Category Archives: Endo Of Series

Hugh Justice Series Release Day & Give Away End Of Series

At 23 Hugh McGuire had his life figured out. He was on top of the world and nothing could stop him. In the blink of an eye, it all changed, when a disgruntled employee, Burton Dunn, shot and killed Hugh’s parents, and attempted to take Hugh’s life as well. Hugh’s life would never be the same, and twelve years later, Hugh was a depressed and somewhat bitter man that could now see and speak with the dead.
Kimber Dunn had been a sickly child, and on her deathbed, her nurse, a leopard shifter took pity on her and converted Kimber to save her life. Now Kimber couldn’t run far enough to outrun her brother’s murderous deed. Spending most of her days as a leopard kept her hidden well. But when fate threw her in front on the one man she’d been hiding from all these years, Hugh McGuire, her cat knew him for who he was…her mate…the only thing she knew to do was run…run as fast and as far as she could….
KOBO  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.
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?
JUSTICE SERIES
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Christian: The Stanton Pack—Erotic Paranormal Cougar Shifter Romance


Being a country lawyer was something Christian Stanton had always wanted to do. Taking a client he really didn’t want to represent was not what he had in mind.

Allie had been hired to teach the Stanton men hand to hand self-defense. She loved her job and was quite good at it. She knew about shifters, but had never really worked with them before. And when the big cat shifted into a very naked man proclaiming to be her mate, Allie wanted nothing to do with him.

When it came to Allie, Christian was in big trouble. She was no pushover and the sooner he figured that out the better off he’d be….


