Monday, April 25, 2016

Renn Faire Romance!

#Evernight | #Amazon | #Nook | #Kobo | ARe | OmniLit | Bookstrand
(Links will be updated as it goes live!)


They pretended to be lords and ladies, but their love became all too real....

Lady Daffodil Davola grew up traveling Renn Faires with her family. She’s not ashamed of living life off the grid, content with her world and the bawdy band of misfits and wanderers who share it with her. She doesn’t seek the approval of the outside world…not even from the one man who ever made her want something more.

Gregory Wilder grew up in a family obsessed with politics, determined to become movers and shakers. He remembers a fluke visit to a medieval faire and the girl he met once upon a time. After a messy divorce, he’s determined to find her and see what if…

Assigned to play King and Queen, they have to work together for Knight’s week, like it or not, because Daffy’s father insists. Can they make it through a week without killing each other, or will they end up falling back in love?

This is a previously published work. It has been revised and edited for Evernight Publishing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New release from Rebecca Royce!! - Kidnapped By Her Husbands (Wings Of Artemis #1) #SciFi #romance

Kidnapped By Her Husbands 
Wings Of Artemis #1
Rebecca Royce
#AMAZON | #aRe | #NOOK | #KOBO 
 
“A great newcomer to the Reverse Harem genre! I truly enjoyed the characters and their dynamics. I’m dying to find out what will happen next!”—Bestselling author AS Oren
Alone in prison.
No recollection of the past.
A baby grows inside her.
In a futuristic world where women are scarce and only the wealthy can afford a wife, Melissa Alexander is trapped in a prison rehabilitation center with no memory of who she is.  The unborn child growing inside her is all that keeps them from making her pay for the sins she's committed--sins she cannot recall.  But when five sexy strangers, claiming to be her husbands, kidnap her and bring her to safety, Melissa fears she can't trust them.  All she can remember is what she was taught under the prison's watchful, vengeful eye:  to hate them.  But how can she hate--or love--what she can't remember?
CONTENT: Intense, Reverse Harem

Monday, April 11, 2016

La Vie en Rose {Life In Pink} by L Y D I A M I C H A E L S

 Sometimes the greatest scars are worn on the inside.

La Vie en Rose

{Life In Pink}

L Y D I A   M I C H A E L S

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Goodreads

Emma Sanders has always dreamt of being a bride, wearing fancy gowns, pretty pearls, and—of course—falling madly in love. Then life happened. Finding herself one fiancĂ© short of her happily ever after, she leaves the fairytales behind. Some days are simply too perilous for pink gowns and pearls.
Riley Lockhart is the sort of man who can make a woman lower her gaze with only a smile. That he doesn’t realize his charm makes him all the more enchanting. Determined to save Emma the pain of her breakup, he steps in as a friend, but soon finds himself wanting more.
She was just a girl, but she somehow winds up being the strongest woman he’s ever known. Losing her is not an option and when life can’t be tied neatly in a pretty little bow, he holds tight to all that he loves—his Emma. His hero.


EXCERPT


It was amusing how the girls on the subway watched Riley. Emma supposed he was above-average handsome, but since he was Rarity’s older brother she never looked too hard.

Now, seeing him in his element, riding the subway in a Pet Shop Boys T-shirt, jeans, and battered chucks, she recognized what the other women on the train were seeing. Riley was hot.

His brown eyes were so clear they shined as though they were blue. Sloppy chestnut waves curled in perfect careless disarray, complimenting his naturally tanned olive skin. He even had the five o’clock shadow down to an art.

Scanning the surrounding female passengers, she counted six of them gawking at him, begging with their eyes for him to glance their way. Amazing. The pheromones could choke a prostitute.

Skimming the male passengers, she frowned. Not a single one was looking at her.

What if she was Riley’s girlfriend? They were standing close enough, but the other girls didn’t seem to notice her at all.

She rolled her eyes. Invisible. Meanwhile, Riley scratched his nose with his thumbnail—it was practically a casual pick—and three of the six leering women sighed as if he read a verse of poetry.
So unfair.

“Wait until you taste some of the food there,” he whispered in her ear.

