For the Love of Harmony

By Leia Shaw

Chapter 1
The Northwest werewolf pack Council meeting had already begun by the time Sorin had arrived at the forest ranger station. Half a dozen of the pack‟s greatest warriors surrounded the large wooden table. He did a double take. Three women stood in one corner of the room, their eyes lit up with fiery determination. This was new. Jared inched to Sorin‟s side. “A vampire coven has moved in just outside pack territory,” he whispered. “There‟s evidence they might be feeding on the wolves. Jackson wants a preemptive attack but –” “It isn‟t fair to treat us this way!” a woman‟s voice cried out. Jared winced. “The women want to help.” Sorin‟s brows shot up. He eyed the women. So that explained the angry looks. He smiled to himself and sat down in the back to enjoy the show. The Council wouldn‟t allow it, that much he knew. Even for their pack – which was ruled by the progressive alpha, Cristian – it was an outrageous request. If their aggressive posturing was any indication, the women wouldn‟t go down easily. He hooked one leg over the other and leaned back. “Maybe they‟re right,” Paul, a younger pack member said. “Sheltering pack women is a thing of the past. It‟s time we moved on. Let them make the decision for themselves.” “Female werewolves are rare,” the eldest, Mathias replied. “And they aren‟t built like men. They can‟t change to crinos, our strongest half-wolf form. It‟s our duty to keep them safe from harm.” Sorin nodded in agreement. He always liked Mathias. “That‟s ridiculous,” a fiery redhead said. “It‟s the twenty-first century. Women have rights outside of the supernatural world. We should have rights within the pack too.” “It‟s not that we want to repress you, Darla,” Mathias continued. “The pack, above all, treasures your existence. We only want what‟s best for all of us.”

“At our expense?” she yelled. A small figure stepped out from behind the redhead. “He‟s right, Darla. It‟s best for the pack for us to remain safe.” Sorin‟s heart thudded in his chest and he shot upright in his seat. The speaker wasn‟t the most beautiful woman in the room – not like Darla with her fiery hair or the other raven haired beauty. She was short and curvy, and her shoulder length blonde hair hung plainly on the sides of her heart-shaped face. But a charming set of freckles spattered across her cheeks and her hazel eyes popped next to her creamy skin. There was something about her that drew him to her. Must be because she was the only sensible person in the room, other than himself. Her eyes sparkled with calculating intelligence. And the way her ranger uniform hugged her sexy little body brought more than just his heart to life. The redhead gave the woman a murderous glare then whispered, “Harmony!” Harmony. He smiled in spite of himself. Yes, she looked like a Harmony. Sweet, docile, a peacemaker. Harmony cut her friend off with wave of her hand. “The Council is right. If we go chasing vampires unprepared we‟ll only get hurt. Or worse. And it‟s vital to our pack to have female members.” Sorin grinned, sitting on the edge of his seat now. She took a deep breath then exhaled. “That‟s why I propose the women train in combat just like the men.” His grin faded. “If we can prove ourselves equals in combat, there‟s no reason you should deny our involvement. Not only will the double standard set a bad example to the rest of the pack, but once the other women catch word of your biases, you‟ll have a mutiny on your hands.” He narrowed his eyes at the little minx. He‟d show her where a mutiny got her. “We only ask for fairness,” she continued. “After all, it‟s Cristian‟s pack –” “He‟s not here to make the decision,” someone countered. “But his model of leadership stands. Every objection deserves a fair trial.” The other two women smirked as they looked each Council member in the eye. A growl started low in Sorin‟s chest as the other men contemplated her challenge. How had he ever thought her sensible, even for a moment?

