Beneath the Broken Moon: Season One

Carmela struggles to choose between the alpha werewolf she's destined for and the vampire she's enchanted by, but the wrong decision could lead to deadly consequences…

Werewolf relationships are all about influence and offspring, especially as the species is becoming extinct. Carmela Santiago resents that type of life. She dreams of falling in love and being happy, not following the dismal example her parents have set.

When sensual vampire Derek Ashmore rescues her from dangerous hunters, she tumbles head over heels for him. Not a wise decision since werewolves and vampires are mortal enemies.

Meeting her caring mate-to-be Brendan Kelly has her further questioning the future. Regardless, her life has forever changed now that she's met not one, but two men who pull at her heartstrings…

Excerpt:

Bullets peppered the big screen of the Teatro de la Noche. Screams rang out around me, and I dropped to the floor, pulling my cousin Chandra down with me. Tension ached in my shoulders, and my heart pounded in my chest like a trapped animal, desperate to escape.

Gunpowder stung my sensitive nose, but through the overpowering scent, I caught a whiff of a hunter heading our way. “Chandra, we have to move.”

If Chandra and I didn’t get out of here we’d end up dead—or worse, test subjects for the Cazador—human hunters ordered to scour the land of nocturnes by the plutocratic government.

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“How? They’re all around us.” Chandra peeked over the seats before dropping back down beside me. “A few of them are chasing down those who ran from the first assault, but two more are heading straight for us.” She ran a manicured hand through her honey-brown hair, which was only a shade darker than my own. “Come on. I have a plan. Let’s try to sneak out the side door.” She crawled in the opposite direction, down the row of seats.

The sight of my cousin’s butt cheeks hanging out of her short skirt filled my vision; some things were better left unseen. I lowered my gaze, particularly since Chandra had forgone panties. She almost always held herself with an air of power and purpose. Perhaps that’s what it took to get attention from other werewolves. Chandra got it in heaps, but her lower social status stopped a lot of relationships.

While it was a horrible time to second-guess my modest fashion sense, I couldn’t help wonder if I should take a lesson from my cousin. My own blouse and dark blue jeans had much less pizzazz. But I doubted my father would allow me to dress like Chandra; we had a privileged image to uphold.

I bit my lip, struggling to turn my thoughts back to the problem at hand. This was all too much. How could we get out of here unscathed when the roar of gunfire continued to close in?

We reached the end of the aisle. Chandra moved to glance over the seat, when a shout came from the opposite end, startling us both.

“Run, Chandra!” I barely kept my voice to a whisper.

She sprinted toward the bright red exit sign at the front of the theater, and I chased after her, trying to keep my pace natural though her long legs made it challenging. Maybe if they suspected we weren’t nocturnes, they’d leave us alone.

The stomping of heavy boots on the theater’s plush carpets said otherwise. Then again, they weren’t opposed to taking their fellow humans down too. The very rich in power thrived on oppressing those less fortunate. What better way to keep the populace down than to have their thugs strike whenever possible.

“We should split up.” Chandra shoved a heavy trashcan in front of the door, but that wouldn’t be much of an obstacle to the pseudo-military bastards.

“What?” I couldn’t believe my ears. “No way. If we do that, we’ll—” The trashcan scraped the cement as the hunters tried to open the door. Maybe she was right. If we were together, there was a better chance of them catching us both. Alone, we might survive the night.

I nodded to her, and we took off in opposite directions down the alleyway behind the Teatro. The door slammed open, smacking the wall hard, as I turned the corner and headed toward the main street. I had to find somewhere to hide out before the hunters spotted me again.

In front of me, another group of Cazador chased a few werewolves down the main road. I slowed to keep my distance from them, but if I didn’t get somewhere fast, they were going to catch me. Ugh. As much as I loved getting out of the house and going to the movies, I wished I’d listened to my instincts tonight and stayed home.

Two sets of feet pounded the sidewalk behind me. Perhaps they’d spotted me before I reached the corner.

I picked up speed a little, pumping my arms as I struggled to keep to a human speed while staying out of range. The temptation to race through the streets nearly drove me to action, but I glanced back, seeing my pursuers for the first time.

One of the men had greying hair and a rounded belly, which explained the slower, heavier footfalls, while the other guy appeared younger and super-athletic. No wonder I was having trouble getting away. If he hadn’t been so scary, he might’ve been attractive. Pure masculine aggression raged through him, tensing his shoulders as his gaze focused solely on me, his prize. Each man carried a large-caliber handgun. I was just glad they were too busy running to try to shoot me...for now, at least.

My sandal hit an uneven patch of concrete in the sidewalk. My body lurched forward, but I caught myself before I could go down. I should’ve been paying more attention to the street. Up ahead on the opposite side of the road, I spotted a dark alleyway running alongside a row house. If I cut through, I could safely turn up the speed without exposing myself, and lose them.

The older hunter slowed; his breathing had become increasingly labored. He cocked his revolver’s hammer, and I darted across the empty road, making a beeline for the alley. The last thing I wanted tonight was to see Dr. Matthews. Just a little bit farther. A bullet smacked the ground at my feet, hitting me with fragments of pavement. I bit back a yelp, not wanting to give them the satisfaction of knowing my fear.

“I got this one, old kook,” the younger hunter grumbled, and his footsteps slowed too.

Another gunshot pierced the hazy night air. White-hot pain rocked my shoulder, nearly toppling me to the ground. I screamed, unable to hold it in, and picked up speed, no longer caring if I appeared human or not. The faint creak of a door barely registered before a pair of arms wrapped around my waist, jerking me inside the dark row house.

My rescuer softly shut the door, careful not to make a sound, and shoved a hand over my mouth. “Sshhh,” he whispered. “I won’t hurt you. You’re safe.” His voice was deep, with an English accent. He pulled me away from the door and hunched down in the darkened room, holding me close, waiting and listening.

COLLAPSE

The Leopard Who Claimed A Wolf

When a wolf loves a leopard…

He’s her protector...
Caitlyn Fraser, a wereleopard who has always hated cruel werewolves, is the former prisoner turned mate of Dougal Sterling, Alpha of the Scottish pack. She’s courting jeopardy with her determination to attend the funeral of her brother’s father, since the Pack blames her for Alistair’s death. But still Dougal protects her from his wolves.

Her defender...
Short of allies, Dougal struggles to balance loyalty and attention between the Pack and Caitlyn. When the Pack’s stability crumbles, he’s faced with the return of his older brother, the rightful Alpha, who shirked his duty after their father’s death. However, Ewan’s challenge will be a battle to the death. Sheltering Caitlyn can only lose Dougal more friends, but he knows she’s the mate he’s longed for.

