking away her neighbors. An
elderly woman, a very beautiful one at that, was asking her why she was living here,
and she did remember answering her. What she said, Tally had no idea, but she must
have said something because she, too, disappeared.

“Don’t leave my milk outside. It’ll freeze up, and I won’t have any hot cocoa in
the morning.” Someone asked her if she had any coffee. “Who the hell can afford
coffee? I can barely buy a candy bar to melt down for my cocoa once a month after
sending my deadbeat brother everything I have. He’d better not be selling off Clay
again. I’ll murder his ass if he does that again.”

She remembered some questions about her health and had no idea if she had
answered them. It was the strangest dream that she’d ever had. When something warm,
like a big old warm fuzzy blanket that she would get from her mom every Christmas
seemed to float over her, she let herself dream about something else. Sometimes the
past would come up and kick her in the ass so hard that she’d want to just starve herself
to death rather than deal with it.
“It might be cheaper for me to just die, I think.”

“If you don’t calm your ass down, I’m going to knock you back on it and see
where that gets you. I said that I’d tell you what I knew, but I won’t be bullied into
giving you answers that I don’t have. Sit down and shut the fuck up, William, or so
help me. I’m going to call mom.” William looked around as if mom might pop out of
one of the rooms he was surrounded by. “Are you ready to listen or not?” Darrel would
just walk away from him without giving him any answers. So he told him that he was
ready. “All right. She’s dehydrated, undernourished, and has been shot before. The
bullet, this time, only hit her belly, where we had to remove a portion of her colon to get
it back to right. The other bullets, two different times, were removed as well. One was
lodged into her ribs the other was in her thigh. How she was able to get around after
that one is—keep your mouth closed, or I will walk.”

“Why the hell didn’t she get help?” He didn’t answer him. Anyone that had been
in her apartment or really a room the size of a closet would know that she was barely
making ends meet. “I offered to call her an ambulance to go in.”
“Were you like this? All pissy and in a shitty mood. I don’t know that I would
have taken you up on it, either. But she was right in telling you that they might not have
shown. There are records that indicate that one of her neighbors had died when it took
them three days to get there to offer treatment. She might well have only survived
before because she’s not stupid enough to think anyone is going to help her. Which
brings me to the question as to why you did? You don’t seem to like anyone anymore,
much less people that might want to depend on you. Even mom has been avoiding

“One of these women might be something to me, and I don’t need a wife in my
life. I think I like things just the way they are.” Darrel pointed out that his disposition
might keep the most determined away. “Don’t be a jackass. I’m not in the mood.”
After punching his brother in the face and walking away, knocking him back on
his ass, Darrel went to recovery where Tally Washer was. She was doing well,
considering she needed about thirty more pounds on her already slender body. When
he went to the nurses’ station to make sure they knew she was to have the best of care,
Elizabeth was there waiting for him.

“She all right?” Darrel told her everything that he’d said to William and more.
“I’ve had Del and Katie look into this brother of hers. I have a feeling that William
knows who the kid is. He was just talking to Robert about him yesterday.”
“Do you think that he really sold the kid off?” Elizabeth didn’t say anything,
which was saying volumes for her. “I see. So you believe this. Also, I heard from one of
the nurses that Beth Washer is missing and presumed dead. What can you tell me about

“Nothing. I did tell Del about it, and he’s pulling some strings to find out. If he,
Howard, killed her, then the little boy would be safer with Tally. That’s her name, too,
by the way. Not short for anything.” They moved down the hall to the office he used
when he was working here. “Tally had a job up until the store that she was working in
was closed down. I guess that the land was bought by the family. And the store, after
inspecting it, didn’t even hit any of the code parameters for being a store. No heat, no
air. The refrigerators were more than thirty years old and barely working. They had
coolers out with bagged ice in them for the customers to sort through when they
wanted something.”

“Christ.” She asked him if he wanted it all. “I don’t think I want to know any
more about that. Not right now, anyway. What about her story about the brother taking
her money? I’m sure you have something on that by now.”
“He apparently told her that his rent was too much for him to get around. Also,
she supplied them with food and other items. Buying them first and then sending them
to him so he’d not have the money. I don’t know why he’d fuck over his sister like that,
but some people just need to be killed. Howard didn’t work but stayed at home all day.
I don’t even want to think about what the house might look like when there isn’t an
inspection slated for him to come in.

He hires a group to come in and give the house a
good cleaning so he can live there without any trouble. You’d think he’d be using that
money on things for himself or Clay. Anyway, that’s what I know. Oh, Clay has been
picked up from school by Social Services and is on his way into the hospital to be
looked over. I thought you or I should do it, but the police told me that they didn’t want
us going to the house to kill him if there was a nail cracked or something. I’d like to
think I have a better hold on my temper than that.” He just stared at her. “All right, I
would have. But I’m telling you right now, I want to adopt that kid. He seems like he’s
been abused enough for someone so young.”

“I don’t know yet, but I believe you.” She asked him about Tally. “She’s going to
be all right. It’s going to take her a few days of her resting before I’d be happy with her
being released. But where she’ll go after that is beyond me. The complex where she was
living has been condemned, and they’re finding places for people that are there. I’m
sure she could be on that list, too, but I didn’t put her on it yet. I wanted to see if there
were other takers for her that could keep an eye on her.”
“You know that I’d love to do it.” Darrel thanked her. “You’re welcome. All
right, I need to get my ass home and put my feet up. Then I have rotations with you
tomorrow morning. Are we still up for that?”

“Yes. I can’t thank you enough for helping out with my practice while I take this
trip. I’ve not had a vacation since I got out of college. I need it.” She told him it was her
pleasure. “When the baby comes along, I’ll be there for you too.”
“I know that all of you will be.” The nurse said there was a call for Darrel, and
Elizabeth told him she’d talk to him later. “I’ll be home if you need anything from me.
I’m going to be working with the others on finding out some information about this

After saying his name in the phone, he had to pull it away from his ear so that he
wouldn’t damage his ear drum. Whoever was on the other end was not a happy person
with him. As soon as the man took a breath to no doubt start on him again, Darrel
whistled. That got his attention.

“Now, calmly tell me what the hell you’re going on about so that I can
understand. I don’t have a clue what it is you’re screaming at me about.” He said that
his name was Howie Washer. “All right. I know who you are. What do you want?”
“Someone told me that you took my kid from me. I’m going to make sure that I
own your wallet before the end of the day.” He said that he’d had nothing to do with
his son being taken out of school. “Then who is it I have to murder to get him back.
That kid is my ticket to a lot of things. One of them getting my sister in line with my

“You mean your sister, Tally Washer?” He asked him how he knew her name.
“She’s here at the hospital as well. She’s been shot. Not for the first time, either, it
“Well, hell. How is she supposed to pay me if she’s lazing around the hospital?
You fix her up good enough that she can get out and get herself a job. I have things to
pay off.” He asked him why he didn’t have a job. “I have a kid to watch over. Didn’t
you hear me saying that?”

“I heard you, but I doubt very much that you watch him all that well. From the
report I’ve gotten, he’s barely eaten in a few days. Not to mention has anything to keep
his feet warm in the winter.” He told him that was Tally’s job. While Darrel didn’t have
any reports yet, he could guess. “Why is that? You said he was your kid. Why is your
sister paying for his things?”

“So I keep him.” That sent a chill so far down his back that he was sure he’d feel
it for a week or two. “I got to find out where I can find my kid. If you know anything
about him, you call me. I don’t deserve to be treated like this. I might just have to come
down there and hassle Tally some to find out what she’s done now.”
Darrel hung up the phone and then made a decision. “I don’t want anyone to be
able to come in and see Tally Washer unless it’s my family. Nurses that you trust too.”
Nurse Able said her son would come in and guard her door. “I don’t want anyone to
get into trouble. Just make sure that no one goes in there without permission. I’ll tell the
front desk too.”

“I’ll take care of the desk downstairs. I’ll even tell them that you said no
information either. That’ll keep his butt out of here. And Jeremiah won’t get in a bit of
trouble. He’s a bouncer for that bar in Columbus that’s so popular. I’ll just say that I
know her brother and that I don’t want any trouble for my staff. If anyone says
anything, I’ll have them talk to your momma. She’ll be on my side.”
She would be, indeed. After checking on Tally again, Darrell made his way
home. He’d been working a lot of shifts lately and was looking forward to going on his
trip. He’d not been skiing since he’d been in his last year of med school and was looking forward to it more than he could imagine. Not only that, but he was hoping to get laid once or twice. It couldn’t hurt him to be a little relaxed once in a while.

Cliff Tate’s Crossing Release Blitz & Giveaway

Shade Cornwall did her best to help her mother and siblings escape that maniac known as her father, but she’d never acknowledge that. Their run ended abruptly when he tossed a Molotov cocktail into their moving vehicle. Her mother was burning, and it was all she could do to help save her and her siblings from the burning vehicle. As it ended up, her mother’s prognosis for survival didn’t look too good. Cliff Tate had just returned from a long stint out of the country. It felt good to be home. He didn’t hesitate to take in the kids from the burning vehicle while the driver and their mother were rushed to the hospital. Shade had no trust in men. Her father had seen to that. Cliff seemed to be a good man, but she’d had enough of men to last her a lifetime….


Add it to your book list today

Caitlynne’s job was difficult. Doing what she did for the government not only put herself at risk but any friends or family she had could become a target. When her sister was hurt, she blamed herself even though it had nothing to do with her directly. It didn’t matter. It was time for her to quit before someone she cared about ended up dead.

Cody Martin was a good attorney. Never appreciated at her job, she still never wavered in her loyalty. And when she was suddenly fired for no reason, she found it would be the perfect opportunity to start a business with her brother Matt.

Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning
Packaged one T-shirt and cup cooler
PACKAGED TWOhat and mouse pad
PACKAGED THREE BBQapron and tote bag
PACKAGED FOUR a cup and a tote bag
PACKAGED FIVE signed paperback

Congratulations to the winners !!!!!!!
Debby Hudson T-Shirt & Cup Cooler
Lovie Ball Apron & Totebag
Julia Bystedt Signed Paperback

Your packages will be mailed on
Tuesday, Jan 31st 2023

If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at

Happy Reading,


Cliff was glad to be home. He’d been out of the country for the last several months, and
he needed his own bed and was looking forward to meeting the family’s newest
members. As soon as he was able to get out of the jet and onto the ground, he wanted to
lay down and kiss the earth. Home. He was home.

“Son, you all right?” He hugged his dad, having only been able to do video chats
through an app since he’d left in order to see him. And he’d talked to him through their
link when he had a question about work. Cliff really missed his dad. Dad hugged him
just as tightly. “I’m assuming you’re happy to be here. As much as I’m glad you are.”
“You’ve no idea. I’m so ready for a home-cooked meal with all the trimmings
and the rest of the family shouting to be heard over everyone else. How are you, Dad?”
He told him he was better now that all his boys were home. “I bet you are. I’ve missed
you so much, Dad. All of you. Tell me about the others. Caitlynne and Cody.”
As he and Dad went to get his luggage from the baggage return, Dad filled him
in on everything. Not in a timely manner, but he enjoyed his dad jumping from one
story to the next.

“Joel is going to be a daddy. And then there are Cody’s brothers. Well, it’s only
Matt that is her true brother, but I sure do like Donald too. They’re raising Cody’s
sister’s children. Paige, I told you about her.” He said it was in the papers where he’d
been too. “My goodness, really? Well, she’s being taken up to one of those criminally
insane places. I have a feeling she’ll never make it there. Not just staying there, but I
don’t think the family means for her to live out her life. She’s a nasty sort of person, son.

About the nastiest, I’ve ever heard of.”
They decided to get a sandwich on the way home. He was starving, and Dad
said he could eat. That meant he was going to have a few burgers and a milkshake.
Dad’s “I could eat” was like he’d not eaten in ten days. Still, Cliff enjoyed himself just
hanging out with his dad.

By the time they were pulling up in front of a house he didn’t recognize, he was
starving again. Dad told him they were eating at Matt and Donald’s home because
Donald, a chef, wanted them to try some dishes he wanted to put on his menu. It would
be frou-frou food. Cliff just knew it.

But the smells coming from the back of the house told him Donald was cooking
like his mom had, with bacon grease in the fried potatoes and ham chunks in the green
beans, which had been simmering all day in the fat. Going into the beautifully
appointed kitchen, he was hugged by the rest of his family. Then he was introduced to
the women.

“You’ve been the topic of conversation for the last couple of days. I think that
any one of the single women, no matter the age, would snatch you up in a heartbeat if
you were single for too much longer.” He told Caitlynne that women loved him. “Sure
they do. You’ll keep your pants zipped up and your mouth virginal while I’m around,
buddy. I won’t have you putting notches on bedposts on my watch.”
They both laughed, as did his family. He was introduced to Matt and Donald
and then Kelly and Dani. Dad had told him about them, so he had a gift for them both
to welcome them to the family. Pulling out a suitcase he’d brought in with him, he
handed them each a large basket of things he’d picked up just for them.

“I went to this little coffee shop daily to get their hot chocolate and sweet rolls.
They made you both up a batch of it, so you can have some here when I visit. I have my
own stash, so you won’t have to share.” The little girl was very shy and hid behind her
brother. Cliff winked at her. “I also have you a doll. One, I had no idea when I got her
that she’d be just as pretty as you are. My goodness, you could be the model they used.”
The doll was a huge hit, and she went off to play with it. He asked Kelly if he
would like his special gift. The little man looked up at Donald, asking permission, and
Cliff thought he should have asked first before giving them gifts.

“Never be afraid to bring the kids something special from your travels, Cliff.
Later the four of us will go over the gifts you gave them and talk about where they
came from. It’s wonderful of you to think of them in this way.” He nodded at Donald
but felt bad. “I’m serious, Cliff. I’m so happy you’ve included them as part of your
family. The others have, and it’s been so much easier on them. What did he get you,

“Dad told me he was enjoying learning to carve animals in the wood. I did, too,
as a child. So, I got him something he’ll need to use for the rest of his days. It’s an entire
set of cutting tools. Dad told me he was a very responsible little guy and that he’d take
good care of them when I told him what I’d gotten him.” The knives were beautiful.
“You will be careful, won’t you, Kelly?”

“Yes, sir. Oh my goodness, they are really nice, aren’t they? Look, Uncle Matt,
they have my initials in them.” He’d thought that would be a good thing to do since
they were so expensive. “I love them, Uncle Cliff. You’re my uncle, right?”
He glanced at Matt, who nodded. “Yes, I guess I am since your aunt is married to
my brother. We’ll have some good times, kiddo. I’m going to be the fun uncle when we
hang out.” He would, too, since he had no plans of getting a mate until he was in his
nineties. Perhaps not even that soon. He was going to be forever known as the fun guy
to hang out with. “Why don’t we go out in the yard before dinner and find you a good
starting stick? I’ve been playing with carving since I was a kid, but I might need some

The three of them spent a few hours out on the deck playing with their toys. The
carving tools had been carved out of stone and bonded with an alloy that kept them
forever sharp. Dani played with her doll, making up stories to go along with the things
they were doing. She even went into the house and got her tea set that she’d gotten the
other day, and he shared a nice cup of green grass cuttings and water with her.
“I’m not allowed to have sugar in my tea cups. Uncle Donald said it’s messy and
unhealthy. He wants us to be healthy little buggers.” Cliff didn’t laugh, though he
wanted to badly. “I’m not sure I like being called a bugger, but whatever floats his boat,
as Grannie Lou says. Did you know I’m calling your daddy Grandpa too? He’s funny.”
“He is at that.”

When they were called into dinner, he was surprised to see that the kids were
going to eat in the kitchen. “I mean, I know it’s not my home or kids, but you don’t
allow them to eat with you?”
“It’s not that. Don’t get your underwear twisted up around your balls. As you
can tell, I’m betting right now that they perhaps didn’t want them subjected to the way
we talk when together.” He asked what they were having. “Us? We’re taste testing. The
kids are having pizza. Make their own pizzas, I guess.”

The talk around the table was loud, just as he was used to, and fun. Dad told
them about the day he’d had, and Cliff explained to them that he was never going to be
gone that long again. Joel called him a pussy, and all was right with the world.
When they entered the living room to talk, he pulled out the paperwork to give
to his brothers. They’d not look at it until tomorrow, as this was family time, and he
was all right with that. Cliff had a lot of unpacking to do, as well as the few things he’d
sent home before leaving.

It was well after midnight when he arrived home. The apartment he was renting
wasn’t all that large, nor was it very filled out. He had a bed, a table, and a chair. Then
he had two sofas he’d never sat in but had taken a few naps on. Smiling to himself as he
readied himself for bed, he thought he was asleep before his head hit the pillow.
The pounding at the door had him jumping out of bed and nearly shifting as he
woke. Going to the front of his place, he jerked the door open just in time to see a fire
truck and two ambulances parked outside. Glad now that he’d pulled on his pants, he
went into the early morning hour and watched what was going on.

