Category Archives: Books

Dalton: The McCade Dragon Release Day

Dr. Gabriela Nola, Gabe to everyone, hadn’t been in town long. Kenton McCade was looking for a partner in his practice, and she was hoping to fill the spot. A nice small town beat the last hospital job she’d just recently quit–90 hours a week with a shorthanded staff. She just wanted normal, and the voice in her head to stop already about opening the box and wearing the item inside. 

Dalton McCade knew when he heard the dragon’s voice that he was next on the list, and ready or not his mate was coming. According to the dragon, she was already here and had refused to put the combs in her hair.

But as always, danger followed the jewelry, and Gabe was no exception. The mysterious stranger would have all the pieces for his own collection, and didn’t care who he had to kill to get them.
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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… 

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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….


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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

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There were no words that he could say that would make this any different. Dalton watched as the casket, a beautiful bright wood, was lowered into the cold earth. His friend, mentor, and sounding board had died eight days ago. Howard Short simply went to sleep one night and didn’t wake. And it broke Dalton’s heart. “Dalton?” He looked at Melinda, Howard’s wife, when she said his name. “Will you say a few words, please? My brother-in-law just can’t. He’s devastated, as we all are.” “Yes, of course.” He stood up and made his way to the podium. So many people were here today, paying tribute to a wonderful man. Dalton thought of his friend and what he could say about him. Smiling, he thought of something that Howard would have gotten a kick out of. “Howard could be a jackass when he wanted.” Everyone laughed, just as he’d hoped, even Melinda. He continued speaking about Howard as if he’d just stepped out for a cold beer.  “When we were on a stakeout or even out fishing, he’d tell me of the time he was in the academy. Of course, I didn’t believe half the crap he told me. But this one story, I think, sums him up better than anything I could say about him.” Dalton looked at the casket, then at the people there. “He’d been in the dorm for about two weeks, he’d told me. It wasn’t going as well as he’d hoped. I think he said that of the three classes he was in, he was flunking out of three of them.” Another round of laughter. “Back then, if you weren’t cutting it, Howard told me that they’d come to see you, help you pack up your things, and send you on your way. He wasn’t ready to give up, he told me, and he didn’t think that they should be just yet either. “As he was debating on whether or not to open the door when his time came, he had an idea. Howard told me it wasn’t a good idea, but he’d been down and was sure under other circumstances, he might not have done what he did next. He opened the door and told the men standing there that Howard Short had left.  “Left, they asked him, and Howard said he told him that the old Howard had decided that he wasn’t smart enough for this shit and that he wanted him, the new Howard, to try his hand at it. They asked him if he was new or old. Howard assured him that he was the new one.” Dalton thought of the man that he’d become that day. “The new Howard was given a chance. He was either going to straighten up his act, they told him, or new or not, he was going home. Howard assured them that he’d be a better man and the best cop they’d ever had graduate out of that place.” Dalton nodded as he continued the story told to him so many times, he felt as if he had been there with the man. “He not only became the best cop they’d ever had come from that place, but he continued to be the best person who ever lived. Howard ran a tight but friendly ship, he took care of his men when they needed a helping hand, and he was there for them, even when they didn’t want him to be, when things were going to shit. Howard was, and will forever be, the best friend I’ve ever had.”
After he was finished, he stood still as the guns were drawn for the salute and fired. Dalton cried then, his pain of loss too much for him to hold in any longer. And when the service was over, he made his way to Melinda again and hugged her. She too had become a very important part of his life over the years. “You’ll come to visit me, won’t you?” He told her he would. She was leaving today, to live with her son in another state. “He loved you so much, Dalton. Like his own son.” “I loved him as well. He’ll be sorely missed.”  She nodded and left him there. Dalton could have gone to stand with his family, but decided that he was fine where he was. He watched as the dirt was filled into the hole much like the one in his heart. But his would never be filled. Going to the after reception at the newly remodeled homeless shelter, he didn’t speak to many people. There was food, he supposed, that he could have eaten, but like his heart, his belly wasn’t ready for anything right at the moment. Instead he just found a dark corner and sat in it until he felt it was a good time for him to go home. My lord. He wanted to sob. Dalton didn’t want to answer who he thought was talking to him. It could only mean one thing, and he didn’t want it. Not today, perhaps not ever. My lord, your mate is coming. “Tell her that I’ve got a lot going on at the moment and I’d prefer that she didn’t.” Caelin said nothing. “Where is she and what does she have?” The hair combs, my lord. And I don’t think it’s possible for her not to come. She is on her way now. But I must tell you that she hasn’t put the jewelry to her flesh. I’m not at all sure why just yet, but she is aware of me and is coming this way. He asked what the combs did for the wearer. She will have blood that will heal all that she touches, her heart will be stronger still than it was before. Her name is— “No, don’t tell me. I mean, I know that I’ll have to know sooner or later, but for now I’d like to just not know.” Caelin told him he could do that for him. “Has she been hurt in any way? Are there beings even now trying to kill her?” Nay, she is well. Healthy, if not a bit over worked. I think she will be more inclined to not believe the story as to why she needs to come here than even Emma was. And she is not a pushover. He asked him how he knew that. Whilst I was speaking with her, to see if she was injured or harmed in any way, I felt her anger. Before I could comment on it, or even ask her what happened, she had an argument with her boss that…I think she said it curled his toes back. Dalton laughed. “She’s a hellion, then. Good, she’ll need to be to fit in with this group. I don’t suppose you know just when she’ll arrive, do you? I mean, I have a lot of things going on at the moment.” She has arrived. This morning, as a matter of fact. But as I have said, she is not wearing the jewels. You will need to have her put them to her in order for me to help her should she need me. Dalton figured it would be something like that. She has asked to join your brother Kenton in his practice. She is not yet aware that she is with the very people that are to help her. I don’t believe he has given her an answer as yet. “She’s a nurse then?” Caelin told him she was a doctor. “A doctor? Well that’s great, don’t you think? Once I’m out of work, she can support me.”
You are without a job, sir? He told him that he might well be. I don’t understand. I thought you enjoyed being a good cop. Whatever has…? Is it the death of your captain?  “He was my sergeant, but yes, because of him passing away, I don’t think my heart will be in this anymore. I might…never mind. If she can support me, I think I might just make furniture in my garage until I turn up dead one morning. Or I’ll run off and never return.”  Dalton realized then that she was out of work too. They were starting off great, he thought. Two unemployed people with a huge house, no car, and nothing to show for their hard work. When Vance sat down beside him, he asked him when he’d gotten in. “Two days ago. I’ve been working on some things.” Dalton nodded. “Rumor has it you’re the next big cheese around here. You gonna be sheriff now, Dalt?” Vance had been the only person who called him that. It mattered little to him that Dalton had asked him not to call him Dalt…he had continued over the years.  Dalton asked him where he’d heard that rumor. “Because that’s all it is, is a rumor. I’m not going to take the job. In fact, I was seriously thinking of quitting altogether.” Vance told him that he’d not enjoy retirement any more than he would. “Caelin just told me that my mate is here in town.” “Really? I’m assuming that it’s the pretty little doctor at the B&B then?” Dalton didn’t want to ask about her, but he found that he wanted to know. “Yes, she is pretty. Tall…not quite as tall as you, but close. Blonde hair that I assume is long. Dark eyes. I’ve not seen them as yet close up, but I’d say they were blue, like midnight blue.” “You know a great deal about my mate, Vance. What have you been doing, spying on her?” He nodded. “Whatever for? You think she’s some sort of murderer or something? It wouldn’t surprise me. Not at this point.” “No, but she has baggage.” Dalton just stared at him. “Her job, where she worked before, they really have a hard-on for her to come back to work for them. I don’t believe they have it in their head to kidnap her or such, but they have been trying to find her.”  “What did she do? I mean, she didn’t just leave them high and dry, did she?” He said that she’d given her notice, but that they’d not looked for a replacement thinking they could change her mind. “I see. Well, not really. Was she that good or did they take advantage of her?” “Both, I think. She is highly regarded as a physician. Much like Kenton is in his profession. She does have some surgical abilities, and from what I’ve heard, she can also put in stitches better than anyone around. These are things that patients have said about her.” Dalton asked him again why he was asking. “To be honest with you, had you not told me she was your mate, I was going to try and set her up with Lewis. He’s been…distracted lately.” That was an understatement. He was working hard at getting a restaurant opened or something. He was very secretive about it, but that’s what Dalton thought he was doing. Not that he didn’t have the funds to do it, but he had been getting deliveries out the ass for the last few days. Emma had offered to lend him what he needed in the way of funds—so had he and Kenton—but Lewis was determined to do this on his own,
whatever that might be. He did wonder if he could go work for him for a bit, just to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. “I guess I should just wait for her then. I mean, I don’t want to seem like that odd stalker guy.” Vance said he had no idea, but thought that was a smart move. He knew less about women than Dalton did, apparently. “Whatever you do, I’m sure that it’ll be either wrong or not enough. I know nothing at all about women.” Dalton looked at his brother. He was clean but his pants were army issue, his shirt a dark tee, and his boots—ass kickers, he called them—had seen better days. Vance kept his hair military short and neat, and he seldom had a beard. Dalton asked him why he didn’t wear…well, regular people clothing. “I wear what I want, when I want.” Dalton laughed. “Look, whether you go and see her or not, you should know that she’s polite, generous with her time, and like you, she wears what she does right out there for everyone to see.” He asked him what that meant. “You are a cop, Dalt. Even a blind man could tell that. And they’d not even have to see the badge. Same with her. She’s a doctor, a good one, and people know that when they first see her.” Dalton sat there long after Vance left, trying to figure out what to do. He could have, he supposed, just walked over to meet her, but he had a feeling that would have been a mistake. He was sure that he could talk to Kenton too, but decided that he’d get enough grief from him without adding to it. Instead, he went to his truck and drove home. Dalton was going to enjoy the next few days he had off, and not worry about mates, dragons, or men looking for jewelry. ~~~ Gabe walked to the diner. She’d come to love the little place, what with the strange way they served their meals and the nice people who worked in and frequented the place. As she made her way inside, she knew which seat to sit in, which to avoid. When she sat in the booth with the unforgiving spring, she moved to the window, just so she’d not be sore when the sucker pinched her. Milly came to take her order. “Breakfast?” Nodding, she held the cup as the hot water was poured into it, knowing that the little basket of tea bags would follow soon. “Got us some specials today. Cook is feeling a little good. He’s got himself a little boy now, and just don’t know what to do with himself.” “Anything that I might wish to try?” Milly asked her how brave she was feeling. “Not too bad. Do I need to be?” “Nah, you can handle it. He’s got some sausage patty sammiches, and he made up some kind of casserole with last night’s taters. Got some cheese and stuff in it too. I liked it with a little gravy on it.” Gabe wondered how much this woman considered a little. She had a heavy hand when it came to about anything. And the funny part of that was, she was as thin as a rail and looked to be fairly healthy, too. “I’ll bring you a plate. I thought about calling it the blue plate, but we don’t have any so that won’t work.” Milly left her a second time after dropping off the basket with an assortment of teas in it. Gabe enjoyed her tea as she waited on her food, and thought about what her line up was for the rest of the day. Today she had an interview with Kenton McCade, and
hopefully the house that she’d been looking at was ready to be rented. Things were going quite nicely for a change, and she was as rested and as happy as she’d ever been. “Oh lordy.” Gabe looked up when she heard the shout from the kitchen, then Milly saying “Oh lordy” over and over. Getting up, she ticked off all the things that could go wrong in a kitchen, and was afraid that Milly had been hurt badly. As soon as she entered, she put her fingers in her mouth and let go of a shrill but effective whistle to shut the few people in the room up. A dishwasher was wearing the nastiest apron she’d ever seen and dark gloves on his hands. Milly was standing there wringing her hands. A man, who she assumed was the cook, was lying on the floor with a large knife sticking out of his belly, his hands covered in his own blood and his eyes wide with terror. Gabe let her mind take over on what to do. “Milly, call the police and have them send an ambulance.” She’d learned the first day that there was no one manning the nine-one-one service just yet. “Then I want you to get everyone out of here while I fix this.” “The knife, it just slipped up.” Gabe nodded and told her she had it. “He’s surely gonna bleed to death, and Kenton, he won’t make it in time.” “I’m a doctor as well. I’ve got this. Just do what I told you.” She made her way to Cook. If he had a name, she’d never heard it. “I’m Gabe. If you’ll allow me, I’ll see if I can help you.” “I think I’m a goner. The knife, it’s stainless steel but it’s in me.” She told him as long as she was there, he wasn’t a goner. “I wasn’t paying no attention is what I was doing. Thinking of my boy and what we was gonna do when he was a mite bigger. Now I won’t see him.” He was getting weaker; the arm that was holding him up slipped out from under him and he fell back to the floor. Gabe got her first look at the wound. He’d cut his belly to his intestine, the knife still inside of him.  Turning to the person who’d come in behind her when she’d entered, she told him to get some towels. When he didn’t move, just stared at Cook with his mouth open, she tossed the pan at him that had been on the floor. That got him looking at her. “Towels. Get me as many as you can carry. And water.” He moved, and it was then that she realized he was just a kid. When he returned, a gallon of water in one hand and several towels in the other, she told him to go to the dining area.  “I can help.” Gabe wasn’t sure, the kid was green now. “My name is Gavin, and I can help you. Just tell me what to do, I’m okay now.” “We have to close this. Otherwise he’s going to bleed out. But I have to make sure that he didn’t open his bowel. Can you handle that?” He said that he’d try. “Good. When I tell you something, I want you to do it. And remember what I tell you. It will save his life.” They worked for ten minutes on checking Cook’s belly. He’d nicked his lower bowel, she thought, but wasn’t sure that removing the knife wouldn’t do more damage. She told Gavin that.
“Uncle Kenton is on his way. He said for you to do what you needed to do and he’d assist when he gets here.” She wasn’t sure how that conversation had happened but said nothing to the young man. “I told him what I could.” “You can…. You’re not human.” He told her he was but Kenton wasn’t. “I see. Right now I have more important things to do than to figure out what he might be. This is what we need to do. Christ, there is never a vampire around when you need one.”  The laughter made her smile. It was one thing to scare the kid to death over something like this, but making him see humor wouldn’t give him nightmares too. As she moved the towels around the blade, all she could think about was that he might be right…Cook might die. When Kenton showed up, his black bag in hand, he asked her what she needed. It both surprised and impressed her that he didn’t just come in and take over. For the next twenty minutes, he handed her what she wanted and helped her when necessary. The impromptu surgery room wasn’t the best, but it was going to be good enough to save this man’s life. The medics, a couple of young men who she assumed were friends of Kenton, stayed back until they were ready to transport him. It wasn’t long after Kenton showed up that they were able to say that they’d done the best that they could for the man. The rest was going to be up to the surgeon.  Gabe rode in the ambulance, Kenton beside her. The medic rode in front with the driver, so in the event that they needed to, they’d have room to work. As they worked together, she and Kenton, Cook came around once to tell Kenton to watch over his son for him. “You’re going to make it, Gerald.” She nearly asked who that was when the cook nodded. “The good doctor here, she got you all put back together, and once we get you to the hospital, she’s going to remove that knife you got stuck in you and you’ll be as good as new. But you have to believe us, Gerald. You know as well as I do that if you give up on her, Sandra is going to kick my ass. You hear me?” “Yes, she’s a mite mean when she wants to be.” Gerald moved in and out of consciousness and talked to them both when he was awake. “Had I been able to, I’d of just shifted, but not with a knife in my gullet.” It had never occurred to her that the man wasn’t human. Not that it mattered, but she might have removed the knife and let him shift. Kenton spoke to her in low tones as Gerald was out again. “Had you removed the blade from him in the kitchen, he would have been too weak to shift and he would have died. You did right by waiting.” She told him what she’d been thinking. “I could see that on your face. Don’t second guess yourself when you work for me. If you do, then you’ll fuck up.” “Am I? Going to work for you, I mean?” He just grinned. It made him look more handsome, and she was pretty sure that he used that a lot to his advantage. “I’m having troubles from the hospital where I came from. They won’t release my records.” “I don’t need them. As far as I’m concerned, you proved yourself to be a worthy partner.” She nodded and looked down at Gerald. “You said that he could have died had I removed the knife. I don’t understand a great deal about shifters.”
“You’ll learn. Gerald is a wolf. There is a lot of pack around the area. Nearly seven hundred now. The people who own the B&B where you’re staying, they’re bears. Milly is human, but she’s married to a cat.” She asked him what his family was. “My brother is a cop. He’ll be meeting us at the hospital. He has to fill out a report for insurance purposes. Milly owns the place, and while she’d never tell anyone this, she’s fallen on some hard times of late and can’t afford this hit to her bank account.” “She needs to fix up the place. Expand a little, and for the love of all that is holy, get some better seating.” Gabe didn’t point out that he’d not answered her as to what he was. She figured that he either didn’t want her to know, or it was so bad that he didn’t want to share. “I’m looking for a house. One that is ready to move into. I don’t want to have to fix something up.” “We have a few. We’re here.” Just as he said that, the ambulance made a hard stop. Had she not been holding on, she would have fallen out of the door when it opened. The man standing there in a police officer’s shirt and jeans did not look happy. “Dalton, this is my new partner, Gabriela Nola. Gabe, this is Dalton McCade. We’re dragons.” She was halfway out of the back of the ambulance when Kenton spoke. Gabe felt her breath swoosh out of her and her heart simply stop beating. She knew they were speaking, arguing really, but nothing was getting through. Not air, not sound, not even blood was running in her body. Then the pain, like someone had slapped her, registered a split second before the world around her just disappeared.

