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Mercy Queens Birds of Prey By Kathi S Barton Release Day & Giveaway

Mercy and her warrior sisters had been around for several millennia, their time of fighting in wars and conquering kingdoms now a distant memory. Before Queen Dante passed, she’d graced her prized warriors—the falcon, hawk, eagle, phoenix, vulture, and owl—with humanity as well as immortality. A gift that Mercy, to this day, was having difficulty coming to terms with. Living as a human was not what she was born to do, nor what she wanted to do. Being an immortal in a life she didn’t want left Mercy feeling angry at the world and turned her into a workaholic.

As an intervention, Blaze arranged an extended vacation and guilted her into taking it. She made all the arrangements and wouldn’t tell Mercy where she was going, just to be at the airport and do as she was told.

Joel Oliver needed this job. Finances were tight, and Blaze said all he had to do was chauffer a rich woman around town. What he would receive would catch him up on the mound of bills piling up and keep the roof over his—and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Miley’s—head for a few months longer. Miley was in a wheelchair—and as a result, had a lot of medical bills—but he loved her more than his own life. However, Joel was about to bite off more than he could chew.

The woman was gorgeous, and he found her snarky, hateful, attitude amusing until she interfered with how he was raising his daughter. Now, all bets were off.

Mercy would normally laugh in the man’s face for his hurtful remarks, but for some reason, her heart shattered instead. After a night of the most mind-blowing sex she could’ve imagined, he was treating her like it all meant nothing…. She had just realized he was her mate, and he hated her….

 

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Prologue

The castle was going down, thanks wholly to her birds. Queen Dante sat upon her
horse and watched as stone after stone crumbled to the ground. In a matter of moments,
not only were the walls to the fort destroyed, but the king inside his castle was dead as
well. Turning her mount, she headed back to the encampment to ready herself for the
long ride home. The birds joined her not half an hour later, their large bodies covered in
dust and blood.

“You have done well, my darlings.” They could understand her and she them, but
no one else could. She had made them what they were, and she would be the only one
to control them. “Have you fed well on his dying cattle? How does it serve a man to
have his food dying? His people, they were fed no better, I saw.”
The birds—she had never named them—told her that the people were headed west.
In a few months, maybe less, they would all be dead too. It bothered them when the
people suffered because of the king or queen of the castle. But it was to be. Dante could
not care for any more in her own keep.
No one would attack her keep. If they tried, she knew them to be too stupid or too
drunk on their own mead. She had her birds, all of them bigger than life, made large by
magic that she gave them. Looking at them as they landed around her, forever keeping
her safe, she wondered why she had not thought of it sooner, when her king was still
alive.

“I would have set you upon him. You could have eaten him for your dinner.
Though I suspect that it would have given you a great deal of belly pains.” The hawk
told her that she was lucky that he had died the way he had. No one would come for
her if she had killed him. “Yes, that is very true. But I suffered greatly when he was
living. No children with me to give me comfort in my olden age. Though they might
have been just like him, and that would have been too much to bear.”
She would never marry again. Love wasn’t something that she searched for. Not
that she didn’t have someone to warm her bed on occasion, but it was nice to be able to
send them on their way when she was finished with them. Her heart belonged to no
one, and she would not take another man to her bed by force.

All would be well, and no
one would threaten to come and take over her home, she hoped. The birds’ as well.
The hawk used her beak to put delicate things upon the backs of the others. There
was aplenty this time. Barrels and smoked meats. Pottery that they would use like it
wasn’t worth a king’s gold. They raided the castle each time they conquered. Hawk was
the best at getting in and out before they took the places to the ground.
The eagle took off toward home. She would let the people know that the queen was
returning simply by her showing up. They would have a feast this night. The food upon
her back would feed them for many days, and the barrels of spices that had been
hoarded in the lower levels of the king’s castle would go a long way toward trading
what they did not grow.

The phoenix, by far the most deadly of her birds, shed her feathers in anticipation of
getting new ones. After a battle she would become anew, each time getting stronger,
and her feathers, brilliant now, would be brighter still. She could flame a fire so hot that
stone would crumble under a man’s feet. The ground would no longer hold a seed
within its belly to produce food, and she could kill a man with a single breath so that
there would be nothing left of his body.

Dante loaded the last of her things onto the back of the owl. She might be small, she
had always thought, but she could carry more than her own weight. And she would
pick up her horse, used to flying through the sky like a bird himself, and take him back
to the castle. He would be fed and groomed before Dante ever landed on the ground.
The vulture squawked at her, and she turned to look at the two men there. They
looked as if they might have been about to kill her, but the sight of such large birds
threw them off their duty. In no time at all the vulture snapped both of them up and ate
them. A gruesome sight, but one that filled her heart with joy too. She was safe again.
The vulture took off once she was loaded up.

“Well, my falcon, it is just you and I left.” She told her that she was still armed.
“Yes, well, probably not too bad of an idea seeing that they nearly shot us.”
The falcon laid her body to the ground. She was the only one that was fitted with a
seat, one that Dante rode on. Scouring the area, Dante always made sure that she left
the places that she camped as neat and clean as she’d found them. Sometimes in better
shape. As she climbed onto the back of her bird, she held her breath.
“I do hate the height. I should have thought this through when I turned you into
my warriors.” Her laughter, should there have been someone around to hear it, might
have sounded insane. “Homeward, my love, and we shall eat well tonight.”
She took no one with her on her fights, except the birds.

That was why she
believed, her people were so loyal to her—she protected them. Fed them better than
herself and made sure that there was plenty for them to trade and share for things that
she did not provide for them.
The soil was rich and would give forth a bounty like no other gardens. Flowers that
were woven into pretty things and traded. There was a smithy, as well as a doctor who
doubled as a dentist. They had even acquired a gravedigger, who doubled as a man
who made markers.
A single merchant that came by, his wagon filled when he arrived, would leave
with the wagon near empty. He would bring the latest news with him, and any posts
that he had been asked to bring to them. He would also, for a small coin, take outposts
for the next time he was in the keep of a relative or friend.
And today there was such a missive, but it was for her, from someone that she had
hoped never to hear from again. The king of the land—the only man that she answered
to, though it wasn’t with any kind of happiness on her part.
After the others were settled down and the food that had been brought put into
storage, she sat down and wasn’t surprised that the falcon came to see her. The room
that she was in—the throne room, for lack of a better term—had no roof, and six perches for the birds when they wished to see her.

Otherwise, they sat upon the top of
the castle turrets, watching for anything that might befall them.
“I am to wed. The king of the land, he has decided that my castle, Duncan Castle, is
the best there is, and he will marry me himself.” They asked about his castle. “He says
that it will be his son’s, which he has none as yet. His last five wives only gave him
daughters, from what I have heard, and they did not last long afterwards.”
The falcon asked her what she would do. Dante knew what would happen to her
should he come here. He would kill her. Being in her fortieth summer, she was much
too old to bear children now, and he would be better with a younger bride. One that
could birth him the sons that he wanted.

“He will kill me, we all know that. And you six will kill him or be killed. I worry so
much for the people here too.” She thought of several plans and threw them out. It was
in her head that if she should die, then she would do so on her own terms. “I will need a
day to think on this. In the meantime, he says that he will be here in the new year. That
will give us a month to provide for the people and make sure that they are not
harmed.”
To be continued in book two, Hawk

 

 

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Lucian McCray Bruin By Kathi S Barton Release Day & Giveaway

 

Demi Morgan was good at keeping her identity hidden, so when an attorney found her at a restaurant she owned, she was more than a little angry. Very few people knew how to find her, and she took her privacy seriously. His news that her mother had passed, several months ago, did nothing for her. Her family had never wanted her, and in turn she didn’t want them either. He knew her family, and he understood her feelings, but the will had to be read.

Reluctantly, Demi made her arrangements to travel back to her hometown in Ohio. Her intentions were to either decide to stay, or to sell the home her grandmother had left her. Living in the same town as her brother and sister didn’t appeal to her at all. When her brother, Nathan, coldcocked her in the elevator, an unlikely savior came to her rescue, Madden McCray.

Demi wanted to hire Madden to be her bodyguard while she was in town. Madden said as much as he could use the money, he told her he already had a job, but his brother, Lucian could use the work.

Lucian wanted to meet Demi before he accepted the job, and when her scent hit him between the eyes, his bear rolled over him—she was his mate. But reality hit him like a freight train. She had money—a lot of money—and he and his family had always been dirt poor. He wanted his mate too—more than anything, but he’d have to get past his pride first….

