Tholan Mystic Protectors Release Day & Giveaway

Tholan had made a grave mistake. He had thought his charge dead and had taken her before it was her time, causing a rift in her family’s timeline. He knew he deserved to die for his mistake but was given instead a thousand years of solitude to reflect on his mistake.

Parker Brooks loved her da, and when he was arrested for robbery and murder, a crime he wasn’t even physically able to commit, she confessed to it to keep him out of jail. Parker spent ten years in prison for a crime neither of them had committed. Her da died while she was behind bars.

Fresh out of prison, Parker was introduced to the Mystics. They were a loud and boisterous bunch, and a bit much for her to take. Seeking solitude, Parker met Tholan, a Mystic she could relate to and let her guard down. When she fell asleep, Tholan could see the demon of her nightmares and knew that she was in major trouble.

Her stepmother had sold Parker’s soul to a demon, and he was there to collect. But Parker wasn’t going to take this laying down. With Tholan at her side, Parker would conquer Hell to fix this.

 

 

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His love for her was forbidden…

Riss has been around since the beginning of time and watching his charges be born, grow up, and die has taken a toll on him. Until lately, being a Protector has always been enough… The Archangel Michael, Riss’s mentor and superior, decides with the help of their “Boss” to change things up a bit―like the rest, he doesn’t want to lose one of his best Protectors. Riss is assigned to guide and protect Kala. Riss is not happy about the changes and hopes this is his last assignment as a Protector before he can quit and live his last year on Earth and die.

She has nothing left to lose―except her life…

Kala has lost everything: her family as a child, her job, and now her apartment. She is also having weird dreams that she can’t quite remember…dreams revolving around a single white feather. Kala’s sexual fascination with the feather brings forth the most gorgeous man she’s ever seen―Riss. He came for his feather―he can feel everything she does with it throughout his body.

Sex with a human is forbidden and Riss has never even considered it―until now.

A madman, suffering from a delusional fantasy, has set his sights on Kala. He has already killed and will kill again. She will be his or suffer the consequences…

And Riss has been forbidden to interfere…

Agon
“She is not going to be my wife. In any way, Riss.” Riss nodded as Agon started pacing again. “I want to touch her. Feel her body close to mine and kiss her. I have a need to taste her mouth to see if it tastes as good as I think it might. Then there is my body. I cannot control it around her. I run so hot and hard that I feel as if the world knows that I need her in ways that are not right.”
“She will taste better than you can ever dream of, and her body will give you pleasure in ways you cannot imagine.” Agon stared at him for several seconds. “But you cannot touch her. She is your charge. If you do not wish to have her as your wife, then you must not touch her in any way. If you do…if you do, my friend, then there will be no turning back. For the touch of the woman you are to spend your days with will haunt you in ways that will make you want to end your life in order to be with her. Trust me on this. I am well aware of how your body will crave her, and you will stop at nothing to have her again and again.”
“I do not want her.” Riss nodded and could see that Agon was lying to him as much as he was himself. “She is beautiful and stubborn, but I do not want her. But I fear that it might be too late for me.”

 

Galin knows it’s his turn and he isn’t having any part of it. He makes no bones about making it clear to Boss either that he both knows what he is up to and isn’t going to cooperate. He doesn’t now or ever want a wife.
“This boy you are going to protect is somewhat of a problem child. He has had a great deal thrown at him, but—”
“Boy?” Boss nodded and frowned. “No, I’m sorry, but it should be a woman, not a boy. I’m not…you’re going to assign me my wife to care for. I don’t want one, but I know it should be female. What is this about?” He pushed the file back at Michael.
“You want a wife? It was my understanding that you have no wish to be wed. Am I correct on that?” Galin nodded and looked at the file with the picture of a young boy on it. He appeared to be in his early teens maybe, but he wasn’t much older than that. “Galin? Do you wish for me to reassign you? Do you have no desire to help this young man?”
“I thought I was going into the rotation to find me a wife. The way that you did for Riss and Agon.” He looked up at Boss and Michael, who had summoned him today. “I had thought that the Mystic’s were a way for you to get rid of us all, and marrying us off was better than having us die. I’m…I’m not sure what’s going on now.”
Dusty McGee has just lost her sister to horrific accident and finds herself saddled with a very angry young nephew to raise. Now, some self-proclaimed protector, Galin, tells her that although he doesn’t want to marry her he would very much like to take her to his bed. She’s had about all that she can stand.
Markum has set his sights on taking the boy to his realm, convinced this is the alleged boy the demons have been searching for, and Dusty is an added bonus…

 

Reyna Sharp, Renie to her friends, just wanted to work out the time she had left alone, with no one bothering her. When she was a baby her mother had given her away in a Faustian deal with a demon. She had until her twenty-fifth birthday then she was supposed to spend eternity in Hell.

Arryn was next on the list of Mystics to take a mate. He had just lost another charge, and wasn’t up for anymore heartache. He didn’t think his heart could take being attached to a mate only to lose her in a few short months…

The war between good and evil had gone on since the beginning of time. But even the underworld has rules…rules that aren’t meant to be broken…

Once he’s kissed her, there’s no turning back… No matter how hard he tries, Arryn can’t stay away, and the more Renie pushes him away, the more he fights to keep her. Can love really conquer all?

 

Jennifer Hale had been in the hospital handcuffed to the bed for five days. The winged man standing guard had not left her side since she’d been brought in, and the fact that no one else could see him gave her the willies.

The man robbing the diner where Jenny worked had shot her in the leg, and then she had killed him with his own gun. It was kill or be killed, but the local authorities hadn’t seen it that way—until now. They were releasing her and as of now she had no job, and no home to return to.

Valyn the Slayer was just tired. He had just one desire, to be put to sleep for an eternity. Ever since he’d lost his small charge, the simple act of living seemed too much for him. He had only looked away for a moment, now she was gone, and he blamed himself. And now “Boss” was telling him his mate was here….

“She’s a lovely girl. Broken too, if you want to know the truth of it. Perhaps you’ve heard her mentioned. She’s the woman that saved that diner full of patrons about a week ago.” He’d heard of it but didn’t know her name. “The bill collectors are hounding her hourly. However, they are not putting the calls through to her room at the hospital for fear of upsetting her. She’s made some very good friends while staying there.”

“What happened to her?” Boss told him what she’d done and how she’d been shot. “And the bill collectors? Why are they hounding her? I’m assuming that she has debt, but it’s more than that, isn’t it?”

“Yes, she’s now homeless and jobless. Also, with this other business of the credit card, there is no way that she can make anything work out right for her. Not without a great deal of help.” Valyn sat down on the wire wheel that had been left behind when the house had been rewired. “Valyn, you told me that you were broken and why you thought so. But this woman, she can help you in ways that I cannot.”

“You could if you would just put me to sleep.” Boss shook his head. “What if I don’t go and see her? Don’t take her as my mate? Because I don’t think my life could be any better to have her with me. I’m not good around people anymore. I don’t want to have someone depending on me for their wellbeing. It’s too much.”

 

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Prologue

 

Tholan watched his charge as she acted and danced on the stage. He knew better than to try and keep up with her—she was beautifully fast skimming over the stage. But she was stunning, and she knew the steps to the music like she did her own name. When the play she was acting in came to an end, he knew that she’d have to go to the back room and change quickly so that no one, not one of the other actors, knew that she was a female, not a male just as they were. Women did not act on the stage, nor did they sing and dance as if they were born to do so.

The men of this time thought it to be dangerous to have a woman act—which to Tholan was just silly. Some of them could and did play better and act better than their male counterparts. But Elizabeth was determined to be out there, showing her skills and having fun. And her father loved that she enjoyed acting as much as he did watching her perform. When they had taken their final bow, he watched the others around her, making sure that none of them harmed her, and did not guess what secret she was hiding from them. As they walked home, he encouraged her more, telling her that she was brilliant.

Her face showed so much happiness for what she had done. The streets were dirty. Even though there were piles of refuse and spoiled food along her way, she never turned up her nose at those that were digging through it. Some of the patrons of the stage had given her and the other actors hunks of bread and cheese. Even though her father and she could have used a bit of it too, she always shared her wealth with those that she knew needed it more than her. Her way of thinking was, she had someone to love her and a roof over her head.

