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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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www.goodreads.com/author/show/4787929.Kathi_S_Barton                                                                  Next Release Oct 30th 2017

Sorry there will be no preorder for this book

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.
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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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Debra Lipe
For  winners if you have not gotten your signed  mystery paperback please
contact  my PA  for info  she will have the tracking numbers
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Stalking Links
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.

Hanson The English Dragon Release Day & Give Away

Quinn Langley knew her mother didn’t have long to live. Soon it would just be her and her little sister, Carmine. Nearly recuperated from her own injuries, Quinn knew the first order of business would be to find a job and get out of Danburn and Kendrick’s hair.


Danburn had invited his friends to his home to spend the holidays, and that included his good friend, Hanson McClain. Hanson’s parents had run off and left the estate in a shamble and near financial ruin. It had taken Hanson months to repair the damage, and he was ready for a break. 

Quinn had no idea that her cousin, Kendrick, was mated to a dragon, and that she and her sister were the only humans in the house. And now, the handsome stranger, Hanson, also a dragon, had claimed that she was his mate. It was time to leave. The ever practical, Quinn didn’t want solutions just handed to her on a silver platter. She’d make it on her own. But in life things don’t always go as planned. Like it or not, Hanson’s parents were a problem she’d be forced to deal with, and she discovered her sister, Carmine, had abilities Quinn didn’t quite understand. 

Thrust head first into a world of immortals, Quinn found she had a whole new set of problems. Now, the first order of business would be to protect her little sister and hopefully not die in the process.

Danburn English is the ninth earl of the English castle. He and his dragon alter ego have been on this earth for a very long time. Danburn is accustom to his orders being followed to the letter, no questions asked, so when this feisty young woman bucks his authority he is beyond angry.


Kendrick Barrera can’t seem to get caught up. Every time she turns around, her sister is in trouble again. Now, because of her sister’s new mess, she’s being evicted and has nowhere to go.

Danburn’s intentions were to defend her honor, but when Kendrick intervenes, she steps in front of a punch intended for her mouthy landlord. Now Danburn has to step back and take a good long look at himself, and he doesn’t much like what he sees.

Kendrick doesn’t care for the overbearing lord of the manor and makes no bones about telling him so either. No one, especially him, is going to tell her what to do or how to act or dress.

There is something about the feisty woman that has touched Danburn’s heart. She has a rare honesty and bravery that has him take notice. A woman like that is hard to find and should be protected and cherished. The chemistry is there, they’ve both felt it, but controlling his mouth just might get in the way of winning Kendrick’s heart….

Cassie had just arrived in Danburn’s territory and she knew as a dragon she had to report to him. Whether she liked it or not, she’d gone from one ruling male, her father, to another. Being a female dragon, and unmated, she felt cursed for her lot.


Everette Welsh, Rett to his friends, was having a hard time making ends meet. He was a good attorney, but it seemed to do him little good. His good friend, Danburn, insisted he quit his job and come work for him. Rett had no intentions of taking Danburn up on his offer, but when his boss called him into his office and was demanding that he apologize for threatening a man who blackmailing him, the words “I quit” spilled from his mouth without thinking. However, once said, he felt better for it.

Rett found himself on the wrong end of a shotgun blast, and Cassie gave a bit of herself to save him. There were only three conditions of taking dragon’s blood that a human would survive, and the other two didn’t apply to him. Rett and Cassie were mates.

Only two things stood in their way: Rett’s obnoxious mother, and Cassie’s father, a lethal combination…

Danburn: The English Dragon
Everette: The English Dragon
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Winnie wasn’t happy with Cooper at all. She had only done what she was ordered to do 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 this all behind her.


Hudson had been told that Cooper had hired a man by the name of Wendall to protect them. He just wanted to meet the man 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. The moment he touched her, her pain was now his as well. 

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

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

With slayers lurking in the shadows, Winnie had her hands full, and she couldn’t let a new mate distract her. She had to remain on her toes or all would be lost….