But survival takes two...
Menace lurks in every corner of the Highlands; Alistair and Ewan’s supporters and haters of shapeshifters abound. Caitlyn and Dougal must stick together, pushing back fiercely when they are attacked. Even if that puts them in mortal danger…

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Caitlyn

The driveway leading up to the Scottish Pack’s massive headquarters stretched almost half a mile. I rested my chin on my arms and stared out of the Alpha’s window on the second story, overlooking the circular section of the drive. The Pack’s castle came complete with its very own dungeon, but at least they weren’t keeping me in there anymore. Alistair’s craggy face loomed over me every time I closed my eyes, his fists hammering against my face, ribs, and stomach.

Tension radiated through my shoulders, and I balled my hands into fists. No, Alistair—Colin’s father—was dead. Dougal had protected me, and my brother, from that monster when I didn’t have the strength to fight back.

Not that it mattered.

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Two days had passed since my brother’s sudden departure. Now Colin was on his own, without anyone to watch his back. How could he leave without saying anything to me? I flexed my fists again, welcoming the anger as it bubbled up in my chest and replaced my sadness.

The heavy weight of a man’s hand descended on my back. I twisted around, my knuckles connecting with a solid jaw lined with dark, coarse stubble. A familiar jaw. Shite.

Dougal stumbled back half a step, but then he planted his feet like a tree with strong roots, not budging any further. Sharp power flared outward from him before he squelched it, stretching the muscles in his jaw. A frown tugged at his lips, and the corners of his eyes creased, either in pain or displeasure.

“Dougal! I’m so sorry.” The sudden movement of punching him had shot a searing ache through my battered ribs again. The pain stole my breath away, but I tried to force it down. How could I have been so careless? If he’d been anyone else in the Pack, I would’ve caused World War III.

Dinnae fash. The punch bloody well hurt, though. I didn’t realize you were so strong.” Dougal’s frown melted away as he pulled me closer and pressed a kiss to my forehead. “Seems like you’re recovering your strength.” His gaze drifted past me to the long gravel driveway of the estate. “How are you doing, love?”

The emotions I’d been stomping down now came bubbling up to the surface again. “I cannae believe Colin left me. He left before I even regained consciousness. How could he?” With anyone else, I wouldn’t show weakness, but I rested my forehead against Dougal’s chest, needing his touch and savoring his warmth. “I barely got a chance to talk with him, and when I did, it wasn’t a good time to ask how he was doing after the months he’d spent in that bloody research facility—or even to ask where he was going to go to heal…”

Tears welled in my eyes, but I held them back, refusing to cry. “I gave up so much—my job, my flat, my life—while trying to track him down and bring him home. What if my sacrifices were all for naught?”

“Nae, they weren’t for naught, love.” Dougal kissed the top of my head. “I know you’re hurting. You have plenty of reasons to be, but the man who came back wasn’t the same one who left for the United States.” He lifted my chin, forcing me to see the sincerity in his clear blue eyes. “Whatever those scientists did affected him in ways neither of us will likely ever know. Waiting at the window won’t make him return any sooner.” He wrapped his arms around me and gently pulled me against his chest again. “Let me draw you a bath. Remember, I’m here if you need to talk.”

He was right, even if I didn’t want to admit it. Waiting at the window for Colin’s return wouldn’t help, but what else could I do? “I know, but that doesn’t make this any easier for me. He’s my younger brother. I feel helpless that I cannae be there for him…again.” A heavy ached settled on my heart, and I pulled away hating the awkward emotions crushing me. “Sorry.”

Dougal turned away from me and stared out of the window again. His jaw clenched and unclenched, as if he were trying hard to hold in his words. A lot was going on in his life too, and yet he was making a strong effort to support me through my problems. Things had become increasingly strained between him and his Pack since my arrival and Duncan and Alistair’s subsequent deaths. He didn’t talk about what he faced, and I didn’t want to pressure him.

After a few moments of silence, he released a sigh and turned back toward me. “You’ve done what you could for him, lass.” The ghost of a grin spread across his lips. “Would you still like the bath?”

I couldn’t help but nod. When I’d awakened from unconsciousness, Dougal had been there for me. We’d made love, and he brought me to new heights of pleasure. We also became intimately acquainted with the fancy Jacuzzi bathtub that could likely fit three or four humans…or one big, scary werewolf. The perks of being mated to the Alpha of the Scottish Pack.

“Aye, a bath sounds delish.” I wrapped my arms around his waist, bringing him back to me and drawing in his musky lupine scent. “Thanks for the talk. I really wish I could’ve spoken with him before he left. It would’ve made me feel better about him going.”

“Love, I talked with him before he left.” He trailed his fingertips over my back in light, soothing strokes. “If I wasn’t confident that he presented no danger to others, I wouldn’t have let him go. He would’ve stayed here whether he favored the idea or not.” The muscles in his lower back tensed beneath my touch, and his hand paused over my spine.

Something didn’t feel right. I lifted my gaze to meet Dougal’s. Was he not telling me something? We hadn’t known each other for long, but my sharp, feline instincts knew when someone told an untruth. He wasn’t outright lying to me, but he was holding something back. What could it be?

I bit my lower lip, instantly regretting it as my teeth sank into one of the nearly healed spots where Alistair had punched me in the face. Instead of confronting Dougal, I turned my attention toward the window. “You would tell me if he was dangerous to himself, wouldn’t you?”

“Aye, I would.” His tone of voice wasn’t as convincing as I’d wanted. He leaned away, putting me at arm’s length. “Enough of that, I suppose. I’ll draw the bath for you.” Without another word, he strode to the en-suite bathroom. His hands clenched and unclenched at his sides all the way. The door snapped shut behind him, and he started the water running a few moments later.

Nausea churned inside me, and I held my stomach. Should I actually believe Dougal? Something about his words didn’t feel right. The Jacuzzi tub would take a few minutes to fill, and I needed to get out of this bloody bedroom and away from him. The strain of standing there and trying to keep myself calm was becoming too much.

My stomach growled, and I glanced up at the round wrought-iron clock on the wall. It was almost one o’clock in the afternoon.

Many of the werewolves didn’t like that their Alpha was mating with a wereleopard, so I usually skipped the mealtime rushes in an attempt to keep my distance. It wasn’t easy, because several of the wolves lived here in this honest-to-God castle full time. Apparently, that was how many Packs operated. The thought boggled my mind. How did they stand to be around one another all the time? How would I survive being the sole feline in this house full of wolves?

