Shane Dragon Savior Release Day & Giveaway 8/22/16

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Lelani Wayne trusted no one but her familiar, Roger. And even he, at times, got on her last nerve. She didn’t like being around people. People made her nervous, and when a witch as powerful as she was got nervous, it could be disastrous for anyone in the vicinity.

A powerful witch, Erin Wayne, knew she was going to die, and reached out to the closest being she could find to take her powers and memories. She connected with Kiaran, Asher’s dragon counterpart. The jolt of the transfer took all the Benson’s to their knees.

The Benson’s were on a mission to finish the reconstruction of the castle. Shane, and his dragon counterpart, Keion, were doing their share to make it happen. But when Shane saw his very pregnant sister-in-law, Essie, bringing lunch, and a stranger approaching her fast, he couldn’t get to Essie fast enough. The baby was coming–now.

Lelani was looking for Kiaran to get her sister’s memories and warn him that the Herald, a group of witch hunting zealots, might have traced the memories and be after Kiaran as well. What she didn’t expect to find was Shane and Keion, two very big, handsome, virile men, invading her personal space claiming to be her mate. That made her nervous….
Aedan  News Letter winners was
                                                                KERRY ERICKSON
                                                                 KATHRY BAYLIS
                                                                 YARITZA SANTANA
                                                                  ROBIN DENNISON
Jorden news Letter  Winners was  
                                                                     Reda Blair 
                                                                     Ann Ivey 
                                                                    Shona Wesley 
You should have already gotten your book in the mail if you did not get it please contact Denise at and let her know , She will have the tracking numbers
Happy Reading ,
Hope  to see you there !!!!!!!!
 Kathi S. Barton Author & Elizabeth Seckman Book Signing at Empire Books & News
30 Pullman Sq, Huntington, WV 25701
Sept 10 5 pm to 7PM
“Tonight, we will rid the world of another witch. Their magic, their unholy ways of making others do what they wish, their worshipping of Satan, will be abolished with them one at a time, so long as we have breath in our bodies to do so.” Rohm Herald looked out over his followers, men who believed as he did, that witches and their kind should not be allowed to be a part of this world. He turned to look at the witch on the stake behind him, at her face and then her belly, fat with no doubt Satan’s bastard no matter what she said to the contrary. Her lies had brought her here, and she would die knowing that he’d done all he could to bring her from the darkness this night. “Do you give yourself over to His word? Do you now forsake the lifestyle that you have lived, following the man with a forked tongue and black magic?”
For an answer, she spit in his face. He wished they were alone even now. He would wipe that smile from her face even as he cut her heart out. Rohm drew back his hand to slap her, to bloody her blasphemous lips once again.
“You do and you will never see your next child take its first breath. Mayhap you won’t anyway, if I can help it.” The words, spoken softly, felt as if she’d burned them into his head. “You will stop this foolishness, Rohm Michael Herald, or I will bring a curse down on you that will be felt generations down your line. So far removed from you that you will think I lie, that my magic has no meaning to you.”
“Are you saying that you be a witch?” She laughed then, her head thrown back in mirth that made his body tighten in fear and anger. “You will die this day, by fire, should you not tell me that you have no magic in you, that you do not practice the arts of witchcraft if you be one. Renounce now and I will spare you the death of fire.”
“I will die anyway, and you know that. You have it in your head that I will, and that will come to pass. Even my babe, your grandchild, is going to die with me because you care not to hear the truth of my words.” He did know that, but he would make her death quick, much quicker than that which was planned. “I am a witch.”
His congregation gasped at her words. Then when she laughed, the sound of it echoing over the vast field that they had been using for a year now to rid the world of women such as her, once again Rohm felt the stirring of fear settle over him.
Rohm had no choice in this now. She had made her decision and now she must die by it. Lifting the flame that had been handed to him by his second, his own son Michael, he turned to the men that had worked with him for so long. It was coming up on midnight, the bewitching hour, he’d been told; time to do his duty for the world.
“Tonight we bring to our fold Mary Wayne. She has been found guilty of being a witch; has admitted to us all here that she is what we feared, the child of Satan.” Mary laughed behind him and began speaking, her voice too low for him to understand her words. Raising his own voice, Rohm continued. “We burn the devil from her and his child within her. Then when it is done, and all is balanced in this world, we will give her body a proper burial and bless her for her life. For being a mere woman, she knows not what she has done.”
The sound of her words came to him then. She was cursing him, and those that were in the field beyond. When he turned to her again, the flame ready to set to the wood there, the moon was blotted out for a moment. He staggered back when two great beasts landed in the field with them. But as he made his way to them, thinking the beasts were there to eat them, a man appeared in the place of one of them, a woman by his side in place of the other. Rohm thought perhaps it was his mind playing tricks on him, or maybe the witch making him see things that were not there. The man and woman were close enough to make out now, and he nearly welcomed them.
As soon as the flame in his hand went out, the men that he could call upon fell to their knees, then to their backs as the man and woman walked by them. They had surely killed them, he thought. And would him as well. Soon it was just the four of them, Mary, the couple, and himself. Rohm felt his body tighten, his skin crawl, when he dared to think what this might mean. They too were witches, powerful ones that had come to murder him.
“Mary, you’ve gotten yourself into trouble again, haven’t you?” The witch called the man his lordship. “Rohm. I can see that you have not heeded the advice of others, and have perhaps bitten off a bit more than you can chew in this. You were told to stop killing the women that will not heel to your word. And that burning women at the stake isn’t the way things are done. Were you not?”
“She has claimed boldly to be a witch. Has admitted before my men that she is indeed a practitioner of the dark arts. In this, she has left me no choice but to do as my fellow believers wish and burn the devilry out of her.” Mary claimed that she had not. “I heard you. You said you were a witch.”
“She is a witch, but does not wholly practice the dark side of it.” Rohm backed up when the man, a great warrior, stepped up on the dais of stone set up for him to stand upon when Rohm himself was at his duties. He looked to be a man of great wealth and size. His body was lean, not an ounce of fat upon him, Rohm thought, not at all like he was. “But it’s not the reason that you’ve brought her here, is it? You’ve another agenda that has nothing to do with dark or white magic, but with her babe and your son. You should learn more about witchcraft and the people who use it if you plan to use it against them. Dark arts are—”
“Anthony, he cares not what they practice,” the woman said with an air of authority. “Nor does he care if she is indeed a witch or not. Others have not done as he told them, and he’s found reason, much like he has with Mary here, to have them killed. Mary has done nothing to him, save not telling him sooner that it is his own son who is the father of her unborn child. It is only happenstance that she is also a witch.” Anthony turned to the woman at his side and smiled at her. Rohm could almost taste their love for each other, feel it as if it were a warmed blanket that had been dried on the line in the yard. And it pissed him off. Women were not to show such emotions to a man, especially not in the public as this one was doing. He’d opened his mouth to call her a witch as well when she simply looked at him. His throat grew tight and he could not speak. But she could. “Come, the night grows cold and we have much to do this night.”
“So we do.” Anthony turned to the witch, and with a snap of his fingers she was down on her knees in front of the stranger. “Mary, I have a task for you should you like. If you’ve no wish, there will be no punishment and you will be well paid for your troubles this night.”
“He meant to kill me, my lord. I feel it my duty to end his life where he stands. I am here only because his son, Michael, could not keep his pecker in his pants when he has a wife of his own.” Anthony looked out over the field, and Rohm knew the exact moment that Anthony spied his son. “He will need to pay for what he has had done to me this night. I have no house, my books have been burned, and he has taken my coin as well.”
“Do not think to harm my son, sir. I know not who you are, but should you harm him, I will find you and make you pay.” Anthony looked at him then, and Rohm felt his body burn with the desire to run and never look back. “He is my only son. You will not harm him.”