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.

Sterling: Calhoun Men Release Day & Giveaway

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

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

Marty knew a few shifters, so she knew what it meant when Sterling told her she was his mate. Oh, hell no, this guy had to be nuts, the “mates” she knew were a strange lot, and she didn’t want any part of it….
I BOOKS  Coming Soon 
Johanna, better known as Joe, had been a day walker for her only friend, Noah, for centuries. An immortal with eight hundred years under her belt, she had become proficient in several languages and occupations. When her friend Noah talked about meeting the sun, she had every intention of following in his path. 

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

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

When the gorgeous woman stumbled into his hospital room, Trent thought his dad was up to his old tricks again―that was until he caught her scent…. Now, because of his wolf, he’s face to face with an angry vampire….
Noelle was in somewhat of a pickle. She had researched the Calhoun firm―Elijah Calhoun in particular―before she made the appointment, but she was having second and third thoughts about hiring the firm after she got there. All her research indicated she could trust them, but big men scared the hell out of her, and the place was full of them.

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

Noelle’s stepfather wasn’t their only problem. Elijah’s brother Sterling’s nightmares had gotten worse and somehow the creature that had marked him was controlling his actions as well…no one was safe….
Chloe Davis was giving up. She thought for sure the owners of the computer shop she worked for were responsible for her father’s death, but in all the time she’d worked there she’d not been able to find enough evidence to prove it, so as far as she was concerned she was out of there. Her boss, George, on the other hand had other ideas. As far as he was concerned she wasn’t going anywhere…by force if necessary.

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

But when Chloe and Scott come together, they both find more than they expected…Scott has finally met his match. Now, if everyone would stop trying to kill them, they might live long enough to enjoy each other.
CALHOUN MEN SERIES –
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Alta set a plate full of food in front of him, and Sterling stared at it before looking up at her. She’d been with him for nearly four months now, and he was sure that he was about as fattened up as he was going to get. She smiled at him and told him to eat. “I’m thinking you’re either fattening me up for a huge dinner, or you think I’m still skinny. First, I’m not Santa, and second…. Well, second, I’m not that hungry anymore.” She patted him on the cheek and walked away as he started putting butter on his pancakes. “Did I tell you that I’m supposed to host Christmas this year? I haven’t any idea why I got volunteered. I guess I should pay more attention when they’re all talking.” “They do love to talk, your family.” He nodded as she handed him a platter of bacon and sausage. “Randal is coming. I think he should be here any second.” The back door opened and there stood his brother covered in snow. He was brushing it off his head as he was telling Alta that he could eat again. When he sat across from him, stealing one of his pieces of bacon, Alta gave him pancakes as well. “Mom sent me over. And Grandma wants to know if you have enough decorations for Christmas.” He said he had some. “I’m also supposed to tell you that once you’re ready to start with the decorations, you’re to call Mom. She said don’t forget. Wanna go shopping with me?” “No. I have work to do, and Noelle has a list of things she needs me to pick up as well. I guess she’s been making some pretty good deals with a few vampires that Noah knows.” Randal finished his breakfast before he did, which didn’t surprise Sterl. He didn’t have live-in help and no one cooked for him. “Why did Mom send you here?” “Mostly to make sure that you’re eating well and that you’re not lazing around the house. I haven’t any idea why she thinks that, but she told me to see about you. And I think she’s still pissed at Grandda. He should have known better than to be late for dinner on Friday.” They both laughed. “Did I tell you that I’m interviewing for help at the house?” “I’ve got someone coming to your house this afternoon, Mr. Randal. You can hire him or not, but you should know that he’s a better cook than I am.” Sterl didn’t ask, but was glad that Randal did about what the person was. “Witch, and Myra said for you to call her when you have a moment. She wants to talk to you about something.” “I can do that.” While they discussed how to get in touch with the witch, Sterl zoned out. He really did have a list of things to do today, and most of it had nothing to do with the things he had to pick up for Noelle. They were business partners. Mostly he worked upstairs in her antique shop, but when she wanted someone to come along with her on buying trips, or to lift heavy things, he went to take care that she didn’t lift much. Noelle was having twins in the early spring and everyone watched over her.  The thing on his list that he had tried to avoid for several weeks now was the meeting with his grandma. She told him if he bailed on her today that she’d tell everyone his 
secret. He was sure that most of them knew that he painted, but the rest of his secret was something he was afraid of them finding out.  He was afraid that Joe knew already, and that she was in on this whole thing with him having a gallery opening. Sterl wasn’t ready for that. He had been working a great deal, painting whatever popped into his head, but he’d not shown anyone his work except his grandma. And only then because she’d barged in and simply pulled out his canvases and looked for herself. “You need this as much as I do.” He told Grandma that he didn’t need it. “Yes, you do. You need for people to sit up and take notice of you. You’re very talented, and I for one cannot wait to see what others say about you.” “They’re not going to care. And if they do, I can’t imagine that their words would be kind.” She smacked him on the back of his head. “Grandma, you know that I’m telling you the truth. I’ve had no formal training other than a few classes at the YMCA when I was a kid. I like painting because it’s relaxing to me. I don’t want someone to tell me it’s crap.” “No one had better tell you it’s crap.” He laughed at her tone. “All right, I did walk right into that one, but they’re going to love you as much as I do. And if you find yourself a mate, I’m sure she’ll love it as well.” And now, today as a matter of fact, he was going with Grandma to talk to a person who owned a gallery willing to show his work. This man, Sullivan, was a friend of the family, she’d told him, so he was sure this was happening because of that and not his talent. Or the lack of it. Sterl wasn’t looking forward to this any more than he was decorating his house for Christmas. His heart, he thought, just wasn’t into it. After Randal left, he went up to change. He was wearing a suit for this meeting, but bringing some jeans to wear afterwards when he went to pick up some furniture. He was going out the door when Myra was suddenly standing in front of him. “It’s today.” He nodded, then realized that he had no idea what she was talking about. “Remember when I told you that someone was coming, a male?”  “Yes. You said they were going to come to mean a great deal to me. I’ve been thinking about what you said, and I’m not sure about this.” She asked him why not. “I have no idea, but I’m still a little skittish around people, and I’m not sure that I could handle someone else in my life right now when I don’t even have my own set.” “Sometimes life gives you little bumps to keep you on your toes.” He told her that he wasn’t ready for bumps, little or large. “You’ll be fine. Also, I wanted to tell you about the gallery opening that you’re going to have. It’s going to be epic, and the Bentleys want to go to it when you’re all set up.” He started to ask her how she’d found out, but decided that he didn’t want to know. Instead, he grabbed his coat and made his way to his car. Sterl was slightly afraid of Myra and the Bentleys, but didn’t say anything. When Myra was seated in his car when he started it up, he looked over at her. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the gallery.” She said that she did. “Well, don’t tell me. I’m not sure I want any disappointment right now.” 
“Why do you believe you’ll be disappointed? Never mind. I can see it in your heart. You’re very talented, young man. And as your grandmother says, it’s time you let the world know it.” He backed out of the garage and pulled into the busy street in front of his house. “Will you at least promise me that when you have it set up you’ll let me know?” “Since I’m sure that you know the answer to that, I’m not going to say. I’m supposed to meet my grandma in an hour. Are you going as well?” She told him that she was too busy today, but would sometime soon. “Good. And if you have a few minutes, my house could use some decorations for Christmas.” He regretted it the moment it left his mouth, but she disappeared with a grin. He was sure his house would be as outlandish as Myra was. She was the brightest and most colorful woman he knew. And she even changed the color of her hair and shoes to match whatever she had on her body. He was going to come home to a house in plaid, he knew it. His grandma was waiting for him at the diner, and as he made his way there, he thought about what he was about to do, which was be publicly humiliated. His grandma would tell him that he was being silly—or worse, selfish—if he wasn’t willing to give it a shot, but Sterl had taken a good hard look at his work and knew people were going to be disturbed by it. He’d been hurt. Badly. Not just from the accident that had killed some of his friends, but the she-devil that had done it to them all. This thing, a true she-devil, had decided that, for whatever reason, he was going to father the monsters she was going to use to take over the world. She had invaded his dreams, his mind, as well as his health to get what she wanted. It had taken his family all working together with a pair of witches, Chris Bentley and Myra, as well as a demon, to set him free of her and get her out of his life. And painting had helped him do that. He joined his grandma at the table and she laughed at him. Sterl loved his grandma, all of his family really, but this woman could make him feel like he was king of the world with just a smile. But today, he wasn’t sure that he had it in him.  “I’m not really thrilled about this. First of all, they’re going to laugh at us, and secondly, I’m not sure this is going to get me anywhere but in a loony bin.” She told him he was going to be fine. “You keep saying that, and I’m not any closer to believing you than I was before you got this idea in your head.” “Darling, have I ever steered you wrong before?” He shook his head. “Then you just have to believe me that this is going to be good for you. You might even have to give me credit with your family over this. Especially your grandda. He’s been an old poop lately.” “I’ll give you credit either way. And Grandda is always a poop when he wants to be. He’s never going to believe that he’s wrong about anything.” She slapped her hand gently on his. “When do we have to meet this person?” “In two hours. I thought we’d leave now and then have plenty of time. You have your work in the car?” He assured her that he’d wrapped up what she’d told him to bring. “Good. You’ll see, Sterling, this will be just perfect. Why, I’d bet by the end of this meeting, he’ll be begging for more of your work. And I’d not be surprised if he wants to 
set things up right away. His family has been in this business for a very long time, and they know quality work when they see it.” He was driving them there slowly, even though the snow had stopped now, it was still slick. He hated to drive in this type of weather, or any for that matter, but they were going to get this over with. Then there was the fact that several times along the way he thought about pulling over and throwing up. This was a bad idea, and he wasn’t sure that anyone would think his work was anything but crap. But he gripped his steering wheel and drove to what he was considering the last stand.  ~~~ Isaac was excited to have his meeting. He knew that he was supposed to be doing a favor for a very nice person. Jasmine Calhoun had been a friend of his mother and grandmother for a very long time. And was now becoming one of his. He looked at his watch again and saw that the meeting was just over an hour away, and decided to go and find his brother.  Robert, even as his twin, was as different from him as they could get. While Isaac was tall and thin, Rob was five or so inches shorter and heavier. Not fat, not yet anyway, but not slim either. Laziness attributed to most of his weight gain, and drugs the rest of it. Isaac thought his divorce was making him drink more. Their mother had always thought it was Isaac’s fault because he’d been successful and Rob hadn’t. The logic of his mom had been out there, but he’d hired Rob to help when pressed by his parents just before they both were killed a few months ago in an accident. Robert had been born second. And his birth, according to his parents, had just about ended his mom’s life. Not true. Isaac had done some investigating and found that neither delivery had been that bad, and that their mom had sailed through both like a trooper. The only thing that had happened was their father, Robert also, had passed out when told there was a second child. Robert, his brother, was sleeping on the floor behind his desk, naked, when Isaac went into his office. He’d been there when Isaac had left last night and covered him up with a blanket from his office. Shaking his head, he woke his brother with a kick to his feet. It was nearing one o’clock, and it looked as if he’d not moved since he left him on the floor last night at six. “What the fuck, Isaac? Can’t a person take a little breather without you waking them up? Go away and leave me alone. I have a pounding headache and you’re not helping.” He told him no, that when at work he expected him to do just that, work. “Well, I’ve gotten a lot done if you want to know the truth. I’ve been really busy until about ten minutes ago.” “Oh yeah? Well, then you’re better than most. You’ve been there on the floor since last night. Might have been longer, but I went home and you were there. What the hell have you been doing if not sleeping?” Robert only glared at him as he sat up. There were two empty bottles under him, large ones of some sort of liquor. “Robert, I told you no drinking while here. You can do whatever you want at home, but no alcohol here at work. Damn it, this is a job, not a playroom for you to enjoy yourself in.” 
“You have no idea what I’m suffering with, Isaac. You should cut me some slack. Mary left me and took my children.” He told him to get up and clean himself up. “I will. Christ, you’re a hard ass. Why I ever thought working for you would be a piece of cake I have no idea.” Isaac didn’t say what was right on the tip of his tongue. He could have pointed out that if he’d been less of a drunk, or perhaps gotten a paying job instead of stealing, she might have stayed. Or that his children never saw him because he was either too drunk to move or at a bar. The fact that he was unhappy at not seeing them now was senseless. Then there was the added fact that the divorce had been finalized almost a year and a half ago, not recently as Robert tended to let people think. “I have a meeting at two, so you need to get cleaned up and sober before they arrive. I want you to be in it with me so that you can see how it works.” Robert said he didn’t think he wanted to. “Rob, I gave you a job against my better judgement. And so far, you’ve done nothing toward making me think I’ve made even a reasonable investment. Either start working or I will fire you.” “Yeah? And what do you think Mom would say to that? You hired me because she told you to. You won’t be able to fire me for the same reason. You owe me. I’ve not had as easy a life as you have. And my family left me. Mom is gone now, but you know as well as I that a death promise is the worst kind to break.” He laid back down as he continued. “I’m going to take a nap then go to lunch. I don’t even know if I’ll return.”  Isaac Sullivan wasn’t a violent man. He rarely lost his temper even a little, but right now he thought he could have easily beaten the living shit out of Robert and not felt a single bit of regret. As he stood up, he snatched the blanket off his brother and smiled when he started cursing at him. Going to his own office, he sat at his desk and pulled up the camera that he had installed in Rob’s office right before hiring him. At the advice of his attorney, he’d done what he’d been told to keep his brother in line. It hadn’t worked so far, and for whatever reason, Isaac was sure that it never would. The camera, Blake had told him, would go a long way in making sure that when he did end up firing Robert, not if but when, that he’d have enough evidence on him to make it stick. Just as he was ready to turn it off, he saw the rewind button and went back to noon yesterday. More than twenty-four hours before. Rob was at his desk, but he wasn’t alone. He had two women in the room with him, one of them naked on his desk, the other down on her knees in front of him. It was sickening to see Robert naked, but he watched as not only did the sex get violent, but one of the women had been hurt when Rob hit her hard enough to have her lying still nearly an hour later. Isaac thought he had to watch it then, if for no other reason than to make sure that Robert hadn’t dragged the dead woman off somewhere and left her to rot. He didn’t watch his brother, but the woman. She wasn’t moving, and it wasn’t until Robert had finished that the other woman had gone to help her up. Both women staggered out of the room and into the elevator. He wondered why no one had commented on it, and was surprised to watch the guards turn their backs on the two as they left the building.  
It took him nearly ten minutes to figure out what was going on. It wasn’t that they were covering for Rob, but more than likely figured since he was his brother there would be nothing done about it. Isaac decided that he was going to have a little talk with his security team and end this shit once and for all. Going down in the elevator, he also decided to fire his brother today. To hell with his mom and the death promises she’d made him agree to. If Robert wasn’t such an ass, he might have glossed over everything. But Robert was, and was going to cause them a great deal of trouble at the rate he was going.  After five minutes of talking with his team, Isaac knew that what he had guessed was correct. Nor was it the first time that his brother had done this. He’d been bringing in not just women, but all sorts of people during and after hours at his own pleasure. After assuring the security team that they’d not lose their jobs, he asked if they had all the records of when he’d brought women in. It had occurred a total of seven times in the five weeks that Robert had been employed there. And that wasn’t counting the night shift, which was supposed to do the same thing. Fuck. “All right. This is what I want you to do. He’s in his office. I’d like for you to go up there and help him leave.” Bill, his top guard, just quirked a brow at him. “I don’t care if you have to drag him out by his feet, I want him out of here now. And I’ll call my attorney to tell him what I’ve done. Oh, you should take precautions when touching him. He’s naked. Christ, why did I ever do this? Anyway, get him out of here now.” “He’s not going to be happy. From what I’ve observed, he’s pretty much made this place his play house.” Isaac nodded and told him he was sorry. “No need for you to be sorry, sir. It’s us that should be. He told us when he started here that you’d given him the keys to the place, and that if he didn’t get his way, we’d be fired. We all have families, and this is a good job despite having to deal with him. I’m just sorry that we believed him.” “I didn’t know. I want you to know that, I didn’t know.” Bill told him again that he should have told him from the start. “It’s fine. We’ll get him out of here and moved on. I don’t think it’ll be as easy as that, but I want him gone.” After talking to his attorney, he decided that he was going to be all right. That nothing could come back and bite him in the ass. However, the moment that the elevators opened, Isaac could hear his brother cursing, and the men helping him laughing.  “Isaac, I certainly hope you have a good reason for this. This is no way to treat your brother and your partner. Tell them to let me go.” He said that he did have a good reason, and that they were not partners in anything. “Well, I can’t imagine what it would be. And I told you that we should sign off on us being fifty-fifty in this place. Now I’m not so sure that I want to. Tell these men to unhand me and I’ll not call my attorney. You know as well as I do that this isn’t going to look good in the papers. You’re supposed to have this great reputation, right? How do you think this is going to look?” “I do have one. But you do not. And I don’t care for the way you’ve mistreated me and this gallery, so I think, in that regard, I can finally do something about it. You’re fired, Rob. And it’s no less than you deserve after all the things that you’ve done, not to mention 
not done since you’ve been here.” Robert asked him if he was talking about the missing cash. “No. I was talking about the hookers that you brought in. What missing money?” “What did you expect me to do? Live off what you were paying me? Fuck that shit. I sold a few of the paintings that were here, as well as got into the safe. It wasn’t like you would miss anything. And I was right, you didn’t.” Robert laughed and jerked from the guard. “I’m willing to forget this whole thing if you just give me a little more each week, say about another grand, and I’ll think about not calling the police or my attorney. You know I will, Isaac. I’m not kidding around this time. This is just stupid.” “I don’t care. And you don’t have an attorney, Robert. The one that I have, I pay. What will you do for money if you do find one to sue me? They require you to shell out some cash when you’re asking them to do something for you.” He looked at the men standing with Robert. “Take him out, please, and don’t forget to get his badge as well as any company keys he has on him. Bill, will you please inform the parking garage that Robert no longer works here, and not to allow him to park on the premises? Thank you. And good luck, Robert. I have a feeling that you’re going to need it.”  He was handed the badge as well as Rob’s parking permit and a key ring that had more keys on it than he’d given him. Such as one to the front door, as well as the conference rooms. When asked, Rob said he’d stolen his keys and made copies of them. Isaac asked him where he’d gotten them. “I’m your brother. Surely you didn’t think I should be begging to be let in and out of this place. For Christ’s sake, Isaac, you should treat me better than you do.” He asked him why. “I’m telling you right now, Isaac, if you do this, you’re going to regret it for a very long time. I’m not one to fuck with. I have friends in very high places, you know.” “You’re fired, Robert. And I’m not frightened of you. I’m also going to inform you that you’ll have to find yourself transportation, as the limo service will no longer be there for you. Also, any and all paintings that you’ve taken from here and sold will have to be paid for, by you.” Robert said he wasn’t paying. “We’ll see about that.” As he was taken out the door, three men dragging him across the floor, Isaac leaned back against the wall and tried to think why his brother was like this. He knew that it was his mom for the most part, but Dad hadn’t helped either. When Bill told him it was done, he thanked him again. “No need for that. But if you think this is done, then you’d be mistaken.” Isaac said he was aware of that and wanted him to take precautions. “I can do that. I’ll have some extra guards at the parking garage as well as in the lobby. Also, if you don’t mind, I’ll have the locks changed out. I have no doubt that he would have made more than one copy.” “You’re more than likely right. Also, I’d like for you to detain anyone that comes here looking for Robert. I have a feeling that we’ve not heard the last of them either.” Bill asked him if his brother really told on him like he was five. “Yes. And has done it our entire life, even when it wasn’t possible for me to have done whatever misdeed he blamed on me. But promising my mom that I’d make sure that Robert had a job when I knew that I shouldn’t was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made.”  
Looking at his watch, he realized that his appointment was in twenty minutes. Isaac wasn’t nearly as excited as he had been, but also, he was relieved that his brother wasn’t going to be there to fuck things up. He’d known it was a mistake taking Robert on, but he thought that at thirty-seven, he might have grown up a bit.  The Calhouns arrived right on time. He liked Mrs. Calhoun anyway, and found that he truly enjoyed the company of the younger man. As he showed them around the gallery, he had only one thought in his head. This man was going to be famous if his work was half as good as his grandmother had told Isaac. He pointed out places where he thought his work would be best displayed. Isaac also mentioned the preopening that he wanted to have, as well as the fliers to be printed, and who was catering the event. Sterling said nothing, but he could see the gleam of excitement in his eyes. The man was as shy about his work as Jasmine had told him. “Now, you’ve seen the place. I’d very much like to see some of your work. When can we arrange it?” Sterling, Sterl he said to call him, told him that he had a few of his pieces in his car. Sending out the security team to bring them in, Isaac was impressed. “I have seen a few pictures of your work. Your grandmother was most accommodating. And if it’s half as good as I think it’ll be, you’re going to have a wonderful gallery presence.” “Grandma told me that there was no point in waiting, that I should just show you from the start. And while I’m happy for the opportunity to do this, please don’t feel obligated in taking it because you’re friends with her.” Isaac assured him that he wouldn’t do that. “You most likely won’t care for them. I started painting again at a low point in my life, and I think that my work shows it. It’s very dark. A lot of it is nightmarish in the way I’ve painted it, and a great many people might be upset by it.” As soon as the first painting was uncovered, Isaac could see the pain. Almost feel it in his own heart. The paintings were dark, haunting, and revealed a great deal about the artist. He hadn’t had an easy time in his life, and he was good. Very good.  Isaac walked around the six paintings four times. Each time he looked at each of them, he saw a little more. Felt a little harder the pain of the man. There was a great deal of feeling in them, none of it good. But the work on them, the art, was outstanding. More than that, it was perfection. As he stood in front of the last one again, he asked Sterl if he had any more. “Yes. Ten more. All with the same darkness. I’m not there any longer, but I still feel the need to put it to canvas. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel a need to paint landscapes.” Isaac told him that he hoped he never painted those. “You don’t care for them, do you? It’s all right. I understand that—” “Sterl, I think you’re amazing. I’d like to run a gallery opening with all your work.” Sterl was shaking his head. “I’m serious. These are…words fail me on how good these are. And the darkness of them will appeal to a great many people on all kinds of levels. Yes, we’re going to do well, you and I.” 