Tholan wouldn’t rest his protection of her until they were at her home. Her father was a good man, even though he would get into his cups a little too much. But he loved his daughter and the coin that she would bring to him nightly. They were a good pair, the two of them. While he’d never say a word to anyone, Tholan did think that he was in love with the beautiful Bethy, as her father called her. Supper was the hard, crusty bread that she’d saved a hunk of from today, with tomatoes sliced thick and salted heavily. There was broth too, with just a little of the potato that they’d had last evening, and a bit of fish, left over from the supper the night before that. It smelled good, he supposed, but it wasn’t something that he’d eat. Poor didn’t describe the way these two lived.

They did have food once or maybe twice a day. There was always tea, though there were times when she’d use the leaves over too many times. And wine for her father. It helped, her father told her, with the pains in his legs. Tholan knew from her father’s protector that he wasn’t long for this world. His legs, both of them in sad condition, were rotting off at the knee. And as there was no coin for the doctor, they lived their life as well as they could. Taking her father out on the stoop, a chore for one as small as herself, Bethy sat with her father, telling him of all the things that had been in the play. They were the
same stories, her changing them up a little for freshness, and she told him that no one, not a single person, knew who she was. “I’d hate to think what they’d do to someone as delicate as my little flower.” Her father touched his old and callused hand to her cheek. “I’ve heard tell that they stone a woman who would dare breach their rules. You be careful, my Bethy. I should just die without you by my side.” “I am as safe as you are locked away all day whilst I am gone. And if they find out, I think—nay, I know—that they’d do nothing more to me than to push me aside and have a man take over my role.

” She laughed—it sounded like tinkling bells to Tholan. “Though I doubt anyone could do a good job of it. They all sing like men, and the voice that I have is much lighter on the ears.” At bedtime she tucked her father into his cot. Then she did what she did every night to keep them safe—Bethy put a large stone in front of the door and stoked up the fires. Sleep would come easily for her, Tholan knew.

It was exhausting to her to keep up with acting, as well as helping her father around. The next morning, Tholan was there when she rose up. He whispered to her that it was going to be a grand day. That she would be happy though it was raining hard. Going with her to her father’s bed, Tholan saw her shake him hard, and when he didn’t move, Tholan looked at Michael, who appeared in the room with them. “He has passed. I’ve come to take him home, as his protector has been assigned to someone else.” Michael came to get all those ready to pass. It was a difficult job—he was forever busy in his role—but Tholan was more concerned with his own charge. She was taking the death of her father very hard. When the undertaker came to take her father’s body away, Bethy cried harder as he was put in a wagon with the other dead. Tholan’s heart hurt for her. He knew that her own had to be broken badly—her father was all that she’d had in the world. It was a hard time for so many now, food being in such short supply.

The diseases ran through the people quickly and without care to age, or how the ones left behind were to deal with it. There wasn’t any money for a proper burial for most, and Bethy’s father was no different. As she walked behind the wagon, she kept telling her father how much he had meant to her, how she was going to miss him so much. Tholan was beside her with each step, telling her that she’d be all right, that time would heal this wound for her. He could not touch her, could not do what he wanted to do more than anything. And that was to take her into his arms, under his wings, and hold her until the world, her world, was a much better place.

That evening he tried to tell her not to go to the theater—a grand name for such a hovel—and that they would not miss her for one night. But he also feared that if she did not go, she would sit in the house and not eat or drink. The things that she did there, on the small stage, made her happy, and for that, he supposed, it would be a good thing for her to do. Her face was swollen, and Tholan told her to say that she’d had a cold. No one would question her about her father—they all thought her to live alone. That like them, she had no one. When she dressed herself in her garb, Tholan told her how lovely she
looked, whispered that there were none prettier than her, and their voices were not nearly as nice. The play went on.

Mistakes were made—they happened every night. But when it was over, instead of going to the pub with them, to celebrate another night of merriment, Bethy gathered her things, all of them, and made her way home. The roads were slightly cleaner than they had been on the way in. The rain, hard and driving at times, had washed the worst of the dirt and trash away. But it was slippery, the stones and mud making her step very cautiously as she walked along. The wagon for the dead was making its way along the streets again. She moved to walk to the other side of the road to avoid it. But as she was making her way across the wet stones, she lost her footing and tumbled down. Tholan was reaching for her—to do what, he had no idea—when she sat up. “I have fallen.” The people roaming the streets just stared at her while she laughed, and when Bethy stood up, still holding onto the wagon that was near her, she started crying. “I wish it to be me in this cart this night.” Her hand came from the cart to her head. That was when Tholan noticed that her hand was covered in blood.

Standing close to her, trying to see if she’d been hurt badly enough to need help, she looked at him. Tholan stood very still when he thought her eyes were staring directly at him. “Hello.” He nodded. “I’ve fallen down. I think that I’ve rattled my head. Do you suppose you could help me along? I don’t wish to be alone tonight. I might join my father, and I do not wish to die alone.” Before he could tell her that he had her, someone moved through him. A man, tall and big, grabbed her hand and tossed her to the road. The blood that poured from her head this time was pooling beneath it. Scooping her up so that her soul could be taken now, Tholan made his way to the other realm. He didn’t want her to hurt, but it was much too late for that. As soon as he summoned Michael, he knew that something more had happened. “What have you done, Tholan?” He explained to Michael that he’d brought her himself.

“But she wasn’t to die. Not yet, at least. She has many years to go. Children to birth. Generations to bring to the world. You have taken her too soon.” Boss came to see him as he stood there, her lifeless soul in his arms. He took her from him, his anger so strong that Tholan flinched back from him. The woman had not died, that was all that his mind could center on. “You have taken her too soon. Do you know the repercussions that you have caused this day? The things that have to be changed, children that will not be born? What will happen now, Tholan? What of the generations and generations of children that were to come from this woman and her husband?” He asked if she could be taken back. “Nay, it is much too late for that.

The man that you took her from, she was meeting him today. He would care for her in her need, and they would love like none other. You have done her and the world a misdeed that will be felt forever. You must explain to her what you have done.”
“I cannot.” Boss woke the soul in his arms. The woman looked at them all but didn’t say anything. “You must be able to take her back. You are all powerful.” “In this, I cannot. You have— Words fail me on this. You must tell her what you have done to her.” Tholan backed away. His own heart was broken too. “Michael, take care of him. I shall have to see what I can do to rectify this for her. But the timeline for her, it is forever broken.” When he disappeared with Bethy, Tholan lay on the ground, his wings spread out over him. It was his death that awaited him. Michael would surely kill him now. And when nothing happened, he looked up and saw that not only had Michael drawn his sword, but he looked ready to use it on him. “You must die as well.” Tholan nodded, his heart, his mind no longer able to function. “You have killed a human. One that was set to be the mother to a great many special people.

Do you have any idea what must be done to fix this? If there is even a fix?” “No, my lord, I do not. I thought her dead. There was so much blood under her. The man, he threw her to the road and he—” “His fingers slipped. He was helping her to rise. Her mate—that was her mate for all time, and you have done them all a misjustice, Tholan. All generations, not just theirs, will feel this forever. You deserve to die.” “I do.” He waited for the blow, the one that would remove his head. It was no less than he deserved. Tholan thought of the woman. Bethy was no longer. He had no idea how Boss was going to make it so that she could go back, but it would never be the same for her, or for the man who had only wanted to help her. Michael ordered him to stand and Tholan, confused, did so. “You will go to your cell and stay there. No contact with anyone, not on Earth or in this realm, for a period of one thousand years.

And when you return, if I allow it, you will not be a protector as you have been until such time that our Lord feels you have paid the price for what you have done. Go. Get yourself out of my sight. You have nothing to say that I wish to hear.” Michael, his friend, turned his back on him. It hurt him more, Tholan thought, than if Michael had removed his head. Willing himself to his cell, he laid upon his cot. His life, his life as a protector, was finished. ~*~ Thousands of years later PJ and her da loved watching old movies—the older the better. And when there was a marathon with their favorite actors, they would binge on them until they were cross-eyed exhausted. But they had each other, and they were happy. And PJ loved her da more than she did anyone in the world. “Angela said that she was going to go and get her hair done. That was two days ago. I wonder what sort of fluff and cut they do on dogs such as herself.” They both laughed. Da had married Angela six years ago, when PJ had been a teenager.

Now they
just tolerated her, both of them. “I will have to do something about her soon, I think. She has made things difficult for me at the board.” “Like what?” PJ knew that she was to take over the company when her da retired— if he ever retired. “I was in there yesterday and got caught up on the paperwork, by the way. And you should know that I’ve also invested in the school that we talked about.” He nodded. Da, Parker Daniel Brooks, was a hell of a businessman. And in turn, she had learned from the best. The business that he’d purchased for a song before she’d been born had turned into a multibillion-dollar industry, leaving them both room to make more investments and even more money for them—not that they needed it. But they were very generous with it, and that was why they continued to make more. “I guess she told Milton, and you know how he can be, that when I passed away, she’d be taking over and he’d be gone. He told me that he didn’t think she’d do a good job, not as good as you would.” PJ was already shaking her head. “You have to take it, PJ. You want her to spend all our hard-earned money on getting her nails done and other men?” “No, but I also have enough on my plate for now. And besides, Da, you’re going to be around for a very long time.” They both laughed. When the doorbell rang, neither of them moved.