Every urge for solitude within me roared to run as fast and as far away from this place as I could. Too much held me here, though. Besides, if Colin returned from his trip, I wanted to be around to greet him. Maybe throttle him, too, but it’d be a greeting nonetheless…

I slid my leather jacket on over the white tank top, not wanting to reveal too much bruised skin, then headed for the kitchen to grab some leftovers. Dougal had tried to convince me to eat with him and everyone else. He wanted me to get to know the wolves and socialize. Getting friendly with the Pack might be a nice idea, but I couldn’t do it. Not with how his Pack watched me when they thought I wasn’t looking. Even Dougal’s second-in-command wasn’t a fan of mine. The sentiment was mutual, really. For as long as I could remember, I’d hated werewolves. One of my main reasons would soon be resting six feet underground. Their hatred of me for Alistair’s death just added to my reluctance to get to know them.

Shaking away those thoughts, I turned the corner to enter the kitchen. If my sharp feline reflexes hadn’t kicked in, I would’ve run straight into a towering werewolf. I leapt back at the last minute to prevent Kerr from spilling his plate of food. The already agonizing ache in my side intensified from moving so quickly, but I kept my arms at my sides and my face neutral.

“Afternoon, lass. Ye look like yer recoverin’ well.” Kerr nodded, looking more than a little curiously at me.

“Thanks, Kerr. I’m trying.” I flashed him an uncomfortable smile, then edged past the broad, barrel-chested man into the kitchen. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as the others, but I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling that he strongly disagreed with Dougal’s decision to mate with me.

Kerr placed a heavy hand on my shoulder. My spine stiffened, and I tightly gripped the sleeves of my jacket to keep from swinging on him too. “Keep tryin’, then.” His deep voice rumbled through the kitchen. I glanced pointedly at his hand, but he didn’t move it. “Sooner or later ye need to overcome yer fear, hatred, or whatever it is ye feel toward my kind. If ye cannae, ye won’t last long here, lass.” With that, he walked toward the massive grand hall down the corridor, where the wolves held their meetings and ate.

My shoulders slumped. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so hungry, but my leopard still needed to be fed. We couldn’t skip any more meals. It hindered our healing process and weakened us too much. Right now, I couldn’t afford weakness, not while I was amongst a pack of wolves.

If only I didn’t have to be constantly looking over my shoulder with the Pack but such was life for now.

Shite. I didn’t have much time before Dougal noticed I was gone.

The leftovers were neatly arranged on the clean counter top. There wasn’t much food left, but I grabbed a bag of crisps and one of the last club sandwiches. One of the female wolves—Mairi, I think—ran a catering company, so she always brought by food to keep the Pack well fed. She was one of the nicer wolves.

Instead of following Kerr toward the dining room, where I was sure to find the rowdy werewolves laughing and talking, I remained in the kitchen. I sat on the counter farthest away from the entrance, hidden from anyone who might walk by.

As I finished up my sandwich, footsteps in the hall became louder as someone approached the kitchen. The sound of soft sniffing tensed every muscle in my body, then Dougal stepped into the room. His gaze slid over me, and desire darkened his blue eyes.

“Your bath is ready. If I’d known you were hungry, I would’ve brought something earlier when I ate.”

I shrugged a shoulder. “It’s all right. I’m eating now.”

“Aye, so you are.” He looked down the hallway as if checking to make sure no one else was near. When he turned back to me, he wore a frown that creased the corners of his lips and eyes. “You shouldn’t be in here all alone, love. Things are tense right now within the Pack. Let’s go back to the bedroom.”

I tilted my chin up, not in the mood to be bossed around again. “I’m not alone. You’re here.” I opened the bag of crisps and munched on one.

His nostrils flared, and he crossed his arms over his broad chest. The move might’ve been scary as hell if it wasn’t him doing it. “That’s not the point. Come on.”

Bloody hell. First I’d been his prisoner in the cage, and now I’d become a prisoner in his bedroom. Not in a fun way, either. Why was this happening?

I clenched my fists, crushing a few of my crisps as tears burned in my eyes, but I refused to let them show. The flood of emotions I’d experienced over the past week was becoming too much to all push down at once. As soon as I dealt with certain fears or emotions, others popped up to take their place, like some horrible version of whack-a-mole.

Life just wasn’t fair. All I’d wanted to do was return to Scotland to be here for my brother. In that time, I’d been reintroduced to a childhood nightmare, imprisoned in a dungeon, and now I was the prisoner/mate of a werewolf Alpha. When would the roller coaster end?

Dougal crossed the space between us in a few long strides. He pulled me from the counter into his arms.

A feline hiss ripped from my throat, sounding every bit as feral as I felt. Once again, anger rescued me from my moodiness. “Set me down this minute!”

COLLAPSE

The Selkie Who Loved A Wolf

Book Cover: The Selkie Who Loved A Wolf
Editions:Kindle: $ 3.99
ISBN: 9781942873822
Pages: 146

Love heals even the deepest wounds…

The wounded werewolf…
After being held in captivity by scientists for months, Colin Fraser needs rest and recuperation. The Scottish Highlands offer him the perfect place to get much-needed distance from the world and repair the bond with his inner beast.

The selkie’s search…
Unna Mikkelsen is being urged to mate with a selkie man she doesn’t care for. But she’ll never forget how, as a young girl, she saw her mother taken by a fisherman. Knowing she must make her peace with the world above the waves, she leaves the deep for dry land—even though this means she’s putting herself into danger.

The power of immortal love…
When Colin notices Unna in the pub, he realizes there’s more to her than meets the eye. But he fights his feelings for her—how can a wolf as broken as he is have a relationship? Little does he know Unna will need him when her pelt is stolen by a fisherman, causing her to relive her childhood trauma. Or how much he’ll need her too, because only her love can heal his wounds…

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Colin

Almost a week had passed since the Southeastern Pack had rescued me from that bloody research facility. Memories of being locked in a cage and prodded with needles like some science experiment still haunted me. As much as I tried, my thoughts continually returned to the horror I’d gone through. Chad Fitzroy had been generous to let me leave even though his father, the Pack’s Alpha, wanted all available werewolves on guard in case they faced retaliation from whoever was behind that hellhole. From what I’d heard, no one was certain whether the government had led the project or if it had been a group of mad scientists. When I’d been there, they hadn’t said much within my hearing. I hadn’t really cared who was in charge because I was sure I wouldn’t live long enough for it to matter.