Quinn decided that if she ever woke up from this dream, she was going to be terribly upset with someone. She was in a real castle with servants and everything. As she made her way down the stairs again, trying hard not to make any noises that would bring someone after her, she thought of her sister, Carmine, who would be celebrating her tenth birthday in a few months, and how much fun she was having. Just yesterday she’d been swimming in the big pool of water. Kendrick said she’d been having so much fun that she hated to have her come in for dinner. And Carmine said that the water was warm, not at all like a bath but better. It was wonderful seeing her smile again. “You really should listen to the doctor, my dear.” Quinn turned and looked at Elissa, Danburn’s mom, when she spoke. “I know how it is, however. I so love to keep moving too. Where are you headed and I’ll come with you, as a helper.” “To the window. Carmine said it was snowing and I wanted to see it.” Elissa nodded and walked with her, not telling her to be careful again and again. “Kendrick is out and so is Danburn. I think they went to go Christmas shopping.” “They did. I talked with her a little while ago. And she got news that one of Danburn’s friends is coming in tonight. You’ll like Hanson. He’s a nice man.” Pausing to rest, Quinn leaned against the banister to get her breath back. “How’s your mom today?” That hurt her. Not the question, but the fact that she would have to tell her that her mom was dying. Looking at the window, wanting to change the subject, she thought of life without her mom. But being a realist was what got her through things. “She isn’t going to make it much longer, I’m afraid. I’ve known that for some time, but the stress of me being hurt and my sister sick, it’s taken its toll on her. She’s…. My mom is special to me. All I have besides my little sister.” Elissa said she was sorry. “I am as well. She’s trying to be strong, but I think that’s making it harder for her. I told her a little while ago just to let go. I hate it, but I can’t see her suffering much more.” Quinn saw her mom every chance she got. But she also noticed that while she was in the room with her, Mom didn’t rest as well. Fussing at her for getting up, or worrying after her and Carmine. After assuring her that they were both well and Carmine was no longer ill, her mom closed her eyes with a smile and she’d left her there. “She’s comfortable though, isn’t she?” Quinn said that she was. The medications were helping her a great deal. “I lost my husband. He got an infection from a shard of iron we didn’t know that he had and it killed him. You’d think that it only happened yesterday the way I feel some days. But I miss him every day.” They started walking again, and just as they were going to the front of the house, her sister came running around the corner. Carmine was the picture of health, and it made Quinn smile every time she saw her. 
“Did you know that I have a snow coat? And boots? Kendrick gave them to me. She said that it’s a present with no ties. I didn’t know what she meant, so Danburn told me that it was just a present, without being something for my birthday or Christmas.” Quinn told her that was wonderful. “I’m going to miss them when we go.” After Carmine left them to run more, Elissa asked her if they were going somewhere. She smiled at the older woman. They were the kindest people she’d ever known. Nodding, she sat down on the chair that had been moved near the front window for her. “We can’t stay here forever. I mean, I have to get myself a job and a place to stay.” She had lost her job, but thanks to the state, she wasn’t going to have to work nearly as many jobs to keep them in food and meds. “Rett said that he was looking into a few things for me. I don’t know what that means, but he told me to leave it to him.” “I would imagine that he does have a handle on things. He’s a good man too. And happy. There was a time when he was as sad as any man I’ve ever known. Cassie has done him a world of good.” Quinn said she liked her too. “I do as well. I’ve always thought of Rett as my son, and now that he’s living close to us, I can go and see him whenever I wish. The rest of them too. I think that all of them, for the most part, have decided to stay here. Or at least have a home that they can come to when they need to be with family. But as for you leaving, I don’t think that Kendrick has any idea of your plans, does she?” “She can be pretty bossy, can’t she?” They both laughed. “No, I’ve not told her. I think she’s figured it out that I’m needing to go, but she won’t be as easy to convince of it. I’ve loved staying here for the last two weeks, but it’s time we got back up on our own two feet. I need to get Carmine into some kind of school. And then there is the rest of our lives. Things haven’t been all that good for us.” Elissa sat down next to her on the little couch that had been brought for her as well. To have someone know your every need and take care of it, to not have to go without because you have all the money in the world, was amazing. It wasn’t anything she thought she’d ever get used to. Not in several lifetimes. “Have Danburn and Kendrick spoken to you yet?” Quinn shook her head, bracing for the bad news. “They will. There are things that you need to be made aware of. And things you need to understand. I think their plan was for them to speak to you this evening. After your sister goes to bed.” “Do we need to start packing now? I’ve been just living out of my suitcase—not that I have that much—in case they get tired of us. Carmine isn’t so easy to keep neat…that’s it, isn’t it? We’ll go, but I really do need to—” The hand over her mouth shut her up. “I’m sorry. I just worry.” “No, nothing to be sorry for or to worry about. You’ll be fine.” A noise, or the lack of it, had the two of them turning to the grand staircase. It wasn’t until she saw the doctor, Pierce, go running up the stairs that she knew it was her mom. Standing up, she turned when Elissa told her to wait. “I’ll go up now, but you take your time, child. Hurrying up there will get you hurt or worse. I won’t tell you to stay here, but don’t hurt yourself.” 
She was gone. Her mom, she knew, had died. Moving toward the stairs, she was stopped when the doorbell rang. Quinn stood there, not wanting to go and needing to at the same time, but turned to the door. She opened it just as a man turned away to speak to someone behind him.  “I can get them. Just leave them there and I’ll make a couple of trips. No big deal.” The man moved as if he was going to get whatever it was now, and she heard Elissa coming back down the stairs. “Excuse me, but I’m going to leave the door open for you. I have to go upstairs. My mom is…I have to go upstairs.” He looked at her then and she felt her heart flutter. Good Lord, he was handsome. “I’m so sorry. Please, I have to go.” “Let me help you. I can smell your pain.” That wasn’t right, so she was sure she’d misheard him. “Come on, love. Let me help you out and you’ll be fine.” He picked her up like she weighed nothing at all and carried her to the stairs. It was strange and delightful to be handled like this. But before they made it up even three of the stairs, Elissa stopped them. “I’m so sorry, Quinn.” It was true then, her mom had passed away. Sobbing, she buried her face in the neck of the man who held her. “Hanson, take her on up, please. Her mother has just passed. And do be careful, son. She’s been hurt badly herself.” Quinn had no idea how they made it the rest of the way to her mom’s room. Before she knew it, she was in the large room and sitting by her side. Holding her hand, Quinn told her mom how sorry she was and that she wished she’d been there for her. All the while, the man, Hanson, stayed with her. Carmine came in a few minutes later and tried to sit on her lap. “Here you go, honey. Come sit with me. I’ll hold you up.” Carmine, usually so reserved around strangers, went right to Hanson and climbed onto his lap. Holding her gently, Hanson told her how sorry he was and that he had her. They both cried for several minutes before Pierce came in to talk to her. “I’m so sorry, Quinn. But I will tell you that after you talked to her earlier, she did rest easier. Telling her that you were going to take care of Carmine, that helped.” Quinn told him it was her sister. “Yes, but at times like this, you have no idea how the smallest things can seem so large when you’re ill. I’m to understand that she wanted to be cremated, correct?” “Yes. She thought that her ashes could be placed with my dad’s. He’s been cremated as well.” Pierce nodded. “Was she in any pain? I mean, I should have been here. I was only going to…. She sent me to see the snow.” “No, she wasn’t in any pain. The medications were helping her with that. She simply went to sleep and that was all.” She nodded, holding her mom’s hand while he continued. “Danburn and Kendrick are on their way back. As soon as they get here, we’ll call the ambulance to take her to the funeral home.” Hanson and Pierce talked quietly. Carmine left them when the maid from the kitchen came to get her. Carmine was going to enjoy some cookies and milk, she told her. As soon as her sister was out of earshot, Quinn laid her head on her mom’s chest and spoke to her. 
“I’m going to miss you so much. I’m so glad that you were here instead of the hospital. You would have hated that. And they wouldn’t have let you rest as well, either. I love you, Mom. So very much.” Crying again, she felt someone put their hand on her back and she looked up at Hanson. “She’d been sick for so long. They told her that she’d have six months, tops, but she didn’t even get to have three. And now she’s missed Thanksgiving too. What am I going to do without her now?” He got down on his knees and held her to him. It was strange to think that she didn’t know this man but felt so at home in his arms. As she let tears fall over her cheeks, she had a fleeting thought of how it would feel to have someone hold her like this all the time. But men like this one, rich and probably famous too, wouldn’t ever think to do this if she’d not been in such need. “I’m all right now.” Pulling away from his arms was the most difficult thing she’d had to do in a while. “I’m okay now. I’m sure you didn’t come here to help me out. I heard you were coming. I thank you for what you’ve done for us, but I’m sure this wasn’t part of your planned visit.” “Its fine, my dear. And yes, Danburn invited me for a holiday. However, I had no idea that things were going to go so well for me when I got here. To get to hold a pretty woman in my arms and be her knight in shining armor isn’t something that a man gets to do often.” She nodded and told him he was being kind. “No, not kind, truthful. My name is Hanson McClain. You’re…?” “Quinn Langley. My sister is Carmine Langley. We’re cousins to Kendrick. Well, not really. My mom was good friends with Kendrick’s father’s family, and we sort of grew up together. As much as we could.” He said that he’d heard about Kendrick’s mom. “Yeah, not a nice person. I lost track of Kendrick after she was hurt, but she called me when I was shot and came to get me. Who would have thought that we only lived a drive away? Like decades hadn’t passed.” “That’s the way it is with the Englishs. But my parents aren’t all that nice either. In fact, they’re a pain in my ass. Not nice people at all. Thankfully, Danburn would bring me here when things got too bad, and I’d hang out with his family. I’ve thought of Elissa as my mom since I was a child.” She nodded. “You’re very beautiful, has anyone told you that?” “Right. No, they haven’t. You’re a nice man, and a flirt. But you don’t have to do that.” He asked her what he’d done. “Being nice. I thank you for bringing me up here. I hope you didn’t hurt your back. I’m not exactly a lightweight.” “You don’t weigh anything to me. Especially since I’m not—” Elissa cleared her throat, then shook her head. “Ah, so you’ve not been told. All right. Then we’ll talk later. Elissa, my love, how have you been?” Quinn had no idea what was going on, but it didn’t matter. She had to make arrangements now. Find a place for her and her sister to live. As Elissa and Hanson spoke, she thought of things that she was going to have to do, and soon. Her mom had left her. But she was also in a better place, a place without pain. And that, she knew, was the point of her leaving her all alone in the world. ~~~ 
Hanson sat in his friend’s office while he made arrangements to have the body picked up. There wasn’t anything for Hanson to do to help him, so he thought about what had brought him here. Certainly not the little woman upstairs, that’s for sure. But he was here, and so was she. While the timing could have been a lot better, he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do now. But he’d hold his secret with him just a little while longer.  Danburn hung up just as Hanson was going to leave him. “I’m sorry to have you sit there bored, but things had to be taken care of. The poor woman has been ill for a long time. I mean, in human years at least. By the time we got them here, Madeline was so far gone that we weren’t able to do anything but make her comfortable. It’s sad, really. The way that she just gave up toward the end. Pierce said that had she had better care in the beginning, she might have been able to live a little longer, but they could only do so much. They were on all kinds of government programs that did little to nothing for her.” Hanson told him he was sorry. “Not exactly the homecoming that I wanted you to have.” “It’s fine, Danburn. I’m all right.” He stood up. “I have luggage to take someplace. I’m assuming that since you already have a full house, I should—” “You will stay here.” Hanson nodded and sat back down when Danburn asked him to. He could have argued about the hotel, but it would have done no good. Danburn’s word was law where he was concerned. “We’ll get this cleared up and then have a nice dinner. I’m sure that Quinn won’t be joining us. I had hoped that you’d hit it off, but we’ll get through this. And then the two of you can become friends too. She’s a wonderful person. You and her, you have a lot in common too, I think.” He hoped they hit it off too, now that he knew what she was to him. Sitting there while he thought of his mate upstairs, he also thought of his parents. They were going to be very unhappy with him. Not just him, but they would absolutely hate Quinn. If for no other reason than she was his mate. There were things— “Hanson? Where did you go just now?” He felt embarrassed and smiled. “There it is, that famous smile that got you out of more trouble than anyone I knew. I’m glad that you’re here. With Thanksgiving in a few days, I think it’ll be great. Kip and the rest of the gang are coming too. They should all three arrive tomorrow sometime.” “The girl and her mom. What’s up with them? I know that she’s related to Kendrick, but why was the younger one, I think her name is Quinn, shot?” Danburn leaned back in his chair and regarded him. It was a look he’d seen on the dragon king a million times. Too knowing and too smart. “What do you have running through that thick skull of yours?” “She doesn’t know what we are yet. We thought it best that we waited, to see how things went. She’s your mate, isn’t she?” He nodded, his heart feeling the push of happiness right then. “We have talked to her, but Kendrick was watching the news one night and heard about it. Quinn was applying for aid from the state for some help for her mom and sister. The poor girl was working three or four jobs, trying her best to make it, but the meds were too much for her and her mom needed them. While there, an employee had a breakdown, and shot Quinn three times while she tried to protect 
some children that were there. And another woman—Smith, I think her name was—the mother of the four kids, was also killed. Then the employee, CarolAnn Bishop, put the gun to her head and killed herself before the police arrived. It was touch and go for a while whether or not Quinn was going to be able to come here, what with her injuries and how much pain she was in. But Kendrick, as is her way, pushed and pushed until she was released to Pierce’s care.” “And then your lovely wife brought them all here and has been taking care of them, correct?” He said that was pretty much it. “Now the mom is gone, leaving a little sister and my mate…. Where do they have to go now? Besides with me.” “Rett is an attorney, as you know, and he’s working on getting them representation for some money. He can’t do it himself, sadly, because he’s our mayor, but he knows some people that can. Also, while talking about him, his mom is in jail and his dad is out. That’s another long story, but I think you’ll enjoy that one.” Hanson laughed but still thought of Quinn. “You upset? About any of this? The girl, her sister? I should tell you, Hanson, they’ve been dealt some pretty shitty hands. Not just with this, but in looking into their lives, it’s been pretty much a downhill shit ball from the beginning.” “My parents will hate them both.” Danburn nodded. “As for the little girl, no, I don’t mind having her in my life too. Our life, I suppose I should say now. And as you called it, my parents have decided that now the house is paid off and taxes caught up, they can come back. I’ve not seen them yet, and I have no desire to, but I’ve given word that they’re not to enter the castle, nor are they to touch the money in my account. I’m sure if they don’t know where I am yet, they’ll figure it out soon enough. And I have to tell you, that worries me a great deal. They’ll hurt her, just to get back at me.” “Let them come. We can take care of them.” Hanson knew that he’d say that and told him it was his fight. “No. You’re one of my best friends, a man that I have come to love like a brother. It’s our fight. And I’m sure we can make them rue the day they messed with us.”  “Your mom will have fun with it.” They both laughed and were still doing so when Elissa came into the room. After hugging her tightly, they all made their way into the living room to talk. Quinn and her sister were in there and started to leave when they entered. “Please, don’t leave on our account. We were just going to talk about Thanksgiving.” “My sister is ready for bed, I’m afraid. And she’s had a rough day. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go up with her.” He and Danburn stood when she did, and he could tell that she was embarrassed. “Good night.” Then she was gone, taking a small part of his heart with him. Soon enough, she’d have it all, and he was glad to give it to her. Elissa eyed him strangely but didn’t ask. He was sure she’d figure it out soon. Danburn laughed, and he knew that she’d been told by him. And Elissa, being Elissa, surely made a comment along the lines of it was about time. He loved this family, and had always thought of them as a better family than the one he was born to. Elissa had been the mother that he’d always needed, and Danburn and the others, brothers. 
“I’ve been thinking, I need a safe house for…. I need a safe house until my parents see the light.” Danburn asked him if here was all right. “It might be, but I’d rather not. I don’t want you to be involved in this thing with them. I know you will be…they’ll blame whatever I’m doing on you, as you know. But I would like to have a place that they can focus their anger on me and not you. I know it’s going to be bad, and to be honest, I just want it over with. Especially now.” “Your parents, you mean?” He nodded at Elissa. “They should have been dealt with a great many decades ago. They need to be horsewhipped. Or worse. What have they done now, Hanson? Something diabolical, I’m betting.” “They left me with a mess. I had called the bank on another matter, and since the banker knows me, he told me about the taxes as well as the lack of upkeep on the house. My God, you should have seen it. The animals that roam the ground were all but dead. It took me over a month to get that alone squared away. Then there were the taxes. Fifty-two years of back taxes. I had to sell off some of the family things just to get it taken care of that day. Money wasn’t something that I had readily, but I do now. I’ve since been able to get the things back, but you have no idea what kind of mess the home was in. Even the staff…. There wasn’t any money for them to fall back on after my parents left them there holding the bag. Most of them had begun sleeping in the keep to have a place to go at night. And to keep out the town.” Elissa told him she was sorry. “Not as sorry as they’re going to be when I see them. I’ve had enough. It’s been difficult enough trying to get things finished up without them being childish, as well as a couple of deadbeats. And there was Jessie…. They left her there, Danburn. Just left her to die all alone. I had no idea.” “You should have called me. I would have helped you.” Hanson knew that, and it was precisely the reason that he hadn’t called. Not that he was embarrassed, because Danburn knew his family almost as well as he did, but he just didn’t want to bother his friend. Again. “Well, you’re here now and we can take care that they don’t get in. I insist that you allow me to let someone go in there and keep an eye on it. I need to help you.” “You make sure that things here are safe too. You know what they’re going to do. And now with Quinn in the picture, I don’t want her hurt either.” He stood up when he heard someone coming. Her scent blew toward him and he knew it was going to be her. When she entered the room, he knew that she’d been crying again.  “I’m sorry to interrupt your visit, but I wanted to ask you about the arrangements. I should have done so earlier, but my mind wasn’t clear.” Danburn asked her to have a seat and she did. “I seem to be in a fog right now, but I know that things have to be taken care of before we leave.” “You’re leaving?” She looked at Hanson as he glanced at Danburn. “You’re not kicking her to the curb, are you, old man? I thought for sure you were going to open your home to all that needed you. Sort of a home for wayward friends.” “I didn’t need him.” He wanted to smile at her tone…so indignant, and hot mad. He loved it. “His wife came to get me and brought me here when I was out of it. I’m pretty sure that if I was forced to come here, I might have remembered that. Who are 
you anyway to ask such a thing of Danburn and his wife? They’ve been nothing but kind to us in our hour of need.” As if she realized what she’d done, gotten upset at a stranger, she looked at Danburn and he could tell that she was going to cry. Getting up, Hanson pulled her from her chair and held her while she did. Danburn and his mom left them, closing the door behind them. “There now, it’s all right. I have you.” He wasn’t sure what to say to her, so he started talking about his mom and dad. “You should meet my parents. You will eventually, but let me warn you now, they’re not nice. I mean, on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst they could be, they’d be upwards of about ten million. And my mom? Well, let’s just say that she gives a whole new meaning to the word bitch. My dad…he’s not much better. What is it you call a male version of bitch?” “Bastard, I guess. Why do you think I’ll meet them?” He shrugged and brushed her wet hair from her cheeks. “I’m sorry that I snapped at you. I don’t normally do that sort of thing to someone I don’t know. Perhaps you bring out the worst in me.” “Could be. But usually women swoon at my feet.” She smiled at him. “Christ, you’re beautiful when you smile. I’d love to kiss you.” “Whatever for?” He was shocked by the question, but before he could tell her, she pulled away. It was like being given warmth in his heart to have it taken away. “I’m very sorry for snapping at you. I’ve had a stressful few weeks. My mom…. Well, I guess you know that she passed away. And now my sister and I have to find us a place to stay.” “I don’t think you should leave here. I mean, not right away anyway. Danburn was just telling me that he likes having you here. And Carmine is a joy.” Not true, but he knew that Danburn would say that if asked. She moved back more and he took a step toward her. “I mean, it’s the holidays, and mine and Danburn’s friends will be here soon.” “All the more reason for us to get out of your hair. We have…. What are you doing? Stop following me.” He told her he couldn’t help it. “Figure it out. I’m not sure what you think is going on, but you have to stop this. And just because I seemed to fall apart on your shoulder doesn’t mean that I’m going to let you kiss me. It’s…. We’re strangers.” “Just one kiss.” She was afraid of him, and he could almost taste it. “I’m sorry. I don’t see that many pretty girls, and I get lonely.” Instead of laughing, as he had hoped she would, she turned on her heel and left him. Hanson sat down. Then after thinking about what a fool he’d made of himself, he started laughing, which brought in Danburn again. Then he thought of the look on Danburn’s face when he told him what he’d done and he laughed harder. It was the best feeling he’d had in a very long time. Now he had to woo his mate back into his arms. He had a feeling it was going to be much more difficult than dealing with his parents. “But a good deal more fun.” 

Dustin: McCullough’s Jamboree Release Day & Giveaway

Mackenzie’s shift at the hospital had just begun when they told her that a patient friend of hers was back in the ER and asking for her. When she entered the curtained room, the last thing she expected was for a McCullough to be sitting next to her patient. It wasn’t Hawk, thank god, but the man looked enough like him he could have been his twin. Hawkins McCullough was on her shit list, and if this man was related to him, she didn’t want anything to do with him.


It didn’t take long for Dustin McCullough to figure out that this feisty doctor was his mate. And when he found out that his brother had hurt her, it took a great deal of strength to keep his cat from killing him.

Mackenzie was at her wits end. Random attacks to her person and bullets flying had the entire McCullough family in an uproar. And just when they thought they had everything about under control, Hawkins drops a bombshell that had them all stunned. 

Can Mackenzie find it in her heart to forgive Hawk before it’s too late? 

Colin McCullough gets the phone call that all military families dread―his brother Hawkins has been shot. Colin only wants to thank Hawkins’s commanding officer for saving his brother’s life, but he can never seem to get past the guards in the hospital’s hallway to personally thank the man.


Major Lauren Burcher is all Army and head of a special task team usually sent in to clean things up. This time, her team is ambushed by friendlies, and Lauren and her best man Hawkins McCullough barely make it out alive―they were set up. Someone wants them both dead.

Another attempt on Lauren’s life in the hospital fails miserably, and when Colin scoops her up in his arms to place her back in the hospital bed, he finds a gun pointed at his forehead at point blank range. In that moment he realizes this bad-assed scary woman is his mate. 

Lauren wants no part of this mate business. Relationships get messy and this jerk is bossy as hell. And Lauren doesn’t take orders…she gives them. But it will take all of them, his family and hers, to keep her and Hawkins alive….




Who rescued who was still a little vague, but they escaped just the same. The lab called him SA-8, and they had made him into a very powerful weapon. But to Reese he was just Josh, a boy that could do amazing things, but a boy none the less—not a lab rat. That was two years ago—the lab had been relentless and lethal in their pursuit. With her big rig running on fumes, and their last dime spent, they wound up on a small town in Ohio….


