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Chase The Sons of Crosby Release Day

Chase Crosby didn’t know what he wanted right now. He was trying to get a grip on who his new mate was. He was told she was an ice dragon, but that wasn’t right either, she was a protector of the ice dragons. He had so many questions, and all he could do was sit there while she was locked away in his freezer to recover from her injuries. 

Emerald was a warrior, and she had no idea what she was going to do with a mate. Even though the vampire appealed to her, she was worried the people chasing her would hurt him or his family to get to her, and she couldn’t allow that.

A Homeland Security Agent had gone rogue and he was after Emerald. He didn’t know exactly who or what she was, but he was going to prove she’d been around for centuries, and it didn’t matter who he had to go through to get to her.
Recommended for 18+. Contains graphic sex and language. 
Spencer Graham had been trying to get a hold of Jason Crosby for weeks, but he didn’t seem to answer emails, mail or the telephone. She had an idea that would make them a great deal of money, but she needed him to invest in her project before it was too late. So, barging into his home at 4 a. m. was the only solution as far as she was concerned. She didn’t, however, expect him to answer the door naked and proposition her as soon as she walked in the door. Spencer did the only thing that came natural to her, she knocked him on his ass…. Jason Crosby was nearly two thousand years old, and in all his days as a vampire, he’d never seen anyone quite like her, not that he thought that was a good thing. He didn’t. She was his mate, and he was only going the tolerate her because he had to


