Mackenzie’s shift at the hospital had just begun when they told her that a patient friend of hers was back in the ER and asking for her. When she entered the curtained room, the last thing she expected was for a McCullough to be sitting next to her patient. It wasn’t Hawk, thank god, but the man looked enough like him he could have been his twin. Hawkins McCullough was on her shit list, and if this man was related to him, she didn’t want anything to do with him.
It didn’t take long for Dustin McCullough to figure out that this feisty doctor was his mate. And when he found out that his brother had hurt her, it took a great deal of strength to keep his cat from killing him.
Mackenzie was at her wits end. Random attacks to her person and bullets flying had the entire McCullough family in an uproar. And just when they thought they had everything about under control, Hawkins drops a bombshell that had them all stunned.
Can Mackenzie find it in her heart to forgive Hawk before it’s too late?
Colin McCullough gets the phone call that all military families dread―his brother Hawkins has been shot. Colin only wants to thank Hawkins’s commanding officer for saving his brother’s life, but he can never seem to get past the guards in the hospital’s hallway to personally thank the man.
Major Lauren Burcher is all Army and head of a special task team usually sent in to clean things up. This time, her team is ambushed by friendlies, and Lauren and her best man Hawkins McCullough barely make it out alive―they were set up. Someone wants them both dead.
Another attempt on Lauren’s life in the hospital fails miserably, and when Colin scoops her up in his arms to place her back in the hospital bed, he finds a gun pointed at his forehead at point blank range. In that moment he realizes this bad-assed scary woman is his mate.
Lauren wants no part of this mate business. Relationships get messy and this jerk is bossy as hell. And Lauren doesn’t take orders…she gives them. But it will take all of them, his family and hers, to keep her and Hawkins alive….
Who rescued who was still a little vague, but they escaped just the same. The lab called him SA-8, and they had made him into a very powerful weapon. But to Reese he was just Josh, a boy that could do amazing things, but a boy none the less—not a lab rat. That was two years ago—the lab had been relentless and lethal in their pursuit. With her big rig running on fumes, and their last dime spent, they wound up on a small town in Ohio….
Parker McCullough found an abandoned big rig parked on his land. It had been there a few days, and he wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. Calling the authorities seemed like the logical thing to do, but when he tried to do so, his cell phone went flying from his hand and a teenage boy appeared from nowhere. Parker thought the boy was an Elite Shifter, and after hearing a little of the boy’s story he wanted to help.
Reese didn’t know who all these people were, but if she and Josh didn’t get away from them, the “others” would find them and they’d all be dead, just like all the other people who had tried to help them along the way…. And now the gorgeous shifter, Parker, had her trapped in the kitchen claiming to be her mate…. She didn’t have time for herself, and she didn’t want to see them all die because they’d helped her and Josh—Reese was out of options.
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Sunny, or Sunshine Davis, is a well-known investigative reporter. After her recent article shuts down a drug lab, she just disappears. People everywhere are looking for her. Truth is she’s been shot and left for dead. Tanner, a vampire, has other plans for the feisty reporter. He needs her help, so he saves her. His old friend, Ollie Whitfield, owes him a favor, so he sends her there to lay low for a while.
David Whitfield is on a deadline with his publisher. When he’s writing, he’s in a world of his own. When his grandda, Ollie, asks him to hide out a friend, he’s all for it. He’d do anything for his grandda. What David doesn’t expect is for the woman he’s supposed to be hiding out to be his mate. A very hurt mate that has his tiger in a possessive uproar.
Because Sunny technically died before Tanner could revive her, she has a little difficulty remembering the events just prior to her death, but when she does the revelation rocks her to her core. And her baggage can put all the Whitfields in danger.