“You and I, we have plenty of time for us to make any kind of decisions on what is going to happen. You won’t leave me anytime soon, will you?” “I hope not.” PJ stood up when someone cleared their throat. It was the police, and they looked like they meant business. “Can we help you, officers?” “Mr. Brooks, we’re here to arrest you for armed robbery and murder.” PJ looked at her father, a man confined to a wheelchair since she’d been born. “You have the right to remain—” “Hang on there, young man. I don’t know what’s happening here, but as you can tell, I’ve no way of robbing anyone, much less holding a gun. I don’t own one, and wouldn’t know how to use it if I did.” But they took him in, with her following the cruiser closely. Angela had come in just as they were leaving, and was pissed as well. Booking him for a crime that he’d not done, nor could possibly have committed, took nearly three hours. By then they’d shuffled her da from one end of the station to the next. Each place they’d gone, someone had asked him about the chair, and every time they told them that he’d been in it for years. The next morning, they told her that he was going to go to trial. It seemed to her that things were being rushed through, and Da’s attorney was trying his best to get them to understand that her da didn’t do this. All the while, PJ stayed by his side until they took him to his cell.

“They’re ramming this through, PJ, and I haven’t any idea what I’m supposed to do. And if they’re doing this to him now, I can’t imagine what they’re going to do to him during the trial. I cannot get anyone to tell me where this thing occurred or how it happened. I’m worried for his safety.” Joseph March, her father’s attorney, looked as if
he’d aged several years over the last twenty-four hours. “It’s as if they’re trying to blame this on him for some reason that I can’t fathom.” “Will he go to prison?” Joseph told her that it was looking more and more like that all the time.

“You mean before the trial. They’ll get him to prison and what? Forget about him? This is all Angela, isn’t it? She’s doing this so that she’ll somehow end up with Da’s money.” “I didn’t want to say that before, honey. But to me this has the markings of someone desperate.” He looked around and then leaned into her. “I don’t know what is going on with her, but your father told me that he thinks she’s put out a hit on him. If this is her way of getting him alone, then she couldn’t have worked it out better for herself. And if he’s convicted, she can perhaps get out of the pre-nup that she had to sign. She’ll be able to say that he lied to her or some such nonsense, and that will be the end of Brooks.” Her father had worked hard on making his way in the world. She knew as well as anyone how much he’d given up, how much he’d scrimped and saved to make this work for the family. And now this. Looking around the jail, she asked Joseph how many years he thought her father would get—if he were to make it to the trial. “The max he could get for murder and armed robbery is twenty years, I think. I don’t know how they think to make this stick, but then, this entire thing has me baffled. The least amount? I don’t know. Four to ten?” She nodded and thought of what she had done already and what she’d have to give up. “What are you thinking? You thinking that he’ll make it?” “I did it.

” Joseph asked her what she’d done. “This thing. The thing that they have on Da. If I confess, then he can’t be charged. If I confess, then he’s free to find out what happened and see if Angela is a part of it.” “No. You can’t do that, PJ. If your father got wind of what you’re thinking, he’d bust your bottom. No. That’s a terrible idea. Don’t even think that again.” PJ nodded and told Joseph to listen to her. “I’m younger than him and able to get away should someone come after me in this place. And Da has a good attorney in you. The two of you can work together and set things right.” Joseph told her again that this was a bad idea. “Then if you have a better one, I’m all for it. This will have to work, Mr. March. If not, then I’m going to lose more than just my da’s business; more importantly, I’ll lose him. And I just can’t do that.” “Let me talk to him first. See what he thinks.” PJ told him no, that if he did, he’d talk him out of it. “PJ, this is not a good idea. You’re only twenty-three years old. You have a good head on your shoulders and have become a good attorney in this short amount of time. If you go to prison, you’ll lose that as well.” “I’m going to save my dad. The details in this, they won’t matter because Da doesn’t have what it takes to live the life of a prisoner. I’ll just confess and let the chips fall where they might. You and my dad, you can get me out. If not, then he’ll be all right and I’ll come home to him when it’s all said and done. That’s what has to be done, Mr. March. We both know that there isn’t any way that he can survive this. He’s too frail.

And being in a wheelchair, they’ll hurt him with that as well. Please. You have to help me with this.” It took less time than she had thought it would for her to be jailed. Her father was released and barred from seeing her until the trial. Everyone, including her stepmother, was pissed that she’d confessed. And confessing in front of a news camera had spoiled a great many plans, she thought. The trial was just as she’d been told it would be—quick, no evidence. The witnesses that the police presented kept saying that they had seen a large man running away from the scene after the place was robbed. No one had a name for the man that she’d allegedly killed, and there wasn’t a body. Things like this, whatever they were doing, were going to be something for the books one day. Four days after she confessed, not only had she been found guilty of the crimes, but she’d been shipped to prison. Her da cried during the entire trial. PJ knew as soon as the trial began that there wasn’t going to be any saving her. She was going to go away for a long time.

Ten years. Ten years for a murder there wasn’t a body for.

Ten years for a robbery that she didn’t do, as well as ten years of life without her da. PJ had been fucked.

And there wasn’t anyone who could help her.

 

 

 

Grayson The Sons Of Crosby Release Day & GiveAway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Quartermain met Sean Crosby in college. One night, before they’d met, he’d saved her from a vicious vampire attack and after that they become close friends. He’d shared his family secrets with her and took a little of her blood so that they’d always share a connection. Sean knew Misty wasn’t his mate, but he’d always felt protective of her. A few years later, when Misty and her family were in trouble and on the run, Sean enlisted his family to come to their aid.

Grayson Crosby had always been somewhat of a loner. He mostly kept to himself but was there for the family when they needed him. Sean said he needed help to keep his college friend safe so Grayson was there for him, maybe not enthusiastically, but there. He heard Sean making the family introductions and came out of the kitchen. His beast suddenly had the poor woman backed into the wall.

“You said that she knows all about us?” Sean said that she did and that he was terrifying her. “Yeah, I know, but my beast, he won’t let me go enough to help her.”

“Well, let me help you then. I’m sick of men running over me.” Misty doubled up her fist and hit Grayson square in the nose. Then, when he was going back, she swung her leg around and did a round house slap with her foot to his head. He went to the floor in a thud, breaking the end table behind him.

 

 

 

 

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Spencer Graham had been trying to get a hold of Jason Crosby for weeks, but he didn’t seem to answer emails, mail or the telephone. She had an idea that would make them a great deal of money, but she needed him to invest in her project before it was too late. So, barging into his home at 4 a. m. was the only solution as far as she was concerned. She didn’t, however, expect him to answer the door naked and proposition her as soon as she walked in the door. Spencer did the only thing that came natural to her, she knocked him on his ass….

Jason Crosby was nearly two thousand years old, and in all his days as a vampire, he’d never seen anyone quite like her, not that he thought that was a good thing. He didn’t. She was his mate, and he was only going the tolerate her because he had to….

 

 

Chase Crosby didn’t know what he wanted right now. He was trying to get a grip on who his new mate was. He was told she was an ice dragon, but that wasn’t right either, she was a protector of the ice dragons. He had so many questions, and all he could do was sit there while she was locked away in his freezer to recover from her injuries.

Emerald was a warrior, and she had no idea what she was going to do with a mate. Even though the vampire appealed to her, she was worried the people chasing her would hurt him or his family to get to her, and she couldn’t allow that.

A Homeland Security Agent had gone rogue and he was after Emerald. He didn’t know exactly who or what she was, but he was going to prove she’d been around for centuries, and it didn’t matter who he had to go through to get to her.

 

 

Elliot knew the little boy, Cody, was in trouble. When he found the boy hiding out in his greenhouse, he could see that he was starving and battered. The boy’s little dog didn’t look like he was faring any better. When the boy’s father, Duncan, busted down the door of the greenhouse, Elliot had had enough.

Hannah didn’t have much use for her idiot brother, Duncan. And when she heard her brother had murdered his wife, and her nephew Cody was on the run from his father, she wasn’t surprised. She was surprised, however, and elated to find out her sister, Julia, was alive. Julia’s slimy ex-husband, Nathan, had Hannah believing Julia was dead.