Parker McCullough found an abandoned big rig parked on his land. It had been there a few days, and he wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. Calling the authorities seemed like the logical thing to do, but when he tried to do so, his cell phone went flying from his hand and a teenage boy appeared from nowhere. Parker thought the boy was an Elite Shifter, and after hearing a little of the boy’s story he wanted to help.

Reese didn’t know who all these people were, but if she and Josh didn’t get away from them, the “others” would find them and they’d all be dead, just like all the other people who had tried to help them along the way…. And now the gorgeous shifter, Parker, had her trapped in the kitchen claiming to be her mate…. She didn’t have time for herself, and she didn’t want to see them all die because they’d helped her and Josh—Reese was out of options.


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Coming Soon 
Sunny, or Sunshine Davis, is a well-known investigative reporter. After her recent article shuts down a drug lab, she just disappears. People everywhere are looking for her. Truth is she’s been shot and left for dead. Tanner, a vampire, has other plans for the feisty reporter. He needs her help, so he saves her. His old friend, Ollie Whitfield, owes him a favor, so he sends her there to lay low for a while.


David Whitfield is on a deadline with his publisher. When he’s writing, he’s in a world of his own. When his grandda, Ollie, asks him to hide out a friend, he’s all for it. He’d do anything for his grandda. What David doesn’t expect is for the woman he’s supposed to be hiding out to be his mate. A very hurt mate that has his tiger in a possessive uproar.

Because Sunny technically died before Tanner could revive her, she has a little difficulty remembering the events just prior to her death, but when she does the revelation rocks her to her core. And her baggage can put all the Whitfields in danger.



The Whitfield Rancher 
 Erotic Tiger Shapeshifter Romance
#PREORDER #COMINGSOON #SEPT4TH2016



Pacing the long hallway didn’t make things go any faster, but he had to do something or he was going to hit someone. Dustin wasn’t much of an idle person…none of his brothers were. But this waiting stuff, it was for the birds. As he started to move down the other hallway for different scenery, he paused when he saw the man. There wasn’t anything strange about him, not if you discounted the fact that he was poorly dressed and that his shirt was full of holes. He seemed to be clean…he didn’t smell dirty or have sweat on him. But when another man came out of one of the curtained off rooms—an orderly, Dustin supposed—he moved closer to hear what was being said. The elderly man didn’t strike him as being someone that he should be wary of, but Dustin was bored and interested in different things, he told himself. Besides, Dustin’s new employee was back there, and he didn’t want him hurt if this went badly. “Mac here? I got me some pains, and I was told to come on back here if it didn’t get better.” The orderly nodded and said that Mac had come in about an hour ago. “Do you think that I can have a few minutes? I’ve got me a powerful pain in my foot, and I was told to come in if it didn’t get any better.” “Yes, but you’ll need to sign in.” The man nodded but he didn’t move. “I can call Mac, but you have to sign in before I will. There are rules, Rubin, and you know that. I’ll page her, but you have to sign in for us.” “Yes, I know that, but I don’t know how to read. I told you that the last time I was here. Can you find me someone to help an old man out?” The man that had been talking to Rubin moved back behind the curtained area, leaving Rubin all alone. “Damn it, boy, I told you I was hurting. Nobody wants to come and help an old man out anymore. What’s this here world coming to when you can’t even—?” “Can I help you?” Rubin turned to look at him and Dustin smiled at him. “I can assist you with the paperwork if that’ll help you. My employee is getting his hand stitched up and should be a little while longer. I don’t mind helping you out if you need it.” “They are mean to me here. I don’t mean that they should put out a red carpet or nothing, but they could at least let a man have some dignity. Why do I have to sign in when they all know who I am and why I’m here?” Dustin said that he was sorry about that. “Your friend, he have insurance? They treat you differently when you don’t have any. Sort of stick you in a room for hours on end and forget about you.” “I don’t think that’s true, but who knows? Yes, he has some through my company.” Rubin nodded, but looked back at the man who had disappeared. “I don’t mind helping you, sir. If you just tell me what has to be done we’ll get you signed in so you can go see the doctor.” “I have to fill out one of them papers that tells them my name and such. I can write my name good, but not read a lick of words. Letters were never my strong suit.” Dustin 
  
followed him, pushing his wheel chair to the desk for him, where a nice nurse gave him what Rubin needed. Sitting down, Dustin started asking him the questions that were on the form. “Rubin Davis.”  His age surprised him. Dustin would have thought him much younger than his seventy-four years. “Address and phone number?” “I live on the streets. I have a post office box number that they say won’t work, but that’s all I got. Mac set that up for me.” Dustin nodded and put his own address on the line that asked for a street address. “What’s you writing there?” “My address and phone number. I’m going to see about getting you a cell phone, all right?” Rubin asked him why he’d do something like that. “I don’t know. I’m sort of bored and I need to do something. Helping you will get me in good with my mom. She’s a little upset with me right now.” “You only get yourself one mom, and you’d better take care not to upset her. She mean to you or just stern?” He told him that she was never mean, but she could peel rubber off a tire when she was upset. “Yeah, my mom was like that too. Loved her to pieces, but I was terrified of her too. Schooling wasn’t helping much, and I was getting on her last frayed nerve. Then one day, I got myself in a fix that even she couldn’t help me with. Judge told me, ‘Join up or jail.’ That’s why I joined up in the service when I did. Momma could use the money, so that’s what I did.” “I’m afraid of my mom too. All of us boys are.” Rubin asked him how many there were of them. “I have five brothers and two sisters-in-law. I’m afraid of them too. And in awe. They’re very strong women. One of them was in the army as well.” “All women are strong, but they don’t usually know it. Some of them have to have a good man bring it out of them. You got yourself a woman?” He told him just his mom. “Well, that won’t keep you warm at night, but that’s a good answer.” After finishing up the paperwork, Dustin turned it in and waited with him. The nurse that had taken Randy back told him that he’d be a bit longer. They were making sure that there wasn’t anything in the cut before they stitched it up. The kid had already cost him a lot of time, and now he was going to have to wait longer. Not that he didn’t enjoy sitting with Rubin, but Randy had been a pain in their sides since his first day. He was the most stubborn, pig headed person that he’d ever hired. And now he was going to have to let him go. He’d told him five times not to use the drill so close to his hand. It was like the kid had a death wish when it came to electrical equipment. The first day he’d been on the job, three days ago, he’d cut his hand on the electric tile cutter, and it hadn’t been on or even plugged in. The second day, yesterday, he’d cut his foot on the table saw. Dustin was still trying to figure out how the hell he’d done that. Fucking around was all he could think of. Now today he’d rammed the drill through the middle of his palm and tore it up badly. “You don’t have to wait here with me.” He told Rubin that he wanted to. “Well, I thank you, son. Not many people would want to be around an old man like me. I been talking to Mac, my doctor, since I moved here about five months ago. Not into 
  
practicing medicine much anymore. She got hurt one night working ER and never been the same. Hell of a surgeon, though. Been watching over me and my diabetes. I’ve got it bad, and the meds I take, they ain’t cheap for me. But I got me this card that helps me out a lot.” “My brother is a doctor. Boyd McCullough. He has a nice practice not far from here, but he was busy today and so I had to bring Randy here.” They talked about this and that, and after about an hour more, a man came out to talk to Rubin. Not the one that had been rude to him earlier. “Mr. Davis, I’ve heard from Mac. I was told to set you up in one of the rooms down here, and that as soon as possible, you’ll be seen. All right?” Rubin said that was just fine. “Also, I’m to ask you if you’ve been taking your medications.” “Yes. I was told if I didn’t, I’d get my ass handed to me.” The nurse said that was good and stood up. Rubin turned to Dustin. “You gonna come with me? I’d surely like the company if you don’t mind.” “No, I don’t mind. Let me check on Randy and I’ll be right with you.” Rubin said he’d be right down the hall. Dustin made his way to the cubical that Randy was in.  “You can go on home, Dustin. My wife is coming to get me. And she’s none too happy with me.” Dustin wanted to point out that he wasn’t either but only nodded. “I should have listened to you about that drill. I’m very sorry about all this.” “Just take some time off and get healed. But I can’t have you doing things your own way when you think you know it all.” Randy nodded. “I’ll talk to my dad, and we’ll see what we can do about this in the future.” “I understand.” Dustin wasn’t sure that he did, and when he told him he’d see him next week, he knew it. “I can’t lose my job, Dustin. I need it.” “We’ll talk.” As he made his way back to see Rubin, he reached out to his dad to tell him what was going on. I’m not going to be coming back just yet. I’m sitting with an elderly gentleman who asked me to stay with him. I’ll be there soon. Take your time. We’re doing much better since that kid is gone. My goodness gracious, Dustin, the kid was lucky that he only messed up his hand and didn’t take his fool head off. Dustin agreed with him and told his dad that they’d have to fire him. Yes, we’ll do that. Shame too. But it’s dangerous when you don’t listen to someone that knows better. He found Rubin easily enough, and sat in the little room’s only chair. He’d been in the ER for over three hours now, and figured that since his day was shot, he might as well sit with this man Besides, he really enjoyed his company. As they talked about nothing again, just talking about what Dustin did for a living, Rubin told him what he’d done when he was a younger man. “Trouble mostly when I was a youngster. Then the Army, as I said. All the way. I didn’t know that I had it so good until I was out. Of course, there are people that spend more time in there than they should. Like my Mac. Never seen a person that could go between the two worlds, civilian and Army, like that one.” He told Rubin about Lauren. “Lauren Burcher? You know her?” “Yes, she’s my sister-in-law.” Rubin stared at him, then burst out laughing. It made him smile to see someone enjoy a bit of information as much as Rubin seemed to have. 
  
“She and my brother Colin are parents now. They have two sets of twins. Two girls and two boys. I think she was under the impression that she was going to be able to whip them into shape the first day. It’s been a couple of months, and I don’t think her plan is working.” “She’s a hoot, I tell you. I only met her the one time…. It was a few years ago. When she came to tell me about my grandboy.” Dustin knew then that Rubin’s grandson had fought with her. “I just realized something too. You’re Hawk’s brother, aren’t you?” “Yes. Hawkins is one of my brothers.” Dustin looked around the room then back at Rubin before he spoke again. “Something wrong with that.” “No. But I’m thinking you don’t have any idea who Mac is, do you?” He said that he didn’t know him. “Mac ain’t no male, son. She’s a she. And her and Hawk, they don’t get on very well.” He started to ask him what that meant, but the curtain opened and he was sure he was staring at the infamous Mac. She came in, sat on the side of the bed, and ignored him over Rubin. Dustin reached out to Lauren, never sure where Hawkins was, and asked about a doctor or surgeon named Mac. Mackenzie Gibson? She’s there at the hospital with you? He told her what was going on. Holy Christ, Dustin. You’re in for a shit storm if she figures out who you are.  I think she knows. I filled out the paperwork for my friend here. She told him to leave, now. What’s going on? I’ll tell you about it, what I can, when you get here. Leave now, before she shows you what a nice little temper she has. He stood up and Mac told him to sit. He told Lauren. I’ll remember you well, was all she said before she started laughing and closed the connection.  Dustin wasn’t sure what to do, and sat there with his mouth shut. Fuck this shit; he didn’t need it, and when he stood again she did as well. Dustin swallowed three times before he could speak. Christ, she was gorgeous. Sitting down again, she did as well. But he was sure that they sat for different reasons. He did because she made him weak in the knees. ~~~ Ignoring the man, she sat back down. Looking at Rubin, she asked him what was going on with him that brought him in today. She was his friend first and his doctor secondly. Right now, she had to wear the latter hat to try and stem the fear she had of the man by the bed. “Got me some toe issues. You said that I had to keep it clean and all, but I’m not sure I did such a good job this time.” Mac stood up and started unlacing Rubin’s boot. “But I’ve been taking my medications like you told me, and I’ve been eating like I should. Well, when I could get me a meal, that is. No reason for my foot to be a bothering me like it is.” Mac could smell it even as she slipped his boot off. It was infected. And there was blood on his sock. She knew even before she saw the foot that he was going to lose it. Gangrene had set in. Glancing at the man who was holding onto Rubin’s hand, she tried to decide how to tell him. 
  