Graham Emerson Wolves Release Day ( Final Book In Series ) 12/13/16

Ramsey had given up on family and love a long time ago, and the sooner she cut all ties with them, the better off she’d be. She was good with a camera, and as long as no one knew who she was, the daughter of the powerful Ram Stockholm, she could keep her cover intact.
Graham had just finished the construction of his house and was looking for any excuse he could find to stay away from people—that included his large family. But everyone had to eat so a trip to the grocery store was necessary. He didn’t, however, have a mate on his shopping list, but there she stood—injured and panicking.
Graham was about as happy as he could be, until three cops came to his property to arrest him and charged him with murder—now the whole family was in an uproar. Graham’s world was crashing around him, he wanted to marry Ramsey, but not like this…. Can they ban together to prove his innocence before it’s too late? Find out in the final chapter of the Emerson Wolves—Graham.
Do you know what you are to me? She shook her head as he whispered to her. His mouth was doing incredible things to her and she wanted more. Mate? Youre my mate. Do you know what that means?

Her body seemed to come alive at his words. She struggled to pull from him and he let her go, but he didn’t back off. She moved back from him as far as the wall and tried to get her mind to function again. She was not going to be his mate, not any man’s.

You have to go. I won’t bother you anymore if you do the same for me. He moved to within a foot of her and she put up her hands. I don’t want you here. Please, you can’t want me as a mate. I don’tI’m not even sure that this isn’t some ploy to get what you want. Or money. Is that it?’ She looked up at him as he started cursing.

Hunter Emerson and his brothers answered the request of a pack looking for a new Alpha and moved to Sommersville. Since they were all Alphas, Hunter didn
t have a clue that he was the new Alpha until he arrived. It didn’t sit well with him at all that a woman on pack land held herself in recluse and wouldn’t answer and pledge herself to the new Alpha. What she could be doing there on that big estate with no one around to witness, His mind reeled with the possibilities?none of them good. 

Slone Morris had an understanding with the local pack?leave her alone and she’d let the pack stay on her land free of charge. It was as simple as that. She didn’t deal well with people. But the new Alpha in town wouldn’t take Fuck off for an answer.

Slone’s past threatened to rear its ugly head at every turn. There was one?someone she thought she trusted?who didn’t want the past dredged back up. He was determined to stop her at all cost?

Luke Emerson has big shoes to fill. He doesn’t know how to be a Mayor of their small town, but with the help of his assistant, Allen, he is damn sure going to give it a good try. From what little he’s seen of the town government it’s corrupt and he’s bound and determined to do something about it.

When they receive a call that Allen’s sister Jack has been critically injured in a fire, Allen falls apart. His sister is all he has left. 

Luke goes with him to the hospital and as soon as Luke catches her scent, he knows she’s his mate, but the doctor is giving her less than a three percent chance to survive . 



Can you save her?  Luke looked over at Allen, who was staring at his sister. I know what you are. I mean, I think I know what you are. You can’t live in our town and not hear things. Are you?


Am I what? Allen looked at him, and Luke felt as if he were staring at his very soul. Neither of them blinked, and when Allen finally looked away, Luke felt as if he’d been released from a tight hug. You want to know an answer to something, then ask me. I’m not going to assume anything right now.

Luke has two choices: convert her to a wolf, or watch her die. He doesn’t even know her, but he can’t lose his mate he’s just found her. But to convert her without her permission, there could be consequences.
Addison Parker is on the run. No matter how fast she runs, or how far she travels she can’t hide from herself, or the gift she’s been cursed with. She can read people’s minds and with a touch can see into their future. That is a secret that she has learned to keep well?everyone always wanted something from her when they learned what she could do. It’s easier to avoid people all together.

Jarrett Emerson is just helping his dad and brother protect an innocent from a perverted wretch. But when a falling brick knocks Addie unconscious, she falls right into Jarrett’s arms. To his surprise he realizes that she is his mate and human…

Addie felt stupid standing there like she was and moved to the sink. Jarrett watched her before he reached for a second glass. Addie had no idea why, but she thought he was nervous. “I’m not going to pounce on you.”

As soon as the words left her mouth, she knew that she’d made a major mistake. He turned so quickly that she backed up and hit her ass on the counter behind her. He didn’t stop there but took the two more steps to have her leaning back to look up at him.

“I’d like nothing more than to have you pounce on me.” His voice was a soft growl that had her thinking all sorts of things that had nothing to do with food. “You’re very beautiful.”

“No, I’m not.” He nodded and halved the distance between them. “You’re too close. I can’t think when you’re this close.”

Jarrett doesn’t want her to leave. If she goes, he goes with her. That’s the way it is with mates. But when a corrupt attorney has other ideas, the Emersons have to regroup to protect what they now consider their own….
Dawn Whitfield is on the run, and if her uncle catches her this time she knows he won’t just beat her…he’ll kill her. Her best bet is to keep moving, and at all cost keep hidden.

Addie Parker finds the shackled young woman and sets her up in an old house hidden from everything. And that’s where Dawn stays for eight lonely years.

Ellis Emerson is in a rut. He can’t seem to do anything right. He thinks he’s found his mate, but can’t get close enough to her to be sure… And that’s a huge distraction that’s turned their construction job from a week ahead of schedule with a huge bonus, to barely three days ahead. And when Addie asks him to assemble a small crew to fix one of her houses, his foreman, Dan, is all for Ellis getting away for a while.

Ellis finds his skittish mate hiding away in Addie’s home, but will she let her guard down long enough for him to convince her that their destiny is each other? Or will her Uncle Basil step in and finally take her prisoner again? Find out in the next installment of Emerson Wolves?Ellis.
No matter how hard she tried, Kimber Gray always seemed to manage to get knocked back down a peg or two. She was a top rate chef and graduated at the top of her class, but no matter how hard she tried no one would acknowledge it. Now, blackballed in the only profession she knew, she was a failure to the one that mattered most–her daughter, Hannah. With no recourse left to her, she’d have to grovel and beg her aunt for help.

Lee Emerson was glad to be back home for a while. He loved what he did, being a food critic and helping failing restaurants was a dream job come true. But he was tired of the traveling and just wanted to take care of things around the house and relax for a change. 

Slone, Hunter’s mate, wanted to open a fancy restaurant and have Lee run it. He wasn’t so sure about that, but he’d love nothing better than to hire that chef that had prepared the last meal he’d had in France before he left. It was the best meal he’d ever eaten, and he had been disappointed when he found out the man had left before he could tell him so. The slush claiming to cook the meal, wasn’t the cook and he’d bet his last dollar on it.