A car had been set to flames. There were bundled-up people around it, but he
couldn’t make out who they were. Making his way to the car and the police, he was
stopped by no less than five people telling him they were glad he was back home.
“Cliff, do you think you could take the children into your home? I know it’s a lot
to ask, but I think it’s about to rain, and they’ve been through enough today without
getting soaked through too.” He said it would be fine. “Thank you. The mother isn’t
going to make it, I’m afraid. The oldest daughter, she pulled her out of the burning car
when their father, the fucking bastard, tossed a flaming cocktail at the car with his
children inside.”

After getting as much information as he could, Cliff took the four children to his
apartment. Shade was the oldest child at twenty-four—not really a child, he
supposed—but she’d been taken to the hospital with her mom. The others ranged from
the age of eighteen to ten. He got them bowls of cereal to eat, glad he’d ordered
groceries to be at his place when he arrived and set them on the couches to rest. Most of
them fell asleep before he was able to get blankets out for them.

Garfield Griffin Brothers Release Blitz & Giveaway

Garfield watched the unconscious pretty woman thrashing on the bed. He had already determined that the woman, Sable, wasn’t his mate, but he couldn’t take his eyes off her. When he grabbed her hand to keep her from hurting herself, his entire body seemed to be touched by an electrical wire. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t let go.

Just before Garfield passed out, he realized that not only was Sable his mate, but she was transferring an enormous amount of power to him….


Add it to your book list today

Edwin Griffin was looking forward to his retirement from the Army. But it seemed his superiors were having trouble letting go. As a wolf shifter and an immortal, Edwin’s senses were keen. He had no intention of “keeping in touch” or to continue working for them, for that matter. Something about them felt off, and Edwin had no intention of being a pawn in whatever scheme they were plotting.Storm was very protective of her sister, Rain. Their parents had somehow found them, and Rain was vulnerable to their influence. The sisters both possessed magical talents that were growing stronger daily. When Charlie Griffin offered to help, Storm jumped at the chance to protect her sister. Edwin was a bit surprised to find the feisty woman Storm to be his mate. She had a hard time with trust, but Edwin was determined to work on that, but he had his own issues to resolve. Although retired from the military as well, Storm would still take on an occasional assignment. But when the assignment from her superiors was to do something about her mate. Well, things just got a bit more personal….

Tony couldn’t believe what he was seeing on the security monitor. A woman and her kid were living in the alleyway next to his office, and they were in trouble. A man snuck up on her and snatched the kid. He had to do something….

Jana Cantrell wasn’t taking the news too well. She would have been dead and her son in the clutches of that maniac if it hadn’t been for her being Tony’s mate, and she was now immortal. She didn’t trust men. She had just escaped from the imprisonment of the maniac who had nearly killed her. No way in hell would she be enslaved by another….

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Charles, Charlie to most people who knew him, was so lost that he hadn’t any idea if he
was walking on the ground or the sky. He knew the difference, of course, but it was so
dark out tonight that if there had been a moon shining, he couldn’t see it. When he sat
himself down on a log to get his bearings again, he paused in his thinking to look at
what could have made the sound he’d heard.
Terrified out of his mind when he saw glowing eyes looking at him, Charlie sat
as still as he could. The eyes grew larger and incredibly more shiny as the beast made
his way to him. He didn’t run, knowing that even if he knew where he was at the
moment, the wolf would know it better. It would chase him down and kill him without
any hesitation.

The wolf, a big gray fella, just stood there within a few inches of his outstretched
legs. When he laid down, putting his heavy head onto his leg, Charlie had another
moment of fear. The thing never took his eyes off him either. As soon as he felt he was
brave enough to try and talk to the wolf, he was gone, and in his place was a man.
A fully clothed man with the gray of the wolf’s fur colored into his hair. Even his
eyes were the same as the wolf, Charlie thought. Still, neither of them moved until the
man sat back on his butt and regarded him.

“You live on the property not far from here. Is that correct?” Charlie told him he
was only squatting there until they found him. But he was a mite lost. “Yes, I’ve been
following you for some time. And in all that time, did you harm any other animal you
came across, and there were plenty too. Why is that?”

“You mean the rabbit and the family of deer?” The man nodded. “I don’t have a
need for meat just now. I only kill when I have to. When my belly feels like it can’t go
another minute without some meat in it. And even then, I use it up to the best I can.
What I can’t use, I find some other animal that will use the rest. Why do you ask?”
“I’ll get to that. You didn’t seem that surprised when I changed from wolf to
man. Can you tell me why that is?” He nodded and told him what he’d been seeing a
lot of lately. “Yes, war will make a man wish for better times. So you were surprised but
just wrote it off as being another strange thing that had no explanation. That’s a very
good reason, I think.”

“They say that the war is about over. I don’t know much about that. I can still
hear shooting when I’m out and about. I don’t have any land left because the soldiers
took it all when they was coming through. Not that it was much more than a bunch of
rocks and stumps, to begin with.” The man only nodded. “I’m Charles Griffin. Most call
me Charlie. A great deal more, but I ignore them. Not everybody was able to go to
school all the time. I had my family to feed when my daddy up and got sick. Momma
died a few weeks ago, and I’ve been roaming around since looking for work. I don’t
suppose you know anyone that might be wanting an extra hand around or two, do

“I do, as a matter of fact. My name is Romeo Hank. The Hank is for when I need
a last name. But I do have something that I’d like to propose to you if you’ve got the
time to listen.” Charlie told him he didn’t have anything but time right now. “All right.
“I have a medium-sized pack. You can see a few of them over there watching over us.
They’re all just wolves. I’m the only wolf shifter that I know. They’re a good bunch.
Hungry most of the time but then all of us are, correct?”

“Yes. Some more than others. At least I can find me a bit of string and fashion me
up a hook to use.” Romeo told him that was excellent. “You need me to fish some fish
out for you and your pack? I don’t mind at all doing that for you. In fact, I’d be
powerful happy to help you out.”

“Not just yet. But I think that I will take you up on it soon. I have a daughter. Her
name is Luna. Such a beautiful name, don’t you think?” Charlie asked if it meant moon.
“It does. Thank you. You’re very well educated for a man with no means of living.”
“My mom was a school teacher when I was born. They fired her, of course, when
she had me. She didn’t know my daddy, so that didn’t help her none. She taught me to
read and to figure. I can write too, but I do have to think about the spelling of things.
Can you write?” Romeo said that he’d been given a great gift in that. “I think so too.
When I find me a newspaper or some little old book, I treasure it for a bit. Then I pass it
on if I can. I don’t have to know the people in the paper. I just like reading about their
stories. Are you going to tell me what this is about?”

“I am. I was working up to it, but I believe you to be a man that can be trusted
with things in life. I would like to change you into a wolf. One such as I am. You’ll be a
man when you wish. A wolf when necessary. There will be magic as well as wealth.”
Charlie told him he didn’t have use for wealth, but food all the time would be nice.
“That is precisely what I’m speaking about, Charlie, my good man.”

Throughout the rest of the night and well into the morning, they spoke of things
that Romeo needed from him. It wasn’t brought up again about him being changed, but
Romeo did tell him that his daughter had found out that he, plain old Charlie was her
mate. The sole reason that he’d not been harmed while wandering around in the woods.
“Do you understand what it is I want you to do?” Charlie said that he thought
so. “No. I’m sorry. I can’t allow you to go into this, only thinking you understand.
Please, ask me anything that you’d like. You must be clear on this. I need for you to be
clear on how it is I wish for you to someday take over for me.”

Romeo never got upset with him when he asked his questions. If Charlie was
honest with himself, which he usually tried not to be, he was afraid that Romeo had
picked the wrong man. That he’d be better off finding himself someone else to take over
his empire.

“You’re the right man, Charlie. When I told you that I’d been following you
around, I wanted you to know that it wasn’t just last evening. But for some time now.
I’ve seen you share your last bit of food with people. Work for someone that cannot do
for themselves and not take anything but a bit of bread and water. You’re a very good
man. A better man that I am.” Charlie started to protest. “No. I’m correct in picking you
as my replacement. And if that is some of your worries, being an Alpha, you’ve no
worries there either. I will not leave this earth for the next until you are comfortable
with what is needed of you. Now. If you’ve no more questions, I shall leave you to
allow you to think on it. I’ll be back here tomorrow so that you can tell me your answer.
I know I have picked the right man, Charlie. It’s something that you can do easily to
save this pack and my daughter.”

Luna followed him as he walked around. He’d thought about calling back
Romeo and asking more questions, but he didn’t. Sitting down again, his leg bothering
him from sitting so long, he looked at the big, beautiful wolf.
“You’re not really his daughter, are you?” She shook her head. “I didn’t think so.
Is there any more of the others that he claims are his children?” She nodded this time,
and he determined by asking questions that it was one other female. “I don’t know
what to think about all this, to be honest with you. Are you my mate? Is he telling me
the truth? I just don’t know what to think.”

She nodded or shook her head after each of the questions he put to her. Yes, she
was his mate. Yes, Romeo was telling the truth. There were many more questions and
answers. He was headed back to the area where he’d first seen Romeo when he felt the
pain take his breath away as it slammed into his left shoulder.
Falling back, he hit his head and lay there while trying his best to catch his
breath. That was when he heard the other gunshots, the wolf howling and trying to
hide. Pulling Luna toward him, he whispered harshly into her ear, hoping that at least
she’d understand him enough to know that she must warn the others.
“Go. Tell Romeo to hide the pack. To make sure you and your sister are safe.”
She didn’t want to leave him, whimpering at him as she laid her head on his shoulder.
“Go. Please. Run and escape before they hurt you too.”

When she left him, Charlie closed his eyes. Opening them when he felt the
shadow darken over him, he looked up in time to see the barrel of a large rifle. He was a
goner. He knew that. He could only hope that Luna and the others were safe.

~~ Thousands of years later…. Boo watched the young woman he’d been watching over since she’d been nothing but a wee babe. He wasn’t told anything. Not the way of it, nor how long he’d been set to watch her. In all the twenty-six years since the day she’d been birthed, he’d kept her in his sight and safe from harm as best he could. But today wasn’t going to be a good day for her. Or him, for that matter. The woman was having a good life, he supposed. Good parents. A brother and a sister, both older than her, that weren’t aware of her, he thought. Sable had a good paying job, and she was wealthy. Not that a person would ever know that. Never flaunting her wealth nor what she did for a living, she lived like a pauper. Her parents, too, had a good deal of money, and they were very generous with it. Not that he knew any of them all that well. Just Lady James. Late last night, he’d been notified that he needed to go to his boss. Lady James had saved his life when she’d been younger than the miss was now, and she made him promise that, above all else, Sable would be safe.

That was all his instructions were regarding the babe, and that was all he’d ever found out over the decades. Lady James acknowledged him, but she didn’t speak when he entered the room. There were other people around, many of them relatives that Boo didn’t know but could smell the sameness about them. Not that it was any of his business who she had around, but he was curious all the same. He was glad now that he made sure that his lady Sable was sleeping when he’d left, as this looked like it was going to be a very long night. As soon as the others left her, Lady James invited him to have a seat on her hand. When she put him on the little pillow she’d made just for him, Boo settled down. Not touching the sweet treats that were laid before him until she did, Boo asked her about her health. When she took a chocolate cookie, one of his favorites too, he bit down on a portion of the one she’d been munching on. She ate and drank what she wanted and damn what people told her. Boo laughed when she ate a second cookie with a small glass of sherry.

They both knew she’d not die until she was ready. Not that she was immortal, but when she’d saved his life, then he had hers, she got a bit of his magic in her body and heart that made her live to be nearly three hundred now. Sable was the daughter that she’d had with this marriage. Sable and her brother Peter had been born twins, Sable the second child in the birth order. But almost as soon as she’d been cleaned up and dressed, she was whisked away and taken to the home she had grown up in. “You’ve been watching my daughter very well, Boo. I don’t know what I would have done had you not helped me along.” He told her that it was his pleasure to serve her. “Be that as it may, you have saved not just her life but mine as well. I wish to repay you for your help.” “I don’t need anything, my lady. The young miss doesn’t know that I’m about, so I forage into the things that she has around. Flowers are forever fresh in the house she now resides in. There is leftover tea that she leaves that I can have a drink from.” Lady James told him that Sable did indeed know he was about. “No. I’ve been very careful not to show myself around her. I haven’t bothered her in all these years.” “Nay, you have not. But she’s aware of you. I’ve been—Sable has my magic.

I thought as much when she was born to me. It’s the reason she was taken away so quickly and that my husband never knew of her nor the others. To keep her safe from people looking for her.” He said that no one bothered her. “They wouldn’t. She’s powerful, Boo. More so than I am. I don’t know how it was that she figured it out, but she has been using her magic, very little of it, since the day she turned two. I’m so very proud of her.” “I am as well. When she was off to higher education, I never once helped her with her exams. She didn’t need me to. Sable has won that lottery thing twice now and has invested well. I didn’t know what that meant until a few years ago. Nothing more than a toddler when she told her mother to use the numbers she picked out—she knew the correct numbers because of her magic, didn’t she?” Lady James—Shirley, as she’d begged him to call her all those years ago—said she knew her parents had needed the income. “So she told her what to play, and they won. Good girl.” “You didn’t notice her having magic? I suppose that was the way she wanted it. She is a good girl.

She didn’t tell her mother so much as she persuaded her to use the numbers.” He was very proud of Sable, but he was also ashamed that he’d not noticed it. He told Shirley once again that he was sorry. “There is no reason for you to be sorry, Boo. She never meant for you to notice, and you didn’t. However, you were there when she needed you most. When she’d been hurt. Once again, when she’d nearly been kidnapped. Yes, I know of those things and a great many more times that you kept her from being harmed. You did just what I asked you to do, and for that, I’m forever grateful to you. Now, let’s get to the reason I’ve called you here. I need for Sable to be brought here. It’s time.” “Time?” Shirley told him she must come home and inherit her estate. And that she must be moving on. “You can’t mean that you’re to die, my lady. Say that it is something else. I beg of you.” “She’s been found, Boo. They know she’s out there, and they’ve narrowed it down to just within miles of them finding her.” He asked who they were. “Men and women that would take her apart to see if they can find out what she is. They won’t, of course, but they’ll try it. For the sake of science, they’ll call it, but it will still be murder until she is here again, and I give her what I am. I’ve no idea what that would be, but I’m sure they’ll have some godawful name for it.

” “When would you like me to bring her here? Soon, I would think.” Shirley told him the sooner, the better. “I shall bring her here tonight.” “Good. I have several phone calls to make. I’ve been doing some research, and I do believe I’ve found the perfect people to care for her. Boo, you’ll stay with her, of course. She’ll still be in danger while she’s with these people.” He said he’d be honored. “You’ve been such a good friend and helper, Boo. I believe I was matched up with the perfect faerie when the lady of the earth sent you to me.” Boo made his way home and was surprised to find Sable awake. She looked directly at him and smiled. Boo went to the couch where she was sitting and asked her if she was all right. “I’m not sure what you mean by that. I’m not ill, if that’s it. I’m also not upset too much. You’ve been to see someone. Someone that is in need of me to go to them.” He told her it was her birth mother. “I don’t understand. I do know that the Parkers weren’t my parents when I was growing up. However, my birth mother, as far as I know, has had nothing to do with me.” “She has been keeping tabs on you since you were taken away after you came into this world.” Sable nodded but still looked confused. “Lady James is wanting to pass her magic on to you so that when people come to find you, you’ll be able to defend yourself.”

“My mother will die.” It wasn’t really a question, but he did nod at her. “So I’m going to meet my mother, and she’s going to give me something powerful, then die. What a great way to have a relationship with the one that gave you life. ‘Hello, Sable. It’s wonderful to meet you. By the way, here’s some magic and poof, I’m going to die.’ I’m not going.” “But you must.” She said she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to. It was then that Lady James appeared in the room. Neither of them said a word but looked at him. “I didn’t bring her here.” “I know that.” She looked at her mother. “What is it you wish, Lady James? I know someone that can help me keep safe while—” “They’re here. The women I wish for you to go to.” Sable stood up when two more people popped into the room. Boo bowed before the three of them, waiting for one of them to tell him that he could stand. “Boo, don’t be a nuisance. The men coming for my daughter are near. They—these women are more powerful than even I am. They said you’ve been found.” “So you’re pawning me off to someone else to raise? I don’t know if any of you realize this, but I’m a grown woman.” The first woman smiled and introduced herself and her sister to her.

“Is that supposed to mean something to me? That you’re Rain and Storm? It doesn’t, in the event, you’re going to ask me.” “Touch her now.” Just as her arm was pulled toward her mother, Sable felt something pound her in the chest. Whatever it was, it was making her bleed. Almost as soon as she thought she was going to die, the magic, or whatever power it was, took over her body. ~~

Garfield watched the woman lying on the bed. He’d been asked to come and talk
to her and see if she was his mate. She wasn’t. While that did sadden him a bit, he was
glad that she’d not been. She looked like a ball buster, and since he most assuredly
didn’t bust anything but numbers, he watched her body twitch and move with the
newfound power she’d been given. Boo entered the room via the window and sat on
the side of the bed.