The Whitfield Rancher
Erotic Tiger Shapeshifter Romance
#PREORDER #COMINGSOON #SEPT4TH2016
Pacing the long hallway didn’t make things go any faster, but he had to do something or he was going to hit someone. Dustin wasn’t much of an idle person…none of his brothers were. But this waiting stuff, it was for the birds. As he started to move down the other hallway for different scenery, he paused when he saw the man. There wasn’t anything strange about him, not if you discounted the fact that he was poorly dressed and that his shirt was full of holes. He seemed to be clean…he didn’t smell dirty or have sweat on him. But when another man came out of one of the curtained off rooms—an orderly, Dustin supposed—he moved closer to hear what was being said. The elderly man didn’t strike him as being someone that he should be wary of, but Dustin was bored and interested in different things, he told himself. Besides, Dustin’s new employee was back there, and he didn’t want him hurt if this went badly. “Mac here? I got me some pains, and I was told to come on back here if it didn’t get better.” The orderly nodded and said that Mac had come in about an hour ago. “Do you think that I can have a few minutes? I’ve got me a powerful pain in my foot, and I was told to come in if it didn’t get any better.” “Yes, but you’ll need to sign in.” The man nodded but he didn’t move. “I can call Mac, but you have to sign in before I will. There are rules, Rubin, and you know that. I’ll page her, but you have to sign in for us.” “Yes, I know that, but I don’t know how to read. I told you that the last time I was here. Can you find me someone to help an old man out?” The man that had been talking to Rubin moved back behind the curtained area, leaving Rubin all alone. “Damn it, boy, I told you I was hurting. Nobody wants to come and help an old man out anymore. What’s this here world coming to when you can’t even—?” “Can I help you?” Rubin turned to look at him and Dustin smiled at him. “I can assist you with the paperwork if that’ll help you. My employee is getting his hand stitched up and should be a little while longer. I don’t mind helping you out if you need it.” “They are mean to me here. I don’t mean that they should put out a red carpet or nothing, but they could at least let a man have some dignity. Why do I have to sign in when they all know who I am and why I’m here?” Dustin said that he was sorry about that. “Your friend, he have insurance? They treat you differently when you don’t have any. Sort of stick you in a room for hours on end and forget about you.” “I don’t think that’s true, but who knows? Yes, he has some through my company.” Rubin nodded, but looked back at the man who had disappeared. “I don’t mind helping you, sir. If you just tell me what has to be done we’ll get you signed in so you can go see the doctor.” “I have to fill out one of them papers that tells them my name and such. I can write my name good, but not read a lick of words. Letters were never my strong suit.” Dustin
followed him, pushing his wheel chair to the desk for him, where a nice nurse gave him what Rubin needed. Sitting down, Dustin started asking him the questions that were on the form. “Rubin Davis.” His age surprised him. Dustin would have thought him much younger than his seventy-four years. “Address and phone number?” “I live on the streets. I have a post office box number that they say won’t work, but that’s all I got. Mac set that up for me.” Dustin nodded and put his own address on the line that asked for a street address. “What’s you writing there?” “My address and phone number. I’m going to see about getting you a cell phone, all right?” Rubin asked him why he’d do something like that. “I don’t know. I’m sort of bored and I need to do something. Helping you will get me in good with my mom. She’s a little upset with me right now.” “You only get yourself one mom, and you’d better take care not to upset her. She mean to you or just stern?” He told him that she was never mean, but she could peel rubber off a tire when she was upset. “Yeah, my mom was like that too. Loved her to pieces, but I was terrified of her too. Schooling wasn’t helping much, and I was getting on her last frayed nerve. Then one day, I got myself in a fix that even she couldn’t help me with. Judge told me, ‘Join up or jail.’ That’s why I joined up in the service when I did. Momma could use the money, so that’s what I did.” “I’m afraid of my mom too. All of us boys are.” Rubin asked him how many there were of them. “I have five brothers and two sisters-in-law. I’m afraid of them too. And in awe. They’re very strong women. One of them was in the army as well.” “All women are strong, but they don’t usually know it. Some of them have to have a good man bring it out of them. You got yourself a woman?” He told him just his mom. “Well, that won’t keep you warm at night, but that’s a good answer.” After finishing up the paperwork, Dustin turned it in and waited with him. The nurse that had taken Randy back told him that he’d be a bit longer. They were making sure that there wasn’t anything in the cut before they stitched it up. The kid had already cost him a lot of time, and now he was going to have to wait longer. Not that he didn’t enjoy sitting with Rubin, but Randy had been a pain in their sides since his first day. He was the most stubborn, pig headed person that he’d ever hired. And now he was going to have to let him go. He’d told him five times not to use the drill so close to his hand. It was like the kid had a death wish when it came to electrical equipment. The first day he’d been on the job, three days ago, he’d cut his hand on the electric tile cutter, and it hadn’t been on or even plugged in. The second day, yesterday, he’d cut his foot on the table saw. Dustin was still trying to figure out how the hell he’d done that. Fucking around was all he could think of. Now today he’d rammed the drill through the middle of his palm and tore it up badly. “You don’t have to wait here with me.” He told Rubin that he wanted to. “Well, I thank you, son. Not many people would want to be around an old man like me. I been talking to Mac, my doctor, since I moved here about five months ago. Not into
practicing medicine much anymore. She got hurt one night working ER and never been the same. Hell of a surgeon, though. Been watching over me and my diabetes. I’ve got it bad, and the meds I take, they ain’t cheap for me. But I got me this card that helps me out a lot.” “My brother is a doctor. Boyd McCullough. He has a nice practice not far from here, but he was busy today and so I had to bring Randy here.” They talked about this and that, and after about an hour more, a man came out to talk to Rubin. Not the one that had been rude to him earlier. “Mr. Davis, I’ve heard from Mac. I was told to set you up in one of the rooms down here, and that as soon as possible, you’ll be seen. All right?” Rubin said that was just fine. “Also, I’m to ask you if you’ve been taking your medications.” “Yes. I was told if I didn’t, I’d get my ass handed to me.” The nurse said that was good and stood up. Rubin turned to Dustin. “You gonna come with me? I’d surely like the company if you don’t mind.” “No, I don’t mind. Let me check on Randy and I’ll be right with you.” Rubin said he’d be right down the hall. Dustin made his way to the cubical that Randy was in. “You can go on home, Dustin. My wife is coming to get me. And she’s none too happy with me.” Dustin wanted to point out that he wasn’t either but only nodded. “I should have listened to you about that drill. I’m very sorry about all this.” “Just take some time off and get healed. But I can’t have you doing things your own way when you think you know it all.” Randy nodded. “I’ll talk to my dad, and we’ll see what we can do about this in the future.” “I understand.” Dustin wasn’t sure that he did, and when he told him he’d see him next week, he knew it. “I can’t lose my job, Dustin. I need it.” “We’ll talk.” As he made his way back to see Rubin, he reached out to his dad to tell him what was going on. I’m not going to be coming back just yet. I’m sitting with an elderly gentleman who asked me to stay with him. I’ll be there soon. Take your time. We’re doing much better since that kid is gone. My goodness gracious, Dustin, the kid was lucky that he only messed up his hand and didn’t take his fool head off. Dustin agreed with him and told his dad that they’d have to fire him. Yes, we’ll do that. Shame too. But it’s dangerous when you don’t listen to someone that knows better. He found Rubin easily enough, and sat in the little room’s only chair. He’d been in the ER for over three hours now, and figured that since his day was shot, he might as well sit with this man Besides, he really enjoyed his company. As they talked about nothing again, just talking about what Dustin did for a living, Rubin told him what he’d done when he was a younger man. “Trouble mostly when I was a youngster. Then the Army, as I said. All the way. I didn’t know that I had it so good until I was out. Of course, there are people that spend more time in there than they should. Like my Mac. Never seen a person that could go between the two worlds, civilian and Army, like that one.” He told Rubin about Lauren. “Lauren Burcher? You know her?” “Yes, she’s my sister-in-law.” Rubin stared at him, then burst out laughing. It made him smile to see someone enjoy a bit of information as much as Rubin seemed to have.