Her chest filled with warmth as his voice sent a thrill of excitement tearing through her belly. It wasn’t sexual. It was what being feminine was all about. Who cared what he said? He was talking to her; the guy every other girl was drooling over was talking to her. And in that moment, the other women finally registered her presence. Every stink eye she got was so totally worth the thrill of attention.

Ha! Not only does he talk to me, he lives with me. I’ve seen him in his skivvies. Take that, ladies.
As the ride continued, her pride mended with each spiteful glance tallied in her favor. Not used to this catty need for attention, she chalked it up to recently being dumped. It was against her nature to behave like a clingy girlfriend, but with Riley it was all make believe, a temporary tonic for her battered ego.

Sometimes it was nice to be seen, though a great deal of her life had been conducted as a wallflower. Perhaps her affability gave her fiancĂ© the impression that she wouldn’t mind him delving into another woman’s panties. Or maybe he’d already lost interest…maybe she wasn’t good at sex. Oh dear God, was she vanilla? A wallflower in bed?

Again, the emphasis she placed on other people’s perception concerned her. Riley didn’t care what anyone thought and people loved him. Even when they were in school, he was always a popular guy. Teachers loved him, jocks loved him, and, of course, women adored him.

Rarity was popular by default, because she was Riley’s sister. Publicly kissing girls promoted her to a novel level of cool only genuine lesbians could achieve in high school, but she’d always been cool by proximity first.

Emma was drawn to their energy like planets to the sun. No one was immune. They were simply attractive people. And as the permanent sidekick that existed in the cool guy’s sister’s shadow, it felt nice to have a bit of Riley’s innate popularity rub off on her as they stood together on the subway.
You’re pathetic. Those girls only know you exist because you’re pretending to be something you’re not. Oh, well! Self-esteem is in the gutter and pretending is helping.

She arched a brow at one of the gawkers.

“What are you grinning about?” he whispered.

Her attention jerked to his smiling russet eyes. He was almost a foot taller than her. Should she tell him? Would he laugh at her? Deciding she didn’t care, she whispered, “You’re inadvertently inflating my ego.”

Confusion tightened his brow so she tipped her head at the other passengers. Shockingly, it seemed the first time he noticed the other women.

“They all assume I’m with you. They hate me.”

He glanced at the other woman, each glare transforming to a seductive pout the moment his attention fell upon them. With his hand gripping the rail above her head, he leaned close. “And them hating you is a good thing?”

Didn’t he get it? “They’re jealous of me. Not many people are.”

The train rattled and slowed. People got off as new passengers climbed on and settled into seats as it whistled back up to speed.

His scrutiny heated her cheeks as he unabashedly studied her. “I can play that game,” he whispered.

“What game?”

Rather than answer, his mouth hooked in a half smile and he winked. She flinched as he dragged his curved knuckle down her bare arm, making the fine hairs rise in its wake. His fingers laced with hers and she watched, amazed, as every female followed the motion.

Her belly tightened with the thrill of exhibitionism. Her feet pointed toward the aisle. His pointed to her, his hip angled at their audience. Shifting a step closer, still holding on to the bar above, he spoke loud enough for the others to hear. “I caught you.”

Her eyes traveled past his lips, no longer shaped in a smile, and landed on those dark eyes. Her brow knit in confusion, unsure what he was doing.

“Looking at me,” he clarified. “You know how that makes me crazy.”

Oh, my God. She should have never told—

“It’s like this morning, when we were spooning in bed, my body pressed tight against yours, flesh to flesh, belly to back, nook to cranny. Everything was fine until I pressed that one kiss on the back of your neck right here.”

Her body tensed with awareness as his finger touched an extremely sensitive spot behind her ear. She couldn’t remember anyone ever touching her there.

“The second I kiss that spot you turn to liquid in my arms, soft and wet, and I can’t help but drink you up, taste every square inch of you on my tongue. My lips. Everywhere. When I catch you looking at me like that, it’s my kryptonite, my secret neck kiss.”