“She’s not your mate, then,” Garfield told him she was not. “Sad that. She’d
make you a good mate, I think.”
“I think she’d be too much for me.” Boo said she’d be the perfect mate to anyone
she was mated to. “I don’t suppose you’ve been practicing this to say to me, have you? I
know she’d be a perfect fit in the family, but as for her being my mate, I think we’re all

Boo was telling him of the things that Sable could do. He wasn’t really paying
too much attention. The woman on the bed had taken all that. He couldn’t seem to take
his eyes off her. She was such a beautiful woman.
Sable. Such a pretty name, and it suited her with her long, sable-colored hair. Her
fingers were long and well-defined. Even her face looked like a carved goddess. She
was, in a word, gorgeous.

Reaching for her hand when it was twitching a great deal, he held it gently in his
own to stop her from hitting herself. She’d done it twice now, hit herself in the face
while moving around. As soon as he put her hand into his, his entire body seemed to be
touched by an electrical wire.

No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t release her hand. Even when she dug
her nails into his flesh, Garfield ached with whatever was happening to him. Whatever
was going on, two things hit him at once. She was indeed his mate, and she was
transferring power to him in great amounts. Then, everything went black.
Waking up, he realized he was in the bed with Sable. She was leaning on one
hand and staring down at him. Asking her if she was all right, she told him that she
supposed she was but hadn’t felt like this before, so she wasn’t entirely sure. Then she
asked him how he was.

“Like you, I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel like right now, so I’ll give you
that answer later.” Moving his head so he could look at her better, Garfield smiled at
her. She was even more beautiful with her eyes open. “I’ve held your hand before to
keep you safe. I don’t understand. I should have been able to sense that you were my
mate. Why did this time make me realize that you were my mate and that you’d do this
overpowering thing to me?”

“I had to hide from everyone while my body adjusted to the magic I have. I was
assuming I needed to hide from you as well.” Garfield told her that made sense. “My
mother died. The woman that gave birth to me. I don’t know that I saw her pass, but
she gave me this magic when she did. Why is there blood on my shirt?”
“You were shot from the window across the street from where you were staying.
But the magic kept you from dying and saved you. The people looking for you, I’m
assuming you don’t know who that would be any more than Boo did.” She said she
didn’t know, but she would find out. “Yes, I believe you will. My sisters-in-law, they’re
looking into it as well. They’re powerful as well.” Garfield’s eyes were fixated on her
mouth. His wolf wanting to claim his mate. “Will you kiss me?”

Sable’s face pinked up. “No. Not yet. We may be mates, but I don’t know you.”
He said he understood and he’d try to behave. “Back to what you said before about
your sisters-in-law. What makes them think they’ll have any more luck with finding
them than I did? I’ve known that someone has been looking for me for some time now,
and I’ve managed to stay off their radar. However, today threw me off guard.” Garfield
told her that her mother had been protecting her with Boo, but the men were closing in
on her location. That was why she’d needed to come to her parent’s home. “Yes, so she
could give me all that she had and die. I got that part,” she said sarcastically. “What I
don’t understand is why I was sent away in the first place.”

“That I do know the answer to. Two powerful beings cannot be in the same place
at the same time. You’re more powerful than your mother was, so when she came to see
you at the house you were at, the men knew where you were. Thus, it was imperative
that she give you what she was right away.” She nodded and looked at him. “You’re
very beautiful.”

“You should see my sister. Yes, I’m aware of them too. I have a brother and sister
that are out there that haven’t any idea I’m around. Or, I guess, care.” He told her that
her brother knew about her. “And? I’m assuming there is a reason that him knowing is
a part of this, whatever is happening to me.”

“I don’t know how he figured it out, but he has been bragging about you. Again,
I’m not sure why, but he thought it was funny in some way. These people who were
trying to find the magic you would get, they kidnapped your sister and knew it wasn’t
her magic. She was hurt, I guess, but I don’t have a lot of details.” He watched her as
she seemed to think on that for a moment. “May I ask you some questions?”
She wagged her finger at him. “I’m not ready to kiss you yet.

So if that’s not your
question, go ahead.” He laughed, and she glared at him. “I wasn’t joking around.”
“I know that. I just found it a little funny that you are not allowing me to kiss
you yet.” She frowned at him again. “What are you? Boo hasn’t any idea just so you
know. I’m assuming something powerful, but I don’t know what you are.”
“Unlucky?” She shrugged. “I don’t know either. I can do all this crazy shit that
keeps me in money. Not that I need all the money in the world, I guess, but my foster
parents had money problems from the moment I came to them. I guess before that even,
but I helped them out.” She explained about the lottery money. “After that, they
invested well, thanks to my being able to see what stocks and things were going to do
well, and I could persuade or make them invest.”

“I’m an investment broker. I, for the most part, do it for the family. Since we’ve
been around for a good long time, we’ve been able to put some money into accounts
that needed it when times were tough. Also, help out different charities when that was
needed.” Sable said she did the same thing. “I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not,
but you’re an immortal. A true one in which you cannot be killed. You can be hurt, but
you’ll never die from it.”

“I’m assuming I can heal quickly too.” He nodded. “All right. I’m ready to kiss
you now. But no funny business. I just need a kiss.”
“You need a hug too. I can feel your stress.” She said she was dealing with it. “I’ll
take you up on the kiss later if you would allow me to hold you. Your stress is making
my wolf a little nervous.”

“Too much going on right now for me to process. I can feel your wolf too. He is
antsy.” She laid her head on his chest and her hand on his belly. “I can feel him there. I
can hear him purring too. I had no idea that wolves purred.”
“He’s trying to lure you into sleep. You need it.” She yawned and said she did.
“Rest now, Sable, and we’ll talk more later. All right?”
Sable was asleep in a few minutes. Her body no longer twitched, but she did dig
her fingers into his belly a couple of times. Still, he held her. Holding her had the same
effect on him. Relaxing enough to sleep by her beating heart, Garfield joined her in

Warren Perry’s Nest Release Blitz & Giveaway

Robin had been born a vampire, but when she failed to develop fangs at twenty-five, her family deemed her worthless and left her at the mercy of the vampire council to do with what they pleased. Being a slave was all she’d ever known.

Warren Justice was a very old and lonely vampire. He had been alone for so long he had pulled his affairs together and contemplated ending his existence until Hamish summoned him. He had intended to visit his old friend one last time to say goodbye.

When Warren met Hamish’s mate, Lander, the shock and power exchange they both received gave him a new lookout on life. And when Lander summoned the bookkeeper of the vampire records, he realized the woman cowering in the corner was his mate.

The vampire council had a lot to answer for, and Robin knew all their dirty little


Add it to your book list today

Lander was good at her job. What she wasn’t good with was people, most people, in fact. Especially attornies who weren’t prepared when they cross-examined her as a witness. She didn’t care. She had work to do. Leaving the courthouse was the last thing she remembered when she woke up in the hospital.

Happy to have finally found his mate after all these centuries, Hamish, an ancient vampire, had been following her scent all morning. The scent led him to the courthouse, where he decided to wait until she came out. But shots rang out when Lander stepped out of the building. Hamish would have to move fast, or he would find and lose his mate at the same time.


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Warren wandered around the rooms he’d been given while staying with Hamish
and Lander. It was a great room. Not at all feminine like he’d expected when Hamish
told him Lander had decorated it for him especially. The bathroom was done up well,
with lots of warm colors like the bedroom had. The windows in here, like the bedroom,
were covered in room-darkening curtains that made it so he could rest during the day if
he wished.
He hadn’t packed much. A laptop, some books he’d been reading, as well as
some paperwork he’d not gotten finished while he’d been at home. Smiling to himself
as he left the rooms, Warren wondered what his buddy would think about him owning
a blood bank. Not for himself—no, feeding for himself had never been a problem—but
for hospitals and other medical facilities that had a need for rare or even not-so-rare

Lander, he assumed it was her, was coming up the stairs as he was going toward
them. When she got to the top of them, she put out her hand in greeting. Taking it,
something with the touch of their hands blew them both backward and to the floor. His
last thought before he hit his head and passed out was that Hamish was going to kill
him if he hurt his mate.
When he woke, he was lying on his bed. Sitting up quickly, not sure what was
going on, he was told to lie back down by Hamish. He did as he’d been told because he
wasn’t sure how much longer he’d have been able to stay in that position. Hamish
asked him if he was all right.

“Never mind that. Is your mate all right?” He just grinned. “I’m assuming since
I’m still alive that I didn’t hurt her enough for you to want to kill me.”
“She had a nasty bump on her head, but it, like yours, has healed. Lander is
resting right now. Not because of the power exchange, but because she is newly turned
and needs to rest during the day.” Warren decided he was feeling well enough to sit up
now and cautiously did so. Feeling better, he moved to the chair beside Hamish.
“Lander told me that all she did was touch your hand in greeting, and the two of you
were blasted by something. I don’t know what you got, but she has a great deal more
power on some things than I do. Can you feel any differences?”
“Not yet. My mind is still processing the fact that a new vampire blasted me
across the hall.” They both laughed. “I honestly don’t know what happened. Did she
give anything to me? Am I the one that blasted us apart? Right now, I’m just grateful
she wasn’t hurt.”
“As am I. However, you’ll be happy to know she told me that if I touched you
with harm in my mind, she’d break off my fangs and stab me with them. Lander’s used
that one before. Every time she threatens me with it, I get more afraid. She’s a pistol, as
Grandda says.” Again they both laughed. Warren got up to stretch. Then before he
could put his arms down from the most wonderful stretch he’d had, he paused. “You
figured something out?”

“Yes. Lander isn’t sleeping right now but coming down the hall toward us. Your
grandda is on a construction site on the other side of town, giving the men working a
break by telling them stories. He knew they needed to step back a moment. Something
about the homeowner changing their mind several times a day about the house. A
woman, I’m sure is your sister, is on her computer, looking at her financial records.
She’s about broke, so you might want to talk to her about it. Colleen is being extorted
by someone in Virginia about her being a vampire. Their last name is Pfizer. She’s
paying them hush money, she calls it, so you’ll not find out.” Warren turned to his best
friend. “I’ve never been able to do that before. Especially with your sister, whom I’ve
never met. Lander is coming into the room now.”
The door opened, and there was Lander. She was staring at him like she was
trying to gauge him on some level. Warren asked her what she’d gotten from him,
knowing that was why she was here. He also realized at that moment that he couldn’t
read her mind. That scared him more than anything else.

“When I touch something, something as mundane as a hairbrush, I can tell not
only where it’s been, who the owner is, but what the person died from. I’ve never used
the brush set that was laid out, but I know now that it belonged to Hamish’s
grandmother, and she was killed by a human who had not meant to kill her. They’d
been friends.” Lander shivered when she put her hand on the chair he’d been sitting in.
“I want to toss this chair out as soon as possible. It has been used for obscene things that
I don’t care to discuss.”
Hamish touched his finger to the chair, and it disappeared.
Just like that, he did his mate’s bidding. And better yet, he believed her when she
said it had to go. Sitting on the edge of the bed, his chair now gone, Warren stood up
quickly because he didn’t want to think about what had happened on the mattress.
“You’re the only one other than the delivery people who have touched it. If it
makes you feel any better, it was sealed up when it arrived, and Hamish used his magic
to put it here in this room.” He told her it did. “I can find people. What I mean is I can
sense where they are and what they’re doing. I can also tell that you can do the same.
Have you touched anything in here?”

“I sat in the chair that is now gone.” She asked him to touch something in the
room. Then she suggested the framed art on the wall. Warren did so without hesitation.
“No. I don’t feel anything other than I can see that it’s been cleaned recently. Could that
be it?”
Warren touched several more things in the room without any kind of feelings
from it. When he asked if they could leave the room, the three of them did so without
saying a word. Entering the living room, he wanted to just think for a minute. Let his
mind wrap around what he was feeling at the moment.
“I came here to say my goodbyes to you, Hamish. I had it in my head that I was
too old and lonely to live out my days as a hermit. Then I get blasted across the hall by a
pretty woman, and I feel revived. Like? Well, like I’ve been given a purpose again. I
don’t know what that is, but I do feel that way.” Hamish told him he was happy for
them all then. “Yes, so am I. This thing, finding people, I’ve only just realized that while
I know what they’re doing and where they are, I can’t read their emotions with it. It’s
like I’ve been given some information, and what I do with it is up to me. Does that
make sense?”

“Yes. When I find bodies or cars, whatever I’m looking at, I can feel the last few
minutes of their lives. Like the man, I found just a few days ago. I knew he thought he
was pulling into a parking lot to enjoy his ice cream before it melted. When he hit the
water, he had no fear because he didn’t equate where he was with dying. I knew that he
enjoyed his few bites of ice cream before he hit the water, but I only know that because
I could see it in his mind. Not the emotions he’d have while enjoying it.”
Warren changed the subject about what had happened and told the couple what
else he’d been doing. Closing down some of his businesses was one of the things he’d
thought he’d regret now that he had a better outlook on life. But he didn’t, he told them.
“I can start fresh. Try new things. Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve
wanted to do anything more than just go from day to day.”

Lander asked him if he suffered from depression.
“I believe that for all single vampires, as well as any creature
that has lived as long as Hamish and I, depression is a constant battle. With me losing
my mate, too, that didn’t help. She was, much like you are to Hamish, my world. I miss
her less and less, but my heart still grieves for what I have lost.”
“I’m so sorry about that. But I am happy you’re here with us now and that you
will be for a long time. You will, correct?” He said he would, but he couldn’t live with
them. “And why the hell not? It’s not like we don’t have plenty of room here.”
“I think he’s telling us he needs his own space, love. Not that he doesn’t want to
hang out with us. As a single vampire, he’ll need space.” She didn’t seem to understand
but let it go. Hamish winked at him. “I actually have a home you might like. It’s not far
from here. And you’ll just take it because you told me about my sister.”
“What’s happening with Colleen?” Hamish told her, and Warren filled in the
details as he got them. “What are we going to do about it then? I’m sure you’ve been
thinking up a plan.”

“I have. But I’m going to talk to Colleen first. Details will be important in this
kind of situation, as this person might have more details than he’s telling my sister. Or,
he might not have anything at all and has targeted her for some reason.” Lander said he
had to die. “Yes, well, how about we table that one for now and wait on details?”
“Yes, all right. But we’re going to help her, right? I love her as much as you do,
and I don’t want her stressed.” Warren loved the little spit-fire woman. When she
turned to him with a smile, he felt his beast hiding in the shadows as if he were afraid of
her. “You, my dear friend, are going to help me out with a few projects I have going on
in my head. But first and foremost, I need answers to a great many questions. I’ve been
reading the book that Hamish’s grandma had, but there are things in there that I can do
that aren’t mentioned for a newbie. Do you guys really call newly made vampires a

“Honey, no offense, but I think an entire book could be written about you and
being newly changed. And if being called a newbie is something that bothers you? Then
I shall promise on my deceased wife’s heart that I’ll never call anyone that again.”
The rest of the afternoon into the evening was spent talking about anything and
everything. When Lander got a phone call, she left the room to go answer it. He’d never
bothered with a cell phone before as if anyone had wanted to contact him, and they’d
not met before that, he wasn’t in the mood to talk to them. But now—well, he wasn’t so
sure about a lot of things anymore.
The one thought that kept going around and around in his head was just how
strong Hamish was that he could turn a human into one of their kind, and she have
such amazing powers? Was he a leader? If not, he surely would make a good one. No
one would mess with him once they met his mate. Christ, she was amazing.

Warren liked the old building that he thought would make a good shop for him.
Long ago, he’d been a jewelry maker. The level of concentration kept his mind occupied
and not thinking about things that were better not thought of at all. He pulled out his
cell phone, a new addition to his life, and called the number on the “for rent” sign
hanging in the window. He burst out laughing when he contacted Hamish.
“Do you own everything around here?” Hamish told him about the building he
was looking at. “What have you done for improvements then? To me, it looks like it
could have been built yesterday but still has its old-time charm.”
“I had the stained glassed windows throughout the house repaired. There are
also transom windows of stained glass on both floors. The furnace is new, and so is the
roof. It had been slate, but I sold it all off in trade for the tin roof it has now. I guess the
installer’s wife is into crafty things.” Hamish asked him if he wanted it. “I’ll give it to

you just to get it off my back. I’ve owned it for some time, and since things have been
bad around here for a while, no one has the funds to rent it.”
“I can’t just take it from you,” Hamish asked him why not. “I’m not sure. I just
don’t want you to give me a house because you’re tired of paying taxes on it. That’s it,
isn’t it?”

