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Dustin: McCullough’s Jamboree Release Day & Giveaway

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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Coming Soon
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.





Jason: The Sons of Crosby Release Blitz & Giveaway

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


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

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Prologue
The woman in his arms was weak. Crosby wasn’t sure that she was going to make it, not the way she’d been burned. As soon as he laid her on the soft earth, she opened her eyes and looked up at him. Crosby felt his heart skip several beats. My goodness, she sure was a pretty little thing. “The others?” He told her that his sons were getting out as many as they could. “Thank you. The house, it just exploded into flames. We had no time to get out.” “We caught him.” She frowned but let her eyes flitter to a close. Asking her if she was all right enough for him to leave her for a moment, she nodded. Crosby went to the house to help his boys. They had no way of knowing how many faeries were in the house. A few of them had died, whether from smoke inhalation or fire. They pulled out as many as they could, dead or alive, and laid them on the ground. Soon there’d be nothing left of the building, but he didn’t want to leave anyone behind if he could help it. The faeries, even the smaller ones, were worth any kind of pain they might get from the hot flames to save them. “They’re all out, so far as we can tell. We’ve made an area over there for the dead. The ones that can be saved are being helped by the others.” Jason, his oldest, dropped to his knees. “I don’t think we missed anyone, but it’s burning too hot for us to go back in. I’m sorry, Dad.” “We did the best we could, son. You have to believe that. That house, it went up fast. I’m thinking that the man who did this, he knew what he was about.” He glanced over at the woman he’d brought out. She was resting, which he was glad for. And her body seemed to be healing slowly. “I think she’d be the one in charge. If she’s awake, ask her how many were in the place, please.” Jason stood up just as the rest of them were coming out of the falling down building. Just as the last of his boys came out, the entire thing fell down behind them. Grayson jumped back when his shirt caught on one of the embers. Luckily, Elliot was able to help him out.  Crosby dropped to the ground and counted his blessings after counting his sons. He didn’t want them hurt either. This had been a hell of a night so far. They’d been simply walking along the path, none of them in any kind of hurry, but they’d heard the blast and then the screams. Even as far away as they’d been, nearly two miles, he’d heard them in pain. The man, running from the scene and smelling like death, was caught and taken back. His confession was also his death warrant. Jason had snapped his neck and left him where he lay. Jason returned with the woman walking slowly next to him. She looked a good deal better than she had when he’d found her, and she was wearing Jason’s shirt. Sitting down between the two of them, she thanked him again for his service. He told her it was his pleasure and waved away her offer of a reward. “It wasn’t anything for us to come to your aid, my lady. We were just out and about when we smelled the smoke. The explosion brought us from our business. The house,
well, it was over almost as soon as we got here.” She nodded. “I’m sorry about your family, miss. There was no cause for this.” “You said that he’d been caught. Is he…did you kill him?” Crosby told her that he was dead, yes. “Thank you for that. Had he been able to get away, I fear that he would do more of the same to my kind. I wish to repay you.” “No, that won’t be necessary. I know what you are and what they were, but we’ve no desire to take anything else from you. You have lost enough, my lady.” She nodded and Crosby introduced her to his sons. “This is Jason, my oldest. Then in order of birth to youngest, it’s Chase, Elliot, Grayson, Ryan, and the youngest is Sean. This is the Lady Kilian, the faerie queen.” He was proud of his boys, all of them men now but still his little boys. As they shook her hand he spoke of them, just little things that he was happy to share with her. How they’d been taking lessons from the neighbor lady to learn how to sew and knit. Things that men should know how to do in the event of an emergency. How Sean could do some doctoring if necessary, even on a human. All notes of the pride that Crosby felt for his sons. When she turned to him, he could see that she had completely healed and was feeling like herself again. She looked at the dead and injured. “The man who did this, he was out to kill all of us.” Crosby said that was about right. “Had you not come here when you did, he would have succeeded. By killing me, without someone to take the place of the queen, all faeries would have perished. And you know as well as I, that would be the death of a great deal of magic.”  “We only came to help out the people living here, miss. We would have done the same for anyone.” She smiled at him. “You’re very beautiful, my lady. I’m glad that we could save you and the others. I’m sorry that there wasn’t more time for us. We’ll help with the dead, should you wish. As I said, it won’t be any trouble at all.” “You have given the world around us a great gift, Crosby. As well as your sons. Because of your bravery, only a few died rather than all of us.” Crosby nodded but felt embarrassed. “I have given a gift to your sons, and now I shall do the same for you. ‘Tis only a touch to give to you, but I should like more.” He didn’t know what to expect from her. But when she wrapped her arms around him, Crosby felt his entire body shake with it. She was giving him something, something that he did not deserve but was going to get anyway. And when his sons fell to the ground when he was released, he watched as she staggered to the boys then dropped herself. Christ, whatever she’d done to them, they’d be lucky to make it home before the sun rose. It would be just about his luck to save faeries from a fire only to be burned up by the sun rising. “You will be fine, Crosby. All of you will.” He was still too sick to wonder what she was talking about as he laid back on the grass. His head was still spinning, and he was slightly sick to his belly. “I will leave you to rest now so that I might take care of the wounded and our dead.” Crosby looked at his sons, each of them laying there as if they were dead. He knew that they weren’t, he could hear each of their hearts beating. As the sun crested over the mountain, he tried to stand. Getting to his boys was much harder than he thought it
should be after a simple thank you gift. Every inch he crawled toward them, it felt as if he was taken several feet back. Christ, he was going to die right there. “Dad?” He nodded at Jason as he got to his knees too. “I’m sick. I mean, I feel like I need to puke and my legs are weak. What did she do to us?” “She said it was a gift. For saving her and the others. Doesn’t feel that way, but that’s what she told me.” Jason cursed as he stood up on his wobbly legs. “We have to get to shelter. Can you get the others going?” “I’m not hurt.” He looked at Sean, who was standing with his arms wide. He wanted to tell him to grab up one of the others and go, but he looked at him, with the sunlight streaming behind him, and didn’t see any blisters. His skin wasn’t peeling back. And he looked…. Well, he looked happy. “The sun isn’t hurting me. I bet it’s not going to hurt any of us. And it feels fantastic.” Crosby looked at his own hands. They were covered in soot but not from his own flesh. Wiping them on his pants, he noticed that he wasn’t blistered either. His skin was just like it was when he was indoors, hiding from the very thing that would end their lives. Looking at the sun, he felt the warmth of it on his face and none of the terror that usually came with being outside. He’d not felt this good, this warm, for as long as he could remember. “She gave us the gift of sunlight.” Crosby nodded at Jason. “Do you think that it’s only for today? I mean, if it is, then I want to stay out here all through it. I have never felt the sun before.” No, neither had he. Once, long ago, he’d felt it for a fleeting moment when his wife had died. It had been in his heart to join her, but the boys had needed him. And the promise that he’d made to her before her passing had made him go into hiding again. He missed Rena every day. He’d lost his wife to man. Not a human, but just as bad. There were a few good humans—he wasn’t stupid enough to think that they’d all come from the same mold— but when they were bad, they were murderous. The creature had torn her throat out, for no other reason than that he could. Crosby had felt her death like his own heart had stopped beating along with her. They did stay in the sun all day. He’d been worried for a bit when Elliot had started to burn. But it turned out to be nothing more than too much sun. A strange feeling for a vampire, even as old as he was. Crosby was able to get them to rest a bit, knowing deep in his heart that this was going to make it harder for them to go back to the darkness. But it was so much fun for them. They’d even made their way to the little pond behind their lair. Swimming with the sun beating down on them burned their tender skin a little more. He’d been sore for about a minute, then it wore off. He was going to tan, he thought, the funniest thing he’d ever thought of. But relaxing in the sun-warmed water was a heavenly feeling, one that he’d never forget. By nightfall they were all exhausted. There hadn’t been any need for them to rest during the day, and he thought they’d have to pay for it later, but he could have no more
told them no than he could have told himself. Being in the sunlight, while fleeting, was the most fun he’d had in a very long time. Crosby loved his children. All six of them. They had kept him going these last decades without their mother. He was tired, however. Not just today and how special it had been for them all, but he was tired of living. They no longer needed him, they had proven that to him over and over. Tomorrow night, he decided, he’d talk to them and tell him of his plans. It was well past time for him to join their beloved mother.

Zachery: The Pride of the Double Deuce Release Blitz

 

 

Tisha Porter didn’t think she was going to make it. Convinced she would die from her injuries, she left a blow by blow account of what happened to her and who was responsible. The why of it was still a mystery.

Thanks to Detective Harlan James, Tisha was on the mend, but she was ready to get out of her father’s house and back into a house of her own. She was anxious to see that recently renovated old Victorian home and buy if she liked it. She wasn’t counting on the stress being too much for her still too weak body.

Zachery Douglas was hosting the open house in the old Victorian. They’d had more than two hundred people tour the house so far which was far more than he expected. And when Tisha walked through the door, he knew what she was to him, and he’d do anything he had to do to make her his.

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

The building and surrounding area looked like a crater. The swing set, which may have held eight on it, was a twisted mess that hung from one of the blackened trees about a mile away. The slide was still sitting in its original place, yet barely resembled its former self. The only reason Harlan knew what it was is because he’d seen his own kids on it. He looked over when someone said his name. “Four dead. We think. It’s going to be a little while before we can sort this mess out. If there were cars in the lot, I’m not sure how long it will take before we can figure out not just the owners, but if they might have been here last night. Christ, this is a mess.” Harlan asked him if they’d been able to get a list of teachers yet. “We’re still working on that. I have been able to canvas the damage surrounding this land. There has been one death that is apparently related to this explosion, but we won’t know for sure until all reports are in. Had this been in the city, Harlan, you know this would have been a hell of a lot worse.” “Yes. There are reports of windows blasted out eight miles from here. And I heard that one of the deaths was a man who had been on the street in front at the impact time and was killed by the blast. Is that the one that you’re talking about?” Richard nodded. “As you know, had this happened only about ten hours later, there would have been children here, and a lot more bodies.” “We have narrowed down the center, we’re pretty sure. The city planner brought by the blueprints like you asked for, and he’s looking things over and thinks he knows where the epicenter is. Second grade room, as near we can tell.” Harlan wasn’t able to go to the area just yet; the fire department was going over some of the wreckage to make sure that the fires were out. The bomb squad had left about half an hour ago. “The three bodies that we’ve recovered here so far are two men from the janitorial service and a woman. No ID yet on the latter. We think it might have been the principal, but we’re not sure where the person was at when the bomb went off, in or out of the building. But again, we’re working on that too.” “Next of kin been notified on the others?” Richard told him not as yet, they were waiting on the cleaning service to get back to them on how many people were here. “Let me know.” When Richard excused himself just as his phone rang, Harlan moved as close to the site as he could get. Whoever had done this, and he had little doubt that a single sick individual was responsible, they’d wanted a high kill rate. And this wasn’t a gas explosion like the police were hoping either. A bomb, a huge one, had gone off here. Eight hours after he had arrived, they found what they thought was the kill switch, and that other bombs had been set up around the building. According to the experts, there was one central location that once detonated, would fire off the other twelve smaller but no less powerful bombs around the large structure. Harlan was also informed that the person who had set this up was good, maybe even an expert. Or they had an understanding of internet jargon better than most.

“Whoever this person was, they wanted this building gone, and didn’t care who was inside of it. It had a switch on location, meaning that it was set off by a simple movement or a lid being removed, so it mattered little to them when this thing went off. I would say that it more than likely was triggered by opening whatever it came here in, which I’m thinking cardboard at this point. The others all depended on the main larger bomb, causing enough power to set them off as well. They were on a tumbler-like set off. Once they were moved, hard, they would blow.” Harlan asked him how long something like this would take to set up. “Hours. Maybe a few days. The person would have had to have access to the building, and no one to question what they were doing here. A good sense of the size, layout, as well as how much explosive material to use to get this sort of devastation.” “So whoever it was, they were known to those that work here, you’re thinking. I mean, the staff here, they didn’t have any issues with this person being in and out of here, so they could have pretty much done this without anyone having any clue.” Richard nodded. “This is some sick shit, you know that, right? In another few hours, there would have been over four hundred people in this building, mostly kids. And then nearly seventy teachers and other staff.” “Don’t forget buses of kids that were being held to drop off at the higher grades, parents here dropping off little Jimmy for his first day, and any of the other hundreds of people that might have been passing by when this went off.” Harlan moved through the debris and other mangled things while they talked. “I heard that you’re having trouble locating two of the teachers. You think they might have been here too?” “I hope to Christ not. Also, we did hear from the cleaning service. There were not three here, but six, to get the building ready for the first day. So far we’ve had no luck at all trying to figure out if they showed up for work or not. The teachers have all been accounted for, except the two you know about. One of them is the one that had that classroom. Tisha Porter.” Richard asked him if it was old man Randall’s daughter. “I have no idea. Randall Porter a name I should know?” “Yes. Well, sort of. He’s been putting his name around town for a few years now. Probably because his little girl teaches here. If this is her, I can have someone check on it. If it’s her that’s missing, he’ll have a better chance of finding her than you will.” Harlan asked him why. “Because he has a supposed endless supply of money, and she’s his only child.” At about nine that night, nearly twenty-four hours after the explosion happened, Harlan found himself in Tisha’s neighborhood, which made him feel like he was underdressed. Tisha hadn’t contacted her father since last evening, nor was she answering her phone. Harlan just knew that he was going to find out that she’d done this and skipped town. According to friends, she was a nice girl and didn’t bother others, and that was what gave him the feeling that she was in this deeper than anyone. Harlan hated to have to tell her daddy if he was right. That man was very forceful and concerned at the same time. There was no car in the drive but he could see one in the garage. The lower level of the building was as big as his entire house. Going to the door, he drew his gun when he