“You’re gonna take it off, ain’t you?” She nodded at Rubin. “I been really careful and all, I promise you. I don’t want to be losing my foot, Doc. I know that I got me another one, but this one here, it comes in handy when I’m walking around and dancing a jig or two with a pretty woman like yourself. If you can fix me up, I’m sure that I can make it work out for me.” “I’m sorry, Rubin, I truly am. Sometimes no matter what you do, this is the way it goes, and I hate to do it as much as you hate it. But if I leave it, you’ll die. I told you when I saw you last time that this might happen.” Mac wanted to go home, be anywhere but there. The man with her friend was a McCullough, and there was no denying it even if she’d not read his name on the chart. There couldn’t have been two men that looked more alike than these two. And having to deliver bad news on top of that was almost too much to bear. “When was the last time you ate anything?” In her mind, she was trying to calculate the times. Surgery on his foot would be hard on the elderly man…her too if she was honest. And the man, Dustin McCullough, was too distracting. She wondered what his connection to Rubin was, but wasn’t going to ask. She wasn’t even sure why she’d told him to sit down. Mac should have let him go home or whatever. Going to the front desk, she started making plans for the surgery. Rubin had nothing—less than nothing—so she also signed off on the paperwork to have his bills sent to her home. Not that there would be that much after this, but she didn’t want him burdened.  Just as she was hanging up the phone, Lauren Burcher came into the emergency room like she owned the place. Mac had been so impressed with the other woman when she’d worked with her all those years ago. That was before she had turned her temper and her connections on her. It had taken Mac less time to get out of the service than it had for her to get in. Thanks, in part, to Lauren Burcher. When she came up to her, smiling that smile that never boded well for anyone, Mac waited. “Mac.” Mac nodded but didn’t speak. She was more concerned with where Hawkins was. “He’s out of country if it’s Hawk that you’re looking for. He still goes out and brings the injured or dying home. What are you doing here?” “I work here off and on. Not that I have to justify myself to you.” Lauren smiled. “What the fuck are you doing here? Are you going to get me fired again? Or perhaps you’d like to have my license revoked. At this point, I don’t care if you do either. But know this is my turf, and I have a bit more pull than you do.” At least she hoped she did. With Lauren, it was difficult to tell where she had loyal friends. “Fired? No, I never did that to you. I’ve come to rescue Dustin. Have you chewed him up and spit him out like you did Hawkins when he asked you for a favor?” She wanted to slap the other woman, but was afraid she’d kill her. There was never an inbetween with Lauren. It was always all go or she’d ignore the situation. And she’d never done the latter with Mac. “Have you told him?” “Told him what?” Lauren snorted. “Look, I have work to do. If you have nothing productive to say to me, then I’d like for you to take Dustin home and leave me to my work.” 
  
“That’s too fucking bad. He’s here on his own accord, with a friend. Do you have any of those? And I’m talking about the fact that you ignored a request, a very nice one, from his brother. That you left a woman to suffer in the worst sort of way.” It was right there, on the tip of her tongue, to tell Lauren to fuck off, she’d not done a damned thing, but there were things going on back then, and now, that she had no control over. “I’m assuming that you’re denying that still.” “I have work to do, Lauren. If there is nothing more, I’m going to leave you here.” She turned away, then looked back. “For all this hotshot shit kicker that everyone thinks you are, you’re about the laziest woman I’ve ever met when it comes to getting all your facts in a row, aren’t you? Perhaps, just maybe, you should have done your research a little better before assuming the worst about me and what I was doing. I would have before I did what you did to me.” She left her standing there. Mac had an operating room to prep and forms to fill out, and standing around debating what sort of person she was to a pig-headed woman wasn’t going to get them done. However, just as she got off the elevator on the surgical floor, she turned left instead of right to go into her office. Closing and locking the door behind her, she stood against the door and let the tears fall. It hadn’t been that long ago, but to her it seemed a lifetime of horror. Every time she closed her eyes it would haunt her. Every time she had to go into the emergency room, she’d think of the man that had lain there, his gut hanging out, his arm barely hanging onto his hand by a bit of skin and muscle. And Hawk standing there, his rifle pointed at her, his face covered in blood that she was sure wasn’t just from the patient that he’d brought to her. He told her to fix him. “He’s dead.” Hawk had shaken his head and told her to make him whole. “I can’t do that, Sergeant. The man isn’t breathing. He’s gone, I’m sorry.” “You’ll make him whole then.”  She had no idea what he was talking about. There were others in the tent that she could be saving, should have been saving, but he held the gun to her while she still worked to try and understand him. Then his meaning hit her, and she was both appalled and pissed about it. “You mean you want me to put him back together? For what reason would you have me waste my time in putting a dead man back into one piece? He’s dead. Do you see this room? The many others, living men, who need my help? And you want me to work on a man who no longer can help anyone?” The gun touched her head; it was all Mac could do not to beg him to do it, to just end her life. “I can’t save him, but there are others I can.” He hit her then, took the butt of the rifle and hit her in the face with it. She was sure that he hadn’t meant to kill her, but this was his way of fighting back. When she went down, she pulled out her own gun and pointed it to his knee, and watched him as he stood over her. “Do it.” She shook her head and told him to back off. “Just blow my knee out of my leg and we’ll both be happier about it. I can go home, you’ll go to prison, and the world will go on without us. Do it.” 
  
Instead, she got up and went to find the military police. Mac had him arrested and put in irons in minutes. The entire time, he never said a word to her or them. But it was the look, the one that told her that this wasn’t finished, that terrified her. As he was being pulled away, she continued to watch his face, watched him stare at her like she was on his list of next to kill off. Four days later he was out. It was then that he came to her tent. She’d not taken any notice as to who it was until it was too late. People were always going in and out of her tent, mostly nurses that needed something, like a day off. But seeing him there, with his gun pointed at her head again, Mac had begged him to kill her. “Did you think that I’d just forget about what you did? You have no idea all the trouble you caused me. You had me arrested. I had things to do, and you nearly kept me from them.” She said he’d left her no choice. “There is always a choice, and you chose the wrong one.” “Because of you and your stupidity, three men died that day. All because you wanted me to sew together a dead man by holding me hostage, while others that were injured went unattended and passed away. Why?” He stood there, the gun to her head, and waited. “What did it matter to anyone if he was whole or not? I’m here to save the living, don’t you understand that?” “His mom cared.” He backed from her then, pulling the gun back a bit away from her head. “So she saw him like you left him. Blown to shit and looking like a man that had seen war. How would you have liked that?” “We are at war, you moron. And the military would have taken care that she didn’t see that. They have special duties that take care so that it doesn’t happen.” He nodded and then, once again, it occurred to her what he meant. She hoped more than anything that she was wrong. “His mother works in a special detail, doesn’t she? She’ll be the one that dresses him.” Dressing was such an odd term for what the detail did for the dead. Not only were they cleaned up but, as best they could, care was taken so they would not look so wounded. Then, if they were going home, they were dressed in their uniform, pins and hat in place. Plastic or some other material was laid over their exposed body to keep the casket clean, if they were put in one. It wasn’t dressing as in a clothing sense, but literally getting them ready for home. “And because you were too fucking busy to do it, she saw him.” Mac said she was sorry. “Not as sorry as you will be. I hope this haunts you for the rest of your life.”  He tossed a picture at her, and she didn’t pick it up until he was gone. It was of a woman, dressed in a surgical gown as she was most of the time, laying across a large box that bodies were shipped in and crying. Even though it was only a picture, she could almost touch her anguish, feel her pain. And Hawk had been right. It had haunted her for the rest of her days. Forty minutes after giving herself a good talking to, she was standing over Rubin. His body was hot from the infection, his fluids down as well. Trying her best to take care of the man, giving him whatever he needed to live, she nearly sobbed when one of her nurses asked her if she was all right.  
  
No, she wanted to scream at her, she wasn’t all right. Working to remove the foot from the ankle down, she was careful of what she said to anyone. Always careful to keep her mouth shut even when she wanted to scream at everyone to leave her the fuck alone. No one would know about the hauntings that bothered her nightly. “He’ll need to have physical therapy and a nurse when he leaves here. Wait, he lives on the street. Set him up at the local nursing home, please.” Her nurse said she’d take care of it as she stapled the wound closed. “Make sure that he has extra fluids as well. And see if you can find him a chess set. And a nurse or two that knows how to play.” “I’ll put it on his chart.” Nodding, she wrapped his wound up when she’d done all she could, knowing in her heart that it was all she could have done for him but second guessing herself all the time. “Doctor? Are you all right?” “Yes. He’s a friend and I hurt for him. He’s a good man that’s been dealt a crappy blow today.” She hurt for them all, and knew that she had to stop this. That being a surgeon, or even a doctor, wasn’t in the cards for her any longer. “I’m going to be in my office if you need me. Make sure that he has everything he needs. I’ll check on him as well.” When she came out of the operating room, Dustin was there. She’d had no idea that anyone had been out there waiting for Rubin, so she paused in her escape to talk to him. He looked…. Well, it was hard to tell what he looked like, angry or just concerned. Since she didn’t know him or his facial expressions, she assumed anger. They all felt that way when they found out about her. And Mac was sure that Lauren had told her brother what she’d done. “Is he going to be all right?” She nodded as she pulled off her cap. “I talked to Lauren. She said that the two of you know each other.” “Yes. I know Hawk too; did she tell you?” He nodded. “I did the best I could for Rubin. You don’t have to worry about that. As for the other man, I had no idea. No one told me. Not that I could have done much to help him. We were at war and there were others that needed me. I couldn’t leave them to suffer like they were.” “I know that. I might not know you, but I know that.”  She didn’t say anything, but started to walk away when he didn’t seem inclined to speak either. As soon as she moved to go to her office and type up her letter of resignation, he grabbed her hand. Why he’d done that, she had no idea. It was hot, his hand was, and she nearly moaned at the feel of it. The pain in her wrist, not from his touch but something else, made her drop to her knees. It wasn’t until she was on the floor that she realized something had happened. “Christ.” The connection between them snapped as he stood there holding her. Mac didn’t know what it meant, but she did know that she had to get away from him. The linking or whatever it had been made her think that this wasn’t going to end well. Not for either of them. But he spoke to her, his voice as strained as hers might have been had she spoken first. “You’re my mate. You’re my other half. Do you have any idea what that means? For the two of us?” 
  
“No, you can’t be. We can’t be. I do know what that means, but no thanks. I’ve got enough shit on my plate without having another McCullough in my life full time.” He nodded, then smiled at her. “You don’t understand, you can’t be anything to me, Dustin. We’re at war. Hawk and Lauren, they hate me. They’ll…I’m sure you know what I did.” “I don’t care.”  He didn’t know it all, but he would soon he promised her. Instead of telling him to forget her, she stood up and turned to go to her office, lock the door, and hide for a bit. But she hit a wall, a chest like wall, which had her looking up. Hawk smiled at her, and Mac knew her life was done. Just as he opened his mouth, she let go of all her emotions and let the blackness swallow her. 





Christian The Stanton Pack Release Day & Giveaway

Being a country lawyer was something Christian Stanton had always wanted to do. Taking a client he really didn’t want to represent was not what he had in mind.


Allie had been hired to teach the Stanton men hand to hand self-defense. She loved her job and was quite good at it. She knew about shifters, but had never really worked with them before. And when the big cat shifted into a very naked man proclaiming to be her mate, Allie wanted nothing to do with him.

When it came to Allie, Christian was in big trouble. She was no pushover and the sooner he figured that out the better off he’d be….


Dane had no idea who she was. She’d been shot and couldn’t even remember who she was hiding from. All she did know was she needed help, and when Julian Stanton found her, he took her to his family.


Brayden Stanton was just tired of everything. It was time to leave Africa and go home to family. He called his dad to tell him that he was fed up with the job and he was on his way home, and he was bringing a fiancée with him. She wasn’t his mate, but he was going to make it work. He realized his mistake the moment he proposed.

Danger comes at every turn. The women in Brayden’s life are surrounded with it. Both are lethal, but one has Brayden’s heart from the beginning. The question is, can the family survive it?

Amazon UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brayden-Stanton-Pack-Erotic-Paranormal-Shifter-ebook/dp/B06W9M3ZLH/ref=sr_1_3_twi_kin_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488742876&sr=8-3&keywords=Kathi+s+barton

Kobo  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/brayden

IBooks https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/brayden/id1211547964?mt=11

SmashWords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/707777

PaperBack  https://www.amazon.com/Brayden-Stanton-Pack-Erotic-Paranormal-Shifter/dp/1629896438/ref=sr_1_2_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488753624&sr=8-2&keywords=Brayden+by+kathi+s+barton

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Mystery Paperback Winners so far 2017
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Coming  Aug 14th 2017
Pre Order
Two hot new Paranormal Romances in one steamy novel. Forever Wolf includes Chance Encounters, a fast-paced paranormal erotica by bestselling & award-winning author, Kathi S. Barton, and Dark Wolf: Hunted, a paranormal erotica by award winning author, Karen Fuller.


Chance Encounters

Andrea Marshall doesn’t need anyone in her life, least of all a man. But there is something about that handsome stranger sitting next to her on the plane that has her thinking anything but pure thoughts.

It is fate that had Trevor Dean on that plane in the first place. He had thought to sue the idiot who damaged his plane, but now he thinks he’ll send him a gift instead. He can tell by her scent that the beauty next to him is his mate.

He is going to tell her too just as soon as she sits back down, but the unthinkable is coming to pass…the plane has lost an engine…

Dark Wolf: Hunted

A tragic beginning…

Nikki Rogers and her brother Seth are on the hunt. A pack of werewolves slaughtered their parents and their coven. Hot for revenge, they join a vigilantes group.

An unexpected love…

Following a trail of vicious werewolf attacks, Nikki and Seth encounter the hot and sexy Aaron Wolf, a full-blooded Navajo Indian, who harbors a deep dark secret.