“She and my brother Colin are parents now. They have two sets of twins. Two girls and two boys. I think she was under the impression that she was going to be able to whip them into shape the first day. It’s been a couple of months, and I don’t think her plan is working.” “She’s a hoot, I tell you. I only met her the one time…. It was a few years ago. When she came to tell me about my grandboy.” Dustin knew then that Rubin’s grandson had fought with her. “I just realized something too. You’re Hawk’s brother, aren’t you?” “Yes. Hawkins is one of my brothers.” Dustin looked around the room then back at Rubin before he spoke again. “Something wrong with that.” “No. But I’m thinking you don’t have any idea who Mac is, do you?” He said that he didn’t know him. “Mac ain’t no male, son. She’s a she. And her and Hawk, they don’t get on very well.” He started to ask him what that meant, but the curtain opened and he was sure he was staring at the infamous Mac. She came in, sat on the side of the bed, and ignored him over Rubin. Dustin reached out to Lauren, never sure where Hawkins was, and asked about a doctor or surgeon named Mac. Mackenzie Gibson? She’s there at the hospital with you? He told her what was going on. Holy Christ, Dustin. You’re in for a shit storm if she figures out who you are. I think she knows. I filled out the paperwork for my friend here. She told him to leave, now. What’s going on? I’ll tell you about it, what I can, when you get here. Leave now, before she shows you what a nice little temper she has. He stood up and Mac told him to sit. He told Lauren. I’ll remember you well, was all she said before she started laughing and closed the connection. Dustin wasn’t sure what to do, and sat there with his mouth shut. Fuck this shit; he didn’t need it, and when he stood again she did as well. Dustin swallowed three times before he could speak. Christ, she was gorgeous. Sitting down again, she did as well. But he was sure that they sat for different reasons. He did because she made him weak in the knees. ~~~ Ignoring the man, she sat back down. Looking at Rubin, she asked him what was going on with him that brought him in today. She was his friend first and his doctor secondly. Right now, she had to wear the latter hat to try and stem the fear she had of the man by the bed. “Got me some toe issues. You said that I had to keep it clean and all, but I’m not sure I did such a good job this time.” Mac stood up and started unlacing Rubin’s boot. “But I’ve been taking my medications like you told me, and I’ve been eating like I should. Well, when I could get me a meal, that is. No reason for my foot to be a bothering me like it is.” Mac could smell it even as she slipped his boot off. It was infected. And there was blood on his sock. She knew even before she saw the foot that he was going to lose it. Gangrene had set in. Glancing at the man who was holding onto Rubin’s hand, she tried to decide how to tell him.
“You’re gonna take it off, ain’t you?” She nodded at Rubin. “I been really careful and all, I promise you. I don’t want to be losing my foot, Doc. I know that I got me another one, but this one here, it comes in handy when I’m walking around and dancing a jig or two with a pretty woman like yourself. If you can fix me up, I’m sure that I can make it work out for me.” “I’m sorry, Rubin, I truly am. Sometimes no matter what you do, this is the way it goes, and I hate to do it as much as you hate it. But if I leave it, you’ll die. I told you when I saw you last time that this might happen.” Mac wanted to go home, be anywhere but there. The man with her friend was a McCullough, and there was no denying it even if she’d not read his name on the chart. There couldn’t have been two men that looked more alike than these two. And having to deliver bad news on top of that was almost too much to bear. “When was the last time you ate anything?” In her mind, she was trying to calculate the times. Surgery on his foot would be hard on the elderly man…her too if she was honest. And the man, Dustin McCullough, was too distracting. She wondered what his connection to Rubin was, but wasn’t going to ask. She wasn’t even sure why she’d told him to sit down. Mac should have let him go home or whatever. Going to the front desk, she started making plans for the surgery. Rubin had nothing—less than nothing—so she also signed off on the paperwork to have his bills sent to her home. Not that there would be that much after this, but she didn’t want him burdened. Just as she was hanging up the phone, Lauren Burcher came into the emergency room like she owned the place. Mac had been so impressed with the other woman when she’d worked with her all those years ago. That was before she had turned her temper and her connections on her. It had taken Mac less time to get out of the service than it had for her to get in. Thanks, in part, to Lauren Burcher. When she came up to her, smiling that smile that never boded well for anyone, Mac waited. “Mac.” Mac nodded but didn’t speak. She was more concerned with where Hawkins was. “He’s out of country if it’s Hawk that you’re looking for. He still goes out and brings the injured or dying home. What are you doing here?” “I work here off and on. Not that I have to justify myself to you.” Lauren smiled. “What the fuck are you doing here? Are you going to get me fired again? Or perhaps you’d like to have my license revoked. At this point, I don’t care if you do either. But know this is my turf, and I have a bit more pull than you do.” At least she hoped she did. With Lauren, it was difficult to tell where she had loyal friends. “Fired? No, I never did that to you. I’ve come to rescue Dustin. Have you chewed him up and spit him out like you did Hawkins when he asked you for a favor?” She wanted to slap the other woman, but was afraid she’d kill her. There was never an inbetween with Lauren. It was always all go or she’d ignore the situation. And she’d never done the latter with Mac. “Have you told him?” “Told him what?” Lauren snorted. “Look, I have work to do. If you have nothing productive to say to me, then I’d like for you to take Dustin home and leave me to my work.”