saw that the glass nearest the handle had been broken inward. Calling in backup, he was told to wait. It was then that he saw the blood. “I can’t wait. I can see that someone is hurt. Going in.” Instead of letting the dispatcher tell him to wait again, he muted his phone. He could be fired for it if this turned out to be nothing, but right now, he just didn’t care. As he made his way into the house, he noted in an abstract sort of way that it was neat. Not in a cleaned up sort of way— though it was that too—but more like this person did not care for clutter or fluff. Straight lines and hard surfaces were on everything, including the cushions on the chairs in the kitchen. It was also expensive, like this person spent all their money on their things, as they had no children or pets to muss it. Making his way to the living room, he could see the difference immediately. This was a room that was used; comfort nearly screamed at him. The noise to his left gave him pause. He wasn’t in a good place in the house…the hallway he was in was not only open at both ends with rooms coming out from each side, but there were two doors that were opened in front of him, one on the right, the other on the left. But when he heard it again, he moved forward. “This is the Nevada Police. I’m armed and have backup.” He heard the sirens getting closer and peeked quickly into the room to his right. Nothing. “Ms. Porter? Can you hear me?” “Yes.” He thought he heard her answer him but wasn’t sure. “I’m dying. I’m alone.” Relief was short lived when she cried out. “She hurt me.” Entering the room at the end, the doorway that spilled into the hall, he nearly backed away. The woman lying in a pool of blood looked as if she was indeed dying. Her body was not only covered in a great many of what looked like knife wounds, but she was beaten up as well. Moving closer, keeping his gun out, Harlan called for an ambulance. “I’m Harlan James. Are you Tisha Porter?” She nodded, then passed out. He could see that she’d been making notes, and it sickened him that she’d been forced to do this. The papers to her left were covered in bloodied letters that not only spelled out who had hurt her, but also who to call when they found her. Taking her pulse, Harlan thought she was dead for a few seconds until he felt her very faint heartbeat. Then she looked at him again. “Ms. Porter? Can you tell me when this happened?” “Late. I thought it was the neighbor’s cat at the door.” He nodded, taking out his phone and setting it to record. “Before I could…. The door, it exploded inward. I was hurt then. Knife. My knife. She used it. Hammer too.” “Can you tell me who?” Before she could say anything, she was out again. And as much as he wanted to shake her awake to answer him, he knew that any movement might well kill her. Harlan looked at the papers. The name of the other missing teacher was what she had written down as who harmed her. There was a timeline too. At eleven forty-five, the sound at the door. Eleven forty-nine, Alexandra Grace rushed her. Eleven fifty, Alex hit her first with a hammer, then knives. It also said that she’d beaten her. The times were messed up then, the spelling off, but he read this woman’s account like she’d been writing up a police report. At six

thirty this morning, Alex had left. The facts in-between those times, he knew, would haunt him for years to come. By the time the ambulance arrived, he’d called in a report on what he’d found. Then he told his boss what she’d written down about the other teacher, as well as having someone sent to her house to find the woman. Alexandra Grace was going to have a lot of explaining to do. ~~~ Randall moved through the hospital trying to figure out where he was to go. The nurse at the front desk had told him twice how to get to the operating area, but he was hurting in his heart so badly he only half remembered. When he saw two police officers, he made his way to them. “I’m looking for my daughter, Tisha Porter.” The officer nodded at him and then took him to a man dressed in a dark suit. “My daughter, someone said that she was hurt. Tisha Porter is her name. She’s a teacher. Second grade. They all just love her.” “I’m Harlan James, Mr. Porter. I came in with her.” Randall felt his knees simply give out on him. If Harlan hadn’t been there to catch him, he was sure he would have fallen. “Come on over here, Mr. Porter. We’ll talk while we wait.” “She loves teaching those children. I saw in the news that the entire building was blown up. I never got much from the man who called me.” Harlan said it had been him. “Was she in the building?” “No. We found her at her home. That’s where we’re thinking she was hurt. Someone broke in.” Randall tried to think of why someone would harm his little girl. “She was beaten, and cut up pretty badly. The doctors here are doing all that they can to save her. You have a very smart and brave daughter, Mr. Porter. She’s helped us a great deal in this.” “That’s my baby. Always knew she was the best. I spoke to her just last night…I think it was the night before. It’s hard to think so much time has…. I had just called her to tell her to have fun with her first day. I teased her about her room being….” He paused, trying to remember something about a box. “She had this mysterious box, she said. Even asked me if I’d sent it to her. I didn’t of course, but I told her it was more than likely from one of the other teachers. Perhaps they’d left it there.” He asked him the same thing as he had his daughter. “No, no name she told me. Only hers on a Post-It note on the top. I never thought to ask her about the handwriting. I mean, it was just a box, right?” “The blast came from the general area of where her room would have been. We only know things as they get found. But it is speculated that it was a cardboard box, and like I said, in the area where her room might have been.” Randall wanted to ask if they thought his baby had done it. Or if she had been the target of this monstrosity. The officer seemed to understand. “She had left notes on what she knew and what had happened to her. They were with her when I found her in her home. Tisha, she made sure we had enough information to get started on trying to find this…. We’re currently looking for someone that might have a connection to what has happened to your daughter. But as of now, we don’t believe Tisha had a thing to do with this. We’ll know more as our investigation continues.”

“She’s all I have in the world. Since her mother died, Tisha has become my whole world. I just saw her last weekend, and she was telling me how she’d gotten all these nice learning tools from a shop online. And now this.” Harlan told him they were doing their best. “If you need anything, a kick in the ass to the mayor, you let me know. I’ll pull some strings and get you more manpower if you need it. You just let me know. I’ll get it for you.” “I think we have it for now, but I’ll keep that in mind. We’re working round the clock now, so I hope to have answers in a few days, if not sooner.” Randall nodded and Harlan stood up. “I’m going to have someone at her room until we find this other person. And if you’d be so kind, I’d like for you to have a guard as well. Right now we don’t know the reason that any of this happened. So to be on the safe side, I’d like to protect you as well.” “I have my own bodyguards.” Randall nodded to the hall where they were and the three men standing there. “Nothing will get past these men unless I tell them or they’re dead. If it will free up some of your men, I can assign them to her room as well. To be honest, sir, they’ll be there anyway. If you’ll agree to it, then nobody will get their underwear all tightened up by them being there too.” “I’ll let you know.” Randall nodded then was left alone. Making his way down the hall, he told Burt, his right hand man, what was going on as he sat in one of the most uncomfortable chairs he’d ever been in. He also told Burt to set up some people on the inside for her safety. “You have it, sir. And may I suggest that we bring in that buddy of yours? The retired agent? He could be a little more help even from the sidelines.” Randall nodded. “Very good, sir. Have they told you how she’s doing? I mean, more than you were told on the phone?” “No. I’d very much like it if you can run a check on any doctors and nurses she has contact with. And there is a person of interest that the police are looking for. Another teacher. Find out who this person is and anything you can find about them.” Burt said he would put his best on it. “One more thing, I want you to find out about her home. That cop said someone broke into it. Maybe they don’t know about the cameras in the house.” “More than likely not. I’ll take one of them there with me to check.” Randall told him to take Harlan James and to give anything they found to him. He’d know what to do with it. “Very good. Anything else?” “I don’t think so right now, but I might. He wants a guard put on her room and me. You’ll see that things are taken care of here for her. We won’t take over, but there isn’t any way that I’m leaving this to chance. Someone hurt my little girl.” Burt looked pained, and said that he would. Tisha was loved by all that knew her. “We’ll help them when we can, Burt, but I won’t sit idly by.” “No, sir. That’s not your style. Nor that of your daughter. We’ll help them, or if nothing is moving we’ll get them going.” Randall leaned back in the chair, trying to find a position that didn’t hurt. At least too much. “Sir, I’m going to find you a hotel, someone to bring you something to eat, as well as a doctor here that knows your condition.” After telling Burt to do what he needed, Randall closed his eyes. He was exhausted, and that didn’t play well with his heart. Breathing in and out slowly, like he’d been taught

to help himself, he tried to calm his nerves and heart. All he could think about was his daughter. Tisha had been born later in his life, he’d been nearing forty and his wife just shy of that. Had anyone asked, he would have said they were happy being childless. They had money, a great deal of it, and traveled, and pretty much did anything that they wanted. Then Rachel had gotten pregnant and Tisha had come along. Randall was pretty sure until that moment he’d not lived at all. Hadn’t taken a good breath of air, nor had his heart beat so well until he looked into the most beautiful pair of blue eyes he’d ever seen. His baby girl, Tisha Randall Porter. She’d been the best baby, and an even better child. No temper tantrums were ever thrown, nor did she give them a hard time about things. Of course, he’d made sure that she had everything that she wanted…even if she only gave something a passing glance, he’d get it for her. Until the day she turned seven. “I want to get a job.” He only nodded at her, indulging her even though he knew she’d never have to work a day in her life, if he could help it. “My friend, Emma, has a job. And her grandma pays her for doing the dishes too. Not the pots and pans, but her pretty dishes she serves tea on.” “Tisha, I can give you money if that’s what you want. I have no problem with it.” She told him no, she wanted to earn her keep. “Honey, you don’t have to earn anything. We’re very wealthy.” “So are Emma’s mommy and daddy. And she has her own pocket money that she can do whatever she wants with and not have to ask. Why last month, she took me to get an ice cream soda, and no one knew about it but just the two of us.” Randall wondered just how much this other little girl was teaching his daughter. “I want to do this, Dad. You want me to be smart like you? And know the value of money?” “I do. And I’m pretty sure that you have a good handle on the value of money.” Then she gave him that look. It wasn’t a pouty one, like most little girls did, but the kind that told him he was being too much of a dad. He also knew that he’d give her the world should she want it. “All right, child, whatever you want. But I’d like you to keep an accounting of your money and your spending. If you’re going to earn your own money, then you’re going to be accountable for it as well. Then at the end of one month, we’ll see how you did.” He’d thought that after a few weeks she’d tire of what he’d viewed as games. But at the end of a month, she’d come to him with not only her books, as she called them, but receipts on everything she’d spent too. Which wasn’t much. “I’ve been taking out the trash in the kitchen, and Molly pays me one dollar for doing it. She said that her husband could do it, but he’s too busy in the house so I could.” Randall had made a mental note to pay back his cook and thank her for what she’d done. “And the gardener gave me five dollars for helping him pick up the twigs in the yard after the storm last week. He said that my back was younger and I was closer to the ground, and that I saved him some pain. I think he needs to have more help, Dad. The man’s list is never finished.”

Another note to his list of things she’d found out for him. As they went over her books, he was astonished not only at much she had learned by talking to the staff, but how much she’d managed to save up as well. One hundred dollars just by doing odd jobs for those that worked for them. “All right, let’s see how you spent your cash, shall we?” Randall had already had it in his head to get her a real ledger, as well as some colored pencils. It was the way that he’d been keeping track of his earnings for years. Not only did he love seeing the numbers all lined up in neat rows, but when he had gotten a computer and it did the adding for him, he still found himself using his old tried and true method. “I’ve put a computer on layaway. I had to have Molly help me with that. They’d not sell me one at my age. I think it’s ridiculous that there has to be an age limit on learning, but now that it’s there, I pay on it every week and she takes it to the store for me.” Randall told her he’d purchase it for her. “No, Dad. I’m doing this on my own.” After an hour of going over everything, he’d needed to find a quiet place to think. She had not just opened his eyes to his staff, but to the fact that she was not a baby any more. Randall would only admit this to himself, but he’d had a good cry over that fact, and still got teary when he thought of it. “Mr. Porter?” Dragging himself from his thoughts, he stared at the man in front of him for several seconds before he could think where he was. “Mr. Porter? I’m Doctor Fitzpatrick. I’ve spoken to the police just now, and they told me that I could bring you up to date on your daughter’s surgery.” Randall sat up straighter in the chair and waited for the news. “She’s in grave condition, I’m afraid, but I have hope that she’ll pull out of this. Tisha is young and in very good health. While she’s lost a great amount of blood and has had some pretty extensive wounds to her body, I think she stands a good chance of coming out of this with only a few adjustments on her part. Had she not been brought in when she had…? Well, I think that given what happened to her, she’s very lucky that someone went to check on her.” “What happened to her?” Burt had come to stand beside him, and the doctor looked up at him. “I’m going to tell him whatever you tell me, so it will save me time if you just pretend that he’s her father too. Burt is…well, he’s her friend as well as honorary uncle. And doctor, we’d like it straight up like I like my bourbon, if you don’t mind.” “All right then. She had been stabbed forty-three times in the chest and arms. Her legs have been cut as well, but I’m not sure with what just yet. The police have pictures of each wound and are looking for the weapons now. She’s been shot twice, once in the back and once in her upper left thigh that broke bones, but luckily didn’t hit any major arteries. I don’t know the timeline of these wounds as I was working to save her life, but I can tell you that she was tortured over a few hours’ time.” Randal nodded, his heart needing just a moment to catch up until Burt put his hand on his shoulder. It was both reassuring and comforting to have this man so close to him. “There was blunt force trauma to her head, arms, and the bottom of her feet. I would say that whoever did this to her took their time, wanting her to suffer for some reason. Her left hand is broken pretty badly, and we may have to wire it back together later. Right now, I’m solely focused on getting her past the point of being critical. I’m not sure if we’ll need to go back

in later and replace bone with metal in her hand, but for now, we have her in a hard cast to prevent her from doing more damage.” “Any internal injuries?” The doctor nodded, then looked at him when Burt asked. “Was there brain damage? What?” “There is no way to soften the way I tell you this. Her abdomen was crushed, pelvis broken, and the fallopian tube on the right side was destroyed. Her womb was injured as well, to the point where it had to be removed or risk infection. As for her brain, we don’t yet know what sort of damage is there. After she wakes, if she does, we’ll be able to better determine where to go after that.” Randall felt his body just go limp. The words ‘if she does’ were too much. His mind simply said this is too much, and he embraced the darkness where his little girl was safe in his dreams.