Sorin stood so quickly he knocked the chair down behind him. He kicked it aside. From the other side of the room, Harmony‟s gaze flicked to his. He pierced her with his most intimidating glare then crossed his arms over his chest. She met his glare with a passable attempt at bravado. But because of her size, it only made him want to laugh. But there was nothing funny about the way she raised her chin and held eye contact far longer than she should have. They would have words when the meeting was over. Sorin was beta of the Northwest werewolf pack. Cristian, their alpha, was working with a vampire assassin to track down a serial killer. And Harmony, the devious little troublemaker, would learn exactly who was in charge of this camp. Sorin didn‟t bother to join the Council‟s discussion regarding the women‟s request. It didn‟t matter what they chose, his authority overrode theirs. The Council, and the women, should‟ve known better than to question pack rules when he was in charge. He was known for his old-fashioned views. Cristian had called him an ornery old man, though no werewolf looked a day over thirty-five. But Cristian and Sorin were in their fourth century, born of a different era. Cristian had adjusted throughout the years, but Sorin stuck to his stubborn ways. After all, his way was the right way. The women could think they‟d won for now. Besides, he had a feeling he‟d need to take down the ringleader before they backed down completely. As soon as the meeting ended, he caught up with Harmony outside the ranger station. Anger twisted his face into a scowl as he followed closely behind her, walking toward the center of camp. A bonfire roared, casting shadows on the ring of wooden cabins surrounding it. Harmony darted around the fire, her head down, hugging her arms. Bare arms. Nighttime just outside Yellowstone National Park in October was close to freezing. And she went out wearing only a button down cotton t-shirt? “Good God, woman!” He grabbed her elbow and spun her around. She gasped and he pulled his hand back. He hadn‟t meant to be so rough. “Where‟s your coat?” She looked at her arms then back to his face. “It ripped.” “How?” She bit her lip and didn‟t say anything for a moment. He narrowed his eyes, ready to sniff out a lie.

“Ranger work,” she finally answered, then perched a hand on her hip. “Is there something you wanted?” “Ranger work? What have you been doing? Wrestling bears?” Her gaze dropped to the ground and she mumbled, “Not bears.” Her head snapped back up. “Look, it‟s getting late. Did you stop me just to interrogate me about my jacket?” He squared his shoulders and gave her his sternest glare. “No. I came to tell you to convince the other women it‟s not in their best interest to fight vampires.” Her brows drew together. “Why would I do that? I just convinced the Council to give us a chance.” “Because I‟m telling you to.” She looked down at the ground again, clearly considering how to respond. He had the sudden urge to kiss the cute wrinkle between her furrowed brows. Now where the hell did that come from? He cleared his throat. “Do you know who I am?” She nodded. “So you know I‟m in charge while Cristian is away?” Though she nodded again there was nothing submissive about the fire in her eyes. She was working out her next argument. He found himself curious about what she would come up with. He mentally kicked himself. He didn‟t tolerant insubordination. Why should he allow this wisp of a thing to give him lip? “I‟m glad we‟re clear.” He turned to walk away. “Wait.” He closed his eyes and sighed before turning back around. “The Council agreed to let us train. I know Cristian believes in some amount of democracy.” He smiled without humor then clasped his hands behind his back as he strode toward her. “And who would train you? Do you really think there‟s a single male werewolf that would try to harm a female?” Her lips curved into a smirk. “I‟ll train them.” He arched a brow. “You?” She was so small. The idea of her anywhere near the combat ring sent waves of anxiety through his chest.

Her eyes widened then she schooled her features with a casual shrug. “Anytime.” .” She pursed her lips. Since most of the pack was either working or doing various chores.” “And what happens if I win?” “I‟ll let you train the women. you win.” She pulled back on her arm but he held her tight. He plugged the stadium style lights into the recreation room socket and lit up the circle. Wasting no time.” “Now?” He grinned. “If I pin you.” “Care to prove it?” He would teach her a lesson.” “Now. he answered. So the wanna-be-slayer had some experience? At the next strike. “You‟re not very harmonious. “Now is fine. I win. “I am so going to enjoy this.” he told her. If you get even one hit on me. In the training ring. not quite able to keep up with his longer strides.“Don‟t look at me like that. “Unless you‟re bluffing. “If I win. Harmony.” “Ditto. Then she wouldn‟t go around putting ridiculous ideas in the other women‟s heads. anyplace. She trailed behind him. “Your parents should‟ve named you Major.” “And if you win?” With a smirk. she attacked with a series of kicks and strikes which he managed to dodge.” She stepped into the ring and crouched into a defensive position. middle name Trouble. they had the area to themselves.” she had the gall to order. you go back to the kitchen and laundry room like a good little girl. but not without effort.” He swallowed back a laugh at her thinned lips and raging eyes. “Size has nothing to do with skill.” Sorin turned and walked straight to the other side of camp where a flat dirt clearing served as a primitive training ring. he caught her fist and tugged her into his body. Sorin threw off his coat and followed her. “I‟ll make it easy.

