Dr. Gabriela Nola, Gabe to everyone, hadn’t been in town long. Kenton McCade was looking for a partner in his practice, and she was hoping to fill the spot. A nice small town beat the last hospital job she’d just recently quit–90 hours a week with a shorthanded staff. She just wanted normal, and the voice in her head to stop already about opening the box and wearing the item inside.
Dalton McCade knew when he heard the dragon’s voice that he was next on the list, and ready or not his mate was coming. According to the dragon, she was already here and had refused to put the combs in her hair.
But as always, danger followed the jewelry, and Gabe was no exception. The mysterious stranger would have all the pieces for his own collection, and didn’t care who he had to kill to get them.
I Books Coming Soon
Emma Gentry felt like she was losing her mind. From the time she had picked up the pretty ring to examine it, she’d been hearing a voice in her head. When she ran from the demolished building, she’d slipped the ring on her finger so that she wouldn’t drop it, now she couldn’t get it off. She was in dire need of medical attention, but the voice wouldn’t let her stop to get help. There were others looking for the ring and would kill her for it. Emma was on the run.
Kenton McCade was the doctor in the family. When found Emma in his office treating a badly infected wound on her leg, he had to help her. The infection had spread and she was near death.
Kenton and his brothers were dragon shifters born without the ability to shift into their other half. The magic, it seemed, lay dormant in a sleeping dragon that was tied to six pieces of jewelry. When the ring found its way to Emma, her touch had woken the sleeping beast. When Emma touched Kenton’s sigil on his chest, he shifted to his beast for the first time. But the beast from the ring would not be complete until all the jewelry found its way to their rightful dragons….
Emma was still on the run…they need her to survive…but Emma trusted no one…
Jasmine Tyler was wishing she had never found those earrings in that box of junk she bought at auction. They were so pretty, and the dragons had so much detail, that she simply had to try them on. That was the biggest mistake she’d ever made. Once they were on they weren’t coming off. And those men in the black SUVs meant business. She’d hand the earrings over or they’d kill her. They’d more than likely kill her anyway even if she could get the damn things off. Now she was on the run with her young son, Gavin, and her ailing granny. A voice in her head that started when she put the earrings on was directing her to find the McCades.
The dragon had told Kenton and Jorden McCade that another piece of jewelry had been activated, and the boy that had just come into Jorden’s studio was her son. The dragon didn’t know which brother she was mated to, but she had sent the boy and her granny ahead to keep them safe. Now, another attempt had been made on her life and she was in a hospital an hour away.
The cop at the scene had been in on it, and Jasmine found herself in a pickle. She’d been drugged and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it. Her body hit the floor by her hospital bed and she was looking into the lifeless eyes of her nurse.
As soon as Jorden scooped Jasmine up off the floor and her earring touched his skin, he knew that this woman was his. The earring left a brand, marking them both. He couldn’t be happier about finding her, now to convince her to stay was going to be the problem….
Harper Bailey was in way over her head, and the trouble just seemed to keep coming. Her brother-in-law had frozen her personal accounts, and now she was on the run because she wouldn’t do as she was “told.” She had been told to abort the baby. Harper hadn’t wanted the baby she had been forced to carry in the first place, but now that she’d felt life, she would protect the child with hers.
Grady McCade knew that his mate had been found when she touched the piece of jewelry. The dragon had told him that if he didn’t hurry to her side, she would be found by the dragon slayers and her life could be ended as well as the life of the babe that she carried.
