Oneyroi D'Naktmerié is a product of the Northern Installation, designed to be the stuff of nightmares. At fourteen his abilities proved deadly, and he shuts them away terrified of how uncontrollable his power is. He refuses to bond as that could unleash the dangerous abilities constantly roiling inside of him. Naktmerié's only pleasure now is spending the night with whatever willing woman catches his eye. Never spending more than one night with each.
Until he meets Shae, the Speyressa of Uanty. Naktmerié is the only one who can save her. Can he trust her enough to form the mental bond that will save her? Or will a forced bond drive her to madness?
undetected--just for fun, of course--Lachlan stumbles across Thad--his mate. Unfortunately, the wild turkey shifter is standoffish and brusque. He doesn't trust Lachlan and makes no secret that he thinks the mate-pull is nothing but a trick of the pheromones--something he is determined to ignore. Lachlan loves a good puzzle and is undeterred. He admires Thad's loyalty and uses his extensive wiles to cultivate a little of that for himself. When Lachlan is injured wrapping up a case, will it be the catalyst his mate uses to reject Lachlan--his job could bring danger to his flock, after all--and send him on his way?
Finally spotting the manor between the trees, Lachlan paused. The lawn and bushes were well manicured, and the water from the fountains tinkled in the distance. Taking stock of the shadows created by the flowering trees dotting the area, he wondered if he could make it without being spotted.
Maybe if I shift and keep low to the ground…
“Take one more step toward my flock’s home, and it’ll be the last mistake you ever make.”
Lachlan couldn’t remember the last time someone had snuck up on him. Hiding his shock, he controlled his pulse and kept his composure. How the hell did a guard get the drop on me? Slowly, Lachlan turned…and just about swallowed his tongue.
The hottest guy he’d ever seen was standing less than ten feet behind him…and he was naked.
His mouth watering, Lachlan took in the stranger’s broad shoulders and thickset body. He sported a heavily muscled frame, and his light chest hair trickled down across a delectable set of abdominals to a dark-blond treasure trail. That bit of hair cradled a beautiful piece of man-meat.
Lachlan licked his lips before grinning widely at the dark-blond-haired stranger. “How about I take a step toward you then?” He couldn’t help the way his voice took on a husky rumble. Lachlan loved sex, and he hadn’t gotten a chance to fuck or be fucked in months. Giving the guard a hungry leer, he offered, “I don’t recall Councilman Goldstein’s guards going nude, but I gotta say…I like the change.”
Unable to hide his thoughts, Lachlan grinned broadly as he rubbed his palm down his own polo-shirt-covered chest. “Well?” He took that step he’d mentioned. “I really do need to see Councilman Goldstein, but I think I could spare time for a tussle.”
While Lachlan figured it was a bad idea—thinking with his dick—he couldn’t seem to resist. There was something about the glowering, dark-blond male. Something that--
With that one step, the stranger’s scent hit Lachlan’s senses. His instant attraction and his thickening cock made sense. Tipping his head to the side just a little, Lachlan grinned broadly at the man who still hadn’t responded.
He seemed to be too busy eyeing Lachlan warily.
And doesn’t that suck?
“You are my mate, handsome.” Lachlan decided to just throw it out there. Lifting a hand toward him, he took another step. “I’m Lachlan Addair. And who might you be?”
“Not interested,” the broad-shouldered man responded gruffly. He crossed his arms over his chest and frowned at him, pointedly ignoring Lachlan’s hand. “Tell me why you’re sneaking in the back way, and I’ll tell the guards you cooperated.”
Hmm, not a guard then? And what does not interested mean?
Lowering his hand, Lachlan decided to play ball. This was his mate, after all. “I’m an investigator for the Shifter Council,” he told the stranger, hoping for some relaxation to his stance. “I came in the back way to gauge defenses…because it’s fun.” Lachlan shrugged, grinning broadly at his mate. “Consider it an exercise that has turned into an obsession. I love finding holes in defenses, and since my job requires me to infiltrate packs to spy on them, I’m extremely good at it.”
“Fine, and why are you here?”
“I’m here to give a report to Councilman Goldstein in person.” Lachlan suddenly realized how strange it was to find a shifter other than a guard wandering the grounds, especially since the man before him wasn’t a lion shifter. If Lachlan’s nose wasn’t mistaken, his mate was some kind of avian. “What about you, my mate?” Lachlan said, deciding to push. “What are you doing wandering the councilman’s grounds?”
“M’name’s Thad,” the avian shifter responded gruffly. “Use it, ’cause I ain’t yours. And I live here.”
Unable to let it go, Lachlan drew another step closer. He saw the tension in Thad’s frame, so kept his hands away from his sides, his palms out in placation. “You are my mate, however, so why are you refusing to acknowledge our connection?” Lachlan couldn’t help but glance down, admiring the way Thad’s thick dick had begun to fill, plumping and extending from his groin. Lifting his gaze to meet Thad’s hazel, narrow-eyed gaze, Lachlan added, “I am yours just as you are mine.”