Kimber had had it. Her aunt had gone too far this time, and there was no way she’d expose her little girl to such meanness again. They’d live on the street first, and she was trying to tell Slone that she wasn’t a charity case. That she could provide for her daughter somehow, when the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen cornered her, snarling that he’d protect her with his life.

Ah, hell no. Who in the hell did he think he was?

EMERSON WOLF SERIES –
 2016
Mystery Signed PaperBacks
So Far  are July 2016
Kerry Erickson
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Aug’s Winners 2016
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Shane’s Release News Letter winners are
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More Mystery PaperBack winners are
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Happy Reading ,
Hello! My name is Kathi Barton and I’m a award winning, best selling author of dark fantasy erotic paranormal romance . I have been married to my very best friend Paul, a potter, for at times seems several lifetimes – in a good way, honey. And together we have three wonderful children and then the ones we brought into the world – Paul and Dale Barton, Jason and Wendy Barton and Danielle and Ben Conklin. They have given us eight of the greatest treasures on Earth. They don’t live at home seven days a week! No, seriously, eight grandchildren – Gavin, Spring, Ben, Trinity, Sarah, Kelly, Kian and Bailee


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www.goodreads.com/author/show/4787929.Kathi_S_BartonFirst signing in 2017

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Prologue
“I tell you, Ram, that daughter of yours is a hoot. I just asked her what she thought of all this, and she said that the money from what was going to be tossed out when this was over could have fed an entire village for a week.”  Ram Stockholm looked around the room for his daughter. “When did you speak to her? I thought her and Chad had left for their honeymoon already.” There was no way his daughter would say that about her own wedding. At least he hoped not. But she was a little stressed out right now. Christ, they’d spent a fortune on this thing, and to have her upset wasn’t going to happen. Not that his baby girl didn’t deserve it, but to say something like this to William Frank was terrible.  “No, no. I meant Ramsey. To tell you the truth, Ram, I had no idea you had another child, much less one as beautiful as she is. But she’s the spitting image of you now that I think on it.” Ram wondered about Ramsey, his youngest child, as William continued. “Like I said, a beautiful little thing, but a mite outspoken. I’d wondered why you didn’t have her up there with her sister, but I’m assuming that the two of them don’t get along.” “They don’t. Where did you see her go? I’d like to speak to her.” William laughed and pointed to the large open doors at the back of the large room. “Excuse me.” If William answered him, he didn’t hear him. Ramsey wasn’t going to ruin her sisters’ day by complaining about something that was none of her business. But as soon as he stepped out on the deck to talk to her, he stilled. When the hell had she grown up? The dark blue dress she had on made the paleness of her porcelain skin almost glow. With her hair done up in one of those complicated twists, it gave her neck a gracefulness that would make most men he knew drool. She was tall too, Ram just realized, and rail thin. He cleared his throat before going out all the way. When Ramsey turned his way, Ram thought that he’d made a mistake…this could not be his child. “Hello, Dad.”  Ram moved out to stand beside her. He was speechless. Not only was this his child, but she’d grown up before…well, she had. “I just talked to William. He said you were a hoot.” Ramsey looked at him, confused. “William Frank. His son is going to Yale right now. I guess you told him we spent too much on this wedding. Why would you say something like that?” “I didn’t. Well, I did, but not like that. He asked me if I was going to have an extravagant wedding like this in a few years, and I told him no. If I ever get married, I want it simple, and the money spent on all this could go to some charity to feed the hungry. There are quite a few of them right here in our own town.” She looked at him as she continued. “Deidra is pissed at me again.” “Don’t talk like that. You’re not old enough to use that kind of language.” She laughed, a harsh sound that seemed to him like she too was upset. “What did you do to her this time, Ramsey?”
As soon as the words left his mouth, he knew that he’d made a mistake. But the two of them, along with Gregory, their brother, had been fighting since the day that Ramsey was brought home from the hospital, or so it seemed. He just wanted peace and quiet. He never got it when they were all together. And now that he thought about it, he’d not seen them all together in a good long time. Ramsey had been…well, he had no idea where she’d been of late. “First of all, I’m nineteen. Secondly, I didn’t do anything other than to show up here. She seems to think that I’m going to embarrass her because I’m not in the wedding party. And people—her kind, she called them—would ask questions.” Ram started to ask her why she wasn’t in the party, but Ramsey spoke again. “She didn’t ask me to be in it, if you were going to ask me. And when I asked her about it, she told me that I would never fit in. Deidra said that she wanted people in her party that were nice and beautiful, something that I’m certainly not.” “I’ll talk to her.” He would too. He thought this feuding had gone on long enough. “To be honest with you, Ramsey, I almost didn’t know who you were when I came out here. And where have you been hiding yourself? You look lovely.” “Thanks.”  He nodded, then followed her when she moved to sit in one of the chairs that had been brought for people to use. The country club where Deidra’s wedding reception was being held was very accommodating. But he supposed that had to do with his money rather than who he might be. They sat there for several moments before Ramsey spoke again. “I’m leaving, Dad.” He offered to get her a car to take her home. He asked her to tell the butler that they’d be along shortly. When she looked at him with the oddest look on her face, he wondered what he’d said wrong now. He was still trying to get over the fact that she was really nineteen. “I don’t live at home, and I wasn’t planning on going there anyway. I haven’t lived there for some time now. Dad, do you know anything about me? What I do for a living? Where I live?” He was embarrassed that he didn’t know the answer to any of those things. And the worst part of it was, William wasn’t the first person to ask him about Ramsey, saying that they had no idea he had a third child. What have I done? he asked himself. And where the hell had all the time gone? Gregory was the oldest, and had gotten into college on a sports scholarship. He’d been struggling in high school, so it had come as a surprise to know that a college was willing to take him. Gregory had always been more of a player than a scholar. Now he was living at home again, with nothing to show for his six years at a very expensive and prestigious university. Deidra had been, like her mother before her, the prom queen every year since she’d gotten to junior high. Before that she’d been in countless pageants, and had won most of those as well. She was pretty, and vain enough to make them work for her. Now at twenty five she was newly married to a man that Ram didn’t like, and hated to have around for any reason. But his baby had wanted him, and he’d done everything in his power to make sure she had what she wanted…or, he supposed, what his wife had wanted for her. He’d
been involved in their lives. From the time they were old enough to enter things, sometimes even before that, he and his wife Krista had been there for them. But not Ramsey. He couldn’t remember a single moment, sports event, or even a play that he’d gone to for his youngest child. “I’ve never…I’m sorry to say, I don’t know any of those things.” He looked away from her knowing face and continued. “I can’t remember one single play that we attended that you were in. Not a game of any sort that you might have been in. Nor do I remember having any sort of graduation party when you got out of school last year.” He looked at her then. “I’m drawing a blank as to what I got you for your sixteenth birthday. What I got you for your eighteenth or any in-between, and I haven’t the slightest idea what you’ve been up to since you got out of school.” “I graduated from high school six years ago. So no, you didn’t have a party for me. I think that Deidra said it would mess up her summer plans with her friends or something like that. I just finished up my last year of college last month, and I’m nearly done with my master’s degree as well. I moved out when Mom told me to because I was bothering Deidra too much and it was getting on her nerves. That would have been right after I turned seventeen and was nearly finished with college. I work for….” She stood up and he did as well. “It doesn’t matter now. But I’m going away. And…I have a job opportunity and I’m going to take it.” “Going away to where? And what are you going to do for this company?” Her laugh hurt him. “Ramsey, I’m so sorry. I wish I could tell you that I do remember all of this, but I don’t want to lie to you. I feel like this is all my fault. Don’t leave. Please. I’d like for you to move back home and for us to get to know one another. It’s not too late, is it?” “You mean because Deidra is gone now, you wouldn’t mind me being there?” Ram felt as if she’d stabbed him in the heart. But if she thought that she’d hurt him, he couldn’t see it on her face. And it was nothing less than he deserved. “No thanks. I think…I think that after all this time, it would just be an embarrassment for all of us.” “Ramsey, let me make this up to you. Please don’t go like this. I’ve messed up badly, but this is…we’re family, after all.” She only stood there with her back to him. Ram wanted to take her into his arms and hold her, but he didn’t know how. In all honesty, he didn’t remember a single time when he’d hugged his baby. “Will you at least call me sometimes? Weekly?” “I don’t know. I’ll try.” She turned then and looked at him. “My plane leaves at six in the morning. I’ve taken care of my house and all my bills, so there is no reason for you to be bothered by that. And I’ve sold off all the things that I no longer need. So…well, I guess this is goodbye for a while.” As she walked away and out of his life, all Ram could think about was that he’d wasted a lot of his life and hers not getting to know her. It both saddened him and made him hate himself that he’d done this to her. Not just him, but all of them had. Sitting down on the chair again, he thought of all the times he and his wife would talk about Deidra and Gregory. What they were doing. How they were doing in school. Conversations about Ramsey were few and far between. And worse yet, when they did speak of her, mostly his wife, it was about how she was nothing like them and how she’d never fit in
properly with them. That if she were more like her brother and sister, perhaps they’d take her to more places. Ram would never forgive himself.  ~~~ Ramsey drove home wondering if she’d done the right thing. Her original plan had been to simply leave without telling them, but then her dad had come out to talk to her and she’d told him. It wouldn’t be like them to miss her or anything. In fact, she was pretty sure that not one of them would have given her a second thought. But her dad had hurt her, and she thought that she wanted to hurt him back for a change. Well, she was sure she had, and herself as well. Going into her little house, she thought of the cases that she’d packed over the last week. She had no idea if she’d be back here again, but really couldn’t see any reason to return. So what she didn’t put into storage—and she’d stored very little—had been given away, sold, or just donated to whoever had wanted it. Which again, wasn’t all that much. She’d sold her house the week before, and had thirty days to leave before the new owners would be taking it. Ramsey had already sold most of her furniture, and all she had left was the bed that she’d been sleeping in and a single dresser. There were no mementos in the house that she was taking. No pictures of her family because she didn’t have any, and there were no pets in her life. Ramsey had made such a tiny footprint in her life so far, and she was looking forward to making more.  Putting all her cameras away except the one that she’d taken to Deidra’s wedding, she made her way to the darkroom. Her plane didn’t leave until late tomorrow night, but she’d told her dad differently because she didn’t want him to think they could get together beforehand. Ramsey had meant nothing to them before this, and she saw no reason to try and cram a lifetime of conversations and hugs into her last day. Neither of them would be very comfortable with that, and she was pretty sure it would piss off her mother. The woman had never really liked her, not even as a child. Ramsey had long since given up on trying to do something that would get her noticed, and had gone on with her life as if they’d never been a part of it. The pictures that she’d taken at her sister’s wedding were all on a clip, and she ran them through the computer to see which ones she wanted to print. While it downloaded them onto the hard-drive, she went to change into more comfy clothes. Ramsey had no idea if her sister would ever see the pictures that she’d taken, or even if she’d want them. Sending them to her father, she decided suddenly, was the best way to get them to her, and she hoped that he’d at least look. The camera, or what she could do with it, was her passion. Just as she was hanging the last of the prints up to dry, Ramsey heard her phone ringing. Turning on the lights overhead, she made her way to it as she dried her hands. She knew who it was before she picked it up, and decided that as soon as possible she was going to change her number. This guy was a pain in the ass. And if he’d known who she was and who he worked for, he’d back the fuck off. “I just heard that you’re leaving. When did this take place? I’d very much like to have you come in before you leave, Miss Holms. The job that I have for you is still open.” Ramsey looked through the mail as he continued talking, wondering if the change of her
name when she worked was enough to distance her from her family. “I have a noon opening, and also one at two. Which one can I put you down for?” “Neither.” He laughed a little on the other end. Ramsey put the mail, mostly credit card applications, in the trash and pulled a paper bowl from the sleeve to have some cereal. “I really have to go, Mr. Carter. I have things to do.” “Wait. This is the job of a lifetime, Miss…can I call you Ramsey? This is the job of a lifetime. This is a large paper and very prestigious. Think of what doors it could open for you in the long-term.” She didn’t answer him but yawned. “Ramsey, tell me what I need to do to have you come here and work for us.” “There is nothing you can do. I do not want to work for you. I have a job, one that I wanted and worked hard for. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to find someone else.” She hung up as he was speaking. Then when she was sure that he wasn’t going to be on the other end, she put a block on his number and sent it directly to her voicemail. He’d more than likely still call and fill up the message box, but for now she was happy.  The stupid man worked for her father, as he owned the paper that Mr. Carter thought she should come to work for. And not only that, but the job that he wanted her to take? She’d been doing it all the way through college to make ends meet. It had always surprised her that not once in all that time had she ever run across her family. After making sure that everything was turned off in the darkroom, she made her way to her room after eating the last of her cereal. The bed wasn’t made, of course, but she didn’t care. Taking the last of her suitcases off it, Ramsey stripped down and laid out on the messy bed. She was asleep almost immediately.  Two hours later she was awake and refreshed. Taking a long hot shower, Ramsey thought of where she might be going. And when she got there, what she was going to do first. Ramsey didn’t have a job to go to like everyone thought. She’d said that to her dad to make sure he didn’t worry. Moot point, she supposed, since he’d not cared before. But she was going somewhere. Ramsey didn’t even have a destination in mind, not really, but she was going to South Africa. And she was going to take pictures of everything. And a lot of them. By six that night she had everything printed and the pictures—which she’d made extras of for her dad—in a box. Affixing a label to the box, she put it near her luggage so she’d remember to mail it. Sitting down on the floor in the kitchen, she tried to remember if she had everything she was going to need. At seven she picked up the last of her things and was headed out the door and locking it up when someone came up behind her. Lucky for him, or maybe herself, she was able to stop herself from knocking her dad on his ass. Ramsey asked him what he was doing there. “I’m a very resourceful man when I need to be, Ramsey. And I realized that if you left today, without me even talking to you once more, I wouldn’t get to see you again. I think…well, you have no reason to want me in your life, but I would very much like for you to try and have me in it.” He took the biggest suitcase from her and put it in his car. “I paid the driver that was here. I’ll make sure you get to the airport on time.”
“Why are you doing this? I thought we cleared things up last night.” She was still standing on her stoop when he came back for the other piece of luggage. “Dad? What are you really doing here?” “How about if we have dinner before you go? I know you have time. We can even eat in the airport if you want. I just…I’d like to have dinner with you before you go. I don’t deserve this chance, and Lord knows that you have every reason to tell me to go to hell, but I need this, Ramsey.” She asked him why again. “Because I need to connect with you, and will take whatever…. No, that’s not quite right. I do want to be with you tonight, but I also wanted to make sure you knew how serious I was about you calling me. I thought…I hoped that I could convince you that I love you.” “I love you too, but this is unnecessary. Besides, I was just going to grab a burger at the airport, then wait for my flight. Dad, what does Mom think about you being here?” When he looked away, she knew. “She told you not to come here, didn’t she? It’s all right, Dad. Whatever she said, I’m sure she was right.” “She said you were trying for attention. You weren’t going anywhere, but acting out because you weren’t the center of attention at the wedding. I told her she couldn’t have been more wrong. You’ve never wanted to be there before. That’s more Deidra’s style, not yours.” He took the box from her and noticed that it had his name on it. “What’s this?” “I took some pictures at the wedding and thought she’d want them. Or you might. I don’t care. I don’t even know why I took them other than I wanted to do it. It was just…I don’t understand any of this.” He laughed, and it sounded so sad that she had to brace herself when the pain tore at her heart. “You should go back home before Mom gets upset.” “She already is. And it’s doubtful that she’s going to be in any better mood from now on.” He shut the trunk of his car and turned to her. “Where are you going, Ramsey? Please let me know that much. Not that I deserve it, but I’d like to know.” “My first stop is in South Africa. The next…I don’t know. I don’t have a plan or a job. I just know that I can’t be here and not be in your lives anymore.” He nodded as if he already knew that. “Dad, it’s all right. I’ve told myself that you had the other two, and Mom has often told me that I wasn’t planned. It’s fine.” “But it’s not. It’s not fine at all. Not for me. I screwed up. Now I want to…I don’t know what I want, but I know that I want to get to know you. Start over, I guess.”  Ramsey looked at the big moving van coming down the street. Going to her dad’s car, she wasn’t surprised that he opened the door for her. He was old world all the way to his little bow tie he always wore. When he got in on the driver’s side, she told him she was ready and they drove off. Ramsey tried her best not to see the van pulling up in front of her little house so they could strip out the rest of her things. The darkroom would be picked up later that day by someone from the high school as a donation to their art department. And that would be it. Everything that she’d been would be gone in a matter of hours. It would be as if Ramsey Stockholm had never been. The trip to the airport didn’t take long. Her dad asked her questions and she answered them. Not anything too personal, she realized, but he was trying. When he
parked, he took most of her luggage and she her carry-on things. He had the box of pictures under his arm, and when she asked him about that, he laughed. “I want to see them while you’re here so that I can tell you what a great job you did.” He laughed again when she told him they might be crap. “Nah, I don’t think so. I found out you’re pretty famous with your camera. I mean, you are R. S. Holms, aren’t you? I had no idea.” “No one does. And I’d like to keep it that way.” He nodded as they made their way through the line to have her luggage checked. “Those pictures aren’t your normal wedding kind of thing. Most of them are candid shots that I had fun taking. You really might think they’re crap when you see them.” “I highly doubt that. You’re quite famous as a photographer, aren’t you? The article I read about you, they don’t know who you are, do they? No one even knows that you’re a female.” She shook her head. “I’m glad I looked. I almost skipped over the article because it said you weren’t who I was looking for. Why did you change it?” “My personal life is just that. Personal. And if I put out there that I was who I am, I think any doors that would have opened for me when I started taking pictures would have been because of your last name. This is all mine, not the family’s.” She wondered if she might have hurt him again, but he smiled at her. “I wanted to do this on my own, and I did it.” “You certainly did, and I understand that.” She wasn’t sure he did but said nothing. “While our name means a great deal around the world, you just wanted to make it without my help. I’m proud of you for that.” “Thank you.”  After her luggage was tagged and taken away, they decided to have dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in the place. Ramsey had about three hours before her plane took off, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to sit with her dad while waiting. He seemed to genuinely want to be with her, but she was sure that he’d get bored after a while and want to cut it short. When he ordered his dinner then she hers, he pulled out the box and opened it. The very first picture was of Deidra standing in her room with her sweat pants and tee shirt on, with her wedding gown hanging from the hook on the wall. He pulled it from the box and studied it. “That dress alone could have fed an entire village.” She laughed when he did. “I guess I’m odd when I think that the money could have been better spent. Like on a house or something. But I guess they have their own ideas of what is going to work in their own lives. What that is, I have no idea, but that’s what she said to me. I don’t care for Chad all that much anyway.” “To be honest with you, neither do I. And we did buy them a house, but…well, Chad, I found out, has a bit of a gambling problem, and I made him a deal. I’ll use what I paid for the house to pay the debt off, and he’ll be on his own.” He shook his head. “I have a feeling that this is never going to be the end of it for them. And Gregory is…well, I don’t want to talk about them right now.”
He had made his way through about half the pictures when their dinner came. Ramsey had the grilled salmon with grilled scallops on the side, plus a huge baked potato. Her dad, a steak and potatoes man, had ordered a beautiful porterhouse with the same potato with butter and sour cream. No salads for either of them. When he looked at the last picture in the box, she felt herself getting uncomfortable. He stared at the last one for so long that she wanted to ask him what was wrong with it. Her dad looked at her with tears in his eyes and she felt her heart twist. “The only family picture in the world that is half assed. You should have been in this with us. Obviously you were there. Why didn’t you join us?” She just shook her head and he nodded as if he might know. “Was it your mom or Deidra that told you to step out of the picture? I have no doubt, after this, that it could have been both of them.” “I understand why she didn’t want me there. It was Deidra’s day, not mine.” That wasn’t really what was said to her, but it was less painfully said her way. “But the picture turned out nicely, didn’t it?” “It did. I believe that these pictures are going to be much nicer than the ones we paid that man too much money to take. But I want to know. What did your mother say to you, Ramsey? I need to know.” She didn’t want to tell him. But then she thought what the hell, I’m leaving and more than likely won’t be back. “Ramsey?” “She told me it was for the family and not for upstarts like me. I started to point out that I was her daughter too when she…she slapped me. Told me that she wished I’d not been born. I unbalanced her life. Unbalanced? How did I…? I had no say in being born. Why does she say things like that to me?” She turned away from him to finish. “To be honest with you, it was the deciding factor in my leaving without saying a word to any of you. I don’t know why I even told…yes I do. I wanted to hurt you like you all have hurt me my entire life. That’s the only reason that I even told you I was going.” “I don’t know why she’d say those things to you. I really don’t. But I am glad that you told me. It afforded me this, this opportunity to see if I could patch things up—even if it is nearly too late—between us.” He pushed his plate away too. Her appetite was gone, as it appeared his was. “She said that I was a fool to try and mend the fences with you, even if that was what I was going to do. She blamed you for this and so many things that I don’t even know how she thought you were a part of. I never realized the extent of her hatred for you. Saying that all you wanted was for…well, you know what she said. All the attention. Then when I told her I was going to talk to you, she had a fit and ended up in bed with one of her headaches. I didn’t stay to listen to her anymore. Gregory said he’d keep an eye on her for me.” “She hates me, Dad.” He didn’t say anything, and for that she was grateful.  The rest of the meal was spent not mentioning the family. Ramsey thought that was about as depressing as it could get. When her flight was called, he walked her to the barriers and pulled her into his arms. “I’m sorry. So very sorry, honey.” She told him not to worry about it. “I will, and I still am. But I want you to take this. It’s a credit card with just your name on it. You can…if you want to come home sometime or anything, just use it. And I have a number there
that I want you to use. It’s…well, it’s mine and mine alone. If you can’t get me that way, then use the house phone. But I want you to call me. Weekly if you can.” “I don’t need this, Dad.” He pushed it back at her when she tried to give it back. “Dad, you don’t have to do this for me to call you. I will.” “It’s not why I’m doing it. I want you to have a backup plan. A way to come home to me if you need me.” She wanted to tell him she needed him years ago, but said nothing. “I wasn’t there for you for nineteen years, Ramsey, but I want to be now.” Nodding, she was moving to the gates when he called her back. This hug she returned, and felt better when they parted ways. Ramsey cried all the way to her first stop, and got off the plane with a heavy and saddened heart.

Drew Justice Series Release Day & Giveaway 11/14/16

Drew: Justice Series 
Paranormal Erotic Romance
Ryder Mackenzie didn’t remember much about what happened to her. All she knew was she hurt in more places than she could remember. Mac barely remembered going over the falls and hitting the rocks below to save the little girl. But now that she’d been to the other side, the ghosts wouldn’t leave her alone.
Drew Mullins was a haunted man, quite literally. His mother tortured him as a child and seemed bound and determined to continue doing so seventeen years after her death. Drew, being a necromancer, was having a hard time avoiding her because she didn’t know she was dead.
Between Mac having the little girl’s father haunting her and Drew dealing with his mother’s ghost, they both were a mess. But in each other they found what had been missing in their lives—love.
But when the thirst for revenge heats up, can Steele and his group find a solution? At least one where no one else ends up dead?
B&N   Coming Soon 
Steele Bennett was born with a gift, but he sees it more as a curse―he can see and speak with spirits. And when he loses his twin sister at seventeen, he wants to turn his back on life―block his heart so that he never has to feel the sharp pain of loss again… 

The small bar Kari Briggs runs is failing fast. She hasn’t seen the owner in three months, past due notices are piling high, and her last paycheck bounced twice. And if she doesn’t pay the delivery guy soon, there’ll be no more supplies. 
She has trouble enough controlling her cat, so the last thing she needs tonight is trouble. But those guys at the bar won’t listen and take it outside. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she is shocked when a tall stranger grips her arms from behind and her cat wants to roll over and purr.
From the moment Steele touches her, she knows he’s her mate. And Steele thinks he can just get her out of his system with sex and a lot of it―he won’t mark her and she can’t mark him―no permanent attachments. But that’s not how it works with a shifter, she will die if her cat can’t get what she needs from him. She will love him because she has no choice―he is her mate―but that is a secret she is willing to take to her grave…



Nick Stark had known Addison West for quite some time. Although they’d never met in person they shared the same nightmare?both were unwilling participants. However, through these dreams they had formed a bond between them. And a telepathic connection. So when out of the blue, Addie contacted Nick and told him she had seen some things that she shouldn’t have and she was next on the killer’s list, Nick didn’t hesitate to come to her rescue.


Nick had known for some time that Addie was to be his?why else would they share the same dream? But he was in no hurry to form emotional attachments. Never having much in the way of a decent family life, he didn’t know much about love. And with the deep emotional scars he bore from an abusive childhood, he didn’t want to bring that burden onto another soul?especially Addie.

Addie had her own baggage. Her father had been forcing her to marry an abusive man?he told her it was her duty as his daughter to obey him. Addie wasn’t having any part of it, so she ran…. She had been hiding for the last five years.

Nick may not have wanted any attachments but he couldn’t ignore the beauty he’d rescued. But there were things he had to tell her…about all of them…about Steele Bennett’s group. He wasn’t sure how she fit into all this….



Mitch Riley was a haunted man, and being a necromancer didn’t have much to do with what haunted him. A troubled childhood left him withdrawn and short tempered, so when he received a summons that he was being sued by the foster parents who had abused him, he didn’t take it well at all. And their attorney? None other than a vamp. There was nothing much worse than a vamp in Mitch’s opinion.
Victoria Graham, or Vinnie her mother had nicknamed her, wasn’t expecting the man her clients were suing to be her mate, and a necromancer. She would have refused the case had she known she’d be walking into a den of necromancers. She had grown up on horror stories that necromancers were the one thing that could kill her kind, and it was clear the man hated her very existence…. But when he touched her, she’d lost control of her magic…and her mind too apparently.
Landon Logan is a man haunted by a tragedy that he blames himself for but didn’t do. No one can convince him otherwise–especially his well-meaning Grandda who happens to be dead. Landon is a necromancer.


Dillon Malone has a few abilities of her own. She can “find” things by touching the owner or touching something the owner has touched. This makes her a wanted woman.

Landon is so angry at his good-for-nothing parents that he storms out of their house with their maid in tow. Dillon is happy to leave with this brooding young man and soon discovers that the handsome hunk is her other half.

Dillon’s happiness is short lived when her past reaches out to bite her, and she and Landon become pawns in her father’s evil scheme. When Dillon’s father has Steele’s new baby kidnapped, all bets are off.









JUSTICE SERIES
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Hello! My name is Kathi Barton and I’m a award winning, best selling author of dark fantasy erotic paranormal romance . I have been married to my very best friend Paul, a potter, for at times seems several lifetimes – in a good way, honey. And together we have three wonderful children and then the ones we brought into the world – Paul and Dale Barton, Jason and Wendy Barton and Danielle and Ben Conklin. They have given us eight of the greatest treasures on Earth. They don’t live at home seven days a week! No, seriously, eight grandchildren – Gavin, Spring, Ben, Trinity, Sarah, Kelly, Kian and Bailee