She swallowed and glanced at the women watching them. They were literally gaping, some even appeared to be quietly panting. Holy crap he was slick. “Um…”

Thank God he didn’t let her say anything. She didn’t have his skill. “Next time you look at me like that…” He tucked a curl behind her ear as chills raced over her shoulders. “I can’t be held responsible for what happens.” His fingers squeezed hers tightly and the train hissed and whined to a stop. He winked. “Let’s go. I’m suddenly ravenous.”

He tugged her off the train and into the loud subway. Musicians played for coin and people bustled through the underground world, racing to get where they needed to go. She saw it a thousand times before, but now it was brand new, her senses overstimulated and raw.

As they climbed the stairs to the street her heart pounded wildly. Wafts of traffic, people, and city food greeted them under the August heat. Voices and motion mingled into a cacophony of commotion until she was standing above sea level, fighting to catch her breath. What the hell had he done to her?
Laughing, he released her hand and turned—a totally unaffected grin on his charming face. “That was fun.”

“Y—yeah.” It wasn’t fun, it was thrilling and telling, and in some secret way, quite embarrassing. He’d been toying with those women, putting on a show, yet in those few seconds of phony attention, his artificial reverie trumped every real experience she had. She needed to get a grip.

Demanding her emotions go back into the shadows, she focused on their purpose. “So where’s this Smorgasburg?”

“Can’t you smell it?” He breathed deeply and grinned as his chest expanded, raising his broad shoulders. Weird. She didn’t want to keep cataloguing his every masculine trait, yet she couldn’t stop.

 “Ah, it’s just past the bridge. Let’s move.”

The snap of her flip-flops put a melody to their strides. As the impressive Brooklyn Bridge stretched before her, she had one of those out of body moments that reminded her she lived in one of the coolest cities on earth. “I don’t appreciate New York the way I should.”

Walking beside her, a pleasant set to his mouth, he sent her a sidelong glance—not bothering to disagree.

“Becket and I never walked around like this. Once he took me to Tiffany’s, but we were in and out. I’m not even sure what he was picking up.” Probably something for his mistress. “He never stopped for street meats or pretzels. We only dined at restaurants that held reservations.”

“You can’t plan New York through a concierge. It’s meant to be experienced. It’s alive, pulsing, like an animal. We can only observe it and let ourselves be led by its verve. The minute we try to control it we miss something spectacular, like with nature. It really is the world’s largest organism. There are so many people setting its rhythm, better to experience it organically.”

“I never thought of it that way.” The scent of ethnic faire grew thick in the air; tempting her appetite out of hiding and drawing her steps toward the mouth-watering aroma of succulent meats grilled over open flames.

Voices traveled, rising in volume as they stepped into a mass of people patronizing what appeared to be a market of New York’s cleverest food venders. How had she not known about this event?

Riley rotated, a phenomenal grin on his face as though he’d entered man heaven. “Where should we begin?”

“You’re my captain. I trust your instincts.”

Canopies and makeshift booths formed long aisles for people to wander. Steam clouded the various sites, eliciting attention with each peculiarly pleasant aroma.

Chefs acted as street performers, enchanting patrons, drawing them near with careful explanations for pairing fermented spices and specialized condiments with seared meats. It was a sort of live gallery, showcasing the artistry of New York cuisine.

Servings were sometimes dainty, offering a sampling of what could be the world’s most eclectic menu. The selection was endless, filet mignon sliders, fresh pecan bread sold by the slice, doughnuts the size of grapefruits, and even specialty booths for vegans and other diets she’d never heard of before.

“Oh, we have to start here,” he veered to the right and she followed. When the walkways became clogged with people, he reached through the crowd and pulled her to his side. “Watch this, Em. This is how meat should be treated.”

It was indeed a performance. The vendor tossed a steaming brisket onto the wood surface and unwrapped the charred foil covering. Juicy morsels of fat were trimmed away to unveil perfectly cooked, tender, pink beef. As the peddler made a show of slicing the meat in precise portions, it fell apart and her mouth watered.

Riley’s voice turned gravely. “Oh my God, we are so eating that.”

She grinned at him, loving the glazed lust in his eyes. Only men got that way with meat. She supposed beef and pork were to a guy what shoes and purses were to most women.

As the chef prepared their sandwich, Riley asked questions about the smoking process. The vendor was very friendly and informative. “You want everything on it?”

“What’s everything?” Riley asked.