Thad scoffed, his lip curling in a derisive sneer. “Mating is nothin’ but a trick of the pheromones, and I sure as hell ain’t gonna be run by such fickle instincts.” He pointed in the other direction. “Hands on your head and walk toward the fountain.”
Mentally reeling in shock upon hearing the vehemence in Thad’s tone, Lachlan did as his mate instructed. He lifted his hands, folding his fingers on top of his head, and started toward the nearest fountain.
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Nathaniel Stockton and Grover Silas Ranger are faced with the ultimate test to their relationship when the Project Mars Lottery comes to town. Nate wins a chance to have his dreams come true: to live and work on the red planet with his love. Yet his husband, Ranger, doesn't see the point of going from one bad place to another. But an evil organization called Sector has a completely different idea for the couple.
Kidnapped, experimented on, impregnated, and sent to Mars, Nate realizes too late he trusted the wrong people.
Ranger fights to find a way to Nate. Will he make it to his love before their dreams and lives are irrevocably broken by distance, a pregnancy, and the corrupt agency?
Be Warned: m/m sex, MPREG
The phone rang, dragging Nate from his thoughts.
“I’m gonna put it on screen,” Ranger called out from the kitchen.
The wall flashed to life, and a dark-haired man with dark eyes, appeared. The stranger reminded Nate of the doctor at the lottery exams—lab coat, stethoscope, well-groomed—but this man was older and seemed to have an edge to him.
“Hey,” Nate greeted. “What can I do for you?”
“Am I speaking with Nathaniel Curtis Stockton?”
“Yeah.” Nate took a swig of his drink.
“Wonderful.” The man smiled but the expression didn’t reach his eyes. “I am Doctor Rafael Trask. I am one of the lead scientists in a series of special clinical studies being performed. I understand you failed the medical section of the lottery exams?”
“Yeah.” The guy’s voice sounded cool … exact. Combined with the discord of his face, Nate sensed an air of danger surrounding the man. Creeped out, Nate was hesitant to say too much.
“Well, first off, let me say, we are not associated with the lottery. But should you participate in our studies you may have another chance at traveling to and settling on Mars. We also offer outstanding compensation. Despite whether you are or are not picked for travel, you will pretty much be set for life.”
Ranger strolled into the room and sat beside Nate, twirling the comm-wand between his fingers. “What are these studies?”
The man’s eyes narrowed. “Who are you?”
“His husband,” Ranger answered. “Whatever he’s to be involved in, wherever he’s going, I’ll be at his side. What’s all this about?”
Doctor Trask leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers together. He looked down his nose at the camera on his comm device, appearing to contemplate what Ranger had said and giving Ranger a once-over. The doctor reminded Nate of a vulture.
“Okay,” Trask said. “Like I was about to mention to Mister Stockton, we are trying to find cures for people who did not pass the medical aspects of the lottery exams due to their diseases. We are also looking into the sterility epidemic and chromosomal changes in the female population.”
“Could you hold a moment?” Nate asked, grabbing the wand from Ranger and muting the call. He pointed the wand at the screen. “Do you think this is legit?”
“Yeah. It could be.”
“It might be the answer to our Mars problem.” Nate smiled, feeling a glimmer of warm hope spring up within him again.
“Perhaps. Should we see what’s what with it?”
Nate unmuted the call. “What if we say we’re interested?”
The doctor lifted a corner of his mouth. “I will digitize a package of information to you, and then we will be in touch with further instructions.”
“Well,” Ranger said, “count us interested.”
“Wonderful,” the doctor drawled.
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only made him want him more. By the time he caught up to Cullen, Ulf knew, without a doubt, the druid was destined to be his. Now he just needed to convince Cullen of that.
As Cullen and Ulf join their friends to fight the monsters from the realm of the Fae, they find there is a new threat waiting to get through the Veil. A threat they might not be able to defeat. Will Ulf & Cullen get their chance at happily ever after, or will the Fae finally succeed in their quest to destroy the veil?
It was becoming a contest of who had more. For Cullen, it was bullets. For the Fae, it was monsters. He still wasn’t sure the Veil had been sealed. Based on the fact that no matter how many of these things he mowed down, they kept coming, told him there was a good chance it hadn’t. That, or they’d sent hundreds to ensure this time they didn’t fail.
It was obvious who was losing, and it wasn’t the Unseelie. His only hope was, when he died, Ky would open up the fifty calibers and mow the motherfuckers down.
He dove for another automatic weapon when the one he had been using jammed. But he was surrounded, with little chance of killing them all before at least one of them got to him.
“Get down,” a deep voice rumbled over the roar of the fire and the shrieks of the dying Unseelie.
Cullen didn’t hesitate. He dropped to the ground, wrapping his hands over his head as he prayed whoever had come knew what the hell he had walked into. If not, he would be one more casualty Cullen would take to his grave. At least the guilt of this one wouldn’t haunt him since he’d be just as dead.
Gunfire opened up above him. The deafening roar was similar to what he’d already experienced when he’d been the one shooting. When it stopped, Cullen opened his eyes to find dozens of mutilated bodies surrounding him.