A dark secret that must be kept at all costs…

Aaron only has eyes for Nikki and vows to stop her foolishness before it gets her killed, or worse, she discovers his darkest secret…



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Allie lifted her chin up to the bar seven more times. Dane Stanton had had it put in for her several days ago. Allie was almost finished with her set when she heard the door open behind her. It was going to be another Stanton, she knew it. They’d been in here every day since she’d been brought here. The hospital staff didn’t tell her a thing if one of them was in the room with her. It was as if she didn’t exist when they were here, and they told everything to whoever was there. Dropping to the floor, she limped over to the chair but didn’t sit. She was determined to ignore the person until she was ready. When laughter rang around the room, she looked over at Dane and smiled. Now here was a person she could like. “How’s the leg today?” She told her it was fine, lying through her teeth about it. “Yeah, dumb fuck is doing all right too. His dad finally let him shift this morning, and he’s not in the best of humor.” “He’s a brute.” Dane told her that she was right. “Who the hell talks to someone like that? ‘You’ll do as you’re ordered.’ Like I’m ten or something.” “I think he’s regretting it.” Allie snorted. “Yes, that’s what I thought you’d say. I have something to tell you. Just so you know, I’m only the messenger in this, not the bad guy.” “If it’s about the Stantons, I couldn’t care less. And for the love of everything holy, please tell Mr. and Mrs. Stanton to stop telling me that they’re sorry.” Dane told her that they felt bad, and said they’d not raised him to be that way. “Well, I don’t know where he got his archaic beliefs, but they’re not going to work on me.” “I think he’s gotten that.” Allie didn’t want to sit down. She knew that if she did, she wasn’t getting back up easily. “So, if we’re through talking about the family and tossing about bullshit, how the fuck is your leg?” Instead of answering her, she lifted the pants to the scrubs she’d been wearing around the hospital for the last couple of days. She had no idea who had made it so she had a clean pair every morning, but she was glad for them. They covered the worst of the wound on her leg. “I’m getting better about getting around now. It still hurts like a mother fucker, but the doc told me that had I not been in such good shape in the first place, it could have been a lot worse.” Dane touched her fingers along the worst of the stitches. “I’m not going to be able to run for a while.” “That’s what I heard too.” Allie paced the room. “I have something to tell you. And you’re not going to like it. When you leave here, in the morning I heard, you’re going to the Stanton house. Your brother said that he couldn’t take care of you, what with going out of town again. Perry is going to go on a trip for me, and I said I’d keep an eye on you. But I was called out yesterday too.”
“I’m going home.” She shook her head. “I’m a grown woman, Dane. I can take care of myself. I have been for some time now, believe it or not. I can call a cab when I need to…. Why are you shaking your head? I’ll be fine.” “Maybe, and I’ve no doubt that you can care for yourself, but the Stantons, as you know, feel that this is their fault. Or at least some of it. They want to make sure that you’re well cared for.” Allie said again she was going home. “Brayden is here to take you home tonight instead.” “I’m not going.” Brayden came in the room just then, and she told him the same thing she’d told Dane. “I’m not going anywhere with you. I have a very nice rental that I’m going to stay in until my lease is up, then I’m going home.” “The lease has been forfeited.” Allie looked at Dane then Brayden. “Christian owns that building and several more downtown. He usually has nothing to do with it, but apparently, he pulled a few strings and got you out of it.” “I don’t want to be out of it. I want to live there.” She watched as Brayden started collecting her things. When he asked if she wanted to take the water bottle-cup like thing with her, she screamed. “Are you even listening to me?” “Yes. Great pair of lungs you have on you. But that didn’t answer my question.” Dane cleared her throat and he winked at her. “I’m trying to be a good deal nicer about this than Christian was going to be.” “He’s a dick.” Brayden wisely said nothing, but he did continue packing her things for her. Then a nurse came in with a cart for the flowers. “What the hell is going on here? I don’t want to fucking go with you.” “You’ve said that. Several times.” She growled at Brayden. “Yeah, since I know you’re aware of what we are, you’re going to have to do a lot better than that. It comes from the belly. Try it. Just growl like you mean it.” “I don’t like you.” He was laughing when he took her bag of clothing and other personal items out of the room. Allie looked at Dane. “You can’t expect me to live in that house where he is. I can’t stand the man.” “He doesn’t live there. I mean, he does when he is around, but for the most part, he has an apartment in the city. I’m supposed to find out what you want in a house, but I’m not going to ask you. I like my teeth in my head.” She stood up. “Are you ready?” “Why tonight?” She told her that Christian was out of town. “For how long? Forever? That would suit me just fine if he was.” “He’s gone to Cleveland to represent a man on trial for murder.” She sat down when Allie did. “So you know, he thinks the guy is guilty, but he wasn’t, at the time he said he’d do it, in any position to not go to court for him. He must do three more trials for this guy’s father before he can cut ties with him. His father, Landon Hartman, was someone that Christian worked for a long time ago, just out of college, and his contract is very specific as to how many cases he must take. I don’t think it’s much of a hardship doing things for Landon, but this isn’t his usual thing with the man. Repping the stepson, I mean.” “Why are you telling me this?” Dane said nothing, but Allie was sure that she was waiting for her to understand something. “I don’t know this man, nor his son.”
“Stepson. And yes, you do.” Allie stared at her, going over the names of clients that she’d had, friends and other relatives. But none of them rang…. She stared at Dane in horror. “Yes, it’s him.” “No.” Nodding, Dane said that it was him, the one and only. “He was supposed to be in prison. I don’t understand how…does Christian know? Is that why he took his case? To get back at me?” “I think he knows now, but he didn’t when he left here this morning. Christian wouldn’t do that, anyway. He might be a dick right now, but that’s not his normal way of doing anything. I’m not saying it’s you, but something about having you in his life has set him off.” Allie said no shit. “Anyway, he’s going to try and get out of representing him, based on the fact that you and he are mates.” “No one is going to care. Especially not Park. Mother fuck. Park Davis is…who did he kill? I’m sure that whoever it was, he did it because he had no choice. At least that’s what he’s going to claim.” Dane said that was what he was saying. “Of course he is. Just like he told everyone what he did to me was not his fault. Like I would want someone to rape me. How did you find out?” “About the rape?” Allie nodded. “I have some friends that found out what he’d been doing time for. I did a couple of searches and found one of his roomies in prison. They were very…. Well, not at first, but they became helpful when I pressured them. He used to brag about it. And as you know, you’re not the only co-ed he did that to.” “I know, there were nine of us. And that’s only the few that came forward. I still have nightmares about it.” Dane said that she would as well. “You’re taking me to the Stanton home because of this? You’re afraid he’ll find out that I’m with Christian, even though I’m not, and come here to get me.”  “Something like that. Park’s mom will try her best to hold Christian to his contract. She has this unhealthy thing going for her son. Whatever. Christian doesn’t think Landon will after he finds out, but I don’t have as much trust in people as he does. You may not believe this, but Christian’s a good lawyer and rarely loses his cases. But Landon’s wife, Joy, the mother of the murderer, doesn’t want her little boy in prison again. I get the feeling Landon thinks he belongs there, but his hands are tied. Or so he told Christian.” Allie stood but had to hold onto things until her leg started to work for her. “With you being injured, there is a good possibility that he might be able to hurt you more than he did before. I know that you’re strong, Allie, and smart, but Park is desperate. Especially if Christian bails on him.” “I just don’t know why he’d think that Christian would care if he killed me or not.” Dane said nothing. Allie turned to her. “I know about shifters, Dane. I might not have a lot to do with them, but I know that they don’t normally treat their other halves the way he did me, nor say the things he did to me. Christian isn’t going to tame me or make me heel to his law.” “No, he won’t, and I told him that. We all have. But I’d like for you to talk to him. At least give him another chance before you take off.” Allie looked at her. “I know you well enough to know that you could be out in plain sight without anyone finding you.
Please? As my friend, will you at least give him another chance? It could save both your lives.” “All right. But if he tries that shit again, I’m going to injure him in a way that shifting will not repair. I won’t be treated that way.” Allie limped around the room, knowing that later she was going to be sore enough that she’d need the drugs again. The bullet might be gone, but the pain of it was still there. “One chance.” ~~~ Christian was waiting outside the courtroom when his phone rang. He pulled it out, saw that it was Dane, and nearly put it away. But he remembered what he’d been told, quite painfully, about what would happen to him if he didn’t make this work with Allie. Dane, like the rest of his family, had come down hard on him, and he knew that he deserved it. Answering the phone, he waited for her to tell him that Allie had told him to fuck off. “She said you would have one chance, but I’m not sure that you can handle her. She’s a lot meaner than I am.” Christian said he’d behave. “You’d better. She’s a good friend of mine, and I won’t have you fucking that up. All right?” “You know, I didn’t shoot her. The gun went off and that’s what did it.” He could see her there, lying with her skin sliced open on her leg. All exposed from the bullet that had been, he thought, intended for him. It had entered her thigh deep and gone the length of her leg to her knee before coming out, barely missing her foot. The mark there was small, just like a tear to her instep. From there, it had gone into the ground. She was lucky his dad had been there and he’d not panicked. He had. “I’m not saying I wasn’t at fault, but had she not had the gun out and pointed right at me, then she’d be all right now.” “You’re not helping.” He said he was sorry. “Anyway, she knows what you’re doing there and why she’s at your parents’ house. As you can imagine, she’s not all that happy about it, but knows that should he come for her, she isn’t in any position to save herself.”  “I need to talk to her about what went on. I know what the reports say and I’ve read over the transcript of the trial, but what I don’t understand is, how did he only serve four years of a fifty-year sentence? There wasn’t any good behavior on his part. He was just as nasty inside as he’d been out, and Landon swears that he didn’t pay to have him released. I believe him.” Dane said she was looking into a few things herself. “Just be careful. This is the third time that I’ve been here with him, and it’s getting worse with each one. I don’t want to have to do this at all, and I’m hoping the judge will see it that way.” “I don’t know how any of that works, but I do know that you can claim that you’re related to one of his victims and perhaps that will help.” He hoped so as well, but the way that his luck was going, it wouldn’t matter. He looked around when she laughed. “I have to tell you, Christian, you’re not going to be getting off any easier with Allie than you will me. She might make you go through some major hoops to get back on her good side.”
“I was a fool. More than that, I was a fucking idiot. I don’t know what came over me.” He did, but didn’t want to bring it up again. “All I could think was that someone other than me was touching her. And I haven’t any idea why that bothered me to the point where I wanted to kill my own brother.”  Levi had forgiven him, of course, but he’d yet to forgive himself. He’d never hurt his brother, nor would he have spoken to a woman the way that he had her. Allie had warned him, several times, to back off, and he and his cat, mostly the cat, hadn’t cared for that either. When she’d been shot, and hurt him in the process, he’d gone a little wild and hurt Levi again. It took his brother, Brayden, commanding him to stand down before he could get ahold of himself and his beast. Now, not that he blamed her, she was pissed off at him, and he wasn’t sure that he could fix this. His name was called and he told Dane he’d get back to her. As soon as he entered the courtroom, he saw Landon and his wife. Joy wasn’t a nice person, and Christian didn’t like her at all. He was sure that Landon knew it too. After shaking hands with the elderly man, he took his seat at the table. Park would be brought out soon, and he wanted to talk to the judge before that happened. Asking to approach the bench, he let out a long breath before he spoke. “I would like to recuse myself from this hearing.” The judge asked him why and Christian told him what was going on in his life. “My future wife is Allie LaRue. She is currently staying at my parents’ home and injured. I cannot, with her being my mate, give Mr. Davis a fair trial. Not with what happened between him and my mate.” “When did you meet her?” He answered all the questions put before him. Even telling the judge that he’d tried calling his office all week but no one would put him through. “I got that you had called, but they’d not tell me what you wanted. I can see now why you wished to speak to me personally.”  The judge leaned back in his seat and looked like he was thinking hard on something. The other lawyer, a public defender for the state, asked him if he was serious. That the trial was about to begin.  “I’m well aware of that. I only just found her a few days ago.” Stanley was saying how ridiculous this was, that things were too far along for him to do this to him. “I suppose you’d like this to go to trial, and if I win, you’d call foul play and call for a mistrial. I’m trying my best to make sure that doesn’t happen.” “Your Honor, you can’t—” Judge Piketon told him to shut up. “But sir, this is a murder trial, not a case of rape. I don’t understand where the problem lies.” “You wouldn’t.” Piketon looked at him. “You can prove this? That she’s your mate if it comes up? I don’t want you in trouble with the law any more than I do for you to have to face your mate if you tell her you got him off.” “I can, sir. As you can imagine, things are a little tense right now. She’s been hurt and I’m here. Not a good way to start a relationship, but my dad and mom are caring for her, and you know them, what sort of people they are.” He said that he did. “I just don’t think this is a good idea.” “Neither do I. Have a seat gentlemen, I have something to say to the room.” Going back to his seat, Christian avoided looking at Landon or his wife. As soon as he was
seated, Piketon hit his gavel down on his desk and told them what was going on. “So, as you can see, there will have to be a delay in the trial until such time—” “No. No, this isn’t right.” Joy Hartman stood up and turned to him. “No, you have to do this. My husband owns you. You’ll take care of this right now.” “Mrs. Hartman, he can’t represent your son. There isn’t any way for Park to get a— ” Joy cut him off, slamming her hands on the seat in front of her. Piketon took exception to that as well. “Now you see here, young lady. I will—” “You’ll make him do this. Tell them, Landon. Tell him that he is going to do this or you’ll sue him. He’s the best there is, and you said that you never hired anyone that wasn’t the best. I want him to make sure my baby doesn’t go to prison again.” She was told to sit down. “I won’t. My husband pays you good money and you’ll do as he said. I won’t have my baby boy going back to prison for something that he didn’t do. Not again. You will make sure of that.” “Mrs. Hartman, I’m going to have to ask you to have a seat. Believe it or not, I’m the one in charge here, and you’ll do as I’m telling you or I’ll have you tossed out of here.” She glared at the judge. “Lady, I’ve been married to the same wonderful woman for nearly sixty years. That look of yours, it doesn’t mean a damned thing to me. Sit down and shut up or I’ll have you in the cell next to that baby boy of yours. Now, as I was saying, the hearing is postponed until such time as the Hartmans can find themselves another lawyer or they take on a public defender.” He left them there, not saying another word but leaving them to head to his chambers. Christian started packing up his things, relieved that this part of it was over. When someone touched him on the shoulder, he turned in time to have Joy slug him in the face. He fell back on the table, hitting his head, and just zapped out. When he woke, he was in the hospital. He knew this because he could smell blood, death, and disease. Then there was the added comfort of having a bed as hard as nails under him, as well as a curtain that kept others out. When he started to sit up, he was pushed back down by a nurse who made his cat curl up around him. Lying down, he asked what had happened. “I don’t know more than you were brought in here a couple of hours ago with a head injury. I was told to stay with you until your wife and family made it here. Which I’m thinking will be soon. I was told that would be about a two-and-a-half-hour trip.” He nodded, then held his head. “Yeah, you got yourself a banger there. Just lie still and try not to make me hold you down again. You sure are strong.”  “I am. Wait, did you say my wife and family?” She nodded and asked him if he remembered them. “Yes, I do. I just wasn’t aware that I had…. I was just making sure you said she was coming. My wife, she’s been hurt recently.” “Well, aren’t you two a pair?” The nurse asked him if he wanted anything for pain. “You have something on the charts if you want it. It seems like a lot of drugs if you ask me, but the doc, he said you would need more than the average man.” “Yes, I have a high immunity to drugs.” Christian wondered what the doctor was if he knew that he wasn’t human. “Will the doctor be back? Soon, I mean?”
“When your family gets here, I’m to give him a call. You want anything to drink? You can have that as well.” He said he was fine and laid back on the bed. “All right then. If you promise me that you’ll be quiet, I’m going to run to the little girl’s room. Don’t be getting up, Mr. Stanton, I don’t want to have to rope you like a side of beef.” “I’ll stay right here.” His head was pounding, but he didn’t want to take anything for it. If his wife was coming, he wanted to be clear headed when he spoke to her. Also, he wondered what had happened after he’d been hit. Other than being here.  The curtain flew back on the rod about twenty minutes later. He knew it was his dad…he’d been yelling his name since he came through the doors. Christian might have called back to him, but the thought of trying to do that with his head pounding like it was didn’t appeal to him. So, he waited and now he was here. “You scared us.” Christian said he was sorry as the rest of them crowded in the little area with him. “And so you know, I’m not going to be happy with you if you make that little girl cry. She’s hurting pretty badly about now.” “Why did you bring her?” He said that they couldn’t leave her at home. “But Dad, I’m all right. She must hurt with her leg injured like it is.” He saw her then, being wheeled back to his area by Judge Piketon. They were talking quietly, laughing at one point too. Christian had to calm his beast when he saw him put his hand out and Allie took it into hers. He had no idea what was wrong with his cat when it came to people touching her, but he had to keep his cool. It was that or go to prison himself for murdering every man that he saw within a foot of her.

