18+ Erotic Shapeshifter Romance, fantasy romance, paranormal fantasy Calhoun Men Trent Elijah Scott Sterling Randal Tanner (Coming Soon) Randal loved teaching at the elementary school, but there were a lot of underprivileged children attending and it tore at his heart for them to do without, especially at Christmas. Donating food to all the families was his way of helping make their Christmas brighter. Randal hadn’t expected a parent to take exception to his Christmas present and wield a gun in his direction much less use it. What was this world coming to? Laney Price had only planned to pick up her sister, Heather, from the Calhoun’s care and head back to Las Vegas. Everything was so messed up and nothing was going as planned. Her stepmother and her father were coming to take the child and there wasn’t much she could do about it. No child deserved to be put into their care. Randal knew Laney was his mate, and he couldn’t stop her from leaving, but he was going with her if she left. He wouldn’t force her to claim him, but he had a solution to her problem if she’d agree to it.
Johanna, better known as Joe, had been a day walker for her only friend, Noah, for centuries. An immortal with eight hundred years under her belt, she had become proficient in several languages and occupations. When her friend Noah talked about meeting the sun, she had every intention of following in his path.
Joe had only gone to the Calhoun’s office to catch a ride to the estate. When she entered, it took her breath away to see the younger man on the floor and no one doing a damn thing to help him.
Trent Calhoun had forgotten how to have fun. Diving into his work was what kept him happy. At 33 he had no life, so when he had a heart attack, his doctor said to change his ways or else.
When the gorgeous woman stumbled into his hospital room, Trent thought his dad was up to his old tricks again―that was until he caught her scent…. Now, because of his wolf, he’s face to face with an angry vampire….
Noelle was in somewhat of a pickle. She had researched the Calhoun firm―Elijah Calhoun in particular―before she made the appointment, but she was having second and third thoughts about hiring the firm after she got there. All her research indicated she could trust them, but big men scared the hell out of her, and the place was full of them.
Elijah had been running a tad late for work, so his brother Trent took his first appointment. Elijah never dreamed that the woman he had an appointment with was his future mate…and she needed his protection.
Noelle’s stepfather wasn’t their only problem. Elijah’s brother Sterling’s nightmares had gotten worse and somehow the creature that had marked him was controlling his actions as well…no one was safe….
Chloe Davis was giving up. She thought for sure the owners of the computer shop she worked for were responsible for her father’s death, but in all the time she’d worked there she’d not been able to find enough evidence to prove it, so as far as she was concerned she was out of there. Her boss, George, on the other hand had other ideas. As far as he was concerned she wasn’t going anywhere…by force if necessary.
Scott Calhoun was just trying to help his grandfather get the young woman to safety, the last thing he expected was for her to be his mate. And he wasn’t happy about it either. Scott was a Dom, and he liked his sex hard and rough and his women submissive…this woman was a spitfire, and he was pretty sure he’d scare her off with his demands…. As far as he was concerned he was a deviant, not mate material.
But when Chloe and Scott come together, they both find more than they expected…Scott has finally met his match. Now, if everyone would stop trying to kill them, they might live long enough to enjoy each other.
Marty liked her life just fine. She was alone in the world, and waiting on tables would get her by until she finished college, but the girl she was training wasn’t working out. And the girl got her fired—now what was she supposed to do? She needed that job to survive.
Sterling Calhoun’s encounter with the she-devil was over, but the nightmares still lingered. The only thing that helped him deal with the nightmarish pain were his paintings. And through is Grandda he met Marty, his mate, but Sterling hadn’t been himself for a very long time….
Marty knew a few shifters, so she knew what it meant when Sterling told her she was his mate. Oh, hell no, this guy had to be nuts, the “mates” she knew were a strange lot, and she didn’t want any part of it….