Then a hand appeared, a human one, as if offering him help up. Cullen turned his head to look up and blinked. Then blinked again. He’d seen a lot of crazy shit the past six weeks, things that he still had trouble wrapping his brain around.
He’d thought the monsters that were intent on killing his family. Horrible, disfigured creatures that resembled pieces and bits of animals from earth, yet in combinations that had stunned Cullen the night of the Winter Solstice. It had been what gave the beasts the advantage, for his whole family had been frozen in terror as the first creature had just appeared out of thin air.
A mix of scales, fur, and slime had covered its body. Long razor sharp teeth extended from its mouth, giving it a fearsome grimace. It had giant hooves on its extremities with three four inch claws extending from them. Nothing about it had been anything like they’d seen before.
For Cullen, this moment was similar. All he could say, was the man was definitely human. But nothing else about the moment seemed real. Because the man stood there in tight fitting pants that showed off his muscled thighs and ass to perfection. He didn’t wear a shirt, allowing Cullen to get his fill of thick arms that looked like they could break Cullen in half. He had a broad chest with just enough hair to make Cullen’s fingers itch to feel.
His gaze went to the man’s waist. He counted the eight-pack abs twice, just to be sure he wasn’t imagining the delicious sight of all that chiseled muscle that shouldn’t be possible.
“Like what you see?” the stranger asked.
Cullen hadn’t meant to lick his lips, but then again who could blame him? The man was pure sex with just enough wickedness to make Cullen want to worship every damn inch.
But it was his longer hair that reached almost his shoulders that really stunned him. It was wild and unkempt, just like the man if Cullen had to guess. Even better, probably an indication of how the man fucked. If Cullen was sure he wasn’t going crazy, he would swear the man looked like a medieval warrior.
“Who the hell are you?” Cullen finally asked, sure his mind had to playing tricks. Maybe he’d died and this was his reward for fighting to save his family.
“Fuck,” Cullen swore as he remembered the others. Pushing to his feet, he took off across the yard to the barn.
As he entered, he made sure not to set off any of the booby traps that were set the moment the others had entered the safe room. “Ky,” he yelled, knowing she’d be able to hear him through the speakers he’d had installed. “Are there more?”
Before she could answer, a gun when off right behind him. Cullen spun on his heel.
The stranger stared at him, his dark eyes wide with surprise even as his hand went to the hole that was in his chest. “You shot me,” he accused.
Remorse slammed through Cullen. There was no way the guy could survive that. It was a near perfect shot to the man’s heart. When the guy stumbled to the ground, Cullen went to him and tried to put pressure over the wound, but he knew it was too late.
The guy may have looked like a medieval warrior, but a hole in the heart would kill even him.
“Sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean for you to die.”
When the man laughed, causing him to cough violently, spitting up some blood, Cullen hadn’t expected him to say, “Good thing it will take more than a gun to kill me, trouble.”
Huh? Dude had to be out of his damn mind. Oh, wait. He was dying. Clearly he was in denial. Since it was technically Cullen’s fault, he really should try and be nice. But he didn’t have time.
“’K, but I need to get my family to safety. So…” Damn, he really sucked at this whole being nice thing. “Good luck,” he finally said.
Then he stood up to find his cousin and sister doing their best to shield Bryce from the bloody man. “Come on,” he told them. “We gotta get moving.”
He hated leaving the man who saved his life like that, but he was going to die no matter what Cullen did. It would just be another sin Cullen would need to
To ENTER: Comment on what you liked about the sneak peek of A Menacing Tempest. For extra entries, share this post using the Facebook and Twitter buttons below.
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Menacing tempest by Shea Balik: Elf
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Men fall in love, but never like this.
The job was to pick up and deliver an RV trailer up the East Coast, but there was a catch. Coming along for the ride home was Courtney Habberman—the most revered goddess ever to walk the halls of Holchester High School. It was ten years later, but she still turned me into a babbling pile of protein.
That all changed when we got stuck in Foggy Bend—a place that put us on an even level. A few days of immersion in a culture so dissimilar to our own brought out profound changes in us both. We learned what we could become if we put our faith in one another, but first, we had to learn that faith requires compromise.
The ride was more frightening than the one to Daphne’s apartment. I never thought a beat-up Subaru could do the things she made that one do, so I kept my head down and looked at the road through the hole in the floorboards.
Daphne made a hard turn into the small parking lot next to the footbridge and skidded into a spot. “I’ll get the microphone working,” she said, flinging her door open. “You lay on the charm. Let’s go.”
I followed her across the bridge and down the wooded path, not having any idea what to say. We weaved through the thickening afternoon crowd and made our way to the podium at the amphitheater.
“Ugh!” Daphne grunted, tugging on the locked cabinet beneath the stand. Fishing through her pocket, she pulled out a wire clip and squatted down. “Single tumbler Chinese junk,” she muttered while straightening the wire and sticking it in the slot. “They shoulda’ just used scotch tape.”