Hugh Justice Series By Kathi S Barton Release Day & Give Away End Of Series

At 23 Hugh McGuire had his life figured out. He was on top of the world and nothing could stop him. In the blink of an eye, it all changed, when a disgruntled employee, Burton Dunn, shot and killed Hugh’s parents, and attempted to take Hugh’s life as well. Hugh’s life would never be the same, and twelve years later, Hugh was a depressed and somewhat bitter man that could now see and speak with the dead.
Kimber Dunn had been a sickly child, and on her deathbed, her nurse, a leopard shifter took pity on her and converted Kimber to save her life. Now Kimber couldn’t run far enough to outrun her brother’s murderous deed. Spending most of her days as a leopard kept her hidden well. But when fate threw her in front on the one man she’d been hiding from all these years, Hugh McGuire, her cat knew him for who he was…her mate…the only thing she knew to do was run…run as fast and as far as she could….
KOBO  Coming Soon 
Steele Bennett was born with a gift, but he sees it more as a curse―he can see and speak with spirits. And when he loses his twin sister at seventeen, he wants to turn his back on life―block his heart so that he never has to feel the sharp pain of loss again…


The small bar Kari Briggs runs is failing fast. She hasn’t seen the owner in three months, past due notices are piling high, and her last paycheck bounced twice. And if she doesn’t pay the delivery guy soon, there’ll be no more supplies.

She has trouble enough controlling her cat, so the last thing she needs tonight is trouble. But those guys at the bar won’t listen and take it outside. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she is shocked when a tall stranger grips her arms from behind and her cat wants to roll over and purr.

From the moment Steele touches her, she knows he’s her mate. And Steele thinks he can just get her out of his system with sex and a lot of it―he won’t mark her and she can’t mark him―no permanent attachments. But that’s not how it works with a shifter, she will die if her cat can’t get what she needs from him. She will love him because she has no choice―he is her mate―but that is a secret she is willing to take to her grave…

Nick Stark had known Addison West for quite some time. Although they’d never met in person they shared the same nightmare―both were unwilling participants. However, through these dreams they had formed a bond between them. And a telepathic connection. So when out of the blue, Addie contacted Nick and told him she had seen some things that she shouldn’t have and she was next on the killer’s list, Nick didn’t hesitate to come to her rescue.


Nick had known for some time that Addie was to be his―why else would they share the same dream? But he was in no hurry to form emotional attachments. Never having much in the way of a decent family life, he didn’t know much about love. And with the deep emotional scars he bore from an abusive childhood, he didn’t want to bring that burden onto another soul―especially Addie.

Addie had her own baggage. Her father had been forcing her to marry an abusive man―he told her it was her duty as his daughter to obey him. Addie wasn’t having any part of it, so she ran…. She had been hiding for the last five years.

Nick may not have wanted any attachments but he couldn’t ignore the beauty he’d rescued. But there were things he had to tell her…about all of them…about Steele Bennett’s group. He wasn’t sure how she fit into all this….

Mitch Riley was a haunted man, and being a necromancer didn’t have much to do with what haunted him. A troubled childhood left him withdrawn and short tempered, so when he received a summons that he was being sued by the foster parents who had abused him, he didn’t take it well at all. And their attorney? None other than a vamp. There was nothing much worse than a vamp in Mitch’s opinion.


Victoria Graham, or Vinnie her mother had nicknamed her, wasn’t expecting the man her clients were suing to be her mate, and a necromancer. She would have refused the case had she known she’d be walking into a den of necromancers. She had grown up on horror stories that necromancers were the one thing that could kill her kind, and it was clear the man hated her very existence…. But when he touched her, she’d lost control of her magic…and her mind too apparently. 

Landon Logan is a man haunted by a tragedy that he blames himself for but didn’t do. No one can convince him otherwise—especially his well-meaning Grandda who happens to be dead. Landon is a necromancer.


Dillon Malone has a few abilities of her own. She can “find” things by touching the owner or touching something the owner has touched. This makes her a wanted woman.

Landon is so angry at his good-for-nothing parents that he storms out of their house with their maid in tow. Dillon is happy to leave with this brooding young man and soon discovers that the handsome hunk is her other half.

Dillon’s happiness is short lived when her past reaches out to bite her, and she and Landon become pawns in her father’s evil scheme. When Dillon’s father has Steele’s new baby kidnapped, all bets are off.

Ryder Mackenzie didn’t remember much about what happened to her. All she knew was she hurt in more places than she could remember. Mac barely remembered going over the falls and hitting the rocks below to save the little girl. But now that she’d been to the other side, the ghosts wouldn’t leave her alone.


Drew Mullins was a haunted man, quite literally. His mother tortured him as a child and seemed bound and determined to continue doing so seventeen years after her death. Drew, being a necromancer, was having a hard time avoiding her because she didn’t know she was dead.

Between Mac having the little girl’s father haunting her and Drew dealing with his mother’s ghost, they both were a mess. But in each other they found what had been missing in their lives—love.

But when the thirst for revenge heats up, can Steele and his group find a solution? At least one where no one else ends up dead?

JUSTICE SERIES
                                                                       

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Christian: The Stanton Pack—Erotic Paranormal Cougar Shifter Romance


Being a country lawyer was something Christian Stanton had always wanted to do. Taking a client he really didn’t want to represent was not what he had in mind.


Allie had been hired to teach the Stanton men hand to hand self-defense. She loved her job and was quite good at it. She knew about shifters, but had never really worked with them before. And when the big cat shifted into a very naked man proclaiming to be her mate, Allie wanted nothing to do with him.

When it came to Allie, Christian was in big trouble. She was no pushover and the sooner he figured that out the better off he’d be….