 

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Demi didn’t care for the job she was doing. Not that she hated it, but she didn’t like having to sneak in to keep an eye on her employees. They were an all right bunch, she supposed—for the most part anyway. But the shrink rate here was really high, and that meant someone was walking out the door with a great deal of food nightly. She was going to catch them, fire whoever it was, and have them arrested. She heard the phone ringing in the distance and ignored it. No one knew who she was, neither here nor where she lived. They thought her name was Cassie Jones—best she could come up with—when she was really Demetrius Morgan. No one here called her Demi, however, which she’d gone by for nearly twelve years now. Spraying off the dishes that had come back from the dining room, she noticed that the people seemed to be eating all their food. What was left over wasn’t enough to make a twenty-seven percent shrink rate. Someone whistling had her turning toward the doorway to where she was working. “Your name Demetrius Morgan?” Before she could think to say no, he nodded when she told him it was.

“Okay, didn’t know that, but you have a phone call. Said it’s important.” Going to the very public phone, she tried to think who might have been calling her. No one. No one other than a couple of people knew her real name and knew where she was, and no one had called her by her first name since she’d left home. “Who the fuck is this?” She kept her voice down but let the fury that she had right now show though. The voice on the other end sputtered and stammered. “Who the fuck is calling me here and knows anything about me?” “Ms. Morgan? I’m so sorry to have bothered you there, but you’re very difficult to find. My name is Daxton Peyton.” She asked him what reason he could have for trying to find her. “Your mother, miss. She’s passed away.” “And? You want me to do a jig? I will if necessary. But right now, I want answers. Why are you contacting me?” He repeated that her mother had passed away, three months ago as a matter of fact. “Again, that gave you no right to contact me. It’s not like we were even on the worst of terms. I hated her as much as she did me. And the same for my sister and brother.

Why are you looking for me anyway? I’m sure that she had no more use for me than I did her.” “She was buried three months ago, and I’ve been trying to locate you since. As I said, you’ve proven to be very difficult to find. There is a will. You’re named in it, as are your sister, Ms. Astrid Morgan Chase, and your brother, Mr. Nathan—” “I fucking know who they are. What did you hope to gain by contacting me? And if you tell me again how hard it was to find me, then think on that for a moment. Perhaps that was because I had no desire to be found, you moron.” She looked around the kitchen and realized that they’d stopped working to stare at her. She decided it was time to come clean on a few things. “Look, I’ll contact you in a couple of days, no sooner.

If you pester me, I’ll simply get lost again. Just give me your contact information and I’ll call you when I have a few minutes.” “All right. But your family is getting upset that you can’t be found so the will can be read.” Rolling her eyes, she thought of all the things she could tell this man, but only asked again for his phone number. “Thank you.” “I don’t want your thanks, Mr. Peyton, I want you to leave me the fuck alone.” He said again that he was sorry, but that this was important. “Not as important as my privacy. Goodbye.” She hung up the phone and stood there, leaning her head against the wall the phone was on. Demi wanted to go home, call this man, and give him a piece of her mind. Or sue him. She didn’t know what for, but she wanted him to pay for making her name a public format. Before she could say anything to those around her, she was touched on the arm and then dragged into the offices. The chef, Daniel Westbrook, told her to sit down. She did. Demi was much too exhausted right now to think that she was his boss. “Demetrius Morgan. That’s you.” She said it was. “You sign our checks. I’m assuming that you have a good reason for doing a shit job when you own this place. Probably more than this place.” “I do. On both points. The restaurant is losing money. I think that someone is stealing food. I was seeing if I could find out who was doing it before the police were brought in.”

He nodded and asked if she had ruled him out. “I’ve not ruled anyone out just yet. I think that someone in your kitchen and a waitstaff person is doing it. But I can’t tell how.” “I guess I’ll have to take that as a good sign. But they’re not taking shit while I’m here. And I have noticed someone going out of here with a bag full of stuff. I’m assuming that you’ve not checked your email in a couple of days.” She said she’d been busy. “I bet you have. I was letting you know that a big portion of the meat we had delivered is missing. Steaks, roasts. A lot of meat, and some vegetables.” “Seven hundred pounds of beef, two hundred of pork, and a few hundred chickens. If vegetables are missing, I haven’t found that yet.” He pulled out the inventory that she’d gotten three days ago. “I have this.” “Yes, but I’m been keeping a daily tab on things. Also, I’ve been taking pictures of the locker room when I leave at night and when I come in. I asked you, in the email, if I could install a camera.” She flushed and said she was sorry. There was really no need for the camera, she thought. Demi sort of had an idea who was doing it. “No need to be. You had no way of knowing who you could trust, and I’m glad that you didn’t come in here and start accusing anyone. Or making me responsible for what’s going on.” “I’m not like that.” He handed her the second sheet. This one had daily columns with a total each day. Then he told her the highlighted areas were trucks coming in. “So, whoever they are, they’re hitting us right after the truck comes in.” “Pretty much. And since I have to be here for the truck, the things coming out of it are dead on. Nothing shady with them.” She grinned at him. “Something else I should know?”

“I own them too—at least the shipping company. I had a shake down a few months ago with them about missing inventory. They’re very good now with making sure customers get what they should have.” He laughed. “I might have to go out of town for a few days. I have personal business that I have to deal with.” “I heard. No one else would have—I kept them away. But I’m not human, as I’m sure you know.” She nodded, still going over the inventory. “Ms. Morgan, I’m sorry about your loss.” “Don’t be. We were never close. And since she passed away, I have to be there now.” She looked up at him. “I’m extremely private, Daniel. Any of this gets circulated around, and I will make your life not worth living. I can promise you that.” “I believe you.” She handed him the paperwork and asked him if he’d keep an eye on things until she returned. She told him that she’d call him in a couple of days with a burner phone. “All right. Is there anything I can do in the meantime?” “Stay out of it. You’re not to engage, even if you find out. And I’ll have cameras installed at the back door and the locker room. If something happens that I can catch, you’ll never know—not until a few employees stop showing up.” He asked her why she thought it was more than one person. “It would take a lot of muscle to carry out that much meat. One of the female employees could probably do it, but none of them drive a car big enough to carry it away.

There are four trucks on the lot, yours and mine not included. One of your chop help might be doing it, but he’s too frail to have me believe that he’s doing this alone. At this point, I’m not ruling anyone out but you.” Demi went to her home and packed some things that she might need for the next week. She wasn’t naïve enough to think that this would only take a day or two. Her family never did anything quickly, nor like she wanted them to. She made arrangements to fly out in the morning and called the man who was going to replace her in the restaurant to let him know he needed to show up. “I was going to ask you. I liked being at home all the time at first, but now I’m bored.” Demi told him that she’d gotten the other job, the ploy that she’d used to get him to take a few days off. “Thanks so much for this. My wife sure did enjoy having me home a bit more. But she, too, is ready for me to go back.” After squaring away the rest of the house, she went to her office. Demi pulled up her mother’s name to see if she really was dead. The headline said all she needed to know—Abrielle Morgan had passed away after a bout with the flu. It went on to mention that she had two daughters and one son. No names were mentioned, not even her beloved Astrid and Nathan’s, but she had been buried next to Demi’s father a few days after she’d passed away. Demi tried very hard not to think about her family. They hadn’t ever thought of her, she was sure. When she’d left home, she’d been just shy of her seventeenth birthday—seven days after graduating at the top of her class in high school, and only mere hours away from graduating at the top of her class in college. Not only did she speak several languages, but she also had a degree in business management and a minor in accounting. When she had left home, Demi had set herself up in a house with the money she’d horded, as well as finished her education to become the best that she could be.

Now years later she had a doctorate in business management, and also one in history. Education had always been a priority for her—never to her family. Demi remembered well the argument that she’d had and the physical fight that ensued the day she’d left. “You’re not going.” Her mother didn’t answer her. Her graduation from college, much more important than high school, was coming up and her mother was still in her pajama’s. Abrielle, as she’d been told to call her mother, had only told her that she didn’t feel inclined to go to anything she was doing. “I see. So, if this had been Nate or Astrid, you’d be right there with them.” “Of course. You were never any kind of favorite of mine, and I can’t believe that since you’ve managed to fuck your way to a diploma, you’d think things would change for you. I want you out of this house as soon as I can manage it. You’re what, four years from turning eighteen? I’ll have you out the door so fast when you turn that magic number that you’ll not even touch the grass that is my front yard.” “I’m seventeen now. I’ll be eighteen in two months.” Her mother said that was wonderful news. “You’ve never cared for me, have you, Abrielle? Not one bit.” “Never. Had I found out that I was carrying you sooner, you wouldn’t be anything but a drop in some quack’s bucket. As it was, I couldn’t very well send you to some ass hold that would buy you from me either, since that old bat knew you were around.” Her grandmother; her father’s mother, Milly Morgan. “She’s the only reason that I’ve not had you killed off.” Grandma Morgan had been the one to tell her to leave the house. Demi had lived with her until she was fully recovered. The beating that she’d taken from first Nathan, then Astrid, had hospitalized her for several days, followed by bed rest for several weeks. No one had known she was there, and as far as she understood, they’d never asked about her either. It was just as well, Demi thought.