“Nay, I will not harm him.” Rohm felt the air rush from his body then. But it was short lived as the man continued. “But he will not live to see his next child born, nor will you, I fear. You both have been found out, I think. His wife and your own lady wife know of the bastards that you have sired. There is a lot going on at your house this night.”
Rohm looked at Mary and could see her head bent, her body shaking with her laughter. When he reached for her, his knife in his hand before he could think how close the man was, Rohm decided that he would kill the witch himself. But his body grew hard till he could not even blink when the man told him to stop. The command in his voice, as hard as the stone he stood upon, held Rohm there. Then the man helped Mary up till the witch now stood near the woman and the man as he spoke.
“As I have mentioned, we’ve a task for you should you like to take it. It will be one of great importance to me and my family. It concerns the babe that you now carry.” Rohm watched as the woman touched her hand to Mary’s bastard child. Did they not know how unclean she was? Did she even care what she was doing? That inside of her grew a child that was made in sin? But he could no more speak to them than he could move. He could only watch in horror as they moved away and out of his reach.
This is not to be, he thought. He was in charge of clearing the world of such things as witches and other things that he did not understand. He cared not for what they had to say, but it was his duty, as a man of the cloth, to do this thing. For now, there was little to nothing he could do. But he would rise again, and soon. Rohm had lost this battle, but he would find her again.
As the midnight hour passed over, then the sun began to rise up and over the mountain, Rohm could finally begin to move. His body was sore, stiff from lack of movement. But his mind, his plans for the woman and man, and even Mary, had been plotted out. He would be ready for them; he would have his revenge in this.
He would find them. Even if he had to do so on his own, he would find them and kill them for what they’d done to him this night. When the men with him began to move, standing and looking bewildered, Rohm started barking out orders. He wanted this done, he wanted them dead. His next grandchild was due to be born in a matter of weeks.
“Find Mary, bring her back to me.”
No one questioned what had happened to her, where she had gone if not up in flames, but moved as if they were in a trance, their bodies as stiff and sore as his. But when one of the men called to him, told him that something had gone wrong, he knew with each step he took that his son, Michael, had died this night, and by the hand of, if not the witch, then the man and woman with her.
His son, the only living son of his loins, lay where he had dropped, his body fat with laziness, his face relaxed in death. Leaning over his child, he touched his fingers to his face and found him to be cold, as cold as the ground that would soon welcome him.
Rohm thought that nothing could have prepared him for the pain of it. It rolled over him in waves of anger, sorrow, and hate. The feeling in his heart blackened, killing whatever peace and good will he’d had there.
Rohm’s son had been born to him late in life, his wife having given him nine girls, all of them useless. She had gone to her own cold grave when she’d finally done her duty to him and given him a son. So happy he was with his namesake that Rohm never saw his wife die, leaving the room as soon as his child was given to him. Rohm couldn’t even say if she had been dead long when he’d taken his child to the church to be baptized, having him blessed in the event that something befell him too. He had wanted to take no chances with this boy. He thought that blessing him so soon after his birth would prevent him from being sickly and dying.
“Lord Herald, what should we do now?” He looked over at the wood piled high yet unburned by flame. The stake that he himself had cut down and put in the ground stood in testimony to the fact that he had failed. “Shall we take young Michael to the undertaker now?”
“Yes. And tell my eldest daughter….” He couldn’t remember her name, not that he would have tried had he even known it. “Tell her that I said to prepare a feast for his wake. When he is buried, it is then that we will find this woman and man and bring them here for their crimes against us. Mary will pay for my son and all the other sins that she has heaped upon my door.”
“Man and woman, Lord Herald?” He had no idea how to describe them, so sending them on their way to take care of his child, he moved to his dais and sat upon it. The words of the man and of the witch came back to him. He would not see the birth of his next grandchild.
Anthony wasn’t sure what to make of the woman that walked with them. She wasn’t rude really, but she was too blunt for his taste, then she would act as if she were wounded and stupid if you called her out about it. It was difficult to keep up with her conversation as well, which was flying from one thing to the next like something bouncing in a room. And he knew from what they’d been able to see in the future that she wasn’t to be trusted, not even with this task, but she would not have much say in what they needed of her. She need only to give birth, that was all. The rest would work itself out. When his own lady wife told him to stop his thoughts and behave, he thought that he’d been very good in not taking her backside with his hand and showing the witch how to behave.
Eve, the heart of his body, her own body heavy with their children, looked as beautiful to him as did the sun setting over his castle. But they had seen what their future would be and had decided to take care that things were prepared for their children, children that they’d never see or meet should things come to pass as they were shown to them. This woman, one of many, would help them in that. She wasn’t as good as the others nor as magical, but needed all the same. Mary was the first of their tasks to set into motion, and Anthony was worried that they’d made a mistake in her.
You know as well as I that we have not. And it is not the woman that we’re depending upon, but her child. He looked at Eve when she spoke to him through their link. Mary’s daughter, she will be the key to many doors that will open that will save our children.
I know that, my love, but I do not have to like her much. She need only to understand what she is to do and when to do it. I fear, as I can feel that you do as well, that she is not up for the task. I worry for her part in this. If she does not heed our warnings and stay where we put her, then she will die, and her child as well. She assured him that Mary would do well. I hope so. I should hate to think of her failing them in their hours of need.
His wife told him that she would not fail. There was little doubt that she was to have a babe and that it would be a daughter. The rest had already been set in motion, and she need only to live long enough to bear the child. Eve patted his hand, then turned back to Mary to tell her of what they needed.
“Mary, we know that you have magic, but not a great deal of it. You can cast spells that come to pass, but other than that, you have nothing more.” Mary opened her mouth, but his lovely mate only raised her hand to stay her words. “I will not listen to you puff yourself up, Mary. You know as well as I that I am telling you no falsehood. You might be able to fool others with your misguided attempts to be a great sorceress, but we both know you have no more power than this rock does. Now cease these lies once and for all.”
“‘Tis as I have said about his son, my lady. He took me over and over one day and I conceived his bastard. When I went to his father when he’d do nothing to support me, I was beaten again and brought before the group you found me with.”
They also knew this to be only partly true. Michael had taken Mary, anywhere that he could find a hard surface. But she had enjoyed their coupling as much as he had. It wasn’t until she was full of a child that she complained. That was when he’d hit her, knocked her away from him, and scorned the woman. After going to the man’s father, she was taken into the cell that had held her until she was to be burned like nothing more than meat upon a spit. Anthony thought that humans, for the most part, were an odd group of beings.
Anthony wished that he could take all the men in the world that would raise their hand to someone smaller and without means of protecting themselves and burn them. It would take a lot of his flame, he thought…there were that many horrid people in the world. But there were times, he also knew, that the women could be just as mean, just as cruel as any man could be. Sometimes, in his experience, more so. People in general, he had learned, were not willing to think before speaking when they felt an injustice had been done to them.
“We have need of your help, in the form of a female child…your child. Her magic is greater than your own and will need guidance in the world that we live in. If you do not listen to me, follow my direction, she will surely die and you will be burned at the stake that we have saved you from this night.” Mary rubbed her hand over the babe there but said nothing. “Anthony and I have a place for you to go. A place where you will be safe and kept from harm should you do as you are told. There will be help as well, for you and any children you should have after you have given us this help. You will have more than enough coin to keep you, and food enough to never feel the pangs of hunger again. All you have to do is keep the babe safe and to help her grow into her magic. If you wish to say no, then we will leave you to yourself and go about our business. But know this; you will die, soon, and by the flame that nearly licked at your feet this night, Mary Wayne.”
“I have no wish to die, my lady. But I’ve no way of keeping her safe, either, unless you do indeed help me. Even now he plots my death.” Anthony knew this to be true, but also knew that his son was now dead, as cold as the ground that he fell upon. Not from the hand of the woman here, but because his own lady wife had found out about the babe Mary carried and the others. She had poisoned him. “I cannot keep myself safe now, much less a child. You say I will have coin? Servants? Someone to cook for me?”