Elliot was sent to bring Hannah back. Nathan had learned that Julia had left town and taking Hannah would be his leverage to make Julia do as he wanted. Elliot knew Nathan was on his way, and they had to hurry to keep Nathan from finding her. What he wasn’t expecting to find was his mate.

Hannah had had enough of men telling her what to do and finding out Elliot was a vampire didn’t make the situation any easier. He would take it slow and tread softly, or she would stake him, simple as that.

Finding out Nathan and Duncan had banned together spelled trouble for everyone. Even though Hannah was now immortal, Elliot still worried about her because she could still be hurt, and no one touched his mate if they wanted to live.

 

The Sons of Crosby Series
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Misty had been sitting in a cramped car for five days. It really wasn’t restrictive— her dad had always liked the bigger cars. And when he found one that suited him, he would drive it until there was nothing but rust, spit, and tape holding it together. This particular rust bucket was newer—well, at least it wasn’t too bad…yet. As soon as he pulled into the hotel parking lot, she nearly leaped from the car to stretch.

“You sure do creak a lot.” She turned and looked at her dad, ready to blast him for saying such a thing. That was when she realized that he was talking to the car and not her. “But you got us here all right, so I guess that’s fine too.” She would never, for as long as she lived, understand men and their relationships with cars. Or for that matter, sports. Misty loved football. It was like the only thing she could watch that would relax her.

And that was only because she could scream and throw things at the television and no one got hurt. She took her football seriously. And her team was Ohio State. Misty went into the office of the hotel and signed her and her dad into a room by using a false identity. Going to different hotels for the past few days, using fake names, was the only way she knew to be assured of their safety. And that of her brother too. She’d also been using cash since they’d left their home, as well as random names. Dad had had a bit of money at the house, and she had gone by her own on the way here and taken out all the cash she had in the bank, as well as any she had stashed around the house. That was one of the many things that she’d learned from Sean.

“Always have a backup. Not just a backup plan, but things that will make the backup work. I mean in everything you do. Money stashed where you can easily get to it. Get a couple of burner phones. A set of your car keys someplace other than your home, as well as water. You cannot be on the run without that.” She laughed and asked him if he thought she was going to be in trouble. “I’d like to say yes because you are trouble, but that’s not what I mean right now. I’m being serious. Someday you might be, you might have to run, and those things will get you closer to being safe.” Misty had done what he’d told her.

Not only did she have several thousand dollars that she could grab and go, but all the other things that he’d told her as well. Misty had also added jerky to her things. She knew that she couldn’t go far on an empty stomach, and she was forever forgetting to eat. “You want to get a pizza? Or go for a burger?” Her dad was enjoying this trip. Zigzagging across the state to keep ahead of the guys after Alex would be fun, she thought, if it wasn’t for the fact that it wasn’t for the fun of exploring, but a necessity. Dad was terrified, as was she, about her brother, but they were both trying to make the best of it. And knowing that he was safe helped a great deal. “I’m all for a burger, and not to eat it in the car.” “Yeah, me too. I want to check in with Sean. Let him know that we’re close and then we’ll go.” Dad smiled and said that he’d drive. “All right. And Dad, I love you.”

“I love you too, pumpkin. And I also wanted to tell you how proud I am of you.” She was tired, she told herself. That was why his words affected her so deeply. Instead of standing there like a fool sobbing about her daddy’s words, she picked up one of the burner phones and turned it on. You do know that you can speak to me like this, don’t you? Misty smiled. Why are you wasting your phone on calling someone that you only have to reach for? It sort of freaks my dad out. He understands what you are and that I trust you. But the mind talking thing, it makes him feel weird. But he’s in the car, waiting for me, so I can tell you that we’ve stopped at a hotel on Route Forty. It’s called Sweet Dreams. He asked her where she was in the hotel. If you mean, where am I standing, just outside room six. We’ve not gone into our rooms as yet. Why? He was suddenly standing in front of her. Backing up a bit, he was so close, two more people appeared near him, and none of them looked all that happy. Or maybe it was their natural state. The woman started barking orders almost as soon as she appeared. It was then that she noticed there were several more people coming out of the small group of trees behind the place. “You’re in trouble.” She nodded to him.

“We’re here to get rid of anything that can place you here. Someone wants your ass but bad. It’s a nice one, by the way, but just not my type.” “Are you trying to tell me something and you’re buttering me up for the bad news?” He nodded. “Is Alex all right?” “Yes. But you’re not. Nor is your dad. We’re here to erase you from here.” She asked him what was going on. “I honestly don’t know yet, and neither do my sisters-inlaw. The men that are following the two of you, they only have one thing in their head—get you or one of your other family members and take them back to the boss. We don’t know who that is either. And Alex, I’m sorry to say, is going to be their target. He’s the easiest to capture. And they’re sure that you’d do anything to keep him safe.” “I would.” He nodded and looked over her shoulder. Turning, she saw her dad there. Also, there was a lot of work being done, some of it she only just now understood. There were wolves pissing on cars as well as the hotel room they’d not been in yet. She looked at her dad, who looked confused and concerned. “Dad, this is my friend, Sean Crosby.

I’ve told you about him. They’re marking our things with their scent so that we cannot be detected as being here.” “Thank you, daughter. I was a might clueless. And you, young man, I want to tell you that I’m indebted to you. You surely saved my son, and I will be forever working on repaying you for that.” It never occurred to her dad to think that calling Sean a young man was well off the mark. But like her, he was stressed too. “What do we—? That guy is taking our wheels. I do hope that he isn’t stealing it. Is he?” “No, sir. He’s taking it to my brother’s house. He has a large barn that we’re going to store it in. And there are pack on the land that are going to mark that place up as well.” She looked up at Sean. “You’re going to travel with me. And your dad is going to go with my brother, Jason. All right?”
“Yes. You’re better at this cloak and dagger shit than I am. By the way, I had to ditch my real phone. Do you have a landline that I can use to get some work done? Someone I work with has been trying to get in touch with me since we left.” He said that he did. “Good.

I would love for you to meet him. He’s more persnickety. Nothing ever changes with him. It’s fucking annoying.” “He sounds like a real winner. Are you ready?” She nodded and closed her eyes. Misty knew what to expect, and when she got to wherever he was taking her, she’d be sick for a little bit. In no time, they were standing in a very lovely living room. “Steady now. Let me get you to a seat, then you can sit for a moment.” It didn’t take long, his way of travel, but it was hard on a girl. As soon as she had her bearings, her brother came to give her a hug. Standing up so that she could make sure that he wasn’t hurt, she let the tears fall freely from her eyes. Alex was all right—that was all she could focus on right now. Her little brother was all right. Dad hugged him too when he arrived. He had taken to the way vampires travelled better than she had. Misty hugged them both. They were safe. She knew that if anyone or anything came their way, they were in a position to be as safe as they could be. There were several other people in the room with them. Misty had never met Sean’s family, but she could almost guess who they were. Sean had told her all about his family over the years, his brothers anyway, and she was glad to finally meet them. She only wished that it wasn’t an emergency that had brought them all together. “Everyone, this is Able and Misty Quartermain. Able, Misty, this is my family. From left to right, you have Jason and his wife, Jewel, Chase and Emerald next to them. Elliot and Hannah, and that’s Ryan, the youngest.” Misty looked for the fifth brother. Just then he walked into the room eating a thick sandwich of what smelled like roast beef. “And that hog there is my brother Grayson.” The sandwich was still poised halfway to his mouth as he stared at her. The plate in his other hand held another one. He kept watching her like he’d rather be having her for a meal. The amount of hunger in his eyes scared her enough to stand behind Sean.

The low growl coming from Grayson brought her not only out from behind Sean, but right up in Grayson’s face. “You growl at me again, you jackass, and I’ll tear your face off. I’ve had it up to my fucking ass with men that think they can growl at me and I’ll jump.” She poked him in the chest then. “I don’t jump for any man, woman, or child. Do you understand me? I’m not going to keep my desk cleaned off when I’m working, and I most certainly will not go on vacation when you do just so things can be the same as usual. I’m my own person, not a puppet with strings that you’re going to use.” She realized what she’d done before they started clapping. Misty had mixed in her trouble at work with this man, and she was sorry for it. However, Grayson didn’t seem to think it was worth applauding at. He just kept staring at her—no longer with hunger, but with anger. It was so hot coming off him that she took several steps back. Grayson countered her, coming toward her even as she backed up more. Handing his plate and
sandwich to the man next to him, he kept coming. Putting up her hand, she told him to stop. “Who?” She asked him what he meant.