 

LIAM HARRISON AMBUSH Release Day & Giveaway

Emma Hudson wanted to get this over with. Her father had left her in a jam, and the sooner she dropped off his duplicate trucker log books to the Harrisons, the sooner she could get back to work and try to clear her name. Trucking was all she knew, and she was tired of it.

Liam Harrison watched the pretty little thing climb into her truck to get the books, but when she slipped and fell back into his arms with a life-threatening cut on her arm, he knew two things: she was his mate, and she would die if he didn’t convert her right now.

And when a string of rest stop murders brings an old vampire friend back into the family’s fold, he informs them Emma was next. It was time to park the truck.

They all knew that Emma’s father would come sniffing around to try to swindle her out of more money, it was just a matter of time. But how far would he go to get what he wanted?

Amazon UK amzn.to/2rfPuHD
Riordan Harrison can’t believe it. Everyone is pissed at him and he doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. All he did was tell the woman that she was his mate. He couldn’t help it that his tiger caused him to pin the woman to the counter and she proceeded to throw him to the ground and cover him with sticky pastries. Now, no one will talk to him, including his secretary. He hasn’t claimed the woman yet, and it is all seeming like it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

Storm Browning, Stormy to her friends, is a wounded war hero. She’s done her duty and just wants to live a quiet life―run her little bakery without any hitches. The majority of the men she commanded in the war had been shifters so she wasn’t surprised when the big oaf sniffed her out claiming that she was his mate. But that doesn’t mean she has to agree with it. What else could she do? He had to go. He’d hightail it and run anyway when he saw her scars―they all did. She couldn’t emotionally handle that, not again at any rate.

But if Riordan is going to get back on everyone’s good side, he’ll have to make peace with the woman. Even though he thinks he’s innocent, he’ll go for a visit and maybe apologize, but after he gets there things go from bad to worse. Stormy is targeted for assassination and he’s in the line of fire….
Cormac Harrison, Mac to his family and friends, has a good thing going. He has a brand new home, a successful business, and is truly happy with the direction his life is heading. Andi Collins can’t seem to catch a break. The last time she’d encountered her father, she’d ended up in the hospital. Now, Stormy Harrison, is giving her a break and helping her get back on her feet. So when this big handsome man tells her that she’s his mate she’s scared to death. Mate. She’d heard the term before. And what it meant. She would belong to him. Not just him, but whoever he wanted to sell her to. Andi reached for the door handle, thinking that rolling from a moving car would be better than being passed around like a napkin at a banquet hall. “Don’t do that.” He reached for her hand just as she touched the handle. “Please, just listen to me and I’ll explain.” “I don’t need you to explain. I know what mate means. My friends at school, they told me what happens when you become a mate to men. And what they didn’t tell me, my father and aunt explained the rest. Mates use you, and then when they’ve had enough, they pass you around to all the other men they know. I won’t have it.” The car suddenly stopped. Her seatbelt cut into her neck, and she nearly hit her head on the dash it stopped so abruptly.
Nikki Neal was damn good at her job. As an undercover cop, she had just about enough information to put the local crime boss away, but she needed more to make it stick. But when someone blew her cover, Nikki found herself on the wrong end of several guns.

Aedan Harrison was on the fast track to winning the Governor’s seat for the state of Ohio. He had his whole life, or at least his immediate future, planned out. What he didn’t need was a mate he hadn’t made plans for throwing a monkey wrench into the mix. 

The last thing Nikki needed was an overbearing jackass ordering her about, and telling her how much he didn’t need her in his life right now. Well, she didn’t need him either. She had work to do and needed to get herself and her grandda to safety.

It didn’t take long for Aedan’s family to convince him in the error of his ways, and when he saw what he’d done he felt like an ass. All he wanted to do was make it right, but could he grovel enough for her to accept him?
Brooke Rickson had been working the pottery wheel and pulling clay with her great-grandfather almost as long as she could remember. Her work was famous even though no one really knew who she was. She preferred it that way and had become a recluse since her great-grandfather died. He had left her everything.

Mac Harrison loved rare pottery, and when he landed two tickets to the big art show he was thrilled. He could get his prized Rickson pottery piece appraised and get to see new work at the same time. He brought his brother, Darcy, along for the ride.

When Darcy caught Brooke’s scent, he knew he’d found his mate. Unfortunately, the beautiful recluse made no bones about telling him that she was alone and liked it that way, and that no man was barging in and taking over her orderly life. She was living her life just the way she wanted it and that didn’t include taking orders from a man—any man. He could get that thought right out of his head….