but he was faster and jumped back. her face reddening with exertion. pushing the wispy hair from her face. you lost. dodging a roundhouse kick. . Her foot kicked out for a decent attempt at a foot sweep. “What you should do is stay within the safety of the pack. superman will fly in at the exact right moment to kill the bad guy and save the day. “So what would you have me do? Sit around and wait for a big strong man to save me? Or maybe.” So the little hellion had a smart mouth too? “I‟m not Lois Lane. voice tight with anger. But you put up a good fight. “Not a woman. “Safety is an illusion. I‟ll give you that. Grow up. She was good and pinned. He smiled. “Yield. little girl. little hellcat. You lack experience. I‟m impressed.” he said. her cheeks pink. I think we know who won. Catching her off guard. she said. I‟ll bet I‟m more than twice your age. “Then teach me.” Nostrils flaring. and captured both wrists behind her.” Her foot shifted behind his and she threw her body into him.” She struggled against him. I refuse to be a damsel in distress. He pictured her sweaty. He spun her so her back was against his chest. But the advantage didn‟t last long. Sorin cushioning her fall.” He didn‟t wait for her attack this time. only now noticing how perfectly sized they were for his hands. he feinted left then snatched her arm from the right.” She stilled.” She smiled sweetly. His gaze locked on her breasts.“And they should‟ve named you Pain.” She snorted but stayed still in his arms. he whispered. “Come on. “Don‟t tell me to grow up. shackling her arms above her head in one of his fists. In-the-ass. middle name.” Her body froze except for rapid rise and fall of her chest. She circled him once.” He spun her roughly to face him but kept her wrists captive in a tight grip. the next time I‟m in trouble. toppling them both off balance. “Yet only half as smart. “But you‟re sloppy. before launching into a cartwheel and landing in a crouch in front of him.” Now wasn‟t that an interesting thought. They fell. her chest heaving as he – He shook his head.” With her other hand she yanked back on his thumb and twisted away. With his lips at her ear. staying on the balls of her feet. “You have some skill. He flipped her over and straddled her hips.

” “You deserved it. He waited. And the little witch nicked him with it. for her response. After a cold. Fury built in his chest and he didn‟t hide it.” And she walked away. calculating stare. He opened his mouth to apologize but she sat up and slammed both elbows into his chest. Though he‟d never felt so disrespected and frustrated. she spun back around and tossed over her shoulder. So he jumped up and slapped her backside. don‟t you?” That snapped him out of his daze. he couldn‟t seem to wipe a ridiculous grin off his face.” She sheathed the knife in her belt and pushed him. Her firm ass was just too tempting in the form-fitting khaki ranger uniform. “I do not hurt women. Next thing he knew. which lay crippled on the ground – he watched her saunter away. a spring in her step. He was too stunned to stop her from crawling out from under him. the clever girl had the pointy end of a dagger at his neck.“You like hurting women. She spun around and fixed him with an icy glare. Gathering his wits – and his pride. Her mouth turned up in a lopsided grin. And she was sassy enough to deserve it. he‟d never regret touching that fine ass.” Feminine pride be damned.” He lowered his head so they were nose to nose. “That was a cheap shot.” He blinked then released her as if he were touching a flame. But her twitching lips betrayed the offended front she tried to maintain. “Excuse me?” “You get off on it. more eager than he‟d like.” “You‟re hurting me now. “Sucker. “Let me know when you get a schedule for our training settled. . His lips formed a snarl and he bared his teeth.

