If Hannah can't find Ian soon, he'll be lost to her forever as a digital slave...
Hannah and Ian face a drugged gang of werewolves forced into working for MAX Home Security while one of their many enemies is hell-bent on revenge. Things get worse when Ian is kidnapped by the werewolves and taken to a secret facility. Hannah will have to use all her resources to find him after someone from upper management stumbles upon Ian’s innate gift of technomancy. If not, MAX may turn Ian into a brainwashed slave to harness his abilities.
A werewolf's shrill howl sent Hannah Franklin's heart hammering. How would they get out of this? Ian's apartment was on the second floor. It wasn't as if they could make an easy escape through a window, unless either Ian or Bernard had the ability to fly and they hadn't informed her. After the last few months, she wouldn't be surprised.
No, they wouldn't be getting out of here without a fight. Unfortunately, she couldn't picture them coming out unscathed, not against werewolves.
Bernard squealed as another full-bodied bang reverberated from the door. The gnome darted toward her and Ian. "You people are crazy. What have you gotten yourselves into?" He shoved past Ian and rushed into the kitchen, muttering all the way to his gnomish house.
"Hell, I wouldn't mind knowing the answer to that myself." Ian cursed. "We have to get you out of here. There's no way to know how many werewolves are out there, and I don't want you hurt." The intensity in his voice scared her.READ MORE
By no means did she want this to be their final stand against MAX Home Security's newest minions, but there had to be something they could do.
"I don't want them to hurt you either. Let's just try to make it out of this alive. Both of us. So don't do anything irrational. What's the plan?" Hannah dug through her purse, grabbing the handgun she kept there. There'd been very few times when she'd had to use it, but now was the perfect time.
Ian closed his eyes, extended his hand toward the door, and whispered in the foreign language he used for his magic. The energy in the room spiked, and she scooted away from him, unable to bear the sting.
Hannah aimed the gun at the door. The door wouldn't hold out much longer, wards or not. The wards weren't nearly on the same level as the werewolves. Those feral beasts would rip them apart in this confined space. The gun barely helped to even the odds.
Fear chased through her, and she whispered a prayer, hoping they would all survive.
The clomping of feet on the kitchen's tile floor drew her attention to Bernard, who paced back and forth. "They are too upset to manipulate. They're berserk, if you will. Any ideas, Ian?" the gnome said, keeping his voice low.
"Wards will fail soon. There's no way out of here now, unless we jump the porch. Who says they wouldn't be there too? Or we could break a leg, unable to run... We have to fight. On the other hand, we could ask what they want, if anyone out there has any remaining sanity left. Who knows?"
Ian focused on the door. Beads of sweat trickled down his face. He was fighting to hold the wards in place. That was the only explanation.
The reinforced hinges on the door shook, the wards barely keeping them connected to the door. Regardless of what Ian was doing, the door would soon fail.
"I heard you knocking. What do you want?" Bernard piped up, his voice carrying a thread of panic.
"What are you doing?" Hannah asked, surprise creeping into her voice.
"I'm not going to die today, and if I can help it, neither are you two. I've survived wars, famine, plague, and I won't die now because you two dragged some puppies home. This gnome's ass won't be burned by you two!" Somehow, despite his words, Hannah could tell the gnome cared more than he let on.
A low, growling voice came from outside the door, the words barely recognizable. "We want Ian Bradley, puppet. Give him up, or we will continue knocking until the door falls down. My pack is hungry. If he comes out, we'll leave without eating you two. Maybe."
Another loud bang and Ian dropped to his knees grabbing his head. The top hinge fell to the ground. As he turned his head toward Hannah, she could see his mouth forming an I love you, but the sound was lost to the massive crash of the door.
Hannah was thrust back from Ian as the half-human, half-beast monsters surged at him. She fired off a shot, but one of the creatures knocked the gun from her, sending it sliding to the other side of the living room.
"Now, now, Ms. Franklin, I'd hate if you did anything that might get you hurt." His accented voice was familiar even through the gravelly pitch. He placed a big, furry foot on her chest, pinning her to the ground, then he cocked his head to the side as the other beasts clamped their clawed hands onto her boyfriend.
"Don't hurt her, or I'll kill you all," Ian yelled, thrashing about in their grasp.
Fear curled in Hannah's gut. She hated this. Hated that after all they'd been through, they would be torn apart by werewolves. Literally and figuratively.
"Go with us, and we'll keep her alive. She'll live on, and no one will be the wiser about what happened here. Don't go with us peacefully, and she dies right now." The werewolf stared her down, the pressure of his foot on her chest heavier now.COLLAPSE
A mercenary who skirts light and dark must protect a reclusive Seelie noblewoman, but when they discover a common link, they must surrender...
Niamh McNamara has always been a little different from the rest of the Seelie Court. Their natural mirth and playfulness is something she has to force, so she won’t stand out much during the midsummer’s festivities. That becomes nearly impossible when an attempt is made on her life by a violent masked fae. Content with seclusion, she’s unhappy when the queen requests her back at court to meet her new bodyguard.
Doyle Kearney is mercenary who skirts the light and dark courts. Some think he’s Unseelie, while others are sure he’s Seelie. When Queen Titania brings him to protect a sullen noble, he almost refuses—he’s a warrior, not a bodyguard—until he sees Niamh. His body reacts to the golden goddess, but he can’t forget how his noble parents had easily tossed him aside to protect their titles. He questions if she’ll do the same if he surrenders his heart.
Summer’s warm magic glittered in the night air. Nature drank deep of it and flourished with life and growth. The delightful party playing out around Niamh McNamara didn’t interest her one bit. As a member of the light court, she should’ve enjoyed the merry festivities that Midsummer’s Eve brought on, but her sour mood wouldn’t let go of her. Then again, she’d never been like the rest of her people.
Darkness constantly ached within her chest beneath her golden appearance. Before she’d been able to ignore it, but now it wasn’t so easy, especially after overhearing whispers about her from the other members of court. Hiding away had helped, but she couldn’t always stay hidden.READ MORE
Queen Titania had requested her presence back at court for a while, and when the queen asked, one didn’t say no. The queen held a special interest in seeing Niamh, as a female noble, commit to a worthy relationship. At Niamh’s age, she should’ve at least had one potential suitor, yet she did her best to avoid them and had been fairly successful.
Niamh took another sip from her goblet. The faeries around her sang, laughed and danced, yet she could barely gather the enthusiasm to smile. How cruel life was that she had to watch their happiness while she didn’t share their feelings.
There were men who seemed determined to court her. The more she dissuaded them, the more eagerly they flocked to her. A familiar male elf took her elbow to sweep her off to dance, but she brushed off his hand. "Sorry, I’m not interested in dancing at the moment."
Another reason why she preferred to stay away from court these days. She hated presumptuousness and what tended to happen next.
His face fell, and confusion creased his brow. The lady next to Niamh gawked at her like she was crazy before grabbing the male’s hand and waltzing away with him. The lady leaned close to him and whispered something, causing them to both break out into laughter.
Niamh bristled. She didn’t want to feel like an outsider amongst her own people.
A happy, albeit drunken, pixie flew by her, nearly colliding with her shoulder. The tiny being apologised in a high-pitched tinkling voice, then it was gone, darting away to join a group of pixies near the mead.
Most of the pixies there had already drunk their share. Their amorous personalities, combined with the summer’s fertility magic, heated the group until their moans of pleasure chimed through the warm breeze. Others nearby reacted to the intimacy, their clothes slipping off in their fervour.
Yet another sign of how nature’s power innately affected the Seelie.
The group she stood with were still chatting merrily amongst themselves, though their attention was beginning to drift to the playful fledgling orgy.
Niamh slipped away into the forest, making sure no one saw her. She needed a break from the laughter and shallow niceties. Her face ached from the plastic smile she wore for the party. Once safely out of view, she leaned against a tree and let out a ragged breath. Her fake smile fell, and she stared into the sky between the leaves. If only she were home, away from the misery of joy she had to force. Warmth and happiness permeated the air around her, but a part buried within her retracted from those emotions, shying away from the silky caress. Most of the time, she wondered if she had something wrong with her. Darkness held solace for her while light made her aware of what she lacked.
The snap of a branch startled her, and she peeked around the tree. No one was there. Thoughts about her inner darkness dissipated. Her shoulders tensed, and she strained her ears to hear more signs of movement. Another twig snapped behind her, and she nearly jumped out of her skin.
Before her stood a man in an elaborately decorated mask, which covered most of his face. A dark hood and cape cloaked the rest of him, making it impossible to distinguish any of his features. He was most definitely fae like her—he had that kind of aura. He must’ve hidden his wings beneath his grand cape.
She looked him over with a frown. Why was he here, away from the party? Especially dressed as he was? I left the party behind to rest, not to give someone the opportunity to make my acquaintance in private. She sighed but forced herself to smile.
A scream caught her attention from the party, turning her towards the sound, but the laughter that followed reassured her that everything was still safe.
The foreboding man spun her to face him. He clasped his hands around her throat, and slammed her folded wings back against the tree. Her head bounced against the hard oak. She clawed at his glove-covered hands, trying to get him off her, trying to draw air into her lungs.
He smashed her against the tree again, but his grip slipped slightly.
"What do you want?" she squeaked, gulping in air.
"You. That’s what I wanted."
She’d never heard this man’s voice before. How could he want her while she couldn’t figure out who he was? He must’ve used glamour so she wouldn’t recognise him.COLLAPSE
Sarah Mäkelä brings a twist to this characteristic tale by creating a fey-filled story world in this well-written novella. If you love fairies and steamy sex then you’ll enjoy Surrendered.