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Chase put the book down on his desk and thought about what he’d just read. He’d been doing that a great deal lately, reading about the woman that was still in his freezer. She had been hard to figure out, what she was and how she’d come to be, but Kilian had come to his rescue just yesterday and had helped him a great deal. Not that he still didn’t have a million questions, but for the most part, he did have a better understanding and knowledge of what she was. “Do you have a question I can answer for you, Lord Chase?” He told Spud, a friend of Jewel, that he didn’t know, what he wanted to ask right now. “Understandable. The lady queen, she has put someone in charge of watching over her. There are few who didn’t want to be here, but she has picked a couple to help you as well. The helper is called Sunshine. She will be here as long as the Lady Warrior is.” Chase had found out that while Emerald was very powerful and old, she wasn’t an ice dragon, but the protector of them. Yes, she was created in ice, but had the appearance of a human in all ways. It was so she would to be able to withstand the heat should there be a need, but her job was to fight with and to protect dragons, dragons made entirely of ice. And not just any ice either, but ice so cold that it was as hard as stone, which would only melt when the heat from the sun shone directly on them for one thousand years. He’d never heard of such a thing. “Where is her dragon, do you know?” Sunshine, his new helper, bowed before him and told him that she was looking for him now. “So, is he dead or alive? Or don’t you know that yet?” “I believe him to be dead, my lord, but I can’t be sure just yet. Forgive me for not having the answer right now.” He told Sunshine that he didn’t expect her to have them all right now, but to keep looking. “I am, my lord. We all are. To have an ice dragon alive would be a great thing.” He didn’t know why but he let it go. To his way of thinking, to have a full-sized dragon around would be scary. But then he hadn’t ever met a dragon, so he wasn’t sure what full sized could mean. To him they were great creatures that smashed houses. For all he knew they could be no bigger than the faerie in front of him. Emerald had been in his freezer for a week now. She’d come out on occasion, stare at him or whoever was in the room with him, then go back inside. Her sword was always drawn, and she was covered from head to toe in ice…her shield, he’d been told. He’d also read that she would be cold at all times, much like someone that was dead. He didn’t want to think about that too much. The rest of his day was spent trying to catch up on some paperwork. He’d moved all his office—well, most of it—into the kitchen when going back and forth between there and his actual office was too time consuming. Besides, he thought that it was working out better anyway, as he seemed to be getting more done than sitting in his office, staring at the wall. 
Dad had been making it to his house about suppertime every night since he’d been told that Chase had his mate. It had been both wonderful and nerve-wracking at the same time. He loved his dad, more than anything, but he asked too many questions and in a small space of time. And that was what made him tense about this entire thing, not having the answers when his dad assumed that he should.  As soon as he walked in the door, Chase put up his hand. “No, I’ve not spoken to her. Yes, she’s still in there. No, I’ve not learned anything more than I did yesterday, and no, I’m not going to go in there and see if she needs me. She’s fine where she is.” Dad sat down, but looked to be a little miffed. “Dad, I’m scared enough without you adding to my already overflowing cup of what ifs.” “Can’t a man be curious about his newest family member?” Chase said that he could, so long as he didn’t ask him about her. “You think she’s going to be all right in there after all this time?” “No, I think she’s dead and I’m only waiting until you leave before I go in, wrap her in a thick blanket, and bury her in the back yard.” His dad growled. “Dad, I don’t know anything about her other than she worked for Jewel, knows a lot of languages, and that someone, someone deadly, is after her.”  “There are a lot of people around town that don’t belong here, so you know. And Jason has talked to a few of the people in your mate’s neighborhood, who said that Emerald has helped them out a bit, so they don’t tell them anything.” He said that Jason had told him that last night. “He said that he’s got some people watching those guys in the hotel too. I thought that you should know that they’re not moving around much during the day, mostly in the evening, asking questions. I think they figure that people would be more respective of a few questions after they’ve had dinner. Morons.” “Are they human?” Dad told him that a few of them were, but they were wolves for the most part. “Do you know if they’ve registered with the pack leader? That could be an easy way to check them out.” “They’re by the books, I can tell you that. Donald said that not only had they come to him to tell them that they were here, but they gave him some story about being here on a shopping expedition. To put in a plant of some kind. I don’t know what that would be, and Donald said he can’t ask.” Yeah, Chase knew that as well. They had to report to him if they were wolf, but not tell him why they were here other than to say it was business or vacation. “He said to tell you that he has his men and women working in the hotel that they’re in, and they have been snooping around.” “I hope they’re being careful. These men don’t seem the sort to mess with.” Dad said that they were being extra careful, as they seem to have suspicious minds as well. “What do you mean? They figure someone is looking into their lives?” “Said that while they’re in the rooms—cleaning up, you know—there seems to be a lot of luggage, and most of it is locked up. They can’t tell, like one of us can, what’s in there, but they don’t bother them. One of them told Donald that they could smell silver in the cases, so were kind of afraid to touch them.” Dad looked around then back at him, and Chase found himself leaning in to hear what he had to say. “I’ve been in their rooms…not so they’d see me, but in there. They have all kinds of equipment that I had 
to ask what it was when I got back. Jewel is helping me find out what it is, but mostly it’s lab equipment. And a big saw. Like them kind that you’d have when felling trees for a house.” “To remove my head.” They both stood when Emerald came out of the freezer and spoke. “I’ve healed for the most part, but I now need to feed.” Chase felt his own body’s need to feed overwhelm him. Sitting down, he tried to calm himself and his beast. It wasn’t working. He needed her, they both did. When she moved by him to the sink, he growled low and she paused to look at him. “You’ve been here for more than a week, and I’ve not been able to feed either. I’m sorry. I don’t want to rush you or scare you, but just letting you know.” She nodded and poured herself a glass of juice, juice that he knew for a fact hadn’t been in his refrigerator before she’d opened it. “You know what I am to you.” “My mate. I’m not sure how that works with you being a vampire, but I’m not an easy person to know. I’m a loner as well.” She drained the glass of juice then poured herself another. The next time she drained it, it filled on its own. “What is it you expect from me?” It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her to come sit on his naked cock. To let him have her in a very carnal way. But he only looked at her, hoping to Christ that not only could she not read his mind, but that she wasn’t as dangerous as he’d heard she could be. Then he realized that he’d not answered her yet. “Expect? Nothing that you’re not willing to give me. Answers would be great, but having the questions in any kind of order or even coherent right now isn’t going to happen. I’ve been reading up on what I could find, or someone has given me. I know a little about your kind, but that’s it, just a little.” She asked him what he wanted to know. “You’re a warrior. Where is your dragon?” “He died some decades ago. More than I care to think about.” He nodded and told her that he had figured that was what she’d say. “I was harmed when he was taken off the field we were fighting on. He died later, from other wounds. Not that it matters, but the people who are looking for me now, the ones chasing me, they think that I can tell them things about why I’ve been alive for so long. Something about pictures from long ago. I don’t think that they know what I am. But that hasn’t stopped them from trying to find me. It’s been hard to keep away; they must have resources that are good. But I can’t let them capture me for any reason, because that would cause a lot of creatures a great deal of trouble. Including you. And if I won’t give them what they want, then they’ll simply remove my head.” “They have lab equipment with them. And as you said, a saw to remove your head. I’m thinking, unlike you, that they know just what you are and what you could bring to them if they were to capture you.” She didn’t say anything, but sat at the table he and Dad were at. “What can we do to protect you? I’m assuming that somewhere along the line, you’ve trusted people before who betrayed you. I won’t. Never. And neither will my family.” “As I have been told before. Sorry, but my levels of trust don’t include you just yet. That doesn’t mean that I won’t eventually, but for now, I don’t.” She didn’t elaborate, 