She relished the fresh mountain air. sandy-colored wolf. Darla and Monica. And she didn‟t have a death wish. There weren‟t many women left who could shift to their wolf form. she lost the ability to shift forever in order to keep the baby safe in her womb. She may not have the best judgment. She shuddered at the chill in the air. They preyed on the natural wolf population. Harmony would never choose to lose her wolf. Vampire. A small. Her mind swirled with images of bounding across the meadows of the mountain valleys. Nose to the wind. It was too deep to cross in wolf form. knowing she was still a safe distance away from the source. Plus. Harmony searched for her friends. Sprinting across camp and through the woods. She stilled when she caught the dangerous scent. fronting as forest rangers. Her nose led her to a wide stream where the scent died. The Northwest pack had been protecting the grey wolf population for centuries. Vampires in their territory were dangerous. And she was no novice when it came to hunting vampires. When a werewolf became pregnant.Chapter 2 The new moon called to Harmony like it did most werewolves. but crossing the cold river naked in October was suicide. . They raced together through the tall grass under the starry sky. she followed it cautiously. The wolves‟ blood. the pack needed to know where they were hiding. Her thick coat protected her and running pushed warm blood through her veins. She contemplated shifting. So she slipped into the thick trees surrounding the meadow. the Council couldn‟t keep writing her off if she proved herself as an asset. She turned around to head back to the meadow then froze when she spotted the midnight black wolf staring at her. If vampires were near. had an addictive effect on vampires – it made them stronger and gave them a high they couldn‟t find elsewhere. When she found a mate – if she found a mate – he would understand and accept her need for primitive freedom. Blood. for some reason. The scent was strong and she couldn‟t waste the opportunity to follow it. She loved the wild edge it gave her as she ran off the stress of the last month. even if it was a little chilly. but it didn‟t stop her from stripping bare outside the back entrance of her cabin and shifting to her most primal form. She was alone. Dangerous steel blue eyes withered her with a you‟re-in-deep-shit look. but they‟d left her behind. she caught up with her friends. but she wasn‟t stupid.

arrogant jerk. rule-free upbringing was difficult. He even walked her to her cabin and sat down at the bottom of the stairs. It wasn‟t her fault. It would probably cost her. sexist. She‟d been raised outside pack hierarchy. What now? He nudged her side and she realized she walked right by the trail to camp. to say the least. Granted she wasn‟t centuries old like many werewolves. She waited for him to leave. Chagrined with the chastisement she trudged toward camp. Hard enough to shock her. If he could catch her. She‟d been told she had more guts than sense. but she wasn‟t a child either. she couldn‟t help but feel drawn to him. Sorin escorting her the whole way. she‟d admired him. She‟d just recently hit her prime at twenty six and stopped aging. she‟d have sighed. Yeah. She knew that look all too well. he‟d probably assume it was a challenge and bite her again once he caught her. but still on her feet. Sorin. . she got the message – get your ass out of trouble. If he thought she would belly-up for him. He growled back. She sorely needed some fun and would‟ve loved a race. She started forward then stopped when the wolf jumped into her path. The adjustment from her liberal. She changed directions and plodded the rest of the way. Her wolf instincts perked up in the presence of any strong. he bit her muzzle. having been on the receiving end since joining the pack only a year ago. he was sorely mistaken. But with his current mood. uncomfortable moment. but not hurt her. The wolf glaring daggers at her was none other than the pack beta she‟d sparred with a few days ago. The temptation to find out was almost too much. If he thought she‟d shift naked in front of him. he growled. She wished he were in better spirits. averting her eyes. The black wolf inclined his head in the direction of camp then growled. It was so very wolfy. She had the urge to bite him back. masculine figure – a natural urge to mate with a man who could protect and provide. even if he was a barbaric. They stared at one another for a long. As if he could read her thoughts. She growled. feeling like a criminal with Sorin watchful behind her. Had he been spying on her? Before their disagreement. Though the human woman in her scoffed. but even she knew better. young lady.If she was human. A whiff of the air and she withered further. yeah. but she remained standing. Finally. He didn‟t budge. he was barking up the wrong tree.

waiting for him to return. She‟d noticed his muscles when they sparred. So she sat. “I‟ve never seen a wolf manage to sound so bossy. she snapped. She spun around and pulled on her jeans and sweatshirt as fast as she could. With a sigh. A lower. she smoothed her hair in a messy bun with an elastic from her pocket. Things she could appreciate now. Dressed and slightly warmer she reached for the doorknob to the cabin. A growl made her spin around again. little girl. she obeyed. Suddenly concerned with her appearance. fiercer growl erupted when she didn‟t respond. “You deserved more than a nip on the nose. Or that his jet black hair swept back from his face accentuated his chiseled jaw covered with a five o‟clock shadow she suddenly wanted to rub her cheek against.” she told him. A cold ripple swept through her body as her muscles bent and flexed and she stood human again. She shook her head. positive she was in for more scolding. But unless she planned to stay furry all night. But something about being naked here and now. having grown used to shifting in front of each other frequently. “Oh. it appeared she had no choice. She pulled on the socks she‟d left under the chair then tucked her feet under butt. He glared at the porch chair then back at her. Not an ounce of repentance showed on his face. When small tendrils fell out in the front. “Could you at least turn around?” He just stared.” she accused when he ascended the stairs. “I‟m sitting in the chair! Isn‟t that what you wanted?” He grunted at her tone then sauntered slowly into the woods. Five minutes later. dressed in jeans and a tight fitting black t-shirt. like the way his eyes sparkled with anger and sent shivers down her spine. she blew out an exasperated breath. “You bit me. erasing the titillating images. why bother?” It wasn‟t as if she was trying to impress anyone.Werewolves weren‟t modest creatures. but he‟d been on top of her. pinning her to the ground – she‟d hardly had time to appreciate such things. When he continued to stare. in front of Sorin specifically.” . Sorin emerged from the trees. made her feel especially vulnerable. He wanted her to sit in the chair.