It was the beginning of the end for her little family, and contact between them. Grandma had died several weeks ago, and Demi had been the only family at the service. Grandma had given her so much over the years—money to help pay for college, money for a car when she needed one, and leaving her a house and her money when she passed away. Grandma Morgan had been the only one that had loved her, and now she too was gone. Getting up the next morning, her head splitting from staying up too late. Demi boarded the plane and put her overnight in the overhead storage bin, taking her laptop to her seat with her. Settling in, Demi was happy that she’d purchased the seat next to her so that she could sit alone. People, she knew, would want to pass the time, and she had enough going on without making small talk with a stranger. The plane took off on time, and she calculated how long it would take her to get to Ohio. She was going to stay in Grandma’s house that she’d left her, and make sure that she had everything up to date in it. The house wasn’t on the market yet—she wasn’t even sure she wanted to sell it—but it would be nice when she decided what to do with it.

Renting a car at the airport, she drove to the house and parked in the massive garage. Grandma’s staff had been informed that she was coming, so the house would be aired out and everything ready for her. The only staff that had stayed on after Grandma passed were her butler and cook. Demi figured that would be all she needed, since a cleaning crew came in once a week to do the dusting and such. Moses met her at the door with a list. After a tight hug, he told her what he’d done for her concerning her mother’s funeral. “I made arrangements with the attorney that contacted you. I’m so sorry, Demi. I had no idea it would take so long. I sent flowers to the funeral home, no name attached, and paid cash for it. I have also made sure that the bills were paid for the funeral. They had not been.” Demi thanked Moses, an old sounding name for a man younger than her. “Additionally, there has been some talk about the children trying to sell off the family furniture. I think they were getting desperate for you to come home.” “Do you have any idea why I was named in the will?” Moses speculated that she was telling her off once and for all. “Could be. I don’t think that she had a pot to piss in other than the insurance money that Dad left her, and the other two spent money like it was their job.” “The taxes haven’t been paid on the estate or any of the credit cards that they managed to get. Which, by my estimation, is about five thousand dollars. Not much, but it is getting them hounded by the creditors. I have been able to purchase the controlling stock for you in the last few days of your grandmother’s company, as you asked me to do.

If you want to go over that, it’s there on your desk.” They were sitting at the kitchen table, a place where she and her grandma had eaten more than in the big dining room. “I’ve contacted your attorney, Mr. Shoe, and he is well aware that you’re going to the reading of the will. He said that he’d be there with you. He believes that you’ll need him.” “I guess I might.” She ate some of the cupcakes that were on a tray before speaking again. “Now that Abrielle is gone, I might stick around here. Astrid and Nathan mean nothing to me, and even if they want something, I’m very good at telling people no. What do you think would happen should I move here?” “I’d be happy, and I know that your grandma would as well. It’s been too long since a Morgan has been living here.” She nodded. “Demi, they’re broke, and…and well, you’re not. They’re going to cause you some trouble wanting money from you.” “As I said, I’m really good at saying no. And I’m not that seventeen-year-old kid anymore. I’ve done a lot of growing up being on my own. Also, I’ve taken enough selfdefense classes that I can hold my own now.” He laughed and said that all she’d need to do was be able to walk fast. “I don’t understand.” “They’ve gotten fat. I don’t mean slightly overweight, but fat. I bet that Nathan weighs as much as four hundred pounds now. Not a good look on his short frame. And Astrid drinks too much and is as lazy as always. She more than likely weighs in at about three fifty.” Demi laughed. “I saw them a few weeks ago, when they were here looking for you. Astrid still dresses like she’s a teeny bopper, and Nathan wears stretchy shorts.

Year round. He blames it on the stress of keeping the family together, but he hasn’t done a day’s work in all his life. Nor has Astrid for that matter.” They talked about this and that, mostly concerning the house, and once in a while they’d come back to her brother and sister. She hadn’t known about them being heavy, but the rest she knew. Astrid had been married six times—divorced that many times too. She would marry up, as Grandma had called it, trying to find a man that would die soon and leave her everything. The only thing she’d been left was bills. No one would marry her without a prenup. That, Demi thought, had a great deal to do with her putting a little information on the table about her dear sister. Nathan had been married twice, and both times the women had left him high and dry. He had a daughter that Demi made sure was safe from her father. Nathan also had more bills than his ass could cover. There were two houses that he was paying on, both left to his wives, as well as a car, credit cards, and a shit load of attorney fees for when he got himself into one kind of trouble after the other. Her appointment had been moved from tomorrow, which she’d been planning on, to this evening. It was only one in the afternoon now, so she drove herself to the cemetery where Grandma was buried. Grandda was there too—his death had occurred before she was born. Putting the flowers on their graves as she sat on the bench she’d had put in, she told them of her trip here. “I’m going to see them tonight. I’m not sure that I’m ready for that. I mean, I’m not stupid—I know that they’re going to try and blame me for their lot in life—but I also know something that they don’t.

I have more money than they’ll ever have.” Demi told them both about her new business venture, as well as the problems she was having at the restaurant. Nothing she couldn’t figure out, she assured them, but it was annoying. She told them too that her mother had passed away. But since they more than likely already knew that, she moved on. Demi looked out over the beautiful cemetery and wondered for a moment if she should visit her mother’s grave. “I won’t, just so you know. There was nothing between us in life, and there is less now that she’s dead. “I’ve been watching the stock market, as you taught me to do, Grandma. I have bought and sold more businesses than I think you and I did when you were around. I miss you, by the way. Bouncing ideas off of you while we talked was something that I looked forward to every time, and I miss that now.” Kneeling down, she pulled a small weed out of the otherwise pristine flower garden that had been planted by her.

“I have to see the attorney tonight. I’m not sure how he found me, but I intend to find out. I don’t know what Abrielle wanted of me or why she would mention me in her will, but I’m guessing this is her way of letting Astrid and Nathan try and beat the crap out of me one more time.” It wouldn’t work this time. Not only had she learned to defend herself, but she also had learned to carry and shoot a gun. There would be no more taking her to the floor and beating her to shit. No more stitches from them using their boots on her body. She was her own woman, and she would defend herself no matter what.

When it was time for her to leave, she kissed both headstones and told them she’d see them later. As she was leaving the cemetery, she wondered about the car parked just down from hers. But since no one had bothered her, she never paid it much mind. Demi hated to be late and disliked it when other people were late too. She always made it so that she was early, so that she didn’t have to worry about something befalling her to make her behind. And when she got to the offices of the attorney, she was told that Ms. Chase was running late and picking up Mr. Morgan. But Mr. Peyton popped his head out of an office and smiled at her. “If you’d like to come on in, Demi, I’m sure you have questions.” She nodded and stood up. “Your attorney called me today, just to make sure that you were represented should you need it. I assured him that you’d not need him this evening, as this was just a meeting, but that tomorrow he should be here.” “I want to know, first of all, how did you find me?” She was asked to have a seat. “Mr. Peyton, I don’t want my name out there in the public. I’m sure that, if you’ve had any dealings with my family, you can understand why.” “I do. And they haven’t any idea of anything about you other than that I found you. They’ve asked, I will admit to that, but I never told them anything. Not one thing.” She nodded. “I put a search out to find you from some of my trusted friends in this business. It was difficult, I will say that for you. Even when I heard from Mr. Shoe, he wasn’t easily willing to give me any contact information. He only gave me that number when the timing of the will was getting close.” “What does that mean?” He said that part would be explained tomorrow. “No, tonight, or I walk.”

“I’d rather you didn’t force my hand, Demi. And I know that I should ask to use such an informal name, but to think of you being associated with Astrid and Nathan makes my skin crawl.” Mr. Peyton shivered. “How on earth are you from the same family? I shouldn’t say that, but goodness, they are a pair, aren’t they?” “Yes, well, Abrielle wasn’t any better.” The noise out in the hall made her aware that the pair in question had shown up, and with them all the noise, cursing, and even bodies being pounded against the walls. They walked in—waddled in was more like it—and she stood up. It was a defense thing—sitting down around these two would always get her hurt. But when Nathan smiled at her and Astrid sucked in her cheeks in an effort to make herself look thinner, she supposed, Demi knew that they had no idea who she was. Good, this might be more fun than she’d thought. “Well, hello there, gorgeous. Had I known you were going to be here, I would have arrived on time.” He winked at her as he turned to look at Peyton. “You didn’t tell me that you hired someone to work for you, Dax. She sure is a looker.” “Sit down, you idiot. She’s your sister. Demetrius arrived on time. Now we can get started. Your mother left each of you an envelope. You’re not to open it until tomorrow when you come back here at one. She was very serious about this. If you bring the envelope back to me opened or tampered with, you forfeit some of the estate.” He handed them all an envelope, and Demi put hers in her bag with all the other paperwork that she had to take care of in the morning.