With Grady and Harper together, the dragon grows stronger, and the slayers pick up the pace in their quest for all the pieces of jewelry. Can the McCades stop them before they strike again? Are any of them safe? Find out in The McCade Dragon—Grady
Happy Reading ,
There were no words that he could say that would make this any different. Dalton watched as the casket, a beautiful bright wood, was lowered into the cold earth. His friend, mentor, and sounding board had died eight days ago. Howard Short simply went to sleep one night and didn’t wake. And it broke Dalton’s heart. “Dalton?” He looked at Melinda, Howard’s wife, when she said his name. “Will you say a few words, please? My brother-in-law just can’t. He’s devastated, as we all are.” “Yes, of course.” He stood up and made his way to the podium. So many people were here today, paying tribute to a wonderful man. Dalton thought of his friend and what he could say about him. Smiling, he thought of something that Howard would have gotten a kick out of. “Howard could be a jackass when he wanted.” Everyone laughed, just as he’d hoped, even Melinda. He continued speaking about Howard as if he’d just stepped out for a cold beer. “When we were on a stakeout or even out fishing, he’d tell me of the time he was in the academy. Of course, I didn’t believe half the crap he told me. But this one story, I think, sums him up better than anything I could say about him.” Dalton looked at the casket, then at the people there. “He’d been in the dorm for about two weeks, he’d told me. It wasn’t going as well as he’d hoped. I think he said that of the three classes he was in, he was flunking out of three of them.” Another round of laughter. “Back then, if you weren’t cutting it, Howard told me that they’d come to see you, help you pack up your things, and send you on your way. He wasn’t ready to give up, he told me, and he didn’t think that they should be just yet either. “As he was debating on whether or not to open the door when his time came, he had an idea. Howard told me it wasn’t a good idea, but he’d been down and was sure under other circumstances, he might not have done what he did next. He opened the door and told the men standing there that Howard Short had left. “Left, they asked him, and Howard said he told him that the old Howard had decided that he wasn’t smart enough for this shit and that he wanted him, the new Howard, to try his hand at it. They asked him if he was new or old. Howard assured him that he was the new one.” Dalton thought of the man that he’d become that day. “The new Howard was given a chance. He was either going to straighten up his act, they told him, or new or not, he was going home. Howard assured them that he’d be a better man and the best cop they’d ever had graduate out of that place.” Dalton nodded as he continued the story told to him so many times, he felt as if he had been there with the man. “He not only became the best cop they’d ever had come from that place, but he continued to be the best person who ever lived. Howard ran a tight but friendly ship, he took care of his men when they needed a helping hand, and he was there for them, even when they didn’t want him to be, when things were going to shit. Howard was, and will forever be, the best friend I’ve ever had.”
After he was finished, he stood still as the guns were drawn for the salute and fired. Dalton cried then, his pain of loss too much for him to hold in any longer. And when the service was over, he made his way to Melinda again and hugged her. She too had become a very important part of his life over the years. “You’ll come to visit me, won’t you?” He told her he would. She was leaving today, to live with her son in another state. “He loved you so much, Dalton. Like his own son.” “I loved him as well. He’ll be sorely missed.” She nodded and left him there. Dalton could have gone to stand with his family, but decided that he was fine where he was. He watched as the dirt was filled into the hole much like the one in his heart. But his would never be filled. Going to the after reception at the newly remodeled homeless shelter, he didn’t speak to many people. There was food, he supposed, that he could have eaten, but like his heart, his belly wasn’t ready for anything right at the moment. Instead he just found a dark corner and sat in it until he felt it was a good time for him to go home. My lord. He wanted to sob. Dalton didn’t want to answer who he thought was talking to him. It could only mean one thing, and he didn’t want it. Not today, perhaps not ever. My lord, your mate is coming. “Tell her that I’ve got a lot going on at the moment and I’d prefer that she didn’t.” Caelin said nothing. “Where is she and what does she have?” The hair combs, my lord. And I don’t think it’s possible for her not to come. She is on her way now. But I must tell you that she hasn’t put the jewelry to her flesh. I’m not at all sure why just yet, but she is aware of me and is coming this way. He asked what the combs did for the wearer. She will have blood that will heal all that she touches, her heart will be stronger still than it was before. Her name is— “No, don’t tell me. I mean, I know that I’ll have to know sooner or later, but for now I’d like to just not know.” Caelin told him he could do that for him. “Has she been hurt in any way? Are there beings even now trying to kill her?” Nay, she is well. Healthy, if not a bit over worked. I think she will be more inclined to not believe the story as to why she needs to come here than even Emma was. And she is not a pushover. He asked him how he knew that. Whilst I was speaking with her, to see if she was injured or harmed in any way, I felt her anger. Before I could comment on it, or even ask her what happened, she had an argument with her boss that…I think she said it curled his toes back. Dalton laughed. “She’s a hellion, then. Good, she’ll need to be to fit in with this group. I don’t suppose you know just when she’ll arrive, do you? I mean, I have a lot of things going on at the moment.” She has arrived. This morning, as a matter of fact. But as I have said, she is not wearing the jewels. You will need to have her put them to her in order for me to help her should she need me. Dalton figured it would be something like that. She has asked to join your brother Kenton in his practice. She is not yet aware that she is with the very people that are to help her. I don’t believe he has given her an answer as yet. “She’s a nurse then?” Caelin told him she was a doctor. “A doctor? Well that’s great, don’t you think? Once I’m out of work, she can support me.”