careless girl. What a waste of hotness. She stood up. dark and dangerous. He exhaled a deep breath. detected a vampire scent. Foremost. but he nodded and stepped back. weakened her knees. Her parents had raised her better than to allow that. She tried to tame the pounding of her heart. She‟d never run as a wolf.” His gaze swept over her body. crowding her . He shifted his body so he caught her attention. And you have proven to be a paradigm of bad judgment. holding back a string of profanities she‟d like to scream.” He stepped closer. or maybe he just wanted to get on with other lines of questioning. But she‟d certainly done other things regarding vampires that he wouldn‟t approve of. Is there a reason?” “I could name you at least a dozen. do you understand?” His tone of voice mixed with the command chaffed at her independent streak.” She pursed her lips. his pinewood scent wrapping around her like a warm blanket. I haven‟t. “Why?” His brows quirked. crossing his arms over his chest. “Harmony. she chose to stick with a loose version of the truth. piercing her with a stern glare. she lifted her head to meet his gaze. “Stop calling me that. “Why were you following the vampire‟s scent?” Her heart accelerated and she swallowed hard.” Slowly. no. “What were you doing out there?” “Running. “You‟re never to do that again. “You seem to be taking an excessive interest in my extracurricular activities lately. and followed it alone. lingering a moment on her breasts. just like everyone else. “Look at me. “No. needing to feel taller. I‟m not a child and you‟re not my father. looking for someone to corroborate her story. He knew. Sorin peered down at her.” His low voice. He had a beautiful face. but it was exceedingly difficult when he stood so close.There was nothing worse than being talked down to. “Have you done that kind of thing before?” Technically. Too bad he could be such a prick. And I have a feeling you‟re not telling me the whole truth regarding your „extracurricular activities‟. Shit. “Why? It‟s not safe. one of my duties is to keep the pack safe. Maybe he was satisfied with her half-truth. The floor seemed like an appropriate thing to look at just then. Considering it was safer.” Her gaze darted to the other cabins.” His eyes narrowed. you ridiculous.

one.remembering a joke someone told me.” “Really?” He backed away and she could breathe again.” She‟d grown up in Monterrey Bay where her human mother and werewolf father worked as activists for the aquarium. even the constricting governing system. so help me –” “I wasn‟t hunting it. “No. She‟d helped clean the beaches. I was….” “That‟s not for you to worry about. How her father managed to suppress his inner wolf was beyond her. “I wasn‟t sure if anyone else noticed it.” “Who‟s pack then?” Here we go. “Rogue? I should‟ve known. “Who taught you this blatant disrespect for authority? Who are your parents?” “You wouldn‟t know them. Harmony craved that too. It was one of the things that drew Harmony to Cristian‟s pack. Generally. she‟d have thought he actually cared about her. keeping the ocean clean and the marine life safe. Sorry. Step back. three… “Do you think this is funny?” She shook her head. but not doted on. hunting a vampire alone?” If she didn‟t know any better. But they did pass onto her their desire to fight for the environment. They‟re not pack. To bring information back to the pack about its location. . now she protected the endangered wolves. “What were you thinking. “I was just…. Her parents believed in freedom and independent thought.” His brows shot up.” She forced herself not to fumble with her hands and show her nerves.against the cabin wall. two. It was an odd existence for a werewolf.” His lips formed a tight line. And.” He stepped toward her again. “They‟re not rogue! They‟re independent and they taught me to be the same way. not even the pack alpha himself. “None. but she couldn‟t change her upbringing. When it came to her parents.following it. step forward. would get away with criticizing them.” Fury tightened in her chest. lots of children. His eyes blazed with fire. Laughter bubbled up in her throat. She felt like she was in a square dance. She was an only child. they craved a pack – shared living. she was fiercely protective. “If you ever do that again. No one.