and he didn’t ask. If he was honest, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to know. “You are the son of Crosby, the vampires that saved the Queen Kilian.” “Yes, and you are Emerald, dragon warrior, rider and protector of the ice dragons and last female of your kind.” She nodded, and he could see her shifting under the façade of clothing that she had worn when she’d come out of the freezer. “You’re magical, the most magical creature that has ever lived, too.” “Yes, and by being my mate, you are as well.” He had already figured that would happen, but it didn’t make it any easier for him to question her. “You will be safe with me, Chase Crosby. This I can promise you with my sword.” ~~~ Kilian was excited and afraid to meet the warrior. She knew who she was, of course. All creatures of the earth knew who the great Emerald was. But when she entered the dwelling that housed her, she knew immediately that while she was healed, she was still very weak. Looking at Chase as he sat with her at the table, Kilian wondered if he knew that she was just as hungry as he was. “I’ve come to bless you with some of my magic.” Kilian had only come to talk to the warrior, but knew that she was going to need more than she was getting right now. “My lady, you need to feed, and soon. I’m sure that you’re aware of this, but you’re unwell.” “I’m all right. I’ve been talking to the vampire here.” She nodded at Chase and he smiled. Kilian loved this young man—because he was to her, young—more than she did any of the others. Which was saying a great deal, as she loved them all very much. But Chase had a heart of gold, and he was as kind a person as she’d ever met. “He has it in his head that he’s going to protect me. I don’t need protecting from a vampire, or any other creature that comes to this house. So we’re coming to an understanding, he and I. He’ll let me do my job and not get in my way.” “You do need him, however.” Emerald looked at her, and Kilian could see that she was angry. At who or what she didn’t know, but she bowed before her. “You need only to tell him and Chase will help you.” “He cannot, and you know this.” Kilian said that she knew no such thing, and looked at the warrior when she laughed. “The vampire isn’t going to be—” “Chase. Say it…my name is Chase, Chase Crosby.” He grinned, and Kilian wondered if he knew how much more handsome he was when he did that. “You have to stop calling me the vampire, as that isn’t something about me that a great many people know. Chase. You can say it in several languages, I’m sure.” “It would be all the same, as well you know. But there are things that you don’t understand. You can’t get close to me, vampire. I am a danger to not just you, but to all mankind if they find me. Especially here.” He asked her why here. “You are here. So is your family.” “Yes, so they are. And for what it’s worth, they’d help me in any kind of way that you needed. But as for the men in town that are here for you, I can tell you right now, they have no idea where you are, or that you’ve healed. Nor do they know exactly what we’ll do to them when they try anything. As I said before, we’re a tight family of 
vampires, with magic that none others have. Also, we can call on many other packs and leaps at any time. They like us.” She asked him why he thought that they’d not get to her. “Because, I have taken care that they don’t. And we have people working in the building that they’re in who are watching their every move. Even what they eat and what they send back to the kitchen. Did you know that they don’t drink anything but water? Why is that, I wonder? It could be that they, like me, don’t care for sugary drinks, but who knows? But they like water.” “So, they aren’t human.” Kilian laughed when Chase told her no shit. “I’m not one to fuck with. I have a great deal riding on me staying alive.”  “Yes, you do, and so do I. I have my life and everything that I am riding on you staying alive.” He stood up and Kilian marveled at his height, as she did all the Crosby boys when she was near them. “My brothers and I are working very hard on keeping you safe, and have been since you were put into my freezer to heal. We’ve all taken turns in making sure that you were taken care of, that you had all that you needed, and that no one, at least only those that we trust, knew where you were. As far as anyone knows, they haven’t any idea that you’ve been in my freezer all this time.” When Emerald stood up as well, Kilian decided that she’d come to talk to the warrior some other time, and slipped out of the house as quietly as she’d entered. She found herself smiling at nothing when she made her way back to her home.  There were going to be fireworks when those two came together, and Kilian was glad that she was close enough to see them when they did. The Crosbys were a powerful group of men, but they paled considerably when their magic was put against one as strong as the warrior. Chase was going to be a vampire to be reckoned with, more so than he was now. “My queen?” She looked at Sunshine and allowed her to speak freely. She found this rule, as old as she was, the most annoying of all of them. To have to ask to speak to her. “We have located the body of the ice dragon, my lady. Three, as a matter of fact. They have been dead for a great many years. His body, like that of two others, has been hidden within the caves of the mountain. By the same hand, we believe. They have not been bothered, my lady. Their bodies are still as they had been when they entered. No human has ever touched them. Not in all these years.” “The ice warrior, you think she put them in there?” Sunshine nodded. “How did they perish? Were you able to ascertain that?” “Yes, my lady. Two of the dragons were very old and worn out. They wished to die and did so. They have been moved and put to rest in the gardens here. I hope that is all right with you. The cave they were found in, it was not proper for ones such as them. Her dragon, the ice warrior’s, he was killed by his own hand. She brought him to the cave to be with his family in his last moments, I think. But he ended his life on his own.” Kilian asked how they were related. “His parents, my lady. Both his mother and father were put there by the warrior, as well as several, smaller dragons that were killed by war. The dragon of the ice warrior, he had been hurt badly when he was hidden away. He finished himself to free her of his life.” 
He had been her true dragon, and Emerald should have died with him…her heart having beat with his. But since he killed himself—the only thing he could do for her to be free to move on—her life did not end with his. As soon as he died, by his own hand, it separated their hearts. Her heart would beat for only Chase now. It was the thing that Kilian might have done, should she have been a dragon for a warrior. “How do you know this? That he died by his own hand?” Kilian was handed a thick slab of stone, hand cut and a great many years old. She read the accounting of the incident then looked at Sunshine. “Have you told anyone of this?” “No. I was to tell his lordship, Lord Chase, but I thought you should know first.” She nodded. This changed so many things for them. “He gave her his all, my lady. All that they were, even his parents, was gifted to the warrior for her service to them. This is a great thing he did for her. And the title that is now hers.” The king and queen of the dragons had been found, it seemed. After all these many years, their bodies had been found, and Kilian was both saddened by their deaths and happy that someone had taken care that their bodies were safe. She herself had looked for them whenever she was out and about, the earth not giving her their whereabouts, and now she knew why. Emerald had hidden them away so that their forms could be safe. For all of them. “Tell the Crosbys that I wish to speak to them. All of them. And the warrior. She might know what her dragon has done for her, but I have my doubts. But I have to let them all know what this means. Not just to Chase and Emerald, but to the family as a whole. There will be others now that will come for her, and when they do, there will be hell to pay.” Sunshine asked if she could be paired with the warrior. “You will need to ask her, my child. And do not be surprised if she tells you no. Her life has been hard since she was created, and I doubt she has had a friend or helpmate at all since then.” “I will await your conversation with them before I put the question to her.” Kilian thought that a good idea. “She is the queen of the warriors as well as the queen of the dragons. When she brought them all together, do you think she knew what she had done?” “She might have, as I said, but I doubt it. The note that was left for her, where did you find it?” Sunshine told her that it had been under the king, with the two crowns that they had worn. “I would say that she didn’t know, nor does she have any idea what they have given her. And indirectly to young Chase. He will be…well, I hope he will be more receptive of it than Jason might have been before meeting his own mate. Otherwise, we might have a greater war on our hands than we have ever had.”  She didn’t think that Chase would be a problem, not with this or anything that had to do with his mate. But Kilian was as sure as she stood there, in her garden, that Emerald would be. She would be angry at a lot of things, but mostly at her dragon for putting her into such a position. Kilian was both looking forward to telling her and not. This wasn’t going to be easy, she knew it. 
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SEEKING MY DESTINY by JENNA JACOB Release Blitz