“Some of it. However, it’s a nice place inside and out. There is ample parking in
the back for whatever you want to do with it. What do you want to do with it?” He told
him what he’d been thinking about doing. “In the basement, which is super nice with
walls and cable hookups, there are two tables that I can only assume were built in the
place. Then someone concreted them to the floor. Sturdy as fuck. And the tops of both
of them are steel and have electrical outlets all around them.”
“How do I get in?” He told him he was in town and would meet him there in a
few minutes. “Is Lander with you? I was worried about her all night last night.”
“She is with me and feeling better today. We’ve been scouting out buildings she
can use for her dad’s legacy.” The car pulled into the back lot, and Warren went around
to meet them. Lander did look better today. “We’ve found three buildings we are
thinking of using. The one we’ll more than likely use is the one just outside of town.
That way, the city won’t have too much to bitch about when we’re having things

“I’ve been looking for blankets and things for a kit for people in transit, with
things like deodorants and shaving kits. Soap too.” Warren told Lander if she needed
help packing them up, he’d gladly help. “Thank you. I might take you up on that. Also,
I’m looking for a doctor and a psychiatrist. If you know of anyone that would be on
board with this project, let me know. I know you were a doctor at some time in your
life, Hamish told me, but I’m not hinting that you should do it. I don’t want anyone
helping unless they’re doing it because they want to and not because they think they
have to. Does that make sense?”

“Yes. And I know of a psychiatrist that might be willing to come here. He’s not a
vampire but a bear shifter. His name is Calhoun Meyer. There is also a human that
might work out for you by the name of Brad Kirk. Nice man. He’s an ancient that has
been around for more than five hundred years. Someone gifted him immortality for
saving a life. If he has more magic than that, I don’t know what it might be.” Lander
kissed him on the cheek. “Not that I don’t mind, but what was that for?”
“For not telling me you’d do it when I know you want this building for
something else altogether. Good for you. I love you, Warren.” He was embarrassed.
Rather than digging himself in deeper with his embarrassment, he told her what his
plans were. “Now, let’s go see about getting this home in your name so you can make
beautiful jewelry that will be on every beautiful woman in the world.”
When she walked off and opened the door to the building, Warren looked at
Hamish. He didn’t look pissy because his mate had kissed him. More like he was
resigned to the fact that she was going to do it no matter what he asked her not to do.
Warren wondered if he’d asked her not to touch other males. He decided he really
didn’t want to know.

“You’ll take the building if for no other reason than I need you to. Not for the
taxes, but because you’ve made Lander so happy about this. Helping you.” Warren told
him he’d make the first piece of jewelry for her. “You do that, and she’ll be sobbing
about how lovely it is and who gave it to her.”
They both laughed and entered the large building. The first thing he saw was the
stained glass window at the side of the building in what appeared to be a parlor. The
fireplace in there was marble, something he had in his home in Spain. He was already
in love with the place.
The tour of the house was fun. Lander told him what he should use the extra
rooms for on the main floor. It looked to him like someone had added another wing on
the house that was one floor. It appeared to have been used as a large walk-in pantry.
He told her he was going to use it as a darkroom so he could rest safely during the
hottest part of the day.

“Brilliant. I have rooms like that now too. Only we used darkening curtains. It’s
amazing to me how much light they cut out and still look pretty in a room.”
She and Hamish went to the kitchen to let him go to the basement. He knew he’d
rarely use the kitchen area, but he was going to have it updated. Appearances were
everything when you didn’t trust humans all that much.
The tables that Hamish had told him about were perfect in every way for what
he’d use them for. One of them was waist level so he could sit while using it. The other
was about four feet from the floor and the perfect height for him to stand up and work
on. He was also happy to see that the plugs on the table were ones that could take
machinery plugged into them and not have a problem.
He unearthed a kiln at the corner of the building outdoors. At some point in his
life, he’d been a potter as well. This kiln, used for raku firings, was going to come in
handy for other projects he had in mind.

Warren found boxes of clay that weren’t dried out, as well as an entire shelf of
glazes in the basement. His creative juices were flowing now, and he wanted to rush the
couple off so he could have some fun.
Just as he was headed up the open stairs, he saw something under them. Going
back there, being careful of what it might be, he found a safe.
Calling down Hamish and Lander, he showed them what he’d found, then asked
Hamish if he’d noticed it before. After telling him, no, but it looked as if it had been
there for some time, they moved all the debris off and around it. They all agreed it
hadn’t just been put in. When Lander put her hand on the six by at least ten safe, she
smiled at him.

“The combination is twelve right, twenty-five left, and sixteen right.” Shaking his
head, he opened the safe on the first try. Inside of it was not just the combination but a
list of things that had been put in it and taken out with the dates. “It looks like the dates
on some of those things are a couple hundred years old. I wonder why he did that.”
“Could be that he was keeping track of things so he’d not think something was
missing. If he took it out and wrote it down, then when he came back to it, he’d know it
wasn’t supposed to be in there. Same with the things he put in here.” Warren pulled out
the first leather sack and laid it on the floor. “If you’d be so kind as to open this for me
because you made it so easy for me to get into.”

Lander dumped the bag onto the shorter table. He was glad he’d sat down in one
of the chairs that had been around the table, or he might well have fallen. Touching his
finger to the large diamond, he couldn’t believe what a find this was. Hamish pulled the
other nine bags out and dumped them on the table in separate piles.
There were yellow diamonds, blue ones, as well as sapphires, opals, and rubies.
Two bags of emeralds that were unpolished like the rest of them were. The last bag held
an assortment of stones. Tiger’s eye, some little pebbles that had been polished to a high
sheen that showed the colors off brilliantly.

“I can’t take this. The house belongs to you, Hamish. Surely you know this is
worth millions.” Lander picked up the tiger’s eye stone and held it tightly in her hand
while Hamish said it was Warren’s. “No. I won’t accept this. It’s entirely too much. You
have to take these bags of gems, or we don’t have a deal on any of it.”
“The man that put these in here had a lovely little shop in the parlor of this
house. He would work nightly on things and go to work in the morning to go to estate
sales, household sales, and such. Most of the time, these items were in jewelry boxes
that had a great deal of junk gems mixed in with it. His name was Clarence Brown. I
think you’ve heard of him?” Warren and Hamish both nodded. “He made a living
going to different places, and since he never spent anything more than a few dollars for
things, he was never thought of as a man who had millions of dollars’ worth of gems in
his workshop.”

“He died some time ago. I remember reading about it in the newspaper, saying
how he’d died a pauper. Little did anyone know he was a millionaire several times
over.” Lander told him that was right. “So none of this is stolen? He paid for it all?”
“Oh yes. There were times he thought of it as stolen goods for as little as he paid
for it. However, he used the cash he’d made from his jewelry, which was the reason
they thought him broke, to put food on the table of a great many people without them
ever knowing who it was that helped them. Mr. Brown had no children—his wife died
when they were newly married. He had no one to carry on his work, and I find that the
saddest story I’ve ever heard. So if you don’t take these gems and stones and carry on
the things that this man did, then I’m going to have to hurt you. You know I can,
Warren. This man gave his all to help others. You need to do the same with the things
he left for you to find.”

“Lander, I love you. So much.” She told Warren she dearly loved him too. “All
right. I’ll do it. But you have to pick out a stone so I can make you something beautiful
for your help.” She handed him the tiger’s eye, telling him what she wanted. “It would
be a lovely necklace, but it wouldn’t be worthy of you, I’m afraid.”
“That was the first stone he found. The first one he polished. Not by machine but
with his hands and tools. I want you to make me a necklace fitting of the man who took
the time to do that. Please?”

He nodded. Warren didn’t think he’d ever get used to someone like Lander. She
was the most special person he’d ever known in all his life.
As they were bagging the items up and putting them back into the bags, each one
he touched, he could almost see how it would look as a piece of jewelry. Excitement
raced over his skin, and he was wanting to get started. However, he needed to get some
equipment out of storage and also gather up things like wires and such to make things
work for him.

After doing a good search of the basement, they headed to the shed out back.
There was where he found all the equipment that had been used by Mr. Brown. Most of
it wasn’t viable anymore, and it was covered with rust. But he did find a great deal of
wire that he’d need, as well as all the polishing rags the man had worn down to nearly

“I’m going to enjoy this,” Hamish told him he could tell. “I don’t know what I’ll
do with the rest of the house, but I’m thinking it might make a good shop for high-end
things. It might not sell well around here, but I’ll make sure I have a good online
presence too. I’m sure I have enough junk at my home that I could easily bring here
with the help of you guys. Also, before I forget again to tell you.” Warren laughed when
he thought about what he’d done. “I purchased the candy bars the kids are selling twice
yesterday and donated them back to them. I bet you guys are helping them too.”
Lander told him how they were going to fly them out there and put them up in a
hotel for an extra couple of days. Every kid should experience New York at least once at
Christmas time. Hamish said he was going too but as a shopper. He was taking Lander
for her first visit.

“I might join you if you’d not mind,” Lander told him that would be wonderful.
“Maybe by then, I’ll have my head out of my ass and working again. I didn’t realize
how much I needed this.”
As they were leaving the house, a car pulled into the driveway. As soon as the
woman got out of the car, he knew that this was Colleen, Hamish’s sister. She looked
like him enough to know they were related, but she didn’t look manly. She was

“Hello. You must be Warren. I’ve heard about you all my life.” He put out his
hand to shake hers. “My goodness, you’re handsome, aren’t you?”
Then they touched

Dover Xavier’s Hatchlings Release Blitz and Giveaway

Toby Deaver had been searching for George Manning for quite some time. The teapot had spoken to her and made it quite clear that she needed to find George. Loading up her family, her grannie, and her son, Shawn, into the car, they headed to the small town in Ohio.

George had already discovered the gem beneath the clay, but he and Imp weren’t quite sure what Toby’s involvement might be and were taken aback when Toby announced that she knew they weren’t human. Imp sensed that the boy, Shawn, wasn’t human either.

Although welcomed by the family, Toby felt she had worn out their welcome and wanted to return home to find a much-needed job. But when Shawn sensed a cloaked assassin, Toby reached out to the Mannings for help. Dover, a Manning she had yet to meet, responded to her plea for help. And when an older woman at the market wrapped her arms around Dover’s neck for an affectionate hug, Toby had never felt such a violent, jealous rage consume her.


Add It to your booklist today !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Finn Manning had so much on his plate, he wasn’t sure which end was up. He’d been there six months, and the pile of work on his desk hadn’t diminished by one sheet of paper. None of the construction projects the family had lent the money for had even been started. The foreman was a bully, and Finn had had enough.

Rachel Merkel had literally felt the earth move from beneath her feet. The plates she had been stacking at the restaurant crashed around her when she hit the floor. Her sister-in-law Sandra, instead of being concerned, threatened to fire her. Rachel was wondering how that worked, considering she owned the majority share in the restaurant, but instead of arguing with her, she clocked out and went home.

After a heated argument with her brother, Chad, about Sandra, Rachel quit to keep the peace. Then, Rachel felt the earth move again. This time she was sick with it.

Finn had felt it too through an unseen connection and came to Rachel’s rescue. He didn’t know the woman, but he had an overwhelming need to help her. As soon as he caught her scent, he knew what she was to him.

Rachel, not entirely human herself, could sense Finn was a dragon, and she felt the connection when he did. What she wasn’t sure about was what all came with it—the Mannings—all the parents, brothers, aunts, and uncles—it was overwhelming….

Pembroke Black had always had a lot on her plate. As a child, she could not tolerate her father, and Pem had moved in with her grandparents when her mother died. When she was old enough to move out, she joined the Army and served the front lines as a doctor. Stitching people up was what she did best. Coping with her own emotions was another story—Pem found little joy in this world.

When Pem’s grandda passed away, Theo Manning was there to help Pem’s grandma any way he could. That included keeping grandma safe. He had no idea until he met Pem that she was his mate. Theo wanted to protect her, too, from what was to come. Pem only had to touch his hand to receive the magic coming to her, but neither had any idea how much magic would flow between them.

Pem had always had her emotions take her under at times, but this was nothing like that. She was happy. She felt better than she had in years. Pem only hoped that Theo would not rush her. There was just too much going on for her to deal with a pushy man.

Jamie Darkhouse had inherited the large historical house when her parents had died. She had always hated living there and joined the Army to get away from the house and her parents. But when her parents died, she had things to take care of. So returning home seemed her best option. With the others gone, the house had lost the oppressive feeling, and she was now happy being home.
Jamie and Pem were good friends, and the Mannings were more than ready to accept Jamie into the family even if she hadn’t been Milo’s mate.
Milo Manning wasn’t a dragon shifter like four of his brothers. Yet, he wasn’t entirely human either. Immortal and magical, he still fit right in with the rest of his shifter brothers and large extended family. The Mannings were a large and well-respected family.
It only took moments for Milo to confirm they were mates, and Milo moved into the old house with her. Each discovering the new magic that came to them daily. What came to them as a shock, though, had Milo’s mother, Cindi, rolling with laughter. Neither Milo nor Jamie found seeing and talking to the dead the least bit funny.

Imp had been alone in this world for so long she had forgotten what she was. It only took a little nudge from Winnie for her memory to come flooding back. She was a powerful earth fae and one of only three of her kind. She missed her siblings terribly, but it was too dangerous for the world for them to be in the same place. Imp was tired of being alone.

As soon as Hudson Manning realized who Imp was, the rest of the Mannings knew as well. Imp had created the first dragons. Cooper, the king of dragons, wanted to do something, anything, to repay her. Imp, however, didn’t want to hear any more about it and was getting pissy when he wouldn’t let the subject drop.

George knew almost immediately that Imp was his mate, but convincing the stubborn woman would take a little work. When the two come together, their combined magic will be more powerful than any of them could ever imagine…


Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning
Packaged one T-shirt and cup cooler
PACKAGED TWOhat and mouse pad
PACKAGED THREE BBQapron and tote bag
PACKAGED FOUR cup and a tote bag
PACKAGED FIVE signed paperback

Enter to win our Christmas drawing winner will be announced
Nov 30th, 2022

Congratulations to the winners !!!!!!!
Lindsay Kusek Signed Paperback
Sarah Black T-Shirt & Cup Cooler
Jessica Foufor Signed Paperback
Ann Walters BBQ Apron & Totebag

Packages will be mailed out on
Monday, Nov28th, 2022

Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Elizabeth Bardorf Mystery Prize
Barbara White Signed Paperback
Shannon Vidak Mystery Prize
Rhonda Hicks Signed Paperback
Donna Chizewsky Signed Coloring Book
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Joyce Mirabello Signed Paperback
Debbie Whitley Signed Paperback
Brenda Lukas-Jones Signed Paperback
Elizabeth Bardorf Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Coloring Book
Julie A Swaney T-Shirt and Tote
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Tea Totaler
Joyce Estelle T-Shirt and Tote
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Joyce Mirabello Signed Tote Bag
Pauline Westberry T-Shirt and Tote
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Robin Dennison Signed Paperback
Christina Flynn Tea Totaler
Kristin Peterson Signed Paperback
Teri Bellview Signed Paperback
Renee Johnson T-Shirt & Tote
Shirley Coursey T-Shirt & Tote
Heather Angalet Signed Paperback
Shannon Vidak T-Shirt & Tote
Peggy Serour Tea Totaler
Lovie Ball Tea Totaler
Nicole Morgan Tea Totaler
Robin Dennison Signed Paperback
Terri Bellville Signed Paperback
Tena Talhelm Tea Totaler
 Lovie Ball T-Shirt & Cup Cooler
Becky Lewis T-Shirt & Cup Cooler
Liz Winslow Signed Paperback
Julia Bystedt Mousepad and Hat
Teri Bellville BBQ Apron&totebag
Ann Polite Signed Paperback
Kristin Peterson Signed Paperback
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Brenda Lukas Signed Paperback
Suzie Jones Signed Paperback
Suzanne Roberts T-Shirt & Cup Cooler
Trista Wagner Signed Paperback
Lindsay Kusek Signed Paperback
Sarah Black T-Shirt & Cup Cooler
Jessica Foufor Signed Paperback
Ann Walters BBQ Apron & Totebag

If you have not gotten your prize
please contact my PA Denise at

Happy Reading,


Long ago, at a time when all creatures roamed the earth as only their true self. Working with and helping humans in whatever way they could. Where magic was celebrated. And dragons darkened the skies every day. It was then man figured out there was magic in the dragons and hunted them to almost extinction. “I’m afraid there is no hope for us.” No one made a sound as their leader continued. “Once the humans found out about us and what we can do for them dead, we have been doomed. I’m so terribly sorry.” Coop looked around the room. There were so few of them now he could easily count them. When he had been younger, thousands of years ago, there would not be enough room for all of them to share this room.

Now they were down to having a quarter of them share the space because so many, his own wife included, had been murdered so needlessly. Coop was saddened by it all. Turning to leave the large cave, he was stopped by his brother, Xavier. “The boys, they are well?” He nodded and smiled. Coop felt it all the way to his heart. A place had been dead for so long, it seemed. “You have the spell? You are going to use it on them? I should so wish I had thought of this before my own family was taken from me, Coop. You are a brave man and a good father.” “Thank you. And I shall use it tonight. It is the only way to save them.

” Xavier nodded his own heart heavy with the losses they had suffered. “You know I would have shared should I have had it sooner. I am so sorry, brother. All of my heart, it’s sorry for you.” “I know that. I do. But they are all gone now. My other half, my children. Killed for things are not fair to our kind.” Coop knew all too well. “Aria was a good woman, Coop. A good woman and mother to your sons. She will be missed forever.” “Aye, in my heart and of my sons.” Xavier stood there for several seconds, and Coop told him he must go. “They’re waiting for word on what is to happen with us all.” “One more thing, if you please. It will not take but a second. I have left them all I have. It is where you keep them hidden away, the boys. Deep within the cave, it’s all there.” Coop asked him what he meant.