“Who did those things to you? I’m assuming that he’s still alive. Otherwise you’d not be here.” “It doesn’t matter. Why are you crowding me? Stop where you are.” He did, but now she was backed against the wall and her body was drenched in not just fear, but excitement as well. “Can you back up?” He didn’t, of course, and she was tempted to hit him. But he only turned his head just enough to speak to Sean, not taking his eyes off her. Misty didn’t know exactly what was going on—she hoped not, anyway. But she was afraid that she did actually understand, and she was in more trouble than ever. “You said that she knows all about us?” Sean said that she did and that he was terrifying her. “Yeah, I know, but my beast, he won’t let me go enough to help her.” “Well, let me help you then. I’m sick of men running over me.” Misty doubled up her fist and hit Grayson square in the nose. Then, when he was going back, she swung her leg around and did a roundhouse slap with her foot to his head. He went to the floor in a thud, breaking the end table that was behind him. The room erupted in laughter. Misty was not only afraid but embarrassed as well. Leaving the room, dragging Sean behind her, he told her that she had to let him go or he’d be dead. Stopping, she looked at her friend. “Please tell me that I’m wrong about his.” Sean backed away a few feet, then shook his head. “I don’t have time for his shit, Sean. I don’t even want to involve you guys at all, but I didn’t know what else to do.” “I know, honey, and I’m sorry. But Grayson is your mate. You can’t touch any of the males in the house until he touches you first.” She cocked her head at him, put her hands on her hips, and glared. “All you need to do now is tap your foot and you’d look just like you did in college.

” The women came out of the room and stood beside Sean. She hadn’t any idea what she was to do now, so she asked if there was a hotel that she could stay in. They shook their heads, and said it was much too late for that. “Fuck.” Jewel, she thought her name was, told her that was about right. “What the fuck am I supposed to do now? I don’t need this on top of all the shit that I have going on in my life. And I have to protect my brother. My dad too, since he has been drawn into this.” “He’s not the target. You are.” She looked at the woman she thought was Hannah. “I’ve been going over some of your cases—you’re good, by the way—and I found that you have opened up a can of shit that is supposed to have you dead. However, I can’t connect any of the dots to anyone you sent away. Not even parents of any of the deadbeats you won against.” “Why?” Grayson came out of the living room and she only glared at him. He leaned against the wall and didn’t come any closer. “You can’t get into my cases. They’re a part of the firm where I work.”

“I have ways.” She didn’t even bother asking her when Grayson came to stand by her and said that he was sorry. Misty ignored him for now. “Grayson is a good guy, if you can discount that he’s a Neanderthal. All of them are, as a matter of fact. But this thing with you, we’ll sit down after dinner and talk. There is a lot going on with you and your firm.” Misty moved to the front door and stopped when Grayson followed her, but she did notice that he kept his distance. Opening the front door, going out onto the front porch to just rock for a few minutes, Grayson came out too, and leaned against the railing in front of her. ~*~ She was furious. And beautiful. Grayson didn’t try to crowd her again but stood there watching her take angry strides to the chair. He might have pointed out that the rocker was old and rickety, but again, he thought he’d get further if he kept his mouth shut. “I’m your mate.” He nodded. “I know enough about your kind, as well as your family, to know that this is a done deal, no matter what I say or try to do. Isn’t it?” “Yes. If it helps you any, I’m as surprised by this as you are.

” She rocked harder, and the chair was inching its way to him. “May I ask you a favor? And I know you will have no trouble whatsoever telling me no, but I’d like for you to hear me out.” “All right. But I also reserve the right to tell you to fuck off again.” He told her it was a deal and asked if he could sit next to her. “Sure, but no touching yet. I’m still working a few things out in my head, and I do much better when I can think without distractions.” “I do that as well. I’m a loner, most of the time. Anyway, I’d like for you to move into my house with me.” She just stared at him, and Grayson could have gladly laid at her feet and let her abuse him. “Your family is welcome there as well. The house is an old one, and I’ve only just had it brought up to code. The kitchen is a mess, but it’s coming along. As I was saying, it’s a large house, with plenty of rooms so you’d never have to see me if you didn’t want. But I’d feel safer, until we can get this figured out, if you stay there.” “What’s so different that you think your house is better? I know that a hotel is out— too many people coming and going all the time. The hotel we were going to stay at, it looked like a stiff wind could have blown open the doors. Why your place and not, say, one of your brothers’ homes?” “I’d have to kill one of my family members, and I’d rather not.” She just stared off into the drive, and he wondered what she was thinking. He could have looked, but he didn’t want her not to trust him. “You and Sean, you’ve known each other for a while, I guess.” “Yes. He saved my life. Quite literally. I was nearly raped and left for dead one night after leaving work. Sean just happened to be in the right place to kill some men that were hell bent on having fun with me. I didn’t know until a few days later they weren’t human, but vampires like him.” Misty looked at him. “Like you all, I guess.”
“Yes, the men in the family are. We’re lucky enough to have a bit more too, as I’m sure he told you.

But the women, they’re not just human either. We have a faerie prince and princess, a dragon king and queen, as well as ice dragons that we can call to us for help. As well as the pack that roams all of our land.” Her rocking had slowed, and he paced his rocker with hers. “I was a fool earlier with you. I had my feet knocked out from under me, even before you did it.” “I’m sorry about that. Lately men have been giving me shit, and I’ve about had it.” She looked at him and he let her. There was something so profoundly heartwarming to have someone look at him like she was. “I’m an attorney. I’ve worked really hard at it too. The firm that I work for—worked for, I guess—they don’t think that women have any place in that business other than— Well, other than fucking their way to the top of them. I don’t play around.” “No, I know that.” She stared at him, then looked out over the drive. There was pack there, several of them as a matter of fact. “I don’t live far from here. After dinner, would you and your family like to come out and see the house? Like I said, it’s being worked on, extensively as a matter of fact. But the security system is state of the art, and the furniture is some that I’ve collected over the years.” Grayson decided not to bring up her job again, or the men she was working for. He wasn’t sure what she meant by the change in her job status, but he’d have Jewel—or better yet, Emerald—look into it for him. The company was going to pay if they didn’t play ball with whatever she wanted from them. “There are things about me that I’d like to tell you.

” She looked at him and he nodded. “I’m aware that you can tell that I’ve never had sex, but the reason why might make you laugh at me. Especially considering how I was treated at my job. I’m not going back there—I don’t think, anyway. I’ve only just decided that I think I could do better on my own.” “More than likely. Ryan, the one just younger than me, he practices law for us— well, practice is a comical term when you realize that he’s been practicing for centuries.” She nodded and leaned back in the chair, no longer rocking. “You said that you might make me laugh when I hear why you’re still a virgin. And you’re correct, I can smell that about you.” “I was saving myself for one man—you, I guess now. But I wanted it to be perfect when I married. I guess that is shot all to hell.” Grayson asked her why. “You have to survive with me only, correct? I mean, Sean told me a great deal about mates, and the way they go at sex like rabbits in heat.

” Grayson burst out laughing. For such a serious conversation, she was delightfully honest. When she smiled at him, it was as if she’d given him a rare glimpse of her. He’d bet anything that her life over the last several months was taking its toll on her. And now this. “We do like our sex. And yes, when you’re ready, we’ll have lots of it.” She just cocked a brow at him. “I don’t mean to be indelicate, but I’ve fed recently. I can go a bit longer before I want to sink my teeth into you and have a hell of an orgasm.”
Misty’s face brightened in embarrassment. They both turned when the front door to Jason’s home opened. Alex stepped out onto the porch and began signing to his sister. Misty was telling him what they were talking about, he supposed, so that he’d not feel left out. “He said that we’re to come in for dinner, but only if I can refrain from hitting you again.” She looked at him, then back at her brother as she answered him. “That remains to be seen. We’ll have to cross that bridge when we get to it. Also, your father is on his way, and Jason wants to know if he can tell them that we’re a couple.” “If you don’t mind.” She said that she didn’t care either way, but she wasn’t easy. This too she signed to her brother, and his face heated up. “Does your brother read lips?”