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Chapter 1  
Addie put the phone back on the hook and sat down. Since she’d gotten up she’d been trying to reach out to her friend, Mac, and hadn’t gotten a single answer, or a call back when she left her messages. She was coming here in a few days, to hang out with her and to meet her new friends. But now, trying to get in touch with Mac and not having any success made her worry. Something was wrong, she just knew it. Going to find Nick, she wasn’t surprised to find Landon and Steele in the office with him. Nick stood up when she entered the room and gave her his seat. The man was a constant worry wart, especially since she’d found out she was expecting. She wasn’t sure she could make it the last few months without bashing his head in. “Here, honey, please have a seat. And put your feet up on the stool. Did you get in touch with her?” Addie told him that she’d not as she sat down in his chair, but she didn’t put her feet up. There was only so much pampering she could take right now. “I know that you’re worried. I think you need to call her place of business. Didn’t you tell me she works for some sort of boating company?” “Extreme. And she doesn’t just work for them, but owns the company. Few people know that. I’m pretty sure not even the people that work for her are aware they work for her, not just with her. But, no, I’ve not called yet. I wanted to ask you first. I don’t want her to think I’m over protective of her. She accused me of that in college when we were younger.” Addie rubbed her growing belly as she continued. “It’s not like her to not call me back. I know that it’s silly, but I’m afraid something has happened to her. But I don’t want to feel stupid for calling her work and embarrassing her. Do you understand?” “Call them.” When Steele nodded in agreement with Nick, she thought she’d do it. But later. “No, not later, now. Call them and ask where she is. You know that you’re not sleeping well worrying over this. She will get a good laugh out of it and so will you, but you won’t worry any more. Just go ahead and call and see what might be going on. It might be something simple, like her phone is down or something like that.” Getting up, she went to her own office. If she was going to feel stupid for calling for no reason other than Mac was really busy, she’d rather do it where no one could hear her. Picking up the phone and dialing the number she’d memorized yesterday, she wasn’t surprised when the answering machine picked up. But she was no less worried either. “Hello. You’re going to think this is really silly, but I’m trying to get in touch with Ryder Mackenzie. Mac. She goes by Mac. Anyway, my name is Addie Stark and she was supposed to call me back and—” “Hello? Don’t hang up. Please, just hang on while I try to turn this off.” The woman, she thought it was Sandy Miller who worked for Mac, cursed a few times as buttons were pushed. “I’m not very good at this thing. Mac usually…please call back if I hang up on us.” After telling the woman that she would, the line went dead. Addie sat there for several minutes trying to reason with her fingers to dial the numbers again when it rang. Picking up the phone carefully, she heard more cursing and knew it was Sandy again. 
“I’m so sorry. I’m not the office type. Cameras yes, but…I just came in here to pick up the money and heard you. There’s nobody around to help me out on this thing.” Addie told her it was all right. “Mac is…She’s in the hospital, has been since yesterday late. Mac is…I mean she…they don’t really expect her to make it. She took a terrible fall over the falls near where she lives, and…and…poor baby….” The sobbing was what got her. The woman was sobbing so hard that it sounded as if she were tearing her heart out. Addie felt her own eyes fill with tears, then run over as she thought of her friend lying dead. Mac was such a vibrant and full of life woman. Knowing that she was hurt and might not make it…well, Addie knew that she’d feel it forever if she were to pass. Her sorrow became more as Sandy told her what she knew. “She’d told me she was going on home, and I never thought no more about it until I heard the scanner going off and her telling them that she had three in the water. A little kid, she said. They didn’t have any life jackets on them, so…oh, that poor little thing. I turned the cameras around to find her and saw it. Just saw that kayak go right over with her hanging onto that child. I think there was some man trying to help her save the girl, but…well, he died too. Mac said that…she said that she was going after her. I knew as soon as I heard there was a little one involved that she’d go and try and save her. But those falls, even for someone like her, experienced and all, they’re a bit much, especially this time of year. She and that little girl went right over, and I never saw them again until I made my way to the hospital.” Addie was crying hard now, knowing that Mac would hurt herself to save anyone, but especially a little kid. As the story unfolded, Addie could almost see it happening. “Those people on the raft, they were all screaming at the police when they got there. Took them a good five minutes to get them calmed enough to tell them where she’d gone over. By then…well, it was damned near too late for all of them.” “The child, is she all right?” Sandy said that she was broken up pretty good, but was expected to make a full recovery. “And the others, what happened to them?” “Both parents are gone. The mister, Adam was his name, he broke his neck. They think he might have been dead before he ended up on the bottom of the falls, but we don’t know for sure. His wife Cindy, little Becky’s mother, she drowned. Again, they don’t know for sure when that happened. Like I said, them falls, they’re unforgiving if you don’t know how to run them.” Addie wanted to ask about Mac’s injuries, but was afraid to. But Sandy spoke before she could. “Mac was beaten up, near dead when they got to her. Her head was split open by the rocks, and they’re worried about what sort of damage…they’re worried about brain damage. Broke both her arms and crushed her leg. The doctor told me that she’d be lucky if she walked again without a cane. Then he broke down. Imagine that, a doctor breaking down, and he told me that she wasn’t going to live out the night, not the way she was right now. That was…she’s my little girl and she’s been hanging on since. They had to…I won’t let them just let her go. She’ll never forgive me for doing that. Not one to hang on, she told me more than once. But they brought her back for us. The staff there at the critical care, they don’t…I don’t know what I’m supposed to do without her. She’s all I have…I love her like my own.” 
“I’m coming there.” Addie stood up, then sat down when she thought of what she had to do. “I’ll be there in the morning if not tonight. Can you find me a place to stay? Please? I need to be there for her.” “Oh honey, that would be wonderful for us. Me too. Yes, that’s good. Yes, of course you need to be here. And I’d like that too. She talked of nothing else but seeing you. It’s why I picked up the machine. And you come on out here. You can stay in her place if you want. It’s a big place, but she loves it. That pup of hers will be more than glad to see someone besides me.” Addie wasn’t sure about a puppy. All she cared about right now was seeing her friend and maybe trying to figure out a way to bring her around. “I’ll have someone pick you up at the hangar. Not much of an airport, but we make due.”  Addie hung up a few minutes later, after taking notes on not only where to go but how to get to the house if she ended up staying there. Still not sure what she was going to do once she got there, Addie went to find Nick. She was leaving right now if she could arrange it. ~~~ Drew wandered around the house again, ending up near his own room. He wasn’t sure yet what he was supposed to do with his new house, but he was making headway, he thought. The house was so big that at times he felt smothered by it. Stupid he supposed, but that was the feelings he got. And if he was honest with himself, he wasn’t sure he liked this place. It was…dark, he thought, was a good word for it. Dark and not suited to him at all. Anna, his cook, and right now the only person he saw much of, was in the kitchen for the most part while he was there, and he’d finally convinced her to stay in the pool house instead of driving back and forth every day. Most days they both ate in the kitchen, as he just couldn’t stand the thought of her carrying what food she thought was good for him between the dining room and the kitchen like he was something special. Smiling at that thought, he went out onto the deck that was off his bedroom. It was the one thing he’d loved about the house. The way the deck, all covered and filled with the most comfortable furniture, seemed to invite a person to come and have a seat. Kick off their shoes, as he had done when he’d sat down, and relax. He wondered if the previous owners of the house, Landon’s parents, had ever had an occasion to relax at all between stealing from people and making everyone’s life hard. He supposed that he should have taken the master suite when he moved in. But it was bigger by far than one floor of his other home. Not to mention he had yet to go through the personal things in the room, and Landon had told him there was nothing there he wanted of his parents. He guessed he could hire someone to do it, but he had no idea how to even begin that task. Putting his feet up on the stool that matched the rest of the furniture, he looked out over the wooded area behind his house. The deer came out about now, and he had made it a habit when he was home to watch them. It was relaxing, and he never thought much when he watched them romp and play. Yesterday there had been a small one with them, and he had enjoyed watching it get its feet under it. The buck, a big boy with about a dozen points, just watched him. Drew wondered if he’d learn to trust him soon. 
“Drew?” He looked up at the sound of his name, afraid, not for the first time since he’d moved in when he heard his name in such an unfamiliar place. Instead of being his mother coming to haunt him again, it was Anna. “Are you all right, sir? I didn’t mean to startle you like that. I said your name a couple of times.” “It’s fine. My fault entirely. I’m all right, I promise. You just…I was startled, that’s all. What is it I can do for you?” She looked out over the woods then back at him. He knew that she thought him a little off. If she only knew how off he really was, she’d more than likely go running into the woods to get away from him. “I was watching the family of deer that come around. They have a way of making even the worst day nicer with their ways, don’t you think?” “Yes, I think so as well. I saw them as well two nights ago, and slept better knowing they were here for some reason.” He waited for her to continue, and thought perhaps she was telling him she was quitting. “There’s someone here to see you. Miss Vinnie and Miss Addie. They’re in the parlor. I told them you’d be along shortly. I can tell them you need a few moments if you’d like.” “No. I’ll come along now. Thank you. And if you have any cookies, I know that Addie loves them.” She blushed and told him she had some, and some scones too if she was of a mind to try them. “I’m sure that she’d love that. Thank you.” Drew knew that Anna was aware of what they all were. Vinnie was a vampire, and Kari, Steele’s wife, was a panther shifter. Then there were the rest of them, all necromancers with a little extra that came in handy when they worked. As he made his way to the big room, he wondered what they needed. Right now he’d do just about anything to stem the boredom. He’d never been one to sit idle, because the memories invaded even his waking thoughts. And since he was off for the rest of the week, he had to find something to do or go nuts…well, nuttier. Entering the room, he smiled at them as if he had not a care in the world. Addie was adorable with her belly starting to show. She was about four months now, and he could see that she was extremely happy. So was Nick. All he ever talked about was the new baby. Drew was sort of jealous of him getting that experience, as he knew that he never would. “Ladies. Have you come to help me figure out the house? I sure could…. What’s happened?” He could tell by their faces that something was wrong, and he immediately thought of the men that he worked with. He sat down when Vinnie stared to pace. Whatever it was, it wasn’t going to be good. “Nick is going away on a call, as I’m sure you know, and we’re in sort of a pickle. I’ve always wanted to use that phrase. Anyway, we need your help.” He nodded at Addie, knowing from the call this morning that the others were going to be awhile. And they wouldn’t let him go to them. It was a new rotation thing they were doing, so that they could spend more time with families and not be so burnt out all the time. One week off, two on was how it had been set up. Drew hated it.  “There’s been an accident with a friend of Addie’s. She needs to go there and…it’s not good.” Drew asked Vinnie what he could do. “I can watch over her in the evenings, 
but the day time, I can’t as you well know. Can you come with us? Nick said that he’d rather we both went rather than her be alone during the day.” “You know I’ll do anything for you guys.” He would, too. “When do you want to leave? I’m assuming now. All I need to do is throw a few things into a bag and I’m set.” “Yes, that would be wonderful. We have the plane on standby. I don’t know how long we’ll be gone…my friend, Mac, she was hurt pretty bad when her kayak went over the falls while she was…while she was trying to rescue a little girl. She…the little girl’s parents drowned and…I need to be with her; Mac, not the child.” “I’ll go and pack now.” He stood up and then moved to the door just as Anna was coming in with a tray of cookies and tea. Drew asked them to let her know what was going on as he left them to pack up.  Tossing things into his duffel, he thought of the friendship that he had with these people. All of them were family, and he’d do just about anything they asked of him when they needed him. He didn’t share with them most of the things going on in his life as they did. He trusted them, but not with knowing his secret. It was bad enough that he had had to live through what his mother had done to him; he didn’t think he could stand to see their pity when they looked at him. Drew had always been a very private person, and it hadn’t changed much when he became an adult. He wondered if they thought of him as a friend, as someone they could trust, and thought perhaps they did. He worked with the men on the team, and he liked them a great deal. But he was a loner. He didn’t like it very much, but it was all he knew. Keeping busy was what kept him from thinking, and thinking was a dangerous thing for him. His childhood and his life had made him that way. He’d always been alone, and deterred people from asking too many questions. Questions that Drew didn’t want to answer. Then there was the added fact that he was scarred. Not just in his mind, but his body as well. Badly. Mostly the worst of them were on his back and the back of his legs; the ones on the rest of his torso were faded, as they hadn’t been nearly as bad. It was what caused him so much pain when he got up in the morning or after standing or sitting in one position for too long. And long ago he knew that if he didn’t kick the pain pills he’d be as drugged up as his mother had been most of her life. Drew didn’t want to end his life that way. So now, he simply suffered. Andrew? His entire body stiffened at the sound of the voice. It was distant, but he knew it anyway. Turning slowly around the room, he looked for his mother, only to find himself alone in the big bedroom. But he knew as surely as he was standing there, she was close. Andrew, where the hell are you, boy? Not answering her seemed the best way to keep her at bay. Stuffing the rest of his things in the duffle, he tried to think what he had to do to rid himself of her if she found him again. The need to have her banished, kept away from him, nearly took him to his knees. Even after all she’d done to him and continued to do to him, she was still his mother. But even as he zipped up the bag and headed out, he knew he was never going to be able to make his mother go away forever. Because he was still that ten year old little boy. 
“Are you ready?” Telling Vinnie that he was, she looked at him oddly. He wondered if she could see his mother, or if any of them could, and that made him feel exposed. He hadn’t thought they could, but with Vinnie, who knew? And he was hard pressed to ask her if she could or not. But Vinnie only turned and went to his front door, met there by Anna. Drew thought about asking Vinnie for help with his mom, but didn’t. Fear and pride made him keep his mouth shut. “I packed some cookies and tea for the trip. I know that your plane must have all these things, but I so worry about you.” Anna gave him the large plastic container, filled to the top with cookies and wrapped scones, and the thermos of tea. “Sugar is there, as well as cream if you need it. Not sure how the rest of you take your tea.”  After she hugged Addie and Vinnie and left them, Drew went to the big car that Addie and Nick had only just recently purchased. Since she handed him the keys, he put his bag in the back of it with the other two pieces of luggage and got in the driver’s seat. Just as he was ready to start it up to go, his cell phone rang. It was Nick. “Thank you for doing this for me.” He told him it was no problem, he was glad to help out. “She’s really stressed out about this. If she…this woman, I guess she’s really bad off. I had a couple of the guys here go and check on her, and Addie is going to be devastated when she sees her. I guess they were right in saying she might not make it.” “Addie told me that the secretary said that they didn’t expect her to make it past the first night. Perhaps her hanging on this way, it’s a good sign.” Addie got in the back with Vinnie. It was darker back there, because even though it was nearly dark, the sun still burned Vinnie a little. Being a vampire had some difficult rules attached to it. “The little girl’s parents, should I be looking for them there? I mean, they might want to hang out with their daughter for a little while.” “I never thought of that. But I would keep a look out for them. I don’t know what sort of people they were alive, but we both know that things change when they figure out they’re dead. The little girl is deep in a coma, but I’m not sure if it’s drug induced or just from all the injuries. She is only alive because of Addie’s friend, I guess. They have her head cam and it shows pretty much everything that happened to the two of them when they went over the falls.” Drew wondered if Addie would want to see that, and thought she might be better off not. It had to be pretty horrific. “Anyway, I want you to call me if you need anything. Steele got you guys a nice hotel, and I guess Vinnie has a place she can stay while out there too. There is the woman’s house too. There is a dog; I’m not sure what it is, but he’ll need some looking over too. I can’t thank you guys enough for helping me out.” “I’m glad to have something to do, to be honest.” He put the phone on the holder and stuck his earphones in. One thing he did not do was drive and hold onto his phone at the same time. He wouldn’t even answer it until he pulled over to do so. Drew might not like his life overly much, but he’d not take out others just to end his. “Is there anything else I might need to know out there? I mean for Addie. She’s pretty upset.” “Not that I know of. She’s been talking about this girl for a while now. They’ve met at least once a year since they got out of college. Her family is gone. I think she might only have the people she works with. She owns this company, Extreme. There are several 
of them across the United States, so I think she’s done well for herself.” Drew was impressed with that. Not that as a woman she’d done well, but that she wasn’t any older than Addie and was successful. “She’s also somewhat of a loner. Not like you, but pretty close. If she’s not working, then she’s at home. And Addie wanted me to see if you’d take care of the dog. I’m not sure what kind it is, but Sandy, the woman who works for Mac, said he’s all right. Addie didn’t feel right staying at her house. She said it would be too painful.” “I’ll take care of it. And you know I love being alone.” He knew that he’d sounded defensive, but Nick only laughed. “I’ll let you know when we get there. And I’ll take care of the dog too.” “Like I said, I really appreciate this. And should this girl pass, I’ll drop everything here and make it out. I’ve already made some arrangements with Steele.” Drew told him he’d replace him. “Thanks for doing this for me. For us. Hopefully it will turn out all right for everyone.” In Drew’s experience it rarely turned out well. Most of the time, if it could go to shit for him, it did. He closed out the connection and drove them to the airport. Everything was set, and they were up in the air within twenty minutes of getting everything stowed away. Drew thought about what he had now compared to what he’d had as a kid. Since working for Steele and the rest he had a car, credit cards for company trips, and a home. Money enough to spend should he do so carefully. Clothing enough that he was warm when needed. A television that didn’t only work when it wanted to, and enough food in the house that he was never hungry unless he wanted to be. Shirts and pants, dressy when needed or casual when working, were also provided. His personal items—socks, shoes, and other items such as underwear and tee’s—were his own to buy, and he rarely spent much on those. And now, thanks to Landon and his wife, he had a house bigger than he needed, and servants too. He still wasn’t sure what to do with all that, but it was his, and no one else’s. Closing his eyes for the trip, Drew felt himself drift off. As his body relaxed his mind became fertile. His mother was just there, memories of her fighting with his need to vanquish her from his mind. As he drifted deeper into sleep, his mother was welcoming him to her horror. “Do you have any idea how much I despise you right now?” The ten year old Drew whimpered. “Shut up. Just shut up. If I could afford it, I’d end you right now and be done with you.”  He never answered her; to speak to her when she was stoned, as she had been, would have been bad. To have done so would have given her another reason to hurt him. And she did enough of that without his help. Instead, he sat there on the floor with his towel under his body, so the blood from his latest injuries wouldn’t ruin the carpet beneath him. His mother wanted to make sure they made a good impression when the welfare people came by to check on him. They did it less and less as he had gotten older, and he doubted very much that any of them cared what sort of state the house was in so long as he was there and still breathing.  
She didn’t love him. He’d figured that out long ago. And even if he hadn’t figured it out, it wouldn’t have mattered. She told him almost hourly how much she despised him. He was her means to get what she wanted, whatever that was. Her anger at him was legendary. But this time, she was madder than he’d ever seen her. And getting angrier by the second. He was sure she’d broken his nose. His jaw, on a previous beating, had been bruised badly, but not broken. Now it was painful to move, even if he did want to speak to her. Drew looked at her when she screamed his name. “Pay attention to me, you moron. Or so help me, I’m going to teach you a lesson you won’t ever forget. No one will look at you with pity again, by God.” She had hit him then, his arms tied above his head to her canopy bed. Pain made him sick, dizzy even, as he had no way of getting down. Not until she let him, cutting at the ropes until he just simply dropped to the floor. Drew had hung there before, more times than he wanted to remember. She would tie him there, beat him over a couple of days, then let him down, telling him how it had been his fault that she’d been driven to beat him. Again. As he had drifted off, his entire being worn out, his adult mind tried to tell him to get away, to run, to hide. But it did him no good; what was to come was coming no matter what he did now, even if he could have gotten away. “Drew?”  His name, said so softly, startled him. The dream, the memory really, had him in its clutches tightly, and he knew she was coming for him. As soon as he was touched, a small hand to his shoulder, Drew fought, lashed out at whoever was trying to hurt him. When he realized that he’d been dreaming and that his mother wasn’t there, Drew knew that he’d made a major mistake. Staring down at the face under him, Drew tried to think what had happened. How Vinnie had a bloodied mouth, her lip already swelling. Her hands were above her head, palms out. She didn’t move, said nothing as they lay there. It was the voice behind him that had him knowing he’d fucked up, and had done something terrible. He was going to have to explain what he’d done, as if he even knew how to. “Drew, are you okay?” Was he? No. And would never be if he didn’t get over this fear of his mother. “Drew, please answer me and let Vinnie breathe. I’m scared that you’re hurting her.” His hands were curled around her throat. The bruising there was already making itself known to him. Letting go, his fingers loosening even as the grip of the memories did, he felt his heart twist, and his mind begin to work. Fear slid over him as a shirt did when he was fresh from his shower. “I’m so sorry.” Sliding his heavier body off hers, he lay there, curling his body into a fetal position and trying to wrap his mind around what he had just done. “I had a bad dream. I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I’m very sorry.” “Who is she?” He thought of his mother when Vinnie asked him the question. He wasn’t even aware he’d answered her aloud until she spoke again. “Is your mother dead, 
Drew? Does she haunt you even now? Is she the person that you were thinking about when you came into the living room today?” “It was her. She never leaves me alone. But yes, she’s dead. And does she haunt me?” He laughed bitterly, knowing that he would have to tell her in order to make up for what he’d done. “Every waking moment of my life, even when I’m not asleep.” Drew didn’t know how long he lay there. He knew that they had landed, the vibration of the engines running now gone. The women spoke quietly, but still he didn’t move. The need to get up, run, and hide had him fighting for some sort of control over himself.  After a while, when he knew he couldn’t put it off any longer, he sat up and stared at them. Not sure what he needed to say, he opened his mouth, hoping for something brilliant, when Addie spoke first. “It’s really late, so Vinnie will be with me now. Why don’t you go to the house, Mac’s house, and see to her puppy and rest? I heard you tell Nick you’d help with that. Then in the morning, you can bring me breakfast and hang out with me. Okay?” Drew nodded and waited for either of them to ask questions. When they both stood and went to the exit, he let out a long breath. He didn’t think he was off the hook, but he did buy himself some much needed time. Taking a cab to the address given to him by Addie, Drew knew a new kind of fear. They knew he was haunted, and worse yet, by whom. He wondered what they were going to tell the others, knowing that they would. Drew also wondered which one of them would call him first and tell him he was fucking nuts.   

Anthony Bentley Legacy Release Day 10/31/16

Coleen had heard just about all she wanted to hear from her grandmother about the Bentleys—no one could be that nice. There had to be an angle there somewhere. People just didn’t help other people for nothing—not in this day and age.

Tony Bentley wasn’t expecting to find his mate, and as a Were Panther he could even understand her reluctance. He was, after all, a Bentley, and the poor woman had been taken through the ringer, but she was his mate, and he wasn’t about to take no for an answer. 

Coleen’s ex had left her in a heap of debt, and she couldn’t allow herself to bring that kind of baggage into a relationship. She’d work through it somehow—without the help of the mighty Bentleys. 

Micah Bentley is a third generation cop and a panther. He always wanted to be a homicide detective like his dad, but kept getting passed up for the job because he was too good at what he currently did working the beat. Micah has a gift, he can read people’s minds. Such a gift could be a help and a hindrance on a job. He could pluck the information he needs right out of someone’s mind, but knowing they’re guilty and proving it are two different things. But when his dad is killed off duty it has him rethinking his career choice.
Regina Webster, Reggie to her friends, is just trying to make ends meet by working three jobs to keep her head above water, and also take care of her invalid brother. She doesn’t have time for socializing with bossy men like Micah Bentley who butt into her life making everything concerning her his business. She doesn’t know anything about this mate thing he keeps spouting off about, she just wants him to leave her alone.
Due to a random act of violence, she finds herself suddenly homeless: no home, no money, no car and suffering from a gunshot wound to boot. Reggie has no choice but to accept a helping hand from the Bentleys at―least until she can get back on her feet.
Trouble has Reggie marked, and this time they take Micah’s mom too. Micah knows they’re in trouble, but when the bad guys don’t go where they’re expected it’s a race against the clock…
Christiana McKenzie, Chris to her friends, was at her wits end. She and her sister, Angel, were born witches. Their mother had warned them that to use their powers would bring on another witch hunt, and they’d risk being burned, just like their ancestors. Her sister didn’t heed their mother’s warning and now Angel was dead. Angel had lived long enough to tell Chris that she’d left something for her with a man by the name of Bentley, then she died. Chris had to track down this Bentley no matter the cost….
Joseph Bentley almost had everything finished: the house, the barn…everything. In a few weeks it would be finished and he would be able to move into the house and get the ranch going. But the progress wasn’t going fast enough to suit him―he was lonely. 
Micah had come out to tell him that the sister of the girl that died to protect him was coming to see him, and he was hoping that the nightmares since the incident would stop. Micah wanted him to come out to the main house and be there when she arrived. But the limo delivered the woman to Joey’s house instead of Micah’s. Joey couldn’t believe it, the hostile woman was his mate…and more than he could have ever hoped for….
Whether or not Chris wanted a mate or not was irrelevant, Joey wasn’t letting her out of his sight. And when she found out that her mother had lied to her―she wasn’t an ordinary witch―and that others would come to try to possess her. If they couldn’t do that, then they would kill her to possess her powers―she needed help.
The Bentleys ban together to save one of their own, but will it be enough? Can they even fight the powerful magic that’s targeting Chris and Joey?

Christiana McKenzie, Chris to her friends, was at her wits end. She and her sister, Angel, were born witches. Their mother had warned them that to use their powers would bring on another witch hunt, and they’d risk being burned, just like their ancestors. Her sister didn’t heed their mother’s warning and now Angel was dead. Angel had lived long enough to tell Chris that she’d left something for her with a man by the name of Bentley, then she died. Chris had to track down this Bentley no matter the cost….
Joseph Bentley almost had everything finished: the house, the barn…everything. In a few weeks it would be finished and he would be able to move into the house and get the ranch going. But the progress wasn’t going fast enough to suit him―he was lonely. 
Micah had come out to tell him that the sister of the girl that died to protect him was coming to see him, and he was hoping that the nightmares since the incident would stop. Micah wanted him to come out to the main house and be there when she arrived. But the limo delivered the woman to Joey’s house instead of Micah’s. Joey couldn’t believe it, the hostile woman was his mate…and more than he could have ever hoped for….
Whether or not Chris wanted a mate or not was irrelevant, Joey wasn’t letting her out of his sight. And when she found out that her mother had lied to her―she wasn’t an ordinary witch―and that others would come to try to possess her. If they couldn’t do that, then they would kill her to possess her powers―she needed help.
The Bentleys ban together to save one of their own, but will it be enough? Can they even fight the powerful magic that’s targeting Chris and Joey?

Nolan finally had a practice of his own, and soon his brother Burke would be leaving the hospital and joining him. Now, if the rest of the family would mind their own business, Nolan would be much happier…or not. He was sulking over his dilemma when his nurse told him he had a patient, a hurt kid who wasn’t doing much talking.
Rylee nearly collapsed with worry when she found out her nephew had been hurt. She wasn’t sure if she was cut out to be a parent. She loved her nephew, Shane, dearly and had taken on his care when her sister died, but how she’d missed the warning signs was beyond her. He was being bullied at school daily and she knew nothing about it until he’d been cut with a knife. 
“I didn’t know.” Her entire body sagged at her confession. “He said he had it handled. And I thought he did. It’s my fault he’s beaten up like this. I should have…I’m not any good at this parenting thing.”
Nolan reached for her just as Shane moved on the bed. He wasn’t sure what the kid could do, banged up the way that he was, but as soon as Nolan touched her, he knew what she was to him. Her body, warm and strong, leaned into his even as he buried his nose into her neck. Christ, his body screamed at him, she was his. Licking her throat, tasting her, he could hear her moan, but when his head was jerked up by his hair, all he could do was stare at her.
THE BENTLEY LEGACY 
1. MICAH – http://smarturl.it/micah 


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Meet Kathi Barton, author of best selling novels such as the Force of Nature series and Ryland of the Golden Streak series. She lives in Nashport, Ohio with her husband Paul Barton, an amazing and talented potter. Kathi likes to spend time with her eight grandchildren. she writes to relax and have fun. Also, she and Paul can be found at auctions in the summer months.

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Coleen signed her name to the last page and closed the thick file that had been handed to her. The man across from her, Harry Mercer, hadn’t been a bastard; he could have been, but he was nice to her. She thought that might have hurt most of all. When he asked her if she had any questions, she wanted to ask him why her, but she knew he’d have no more answers to that than she did. “No. I’m going to go live with my grandma, try to get my life together and get a job. They’re taking most of my money, so I’ll have to live very frugally until I win the lottery.” She meant it as a joke but it failed miserably, much as her life had. “How can I make arrangements to pay you back?” “I told you, I’ve made an arrangement with the firm I work for, and this will be a probono case. You have enough to worry about right now, Ms. Greer. And don’t forget, you have to have whomever you work for contact us so that we can make arrangements for the money to come here. And then we’ll disperse the payments that we’ve lined out for you. You’ll be all right. How about we go and celebrate that this is going to be behind you soon?” She told him she just wanted to get out of town. “When do you leave? Not right away, I hope.” “Today. I’ve had to sell my house and my things, so I don’t have anything left here. Grandma has room for me for the time being, and she’ll need help with my brother’s little girl.” She smiled when she thought of the little tike. “She’s a handful, Grandma said. Sweet, but a little energetic for a seventy-year-old to handle.” “I bet she is.” Coleen realized that she was taking up this man’s time, and he’d given her a lot over the last few weeks. “Coleen, are you going to be all right? I know that you didn’t cause any of this, but the law is the law. I think we’re lucky that I was handed this information rather than some other firm. They might have taken you to the cleaners. If you have any questions now or later, just call me. No other lawyer is going to be able to answer them like I can.” “I understand. I thought we were divorced. Apparently I should have looked better at the paperwork he sent me back.” The man nodded and smiled. She didn’t think this was funny, but he might have just been thinking how sad she was. “Thank you so much. You’ve been very kind. I’m not…it’s been a long time since someone has gone out of their way to be nice to me.” As she left the big building, she did wonder what she was going to do now. Her car was loaded with her entire life. And she had just enough money in her purse to pay for gas and as little food as she could eat to get to her next landing spot. Micky hadn’t been a bastard when they’d been married, but this had simply come out of nowhere. The man had been a fruitcake, sure, but she’d never have thought him to have had the brains to have pulled this shit. And now that he was dead, she couldn’t go and find out what he’d been thinking. No one had said a word about the divorce paperwork. She hadn’t thought a thing about it until she’d been summoned to the courthouse under the guise of being the only 
living relative to one Mick Greer. When she’d produced copies of the divorce papers that she’d filed to show that she had nothing to do with his debt, they had produced the paperwork that had been filed at the courthouse. It had been fake; nothing about it even made sense. It looked as if Micky had rambled on for several pages about a baseball game that he’d bet on, then about the house that he’d wanted to buy with the money had he won. No one had checked it at the courthouse when she’d taken it to be filed, and she was still legally married. For as much as she found that hard to believe, it was the debt that he’d run up in her name that had floored her. She had no cell phone…the service had been cut off days ago. There wasn’t any way for her to call Grandma and let her know she was coming either. Her money would have to last her the week it would take her to drive there. And calling her would be too costly. So Coleen got into her car and started her trip. Why she had married Micky was a mystery to her. She had been working in Vegas at the time as a dealer, trying to save up her money, and had woken up not only married to the man who had bothered her all night, but also in a house that wasn’t hers…as well as naked. When she tried to get away from him, she realized that she was trapped. Quite literally. He’d cuffed her to the bed. His plan, he’d told her, was to marry her—well, any dealer—and have them stack the tables in his favor. When she’d told him she couldn’t and wouldn’t do that, he’d slapped her, and did so repeatedly over the next several days. When she finally was able to get away from him, he’d tracked her down and told her again what she needed to do for him, and when she’d refused this time, he ended up sending her to the emergency room. Coleen spent the next four weeks hiding and being hurt. It wasn’t until she was able to get to the station house and press charges that she was able to get the divorce started. It had taken her another year and a half to get him to sign the papers. Then seven months later he was dead.  She had figured out at some point he was a little off. He’d had lists of things that he wanted her to do for him. One of them was to rob a bank, and another had been for her to run in the Miss Universe pageant. It took her an hour to make him understand that by marrying her, he’d fucked that up. She was no longer single. Micky wasn’t a bad man, just not very smart. That’s why this entire thing with the bills had surprised her. Turning up the radio to drown out her thoughts, she tried to think at what point she’d become such an idiot. Coleen had gone to college, graduated with honors with a culinary degree, and had been on her way to making a name for herself. She only worked part time at the casino to make some extra money for herself to buy her first home. Then after she’d gotten that, she’d wanted a newer car. That had never happened, along with a lot of other plans that she’d had. All because she’d been the fancy, as he’d called her, to a man that had no idea what he was up to most of the time. And now he’d ruined her from the grave without giving her any idea why he’d done it. Coleen wasn’t sure if she’d really been his fancy or someone that had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it was the only reason she could come up with for him marrying her. She oftentimes wondered if he’d drugged her too. Not even the chapel that she’d supposedly gone to could believe it when she’d been brought in. The man who 
ran the place, an Elvis impersonator, had told her she had seemed intoxicated and not really into her new husband. There were no recordings of the nuptials, and the marriage had been filed correctly. Coleen wondered, not for the first time, if things would ever go her way. “I’ll never trust another man, that’s for sure.” She looked at the radio when it just popped twice and went out. “See? Can’t even trust a fucking car.” Coleen drove until she was simply too tired to go on. Pulling into a rest area, she made her way to the bathroom with her things and cleaned up. It was the best she could do, she knew that; but she still would love to have had a nice deep tub with a million bubbles. After brushing her teeth, she made her way back to her car to sleep for a few hours. At the rate she was going, she was going to need to be hosed off outside when she got to Ohio before her grandma would allow her into the house. As soon as she closed her eyes, the tears started. They were useless, she knew that. As much as she hated to shed them, there was just no stopping them these days. She wasn’t depressed, but really sad. How had things come to this? It was a question that she had no answer for. Coleen wasn’t even sure there was one. For the next fifteen years, more if she didn’t get a job soon, the law firm would be taking more than half of what she made. It didn’t matter if there were tips involved; she’d have to declare a percentage of whatever the check would be even if she didn’t make that much in tips to cover it. Micky had put her in debt for over a hundred and fifty-three thousand dollars. Lucky for her, or them, they only wanted to collect half. Like she had twenty-six thousand dollars just laying around. “And let’s not forget the funeral costs. The fucking bastard even stuck me for that.” Why he’d needed the best of everything was beyond her, but Harry had shown her what the bill had come to, as well as a prearrangement form that he’d filled out at some point. That was another thing that surprised her. Micky had seemed to live in the now, not ever thinking of the future.  Who was going to give a shit if he was in an oak casket with silk trim when he was in the dirt? That was another twenty-three thousand dollars, because he’d decided that instead of just calling hours like a normal person would have, he wanted a wake, with steak and lobster served to his mourners. Had Coleen had any idea she would have put a stop to it. But at the time she thought she wasn’t his wife and was not responsible for his bill. Selling her home and cashing in all her money had only paid a few bills. The rest, every charge card that he’d forged her name to, every charge that he’d put to every store along the strip, was now something that she’d be paying forever, it would seem. All because she was pretty, he’d said.  As the sun was coming up on yet another fucked up day, she gathered her things and went to the bathroom to clean up again. Coleen got a soda from the vending machine, and looked longingly at the overpriced candy bars there. Turning her back on them, she went to her car and started out again. Her plan was to eat only at lunch, and then at a buffet. It was cheating, she knew, taking carry out at those kinds of restaurants, but it might be the only way she could eat decently for the next week. 
It was going to be a very long week too. And she’d be on the road for Christmas, which was only a few days away. Crying again as she started out, she realized that she needed to get a grip on herself. She wasn’t a whiney person, had never been one to let people walk all over her, but she was as stressed as she’d ever been, and felt like the weight of the world was around her neck. Coleen just wanted one or two things to go her way. She thought even that was too much to ask. ~~~ “Christmas is in three days. Are you ready for it?” Tony wasn’t sure how he was supposed to be ready when all he had to do was show up with some gifts and be cheerful, but he nodded at Micah. “Did you even decorate your house?” “I just moved in about an hour ago, so no, I’ve not decorated. And since it’s just me living there, I don’t really care to go to the trouble of putting up a tree by myself and then having the job of taking it down again.” Micah nodded and Tony realized he was distracted. “Did you get the elephant that I sent you? I also managed to snag a snake or two. They should arrive by courier sometime on Christmas morning. I think Reggie will love it, don’t you?” “Yes, yes. What did you get for Grandma and Grandda? Did you get the luggage set that I told you about?” Tony thought this was just too much fun. He told him he’d gotten them four sets. And that he’d made sure they were the ugliest colors that the store had had. “And did you wrap them or have them wrapped? I want this to be perfect.” “It’s going to fail. All of it is going down the tubes with you right at the end of it. They’re going to be calling the holiday fucked up day rather than Christmas after this, all because you failed.” Micah looked at him as if he’d just found out he was there. “Are you back now? If you’re going to berate me about something, the least you can do is pay attention to me.” “It’s the girls’ first Christmas, and we just heard that the little boy that we were going to take for the holidays might come to us permanently. His parents just don’t want him.” Tony told him congratulations, but he still wasn’t sure that Micah was paying attention to him. “How can someone just say, ‘I don’t want a part of my body’ like that? I mean, it’s their child. Created by them with passion. I just don’t understand how anyone can do that. She was leaving the hospital and said she wasn’t going to take him at all.” “The child will be better off with you guys anyway…you know that as well as I do. And he’ll be loved, not just by you but all of us.” Micah nodded. “What’s really eating at you? You’re acting like a man who is going to the gallows, not getting ready for the best time of the year.” Micah didn’t look as if he was going to answer, but Tony could wait him out. Something was bothering him, and until he got some help with it, he was going to stew himself into being sick. Tony had been doing that a lot himself lately…worrying about shit he had no control over. “Before I forget to tell you, Bethany and Amanda said to tell you that they’re going to join us for Christmas Eve dinner. That was really great of Reggie to invite them.” Micah nodded and said he liked them both. “Did you get her anything? Amanda, I mean?” 
“I did. I’m sure all of us did. She’s come right into our hearts like she belonged there. Her dad is going to get to come back early too. Hardship discharge. Reggie is swinging it for him. And he’s going to be honorably discharged too. Don’t tell them, it’s a surprise to them all.” Tony knew that it was hard on the elderly woman raising a little girl. He’d been talking to Bethany a lot lately. The woman was really worried about her granddaughter too, the one coming home soon. “Did you get the cell phone delivered to Coleen, her granddaughter, like you said you were going to?” “Yes. We have no idea where she might be, but I had one sent to each of the bigger cities along the route she told Bethany she was taking. They’ll use them for something if they don’t find her, but they’re watching for her. I have a friend that is supposed to give her some cash, and I’ve reimbursed him for taking it to all the places where the phones are. I don’t know if the police will find her, but hopefully she’ll hook up with them and not break down on some secondary road. I can’t imagine going on a trip that far without some sort of way to contact people.” Micah said had he known, they could have sent the plane for her. “Yeah, I thought of that too. Hopefully she’ll be able to contact Bethany soon and she’ll feel better. Now tell me what has you all twisted up. It’s not just this little boy either.” Bethany had shared with him how broke her granddaughter was. And why. Her exhusband had done a number on her. She’d had to sell her home and everything of value that she’d owned, and it still hadn’t been enough. Even the cell phone had cost much more than Coleen could handle at the moment. But when she arrived, if she did, there was not just a place for her to live, but a job too if she wanted it. The news that she had some cooking experience had made Elroy Baker jump right on hiring her, sight unseen. He just hoped the man wasn’t taking on more than he could handle with this girl. Tony didn’t much care for the new chef, and thought him a lush. “I’ve been worried over Mom.” Tony asked him what had been going on with Mom. “She’s doing too much. I think she might be spreading herself too thin, and I’m worried that she’ll get sick.” “I think she’s happy working at Faerie Tales and Dreams, don’t you?” Micah said she was but that was not what he meant. “Then I don’t understand why you’d think she’s overworking herself.” “She also works at the shelter, at the school, as well as helping us out with the girls when she’s here. Did you know that she and Grandma had a fight the other day?” Tony said that he’d been unpacking and not heard. “Grandma wanted Mom to slow down and to take it easy. I guess they were working on the Christmas thing for the pack when Mom just keeled over. Grandma said it scared her to death. Mom insisted she was fine, but Grandma was too worried to let it go and made a big deal out of it, and Mom blew up at her. I asked Mom about it and she got angry with me too.” “You have Chris or one of the others look?” Micah shook his head. “I’d be talking to someone who can have a look without Mom knowing. I know that it’s underhanded, but it worries me too that she fell over. Was she hurt or anything?” “No, she just said she was tired and got a little dizzy. I know that we’re all immortal, but that doesn’t lessen the fact that she’s our mom and not well.” Tony agreed. “I was 
wondering, since you’re almost the baby and all, if you’d go and talk to her. She likes you a great deal more than she does me right now.” “Oh, so you want me thrown under the Mom bus. I see how you are.” Micah said he was worried. “I am too, but what if she takes all my gifts back? I saw my name on a lot of those packages under that tree. I’d love to be strong enough to open them.” “I’ll make sure you get them.” They both laughed. “So you’ll do it? You’ll talk to her and find out what’s going on for us?” “Yes, I will…but you owe me.” Micah told him anything. “You might not think that’s such a good idea when I figure out what it might be.” “To know that Mom is only tired and not sick, I’ll do it. Even dance naked in the streets if that is what you want.” Tony thought that had some merit to it, but only smiled. “Christ, you have no idea how much better this has made me feel already.” “She might just tell me to fuck off too.” Micah said he didn’t think she would. “Why? Because you think she has some sort of different love for me? I’m pretty sure that she loves us all equally.” “She does, but you’re her baby boy. Well, second baby boy. She has special feelings for you on that score.” Tony told him he was full of shit. “That too.” When he left for his new home, he thought about his mom. She was the best, always there for them, and kept them straight. Any of them could go to her for anything and she’d tell them not what they wanted to hear, but what they needed to hear about whatever problem they had. Tony decided to go and see her, just to see if she was really doing all right. He pulled up in front of Faeries Tales and Dreams, where he knew she’d be; or would be soon enough. The nursery/greenhouse was busy. He’d known it would be even before it had opened. Being the week before Christmas and a new place in town, people were coming in to see what sort of things they might be able to get last minute. His mom was at the cash register ringing out a woman who had two carts full of things. He kissed his mom on the cheek and started to wrap the pretty little ornaments in the tissue paper on the counter. “Maybeth, you remember my boy, Tony. Tony, this is Sarah’s mom. She just came in to see if we had any more of the furniture for the gardens.” Tony thought it looked like she might have cleaned them out, she had so many of them. “I was just telling her about the summer items we have coming in. You going to put any pots on your porch?” “I don’t know right now.” He started to tell her just what he’d told Micah, he’d just moved in, but he looked at her face. She was making a sale and he was fucking it up for her. “Yes. I want to get them, but I’m not sure how many right now. I’ve got a big wrap around porch that I think can hold about two dozen; don’t you think, Mom?” “Oh yes, and around your back deck too.” He nodded, not sure what went on a back deck that didn’t go on the front, but she smiled at him. “You should see his home, Maybeth. It’s a beautiful sight to behold. I’m hoping that he’ll have some decorations up for next Christmas; we have so many here to choose from.”  He looked around. The place looked like a grocery store when a big storm was going to hit. The shelves were a little bare; the trees that had been decorated were devoid of 
much more than a few items. The shelves for the faerie items, a huge hit for the nursery, were mostly empty as well; even the displays had been picked clean. He looked again at the cart that his mom had yet to empty. The woman had spent a great deal of money here, and his mom had been responsible for it, he knew it. After Maybeth left with a promise of being called when the new shipments came in, he hugged his mom.  “You came here just to give me a hug?” He told her of course. “Yes, well, pull the other leg. I’m not buying it. Which one sent you, Micah or Reggie? Or was it your grandma? I’m sort of upset with her too.” He sat on the counter and smiled at her. “Spill it, young man, I’m too busy to mess with you.” “You have no idea what my house looks like, because every time I want you to come out, you’re off on some project. And when I invited you to lunch yesterday, you didn’t show.” She told him she’d forgotten, but had been busy. “Yes, I’m beginning to see that you’re really busy. With other people.” “Don’t try that guilt on me. I have a life too. Or I’m trying to make me one. So what if I fell over? It’s not that big of a deal. I’m sure you have as well at some point lately.” He told her that he’d not fallen since he was a baby, and she knew it. “I’m just trying to be helpful to Pip and her new venture.” “Micah wanted me to come and see what’s up. I think he thought I’d come here, talk to you a bit, and you’d just tell me. You won’t, so I’m not even going to try that way. But I am going to find out what’s going on. And you are not trying to help Pip. You’re avoiding things, and I want to know why.” He could see her temper rising, but he didn’t let it get to him. She was his mom and like the rest, he was worried about her. “Mom, that’s not going to work with me and you know it. You can bluster and be pissy all you want, but I’m going to know why you’re avoiding us and getting sicker by the day for overworking yourself.” “Micah and Joey have their families all set. Nolan and Rylee get along so well that I’m not sure that they even finish a sentence when they’re together. Burke loves his new job and his mate, as it should be. He takes such good care that she’s happy and not depressed all the time, and I love him all the more for it. Garth is out making money hand over fist. You have a new home that is all complete and not in need of a mother’s touch. Even your grandparents have their own things going on. Howie has his own business ventures going on. Since the nursery opened Katie has been in more flower clubs than I knew existed. And here I stand, all by myself, feeling like I’ve missed the boat somewhere along the line.” He told her he loved her very much. “And I love all of you, but I miss your father.” That surprised him. His dad had been gone almost twenty-two years, and she was now missing him? Tony knew there was more, a lot more, but he stood up and hugged her to him. “My home needs you very much. I have the things I want in it, but it feels cold and lonely. It’s why I wanted you to come out. I have boxes everywhere, but I don’t want to unpack. I feel lonely too.” He lifted his mom’s chin up and looked at her. “Why are you missing Dad so much right now, Mom?” 
“He would be so happy with all that you boys are doing. He’d be helping with decorations in the yard like he used to do. There would be menus going around, things that you boys like the most, and how we were going to incorporate them into the meal. The grandchildren would be spoiled with gifts; not that I haven’t done that, but I find myself thinking of him with each purchase and it saddens me.” Tony felt his own sadness take him a little. “I’m trying to keep busy so that it doesn’t hurt so much that I feel like a fifth wheel right now.” “Oh, Mom, you are anything but a fifth wheel. You hold us together; you have always held us together. Dad would be so proud of you.” She wiped at his tears and hers. “Mom, I love you so much. I don’t know what I’d do without you in my life. And that being said, I need for you to take a break, come to my house, and show me how to put a lap blanket on the back of my couch so that it looks homey, not staged. How to put my canisters on the counter so that they don’t look like I stood across the room and tossed them there. And for the love of all that is holy, can you please tell me what I’m supposed to do with five bedrooms, and a living room that looks like I could host a thousand people in it?” “Oh, my dear boy, you are the very best.” He told her that he knew that. “I’m sorry. I guess I should tell everyone else that I’m sorry too.” “Nah, let them stew around about it for a while. But I really think you should take it easy. Not quit working, because I know how much fun you’re having, but come back to us. We need you to.” She nodded. “And since I know there is someone here that can take over for you, why don’t you come out to my house, have some dinner, and help me out? I hate the way my house feels so cold.” “You just need a woman’s touch.” He nodded. “I’m sorry, baby. I truly am. But I’ll help you out. No telling when you might find the right girl.” He had to tell her, soon he knew, that his own mate had died. As she went back to find someone to take over for her, he looked around again and had to smile. The trees were already redecorated and the shelves looked as full as they’d been on opening day. Magic could really make a place look good, he thought. He wondered what it would look like when spring rolled around. Christ, this place would be beautiful.


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

Danburn English is the ninth earl of the English castle. He and his dragon alter ego have been on this earth for a very long time. Danburn is accustom to his orders being followed to the letter, no questions asked, so when this feisty young woman bucks his authority he is beyond angry.
Kendrick Barrera can’t seem to get caught up. Every time she turns around, her sister is in trouble again. Now, because of her sister’s new mess, she’s being evicted and has nowhere to go.
Danburn’s intentions were to defend her honor, but when Kendrick intervenes, she steps in front of a punch intended for her mouthy landlord. Now Danburn has to step back and take a good long look at himself, and he doesn’t much like what he sees.
Kendrick doesn’t care for the overbearing lord of the manor and makes no bones about telling him so either. No one, especially him, is going to tell her what to do or how to act or dress.
There is something about the feisty woman that has touched Danburn’s heart. She has a rare honesty and bravery that has him take notice. A woman like that is hard to find and should be protected and cherished. The chemistry is there, they’ve both felt it, but controlling his mouth just might get in the way of winning Kendrick’s heart….

B&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/danburn-kathi-s-barton/1123881218?ean=2940158532252

Amazon USA  https://www.amazon.com/Danburn-English-Paranormal-Shifter-Romance-ebook/dp/B01GLQA3R6/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465473497&sr=8-1&keywords=Danburn+By+Kathi+S+Barton

Amazon UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Danburn-English-Paranormal-Shifter-Romance-ebook/dp/B01GLQA3R6/ref=sr_1_2_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465473549&sr=8-2&keywords=Danburn

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Smash Words  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/641090

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Amazon PaperBack https://www.amazon.com/Danburn-English-Kathi-S-Barton/dp/1629894877/ref=sr_1_2_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465473497&sr=8-2&keywords=Danburn+By+Kathi+S+Barton

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