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Liam loved the house. He walked through it once more, just to be sure that he wasn’t feeling something that wasn’t there. Nope, he thought to himself, he loved this place. Trying hard not to show how much he did, he walked around the big empty living room once more to calm himself and his inner cat. There wasn’t any point in giving away his happiness before making an offer. “This room alone is nearly as big as the house that I live in.” The realtor smiled at him. “What do you think, Mr. Harrison…is this a place you can put down roots?” “I’m not sure.” He thought that he sounded like he was bored and had to take a deep breath before continuing. “The kitchen needs to be redone. I mean, from the studs. There are going to be issues with the furnace and with the air conditioning as well before too much longer. Also, I think I saw rat droppings in the garage.” Which he knew wouldn’t be a problem once he moved in. He’d bet by now, there wasn’t one within ten miles of the place. Him being a tiger tended to take care of that sort of thing. He asked her what the selling price was again, knowing full well what it was. “The house hasn’t been lived in for about four months…I believe that’s the time frame. And before that, I do believe that they had the place exterminated. If you’re seeing droppings, I’m not sure where they came from. But the bank is very motivated to sell. They’re asking four hundred, but I think I can get them to go a little lower, but not too much. I do know that the house needs work. Like I said, it’s been empty for a few months while things were settled.” Liam nodded. He knew just exactly why it had been sitting, and that it had been a good deal longer than a few months. “I can go in at a lower price, but I believe they have multiple offers so I’d not expect too much.” “All right then. Thank you for your time.” She took his hand when it was offered and Liam made his way to the door.  “Wait. I don’t understand. Did you want me to make an offer?” He told her no. “No? I thought you were interested in this house.” “I am, but not at four hundred thousand dollars. As I said, it needs a great deal of work. And there are no other offers on the table, I know that as well as you do. I also did my research on this place, and I know the real reason that it’s sat here for the last seventeen years. The previous owner had paid up the taxes for the last fifteen years and there wasn’t anything you could do about it until recently. Four hundred thousand is well over fair market, and double what the house was selling for last year when your firm took over for the bank in trying to sell it.” He moved toward the door again and turned as he opened the door. “I’ll just wait and get it from the bank next month when it goes up for auction. Thanks anyway.” Liam was out the door before she could find her tongue. But that didn’t stop her from following him and yelling out a lower price. He thought that three hundred was too much as well, and got into his truck and left. He wanted the house, but he wanted it on his terms.
Are you done with the house? He told Storm that he was. Good. I think you should stop by our house. There is a large vehicle, and that’s an understatement, in the drive, and the person in it is asking for you. Not nicely, I might add. Hudson is her name. Why is she…? You know what, I don’t care. She’s the woman that I was telling you about on the deal with Whites. She said she had some information on her father maybe picking up the loads that they’re missing. Any luck finding Mr. Hudson, by the way? Storm told him she was still looking. He really fucked her over. Not the only one either, from what I’ve been able to find out. But he did royally fuck her over with her job. She had a good rep, as you said, and he’s really taken her for a ride. Lost her house, car, as well as her savings trying to keep herself out of jail. I’d like to find this fucker myself. Liam said that he would as well. She’s currently at her truck, walking around it. I don’t know why, but I kind of think that she’s had enough of the open road for a while. She looks beaten. Liam made a left to go to his brother’s home, and smiled when he thought of the temper of the woman, Hudson. When he’d spoken to her last night—well, earlier that morning—he’d been sleep confused, but hearing her voice and what she had to say had him getting up and going back to his computer. He was going to find her father if he had to do it on his own. The rig was parked in the long drive to his brother’s house. The woman was circling the back end, the place where the big trailer was attached. He watched her for several minutes as she moved around it like a little monkey, checking the lines and lights as she went. When she jumped down, she stared at him as he did her. Christ, she was beautiful. “Liam?” He nodded at her question. “I was close enough to bring them to you, and I’m not so trusting of the postal service on something like this. I need them back, so you know. I might need them should Daddy dearest come back for some more of my ass.” “He won’t.” Liam had no idea why he said that. He didn’t know either of them. But as she made her way to the front of her truck and climbed in, he made his way there, with Riordan and Storm coming with him. “She’s got his log books. But she needs them back.” “She should put them in a safe. If he knows she has them, he’ll come for them.” Liam wasn’t sure he’d not already tried and told Riordan that. “Watch her.” Hudson came tumbling back and he leapt to catch her. He had no idea what had taken her down, but as he caught her in his arms, two things occurred to him. One, she was bleeding, and the second thing was that she was his mate. “Christ, that fucking hurt.” He held her for as long as she allowed him to, then sat her down on her feet. “I’ve been meaning to have that fixed. Fuck, that hurt.” “Let me see. I’ve called Ennis, he’s on his way.” Liam wasn’t a doctor, but he knew this wound looked bad. Not just bad, but there was a lot of blood streaming from it. Liam wanted to lick it, to taste her, but he was afraid to. She looked like she could take him on and come out on top. “It’s going to need some stitches, as well as cleaned up. When was your last tetanus shot?” “Last year. I cut myself on the same fucking place on my other hand. Stupid of me for not getting it fixed then.” He looked at her wrist and saw the long scar. It went from her elbow to her palm. This one wasn’t quite that long, but it was deep. “I don’t feel so well.”
“You’re cut deep. I have to heal you.” He heard Riordan caution him, but he was losing her and had to do something. As soon as she fainted, he shifted. The roaring in his head was making him sick. They were losing their mate and neither of them were happy about it. His cat whimpered but knew what to do. As soon as he licked the wound closed, tasting her blood as he did so, he seemed to realize at the same moment that she was too weak, that they’d waited too long. Growling at the couple that were too close to them, his cat bit deeply into her belly, tearing it open as he did so.  “Hurry, Liam. You’re going to lose her if you don’t.” He knew that and snarled at Storm, and she laughed. “Just trying to help. I’m assuming that she’s your mate.” Yes. And I don’t want to hear you making fun of me just yet. He was pissy and wasn’t sure why, but he bit into her leg. Holding his mouth deep in the wound, he looked up at his brother. Riordan was afraid for him, and Liam didn’t feel any better about this. I have a feeling she’s not going to be thrilled when she wakes and finds out what I’ve done. “More than likely not. But it was that or she was dead. I can hear her heart picking up, can you?” He told him that he could. “Just a few more minutes now and you should be able to release her. I’ll take her inside and put her in the bedroom that you use when here.” Thank you. Riordan nodded and called to someone on the porch to bring out some blankets. Riordan, she’s got some pretty horrific memories in here. Mostly about her father. He took her for everything. And left her with living in this truck. “I know. I read the report Stormy found. When you release her, go in the house and shower and change. Once you are settled, I’ll bring you what we’ve been able to find out. Also, Marcy Cochran called about the house. She wants you to make a reasonable offer.” Liam let the young woman go, but he wasn’t ready to leave her yet. Her heartrate had picked up and he could see the wound at her wrist was nearly healed, as were the ones he’d given her. It had been a big chance, doing this with her blood flowing so quickly, but he couldn’t let her die no matter what kind of mood she was going to be in when she found out.  Riordan picked her up and carried her into the house, and he followed. When she was on the bed, her skin warmer now that she was a cat, he left her to Stormy, who said she’d clean her up for him.  Going into the bathroom, he looked in the mirror after becoming a man again and stared at the person there. He had a mate. And there was a very good chance that she was going to kill him when she found out. Smiling, Liam reached into the stall and turned the water on. Christ, he was way too happy, he thought, for someone that had just converted a person without their knowledge.  By the time he was dressed and sitting in the chair by her, he’d figured out a few things. She wasn’t happy with what she did as a driver, mostly because she had no relief from it. Also, her father had hurt more than her finances when he ran off. She hadn’t trusted him, not entirely, but the fact that he’d taken advantage of her so profoundly had nearly taken her under.  He looked up when Stormy came in the room with a file.
“The courts went by the books on this. There is no fault according to them. She had to sell her house as well as her car, which wasn’t a new one but all she had, when the trucking dealership wanted all their money. The truck is still missing, it appears.” He asked if her father had it. “I’m thinking not. I don’t know why, but I think he sold it for the money, and someone else is driving it that knows about trackers and such. Might be wrong, but I think that’s it. We have the LoJack information, and since we can’t find it that way, we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s been taken out. Also, you know it is against the law.”  If she thought that, then it was more than likely true. “I told Ennis not to worry about rushing now. I told him what happened, but not that she is my mate.” “He knows. So do your parents.” He asked her how that had happened. “Riordan was covered in blood when they showed up, Hudson’s blood, and your mom sort of freaked out. He had to tell them.” “I guess. I’m trying to figure out what to tell her when she wakes up.” The woman on the bed stirred and he watched, sure that she was going to wake a great deal sooner than anyone would have expected. “I have to help her out. Of all of this.” “Liam, can I ask you a personal question?” He just looked at her. “Okay, some of it I know. Like where you have some of your money invested. How much the books say you’re worth. But what is it you do? I mean, I know you work for the family business when they need you, but that can’t be all that you do, is it?” “I’m a businessman.” She snorted at him. “Okay, I’m a very good businessman. I invest low and sell high. For everything. I’m good at bargaining on things as well. Like the house. I’m going to get it, but not at the asking price. Then, if Emma doesn’t care for it, I’ll sell it for a great deal more than I purchased it for.” “Why would me liking your house have anything to do with whether or not you sell it?” He grinned and said hi to her. “It’s Hudson. No one calls me by my first name.” She lifted her arm and looked at it. There wasn’t a wound anymore, and no scars on the rest of her body. He’d not seen her yet, her body, but he’d bet that it was lovely. He started to tell her, just talk to her gently about it, but Stormy laughed before speaking. “You were dying. The cut to your wrist had severed your artery, and you were bleeding out. Had Liam not been here for you, you’d be dead.” Emma asked him what he’d done, but Stormy continued. “He’s a shifter, Bengal tiger as a matter of fact. We all are. He converted you to what we are.” Emma stared at him for several seconds, then looked over at Storm. There was a lot going on in her head right now. None of it very nice, nor all that orderly. She went from terror of her dying to being converted. He was just glad that she knew enough about paranormals to have an idea of what was happening.  “I’m a tiger.” Storm nodded. “And you thought that my being a tiger was a better way to go than to be dead.”  “Yes, I did.” She turned and looked at him. “You’re not freaking out, so I can only assume that you know about our kind.” “I do. I don’t have a lot of contact with them…not because I avoid them, but…. You did this because we’re mates. You saved me because of some kind of DNA thing that
makes you have to save me.” He said that he would have anyway. “No, you wouldn’t have. Don’t lie to me.” “I can’t.” She nodded and sat up, but he could see that she was slightly dizzy. “You lost a great deal of blood, so you might want to take it easy for a few hours. You should try and drink a lot and have a light—” “Don’t order me around.” He leaned back in the chair and looked at her. “I’m not…. I know you really didn’t, but I’m starting to freak a little here. I’m a fucking tiger.” ~~~ Hudson laid on the bed thinking about her life and what had just happened. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.” “Me either.” She turned to her back and looked at him. “I’m not going to apologize for converting you. I could, I guess, but you’re alive, and that’s the most important thing right now. I don’t know anything about you other than what I’ve read in the information that Storm got for us when you called me. And you know even less than that about me. What would you like to know? If anything.” “What was your name again?” He told her. “All right, Liam. I’m Emma Hudson, but I rarely go by my first name. I have no idea why, but that’s what they started calling me in middle school and that stuck. I drive cross country. Not as much as I used to, but sometimes I need the money more than I do anything. I had a home, but I had to sell it to pay for the rig that my father stole. Which he did, no matter what the courts say.” “Storm, my sister-in-law—and so you know, you met her when you came here—she doesn’t think he has it anymore.” She nodded, thinking that Storm had some good connections. “Your load you have now, you mentioned that it was a back run. Does that have to go out today?” “Not today, but soon. I have to have it about six hours from here by noon tomorrow.” He leaned back in his chair. “What about me being a cat? I mean, I can sort of feel something inside of me. What does that mean?” “She’s letting you know that she’s there for you. I can sense that you’re nervous, and so can she.” Hudson sat up but laid back down when her head spun. “You’re going to be a little weak for a few more hours, like I said. Ennis, he’s my brother and a doctor, he said that if you were to eat something hearty, you’d feel a lot better. But he wanted you to eat it slowly, in case it doesn’t stay down well.” “I’ve not had a home cooked meal in years.” She laughed. “I’m sorry. That was rude of me. But the thought of something not mass produced or from a microwave sounds amazing.”  “I think we can fix you up.” He stood up and his size made her recoil. “I’d never hurt you. Not on purpose, if I can help it.” “My dad, he’s a big man. Not that he ever hit me, but he was cruel in other ways.” He nodded and put out his hand. Hudson stared at it as she continued. “I know a few shifters, and I’ve heard that their mates are the center of their world. That the sex is amazing and that they can never harm them. They told me that any female, human or otherwise, is to be protected and cherished.”
“Yes. We feel that way as well. I’d very much like it if you were to go with me to the house that I’m thinking of buying. If it doesn’t suit you, then that’s fine as well. I have a place that I live in, it’s an apartment, if you’ll come stay with me for a time.” He cursed and she laughed. “There’s this big deal of a wedding next weekend. My brother Aedan is getting married. They’ve been living together for a little while, but this wedding is going to be epic, I guess.” “Why?” He told her how he was the governor of the state and that he was looking into becoming the president someday. “Wow. Your family, they have big plans.” “They do. We all do.” She nodded. “What is bothering you, Emma? Is it something that I can fix? Or do for you?” “I’m assuming that you all have money.” He nodded but didn’t say how much, which she thought was a good thing. “My father will get wind of this. Not that I’m a cat, but that I’m with someone with money, and he’ll come sniffing around. He’s not stupid, but he can play a person and get what he wants. No matter the cost to them.” “He can do that if he wants. But he won’t get away with it this time. I can promise you that. Nor will he hurt you, mentally, physically, or financially.” Hudson wasn’t sure, but she was almost afraid for her dad. “Will you take my hand? Please?” “What will that mean for us?” He said that it would only be him taking her to the kitchen for food for now. “I feel something for you. I’m not sure what it is, but I trust you. I want to be with you. Is that the cat in me?” “Yes, for now anyway. I hope that later, you as a woman will feel something for me as well. We mate for life, and quickly.” She still wasn’t sure about this, none of it. “I want to take this slowly. I think it would benefit us both if we started out fresh, like we’re dating. I know that we’ve gone beyond that, with me converting you and having this connection, but even my cat is okay with us doing it this way.” “I’m afraid.” He said that he was as well. “What if he comes here? What if my dad comes here and makes demands? He will. I know it.” “How about we don’t borrow trouble for now? We don’t have to think about him until he gets here. And once we know where he is, we can keep an eye on his movements and be ready when it looks as if he’s coming here.” She nodded and put her hand in his. “Thank you. And for now, I think we should go and have ourselves a nice lunch, then get you ready to go on your trip. I’d like to go with you, but I won’t be able to this trip. I have some things that are going on that need my attention.”  “I thought we were going to be inseparable.” They moved to the door, but he kept his arm around her when she was dizzy again. “I feel weird.” “Your cat again, and the loss of blood. Anyway, we usually are, inseparable I mean. But with us trying to work things out, I think that I’ll not want to hunt you down every two minutes and strip you naked.” She looked at him, trying her best to see if he was joking or not. When he laughed too, Hudson still wasn’t sure. But the smells coming from the kitchen had her thinking food rather than jokes. As soon as she sat down with both Storm and Riordan, a platter, not a plate, of food was put in front of her. Hudson thought that she would never eat it all, but once she tasted the first bite, she knew that she’d be lucky if she didn’t eat the platter too.
There was a thick roast beef sandwich on a wonderfully fresh roll with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions. A bowl of french fries covered in a tomato sauce that was spicy as well as sweet. A large glass of the best tea that she’d ever drank. She was just finishing off the last fry when June, the cook, asked her if she wanted peach or cherry pie. Hudson nodded. “Well, good for you. I have ice cream too should you want that. I’ve not been to the creamery yet, so it won’t be homemade.” Hudson told her that she loved her. “Thank you, child. I’m so glad to be cooking for the household again. The mister and missus have been away more than at home of late, and I’ve missed it.” “You can cook for me whenever I’m home.” Her face heated up. “I’m sorry. I don’t know where I’m going to be living or what the plan is. But this is the best meal I’ve had in ages. And fresh pie too? Well, I could easily kiss you for it.” After she ate both pieces of pie without the ice cream—she didn’t want to seem too piggish—her and Liam went to her truck. It was locked up, but as soon as she opened the door, she could see that someone had cleaned up after her. She asked Liam about it. “I had a friend of mine come over and fix the bent metal. He also put a new handle on for you. Then his wife—she’s the new alpha bitch for the wolf pack that roams our land—she cleaned up the rest for you. I think she was quite impressed with how much storage you have in there.” She told Liam it was necessary when she was gone. “I don’t imagine that it helped that you lost your house.” “He took me for a great many things. But my house was the most painful.” Climbing into the truck, she watched him walk around to the other side and get in. He commented on how roomy it was. “Yes. My dad complained a great deal about how crowded it was for him. And you’re much bigger. But he would have complained about it even if it had his recliner and a big screen television in front of him.” She showed him around the compartment that she had lived in. The way she had to pull her bed down to use it. There wasn’t a lot of room when he was in it with her. For one, he was taller than her by a foot, and he was just too close. Or, she thought, not close enough. There was something extremely appealing about having this man near enough for her to not only touch, but to know that she could. Hudson thought that she was going insane.

Jake Forbidden Release Day & Giveaway

Forbidden: M/M LBGT Erotica Paranormal Romance


Jake Winslow’s marriage to the money grubbing shrew is over. Cutting off her funds, and the simple use of the word “no” sends her packing. When he comes home from work and finds his house empty of everything, including food, he feels–liberated. 

Jake’s grandmother, Jenna, calls her friend and attorney, Forrest Stout, to handle Jake’s messy divorce. She can’t stand Jake’s soon-to-be ex-wife and is leaving nothing to chance. Only the best for her grandson, and the best is Forrest.

Forrest is a Were Tiger, and he knows “who” he is. He is an oddity in his paranormal world because he is gay. His kind mate for life, and after a recent disastrous attempt to find companionship, he has given up hope of ever finding his life mate.

From the moment Forrest meets Jake for the first time, he knows that Jake is his life mate, and he wants to run in the opposite direction because Jake isn’t gay. To claim and lose a mate would spell disaster for him. How can he ask a straight man–that he wants with every fiber of his being–to conform to his way of life? He can’t….

Ex-lovers, and ex-wives can be a dangerous combination. Especially when neither are right in the head….



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His wife had left him. Jake wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but she was gone, that was a sure thing. And she’d taken everything; not just her things, but every stick of furniture in the house. He definitely wasn’t unhappy about that. Jake thought his wife had horrific taste in all manners of style. Jake figured that he should have seen it coming; he’d been seeing little signs that she wasn’t happy with him. Hell, he wasn’t happy with himself. But he had been trying his best to make her happy. Okay, maybe not happy, but at least make her life with him tolerable. Carol wasn’t really the nicest person in the world, nor did she tolerate fools easily. Well, not at all, and he thought she had it in her head that he was the biggest fool of them all. Jake Winslow had married his high school…Jake wasn’t sure she was his girlfriend or his sweetheart, but he did marry her when he’d been fresh out of high school. She’d told him, several times during his senior year, that if he didn’t marry her by the time he left for college, she’d not be around when he returned. Jake was never sure why he did it—he certainly didn’t love her—but she was the only woman he’d had sex with. He supposed he’d been led by his dick, as most men were. His parents had made him marry her. Jake wasn’t sure why that thought had entered his head after all these years, but he knew as surely as he was standing in his empty house that they’d made him. He hadn’t wanted to, not at all. If she’d not been there when he returned, then she’d just be gone. Pressure from his father and whining from his mother had made him do it. He was sure of that. So, fresh from his graduation he asked her to marry him, and of course she’d said yes. And the week before he left for college, they were married…right there on her parents’ front lawn. His parents had decided not to come to the quick wedding…something about contracts and money to be made. Money; he knew this was a huge factor in his father’s life. Jake had wished so many times over the last ten years that he’d just gone off to college and never returned. He might have but for the one person in his life that he loved more than he did himself—his grandma, Jenna Beck Winslow. As he made his way around the house, empty of even any foodstuffs, he thought of the things he’d have to do now. File for divorce, he supposed. Since she’d left him, he figured he’d be safe in betting that she’d gotten all she wanted from him. There really wasn’t much left for her to take anyway. He’d taken care of most of his property and stocks when she refused to sign a pre-nup as his grandma had suggested. The rest; well, he’d hidden that away as well. This house was in his grandma’s name. As were the deeds to the two buildings that he had downtown, other holdings in deals, as well as a few other things that Grandma and he held together. He’d done most of the hiding of assets several years ago, right after Carol had nearly gotten them in trouble with the IRS for not filing their taxes as she said she’d been doing. It had taken him nearly four months of working a lot of overtime and taking cases he didn’t like to pay back his grandma the money she’d generously lent him. 
  