“Ask him. And yes, he does, but I have been really hard on my brother. I bullied him into never being handicapped.” Alex laughed, then nodded. “He can read lips, but only if you’re looking at him. And mustaches muddle the words for him. Which is no problem here—none of you are sporting any.” Grayson could talk to Alex and did so, welcoming him to the family. Alex glanced at his sister as she made her way into the house, and then asked to speak to him. Grayson told him that he could, at any time. He sat down next to him. After telling Grayson everything that happened at the police station, Alex asked him why he’d not been arrested, or for that matter, why it hadn’t been put into the paper that he was missing. Grayson had an answer for him, but he wasn’t sure if he could be honest with him as he would with his sister. “Please do. Misty, she made sure that I was never handicapped, as she said, but she’s also made it so that I could become a part of the world. Most in my place have given up, only hang out with others like them—deaf and/or mute people. I have a few friends like me, but most of my friends are speaking and hearing people.” Grayson told him he was extremely lucky to have a sister like Misty. “I am. I don’t know what would have happened to me had she not been who she is. Also, even though I’m just human, if you hurt her in any way, I will grind you to dust. Understand?”

“Yes.” Grayson liked this young man and decided that he’d like for him to stay with them until he met his own mate. He thought he could learn a great deal from the younger man. “The reason that you’ve never been pursued or attached to what happened there is because you were never to have been arrested for that crime. I don’t know all the details yet—my sisters, the other women, they’ll have a better handle on this than me. But, like I told your sister, you were just the person that they were going to use to get to her. And you would have been killed had my family, mostly Sean, not stepped in and helped.” Alex sat there, not saying anything, and Grayson waited. Alex, like his sister, was a thinker. He thought that they might have gotten that from their mom. Their dad, Able, he tossed out ideas and threw them away like he was testing the grounds. They were a good family. And Grayson found himself thinking that he was going to enjoy getting to know all three of them, provided Misty didn’t kill him first.

Laughing, he went into the house with Alex. “I hope you’re hungry.” Alex nodded and rubbed his belly. “Well, don’t sit next to Elliot. He’s a pig and will take food from your plate if you’re not watching him.” Alex told him that he’d figured that out but thanked him. Yes, Grayson thought, he was really enjoying having a mate so far.

 

Lucas The Manning Dragon Release Day and Giveaway

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Micky could have gone her entire life without those words.

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Griffith: The English Dragon Release Day & Giveaway

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

KOBO https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/griffith
PAPERBACK  https://amzn.to/2MrrQGJ

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Danburn Amazon USA http://amzn.to/2ha2oTk

 Amazon UK  http://amzn.to/2yhzuZc

Everette  http://amzn.to/2x9BG4V
Hanson http://amzn.to/2ezuUAI
Dana https://amzn.to/2pZj2tw

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Valyn Release Day & Giveaway

 

Jennifer Hale had been in the hospital handcuffed to the bed for five days. The winged man standing guard had not left her side since she’d been brought in, and the fact that no one else could see him gave her the willies.

The man robbing the diner where Jenny worked had shot her in the leg, and then she had killed him with his own gun. It was kill or be killed, but the local authorities hadn’t seen it that way—until now. They were releasing her and as of now she had no job, and no home to return to.

Valyn the Slayer was just tired. He had just one desire, to be put to sleep for an eternity. Ever since he’d lost his small charge, the simple act of living seemed too much for him. He had only looked away for a moment, now she was gone, and he blamed himself. And now “Boss” was telling him his mate was here….
“She’s a lovely girl. Broken too, if you want to know the truth of it. Perhaps you’ve heard her mentioned. She’s the woman that saved that diner full of patrons about a week ago.” He’d heard of it but didn’t know her name. “The bill collectors are hounding her hourly. However, they are not putting the calls through to her room at the hospital for fear of upsetting her. She’s made some very good friends while staying there.”

“What happened to her?” Boss told him what she’d done and how she’d been shot. “And the bill collectors? Why are they hounding her? I’m assuming that she has debt, but it’s more than that, isn’t it?”

“Yes, she’s now homeless and jobless. Also, with this other business of the credit card, there is no way that she can make anything work out right for her. Not without a great deal of help.” Valyn sat down on the wire wheel that had been left behind when the house had been rewired. “Valyn, you told me that you were broken and why you thought so. But this woman, she can help you in ways that I cannot.”

“You could if you would just put me to sleep.” Boss shook his head. “What if I don’t go and see her? Don’t take her as my mate? Because I don’t think my life could be any better to have her with me. I’m not good around people anymore. I don’t want to have someone depending on me for their wellbeing. It’s too much.”

 

 

 

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Ellena deLeon

LeeAnn Messenger

 

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His love for her was forbidden…

Riss has been around since the beginning of time and watching his charges be born, grow up, and die has taken a toll on him. Until lately, being a Protector has always been enough… The Archangel Michael, Riss’s mentor and superior, decides with the help of their “Boss” to change things up a bit―like the rest, he doesn’t want to lose one of his best Protectors. Riss is assigned to guide and protect Kala. Riss is not happy about the changes and hopes this is his last assignment as a Protector before he can quit and live his last year on Earth and die.

She has nothing left to lose―except her life…

Kala has lost everything: her family as a child, her job, and now her apartment. She is also having weird dreams that she can’t quite remember…dreams revolving around a single white feather. Kala’s sexual fascination with the feather brings forth the most gorgeous man she’s ever seen―Riss. He came for his feather―he can feel everything she does with it throughout his body.

Sex with a human is forbidden and Riss has never even considered it―until now.

A madman, suffering from a delusional fantasy, has set his sights on Kala. He has already killed and will kill again. She will be his or suffer the consequences…

And Riss has been forbidden to interfere…

 

Agon
“She is not going to be my wife. In any way, Riss.” Riss nodded as Agon started pacing again. “I want to touch her. Feel her body close to mine and kiss her. I have a need to taste her mouth to see if it tastes as good as I think it might. Then there is my body. I cannot control it around her. I run so hot and hard that I feel as if the world knows that I need her in ways that are not right.”
“She will taste better than you can ever dream of, and her body will give you pleasure in ways you cannot imagine.” Agon stared at him for several seconds. “But you cannot touch her. She is your charge. If you do not wish to have her as your wife, then you must not touch her in any way. If you do…if you do, my friend, then there will be no turning back. For the touch of the woman you are to spend your days with will haunt you in ways that will make you want to end your life in order to be with her. Trust me on this. I am well aware of how your body will crave her, and you will stop at nothing to have her again and again.”
“I do not want her.” Riss nodded and could see that Agon was lying to him as much as he was himself. “She is beautiful and stubborn, but I do not want her. But I fear that it might be too late for me.”

 

Galin knows it’s his turn and he isn’t having any part of it. He makes no bones about making it clear to Boss either that he both knows what he is up to and isn’t going to cooperate. He doesn’t now or ever want a wife.
“This boy you are going to protect is somewhat of a problem child. He has had a great deal thrown at him, but—”
“Boy?” Boss nodded and frowned. “No, I’m sorry, but it should be a woman, not a boy. I’m not…you’re going to assign me my wife to care for. I don’t want one, but I know it should be female. What is this about?” He pushed the file back at Michael.
“You want a wife? It was my understanding that you have no wish to be wed. Am I correct on that?” Galin nodded and looked at the file with the picture of a young boy on it. He appeared to be in his early teens maybe, but he wasn’t much older than that. “Galin? Do you wish for me to reassign you? Do you have no desire to help this young man?”
“I thought I was going into the rotation to find me a wife. The way that you did for Riss and Agon.” He looked up at Boss and Michael, who had summoned him today. “I had thought that the Mystic’s were a way for you to get rid of us all, and marrying us off was better than having us die. I’m…I’m not sure what’s going on now.”
Dusty McGee has just lost her sister to horrific accident and finds herself saddled with a very angry young nephew to raise. Now, some self-proclaimed protector, Galin, tells her that although he doesn’t want to marry her he would very much like to take her to his bed. She’s had about all that she can stand.
Markum has set his sights on taking the boy to his realm, convinced this is the alleged boy the demons have been searching for, and Dusty is an added bonus…

Reyna Sharp, Renie to her friends, just wanted to work out the time she had left alone, with no one bothering her. When she was a baby her mother had given her away in a Faustian deal with a demon. She had until her twenty-fifth birthday then she was supposed to spend eternity in Hell.

Arryn was next on the list of Mystics to take a mate. He had just lost another charge, and wasn’t up for anymore heartache. He didn’t think his heart could take being attached to a mate only to lose her in a few short months…

The war between good and evil had gone on since the beginning of time. But even the underworld has rules…rules that aren’t meant to be broken…

Once he’s kissed her, there’s no turning back… No matter how hard he tries, Arryn can’t stay away, and the more Renie pushes him away, the more he fights to keep her. Can love really conquer all?