“I cannot go on, brother. I cannot. There is too much grief in my heart for me to live. I have left my things for them there. They might survive this; with the magic, you have to give to them. And if so, they’ll need more than you have to help them.” “Xavier, please, you mustn’t do this. They’ll miss you as much as I.” Xavier nodded and said it had begun. “You can come and stay with us. You’ll live with us in the caves.” “Nay. I cannot. I must go. Just tell them I love them. With all of my heart.” There would be no stopping him once his heart was made up, Coop knew this, but it made his heart no less full for it. “Goodbye, my brother. Take care you are not caught by the humans.”

Coop made his way back to his hidden cave and sat before the fire. The boys, he knew, were resting, their bodies getting stronger daily with their age. Soon they would be as big as him, a dragon of worth and size. When his eldest son came to him, his eyes full of fear, Coop knew it was well past time he did what he had been practicing. The magic would keep them safe. Gathering his sons, six of them of varying shades of blues and greens, he asked them to have a seat. He had a story to tell them. It was not a story, not truly, but a tale that would hopefully keep them safe. “A witch told me once of great magic only few can do. It takes a loving heart and a strong dragon to make it work.

I have asked her, and she has told me how to make it so. In this magic, it will keep you all safe from the humans.” They nodded, each of them knowing it was a human blade that took the life of their dear mother. “I will perform this upon you, each of you, at the same time and give you some magic you will use when you need it. This magic, strong and powerful magic, will let you roam with the humans, and they’ll not know your true self is just below your flesh.” “You mean we’ll be humans as well?” He nodded, then shook his head at Cooper, his oldest. “I don’t understand, father. Will you explain?” “Yes. The magic I will give you will let you change into your true self when you are alone.

But when you are out in the world, you will need to be a human. A man.” Cooper looked at his brothers and then back at him as he continued. “With this magic, I will also give you a gift. Something you will need to keep yourself safe should they find out. A stronger armor than any other dragon before you as well as the same immortality you have now, as man or dragon.” Hudson stared at him for long moments. He was the thinker, and if he could think of a reason for this not to work, he would voice it loudly. He was much like his mother in that. She would be the first to say when she did or did not like something. And the first to say the plan was perfect. He only hoped she would have approved of this. “I think you are very smart, father. To try and keep us safe. But I can only think this will not work for you. Or is your plan?” The boy was much too smart, Coop thought. “If you change us, who will change you?”

“There will be no one to change me, son. I will… It is my wish to join your mother in this earth.” He watched them, seeing if they understood the love he had lost when she had been murdered. “Giving you this magic, it will be something I can tell her I’ve done for her sons. You know as well as I that she loved you more than anything on this earth, including herself.” “She died saving us.” Coop nodded at Lincoln. “I’m not happy you’re going to die, father, but I understand wanting to be with mother. I miss her more every day.” “As do I.” He looked at his sons, all of them growing into dragons of worth. “I must have an agreement from you all. Even if one of you does not want this, then it will not work. I would say you should think on this hard. For once, I have given this to you, there will be no going back.”

“I wish to have it.” He knew Cooper would be the first. Not that he did not love his father, but Cooper would see things in a way most would not. To not have this done would mean a certain death for them all. Dragons were too valuable dead not to be hunted for all time. “I will do whatever it takes to make sure you are proud of me as well.” “I am already, Cooper. Forever.” The others nodded too. They were ready for this as much as he was dreading it. Because once he started the process of changing his sons into men, then he would begin to die. It would take all he was to change them. Standing up, spreading his wings out behind him, Coop told them about the things their uncle had left them. They knew where the family jewels were, the things their mother had left them as well. Once they were standing, their bodies strong and healthy, he felt his heart swell and break for what he was about to do.

“I, Cooper Manning, of the Manning Dragons of the earth, give to my sons, Cooper, Hudson, Lincoln, Lucas, Tristan, and Xavier, all I am. Each of you will take a part of the earth with you when you are converted. The part of you that is unique in all ways will be strengthened and enhanced. You will be immortal, forever, and those you take to your heart will be as well.” His sons bowed before him when he told them to. He said the words over them that would change them into men. Coop could feel his body shutting down, his heart beating a little less. But he had one more thing he wished to bless them with and held himself upright to give it from his own dying heart. “One day, true love will come to you. And you will have more than you have ever known. It will fill you in ways you cannot ever imagine. Love will be yours for all times. For only then will you become a true dragon, a Manning Dragon.”

~*~ Cooper sat with his brothers while their father lay dying. His heart was weak from what he had done, and it was tearing him apart. Father was weak, yes, but he continued to tell them tales of their mother, of their adventures when they were only small dragons. They were going to be alone soon; their father was so close to joining their mother that it hurt Cooper in ways he had not expected. “What shall we do with his body?” Cooper looked at Tristan and asked him what he meant. “He will not be able to lie here. If the humans were to find him, they will surely cut him up into pieces. I do not want that for him. We were never able to bury mother in the proper way after what they did to her.” “We could burn his body.”

Cooper wondered how it would work when Hudson continued. “His scales will be worthless to them should they come upon his body. The magic he held within him also will be useless to them. He will be nothing more than a carcass. They’ll leave alone.” Burn his body. It was something to think about. But he did not want to, not while he was still breathing, his body still alive. When he laid his head upon his father’s chest, hearing his heart beating slower and slower, Cooper wondered what his father would think if he knew the magic he had given them had not worked. They were all still as dragons.

“He gave his life to keep us safe. But it did not work.” No one said anything to him as they each watched their father. “Dragons such as we are, we’ll be hunted and killed by the humans. There is nothing we can do but wait for them.” “We will survive if we stay here.” Cooper told Xavier they would have to leave here eventually. “To feed and to fly, yes. But perhaps we could do it only at night. To keep to the skies and not let them see us.” “They know we are about and will have spies out looking for our lairs. We will have to kill any man should he come for us, and still, we will not be safe. We are, after all, dragons who have a great deal of magic.” Cooper stopped breathing. Cooper did not hear his father’s heart and knew it was at an end. He was quiet for a bit longer, waiting, hoping for just one more beat.

One more sound would mean he was still alive. But there was nothing. Their father was dead. Sitting up, he told them he had passed this world into the next. None of them had ever seen a dragon die before. Their mother had been dead when they found her. Each dragon they had come upon when they were out had been dead long before they found them. Their bodies were stripped of every part, so they resembled less of a dragon than just a pile of bones. Their scales were used for roofs for their homes and for shields. The very meat of them was roasted and stored away so it could be used for medicines and potions. Hearts were cut up and dried, then ground into a powder to use for other things the humans would use to keep them from sickness, as well as magic to have a grand garden and trees heavy with fruit.

The only part that would be left was the bones, and sometimes even those were carried off and used for something. Cooper hated all humans. “We will do as suggested by Hudson. It is the only assured way we can—” Before he could finish, he felt the stirring of the earth. It shook so hard it knocked each of them off their feet. As they lay there, terrified someone was coming for them, their father appeared before them. His body was still aground. But instead of dark in death, he was brilliant in light. Faeries, thousands upon thousands of faeries, seemed to be covering him. Before Cooper could tell them to stop, to leave him alone, father spoke. “I love you, my sons.” Each of them nodded. Fear was almost something he could touch. “I will now and forever join my true love, your mother. I must warn you when you find your other half, and you will, you will have to be careful of the slayers.

They will know what you have found by the magic you both will share. My sons, you will leave this place and take your place among men. Becoming someone I will be proud of.” “Father, the magic didn’t work. We’re still a dragon.” Cooper felt shameful to say a thing to his father. To tell him his sacrifice had not worked. “We will be hunted and killed.” “Nay, you only need to think of being your other half. Becoming a man is simple. The same when you wish to be your true self.” Cooper was not sure what he meant, but his father continued before he could ask. “Go, now before men come here. The magic to

hide me will draw them here. Be safe, my sons, and know I love you more than I do any other creature on this place.” Cooper stood then. The faerie was still working, taking the body of his father apart. But as he watched, he could see they were not doing anything but preserving his body. Faerie ropes were all around him, and strings of magic were wrapped around him like a cocoon. It made him invisible to all. As Cooper stood there, his brothers beside him, he knew, like him, they mourned the loss of yet another parent. “You are the eldest?” He nodded to the faerie when she asked. “We have a gift for you. For all of you, but you will receive the most. Your father was a great man, your mother a queen among her people. We wish to bestow upon you all your father had.” “My brothers, they will need it as well. I should like to share.” She smiled at him and bowed. “What have you done with his body?”

“He is being prepared to be moved. We will make a grand garden upon him. Flowers will be there for all to see, but only few will know a dragon is there with his other half, his love.” He nodded. It was as it should be. “You will take this gift? You will share, but as I said, you will get more than the others.” “I don’t care. Please, just do what you must so we can hide.” She nodded again and touched her fingers, small, tiny ones, to his forehead. Then she did the same to the others before coming back to him. “It is done? You have shared it with us?” “I have, Lord Cooper. But you must leave here now. There are humans coming. The magic we used to do this thing has given them cause to come here.” He nodded and looked at the ground where their father had been. “He is safe. Just as your mother is now. Go before they find you here and murder you as well.” He thanked her for her help and left. The exit from this part of the cave was hidden so well that only they knew about it.

As they made their way into the night, he thought of the human inside of him, and the pain of it took his breath away. In seconds, he was down on his knees. Whatever was happening, he was surely going to die. “You’re a man.” He looked up at his brothers as they began to transfer to one themselves. “We’ll be safe now, all of us. We’ll be humans for them until we can find a place where we can be ourselves.” “I don’t think that’s ever going to happen again.” Hudson nodded and held his head tightly as he did so. “We will need to train ourselves in their ways.

Become what they are. But never monsters.” “No, never.” They made their way to a building; any would do for now. Hudson, like him, was staggering a little, but they were getting stronger as they moved. He turned to look at him as they were settling into the empty shell of a house. “We will need to buy things, houses, and such.” “Yes. But tomorrow. I am too tired to think beyond how much we have lost.” Hudson and the others agreed. “When the humans are gone from our cave, we’ll go and find what father was telling us about earlier, about the wealth will keep us safe.” “I only hope there is a great deal of it. I don’t know how to work nor drive.” Cooper told Xavier, the youngest brother, they would soon learn. “I hope so. I hope so.”

He did as well. It was going to be hard enough for them to learn to eat and dress like them, much less get around. Cooper hoped this worked. For he was as afraid as he had ever been in his life. ~*~ After a time, thousands of years, each of the dragons turned into men and forged their way into a world that was so different than the one they had been born into. It seemed a different planet. But survive, they did. Having their mates come to them, children born to all of them, gave them hope. A small and fragile thing after such hardships they were born to. Cooper became, as his father had been before him, the king of dragons. His mate, Carson, is their queen. It had been and still is a time for celebration.

To this day, they commemorate often and hard at each new birth of the dragons turned men and women. The others, his brothers, prospered too. Finding their other half, making their magic stronger for having their love. They worked hard to keep everyone safe and well-fed. Humans or other dragons. No one, not anyone in need, would have ever been turned away from their help. The Manning Dragons, true to their father and mother, became the most powerful dragons ever born. Of the six sons, Xavier’s sons, four hatchlings, and two humans moved far away to be the next generation of Manning dragons who would open their hearts and doors for all creatures. Even the sons of their hearts, the two human-born men carried a powerful magic. They used it with their brothers to help as many people as possible, humans and dragons alike, to live in the ever-changing world. To help them not only succeed but to perhaps help someone else when they needed it. These boys, now men, have stories to tell.

Martin Hamilton Berkley’s Bastards Release Blitz and giveaway

Gracie Jefferies had just about enough of men in general. Starting with her lazy and demanding general manager and ending with Caleb Anderson taking over and treating her like she can’t fend for herself. She was a grown assed woman, for Christ’s sake. As far as she was concerned, that man was off his rocker.

Martin Hamilton was staying with his half-brother, Caleb. Everything going on in the house all the time was just too much chaos. Martin liked it, calm and quiet, so he decided to get out of the house for a bit to calm his thoughts.

The woman charging his way was anything but calm, but for some reason, Martin loved her spark and fire. This was one woman he wanted to get to know better….


Add it to your book list today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Caleb Anderson just lost his mother to cancer. He had never known his father, Howard Berkley, now deceased as well. Her final wishes were for Caleb to deliver a letter of her passing to her estranged parents, grandparents that he’d never met and to find the other five boys sired by Berkley. Caleb would do anything he could to honor her wishes.Tabby Tillman had had enough of the Andersons. She was tired of running the company and their lazy son Shep taking all the credit and bonuses. Just pay her for her overtime and vacation, and she was out of there.
Caleb was impressed with Tabby. The woman didn’t curb her opinions, and he liked that about her. Moving to be closer to her was something he didn’t think twice about. A change of scenery would be just what he needed.

Yasmine Dennis was doing her best to make it on her own. She’d been blind since she was seven and had done rather well for herself despite her disability. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time resulted in a hospital stay, and a childhood friend, Caleb Anderson, came to her rescue.

Joey Phillips was just trying to help the beautiful woman avoid a fall when he met her. Despite her surly disposition, he was intrigued. She might think she was handicapped, but all Joey saw was a beautiful woman that he desperately needed to get

1.      Caleb Anderson

2.      Joey Phillips

Please make sure you put all the  Info in  for a chance at winning
Packaged one T-shirt and cup cooler
PACKAGED TWOhat and mouse pad
PACKAGED THREE BBQapron and tote bag
PACKAGED FOUR cup and a tote bag
PACKAGED FIVE signed paperback

Enter to win our Christmas drawing winner will be announced
Nov 30th, 2022

Congratulations to the winners !!!!!!!
Suzie Jones Signed Paperback
Suzanne Roberts T-Shirt & Cup Cooler
Trista Wagner Signed Paperback

Packages will be mailed out on
Monday, Nov 7th, 2022

Pauline Westberry Mystery Prize
Wendy Bricker Signed Paperback
Elizabeth Bardorf Mystery Prize
Barbara White Signed Paperback
Shannon Vidak Mystery Prize
Rhonda Hicks Signed Paperback
Donna Chizewsky Signed Coloring Book
Trista Wagner Mystery Prize
Ann Ivey Signed Paperback
Joyce Mirabello Signed Paperback
Debbie Whitley Signed Paperback
Brenda Lukas-Jones Signed Paperback
Elizabeth Bardorf Signed Paperback
Jessica Spink Signed Coloring Book
Julie A Swaney T-Shirt and Tote
Linda Brashears Signed Paperback
Tracy Kolberg Tea Totaler
Joyce Estelle T-Shirt and Tote
Maria Dalmau Signed Paperback
Joyce Mirabello Signed Tote Bag
Pauline Westberry T-Shirt and Tote
Courtney Kinder Signed Paperback
Robin Dennison Signed Paperback
Christina Flynn Tea Totaler
Kristin Peterson Signed Paperback
Teri Bellview Signed Paperback
Renee Johnson T-Shirt & Tote
Shirley Coursey T-Shirt & Tote
Heather Angalet Signed Paperback
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Happy Reading,


Martin put his hands under his legs. Trying to maintain a distance wasn’t going to work, he realized when the kids came and stood in front of him. He’d been just about ready to go out on the deck—a little at a time, his therapist told him—but they started coming in. The little girl, he didn’t know their names, just then got up on the couch with him and leaned close and laid her head on his shoulder. Martin was ready to leap up and run when she spoke to the other children. “You remember that kid that was jumpy all the time?” They nodded, though he doubted the youngest had any idea what she was talking about. “You remember that they had to take him away one night? On account’a him screaming all night?” “Yeah, he wasn’t right in the head.” The little girl told the speaker to hush and to behave. “I didn’t mean it in a bad way, Carol, but he was messed up in the head on account’a the drugs that his mom and dad gave him. Did someone give this man drugs?” “No, they didn’t. I’m not good around people.” The little boy told him they were kids, not people. “Why would you think that makes any difference? I mean, you’re still a person, right?” “I guess so. But we won’t ever hurt you none.” Martin said he wasn’t worried about them hurting him rather than the other way around. “You won’t hurt us either, Mr. Hamilton.

You’re hurting in a place that needs to be fixed. Am I right?” “Something like that. I was working one day and had a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t take it any longer and decided to end my life.” He’d not even told Caleb that when he’d asked him about his health. When the little girl pulled his hand out from under his leg, Martin let them see the scars there. She ran her little finger over the fresh scar, and Martin could feel some kind of kid magic coming from her. “I let my job nearly kill me. I should have paid attention to my mind and body, but I thought I was above all that. I thought it would just go away. But all it did was make me sicker and sicker.” The kids sat on the floor except for the little girl. Martin didn’t know why he was able to talk to these children. He’d already told them more than he had anyone before. By degrees, he felt his body begin to relax, his mind clear of the need to take flight.