Synopsis

By day, I’m Sasha Evans, successful business owner and entrepreneur.
By night, I’m Destiny, Club Genesis’ masochistic bottom who craves pain and won’t kneel to just any Top.
The subs around me are all pairing up with the Doms of their dreams. I can’t even find someone to whip away my stress and grant me peace. It’s driving me mad!
But you know the old saying, Never tempt fate…
Falling into bed with my tall, ruggedly handsome business associate, Lawson Pratt, isn’t the smartest move I’ve ever made, but he certainly melted me with pleasure.
And when compelling Sadist Parker Cane offered me a contract, promising to make all my most agonizing fantasies come true, I was torn.
How’s a girl supposed to choose between tingling passion and sweet torment?
What if I can have both men work their magic on me?
It sounds great—in theory. And it’s feeling that way too—until a menacing madman from the past returns to steal not only my bliss…but my life.

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USA Today Bestselling Author Jenna Jacob’s erotic romance comes from the heart of submission. With over twenty years’ experience in the dynamics of the BDSM lifestyle, Jenna strives to portray Dominance and submission with a passionate and comprehensive voice. Her stories will make you laugh, cry, and may leave you with a better understanding of the fulfillment found in the BDSM power exchange.

A married mom of four grown children, Jenna and her husband lives in Kansas. Her passions include her family, reading, camping, cooking, music, and riding Harleys. She loves to make people laugh with her outgoing and warped sense of humor. If you’re looking for hot romance with a kinky twist, pick up one of Jenna’s books.

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DOUBLE TROUBLE by SIERRA CARTWRIGHT Release Blitz

One love. One obsession. Double the trouble.

This time, he won’t take no for an answer.

For three years, Daniel Armstrong has wanted the beautiful, fiery Bridget Kelly. But when he sees her at Houston’s premier BDSM club and realizes she has an interest in submission, his determination reignites. A charity auction provides a means for him to possess her and do good at the same time. Who could resist? Focused solely on Bridget and the decadent delights he intends for her, he outbids everyone to claim her.

Helpless, trapped by the glare of a spotlight at an auction she never agreed to participate in, Bridget is stunned when bidding for a weekend with her goes higher and higher.

She’s frantic when she realizes the gorgeous, successful Daniel Armstrong has won her. For years, she’s been attracted to the renowned heartbreaker, but she’s kept him at a distance to protect herself.

Then one night, she sees him at a BDSM club, and there’s no doubt he recognizes her submissive tendencies. Now that the devastating Dom knows her naughty desires, she’s doubly determined to avoid him.

When he claims her, she believes things can’t get worse. Then he introduces her to his identical twin, Jacob. Suddenly, she’s faced with not one, but two men determined to make her every fantasy come true and take her to the heights of submission.

Series Note: Although linked by a common theme, the stories in this series may be read in any order Revenge can be sexy and sweet. Dom Daniel Armstrong has waited twenty years for the chance to possess the beautiful and fiery I Heart TC waitress Bridget Kelley. She broke his heart and crushed his ego, twice, and he’s never gotten over her. This time, he won’t take no for an answer. Seeing her in an oh-so short skirt at a BDSM club has reignited his determination, and a charity auction provides a means for him to possess her and do good at the same time. Who could resist? When she realizes the always-persistent Daniel has won her, Bridget is frantic. She desperately tries to back out of the deal to spend an entire weekend at his family’s secluded James River plantation. This is a man she’s scorned, and worse, a Dom who knows her naughty desires. She’s seen him control a woman before, and the idea of submitting to him both thrills and frightens her. And just when she thinks things can’t get worse, he introduces her to his twin, David. Suddenly, she’s faced with not one, but two, determined Doms…

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and content, menage (m/f/m), spanking.

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USA Today Best-Selling Author, Winner of the 2015 Best BDSM Book of the year (Bind), 2015 Reader’s Choice Best Erotic Romance (Bind), 2015 Golden Flogger (Crave), 2014 LASR Book of the Year award (In The Den), 2013 Best BDSM Book of the Year award (Over The Line), Golden Flogger Award 2015 nominee for her books Command, Bind, and Brand, Sierra was born in Manchester, England where she spent her early years traipsing through castles. After living in Denver for a number of years, the internationally acclaimed author now resides in Galveston, Texas. She loves the way history blends with Southern manners (being called “sugar” is an experience unto itself).