 

 

1. Riss https://amzn.to/2K62tJ1

2. Agon https://amzn.to/2yDQQUz

3. Galin https://amzn.to/2yFKsfm

4. Aaryn https://amzn.to/2MkbICl

5. Valyn

 

 

 

Jenny didn’t open her mouth except to put food in it. Drinking water was done through a straw, and she didn’t count that as opening her mouth. The woman in the room with her, another cop, asked her if she wanted anything. Jenny didn’t bother answering her. She’d been in the hospital for five days now, in a private room with a television and a nice couch, and chair. They were much nicer and in better shape than the ones she had in her apartment. But here she was chained to the bed, and not able to go home and be on her own not so comfy furniture. The winged man asked her how she was feeling. He’d not left her side once since she’d been brought here. And the fact that no one else could see him gave her the willies. She didn’t talk to him either, but he sure did talk to her. And most of it was about the day in the diner. “The man you killed—rightfully—would have killed all those people in that diner if not for you.” She huffed at him. “He would have, and you saved them. Whatever they’re holding you for, it’s going to be finished very soon. I promise you.” Jenny glared at him and he smiled. She had no idea why she found him to be charming. Most of the time she didn’t go for that. But this man, for some reason, made her feel safe and secure. It was really too bad that he wasn’t real.

She remembered every detail about the day that things had gone to shit. Every second seemed to be burned into her mind—even the face, the half face of the man that she’d killed by shooting him with his own gun. She didn’t think that would be anything that she’d ever forget. But, it was kill him or be killed. All she wanted to do was make enough money that she could have a good meal. Not even to go out to dinner and such, but to be able to afford enough groceries so she could eat better. To say that she wasn’t making ends meet would be a gross understatement. She barely had a roof over her head when the rent came due. Rolling to her side as best she could with her leg wrapped up and the handcuff on her leg, Jenny thought about what it would be like not to have to worry about every little thing that came along. Like a coat for winter that didn’t need to have furnace tape on it to cover the holes. Or boots that were just a little too snug and put blisters on her toes. Being hauled into court over this credit card, one that she’d never seen or used, had taken all she had, and a great deal that she didn’t. Perhaps, she thought, she should have let the man kill her. “Don’t think like that.” She looked at the man in front of her.

His wings were impressive, and she wanted to touch them to see if they were real. “You mustn’t think like that. You are going to be so much better than you are now.” Closing her eyes against the pain that his words brought her, Jenny felt the tears roll down her cheeks. Nothing was ever going to be better, and she knew it as surely as she was lying there. When the door opened, she didn’t even bother looking up.

“Miss Hale.” She looked at the cop, Benny Anderson, the one that had locked her to this bed. “I’ve come to apologize to you and to take the cuffs off. We shouldn’t have ever put them on you.” “Is this a trick?” He shook his head and smiled. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather you didn’t talk to me. You’ve been hounding me for days now, and I don’t particularly like you.” “Really? My wife says that I’m charming, when I want to be.” She only huffed at him and the female officer left them. “Yes, well, you’re right on that one when I locked you up. But I did have a reason for doing it. You would have left here the first day you were admitted, wouldn’t you have?” “I can’t afford this. And I’m pretty sure that you know it.” Benny nodded and glanced to her left at the winged man. “Is he real?” Benny looked at her with the strangest smile. But he only nodded. A million and one questions came to her in that second, but she wasn’t sure that she trusted herself or this man enough to ask them. Instead, she looked at the winged man. “His name is Arryn. He’s a protector.” Jenny tore her eyes away from Arryn and looked at Benny again.

“He’s here to watch over you while you’re here. And there are more like him to take care of you when you leave.” Closing her eyes again, she thought of someone watching over her. It would have been a lot easier had someone been watching her since she left home ten years ago. Benny was talking to Arryn, and she tried to calm her mind down enough to think. It was difficult when all she could think about was how much this stay in the hospital was going to cost her. Arryn sat in the chair that was in her line of sight. “I’d like to talk to you about some things. Is that all right? Benny has gone now, but he’ll be back later with his wife. You’ll like her, she’s one of us.” She asked him just what that was. “I used to be a Protector, someone that watched over an assigned person or animal from birth until they passed onto the next part of their journey. But now, I’m call a Mystic. I’m training new Protectors on how to manage in the real world, your world, so they can figure out how to blend in when they’re here.” “I think I would have noticed winged people all around.” He told her that she wasn’t meant to see them. “I see. Actually, no I don’t. You want to help them blend in, but no one sees them. What does that even mean?” “We sometimes take a break. We take them when our charge, the one we’ve been chosen to watch over, passes from this life to the next level. It’s hard, spending a great many years with someone and not get to know and love them. So the break is necessary so that we can get back in the rotations and go with another being.” She asked him why she could see him. “You’re not dead, if that’s what you’re thinking. I could look, but I won’t do that again unless you stop talking to me. You can see me because of your future. You’re going to be the mate to one of my kind. Do you understand what a mate is?” “You mean a slave to someone. Thanks, but no thanks. My mother was a slave to my father, and I’m never going to go through that. Never.” Arryn told her that it
wasn’t like that. “Sure it’s not. And this other man, this other Protector, he’s going to take care of me? I bet that this job you say you have, it more than likely doesn’t pay much, does it? And that I’m going to have to find a job to support us both. As I said before, thanks but no thanks.” “It pays very well.” She didn’t bother asking him what sort of well he thought it was. “You’re very hard to reason with. Has anyone told you that before?” “No. I’m not usually so untrusting. But you being a winged man while I’m in a hospital room that I can ill afford while I wonder where I’m going to work, or even if I have a place to go back to, that makes me a little hostile.” He laughed. It was a beautiful sound, one that she thought she could hear a great deal and never tire of it. “Why don’t you go bother someone else? As soon as I’m out of here, I have a shit load of stuff to do. And being here, it’s not going to pay my rent or feed me. I don’t usually have enough to do the latter of that, but I need to find a job.” The door opened, and a beautiful woman came in. She glowed, like a million lights were shining on her. And when she smiled, it was breathtaking. Jenny was afraid to acknowledge her. What if she was as unreal as the rest of this? “Hello, Jenny.

My name is Lily. I’m the wife of Benny Anderson. The detective that brought you here.” Jenny shook her hand and felt something profound run over her body. It wasn’t painful, but it was certainly a lot of something. “Oh, you’re going to be so good for Valyn. He’s expecting you, but doesn’t know where you are or when you’re coming.” “Is that the man that expects me to wait on him hand and foot? If it is, I’d rather he didn’t know where I was at all.” Lily just smiled. It was becoming irritating the way they thought a smile was the cure all to everything. “I think you both should leave me alone now. I’m hoping to get myself out of here soon. As much as you probably expect me to say it’s been fun, it hasn’t. You two are bonkers.”

This time she heard different laughter. Looking around for the source, she knew that she’d gone off the deep end. But the man sitting in the chair, one that hadn’t been there before, was still laughing. He asked the other two to leave them alone, that he’d keep an eye on her for a little while. “You’re very lucky. And smart.” Jenny didn’t know what to say to him, so she kept her mouth shut. “I wanted to tell you about Valyn. He’s my—I guess you could call him my next project.” “If it’s all the same to you, I don’t want to be someone’s lab rat in a project.” He laughed again, and for some odd reason, Jenny thought that he didn’t do that very much. “Who are you?” “They all call me Boss. I have come to like the term. It so much friendlier than anything else I might go by. I’ve really come to calm your mind about a great many things. If you would allow me to, that is.” She nodded, not even sure that she could have told him no. “There’s a good girl. Valyn, he’s one of the most generous and kind men I have had the pleasure of working with. I think that you and he will get along famously. But he’s been heavy in his heart for some time now. I think you’re the one to pull him from it all.”
“I don’t want to pull anyone out of anything. In the event you might not know, I don’t have a pot to piss in, and not enough money to even begin to pay this bill.” He snapped his fingers and handed her the paper that suddenly appeared. It said that her stay here was paid in full. “What did you do? Screw around on a computer to do this? I won’t be a part of anything illegal. You fix it.” “The bill has been paid. There is no screwing around on anyone’s part. I paid it. And I’d do it again for you if you needed it.” She still didn’t trust him. “I’d like for you to listen to me for a bit. I would like to tell you what you’re coming into with Valyn.” “I see. You’ve paid off my bill so that I’d have no choice other than to go to this man and be his slave.” He asked her why she thought she’d be a slave. “I know what I am, Mr. Boss. A nobody that has nothing. And men that would want a nobody like me are usually either drunks, thieves, or a combination of both. I don’t need the extra pressure put on me. I don’t have it in me.” “You’re much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Why, you saved a great many people when you killed Edward. You have no idea how grateful I am to you.” She said it was only a few people.