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Randal had forty-three bags filled with enough food for the kids to take home. There were extras—he only had a class of twenty-four—but he knew that some of the kids, a lot of them as a matter of fact, had siblings at home, and he wanted to make sure there was enough for all of them. He looked over at his helper and smiled. Heather was having fun helping him, he thought. “Mr. Randal, when we get done here, can I go with you to hand them out?” He told her that was all right with him. “I know that Mark has no food right now, and his power has been off. They didn’t have the money for bills this time.” It was getting better in town. The new plant was hiring more all the time. And even though there were faeries and brownies around to help with the cleaning, he had hired about fifty of the elderly to do it as well. It was working out for a great many people, the jobs as well as the influx of money to the local stores. But as Heather pointed out, some people were still having troubles, and some of them were just not going to help themselves. And as such, he’d only go so far in his help to them. “We’ll give him two bags for his home, all right?” She nodded and grinned at him. “You’re a good friend of his, so you tell him that if he gets hungry again before the break is over, to call us. Okay?” “Yes. I can do that. But he’ll have to see me in town. He don’t have a phone either.” He corrected her. “He doesn’t have a phone either.” “My goodness, look at what you two have been doing.” It was two days before Christmas and his grandda had been as jolly as he’d ever seen him. When he asked if he could help out, Heather ran to him, giving the old man a hug and kiss. “I heard that you would need a truck to deliver things in. I brought my old beater for us.” “Thanks, Grandda.” They loaded the bags of food into the truck and then in his Jeep when they had filled the truck. Grandma and his mom showed up about the time they were ready to head out. “You come to help out?” “Yes, and we have gift cards too.” He wasn’t sure about that and he told his mom that. “You just leave that to me, son. Some of these people are doing without, and we’ve devised a way to make it a merrier Christmas for a lot of them.” His grandma rode with Grandda, and his mom with him and Heather. The first house they stopped at was little Mark’s. His cheeks were rosy from the cold, and that was inside the house. But carrying the bags of food inside, he noticed something else. They weren’t going to make it on the little that he’d brought them, and he looked at his mom when she cleared her throat. “Mr. Dennis. The power company will be out in an hour or less to turn your heat and electric back on.” The lights flickered then came on just as his mom finished talking. “Very nice. Now, here are some gift cards for you. You’re to take them to the store that is on the card, and they have a nice filled bag for you and your children. Also, we’ve set up a sitter for you when you’re off, as well as a car for you to use to find you a
job at the new plant. I have to insist that you go there and do that, Mr. Dennis. These children cannot make it on their own if you’re taken to jail. Don’t you think?” “Yes, ma’am. You’re right. I’ve been…it’s been hard here without the missus, and without them being at school all day, I don’t have anyone to watch over them. But with this, I don’t know what to say. Since my wife passed, it’s been so hard on us. I don’t want to be on charity, but we’re hurting mightily bad here.” His mom hugged the younger man and then held him while he sobbed about how he appreciated what was being done for them. “We didn’t have anything for dinner tonight until you showed up.” Randall went to this car and brought in two more of the bags of food, and heard his mom telling Mr. Dennis that there would be more in the coming days as well. When they left, Heather looked up at him with a huge smile. “You’re nice. I know that all the time, but you made them happy.” He picked her up and told her that was what families did, help someone that needed it. “My mom and dad didn’t. They only helped each other. I miss them sometimes, but not a lot. When is my aunt coming here?” “Today.” Randal put her in the booster seat. Not because she was young enough to need it, but she was underweight and couldn’t be without one until she gained a few more pounds. It had broken his heart the first time they ate together. She’d asked him if she could have some extra wrap. It took his mind a couple of seconds to figure out what she meant when Wally, his new cook, told her that whenever she needed food, that she was to come to him. Apparently she was going to wrap up what she’d not been able to eat to save for when she was alone again. Which was never going to happen, as far as he was concerned. Laney Price was supposed to be at the house in an hour. Not his; she was staying with his brother, Sterl, and Marty, his wife. There were things going on regarding Laney that worried him. For one thing, he had a feeling that Laney was going to be his mate. He had no idea why he thought so, but he just knew that having this little girl in his life was going to bring him a whole new set of issues. Not bad ones, just things he’d have to take care of. He got home later that night, exhausted but feeling pretty good about things when he walked around his home. It was a nice one, yes, but needed a great deal of work. Siting in the living room with nothing more than a chair and a small television, he reached out for Myra, the witch who had become a good friend of his. And when she appeared in his living room with him, he smiled. There was always something to smile about when she came to visit him. Whether it was for business or pleasure, she was a delight to him. “Hello, my dear. How are you making it?” He laughed, then told her his thoughts. “For you, in the event that you didn’t know, I’d do anything. You’re a good boy…all of you are, but you are special to me.” Her costume, because that was how he thought of them, was book covers. The titles of them, and the authors, were some of his favorites. Even her hair had some printed covers on it, and he got up to look them over. She was a treat, Myra was, and had she