She pulled off the lock a moment later. Opening the cabinet, she handed me the microphone and ran the cord over to the back of the stage. Feedback shrieked when she plugged it in, turning a few heads. I winced and covered the microphone with one hand while adjusting the volume with the other. The speakers thumped when I tapped, drawing more attention from passersby.
“H-hello?” I fumbled. “Citizens of Caswell Creek and Foggy Bend, would you, uh…I could use some help.”
A few folks stopped to look on as I searched for words. “I’m looking for someone. I—I think she’s still here. It’s not an emergency or anything. Well, kind of, b-but don’t call the police or…or Martha…unless there’s an old law still on the books.”
Daphne cleared her throat to get my attention, then mimicked being choked. Drawing in a deep breath, I closed my eyes and squeezed the microphone as hard as I could. “Courtney,” I called out. “I need to talk to you. If you’re here, please come to the band shell so we can talk.”
“Hey!” Janet’s gruff voice bellowed from somewhere in the distance. “It’s lover boy from last night! He’s at the stage.”
I surveyed the grounds, watching the foot traffic move along. Most folks paid no heed, but a few people started showing up in front of me. They gathered by ones and twos at first, calling others to gather. Groups of three and more followed, forming a familiar semi-circle.
“He’s got Daphne with him this time,” an older fellow called out. “Sly devil.”
“N-no, she’s my…” I turned back and nodded to Daphne. “She’s my friend. She’s here for moral support.”
“Watcha’ need support for? You afraid of something?”
“I know,” Earle shouted as he waddled up. “He lost that cute gal he was with last night.” Taking off his cap, he gave a slight bow. “Hey, Daphne. You’re lookin’ sweet as always.”
“Thanks, Earle,” she acknowledged.
“So, what the heck happened?” the old gent queried through the thickening crowd. “You couldn’t perform?”
“No! I mean y-yes I could, but—”
“The idiot probably didn’t tell her he loves her,” Janet huffed, crossing her arms. “Ain’t that right, Sparky?”
“Betcha are. You ready to say it now?”
“Yes. I just hoped…I guess I’m hoping if she sees the crowd, she may come and talk.”
“Hope you’re not using these good folks to shame her,” the Wood Man scoffed. “If you’ve got somethin’ to say, just come out and say it.” He tipped his cowboy hat and nodded. “Hey, Miss Daphne.”
“Hey, Wood Man,” Daphne squeaked with a cute smile. “Don’t worry. He’s gonna say it.”
“So, say it!” the trash guy yelled from his cart behind the crowd.
Crushing pressure gripped my throat at the sight of people turning to disperse. My pulse pounded my eardrums at their disdainful complaints. “Courtney!” I bellowed. “I love you! I swear I do! I should have told you, but you’re so damn pretty I’m afraid of you. I loved you the day you caught me under Sarah’s hood. I guess I screwed up that wiring because—”
“Stick with the love stuff,” Missy complained. “You suck at mechanics. We’ve been through this.”
“Thanks, Missy,” I replied. “So, Courtney, I know you’re confused. I know your family hates me, but I don’t care. I think if…if we talked, we could get past that.”
“Touching.” Eric’s voice boomed as he split the crowd. “You’re the better man, Sari, but we both struck out. I’d give you a mulligan if I thought it’d help.”
“Keep yer hands off Sparky,” Janet warned. “Just tell him where he can find her.”
“Doesn’t anyone play golf around here?” I asked.
“How can you think about golf at a time like this?”
“Yeah,” the trash man added. “You should be looking for this Mulligan girl.”
“Never mind,” I said with a sigh. “Eric’s right. I blew it, and I wanted a do-over.”
“So, where is she?” the Wood Man asked.
Eric shook his head. “She made me promise not to tell.”
“Out with it, Eric,” Daphne demanded, hands on her hips.
“I took her over to Fallwood and left her at the shuttle connector.”
“Fallwood?” Earle piped up. “That’s a rinky-dink little operation. It’s just a shuttle service that catches the bus lines. They only run north every few hours…up to Hagerstown. When did you drop her off?”
Eric looked at his watch. “Forty-five minutes, give or take a few.”
“She’d be gone before I could get there,” I lamented, hanging my head.
“Quit bein’ such a sad-sack,” the trash guy scoffed. “I’ll drive ya to the bridge. Get in yer damn truck and go after her.”
The crowd made way as I ran to the cart and jumped in the passenger seat to shouts of approval. We weaved down the thoroughfare, beeping the horn and hollering. I held my seat as the cart bounced down the wooded path and up to the bridge.
“Better move,” the guy urged. “Fallwood’s right beside the highway. You gotta drive around Long Swamp and loop back around.”
“Wish me luck,” I hollered back while running across the bridge.
It had been a few years since I had run at full speed, and my legs let me know it. Chug-a-lugging my way along, I damn near ran into Rufus clearing brush from the roadside culvert. Once I gave him a quick explanation, he had me hop on his ATV and buzzed me the rest of the way to the hangar.