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My hands trembled as I took another swig of Scotch ale, despite it being seven o’clock in the morning. I’d hoped getting away from the world would make my problems easier to cope with, but I was at my breaking point. Alcohol dulled my pain and lessened my worries. It didn’t stop them, though. Every time I closed my eyes, I relived the terror of being locked up in that damned cage. None of this—the alcohol, the stress, the nightmares—helped the incredibly shaky control I had over my wolf. If I didn’t regain my composure soon, I feared I would become more beast than man. The scariest part was I’d seen a Pack member go rogue before. The Scottish Pack had killed the wolf to protect our secret, and also to let the beast finally have solace. I pushed those thoughts aside, not wanting to dwell on what could happen if I didn’t get my act together.

Silence weighed on the cottage like a thick blanket. My ears perked at each soft sound. The idyllic daydream I’d had of renewing the bond with my beast seemed to drift farther and farther away. How could I relax when it was hard enough to just breathe? For months on end, I’d stayed alert and on edge, always watching and waiting for some bastard in a lab coat to hurt me. Regardless of the distance, I didn’t feel much different now. Being away from civilization—for the most part—in the peaceful Scottish Highlands seemed surreal. I wondered if the quiet and calm were worse for my nerves than the bustle of Edinburgh had been.

The cottage I’d rented was a fair bit from the nearest village’s sparse population. I’d planned this trip to give me a good shot at taming my beast without too many bystanders. The last thing I needed was to be the reason werewolves were revealed to the world at large. If anyone found out what I was, I’d have to kill them, and if I did, I greatly feared for my humanity. Would my wolf finally take over? Would the Pack…

Fucking stop!

Leaning back in the kitchen chair, I pressed the cool, dark-brown bottle of ale to my forehead, trying to get myself under control. Deep breaths… I took a few calming breaths, then gulped down some more ale. My racing heart rate steadied. I placed the bottle back on the table, but I didn’t take my hand away from the comfort of its presence.

Coming home to Scotland had been bittersweet. My intention was to spend time reconnecting with my wereleopard half-sister, Caitlyn, as I regained my composure and sanity. But my late father, whom I’d always been told was a good man—and dead—had ruined my plans. Bloody monster. That had pushed me over the edge, but I gained a new respect for my sister, knowing the pain she’d been through as a wee lass at his hands. She’d put on a brave face to protect me, but I couldn’t help feeling a little betrayed. Either she or our mother should’ve been honest with me. Instead, they’d let me spend most of my life loving some woman-abusing arsehole. My hand trembled around the bottle.

Leaving Caitlyn in her weakened condition was brutal, but if I’d stayed, I would have put the Scottish Pack—and most importantly, her—at risk. I didn’t like feeling as if I would snap at any given moment. My fragile control over my beast left me vulnerable, especially with all that had happened recently. When I was in Edinburgh, my focus had been solely on keeping my sister safe. I refused to let her see how torn apart I was now. Dougal’s passionate glances told me he’d try to protect her, but the lass had no idea what she’d gotten herself into by falling for the Alpha.

I clenched my hands into fists, and the bottle of Scotch ale shattered. Pain bit my palm as alcohol seeped into the wounds. Opening my fist, I frowned at the large shard of brown glass protruding from my skin. Shite, what a waste of perfectly good ale.

Crimson blood mixed with ale and dripped onto the floor. If I didn’t take care of the mess, the cottage’s owner might think to ask questions about my stay. This needed to be cleaned straight away. My hand didn’t worry me all that much. It’d be fine. With my supernatural healing, I’d survived a hell of a lot worse.

If only that healing helped my mind...

I cupped my wounded hand to my chest palm-up to try to slow the bleeding, then stepped over the broken glass in my now-damp socks to reach the kitchen sink. The window’s distant seaside view, with its jagged cliffs and sweeping waves, struck pride in my heart, and I remembered again just why I’d come back to my homeland. Caitlyn and I had visited a place not far from here for some time as kids. It’d been one of my favorite memories as a young lad. Our mother kept us on the move growing up, never settling down for long. Now I knew why.

The ache in my hand tugged me back to the present. Yanking the large piece of glass from my palm wouldn’t be fun, but it needed to be done. The skin around the wound was already trying to heal. If I didn’t get the glass out soon, it would hurt much more than it did now. The shard was buried deep, nearly penetrating all the way through to the other side. If I were human, I’d have needed immediate medical attention.

I firmly pinched the glass with the hem of my shirt, between my thumb and index finger. My grip on the sharp shard slipped the first time, but on the second try, I jerked the fragment out of my hand, leaving a long gash behind. A new rush of agony ripped at my palm. Blood poured from the wound, no longer held back by the glass. I held my hand over the sink, letting the drain drink the thick red liquid as I searched the nearby cupboards for a first-aid kit. The kit was rather dusty, but it contained plenty of gauze to wrap the wound.

The chunk of glass had come out fairly smoothly, so I wasn’t worried about any fragments getting left behind in my hand. My lycanthropy would likely push the foreign object from my body anyway, as it had done with a bullet once. I’d been a stupid teenager who thought more about impressing a female werewolf than keeping an eye out for an old farmer protecting his livestock. I learned my lesson. Particularly since, as punishment, I’d been locked for a full month and a half in the same cage where Caitlyn had been held.

I turned on the faucet, rinsing the open wound before I patted it dry with a formerly white towel that hung on a hook by the sink. I’d do what I could to clean it up, but I wasn’t very domesticated. Tasks like that were a bit outside my area of expertise. Maybe the towel would just ‘go missing.’ I’d rather that than have the owner see it stained.

Once I’d wrapped the wound with a respectable amount of gauze, I opened the cupboard below the sink to inspect what cleaning agents the owner provided her tenants. I needed something that could clean up the blood and ale that had spilled all over the floor. I grabbed the bleach and set it on the counter. The scent hit my nostrils like a boxer’s right hook, my mind flashing back to the overwhelming scent I’d endured at the laboratory. Panic rose within me like a massive wave. I stumbled away from the counter, slipped on the blood and booze, and fell on my arse.

The world faded away.

 

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Cherri-Anne Boitson on Amazon wrote:

LOVE IT!!! This all howls "READ ME NOW" and is only made PAWSSIBLE, only works together because of one reason - Sarah Makela is one FURRIFICALLY talented author!!


Moonlit Feathers

Book Cover: Moonlit Feathers
Editions:Kindle: $ 2.99
ISBN: 9781942873808

Woodland Creek Series.
30 Authors. 30 Shifter Stories.
One Epic Release Day.

After faced with crippling loss, a heartbroken raven must find her wings again...

Treasure hunters are trained to find things, but all Morgana has known is loss. When someone she loves dies because she can’t protect them, she shies away from the world, too afraid to let anyone else get close. That won’t last long because ravens aren’t ones to pass up on shiny things.

Cody has never really felt accepted. He’s a coyote shifter of Native American heritage, but he gets his looks from his Scandinavian mother, unlike his siblings and the rest of his people. That makes him all the more dedicated when what seemed like a freak tornado becomes something much scarier.

When Cody realizes that his family’s powerful talisman has slips into the wrong hands, he desperately needs help. But he never imagined he’d be fall head over heels for the beautiful, if not, mysterious treasure hunter. Morgana will need to let go of being hurt again if they have any hope of saving not only each other, but also the small town that they both love from disaster.

Excerpt:

Wind caressed my midnight black feathers as I sailed through the early evening sky. Flying had always been a welcome reprieve, an escape from the everyday life of walking on two legs. Most people in the world only dreamed of this gift I'd been granted, but it didn't give me that much freedom from life’s sorrows. Perhaps that was just as well.

My line of work demanded more from me than the average human’s physique could handle. That was why my peers regarded me as the best of the best.

As a treasure hunter, people expected me to explore mystical ruins and dodge huge boulders, but my main task was to always be on the lookout for stunning riches that might interest my wealthy clients. What set me apart from the rest was being a Raven shifter. That gave me the ability to get in and out of ancient, mythical locales more quickly and safely than most.

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Clients came to me with all sorts of requests. Due to my popularity, I could choose the jobs I wanted and who I wanted to work for, something the few fellow treasure hunters I'd met could only dream of. When we got together, they always asked for my secrets—either to my face or behind my back—but I wasn't willing to share the knowledge of my abilities with them.

Only one person, aside from my parents, had ever gotten close enough to see the true me, and he'd died because I couldn't save him when he needed me the most.

How could I truly be happy with a life spent forever alone, regardless of the mystery and adventure my career afforded me?

Loneliness ached like a gaping hole in my chest. Whatever life I’d known before had dimmed the light, and I merely trudged through the shades of grey with my bruised heart.

Ezra Phillips had been the last person I'd allowed to get close to me. He'd crept past the walls I'd erected around my heart after my parents died and left me all alone in the world. I regretted his death every single day. Life with him had been an exciting journey. We were hunting a rare gem with supposed magical properties together, and I'd tried to convince him that I should go alone since he was only human. The job was dangerous, even for me. He had a way with words and convinced me to let him come along. I mistakenly believed we were indestructible together. Neither of us had been to South America before, and now I never wanted to go back.

I was all alone again. Whoever said it was better to have loved and lost had obviously never felt this kind of gut-wrenching pain.

If anything had come from my relationship with Ezra, it was a determination to harden my heart that much more. Never again would I let someone in. More pain and loss would be too much to bear. Besides, I had a career in shambles that needed to be rebuilt.

Shaking away my destructive thoughts, I swept my gaze over my surroundings, dragging myself back to the here and now. Breathtaking oranges, reds, and yellows spread out beneath me, helping me remember why I'd chosen Woodland Creek, Indiana as my new home. I'd never been a small-town girl, but that didn't matter much. After Ezra's death, I drew more into myself, and the solitude suited me now.

Above the treetops, the air carried the clean scent of ozone mixed with pine. The strong pull from the ley-lines had called me here like a mystical artery pumping with magic, very much alive with raw, untapped energy churning below the ground. For wizards, it made spellcasting easier, but for the shifters I knew of, it acted like a beacon, calling us together.

Through the thick canopy, I caught sight of something shiny on the forest floor below. I'd flown this path many times on my way home, and rarely had I seen any hikers in this area. Could this object be something valuable? The raven in me wanted to investigate—she liked shiny things—but my human side prepared for disappointment.

Maybe I'd become more jaded than I'd realized, if not downright pessimistic.

Swooping toward the ground, we splayed our wings wide and slowed our descent to get a better look. Just an average section of Running Deer National Forest. It’s only distinguishing feature was a large ring boulders. No one was around, and the area was clear of camping gear and human supplies.

I perched on a sturdy tree limb, and it groaned a little under our weight. While most ravens were about three pounds, I was closer to thirty, approximately the size of a cinereous vulture. Not conspicuous at all, right? But most people didn’t look too hard at me. They keep their eyes at ground level, not paying much attention to what goes on above their heads.

The shiny object below beckoned my raven closer, but I couldn't be sure this wasn't some kind of trap. Call me paranoid, but that was the sort of thinking that kept me alive. I didn't see anyone else nearby, though: people, animals, or those in-between. The longer I sat there, the more I felt a heaviness in the air, as if someone had recently thrown a lot of magic around. The sensation nearly made me decide to fly away, but my raven krawed at me. She thought I was acting like a coward, and that was definitely not me. The thought of the glimmer had entered into her mind, and once she was set on something, there was only one way to satisfy her curiosity.

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Reviews:Roxie on Roxie's Romance Reviews wrote:

This book is exciting right from the beginning! The story line is fantastic and the characters are awesome!


Find out more about The Woodland Creek series by visiting http://woodlandcreekseries.com/.

 

Captive Moonlight

Book Cover: Captive Moonlight

A gentlewoman will do whatever it takes to rescue her captive werewolf betrothed.

When her betrothed, Joe Taylor, is taken captive by a group of men looking for werewolf laborers, it’s up to Charlotte, a genteel frontier lady with no training, to track him down and win him back—even if that means putting her own life in danger.

Excerpt:

Charlotte stretched up on tiptoes and pressed a kiss to his lips. “I look forward to it.” A soft creak of the hallway’s wooden floor reached her ears. She hurriedly pulled on her dressing gown, then sat in front of her vanity and picked up her brush. She’d be able to fabricate a tale for Betsy if she needed to.

Joe opened the window and jumped out. Only the faint sound of his boots hitting the ground gave him away. They didn’t have much to worry about since her window faced a rarely used alley.

The soft footsteps stopped outside her door. Charlotte ran the brush through her brown hair, pulling at a few tangles. She hoped Betsy would go back to sleep and not disturb her. After a brief pause and another squeak, the footsteps retreated again.

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Charlotte sighed in relief, but she waited a moment more. When she was sure it was safe, she dashed across the room and closed the window. She glanced out to see Joe heading toward the main street. His gaze turned to meet hers as if he knew she was there. He smiled and tilted his hat.

From the shadows, a group of four men rushed at Joe. Her eyes widened, and she placed her palms against the windowpane. Desperation punched her in the gut.

* * *

Joe frowned at the sudden change of expression on Charlotte’s beautiful face. What had caused... The rapid sound of boots hitting dirt next to him penetrated his thoughts. He’d been so focused on his lover. Damn it.

Twisting around, he faced the four men, wondering what they wanted. More importantly, he wished he knew if they’d seen him come from Charlotte’s window. He didn’t want her to be looked down upon by anyone because of what they’d shared that night. Her father would never let Joe near his daughter again if he knew.

The men closed in on him, standing much closer than Joe felt comfortable with. He watched them in turn, keeping an eye on each, while his wolf’s instincts raged and warned him of danger.

He’d never met these men and had no idea what they wanted. He didn’t want to hurt anyone, especially with Charlotte was watching. If he showed his true nature, he’d alienate himself from town. He couldn’t do that, not when he had so much to lose. “What do you all want?”

One of the men, a guy with graying hair who looked to be their leader, stepped forward. “We have a job opportunity for you.”

“I’m sorry, sir, but I already have work. Thanks for the offer.” Joe stepped aside to move around them, but the whistle of metal near his head caused him to stop. He turned to see one of the men holding a gun. He grabbed the barrel of the pistol as the man’s blue eyes widened with surprise.

Pain filled Joe’s head, and his legs collapsed under him. He cursed himself for being so distracted.

The older man stared down at him as Joe’s world darkened. “That wasn’t the answer I was looking for.” As the man’s image faded, Joe barely heard his command, “Load ’em up, boys.”

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Reviews:Donna Hokanson on Goodreads wrote:

Well written and very entertaining to read this self-contained story.


Saved by Moonlight

Book Cover: Saved by Moonlight

A werewolf reveals what he is to save the love of his life.

When Sylvi comes home to find someone lurking in the apartment she shares with her boyfriend, she realizes her life is in danger. Lukas arrives in time to defend her from the intruder, but she's shocked to learn Lukas is really a werewolf! Can their love survive his revelation?

Excerpt:

Sylvi Monroe rubbed her eyes as she unlocked the door to the apartment she shared with her boyfriend. She tossed her keys in a basket on the side table and then shut the door behind her. Taking a deep breath, she leaned back against the door.
"Home at last," she murmured.

Her wet blazer clung to her skin, and she peeled it off before hanging it on the coat rack. A shiver ripped through her as cool air from the air conditioning touched her skin.

Traffic had been horrible, and then it'd been almost impossible to find a good parking spot. She'd had to run the couple of blocks in torrential rain. Her landlord needed to think about assigned parking, but what could she do? Nothing, really.

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Sylvi walked to the bathroom, stripping off layer after layer of clothing as she went. She sighed and leaned over the sink, staring at herself in the mirror. Her dark hair was plastered to her head, and mascara trailed down her cheeks. She looked like a drowned rat. A nice hot shower was just what she needed after the day she'd had. If only Lukas were here, he'd know just the thing to say to make her feel better.

A frown curved her lips.

His job forced him to travel a lot, and she hated it. Nothing she could do about it though. He enjoyed his work, which was more than she could say about her own employment. Most days she wanted to throw the pillow over her head and scream at the alarm clock.

Shaking the thoughts away, she grabbed a towel from the linen closet, then stepped into the shower and cranked on the hot water. The feeling of warmth and heat pushed deep into her bones, helping to eradicate the chill within her.

A smile spread across her lips. This was the best moment she'd had all day. Maybe she had been too pessimistic. Her crappy day at the office didn't really matter, nor did the lack of parking her apartment building provided.

After her shower, she'd change into a nice set of pajamas, curl up in bed, and try to call Lukas. And if she couldn't get in contact with him, she'd cozy up with one of the romance novels she'd picked up yesterday. There, that was a good plan.

Sylvi turned off the shower and dried herself. She wrapped the large bath towel around her then set off to grab the cordless phone from the living room. There weren't any flashing lights on the phone to indicate that Lukas had called. Disappointment fluttered in her chest before she shoved it away.

He probably had a busy schedule filled with meetings and schmoozing galore.

She headed for the bedroom and paused in the hallway, staring at the closed door. Had she closed it this morning? Lukas couldn't be here since he would have come out to greet her. However, he wouldn't close the bedroom door either. They had no reason to.

She chewed on her lower lip and looked down at the phone. Her thumb hovered over the number nine. Should she call the police? What if no one was there? What if she'd had a strange memory lapse? She'd look like an idiot.

Stop acting like a child, she scolded herself.

Taking a deep breath, she jerked the door open and flipped on the light. Her gaze raked the room. It was decorated in delicate shades of blue and white. She and Lukas had done this together, as a team. The memory brought a smile to her face. Until she saw him...

Demetrius stood by the window overlooking the street, staring into the rainy night. She knew it was him by his overwhelmingly muscular build and shoulder-length brown hair. How had he found her after all these years? They'd experienced a short, wild rendezvous before she'd come to Florida, but it was so over!

"What are you doing here?" Her voice shook slightly. He turned to face her, and she stepped back toward the door.

Tension rose and filled the air.

"Hello to you, too." He stalked over to the bed. His hands splayed over the blue velvet comforter. "Mmm... Soft. You certainly do have superb taste." The bed groaned under his weight as he crawled onto the mattress and stared at her.

"What do you want?" Sylvi shivered and pressed herself against the doorframe. She had to get out of here. There was no telling what he'd do, especially with her being so vulnerable.

Demetrius licked his lips and ran his gaze over her as if willing her towel away. "You."

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Digital Slave

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.

Excerpt:

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.

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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.

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Beneath the Broken Moon: Part Five

Carmela Santiago has no idea that she's about to become the cause of a truce between two races that have feuded for centuries. If she makes it out alive, she may finally have the life she didn't know she wanted--one filled with both love and power.

Devastated by Carmela's kidnapping, Derek Ashmore will wade through vampire and werewolf politics--something he loathes--to bring back the one person he's ever truly cared for. But the vampire can't do it alone.

Alpha werewolf Brendan Kelly must put aside his anger and focus on what needs to be done if he hopes to ever see his mate again. The two men in Carmela's life must rely on each other and join forces against an unknown enemy bigger than what any vampire or werewolf could face alone.

Excerpt:

After Carmela told me to go away, I came to the mostly unused bathroom down the hall. What would I say to the others downstairs? I needed to collect my thoughts before I rejoined them. Regardless of my concern for Carmela, Elliot was counting on me to rescue him. I had to get my act together.

Unease trickled along my spine. I scanned the bathroom’s tight confines, confirming I was still alone. Suddenly fear exploded in my chest, but the emotion wasn’t mine. My mind drew back to the way I’d felt the night Carmela came to my home after her father abused her. I darted through the hallway toward the spare room where I’d left her.

Something wasn’t right. I could sense nothing but utter stillness from inside. I tried the doorknob, but it was locked. “Carmela? Open up.” I listened, but she didn’t reply. “Love? Are you there?” Silence.

What’s going on?