Paying Grandma back had been the one argument he’d won with Carol. After that, he changed a lot of things. As he stood in the kitchen, he thought of the last fight that they’d had in this room not three nights ago. He’d been working late, again, and had come in this room to fix something to tide him over until breakfast. Carol had come in and started on him about money. “The checking account is empty.” He didn’t even bother looking at her. He knew it was. He’d emptied it when he’d noticed her spending had gotten out of hand. “I need you to put something in the account so that I can go to the mall tomorrow. Borrow it from that old woman again if you have to, but there has to be money in the account when I need to buy something. I’ve been invited to go to the mall with some of the girls from the country club. You know how important it is to me to keep up appearances, and besides, some of my favorite stores are running a sale. That requires money in the bank, because, in case you didn’t notice, the credit cards aren’t working either.” “I’m not borrowing money from my grandma again. She’s been kind enough to us. And the credit cards aren’t working because I canceled them. All of them.” She asked him why he’d do that. “Because, as I have told you several times over the last six months, there isn’t that kind of money coming in to cover even the minimum payment the way you spend money. You have to stop using them for every little thing you want. I’ve told you that. And since you can’t even do that, then I’ve taken control of them out of your hands.” He didn’t say for now, because Jake knew that she’d only continue to spend the money as if there were no limits. Charging things like ugly furniture that no one sat on. Dresses that would still have the tags on them when she donated them to some cause that the other sheep were into. And she’d go to restaurants and pay for everyone’s meals even though she didn’t like them any better than she did him. No, Jake had thought, she wasn’t getting any more ways to spend money.  She had growled at him, something he’d only just noticed that he thought was juvenile. “I don’t know why you’re doing this to me, but I want you to know that I do not care for it. You make enough money for me to spend a few bucks now and again, Jake. Fix this.” He told her he had. Just not the way she wanted. “I don’t care what you do, but I’m going to the mall in the morning and I’m going to use those cards. I would suggest that if you don’t want me going to jail, because I will throw the fit of all fits, then you’d better make this right.” He’d finished making his sandwich and sat down at the table. Even before he could pick up his dinner of cold roast beef on a hotdog bun, all he could find, she swiped it from the table and onto the floor. He hadn’t wanted to get into it with her, but she had left him no choice. Jake knew that shouting at her would get him nothing but a headache. Carol was ten times more stubborn than any other person he knew. He’d looked at her as she stood before him with a self-satisfied smirk on her face. “Why are you like this? Why do you treat me as if I’m nothing more than a way for you to have the things you want?” She said nothing but stared at him, tapping her foot as she’d done so many times in the past. Well, he wasn’t going to give in this time, no 
  
matter what she said or did. “I’m not going to put money in the bank so you can spend it on foolish things. Nor am I going to reinstate the credit cards so that you can run the limit to the max again. I got them paid off now, and there is no reason for you to—” “If you paid them off, then there no reason whatsoever that I can’t have them back, Jake. There are plenty of things I can buy now. The entire house could use a once over. Things are stale here. Give the cards to me and I will buy you something nice for that nasty office you work in.” He just stared at her after telling her to leave his office alone. “Jake, I’m not kidding you. If you don’t give me those cards, I’m going to leave you. Then what will you do? I should have the things I want. I did marry you.” “I married you as well, Carol. And you’re going to put us in the poor house with your total disregard to money and how it’s made. I purchased you this overpriced house that I didn’t want and the car that you seldom drive. You promised me then that you’d curb your spending. I can’t keep working like this so that you can toss our money away like you have no respect for how hard I work for it.” She simply put out her hand as if he was just going to turn them over. “I’m done. I’m not going to do this with you again.” When she left him there, he stood to clean up his mess. He wasn’t surprised when he heard the door to the bedroom slam, nor did he react when he heard her screaming. It was her way, he supposed, to make sure that everyone, including the neighbors, knew when she was displeased. They were probably used to it by now; he certainly was. Jake, as he had done for a while now, had gone to one of the spare bedrooms to sleep. He even went so far as to lock the door, and then put the dresser in front of it. He didn’t think that she’d harm him, but he didn’t want to take the chance that she’d come in and try to take whatever she found in his wallet. The cards, like a great many things he didn’t want her to have, were in the safe at his grandma’s home. And now here he was in his home with no wife, no tables and chairs, and probably not a single thing he could sleep on. Moving to the living room now he saw that she’d left him a nice note. The walls of this room were smeared with what he could only surmise was her last calling card. The note was written in spray paint all over the walls and over the fireplace. He, in a sort of disjointed way, thought about the amount of effort she’d taken to do this when he couldn’t even get her to clean up after herself in the bath. Dear deadbeat, I have found that I can no longer live under the rules that you’ve put me under. Good riddance.  Jake grinned and wished this other man, if there was another one, all the luck in the world. He was going to need it, and a fat bank account. Jake was sure that even if the man had an endless supply of money it would never be enough for Carol. He pulled out his cell phone and called the only woman he’d ever loved. His mom hadn’t ever meant as much to him as his grandma did, and he doubted if she ever would. “Carol left me.” She told him good. “Yeah, I figured you’d say that. She took everything too. I’m pretty sure if there was a mouse in the house, he’d be starved by morning. I don’t have a pot to even piss in now, and oddly enough, I don’t really care. And when I was in my bedroom a little while ago, I noticed that she fixed my suits for me too. They’re cut to shreds.” 
  
“She was a dreadful child, and she didn’t improve when she became an adult. I blame that on her parents, because they’re not much better. Frightful people.” He laughed as he sat on the stairs. “Why don’t you come here tonight? You and I will get drunk, eat some dinner, and have a good laugh over her. I don’t suppose she left you for another man, did she? That poor bastard.” “I don’t know. I think if there were a man out there that could keep up with her spending, he’d be sorry before now. Carol was mad about the credit cards.” He looked at the wall and repeated what Carol had written there. “And on a good note, I no longer have to cover up the couch when I want to sit on it…if I had a couch. I have never in all my life known a woman who had a negative sense of style like Carol has. And if there is another man, I’m betting he’ll have no idea what he’s getting himself into until it’s too late.” “Oh well, not your problem any longer, I’m thrilled to say. The girl needed to have left you a long time ago.” He agreed with his grandma. “Come over here and we’ll celebrate. I’ll have Bonny freshen your room up and we’ll have some fun. Lord knows you deserve it after ten years of hell.” “I’m exhausted, Grandma, and don’t think I have the energy to drive.” She asked him what he was going to sleep on, the floor? “I have no idea, but I’m just too tired to go out tonight. I’ll come over tomorrow and we’ll plot. I know I have to file for divorce now; I’m done with her. And hire someone good to take the case. I think her parents will want me to give her everything despite how much she already took.” “I’ll talk to my attorney. He never cared for Carol anyway after all the stories I’ve told him. He’d more than likely do it for free.” Jake laughed. “Come over, darling. I want to see you.” “I really can’t. I’m not sure I have the energy to even drive there. I’ll just find some blankets—I think there are a couple in my car—and spread them out on the floor. I’m too tired to care if I have a lot of comforts or not.” He walked to the door to go to his car even as he continued. “Tomorrow is Saturday. I’ll come over in the morning and have breakfast with you. One thing that’s good about this is that I don’t have to work myself to death to pay for her shit.” Jake looked around and shuddered. The couch in this room had been a bright green paisley. The chair a solid green that was almost blue green in color. The pillows had been plaid. He had avoided looking at the drapes, a deep blood red color that was a combination of squares and some sort of squidgy design that had made him seasick. Every room in the house was like that, brightly overdone and full of so many patterns that he never could figure out what she’d been going for. “I’m so glad that you’re looking at this as a positive thing. She was a mess and we both knew it. All right, go to sleep and I’ll see you first thing in the morning. I’ll have Cook make your favorites. Even bacon.” He laughed when she did. His grandma loved bacon more than he did. “I love you, Jake. Take care tonight.” “I will.”  As he spread out the blanket he’d unearthed from the trunk of his car, he thought of what order things had to go in now that he was alone. The house would have to go. But 
  
even as he lay down on the floor with the fireplace roaring out at him, he knew that he’d keep it. It was his after all, and Carol would be jealous that he had it.  As he lay there, thinking of his life thus far, all he could feel was relieved. He was free. For the first time in his adult life, Jake was free. Rolling to his back, he could see his life as it had played out before him. From the first moment he’d seen Carol, he knew that she wasn’t for him. There was just something so…. While he didn’t think she was evil, he’d never felt particularly safe around her. Then after Jake had done a little investigating, he knew better than to piss her off. Carol had set her sights on him for a reason that he just couldn’t understand. His family had money, that was true, but he didn’t have anything that he could claim as his own. At least not back then. He’d not even gotten a new car for graduation as she had. The car he drove was a beater that his grandma had helped him get for running around campus, and he used a four-year-old computer. Plus, he had received a scholarship to one of the most prestigious colleges in the country. Jake had worked really hard for that. After he and Carol had been married for about a month, she started coming to him about money. She needed this or that. As a student paying rent for a house while he was in college, there wasn’t enough money in the account for him to buy books and her things. She’d never let him live down the fact that he’d made her suffer by not having any money all the time. But when he’d been taken in by a very good firm, Jake thought he’d more than made up for her suffering. Jake didn’t understand most of the things that she purchased, either. Who needed ten pair of shoes when you could only wear one at a time? And why did she need a new coat for every season? What was wrong with the one that she had in her closet? Most of the time he went without one just so she’d be happy. But she was never happy, nor was she ever satisfied, he’d just realized. No matter what he did or sacrificed for her, it was never enough.  After he’d gotten out of school there were plenty of offers for him to look over. He’d been looking for stability, a good income, and a place he could like going to work for daily. A good firm that he could be proud to work for, and one that, someday, he’d be able to be a partner with. Carol had had a different outlook on his job prospects. She wanted location. An address that said she had money, or at least the appearance of it. There were questions that she had about where they’d live. How they’d live was questioned too, things such as servants, lawn service, and even limo rides. Where the closest mall was. Was there a country club membership involved? Would she be a part of the firm’s family as well, such as receiving invites to the partners’ homes? And she expected parties and shopping sprees. “I don’t think we should care about that so much just yet.” Carol had asked him what she should be caring about then. “Well, schools for our children. Where we might find the safest neighborhoods. And how quickly I can climb the corporate ladder. Mostly I think we should pay off some of our debt that we got while I was in college, and then save for a smaller house at first.” “No, I don’t want that at all. The bills? Those are your problem, not mine. You could have worked while going to college, and if you had, you’d not owe so much. Jake, if I’m 
  
going to be a lawyer’s wife, then I can expect things to go my way for a change. I catered to your needs enough while you were off studying.” She made it sound as if he’d not been working hard at his classes and had fucked around. Jake wondered even then if she realized how much things went her way now. “We’ll find us a house that I want, then you can work from there if you’d like. But I deserve a nice home, bigger than my daddy’s.” He was never sure how she was going to make that work. Nine firms wanted him to come and work for them, two of them in another state. But Carol had not only found her a house she could tolerate—her words to him when they moved in—but she also got a house much larger than they needed. She called it their starter house, whatever the hell that meant. Lucky for them, or at least him, it wasn’t far from his grandma’s, and he could go see her whenever he wished. Jake realized that he wasn’t going to get any sleep with his mind so busy, so he pulled out the laptop from his briefcase and turned it on. As he searched for things to fill his home, he found himself looking on sites for furniture that his wife might have wanted. So, with a huge smile, he put in searches for things that he might like. By the time the sun was coming up, not only had Jake filled two rooms of the house, but he’d found that he was having fun. By the time he made his way to his grandma’s house, he was actually giddy with contentment. ~~~ Carol smiled when she thought of her husband. In a few days she’d call him, find out how much he was suffering, and then tell him that she’d take him back. But under her terms. There would be no more of his cutting off her spending. It was her right to spend as much money as she wished, and he should have realized that before now. Sitting on the large bed that had come with the hotel she’d set up for herself, Carol knew it was just a matter of time before he’d come to his senses. Jake was a nice man, but nice men finished last. Carol was going to have to teach him that lesson sooner or later. “Carol, do you think this is the smartest move you can make right now with Jake? I mean, he is due for his annual bonus, you told me. Had you waited for that, you could have set yourself up nicely instead of borrowing from me to finance this idea you have.” Carol told her mother that it was in the bag. “If you say so. I think he might like you being gone. Your father and I certainly are glad to have you gone from our house.” “What a thing to say to me, Mother. You have always been so mean to me. Why is that? I think you’re just jealous, aren’t you? But about Jake, I’m betting he’s already missing me. I can just see him now, wandering around the house sobbing for me. Wondering what it is he’s going to have to do to get me back. Well, it’s going to be different, that’s for sure.” She wasn’t sure about the sobbing part, but she knew that he’d take her back in a heartbeat. The man wouldn’t be where he was right now without her. “Jake will do just what I tell him to do. I know that he’s had some rough times of late what with all those charge card bills that he had to pay off, but I’m sure by now that he’s thinking what a mistake he made in cutting me off. I have him wrapped around my little finger.” 
  