been anyone else, he would’ve thought she was flirting with him every time she was around. “I was wondering what I’d have to repay you with if you were to finish my home. I think, but I’m not sure, that my mate is on her way here, and I want to have things ready for her.” She sat down and he joined her on the nice couch that hadn’t been there before. His had been old and ratty; this one was new and softer than warm butter. “You know this house as well as I do, I think. But it needs to be done. Not just with me in mind, but her as well.” “You are much smarter than I thought, and I already knew you were brilliant. I know the woman coming too. She is going to give you a hard time, just so you know.” He said that he’d not have it any other way. “Good boy. Now, I can only do so much to this house without her impressions of it. She has been without for far too long for you to just give her it all at once. You’ll overwhelm and frighten her a great deal if you do.” “I understand. She is aware of us, I think, correct?” Myra said that she knew of shifters, but not what they were. “Okay. I guess that’s good and bad. When she arrives, what do you think I should do?” “Be yourself. You are a charmer when it comes to that. And smart when it comes to women. Of all the Calhoun men, I think that you’ve had less experience with good women than you have bad ones, but you’re going to be fine. If you listen with your head as well as your heart.” He nodded, but didn’t move. Randal did want to ask her questions, but he was sure that he’d not get any answers to them. This was, if she was his mate, up to him. And with what Myra had said, he was sure of it. He looked around the living room and noticed while he’d been thinking, the room had shifted and was dressed. Randal had called a room being finished and ready for people dressed since he’d become a teacher. He loved dressing his room for the new school year. “Your home, like those of your brothers, is magical now. I think you will need it.” He asked her if bad was coming their way. “Yes. I cannot tell you what it is, but you will be fine if you listen. Not just to your mate, but to your family as well. I think it’s been pointed out to you before that you are the most trusting of all of them.” “Yes, and while it burns me a little to think I was so easily pegged, I’ve come to realize that I’m all right with it. But I have taken precautions so that no one thinks that after they try something.” She told him he was clever, and it wouldn’t hurt him to be prepared at his school too. “I am.” Something occurred to him then, a thought that he didn’t much care for. But before he could ask her about it, the doorbell rang. He made his way to it, thinking that it was mighty late for someone to be coming around in a snowstorm. When he looked out the little glass on the door, he looked at Myra. “Should I be worried?” She nodded, then shook her head. He noticed that she’d changed. That now she was dressed entirely in Christmas decorations. Even small trees hung from her ears. “You’re not very helpful, are you?”
“It will not harm you, but you should guard your heart.” He wasn’t sure if she meant literally or figuratively, and didn’t get the chance to ask before she disappeared. Randal looked out the glass again and then opened it slowly. “Can I help you?” The man standing there wasn’t anyone that he knew. Nor did he think it was anyone his family might know. He turned away from Randal then, and he noticed that there was a woman on the lawn. It was Mrs. Watson, Billy Watson’s mom. “What’s this about?” “You think we need your charity?” Randal said nothing but did reach for his brother, Scott, who he knew was with his wife Chloe, the chief of police. “You come into my house and give them food like we got nothing? You bastard. I got money enough for my shit.” “I didn’t give it to just you, Mr. Watson, but that was the Christmas gift that I gave all my students. It was something I do every year.” He asked him again if he’d thought he needed charity. “It’s not charity, it’s a gift. Would you like to come into my house? Mrs. Watson looks to be cold.” The man went to his wife and Randal watched him to make sure that he didn’t hurt her. When he wrapped his arms around her and helped her into the house, he felt better, though he didn’t call off his family yet, but he did feel better about it. “I told you to stay in the car.” Mrs. Watson shivered and wrapped the blanket that had been on the back of the couch around her. “Thank you, sir. I’m surely sorry about this, but I got my dander up.” “Understandable.” When they were seated in this living room with the roaring fire, he thought of what Myra had warned him about when Mr. Watson stood up and drew a gun. “You’re still mad.” “Of course I am. What right did you have thinking that any of them kids needed you to step in and bring them food? You think we’re all a lazy bunch that needs the charity of an upstart like you? I told her that you were an uppity bastard when you bought some of them kids in your class their supplies. You and your family, you just loving rubbing it in that we’re all poorer than you, don’t you?” Randal told his brother to hurry and why. “You got nothing to say?” “Oh, I have plenty to say, but I don’t think you’re going to listen so I’m not going to waste my breath. But I have called the police as well as my family in.” Mr. Watson told him that he’d done no such thing. “You go on believing that while you have a gun pointed at me for no other reason than you think I’m doing you wrong.” “Sit down.” He nodded and made his way to the living room again, making sure that he left the front door not only unlocked but open just a little as well. He wasn’t thrilled about having anyone hurt in his house, but he did make sure that if need be, someone could come in and save him. Randal wasn’t macho enough to think that he could do this on his own. There were places to hide in his house. When he’d taken it from Chloe, she’d shown him the panic room as well as the other features that her dad had put in to keep the people there safe. But the kitchen was too far away, and he didn’t think he could outrun a bullet. Because as surely as he was sitting there, he knew this man had a plan.