“All right. That’s all for this evening. I will see you all tomorrow at one. Do not be late.” Mr. Peyton showed them out. Neither of her siblings spoke to her in the hall or the elevator ride down. It wasn’t until they were in the lobby that Nathan drew back his fist and slammed her in the face. It had been too fast for her to do anything more than fall to the floor. That was the last thing she rem

Tyler Winchester Brothers By Kathi S Barton Release Day & Giveaway

Jazzie Scott had been having a bad run on her luck ever since she had gotten mixed up with Ryan Scott. The only thing good to come out of that short marriage was her son Joey. Ryan died right after Joey was born which left her nearly broke and working a thankless job just to survive. Now someone was out to get her. They blew up her house and sent another bomb to the school where she worked. The police were now trying to pin the bombings on her, and she had had about all she could stand when her Uncle Lloyd stepped in to help.

Tyler Winchester had properties all over the world and had recently hired a staff of people to handle them for him. He had to fly to France to take care of a problem when he received a call from one of his employees, Lloyd, that Lloyd’s niece was in trouble. Lloyd was a good worker and Tyler offered to help.

Tyler arrived home, in the wee hours of the morning. He had a bad case of jetlag and all he wanted to do was sleep. When he entered his bedroom, the sounds of a baby fussing immediately drew his attention, and when he picked the little guy up, he knew immediately that the babe’s mom was his mate. Her scent had his head spinning.

Jazzie wasn’t too keen on having another man in her life. The last one was enough to make her swear off men for the rest of her life.

 

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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…

 

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.

 

 

 

Clare Macintosh didn’t know what was going on. Her brother, Conrad, had been called in for a meeting and they’d already been waiting over an hour. They were leaving, they had waited long enough.

Owen Winchester had called for the meeting with Conrad. He had no idea the young man was handicapped, but what he had to show him would make his life easier, or at least he hoped so. The trunks Owen had found in the barn of his new home belonged to him. Conrad was the only living relative he could find of the previous owner. Owen was a bit surprised to find Conrad had a sister and she was his mate to boot.

All Clare wanted to do was take her brother and hide. Her parents, Con and Ava Macintosh, weren’t nice people, and neither were the people they stole from. Even though Clare had distanced herself from them, it wouldn’t stop their associates from seeking revenge. She didn’t need the handsome stranger pushing his way into her life.

 

Addie’s mission had been sabotaged and she’d been shot multiple times. She wouldn’t die from her wounds because she was an immortal, but she did hurt, and she needed time to heal. The Winchesters had taken her into their home while she was passed out from her injuries. Now that she was awake, she needed to leave. She was being hunted and they would all be in danger if she stayed.

Xander Winchester had just received the best news. The publisher loved his book so much that they were not only publishing his book, they were offering a movie deal to boot. He couldn’t wait to tell his family at dinner tonight.

The scent from the woman hit Xander hard. Her beauty was something that he’d never seen before. Even as he took a step toward her, his mind was telling him to tread carefully, while his body and wolf were telling him to go forth and conquer. He had a feeling that listening to that part of him would get him killed quicker than stepping in front of a bus. Or an entire line of them.

Xander should have known better. Should have taken to heart what his mind was telling him….

 

Winchester Brothers

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Jazzie could not wait for the last bus to pull away from the building. She looked at the array of gifts on her desk and wanted to sob. They hated her. And if she had only thought that was true before, this sort of set it in stone. Picking up one of the gifts, she looked at the mug. “For the worst teacher of the year.” Jazzie wanted to toss it across the room, see it smash against the concrete wall, and hear the pottery shatter. The rest of the gifts from her class were no different. There was a word of the day calendar that she knew one of the parents had picked up for the kid. It gave a word a day to describe hate. Not just the word, but also a little blurb about how the word could be used about her.

Jazzie also had a pen that when you clicked the button at the side, it would change a line to describe what they’d like to see happen to her. There were other things too, all in the same genre and directed right at her. A total of twenty-three gifts in all. She had to have been given the most gifts of all the teachers. Gathering them up and putting them in a box, she decided that she was going to find a job over the break, quit this stupid job that got her nothing for her work, and move away. She should have known better than to think she could make a difference after the first day of classes, when one of the students had given her a note from their parents. “Don’t even think about giving my son a failing grade. You do, and you’ll regret it for the rest of your short ugly life.” Jazzie still had it. She had framed it, thinking back then that it had been a joke. No, she’d come to find out. Not only wasn’t it a joke, but more of the parents had threatened her the same way. When she was putting the mug in the box, she knocked over the calendar. Its word today was piss-off.

Jazzie had no doubt that these were from the parents, but— She looked at the calendar as it lay open on the floor. Even from where she was sitting, she could see that there was some sort of device in it. Sitting down, trying to think what this might mean, she counted to ten. Then again, and again, trying to make her heartrate slow enough that she wasn’t dizzy. Taking out her cell phone, she put it away. Somewhere she thought she had read that cell phones could be used to make a bomb go off. While Jazzie wasn’t sure that’s what this was, she didn’t want to hurt anyone that might still be here in the building with her. Joey, her son, was safe with the sitter today if something should happen to her. Leaving the calendar where it was, she stepped into the hall and hoped that she was far away from the thing to make a call. She dialed her sister, knowing that she was going to regret it almost as soon as she pressed the button. And of course, it went right to voice mail. Jazzie tried to think who her sister worked for—somebody that had more money than brains, she thought. And then it occurred to her to call her Uncle Lloyd—Jazzie

was sure that he’d know what to do. At this point, she wasn’t even sure that the police would come and help her. And if it wasn’t a bomb, then she’d be laughed out of the town faster than she was planning to leave anyway. When he answered the phone, she sobbed. “Honey? Jazzie? What it is, love? Are you hurt? Joey? Is he okay?” Crying harder, she slid to the floor and asked him to hold on. It took her five minutes to spill out the story and tell him what she’d found. “Have you touched it? The calendar or the device?” “No. I mean, the calendar, it was a gift from one of my students, but I think it’s more from their parents.

They’re all so hateful, Uncle Lloyd. I have never been so hurt by something as I am this. I guess if the sucker is a bomb, then I’d be hurt more. Will you take care of Joey for me? He’s all I have in the world. Ash and Mom, they told me that they were tired of me—” He said her name hard and she shut up. “I’m to ask you who else is in the building with you.” She said that she didn’t know. The buses were all gone. “Good, the kids are gone then. All right. I want you to find a fire alarm and pull it. Then get out. As fast as you can.” “What if it’s not a bomb? Uncle Lloyd, you have no idea what I’ve been putting up with here.” He said her name again, but this time softer, gentler. “I can’t do this anymore. I just want to let it take me away.” “Now you listen here, young lady. You do what I tell you or I will paddle your bottom. You know that I will, too. That sister of yours, Ash, she should have had hers beaten a bit more, but she was too far gone by the time I came around.” He laughed. “However, I think she would have beaten my bottom worse. Now, do as I tell you.

” She went into the room, after getting his permission to get her purse, and then went into the hall to pull the alarm. When it sounded, several of the teachers came into the hall and asked her what the hell she was doing. After telling them that there was a bomb in the building, they simply closed the doors and went back into their rooms. Screaming, she went to the first door that had opened and pounded on it. Before Mrs. Hale could say anything, Jazzie slapped her, then asked her if that hurt. “I’m going to report you to the board. There is no cause for you to go around hitting people. I wish you’d just leave.” “Are you willing to just stay in your room and let a bomb, which was given to me by one of the students, go off and blow you to shit?” Mrs. Hale looked down at Jazzie’s door, then at Jazzie again. “If you think that slap hurt, how to you think it’s going to feel when the fucking building comes down on your head? Did you think of that? Now get your old skinny ass out of here before I have to knock you out and drag you by the hair.” She had no idea where all this violence was coming from, but it got Mrs. Hale moving. And she, in turn, got the rest of them moving as well. By the time the police and fire trucks pulled up, the teachers were standing as far back from the building as they could and still be in the parking lot. She almost forgot that she was still talking to her uncle.

“Remind me to never upset you. Where did that come from?” She smiled; it was the first real one she’d had since coming here. “Now, I want you to have a seat on the ground and let the people that know what they’re doing take care of this.” “What if it’s not a bomb?” She sat on the cold ground and waited for him to finish talking to someone with him. “Uncle Lloyd, I’m so sorry. I forgot you might be working.” “It’s all right, love. And it was a bomb. A friend of mine, he sent someone there and to your home. You were going to die if you’d not knocked over that gift.” If he continued talking, she had no idea what he was saying. Her mind kept looping around and around. “You were going to die. You were going to die.” When she woke up, she was in the back of an ambulance and a man was sitting next to her. Sitting up a little, she looked at him when he asked her to please stay still, someone was coming to get her. Not sure who that would be, she just assumed it was her uncle. “How long have I been here? And why does my head hurt so badly?”