Chapter 1
“Master McGuire, your father would like a word with you. He said that he will meet you in his study when he has completed his business this morning.”  Hugh wanted to ask him what his father wanted, but knew this household well enough to know that they’d not answer him. Most of them would just stare at him as if he had something in his teeth, but none of the staff would go against anything that the master and mistress of the house wanted. Ever. Not that his parents were task masters, but the people who worked for them were very old world, and wouldn’t have gone against them even if they asked them to kill him. Which would never happen either. His parents loved him very much. Nodding once, Hugh pulled his jacket from the closet in the main hall and slipped it on. He knew for a fact that his father wasn’t even in the residence, and that his “little while” could be hours. Hugh had been down this road with his father before. He was as forgetful as he was organized. And Hugh didn’t want to wait. He was easily distracted, his dad. Not his mother, but his dad certainly was. He took being lord very seriously, and did a good job of keeping things in perfect order and done in a timely matter. Hugh thought his father was the best. A little on the annoying side, but he loved him as much as he did his mom. They were both his world, and would be forever. It was a show of just how powerful his father was, Hugh thought. He had no idea— and he had asked—of what made a man know how to be like his dad was. Just simply a man who others knew, instinctively, was in charge. Hugh had known that his parents, the Lord and Lady of Whimmpington, the ninth earl to the estate, were going to be the only ones who took care of the burg they lived in, because he knew he’d never be as good as they were. Everyone in the house did, as well as all of Whimmpington. Hell, he was pretty sure that all of the world knew it. His parents were perfectly suited to being in charge, while he, on the other hand, liked to just have fun. He supposed someday he’d have to straighten up, but not any time soon.  As he made his way to his car, he thought of what his father might want with him now. He’d graduated from college, as his father had wanted. Gotten the grades that were required of a man of his stature, and he’d made sure that he kept his nose out of trouble and his dick properly sheathed when he did have to have sex.  Smiling, he thought about the sheathed sex he’d had last night. Mary had always been more than willing to let him toss her skirts up over her head and fuck her. In fact, it was a well-known fact that anyone could have Mary for a price. He thought perhaps his dad was the only man alive who had not had a go at her. The woman could suck a nail through a board, too, when she gave head. Crude? Yes. He was no more interested in anything long term than he thought she was. But good Christ, the woman could fuck well.
He’d met her in her father’s orchard just after supper last night, and she’d been as naked as the day she was born. He’d nearly come in his pants when he found her leaning against the apple tree fingering her pretty, bare pussy. As soon as she saw him, she spread her legs and told him to eat her. Not one to turn down a splendid offer like that, he’d stripped down and gotten down on his knees before her. She came twice before she begged him to fuck her. Standing up, Hugh had looked at her, a prime woman who loved sex as much as he did, and wondered if all the rumors about her were true. He’d bet they were, just as the ones about her fucking her way through high school and beyond were. When she’d told him to meet her there, she said she’d give him a fuck to remember, and he was pretty sure she was going to do just that. That was going to be the last time they’d be meeting out here, as he was moving away next week.  Mary had large breasts and dark, thick nipples. Lifting up her left breast with both hands, he suckled it while she fisted his cock. When she begged him again to fuck her and Hugh pulled a condom from his pocket, she told him she was too needy to wait, but he knew that there was never going to be unprotected sex between them. Mary had been around, and if she didn’t have protected sex, there was no way he was going to stick his dick in her without a condom. Hugh did not want to chance getting anything she might have picked up elsewhere, much less a child with her. Between long pulls on his cock with her mouth and hands, Hugh knew that he wasn’t going to last as long as she liked to go if she kept this up.  “Mary, love, unless you want me to come before I’m in you, you’d better stand up and let me inside of you.” Her mouth let go of him with a small pop, and he wanted to beg her to take him again. “You have a mouth that begs to be fucked. But I need to be in your pussy. Later we can play if you want.” As soon as he pulled the condom over himself, he lifted her up by her ass and slammed his cock as deeply as he could into her hot wet sheath. “Oh yes, Hugh. Fuck me.” He did, pounding her as hard as he could as she wrapped around him. “Harder. Harder.” When she came, screaming out his name as he emptied himself in the condom, he fucked her again just to give her everything he could before he needed a break. When she pulled his head up from her shoulder, Hugh smiled down at her when she nipped at his lower lip. “I needed that.” He laughed. “Christ, I’m going to miss you. You have no idea. That guy I’m supposed to be marrying next summer is going to be boring after this. I think you ruined me. Are you sure you have to go away? I could come with you. We could have so much fun together.” He knew there was no other man. And he also knew that she would more than likely never marry anyone from around here. She’d been with too many men for any parents to even let her marry one of their sons. People did talk. “You’ll be fine. And maybe he won’t be so bad.” He pulled from her and tore the condom off and wrapped it in the foil it had come out of. He was always careful to take all means of DNA with him when he had sex. Another rule of his dear father. “He might have a dick as long as mine and know how to use it.”
He’d been joking really, but she only shrugged. Hugh wasn’t stupid enough to think that Mary wasn’t plotting and planning something. She’d been getting her way since they’d been hanging around together, and she always seemed to have something up her sleeve. Just before he’d been sent away to boarding school, there had been a rumor that she’d had a baby out of wedlock. Not a big deal to him, but the community had been in an uproar about it.  But he didn’t ask her about it, nor about a great many things he’d heard about her and her family. He and Mary were fuck buddies and sometimes friends, but not close enough that he’d ask her something so personal. So last night had been a farewell fuck between two people that more than likely would never meet again. Or at least he hoped not. He’d keep an eye out for her, but he knew that he’d never contact her again. When his phone rang he realized that he’d made his way to town and parked at some point in his musings. Pulling out his phone to answer it, he nearly put it away again. His father would not be a happy man to find out that he’d skipped out on talking with him. “When I ask you to come talk to me that is what I mean for you to do, Hugh. I know that I sometimes forget the time, but there is no reason for you to as well. Where are you anyway?” He told him. “Come to the office, please? I have a few things for you to sign before you leave. I meant to do it several days ago, but I got…well, I got distracted. When did you grow up? Never mind. But your mother and I would enjoy your company for dinner this evening. If you can tear yourself away from the Manchester orchard.” He sat there for several minutes with his phone still in his hand after his father had stated what he wanted him to do then hung up. Hugh was twenty-three years old now, not some kid that needed to be ordered around. Not that anyone had ordered him to do much of anything for a long time, but…well, he supposed he was embarrassed that his father knew. Not just about Mary, but the orchard as well. Hugh put his phone on the seat next to him and stared out the window. He could see his father’s empire right in front of him. The building stood high above any other in the town. A monument to a great man and a better father. The McGuires made money. Hugh was pretty sure that they didn’t really print it, even though there were times when he wasn’t so sure. But they did make it. It seemed that everything his father touched turned to gold. And if his mother thought it was a good investment, then it was. People from around the world came to his parents for advice on making more money and how to turn nothing into something. They were that good. Hugh could turn a nickel into a buck as well. He’d taken the money that he’d gotten from his grandmother and turned it into his own little empire. The seven million that she’d left him when he turned eighteen was now worth a billion and a half, and growing daily. Hugh, it seemed, had the touch as well. Hugh wondered again what it was his father wanted. Starting the car, he made his way to the parking lot. His father had no special parking for himself, and he didn’t have any for his son either. Hugh the ninth prided