“Cheese, pickles, hot peppers, sweet sauce.”

He glanced at her. “You afraid of hot?”

“No.” She wanted to taste the sandwich the way the creator intended it.

Riley grinned. “Give us the works.”

The man dressed the small sandwich until it was bursting with meat and dripping with sauce. Riley paid and she followed him to the side of the booth where coolers held the vendors’ supplies.
“Are you ready for this?” he asked, eyes set with excitement.
 
“You taste it first.” She wasn’t sure what would be more enjoyable, watching his exhilaration or actually tasting it for herself.

“You sure?”

She nodded as he carefully held the messy sandwich and took a bite, bits of cheese and meat falling from his fingers. “Oh my God,” he moaned over a mouthful. “You have to try this.” She reached out, but he shook his head, still chewing. “Just open. It’s too messy.”

Opening wide like a ridiculous baby bird, she let him shove the corner of the sandwich in her mouth and bit down. “Oh my God!” she echoed.

“I know, right?”

An exquisite blend of flavors burst over her tongue. “It’s amazing,” she mumbled, holding her fingers over her lips so food didn’t fall out.

“I could eat twenty of these.” He took another bite.

“We so should.” She opened as he held the rapidly shrinking sandwich out for her again.

They didn’t waste time talking for the next few minutes as they devoured the most delicious sandwich she’d ever tasted. When they finished, Riley snagged some napkins and passed her several to wipe her mouth.

As they journeyed onward they sampled maple bacon cupcakes, Bangladeshi street cuisine, and even shared a pumpkin spiced S’more cooked under the flame of a blowtorch. It was an incredible festival of food.

“Do you like oysters?” he asked as they approached a merchant standing before a bowl of crushed ice.

“I don’t know.” She’d never tried an oyster before.

“Wanna try one?”

“Sure.”

As the chef sliced open the rocklike case and revealed an opalescent inner shell, she tried not to be revolted by the goopy booger looking mollusk inside. He shucked the blob loose, leaving it resting on half a shell, and placed it in a bed of crushed ice.

“What do they taste like?” she asked.

The chef continued to shuck. “Briny, like the ocean. If you’re virgins I can dress them in a mignonette sauce to soften the taste. I have a nice ginger cucumber one.”

“What do you suggest?” Riley asked.

“I’m a purist, sir. I like them with a bit of pepper and lemon and that’s it.”

Riley glanced at her.

“I think I should try it with the sauce.” The more she stared at the little glob the more unappealing it became. These were considered delicacies? If she was remembering correctly, they were also aphrodisiacs. She didn’t see anything sexy about them.

“Ready?” Riley asked, holding his lemon oyster while offering her the one dressed in the ginger sauce.

Timidly, she reached for the shell.

Their eyes met and he counted off. “One… two…three.” His head tipped back and her mouth filled with—

Oh my God. What the fuck is in my mouth?

“Not bad.” Riley grinned then started laughing. “Are you okay?”

She shook her head, booger mollusk sliding around her tongue, and desperately searched the table for a napkin. You gag and it’s all over.

“Swallow it!” he shouted, laughing at her.

The vender passed her a napkin.

“No, don’t spit. Swallow!”

Oh my God, she was going to kick him if he didn’t shut up. People stared as they walked by and she spit the disgusting thing into the napkin and balled it up.

Riley shook his head. “Oh, Emma, I’m disappointed. Good girls swallow.”

“Shut up,” she snapped, her face burning.

He laughed and nudged her, tossing a few dollars on the table and directing her into the crowd.
“That was disgusting. Now I can’t get the taste out of my mouth.”

He stopped and ordered a cup of cranberry Brooklyn soda. “Here, you big tissue.”

“I’m not a tissue. I tried it.”

“Let’s sit for a while.” He led her to a stout cement barricade along the jetties and they sat facing the East River.

They’d walked miles in a matter of hours so she was grateful for the respite. The short wall was warm from the afternoon sun. “Today was really fun, Riley. Thanks for bringing me here.”

“I had fun too. It’s nice to waste a day taking advantage of everything the city has to offer. We can get immune from living here.”