Digging in my pocket, I tugged out my keys, then jumped in the truck and tapped on Sally. Not knowing the terminal’s address, I typed 100 Mainstreet, Fallwood West VA to get me into town.
Turn right, Sally’s computer voice chimed through the cab. Drive twelve point five miles on Long Swamp Road, then turn left on Caswell Trail.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Rufus scowled through the open window. “Don’t do it.”
“You know I have to, Rufus.”
He sighed and nodded. “Yeah, I know.”
Dropping my truck in gear, I slung gravel around the right turn past the hedge. In another thousand feet, I rounded to the left and came to a halt, staring over the hood and squeezing the wheel tight. With a foghorn holler, I blew across the footbridge and through the parking lot, then down the dirt road toward Caswell Trail.
To ENTER: Comment below on what you liked about the sneak peek of Winning Her Over. For extra entries, share this post using the Facebook and Twitter buttons below.
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He had surprised her with his questions. When she’d first met him at the portal, he looked like nothing but a cyborg with ice cubes in his head. He didn’t seem so cold now. There was a human behind that façade, one with an inquiring mind.
She studied the area looking for any signs the insurgents may have passed this way. The sand had given way to plants and greenery, and there was a large expanse of tall grasses, some of the stalks bent and broken. They made their way through, following the path that had been cut through the vegetation until finally, they came to a forest. The brush and trees were so thick it made it hard to see where the radicals may have entered.
“There is no sign of them. No tracks, broken branches… Nothing.” Ninety-one sounded frustrated. “The fact that it is dark isn’t helping. My vision is enhanced but it sure as hell isn’t x-ray. I can’t see through the trees.”
“Maybe that is a good thing.” She gave him a sidelong glance. The look on his face made her breath hitch and her skin prickle—hiseyes weren’t chips of ice, but molten blue fire. Nudity didn’t bother her, but the very idea that he could possibly see through her suit made her skin heat in a very intriguing way. Focus on the mission, girl. Hell, I don’t even like the man. “You take the right, and I’ll go left. Look for signs of broken or trampled foliage. We’ll meet back here.”
She ordered the bot to stay put.
She trudged through the grass, following the tree line, searching for any sign of their targets. She had gone quite a way but had no luck finding anything. She hurried back to find Ninety-one already waiting for her.
He motioned for her to follow him. “This way. I found evidence of them entering the forest further down.”
“Good. We need to make as much headway as we can before daylight.”
Ninety-one led her along the edge of the forest. When they reached their destination, she could see that the resistance group had left a clear path of disturbed foliage and broken branches. They followed it until they came to a vast, open veld of mainly dirt. There was little or no shrubbery and only a few small patches of grass.
“If we cross this, they’ll be able to spot us.” Ninety-one’s gaze was trained on the field.
Twenty-four studied the veld noting a definite path of bushes large enough to hide them. “Not necessarily. It’s still quite dark, andthere are shrubs here and there that will give us some cover. Unless they have cybernetic vision, they wouldn’t see us that easily. We’ll leave the bot here.”
She darted to the first bush, then turned to Ninety-one, motioning for him to follow, when he drew up beside her, the heat radiating from his body made her skin prickle and her pulse kick up a notch. What in the hell was wrong with her? Was she attracted to him? Surely not!
He peered around the bush and gestured to the ground that had been disturbed. “Why were the rebels this careless? A child could track them. A trained militia wouldn’t leave such an obvious trail.”
Twenty-four nodded. “Yes. I have a feeling it’s a ploy to throw off those in pursuit. It could possibly be a trap, but not for us. No one knows about the portal. They couldn’t know about our arrival.” She turned and pushed against his chest. “Back up.”
He inched backward. “What do you have in mind?”
“I think we should backtrack. No sense in us getting caught in their trap. As of now, we have the edge.”
“Then let’s do this. We will have better cover in the forest.” He gestured to the tree line.
She backtracked and hid among the trees where the bot was hidden, then turned to watch Ninety-one make one last leap into the cover of the trees beside her. After scanning the brush and branches a moment, she motioned for him to follow.
They walked in silence, making their way through the thick brush being careful to hide their tracks. Twenty-four thanked her lucky stars that the rust bucket of a bot had been lubricated. Its squeaky joints would have alerted any insurgents or guards of their location. They had gone quite a distance when the cracking of branches and footsteps echoed through the silence of the forest. They quickly hid behind the trunk of a huge tree, keeping the bot between them.
Twenty-four peered around the tree, her gaze locking on a group of soldiers emerging from behind a thicket of large bushes. Their boots crunched in the leaves while they moved down the path she and Ninety-one had just come, toward the veld.
“I think they’re the king’s soldiers.” She kept her voice low as to not alert the soldiers of their presence.
“Yes. They have the king’s insignia on their uniforms. They are headed straight for the trap,” he whispered.
She shook her head. With the noise the troop made trudging through the forest, they deserved to succumb to the trap. “They are on their own. Besides, we can’t reveal ourselves to warn them.”
They watched from behind their tree until the soldiers disappeared into the brush and trees. They waited until the forest was silent again. The only sounds Twenty-four could hear was the rustling of leaves in the wind.