“That’s too fucking bad. He’s here on his own accord, with a friend. Do you have any of those? And I’m talking about the fact that you ignored a request, a very nice one, from his brother. That you left a woman to suffer in the worst sort of way.” It was right there, on the tip of her tongue, to tell Lauren to fuck off, she’d not done a damned thing, but there were things going on back then, and now, that she had no control over. “I’m assuming that you’re denying that still.” “I have work to do, Lauren. If there is nothing more, I’m going to leave you here.” She turned away, then looked back. “For all this hotshot shit kicker that everyone thinks you are, you’re about the laziest woman I’ve ever met when it comes to getting all your facts in a row, aren’t you? Perhaps, just maybe, you should have done your research a little better before assuming the worst about me and what I was doing. I would have before I did what you did to me.” She left her standing there. Mac had an operating room to prep and forms to fill out, and standing around debating what sort of person she was to a pig-headed woman wasn’t going to get them done. However, just as she got off the elevator on the surgical floor, she turned left instead of right to go into her office. Closing and locking the door behind her, she stood against the door and let the tears fall. It hadn’t been that long ago, but to her it seemed a lifetime of horror. Every time she closed her eyes it would haunt her. Every time she had to go into the emergency room, she’d think of the man that had lain there, his gut hanging out, his arm barely hanging onto his hand by a bit of skin and muscle. And Hawk standing there, his rifle pointed at her, his face covered in blood that she was sure wasn’t just from the patient that he’d brought to her. He told her to fix him. “He’s dead.” Hawk had shaken his head and told her to make him whole. “I can’t do that, Sergeant. The man isn’t breathing. He’s gone, I’m sorry.” “You’ll make him whole then.” She had no idea what he was talking about. There were others in the tent that she could be saving, should have been saving, but he held the gun to her while she still worked to try and understand him. Then his meaning hit her, and she was both appalled and pissed about it. “You mean you want me to put him back together? For what reason would you have me waste my time in putting a dead man back into one piece? He’s dead. Do you see this room? The many others, living men, who need my help? And you want me to work on a man who no longer can help anyone?” The gun touched her head; it was all Mac could do not to beg him to do it, to just end her life. “I can’t save him, but there are others I can.” He hit her then, took the butt of the rifle and hit her in the face with it. She was sure that he hadn’t meant to kill her, but this was his way of fighting back. When she went down, she pulled out her own gun and pointed it to his knee, and watched him as he stood over her. “Do it.” She shook her head and told him to back off. “Just blow my knee out of my leg and we’ll both be happier about it. I can go home, you’ll go to prison, and the world will go on without us. Do it.”
Instead, she got up and went to find the military police. Mac had him arrested and put in irons in minutes. The entire time, he never said a word to her or them. But it was the look, the one that told her that this wasn’t finished, that terrified her. As he was being pulled away, she continued to watch his face, watched him stare at her like she was on his list of next to kill off. Four days later he was out. It was then that he came to her tent. She’d not taken any notice as to who it was until it was too late. People were always going in and out of her tent, mostly nurses that needed something, like a day off. But seeing him there, with his gun pointed at her head again, Mac had begged him to kill her. “Did you think that I’d just forget about what you did? You have no idea all the trouble you caused me. You had me arrested. I had things to do, and you nearly kept me from them.” She said he’d left her no choice. “There is always a choice, and you chose the wrong one.” “Because of you and your stupidity, three men died that day. All because you wanted me to sew together a dead man by holding me hostage, while others that were injured went unattended and passed away. Why?” He stood there, the gun to her head, and waited. “What did it matter to anyone if he was whole or not? I’m here to save the living, don’t you understand that?” “His mom cared.” He backed from her then, pulling the gun back a bit away from her head. “So she saw him like you left him. Blown to shit and looking like a man that had seen war. How would you have liked that?” “We are at war, you moron. And the military would have taken care that she didn’t see that. They have special duties that take care so that it doesn’t happen.” He nodded and then, once again, it occurred to her what he meant. She hoped more than anything that she was wrong. “His mother works in a special detail, doesn’t she? She’ll be the one that dresses him.” Dressing was such an odd term for what the detail did for the dead. Not only were they cleaned up but, as best they could, care was taken so they would not look so wounded. Then, if they were going home, they were dressed in their uniform, pins and hat in place. Plastic or some other material was laid over their exposed body to keep the casket clean, if they were put in one. It wasn’t dressing as in a clothing sense, but literally getting them ready for home. “And because you were too fucking busy to do it, she saw him.” Mac said she was sorry. “Not as sorry as you will be. I hope this haunts you for the rest of your life.” He tossed a picture at her, and she didn’t pick it up until he was gone. It was of a woman, dressed in a surgical gown as she was most of the time, laying across a large box that bodies were shipped in and crying. Even though it was only a picture, she could almost touch her anguish, feel her pain. And Hawk had been right. It had haunted her for the rest of her days. Forty minutes after giving herself a good talking to, she was standing over Rubin. His body was hot from the infection, his fluids down as well. Trying her best to take care of the man, giving him whatever he needed to live, she nearly sobbed when one of her nurses asked her if she was all right.