She put her hand to her forehead and came away with blood when she felt it was wet. “Did one of the parents hit me?” “Ms. Scott, my name is Danny. And I’d like to advise you to not say another word.” She asked him why. “Your phone was ringing and I answered it. Lloyd said for me to tell you when you woke that he was coming and that you were to keep your mouth shut. He’s a very intense person, isn’t he?” “Yes. When there is someone hurt that he— There was a device in my office. Was it a bomb?” He helped her to sit up a little, but she had to wait until her head stopped spinning until she could look in the direction that he’d pointed. “Oh no. Oh my goodness. My son? Oh, my son?” “Your uncle, he told me that he was going to get him.” She asked him why he trusted him with the message. “I guess the guy that he works for, Tyler Winchester, told him that his brother knew me.

Dom and I went to school together. Now there is a nice man.” “I’ve had enough of nice men.” She didn’t know why she said that, and looked at what was left of the building. “I should have asked this before, but was anyone hurt?” “No, thanks to you. Mrs. Hale said that you got a little violent on her to get her out. She is telling everyone that you saved all their lives.” Jazzie told him that no one liked her. “Ah, I find that hard to believe. I mean, you seem like a nice person to me.” “I got the bomb from one of my students. Also, I had a lot of other things in my office.” He nodded and told her to lay back and close her eyes. Almost as soon as she did that, she heard a voice she didn’t know. “She awake yet?” Danny told the man that she had hit her head pretty hard. “Yes, well, I need for her to explain a few things to me. Like, why is it that her room was targeted? How did the bomb get into the school? Don’t tell her that her own home is gone. I’d like to see her reaction when I tell her. There is something fishy going on here.”

“Yes, I think so too.” Danny’s voice had turned hard then, and the cop, or so she thought it was, asked him what was up his ass. “Nothing. But from what I’ve heard, she saved a lot of teachers by getting them out of the building. And I know for a fact that the teachers here were taught what to look for in devices, as well as what to do. All the teachers in the district had to take it or they couldn’t teach this term.” “Yeah, well, she could have made it, brought it in on her own, then had second thoughts. Tell me when she wakes up. I have a lot of questions for her.” Danny told her he was gone but she didn’t move. “My house is gone too.” He said that he was sorry that she had to find out like that. “I have nothing left. Nothing for my son, nothing to put on him.

My savings is gone because I had to bury my husband, the lying cheating fucking prick.” When her uncle arrived, he sat with her while the police finally got around to asking her questions. Before she could utter the first word, even if she knew how to answer the one where he asked her if she had done it, an attorney came into the room and demanded that she be allowed to go to the hospital. Wendall Forthright not only had her on her way to the hospital in a few minutes, but he met her there too, bringing her uncle along. Joey was there as well, and as soon as she saw her little man, Jazzie felt better.

Her head was pounding so he kept trying to kiss her boo-boo, and that too made her feel human again. Sixteen stitches and a trip to where her uncle worked later, Jazzie found herself tucked into a nice warm bed, with her son in a crib right next to her. The meds that the doctor had given her for the trip had put her under. Her last thoughts were that it was a really nice hotel that someone put her and her son in. She only hoped that no one expected her to pay for it. She was pretty sure that not only was she out of work, but that she might be going to jail as well. ~*~ Tyler was on his way to France when the call came in about Lloyd’s niece and her son. He told him to bring them both to his home, put them in a room, and not to tell anyone where she was. His family was all right, but not anyone else. He’d gotten called about one of the houses that he owned. He’d sent Lloyd, Ash and her mother, as well as a friend of the family’s—Laveen Richardson’s—mother, Jannie. They went there to find out what had been going on.

And right after Lloyd had returned, thinking things were squared away, the house was vandalized. Tyler had to go there because there was no signed contract between him and Ash yet. So he was off again. The contract had been drawn up to have her sign when she returned from this trip. The other homes, all that she’d taken care of, seemed to be doing very well now. In the few weeks that she’d been there, he’d not gotten a single call from anyone. Again, Tyler wished that he’d hired someone much sooner. His cell was ringing just as he unbuckled and got ready to do some paperwork on the plane. It was his dad. Smiling, he waited for him to finish talking to Mom before he spoke to him.

“I’m telling you right now, if that girl ain’t your mate, I’m going to claim her as my own.” Tyler asked him what was going on. “That little man of hers—that’s what she calls him, her little man—he’s been having the best time with us. Or I should say, we’re having it with him. His poor momma. She’s the one that Lloyd told you about that had to bury her husband last year.” “He said that when the accident occurred, he and his lover were killed.” Dad told him that was the one. “Why are you having so much fun with the little boy? I mean, don’t you have enough grandchildren to play with there?” “I do. But a man like me, he can always have him a few more. You need to get yourself busy on that for us.” Tyler knew the moment that Mom hit Dad in the back of the head. “Durn it, woman, a man can beg, can’t he? I mean, the boy is all set for one. Got him a house right next door to us, and money in the bank.

Heck fire, he could take her all over the world and not have to visit one of them there fancy hotels once. Why not push him a little?” “Because, you old fool, he is not even in the States, and you’re adopting children for him. What is wrong with…are you still talking to him? What about his phone bills? Did you think of that when you were hanging on there like a monkey from the tree?” Tyler waited. He had explained to his parents, several times, that with a cell phone, it didn’t matter. His dad explained that to Mom while he waited for them to remember that someone had called him. “Tell him I love him, but I have to go and fetch some diapers for little Joey.” “That’s his name, in the event you didn’t know it.” He told Dad that he didn’t and thanked him.

“That man of yours, Lloyd, he’s fit to be tied. They’re blaming that bombing on her, I guess. Durn fools. Even her house—everything that she had was in it, and they’re treating her like she’d went and done it. There weren’t a soul hurt either, on account’a she went and made them leave. I tell you what.” Dad had been saying that for years, “I tell you what.” No one knew what he was going to tell you. He never explained, and rather than get into a discussion that would more than likely not give them the answer, they all just let him say it. Even Mom— she’d walk away from him when he’d spouted off that little tidbit.

“I’ll be home in about a week. Just make sure that she has whatever she needs. Lloyd means a great deal to me, and I don’t want him upset.” Dad told him that they were getting together supplies right now. “Good. How is he doing? Is he all right?” “Yes, seems to be. He does fuss a bit more. And that little boy, he sure does love him his uncle. Took me pert near a whole day to figure out that he ain’t really their uncle. He was just a really good friend to her daddy. And when he passed on, Lloyd took over helping them out.” Dad laughed, and he smiled again. “I tell you something, son. That girl has a temper on her too. Just yesterday, right after she got herself up and going, Addie came in and started ordering her around. None too gentle like either. But she didn’t want her up and around, and the girl just took her to task like she wasn’t armed and dangerous like you see them people on television. I tell you, she’d have peeled paper off the wall had they been in the living room.”

Why the living room? Tyler had no clue, but he didn’t ask. He knew that would be another long and drawn out explanation that would never answer the question. Tyler loved his parents with all his heart, but his dad could make a merry-go-round ill with the way he went around and around to get to the point. Dad told him that he had to go. Now that his momma was gone, he had to teach little Joey how to walk. Tyler asked him what Joey’s momma would say about that, and he just laughed, like asking parents about their kids’ habits was funny to him. Well, Tyler hoped that if his house guest wasn’t happy with it, she’d peel his wall paper off too. By the time he got everything straightened out in France—it only took him about an hour to get the paperwork fixed up—Tyler thought that he’d stay for a few days, just to relax. He also wanted to pick up a few things for Christmas while he was there, as well as bring home a few bottles of wine for gifts. Cartwright Winery was well known all over the world, and he wasn’t going to change the name because of that.

But he thought it’d be fun to have Winchester Winery on the label at some point. Maybe he’d ask Caleb what sort of designs he could come up with, incorporating Cartwright in the name at some place. Tyler thought that was a good idea. The next day when he got up, he was still on home’s timeframe, only a five-hour difference. Tyler made his way to the water just to watch the waves come in. It was too chilly to walk in the water, but that didn’t matter to him—Tyler was happy having the area all to himself. The house had its own beach front, and he loved it there. When he was ready to face the world, even if it was late in the afternoon for him, he decided to go to the local bakery and find something that might tempt him. He’d been eating fast food for a while now, since Mr. Cartwright had passed, and he was hungry for some home cooking. Having a meal at his mom’s once a week wasn’t nearly enough for him and his taste buds. He was just looking over the menu when something occurred to him. Laying the menu down slowly, Tyler tried to think who he should talk to.