“I can’t see or hear them anymore.” Even with her enhanced vision, it was difficult to see more than a few feet beyond the path. The thick canopy of branches and leaves kept the moon from illuminating the forest.
“We need to get moving.” Ninety-one placed his hand on her shoulder.
His touch felt like a jolt of lighting throughout her body. Every nerve in her body tingled. When his fingers slipped up her neck and teased her hair, she turned to look at him.
“I have never felt anything so soft.” His gaze locked on hers, his fingers still toying with the mauve strands near her cheek. “The colors are beautiful.”
Her breath hitched, and her heart pounded hard in her chest. The tingling sensation became an ache deep within. She wanted—no needed to touch him, too. She hesitantly reached out to trace her fingers along the hard lines of his jaw. Gunfire sounded in the distance causing her to yank her hand away.
She took a deep breath and rubbed her face with her hands. What in the hell was she thinking? She had a mission to complete. “We need to get the hell out of here.”
She moved forward, sure that Ninety-one and the bot would follow her. Shouts filled the silence, as well as the sound of hand to hand combat and the rapid burst of shots fired. The soldiers had to have fallen into the trap. The sounds of the battle faded as they moved deeper into the forest.
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Annie used to believe in all that happily ever after crap, until the day she found out her Prince Charming husband was a conman with a wandering eye. On the same day she booted him to the curb, an alien fleet double-parked over Earth and life as she knew it ended. To survive she joined a militia unit and used her unique physic powers to fight off the alien invaders. She was so successful she earned the swell nickname of the Grim Reaper. Now she must fight for her own freedom because Saul Jones, a Coletti-hybrid warlord, has decided she’s his and he won’t stop until he possesses her.
General Saul Jones has his hands full. Not only is he a four-star Marine general, he’s also a Coletti warlord. To complicate matters, he’s the Coletti Overlord’s liaison to Earth and one of the patriarchs of “the” Jones clan. Raising his blood pressure even more is his teenage psychic daughter who has found her mate before she’s of legal age. Can you say raging hormones? Not to mention the headaches of dealing with all the interspecies head-butting and Central Command. He has a million and one things needing his attention and at long last he discovers the other half of his soul. Annie Russell aka the Grim Reaper. Instead of running into his arms, Annie’s running as far and fast as she can.
General Jones released us, and his helmet slid back. “Annie Russell you’ve got some ‘splaining to do.”
I felt the color drain from my face. “What do you mean?”
“You, my dear, are psychic and I know for a fact you’ve never registered.” General Jones relieved me of my laser rifle and placed it on his desk. “That is a breach of penal code 245.”
I eyed the General’s muscular frame. In hand-to-hand combat, I’d lose. Good thing I cheated. Before I could attack him, Casey stepped in front of me.
“For God’s sake, leave her alone. Please. She’s done her duty.”
Anger flared to life in the General’s eyes. “You knew Annie was psychic and didn’t reported her?”
“Uh, I’ve been kinda busy lately. You know bailing out of a flaming C130 cargo plane, fighting the Rodan and locating my mate.”
With pure iron in his voice, the General stated, “I’m docking your pay five hundred credits for violation of penal code 451.”
Casey let out a squawk of outrage. “What? That’s not fair.”
“Back off.” I pushed Casey to one side and went to toe-to-toe with her uncle. “Casey has nothing to do with this.”
“She’s required by law to report any psychic females to Central Command.”
“This isn’t Nazi Germany or is it?” I gave her uncle the Nazi’s palm out salute, barely missing his nose. “Sieg Heil!”
The muscles bunched in the General’s jaw. “That smart mouth isn’t amusing. Get your butt down to registration. Once you’ve filled out the proper paperwork and been chipped you will report back to me.”
“No,” I stated.
General Jones bared his rather awesome fangs. “No?”
“You hard of hearing old man? I am not getting chipped like some fucking animal and I don’t care how many laws the Overlord has enacted since he took over.”
“You will do as I say,” General Jones growled.
“Think you can make me old man?”
“Are you challenging me?” The General was all predator.
“Holy shit!” Casey grabbed my arm and dragged me away. “No. She’s not.”
I broke free and turned to face the General. “Yes, I am. I can take this old fart.”
“No, you can’t,” Casey assured me. “Provoking a warlord is a really bad idea. Believe me, it never ends well.”
“They call me the Reaper for a reason,” I retorted, never taking my eyes off her uncle.
General Jones laughed like it was the funniest thing he had ever heard. “The Reaper?”
“Doesn’t Zarek need you back at Old Tucson? Just think of all the Rodan that still need killing,” Casey said desperately.
We both ignored her.
“Reaper, as in when I leave a battle field nothing remains, but the dead,” I answered.
“Why haven’t I heard of you?”
“The dead tell no tales.”
“A nice little fairy tale. Apologize suitably and go to registration. If you don’t, I’m putting you over my knee and tanning your behind. You’ll also spend the next thirty days in lockup.”