She invites you to join her on a sensual journey where the limits are explored and expanded.

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A Very Wicked Christmas by Shayla Black Release Blitz Packet

‘Tis the season… Sometimes the holidays are so busy—work, kids, shopping, baking, partying, wrapping, decorating, planning, and Christmas music!—that you don’t have time for the one you love most. Can the spirit of the season bring the first two Wicked Lovers closer forever?

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Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty novels. For nearly twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past eight years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

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Gideon Dragon’s Savior Release Day & Giveaway

Gracie couldn’t believe it, she’d been attacked by a griffin. The pain was so horrible that she’d have to get better to die. Maybe it was better this way. Maybe death would end the tremendous grief in her heart. At least in death she wouldn’t have to listen to her sister Cora’s constant harping. 

Gideon and his dragon counterpart Ominia weren’t sure how to handle Gracie. She was their mate and they were happy to have found her, but her intense grief over the loss of her family had them stumped on how to proceed.

The encounter with the griffin had more effect on Gracie than she knew. His magic now flowed within her. Gracie could now see and speak with the dead, and the former king, Anthony had a message for the new King of Dragons, Asher.

Now thrust in a world of dragons and magic, Gracie’s head was spinning. And how was she to handle two very handsome and amorous mates? Things like that just didn’t happen to her.
Two Men Joined By Fate…

Asher and Kiaran were joined at birth by the dying decree of the Dragon King―literally. Asher had his own bit of magic as a 3,000 year old immortal, and Kiaran was his dragon shifter. Out in society Kiaran was a part of Asher―absorbed into Asher’s body―only being able to separate in dragon form. At their birth home, the two men could exist apart from each other as men. They protected each other, and would until their dying breath if it ever came to that. They shared everything…that is until Essie came along….

Essie was doing her best to hide from a mother that didn’t even recognize her own daughter. The witch had poisoned her with a scratch and if Essie wasn’t healed soon she’d die…. Sick or not she didn’t want anything to do with that handsome, overbearing barbarian, Asher, nor that rude dragon that protected him. She was doing just fine on her own.

But Asher had other things on his mind and after a while brings Essie around to his way of thinking and makes her his wife, but Kiaran brought up a valid point―Essie was his mate too….

Could Essie find it in her heart to love both men equally? To share the bed of both―together?

Asher’s five brothers and their dragons watched the scenario unfold with bated breaths. The subject had never been broached, and all their futures hung on the outcome…. 

Lindsey Decker is hiding in the woods when the dragon shifter, Casdon, finds her on their property. She’s tired, hungry, in a lot of pain, and absolutely determined not to ask for any help. She just needs to stay hidden before that idiot Cox finds her and probably kills her this time. The cave she found will provide some protection if she doesn’t freeze to death first.

Jedidiah Benson and his dragon shifter Zak are at odds. When Casdon tells the family of the injured woman hiding in the caves, Zak knows immediately upon finding her that the girl is his and Jedidiah’s mate, but Jedidiah refuses to even look at the girl proclaiming he wouldn’t know what to do with a mate. Zak has no reservations and knows if they don’t do something fast she’ll die.

Lindsey wakes between two gorgeous men and isn’t sure if she’s dreaming or still in a fevered state. The things she wants to do with these men, both of them, should feel wrong, but instead feels it’s her destiny.

Lindsey is destined for more than two mates. Lindsey is a beacon for the lost dragons. It’s time for their return, but it’s still dangerous for them to do so. They’re being hunted, and no one is safe….



Ariannona has but one simple task to complete and the long journey she began 3000 years ago will be ended. Her reward? She was promised that she would see the king and queen again.

Elam’s not sure what to think about the beautiful woman coming back to the house with his counterpart Casdon. She has a message for Casdon alone, and the message itself makes no sense to Casdon. One thing is clear though, she is Elam and Casdon’s mate.

Ariannona expects to die once her message is delivered, and isn’t happy to learn that the former king and queen tricked her to get her there.

A dragon hunter is still loose on nearby lands and none of the dragons are safe, especially Casdon. He’s taking shots at anything he sees moving.

Lelani Wayne trusted no one but her familiar, Roger. And even he, at times, got on her last nerve. She didn’t like being around people. People made her nervous, and when a witch as powerful as she was got nervous, it could be disastrous for anyone in the vicinity. 

A powerful witch, Erin Wayne, knew she was going to die, and reached out to the closest being she could find to take her powers and memories. She connected with Kiaran, Asher’s dragon counterpart. The jolt of the transfer took all the Benson’s to their knees.

The Benson’s were on a mission to finish the reconstruction of the castle. Shane, and his dragon counterpart, Keion, were doing their share to make it happen. But when Shane saw his very pregnant sister-in-law, Essie, bringing lunch, and a stranger approaching her fast, he couldn’t get to Essie fast enough. The baby was coming—now.

Lelani was looking for Kiaran to get her sister’s memories and warn him that the Herald, a group of witch hunting zealots, might have traced the memories and be after Kiaran as well. What she didn’t expect to find was Shane and Keion, two very big, handsome, virile men, invading her personal space claiming to be her mate. That made her nervous….

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Prologue  

                                                                            
                                                                               