“Yes. We shall protect you.” Mary began shaking her head even as his lady wife spoke. “You know what we are, Mary. You have known this since you were a child at your own mother’s feet. A dragon can protect you like none can. And we shall.”
“My babe, she has a meaning to you? You wish to buy her from me? I will gladly birth her and sell her to you.” Eve shook her head; they would not lie to the woman, but they couldn’t tell her why they’d not take her from her mother. They might not give her all the truths of it, but they’d not lie to her. “Then you take her. Raise her as your own so that she’ll be safe, and I will live in this house you have given me for payment. With the servants, of course. I shan’t be able to keep a house like I need on my own.”
Anthony wanted to tell her no, that someone as selfish and greedy as her should be punished. To think that she’d sell her own flesh and blood for nothing more than a house. Anthony would no more do that than he would cut off his lovely wife’s head. He wished now that they’d never seen the future, especially the one in which they needed this woman’s help.
“We cannot take your child. And should you wish not to do this, there will be no coin, no servants, and no home to keep you safe. You must do as we tell you. The hour, it grows late, and the men are, as you said, plotting.” He and Eve moved forward, deeper into the forest where the house was, knowing in their hearts that they’d have to convince this woman no matter what. But they also needed to be firm in their dealings with her. “You will come with us now. We will protect you and the babe so long as you do as you are told. We’ve set up this place to be safe and ready for you, with people there to help you once you have given birth.”
It took them nearly an hour to get her settled in her new home. Anthony wanted to shift, show her how well they could protect as they said they would and be done with it all. But he knew that while she believed what they were, she would be terrified to see
him. As they walked along to a safe place to shift, he spoke to his lady. Yes, they had done what they had come to do, but there were still going to be repercussions for young Mary Wayne.
“You have not told her the whole of her life. Nor have you told her she must love both her children equally. She will not, and you know this.” Eve said that it would do her no good to do so. “Yes, but you know as well as I that she will misunderstand what we have put before her.”
“Yes. And that will be good for the child too. The second child will survive, not by her mother’s hand, but because she will be left to her own devices. She will learn and survive as a strong woman. There are others there that will make sure that she gets what she needs to live and be what we need her to be. What all of us need for her to be.” Anthony knew this as well. “I have managed to help the children, not once as we had planned, but with both the magical powers they will need. Especially the second born. Her immortality is set now; they both, provided that they are born, will live for a great many years.”
“They will live then? Despite their mother’s inability to see the clear picture?” She said they would. “My love, my life, I don’t know if I can do this. To think…. I cannot lose you like this. We have so much to give. And our children, we shan’t see them grow and become the men we hope for them to be.”
“I know this too. And it grieves me so that I will never touch their skin, see them smile. We must do this, Anthony. You know this as well as I. Because if we don’t do this, then all will be lost. As will our children.” He nodded, his heart heavy with what they knew was coming. “Anthony, our children, do you think them to be great men? Men that will think of us when this all comes to pass?”
“They will love us no matter what we have done for them. This, this will ensure that our line does not end, but more importantly, that a great many lives will go on as well.” She nodded and reached for his hand. Taking hers, he put his hand over her heart and told her that he loved her.
“And I you. And will beyond our deaths. You have been the reason for my heart beating, my blood pounding in my body since I first touched you.” He wanted to stop now, take her into his arms and hold her. But he could not. Things were in motion now, things that they could see coming, and if they did not act now, everything and everyone would be lost.

Jorden The MCCade Dragons Release Day & GiveAway 8/8/16

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

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                                                           Aedan  News Letter winners was
                                                                KERRY ERICKSON
                                                                 KATHRY BAYLIS
                                                                 YARITZA SANTANA
                                                                  ROBIN DENNISON

You should have already gotten your book in the mail if you did not get it please contact Denise at and let her know , She will have the tracking numbers

Happy Reading ,
Chapter 1
Jasmine Tyler moved along the boxes, her heart not into looking for a deal. She was
exhausted, her body hurt in more places than she could think about, and she was lonely.
With all the people around her she knew that was silly, but she missed her son and her
grannie. It had been necessary to send them ahead. Ahead to what she wasn’t entirely
sure, but they were safer there than they were with her at the moment.
While I cannot see them as yet, I know they will be safe. Jasmine told the dragon that they’d
better be. I wish that you could talk to them. At least young Gavin. I think it would do you well
to hear his voice. Him as well, I would bet. The boy loves you very much.
And I love him very much as well. But you know as well as I that I can’t chance contacting
either of them. He said that he knew, but it made it no less sad for him too. I’ll be there soon,
and when I am, I can get these earrings to the right person, gather him and Grannie up, and move
on. And if you tell me again that I can’t do that, then I swear to you that I’ll cut my own ears off
and be done with the lot of you.
So the dragon didn’t bother telling her again that it didn’t work that way. Twice now
she’d told him that if he brought up again how this man and his family would keep her
and her family safe, she would never speak to him again. And the three days that she
didn’t say a single word had made her point for a little while. The dragon, or whatever
manifestation he was to her, didn’t listen well, it seemed.
She was going to have to move again soon. Making her way to this family was costing
her so much more than just being without her family. Jasmine could hardly do any
business with the way things were going, and it was more than a little difficult to trust
anyone enough to even see if they were really a buyer for her things or someone out to
get her. She shivered when she thought of what had happened to her and Gavin to get
her moving out of their home in the first place.
They’d been headed to the post office, her and him, and they were going to get some
pizza to take back to the house with them to share with her grannie. Gavin was telling
her what homework he’d done that day and she was teasing him about working on the
weekend. The car that hit them in the rear had come out of nowhere.
Being rear-ended really hadn’t been that bad. Her truck was old and made before
plastic was a big deal, and thankfully had no airbags or they might not have been able to
get moving so quickly. For the most part they’d been all right, thankfully. But before she
could get out of her truck to see what damage, if any, had been done to her truck, the
man hit her again, then again. It was then that she realized he was pushing her into
oncoming traffic. Screaming at Gavin to lay down on the floor, she floored the gas pedal
and closed her eyes.
Still to this day she had no idea how she had managed to not only get through the
traffic, which had been very heavy and fast, but also escape who had tried to kill them.
But as soon as she got home, she realized two things at once.
The dragon had been right. They were upset about the earrings and were coming for
her. And the worse part of it was, they were also going to harm her son and grandmother.
Secondly, they had to get out now. Not just out of the house, but they had to leave
everything behind and get the fuck out of dodge.
Less than two hours after they got home, her truck was loaded and coolers packed,
then they were gone. Even as they were driving through her little town, she saw three
large black SUVs pass her going in the opposite direction from the one she was
driving…the way toward her home. There were no plates on the big vehicles, and since
the windows were so dark, she had no idea who or how many people were in them.
Probably a good thing, she realized later.
She tried to tell herself that they might have been headed in any direction other than
her house. But two days after they left the only home they’d had, she’d seen on the news
that it had been burned to the ground, as had the barn that stood next to it. Jasmine
gathered them up once again and made another long trip before she felt she needed
information from the dragon in her head.
What is it about these earrings that has men trying to kill me for them? And why can’t I take
them out now that they’re in my ears? I don’t want to hear about how I’m going to this family, I
want to know why I have to. Why me?
I can do that, my lady. There are six parts to me, a set of jewelry called a demi parure. It
simply means matching set of jewelry. Few know that it was forged by a dragon and his master.
They decided, when things were too dangerous for a dragon to be roaming the earth, that it would
be safer if he, this being a part of me as a dragon, should have his spark, his magic, put within a
special piece of jewelry. But alas, the magic was too much for a single piece and was divided up
into five pieces. The sixth was made later when a lady thought the necklace was too large for anyone
to wear. Then a terrible tragedy was bestowed upon the master and the dragon, along with all of
his estate being taken away. I know not what happened to his things; only that the spark that
creates us was no longer together. Jasmine asked him how long ago this was. I have no way
of knowing that, my lady. For as a spark and only a small part of the whole, I cannot understand
the passing of time until I have been awakened. But the ring, it has been awakened and thus, myself
as well. And now it is held in trust by Emma…I have told you about her. The rest, not including
yours, was spread out all over the world at one time, but now are close, but since the other pieces
haven’t been awakened yet, I know not where. Her next question to him was, why her. I know
not, my lady. Until you touched the jewelry that has turned out to be my wings, I knew nothing
of the holder.
So, you want me to believe that there is this set of jewelry out there that a bunch of women
will touch and bring to life…or I guess, bring you to life. Then if that doesn’t sound creepy enough,
these women have to make their way to this family of men, dragon men, and give it over to them
and become their slave of sorts. And on top of that, they’re stuck with this stuff forever, even if
they want no part of this plot. I’m sorry, but this is about as farfetched as it gets. Not to mention
sort of like slave trade for me to believe in. He asked her how she was hearing him if he was
just a manifestation. I don’t know. A tumor? Could be. I’ve been under a lot of stress lately.
You have, and I’m sorry to say that it isn’t over as yet. When those men went to your home
and destroyed everything that you had, they did a search and found enough information to find
you and your family. She asked him what sort of information. Pictures of you and your family.
What Emma says is DNA on objects left behind. They can and will use every item in their
possession to find you.
And then what? What is it they think they’re going to do to me? He didn’t answer her. Is
my son in danger? My grannie?
Yes. You all are until you can get to the McCade family. And even then, they will not stop
until they either get what they desire or they are caught by the authorities. I am sorry, my lady.
She wanted to cry. All she’d done was find a pretty pair of earrings that she wished she’d
never seen now. It would not have mattered when you saw them, my lady; somehow they would
have come to you. You are the one that needs to be a part of the dragon with one of the McCade
I don’t want to be a part of any man. Don’t you see? I’ve lost enough shit in my life because
of a man. Not all of it was his fault, but he lied to me. Over and over, and there is no reason to
think that this man won’t too. He’ll take and take until I have nothing. I am nothing. The dragon
wisely said nothing. I know; I’ll mail them to them.
You cannot remove them now that you wear them. Stomping her foot, she paced in front
of the pretty little hotel where she’d stopped to rest for the night. These terrible men, they
will not stop until they have what they want. You must understand this.
No, I don’t have to understand anything. She turned when she heard Gavin call out to
her. “I’m sorry, baby. What is it? Everything all right?”
“Yes. Why are you talking to yourself? Or it is that dragon again? Tell him that we’re
doing the best we can and to cut you some slack.” She hugged him to her and felt tears
fill her eyes. “We’re going to be all right, aren’t we, Mom? As soon as we get to this house,
we’re going to be just fine, right?”
“I hope so, Gavin, I really do.”
Then five days later, nearly two weeks ago, she’d used every penny she had and put
them both, her grandma and son, on a plane for Ohio. It wasn’t safe for them to travel
together any longer.
She was just sorting through a box when she felt something, a kind of nervous panic,
which had her snatching her hand back from the items in the box and looking around.
Christ, would she ever feel safe again, she asked herself? Then the dragon spoke to her,
his voice calm yet slightly tight sounding.
The man near the food truck. Do you see him? Jasmine looked around, trying her best to
look as if she were checking out the rest of the items. He feels wrong.
As casually as she could, Jasmine made her way to where she could get a better look
at the man. She could see him now; he stood out like a man in a tux among a room of
cowboys. At the moment he was trying to figure out how to eat a hotdog without wearing
most of it. Backing into the trees and away from the man, she watched him unobserved
for several minutes. There wasn’t anything odd about him, not that she could say, “Hey,
that’s it,” but she still knew there was something. She nearly told the dragon that he was
looking for things that weren’t there when the man shifted on his feet and she saw the
The need to flee made her feel like she was being watched. Looking around, trying
to decide what to do now, she wanted to curl into a tight ball and just cry. She had no car,
nothing to protect herself with, and not a great deal of money either. She was, in a word,
I can’t leave yet. Can I?
The dragon told her that she could not. Then he pointed out the man across the table
from the auctioneer. He wasn’t watching the items but looking around, as if he were
searching the people and not what to buy next. Jasmine went deeper into the woods and
then stood behind a tree. When the two men came together, they scanned the area twice
before splitting up and moving around. She knew they were looking for her.
What do I do now? He told her not to move, not to run. I can’t let them get to me. If they
do, you said that they’d kill me for these earrings. And as much as I hate them right now, I need
to get to my son, damn it.
Do not move, my lady. They are looking for a young boy to be with you. They are thinking
that you’d not leave him or your grandmother alone while they are out there. They know not that
you have sent them both ahead. She let out a long breath and tried to think about anything
but wanting to run. If you do, then all is lost. Just wait for me to tell you that you can go. But to
the bus stop, not to the hotel.
She knew as surely as she was standing there listening to a dragon talk to her in her
head that they’d already been to her hotel room and had figured out where she was. The
newspaper. She’d gotten one and had circled the auction for today not far from where
she’d been staying. It wasn’t as if she had any money to spend—she didn’t—but Jasmine
was bored and needed to do something that didn’t involve her thinking about how much
she missed her son. So walking to the place that was stated in the ad, she had been there
for only a few minutes when she realized it wasn’t as fun as it used to be.
He is going to go by you in a few moments, and when he does, follow him, but not closely. I
will tell you when to move to the bus stop. She wanted to tell him to fuck off, there wasn’t
any way she was going to follow that man, but the dragon spoke again before she could.
He will not expect you to be behind him. Nor will his partner. You must trust me on this. I will
not allow you to be harmed.
As soon as she was given the signal to move, Jasmine moved out from behind the
tree and right behind the man. She was close enough that she could see the tat on the
back of his neck that looked like some sort of Japanese symbol; or Chinese, she wasn’t
sure. There was also one that peeked out the bottom of his sleeve. When he pulled the
shirt up enough, she nearly stopped walking. Dragon told her to keep moving.
I’ve seen that before. He told her to turn then, and to go to the bus stop. When she did,
the bus pulled up just as the man turned to go back to where she’d been. Sitting down,
she turned on her seat and watched as both men moved around the yard again. He had a
dragon tat on his arm. I’ve seen that before. The man that tried to shoot us the day that Gavin got
hurt and I sent them away. He had one just like it.
They are all a part of a group of men out to harm you and all that help you. They have no wish
to bring me to life, but to profit from controlling me. It is them that I am trying to save you from.
Jasmine asked the dragon who they were, what the writing meant. It’s Chinese, as you have
guessed. It says Sǐwáng de suǒyǒu lóng. Its translation is, death to all dragons. I have not seen
that for many years. More than you can imagine. It, like a great many things, comes and goes as
the need arises. Today they need it to feel important. Who knows what it will be used for in the
Her mind went in a single straight line direction. A group of men. Not a man, but a
group. And they didn’t just want her dead for the earrings, but they wanted to control
the dragon himself. That meant that the McCades, the very people that she was headed
to, were in danger as well. And her son and grannie would be caught up in it because she
had blindly sent them there. Christ, she wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. To just bawl
her eyes out. But now she had to make her way to Ohio faster, to see to her family. And
the only way to do that was go get some money to get herself a car. She told the dragon
what she needed and why.
I will help you. She nodded. He’d suggested that before, him helping her, but she’d
told him that she would never cheat, steal, or lie to get what she needed. She’d had that
done to her more than enough. You will see; I’ll keep you as safe as I can.
And my family? How will you protect them? He told her that until they connected with
the McCades he had no way of knowing about her son and grandmother. And they won’t
until I get there. This is really fucked up; you know that, don’t you?
He said nothing, which was good…she wasn’t ready for him to tell her anything but
that they were going to make it. How, she hadn’t any idea, but she so wanted to hear him
say that to her. And as surely as she was sitting there, she knew that there was a lot more
shit to deal with before she got to her son.
Jorden put the last of his paints in the box and set it on the floor. When he looked up,
his entire being froze. The kid, a little boy, was standing there so still that he looked like
one of his plaster casts. Jorden started forward to find out what he wanted when the kid
lifted a gun and pointed it, steadily no less, right at him. Jorden stopped.
“I’m not going to hurt you.” The kid said nothing. There were lines of exhaustion
under his eyes, and his face looked puffy, as if he’d been crying recently. “If you’re here
to get some money or drugs, I’m afraid that I’m not going to be able to help you. I have
neither here. The doctor isn’t in either.”
“It says there is a doctor here. There’s a name downstairs on the door. It’s the only
reason I’m here. To get a doctor to come with me. It says McCade. Where is he?” Jorden
tried to think where Kenton was when the little boy spoke again. “It doesn’t smell like a
doctor’s office up here either. More like Mrs. Witt’s art class. Is he a physician or some
other sort of doctor?”
“No, he’s a physician. A general practitioner, as a matter of fact. And this is where I
work, the reason for the smell. I’m an artist. Well, people tell me I am, and pretty good at
it, I guess.” He took a step forward and the kid told him to stop. “Do you need a doctor?
I can call him here if you need him. Kenton, he’s the doctor, he’s off today with his wife
doing…. Actually, I have no idea where he is. But if he’s not here, then he’s at his home.”
“I don’t know what else to do. I’ve been…I got up and she wouldn’t wake up. So I
thought that I could find a doctor. But I know that she’s not going to be all right. My
grannie, I believe she’s died.” Jorden nodded and sat down on the floor. He wanted to
give the kid the impression that he was relaxed when he was anything but. “I need
someone to come and look to make sure that I didn’t do something wrong. We’re on the
run, my grannie and I.”
“What might you have done to her?” He just shrugged. Jorden decided to ignore the
part where they were on the run for now. “I see. So you think you killed her then?”
“No. I didn’t kill her. She and I have been…. Last night she told me she was tired. She
has been a lot lately. Powerfully tired she told me, and wanted to turn in early. So I was
really quiet and got my shower and jammies on and played on my reader before I went
to bed as well. When she didn’t get up before I did, I checked on her and her face and
neck were cold. I think she might have died in her sleep last night or sometime.” The little
boy scrubbed at his face and Jorden felt badly for him. “I can’t get in touch with my mom
either. I’m all alone, so I thought a doctor could tell me for sure.”
“Where is she…your grannie, I mean?” The kid said nothing but did lower the gun.
“I’m going to get my cell phone out and call Kenton. And when he gets here, we’ll go to
where she is and we call in the police to—” The gun came up again, this time a little less
steady. For some reason that scared Jorden more than the steady handling of the gun had.
“No, you can’t do that. If you call the police, I’m as good as dead as I think she is.”
Jorden felt his dragon move along his skin. Fear and sadness made him want to go to the
young kid and hold him. “Mom, she sent us ahead of her so that we’d be safe. And we’ve
been doing everything we was told. But Grannie was sick before. It was why we went to
stay with her.”
Jorden pulled out his phone and pressed the button to call his brother. The kid never
moved, just stood there with the 9 mm pointed at him like he would most assuredly use
it if he fucked up. When Kenton answered his cell laughing, Jorden almost wanted to
hang up and call someone that wasn’t having as good a day as Kenton seemed to be
“Did you decide that you needed some help moving out anyway? I told you that it
Jorden cut his brother off. “I’ve got a visitor.”
Kenton must have noticed something in his voice and asked him through their link
who it was. “I have to speak to you this way. He has a gun pointed at me, and I don’t
want to be shot if it’s all the same to you.”
“I’m on my way.” Jorden told him to just come alone. No police. “I’m not going to
fucking come into a situation without some sort of back-up. You want me to tell Mom
that you got us both hurt? You know how well that might go over.”
“Kenton, you’re going to have to trust me on this and come here alone. I’m talking to
him now. I would say that he’s about ten or so years old.” The kid told him how old he
was. “He’s ten. Just last week as a matter of fact. He came here looking for a doctor. A
doctor named McCade. He said his grandma didn’t wake this morning. And that he has
been sent here ahead of his mom so that they’d be safe. He said that he’s all alone in this
Kenton put together a sting of curse words that made him smile. “Dragon said to ask
him if he is Gavin. If his mom is Jasmine.” Jorden asked and Gavin said that was right.
“She’s another part. The wings. Dragon said that she’s fine, but he had no way of keeping
in contact with the boy and his mom until one or both of them found us. I’m assuming
that’s why he doesn’t want the police or the media involved. His mom is protecting him
even now.”
“Christ.” Gavin lifted the gun again after having just put it at his side. Jorden had a
feeling that he was making him nervous. “Come here first and bring Mom. I have no idea
why, but I think he could use her. I know that I could right now.”
“I’m on my way. I’ve contacted Dalton as well. He’s not in uniform right now, so that
might not be so bad. Can you ask Gavin if he is hurt?” Again he asked the boy, who just
stared at him. “Jorden, did he tell you where his grandma is? Or where his mom might
“No. He said that his mom sent them ahead and that his grandma didn’t wake up.”
Jorden reached out to Kenton on their link. I think he’s hurting, but not physically. Also, he
looks exhausted, and I can hear his belly growling from here. If he’s been on the run since Dragon
told you that she was coming, then they’ve been on the run for over a month.
Poor kid. Christ, to try and stay safe like this and to have your grandmother die would be
horrific. The kid has guts; I’ll give him that. Jorden agreed, but told him he still had a gun
pointed at him. It’ll be fine, Jorden. I’m at the door now. Can you warn him that I’m here?
Jorden said that he would and the elevator motor kicked on, telling him that Kenton
must have been right in the lift when he told him. Jorden watched as Gavin lifted the gun
again and pointed it at him. It wasn’t nearly as steady, and when he lowered it once again,
Jorden realized how heavy it must have been for this kid.
“My brother. He’s coming up with my mom.” Gavin said nothing, but swayed just a
little. “We won’t hurt you, Gavin. We will protect you.”
“The dragon, he told my mom that she needed to go to the McCade family and give
them the earrings. He said that we’d be safe here. I’m not saying you had anything to do
with my grannie dying, but I don’t really feel very safe right now.” Jorden nodded and
watched his brother and mom come out of the elevator as Gavin continued. “He warned
us the night that these men showed up at the hotel we were in. I was going to the
bathroom when the door just flew open and there they were. One of them cut me with a
knife when Mom said she couldn’t give him whatever jewelry that she’d stolen from
them. My mom doesn’t steal. But they weren’t taking no for an answer. So she hit the big
one with a bat, then she shot the second guy. We got out of there right away.”
“Good for her. But men like this one, they think that if they want something that it
should be theirs. My name is Aisha McCade, by the way. And this is my son, Kenton.
You’ve met Jorden.” Gavin said nothing. “If you would put the gun down, I’d feel so
much better.”
“I can’t put it down, Mrs. McCade. My mom told me that this thing might be the only
thing between her seeing me again alive or in the morgue. I don’t want her to come see
me there. I’ve had a really hard time what with missing her, and I’d really hate to
disappoint her by getting my butt shot up.” Mom told Gavin of course he didn’t want to
disappoint her. “My grannie, I think she died. If it gets out that she is gone and her name,
then they’ll know that I’m here.”
“Do you know who they are? The men that your mom is being chased by? Do you
know them? Have you seen them lately?” Jorden wasn’t sure who could be coming now,
but they’d been warned that someone would. And if Gavin had any information they
could use, it might help them. “Have you seen them since you and your mom separated?”
“No. And I can’t call her either to let her know what’s happened. The dragon, he said
that it would be too dangerous. Mom said that determined people could track a fly fart if
they thought it would give them what they wanted.” Gavin flushed brightly. “I’m sorry.
I’m really tired and hungry. Do you think you can tell me if my grannie is really gone? I
need to figure out what I have to do next. Like where to live, and find something to eat.”
“Yes, I can go now. But for as much as I’d like for you to stay here, I think it would
be better if you came along with me. Just in case the owner might question why I’m
there.” Gavin sat down, his poor little body just giving up. When Kenton went to him to
see if he was all right, Jorden noticed that he didn’t bother trying to take his weapon. He
wasn’t sure if that was smart or not, but it wasn’t pointed at any of them now, and Jorden
thought he could live with that.
The hotel was within walking distance of his building. Kenton went in first with
Gavin. Jorden stayed outside, just waiting while his mom went to get Gavin something
to eat. He wasn’t sure what to say to the kid, not having a lot of experience with them,
but when Kenton came out of the room shaking his head, Gavin simply crumbled. Jorden
was glad to have been closest to him to gather him in his arms while he dealt with his
Jorden held him while he sobbed. He kept saying he was all alone now and that he
wanted his mom. Jorden didn’t blame him…right now he wanted his own. But when she
showed up with a burger, fries, and a cola, Gavin said he wasn’t hungry.
“You have to eat, kid. You want to get sick and end up somewhere you don’t want
to be? Someplace that you can’t control? Like a hospital or something?” Gavin just looked
at him—glared was more like it—and Jorden was impressed. Then Gavin told him he
was already where he didn’t want to be. “Yeah, okay, I’ll give you that one. But eat and
we’ll get this figured out. My brother Dalton is coming by. He wants to talk to you too.”
“How many brothers do you have?” Jorden told him five. “Sheesh. I bet they’re all
as big as you and Dr. McCade are too. I guess if the bad guys are coming, it would be best
if you weren’t puny little guys like me.”
“Yes, we’re all pretty big men.” Jorden snagged a fry and ate it as he continued.
“Dalton is a cop, so don’t freak out on him if he starts asking you cop questions. To be
honest, I’m not sure that Dalton knows any other way to ask questions. Anyway. As you
know, Kenton is a doctor. Private practice now. I paint. Grady fancies himself some sort
of computer wizard, which really he is, but he works for this asshole that sort of takes
advantage of him. Lewis, the baby, is a chef…a pretty good one, I guess, since he’s got all
these awards for his cooking. He lived with me until a little while ago, so I’m thinking
he’ll be finding him a place to put his hat. And Vance is…. Well, Vance is Vance. He has
a job that pays well, but I’m not entirely sure what it is he does any more. He was in the
service until recently, and has been known to disappear from time to time.”
Jorden told himself he wasn’t babbling but biding his time until Gavin finished his
meal. Besides, he was going to be staying with them now, so he needed to have all the
scoops on all of them.
By the time Kenton had made arrangements to have the body removed, Jorden and
Gavin had moved back from the place and into the diner across the street. He hadn’t
wanted to leave, but Kenton explained to him that they were going to Jane Doe his
grandma so that her name would never come out, and he had to keep a low profile. And
if the press showed up, which was highly likely, they didn’t want his picture taken.
In the end, Jorden took him to his house. By the time they were pulling up in front,
not only had Gavin fallen asleep, but Jorden had spoken to Kenton and Mom twice about
him. Jorden was glad now that he’d hired himself a staff. The house was fucking huge
for a single man, but the kid was going to need someone to cook and clean up after him.
Jorden hadn’t the slightest idea what to do with a ten-year-old, but he liked him and
figured they could work something out.

Danburn The English Dragon Release Day & Giveaway 6/13/16

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….


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Chapter 1
Danburn moved to the side of the large lake and stripped off his boots. It wasn’t
necessary for him to take his clothing off, but he wanted to just sit in the grass for a few
minutes before he headed home. He looked over at the large castle and smiled. Some home,
he thought. It was bigger than the hotel he’d just left a few days ago.
He stood at the very edge of the water and calmed his inner beast. He was hungry
for some time of his own, and Danburn had been promising it to him for weeks now. It
would give him what he wanted, or Danburn would suffer at his hands. It wouldn’t be
painful, not really, but it would be annoying. And home was the only place that Danburn
could give him the freedom that they both so craved.
Diving into the water, he felt his beast take him. Not all at once, but enough to know
that his beast was just as anxious as he was to be free. Parallel with the water, he felt him
take all of him, and as soon as he hit the water, there was nothing left of the man he had
The water was deeper than it looked. Much like the castle, there were hidden coves
and outlets in this lake that no one except a few that he trusted knew about. Danburn
swam the distance of the entire lake before flipping and making his way back to swim
beneath the earth into the deepest part of it.
Swimming like this wasn’t the same as flying, but it was close. The beast, a dragon,
was much larger than Danburn by nearly ten times, and weighed several tons. His wings
alone were as wide as several football fields laid end to end, and his tail was nearly fifty
feet long, covered in thick spikes and dark scales. Danburn had never understood the
dynamics of what he was and what he could become, but he did enjoy the way it made
him feel.
He was in need of some air several hours later, and slowly rose his snout to the
surface of the water to take a breath. As he was breathing in the oxygen, he caught a scent
that startled him. Fresh blood. And a great deal of it. Moving to the reeds behind him,
Danburn lifted his big head out of the water to look around, knowing that he would be
well camouflaged if anyone were to look in his direction. There was not a measure of
sound, not a ripple of movement, on the water or around him.
The scent was stronger now, but he could see nothing out of the ordinary. He
continued to search just to make sure that nothing was going to come back and bite him
in the ass later. It was, after all, his property, and usually everyone knew better than to
trespass on his land. As he watched, something moved at the corner of his vision. It was
then that he saw what his nose had already told him.
The woman was making her way to the water, slowly looking around as much as he
was for something to come upon her. He could see that she was hurt. The blood stained
the water even as she made her way to the deeper part, which was several hundred yards
from where he was. Danburn looked around again when she ducked under the water,
knowing that she’d not be able to stay under long because of her being human. He could
taste it in the scent of her blood as she hid below the surface.
A man—or now that he could see them, men—were walking to where she was.
Danburn didn’t want to interfere, especially in his current form, so he waited. When one
of the men lifted a rifle, pointing it in the direction the woman had gone, Danburn dipped
beneath the water just as the shot was fired.
When he saw her, it appeared she’d been hit. Her eyes were closed, not in death, but
in pain. Blood pooled around them both as he reached her. Grabbing her gently with his
clawed hand, he pulled her body to his and swam to the underground tunnel of his home.
He knew that someone would be there. His friend and go-to man, Noah, would be there
if no one else was. Emerging from the water, he handed the limp woman to Noah and
dove back into the waters without a word. He had to make sure that she was safe,
whoever she was, as well as his home.
Two of the four men were in the water when he emerged from the reeds. Danburn
didn’t even bother trying to figure out what they were doing there, or even what they
had wanted the woman for, but pulled them both under the water and held them there
until they no longer struggled. When he was satisfied that they were no longer a threat,
he moved to the surface again and waited for someone, either man, to come into the water
to retrieve the now floating bodies of their comrades.
They were being very cautious, but he was a very patient man and could wait them
out for hours. Just as one of the men moved to the edge of the water, he heard the sounds
of the sirens coming. Noah, he thought, had called someone for him. As the men
scrambled away, leaving the dead for him to deal with, Danburn sank beneath the surface
again and headed back to the cove where he’d taken the woman.
Noah was there, as was his personal physician, Pierce Cunningham. Noah said
nothing as he held out a towel for him when he shifted to his body and climbed out of
the water, shaking a few of his scales into the depths to replenish what he’d done to it.
Leaving the dead behind would harm the lake only a little, but he hated doing it. Noah
fussed at him then, telling him he should have taken better care. Noah was sometimes
worse than his mother could be when it came to him.
“I couldn’t let her die, you know.” Nothing but a small huff of a sound. As he took
the towel and dried his legs, he was handed a shirt and tie. “We have a guest?”
“Yes. A party. In your mother’s honor. I’m not sure what we’re to do with this injured
woman, but I’m just glad that we have no guests coming. I don’t think it would bode well
for you if anyone found out.” Danburn paused in getting dressed and looked at the
woman, then back at Noah. “Pierce is doing the best he can with her. The beating she
took was bad, but Pierce said that with a little rest she’ll be good as new. The gunshot
wounds, however, will need some tending to.”
“Wounds? As in more than one?” Noah told him there were two total on her person.
“I only heard the one shot. I had no idea that…by the way, there are two bodies in the
lake. They drowned.”
Noah tisked at him, and Danburn had to hide a smile. The man was such a prude. As
he pulled on his pants, not bothering with the underwear held out for him, he asked Noah
what the police were called for.
“I’ve no idea, my lord.” He was in trouble if Noah was calling him lord. “Perhaps
they heard of a large dragon swimming in the waterways and drowning people, and
someone took it upon themselves to call the law. Or perhaps they think that having a shot
up woman in their realm is something else that they might fumble into, and half blindly
find the culprit.”
“You’re in a mood, aren’t you?” Noah snatched the towel from him and walked
away. “I’m fine, in the event you were going to ask. No shots to my poor body.”
“We should be so lucky, my lord.”
Danburn was still laughing as he made his way to the upper levels. He made sure
that the woman was cared for and put into one of the many bedrooms, but out of sight of
the household. He had no idea who she was, but no one physically hurt women—and
that was all there was to it.
When he entered the living room, his mother stood up and came to him.
“You smell of lake water.” He kissed her on the cheek and told her she smelled
wonderful. “Good save, but it does not negate that while I was here wasting away,
waiting for you to come and wish me a happy birthday, you were having a nice dip in
the water. Danburn, you know I hate it when you’re late.”
“I know, Mom, but this couldn’t be helped.” He told her what he’d come upon, and
she wanted to see the woman right away. “Pierce is working with her. He’s to come and
get me if there are any problems with her when she wakes. He said she took a hell of a
“You didn’t really kill those men, did you? Right on your own lake?” He told her that
there was little choice in that too. “I’m sure that once their bodies are found there will be
questions. Do you know who the other two were?”
“No, but I know what they look like and what they smell like.” Dinner was
announced, and he escorted her into the dining room. There would be cake later, after
her favorite meal of lobster and steak, then he’d give her his gifts. He might have
forgotten about what the date was, but he never forgot her birthday.
Dinner was a quiet affair with just the two of them. He did try to get Noah to come
and have cake with them, but he only glared, something that he was quite good at, and
told them that he’d have some later, with the rest of the staff.
No one could put themselves in a class better than Noah did. The man was pompous
as well as correct, but Danburn loved him with all of his heart. And he was pretty sure
that Noah loved him as well. The two of them had been together for as long as Danburn
had been alive, and that had been a long time.
“I’ve been thinking of taking a trip.” He didn’t mention that he had the same idea for
her in the form of a cruise, but only nodded at his mom’s statement. “With you closing
up the house here, I just don’t think I can stand to be around to see it. We’ve been here
for so long, Danburn, that I don’t know what I’ll do without being able to come here.”
“I’m closing the house, not tearing it down. And I’ve told you several times, you can
live here for as long as you want. I just need to be closer to my work.” She nodded, but
he could see the sadness there. “Mom, what is it really? Is it Dad? Do you not want to
leave him?”
He knew that his mom went to talk to his dad daily. He’d died some two hundred
years ago when he’d let an infection get into one of his wings and it had spread to his
heart before they could do anything about it. Even as immortals there were things that
could kill them, and poisoning of the blood was the biggest one.
“I can talk to him anywhere, but yes, that’s part of it.” She sat down before the blazing
fire and looked at it instead of him as she continued. “I love this place. I understand that
you need to be closer to your job and all. But this is home to me. And to you. I wish…there
are times when I wish I had taken my own home instead of coming here to yours. I should
have thought that if you found a mate, she’d want to run her own home and not have me
“Don’t say that, Mom. Please don’t. I’m not going to have a mate this late in my life.
And even if I do, if she doesn’t like you, there is no way I’m going to love her. I’m not
going to sell this place or leave it to ruin. I just think it’ll be better in the long run for me
to settle elsewhere. At least for the time being.” He didn’t tell her the real reason, but he
had a feeling that she knew. The house was lonely without his dad there. He’d been a
rock in his otherwise turbulent life. “Why don’t you let me give you my gifts? I know that
you’ve been trying to get information from Noah.”
“Yes. And he’s as stubborn as you are.” After winking at her, he went to get the boxes.
There were several of them; he would find things for her throughout the year and send
them here to give to her for this occasion. “Oh, so many. Danburn, you spoil me rotten,
you know that, don’t you?”
“Yes, but you make it so easy.” She hugged him to her, longer and tighter than
normal, and he pulled her to him when she started to back away. “I love you, Mom. And
will forever.”
Long after she went up to bed, he sat in the den watching the fire. He’d been to check
on the woman, and there was no change in her. He’d also asked Noah to find out where
the police were going, and so far there was nothing on that either. Only that they’d gone
to the property near him, the one where he knew the new owner was up to no good. Not
until someone knocked on the front door did he realize how late it had become. Or that
it had started raining.
Kendrick felt like a drowned rat. Her hair was plastered to her head, and her coat
was as soaked clear through. The boots she had on, usually made for this sort of weather,
had gotten a leak in them a few days ago, and she’d thought for sure she’d be able to
afford a new pair by now. Then her sister…. Well, it is always Louisa, now isn’t it? Kendrick
thought. One thing or another was always befalling her sister. Reaching for the giant
knocker on the door again, she nearly screamed when a man suddenly opened the door
and stared at her.
“I was wondering if I could use your phone.” He stood there so still she wondered
for a moment if he was real. “I broke down a few miles back, and I dropped my phone in
a puddle and it no longer works.”
Lie, she told herself as her face heated up at the fib. The phone didn’t work because
Louisa had stolen her money for the bill and it had gone dead for lack of payment. Like
her boots and her now overdue rent, there was no money to take care of even the simplest
things, including food. Louisa was going to ruin her more than she already had.
As the man continued to stare at her, she had the most overwhelming urge to snap
her fingers in front of him to see if he was sleepwalking.
“Or not. I guess we can just stand here, staring at each other until one of us dies from
the cold and wet. I’m thinking it’ll be me, since you’re all snug as a bug in the house.” He
still did nothing. “Christ. Is there someone here that speaks? Any language? I know a few
that we can try out.”
“The master of the house has gone to bed.” Well, big fucking deal. She didn’t want
the master of anything, just a fucking phone. “If you were to wait here, I’ll retrieve the
phone for you and you may use it.”
The door closed so fast that she had no time to tell him to forget it. She stood there
for several seconds, wondering why she was even bothering about this, then turned and
made her way back to the driveway. Fuck this shit. Louisa was on her own.
Three hours ago, Louisa had called her and told her that she was in trouble, which
by Kendrick’s estimation happened about four times a day. It was out of the pan and into
the fire for her sister. Just trying to figure out how she did it was usually more of an effort
than she cared to make any more. But the call had come, and she’d driven her piece of
shit car to where Louisa said she was, to bail her out if she could. There was no money,
so if that was going to be it, Louisa was going to have to deal with it on her own. But who
the fuck knew there really was an English castle here?
The night was so nasty and cold that she wished now that she’d stayed home. No
matter what she did for Louisa, it was never enough, nor did it keep her out of the next
bout of trouble. But when she’d mentioned guns and men, like an idiot, Kendrick had
dropped everything to come to her rescue. And more than likely had lost yet another job
because she couldn’t stay until the end of her shift. Life with her sister was as bad is it
came, she thought.