“I am not a pet! Or cattle.” Her eyes widened and she clasped her hands together to restrain from striking him. Just before stepping into the trees. liar.” Her head snapped up in surprise.” He snorted. she added.” He chucked her under the chin.Sorin studied her face. he said. He chuckled. it would be very unwise to kick the beta. you couldn‟t pay me to do the job. She opened her eyes. “Knowing the trouble you‟d cause. Not for a mate. Harmony. “I‟m convincing myself not to kick you in the shins. To keep you under control. he said over his shoulder. Miss Independent?” Another tough question. Oh. necazuri mea. “I suppose you‟re volunteering. Hold your tongue. “You put on a tough act.” Liar. Just to put a little sting in it. He must have seen the emotion behind her words because he wisely dropped the subject. “What‟s going on in that head of yours?” Momentarily.” . “That‟s why you need a man. “Not just a little girl far from home. Unfortunately. “You chauvinistic pig!” Too late. A finger under her chin tilted her head up. His lips curled in a half-smile. it wasn‟t her best joke. honey. “You‟re looking for a mate.” She closed her eyes.” he said after a quiet moment.” With a mischievous look in his eye. but he liked to torment her! She fought back the fire rising under her skin. I see. they want their caveman mentality back. Must not kick pack beta. flashing perfect white teeth. she got lost in his deep blue eyes – eyes the color of the sky over the California ocean. Admittedly. “How did you get so surly and overbearing? Were you born in the ice age? The Neolithic era called.” “That‟s what I keep telling myself. “Then what are you doing here. I‟m an adult and I‟m here for the social connection. “No more vampire hunting.” She could‟ve smacked herself in the forehead. you want a man to own you. my body doesn‟t agree. surprising her when he didn‟t lose his temper at her tirade.” His lush mouth formed a smile. Must not kick pack beta. How did he know exactly what to ask to make her squirm? “Ah. but deep down inside.” Then he turned and walked away. “Yes. but a geek too.

Wildflowers and salty air. Harmony was born and raised in America but had picked up enough Romanian around camp to translate what he called her. It slipped from his lips too easily. she represented everything he thought was wrong with the modern world! But for some reason. He‟d never had a problem seducing women before. She couldn‟t even stand talking to him. She was driving him mad. Defiant and passionate one moment. cause she’d surely go for that. But the wolf in him clawed to the surface. *** Sorin stepped into the woods. he‟d never had a problem forcing compliance either. he headed to his cabin hoping he‟d at least get her out of his mind long enough to fall asleep. sweet and vulnerable the next. Why had he called her such an affectionate name in Romanian? Necazuri mea. sweet-smelling woman that was currently giving him the hard-on of a lifetime. Of course. defiant. It was driving him mad. My troublemaker. . God. He never thought someone so contrary could get him so worked up. he couldn‟t get her off his mind. After a frustrated sigh. Yeah. demanding he protect the woman. With his luck. she‟d probably haunt him in his dreams. Maybe that would cleanse his system of her. She wasn‟t his anything. saturated in Harmony‟s scent.The oldest werewolves had immigrated from Romania. Maybe he needed to bed her. The brassy. My troublemaker.

She spun around to see Sorin headed their way. She never had girlfriends. We didn‟t do anything wrong.” Harmony watched the two women circle each other in the training ring. after almost a week.Chapter 3 “Good. Harmony was rescuing stranded jellyfish and having stick fights with local boys. She also might have told one of them that his prized mustang convertible had been stolen when somebody – not naming names – had really hotwired it and parked it ten miles down the road. “Where‟d you learn this anyway?” Monica asked. Since Sorin hadn‟t. she might have made up a few stories to convince the men using it to leave when the three women had the time to train. strength. He flexed and extended his fingers as if he were imagining strangling her. Those icy blue eyes cut into her so fiercely she flinched. “Don‟t be ridiculous. she took it upon herself to do as she pleased. But Sorin couldn‟t know they had anything to do with the rumors of pranksters circulating around camp. “Chuck Norris movies helped. I can handle him. “Oh.” Monica said.” Darla offered. But remember to keep your guard up.” She smiled at the fond memories she‟d shared with the human. werewolves had some natural ability in that aspect – faster reflexes. “We‟ll cover you if you want to run.” she muttered. counteracting with a strike to the stomach. their gazes locked on something behind Harmony. even after you strike. “My best friend growing up. And he looked pissed. Of course. but she might have told one or two that the generator caught fire. She gave her a sideways glance. provided a schedule for them to use the space. Sure. Besides. Zachary. But it was worth it because her friends had made a lot of progress in the last few days. Both girls froze. Darla. She could tell he was . we have nothing to be ashamed of. heightened senses. that was a matter of opinion.” “Uh-oh. He inhaled a deep breath. Darla aimed a high kick at Monica‟s head and she ducked.” Well. boy. It couldn‟t be verified. When most girls were at dance class or playing dress-up.