She smiled, her cheeks tingling under the moist wind off the river. “There’s so much I’ve never experienced. I’ve never even been to the Empire State Building.”

“What?”

She laughed at his shock. “I know. I’m the worst New Yorker in the world.”

“You gotta get out more, Em.”

“I want to.” Letting out a deep breath, she relaxed. “I’m so sick of being me. It’s so tedious, always doing what everyone else thinks I should do.”

He frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I think you were right. I don’t think I loved Becket.”

“Conceivable.”

“Was it that obvious? Because if I’m being honest, I’m still getting over the shock.”

“Don’t hate me, but Becket was a prick. He didn’t bring anything to the table. You guys were always running off to meet his friends or attend functions at his father’s law firm.”

“Well, I do work there.”

“Exactly. You work for his family. When was it about Emma Sanders?”

There wasn’t an excuse at the ready. “I guess it never was.”

“Yeah, that’s not love. So when you say you don’t think you were in love with him, I can believe it.”
“You’re a pretty deep guy, Riley. Not a lot of men are like that.”
 
He shrugged. “I’m comfortable with you. I can just say what I feel.”

“Yeah,” she agreed, her mind drifting back to Riley as a tousled child in grass stained corduroys and wild curls. Although they knew each other since braces and bike rides, this was the first time they actually hung out alone. It was strange they never talked about personal things before, because she really was extremely comfortable around him.

“What do you say we head back and go get that mani-pedi?” he asked.

Her feet were killing her and the idea of a pedicure sounded divine. “Okay.”

He glanced down at her flip-flops and tsked. “I’m not sure they can help those stank walkers.”
She gaped at him. “There is nothing wrong with my feet!”

“Whatever. Where’s your baby toe?”

“It’s right here!” She lifted up her foot.

He leaned forward and squinted. “You can’t call that Darwin freak show a toe.”

“If it’s not then what the hell is it?” Her toes were perfectly normal!

“That’s a nubbin.”

“Whatever.” She stood.

He rose as well. “You think you can manage on you’re deformed hobbit hooves? We got a hike back to the subway.”

She stomped away. “Jerk.” And just when she was starting to think he was nice!

“Wait up,” he called. “Don’t be like that. We don’t have to wee-wee-wee all the way home. It was a good day at the market, piggy.”

She held up her middle finger and prodded on—laughing under her breath.

About L Y D I A   M I C H A E L S

Lydia Michaels is the award winning author of 23 romance novels. Her novels from the darkly compelling Surrender Trilogy were iBooks Bestsellers and her work has been featured in USA Today. In 2015 she was the winner of The Best of Bucks Award and she has been nominated as Best Author in the Happenings Magazine two years running [2015 & 2016]. She is a four time nominee for the prestigious RONE Award. Her books are intellectual, emotional, haunting, always centered around love. Lydia Michaels loves to hear from readers! She can be contacted by email at Lydia@LydiaMichaelsBooks.com
Webpage: www.LydiaMichaelsBooks.com

Sign Up for Lydia Michaels Newsletter


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

#NewRelease #Paranormal Check out Ondrej by Saranna DeWylde!

ONDREJ
Drago Knights MC
By Saranna DeWylde

Ondrej Tatsu and the Drago Knights MC are tasked with the protection and transport of the Princess Krysanthe—a gold nymph who has come out of hiding to make a great marriage and end the war between her people and the Remus Werewolf Pack. To keep her safe, Ondrej must separate from his clan and brave the long road alone. Something he’s more than prepared to do, until mating fever strikes and he realizes his one true mate is the one female he can’t have.


AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | GOOGLE | iTUNES

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

#New #ContemporaryRomance ROYALS AND ROGUES! #NewRelease #HeatherLong

ROYALS & ROGUES
Shelli Stevens, Carole Mortimer, Susan Stephens, Heather Long, J.C. Makk

BUY LINKS

Sexy and we know it! They’re on the hunt after your heart. Discover 5 brand new passionate tales of royals, rogues, dreams, passion and conflict. Escape with these modern tales, where happily ever after takes hard work, determination, and some good, old fashioned royal luck.
Discover the passionate Royals and Rogues with Shelli Stevens, Carole Mortimer, Susan Stephens, Heather Long and J.C Makk.