When Addie touched his mind, her laughter had him peg her for the culprit right away. Yes, it was me. I heard that you were having a terrible time when you traveled because you didn’t understand the languages. I fixed it for you. He asked her how she’d done that. If I told you, then I’d have to murder you. And while I like you a great deal…. Nah, it wasn’t that hard. I just thought of the barrier that you were dealing with and touched you. In fact, I’ve given it to all the people in this family. Penny loves it, by the way. Yes, I’m sure she does, but she’s twelve. You might have told me. She asked him why she’d do something silly like that. Because, I don’t want to freak out in a foreign country. You are freaking out, Tyler. He took several deep breaths and let them out slowly. While I’m talking to you, there are a few things that I’d like to discuss. The woman in your house—do you know what she’s being accused of? Dad told me that they think she might have done it. Addie said that she hadn’t. I didn’t think so. Dad is a pretty good judge of character, and he didn’t believe it either. Why do you ask?

The police are hounding her. Well, they’re looking for her to hound her. My boss is well aware of where she is, and he’s having me look into it. By the way, she’s not Dom’s mate. That leaves you, I guess. Tyler asked her why she’d think that. Don’t know for sure. But the others, they have this unbelievable need to protect her. Dad, your dad, said that’s a good sign. I think you might like her, even if she’s not. I’m a little deep in shit here to wonder if I have a mate or not. She told him that he was done, but wasting time. Are you always this annoying? I’ll have you know that this is the first time in a while that I feel like I’m on top of things. And while I do think that your gift is great, it was still a surprise to be able to read the menu here.

Also, you’ll be thrilled to know that I’m Christmas shopping. He was the only one that hadn’t bought a single gift. If not for the others arranging to get their parents a family gift, he’d not have had that done either. The list was finished; he knew just what to get each person. It was the execution of the deal that he wasn’t up on. When Addie told him that her target was coming out, Tyler just let her go. He had better things to do, too, that didn’t involve asking his hitman sister-in-law who her target might be. She was a hitman for the CIA and the president. He stayed out of her way when she was working. At dinner time he was back at the house, having made a dent in his list. Owen had asked him to pick up the tea cups that were at the shop that Birdie had ordered long before her death, and he said that he would. While there, he found the perfect gift for his mom. The cup had the most beautiful design on it.

Roses and violets were all around the outside, as well as the inside bottom. But what really sold him was the fact that it had her name on it, in the vines. The owner of the shop had been so happy to have Birdie’s cups picked up that he’d done that for free. Tyler was going to be able to pick it up before he left. Dinner was a variety of dishes that he wanted to try, and he thanked his cook there for thinking of him. After dinner, exhausted after all the walking he’d done and the lack of sleep he’d been having lately, Tyler went to bed almost as soon as the sun was down. Tomorrow he had one more place to shop, then he’d be heading home. To what he had no idea, but he was going to be ready for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Xander Winchester Brothers By Kathi S Barton Release Blitz & Giveaway

 

Addie’s mission had been sabotaged and she’d been shot multiple times. She wouldn’t die from her wounds because she was an immortal, but she did hurt, and she needed time to heal. The Winchesters had taken her into their home while she was passed out from her injuries. Now that she was awake, she needed to leave. She was being hunted and they would all be in danger if she stayed. Xander Winchester had just received the best news. The publisher loved his book so much that they were not only publishing his book, they were offering a movie deal to boot. He couldn’t wait to tell his family at dinner tonight. The scent from the woman hit Xander hard. Her beauty was something that he’d never seen before. Even as he took a step toward her, his mind was telling him to tread carefully, while his body and wolf were telling him to go forth and conquer. He had a feeling that listening to that part of him would get him killed quicker than stepping in front of a bus. Or an entire line of them. Xander should have known better. Should have taken to heart what his mind was telling him….

 

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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….

 

 

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.

 

 

Clare Macintosh didn’t know what was going on. Her brother, Conrad, had been called in for a meeting and they’d already been waiting over an hour. They were leaving, they had waited long enough.

Owen Winchester had called for the meeting with Conrad. He had no idea the young man was handicapped, but what he had to show him would make his life easier, or at least he hoped so. The trunks Owen had found in the barn of his new home belonged to him. Conrad was the only living relative he could find of the previous owner. Owen was a bit surprised to find Conrad had a sister and she was his mate to boot.

All Clare wanted to do was take her brother and hide. Her parents, Con and Ava Macintosh, weren’t nice people, and neither were the people they stole from. Even though Clare had distanced herself from them, it wouldn’t stop their associates from seeking revenge. She didn’t need the handsome stranger pushing his way into her life.

 

 

 

 

Winchester Brothers

Caleb http://amzn.to/2E7eFp3
Gabriel  http://amzn.to/2tK6Lgf
Owen http://amzn.to/2oeLnfd
Xander https://amzn.to/2KHcP2A

 

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Prologue
Tyler saw his big brother coming toward him. Xander hadn’t seen him yet, which was okay with him. Xander would probably just walk away and go someplace else where Tyler wasn’t. Not just with Tyler, but everybody. He’d been like that since Wendy had died. She’d been his mate. “You gonna talk to me?” Xander stopped and said that he didn’t want to talk to anyone. “No, I guess you made that kind of clear. I’m worried about you. Everybody is.” “I’m all right. It’s a big blow to my heart, even though I didn’t know her at all.” She’d been killed when someone raided the store she’d been in with her momma, killing them both as well as several other people there. “When we were at the funeral, Dad had to help me away, do you remember that? I sort of feel like that all the time now. Broken.” “Yes, we all do.

Dad said that she didn’t suffer any. I don’t understand people, Xander. To kill anyone, that’s so sad, but to do it for nothing more than because they didn’t have the right kind of honey for his cereal is just plain stupid.” Xander sat down next to him. “I could smell her, even with all those chemicals. But I knew right then what she was to me.” “I don’t know what I’d do if that happened to me. Dad said you wasn’t taking it hard then, but you seem to be now.” Xander nodded. “I guess you had time to think on it, huh?” “Yeah. Mom and Dad, they got it right, you know that? They tell each other all the time that they love each other. I was gonna do that too.” Tyler didn’t know why people would even like a girl, much less love one, but he did agree that his parents were mushy like that. “I’ll never get to have a kid of my own either. Not that I want one right now, but I thought that someday I’d want one. A whole bunch of them that I could play with, like Dad did us.” “I don’t ever want to have any sons, Xander. Boys are all I have right now in brothers.

” Xander ruffled up his hair, like he always did. “Someday I guess I might want sons, but you guys are always being bossy and stuff. I hate that.” “We’re just trying to make sure that you do things right, little brother.” Tyler nodded and thought of all the things that had been going on of late. “You know, Mr. Cartwright, he told me that someday, I was going to think back on him and wonder why he’d been wanting to be a part of our family. I told him that I knew why. My momma baked the best pies in the world.” “She does at that. But I don’t think he does it for that reason. He’s lonely and sad sometimes, have you noticed that? Anyway, I think that he comes over not for the food, but because we’re nice to him. And he’s nice to us.” Xander laid back on the ground. “I’m about done being mopey, as Mom called me. I just had it hit me what all I was going to miss. But, I guess that’s the way the fates wanted it. Come on, let’s go and get
us some dinner. Mom said we’re having the catfish that you and Mr. Cartwright caught yesterday.” Tyler didn’t care all that much for catfish, but he knew better than to turn down meat.

They didn’t have it often—sometimes they’d go a whole week without any. But when they did have it, they ate it like it was gold filled. Being wolves, they needed it. But there was usually plenty of other stuff to go with it, and Mom always had some hot bread to fill up the voids when there were any. There might not be tonight. He’d caught ten catfish yesterday and Mr. Cartwright had caught himself a dozen, then handed them over to Tyler to give to his momma to cook up. Xander walked alongside of him, shortening his steps so that he could keep up. Tyler had all these dreams of somedays. That’s what he called his list, Somedays. Someday he was going to have it all too. Someday he was going to have a nice car. Not new—they weren’t worth the payments, Dad said. Someday he was going to own him a house. Really close to his parents, he decided just then. Someday he was going to be rich too.

Just so he could make it easier on his mom and dad. Someday, he thought lastly, he was going to meet him a nice girl, even though he didn’t like them, and have him a bunch of kids. Someday. Not now, but someday. “Do you suppose that the fates—or whatever it is that sets us up like this—you suppose that they take in account that your mate might have something happen to him or her?” There were times, like at this moment, that Tyler thought his older brother was too young for his brain. “You know what I mean, don’t you?” “Yes, I understand you. But I honestly don’t know, Xander. I mean, they know everybody’s fate. You know, that’s their name, right? I would think that they’d know that from the minute they set you up.” He didn’t think that was nice, so Tyler tried to fix it. “But I’m only a kid and you’re almost a big adult. Well, you are big. Like bigheaded. Big footed. What sized shoe do you wear now?