blah. Maybe the man could be reasonable.” She cocked her head.” He arched a brow and dropped his hand. annoyed.” Then his gaze zeroed in on her cheek. “So you‟re saying if I was attacked by a vampire. She stood still. I shouldn‟t use a weapon if we don‟t agree on it first?” . I‟ll just fill in the blank. if she could manage not to provoke him. But she wasn‟t trying to challenge or frustrate him.” Blah. to all three. So much for not provoking him. “Did you tell Marcus there was a raccoon in his cabin?” She choked on a laugh. he stopped and turned to face her. “We were hand-to-hand. following him into the surrounding forest. Now. “Woman!” he hissed and she winced. “Yes.” he snapped. “Is there such thing in a fight?” “Of course there is. she might make it through this. She was just being herself. “It‟s all right. especially since he still looked like he wanted to throttle her. After a moment he swung around to pin her with a furious glare. I proved myself when we had our duel. blah.” “You cheated. Impressive. “Forest ranger work. afraid to see the ire no doubt building in his eyes.” She stared at her hiking boots. His fists clenched and nostrils flared as he paced back and forth before her. His hand reached up and touched the scabbed over gash across her cheek bone. Less than a football field‟s distance in. When a snarl started in his chest she tried to cover it with a cough. “I need to talk to you. trying to appear innocent and repentant.making quite an effort to keep his anger under control. “Where did you get this?” His touch was tender and much too enjoyable for her liking. “I told you to stop filling the women‟s heads with nonsense that you know isn‟t going to happen!” Not that again. We didn‟t agree on weapons.” She raised her brows. “I have never been so…” He trailed with a frustrated sigh. She swallowed hard. “Ranger work. She nodded and stepped away from her friends.” he said calmly. “More specifically?” A fight with a vampire she‟d staked with a silver blade. Angry. disappointed. considering he wasn‟t known for his tolerance. “I know no such thing.

That was the wrong thing to say. With one large stride.” The last part was soft.“No. that‟s not –” He cut off with a growl and ran a hand through his hair.” Her gaze dropped to his body.” She rolled her eyes. Already pissed him off. She waited for the gruff response but he froze. isn‟t it? Your ego is bruised „cause I bested you. he turned back around. “Why do you care what I do?” It was a question of curiosity. “Fuck!” Several deep breaths later. she‟d backpedal and flip to submissive mode right now. just not always wise. I‟m not done with you. Stay away from the fight or –” “Or what?” Her patience was dwindling. she was smart. his eyes black with rage.” A looming. If she were smart. .” His eyes widened and he bared his teeth. as if he didn‟t know the answer himself. No doubt he could stop her. I will stop you. “What gives you the right to decide that?” “Do you think a pack works like a democracy? Might makes right. She gulped. Then he blinked and spun away. almost tender. “Look. Unfortunately. My God. the man is a walking contradiction. “I‟m not a child you can dictate to. “It‟s about your safety. Harmony. dummy! “I am beta of this pack.” “You didn‟t best me and…woman!” He exhaled a breath and closed his eyes. pissed off werewolf – what a novel concept. His mouth opened then snapped shut. She took a step back. goddamn it!” She sighed. So get it out of your head. An agitated werewolf was not someone to have a picnic with. fit and defined. She could‟ve kicked herself. might as well say my peace. not challenge. The contrary man made her blood boil. He noticed her retreat and gave her a sharp glare. “This is about your pride. “Don‟t think you‟re going anywhere. But why? How did she suddenly come under the scrutiny of the pack beta? And why did he keep getting all worked up about her safety? She furrowed her brow and studied the intense emotion lurking in his eyes. he closed the distance between them and leaned over her. And I don‟t answer to you. “I won‟t let women fight vampires.