Eve sat in her chair and thought about what her life, what little there was left of it, had come to mean. It wasn’t like her to feel sorry for herself, but she knew that she was going to die, and soon, and she felt that she had a right to it. When she heard someone at the door, she smiled when she spied Sally there. The young woman had been coming to the castle since she’d been born, hanging on her mother’s apron like it was the life line that it was. And thankfully the child looked nothing like her beloved mother. “Mistress, you wished to see me? If it is about the brownie that startled me, I swear to you that I meant him no harm.” Eve said that wasn’t it, but she knew that Sally would not hurt anyone. “Thank you, my lady.” Bidding her to come closer, the young woman did so, not once, Eve knew, worrying about what the others might think of her being in the personal chambers of the queen. Sally was as good as she had ever seen a woman be, but she could be like a bear defending her cubs when pushed. Eve knew this about her as well. “I have a question to ask of you. A favor too should you answer me right. What do you plan for your life, my child? Is there a certain man that has come to you courting?” Sally flushed brightly and said that no, she was much too old for that. “You’re not old at all, Sally. What are you, ten and eight? Less I’m betting.” “I am twenty and eight, my lady. Too old for courting. I would be set upon by men that have sired their sons and now needs someone to look after them.” Sally laughed. “My mother, she shoed away such men when I was but a young thing. Now they fear that there is something about me.” “You are a wonderful person, and any man would be happy to have you as their bride.” Sally flushed again and asked about the favor. “I have a man in mind for you. A good man that has the heart of a lion and the brains of a scholar. He’d not think that I was speaking of him, should he hear us, but he is a good man and will do you well to marry.” “Do you think him addled or with a sickness?” Eve laughed and said that he was of sound body and mind. “Then why would he want someone like me? I am too old to bear him children.” “You aren’t, you know.” Eve touched her hand to Sally’s, holding her so that she could pass what she could to the young woman in the way of magic. “I have birthed my children, but I will not be able to see them grow into men.”  “Why not, my lady? You seem of sound body and mind too. If you don’t mind me saying.” Eve nodded and said that she and King Anthony were to die, and soon. “No. That cannot be. Dragons, they live forever, and you are one of the best.” Eve told her all that she knew, holding nothing back, not even parts that she knew would upset the younger woman. She told her of the witches that she had contacted. The other women, some of them not yet born, who were to come to her sons so long from now that it would seem as if she had lied. Eve even told her how she and her love 
were to pass from this world to the next, and what it would mean to their children. And that her own children would be paired with the sons Sally would have as well. Sally sat there, her body stiff and hard. She was thinking, Eve knew, processing the information that she knew must be hard to know. When she looked at her, Eve wiped at her tears when Sally did, knowing that what she said now would be the difference in a great many lives. “This man that you have in mind that I wed, he is important too, to all that is going to happen?” Eve told her that they both were. “Does he know about me? Your plan for us?” “Nay, only you. And my Anthony, of course. And you must never tell him that you knew. I should like for it to go as we have hoped, without interfering with any more lives.” Sally nodded. “You will have your father with you as well. He will live with you, helping you with our children. There are six of them, my own hatchlings.” “You have only to ask me, my lady, and I would gladly raise your sons as my own.” Eve told her that she knew that, but they’d need each other. “I see. Nay, I do not, but I trust you with my life. You are not just my queen, my lady, but a dear person to me as well.” “Thank you, Sally. You’ve no idea what that means to me.” Sally nodded and Eve bent to hand her the book. “In a few hours’ time Anthony will bring young Jacob here to speak to him. I would wish that you read what I have here so that you can help him to better understand when the time comes.” “I can do that.” She took the book and hid it deep within her skirts. Eve asked her what she was about. “I have a pocket here, in the event that I wish to carry more than my hands can hold. And with six sons to come to me and six more that I will enjoy raising as my own, I shall need bigger pockets, I think.” “Oh Sally, I wish with all my heart that I could be there for my sons, but I cannot think of another person, or better people than you and Jacob, to raise them for us. I know that you will do me proud.” Sally thanked her again and left her there.  Eve wanted to be with her babes, stay with them until the time came, but she knew as surely as she was sitting there that it wouldn’t help at all. When Anthony, her only reason for breathing, joined her in the big room, she held his hand as she told him that Sally would be there for them. “I’m so happy for that. I have talked to Elbert as well. He is a very good man. Raised a wonderful child on his own.” Eve agreed, and they left to survey the damage left by the magical storm. “I love you my heart.” “And I you, my blood. You and I, we will be together on the other side soon, I know this.”  He nodded and held her for a moment longer, her heart breaking with the knowledge that this was the last day that they’d be together as king and queen and as man and wife. ~~~ Sally watched the couple as they took to the skies. The damage that had been done last eve was great; the deaths of some of the villagers had been sad. She watched as 
Helena the Black came out from behind the castle, her head bleeding and her face pale from it. Sally would not aid her, not such a woman as her. Besides, she knew what she was about and cared not if she lived or died.  Making her way back to her job, she knew that there would be no supper this night, and gathered what she could to take with her when they ran. And run they would. There were only a few things that she could take with her, mostly smaller items, but she sat in the corner and read the book, from front to back, before she left. In the end Sally stayed there, knowing that sooner rather than later she’d be set on her course for the king and queen. “What are you about? Sitting there like you’ve no care in the world?” She looked at her father and smiled. “Ah, I see you have been to see the queen. And you will do this thing for her?” “Yes, Father, I shall. I will do what I need to help them.” He nodded and put a few more things in the basket that was on the large block of wood that served as a cutting board for him. “She said that we’d be cared for, should we follow the rules set forth.” “We will be. Are you ready to become a mother of so many?” She said that she was glad to have any child, but to help save the queen’s would be an honor. “You’re a good child, my Sally. So much unlike your mother that I am as happy as the day is long.” “Mother wasn’t a good person.” He said that she wasn’t. “I’m sorry for that, Father. To have been with someone for so long and not feel the pang of death when she passed.” “She will be missed, yes, but not in a good way.” Father smiled at her. “Young Jacob, he’s a good man. You could not do better had I picked him for you meself.” Father took the few things that she had in her pockets, save the book, and told her to take what she wanted from the kitchen. That after this eve, it would be wasted. Sally wandered around the big room, careful where she looked. To have such a thing, anything that she wished from here, she wanted to make it a good choice. Wrapping her hand around the knife that she had used more than any other, she put it into her pocket and looked at her father. “I shall pick mushrooms and herbs with this. And every time that I do, I will think of the queen and her king.” Father said that was good and he left, telling her that he was going to go to their home and supply it with things. “When you return, you will talk to the king?” “Yes. Things will be ready by then. You are to stay out of sight, my child. I do not wish you to be harmed by the goings on outside these walls. Promise me.” She did and told him to be careful as well. “I shall, forevermore. When I return, you will be taken to the king and meet your husband. Make yourself presentable and make me proud of you.” She wasn’t one to preen herself, but she did comb her hair and wipe at her shoes. She wasn’t sure what he would expect of her, but she’d give him all that she had. Jacob…she knew little of him, but was glad for the life they would have. She could only hope that she did a good job in raising the king and queen’s children. 

Randal: Calhoun Men Release Day & Giveaway

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.

Hudson: The Manning Dragons By Kathi S Barton Release Day & GiveAway

Winnie wasn’t happy with Cooper at all. She had only done as ordered and had spent five years in prison because of it. Cooper was supposed to protect her, but he didn’t. Now the dragon king wanted her to protect them all from the new slayers in town? How was that fair? The sooner she completed her mission, the sooner she could move on and leave it all behind her.

Hudson had been told that Cooper had hired a man by the name of Wendall. He just wanted to meet him so he could measure his worth, but when the door opened, the woman behind it was writhing in pain. He only meant to help her, but the moment he touched her, her pain became his as well.

Winnie had been appointed by the Dragon Board to be their protector long before last names were given. She had hunted her first, expecting to be paid by coin, but was rewarded instead with magic and a title. She didn’t have time to take a mate, much less a Manning. She had too much work to do.

The word “no” wasn’t in Hudson’s vocabulary. Winnie was his mate and he’d do whatever he had to claim her.

With slayers lurking in the shadows, Winnie has her hands full, and can’t let a new mate distract her. She had to remain on her toes or all would be lost….
Cooper Manning and his five brothers were true dragons. Centuries ago, when the humans had turned on their kind, their father sacrificed himself to save his sons by casting a powerful spell which allowed them to walk among the humans. Even centuries later, Cooper couldn’t seem to let go of the past and despised most humans.