Or do you just go on out to the field and kick two cows in the bottom and wear them?” Tyler wasn’t stupid nor was he very fast, but they took off running as soon as his brother growled. Laughing too hard to go far, he felt his brother’s big wolf take him down and lick him all over his face. They were having so much fun, he’d forgotten why Xander had come to find him in the first place. It was dinner time. It was always nice having Mr. Cartwright over. He always brought a treat, as he called it. Sometimes it was the stuff to make ice cream. Other times it was just a big cake that had been on sale or something. Tyler thought the man was just being nice. He’d been in the store a lot with his momma and hadn’t ever seen a sale on those sized cakes. But he ate whatever it was because it was always good. “Mr. Cartwright won’t be joining us tonight, sons.” He asked his dad why not. “Well, today was the date that his wife passed on, and he goes and sits with her for a spell.” Tyler glanced at Xander but said nothing. “Why don’t we gather up some of those flowers that are gonna die anyway and take them over to her grave for him?” Caleb always had the best ideas. Tyler wished he
had one or two like he did.

“We don’t have to stay, just show him that we care that he’s hurting.” “Wonderful idea, Caleb.” Tyler wanted to kick his brother under the table, but he’d not do that again. He would make him pay later. Almost as if he knew what he was thinking, Caleb stabbed him with his eyes. Caleb was the oldest, and sometimes when he was being big brother, he’d just beat him to a pulp for the fun of it. Not really. Tyler would sort of make him mad, just to see him running after him. Caleb was the best big brother there was. They took the flowers to Mrs. Cartwright’s grave and were invited to stay by Mr. Cartwright. But Mom said they had supper on and wouldn’t be bothering him. Mr. Cartwright kissed his fingers and laid them on top of the pretty headstone that Dad had helped carve, and said he’d join them. “The time for mourning is done. I have to…. It’ll be easier with you guys around, but I have to stop acting like I’m gonna come out here and she’s going to be waiting on me.” Dad told him that they’d be powerful sorry if he went with her. Tyler had no idea what that meant, but he wisely kept his mouth shut. Grownups were touchy about death, love, and such. That night when he and Dominic were in their room, he asked him what he thought about what Xander had said—about there being someone else out there for him. Then he told him what he’d told his brother. “I think that’s what Mom would call you being insensitive, moron.

” He asked him how. “Because that was the time when a little fib would have made him feel better. You know, like when Mom asks us if she looks tired and she does, but we all tell her that she’s right pretty.” “But that’s not the kind of question that Xander asked me. He wanted to know the truth.” Or he had thought he did. “I did try and tell him that I was only just a kid. And him being an almost adult.” “There. See? You did it twice. You called him almost an adult. He’s not an adult and saying almost only makes it sound like you don’t think he’s going to ever be. I swear, there are some times, Tyler, that I think you were born under a rock or something.” He pointed out to his brother he was being insensitive too. “Yeah? Well, think how that made you feel.” For the rest of the night he did think about how it made him feel. Nothing. They were always calling him a moron, or something like that. Instead of thinking of it as a bad thing, Tyler thought of it as a learning curve. Yeah, he did learn that he was a might on the insensitive side. But his brothers were older than him, except Dominic, and the two of them needed to grow some. Not that he was sure what they were supposed to grow, but he’d heard that at the high school a few weeks back and was glad now that he’d found a way to use it. But, like the rest of them, he’d never say something like that, or curse in front of their mom. She was scary when she was upset about something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Helluva Man by Sable Hunter Promo Spotlight

 

 

 

A Helluva Man: Hell Yeah!

How do you determine the measure of a man? By his power, his money, his physical appearance? All his life, Jaxson McCoy measured his worth in the strength of his body and the sweat of his brow. He falls for a woman who is his equal, an Olympic athlete whose mind is as agile as her body.
Their perfect world is torn apart when a tragic accident leaves Jaxson less than whole. He pushes everyone away, including the woman who worships the ground he walks on. Tamara knows he stands tall, whether he is on one leg or two, but she gets no chance to prove her devotion before he builds a wall between them too high for her to climb.
Time has a way of healing wounds and Jaxson’s are no exception, but when he attempts to build a bridge to Tamara, he discovers she has suffered her own loss, her life shattered by a blow she sees no hope of overcoming.
For these two people to heal one another, they will have to redefine their definition of perfect, because Tamara is quite a lady and Jaxson is a helluva man.

 

 

https://amzn.to/2sTnlrN

 

Excerpt

“Next up is Jaxson McCoy,” the announcer’s voice came booming over the loud speaker. The raucous rodeo crowd immediately grew silent. “I know for many of you, Jaxson is as much of a draw as Garth. This cowboy is a favorite on the circuit. He’s a big man to be a bull rider. At six-foot-four inches and two-hundred-fifty pounds, McCoy makes the bulls work for their living.”

The women in the audience were on their feet, all of them wanted to catch a glimpse of the handsome cowboy. The unseen man in the booth continued his introduction of Jaxson’s ride. “We’ve got a record crowd tonight, folks. Everyone is eager to see if this bull rider will be the one to master the brutal Bocephus, son of the legendary Bodacious. He’s as dangerous as his father. No cowboy has managed to successfully stay on this monster bull for the full eight seconds. He’s put five men in the hospital, the rest of them on their keister. Bocephus hasn’t been conquered in four years.”

Jaxson sat on the hulking, red Beefmaster halfway listening to the broadcaster build up interest in his ride. He hadn’t told Tamara what bull he drew, he hadn’t wanted her to worry more than necessary. This competition wasn’t only about big money, it was about bragging rights. There were many who wanted him to win and more than a few who’d love to see him fall flat of his ass. He, for one, voted for surviving. Squeezing his legs around the heaving sides of the bull, he well knew the moment the gate flew open, the vicious animal would become a hurricane of deadly hooves and horns.
A breathless silence fell on the stadium as Jaxson performed his normal ritual, whispering a familiar bit of the Good Book from memory. He wasn’t exactly the religious type, but there were things his mother had taught him that stuck – and this was one of those things. “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” As the last word faded on his lips, the chute sprang open and Jaxson’s whole world exploded into overdrive. Bocephus was a solid ton of pure energy. With violent, vicious twists the huge bull launched himself into the air and slung his entire body weight first to the left and then to the right. Jaxson moved instinctively with the bull, knowing the only way he would ride out this perfect storm would be by defying a formidable force of nature.
Allowing his mind to become perfectly still, Jaxson visualized himself as an extension of the animal’s body. He didn’t fight the pitch and roll of the deadly bull but anticipated the direction Bocephus would lunge and went with it. No matter how you count it, this was eight seconds of teeth-jarring, muscle-wrenching, mind-blowing adrenaline rush.
When the air horn blasted, Jaxson could hear the jubilation of his fans. Not one who chose to wear a helmet, he waved his trade-mark trade-mark white Stetson in the air. Mixed in with the noise of the crowd, he could hear the female version of catcalls from the buckle bunnies. Too bad. Tonight, he wasn’t interested in hooking up with any of them. There was someone waiting for him in the stands. As he bailed off Bocephus, side-stepping the razor-sharp set of horns swiping out at him, he thanked heaven for the bull fighters who risked their lives distracting the enraged beast.
As Bocephus danced off to one side, Jaxson looked up in the stands to Tamara and held up his hat, giving her a wink and a promise. “For you, beautiful!” he called out.
Tamara waved back, thrilled at the sight. From where she sat, she could see the whole stadium – and what she saw made her blood run cold. The big bull had run off to one side, avoiding the clowns who were striving to drive him back into the pen. Instead, he headed straight for Jaxon. “Jaxson!” she screamed. Others saw what she saw, and they too began to scream. “Jaxson! Look behind you!”
He didn’t get the chance to turn around. Before he could react, the big bull hit him in the back hard enough to knock him down. He was still breathing, nothing was broken – but when he looked up, it was to see that Bocephus had vaulted into the air and was about to come down – right on top of him.
Tamara screamed!
Time froze.
 

 

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Sable Hunter is a New York Times, USA Today bestselling author of nearly 60 books in 9 series. She writes sexy contemporary stories full of emotion and suspense. Her focus is mainly cowboy and novels set in Louisiana with a hint of the supernatural. Sable writes what she likes to read and enjoys putting her fantasies on paper. Her books are emotional tales where the heroine is faced with challenges. Her aim is to write a story that will make you laugh, cry and swoon. If she can wring those emotions from a reader, she has done her job. Sable resides in Austin, Texas with her two dogs. Passionate about all animals, she has been known to charm creatures from a one ton bull to a family of raccoons. For fun, Sable haunts cemeteries and battlefields armed with night-vision cameras and digital recorders hunting proof that love survives beyond the grave. Welcome to her world of magic, alpha heroes, sexy cowboys and hot, steamy to-die-for sex. Step into the shoes of her heroines and escape to places where right prevails, love conquers all and holding out for a hero is not an impossible dream

 

 

Dalton: The McCade Dragon Release Day

Dr. Gabriela Nola, Gabe to everyone, hadn’t been in town long. Kenton McCade was looking for a partner in his practice, and she was hoping to fill the spot. A nice small town beat the last hospital job she’d just recently quit–90 hours a week with a shorthanded staff. She just wanted normal, and the voice in her head to stop already about opening the box and wearing the item inside. 