You are without a job, sir? He told him that he might well be. I don’t understand. I thought you enjoyed being a good cop. Whatever has…? Is it the death of your captain? “He was my sergeant, but yes, because of him passing away, I don’t think my heart will be in this anymore. I might…never mind. If she can support me, I think I might just make furniture in my garage until I turn up dead one morning. Or I’ll run off and never return.” Dalton realized then that she was out of work too. They were starting off great, he thought. Two unemployed people with a huge house, no car, and nothing to show for their hard work. When Vance sat down beside him, he asked him when he’d gotten in. “Two days ago. I’ve been working on some things.” Dalton nodded. “Rumor has it you’re the next big cheese around here. You gonna be sheriff now, Dalt?” Vance had been the only person who called him that. It mattered little to him that Dalton had asked him not to call him Dalt…he had continued over the years. Dalton asked him where he’d heard that rumor. “Because that’s all it is, is a rumor. I’m not going to take the job. In fact, I was seriously thinking of quitting altogether.” Vance told him that he’d not enjoy retirement any more than he would. “Caelin just told me that my mate is here in town.” “Really? I’m assuming that it’s the pretty little doctor at the B&B then?” Dalton didn’t want to ask about her, but he found that he wanted to know. “Yes, she is pretty. Tall…not quite as tall as you, but close. Blonde hair that I assume is long. Dark eyes. I’ve not seen them as yet close up, but I’d say they were blue, like midnight blue.” “You know a great deal about my mate, Vance. What have you been doing, spying on her?” He nodded. “Whatever for? You think she’s some sort of murderer or something? It wouldn’t surprise me. Not at this point.” “No, but she has baggage.” Dalton just stared at him. “Her job, where she worked before, they really have a hard-on for her to come back to work for them. I don’t believe they have it in their head to kidnap her or such, but they have been trying to find her.” “What did she do? I mean, she didn’t just leave them high and dry, did she?” He said that she’d given her notice, but that they’d not looked for a replacement thinking they could change her mind. “I see. Well, not really. Was she that good or did they take advantage of her?” “Both, I think. She is highly regarded as a physician. Much like Kenton is in his profession. She does have some surgical abilities, and from what I’ve heard, she can also put in stitches better than anyone around. These are things that patients have said about her.” Dalton asked him again why he was asking. “To be honest with you, had you not told me she was your mate, I was going to try and set her up with Lewis. He’s been…distracted lately.” That was an understatement. He was working hard at getting a restaurant opened or something. He was very secretive about it, but that’s what Dalton thought he was doing. Not that he didn’t have the funds to do it, but he had been getting deliveries out the ass for the last few days. Emma had offered to lend him what he needed in the way of funds—so had he and Kenton—but Lewis was determined to do this on his own,
whatever that might be. He did wonder if he could go work for him for a bit, just to figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. “I guess I should just wait for her then. I mean, I don’t want to seem like that odd stalker guy.” Vance said he had no idea, but thought that was a smart move. He knew less about women than Dalton did, apparently. “Whatever you do, I’m sure that it’ll be either wrong or not enough. I know nothing at all about women.” Dalton looked at his brother. He was clean but his pants were army issue, his shirt a dark tee, and his boots—ass kickers, he called them—had seen better days. Vance kept his hair military short and neat, and he seldom had a beard. Dalton asked him why he didn’t wear…well, regular people clothing. “I wear what I want, when I want.” Dalton laughed. “Look, whether you go and see her or not, you should know that she’s polite, generous with her time, and like you, she wears what she does right out there for everyone to see.” He asked him what that meant. “You are a cop, Dalt. Even a blind man could tell that. And they’d not even have to see the badge. Same with her. She’s a doctor, a good one, and people know that when they first see her.” Dalton sat there long after Vance left, trying to figure out what to do. He could have, he supposed, just walked over to meet her, but he had a feeling that would have been a mistake. He was sure that he could talk to Kenton too, but decided that he’d get enough grief from him without adding to it. Instead, he went to his truck and drove home. Dalton was going to enjoy the next few days he had off, and not worry about mates, dragons, or men looking for jewelry. ~~~ Gabe walked to the diner. She’d come to love the little place, what with the strange way they served their meals and the nice people who worked in and frequented the place. As she made her way inside, she knew which seat to sit in, which to avoid. When she sat in the booth with the unforgiving spring, she moved to the window, just so she’d not be sore when the sucker pinched her. Milly came to take her order. “Breakfast?” Nodding, she held the cup as the hot water was poured into it, knowing that the little basket of tea bags would follow soon. “Got us some specials today. Cook is feeling a little good. He’s got himself a little boy now, and just don’t know what to do with himself.” “Anything that I might wish to try?” Milly asked her how brave she was feeling. “Not too bad. Do I need to be?” “Nah, you can handle it. He’s got some sausage patty sammiches, and he made up some kind of casserole with last night’s taters. Got some cheese and stuff in it too. I liked it with a little gravy on it.” Gabe wondered how much this woman considered a little. She had a heavy hand when it came to about anything. And the funny part of that was, she was as thin as a rail and looked to be fairly healthy, too. “I’ll bring you a plate. I thought about calling it the blue plate, but we don’t have any so that won’t work.” Milly left her a second time after dropping off the basket with an assortment of teas in it. Gabe enjoyed her tea as she waited on her food, and thought about what her line up was for the rest of the day. Today she had an interview with Kenton McCade, and
hopefully the house that she’d been looking at was ready to be rented. Things were going quite nicely for a change, and she was as rested and as happy as she’d ever been. “Oh lordy.” Gabe looked up when she heard the shout from the kitchen, then Milly saying “Oh lordy” over and over. Getting up, she ticked off all the things that could go wrong in a kitchen, and was afraid that Milly had been hurt badly. As soon as she entered, she put her fingers in her mouth and let go of a shrill but effective whistle to shut the few people in the room up. A dishwasher was wearing the nastiest apron she’d ever seen and dark gloves on his hands. Milly was standing there wringing her hands. A man, who she assumed was the cook, was lying on the floor with a large knife sticking out of his belly, his hands covered in his own blood and his eyes wide with terror. Gabe let her mind take over on what to do. “Milly, call the police and have them send an ambulance.” She’d learned the first day that there was no one manning the nine-one-one service just yet. “Then I want you to get everyone out of here while I fix this.” “The knife, it just slipped up.” Gabe nodded and told her she had it. “He’s surely gonna bleed to death, and Kenton, he won’t make it in time.” “I’m a doctor as well. I’ve got this. Just do what I told you.” She made her way to Cook. If he had a name, she’d never heard it. “I’m Gabe. If you’ll allow me, I’ll see if I can help you.” “I think I’m a goner. The knife, it’s stainless steel but it’s in me.” She told him as long as she was there, he wasn’t a goner. “I wasn’t paying no attention is what I was doing. Thinking of my boy and what we was gonna do when he was a mite bigger. Now I won’t see him.” He was getting weaker; the arm that was holding him up slipped out from under him and he fell back to the floor. Gabe got her first look at the wound. He’d cut his belly to his intestine, the knife still inside of him. Turning to the person who’d come in behind her when she’d entered, she told him to get some towels. When he didn’t move, just stared at Cook with his mouth open, she tossed the pan at him that had been on the floor. That got him looking at her. “Towels. Get me as many as you can carry. And water.” He moved, and it was then that she realized he was just a kid. When he returned, a gallon of water in one hand and several towels in the other, she told him to go to the dining area. “I can help.” Gabe wasn’t sure, the kid was green now. “My name is Gavin, and I can help you. Just tell me what to do, I’m okay now.” “We have to close this. Otherwise he’s going to bleed out. But I have to make sure that he didn’t open his bowel. Can you handle that?” He said that he’d try. “Good. When I tell you something, I want you to do it. And remember what I tell you. It will save his life.” They worked for ten minutes on checking Cook’s belly. He’d nicked his lower bowel, she thought, but wasn’t sure that removing the knife wouldn’t do more damage. She told Gavin that.
“Uncle Kenton is on his way. He said for you to do what you needed to do and he’d assist when he gets here.” She wasn’t sure how that conversation had happened but said nothing to the young man. “I told him what I could.” “You can…. You’re not human.” He told her he was but Kenton wasn’t. “I see. Right now I have more important things to do than to figure out what he might be. This is what we need to do. Christ, there is never a vampire around when you need one.” The laughter made her smile. It was one thing to scare the kid to death over something like this, but making him see humor wouldn’t give him nightmares too. As she moved the towels around the blade, all she could think about was that he might be right…Cook might die. When Kenton showed up, his black bag in hand, he asked her what she needed. It both surprised and impressed her that he didn’t just come in and take over. For the next twenty minutes, he handed her what she wanted and helped her when necessary. The impromptu surgery room wasn’t the best, but it was going to be good enough to save this man’s life. The medics, a couple of young men who she assumed were friends of Kenton, stayed back until they were ready to transport him. It wasn’t long after Kenton showed up that they were able to say that they’d done the best that they could for the man. The rest was going to be up to the surgeon. Gabe rode in the ambulance, Kenton beside her. The medic rode in front with the driver, so in the event that they needed to, they’d have room to work. As they worked together, she and Kenton, Cook came around once to tell Kenton to watch over his son for him. “You’re going to make it, Gerald.” She nearly asked who that was when the cook nodded. “The good doctor here, she got you all put back together, and once we get you to the hospital, she’s going to remove that knife you got stuck in you and you’ll be as good as new. But you have to believe us, Gerald. You know as well as I do that if you give up on her, Sandra is going to kick my ass. You hear me?” “Yes, she’s a mite mean when she wants to be.” Gerald moved in and out of consciousness and talked to them both when he was awake. “Had I been able to, I’d of just shifted, but not with a knife in my gullet.” It had never occurred to her that the man wasn’t human. Not that it mattered, but she might have removed the knife and let him shift. Kenton spoke to her in low tones as Gerald was out again. “Had you removed the blade from him in the kitchen, he would have been too weak to shift and he would have died. You did right by waiting.” She told him what she’d been thinking. “I could see that on your face. Don’t second guess yourself when you work for me. If you do, then you’ll fuck up.” “Am I? Going to work for you, I mean?” He just grinned. It made him look more handsome, and she was pretty sure that he used that a lot to his advantage. “I’m having troubles from the hospital where I came from. They won’t release my records.” “I don’t need them. As far as I’m concerned, you proved yourself to be a worthy partner.” She nodded and looked down at Gerald. “You said that he could have died had I removed the knife. I don’t understand a great deal about shifters.”
“You’ll learn. Gerald is a wolf. There is a lot of pack around the area. Nearly seven hundred now. The people who own the B&B where you’re staying, they’re bears. Milly is human, but she’s married to a cat.” She asked him what his family was. “My brother is a cop. He’ll be meeting us at the hospital. He has to fill out a report for insurance purposes. Milly owns the place, and while she’d never tell anyone this, she’s fallen on some hard times of late and can’t afford this hit to her bank account.” “She needs to fix up the place. Expand a little, and for the love of all that is holy, get some better seating.” Gabe didn’t point out that he’d not answered her as to what he was. She figured that he either didn’t want her to know, or it was so bad that he didn’t want to share. “I’m looking for a house. One that is ready to move into. I don’t want to have to fix something up.” “We have a few. We’re here.” Just as he said that, the ambulance made a hard stop. Had she not been holding on, she would have fallen out of the door when it opened. The man standing there in a police officer’s shirt and jeans did not look happy. “Dalton, this is my new partner, Gabriela Nola. Gabe, this is Dalton McCade. We’re dragons.” She was halfway out of the back of the ambulance when Kenton spoke. Gabe felt her breath swoosh out of her and her heart simply stop beating. She knew they were speaking, arguing really, but nothing was getting through. Not air, not sound, not even blood was running in her body. Then the pain, like someone had slapped her, registered a split second before the world around her just disappeared.