Carson Langley was exhausted. After being forced to work thirty-six hours straight, she unwittingly complained to the new plant owner, now she knew she was fired. There was nothing left to do but go home and cry about it later.

Cooper was sent by his brother to retrieve the helpful woman and bring her back to the plant, and he wasn’t happy about it either. It didn’t help that when she answered the door she shared his sour mood, and when he touched her hand, the magic that surged between them meant only one thing—she was his other half, and she was human…. Cooper was seeing red.

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Stop. Cooper stopped moving and waited for Carson to speak again. To your left is a young woman. I want you to stick close to her for a bit. She’s in danger, and you have to save her. Sure. And while I’m at this and she calls the police, will you bail me out of jail? I’m sure that she’ll be thrilled to death to have a big hulking man standing close to her. Carson didn’t seem all that amused at him, and he could almost taste her anger. I’m sorry— Look. I didn’t ask for this shit. The least you can do is— When she stopped talking his dragon roared up around him. Wait right where you are. I can feel…Cooper, in a few seconds, like five or less, this black car is coming around…Cooper, shield her. And Rose is with you. Pushing the woman and her burden to the glass front of the store they were near, he felt the bullets spray over them. Glass shattered around them. The mannequin in the window looked like it had been on the front line of a war, the way its body took the bullets. The pain took his breath away even as the squeal of tires sounded in the distance. Cooper heard Rose telling him to not move, to stand still. Cooper felt the hot blood of his body running down his back, his legs too. The woman started to scream, and it hurt his already pounding head. “Hush.” Closing her mouth, she looked up at him, and he saw the baby cradled in her arms in some sort of carrier that strapped it to her. “The baby? Is it all right?” “Yes, I think so. He’s just afraid. So am I. You saved us.” He just nodded, staring back at the little guy in her arms. He could hear Carson yelling at him, but he couldn’t answer her just yet. Every part of his body ached. “Cooper?” He looked at his brother by turning his head slightly. It hurt, and for the life of him, he couldn’t remember his name. “Hudson. It’s Hudson. I’ve called an ambulance, and the police are on their way too. Carson knows that I have you and that you’re alive. Just don’t move right now and we’ll make sure that he’s not returning to finish the job.” “I can do that, I think. Hudson, what happened? And the woman and her baby? Are they really all right?” Hudson said that he had her, and Cooper realized that at some point, he’d been moved and she and her baby were gone. “I hurt, Hudson. Help me.” “I am. Okay? You’re going to be fine, I promise you. Just let me lower you to the sidewalk.” Yes, he thought. That sounded really good. “Come on, buddy. Don’t faint on me just yet.” “Okay.” It was surreal. Blood was everywhere, and he was sure that it was all his. He looked up at the broken glass and then at his body. There were shards of it in his arms and shirt front. Putting out his hand, he was relieved when Rose landed on him. “I got hurt.”
It seemed stupid to say that, but he really was hurting, and he was also, he figured, in a little shock. As she sat down, watching him carefully, he began to feel just a little better. Not great, but better now that he was sitting. “Yes, my lord. But you are not going to die. We saved you.” He looked around the best he could. “They did their job for you, and I am very proud of them.” The other faeries were gathering their dead. His mind was still slightly fuzzy, his memory of them being with him all but gone. But he looked at Rose and she looked so sad. These were her men, and they had saved his life. He wasn’t sure what had happened, not yet at any rate. So he looked to his faerie. “What happened?” Rose told him that Carson had called them to him. “How did they save me, Rose? I need to know what happened that brought them to me.” “The spray of bullets was aimed at your heart and throat, my lord. The woman was the target, as was her son, but with you protecting them, neither of them were killed. The man, he’ll be captured soon enough. The woman has minor damage, but she will heal. Had the bullets hit you in either place, they would have killed you with the amount of damage. The piercing of your heart with such a dagger as a bullet, or the spray of bullets going through your throat, would have removed your head. Many of your men, they gave their life for you today.” He asked her how many there were. “Sixty-seven. There will be great mourning and celebrating today.” He knew that they would mourn their deaths…it would be hard on the families they left behind. And they would also celebrate the fact that they had saved his life. He’d do something for them, as would Rose. Too many deaths, he thought. And he’d be sure to take care of their families too. Cooper asked her to let him know what it was they needed and he’d make sure they had it. He reached for Carson then. His heart was hurting from the loss, and he needed to connect with her to comfort him. She held his heart in her hands, and she would be the only one to help him when he was this down. He told her what had happened and that he was all right, thanks to her and his army. Hudson told me. I’m on my way to you now. Christ, I’m so sorry. Tell Rose that as well. He said that he would, and for her to be careful. I will. I love you. That man, he would have killed them both. I didn’t feel the baby until it was almost too late. I’m so sorry. But he would have hurt them badly, Cooper. Thank you for putting up with me and doing this for them. I know, honey. I know that. And I’m glad that you did this. I don’t know how either of us would have been able to stand by when we could do something. She was babbling, but it was all right. Carson had saved them, and him as well. Sirens were blaring, and he told Carson to head to the hospital, he’d see her there. The mom and the baby are fine, thanks to you. You go there and I’ll be there soon. “Cooper, you okay?” He nodded at Hudson. “I’m to stick with you like glue. Carson told me that I had to or else. And when she has an or else at the end of a request, I don’t think I want to mess around with her. So we’re stuck until she says differently.” “No, I’d not do that. I’m feeling a little better now. Thank you for being here for me and her. Rose lost so many men. I’ll have to do something for them.” Hudson sat on the
sidewalk next to him when the medics went to check on the woman and baby. “What do you know so far? Whoever it was, he was aiming at them, not me.” “I know. Carson told me. Do you have a story?” He said that he didn’t, had not even thought about one yet. “You saw the car coming around the corner. Just that. Didn’t know the man or the woman. Carson said less is more in this. She said to just say that you only had thoughts for keeping the woman safe, that’s all.” Nodding at Hudson, he felt a little dizzy and decided to lay back. At the last minute, he turned to his side, so as not to cause any more pain in his back. The discomfort was manageable right now, but when the medics asked him about it, he knew that he had to be hurting worse than he was. Laying it on thicker than he felt, he told them he was in a great deal of pain, as well as his head hurt. He was moved to sit up to be examined by the medic when he came to him, and Cooper asked about the woman and her child.  “We have her, Lord Manning. She’s just fine. So is her son. Thanks to you.” The medic, he thought his name was Ben, laughed a little. “They caught up with her husband down the street a little ways. He is one pissed off man, I guess, because he missed her. What on earth would drive a man to try and murder his wife and son? If that don’t beat all, I don’t know what does.” “He didn’t miss me.” Ben said that he could see that, but he was able to take it better than anyone else. “True, but it didn’t lessen the pain. What are we doing now? I’m assuming that I’m not just going to be patted on the head and sent home, am I?” “No, sir, I’m afraid not. You’re going in the ambulance when it comes. We sent the first one on site in with the baby and mom, just to be sure we didn’t miss anything. Mom has a minor wound on her leg, nothing compared to you. I think I’ve counted twenty-two shots to you.” Cooper asked if he was kidding. “Nope. Could be more. I’ve not looked at your back just yet. Probably more. But you’re fine.” Cooper felt sick then. Twenty-two? Then he did just what his brother had told him not to do and fainted. Cooper felt the concrete beneath him bang hard against his thick skull, then he was out. When Cooper woke he was in a hospital. Not that it surprised him, but he did feel heavy. Looking down his body, he knew why. The room was quiet, and he realized that he was alone. Sitting up, he stared at his left leg and the cast that was holding him down. He wondered if it was a joke or something. It was a thick cast, and was being held up by some sort of crane like thing. His arm was also in a sling, but no cast. There was an ace bandage around it with blood stains on it, but he didn’t think about that right now. Instead, he thought about getting out of there.  Just as he was ready to yell for help, Carson walked in the room and launched herself at him. As she sobbed about how sorry she was that he’d been hurt, Cooper assured her that he was fine, and better now that she was with him. Then he asked about the baby and his mom. “They’re fine. Debbie has a few stitches, but nothing that’ll keep her down. The little boy, Robbie, he’s perfect. I’ve been playing with him while the mom was being x
rayed. How are you?” Cooper told her he was fine, but looked down at his body again. “You scared the crap out of me when I lost the connection with you. Had Hudson not told me that you passed out, I might have torn into someone there. Are you really all right?” “I promise you, I’m just fine. But, I need to ask, why do I have all this on me? I’m assuming for the police.” She told him that the news stations were there as well. “I guess I understand, but it’s a little much, don’t you think?” “No. I don’t. They took a total of thirty-nine bullets out of you, Cooper. Thirty-nine. They could wrap you from head to toe if they wanted to.” He laid his head back. Christ. “Rose lost some men. I told her whatever she needed, it was hers. Also, I asked her for a list of the names and their families. I thought we could do something for them. Okay?” “Yes, of course. Flowers. They’ll need flowers for the garden that they’ll plant in their honor. It’s been a while since we’ve had this many lost. I’m sure that Rose could use the help in any way we can give her. She knows all her men and their families. She will come to you. A task this large will need some helping. I know that it seems like an odd thing, but they’ll need blankets too. They can use one of the ones in the cabinet, and they’ll cut it down for themselves.” Carson nodded. “What about the mom and baby? They need anything? I mean, that man, he wanted her dead in a powerful way.” “They’ll need a place to stay. She said no, they’d be fine, but I’ve made it happen for her. I guess she was also looking for a job, which is also taken care of. We’re going to take her to the distribution center when she is up and around.” He liked that idea. “Babysitting is going to be an issue. Not because we don’t have anyone, but because everyone wants to do it. Myself included.” “She have any family close?” She told him that she had a dad, and he was coming to be with her. She’d sent a car. “You are a wonder, my dear. Thank you for taking such good care of them both, and me.” “Debbie’s husband, Robert Jersey, is in jail. He’s being held on four counts of attempted murder, as well as a few other things, like firing a gun in city limits. His crew, as he calls them, are also being held without bond. Two of them are just kids, no older than Simon, who, by the way, is worried about you as well. So is John. They’ll be in later.” He asked her about the four attempts. “Well, Debbie and her son, you, and a clerk in the store was nearly killed as well.” “Okay, that makes sense. But thanks to you, everyone is all right. I hate to think what might have happened had you not been on top of things. I love you, Carson.” She told him that she loved him as well. “When can I break out of here? I’m behind in stuff at home, and I feel fine. Please tell me that I can leave soon?”  She was shaking her head at him. “They’re going to keep you a couple of days. For the press. And the boys want to come in to see you as well, as I said. Don’t be surprised if they’re a little standoffish. Remember, their mother died in this hospital.” Cooper said he’d like for them to come, but if it was too much for them they could see him when he got home. “All right. They’re here with your family now. They all need to see you. I think they got a good scare from this.”