 Amazon USA http://amzn.to/2gUfYgI


Chapter 1  
“Master McGuire, your father would like a word with you. He said that he will meet you in his study when he has completed his business this morning.”  Hugh wanted to ask him what his father wanted, but knew this household well enough to know that they’d not answer him. Most of them would just stare at him as if he had something in his teeth, but none of the staff would go against anything that the master and mistress of the house wanted. Ever. Not that his parents were task masters, but the people who worked for them were very old world, and wouldn’t have gone against them even if they asked them to kill him. Which would never happen either. His parents loved him very much. Nodding once, Hugh pulled his jacket from the closet in the main hall and slipped it on. He knew for a fact that his father wasn’t even in the residence, and that his “little while” could be hours. Hugh had been down this road with his father before. He was as forgetful as he was organized. And Hugh didn’t want to wait. He was easily distracted, his dad. Not his mother, but his dad certainly was. He took being lord very seriously, and did a good job of keeping things in perfect order and done in a timely matter. Hugh thought his father was the best. A little on the annoying side, but he loved him as much as he did his mom. They were both his world, and would be forever. It was a show of just how powerful his father was, Hugh thought. He had no idea— and he had asked—of what made a man know how to be like his dad was. Just simply a man who others knew, instinctively, was in charge. Hugh had known that his parents, the Lord and Lady of Whimmpington, the ninth earl to the estate, were going to be the only ones who took care of the burg they lived in, because he knew he’d never be as good as they were. Everyone in the house did, as well as all of Whimmpington. Hell, he was pretty sure that all of the world knew it. His parents were perfectly suited to being in charge, while he, on the other hand, liked to just have fun. He supposed someday he’d have to straighten up, but not any time soon.  As he made his way to his car, he thought of what his father might want with him now. He’d graduated from college, as his father had wanted. Gotten the grades that were required of a man of his stature, and he’d made sure that he kept his nose out of trouble and his dick properly sheathed when he did have to have sex.  Smiling, he thought about the sheathed sex he’d had last night. Mary had always been more than willing to let him toss her skirts up over her head and fuck her. In fact, it was a well-known fact that anyone could have Mary for a price. He thought perhaps his dad was the only man alive who had not had a go at her. The woman could suck a nail through a board, too, when she gave head. Crude? Yes. He was no more interested in anything long term than he thought she was. But good Christ, the woman could fuck well. 
He’d met her in her father’s orchard just after supper last night, and she’d been as naked as the day she was born. He’d nearly come in his pants when he found her leaning against the apple tree fingering her pretty, bare pussy. As soon as she saw him, she spread her legs and told him to eat her. Not one to turn down a splendid offer like that, he’d stripped down and gotten down on his knees before her. She came twice before she begged him to fuck her. Standing up, Hugh had looked at her, a prime woman who loved sex as much as he did, and wondered if all the rumors about her were true. He’d bet they were, just as the ones about her fucking her way through high school and beyond were. When she’d told him to meet her there, she said she’d give him a fuck to remember, and he was pretty sure she was going to do just that. That was going to be the last time they’d be meeting out here, as he was moving away next week.  Mary had large breasts and dark, thick nipples. Lifting up her left breast with both hands, he suckled it while she fisted his cock. When she begged him again to fuck her and Hugh pulled a condom from his pocket, she told him she was too needy to wait, but he knew that there was never going to be unprotected sex between them. Mary had been around, and if she didn’t have protected sex, there was no way he was going to stick his dick in her without a condom. Hugh did not want to chance getting anything she might have picked up elsewhere, much less a child with her. Between long pulls on his cock with her mouth and hands, Hugh knew that he wasn’t going to last as long as she liked to go if she kept this up.  “Mary, love, unless you want me to come before I’m in you, you’d better stand up and let me inside of you.” Her mouth let go of him with a small pop, and he wanted to beg her to take him again. “You have a mouth that begs to be fucked. But I need to be in your pussy. Later we can play if you want.” As soon as he pulled the condom over himself, he lifted her up by her ass and slammed his cock as deeply as he could into her hot wet sheath. “Oh yes, Hugh. Fuck me.” He did, pounding her as hard as he could as she wrapped around him. “Harder. Harder.” When she came, screaming out his name as he emptied himself in the condom, he fucked her again just to give her everything he could before he needed a break. When she pulled his head up from her shoulder, Hugh smiled down at her when she nipped at his lower lip. “I needed that.” He laughed. “Christ, I’m going to miss you. You have no idea. That guy I’m supposed to be marrying next summer is going to be boring after this. I think you ruined me. Are you sure you have to go away? I could come with you. We could have so much fun together.” He knew there was no other man. And he also knew that she would more than likely never marry anyone from around here. She’d been with too many men for any parents to even let her marry one of their sons. People did talk. “You’ll be fine. And maybe he won’t be so bad.” He pulled from her and tore the condom off and wrapped it in the foil it had come out of. He was always careful to take all means of DNA with him when he had sex. Another rule of his dear father. “He might have a dick as long as mine and know how to use it.” 
He’d been joking really, but she only shrugged. Hugh wasn’t stupid enough to think that Mary wasn’t plotting and planning something. She’d been getting her way since they’d been hanging around together, and she always seemed to have something up her sleeve. Just before he’d been sent away to boarding school, there had been a rumor that she’d had a baby out of wedlock. Not a big deal to him, but the community had been in an uproar about it.  But he didn’t ask her about it, nor about a great many things he’d heard about her and her family. He and Mary were fuck buddies and sometimes friends, but not close enough that he’d ask her something so personal. So last night had been a farewell fuck between two people that more than likely would never meet again. Or at least he hoped not. He’d keep an eye out for her, but he knew that he’d never contact her again. When his phone rang he realized that he’d made his way to town and parked at some point in his musings. Pulling out his phone to answer it, he nearly put it away again. His father would not be a happy man to find out that he’d skipped out on talking with him. “When I ask you to come talk to me that is what I mean for you to do, Hugh. I know that I sometimes forget the time, but there is no reason for you to as well. Where are you anyway?” He told him. “Come to the office, please? I have a few things for you to sign before you leave. I meant to do it several days ago, but I got…well, I got distracted. When did you grow up? Never mind. But your mother and I would enjoy your company for dinner this evening. If you can tear yourself away from the Manchester orchard.” He sat there for several minutes with his phone still in his hand after his father had stated what he wanted him to do then hung up. Hugh was twenty-three years old now, not some kid that needed to be ordered around. Not that anyone had ordered him to do much of anything for a long time, but…well, he supposed he was embarrassed that his father knew. Not just about Mary, but the orchard as well. Hugh put his phone on the seat next to him and stared out the window. He could see his father’s empire right in front of him. The building stood high above any other in the town. A monument to a great man and a better father. The McGuires made money. Hugh was pretty sure that they didn’t really print it, even though there were times when he wasn’t so sure. But they did make it. It seemed that everything his father touched turned to gold. And if his mother thought it was a good investment, then it was. People from around the world came to his parents for advice on making more money and how to turn nothing into something. They were that good. Hugh could turn a nickel into a buck as well. He’d taken the money that he’d gotten from his grandmother and turned it into his own little empire. The seven million that she’d left him when he turned eighteen was now worth a billion and a half, and growing daily. Hugh, it seemed, had the touch as well. Hugh wondered again what it was his father wanted. Starting the car, he made his way to the parking lot. His father had no special parking for himself, and he didn’t have any for his son either. Hugh the ninth prided 
himself on being like one of the people that worked for him, and Hugh was pretty sure he believed that he was. There was no doubt that aside from being their boss or lord, everyone loved his parents. Including him. It was not that his parents were easy people, as in being saps. In fact, they were very stern, if not a little…okay, a lot stiff. And very much in love with each other. They had money, but they never stopped working, either of them. And they did not indulge on things that they didn’t need. There were no private jets…they all flew commercial, and no boats floated in the harbors. Nor did his parents have a lot of status things in the house. A few paintings and a vase or two, but things they liked, not things they felt they needed so no one else would own them. Hugh loved his parents very much. He thought them odd at times, but he loved them all the same. “Good morning, Master Hugh. Your father is on the phone. He asked me to have you go to his conference room and wait.” Smythen, his father’s right hand man, led him down the hall to the long room and asked him if he wanted anything. It was on the tip of Hugh’s tongue to ask him if he could tell his dad that he’d not shown up, but only shook his head. Hugh wanted to get going, and getting this over with was the only thing holding him back from making arrangements to go to the States again. Fifty minutes after he was shown to the room, with Smythen coming in several times to tell him that his dad was having problems and would come in soon, Hugh was ready to leave. His mother had made a list for him last week of things he had to take care of, and another list of people he had to say goodbye to. Hugh looked at his watch when he decided it was well past time to go. The noise down the hall had him standing. Hugh moved closer to the door and put his ear to the wood to see if he could make it out. Hearing the screams had him pausing at the door but not going out. Whatever was going on, he didn’t want any part of it. The gunshots startled him. They were loud, close even, and the screams were being cut off one at a time. Moving from the door now, Hugh reached for his cell phone to call his father. As it rang and rang in his ear, Hugh looked around for a place to hide. Finding nothing helpful—the room only held a large table and some chairs—he hung up the phone when no one answered and tried his mother. She answered almost immediately. He could hear the screaming coming through the phone as someone, he thought it was his mom, told everyone to be quiet. Then the gunshots started again, louder than they’d been down the hall. When she spoke, he had to ask her what she said, her whispers too low with all the noise going on around them both. “Get out if you can.” He asked her what was going on. “Hugh, get out of the building. Hurry. Someone is shooting everyone they—” This shot was almost right in his ear. And when he heard someone screaming again, he wasn’t sure if it was right outside the room he was in or coming from the phone. Closing his phone, he moved to the door and put his ear to it again. If he was honest, he’d say that he was terrified. And not just a little. 
The silence was both scary and a relief. He wasn’t sure if the person or persons shooting everyone was gone or if they were waiting for him to come out. Picking up the phone again, he dialed the police. They answered right away. “I’m in the McGuire building. My name is Hugh McGuire. There are shots being fired. I think someone is killing the people who work here. I’m on the eleventh floor.” She asked him if he could see the shooter. “No. I’m in a conference room just down the hall from the elevators. I think…my mother, I think she’s been hurt, and my father isn’t answering his phone. I need for you to come here right away, please. I think someone is killing everyone.” “We have cars on the way. Are you hurt, Mr. McGuire?” He told her that he was not. Then the shooting started again, with screaming. “Mr. McGuire, I need for you to find a place to hide, can you do that? Somewhere safe, as far from the shooting as you can get.” “I’m not sure what’s going on out there. If I leave here to go somewhere else, I have no idea where this person is, and I could…I don’t know where the shooter is.” She told him to stay put, but to barricade the doors. He had no idea how that was going to work either, but said he’d try.  The shooting began again almost as soon as the words left his mouth, this time right in front of where he was standing. He could hear the dispatcher on the phone screaming at him, but Hugh had no idea what she might have been saying. Backing away from the door just as it exploded open, he left the phone on, but slipped it behind him as a man came in the room. He knew him, though he couldn’t place his name. Someone…he backed up when the man entered the room with a gun pointed right at him. “There you are. I knew you were in here somewhere. Hiding out like all the rest of the cowards.” The man standing in front of him looked like any other person that worked for his parents. Suit and tie, and he even had a name badge on with the magnetic strip that got him into the building. “I’m going to kill the last of the McGuires. Payback is a bitch, and you are going to pay like she did. I’d ask you why you did it, but I know. I found out. You bastard. You fucking bastard.” “Payback? I don’t understand what you mean. You killed my parents too? Please, tell me what it is you think we did to you.” The man laughed at him. Hugh read his name badge and knew that he was going to die. He wanted the police to know who it was that murdered them too. “Your name is Burton Dunn, and you say you killed my parents. Why? Tell me what it is you think we did to her. You said her…what is it we did to her that would make you do this?” “You fucking killed her. And now I’m going to kill you too.” The first bullet hit him in the leg. Hugh went down, the pain taking his breath away. “This is for my sister. When I’m finished with you, I plan to go to your house and kill all the people working there as well. I’m going to wipe the McGuire name from the planet. There was just no reason for you to do that to her.” 
“Why?” The next bullet hit him in the belly. Hugh fell all the way to the floor, rolling to his back as the man stepped in front of him, his gun pointed at his head. “Why are you doing this?” “Because, you let her die. You killed my baby sister because you and your family are selfish bastards and took everything away when she needed it the most.” Hugh thought he could see the bullet leave the gun, feel it as it pierced his head. Then…then nothing. ~~~ “Hugh?”  Sander Phillips looked at his client and waited for him to focus. Wherever he’d been, Hugh was not happy about the memories. And he’d bet anything it had to do with his parents again and the day that they’d been murdered. When Hugh straightened up and looked ready to get back to work, Sander handed him the paperwork that he’d brought for him to sign. Instead of reading it over, which Hugh was meticulous about, he laid it on the table between them and went to the window. “It was twelve years ago today.” Sander knew that, and had taken care that everyone that was going to come into direct contact with Hugh did as well. “I guess you kind of realized that was what I was thinking about just now. It was as if I were there all over again. The entire day rolls through my mind like a loop every day.” “Yes, sir. I can understand that.” He just looked at him, and Sander didn’t even bother to apologize for calling him sir. “We can do this some other time, if you wish. Tomorrow is just as good. There is nothing really that important here that we can’t just do tomorrow.” “No. I need to get this done today.” He came back to the table and picked up the discarded file. “Everything is in their names now, right? James and Becky Mullins will get everything if something should happen to me?”  “Yes.” He started to say sir, but one look from Hugh told him he’d not get away with it a second time. “Yes, they’re named as sole heirs to your estate, and Mr. Mullins, their father, is to care for it for them until they reach the age of eighteen. Mrs. Mullins will also receive a payout to do with as she chooses. The rest, the castle and the other properties attached to the estate there, is to be diverted to the burg, and they can do with it as they please.” As the man he had worked for since that terrible day twelve years ago read over the will he’d had him draw up, Sander looked around the room. It was the most un-office like area that he’d ever been in. Not to mention that no one looked like they worked there, but instead seemed as if they were just the cleaning crew or held some other job that didn’t require them to dress up. That was, in fact, frowned upon. No ties or briefcases where allowed. If they had to take things to and from work, they carried a backpack or some other form of carry all. Jackets were the kind that you wore in the winter, not the ones that gave you the appearance that you were someone important. To Hugh McGuire, everyone was the same. And he treated his staff that way as well. He was quirky, as he’d heard others call him, but that came with what he’d suffered, he was sure. 
Hugh McGuire was nothing like his father, yet he was just like him. While his father had an air that said he was one of them, nobody ever believed it. Not really. With the younger Hugh, he was just like them, if you forgot about how rich he was. There had seldom been an occasion when he didn’t go out with them when invited. Birthdays were never forgotten, and he seldom forgot a person’s name or those of their family. Hugh was a man of men, a hardworking man who had never gotten over the tragedy of his parents being killed. Then there was his feeling about suits. Everyone just assumed that it had to do with the day that had changed his life, but it was more than that. And mostly due to the men who had stood guard at his bedside when he’d been in the hospital. There had been five men in suits, all of them armed and none of them friendly. Hugh had tried to engage them in conversation, talk to them about what he was feeling. None of them had acknowledged the wounded young man in the bed. When Sander had asked their boss why they couldn’t simply talk to him, help him when he needed it, the man had glared at him. It was their job, he’d been told, not to get friendly with the client. So for nearly six months they stood there, their hands on their weapons and staring at the door as if someone would come in and try to harm him. Men in suits, Hugh told Sander, were the worst kind of people. But there were other things that made him stand out with his peers. Not just his ability to read a person without much information and know everything about them, including what type of home life the person had, but also their worth. As in what kind of worker they were at a glance. How hard they would work, and the best possible job for them. It mattered little what their education level was; he would know what they were better suited for. And he was never wrong. So at almost thirty-five he was the richest man in the world, and also the loneliest. Not to say he didn’t have friends, but Sander doubted any of them knew the real man. Nor the ability he had inherited from his mother that had given him the boost up when it came to money. The young man could see the changes in the climate of a business better than anyone Sander knew, and had made them both very rich. Sander listened to his boss better than he did his own wife. However, he’d never say that to her. “This is good. Send it out to the right people.”  As he stood up, so did Sander. There were a couple of other things he needed from his boss, but was hesitant to ask right now. Not today, at any rate. Hugh turned to him and Sander just nodded. Not asking him would not get him the answer he needed. When Hugh smiled at him, Sander decided that now was as good a time as any. “There is that thing tonight. I’ve already said that you are unable to attend, but Mrs. Bennett has asked that you escort her and Mr. Bennett.” Hugh was shaking his head even before he finished. “She said that if…she told me to tell you that if you didn’t go, she’d hunt you down and eat your arm off. I’m pretty sure that she wasn’t kidding, either.” Mrs. Bennett, like Sander, was a panther. She was by far meaner than he was when she needed to be, and she scared him to death each time she called to speak to him. He 
was just glad that no one, not even Mr. Mullins, Hugh’s best friend, knew where the offices were. He feared the lovely Mrs. Bennett more than he cared to admit. “I’ll talk to her.” Sander’s relief was profound. “In the meantime, make sure there’s enough staff on hand to answer questions, as well as food for them all. I don’t want anyone complaining that this thing was a bust. And you did make sure that there were donations from the estate? As well as bids on the things we talked about?” “Yes. There is the trip, as well as the paintings that were donated. And there are several other pieces that you expressed a desire to put there as well. The bids that we discussed are with the proper people to use as necessary. No one’s donation will not get bought.” Hugh nodded. “Security has been hired as well, and there are several appraisers on hand to make sure that there are no problems with things that are bought. Just as last year.” Sander knew that no matter what they did, there would be at least one or two things crop up that had been forgotten, but for the most part, things went smoothly. The function was a Christmas fundraiser that had been held annually by Hugh’s mother before she’d been killed. The McGuire name had never been attached to it, nor was it now. But they did raise a great deal of money for the children of the world, and would continue to do so long after the people attending tonight were gone. “Hugh, there is one more thing.” Hugh turned and looked at him. Sander didn’t want to talk to him about this, but there really wasn’t anyone else. “It’s about my retirement, sir. You do know that next week is my last week. And we’ve yet to settle on who is taking my place. I hate to bring this up now, today of all days, but we must settle things.” “I don’t want you to leave me.” He sounded so wounded that Sander almost told him that he’d stay. But he had to go. It was time…he and his wife wanted to have some time, now that their children were all gone, to see a little of the world. “What will I do without you?” “You will survive, sir, as you have done before.” He looked at the scar on his forehead, the one that the monster had given him all those years ago. “My wife said that if I allow you to talk me into staying she will harm us both. I’d believe her if I were you, sir; she is quite set on seeing France and all those other countries I’ve been to on business for you. She and I want to see the world, one city at a time, before we leave this world.” Nodding, Hugh made his way to the door out of his office, but paused there. Sander would do anything for this man, as he had his father before him. But the son, unlike his father, was the genuine article, as his wife said about Hugh…a true man and gentleman. Sander knew that Hugh was a man that was also fighting the worse kind of demons, his own self. “Set me up some interviews for early in the week. Only the ones that you think will work out. I don’t want anyone coming here that…that might want more from me than I have to give.” He told him he would. “And Sander, make sure that they have no priors before they get in the building, please. I don’t want anyone hurt.” 
“I’ll make sure that they’re investigated completely.” As Hugh left the area and made his way to the bank of elevators that only went to this floor, he asked him about the last thing. “What of the other, sir? I haven’t…there is the matter of the buildings that needs to be taken care of, as well as the endowment to the burg. What shall I tell them should they ring here again?” “My parents loved that place. And all that went with it.” He turned and looked at him then. The anguish was there, as it was whenever he talked of his parents. “I’ll go there this weekend and see what I can figure out. See if Drew and his family can come with me. I know that they’re working on getting their house in order, so maybe they can use a break from all that. Don’t tell them where we’re going, but that…perhaps your wife would like to go as well? It would be a nice start to your vacationing. Then you can settle up there and get going on that trip.” “I’ll see what she would like to do.” He smiled, knowing that his wife would leap at the chance to go to England. “I’ll take care of the arrangements, as well as any paperwork that the others will need. Anything else?” “No. Not that I can think of right now.” Pressing the button to go down, Hugh smiled at him. It wasn’t the best smile he’d ever seen, but there it was. “I remembered about you leaving, Sander, just so you know.” The doors closed and Sander wasn’t able to reply, even if he had known what to say. Whatever he’d meant by that, Sander would have to wait to ask him when he saw him next. Going to his office, he went to his desk to call his wife and mention the trip to England. She was going to be so happy. But the phone was ringing before he could pick it up. “Oh Sander, you should see it. Oh my goodness, Hugh must have spent a fortune on just the wrapping alone. And it’s so pretty that I don’t want to…I wish you were home with me now. I can hardly contain myself from opening it.” He was ready to ask her what she meant when his doorway was suddenly filled with a large box. And it was topped with a large red ribbon. The men who had brought it in just dropped it off and left, not saying a word or having him sign for it. Sander realized his wife was still talking.  “Honey, I have a box here. From Hugh as well.” She squealed, and he had to take the phone from his ear or risk having it explode. Laughing, he continued. “I’m to assume that you’re excited about it, correct? Is your name on it, love?” “Yes. Is that one addressed to you? Oh, I do so hope it is.” He told her it was. “Then I’m opening mine. I’ll call you back when…oh, just open it and I’ll open mine. Then call me when you have it opened.” The phone went dead and he approached the large box. No, that wasn’t right, it was huge. At least six foot tall and that deep as well. And the width of it had to be four or five feet. Sander pulled off the card and read it. “‘Happy retirement, my friend. My parents would have wanted you to have this. I know that I do as well. Take your lovely wife out right, and when you return, I expect to see hundreds of pictures. Send me a postcard too.’” He stared at the card then at the box, almost afraid, like his wife had said, to mess it up…it was that beautiful.  
The large red ribbon on the top hung about halfway down the sides. The sides, just thick cardboard covered in paper, he could see now, were held together by string. The heavy kind, but string all the same. The wrapping paper was decorated in large balloons of every color one could imagine, and on each was his name. He was almost afraid to open it. Not for fear, but whatever was inside would be epic, he knew. Pulling on the strings that were tied in a smaller bow than the one on top, he watched as the sides fell open and the top floated down quietly. As they filled the floor, all he could do was stare at the contents. This was more than he could have ever dreamed of receiving, and he knew that for as long as he lived, he’d never be able to thank Hugh enough. Picking up the phone when it rang again, he stared at his gift while his wife spoke. “It’s not real, is it, Sander? He couldn’t have done this for us. It’s too much.” Sander told her he believed that it was and he had. “Sander, he gave us a trip of a lifetime. Several lifetimes. However will we be able to thank him?” The large globe was decorated with envelopes. Each of them stated a country, state, as well as a city. Each one, like the one he’d pulled off when his wife called, would be filled with a plane ticket, an address where they were going to be, as well as a credit card to be spent on food and dining. A second card had been marked for entertainment, as well as any incidentals that they might need. Below the globe was brand new luggage that was spilling out clothing, as well as both casual and dress shoes. There were other boxes too, none of them opened, and Sander could only guess at their contents right now. This really was too much. “We enjoy ourselves is how we repay him. Take this gift and have the best time we can.” She was crying now, and his own eyes filled with tears. “I do believe that he’s the best man I’ve ever known. His parents would have been so proud of him.” 