Before she could respond. But she was trapped in his glacial eyes. He didn‟t squeeze. This was bad. Suddenly. Very. “You should be very afraid. She couldn‟t breathe. gruff. brute of a man? Not just turned on. His scent blended with hers. but he wrapped an arm around her waist to keep her still. couldn‟t pull away.” She narrowed her eyes. stripping her bare. causing a tingly warmth to spread from her belly. “Are you threatening me?” “Damn right I am. her voice shook. And just like the rest of him. he’s going to kiss me. “If you and your little groupies go near that fight. just held her still. And it scared her. Need slammed into her hard. When . he gave her a look of stark longing. their hearts beat to the same rhythm. When he finally pulled away. His hand moved from her arm to her throat so fast she gasped. his kiss was commanding. oh. He slid his hand to her nape and pulled her into his body. she didn‟t stop him when he pushed her back against a tree. And you‟ll be the first to get it. At the same time. She squeaked and tensed. but he shoved his tongue in her mouth.” Damn it. He kissed her again. She should say something. there will be hell to pay. but a need for emotional connection. She needed him like she needed air. “I‟m not scared of you. which measured her. making her feel small and vulnerable. he unbuttoned her jeans and snaked his hand down her pants. and held nothing back.” Trembling and confused. She was turned on? By this egotistical. all she could do was take it. cutting off any protest. stand up for herself. And you should know. very bad. And he did. She leaned back from the force of it. The comforting scent of pinewood enveloped her.” he whispered. Good and hard. His hand moved down and clutched her ass. Holy Jesus. grinding her hips against his erection. But. I don‟t threaten idly. “You should be. She clutched his shoulders and pulled him closer though they couldn‟t possibly get any closer unless she crawled inside him. but tuned in.” She looked down at his painful grip on her arm then back at his blackened eyes. Her knees wobbled and a slow throb pulsed between her legs. it felt so good. he grabbed her arm in a tight grip and whispered. Not just a lustful physical ache. Harmony.

even if it hurt. When her breathing slowed. It isn‟t control. Not only did the scolding sting. And I‟ll do it again if I have to. . Holy shit. She braced herself with her hands on the trunk. “Oh. “No more torturing my men.his fingers found the wet spot between her legs. but the indignity! “You said you don‟t hit women!” She fought back the urge to clutch her ass. God!” Her head fell back against the tree and Sorin took the opportunity to nibble and kiss her exposed neck.” He flinched back like she‟d hit him. What the hell? A palm landed sharply on her backside. Her knees shook and she almost sunk to the ground. no more vampires!” He released her and she swung around. He gave her one of those unrepentant looks that made her hackles rise. His fingers worked magic on her throbbing flesh until she was ready to beg him to enter her. She just had an orgasm under a tree with the pack beta‟s hand down her pants. Could she actually want this man‟s domination? Did that really turn her on? The contrary emotions made her head spin and her temper fly.” And another. He stroked her. As part of this pack you will obey the hierarchy or you will suffer the consequences. he pulled away and buttoned her pants. She snarled.” he rasped against her ear. angry and blushing. She pulled away from his mouth so she could breathe. Pleasure soared through her nerves. “Love pats. pressing firmly on her clit and she almost flew out of her skin. he spun her roughly to face the tree. On the side of her neck. She yelped and tried to turn around. It sent her over the edge.” His voice dropped to a husky whisper.” he ordered. Had she hurt his feelings? But it was true and her parents had taught her to always stand up for the truth. harder swat. but he kept her pinned with a hand on her back. Sorin muffled her scream with his lips as the orgasm hit her hard. “Love? Do you even know what that is?” “Do you?” “I know what love isn‟t. Before she could utter a word. Another firm slap. Hard.” A chill raced down her spine. submit to my mastery and you‟ll receive pleasure. “But as my lover. She wouldn‟t give him the satisfaction of knowing it hurt. Then he bit her. “You‟re mine. “No more training. but Sorin held her up with an arm around her waist. “And for God‟s sake. she moaned and rocked into him.

“I did the best that I could but he‟s more stubborn than I thought. On the bottom right side of her neck.” “Sorin wouldn‟t hurt a woman.” Monica insisted. I don‟t give up easily. Sorin had bit her. .” she said to Darla and Monica. “No.After a moment of silence. She flipped on the bathroom light and stared at the mirror. he growled.” Then he stormed away. they grabbed their bags then walked toward her.” