Publication Date: May 12, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Other books in the series.
Accepting the Moon
Wednesday, February 4th 2015 5:42 p.m. PST
Las Vegas, Nevada
“Do it again,” I demanded.
I could feel Andromeda trying to give up emotionally, as well as physically, but I pushed her harder. I knew what her body and mind were capable of, and we were nowhere near her breaking point. She was a lot stronger than she thought she was.
Our connection, as we both liked to refer to the bond, seemed to be growing stronger, rather than weaker, like Andromeda had hoped it would. She wanted to find a way to reverse the ritual.
She could feel my every emotion and hear my every thought—unless I blocked the telepathy—but it worked both ways, so she could keep me out of her mind, too. Unfortunately, we couldn’t block the emotions.
I felt each and every happy memory she’d had with Phoenix and each and every sad moment she’d had without him. The only time she wasn’t thinking about him was when we were training. So I planned to make her train. A lot.
This damn rollercoaster of feelings was literally driving me insane. I had never in all my life felt as much as I had in the last week, and I hated it. Me… with one girl… forever… I rolled my eyes at the absurdity that my life had become in only the blink of an eye. But as crazy as that all sounded, and even though I had in no way asked or planned for any of it, I couldn’t bring myself to hate the fact that I was finally ready to settle down.
I blocked Andromeda’s kick, grabbed her shoe and threw her to her back on the workout mat. Grinning down at her furious, pale-green eyes, I offered her my hand.
She huffed as she got to her feet on her own, looking down as she limped away from me. What a terrible actress. Chaos could have done a better job of fooling me.
I shook my head as my hands came up to rest on my hips. “Don’t give me that shit. It might work on your wolf cubs or even your boyfriend, but you can’t fake it with me, Andra. We’re bonded. I know you’re not hurt, so don’t—”
“I’m tired, Ace—”
“You shouldn’t be tired,” I sneered. “You slept the whole flight here. But for the sake of avoiding a pointless argument, humor me. What are you going to do when you’re in battle and you get tired? Are you going to limp away? What if I’m not there to kill the fucker for you next time?”
“I never asked for this!” she screamed as she whirled around to glare at me, her beautiful eyes brightened by the tears shimmering in them.
“I didn’t, either!” I roared back. She flinched as our emotions tangled together. I knew those tears weren’t there because she was sad, because her fury washed over me like I had been doused with boiling water. The rush of it almost hurt. The anger sucked, but I knew anger. I could deal with anger. Anger was my friend. It was the sadness and the heartbreak and the sappy-frilly-frilly I couldn’t fucking deal with. Unfortunately for me, Andra seemed to be full to the brim with all that shit.
With more effort than I really wanted to put forth with the mood I was in, I waded through her rage, then through my madness and forced calm over us.
This bond was new to us both, but getting it through her thick head that it would be easier on us if she would dump her boyfriend was like trying to breathe under water. I might have understood her side of the argument a little better if she had been dating the vampire longer than a month, and never mind the fact that two of those weeks she was locked in a silver cage as a wolf. They hadn’t even had time to get to know each other. I knew her. She knew me. We had direct contact with each other’s thoughts, memories and emotions, yet she wouldn’t even consider the idea of us being together on an intimate level. I didn’t understand it at all.
After a moment, I held out my hand again. “Come here.” I’d be dead and damned before I went to her, not with how she’d been acting since we left Montgomery, Alabama.
She looked down at my hand and set her jaw. I knew she wanted to touch me just as much as I needed her to, but I also knew by her thoughts that she wouldn’t without a little more encouragement.
“I know you promised Phoenix that you would try to be happy with me, here in Sin City. Do I need to make a call to the High Vampire of Montgomery to let him know you aren’t playing fair, Andra? My first attempt at getting him to break things off with you was just that: my first attempt. You may hate me before this is all over and done with between you and your bloodsucker, but, in the end, you will still need me and you won’t have him. I can live with that. Can you?”
Her lip quivered, and I nearly caved. I couldn’t handle the tears, but I could counteract with a little rage, just enough to give her a taste of how I felt. “Ace—”
“You’re mine, Andra. I’m willing to give you some time to let that soak in, but I won’t wait long.” I hardened my voice to a steely edge, even though she could undoubtedly tell I was serious. She had bonded with me, damn it! She was mine. She didn’t belong to some vampire nearly two thousand miles away. And when he got here, he still wouldn’t have her completely. I had to tamp down the utter rage at Andra’s memories of the vampire in bed with her, his skin sliding against hers, his mouth on my mate’s mouth. Fuck. If she wasn’t going to realize it on her own, I’d have to push the issue. “He can’t have you, Andra. I won’t let that happen.” I said the last part slowly, maybe for dramatic effect or maybe it was because, deep in my heart, I knew it to be true—I wouldn’t let him have her. By the fear in her widening eyes, I could tell she was seeing things from my perspective now. It was about damn time.
“I knew you would do this! I knew you would get me here and try to control me—”
“The only thing I’m trying to do is train you, but you won’t stop thinking of him long enough to concentrate on keeping your lovesick ass alive if this were a real situation!”
“Why do I need to learn how to fight so fast? We’ve barely stopped since we got here. And why haven’t you let me in your mind in two days? You shut me out the moment I asked about Justice.”
I huffed. I couldn’t tell her about Justice yet. If this upset her, I could only imagine how enraged she would be when I told her that I nailed a huge target on her head with our bonding. The worst part was that I knew it before I even did it. I didn’t know how to break the news to her without her hating me for it. Hell, I hated me for it. “I’m not ready to talk about it yet.”
“Well, I’m not ready to stop missing Phoenix yet,” she bit back. “I’ve only been away from my home for a little more than half a day, Ace. Cut me a little slack.”
I guess I was damned and dead, because I took a step forward, reached out and took her hand. The relief was immediate. Our rage subsided and our tempers calmed as if we’d never been angry at all. Our fight seemed so petty now. “I’m sorry. I am trying, Andra, and I will talk to you about Justice soon. I promise. I just have to figure out how to go about doing it the right way.”
She nodded as she wrapped her arms around me, and I looked up to the high ceiling, thanking the good Lord above us that He had given me enough sense to apologize. There was no better feeling in the world than when she was in my arms. It felt like heaven. It was new for me—totally unheard of for me—but I was quickly getting used to it. That in itself was mystifying.
“I’ll understand,” she said, and I lowered my head so that I could whisper in her ear.
“About him. Whatever it is, I’ll understand, Ace.”
God, if that were only true! Sighing heavily, I said, “I hope you will.”
“Were you lovers?”
I blinked rapidly at that. What the fuck? “No!” I had to laugh. Of course she would think something like that! “I’ve never been intimate with Justice… or any other guy, for that matter,” I said in disbelief, and then a smile crept across my face. “I like puss—”
Andra quickly clamped a hand over my mouth. “I hate that word. Call it something else.”
I threw my head back and laughed harder than I had in a long time. After I calmed down enough to speak clearly, I said, “What do you call it?”
Her eyes nearly popped out of her head as she blushed, and then those walls swiftly went up, blocking me out of her mind. Damn it! “I’m not telling you what I call my… my…”
She slapped my chest, and I laughed. “Stop! That sounds so gross to me.”
She did a little shudder-wiggle thing, and I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m serious. It was freaking hilarious watching her squirm over a word I’d said in everyday conversation most of my adult life.
“Okay, we won’t talk about what you call yours. What do you think I should call it in general? I have to call it something.”
“Why do you have to call it anything? People don’t go around talking about hoo-has all day long. You could just leave that particular body part out of your vocabulary altogether,” she said matter-of-factly.
My eyebrows rose as I stared at her in fascination. “Hoo-has?”
“Well, hoo-has is plural, meaning more than one. Hoo-ha is singular, meaning only one.”
Shit! Is she really giving me a grammar lesson on pussy slang?
“I know what singular means, Andra. I’m fairly educated.”
“Oh, then there you go. Hoo-ha and hoo-has.”
Frowning, I shook my head. “I don’t like that word. Call it something else.”
She grinned playfully, mimicking my head shake as she turned to walk away, but I grabbed her wrist and pulled her to me, enclosing her in the iron-like frame of my arms. Her skin—coated in a thin sheen of sweat—slid against mine, bringing to mind all sorts of erotic delights, but I only held her tighter. She stiffened, but she was too distracted to keep her walls intact. We were too close and she wasn’t as experienced with blocking as I was. I felt her desire for me the exact moment I smelled it.
Not only did the lion in me wake up, but the bonded male in me did, too. I wanted her. Bad. But it was too soon. She still had that vampire on a leash and I hadn’t told her my secret. My wants could wait for the perfect time. And there would be a perfect time. I was damn sure of that.
I had her right where I wanted her, though. Her walls were down and she was fully aware of how much she wanted me. The bonding did that to us. The attraction we felt for each other was unavoidable when we were this close. It may have been mean of me to use it to my advantage, but I had to know; she could not leave this room without me knowing. I did exactly what I intended to do from the start and no more. I bent until my lips almost touched hers, and then I dove into her mind. She hadn’t even tried to hide it from me. It was right there, for the taking, what she called her Golden Grotto, her Holy Grail or, in her words, hoo-ha.
I smiled as I whispered, “Kitty-cat.”
Desire left her eyes as she pushed against me. I let her go with a light chuckle.
“You’re an ass, Ace,” Andra said as she avoided looking at me. I could feel her embarrassment and guilt. Yes, guilt was there, too. The fucking vampire was cock-blocking me from seventeen-hundred miles away.
There was no need to bring up the fact that she would have willingly let me pet her kitty-cat if I had only kissed her. There was no vampire here for her to run to now. She wouldn’t have stopped me, but she would have regretted it. I didn’t want her to regret being with me. Ever. I had to play my cards right. There was no folding or losing in this game. I would win.
The gym doors opened, and Slade walked in with Kai, Rogan and Chaos. Chaos ran straight to Andra, and she knelt down to ruffle his ears and baby-talk to him. She was spoiling him, and he was eating it up. I frowned, my mood turning a bit sour at admitting to myself that I was envious of my Rhodesian ridgeback.
“Great timing, assholes,” I grumbled.
Slade’s grin was a mile wide as he watched Andra pet my dog, and then his green eyes cut up to mine, his black eyebrows rising in amusement. He thought it was funny as hell that I’d finally met a woman I liked and she wouldn’t put out. His words, not mine. And what made it worse, I hadn’t even told him. My Beta knew me better than I knew myself most of the time. I guess he could tell by the sexually frustrated look on my mug that I hadn’t gotten any—or any worth bragging about—in a while. I was never, ever telling him what Andra called the cockpit. Hoo-ha… What kind of word is that for something so awesome? The fucker would never let me live down how vanilla she was.
Slade nodded to Andra. “Has Ace been a good host? Are you getting settled in okay?”
She smiled shyly as she gave him a curt nod, but her face was still a little pink from the embarrassment I had caused only a few moments earlier, so I closed the distance between us and took her hand. She squeezed my fingers in response, and I winked at Slade.
“I’ve got it taken care of. She’s staying in my room.”
All three men did a double-take. My dog even looked at me funny. It didn’t surprise me. No female of mine had ever been allowed in my room—not that I kept one for more than a night, but that was beside the point. I took care of my women away from the lion’s den. None of the other pride members who lived here were allowed to bring anyone to the house with them for some kinky play, either. It was best for everyone if humans didn’t know shifters existed. Every Tom, Dick and Harry would grab their pitchforks and hunt us. That’s all we needed, a bunch of simple-minded rednecks who didn’t understand a damn thing about us, trying to become slayers. That wouldn’t do anything except get a bunch of humans killed.
Rogan’s whiskey-colored eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. “Huh?”
“Your room?” Kai said as he swept his shaggy blond mop out of his deep blue eyes so he could see me with both of them. “But you—”
“How did I miss that?” Slade said, interrupting Kai. “I thought Olivia had an extra bed in her room that Andra was supposed to sleep in while she stayed here.”
Narrowing my eyes at him, I released Andra’s fingers so I could drape my arm over her shoulder and pull her closer to me. I already knew she had access to everything about my past, since she’d received all my memories the moment we bonded, but I didn’t want these dickweeds making her think she was like those other chicks. “Andra is special, guys. Shut up, will ya?”
The guys just stared at me in disbelief. I wasn’t joking, but they were obviously waiting for me to tell them I was. Did they expect me to be a bachelor forever? Of course they did. Five days ago I would have expected that of myself.
Andra snickered, I was guessing at the nervous feeling I was sending her through our connection. “I got settled in just fine. Thank you, though I haven’t had much time for rest. Ace has had me training since we arrived.”
Slade grinned at her mischievously. “He’s easily bribed. Give him something he wants. He’ll do whatever you want him to do.”
“You can go now,” I said, letting the lack of amusement that I felt seep into the tone of my voice.
Andra laughed softly. “I’ll have to try that. What would he want?”
Kai snorted. “What does every man want from a woman?”
I looked up to the ceiling and huffed in annoyance when her embarrassment crept over my skin. Every damn hair on my arms was standing on end. “Get the hell out of here, guys. We’re about to turn in for the night. The rest of the pride will be here early in the morning to meet Andra.”
“Turning in for the night?” Rogan said, and then looked at the other guys, as if he was missing something important. “We came to tell you it was time to leave for work. None of us are as good as you are, Ace.”
A muffled curse passed through my lips as I ran my free hand down my face. “Uh…” I stammered, and Andra turned to look at me, confusion pouring out of her and into me in waves. She was on the verge of freaking out that I might leave her here alone. I forced a smile as I pried my wide eyes away from the guys to look at her. “It is, uh… tonight is poker night, and kind of a tradition I started a few decades ago. I’m pretty good at it, hence why I named my lion Ace. Most of us don’t really work around here. We gamble. It’s how the bills get paid. And I guess it’s my night to make sure we have a place to live next month.”
She glanced around the huge gym that was only a small fraction of the house. “You gamble and win enough money to pay for this place?”
“Yeah… and then some. Look, I won’t go if you don’t want to go, but I’m better than anyone here. We’ll lose everything pretty quick if I depend on some of these losers to cover the bills. A few of them lose more than I win sometimes.”
“Wait… the chick is coming with us?” Rogan said on a chuckle, and then his expression turned serious. “You’re fuckin’ joking, right?”
I saw red, but managed to shove Andra out of the way before I shifted—the welcome feel of bones stretching and changing, the fur sprouting, the muscles morphing—and pounced on Rogan. My teeth not-so-tenderly brushed the skin above his jugular where his pulse was pounding hard enough I could hear it. Kai and Slade backed away, but I could sense Slade wanted to interfere, and I suppose that was the only thing that stopped me from biting Rogan’s head off.
“Rogan doesn’t know about the bond, Ace!” Slade shouted. “Nobody but me and the crew that went with you knows that you’re a bonded male now! Don’t kill him! Christ! He didn’t know any better!” I didn’t glance up, but I imagined that he was running his fingers through that stark black hair and gripping it hard enough to pull it out by the roots.
“Ace,” Andra’s startled voice said. “Don’t kill him.”
I moved my head back enough to close my mouth, and then just stared down into Rogan’s eyes as a low growl rumbled up my throat.
“I would advise against ever calling her a chick again if you value your life, Rogan,” Slade said on a relieved exhale. “Ace bonded with Andromeda in Alabama. She’s your Alpha now, too.”
There was cold fear in Rogan’s confused eyes. He knew he’d screwed up, but I could tell that he wasn’t sure how he’d managed it. The truth was that none of us knew how strong this bonding thing was—well, aside from me and Andra; we knew exactly how tough this bitch was, but I wasn’t in the mood to give lessons or talk about it unless bloodshed was involved. I’d let Slade explain it to Rogan. Instead of backing away, I stepped forward, placing one of my back paws on Rogan’s groin as I made my way back to Andra.
Howls of agonizing pain issued from behind me as I shifted back to my human form.
Ignoring the scene behind me, I chuckled when Andra held out my shredded gym clothes, her head turned away from my immodesty.
I took the threads and covered myself enough to make her comfortable. “So, how are you at poker?” I said as we walked toward the doors to leave.
She laughed. “I’m better at Blackjack.”
“Let’s go Double Down then, my dear,” I said with a flirtatious grin, and she beamed at me. God, I loved that smile.
“I need to take a shower first,” Andra said.
I grinned playfully. “Good. You can shower with me. There’s a spot on my back I can never quite reach.” She gaped at me, and I nearly busted a gut laughing. “I’m kidding… unless, of course, you want to shower with me. I wouldn’t tell you no. I’m nice like that,” I said with a wink.
Catching me off guard, she shoved me into the corridor wall, and then laughed when I hit my funny bone and let out a loud curse. “You are not showering with me, Ace.”
I scowled as I rubbed my elbow, until I glanced up to see her walking away from me. That high ponytail and the look of her ass in those workout shorts had me forgetting all about the sharp pain shooting from my elbow to my wrist. I bit my lip as I watched her hips sway, and then I ran to catch up with her before she noticed I had started panting.
She might not shower with me tonight, but she would soon. She would soon.
The Vampire’s Daughter by Leigh Anderson
Cover by Cherith Vaughn
Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
Genre: Gothic Paranormal Historical Romance
Publication Date: March 22, 2016
Victoria rode her horse Gregory toward the village at a steady pace. She was looking forward to seeing Ethan, and Gregory was glad to be out of the barn. As she got close to the village, she could sense something was wrong. She could hear the faint sound of a woman crying. Sorrow seemed to hang on the air. As she got closer, she could see a few people moving about quickly and quietly. Some were boarding up their windows; others were reinforcing their animal enclosures. Riding through the town, the usually cold people looked at her with disgust. In one house, she saw a little child pointing at her until the mother came up to close the drapes. A group of older women gathering firewood stopped and mumbled as she got closer. She dismounted at the blacksmith’s and greeted the man with a smile, but he did not repay her in kind.
“Thank you for watching Gregory for me for a few hours, sir,” she said as she tied him in his usual stall.
“No need to thank me,” he replied as he untied the horse and gave her back the reigns.
“Why?” she prodded, confused.
“You should not be here,” was all he said as he headed inside.
She led her horse back out into the street and looked around. There was hardly anyone about. A few prying eyes watched her from the houses.
“I have just as much right to be here as any of you,” she thought to herself as she held her head up high. She felt herself getting mad, but she wasn’t sure why. Why were the people staring and pointing at her? Why would the blacksmith say she didn’t belong there? What had she done to any of them? She decided to go to her future home and see if Ethan was there.
She tied her horse to the hitching post at the end of the walk. She approached the house and ran her fingers through what looked like claw marks on the oak front door. She did not remember seeing them there before.
“Hello?” she called inside as she opened the door. A small fire was going in the fireplace, telling her Ethan had been there and most likely would return. She felt herself calm down and her anger at the people melt away. The room was warm and safe. She closed the door and looked around the cottage. It already looked so homey, fully furnished with curtains on the windows and rugs on the floors.
She ascended the wooden steps to the second floor and opened the first door to a room on the left. It was small with equally small furniture – most likely a child’s room. She imagined that one day, her and Ethan’s children would be playing on that floor looking up at her with wide-eyed wonderment. Then their eyes reflected fear, and she thought of how the townspeople reacted to her today and how, even now, she was an outcast. She sighed, frowned, and shut the door on the frightened children she imagined were there.
She opened a door on her right and found the master bedroom. She entered the room, took off her cape, and hung it on a hook by the door. She walked over and placed her small hand on the large pine spindles of the bed. She walked to the far side of the bed, running her fingers over the covers. A multi-colored crotched blanket overlaid a beautiful pink and ecru quilt. She folded the blanket back so it only covered the foot of the bed and the quilt could be more fully seen. The quilt was so soft to the touch. She bent down and put her cheek to the fabric. She sighed in delight. She looked at the door and listened to see if anyone was there. When she only heard silence, she took off her shoes, climbed up onto the bed and laid long ways across it. It was a large bed. She stretched her hands way above her head and still could barely touch the other end. She laughed at herself and how she found such delight in such a simple thing.
“What are you doing?” a voice asked.
“Ahh!” she screamed and sat up straight and turned toward the voice. “Ethan! You startled me!”
“I startled you?” he asked. “What are you doing in my house?”
“Your house?” she asked. “I thought this was our house.”
Ethan began to laugh as he put the wooden club he was carrying by the door. “You should see yourself,” he said. “Why were you so afraid? I did not mean to scare you.”
“Oh, I do not know,” she replied, settling herself down. “Everyone was just acting so strange when I got here. I guess I am just on edge…” she trailed off, noticing the club. “What is that for?”
“Oh, well, do not worry about that,” he said, taking off his coat and sitting on the other side of the bed. “Everyone is a little nervous. Some wolves came into town on Sunday night and killed a man.”
“Oh, my goodness,” Victoria said, putting her hand to her mouth. “That is awful. Who was it?”
“Mr. Stanek,” he said. “We just had the funeral this morning,”
“I am sorry I missed it,” she lamented.
“It’s all right; you had no way of knowing about it.”
“Still, I feel awful.” She laid back and placed her head on one of the pillows.
Ethan looked at the sorrow on her face. He knew Father James was wrong about her. She cared and felt deeply for every person.
“Wait!” she said, sitting straight up again. “You said ‘wolves’ as in many of them? Is that what clawed the front door?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said. “There were five by my count, but some people saw more.”
“A whole pack attacked the town?” she asked. “That is like something out of an old legend, back when werewolves ruled the woods at night.”
“I know,” Ethan said. “The whole town is worried about the next full moon. Everyone is boarding up their windows and reinforcing their doors. I’m sure they are overreacting, though. Werewolves. How silly. They were just normal wolves. This cold weather probably has them desperate for food.”
“You actually saw them?” she asked. “My God, are you all right? You were not injured, were you?” She crawled over to him and put her hand on his face.
“No, no, I’m fine,” he said, chuckling over the fuss she was making. He liked how much she cared for him. “I’m fine,” he whispered, looking at her beautiful face. His face turned stone serious and he exhaled slowly.
She could tell by the way he was looking at her he wanted something. He turned his body to face her, reached up and pulled her toward him. She closed her eyes and let him kiss her. He stood up to kick off his shoes. She lay on the bed with her head on a pillow. He crawled up next to her and just looked at her for a moment. She pulled her feet up under her gown in a fetal position and put her hands under her cheek on the pillow. Ethan reached over and took the pins out of her hair, letting it frame her face. She looked so innocent, so pure. Her white skin was flawless and her dark eyes were glossy. She was not evil. If anything she was godly, angelic. He leaned over to kiss her, but she pulled back.
“Ethan,” she said. “Do you…would you mind if…maybe we…” She didn’t want to hurt his feelings, but she needed to ask him something.
“What?” he asked. He reached a reassuring hand to her and rubbed her shoulder. “What is it?”
“It’s …maybe we could not do that today. I still have not confessed from last time, and it has been a bad couple of days. Things have not gone well at home. I don’t need any more sin on my conscience right now.”
“Oh, sweetie. That’s all right,” he said. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t want to do anything you’re not comfortable with.”
“Have you talked to Father James yet? I really need to see him.”
“Oh, yes. I did speak to him…” He didn’t want to tell her what Father James had said, but he did not want to lie to her, either. “He was not happy, as expected,” he said. “He still wants me to go to Rome, of course.”
“Of course he would,” she agreed.
“He is still upset; I doubt he would absolve you of anything right now. Or me for that matter. I actually never confessed after last time either. Don’t worry, though, I am sure that in a few days, he will calm down and see that we are doing the right thing.”
“I hope so,” she said.
“Did you tell your father?” he asked.
“No, I have not been feeling well; I have not even seen him since Sunday. I think my nerves are making me tense. It has only been a couple of days; there is still plenty of time.”
“We have all the time in the world,” he said and smiled. His tone and happy demeanor calmed her so much she almost forgot about the wolves, and the priest, and the way the people in town were acting, and the women back home. All she wanted was to be with him forever. She leaned over and gave him an enticing kiss.
“I thought you were feeling guilty!” he said, pushing her gently away.
“If I die without confessing my already many and egregious sins, I suppose it makes no difference if I have one more added to the list, does it?”
“No, I suppose it doesn’t!” he said, climbing onto her, wrapping his arms all the way around her, holding her just as close and tight as he could. He rolled over and let her lay on his chest as they kissed. She straddled him to keep from falling over. She ran her tongue down his neck and kissed his chest. He reached down, pulled up her dress and caressed both of her legs. He ran his hands up to the top of her thigh-high stockings and touched her soft skin. She put the full weight of her body on top of him and he kissed her forehead. He slowly removed one of her stockings, feeling her bare, exposed skin from her thigh to her toes. He then removed the other stocking, a little more quickly this time.
Victoria breathed heavily; the room was hot. Ethan was burning for her. Ethan’s hot breath on her skin was almost more than she could handle. She reached a hand under his shirt and touched the skin of his rigid stomach. The sensation of her cold touch on his skin made Ethan gasp, but he took it as a sign that the shirt needed to be removed. He sat up and removed it while she still straddled his lap. He suckled and bit her neck and chest and caressed her thighs while she ran her fingers through his hair. The way his muscles had a slightly moist sheen in the subdued light filtering in from the window dressings excited her.
She reached around her back to try to find the many buttons that ran from her neckline to her waist. Ethan’s hands followed hers and realized what she was trying to do. He laughed a little, out of surprise and joy. He had an easier time removing the buttons from their loops than she did. He only got about halfway down when he thought the dress would be loose enough to take off. They both got up on their knees and he helped pull the heavy gown over her head. His face sank for a moment when he saw the full-length shift she was wearing underneath a fully laced corset. She laughed when she saw his expression.
“You did not think it was going to be that easy, did you?” she asked.
“Sorry if I seem a bit eager,” he said.
She felt relieved; she could breathe better and she felt lighter with the gown off. Ethan kissed her while she ran her fingers down his naked back. He reached around her and began pulling at the laces on her corset. She did not protest. She did not care if Helena noticed the lacings or not. She did not care if her father found out. What could he do about it after it was already done? If she gave herself to Ethan, let him have her most prized possession, it was hers to give. Ethan removed the corset and laid himself fully on top of her. She undid the top button on his pants. She moved her fingers deeper inside his pants to undo the next one and he groaned in anticipation.
“Victoria,” he said, propping himself up and looking at her. “Victoria. I love you so much.” He reached up and brushed some stray hairs away from her face. “Are you sure this is what you want?”
“I want you, Ethan,” she said, running her hands up his back. “I love you.”
He leaned back down and sucked on her neck. She held him tightly to her. He moved both of his hands to her legs and pulled her chemise up almost to her waist. He kissed her so strongly and his tongue prodded her mouth so deeply he almost gagged her, but she did not dare protest for fear he would stop. Her breath quickened. He did not want to go too quickly. This was the first time for both of them. He wanted to make sure it was perfect.
She was about to tell him to take her when a terrible feeling flooded over her. It was as if someone inside her head told her to run. She froze, trying to listen to the voice.
Ethan felt her tense up. He stopped because he was afraid he had hurt her or that she had changed her mind. “Victoria?” he began.
“Shhhhh!” she said, holding up a hand to silence him. Her harsh tone shocked him. She did not mean to sound cruel, but something was certainly wrong. He saw a disturbed look on her face. All of her senses seemed to come alive – she could see and hear everything around her. Hushed tones, the light clang of weapons, the smell of the cold air wafting in through an open door.
“Ethan!” she said, letting go of him and sitting straight up. “Someone is in the house!” She had a feeling it was more than someone simply looking for them – they were in danger.
“What?” he asked as he got up, closed his pants, and moved toward the door. She stood on the far side of the bed, pulled down her undergarment, and looked around for something she might be able to use to defend herself, but there was no time. As Ethan reached for the door, an unimaginable sense of danger overwhelmed her.
“No!” she screamed.
He stopped, but it was too late. Someone kicked in the door, and several of the village men entered the room followed by Father James.
Genre: Contemporary/MMA Romance
Publication Date: November 20, 2015
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Nick stepped up behind Drew. “I hear you’re incapacitated,” he said, his voice wry.
“Screw you, Parker. You try having Garcia beat the shit out of you and see how incapacitated you are.”
“Next time don’t let him beat the shit out of you.”
Drew flipped him off, but Nina could tell he didn’t mean it by the fact that his hand only got halfway up in the air before it dropped back into his lap.
Nick chuckled. “You probably shouldn’t be out here doing whatever the hell you’re doing.”
Nick looked to Nina for explanation.
She sighed, not wanting to recount the whole damn thing again. “Some assholes robbed the place last night. They broke into Drew’s unit along with a bunch of others. I guess he thought he had to do all the clean up today.”
Nick shook his head, as he grabbed Drew’s arm and slung it over his shoulder, hauling him to a standing position.
“You’re a stubborn asshole,” he said.
“It’s my Mom’s stuff. I had to take care of it.”
“It’ll still be here tomorrow,” Nick said as he stuffed Drew into the passenger seat of his car.
“I don’t know. It’s not really safe. I don’t want to lose anything else.” Drew said.
Nina cringed. She approached Drew’s window while Nick went and locked up Drew’s Jeep.
“I’m so sorry, Drew,” she told him. “I’ll do everything I can to get your things back. Even if I have to look for the burglars myself.”
Drew snorted, “You do that, sweetheart.”
His head flopped back onto the headrest and he closed his eyes. She couldn’t tell if he’d passed out again or just dismissed her.
Nick handed her the Jeep keys and opened his driver’s door. “I’ll have him call you in a few days and we’ll make arrangements to pick up his car. Here are the keys in the meantime, in case you have to move it.”
“Thanks,” she said. “I’ll go ahead and unlock the gate for you. I’m glad you came to pick him up.”
“He’d do the same for me.”
As the gate shut after them, she watched Nick pull out onto the road and drive away.
“Don’t worry Drew, I’ll make it right.”
Series: Worlds Apart #1
Genre: SciFi/Paranormal Romance
Publication Date: August 12, 2014
Other books in the Worlds Apart Series
The Crystal Telepath (Worlds Apart #2)
Shirl’s prize possession is the crystal that she always wears around her neck. The only item left to her by her mother. Searching for a missing friend, Shirl finds herself in front of a portal her glowing amethyst opens. She blindly enters the event horizon with no clue of where she will end up, desperately hoping to find her friend.
Starc Lours grew up hearing stories about the fabled powers of a mated female crystal telepath. Since he has baggage of his own where women are concerned, he is not thrilled when he is assigned to protect the woman from another universe. During a life-threatening event, Starc recognizes Shirl as his soul mate and is forced to leave her behind.
Is Shirl the Crystal Telepath of legend? Will she be able to handle the powers she will ultimately possess? Or will she be denied the opportunity to find out? The legend of the Crystal Telepath holds the key.
The Warrior Woman (Worlds Apart #3)
Candy Phillips vowed at an early age to control her own destiny. Her carefully ordered life is thrown into turmoil when she follows her friends into a parallel universe. Thrust into a hazardous position she did not want, Candy finds herself on a routine mission where things suddenly go terribly wrong.
Recognizing immediately Candy is his soul mate, Tolfer Childers decides to hide the true nature of their relationship. He restrains his emotions so her feelings can grow naturally even though he wants to love and nurture her. In a split second decision, Tolfer sacrifices everything to follow his soul mate to another dimension.
Once they exit the portal, Candy and Tolfer must come together as true soul mates to face the obstacles in this new world. Is Candy the Warrior Woman of legend? Will she and Tolfer survive in a place no one escapes from? Ultimately, it will take more than Candy and Tolfer’s bond if they are to live.
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: October 3, 2014
Jared cleared his throat. “Can I sit next to you?”
Her head whipped back around. “Why?”
He rocked back on the heels of his shitkickers.
Charm. Focus on being charming.
“I like to keep the company of a beautiful woman.” Jared smiled.
He stared. He couldn’t help it.
She frowned at a compliment?
Jared quirked an eyebrow and slid onto the chair next to hers, because she was never going to invite him to sit. And that made him want to join her even more. Intrigued the hell out of him. “What’s your name?”
Cocking her head to one side, she studied him. “Uh…Ren.”
“Wren like the bird? Cool name.”
“No.” Her cheeks reddened again and she looked away. “Umm…it’s…short for Renee.”
He watched her fidget before she’d meet his gaze again. His stomach churned at the thought of her being uneasy with him. He forced words out. “Can I call you Renee?”
Those eyes met his and he swallowed hard. Crystal blue, like a morning summer sky. Jared had never seen anything so beautiful in his life.
“O-o-o-kay. I mean, sure.” More shifting, so he reached for her hand.
Touching her resulted in a zing of energy shooting up his arm. Their eyes locked. Her lips parted and his mouth went dry.
He wanted to kiss her.
No. Jared needed to kiss her.
Before he could even lean in, Renee gasped and moved away.
“Which one of them put you up to this?” she demanded. The suspicion in her voice made him rear back.
Wanting to kiss a woman two seconds after meeting her was fast…even for him.
Get it together, seriously.
“Excuse me?” His voice cracked.
She looked away. “Never mind.”
Jared studied her. She was nervous. No…uncomfortable. Why? “Renee.”
When she met his eyes, his heart skipped.
“I want to have a nice evening. A drink. A dance. With you.”
She cleared her throat and Jared wanted to kiss it.
“With. Me.” It wasn’t a question.
He nodded. “With you. Is that a problem?”
Renee’s pale blue gaze raked his face. “No. I guess not. My friends are always telling me I need to loosen up.”
“Are they now?” He flashed his best charming grin. “Just so happens I’m pretty good at helping that along.”