Warning: Contains royal heroes and heroines, tempestuous passion, second chances, roguish competition, and family ties binding them together. Sometimes a royal’s greatest challenge is love…

TITLES INCLUDE:

Her Marine Prince by Heather Long

Princess Francesca “Frankie” Grace has no interest in scandal or pomp and circumstance. Her desire for a military career puts her on a collision course with retired Marine Hugh Dillon.

Alexandre by Carole Mortimer

Billionaire ruler of a Mediterranean principality, Prince Alexandre of Androcco took one look at Anastazia Carmichael and knew he wanted her. And he’s determined to have her. In his arms. In his bed. Any way he can get her.

Seducing the Princess by Susan Stephens

Angel: The first time I met Gideon Black, I was a teen who hated him with a passion that kept me awake at night. Gideon: A tease at sixteen, Angel has grown into an irresistible, kick-ass woman. I know exactly what I want to do to her—how thoroughly, and for how long.

Corrupted by the Prince by Shelli Stevens

On the heels of his worse scandal yet, Prince Kostas of Mykorini decides to keep a low profile at his American beach home in the Hamptons. Taking a lover isn't part of his plan until he meets Eva. Evelynn Fairchild knows she should be wary of the bad boy prince, especially when she's considered the levelheaded one in her high profile family. But one earth shattering kiss makes her wonder if she should ditch her virginity status in what surely will be a one-night stand.

His Royal Redemption by J.C. Makk

Sir Antony Richarden is determined to win the King’s Favor, a prize which will save his family estate and secure his nieces’ future. His only obstacle? Princess Estelle of Dirksbee, the woman he left at the altar is going to make this competition more than difficult. Never mind the fact he still has feelings for Estelle…

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Odd Mate is in the wild! #FirstChapter #SneakPeek #NewRelease




To celebrate the release of Odd Mate, I'm giving you all the first chapter for FREE!

Odd Mate
Virginia Nelson

Kindle | Kobo | Inktera | ARe | Nook | iBooks | Print | Scribd

When a gamer wolf searches for love, only an odd mate will do.

Charly spends his days working in a used video game shop and most of his nights as the second to one of the rarest of their kind—a female Alpha. Most of the pack figured he and Dara had a thing, but her recent mating wakens a wave of unwelcome pity. He can't exactly admit the one wolf he ever loved left him years ago. At least, he can’t until she reappears close enough for him to try again.

Gretchen fell in love with a sweet, nerdy bear of a man, but ran from his side when she realized he'd hate her for something she couldn't change. Now she's back in town and drawn to his side. A twist of fate leaves her with no choice—she can be near the man she’s always loved again, but she must betray him and everything he holds dear.

Can a wolf sworn to destroy all coyotes claim a coywolf mate or will he be forced to obliterate the only girl he ever loved?


Chapter One
Everyone knows a good story doesn’t begin with a dream sequence. Due to that simple rule of storytelling, Charly knew he wasn’t dreaming when he spotted her sitting cross-legged on the small dividing wall between the college campus and the parking lot. It was her, it had to be.

Lifting an arm to wave, he called out, “Hey, Gretchen!”

She didn’t turn, didn’t even seem to hear him, her golden head bent to look at something in her lap. Even from a distance, he recognized her profile and couldn’t resist calling again, “Gretchen!”

His heart accelerated, a direct and immediate reaction to finally putting his eyes on the one woman who ever managed to make him want to be the kind of guy he read about—some comic book hero hell bent on saving the world who could say the right thing and sweep the perfect girl off her scantily clad feet.

Not that Gretchen was nearly naked, but a guy could wish.

Closer up, he could see the cord that likely impeded her ability to hear him. She wore some kind of earbuds and a hoodie covered in cartoon characters. Her jeans were ratty and her hair as brilliant as he remembered. A trace of her scent—wild and a little heady—made it to him and he sucked in the familiar bouquet with a twist of bittersweet joy. He didn’t know why she’d just vanished one day, no trace left behind for him to track and no word on where she’d gone, but she had. He wasn’t letting her slip away so easily a second time.