Casey took one look at my furious expression and backed way. Women were so much smarter than men.
General Jones advanced on me.
Dropping my shields, I summoned a psychic stun grenade and hurled it at the General. I felt it slam against his very impressive shields.
The General staggered backward as the mental concussion blasted his inner ear. and swayed unsteadily.
Upping the wattage, I hurled another grenade and waited for it to knock him on his ass.
“I will find you,” the General gritted, before falling to the floor.
“Oh, my God!” Casey kneeled by her uncle and checked his pulse.
“Relax, he’s not dead. I just rattled his brain a bit,” I reassured her.
“How long before he wakes up?”
I shrugged. “Ten to fifteen minutes.” I swiped a new recruit’s security badge off his desk and quickly stuffed it in my pocket.
Casey jumped up, grabbed my hand and tugged me out of the room. “You need to get far, far away from here.”
“I have a place to go. I’ve been preparing for this ever since the Coletti came to our world and started taking psychic women.”
“Shhh. Don’t tell me anything. The Overlord seems to know everything I do.” Casey herded me down the hallway and into the women’s locker room. “Good thing everyone’s at Old Tucson or you would be toast.” She opened a locker and pulled out some sweat pants and an over-sized t-shirt. “Put these on, you’ll attract too much attention in the saloon girl getup.”
I quickly changed. “I can never thank you enough.”
“Don’t thank me. All I’m doing is giving you a head start. Just remember, Coletti warlords never, ever stop hunting their prey.” Casey peeped out into the hallway. “The coast is clear. I can get you off the base, but after that you’re on your own.”
“How much trouble are you going to be in?”
“Trouble? Me? Nah.” Casey sniggered before adding, “Don’t worry, Hothar will protect me.”
“From what?” Hothar inquired from behind us. We both shrieked and jumped about a foot.
“Geezus! Don’t sneak up on us like that,” Casey gasped.
A worried frown knitted my brow. Why hadn’t I sensed him?
“What am I protecting you from?”
Casey and I exchanged worried glances and in unison said, “The Rodan.”
Hothar frowned. “There are no Rodan on this base.”
“See Annie, nothing to worry about.”
I clasped my hands to my chest. “Silly me.”
We speed walked toward the exit.
“Where are you going?” Hothar easily kept pace with us.
“Annie needs to check on her grandmother,” Casey lied.
“Yes! My grandmother. She has a heart problem. It upsets her when the sirens go off,” I improvised.
“The sirens didn’t go off in Tucson,” Hothar said.
“Really?” A hysterical giggle broke from Casey. “Imagine that.”
Hothar stepped in front of us. “What is going on?”
“Nothing.” Casey climbed him, wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed Hothar hungrily. She made a shooing gestured at me.
Not being a dummy, I hurried out the exit.
A terrifying battle cry startled a flock of pigeons, sending them airborne.
The chase was on.
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damage he caused so many others, but he longs to rise like a true warrior in the pursuit of forgiveness and a second chance. There’s nothing he isn’t willing to do to win back his son–and Bridget.
When an old cell mate’s daughter dies under mysterious circumstances in foster care, Adam begs Bridget to help him uncover the truth. Bound to the plight of the Indigenous children in care, Bridget agrees. But putting herself in contact with Adam threatens to resurrect her long-buried feelings for him, and even worse, she risks losing care of Kyle, by falling for a man who might destroy her faith in love completely this time.
“Heard you’re going to a meeting tonight.” The punk, Logan, plopped on the couch.
Adam rubbed his full stomach and checked the clock on the wall of the lounge. Six-thirty. The meeting started in an hour. Perfect timing, because he’d have a half an hour to return before his nine o’clock curfew. “Yep.”
“S’okay if I go with?”
Adam couldn’t say no. Part of the program was giving away what he had, and what he possessed was sobriety. Even so, looking out for someone and sharing his experience was still new to him.
“Yeah.” There, he’d agreed, when he normally would have told the punk to fuck off.
Logan was straight out of rehab for heroin abuse. Eighteen and a junkie. Adam wasn’t supposed to judge, but a guy had better luck stopping traffic on the Trans Canada than getting off the crap. Too many of his friends had died sticking needles into their veins or chasing the dragon.
“Got no ink?” Logan studied the bare parts of Adam’s skin. “Thought you would, ’cause I heard you were an—”
The silencing look Adam sent the punk shut down Logan fast.
He held up his hands in retreat. “It’s cool. It’s cool. Hey, check out mine.” Logan bared his forearm. “I’m gonna get more. My bud did this one. He can do one for you.”
“Why not? Everyone gets inked.” Curiosity filled Logan’s blue eyes.
“Yeah. Everyone. Pass.”
“Oh? You think it’s too mainstream now?” Logan half-smiled.
“Figured you weren’t the sort of guy who did mainstream. Go your own path, y’know? People follow you. You don’t follow them.” Logan balled up a piece of paper in his hand. “I…err…uh…I don’t wanna go to slippery places. Y’know? We gotta talk.”