Her mother huffed at her. Carol wondered why she’d come to see her when all she had to do was give Carol some money and her credit card. But she hadn’t. Her mother was very untrusting too. Carol glared at her mother, wondering how on earth she’d had such a horrible person in her life all these years. Carol thought they’d all be better off if she would just die. Or be killed. That would be a better pay off in the insurance for her daddy. “In the meantime, I’m paying for this room and the storage units you had to have to store all that crap in. Why on earth you had to take everything is beyond me. Or for that matter, why you’d want to. It’s the ugliest shit I’ve ever seen. If I were Jake, I’d be pissed about you buying it in the first place. Were you trying to prove some point by going out and finding things that no human would possibly want in their garage, much less their home?” Carol waved her mom off. There was no accounting for some people’s tastes, she thought. “Carol, he might not care a fig that you’ve left, have you thought of that? You said yourself that he’s been cutting you off more and more all the time. Perhaps he’s finally gotten sick of you spending all that money. You nearly ruined him once; perhaps he’ll be thrilled to death that you’ve finally left and taken those things with you.” “Mother, you just don’t understand our relationship. Once he sees the error of his ways, he’ll be running back to me. You’ll see. I’ll call him on Monday and then you’ll see that I’m right. He might even be calling me before then. Jake isn’t all that smart, and he won’t be able to fend for himself in that big empty house without me there to guide him.” Actually, Carol was surprised that he’d not called her last night or this morning. Surely he’d seen what she’d done to him. At the very least, he would’ve seen the note she’d taken the time to leave him. “I had to take a stand in this. It’s the only way that he’s going to learn anything.” “He’s not stupid, Carol. Jake is a smart man, and I think you’re overestimating this hold you think you might have over him. As I said, he’s more than likely dancing a jig around the room and buying things that he likes and not you.” She asked her mother what she was talking about. “You think that you have him by the balls. I’m pretty sure, since he’s cut you off so nicely, that he has taken them back and will use them. I don’t think you realize what a bitch you’ve been to him.” “Mother, if you can’t be nice to me in my time of need, then perhaps you should just go home. I’m settled now. But the next time I want you to bring me money and a credit card, just have one of the servants do it. Or Daddy.” Her mom huffed again. “Why are you always treating me like I’m the bad guy? Jake just needs to learn that I’m the best thing that has ever happened to him. Once he does, then things will start to go back to the way I want them. No more cutting me off just because he said. I’m a grown woman, and have needs that he doesn’t understand.”  “Carol, I think he understands you more than even you do. As I’ve said time and time again, the man could have done much better than you.” Her mother had always been so jealous of her, of her beauty, her husband. Even the way she decorated. “I’m going home. But as I told you when you called, I can only pay for you to stay here for two nights. I don’t know why you have to have the best of everything. Had you gone cheaper, you could have had—” 
  
“I do not do cheap. I’m an attorney’s wife. I should have better.” Her mom said something as she was moving out the door but Carol decided to ignore her. “If I need to stay more than you paid for, I’ll let you know. I still don’t know why you’ve put a limit on my trying to get my marriage to work.” Two nights away from her would be just what Jake needed to get his head on straight. The nerve of the man thinking he could just cut her off after everything she’d done for him. And the sooner he figured out that he needed her around, the better he’d be. Laying back on the bed, she thought of the things she was going to do once she was back to the house.  “I’m going to sell off every stick of furniture that was in there and start over. The house needs a fresh look anyway.” She’d thought about just setting it on the side of the road when she’d left him, but was afraid that he’d just lug it back in after she was gone. He’d do that too, embarrass her like that. “Then I’m going to have the pool enlarged, and we’re going to have a staff too.” She didn’t swim, didn’t even know how, but her parents didn’t have a pool so she wanted one. And the staff would make her day so much better. Just being able to say that to someone… “I have to talk to the staff,” or “The staff has been so much trouble lately.” It excited her to no end to think of someone asking her about how many she had.  They’d had staff at first…well, someone to cook for them. There had been cleaning personnel as well. A woman and her daughter had come in twice a week to dust and run the vacuum. But after the first large purchase that she’d made to redo the living room, he’d cut even that off.  The cook; Carol couldn’t even remember why they’d left, but Jake had gone on for over an hour about how she was to treat people that worked for them. Carol thought that staff, no matter what they did for her, needed to cater to her needs more than she did theirs. Thoughtless people. They needed to learn their place, and they would when she was back in charge. The phone ringing startled her. As she picked it up, thinking it was her mother, she snapped at her to leave her alone. The silence at the other end made her pause. When she asked who was there, she was greeted with male laughter. “I’m Forrest Stout. You must be Carol Lane Winslow.” She said that she was just Carol Winslow. “For now. I’m calling on behalf of Jake Winslow. He would like to set up a meeting with you in the near future.” “You tell him when he cuts me off, I cut him off. And what do you mean, for now?” The man laughed again and she positively abhorred him. “Who are you anyway? One of his buddies from work? Never mind. You tell Jake that I will come home when he has his priorities right. If you’d like to take him my demands, I can read them off to you. There won’t be any more cutting me off. I demand that—” “No, I won’t be taking him anything of the kind. But as for being his friend, I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Jake, but I think, just because he left you, I could be his best friend. I have, however, spoken to his grandmother. Jenna and I go way back.” Carol didn’t care. She didn’t care for the elderly Winslow any more than she did Jake’s parents. 
  
“What time can you meet with us, Carol? I’d like to get this over with for him so that he can move on with his life.” “I’m not going to meet with him at all until I get some reassurance that what I want is taken care of. You tell him that.” He said that he would. “Aren’t you even going to ask me what I want? And I don’t appreciate you cutting me off. I don’t know who you think you’re talking to but—” “No, I’m reasonably sure neither of us want to know what you might want. And I’m also sure I’ve got you figured out. Oh, and while I have you on the phone, you should know that the locks have been changed on the house and the garage that you shared with Jake. Also, the things that you have in storage, they’re being removed even as we speak and moved to the address that you put on the receipt. I’m sure your parents are going to just be thrilled. You have a nice day.” She was still standing there holding the dead receiver when she thought of what he’d said to her. Why would Jake change the locks? Was he afraid of someone robbing them? There wasn’t shit in the house. That, to her, was locking the barn door after the horse got out. Or something like that. Her dad said that all the time, and she was happy to think that she knew that one. Also, what did he want a meeting for? Why not just have her come back to the house? She put the receiver in the cradle of the phone and sat on the bed. She wondered too what he’d said about the storage and how that would make her parents happy. Her mother wasn’t getting her things. “What are you up to, Jake?” She thought about calling him, asking him straight up what he was doing, but that would interfere with her plans. He was going to beg her to come home, and her calling him wasn’t on her list. “You aren’t playing by my rules, Jake, and that will only make this harder on you.” She went to the lovely desk that hadn’t been in the room when she’d gotten there. A few well-placed calls, everyone understanding that she was a lawyer’s wife, had not only gotten her the desk, but also free usage of the mini-bar.  The Jake list, as she’d begun to call it, was pretty good if she did say so herself. There were some things marked off on it already. And things were going along just the way she wanted them, also in the order that she wanted them. Carol was looking at number six that was as yet still unmarked. He should have called her by now. Again, he wasn’t doing things the way she wanted them. Number one had been having the house emptied. It had been difficult for her to find a mover that would do it all in one day. But her daddy had come through for her on that. He’d hired two firms to come in and take over. Of course she’d lied to Daddy, telling him that there were bugs in the house and that her lovely things were going to be ruined if they didn’t get them out of the house, and he’d done it.  Her mother had shown up at her door while she was working on number two. Leave Jake a note. “What are you up to, Carol? You can’t have Jake’s permission to do this to his home.” She turned to her mom and glared. “You’re going to regret this.” “No I’m not, I have a plan. And since this is my house, I don’t need his permission, nor do I care if he has an opinion concerning my actions. This is all his fault anyway.” 
  
She’d been thrilled to death to show her mother her list, and all she did was tell her she was ill-advised if she thought this was going to work. “Of course it’ll work. I always get what I want.” “You’ve never gone this far before. I’m pretty sure that he’s not going to do what you want this time, no matter how many lists you have and whatever order you put them in. It’s bad enough that you’ve treated this man so poorly all these years, but to do this, to destroy his home…. Carol, I never thought I’d say this to my own child, but you’re not right in the head.” Number three had been harder to get than she thought it would. Her mom didn’t like to part with money any more than Jake did. But in the end Mother had put her up in a hotel. It was her plan to go live with her parents for a few days, but her mother had said no and had more than likely convinced Daddy that it was not a good idea. She was going to have a long talk with him once she was back in her home and with Jake. Mother was starting to get on her nerves, and she was sure her daddy would fix it.  Number four had been put in motion the moment she was set up in the hotel. Make sure that her friends knew where she was and why. Well, her version of why she was out of her home. She’d told them that she and Jake had had a terrible fight and she’d left him until he could cool down. That hadn’t gone as well as she’d planned either, now that she thought about it.  Not a single one of her friends had been sympathetic to her. She’d expected them to rally around her, bad mouth Jake and his treatment of her, but not one of them had. Two had said they were too busy to talk and had hung up. Mercedes, the one that she’d thought the most of, who also had the most money of all her friends, had told her she’d be lucky if Jake didn’t divorce her on the spot. And that she’d not blame him one single bit. The others hadn’t taken any of her calls. Carol thought that since it was late in the year a lot of them had gone out of town. That had to be the reason. Then there was number five. Five had been a spur of the moment add-on to her list. And possibly the worst thing she might have done. At least to the standpoint that it had gotten her the most grief. People weren’t as receptive to her story as she’d hoped they’d be. Going to the newspaper to tell them that Jake had hit her had been a huge undertaking. It had required her to pinch her mouth until it was puffy, and to wear dark glasses when it wasn’t too terribly bright outside. Twice she’d walked into a wall, and once had tripped over the curb.  And for all that, she’d been humiliated once she’d entered the big building. Three of the people that had agreed to talk to her told her she was full of shit, and one of them had even told her she was lucky that he’d not hurt her worse. Carol tried to tell them that they didn’t know Jake as she did, and was left in tears after they made fun of her.  Now here she was on number six, and she’d hit a wall. There had been no calls from Jake so that she could execute that part of her plan. She was going to tell him, no matter what he said, that she wasn’t going to live like he’d wanted her to. She was going to tell him that she needed money to make her life better. That there had to be changes, too, in how they lived. Not only would there be a staff for her to order around, but she wanted 
  
a gardener as well as a limo driver. Each of her bullet points were left unchecked because her husband hadn’t called.  “Damn it, Jake, what are you up to? And what is taking you so long to do what I need for you to do?” As she paced the room, she tried to think of reasons that he’d not called. His phone was dead? Not likely. He was the only person she knew that could go days on a single charge. He just never used his phone like normal people did. Did he forget her daddy’s number? No, she’d made sure that it was programed into his phone the moment he’d gotten it. There wasn’t any reason she could think of that he’d not have been able to call. That man that had called, Stout, he alleged he’d talked to Jake. She knew that had to mean that his phone was still working and it was charged. They didn’t own a house phone, again because Jake said it would be a waste of money, so that couldn’t be it. Then she wondered if he was working late again.  Jake did work on Saturdays a great deal. She thought it had been because he was going to ask for an increase on the limits on his cards, but then he’d gone and canceled them all. But even working on Saturday didn’t negate the fact that he should have called her. Nothing was as important as him calling and begging her to come home. His calling was the thing that was going to get her what she’d wanted. Carol decided that she was going to make him suffer more for this, and smiled as she added that to her list.   

Brayden The Stanton Pack Release Day & Giveaway

Dane had no idea who she was. She’d been shot and couldn’t even remember who she was hiding from. All she did know was she needed help, and when Julian Stanton found her, he took her to his family.

Brayden Stanton was just tired of everything. It was time to leave Africa and go home to family. He called his dad to tell him that he was fed up with the job and he was on his way home, and he was bringing a fiancée with him. She wasn’t his mate, but he was going to make it work. He realized his mistake the moment he proposed.

Danger comes at every turn. The women in Brayden’s life are surrounded with it. Both are lethal, but one has Brayden’s heart from the beginning. The question is, can the family survive it?