“My mom did that. Cut up herself in the bathtub one day while I was at school.” Martin told the little boy he was sorry for his loss. “My name is Shawn. I was seeing a doctor after my mom died, and I found her lying there. Until my dad thought I was too much of a burden for him. He got himself a new wife, too, who didn’t want me around. But my mom, she was good to me. Made me a nice cake for my birthday. My doctor told my dad I was way more depressed than he was and that I needed to keep seeing someone about it. These kids here, they helped me.” “My mom is gone too. Cancer.” The kids all told him they were sorry. “Thank you for that. I’m wondering if that had a little to do with my breakdown.”

“Yeah, everything does.” The little girl next to him told him her name was Maddy. “Mine and Mikey’s mom sold us off to the home we was at. Yasmine and Joey are going to adopt us all if there isn’t anyone looking for the others. But Yasmine is my aunt on account’a her being our mom’s sister. She’s dead too, our mom, though I don’t know nothing about her.” He’d known that too, of course, but hearing the accounting of it was…Martin didn’t know, but he thought it was charming in a way. Less harsh than thinking about what he’d been told about Jasmine Dennis. It wasn’t long before they had him adjusting his seating, so he had two kids on either side of him. George was in his lap snoozing, and the other four were talking around him. Martin thought this was the best he’d felt in a good long time. Just them talking around him and not screaming and yelling at people. He looked up when he heard someone whisper his name. It was Yasmine. Apparently, at some point, the kids had wandered off, and he’d been snoozing himself. “Are you all right?” He told her he’d only just been thinking. “I’ve been feeling the same sort of special magic they can give off. Even George has his own type of magic.”

He watched her move to the other couch. She sat in the middle, directly across from him. Laughing just a little, she smiled and asked him if she’d done something stupid again. “I doubt anyone would think anything you did was stupid, Yasmine. You’re much too beautiful for that. I was just admiring how you get around in the house. And when you sat across from me, I thought for sure that I’d been fibbed to about your blindness.” She thanked him for not calling her a cripple or handicapped. “I’m assuming from what I heard about your sister, that’s who called you that.” “Yes, it was her. A lot of other people too, but my sister knew better. I only told her several times a day.” She didn’t elaborate, so he didn’t pry. “You seem really relaxed right now. So I don’t want to tense you up by asking the wrong questions.

I’m assuming you believe that you’re related to my husband and Caleb now. What are your plans if you have thought them through?” “I’ve not. Not really. I have a home back in Tennessee. There are a great many memories there. While here, believe it or not, I’ve realized that they weren’t all good ones either. My mom was a great person, but she was bitter too. Not just for having to raise me without help, but about everything. She was unhappy a great deal of the time. But I loved her.” Yasmine told him that, of course, he did. “Not that she made it easy for me. Mom showed me how to live on my own. How to deal with overdue collection calls and mail. Just trash them until it was going to be shut off or taken away. Food from the kitchen was hit or miss. Mostly the missing part. But she did love me too. And told me that every day.” “I plan to do that with the others too. Tell them how much I love them. How proud I am about something they’ve done. I’ve never been a mom before and have very little to go by as a role model. I’m going to wing it, as I’ve heard Ed say on occasion.” He laughed, another thing he’d missed doing since he’d been stressed. “What is it you want to do with your life now that you’re here?

The world is open for you. I’ve only just discovered, now that there is no pressure on me to work, I enjoy my job a good deal more.” “I used to be a stockbroker. I never really liked it, not even at the beginning. It paid well, and I was good at it. If push came to shove, I’d rather live on the streets than to have to go back to something like that.” He thought about her question and what she’d said about her own job. “I’d like something like that. Something I could do and just be able to enjoy. One of the things I used to do was grow plants. Just little things like tomatoes and lettuce. It supplemented our food at home, and I could spend hours out in the sunshine. I even got to where I was growing little things in the house.” “I have plants in my office. When I’m needing something to bring me out of my thoughts, I just need to reach over and touch them. Joey got me a couple of herbs, too, that I can smell. It’s lovely. Why don’t you do that for a living?” He asked her what she meant. “I’m fairly certain there is a need for a greenhouse around here. I know there used to be one. If I were to ask, I’m betting Caleb might even own the building.” “I don’t know that I’m ready to embark on something like that.” She stood up, and he did as well. “I didn’t mean to offend you if I did.” “You didn’t. I just need to see to dinner.” She started for the doorway, again looking like a person with sight, and turned back to him at the last moment. “Four days ago, I didn’t know I had a niece and a nephew. Four days ago, I didn’t have any children to speak of. Four days ago, I made a decision that would change the course of my life and those of the five kids that I now have. I had no experience with children. I knew nothing of how to make sure they were fed well. Being blind didn’t even come into the picture until we were all here. Was it a great deal? Hell yeah. Was I overwhelmed? Yes, right up until one of them took my hand into theirs. Would I do it again? Without hesitation. You should think more along the lines of how things will affect you in the long run rather than thinking about how they’re going to make you feel right at this moment. Dinner will be in about ten minutes, Martin.” After she left him, Martin thought about what she had said and burst out laughing. She had just scolded him in a way that he was sure she didn’t realize. Standing up, he decided he was going to find the children and hang out with the rest of the family. And as of the moment, Yasmine left him, he thought he was a part of a wonderful family. ~*~ “I’m not sure what you want from me, Mr. Billows, but I’m not even in the state right now. I asked for and got approved to have this weekend off. I have to settle my brother’s estate.” Mr. Billows told her she had one hour before she was to report to work. “Not possible. As I have said to you numerous times now, I’m not going to be able to come in. For a great many reasons, but not being in the state should be enough to tell you I’m not going to make it.” “Gracie, I’m sick of dealing with your shit all the time. You had better be in here at the beginning of this shift, or you should start looking for another job. Employees like

you are a dime a dozen.” She let out a long breath. He couldn’t just replace her, and she knew it. “What do you have to say to that?” “What do you think?” He told her she was a smart girl for doing what he demanded. “No, you got it wrong. I’m not going to be coming in tonight or any other night. I’ll be contacting the owner tomorrow as well. If you’re really that short-staffed, Mr. Billows, you should wait tables yourself. I’m finished.” It felt good to hang up on the man in mid-sentence. Before she could allow her doubts to settle in with her, she called the owner. Since she knew he’d be home today, it didn’t bother her to call him at home. He had given her the number. “Mr. Anderson, my name is Gracie Jefferies. I work at your restaurant called Devonshire. Mr. Billows just made it, so I’ve had to quit the restaurant, and I wanted to give you my side before he painted me as a bad person. I might need a reference from you or something. I doubt he’ll do anything but slander my name four ways from Sunday.” Mr. Anderson laughed, and she had to smile. He laughed like he didn’t care one bit. “Yes, well, on my side, it’s not all that funny. I explained to him that I had to settle my brother’s estate for the bloodsucking attorneys. I haven’t any idea why it has to be settled right this minute. As far as I can see, he didn’t have a pot to piss in, much less the fancy name they’re calling the estate. And I had asked for and was approved for the next four days off. I should be getting paid for it, as I’ve never had a day off in over sixteen months. I had to work the day we buried my brother.

” Gracie realized she was babbling and told the man what had happened. “Gracie, did he ever allow you to train him on the closing procedures of the place? Or, for that matter, how to make out a schedule? Work that he should have been doing and wasn’t?” “I couldn’t even try and show him how to rotate stock in the big fridge. He said whatever came out of the storage place would be used before its date, and I was to just leave it alone.” He asked her if she’d done that. “No. Of course not. I know better than that. But I did ask for the time off, sir. I have the approval slip he signed the day I turned it in.” “I have no doubt that you have. And please accept my condolences on your brother’s passing. I didn’t know.”

She said he’d been sick for a long time. “Still, it is tragic. Let me know what attorney’s office you’re working with, and I’ll find out what all the rush is about. That way, you can focus on what you’re there to do. Where are you, anyway?” “Ohio. A little town that no one has heard much about called Trinway.” He laughed again. Gracie was beginning to think the man was off his rocker or something. Finding everything funny wasn’t sane. “Anyway, you don’t have to do that. I’ll go there and take care of whatever they need, then clean out his house. I have to put it on the market as well right away, as he had built up medical bills more than the fund he was drawing on could cover. I have no idea why I’m telling you this.” “It sounds to me like you needed to vent, and I was the perfect person to do it to. But I know Trinway, Gracie. It’s not far from Dresden, where I’m currently living. With my wife and brothers. I can get things taken care of for you right now.” Again, she told him he didn’t have to do that.

“I don’t. But I think you’ve done me a large favor by quitting your job today and finding out what Mr. Billows can do without you there running things for him. He’s going to be in deep shit when the doors open, I think. Can you stay at your brother’s place? Or do you need accommodations? I can do that for you if you wish.” “No, I can stay at my—what the hell is wrong with you?” He laughed again, and she felt her temper fall over her mouth. “You’ve done nothing but be nice to me since you went to the restaurant where I worked. Now you’re being nice about my brother dying, getting me an attorney, and finding me digs to stay in. No one in their right mind is that nice.” “My wife would agree with you. But my mom taught me to help those that needed a hand up. She made it her life’s work to do that. As for helping you in particular, you’ve been very nice to me in calling me and telling me the restaurant might be closed down tonight.

Because as much as I’d like for the man to fail, he’ll take my place with him. But only for tonight.” She asked him if he could afford that. “I can. Even if I couldn’t, it’s a better way of him getting terminated than me calling him and doing it on— Ah. There he is now. Calling, no doubt, to tell me what a horrid person you are and that I should be grateful he’s fired you.” “He didn’t fire me. I’m sure it would have come to that, but Mr. Billows gave me an ultimatum that I couldn’t work with. So I quit.” He asked her to hold on if she could. Telling him she could, Gracie watched the people playing in their yards while she waited. Charlie had been ill since he was a child. He had fallen out of a tree at the daycare center where the two of them had been taken while their parents worked. Charlie had been about four, not that she ever believed he’d been climbing a tree in the first place, but he had hit his head. Hard enough, her parents had been told that it cracked his skull. Since they’d had no insurance that would cover something like that kind of major surgery for a clumsy kid—they’d not even offered it to them—they’d not been able to afford for him to have whatever would be necessary for him to live. To this day, she believed that one of the adults working at the daycare center had hurt him. The government not only provided her family with a food card, but they had paid for daycare so they’d not be a total burden on society.

The insurance was all right—it covered a lot—but not nearly what they needed at that time. Charlie could live alone only with someone coming in once a day to check on him. He could function well enough to work at a menial job, so long as it was repetitive and wasn’t something that had to be done in a timeframe. He could do it; Charlie would work at a job all day and night, but once he was off the task for more than a few minutes, he’d have to be trained all over. When Mr. Anderson came back on the phone, he asked her if he could message her something to her phone. Telling him that was fine, she wasn’t sure what he’d have to say to her in a message that he couldn’t say while they were speaking. Then he explained.

“That’s the name of the attorney that is going to meet you at Bickerton and Bickerton in the morning. Arthur is a good attorney and a good friend. He said you were to dress casually, not dressed up. I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s what he told me to tell you. Also, would you mind letting him make a copy of your permission slip from Billows? He’s claiming you are fabricating all of this.” She said she wasn’t a liar. “I know that. All right. He’s going to pick you up in the morning. I’ve already given him the address where you’re staying.” “And just how did you come by that information?” His laughter again made her want to smack him. “Look, Mr. Anderson, I no longer work for you, so why the hell are you doing this? For a sense of enjoyment on my part? I won’t think it’s funny if I have to find my own way to the office in the morning and find out that being late or some shit is forfeiting whatever little bit my brother had to them. I think they’re crooks, but I don’t know a great deal about bloodsuckers.” “I have the best bloodsuckers in the world working for me. If I didn’t, I’d not be as wealthy as I am.” She told him to fuck off. “Thank you for that. It’s refreshing to hear someone that isn’t the least bit impressed by me or my money.

I’ll see you in the morning, Gracie. Good luck tomorrow.” After ringing off with him, she sat there long enough to look Mr. Anderson up. Whistling about what the news articles said about his money, she put her phone away. Not that she felt any better about him helping her, but she knew now that he could well afford it. Starting her rental up, she made her way to her brother’s home. When their parents had died, there had been a little money put away. They’d also been able to afford to purchase them a little house that just happened to be in a place that was developing into a nice neighborhood. She’d been able to sell it for about ten times more than her parents had paid for it and buy the house that Charlie was living in.

Having it outfitted for his needs took all the rest of the money. Going into the house, it occurred to her that this would be the last time she was here before selling it off. That her brother, her hero, wasn’t going to come around the corner and tell her to wipe her feet. Wiping at her tears, she turned her phone off when Mr. Billows’s name came up. There wasn’t much in the place that she’d have to deal with. Clothing, of course. His books too. Charlie loved to read when he needed to unwind. She did as well. The furniture had to be taken care of. Mostly she thought she’d give it away or donate it. Gracie thought someone could use it. Getting her things out of the car, she pulled out the large trash bags she’d had at home and started in his bedroom. It took her nearly two hours to bag up items that still smelled like Charlie. At about six, someone knocked on the door. While she wasn’t sure if the neighbors knew her brother all that well, she went to check to see who was there. Opening the door, knowing that small towns weren’t as safe as everyone assumed they were, she left the chain on the door.

“Ms. Jefferies, my name is Arthur Fowler. Mr. Anderson, Caleb, sent me here to bring you some dinner, and I’d like to go over any information you might be able to help me with concerning your brother’s health and his estate.” She opened the door wider and asked to see his identification. “Yes, of course. I should have thought of that.” After checking it out, she allowed him in the house. Before she could close the door behind him, he waved for the people she’d not seen to come into the house as well. They were delivery people. The smells coming from the many bags they had made her realize she had not just skipped breakfast but lunch too. The food was spread out before them. As Arthur set his laptop to the side, he asked her about Charlie. Stuffing her face while answering him, she realized the man was a good attorney. He seemed to know his shit. After telling him about the accident, as well as the names of the people that had worked there, she got up to find the file she’d left here with her brother in the event she could ever get him an attorney.

“This will be very helpful. I have it here, too, that your parents had filed for a wrongful act, naming the daycare as negligent. Do you know if anything became of that?” She told him that they were turned away from every attorney they asked for help. “This isn’t the way I do things, Ms. Jefferies. I get to the bottom of things regardless of what someone might want me to do.” “My parents did try.” He told her he wasn’t saying they hadn’t but that the attorney should have done it regardless of if there was money or not. “Yeah, there isn’t any of that either. I know Mr. Anderson said he’d pay you, but I’d like it if you were to send me the bill. I don’t have a job right now, but I can work anywhere and do a good job.” “I’m sure you give every task all you can when assigned.” Even after all the food was eaten and leftovers put away, they talked. It was nearly nine at night when Arthur stood up to leave. “You’ve given me more than I think I could have found in files for this. I’ll be by in the morning to pick you up. I’m staying at Caleb’s tonight, so I’ll be close if you think of something.”

“I don’t know what else it would be. I think we’ve covered about anything and everything.” She smiled when he laughed. “I’ll see you in the morning.” After he left her, she found her old bedroom that she used when she came to stay with Charlie. There was very little in the room. An empty dresser. A closet with hangers that looked like a row of flowers. They were so colorful. Finding one of Charlie’s large shirts, she pulled it over her head and laid down on the bed. Tomorrow was either going to break her or let her start over. She wasn’t sure she’d get either, but it was a hope. Gracie thought of her family. Her parents had tried so hard to make their lives better. They were making some headway into having money put away for a few things, like a vacation, when Charlie had been hurt. They’d not been able to take any vacations, of course, but they had always made time for their children.

In the summer months, they’d have picnics at the local parks. Go fishing at the dam. A great many free things that seemed like the world to them. A large basket of treats, Mom’s jams, a ham sandwich or two, and a bottle of water was their meal when out like that. Mom made quilts for their beds. Dad could repair anything and everything. That was where most of the extra money had come from was Dad knowing how to fix something. Everyone in the neighborhood knew to take it to Dad to be repaired, while Mom knew how to take something in and let it out when it came to clothing. What they didn’t have in material things, they certainly had more than enough love to go around. Twice that she could remember, they’d taken in a child or two. Just until their parents could find a job. Mom babysat, too, and helped with tutoring. Everyone that came in contact with them respected them and liked them.

They were the best. Now she was the only one left, and it made her sad to think that when she died, that would be the end of the Jefferies that she was related to. Turning over on the bed, she looked out the window that was at eye level. Even for as late as it was, children were playing outside. She rarely saw a kid where she’d been working without a phone attached to their ear or looking down at it. The kids were catching firebugs. They weren’t keeping them but catching and then releasing them. Gracie had done the same thing when she’d been little. Remembering to set her alarm so she’d get up in the morning, she turned her phone back on. Always surprised that it would come on, she set it for seven. Not bothering with the messages she had on it, she watched the children more. They were much more entertaining than anything that Billows had to say to her. Charlie had been gone for a month now. The woman who came in to check on him had called her one morning, sobbing about how he’d fallen asleep and not woken. Even as she tried to calm the woman down, Gracie felt her heart shatter.