“My uh…girlfriend. She kept…I gotta do it. Gotta do it.”
“Never mind your girlfriend.” Adam kept his arms and legs crossed and stared at the TV screen. “This is about you.”
“Dead?” Adam turned to Logan’s stiller-than-glass eyes.
“She…she went missing when I was in ’hab. I told her to chill before I went in. Said I’d come and get her when I got out. She wouldn’t listen. She…they pulled her from the river. I know it’s her. I know it’s her.”
Cutter’s daughter was Logan’s girlfriend?
The punk’s skinny body trembled. His long, blond hair cut into a seventies-like feather hung in front of his thin face.
“I dunno if she was still using. She told me when I last saw her that she wasn’t. But being at the bar…the news said that’s where she was last seen. It’s my fault. All my fault.” Tears rolled from Logan’s big eyes, and he swiped at them. “I’m no pussy.”
Adam hadn’t said as much. “Keep on.” He made sure his command was soft—well, as soft as his deep voice allowed.
“I gotta find out what happened. The cops don’t care. Nobody cares. It’s what Sheena said. But I care even if her fam don’t. Her ol’ man, he’s in the pen. He don’t care. Her mom’s six feet below. Drank herself to death.”
Adam shuddered. If he hadn’t straightened out, this could be Kyle as a teenager, shit-talking his parents.
“The counselors at ’hab told me to stay away from slippery places. How am I s’posed to find out what happened if I don’t go to those…places?”
The same for Adam. Both he and Logan were from the streets, though. “Were you in the system?”
“Yeah.” Logan sniffled. “’Aid helped me get into treatment. They got this program that helps me until I’m twenty-one. Some transition thing. I’m…I’m gonna get my high school. A lady from the university teaches at the Kitchi-Gaming Friendship Center at night.”
“Yeah. Through my dad. He’s Métis. Whatever that is.”
Many kids had no clue about their heritage. Neither had Adam before he’d begun hanging out at a The Red Sky Friendship Center in Winnipeg, determined to find out what the heck Ojibway was and meant. He’d never even set foot on his home reserve, an hour and a half northeast of Winnipeg. He’d been born and raised in the city. The streets of the North End were all he’d known, growing up in North Point Douglas.
“What should I do? I gotta go there. Gotta check The Gator.”
The punk wasn’t old enough to get in the bars. Not that The Gator was famous for checking ID. Still, Adam had promised Cutter he’d find out what had happened to Sheena. If Kyle had gone missing, Cutter would do the same for Adam.
But if his parole officer found out…they’d ship him back to the clink.
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And she’s nothing if not daring.
Caleb, on the other hand, is the strong and strict deputy of Golden River. In love with little Daniella since the very first time he laid eyes on her stealing his clothes as he swam in the river, he’s been determined to correct her mischievous streak. Now, however, the town is after him and determined to push him into marriage. His plan to distance himself from Golden River – and from Daniella – almost succeeds. Almost.
Will Danny discover the truth about his feelings for her? And can she accept it if she does? Will Caleb admit his love for her? What happens when she runs away from him right after the ill-fated wedding?
When Pippa and I decided to try our hand at writing a western, a tom-boy heroine immediately captured our attention. We knew we wanted a pampered widow with big dreams and a beauty hoping to marry into money, but Danny sort of jumped out at us as a daring, adventurous young woman who was not afraid to work hard to gain what she wanted in life.
Our Danny has an impulsive nature. When she first meets the man of her dreams, he is bathing in a creek. She steals his clothes, leaving him stranded with the town’s preacher until the sheriff arrives. Caleb is not just any resident of Golden River, though. He is a deputy, and he knows exactly who stole his things. When he confronts Danny, she refuses to confess. Only later does he find proof of her crime when he sees she has altered his clothes to fashion herself a set of trousers. All of this happens in book one, long before her real story begins.
The mail order brides get to pick the man they want to marry. Danny’s heart has settled on Caleb. His kisses send her heart soaring. But the closer they get, the farther away the man of her dreams seems be. Wires get crossed, and an impulsive Danny soon follows her man when he leaves town, thinking he wants to elope.
What happens when she shows up in Sacramento?
She learns what her impulsiveness can cost.
He learns how it feels when he believes he’s lost her forever.
And they both learn a lot about how to love as their adventure
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Amazon Gift Card: Lisa
Ecopy of The Unsettling of Golden River: Chris
A microscopic parasite has crippled humanity with night terrors and paralyzing anxiety. In this world of increasing dystopia, hope yet remains in Karma City. But when mercenary drifter, Jameson Shoals, learns that a famous scientist has created a stronger parasite to kill the original, it isn’t until the bodies litter the streets that he realizes the horrifying truth: the new parasite is a killer with a mind of its own, and upon dominating Patient Zero, this killer acquires legs, hands, and eyes. It falls upon Shoals and his partner, a deadly female mercenary, to stop PZ and his mob before they can overcome and supplant humankind.
considered family, and Four, a trainee from the male division. Sometimes you had to take what you could get, and a life outside the Institute was worth it, no matter the cost.