himself on being like one of the people that worked for him, and Hugh was pretty sure he believed that he was. There was no doubt that aside from being their boss or lord, everyone loved his parents. Including him. It was not that his parents were easy people, as in being saps. In fact, they were very stern, if not a little…okay, a lot stiff. And very much in love with each other. They had money, but they never stopped working, either of them. And they did not indulge on things that they didn’t need. There were no private jets…they all flew commercial, and no boats floated in the harbors. Nor did his parents have a lot of status things in the house. A few paintings and a vase or two, but things they liked, not things they felt they needed so no one else would own them. Hugh loved his parents very much. He thought them odd at times, but he loved them all the same. “Good morning, Master Hugh. Your father is on the phone. He asked me to have you go to his conference room and wait.” Smythen, his father’s right hand man, led him down the hall to the long room and asked him if he wanted anything. It was on the tip of Hugh’s tongue to ask him if he could tell his dad that he’d not shown up, but only shook his head. Hugh wanted to get going, and getting this over with was the only thing holding him back from making arrangements to go to the States again. Fifty minutes after he was shown to the room, with Smythen coming in several times to tell him that his dad was having problems and would come in soon, Hugh was ready to leave. His mother had made a list for him last week of things he had to take care of, and another list of people he had to say goodbye to. Hugh looked at his watch when he decided it was well past time to go. The noise down the hall had him standing. Hugh moved closer to the door and put his ear to the wood to see if he could make it out. Hearing the screams had him pausing at the door but not going out. Whatever was going on, he didn’t want any part of it. The gunshots startled him. They were loud, close even, and the screams were being cut off one at a time. Moving from the door now, Hugh reached for his cell phone to call his father. As it rang and rang in his ear, Hugh looked around for a place to hide. Finding nothing helpful—the room only held a large table and some chairs—he hung up the phone when no one answered and tried his mother. She answered almost immediately. He could hear the screaming coming through the phone as someone, he thought it was his mom, told everyone to be quiet. Then the gunshots started again, louder than they’d been down the hall. When she spoke, he had to ask her what she said, her whispers too low with all the noise going on around them both. “Get out if you can.” He asked her what was going on. “Hugh, get out of the building. Hurry. Someone is shooting everyone they—” This shot was almost right in his ear. And when he heard someone screaming again, he wasn’t sure if it was right outside the room he was in or coming from the phone. Closing his phone, he moved to the door and put his ear to it again. If he was honest, he’d say that he was terrified. And not just a little.
The silence was both scary and a relief. He wasn’t sure if the person or persons shooting everyone was gone or if they were waiting for him to come out. Picking up the phone again, he dialed the police. They answered right away. “I’m in the McGuire building. My name is Hugh McGuire. There are shots being fired. I think someone is killing the people who work here. I’m on the eleventh floor.” She asked him if he could see the shooter. “No. I’m in a conference room just down the hall from the elevators. I think…my mother, I think she’s been hurt, and my father isn’t answering his phone. I need for you to come here right away, please. I think someone is killing everyone.” “We have cars on the way. Are you hurt, Mr. McGuire?” He told her that he was not. Then the shooting started again, with screaming. “Mr. McGuire, I need for you to find a place to hide, can you do that? Somewhere safe, as far from the shooting as you can get.” “I’m not sure what’s going on out there. If I leave here to go somewhere else, I have no idea where this person is, and I could…I don’t know where the shooter is.” She told him to stay put, but to barricade the doors. He had no idea how that was going to work either, but said he’d try.  The shooting began again almost as soon as the words left his mouth, this time right in front of where he was standing. He could hear the dispatcher on the phone screaming at him, but Hugh had no idea what she might have been saying. Backing away from the door just as it exploded open, he left the phone on, but slipped it behind him as a man came in the room. He knew him, though he couldn’t place his name. Someone…he backed up when the man entered the room with a gun pointed right at him. “There you are. I knew you were in here somewhere. Hiding out like all the rest of the cowards.” The man standing in front of him looked like any other person that worked for his parents. Suit and tie, and he even had a name badge on with the magnetic strip that got him into the building. “I’m going to kill the last of the McGuires. Payback is a bitch, and you are going to pay like she did. I’d ask you why you did it, but I know. I found out. You bastard. You fucking bastard.” “Payback? I don’t understand what you mean. You killed my parents too? Please, tell me what it is you think we did to you.” The man laughed at him. Hugh read his name badge and knew that he was going to die. He wanted the police to know who it was that murdered them too. “Your name is Burton Dunn, and you say you killed my parents. Why? Tell me what it is you think we did to her. You said her…what is it we did to her that would make you do this?” “You fucking killed her. And now I’m going to kill you too.” The first bullet hit him in the leg. Hugh went down, the pain taking his breath away. “This is for my sister. When I’m finished with you, I plan to go to your house and kill all the people working there as well. I’m going to wipe the McGuire name from the planet. There was just no reason for you to do that to her.”
“Why?” The next bullet hit him in the belly. Hugh fell all the way to the floor, rolling to his back as the man stepped in front of him, his gun pointed at his head. “Why are you doing this?” “Because, you let her die. You killed my baby sister because you and your family are selfish bastards and took everything away when she needed it the most.” Hugh thought he could see the bullet leave the gun, feel it as it pierced his head. Then…then nothing. ~~~ “Hugh?”  Sander Phillips looked at his client and waited for him to focus. Wherever he’d been, Hugh was not happy about the memories. And he’d bet anything it had to do with his parents again and the day that they’d been murdered. When Hugh straightened up and looked ready to get back to work, Sander handed him the paperwork that he’d brought for him to sign. Instead of reading it over, which Hugh was meticulous about, he laid it on the table between them and went to the window. “It was twelve years ago today.” Sander knew that, and had taken care that everyone that was going to come into direct contact with Hugh did as well. “I guess you kind of realized that was what I was thinking about just now. It was as if I were there all over again. The entire day rolls through my mind like a loop every day.” “Yes, sir. I can understand that.” He just looked at him, and Sander didn’t even bother to apologize for calling him sir. “We can do this some other time, if you wish. Tomorrow is just as good. There is nothing really that important here that we can’t just do tomorrow.” “No. I need to get this done today.” He came back to the table and picked up the discarded file. “Everything is in their names now, right? James and Becky Mullins will get everything if something should happen to me?”  “Yes.” He started to say sir, but one look from Hugh told him he’d not get away with it a second time. “Yes, they’re named as sole heirs to your estate, and Mr. Mullins, their father, is to care for it for them until they reach the age of eighteen. Mrs. Mullins will also receive a payout to do with as she chooses. The rest, the castle and the other properties attached to the estate there, is to be diverted to the burg, and they can do with it as they please.” As the man he had worked for since that terrible day twelve years ago read over the will he’d had him draw up, Sander looked around the room. It was the most un-office like area that he’d ever been in. Not to mention that no one looked like they worked there, but instead seemed as if they were just the cleaning crew or held some other job that didn’t require them to dress up. That was, in fact, frowned upon. No ties or briefcases where allowed. If they had to take things to and from work, they carried a backpack or some other form of carry all. Jackets were the kind that you wore in the winter, not the ones that gave you the appearance that you were someone important. To Hugh McGuire, everyone was the same. And he treated his staff that way as well. He was quirky, as he’d heard others call him, but that came with what he’d suffered, he was sure.
Hugh McGuire was nothing like his father, yet he was just like him. While his father had an air that said he was one of them, nobody ever believed it. Not really. With the younger Hugh, he was just like them, if you forgot about how rich he was. There had seldom been an occasion when he didn’t go out with them when invited. Birthdays were never forgotten, and he seldom forgot a person’s name or those of their family. Hugh was a man of men, a hardworking man who had never gotten over the tragedy of his parents being killed. Then there was his feeling about suits. Everyone just assumed that it had to do with the day that had changed his life, but it was more than that. And mostly due to the men who had stood guard at his bedside when he’d been in the hospital. There had been five men in suits, all of them armed and none of them friendly. Hugh had tried to engage them in conversation, talk to them about what he was feeling. None of them had acknowledged the wounded young man in the bed. When Sander had asked their boss why they couldn’t simply talk to him, help him when he needed it, the man had glared at him. It was their job, he’d been told, not to get friendly with the client. So for nearly six months they stood there, their hands on their weapons and staring at the door as if someone would come in and try to harm him. Men in suits, Hugh told Sander, were the worst kind of people. But there were other things that made him stand out with his peers. Not just his ability to read a person without much information and know everything about them, including what type of home life the person had, but also their worth. As in what kind of worker they were at a glance. How hard they would work, and the best possible job for them. It mattered little what their education level was; he would know what they were better suited for. And he was never wrong. So at almost thirty-five he was the richest man in the world, and also the loneliest. Not to say he didn’t have friends, but Sander doubted any of them knew the real man. Nor the ability he had inherited from his mother that had given him the boost up when it came to money. The young man could see the changes in the climate of a business better than anyone Sander knew, and had made them both very rich. Sander listened to his boss better than he did his own wife. However, he’d never say that to her. “This is good. Send it out to the right people.”  As he stood up, so did Sander. There were a couple of other things he needed from his boss, but was hesitant to ask right now. Not today, at any rate. Hugh turned to him and Sander just nodded. Not asking him would not get him the answer he needed. When Hugh smiled at him, Sander decided that now was as good a time as any. “There is that thing tonight. I’ve already said that you are unable to attend, but Mrs. Bennett has asked that you escort her and Mr. Bennett.” Hugh was shaking his head even before he finished. “She said that if…she told me to tell you that if you didn’t go, she’d hunt you down and eat your arm off. I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t kidding, either.” Mrs. Bennett, like Sander, was a panther. She was by far meaner than he was when she needed to be, and she scared him to death each time she called to speak to him. He
was just glad that no one, not even Mr. Mullins, Hugh’s best friend, knew where the offices were. He feared the lovely Mrs. Bennett more than he cared to admit. “I’ll talk to her.” Sander’s relief was profound. “In the meantime, make sure there’s enough staff on hand to answer questions, as well as food for them all. I don’t want anyone complaining that this thing was a bust. And you did make sure that there were donations from the estate? As well as bids on the things we talked about?” “Yes. There is the trip, as well as the paintings that were donated. And there are several other pieces that you expressed a desire to put there as well. The bids that we discussed are with the proper people to use as necessary. No one’s donation will not get bought.” Hugh nodded. “Security has been hired as well, and there are several appraisers on hand to make sure that there are no problems with things that are bought. Just as last year.” Sander knew that no matter what they did, there would be at least one or two things crop up that had been forgotten, but for the most part, things went smoothly. The function was a Christmas fundraiser that had been held annually by Hugh’s mother before she’d been killed. The McGuire name had never been attached to it, nor was it now. But they did raise a great deal of money for the children of the world, and would continue to do so long after the people attending tonight were gone. “Hugh, there is one more thing.” Hugh turned and looked at him. Sander didn’t want to talk to him about this, but there really wasn’t anyone else. “It’s about my retirement, sir. You do know that next week is my last week. And we’ve yet to settle on who is taking my place. I hate to bring this up now, today of all days, but we must settle things.” “I don’t want you to leave me.” He sounded so wounded that Sander almost told him that he’d stay. But he had to go. It was time…he and his wife wanted to have some time, now that their children were all gone, to see a little of the world. “What will I do without you?” “You will survive, sir, as you have done before.” He looked at the scar on his forehead, the one that the monster had given him all those years ago. “My wife said that if I allow you to talk me into staying she will harm us both. I’d believe her if I were you, sir; she is quite set on seeing France and all those other countries I’ve been to on business for you. She and I want to see the world, one city at a time, before we leave this world.” Nodding, Hugh made his way to the door out of his office, but paused there. Sander would do anything for this man, as he had his father before him. But the son, unlike his father, was the genuine article, as his wife said about Hugh…a true man and gentleman. Sander knew that Hugh was a man that was also fighting the worse kind of demons, his own self. “Set me up some interviews for early in the week. Only the ones that you think will work out. I don’t want anyone coming here that…that might want more from me than I have to give.” He told him he would. “And Sander, make sure that they have no priors before they get in the building, please. I don’t want anyone hurt.”
“I’ll make sure that they’re investigated completely.” As Hugh left the area and made his way to the bank of elevators that only went to this floor, he asked him about the last thing. “What of the other, sir? I haven’t…there is the matter of the buildings that needs to be taken care of, as well as the endowment to the burg. What shall I tell them should they ring here again?” “My parents loved that place. And all that went with it.” He turned and looked at him then. The anguish was there, as it was whenever he talked of his parents. “I’ll go there this weekend and see what I can figure out. See if Drew and his family can come with me. I know that they’re working on getting their house in order, so maybe they can use a break from all that. Don’t tell them where we’re going, but that…perhaps your wife would like to go as well? It would be a nice start to your vacationing. Then you can settle up there and get going on that trip.” “I’ll see what she would like to do.” He smiled, knowing that his wife would leap at the chance to go to England. “I’ll take care of the arrangements, as well as any paperwork that the others will need. Anything else?” “No. Not that I can think of right now.” Pressing the button to go down, Hugh smiled at him. It wasn’t the best smile he’d ever seen, but there it was. “I remembered about you leaving, Sander, just so you know.” The doors closed and Sander wasn’t able to reply, even if he had known what to say. Whatever he’d meant by that, Sander would have to wait to ask him when he saw him next. Going to his office, he went to his desk to call his wife and mention the trip to England. She was going to be so happy. But the phone was ringing before he could pick it up. “Oh Sander, you should see it. Oh my goodness, Hugh must have spent a fortune on just the wrapping alone. And it’s so pretty that I don’t want to…I wish you were home with me now. I can hardly contain myself from opening it.” He was ready to ask her what she meant when his doorway was suddenly filled with a large box. And it was topped with a large red ribbon. The men who had brought it in just dropped it off and left, not saying a word or having him sign for it. Sander realized his wife was still talking.  “Honey, I have a box here. From Hugh as well.” She squealed, and he had to take the phone from his ear or risk having it explode. Laughing, he continued. “I’m to assume that you’re excited about it, correct? Is your name on it, love?” “Yes. Is that one addressed to you? Oh, I do so hope it is.” He told her it was. “Then I’m opening mine. I’ll call you back when…oh, just open it and I’ll open mine. Then call me when you have it opened.” The phone went dead and he approached the large box. No, that wasn’t right, it was huge. At least six foot tall and that deep as well. And the width of it had to be four or five feet. Sander pulled off the card and read it. “‘Happy retirement, my friend. My parents would have wanted you to have this. I know that I do as well. Take your lovely wife out right, and when you return, I expect to see hundreds of pictures. Send me a postcard too.’” He stared at the card then at the box, almost afraid, like his wife had said, to mess it up…it was that beautiful.
The large red ribbon on the top hung about halfway down the sides. The sides, just thick cardboard covered in paper, he could see now, were held together by string. The heavy kind, but string all the same. The wrapping paper was decorated in large balloons of every color one could imagine, and on each was his name. He was almost afraid to open it. Not for fear, but whatever was inside would be epic, he knew. Pulling on the strings that were tied in a smaller bow than the one on top, he watched as the sides fell open and the top floated down quietly. As they filled the floor, all he could do was stare at the contents. This was more than he could have ever dreamed of receiving, and he knew that for as long as he lived, he’d never be able to thank Hugh enough. Picking up the phone when it rang again, he stared at his gift while his wife spoke. “It’s not real, is it, Sander? He couldn’t have done this for us. It’s too much.” Sander told her he believed that it was and he had. “Sander, he gave us a trip of a lifetime. Several lifetimes. However will we be able to thank him?” The large globe was decorated with envelopes. Each of them stated a country, state, as well as a city. Each one, like the one he’d pulled off when his wife called, would be filled with a plane ticket, an address where they were going to be, as well as a credit card to be spent on food and dining. A second card had been marked for entertainment, as well as any incidentals that they might need. Below the globe was brand new luggage that was spilling out clothing, as well as both casual and dress shoes. There were other boxes too, none of them opened, and Sander could only guess at their contents right now. This really was too much. “We enjoy ourselves is how we repay him. Take this gift and have the best time we can.” She was crying now, and his own eyes filled with tears. “I do believe that he’s the best man I’ve ever known. His parents would have been so proud of him.”
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Zachery: The Pride of the Double Deuce Release Blitz

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nathaniel Blood BrotherHood Series ( Final Book ) Release Day 12/26/16

Beth Snow had been given a death sentence. The doctors had only given her six months to live. She didn’t want her parents to have to watch her die, so she packed up everything she had in the new motorhome and hit the road.


Nate knew she was coming. He’d been dreaming of her for months now, and all the dreams where they were battling Benton had turned out the same— with Beth’s death. How could he take a mate to just watch her die?

The battle to save the earth was reaching its peak for Rembrandt’s Blood Brotherhood. Everyone’s dreams had become prophetic, and either Benton would die, or they all would. Would they find the missing piece to their strategy to defeat the monster once and for all? Live or die, they were all in it until the bitter end. What happens next? Find out in the final installment of the Blood Brotherhood—Nathaniel.

Kobo   Coming Soon 
Note: 18+. Does not have to be read in order. Can stand alone. Full length novel.

Fantasy, Demons & Devils

1800 years ago…

It was time for him to die. Rembrandt was ready. He had put up a good fight and nearly died twice that day, but now he was done and he was ready to die on the battlefield with the rest of his brethren. Death would be merciful, he would finally be with his wife and children. 

A being clad in black had other ideas. Rembrandt was meant to help him fight his cause and to help right a wrong that his kind had brought to this world. He gifted the reluctant Rembrandt with a taste for blood and immortality…and more…so much more.

Back to the present…

Rembrandt had had enough. He was over this life 1800 years ago and now he was just sick of it. The creatures he fought, the malefactors, kept growing in numbers and he couldn’t kill them fast enough to keep up. He had fought the battle alone all these years and he wasn’t sure he even wanted to anymore. 

Skylar Manning was just trying to be nice. The mysterious man dressed in black was hanging around after closing…again. It was the third time this week. Only this time he grabbed her arm. Her world changed forever.

Suddenly she found herself hunted by shadowy figures with razor sharp teeth, and into the arms of a warrior who craved her as much as she did him… 

Vicki Carver had seen all the carnage from what appeared to be some kind of battle and just stopped long enough to see if the big man was alive or dead like the rest of them. That large broadsword in his hand had her keep her distance. Pitching a pebble or two at his face should arouse him if he was indeed still alive.

Davis Brown was thoroughly exhausted, but he couldn’t ignore the small stones pelting his face. If it was more malefactors to fight he’d just have to let them do him in. He was too tired to fight again so soon. To his surprise it was a woman―not just any woman―but a feisty vixen who was not only beautiful but could see the malefactors. That meant that she was either magical or one of them―a warrior―his mate….
Vicki had her own demons to battle and to be thrown into a mystical battle with Rembrandt’s warriors to save their world from being overrun by malefactors wasn’t anything she had planned for, much less this mate business. Who did he think he was anyway? But she couldn’t seem to resist the hot, sexy man that brought her to the compound….

Leonard Earl wants no part of Rembrandt’s rag tag team of saviors. Before the cancer he’d been happy teaching children. But when the mysterious man in black shows up in his hospital room and heals him, he has no choice but to join the group. No one says he has to like it.


Jamey has been on her own awhile. It doesn’t take her long to figure out she is different, and that the malefactors can’t change her into one of them. Since the malefactors have taken over her town, she spends her days picking them off with her bow and arrows, or delivering food and water to the remaining survivors. 

Jamey’s body is also a “host” to a dragon that has been with her for as long as she can remember. He protects her and keeps her safe…. The dragon is leading Jamey to the man he is destined to transfer to. He tells her together they will balance. Jamey is willing to take the dragon wherever he needs to go, but the man she wants no part of…. She will miss her friend.

Leo is none too happy to find out that Jamey is bringing the dragon to him and the discovery that she is his mate. He’s already had a woman break his heart and wants no part of this mate business. He takes the dragon to save her life, but that’s where it ends…or does it?

The malefactors are increasing in number and they need to stand together to defeat them. Jamey sees her chance and takes it to defeat their enemy. Will Leo make the ultimate sacrifice to save her? Find out in the next installment of Blood Brotherhood―Leonard.

Christopher hadn’t been with Rembrandt’s group long. With their combined efforts there were fewer and fewer monsters to fight. His mate had died a long time ago, so he volunteered to go with Skylar to look for some “newbies”. When they arrived at the warehouse the new ones were acting very strange.


Kate had been scouting out the building when a large crate just suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Curiosity had her standing in the shadows when she saw two warriors come up the stairs and approach the crate. When they became aware of her presence, the man shifted into the largest cat she’d ever seen and pinned her to the floor with his large paws.

Kate was more than any of them had bargained for, and Chris soon discovered that Kate was his true mate, that the other woman never was. And when they fought together they were downright scary.

With their enemies Ward and Nolan dead, there was no one left to keep Benton, the huge monster they’d created, in line. Benton had lost his mind a long time ago, but one thought remained constant…he wanted Rembrandt dead….

Richard James is a very old vampire and was already an immortal when he joined Rembrandt’s team. Old grievances and heartaches, committed decades ago, still haunt him today. The murders of his mate and brother can be placed on a single culprit—Lucia Alverez.


Ryiah isn’t happy. It’s do as her sister says or suffer the consequences. She can handle the beatings, but being locked up in a cell again with no sunshine or earth is more than she can bear. Ryiah is fae and needs these things to survive. So when her sister says to bring her her mate, Richard James, the second lord of the Highlands castle of Ireland, that’s what Ryiah sets out to do.

Vampires and fae are mortal enemies. The blood of the fae is like an intoxicating drug to a vampire, turning the vampire feral. Rick knows immediately that the beautiful woman is fae, but that’s not the problem, there are other fae at Rembrandt’s compound and Rick has no problems being around them. But this one…there is something different about her….

From the moment he touches her, he knows that she’s his mate…the mate he didn’t want…and to make matters worse, she is the sister to his mortal enemy—Lucia Alverez….

BLOOD BROTHERHOOD SERIES – 
1. Rembrandt – http://smarturl.it/rembrandt 
2. Davis – http://smarturl.it/davis 
3. Leonard – http://smarturl.it/leonard 
4. Christopher – http://smarturl.it/christopher
                                                                  Happy Reading , 

ATTENTION AUTHORS & READERS
Join us for ARC NOLA 2017
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The motor home coughed a couple of times but continued down the road. Looking in the rear-view mirror, she wondered what she’d been thinking picking something so fucking big to use to get away. The thing was top of the line, sure, but for just her, it was too much. Simply too much of everything. Pulling into the gas station, she had to smile. She was filling this sucker up every ten minutes, it felt like. “I’m certainly doing my part in stimulating the economy by using this.” The lines were short, so she pulled into the bay closest to the road. Stretching her neck before getting out, she felt a stab of pain in her heart and sat very still to see where it went next. When she felt nothing more, she stood up and made her way to the pumps.  Beth knew that should her heart shut down while she was driving, she might hurt someone else when she crashed. It was why she was very careful and took precautions that were well beyond what older people did when they were told they had a bad ticker. And she had about as bad of one as there was. She’d been dealt a bad hand, as her grandma used to say. Beth Snow was going to die because of her heart. Not because it was broken, which in a way it was, but because it was enlarged…too big to function properly. It would happen much sooner than anyone could have guessed, especially her and her family, but it was going to happen and she wanted it to happen on her terms. It was the reason for this trip. The lie behind going to see some sites before she settled down.  Beth wanted to be as far from her parents as she could when the time came. She knew her mom would be…her mom and her dad would be devastated. She knew he still would be, but she didn’t want him there when it was done. That wasn’t right either. She wanted them both there, but was trying to spare them the pain of it. It’s not that they were mean to her. No, never that. But they did have a way about them that would bring out the worst in each other. Her mother was controlling, manipulative, as well as whiney, and she had been since Beth was little. She didn’t like when things were not going her way, and she did something about it, even to the point of being rude and nasty.  Her mom, Ruth, would get something in her head, or she’d want someone to do things her way. Then when they disagreed or didn’t meet her expectations, she’d do it herself. That never went over well in their neighborhood, and it had caused some horrible fights, with the police being called in and her dad having to pay some fine, bail her mom out, then apologize to whoever it was she had upset.  Even her dad wasn’t immune to her mom’s manipulative behavior, and when he didn’t do something or say the right thing to her, she would want Beth to call him and make him do whatever it was that week. Like that was ever going to happen. Beth was the daughter, not her babysitter, and certainly not her dad’s task master. Her dad, Lyle, was a quiet man. He had worked hard for the money that Mom spent to keep up with the neighbors. And even though he had retired some years ago, they didn’t want for anything and had made sure that as their only child didn’t ether. But as

soon as she’d turned eighteen, she’d gotten out in the world on her own and had made herself as independent as she could. She had made a good living at it as well by following in her dad’s footsteps and becoming an engineer like he’d been. But leaving them like she had, that was the smartest thing she’d ever done, she thought. For a lot of reasons. The last face to face conversation with her mom had sealed that deal. “I don’t understand how you think this is going to make you get any better. Just let us go with you and keep you on the right track to getting well. It’s not like we have anything to do. Your father hasn’t worked in several years.” Beth could have pointed out that he’d retired from his job but still had a very good income. And when they wanted something, he’d go find something fun to do to pay for it and not touch their savings. She looked at her dad and could see while he was hurt too, he sort of understood because this was, after all, her mom. “Tell her, Lyle. Tell her that she needs to let us go with her so she can get better. We can’t make sure that she’s doing what it takes for her to get well if we’re not there.” “Ruth, I think that she’s right.” Her mom turned her back to him, and Beth knew that later her mom would tell her dad how he was wrong to have said those things and that he should have agreed with her. “This will be good for her. Kinda wish I’d taken a trip like this when I was younger. See a little of this big world before things get all hinky. But she needs this and I think she’s doing what she needs to. Not just for her, either.” Hinky. What a wonderful word to say his little girl was going to die. “I’ll send you post cards and when I can, I’ll call you once a week. I really do need this.” “Well, I hope you know that you’re both wrong in this. I can’t make sure that you’re eating properly or that you’re taking care of yourself if you won’t allow me this. Bethany, you know as well as I do that you’re going to need me to make sure that you’re doing all the right things to get well.” Her mother put her hand on her arm and hugged her. “You need me now as much as you did when you were a little girl and had the flu. Just tell us where you’re going and we’ll travel along with you. There’s a good girl.” “Mom, I’m not going to get well. I’m going to die. And soon. You know this. The doctor told us that there is nothing he can do for me. Not even a transplant is going to help me now. It’s too late for me.”  Beth wanted to take the words back but her mom slapped her, something that she’d never done in all her life. Without another word, her mom turned her back on her too and went into the house. Beth was sure that, even though she was upset with her, her mom had gone in and started packing her things to go anyway. “Go, baby. Go now before she comes out here and loads her things up in that home of yours while we stand here, and is aghast that she’s ready before you are.” Beth hugged her father, knowing deep inside of her heart that it would be the last for them both. “I love you, baby girl. I have loved you since the moment you took your first breath, and will well after you take your last. Be careful and have fun.” When he let her go, he left her too. She’d seen the tears then, streaming down his face, and had gotten into her moving home and left. That had been six months ago. According to her doctor, Beth had only one or two of the six to eight months he’d given her to live left.

The gas pump popping, signaling that it was finished giving her fuel, startled her from her thoughts. Putting the handle back in the little slot, she looked around while the receipt printed. She would have to find a place to rest soon, a campground that would take her big rig, and settle in for a few days. She might even go and see some of the sights while she was here, she thought, and got into the camper with her small paper. Starting the engine, she let her broken heart mend a little as she made her way back into the traffic. The campground was quiet this time of year. She supposed that most vacationers had had their fill of camping by now. Late winter was not really a go to a place in a motor home kind of time. Smiling to herself, she watched as snow started to fall as she fixed herself some soup and then settled down to enjoy it. Beth didn’t bother with the television, and if asked, she did not even know if she could turn it on. It was the quiet that she wanted. The books that she’d picked up here and there were on the shelves that didn’t have some souvenirs on them. A pretty stone that she’d gotten in a national park. A pinecone she’d picked up at a roadside picnic area that she just couldn’t resist. All of these things and the rest were all labeled and dated. When someone came to get her home someday, she knew that her dad would enjoy these bits of her trip. And the pictures on her computer were all in files as well. She’d been sending him emails with them attached when she had service. Beth was pragmatic about things, she thought. She was going to die, that was a done deal. But she wasn’t going to wallow in self-pity, nor was she going to roll over and let it take her. She was going out doing the things that she wanted. Just the way her dad had taught her to be. Happy to the end. It was nearly nine when she decided to call home. If her mom answered she’d never get to speak to her dad, and Beth was disappointed when she picked up the phone. After telling her several times that yes, she was taking her medicine, and sure she was resting and eating well, her mom started in on where she was and how they could meet her there. “We bought a camper like yours the other day. It’s very beautiful. The same color and everything. It’ll be hard to tell us apart when we’re in the campgrounds together.” Beth felt her belly churn up. “You father thought it was a bad idea, but I told him that if you needed us, we should be ready. So we’re ready for you to tell us where you are so we can join you. Of course, you’ll have to wait there for us. It would be silly for you to go on and us not be with you, after all the trouble we’ve gone to.”  “Mom, why did you make Dad buy a motor home when I told you that I wanted to do this on my own?” Her mom said she’d done no such thing. “You said he didn’t want to but you told him to. Sounds to me like you made him.” “Well, if you’re going to be nasty about it, Bethany, perhaps you should just come on home and we can settle this here and not shouting at each other on the phone.” She told her that she wasn’t coming home. “I think that’s a wonderful idea, now that you mention it. I nearly forgot that it was Christmas in a few weeks. Either come home, so we can be together as a family, or we go there. It’s up to you, dear. It’s not that difficult for you to give me directions, is it? I’ll have your father map them out too, just to make sure we can get there in a reasonable time. You know how he is. But I’m thinking that if you come

back here, that would be wonderful too. You’ve been gone for so long. Also, I tried to get your things out of storage but the man in charge said no. He even called the police on me, if you can believe that. You’ll have to tell him that it’s all right for me to get in there. That way, when you get back here, everything will be just how you want it.” “No. I don’t want you bothering my things. I’m not coming back there, and for sure you are not going to come here. I know how you are, as does Dad. Mom, I’m not going to let you know where I am, nor am I going to do whatever else you have on that list in your head that no one messes with. I’m going to do this on my own, in my own way.” Her mother laughed then, that twittering sort of laughter that made her think her mom was humoring her. “Mom, can I speak to Dad? Please?” “He’s busy tinkering with the motor home. I told him that he should just let someone who knows what they’re doing mess with things, but he gets something in his head and he won’t stop until I have to make him.” Beth heard some paper moving around. “Now, I have a map and paper right here. Tell me what state you’re in and I can figure out from there how we can—” “Mom, Dad is an engineer. I’m pretty sure that he could do a better tinkering job than most of the people who actually built that thing could.” Her mom huffed. “I’d very much like to speak to Dad. I want to find out what you did to him to make him do this for you.” “What a thing to say to your own mother. You make it sound as if I stand over him with a whip and order him about.” Beth said she did. “I don’t know what you’re on right now, but you’ll not talk to me that way, Bethany. I am your mother. And don’t think I’ve not noticed that I don’t have that address yet.” “I know that you’re my mom. And he’s my dad. Now put him on the phone or I’ll hang up and you’ll not know what the doctor said to me.” There wasn’t any doctor, and she had no different news than she’d had six months ago. But her mother lived on having as much information as possible on her illness, as she called it, so she could tell all her friends. Beth was sure that every person in any place her mother went knew as much about her heart condition as her own doctor did. “Mom?” “I don’t think you’re being very civil to me, Bethany. And as soon as we get there, I’m going to make sure you realize how badly you hurt me. If you want to talk to your father, then fine. There is no reason for you to get snippy with me.” She heard the phone slam down on something hard and smiled. Beth was sure that, even though they had a cordless phone in every part of the house, her mom never went beyond the five or so feet from the base that she had done when there had been corded phones in the house. And Beth would bet all her money on the fact that it would never have occurred to her to take the cordless out to her father so that she could speak to him. Then when they were finished using the phone, no matter where they were when that occurred, she would put it right back in the cradle like she had always done before. “Hello, baby girl. How is life treating you?” And just like that, the weight of the world was lifted off her shoulders. When she started crying, she heard him speaking again. “Oh honey, don’t cry. I’m here for you. And if you give me just a minute, I’ll talk to you in my office.”

She heard her mom telling him not to be stupid, that she would like to hear the lies he was telling their daughter and to stay right where she could hear him. Mom even told him that if he did go into his office, he’d better not shut the door. Beth smiled when she heard it shut and the lock turn. “Dad, she’s going to be really pissed at you when you get back out there.” He only laughed and asked her what was going on. “Nothing. I just heard that Mom made you buy a camper. I’m so sorry.” “Don’t be. If things keep going like this, I might just start living out there in it. It’s a nice sucker. Have you worked out how the extensions come out yet? I swear to you, things get more and more complicated than they need to be.” She’d forgotten to extend the sides again. Not that it mattered…she had more than enough room. “I got the propane tanks filled today. Then I got me a few groceries to stash in it. I didn’t tell your mother, but I got them. I got the fridge all hooked up and cold. I even installed some solar panels on the top of it so that the batteries can be charged when we’re not using them. I’m betting you haven’t even turned on the telly, nor have you used that impressive stove that it has either, have you, darling?” “No. To all of it. But I did notice that I have one, if that makes a difference. And the microwave has been wonderful for my many flavors of soup, too. But if I were you, Dad, I’d do that. You should just get up one morning while she’s in bed and take a trip. Maybe not return.” He told her that he’d think on that. “I miss you, Daddy.” “And I you too. Are you feeling all right? Taking care, aren’t you?” She told him she was, just tired a lot more. “Yes, that’s what they told us would happen. You just take it easy. Oh, before I forget, I got me a cell phone today. I’ll give you the number and you can call me. I put it on vibrate so she doesn’t know about it, but I wanted to be able to talk to you when you wanted.” After she wrote down the number, they talked for another twenty minutes. By the time she closed off the connection, Beth was exhausted. As she was getting into bed, she realized that not once did he say that he wasn’t going to take off, nor did he ask her where she was. Beth loved her parents, but her dad was her world. ~~~ Remy looked at the sky and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Every day he expected Benton to come to them, show himself off, but nothing as yet. It had been nearly two weeks since the earth had let them know that he’d risen, and in that two weeks, none of them had dropped their guard. He looked over when he heard the clash of swords, and saw that it was a near war between Nate and Skylar. Both of them had come a long way in working out their differences. Mostly he thought it was due to Rick making the man come out of his shell, but Nate now joined them in more activities, and he had just started to have meals with them. He ate a great deal all the time because of what was done to him on the other realm, but he was getting that under control as well.  Whey, his own little faerie, he’d told Remy, landed on his shoulder, and Remy asked him if things were going well.

“Yes, my lord. And thank you ever so much for the greenhouse. It has cooled tempers a great deal to have something to keep busy with.” He told him that it had been Ryiah’s idea and Whey nodded. “I have a request, my lord. We should like to plan a party when the spring comes. We have not had one for a very long time, and I think it would be a good thing.” “Spring is several months away. You think you need that much time for me to approve it now?” He told him that he did. That flowers had to be ready for such an event. “I see. Well, yes, a party would be great. I was wondering about the tree. Have you found us some decorations for the big one that’s going up?” “We have. Oh, so many that will grace the tree. Some of the fireflies, they’ve said that they’d be our lights on it, and that will be a wonderful sight as well.” Remy tensed up when he saw Skylar hit the ground. “She is well, my lord. The earth, it takes good care of her should she fall again. See, even now it helps her to rise up. She will never be harmed in this play.” “I think she falls just to get me to run to her aid. What do you think?” Of course Whey disagreed with him, saying that Skylar wasn’t that mean. But when she turned and winked at them both, Remy laughed. “I think we’ve been had, Whey. My lovely mate is playing with our emotions.” “Women do that well, I think. My own bride, she is making me silly with her ways. Did I mention that the queen has picked us to work with the newborns when it is time for them to be born?” Remy nodded. He’d been told that at least twenty times an hour for the last several days. “She finally put up the list. Margo and I will be working with the roses. Such an honor, roses.” Remy had learned a great deal about flowers and faeries. First of all, not every bloom was filled with one of the tiny babes. The flower had to be kissed by a faerie that the queen had chosen. And while many worked for her, only a select few could give the flowers the babes that would eventually work for her too. Also, and this one was a shock to him as well, brownies were the babies that were forgotten or missed. Some of them would fall into the earth when the flower opened, but a great many of them would take wing as soon as the sun opened the blooms and find themselves a place to work with and for children. This was where imaginary friends came from. The brownies would live with them until the children no longer needed them. Remy wondered still if a child born of this current world would ever not need them.  “I meant to ask you. When the brownies are no longer needed by the children, what do they do? I mean, they’re still around, correct?” Whey assured him that they were. “But where do they go?” “To live with the elders of your kind. There are a great many of them—the elders, I mean—that have no one but the brownies that come to visit them. Some stay until they pass on, others visit and talk with a few at a time. The brownies serve a great function in your world that humans at a certain age never know about.” Remy thought that was the nicest thing he’d heard in a long while, and told his friend that. “Thank you, my lord. Should you see one, an elder, watch how they smile for no reason. It is the brownie telling them a story so that they will not be sad.”

Remy decided that he’d make sure to thank the queen for such a service to the humans, both young and old. As they made their way to the couple that were still at play, Remy decided that he’d very much like to have a few of the little people come and live with he and Skylar. When they were finished with the war, he wanted to settle down and have a houseful of them around. Mostly to talk to—they were extremely intelligent—but also because they made him feel good. Not just physically, but also mentally. “I’ve something to show you when you have a moment.” Remy told Nate that now was a good time. “It’s my tat. The one that I was telling you about. We’re to have company. And I’m not sure what to do about it.” “What do you mean? Benton? He’s coming?” Nate shook his head and pulled his shirt over his head and turned. The tat was moving, and Remy was nearly sick with it. When it settled, he didn’t see much until Skylar pointed out that there were twelve now, not eleven on his back. “Your mate is coming? Is that what you’re telling me? Good job, Nate. You’ll be happy as—” “No, a woman is coming. Just because every other female that has come here has turned out to be someone’s mate, doesn’t mean that she’s for me. I don’t know what I’d do with a mate.” When he started to ask him again what he meant, Skylar put her hand on his arm. She told him to wait. “I’ve things to do, so I thank you, Skylar, for the lesson.” When he was gone, Remy looked at Skylar for an explanation. “He is so large, have you noticed that? And with his size comes certain things that frighten him.” It took him a moment to understand. His size would frighten most men, he thought. Then he thought of all the things that might make a mate be fearful of you. “He thinks to harm her during sex.” Even though it wasn’t a question, she told him that was it. “I don’t see him hurting her. Whatever has happened to him, he won’t harm her. He must know that it’s not possible should he even think he would.” “He’s aware of that. He won’t want to harm her, but he’s terrified that he will. He’s fearful of crushing her.” It took Remy a minute to get what she meant and his face heated. “Even after all the ways you have taken me, against any hard surface you can put me on, you still get embarrassed when I talk about sex with you? Remy, you’re a child at heart, I think.” “I’m a man that isn’t used to such talk from someone. While you and I have a healthy relationship, I try my best not to think of the rest of them having it. Aye, I know that they do, like rabbits, but I don’t think about the physical aspect of it.” When she giggled he smiled at her. “You’re such an old man. I think that’s what I love about you. How you can be so prudish one minute and like a sexed crazed animal the next?” She wrapped her arms around him and he held her to his body. She looked at his shoulder and he only just remembered they had company. “Whey, ‘tis time you found your own mate.”  The little faerie laughed and said he would do just that. When he was gone, Remy lifted his mate into his arms and took them to their room. It was time to show his little woman just how sexed crazed he really was. “I love you, Rembrandt. With all that I am.” He kissed her then and felt his heart fill with her words. “When you touch me like this, even when you need it as much as I do, I

can’t think of a single reason for us to be apart. I need you as much as I do air in my lungs.” Remy thought him the luckiest man in the world. And when she kissed him, he felt his heart fill once again with her love and nearly wept with his need for her. Before he took her to the bed, he pulled her back from him just far enough to get her attention. He needed her to understand something that he’d been thinking about for days now. “I should like to have many children with you. Not to replace the ones that I lost, but to have our love bonded in a way that I never had with my first mate. She was everything to me, don’t get me wrong, but you are so much more. Watching you grow fat with a child of ours? You cannot know what that thought does for me.” He kissed her again and watched her face. “Remy, I swear to you that sometimes the words that come from your mouth are enough to melt even the coldest of hearts.” He grinned at her. “Yes, having children with you, watching you play with them and hold them, is all I think about when I’m alone. When I see you with the other children in the compound, I want to have you fill me with one of our own. To have a son or daughter would fulfill me in ways that I never thought possible, so long as you are there beside me to help me nurture and love them.” “And I shall be, my love. For the rest of all our lives.” He lifted her chin up to see her beautiful face. “We have avoided the conversation that has been haunting us for days now. Would you like to discuss it now?” “No. Not yet. I know what I want to do in my head, but not in my heart just yet.” He understood that. It was the same for him. “After. I want to talk about it after.” “All right.”  Taking her to their bed, he stripped her down to her bare skin. Each part of her, every inch of her skin, was marked by some unknown magic. Kissing her now, he knew that someday they’d know what they were here for, why something had chosen them for this task. But for now, at this moment, he wanted to make love to his mate. Remy knew they had plenty of time to talk about the other.  Sliding his cock deep into her, he grinned when she screamed out her first of what he knew was going to many releases. He too would enjoy her. For now, they were just a normal couple having an afternoon of fun.

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
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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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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.