It was the hardest call she’d ever taken. In that month, she’d been working herself to death to be able to afford a ticket to come here to do this last thing for him. Affording the ticket to come here for his funeral had nearly bankrupted her. But she’d made do with eating her free meal at work and taking any leftovers home that the cook had saved for her. Then Billows found out about the free meals. The next afternoon there was a sign put up that there would be no more freebies for anyone. She’d been the only one that qualified for the meal, as she was the only full-time waitress there. Not because she was scheduled to be full-time, but covering both Billows’ and the day manager’s schedules when they decided to just not show up was the only perk she got. He’d also taken her overtime away from her. Gracie had almost stopped doing the job of three people when she realized that if the place shut down, which she was sure would happen, there would be a lot of people out of work. There were seven waitstaff as well as kitchen help, cooks, and the busboys that depended on the place having their doors open. She couldn’t have done that to anyone.

Every week she’d get paid for thirty hours, what she’d been scheduled for, and all the other seventy-plus hours would be free. Not that she didn’t keep track of the hours she wasn’t being paid for. She wrote every shift down, and even the extra time she had to do at home by making schedules, ordering food for the place, having carpets replaced when needed, and repairs done, as well as a lot of other jobs the manager should have been taking care of. Gracie had been working there for ten years. She knew the place better than the people who had built it, she’d bet. Gracie was upset about the things she’d been doing and how she’d been treated. Pulling her mom’s quilt up to her nose, she inhaled deeply of the scent that was still there. Sunshine. It calmed her more than anything else. It was nearing midnight when she felt she might be able to close her eyes for a few hours. She really hadn’t slept well since she’d gotten the call about Charlie being gone. Crying herself to sleep, she let the tears fall while she willed herself to sleep.

Marley Morgan’s Leap Release Blitz&Giveaway

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

Sin had come into town to rescue her little brother, Cody, from her deadbeat mom. She was ever so grateful to Morgan for helping them out. When a man she’d never met, Marley, entered the room, Sin had the insane need to let him hold her.

When Sin and her little brother, Cody, came into his life, it was at a time when Sin was at her lowest. Marley promised that he’d move mountains to make sure that no harm came to either of them again.


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

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

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

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

Venetia had been thrown from a vehicle and left for dead at the edge of the Golden’s property. When found by the Goldens, she couldn’t remember what had happened to her.

It didn’t take long for Leslie to realize who Venita was to him. Everything was happening so fast to him and all his brothers. Now, a car crash at the edge of their property left them with three kids to raise. Then it hit him all at once. He had a mate, and he was a father… What else would be in store for his new family?

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

Zippy and her sister, Venita, were born witches. Veni, Leslie’s mate, was the grand witch, but Zippy was no slouch when it came to magic. Zippy and their parents came to Morgan’s Leap because they had discovered that Veni was alive, not dead as they’d been led to believe, and they wanted her back in their lives. Although Zippy was thankful to have her sister back in her life, discovering she had a mate was both a shock and a blessing.

Bailey was surprised but not at all unhappy when Zippy appeared in his life. Everything around him was changing so fast. And when Zippy didn’t hesitate to take in the three abandoned infants from the hospital, his heart couldn’t have been fuller….



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Nov 30th, 2022

Congratulations to the winners !!!!!!!
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Morgan made herself into a tight ball as she hid herself in the tall grasses in the field. She knew that the men chasing her would find her soon enough. But for now, she was going to make them work for it. Closing her eyes, trying her best to calm her breathing, she did the only thing she knew to do to not think about what was going on around her. Morgan counted to fifty in all the languages that she knew. She had awakened out here. All she remembered was having dinner in the kitchen with the staff and then waking out in the middle of the moonless night. She’d not remembered going to bed.

Not putting on her nightgown she had on now. Nor did she remember waking when brought out here in the cool night. Soon after waking, she heard the voices of the men, six she thought she’d counted, saying that the first one that found her could have her. At fourteen, Morgan knew exactly what that meant. They were going to rape her. Then more than likely, kill her. Her parents would be looking for her. She would admit, only to herself, that they’d not be too upset about her being gone. Morgan had a habit of getting up in the middle of the night. To see to one creature or another.

So it might be days before anyone— The hot breath of air on her forehead had her whimper just a little. Lifting her head without opening her eyes, she felt it once again. It was hot but not sour smelling. Opening her eyes, she looked right into the golden eyes of a leopard. Their noses touched. That was how close she was to her. The lick to her face scared her. While she’d seen the wild animals around the compound where she lived, she’d never been this close to one so dangerous. The farmers would kill them when they would take down a cow or something that they raised, but no one could have prepared her for the beauty of them this close.

The big cat put her paw on her head and pushed it back down so that it rested on the dirt. When she started to lift it again, the cat pushed her down again. Understanding that she was to stay where she was, Morgan closed her eyes. If she was going to be eaten, she was glad that the cat was sparing her from knowing when it was coming. The sound, soft as a coin dropping onto the dusty ground, was all she heard before the large cat screamed. There was gunfire too.

Something frighteningly close stirred up some of the dirt she was hiding by. The screaming of men was next. It wasn’t long before it was all cut off, and she knew on some level that the cat had killed the men. The paw to her head again had her lifting it up to see if she was next. The cat had been hurt. Blood was pouring from her shoulder at an alarming rate. Sitting up, unmindful of whether it was safe to do so, Morgan tore at her nightgown to stanch the blood as she spoke to the leopard. “I think you saved me.” The cat just let her poke around at her wound, soon lying down when she asked her to do so. “The bullet needs to come out. If it doesn’t, I’m afraid that you’ll get sick and die from it. I wish I had my knife here. But I think I can see it enough to get it out with my fingers.

I won’t do any more than I have to. All right?” Morgan worked for fifteen minutes on getting the bullet out. The cat never hurt her. Never tried to get away from her as she worked either. Sweat poured off her forehead as she finally got it free. When she was finished, she showed it to the cat. “See? Someone got a shot in. I promise you; I’ll make sure that you’re all right. Do you have a lair? Someplace that you can rest?” The cat stood up, and that was when she noticed that she’d had kittens recently. “Oh no. Where are they? You left your den to come to save me? Come on. I’ll help you back.” It wasn’t far.

About a hundred yards from where the cat had come to her. It occurred to her that the cat was more than likely saving her kittens from being found when she killed the men, but Morgan was ever so grateful that she’d spared her as well. Helping the cat into the den, she saw that she had three of the puggiest little kittens she’d ever seen. “They’re beautiful. Oh, look at them. You are a good momma, Golden Eyes. They’re very fat. I’ll stay with you until you need to eat again. Then I’ll hunt for you.” The cat didn’t seem to mind when she picked one of them up, so she touched each of them in turn.

“You’re very lucky those men didn’t find you too. But I guess you knew that.” She stayed with the family overnight. There wasn’t any way she’d be able to make her way back home in the darkness, so it was fine with her to be in the cave for the night. The kittens woke hungry a couple of times in the night. Instead of having Golden go to them, Morgan carried them back and forth to their mother. She seemed to be all right with her helping that way as well. When the sun was coming up, Morgan made sure that not only did the family have water, but she also scavenged as much as she could from the horses that the men had come out here in.

There was hard tack that was in abundance, but she was also able to get herself some much-needed flint as well as some blankets. Taking it to the cave, she put the kittens on one of the blankets and then sat down to watch them fall over each other until they had their spot picked out. It was calming to watch them, she thought. They were just too little to do much more than be rolly Polly little kittens. Giving the hardtack to Golden, she made her way to her home. It was further than she’d thought it might have been, and she didn’t arrive there until the sun was nearly down. Going into the house by way of climbing up the back stairs, she heard her parents speaking out their balcony from her own window. Sliding out onto her own, she stood deeply in the shadows to listen to what they might be saying.

Her mother was standing at the railing, her father deeper in the room. “I cannot believe that she’s gone.” Morgan started forward, wanting to assure her mother that she hadn’t been hurt at all. “This was a brilliant idea that you had, Malcomb. To have it look as if she’d been kidnapped and then killed. I have never wanted anything more than that child dead.”

Her heart hurt. Her mind didn’t know how this was really what her mother was saying. They weren’t close, but she never thought she’d want her dead. But even as her dad came out to the balcony, too, she watched the two of them as they stood there in an embrace. “Well, it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be to get some men gathered up to take her. As you said, it’s a good thing now that she’s gone. When they find her body, it will be blamed on anything but me.” Mother said that it wouldn’t be her fault either.

“No. No one will bother with blaming you, my dear. For all they know, you’ve committed suicide because your daughter is gone.” It took her less time than it apparently did her mother for what her father was saying. As soon as he pushed her mother nearly over the railing, intending she was sure to make it look as if she had fallen to her death by her own hand, mother grabbed her father’s coat. The two of them hung there for what seemed like forever. Would they both fall? Would they be able to save one another? She didn’t care.

So when her mother’s weight took them both over the edge, Morgan stood there for several minutes thinking about what had just befallen her family. Looking over the edge of her own balcony, she saw them there, tightly embarrassed as if in a lover’s hug and dead. Blood spread out beneath their heads as if a bucket of it had been poured over the two of them. Making her way to the kitchen area, she staggered twice in her grief. Not that they were dead, no, it was that they had planned her demise in such a cold way. Lincoln was there, the butler of the house when she entered. He took one look at her and sat her in the chair she’d spent more time in than the ones in the formal dining room. Lincoln, she knew, would be her family from now on. “Child, what is it?” She must have been a mess. Or looked on edge.

The slap to her cheek stung enough that she was brought out of whatever thoughts she’d been having. “What’s happened? Your parents, they told the household that you’d been kidnapped. Are you hurt?” She told him everything. Not leaving out anything, including the cat that had saved her. Also, leaving no doubt to the older man that her parents had planned for her to be killed this night. Lincoln sat down across from her after making her a cup of tea that was mostly bourbon. “You are mistress of the house now. Tomorrow we will find their bodies whilst you are still abed. You will say that you were out with the creatures of the field.

They will believe that well enough. That is where you are most of the time.” She asked him about the cats. “‘Tis your decision. However, if you were to bring them here, none of the rest of the staff will mind. It is you we stayed for all these years and not your parents.” “I’ll need help bringing them here.” He said that he’d go with her. “They’re far. Much further than I had thought. But I wish them to be safe, Lincoln. She saved my life, and I will do the same for her and her family.” “You have a good heart, child. A very good one. We shall leave now and take lanterns with us. A basket, too, so that we might carry the little beasts.” She asked him if he didn’t want them here.

“Nay, I want what you want. We all do. Tomorrow after your parents are found, we’ll be as we should have been. A good home and a safe one. Mark my words on that. I will talk to you as we go about now that you are mistress of the house what men will do to get to you. They’ll want you, but you’re too stubborn to be a good wife to anyone seeking your hand. It might be well that there are cats here to protect you. You have become a very wealthy woman.”

As they were making their way to the cave, she wondered if he knew how safe the house would be with leopards in it once. Once the kittens grew up, they’d be as big as she was now. Smiling, she thought perhaps she wasn’t all that upset about her parents being dead. They’d been treating her as if she had for as long as she could remember. Golden seemed happy to see her. She licked her face and brushed her with her large paws. As Lincoln gathered up the kittens, she helped Golden outside to do her business.

It took a great deal out of her, and Morgan had to carry her back into the cave. Once they were all loaded up in the buggy, she sat down with Golden to tell her what had happened. “So I’m motherless except for you. I know that you’re a cat and I’m only a human, but I think we can get along. When the men start to come, and according to Lincoln, they will, I’ll need you to protect me too. I shant ever marry. Not only that, but I’m also going to make it my life’s work to make sure that animals such as yourself are as safe as I can make them.”

Arriving home well after the sun had settled in the sky again, she made sure that the mother and kittens were safe in her parent’s big bed. There was a fire in the fireplace for them should the night turn too cold. Morgan also made sure too that the mother had plenty to eat, having given her one of the steaks that her father would treat himself to daily while she had whatever else he had with his meal. Sleep didn’t take its time capturing her, luring her to a night’s rest. It hit her right between the eyes and had her nearly sick with exhaustion.

As she closed her eyes, sleeping in her own bed as if nothing had happened, she knew that she’d keep her promises to not just Lincoln and the other staff but to herself as well. The animals here would need her, and she was going to make sure they were as safe as they could be while she was still living.

~*~ Four years later Morgan watched the man as he ran out of her home. How he’d gotten in was beyond her, but now that he was gone with a little less of his fancy clothing, she sat down on the front veranda and waited for the cats to come to her. Over the last month or so, men had been showing up at the oddest times to tell her that she must marry them.

They would all come around sooner rather than later. All of her leopards, as well as a plethora of other such creatures, would come to make sure that she’d not been harmed or taken away from them. None of them would be harmed here, and daily another one or two would come limping into the compound and be welcomed. Golden came to sit at her feet, and she smiled at her when she looked at her. “He had it coming.

We both know that. The pompous ass thought that if he could tear at my clothing, I’d allow him to marry me so that I’d be happy. He said that I’d need someone like him to watch over my money and keep me from dying an old spinster. Apparently, women aren’t meant to think beyond having a man around. I’m much happier without him, I think. What did he think I’d been doing here all alone since my parents were dead? Waiting on someone to recuse me? Not likely.” Morgan slid to the floor and put Goldens head on her lap. Running her hand down the length of the cat, she could feel her newest litter wiggling around.

“I am worried about you, mistress cat. You’re heavier this time with your brood. Not to mention, I know that the wound you suffered for me so long ago bothers you more daily. The babes that you brought here that night, they have gone on to have their own children. I cannot believe that so much time has passed since that night.” She thought of something and put her forehead to Goldens. “I just realized that you’re a grandmother. Congratulations.” “That would make you an Aunt in her eyes.” Morgan reached for her gun, something she’d been carrying since that night, and found it gone. “You cannot kill me, mistress, but I would prefer that you not harm me either. I have come to speak with you about the good work you are doing here.

The one you call Golden; she has asked me to come to speak to you about a great many things. In addition, I have some things I need to ask of you too.” “Who are you?” The beautiful woman asked if she could tell her in a moment. “So long as you know that whatever it is you’re hawking, I want no part of. We’re doing very well here on our own.” “You are doing better than well, I think. The ground is fertile here, thanks to your way of doing things. Not all humans would leave an animal to rot on their land without doing something with it.” Morgan told her that other animals took care of it.

“They have indeed. Even the things that the larger breeds cannot eat or use, the smaller creatures come to salvage what they can use. You have a good system here. A system that will not be something popular for a great many years.” “I don’t want to have to go into town.” The woman nodded her smile something that she thought was more than beautiful. “You said that you came here because of Golden. She is a cat. How is that possible that she would call to you?”

“Let me start at the beginning, please. The night that your parents died, the night that you came to help Golden, it was thought that you should have died along with them. Sometimes, with humans, the apple does not fall far from the tree. But you are nothing like them, are you, sweet child. You were not only different than them, but a kinder, gentler person than any of us have ever seen before. We have all been watching you these last years.” Morgan asked her who they were. “Ah, that brings me to your first question. I am Tellus, the terrestrial being that cares for and is wholly a part of the earth. The earth and the land that you have here. Not for my doing but your own. This land is rich beyond anything man has ever seen before.”

Morgan didn’t speak, letting all that the woman told her to settle into her mind. She’d been alone for most of her life now and had learned not to prattle on when there was no one to talk back to her. Petting Golden, she was glad to hear her purring. The rumbling of her throat was soothing to her for some reason. “Mother earth. I’ve read about you. You’re Roman.” She said that was correct. “All right. So you’re here because I have good land. However, I still don’t know why you took time out of your what I’m sure is a busy day to tell me that.” “You are a jewel among all the stars in the sky, Morgan.”

Confused at the words and their meaning, Morgan continued to pet her cat. “We, the other earth creatures, have been watching what you were doing here since that night. We’ve not had to once intervene in helping you care for the animals, all that you protect here. You have lifted a great burden from all of us. Even creatures that you may not be yet aware of have found a home here among the others and have been safe from harm. One such creature sits there on your leg. His name is Button.” Morgan looked down at her leg and saw the tiny creature standing there. She put out her free hand, and when he hopped upon it, she brought him closer to her face.

Yes, he was a little man, just like the men that had been coming around but for his size. Then while she was watching him closely, he spread out his wings and fluttered above her palm for several seconds before settling down again. “Faerie.” He bowed before her. “I have read of such creatures as this one. They are thought to be a myth. Such as you are, Lady Earth. I have either hit my head, or I’m being visited by creatures that are as magical as the sun coming up and then resting in the other sky.” “You are seeing magic, my child.” Nodding, she laid her hand back on her leg. Button didn’t sit on her leg again but stayed on her palm. “He wishes to be with you.