~~~ “We have to make a stop.” Laney was tossed to the side of the car when Sterl made a U-turn in the middle of the street. “My brother has a visitor that isn’t being nice. We just want to make sure that he’s all right before we take you to our house.” She’d read a great deal about the family before coming out here with these two. They were wealthy. And had she not just spent the last two hours with them, she might have thought them snobbish. But these two were far from it. Laney had learned a great deal from them too. They were wolves. Both of them were shifters. And while she wasn’t afraid of them, she did have her moments of fear when she was around others like them. Laney had even told them about the guy at work who took great pleasure in chasing her around the parking lot when she got off work. The fucker knew better than to mess with her now…shooting at him with her small gun had stopped that sort of playing around, but he hadn’t stopped threatening her. The house that they pulled up in front of had several police cruisers in front, as well as a couple of cars. She stayed back when asked to, but watched what was going on. Whatever it was, the three men standing to the side of the house were pissed off, and she knew at once they were brothers to Sterl. They looked a great deal alike. Then the elderly man got out of his car and she laughed. Christ, they were like clones of him. Then she saw her stepsister. Heather had been so tiny when she’d seen her the last time. An infant, she guessed now. But she held onto the hand of the woman that had been with the older man like she was never going to let her go. Laney felt her heart take a hard twist in her chest when she realized that she didn’t know her. “You should go and see her.” Laney didn’t look at Marty, but did shake her head. “Mom told me that she talks of nothing else but you coming to see her. I think it would do her and you a world of good to be together right now.” “I don’t know why…she doesn’t know me any more than I know her.” Marty told her that they were family and that was all that mattered. “We don’t have any sort of relationship. Not even a little one. I sent her cards when she was younger…not that she’s old now, but I knew that my sister and her deadbeat husband were using the money for other things. So I stopped.” The little girl turned to see her and let go of the woman’s hand to run to her. Laney scooped her up into her arms, forgetting all about her resolve to not let her get into her heart. Heather made her way there all on her own. After kissing each other several times—it still didn’t seem like enough—Laney hugged her. It had been as if the years had never happened, that they’d been together all this time. And when Heather told her, over and over, how much she had missed her, Laney cried with her, telling her how much she had missed her as well. She supposed that it was true that blood was thicker than water and tighter than a snare on a drum. “Mr. Randal and his mom are taking good care of me. I have food all the time and a bed. It has so many blankets on it that I get lost sometimes.” Laney told her she was
sorry. “No, don’t be, Aunt Laney. I like them. They’re very soft and warm. Did you know that Mom and Dad are gone?” “Yes, that’s why I’m here. I’ve come to see about your welfare.” She looked confused. “To make sure that you’re all right and that you do have enough to eat, and blankets.” “I do. I love it here. You should see the Christmas trees that are in the houses. They’re bigger than all of us.” Which wasn’t saying much. For a six-year-old, Heather was tall like her, but not big compared to the men that were walking toward them. “The Calhouns, they’re my new uncles. I can call them that because they said I could. And I call Grandma, Grandma too.” She tried telling herself that she wasn’t jealous of the men and women in Heather’s life now. Laney knew that a big part of it was her own fault. She had distanced herself from them all. But it was do that and survive with her dignity and her life, or be sucked into their hell right along with her dad and sister. Laney knew that she would have not only been broke, but broken as well. When the younger version of the man that had been with Heather came out, she felt her heart beating a little faster and her body warming. The instinct to go to him and see if he was all right startled her. The blood, she told herself…it was the blood all over his front and face that had warranted such a response from her. When Heather struggled to be put down she let her go, but watched her as she ran to the man. They talked, the man kneeling down to her level so that he could let her touch him. Comfort…Heather was offering him comfort, even though she was much smaller than him and he was covered in blood. Making her way to the porch where the man was, she was shocked to see how tall he was. About five or so inches taller than her own six-foot frame. “Hello.” She nodded at his greeting. “Not the way I would have welcomed you here, but I’m glad that you made it safely.” “What a strange thing to say.” The elderly couple just laughed, and she had a feeling that she wasn’t in on a joke, or