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Chapter 1  
She sat up, then promptly leaned over and threw up twice. The first time she’d woken up, her head had hurt so badly she was sure something was stabbing her there. But one touch to her head had her fainting away again. Lying back down, she lay there trying to make the sick feeling in her head go away. Touching it gingerly, she felt the blood there again and the slice along her head, but there wasn’t any memory of how it had gotten there. Nor—and this frightened her more than the head wound did—who or where she was.  Jane Doe. That’s what she’d been referring to herself as since she’d awoken the second time. It had been dark where she first holed up. Not that the daylight she had now made things any clearer for her. Looking around from her position on the floor, she realized that she might be in some really old building that hadn’t seen a broom or dust rag in a very long time. Slowly she rolled to her back, closing her eyes so she wouldn’t get sick again. “You need help, girl.” She had also started talking to herself, she realized, and wondered if that was new or something she did all the time. Asking herself questions about the things she did know about herself didn’t ring any bells either, but she listed them now. “You’ve been shot and wounded. You’re female, and you’re smart enough to know that hiding out was the best course of action for yourself. And you carry a gun.” She wrapped her fingers around the gun that hadn’t left her side since she woke, and found it tucked tightly against her belly. It didn’t feel foreign to her, but like something that she wore as routinely as she did a shirt or socks. There was a holster for it, but the gun hadn’t been in it like it was now. Leather and steel, it had been strapped to her waist with one full magazine. Searching for any kind of identification hadn’t netted her anything. She had found a wound in her leg that had bothered her for a little bit, but not nearly like her head did. As she lay there, she thought of what could have happened to her and why. What was she that would make someone shoot her? Jane didn’t want to think that someone was out to kill her, not yet at any rate. “Was I a victim of a robbery gone bad? But if someone robbed me, wouldn’t they have taken the gun too?” Her head began to pound again so she left that thought alone for now. “I need to get someone to help me. But who?” Sitting up slowly, she felt her belly lurch again. Whatever had happened to her, it wasn’t going to get any better by just sitting around waiting to have some sort of epiphany. She had a feeling that when she did recall what had gone down, she wasn’t going to be any happier than she was with not remembering.  Standing was harder than sitting up, she soon discovered. Hanging onto the walls for support, her knees were weak and her hands shook. She could only hope that she was on a lower floor in the building, because she was sure that she’d never make stairs work for her. And when she saw them, all four flights, she sobbed like a baby. Nothing, she realized, was going to be easy about this. At least there was a handrail. 
She had no idea how long it took, but she was on the last level when she heard cars. No people as yet…she’d not encountered anyone on her way down. She had to rest, so crawling behind the stairs, she found a nice cubbyhole and closed her eyes. It might be just a few feet from her, but freedom and perhaps answers were going to have to wait. She was simply too weak to walk even the few feet to the door. What if—and this had bothered her with each landing that she’d encountered—what if they were just waiting for her to come out so they could finish the job? Darkness was coming on once again when she woke. She was getting sicker. Her belly was empty of whatever had been in it before, but it didn’t stop her from throwing up. The bile was hot, and she was getting weaker each time she got sick. Help was going to have to come soon or she knew she’d be dead. Standing this time took her to the floor again. On her knees, all she could think about was that she was going to die, right here, and no one would ever know…if there was anyone to mourn her death. Lying down, Jane closed her eyes and rested. It was nearing light again when she finally made her way out of the building. Her sleep had been fitful and unrestful, but she wasn’t as sick this time when she moved. It was either because she was too far gone or she was getting better, which she doubted.  There wasn’t anyone around except for a single truck that was idling nearby. As she staggered to the street, holding onto the walls as she went, she wondered who would be stupid enough to let a nice vehicle like that sit running unattended. Just as she was going to step out of the alley she was in, a slamming door had her turning to look. It was too fast. Her head spun dizzily and she nearly fell again. As she held on to the overturned trash can beside her, she tried breathing in her nose and out of her mouth to slow the pain down, as well as to keep her belly from churning up again. For whatever reason the thought of being caught—at what she had no idea—but being caught or captured terrified her. “Miss? Are you all right?” She wanted to scream at him that she wasn’t fucking all right, but just nodded. “I’m sorry, but I don’t think you are. Did you know that you’re bleeding from your head and leg?” “It won’t stop. Every time I wake up, it’s bleeding again.” He might have said something, but she had to puke again and gagged twice before she laid down. “I think I’m dying.” “I’m going to call an ambulance.” She screamed no at him, but must have blacked out for a bit. When she woke this time, she was in a moving vehicle. “You fainted, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to get you to someone. But I won’t call the police. I have no idea why I didn’t, but I wanted you to know that.” “I don’t know who I am.” Trust. She didn’t have any clue why she trusted this man, but she did. “I don’t know where I am, how I got here, or how I was hurt. I’m at your mercy, it seems.” “Julian. Julian Stanton.” She asked him who that was. “Sorry. Me. I’m Julian Stanton. I’m taking you to my home…well, to my parents’ home. My father is a doctor. Retired now, but a good surgeon. I let him know what was going on about the wound, as well as that you seemed to be dead set against hospitals. He also knows that you’re carrying.” 
She touched her fingers to the gun still in the holster. Touching it, like that man did, it gave her trust. Again, she had no idea why she did, but she laid her head back to rest. The trip didn’t seem to take all that long, but she might have been out for a lot longer than she’d thought. Three men were standing on the front porch when she arrived at the house with Julian. Before he opened the door or they moved, he pointed out who they were. Two brothers and a father. Then when they moved toward her and the truck, she cringed when they started to reach for her. “Let me give you something for the pain.” The elderly man smiled at her. “It’ll take you under for a bit, but that’ll be fine while I exam you for injuries. You can trust us, young lady. We’ll not harm you.” The pinch of the needle didn’t hurt, but almost as soon as he rubbed the cotton ball over where he’d injected her, Jane felt herself floating away. It was the best she’d felt since she’d awoken. Flashes of light moved over her. Strong voices were there, but no words that she could understand. And on top of it all, a woman. Her kind voice made Jane feel like she’d been bathed in sunshine. Then there was nothing. ~~~ Denny waited for his wife, Lucy, to come and assist him while Julian filled him in on what had happened and why he’d brought her to their home. Denny checked the woman’s head injury, and wasn’t surprised to find it was a bullet wound. After cleaning it as gently as he could, he started to cut away her clothing. The gun perplexed him for a few moments, but Colton, his other son who had helped bring the young lady in, removed it from her and said he’d put it in the safe for her. Next, Denny removed her shoes, socks, and another weapon inside those. Whoever she was, she was well armed. “I just heard from a man by the name of Wexton. I believe he runs the grocery store…or perhaps the library. They’re all running together lately. Anyway, I have no idea why he’d think we have anything to do with this, but he said that someone is camping out in one of the buildings in the market district. I said that Julian checked it out today and it’s nothing.” After Lucy pulled on gloves, she stood over the young woman. “Do we know anything?” “Not as yet. At least not much. GSW to the head, but I think there will be more. There is blood on her pant legs as well as her hands. I was just going to take a look now.” She helped him pulled off the tattered clothing he’d cut away. He noted the wounds they found as they took off her shirt. “Bullet on her shoulder. It looks like it might have been done before the other things, superficial. There is some bruising on her belly; boot print, it looks to be.”  Denny, with the help of Lucy, rolled the young woman to her side. Her back was covered in scars that looked as if she’d been beaten, and repeatedly. There were a few more markings, none that he could recognize right off the top of his head. But as there was nothing life threatening, he moved to her pants. His wife took over there for him so that he could stitch up her head. He was just starting when he felt Lucy’s fear and stepped back from his patient. 
“Denny, what is that?” He looked where she was pointing, careful of his hands. He had to look at it very hard until what it was came to him. He took another step back and tried to think beyond the fear. “Tell me.” “I’ve not see this mark on someone in…. I was a boy and my father had been working with one of the women in the village. He said that she was the devil’s handmaiden. Of course, as a child I believed him. But later, after doing some research, I found out that they’re people marked by another tribe…that they were supposed to be unworthy.” She asked him of what. “I don’t know. That’s all I could find. If she’s been marked like this, Lucy, she might be older than she looks. I mean, as in decades older.” “What is she doing around here?” He said that he didn’t know. “Well, we’ll fix her up, get some answers, and if we don’t like them, we’ll take care of her.” “Take care…what do you mean, take care of her? You’re not suggesting that we murder this poor child, are you?” She just stared at him with that look she reserved for their sons. “Lucy, explain yourself, please.” “Take care of her as in taking care of her. Make sure that she’s safe, well, and fed. Whatever made your mind rush to us killing her off? My goodness, Denny, you need to stop listening to those stories on the television set. Goodness gracious.”  He said he didn’t think it was that but a book he’d been reading, and moved to finish her head. “I knew I shouldn’t have gone to bed straight away after reading that book. I swear to you, Lucy, that author has some chilling thoughts going on in his head.” She told him to not read it at all. “It’s good. I want to finish it, but perhaps I’ll read only in the daylight hours. Not so close to bedtime.” They worked on her for over two hours. Under each article of clothing they removed they found more cuts and bruises. Another gunshot wound in her leg had startled him. Denny wondered why the young woman was still alive the way she’d been treated. As he was wrapping up the wound on her leg and setting it in a temporary cast to make sure it wasn’t bumped, the woman looked at him. “Hello.” She nodded, but he thought her too weak to do much more than stare at him. “You’ve lost a lot of blood so I’m giving you some fluids. The wound on your head is stitched up, but I’m concerned at how deep it is. Julian told us you don’t know who you are.” “No.” She closed her eyes and he thought her asleep again. “I don’t know anything. Where am I?” “Stanton Ranch.” She asked him what state. “Ohio. You’re just outside of Zanesville. My family and I have a nice ranch here. Not that we have much in the way of animals any longer, but we did a long time—” “I had a gun. Where…did you take it?” He told her what one of his sons had done with it. “I’d like it back please. It…I have no idea why, but it comforts me.” “All right. But I’d like to wait until you’re a little stronger. I’ve given you something for the pain, and I’d hate for someone to be hurt when you were out of it.” She nodded, then moaned. “I’ve taken care of the wounds on your body. You have one GSW to the head, another to your shoulder, as well as one in your calf. They’re cleaned up and stitched. I’ve saved the bullets for you.” 
“I don’t know what I do for a living. I might be a bad guy.” He’d thought of that as well, but had a feeling that wasn’t what had gotten her shot. “The man who brought me here, you said he was your son. Will he tell anyone where I am?” “No. He said you were inflexible about not going to the hospital, so he thought it might be safer for all of us not to tell anyone that we’d found you, nor that you were shot.” She nodded again and Denny thought for sure she was out this time.  As he and Julian moved her to the bed he had set up in his offices at home, he asked him about what he thought had happened. He told him what she’d said to him when she woke up. “You think she’s a bad guy? Or anything to do with things that go bump in the night?” Denny told his son that he didn’t. “I don’t either. She could have shot me when I came up to her at the warehouse. Granted she was weak, but I think if she were a corrupt person, she would have done it anyway.” After moving her, he sat down at the little desk that was part of each room. He didn’t use his offices much anymore…just for an occasional bump or two from one of the ranch hands. They only had a couple horses now, having sold them off a while back when he realized that he was just too old for ranching. His sons were off on their own now and Denny was proud of each of them, but he missed them when they weren’t home. He supposed it was a way of life for the elderly. Denny did a search on shootings in the area. A couple had occurred which were, he thought, too far away for the young woman to have traveled from. There was a robbery, but he wrote that off as well, knowing somehow that she might not have been involved in that either.  When Lucy brought him lunch on a tray they ate together, talking quietly about the upcoming picnic they were having, as well as Brayden’s birthday. He was a little old for having parties, but it never stopped them from having them for their boys. However, they no longer hired a clown to entertain them. “Do you suppose that he’ll even be home this year? Last year he was two days late coming home.” Brayden hadn’t been home as much as they liked, not for years now. “I miss him more all the time. I know that he’s working, but I’d so much like to have him home again.” “I’ve spoken to him a few times over the last few weeks. I guess things in Africa aren’t going as well as they had thought, and he might be able to get away for a little longer this time. Something about money troubles, as well as supplies coming up missing.” Lucy said that it would be nice to have him home. “I know, but when I talked to him, he sounded so beaten. Like he’s just tired of it.” “Well, he’s been working at building homes all over the world for others for nearly ten years now. I know as well as you that if you don’t take a break now and again, you can’t just pop back like you did before. He needs to come home and be with his family, and let someone else work for a little while. Perhaps he would do better at making money. Not that we need it, but I want him home occasionally.” Denny agreed, but he wouldn’t tell Brayden that. The boy was too stubborn about people telling him what to do. “When did he say he’d be here? Soon?” 
“In a week. I had to make him narrow it down so that we could pick him up at the airport when he arrives. But of course, then I had to tell him several times that we didn’t mind going out of our way to get him. I swear, Lucy, I think he does that to make me mad.” She laughed and said they were alike in that. “What’s that supposed to mean? I’m not aggravating.” “If you say so, love. But when you get something in your head, you’re like a dog with a bone. You’ll pick at it to death.” They both looked over at the bed when the woman moaned. “She’s going to make it, isn’t she? I mean, she won’t get weaker from this, correct? Poor thing. I wonder if whoever did this to her even cares.” “No, I don’t think so. I have no idea why, but I think they would be upset to know she’s alive. But we might have some trouble keeping her down until she heals more. And she’s asked for her gun back and said that it’s comforting to her for some reason. She seems stubborn herself, don’t you think?” Lucy pointed out that she’d not spoken to her. “That’s right. I forgot. I’m concerned about the marks on her back. What they might mean to her. Or us.” “I was going to ask you if you looked them up while you were down here, but for some reason I have it in my head for you not to. It might lead someone here.” He nodded, telling her that he’d thought the same thing. “We don’t know anything about her, Denny, but I want to protect her like she’s our own child. Why is that, you suppose?” “I don’t know. But now that you mention it, I feel the same way. And even Julian said that he had this overwhelming need to make sure that she was safe. Not well, but safe. I asked him why and you know what he said? He told me that she needed him, that he felt it.” When she left him again, taking the tray with her, he sat at his computer to play a game. It was silly, he knew, when there were plenty of game systems upstairs, but he loved solitaire and found himself thinking about the game more than what he’d been doing earlier. It was a way to ease his mind…he had been playing games as a way to relieve stress for over a decade. The computer made it so much nicer. When a small ding alerted him that he had an incoming message, he clicked on it to see what his son had to say now. Brayden had better not be changing his mind. He wanted his boy home. When it came up, he read it three times to make sure that he’d not misread it. “I’m coming home, Dad. For good. I’ve had enough.” He started typing a reply when a second message from him came up. “Would you find me a house? Not too big, but nice. With a pool. I find that I want to swim again.” He told him he’d do just that, and smiled as he wrote the rest of his answer. “Are you sure you don’t want to build one? You should be good at it by now.” “I just want to live somewhere that is a nice home without any work on my part.” Denny watched the little icon that said Brayden was still typing paused. When it came up on his end, Denny could only stare at it. “I’m getting married. After I’m home. She’s not my mate, but I need some stability in my life and she can do it, I think. At least I hope so. She’s a little on the…. You’ll understand when you meet her. I’m bringing her home with me so you all can all get to know her too. Don’t tell Mom yet. I want to surprise her.” 
He’d certainly do that, Denny thought. Not his mate, yet he was going to marry her? That made his own cat sort of curl around him in fear. It was a feeling, one that had made him become a great surgeon, that had him thinking that his eldest son was about to make the biggest mistake of his life. “We’ll talk when you get here, son. Tell me when you expect to be at the airport and I’ll be there.” He told him he should be in the United States in two days. To pick him up on Wednesday. “All right. Give me times when you get them and I’ll make sure that you and your lovely bride-to-be have a ride home.” Brayden said that he loved him and then the message box told him that he’d logged off. Denny checked on his patient then went to find his Lucy. There wasn’t any way that he was going to keep this from her, and he found that he didn’t want to. He needed someone to tell him he wasn’t nuts for feeling this way. “She’s not his mate? You’re sure that’s what he said.” Denny assured Lucy that he’d read it three times to be sure. “Why would he do a fool thing like that? Doesn’t he know what sort of trouble that can cause him when she does come along?” “He said he needs some stability in his life. And while I can understand that, I wonder if he knows he’s not going to get it. Do you think he gets what he’s doing?” She just huffed, something that she’d done all their married life when she thought he should know the answer to something. “Lucy, he’s bringing her home to meet us. Oh, you’re not supposed to know. He told me not to tell you.” “Well, I’m glad that you did. And no, I don’t think he understands what he’s doing. I can understand living with a woman if you’re lonely. I don’t care for it, but I guess I can understand. But this is at a whole new level of living with someone for sex.” Denny nodded, thinking that his wife was losing her filter more all the time when it came to talking about things. “Denny, you’re going to have to talk to him as soon as he gets home.” “I will, I promise. But I’d like to say something to you, and I don’t want you to get upset. You’ve been a little…how should I say this? You’ve been a lot more outspoken lately. Is it that club you’ve joined? The Women Over Fifty Group?” She kissed him on the cheek as she walked by him. “Lucy, you didn’t answer me. What is it about you lately?” “I’ve decided that I’m too old to be trying to please everyone.” He said that he could understand that. “And I’m not saying what I want, I just have opinions. A great many of them. But I’ve been too shy to say them. I’ve decided that I’m not going to sit in the back row any longer, but voice my opinion.”  After she left him in the kitchen, he laid his head on the butcher block they used as an island. Oh Lord, she was going to be the death of him, he just knew it. He smiled as he lifted his head. But she sure was fun now. He thought he liked this new Lucy. Going to the basement again, he sat with his patient.  Maybe, he thought, he’d take up this new habit Lucy had adopted. Saying what he wanted might be fun. Yes, sir, he was going to do that from now on instead of what people wanted to hear. He wondered what his sons would think about their new parents.   