No, she wanted to scream at her, she wasn’t all right. Working to remove the foot from the ankle down, she was careful of what she said to anyone. Always careful to keep her mouth shut even when she wanted to scream at everyone to leave her the fuck alone. No one would know about the hauntings that bothered her nightly. “He’ll need to have physical therapy and a nurse when he leaves here. Wait, he lives on the street. Set him up at the local nursing home, please.” Her nurse said she’d take care of it as she stapled the wound closed. “Make sure that he has extra fluids as well. And see if you can find him a chess set. And a nurse or two that knows how to play.” “I’ll put it on his chart.” Nodding, she wrapped his wound up when she’d done all she could, knowing in her heart that it was all she could have done for him but second guessing herself all the time. “Doctor? Are you all right?” “Yes. He’s a friend and I hurt for him. He’s a good man that’s been dealt a crappy blow today.” She hurt for them all, and knew that she had to stop this. That being a surgeon, or even a doctor, wasn’t in the cards for her any longer. “I’m going to be in my office if you need me. Make sure that he has everything he needs. I’ll check on him as well.” When she came out of the operating room, Dustin was there. She’d had no idea that anyone had been out there waiting for Rubin, so she paused in her escape to talk to him. He looked…. Well, it was hard to tell what he looked like, angry or just concerned. Since she didn’t know him or his facial expressions, she assumed anger. They all felt that way when they found out about her. And Mac was sure that Lauren had told her brother what she’d done. “Is he going to be all right?” She nodded as she pulled off her cap. “I talked to Lauren. She said that the two of you know each other.” “Yes. I know Hawk too; did she tell you?” He nodded. “I did the best I could for Rubin. You don’t have to worry about that. As for the other man, I had no idea. No one told me. Not that I could have done much to help him. We were at war and there were others that needed me. I couldn’t leave them to suffer like they were.” “I know that. I might not know you, but I know that.” She didn’t say anything, but started to walk away when he didn’t seem inclined to speak either. As soon as she moved to go to her office and type up her letter of resignation, he grabbed her hand. Why he’d done that, she had no idea. It was hot, his hand was, and she nearly moaned at the feel of it. The pain in her wrist, not from his touch but something else, made her drop to her knees. It wasn’t until she was on the floor that she realized something had happened. “Christ.” The connection between them snapped as he stood there holding her. Mac didn’t know what it meant, but she did know that she had to get away from him. The linking or whatever it had been made her think that this wasn’t going to end well. Not for either of them. But he spoke to her, his voice as strained as hers might have been had she spoken first. “You’re my mate. You’re my other half. Do you have any idea what that means? For the two of us?”
“No, you can’t be. We can’t be. I do know what that means, but no thanks. I’ve got enough shit on my plate without having another McCullough in my life full time.” He nodded, then smiled at her. “You don’t understand, you can’t be anything to me, Dustin. We’re at war. Hawk and Lauren, they hate me. They’ll…I’m sure you know what I did.” “I don’t care.” He didn’t know it all, but he would soon he promised her. Instead of telling him to forget her, she stood up and turned to go to her office, lock the door, and hide for a bit. But she hit a wall, a chest like wall, which had her looking up. Hawk smiled at her, and Mac knew her life was done. Just as he opened his mouth, she let go of all her emotions and let the blackness swallow her.