“No. What you don’t know, and very few would, is that he wasn’t going to be killed by the police as he so wanted. But he was going to leave the diner after killing everyone, including you, and murder thirty-one more people before he killed himself. You also saved three police officers that tried to take him in, as well as two people that would have been so injured by his bullets that they would never able to walk again.” “You mean, he could have done those things. There isn’t any way that you’d know that for sure.” He only nodded, and Jenny believed him. Looking around the room, she spoke to him again. “Why is this happening to me? I feel like I’m on some kind of rollercoaster that never ends.” “A very long time ago you saved a small child. Do you remember that?” Nodding, Jenny looked at him. “She had no more idea than you did at the time what she was going to come to mean to a great many people. Her knowledge and will to get to the bottom of things has made her into a great woman. She has saved so many lives because of what she does. And that is all thanks to you. You could have let her lay there and die, but you carried the small bundle to the hospital and left her there to get care. When you yourself needed much more than she did at the time. Your parents had taken a whip to you for not making a good grade on a spelling test.” “It was the one and only time that I showed them my work from school. I got all A’s all the time. And the spelling test had an A- on it. That pissed them off and they hurt me. Again.

” Mr. Boss nodded, the look on his face full of sadness. “I was determined to run away. To hide from them until I turned eighteen. At nine years old that seemed like a lifetime away. But I saw her in the trashcan and took her there. I knew that she’d be helped.” “And she did get it.” Mr. Boss grinned at her. “You need to stop calling me Mr. Boss. Even in your head. I’m just Boss.”
Jenny laid her head back on the pillow. Watching the man as he sat there, she grew sleepier and sleepier. When he told her to let go, to rest and he’d be back, Jenny let the exhaustion that she’d been feeling since she was brought here take her under. ~*~ Valyn was just putting up the last piece of drywall when he felt someone in the room with him. Janie Preston had been coming up all the stairs twice an hour to ask him a question about this or that. He knew that she was nervous, working at a different job than she’d had before, but he wanted her to just yell for him rather than go up and down the stairs. “You can call the store for them to deliver anything that you want. Or do the click and pay thing that Renie set up for you. It’s okay if you overorder, we’ll fix it.” When she didn’t answer him, he turned to look. Boss was leaning against the door jam and smiling. “You can go away too. This is my down time and I’m using it wisely. Unless you came here to grant my request.” “Nay, I have not. And I told you already that I will not put you to sleep for an eternity. You’re doing a fine job with this. I remember once before you were a carpenter.” Valyn went back to work. “I’ve talked to your mate.” That got his attention. But instead of asking Boss anything about her, he continued working. Of course, he thought that was just as funny. Finally, having finished with the sheet, Valyn set his trowel down and looked at him. The man was in an entirely too good of a mood for him to deal with right now. “I’ve told you, several times already, that I have no wish for a mate. I’m broken.” He’d only say that to Boss, and it pained Valyn when he did. “You’ll have to tell her that you’ve made a mistake.” Cocking his brow at him, Boss just stared. Valyn, usually not one to squirm when being examined as he was now, wanted to lock himself in a room until Boss left. But he knew that he’d not leave until he said or did what he’d come for.

“She’s a lovely girl. Broken too, if you want to know the truth of it. Perhaps you’ve heard her mentioned. She’s the woman that saved that diner full of patrons about a week ago.” He’d heard of it but didn’t know her name. “The bill collectors are hounding her hourly. However, they are not putting the calls through to her room at the hospital for fear of upsetting her. She’s made some very good friends while staying there.” “What happened to her?” He told him what she’d done and how she’d been shot. “And the bill collectors? Why are they hounding her? I’m assuming that she has debt, but it’s more than that, isn’t it?” “Yes. She’s now homeless and jobless. Also, with this other business of the credit card, there is no way that she can make anything work out right for her. Not without a great deal of help.” Valyn sat down on the wire wheel that had been left behind when the house had been rewired. “Valyn, you told me that you were broken and why you thought so. But this woman, she can help you in ways that I cannot.” “You could if you would just put me to sleep.” Boss shook his head. “What if I don’t go and see her? Don’t take her as my mate? Because I don’t think my life could
be any better to have her with me. I’m not good around people anymore. I don’t want to have someone depending on me for their wellbeing. It’s too much.” “Nay, it is not. And you are very strong, just tired.” Valyn found that he wanted to cry. It had been too long ago that he’d even thought about having something for himself. “Go and see her. You don’t have to show yourself. But see that what I tell you is the truth.” “I can’t.” Boss nodded and said that he understood. Then he was gone. “I don’t need someone depending on me. Can’t you see that?” He was talking to air, he knew that, but he really didn’t want to have to deal, or whatever needed to be done, with another person. He’d had about all that he could work with in his time here on Earth, and he didn’t want to tackle having a mate too. Getting up, he stretched his back and walked to the second room that he’d been working on. The walls in this room were all right. In fact, the ones that he’d been replacing in the other room were fine too. But it was nice to be able to work with his body again.

To lift and stretch muscles that had not been used in a few decades. Going downstairs, he saw that Janie was making an order for the grocery store to deliver. He got himself a glass of tea after telling her that he had it. Janie asked him if he wanted something to eat, that she had a pot pie all ready for him to have. “Yes, that would be great.” She nodded and went to the oven as he sat down at the little table in this room. “I’m not having your meal, am I? I don’t want to do that to you.” “No, I’ve eaten already. It’s well after two, and I was just waiting for you to come down.” He told her he was sorry. “Don’t be. You are a smart man and would have, sooner or later, come here to eat. I was ready for you.” They talked about what he liked and didn’t like, which wasn’t all that much in the dislike column. He did tell her that he enjoyed salads a great deal, and that he’d like to have them on occasion. She beamed with happiness to have him give her something to make for him. Valyn worried about a great many things lately, and very little of it did he have any control over. “I’ve got myself a mate.” He had told her when he’d rescued her from the bank one afternoon what he was, and begged her to keep his secret. “She’s in the hospital after being shot by a would-be madman.” “The Hale woman?” He didn’t know her name and told her so. “Jennifer Hale is her name if it’s the same woman. She was shot by the man before she ended up killing him with his own gun. I heard that she’s recuperating, and should be released from the hospital soon.” “I don’t want her.” Janie didn’t say anything, but he could feel her confusion. “I’m not a well man. I’ve seen too much and done much more. I can’t have someone in my life that could be hurt by my unwillingness to be something that I’m not.” “And what is it you think she’d want from you, Valyn? She has nothing, from what I’ve heard. And she’s out of work, as the owner of the place that she worked has closed the restaurant down as of the day that Mr. Goodman came in.” He told
her what Boss had told him. “Oh, so you think that she’ll want all your money. From what I’ve been made to understand, you have more than you could spend in several lifetimes. Not that it makes it right if that is what she wants, but I highly doubt that. And I’m sure you don’t believe it either.” “I wouldn’t think so.” He ate a few bites of the pot pie before shoving it away. Janie pushed it right back at him and told him to eat. “I’m not a child that needs to have a mother figure making me eat.” “Then perhaps you should stop acting like one and get your ass in gear.” He was shocked by her words, and when she stood up and went to the computer, he had the overwhelming urge to cry again. “You have someone out there that could make every hurt that you have seem like nothing. A person that, from what I’ve seen, will love you despite your being a baby about things. And here you sit on your ass, whining about being broken.

Well, how do you think she feels right now?” “Why are you talking to me this way? You work for me.” She asked him if he wanted her to quit in order to talk to him like he deserved. “I don’t deserve any of this. I didn’t ask for her to come into my life.” “Then you’re going to be as broken as you think you are now.” Leaving the kitchen, Valyn made his way out to the yard. It was cold this time of year, but he so loved the way the earth seemed to go to sleep and let the winter take control. He wanted to think, to clear his mind, but he had a feeling that he wouldn’t. At least not until he saw this woman for himself. Instead of driving himself, which he was terrible at, he asked Renie to take him there, and she told him she’d be there in ten minutes. Valyn hoped that he wasn’t making the biggest mistake of his life by visiting this woman. But he knew as surely as he was standing there that she might just need him more than he needed her. And if it took all his money to make her secure in her life, then he’d gladly give it to her, so long as she didn’t come into his life and expect more than he could give her. Love, he knew, was no longer an emotion that he had.

 

Tanner Release Day & Giveaway

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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