Dalton McCade knew when he heard the dragon’s voice that he was next on the list, and ready or not his mate was coming. According to the dragon, she was already here and had refused to put the combs in her hair.

But as always, danger followed the jewelry, and Gabe was no exception. The mysterious stranger would have all the pieces for his own collection, and didn’t care who he had to kill to get them.
I Books  Coming Soon 
Emma Gentry felt like she was losing her mind. From the time she had picked up the pretty ring to examine it, she’d been hearing a voice in her head. When she ran from the demolished building, she’d slipped the ring on her finger so that she wouldn’t drop it, now she couldn’t get it off. She was in dire need of medical attention, but the voice wouldn’t let her stop to get help. There were others looking for the ring and would kill her for it. Emma was on the run.

Kenton McCade was the doctor in the family. When found Emma in his office treating a badly infected wound on her leg, he had to help her. The infection had spread and she was near death.

Kenton and his brothers were dragon shifters born without the ability to shift into their other half. The magic, it seemed, lay dormant in a sleeping dragon that was tied to six pieces of jewelry. When the ring found its way to Emma, her touch had woken the sleeping beast. When Emma touched Kenton’s sigil on his chest, he shifted to his beast for the first time. But the beast from the ring would not be complete until all the jewelry found its way to their rightful dragons…. 

Emma was still on the run…they need her to survive…but Emma trusted no one… 

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Jasmine Tyler was wishing she had never found those earrings in that box of junk she bought at auction. They were so pretty, and the dragons had so much detail, that she simply had to try them on. That was the biggest mistake she’d ever made. Once they were on they weren’t coming off. And those men in the black SUVs meant business. She’d hand the earrings over or they’d kill her. They’d more than likely kill her anyway even if she could get the damn things off. Now she was on the run with her young son, Gavin, and her ailing granny. A voice in her head that started when she put the earrings on was directing her to find the McCades.

The dragon had told Kenton and Jorden McCade that another piece of jewelry had been activated, and the boy that had just come into Jorden’s studio was her son. The dragon didn’t know which brother she was mated to, but she had sent the boy and her granny ahead to keep them safe. Now, another attempt had been made on her life and she was in a hospital an hour away.

The cop at the scene had been in on it, and Jasmine found herself in a pickle. She’d been drugged and there wasn’t a thing she could do about it. Her body hit the floor by her hospital bed and she was looking into the lifeless eyes of her nurse.

As soon as Jorden scooped Jasmine up off the floor and her earring touched his skin, he knew that this woman was his. The earring left a brand, marking them both. He couldn’t be happier about finding her, now to convince her to stay was going to be the problem….


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Harper Bailey was in way over her head, and the trouble just seemed to keep coming. Her brother-in-law had frozen her personal accounts, and now she was on the run because she wouldn’t do as she was “told.” She had been told to abort the baby. Harper hadn’t wanted the baby she had been forced to carry in the first place, but now that she’d felt life, she would protect the child with hers. 

Grady McCade knew that his mate had been found when she touched the piece of jewelry. The dragon had told him that if he didn’t hurry to her side, she would be found by the dragon slayers and her life could be ended as well as the life of the babe that she carried. 

With Grady and Harper together, the dragon grows stronger, and the slayers pick up the pace in their quest for all the pieces of jewelry. Can the McCades stop them before they strike again? Are any of them safe? Find out in The McCade Dragon—Grady

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

Wolf Sight by Rachel M. Raithby Blog Tour & Rafflecopter giveaway

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Book Title: Wolf Sight
Author: Rachel M. Raithby
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: April 1, 2017
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

The packs have aligned. Peace is here. But it came at a price.


Cage’s world shifted when Katalina arrived but not in the way he’d expected. The pain is tearing him apart, and with each day, he loses a piece of himself. Unable to watch Katalina love someone else, Cage sees no other option but to leave the pack.

Will he find the answers he seeks? Or has he taken the wrong path, altering the fate of not just himself but the pack he’d once called home?

Anna’s world is one of confusion and dreams. When a vision of a boy’s death begins to haunt her, she leaves everything behind in hopes of finding him. But Anna finds far more than she expected. She’ll be pushed to the limits, and her faith will waver.

In the end she must decide—are her visions a gift or a curse?

excerpt

Anna

Anna gasped awake, sorrow and pain clinging to her as the past faded away. It took her several minutes to calm her heart and breathe normally. She always wondered if she would ever grow numb to the effects the dream, the memories, had on her. Yet night after night it caused her the same agony, as fresh as the day it all began.

Anna wouldn’t say she lived. Instead she functioned just enough so that her aunt didn’t have her committed. Functioned so people would think she was nearly normal. Yet in reality, Anna felt as if she stood on the edge of a ravine, looking down into the infinite depths of dark, swirling water. One slip, one misstep, and she’d plunge into the unknown, into the place where only she could go.

She got by enough to keep a job, a “no hope, not going anywhere” job, but still it paid for her tiny, run-down studio, and kept her on a meager diet of instant noodles and potatoes. It was better than the alternative. Better than living under her aunt’s watchful eyes, full of pity and fear.

Anna didn’t blame her aunt for her feelings. Anna feared herself too. The pity though, she couldn’t take. Anna didn’t want pity for the lives she could have saved. It didn’t matter that she’d tried, that no one had believed her. No, Anna would sooner her aunt hate her for what happened rather than pity her. After all, Anna had seen it coming, so in her eyes it was her own fault. She’d been given the information to save them, and she’d failed to get past the obstacles, however impossible they were. It was unforgivable. Anna hated herself for it, hated the dreams, hated her life. It should have been them who’d survived, not her.

Climbing from her bed, Anna then walked to fill the kettle, placing it on the stove to heat. She reached into the cupboard above her, took down her mug and placed a bag of chamomile tea inside. When the water had boiled, she poured the water inside and took the drink to the table. Staring at nothing, but seeing everything, Anna sat through her own personal hell. The witching hour. The hours she suffered most for her mistakes.

Absently, she ran her finger over the carved patterns around the edge of the table. It took up most of the small living space, but it held a special place in her heart. It held memories, ones that brought her a mixture of happiness and sadness. A smile tugged at her lips, despite the dark grief filling her heart. Her finger slowed as it came to the imperfection within the carvings—but her father had never thought of it that way. To him it had been perfection; his daughter’s first real success at carving wood. Anna had loved to watch her father work wood, creating furniture that was as practical as it was beautiful. When she’d been old enough, he’d taught her as he worked, until he’d eventually asked her to help. The table had been in their family home, taking center place in the dining room. Most of the furniture in Anna’s family home had been made by her father. She’d have taken it all with her if she could have, but it hadn’t been possible. Some pieces made it to her aunt’s house; all Anna had taken was her bed and the table with six matching chairs.

Taking the final sip of her tea, Anna sighed heavily and stood. The chamomile hadn’t worked—it often didn’t. She’d not be sleeping again tonight; it was part of the reason why she always had dark circles under her eyes. A full night’s sleep wasn’t something she’d had in a very long time. Eventually though, the constant state of tiredness became normal, and the bags under her eyes a part of herself.

On nights that she couldn’t fall back to sleep, Anna filled the hours from 3:00 a.m. till sunup with drawing or yoga. Today she chose yoga, and by the time it was acceptable to be awake, Anna’s body was covered in a fine layer of sweat, her muscles stretched and loose, and the memories of her past buried enough to get through the day.

She never thought she’d completely rid herself of the memories—they’d always be her burden—but she hoped one day she’d be able to keep them buried for longer. Maybe she’d even learn to shoulder them and come to terms with the events that changed her life forever. Yet she didn’t hold her breath. It was possible to learn to live with losing one’s entire family. But realizing you’d been warned it would happen and then seeing it unfold before you as it once had in your dreams… that was something entirely different.

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meet the author

Rachel M. Raithby started her writing career in 2013 and hasn’t looked back. She draws her inspiration from the many places she has lived and traveled, as well as from her love of the paranormal and thriller movies. She can often be found hiding out with a good book or writing more fast-paced and thrilling stories where love always conquers all. She now lives in rural England with her young family.

Her books include, the adult Paranormal Romance novels ‘The Deadwood Hunter Series’ and the Young Adult series The New Dawn Novels, including the YA Best seller ‘Winter Wolf.’

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