To help you in the coming years. For as much as I’d like to say your life will be filled with only riches, we both know it is never that way.” “Nay, it is not. The banker says I owe him great funds for a loan that my parents took out before they died. Also, I have a man who is trying his best to catch me unawares so that he might rape me to take my lands. I don’t think he means to keep me around much longer than it is for me to say, ‘I do.’ They only want what I have.” Tellus said that she could help her with those things. “Thank you, my lady. But I’m sure you have enough to do now with the earth as large as it is.” “I do. But helping you is not something that I take lightly, my child. We all, all the creatures in charge of the parts of the earth you now own, are happy to help you. And in doing so, they will get the help they need as well.” Morgan asked her what they wanted her to do.

“You will do it, will you not. Even not knowing what it is that we ask of you.” “I will help the earth for as much as it gives back to us here. And that, as you know, is a great deal. We are self-sufficient here. Water is ours to use as we see fit. There is a roof over our heads when necessary. The fields, as you have pointed out, are rich and give us back so much more than we can eat. I share what I cannot have put up or preserved.” Tellus told her that she knew that as well.

“If you need for me to do more, I will do it to the best of my ability.” “Thank you.” Tellus looked at her, then at Golden as she continued. “Golden will stay with you until the kittens are born. Her children will be the first of many creatures that will take on this new magic that we wish you to help with.” “She’s going to die.” Tellus nodded but didn’t look at her. “I thought when I’ve seen her around this time, she wouldn’t make it for long after. You do know that she’s the only friend that I have besides the people that work here? I’ve spent long hours thinking about how I will make it without her counsel.

Without her snuggling up to me when I need it. I don’t know that I want to. But I must, for the others.” “Yes, you will,” Tellus told her of the magic that would be given to her. About the babes that Golden would have and how they would go on to be great men. To help her in ways that Tellus and the others hadn’t thought of yet. “The magic they will get will help them to be a part of the world of men. To breach such places that, even now, frightens us a little. We will need you to help them blend into such places. To walk, talk, and to act like real men. The abilities that we will give to them will make them a prize should anyone find out. So it is important that they do not give themselves away while men. Do you understand?”

“Yes. I’m to be their teacher.” Tellus told her, too, that she would be their mother. “I have questions now, but I know that I will have so many more when the time comes. I will teach them everything that I can. Give them whatever step up they’ll need so long as I live. I promise you they will be the best of men too. Not like the ones that come here sniffing out an easy way to my home.” “You will not die either, Morgan. You will be around for their children to come into the world, as well as all the shifters that are to be born.” Morgan asked her about the men coming around. “They will not come around again should you wish it. Button will have for himself to use an army of faeries that will come to your aid in that and anything else you might need them for.

Do not be fearful of using them either. Rightly so, they are excited to serve one such as yourself. You have been titled with the name Queen of Shifters.” “You don’t have to do that, my lady. I said that I would help you.” Tellus laughed, and it made Morgan smile. “I will do as asked. The rest, I will accept it as part of my duties, but I don’t see myself using it overly much.” “I foresee you using the magic given to you much more than you think you will.” Tellus laughed again, bringing yet another smile to her face. “I will also give you a list of things that you will need to invest in. They will fund you better than a bank will, and you will remain self-reliant at the same time.

Also, the bank has been taken care of. He will no longer bother you about funds he thinks you owe him.” “Thank you for that.” Morgan looked down at her friend and ally in all this. “What will become of me when you no longer have a use for me, my lady?” “There will always be a use for you, child. A creature such as you will forever bond with the earth and make everything around you a better place. I have such faith in you.” Morgan told her that she could only do her best. “And that, my child, is all that I could ask for.”

The two of them talked throughout the morning and into the evening. Ending up in the living room where there was a fire roaring in the hearth, they were served their tea there as well as juice too. She was told, too, that she’d need to be drinking a great deal more of the elixir. And that the fresher it was, the better it would be for her after using magic. At some point, Tellus took her hand into hers and gave her the magic she’d need. The power of it washed over her in waves. So much so that for several minutes she had to sit still in her seat and wait for it to settle out. Not only did she receive the magic, but the knowledge of how to use it. Also, things, as she’d been told that she must invest in. Things that Tellus told her that would be worth a great deal in the future. After Tellus left her to rest, she was told, Morgan sat in the yard at the back of her house.

Lincoln came to sit with her a spell, telling her that there were faeries in the kitchen now that would make sure that the household was safe. Also, he said, he’d been given magic as well. “It is to keep the house in order. To build out when you need it, my lady.” She said that she’d been told she’d need to have a larger house. “I find that hard to believe, but I will do what it takes to have you safe.” “I now have more land as well. Tellus told me that there are now five thousand acres here that will be used for the animals in need. No one will be able to enter the land if they wish to harm anything that calls this place home. What am I to do with all this knowledge and wealth, Lincoln?

I know I’m to teach the next generation of cats born to Golden, but how much do you think they’ll need from me? What am I to do when they go out and have their own leap? I shall be an old woman with only you to keep me company.” He asked her if he was immortal as well. “You are. But I was told that at any time you wished to die, I could take it from you. No harm will come to you with it either.” “I think I shall stay with you, my lady. I think we will need each other in the coming years, don’t you think?” She said that she needed him every day. “You are so kind to me, Morgan, that I wonder at times why your parents wanted you dead.” “They were in love with themselves.” She knew that to be true as soon as she said it. Looking at the older man, she smiled at him. “You and I will do the best we can and hope that it’s right. Someday, I think we’ll look back on this and wonder what all the fuss was about. Don’t you?”

“I think I will hold my thoughts on that until such time as it comes to an end.” He laughed a little. “Do you believe it will come to an end, my lady?” “No. I don’t. I don’t have any idea why but I think we’re going to be having something new and something strange happening as a daily routine.” She stood up when he did. “Let us begin this new phase of our life, Lincoln, and hope that we make it work better than the thoughts in my head are making it. All right?” “Whatever you wish, my lady. We will do well together, I believe.” She hoped so. It seemed like a great deal was depending on her doing just that. Making it work for the safety of all involved.

She only hoped that she knew enough and was strong enough to make it work for all of them. ~*~ Many, many centuries later Sin fell in love with the little town again. She’d loved it here as a child, growing up in a place that hadn’t been updated since before her mother had been born. The place looked the same, but it was also different, she realized. There were more people walking around than she remembered ever seeing before and a group of kids playing on the swing set in the middle of town. Sin had wanted a swing in the worst sort of way when she’d been a child.

The place where she’d been told to meet Morgan was just outside of town. The large shop was doing a good business, and it looked like everyone was coming out of the place as happy as she’d ever seen them. Once she had pulled into a parking spot in the back of the shop, Sin made her way to the front door, stopping to look at the well maintained gardens and flowers around it. “You must be Sin.” She nodded at the man standing there with the door open. “My wife is Zippy. I’m Bailey. We spoke on the phone.”

She couldn’t help herself. Sin hugged Bailey. She’d been thinking about how these people, without thought to themselves, had saved her from driving into a truck and keeping her little brother out of harm’s way. When he invited her into the place, she was introduced to the women behind the counter. “Hello, Morgan. I’m so happy to see that you’re doing well.” Sin hugged Morgan, too, knowing this woman was the sole reason she was still alive. “I’ve thought of nothing else for the last few hours except how you would keep me fed and warm when I was a child. I don’t have any idea how you knew I needed you, but you were always there. For me.” “Yes. And you’ve turned out all right yourself, haven’t you? Good for you.

Your brother, Cody, reminds me a great deal of you when you were his age. While he’s not as outspoken as you could be, he certainly makes his point well enough. How are you really, Sin?” Nodding, she followed her to the back of the store and sat at the table there. “I’ve been in contact, so to speak, with your mother. There are a couple of things you need to know before Cody gets here. She’s not going to be coming back here to get him. She had managed to get herself in some deep trouble yesterday, and she’s in jail. They found several playing cards on her when they arrested her. She’d been cheating.” “That sounds like something she’d do. How much is she down in gambling? I’m sure it’s not a paltry sum.” Morgan told her.

“How the hell did she manage to talk someone into letting her bid that much on a game?” “I might have had something to do with that. Melody has harmed you and Cody enough, and I don’t want her around anymore. This way was better than what Bailey wanted to do with her. He wanted to hang her out to dry.” Sin told her she’d tried that once before, getting dry. “Yes, I heard about that. But this way, you can say you tried, and no one will think any less of you. Not that I believe you care what people think about you and your relationship with her, but you never know about people.”

“That’s very true. What else is there? You said a couple of things.” She told her about the house and how it had been condemned. “That should have happened when I was living there. I’m sure it’s not improved with age.” “No, it hadn’t. Also, you should be aware that Cody has a little magic. I would imagine you do as well since you’ve arrived. He can and is glad to be able to have any kind of clothing he wants to wear. He’s been playing around with it and has discovered he doesn’t want to go back to wearing anything that isn’t his in the first place.” They both laughed. “He has missed you.

Cody has been telling us about how you would call him every day after he’d gone to bed to make sure he was all right. That was, I think, the only thing that kept him going while living with your mom.” “I wanted to bring him with me when I left the last time. I was even going to just take him. But she said I’d never make it out of town with him before I was arrested. Then she told me she’d make it, so I never saw him again. In a permanent way. I was afraid for Cody, but I left him.” Morgan told her that was probably the best she could have done. “I don’t know. Even now, I hate that I had to leave him behind.” Sin heard a man’s voice in the shop and had to laugh when he was taken to task by one of the other women out there.

“Your son, I’m guessing?” “Yes, Marley. He’s just closed up his practice today, and he’s feeling a little wild. You should meet him.” Everything in her froze. “Sin? What is it?” “I don’t know. I mean, until you suggested meeting him, I had no desire at all to meet anyone new. Now I have this insane need to go out there and let him hold me.” Marley came to the doorway where they were sitting. “Hello?” “Hello to you too. Mom, Cody is with me. I didn’t tell him that his sister was here until I made sure she was. He’s been hanging out with me while the kittens were being born.” Marley kept looking at her, then at his mom.

“Why do I feel like I’ve just interrupted something?” “You didn’t. Come here, Marley. Tell me if Sin is your mate.” Before he could move to do that, even if that had been his plan, Cody came rushing into the room and grabbed her. Morgan left her there with her brother when Marley sat where his mom had been sitting. “Sin, I’m so glad you’re here.” Cody went on about how he’d watched kittens being born. How he could change his clothing and now had his own bed in the big house. Sin didn’t pay any attention to him and was shocked when he snapped his fingers in front of her face. “You’re zoned out. Are you all right?” “Yes. I’m just fine. And I heard you. Sort of.”

She hugged him again, tickling him until he called for mercy. When he left them to go help out front, she looked at Marley. “You’re him. My mate, aren’t you?” “I am yours, yes.” She asked him what that meant. “It means that I belong to you forever. You’re very beautiful, aren’t you?” “I don’t know about that, but I don’t look like a hag.” He laughed, and Sin joined him. “I’m not sure why I feel all right with this. I’ve been keeping men at a distance my entire life. However, with you here, I feel as if I’m settled. That my life has a purpose again. Or something like that. Am I making any sense?”

“Yes. I feel that way as well. Like I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life, and now that you’ve found me, I can rest easy.” He took her hand into his, and she felt a strange and powerful connection. “You’ve got magic now. And you’re an immortal. So is Cody. He’s a wonderful little boy. I’m sure you had a great deal to do with that.” “He’s going to need me.” Marley nodded and said he’d do whatever was necessary to keep them both safe. “It’s more than that.

I don’t want him to be pushed aside ever again. I need to make sure he’s better off than I ever was.” “Of course you do. And I’ll help you with that. The two of you are my priority from now on. I will bend mountains to make sure no harm comes to either of you again.” It was too easy, this thing between them. But she really couldn’t find any fault with it. Like she wanted to be mad at him for being so nice about this, but she was happy. “You’re thinking very hard. Is there anything I can help you with?” “I have so many thoughts in my head right now that I’m not sure how to make any sense of it all.” Marley didn’t tell her he understood but continued to hold her hand.

“Are you always going to be this…I don’t know, giving of yourself? While I can use it on occasion, I might need for you to get a little upset at me sometimes.” He laughed, and it brought a smile to her face. As they sat there, not really talking about much of anything, Sin realized that just that quickly, she’d fallen in love with the big man. She couldn’t find anything wrong with falling so quickly, but it did frighten her just a little. When the shop closed up, they all walked to the house. She was able to leave her car in the parking lot behind the place and enjoyed the freedom of walking in the cool crisp evening. Once they were at the house, she was shown around. The place was much larger than it looked like from the outside.

“Magic.” Sin asked Hanna if they all had magic. “We do. I’ve been able to get a great deal from a family of unicorns. Veni and Zippy are witches, Veni being the grand witch. Morgan, as you know, has been gifted more than anyone with her magic. Just so she could help the creatures she cares for.” “What about the others? Allison?” She told her what had transpired recently. “A phoenix? I don’t know that I ever thought they were real. I’m assuming there are a great many things that people think aren’t real that are living here.”

“You’d be right on that.” They were called to dinner then, and she followed the others into the largest dining room she’d ever seen. “You’ll need a faerie too. Cody has one already, but you’ll need one to help you out with the magic. After you get it, you’ll be able to hang out with him and have him do errands for you.” “A faerie.” They all laughed, and she wasn’t sure if they were telling her the truth or not.

Then, just as she was picking up her fork to have a bite of her dinner, a little person, no bigger than a lighter, sat on the end of her fork. “You’re real.” “I am, mistress. My goodness, but you’re glowing with happiness.” She thanked him and then looked around. “You’re going to be very happy here, I’m thinking. You and Marley are a good pairing. I’m glad to see that he’s going to be all right after what the other women did to him.”

As he explained what had happened with Piper and her mother, Sin was beginning to see that this family was one to be with. They cared for each other, and they loved with all their hearts. Marley asked her if she was all right. “Yes. I do think I am. I’m actually better than all right, to be honest with you.” He took her hand into his and kissed the back of it. “You’re a nice man, aren’t you, Marley? All of you are nice.” “Thank you. We had a good role model in our mom. She’s worked hard all her life to make us the men we have become.

And any one of us would die for her if it ever came to that.” Sin told him she could see that. “Thank you again. I’m thinking we’re going to get along just fine, aren’t you?” “I am. I might even manage to not make you pissy with me just to see your temper.” He said he didn’t have one. He was the most laid-back person in the family. “Good to know. You’ve just challenged me to see what I can do to get your self-control out of whack.”

It was perhaps the easiest evening she’d ever spent with strangers. Not that they were that for long, but it was nice to be able to sit around and talk about anything under the sun and not have to worry about impressing anyone. Not that she did that all that much. Sin liked to think she was her own woman. But this, being with this family, was something she’d never had as a child nor as an adult. She must have dozed off because when she woke up, she was in a large bed. The room was huge, with a large fireplace across the room. Getting up, not even sure what time it was, she headed to the bathroom en suite.

Taking a long and warm shower, she felt as if she could face the day a good deal better. Going to the kitchen, Sin realized she had slept past her normal time, and it was coming up on lunchtime. Morgan was playing with one of the kids while she made pies. “My name is Sammy. You must be Sin.” She said she was. “Cody is in my room getting a couple of books he wants to read. I’m going to help him with his homework when we get him to school. You want him to go to the school we go to, don’t you?”

“I don’t know anything about that school. Nor do I know what I’m doing right now.” He said he’d help her figure it out. While she was drinking a glass of juice, a gnome, an honest-to-goodness gnome, peeked his head out of Sammy’s pocket. “Is that for real?” “Yes. His name is Thad. He’s the king of all gnomes. He’s my best friend in the whole world.” Sammy took the little man out of his pocket and put him on the table beside her. “He’s going to retire, and he wants me to take over his job. I’m not sure how good I’ll be at it, but I’m going to give it my best shot.”

“I see.” She looked at Morgan, wondering if she was still asleep and dreaming this. Sammy took her hand and put a crystal on her palm. “Oh my, that’s beautiful. Where did you get it?” “These are all over the place around here. I got that one when I had my birthday last week. It’s for college if I want to go. Grandma Morgan said I could buy a college if I wanted to with that. I don’t know that I’d want an entire college, but it’s good to know I have options.” She laughed, then covered it with a cough when Sammy looked at her oddly.

“You’re overwhelmed, aren’t you?” “Yes. By a great deal, as a matter of fact. I don’t suppose I could ask you to tell me things like that a little at a time, could you?” He said he could do that. Cody joined them with several books that looked like first editions of ones she’d read as a child. “I used to love these stories when the teacher read them to us in school. I’ve not thought of the Stinky Cheeseman in years.” As Cody read the story to her, she enjoyed her lunch. Morgan had made nine pies by the time the boys were ready to go out of doors, and she helped her pack them up to give away. She asked her about that. “Oh, we have fruit here year-round.

So when I have a little extra, I try to make sure I give them to people who might enjoy them as much as I do making them. You should take a walk around to see what you can get into. I’m going to be going over to the seedlings here when these are finished. If you’d like, you can hang out with me.” “I’d love that.” And Sin knew she would, too. Marley had been called away, she’d been told, to see to a patient that fell at their home. While hanging out with Morgan, she learned a great deal more about where she would be living. Sin had no illusions that she’d not be living here with the rest of the family. It was the way it was meant to be, she thought.