“So did I.” Cooper found that he really needed to be with them too. His family meant the world to him. When the door opened a moment later, Cooper felt better. Just having them there made the inconvenience of the casts and being in the hospital much more tolerable. ~~~ Winnie heard her name called and went to the long tables that had been set up for job interviews. The man sitting behind it had a personality like a flea-bitten donkey, and he sort of had the look of one too. And Winnie so badly wanted to change his attitude. Or kill him. Either would make her feel better, but she needed a job.  He held out her application. “You didn’t fill this out correctly. Go back and sit down and fix it before you can move on to the next part of this process. If you pass, that is. I have final say in who gets to go to the next part of getting a job.” She asked him what she’d done wrong. He jerked the form from her and turned to the second page. “It said mark what languages you know, not the ones you don’t. So fix it.”  Then he shoved it back at her so that she had no choice but to take it. The man was getting on her last good nerve, which she didn’t have a lot of to begin with. Letting out a slow breath so she didn’t snap, she worked on giving him her best smile.  “It’s correct.” She tried her best to hand it back to him, but he wouldn’t take it. “I understood the question and I marked it correctly.” “You expect me to believe that you can speak seven languages?” Winnie said no. “Just as I thought. You need to—” “There was only space for seven listed. I can speak twenty-three, including sign language.” He looked ready to erupt and jerked it from her once again. “If you want, I can write those down too. I don’t mind at all.” He tore her application in half. Winnie stood there for several moments, telling herself it wasn’t worth it, nor was he, until she felt she was calm enough. Picking up her application, Winnie turned and made her way to the door. Fuck this shit. She’d have to more than likely murder someone else if she had to work there. She’d been let out of prison yesterday, and had been told that she was to show up here and fill out an application. Well, she’d done that, all the way up to the very end of what she’d been told to do. But there was no way in hell she would try and appease an asshole, no matter how badly she needed to find something to do. “Miss, you can’t take that with you. You’re supposed to turn it…What happened?” The woman had been at the other tables, the interview tables, when Winnie had come in earlier today. Winnie supposed she wasn’t going to make it that far. “Come with me.” The intrusion in her mind started then. It wasn’t painful, but very clumsy. Glancing at the other woman as they made their way to her table, Winnie figured that she had nothing to lose and spoke softly to her. “You need more practice if you’re going to enter peoples head and not have them know you’re there.” The woman stopped and stared at her. “Or you could just wait for someone to answer your questions. That’s how I usually handle it. Then if that doesn’t work, I flip into their mind. But that’s just me.”
“I’ve not had this shit long. I keep referring to it as magical shit, but it’s kind of nice most of the time. And I’m sorry. I try hard to get better at it, and all I wanted to know was if you had been hurt by anyone here.” Winnie said that she could see that, but she needed to work on it. “I got it when I got myself a mate.” “Did you want something? I can answer it if you don’t try to get into my head again. I will hurt you.” She didn’t threaten the woman, but merely told her what she’d do. Surprisingly, she said that she’d not do it again. “Thank you.” “Donald, the guy at the application line, he pissed you off. Why?” Winnie shrugged. “He’s pissed me off a few times as well. I think he won’t be here tomorrow. Would you mind telling me what happened that your application ended up in several pieces?” Winnie told her that it didn’t matter now, just to forget it. “I don’t think he’s much of a people person. I mean, I do have a habit of pissing off people, but I didn’t do it today. At least not to him. I need a job.” The woman introduced herself. “Hello Carson, I’m Wendall Fitzpatrick. I go by Winnie.” “Wendall?” Winnie smiled at her, remembering her story that was as made up as her life history was, and the man who had made it up for her. “Oh, this must be good. Why is a beautiful woman like you named Wendall?” “Dad had it in his head I was going to be a boy, I guess. And when my mom passed away just after I was born, he was so grief stricken that he didn’t ask. So he filled out the birth certificate thinking I was his son. I guess it wasn’t until a few days later that he figured it out. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy.” Carson asked if he was happy now with her. “I think he was. He was, I guess. He passed away a few months ago. You’re very kind to talk to me. But I really need a job, and—” “I’m hiring you.” Winnie told her no, it was all right. They’d ended up back at the interview table by then, and when Carson sat down, so did Winnie. “I know that. It’s why I’m hiring you. Tell me, what happened?” “With Donald? He’s a prick about my application and how I answered a few of the questions. It really doesn’t matter.”  Carson didn’t ask her which ones, and Winnie didn’t volunteer any information. Winnie just waited for her to ask about her stint in prison and what she’d done when Carson looked over her application. But she only put all the pieces in a folder and stood up from the table. Winnie figured she’d be shown the door now. “Do you have a shift preference? I’d like to have you on days, where we can get the most use out of your talents, but we can work around whatever you need.” Winnie was sure that she was joking…there wasn’t any way she’d be hiring her. “Of course, perhaps we can get you on days that run over into a little bit of second shift too, if you can.” “Days is good. Did you read my application?” Carson said that she had. “No, you didn’t. I mean, if you had, then you’d be walking me out, not asking about what shift I want. I have a record. Did you know that?” “Yes, I saw that. I’m assuming that you’ve paid your debt to society and that you’re very sorry.” It was said with a huge grin that stumped Winnie. She told her that she
had, and was sort of sorry. “Good. Now, I have a job for you. Supervisor of pick light. It’s very easy to learn. I mean, if I can, anyone can.” “I think you’re smarter than you let yourself know you are. But I murdered someone. Just pulled a knife out and cut him to shreds.” When Carson asked her what he’d done to her first, Winnie stared at her. No one had ever asked her that before. “You’re intelligent, speak several languages. You’re looking for employment, and you didn’t lie to me. Did you?” Winnie said that she hadn’t, but didn’t think she could anyway, but that she was missing the point. “No, I don’t think I am. Something happened, and you ended up on the wrong side of something. Or someone. Besides, everyone needs a second chance. Don’t you think?” Winnie followed her, her mind a tumble of questions. Mostly it was why Carson was taking such a chance with her. When they entered the office, she was shocked to her very core. Cooper Manning was there, and Winnie knew with certainty that she was in a new kind of hell. “Lord Manning.” Winnie looked at Carson, everything sort of falling into place now. “Carson Manning, I’m assuming.” “Yes, this is my wife.” He didn’t stand up. It was then that she noticed the baby in his arms. “I’m babysitting while his mom has a look around. Have a seat, Winnie.” “I’d rather not.” He simply pointed to the chair across from him. “Please allow me to leave here. I’ll not bother you again if you would do the same for me. Had I known that you were—” “Sit down, Wendall.” She did so, but was ready to run if the opportunity presented itself. “How’s Patrick? I tried to find him.” “Dead.” He told her he was sorry. “Are you? I did what I was told, and he was left alone. The man deserved to die, yes, and I killed him, but it cost me more than the five years of my life. And for what? So that you could go on with your life? Have your entire well-being just fine and dandy? You told me that I had to kill that man, then you left me there.” “I had you released, and had you sent here. I thought you’d enjoy your freedom a bit longer or we would have been prepared for your coming. I had assumed, sadly, that you’d spend some time with Patrick. I hadn’t heard of his passing. For that, I am truly sorry. But—” “Shove it up your fucking ass.” She stood when he did, handing the baby off to Carson. He took a step toward her and she felt his dragon. “Kill me, as is your right. Kill me and end this. I won’t fight you in any way.” Cooper paused mid-step, then asked her what she’d said. Telling him no, begging him to end her life, she braced herself for whatever he did. She would welcome it. Winnie could fight back. Could hurt him and his dragon, even as depleted as her magic was. But she wouldn’t. Dead was much preferable to living, to her. “I cannot do that. I’m sorry, but I need you, and want you here. Your services have been needed for a long time, Winnie.” She told him that she wasn’t going to work for him, not ever again. “Yes, well, if I have to order you to help me, then I will. Lives depend on it too much for me to allow this to go.”
“And what I want…as usual, my needs do not matter to you and your needs.” He said that they did. “Nay, you will make me. That isn’t what I want. I wish to be returned to prison. Now.” “Excuse me.” They both looked at Carson when she spoke. “I don’t have a clue what the fuck is going on here, but someone does need to explain to me what happened between the two of you so I can tell you how stupid you’re being. And then we can move on to more important matters.” “Carson, love, this is Wendall Fitzpatrick, hit man for the Dragon Board. She has been around…well, nearly as long as me.” Carson looked at her. “She would say she’d been cursed to be around me. She’s told that to me enough times in my life. But she has saved more dragons than anyone, ever. And she ended up in prison when she, quite by accident, killed the wrong man.” “Because he told me to.” Cooper nodded and smiled. “So I’ve been stuck in a fucking prison, where I was put when no one showed up at my trial to save me. And in the meantime, the man who was kinder to me than even my own parents ever were died of a broken heart.” “I’m sorry.” She turned to leave, knowing that she couldn’t stay, no matter what he said now. “The slayers are here. They’re after my family. My brothers and my sons. We truly need you, Winnie.” “I don’t care.” Which was a lie, because she did too much, that was the problem. And it mattered little who this man was and what he’d done to her. “If I take care of this, will you never bother me again? Never in any way? And I do this my way.” “Deal.” He’d agreed too quickly, and she turned to look at him. She knew there was more to this than a simple slayer. She didn’t know what right now, but she had a feeling that she’d just been had. “My family would like for you to stay with us.” “No. I do this my way, and that does not include mingling with the Mannings.” He nodded, as if he had figured she’d say that. Going out the door, she knew she was going to regret this, that she needed to have her head examined. Reaching out for help from anyone she could beg from, she wasn’t surprised to have Rose answer her call. Winnie had wondered if the little warrior was still with Cooper, and now she knew. She just hoped that Rose would be helpful, and not report every little thing she did back to her boss.