Losing her once in a lifetime was enough to let him know he didn’t want it to happen a second time. Reaching out one hand, he planned to nudge her shoulder, get her attention, and maybe ask her out.

But a ball of fur in his periphery distracted him moments before wet and fangs closed on his arm.

Who would dare attack him in broad daylight?

The wild musky scent of the attacker alerted him before his human brain caught up with the program. Coywolf.

The dangerous breed of shifter was a combination of coyote and wolf, but not actually either anymore. Coywolves were bigger than wolves, more suited to urban terrain and altogether meaner than shit.

Not to mention Charly was in human form, it was daytime, and they were on a college campus, and if he did a thing to defend himself, his professors might see. Nothing ensured an A faster than a prof finding out their student could shift into a four-legged death machine, but he preferred his grades be based on his actual performance rather than sheer terror on the part of the humans.

Besides, it would really piss off Dara if he shifted in public. She’d never proved terribly understanding about that sort of thing.

Fending off the attack to the best of his ability, considering, he tried to also scan the area to see if any other coywolves were around. Last thing he needed was for one to attack Gretchen while he was distracted, meaning he’d shift to protect her and worry about apologizing to his Alpha later if he had to.

But he saw neither other wolves nor Gretchen. She’d vanished. Again.

“Dammit!”

Not sure if he was more pissed that he’d been attacked or that he’d lost sight of the girl of his dreams, Charly closed both hands over the snapping muzzle mere inches from his face. “You picked the wrong wolf to tangle with, Hybrid.”

The other animal didn’t answer, more focused on trying to tear out his throat than conversation.

Pinching down hard on the pressure points at the joint of the jaw, Charly managed to pry the creature off him in stages. Humans gathered, all gasping in horror and one pulling out their cellphone—yeah, a Vine of their interaction wasn’t on his list of things to do, either. He needed to end this and fast. One snap and he’d managed to boink the coywolf’s head off the pavement, stunning the creature. Once it was distracted, Charly shoved up and away and ran fast and hard toward the parking lot. Tugging up his hoodie to hide his face a bit, he ducked between cars, sneaking a look back towards the main hall of the school.

The coywolf shook off his stupor then turned to lope, looking unconcerned, away from the humans, most of which had cell phones out to snap pictures. Stupid animal—attention from the humans weren’t in its best interest any more than it was in Charly’s. As it vanished, Charly again scented the air, searching for a trace of her, but all he could smell was the reek of the coywolf, now rubbed into his clothes. He’d need a shower.

His phone chirped and he pulled it out to unlock the screen with a swipe of his finger.

Something going on at the campus of the community college. Twitter blowing up. You near there?

Scowling at the phone, he loped to his car, got in, and revved the engine before bothering to reply. I was the ruckus, got attacked by coywolf.

What? You okay? Dara’s text was short and to the point, a sign his Alpha worried.

Fine or I wouldn’t be texting, he replied.

Get to the warehouse. Emergency meeting.

KO, he typed back and shifted the car into gear. Looked like he’d be skipping another class.

Not that it was unusual. As beta to the local Alpha, Charly missed about as many classes as he managed to attend due to pack duties. Most of his profs found him to be a little lazy, thinking he slept through classes or spent his spare time gaming or something.

Wouldn’t they shit if he told them the truth? Doc, I’m a werewolf and I had pack business to attend to.

Yeah, that’d fly like Iron Man minus the rockets. But those worries were for another day. Today? His pack needed him and pack came first. Always.

It had to. He didn’t have anything else.



***



Gretchen accepted the fast and rough punch to the side of her head as her due. After all, she’d nearly let Charly walk right up to her. She’d been an idiot and she deserved to be punished. Garret didn’t have to look so damned happy about hitting her, though. Then again, she’d long ago accepted the leader of the coywolf’s dominance and bipolar behavior as part and parcel with the protection the pack of misfits offered her.

“I can’t believe you let him spot you. The timing is all wrong. The wolves can’t know we’re hedging in on their territory and can’t know we plan to expand into town. The fact I had to come save your ass is just another in a long line of failures on your part, Gretchen. How do you defend yourself?” Garret spit the words into her face, the reek of his unwashed body pungent and disturbing to both her beast and her human side.