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The sound of footsteps and a crutch tapped up the stairs. “Everything okay?” Brendan asked from behind me.

“No, I don’t think it is.” I jerked the doorknob to the right, breaking the lock. My gaze whipped around the room—Carmela was gone. My heart raced in my chest. The curtain billowed in the gentle breeze, bringing my attention to the open window. Had she run again? “Damn it!” I slammed my fist into the wall beside the door.

Brendan stood in the doorway, just inches from the spot I’d struck. His eyes widened, and he stepped away from me as he checked for himself that Carmela wasn’t here. A harsh growl rumbled up from deep in his chest. He pushed further into the room, heading toward the bed where we’d made love to her a little less than an hour ago. His shoulders slumped forward as if hit by a wave of emotion.

I looked away. I knew about pain all too well, but time was of the essence if we were to figure out where she’d gone and why before she got into even more trouble. But why had she run? I walked toward the window, and a strong, chemical scent seeped into my nostrils. Something like what I’d smelled before.

No! She hadn’t run after all. Someone took her from under my nose, and the noses of the dozen or so vampires and werewolves downstairs. That bastard.

“Carmela was kidnapped.” Brendan’s gaze rose to meet mine, and he hobbled over. He sucked in a deep breath, only to end up coughing and pinching his nose. “Shit. I can’t believe this is happening. Someone should’ve stayed with her.”

“What is it?” I asked, not really sure I wanted to know the answer.

“The chemical has elements of a drug that’s been tested on werewolves as a temporary paralytic. The Cazador concocted it.” Brendan sniffed around the window, then raised his face to an area where the intruder’s scent was strongest. His eyes narrowed. “The Cazador...but somehow, this guy is different. He exudes death.”

The necromancer. It had to be. I scented the air, confirming it for myself.

Several footsteps thumped on the stairs. “What’s going on in here?” Neal said from the doorway.

I frowned, searching for the words tell him.

Neal glanced between me and his son. When neither of us spoke, he glanced around the room. Confusion creased his forehead for a split second before realization set in. “Damn it! Those bastards.” He strolled into the room, sniffing the spots that Brendan and I had discovered moments before. “We should’ve taken out that lab when we had the chance.” He frowned at the burgundy-haired female werewolf standing near the door.

I caught Prescott’s eye as he joined us. He nodded toward a corner of the room, furthest from the window where Carmela had been taken.

An unfamiliar handkerchief lay abandoned on the floor. I crossed the room to investigate, then picked it up and sniffed. It had the kidnapper’s scent, and only a trace of the chemical. Heck, this whole area carried his scent, as if he’d been hovering here for a while. “Found something,” I said, lifting the cloth for the others to see.

Neal snatched it from me, holding the fabric near his nose. He winced, but quickly seemed to brush off any discomfort. “Let’s get some trackers on this.” He held the handkerchief out to the female werewolf he’d looked to moments ago. “I want you searching the rest of the room, top to bottom. Report anything you find.” The Alpha werewolf paused, then turned back to me. His lips tightened. “Thanks.”

“Anything to help find Carmela and the others.” I retreated to the hallway as the burgundy-haired werewolf began her search of the spare room.

Prescott leaned against the wall beside me, shrugging a shoulder as if to say, What did you expect? Two vampires lingered nearby, waiting for instructions. “Timothy and Jane, join the werewolf in investigating the room,” Prescott said before slipping back down the stairs.

The look on their faces showed their displeasure before they could censor themselves. Horror came over Jane’s, while Timothy wrinkled his nose as if the task was distasteful. I couldn’t blame them; they weren’t used to being around wolves.

Brendan and Neal talked further along the hallway in harsh whispers. I didn’t envy the young werewolf. When this was behind us, I’d probably be getting the same treatment from my leader.

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Reviews:Cindy C. on Amazon wrote:

What a great finish to the series. Sarah has taken a figment of her imagination and made it into an extraordinary five-part series. ... If you are looking for a series that will keep you on pins and needles from start to finish, then this is the one for you.


Jungle Burn

The new Amazon Princess chooses between a close friend who wants her and the man she desires...

In the series finale, Sabina Rukan is ready to find her mate. She must choose between her close friend, Tiago, who lusts after her, and the object of her desire, Rafael. When the three of them come together, Rafael discovers the feelings between him and Sabina are mutual, and he'll stop at nothing to make her his mate.

Excerpt:

Sabina Rukan knocked on the door to Tiago's hut. He'd been her closest friend for a while, even though her parents had always preferred her to socialize with the other girls in the village. She didn't really care. Growing up as Princess of the Amazons, she couldn't help a slight feeling of entitlement.

The door to his hut opened, and Tiago stood there shirtless with a faded pair of jeans hugging his hips. He smirked at her with a wicked quirk of his lips.

She trailed her gaze over the muscular expanse of his chest. Seeing all his bare skin made her want to nibble on his torso and bask in its warmth. For the past few weeks, her hormones had gone into overdrive.

She'd noticed the werepuma men taking a greater interest in her, which was embarrassing, and yet her parents were still convinced she wasn't ready to become a woman. If they weren't going to trust her, she needed to take matters into her own hands. She'd known just who to come to.

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He took her hand and kissed her knuckles. "Sabina, how are you doing?" His nose twitched a little, and his brown eyes darkened, as they tended to do whenever she came around. He wanted her, and she wouldn't mind having him, either.

"I'm doing well enough. I need to talk with you." She held on to his hand, pulling him out of his hut. With her being a weretiger, she had comparable strength to his, but she'd been taught not to use her full strength from a young age. That would only hurt people around her, which she was very careful about.

He didn't look too sure about this, but he shut the door and followed her. "Where are we going? Why aren't we talking in my home? There's more privacy in there than out here."

She stopped, turned to look at him, and sighed. "Not really. You know as well as I do, if someone wanted to listen in on our conversation, all they'd have to do is stand outside your door and concentrate. That's not okay with what I need to talk about."

At just that moment, a couple of male werepumas walked by them and looked her up and down. One halted his progress, his eyes flashing upon her as if he wanted nothing better than to push her to the ground and ride her. Her out-of-control hormones were a primary cause for the sudden surge of crudeness she faced, yet her Amazon kin wouldn't understand.

Sabina was different from them. She was the only female werecat in the village, and in many ways, it felt like she'd been cursed. Her parents had forbidden the werepumas to tell her secret, and Kyle -- their leader -- made sure his people knew the lengths he'd go to help make sure the Amazons didn't find out before they were ready. They weren't sure the Amazons would stand behind her as they did her mother, the queen, or even her father or Rubia and Kyle. None of them was a creature next in line for the throne.