Gabriel: Winchester Brothers Release Day & Giveaway

Gabriel Winchester was finally opening his own practice. After finishing the final details, and meeting his first patient, he sat back in his unfinished office and closed his eyes, just to rest them, he told himself. When he opened them, a burly stranger was there, and he wasn’t that friendly. The man was looking for a Rayne McFarland and “I don’t know who she is” wasn’t an acceptable answer, so Gabriel called his brothers through their link for help.

Rayne was on the run from her father, and knew when he caught up with her she’d be dead. Rayne could speak to the deceased and they warned her every time her father’s henchmen were near. What she didn’t count on was falling in the woods and injuring herself.

When his brother, Owen, brought the unconscious woman into his office, Gabriel’s wolf knew immediately who she was to them. Ready or not, Gabriel had a mate, and while he knew he could handle the threat to her, he wasn’t sure he could live with her ability to talk to the dead.

 

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Caleb Winchester didn’t care for his boss, in fact he despised him. He hadn’t meant to quit that day—the words ‘I quit’ spilled from his mouth without thinking—but once said he had no regrets. He was a good ad executive, he could find another job.

Quinn Dorsey and her father, Alexander, had seen Caleb’s work and that was the artist they needed for their dog food labels. When the agency couldn’t deliver the ad campaign they ordered, and then lied about Caleb working on the project, they went looking for the man himself.

Caleb hadn’t expected his customers to seek him out, but when Alexander shows up at Caleb’s house with his daughter, Quinn, Caleb is floored—she’s his mate and she’s been marked by another alpha.

Caleb’s not going to let an alpha beat him out of his mate. This lunatic has been marking females left and right, but if Caleb claims her, he risks not only his life, but the life of his mate and family as well….

 

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Karmen Davis
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Coming Soon  July 24th 2017

 

 

 

Prologue

Gabe sat down on the grass and watched the kids playing. He’d thought about joining them, but he wasn’t much of a joiner. He was more like the one to wait for one of them to get hurt. Because someone always did. Someday he was going to be a doctor, he knew it. But at sixteen, he knew he had a long way to go until that happened.  Gabe glanced over when he felt someone near, and smiled at Tyler. Tyler would be the one to go join them, so he was surprised when he didn’t. “Maggie Morehouse, do you know her?” Gabe said that he only knew her by name. “She was killed yesterday. Some idiot pulled her into the woods and killed her. I heard Mom and Dad talking about it this morning.” “Do they know who did it?” Tyler shrugged and Gabe turned to look at the kids in the pond. “I keep waiting on one of them to fall off the big rock and bash their head. I don’t know why humans are so dumb when it comes to checking things out before they leap.” “Do you suppose that they have any idea that there are a couple of wolves watching them, a bear, and a cat? Or that any or all of them could run them down, kill them, then run off so’s no one will ever find them?” Gabe said he doubted that they even knew they were trespassing. “Mr. Cartwright, he’d sure be all over them if he knew they were here.” Gabe pointed to the line of trees just in front of them. “He’s been sitting there watching them since I came up here. I think he just likes watching them have fun. Or like me, he’s waiting for one of them to be hurt.” “He told me last week that you were going to amount to something. I told him that I’d already figured that out on my own.” Gabe thanked his little brother. “You’re welcome. Do you think I might too? Amount to something, I mean?” “I don’t see why not. I mean, we all have to go to college. Don’t know how Mom and Dad are going to manage that, but they sure are pushing us. You should think on it now what you want to be. So when the times comes for you to go, you have a better idea.” Tyler nodded. “Do you know what it is you want to be?” “Yes, I was thinking on being a cop.” Gabe nodded. He’d be a good cop, the way he seemed to be able to read people. “Or a lawyer. I don’t know about that so much. Mom and Dad sure think they’re an odd bunch.” “You have some time. Just figure it out, like I said, and you’ll be good at whatever it is.” He looked at the kids again when someone started screaming. He knew someone was in pain, but he wasn’t going to save them, not from their own parents. The switch going through the air and smacking hard against their bare skin was funny. “Tyler, someday I’d like to be able to find me a mate, and make her the happiest person in all the world. I talked to Mr. Cartwright about how to make a mate happy, and he said it was all in how you presented yourself. Honesty, he said, was the first step.”

 

“Are there a lot of steps, you think?” He told Tyler there were ten. And he was learning them all. “Ten steps to make a girl like you? Sounds like too much work. And if she’s already your mate, what do you care if you make her happy or not? Girls are just plain dumb if you ask me.” They were headed back to the house when he thought of the rest of the rules from Mr. Cartwright. There were ten, but they didn’t seem all that difficult. He’d made sure that he had memorized each one of them, and remembered that with each rule there was a counter rule. Gabe didn’t know those. Mr. Cartwright had told him those changed with the situation. Like if the woman was nice, headstrong, or just plain stubborn. He hoped she was just plain nice. Like his mom. The house that they lived in wasn’t small, but it sure was crowded when they sat down to dinner. And Mr. Cartwright coming over made it a bit tighter. But he’d not change it for the world. He loved the old man like he was his grandda. And he had the best advice when Gabe asked him for it. Smiling, he thought of the dinner that they’d be having tonight. His favorite. Pork chops on the grill with cheesy potatoes, and green beans from the garden.  The pork chops had come their way by a gift card from the local grocery store. They’d been having monthly drawings for people that brought in their own bags and helped with the recycling bins. He had been working in the store for nearly three months now, and his momma had won the thing four times. He thought that she was the only person that brought in her own bags, but it was more because she could carry the extra weight that her large bags would hold rather than the flimsy plastic ones.  As soon as he entered the house he could see the tension in his parents. Mr. Cartwright was sitting at the table drinking a cup of tea, and his mom was wiping down the clean counter. His dad was leaning against the wall, but he was far from relaxed.  “Something going on?” They all turned to him and he backed up. “What’s happened? I’ve not been around today, but I might have left something undone.” “It’s not you, son. We heard from the pack master. Daniel was saying that that young woman that was killed yesterday, she was murdered by a pair of wolves.” Gabe sat down and thought of all the things that could go wrong with that knowledge. His mom continued as she rubbed harder on the surface. “They know who it was…they were a part of our pack, and the pack is going to deal with them.”  He knew what she meant, how they would be dealt with, as well as what would happen to their families if they had any. Daniel was a good man, a good leader, and wouldn’t kill the families as most would. But they would be turned out. Having no pack would be hard on a person. They were what kept you safe and full when things were rough. Later that night, he was sitting in the window just looking out when he saw the fires. Gabe watched them for ten minutes while trying not to think of what it meant. Caleb asked him if he was all right. “I don’t know what to think. But I believe that they’re burning their homes down with all their things in them. Both of those families had nothing to do with their men,

 

and now they got nowhere to go.” Caleb got out of the bed and came to sit by him in the other window. “That’s not right. I can’t believe sometimes that we belong to a place where rules like this are enforced.” “The Zenick family was harboring their uncle. He’d even bragged to them about how he’d killed the woman, yet none of them raised a hand to help Daniel figure it out. They didn’t tell him anything until he commanded them to.” Gabe hadn’t heard that and told his brother. “The Daltons knew as well. One of the boys even filmed the rape and murder of the woman so they could see where they’d made mistakes and could do better the next time. And they had that planned as well. Their plan was to take two women, one of them pack.” He looked out the window, then at his brother, when something occurred to him. “Mom? Or Alisha?” The pack bitch, Caleb told him. “I had no idea. I wonder why Daniel didn’t kill them too?” “Because he’s a good man.” Gabe nodded but said nothing else as Caleb continued. “I don’t know that I’d have been able to do that, let them live. To have your family ripped from you the way that they did would be hard to live through.” “When I have a mate, I’m going to make sure that I protect her with all that I am.” Caleb asked him what if she was stronger than him. “Nah, I’m going to be her protector. And her mate. She’ll be delicate and soft, like Mom is.” “Mom is neither of those things. She’s wonderful, but you get her upset and she’d bash your head in with a bat and not think a thing about it.” There was that. “She’s a wonderful mom, but I sure don’t see her as delicate or soft. And I don’t know if I’d tell her that either.” Gabe went to bed. He thought about what his brother had said, and wondered if he knew what he was talking about. Even if their mom was a little tense when she was upset, he wasn’t going to give his mate any reason to be mad at him. Gabe was going to be the perfect mate to his little flower.