“Look, I’ve told you, I can pass for wolf. I did it for a long time before I joined your pack and could do it again if I had to. You’re the one that shifted and attacked a wolf in broad daylight, not me. I was just sitting there minding my own business and—”

She didn’t duck away from his second punch, either, knowing before she did it that sassing him would likely result in another blow. He could punch her all day if it floated his boat. She would heal from punches.

Plus, she deserved them. She’d wanted to defend Charly, to attack her alpha. No wolf or coyote with a sane mind would dare something like that, yet she’d actually had to forcefully restrain her beast to keep from attacking the man who protected her.

Which meant she wasn’t sane, really. When she’d realized what it meant to be coywolf, she accepted that it meant she likely wasn’t sane. Better to stay away from Charly and keep her taint—and insanity—to herself so he could go on with his life and maybe settle down with some nice she-bitch who wasn’t bad blood.

Gritting her teeth, the pain of Garret’s punch still ringing through her head like a klaxon, she blinked back tears. The alpha would likely think they were tears of pain, and they were.

Pain at leaving the man she thought might be her mate behind for his own good. Maybe if Garret hit her enough times, she’d quit being stupid enough to risk Charly. He deserved better, would have better. Even if the idea of him with someone else cut her soul like shards of swallowed glass.

“Wait, I have an idea,” Garrett spun away from her and she took the respite as a moment to breathe. To try to clear her mind of the chaos seeing him—of seeing him being attacked on top of it—caused inside her.

“Yeah? I hope it doesn’t involve me.” She mumbled the response, half hoping that Garett forgot she was even there. He did that sometimes, forgot they were around. For an alpha, he sure got distracted a lot. She reminded herself to find that charming—that he followed the beat and voices of another drummer, one playing just for him in his head. It was the mark of a creative mind, after all.

Or someone totally batshit crazy.

Shaking her head, she tried to shove the disloyal thought down. The pack was her family, they stood by her when wolves would’ve likely torn her throat out because she was an abomination. Regardless of her ability to pass, to blend into wolf society, she wasn’t wolf.

She was coywolf, other, hybrid, bad blood and any number of other unsavory titles.

“It does involve you, actually.” When he turned his animal yellow eyes on her, Garret had a smile that was a little too cheerful stretching his lips. Madness, she thought again, but that wasn’t unusual. That was what the wolves called them, after all. Mad.

“How so?” she asked.

“You can pass, you have passed before, like you said, for pure wolf, right?” Garret came close to her again, too close. Her animal clawed at her guts, wanting to scrabble away from him and the power he radiated. She shouldn’t want that—she should want to be close to her alpha and the fact she didn’t was simply more proof stacking up in the column which said she was wrong, not right in the head.

“Yeah, so what?” Closing her eyes, she hoped the bubble of nausea turning her stomach radiated from the pain of his punches, not the stink of rotted meat on his breath.

“You infiltrate their pack, you apply for membership and you watch them. You learn their weaknesses, earn their trust…then, when they’re least expecting it, we hit them where it hurts. We shove them out of this territory and we take it for our pack.” Garret’s voice was hardly more than a whisper of sound, but it rang in her head as loud as if he’d spoken on a megaphone.

“No, I can’t do that. It isn’t right and—”

“Do you want our people to have a home? To have someplace safe to be where we aren’t constantly shoved around by wolf packs? Or do you want to be the one responsible for the fact we have no homeland, have no place to call our own? There are children, weak ones, people who need protected, people who need the security of their own space. Are you going to stand in the way of me protecting our people, Gretchen?” His hand stroked down her chin, a movement intended to soothe her, no doubt, and sway her to his way of thinking. Her beast cringed away from the contact, not wanting a thing to do with Garret or his half-baked plans.

“No, but—”

“No buts, girly-girl. You go in there and you help me save this pack. That is an order.”

Swallowing hard, she couldn’t help the tiny part of her that surged in joy. She’d get to see him again, be near him again.

But to betray him?

The command in the alpha’s tone sizzled home, grinding its way into her bones and settling like a mantle of unwanted responsibility. “Yes, Alpha.”
Garret’s smile didn’t make her feel better about the plan, but what choice did she have?