Grady The MCCade Dragon Release Day

Harper Bailey was in way over her head, and the trouble just seemed to keep coming. Her brother-in-law had frozen her personal accounts, and now she was on the run because she wouldn’t do as she was “told.” She had been told to abort the baby. Harper hadn’t wanted the baby she had been forced to carry in the first place, but now that she’d felt life, she would protect the child with hers.
Grady McCade knew that his mate had been found when she touched the piece of jewelry. The dragon had told him that if he didn’t hurry to her side, she would be found by the dragon slayers and her life could be ended as well as the life of the babe that she carried.
With Grady and Harper together, the dragon grows stronger, and the slayers pick up the pace in their quest for all the pieces of jewelry. Can the McCades stop them before they strike again? Are any of them safe? Find out in The McCade Dragon—Grady
Emma Gentry felt like she was losing her mind. From the time she had picked up the pretty ring to examine it, she’d been hearing a voice in her head. When she ran from the demolished building, she’d slipped the ring on her finger so that she wouldn’t drop it, now she couldn’t get it off. She was in dire need of medical attention, but the voice wouldn’t let her stop to get help. There were others looking for the ring and would kill her for it. Emma was on the run.


Kenton McCade was the doctor in the family. When found Emma in his office treating a badly infected wound on her leg, he had to help her. The infection had spread and she was near death.

Kenton and his brothers were dragon shifters born without the ability to shift into their other half. The magic, it seemed, lay dormant in a sleeping dragon that was tied to six pieces of jewelry. When the ring found its way to Emma, her touch had woken the sleeping beast. When Emma touched Kenton’s sigil on his chest, he shifted to his beast for the first time. But the beast from the ring would not be complete until all the jewelry found its way to their rightful dragons…. 

Emma was still on the run…they need her to survive…but Emma trusted no one…

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.


The dragon had told Kenton and Jorden McCade that another piece of jewelry had been activated, and the boy that had just come into Jorden’s studio was her son. The dragon didn’t know which brother she was mated to, but she had sent the boy and her granny ahead to keep them safe. Now, another attempt had been made on her life and she was in a hospital an hour away.

The cop at the scene had been in on it, and Jasmine found herself in a pickle. She’d been drugged and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it. Her body hit the floor by her hospital bed and she was looking into the lifeless eyes of her nurse.

As soon as Jorden scooped Jasmine up off the floor and her earring touched his skin, he knew that this woman was his. The earring left a brand, marking them both. He couldn’t be happier about finding her, now to convince her to stay was going to be the problem….




THE McCADE DRAGON SERIES –
                                                            Happy Reading ,
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First Signing of the year

ATTENTION AUTHORS & READERS
Join us for ARC NOLA 2017
Jan 27th & 28th, 2017
Holiday Inn Superdome (Just 3 blocks to the French Quarter!)
Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arc-nola-2017-tickets-22804931163

Reader tickets only $15.00 for both days
Book Signing is FREE and open to the public

Author spots still available
Each 1/2 table includes 1 free reader ticket the author can give away.

Where Authors and Readers come together for fun in the French Quarter.

Friday is registration and small group outings into the French Quarter.
Plan what you would like to offer as an outing for the readers.

Saturday
Speed-date the authors in the morning.
Lunch break
Afternoon FREE to the public book signing
Another evening in the French Quarter

Sunday
Travel home

The ticket does not include meals.
There are so many incredible restaurants in the French Quarter;
I have left meal options up to the attendees.
Authors may want to organize small groups for lunch or dinner outings.

Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arc-nola-2017-tickets-22804931163
Attendee Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1744305265789567/
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Prologue
The queen, his queen, sat upon her throne and cried. Warrior, the only name he’d ever been given, moved closer to her, close enough that she could touch him should she wish. He gave her warmth, something that he could tell that she needed in this cold room, even with the hearth overflowing with flames. The jewels, which were as much a part of her as the crown that she wore, glistened in the evening fires. And she wore them like the queen that she was. “We’re to be put out, my friend. Whatever shall I do if I have no home, nor any place to house my people? They will surely die without food and shelter.” He had no answer for her. Warrior thought she knew this too. But it made him feel good to know that his queen thought of the others in her keep before her own troubles. “He took it all from me. All. And for what, pray? Because he could? Because it made him feel like a king? I made him one, and he has done this to us. He thinks to take this all from me for another woman. Another woman that will have nothing once he tires of her as well.” Warrior looked up at her when she began to pace the large room. Not much remained here now, not like the riches that had been here centuries ago. Once there had been large tapestries, and long tables with bejeweled ornaments upon them. Paintings had adorned the halls, of ancestors that had lived and died to make this castle the strong fortress that it was. Blades had hung along the walls, their nicks and mars in the steel telling their own stories. Riches beyond what any man could have in one lifetime had been abundant, yet the new king, the one that had been chosen for his lady queen, would have more, took more. Or he would kill to get it. Babes had been born here, and as adults they had died in the same bed that they’d taken their first breath in. This place had bred queens that fought beside their men until death. And now it was in near ruin because of greed. Warrior wanted to help her in some way, but wasn’t sure what he could do. The ring on her finger flashed, and he was saddened that someone else would wear his gift to her. The jewelry he’d forged for her was the only thing that the king had not been able to find and sell off. She had done well with that at least, making sure that it was held in the family for future generations. “The other dragons, have you told them to scatter?” He told her that they had all gone into hiding, save him. “You should have left with them, Warrior. I love you most of all, and should you be captured, then I feel all will be lost.” “I will not leave you, my queen. Without you, there would be no us.” Warrior sat up when the doors opened behind them. The little boy, Caelin, came to him and climbed up on his back. A seat was there, forever, for the queen to use when she surveyed her kingdom. But little Caelin, he knew that he’d be just as welcome. “Come, my queen. Sit upon my back and let me take you someplace safe.” “No. You must be safe. For my son.” He started to tell her that without her, none of them would ever be safe. “I have a plan. A good plan, but I need you to help me with it. It’ll work. You’ll see. Caelin and his children’s children will be safe because of it.” She told him of her plan to gather him into the jewels to keep him safe for her son. Also how doing this would keep the jewelry for them, the only thing that was of value she had left save
the little boy. By separating the jewels like this, no one person would own the dragon, her dragon.  “I do not understand how my being magically separated will help your child. I can do more harm as myself than most armies can defeat.” She held her son in her arms now. Her mind, he knew, was seeing beyond what they were looking at now. The gift of sight, even her own demise, was a gift or a curse that she held to herself. Not even her husband, the traitor, knew about it. “Many generations from now my son’s children will have the pieces. And when they do, all the pieces will make you whole again.” They both looked at the sleeping child. “Many will be broken by the curse that I shall put upon these jewels. There will be lives taken, children unborn, until the right generation comes along and makes it work. But when the right family is gathered, when they love harder than any other, there will be riches beyond their wildest dreams. Jewels and long life. There will be dragons again, too. The queen, a queen beyond what I am to you now, will rule you all once again as you darken the skies as you once did.” It took them well into the next day for the magic to work. Warrior watched over her and the small boy as he got weaker; each part of Warrior that she took to add to the jewels that he’d forged for her made him less and less. He would not have it any other way, not when she was so determined to give this for her child. When there was nothing left of him but a single spark, as she called it, he felt her tears as they fell upon his back as she sat upon it one last time. “I know that you cannot fly, my friend, but I should like to sit upon your back as I did so many times before.” Caelin was there too, his little body ready to leave the castle and all that he knew when the time came. They both looked at the castle door, the one that was even now splintering with the weight of the monsters on the other side that would kill her. “It is time.” Warrior knew that the child would be safe. His queen had told him over and over that he would grow to be an old man; there would be a great many scars upon his body from his strength as a warrior, too. And he would sire many children, strong sons to take his seed and name until it was time to come forth again.  “Go. Now.” Her son seemed to understand that his mother was putting his life before hers. He stood watching her before falling into her arms once again to have her wrap her arms around him, just once more. And when he ran, leaving the castle and the grounds forever, they both knew that he’d be the one that saved them. “Are you ready, my friend?” “I am, my queen.”  The sound of the men on the other side did not bother them overly much. They both knew that what was to happen now would be something the men would never understand. And when she said the words over them, Warrior felt the earth move beneath him, the castle walls shake with the power of her magic.  Thank you my warrior, my friend. See to them when the time is right. Warrior knew not where he was. There was magic all around him, his body tight in the jewels that he’d made so long ago. And when he opened his eyes he saw the men standing in the room where he’d been only moments before, their armor as clean and as bright as the morning sun. He looked at the man who had caused this all, his king. “What mean you that you cannot find him? He is a dragon, as big as the walls that hold this monstrosity up. Find him, and my lady wife.” The men scattered and Warrior laughed. The man
still had no idea that he’d born a son of the queen. She’d kept the boy safe by not sharing who the child was with anyone but herself and him. “The man that brings me her head on a platter will be rich tonight. I want her and all that she stands for dead.” When he felt himself move, he knew that the king had found him and had picked the piece up. The necklace. The last piece, one that could not be taken away and hidden when his last spark was put inside it. He eyed the man that had fallen a kingdom and wished him dead. ‘Tis not his fault he is a fool. Perhaps it is, but he is a bigger fool than I thought him to be if he thinks to win this day. He smiled at the sound of his lady queen’s voice. I had no idea that I’d join you here. It is very cramped, is it not? It is. But we are safe here. He will not harm us now. She said nothing and he wanted to turn to her, but knew that he could not move. My lady, he cannot harm us, correct? Nay, we are beyond his wrath now, but he will try. This day he will present us to his lady wife, his new lover. And when she complains that the necklace is too large for her, he will break us apart. I will no longer be able to speak to you, not until the rest of you is with me. He asked if she had known this before. Nay, I did not. It wasn’t until he touched us that I knew. He now has her belly filled with his child, one that he is as yet unaware of. She laughed then. What have you done, my lady? She told him that he would have no sons born of him ever again. There would be one born of their union, but he’d not be of his seed. You have done this? From here? Yes. When she moved over his spark, he felt it and was warmed by it. My child will be the only son he has, and he is yet not aware of him. His father will be aware of him one day, when Caelin finds his sire and cuts his head from his body. But for now, Caelin is safe. She told him to sleep and he had no choice in the matter. As his eyes were closing, he saw her then, the lady that would wear him for a time. Warrior had no idea what to expect, but he knew as surely as he was inside the necklace with his queen, he would protect the lady with him as best he could. Warrior wished for time to go by quickly so that he might see his queen again.