whatever it was they were making fun about. Laney was tired and she was also stressed, and when she was, her temper flared up. “My sister and I, we’re grateful for all that you’ve done for us, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back. A hotel would suit us better, I think.” “If you think so.” She wasn’t sure why he was grinning at her the way he was, but she didn’t care for it, or the looks of the others. “I wanted to be the first to warn you that your father and stepmother are on their way here. I think they have it in their head to take Heather back with them. I’m glad that you’re aware that she’s your sister and not your niece, but they’re coming and I want you to be safe. We all do.” She turned to look at him when she started for the car. “Who told them that I was here? Did you? Was it in order to make me pay for something that they’ve done?” “No. I don’t know what they were told about your sister, only that she had passed. The next of kin was notified, and that was the number that the police had. I’m sure had they known about them, they would have made every effort to call you instead.” He sat down; more like he fell down to the steps that led up to his porch. “I’m sorry. I’ve
been…. I’ve had a stressful few minutes here. But I didn’t know to notify them, and I wouldn’t have anyway. I have no idea why, but I figured that you’d be better at taking care of Heather than them any day of the week. Was I right?” “Yes. My stepmother…Rosemarie, she’s not a nice person.” Laney glanced at Heather, who was with the Calhouns again. “My stepmother, Sally Anne’s biological mother, has been a bad influence on my sister all her life. And my father, my biological father, isn’t much better. If they get Heather, even for a night, they’ll hurt her and bury her someplace that no one will be able to find, just to take the money that might come to her. I don’t know why I believe that, but I do.” “I figured as much too. We have some connections that have had their lives looked into. Also, you should know that the FBI is out looking for them too. Not in any kind of hurry, mind you, but they’re here so that when they arrive, they’ll be watched better than the locals can do. Just to make sure that when they do take them in, it’ll stick.” She asked what they had done just as someone handed him an ice bag. “Other than some of the outstanding bills they have at home, in their state, there is also the fact that they’ve been filing a tax return with the little girl’s name on it as their child.” “She is their child.” He nodded and it occurred to her what he meant. “My sister was doing the same thing with Heather.” “Yes.” He told her he was sorry and got up and ran into the house. She wasn’t sure what had happened but she followed. As soon as she entered the house, she knew that this was a home made for a family. It was soft and soothing, the paint on the walls, the decorations in the rooms that she could see. Laney heard him in the bathroom, throwing up. Knocking once on the door, she asked him if he was all right. His garbled answer didn’t satisfy her since he threw up several more times, so she opened the door. The man was a mess, and his head leaning into the commode didn’t do much for him at the moment. When he looked at her, his face pale and sort of green, she handed him a towel and sat on the little chair that was sitting there. Trent, she thought his name was, as well as Sterl came by the little room to see if he was all right. When he didn’t toss up his cookies anymore and sat on the floor, she thought he might make it. When the other two men left them, she asked him if he was really all right. “I’m not sure. Have you ever been shot at?” She nodded at him. “I have too, but tonight was…he wanted to kill me because I had the nerve to help him out with a few extra groceries at his home over the holidays.” “Some people I know, most of them, either want more than you give them or they don’t care to be labeled. I know what you were doing, but perhaps you might have made him feel bad for it.” He said he’d figured that out about the time he’d shot him. “You were actually shot? Where? Has anyone looked at it?” She tore at his shirt when he pointed to his shoulder. There was a small wound there, but for some reason she was positive that it had been worse before. When he put his hand over hers, she looked into his eyes.
“I’m going to be all right.” She nodded and continued to stare at him. “You’re really very beautiful. I know that I’m rushing things here, but can you kiss me? No, never mind. I wouldn’t want to kiss me either. Not after this.” “Why not?” She realized that she was somewhat disappointed and pushed herself up to her feet. “I’m sorry that you’re hurt, but I really have to be going now. My sister and I, I think we’ve taken up enough of your family’s time.” She was out the door and into the car in seconds. If anyone spoke to her, she didn’t know what they might have said on her flight to the car she’d come here in. Heather joined her a few minutes later, then the Calhouns. Laney thought the faster she got home the better. Something was really strange here, and it was affecting her too.