“I should have my head examined. Again.” She huddled into her soaking wet coat
and stomped her way back to the main road to her broken down car. “Come and get me,
she said. They have guns and they’re going to kill me. Perhaps I’d get some peace and
quiet if they did.”
Stopping in her tracks, Kendrick felt herself start to cry at what she’d said. There was
no way she’d leave Louisa to get shot just so she’d leave her alone. She loved her sister
more than she did herself at times. But it was becoming too much. She was broke, thanks
to her, late on all her bills, again thanks to her sister, and she’d not had a decent meal in
longer than she could remember. Her belly seconded that comment by growling loudly.
Louisa was a good person when she wanted to be…mostly when she needed
something or someone to do something for her. Her troubles, Kendrick knew, happened
because she was so demanding, and when someone told her that she was going to get
this or that for her troubles, she believed them. Kendrick had learned her lessons at the
hand of a very nasty person, namely her own mother, and knew that trusting anyone
could get you killed. Or worse.
“Beat me once, shame on you. Beat me a couple of dozen more times, and I have to
learn to run and hide better.” She stood in the middle of the field, not having a clue where
she was, and then heard a sound behind her. “Fuck.”
Diving into the brush closest to her, she lay as still as she could, trying not to think
about what might be sharing the place with her as two men walked by her. One of them,
she knew, was the quiet man at the door.
“I was bringing her the phone. Why would she leave when I told her that I would
bring her the phone?” The other man said nothing but grunted. “It’s not my fault that she
has not the sense of a toad to get in out of the rain. I guess I could have talked to her more,
but I was so shocked to see her there that I was rendered speechless for too long.” She
wanted to get up and tell him had he invited her in, she’d not have been in the rain, but
said nothing.
The two of them were just passing her when they stopped suddenly. Sure that they’d
found her, she wished now that she’d brought some sort of weapon with her. A rock
would have made her feel better than she did at the moment.
“She’s here. I can smell her.” The other man lifted his nose to the air, and Kendrick
had a feeling that he really could smell her. She’d left work so quickly to get to Louisa
that she’d not had time to change her clothing. She knew she smelled of french fries and
greasy meat. “You look over there and I’ll go this way. And for Christ’s sake, Noah, don’t
step on her. Danburn is pissed enough about this.”
“Yes. I will try. She didn’t appear to be injured. But I will be careful.” The other man—
Sniffer, she decided to call him—told him to hush. As Sniffer made his way toward her,
she closed her eyes and wished she was home in her own bed, wished it as hard as she’d
wished for a great many things lately.
Peeking beneath her lashes, she knew that someone was standing over her. She saw
his boots first. And the insane thought of how expensive they looked and how totally out
of her league they were was running through her mind when he bent his knee to become
eye level with her. He didn’t say anything but put out his hand to her, which she refused
to take.
“I just wanted to call someone. I don’t know who it might have been, but I thought
someone could help me out.” He said nothing but kept his hand where it was. “Why
don’t you pretend that you didn’t find me? I’ll go back to my car and sit there until either
this monsoon takes me away or the sun comes up. I’m sure this Danburn person wouldn’t
care a fig if you just left me here.”
“It won’t work. He’s very stubborn. And until one of us shows up with you, my boss
will make us keep looking for you. He is, at this moment, looking in the opposite direction
that you took, by the way. Did you know that you are about five feet from the lake?” She
didn’t even bother turning. It would be her luck that it was just a ploy to catch her off
guard…or maybe there really was a lake behind her. One with a great big monster in it.
“There is one. It’s deeper than it looks, and holds all sorts of secrets that you are better
off not knowing.”
“Right now I wouldn’t care if something lurking it in came out and gobbled me up.
I’m so fucked right now.” He nodded, but said nothing more. “I don’t suppose you know
a woman by the name of Louisa Barrera, do you? She’s my sister, and the reason I’m out
here this late at night.” He told her that he did not. “Well, it was worth a shot.”
Standing up on her own, she watched the man as he put two fingers into his mouth
and made the most amazing sound she’d ever heard. Being called a simple whistle wasn’t
enough. It was perfectly pitched and loud enough to wake the dead. The man from the
doorway came toward them with a small flashlight. It occurred to her then that she had
one in her glove box, but the battery was more than likely dead. Why should that work
out for her?
“You should have waited, miss. I was returning with the phone.” She wanted to say
something along the lines of she hadn’t felt welcome, but didn’t. “The master of the house
is most upset with you. He said he has enough going on right now, and he’s right.
Danburn is usually right.”
“Me? Why is he upset with me? I didn’t do anything but ask to use the phone. You
guys came out in the rain to find me. And I doubt very much he’s always right. Bossy
more than likely, but not always right.” She was sloshing back with them in the event
that one of them would offer to give her a lift back to her car, which she’d only just
realized was in the opposite direction from where they were headed. “I think we’re going
the wrong way. I just want to go home now. I’ll find her in the morning. Why I believed
her when she said that men with guns were after her, I have no idea.”
“Guns? Your sister told you there were men with guns after her? Well, if that’s the
case, I think we might know her after all.” She stopped moving when Sniffer spoke. She
was still standing there when he turned and looked at her. “Blonde with dark eyes. A
mark on her left arm that looks like someone touched it with a curling iron?”
“I have no idea what color her hair is now. It’s been a couple of days since I’ve
actually…. Never mind. The mark, it was a branding iron. One of her boyfriends thought
it would be cool if they branded each other. She was first, and he chickened out when she
screamed and fainted. Where is she? Dead? Please tell me she’s all right.” He assured her
that when he’d left to find her she was fine. “I can take her now if you’ll just let me use
the phone to call in a favor. My car won’t…it’s too far for me to take her back by walking.”
“She’s been shot.” Kendrick felt her knees just give out, and something—or she
supposed someone—scooped her up before she fell. The voice of the man, strong and
angry, made her struggle against him, but he commanded her to be still and she did.
“What were you thinking walking around in the rain like a fool? You could have been
killed or drowned. Do you have the sense that God gave you?” She struggled again and
he told her to be still. “If you fall now, I will simply have Noah get the car and run you
over several times for scaring the household.”
“You are a charmer, aren’t you? I bet all the women around just fall at your feet from
the way nice things just roll off your forked tongue. Let me go, you buffoon. I just want
to get my sister and get the hell away from you people.” He laughed, and Kendrick
wanted to hit him, but they were suddenly standing in the hallway of the most beautiful
area she’d ever been in. “Where the hell am I? Dead?”
“No, you are not dead. There is something decidedly wrong with you, isn’t there?”
She looked at him then, really looked, and wished to Christ she hadn’t. Men like him,
handsome and sexy, were not something one like her saw much of. If ever. “This is my
home. And you are an unwelcome intruder. Had you not upset my household, I would
be sleeping in my bed, not soaked to the skin looking for you in the rain.”
“Danburn!” The woman’s voice coming from the staircase sounded shocked. It took
all the energy Kendrick had to tear her eyes away from the hunk of nasty beauty to look
at her. “Nous ne traitons pas invité cette façon. Quel est ton problème?”
“I’m not a guest, but an intruder, as he called me. And if you’re going to speak a
different language to chew him out, you should know that I can speak more than most
people.” Kendrick looked at the man, then back at the woman. “As for what is wrong
with him. I would say that he’s not any different than he normally is, a nasty
dispositioned prick that got up on the wrong side of the bed today, and is taking it out
on the people around him like it’s his job. Like he does daily.”
The woman laughed and reached out her hand. “Hello, my dear. I’m the nasty
dispositioned prick’s mother, Lady English. I’m to understand from Noah that your sister
is here. Let me take you to her.”
As they moved by the big man, Kendrick couldn’t help herself. She stuck her tongue
out at him and flipped him off. There was going to be hell to pay for that, she was sure,
but right now she felt like she’d won a small battle. And she had a feeling that there were
going to be a few more battles before this was done.