Frowning, Tiago shrugged. "Fine. Take me wherever you think is safe."

She walked with him through the village, her gaze set straight on where she was going. Her shoulders were tense, but Tiago used his free hand to squeeze one of them slightly. "Relax," he said.

Sabina let out a breath and took him into the trees. They didn't go far, just enough to have some privacy. "Okay. I..." She paused, not knowing how to go about this. Her usual carefree personality stumbled with letting this off her chest. How could she ask him about her needs? "I was wondering..." She shook her head. "I'm sorry for bothering --"

Tiago hooked his index finger under her chin and forced her to look at him. "You're not bothering me. Just let me know what's on your mind." He stared into her eyes, his gaze intense even in the dark night.

"I need sexual release." The words left her lips before she could cage them. "I hear the mated women and men in their huts, and my body burns like it's caught in a bonfire." She licked her suddenly dry lips, and his gaze dropped to take in the swift motion.

"And you've come to me with this request?" His tone was carefully neutral, but the bulge at the front of his jeans spoke louder than his words.

She nodded.

"Your parents would kill me -- hell, my parents would probably help -- if I claimed you without their permission." The wicked quirk of his lips teased her. She wanted to punch him in the face, but that wouldn't help her cause.

"And?" She propped her hands on her hips.

"I might be able to help ease your desire." He helped her to the ground then settled her onto her back. His hands went to the strip of cloth covering her chest...

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Jungle Blaze

An Amazon and a werepuma cause a battle between races, but will they find love together in time?

Sol has seen others around her find their mates, and she's determined to find her own, except the man who has caught her eye is standoffish and has no intention of getting into a relationship.

Eduardo, the second-in-command of the werepumas, has no interest in the mating going on around him, but his stern attitude is about to change when he finds what he didn't know he was looking for—Sol.

Excerpt:

Soft moans filtered into her sleep. Blinking her eyes open, Sol Rios pushed herself into a sitting position and drowsily rubbed her hands over her face. Sleep wasn’t her friend anymore. Not since her neighbor, Rubia, had mated with the werepumas’ leader.

The quiet sighs of pleasure steadily gained intensity and became more insistent, more demanding. Louder. She balled her hands into fists, even as dampness and warmth gathered between her legs. She squeezed her thighs together against the cruel sensation.

This was craziness! She had to get away from here. Would it look too suspicious if Sol asked Adara, the Amazon Queen, if she could move her hut? Then again, Rubia and Adara were friends. Her complaint might cause friction between her and Rubia if Adara said something. She’d have to come up with a good reason, instead of just complaining about the…noise.

Once dressed, Sol stepped out of her hut. She drew in a breath of fresh air to soothe her nerves.

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Darkness blanketed the village. Only a few torches here and there provided enough light for her to see. She headed toward the village’s center where the Amazons and werepumas held their feasts. Embers glowed hot in the fire pit. She sat beside it, enjoying the heat and the night sounds of the rainforest.

A few guards—both Amazon and werepuma—were prowling the catwalks, and one of the Amazons noticed her with a wave. She returned the kind gesture then lowered her gaze to the coals. Toasty warmth caressed her skin. She wrapped her arms around her legs, hugging them to her chest, then rested her chin on her knees.

Movement drew her attention away from the fire pit, and she caught sight of a tall, lithe figure striding from the village’s entrance toward her. Torchlight revealed his face, and she sucked in a breath. It was Eduardo, the werepumas’ second-in-command.

She was thankful for the darkness. Otherwise, she’d have run.

Her gaze followed him as he passed by without sparing her a glance. How embarrassing. She buried her face in her legs, wishing she had the spark the other Amazons possessed. Many of her people were finding their mates, yet no one paid her any attention. Especially not the man she found most attractive. He didn’t even acknowledge her existence.

At this rate, her womb would become barren before he even bothered making eye contact. Did what he thought really matter? She’d become like her neighbor and up at all hours doing primal…acts with her mate. When did the women ever sleep?

She shook her head, shrugging off any pity for herself. Peeking over her shoulder, she saw Eduardo standing before Rubia’s hut. Even from this distance, tension was evident in his posture. Maybe Rubia and the werepuma leader were still rutting like wild animals.

Sol turned away before he could feel her gaze. Not like that would matter much. She hadn’t seen him look or talk to any of the women aside from Adara, Rubia, and a few Amazon guards. All occasions were strictly for business.

He didn’t possess much charm or charisma—in her opinion—just a stern, no-nonsense attitude. Yet Sol couldn’t help the foolhardy attraction she felt for him. What was wrong with her? It had to be why none of the men were interested in her.

Faint footsteps approached her from behind. Maybe he was just leaving the village again. It didn’t mean he’d have any reason to talk with her. Right? But the footsteps paused, and sudden encompassing silence unsettled her.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a pair of denim-clad legs. Her gaze slid up those strong legs and over his solid chest until she stared into his dark blue eyes.

A frown curved his lips, and he folded his arms over his chest. “You live in the hut next to Rubia, don’t you?”

Sol froze and looked around as if he could’ve been talking to an invisible person next to her. His irritated sigh drew her gaze back to him. “Ye-yes, I do.”

He looked from her to Rubia’s hut again. “Give them a message for me when they manage to tear themselves away from one another.” Displeasure oozed from his tone. His gaze pinned her in place, and she felt as small as an ant.

At least she’d been wrong about something—her hair wasn’t gray nor her womb barren—but this wasn’t quite how she’d imagined him looking at her. In her daydreams, he’d been kind and caring, loving and warm. Not at all like this.

Any bit of self-confidence she’d possessed leaked away. Her nerves shook with the intensity of his intimidating stare. “Message?” Her voice squeaked. Heat rose to her cheeks, but she fought back the blush warming her neck.

The sexy werepuma frowned. “Yes, tell them that I—” Shaking his head, he balled one hand into a fist. “Forget it. I’ll come back in the morning and speak with them myself.” He walked off. Lowering his voice, he murmured to himself, “The message probably wouldn’t reach them if I left it with her. She hardly has any backbone.”

Her heart plummeted into her stomach, and she clenched her hands into fists. She barely held back her tears. “You don’t know me,” she said, her words a whisper.

Eduardo stopped. He turned enough to look over his shoulder, giving her a great view of his profile. His lips curled back from his teeth. “I have no reason to either.” He strode away, leaving her sitting by the fire pit, alone and shaken.

Her emotions shuffled between hurt, humiliation, and then finally settled on anger. Pulling herself to her feet, she stared after the man she’d liked. Now she had her reason for wanting to move her home, and she’d be petitioning Queen Adara first thing tomorrow morning.

COLLAPSE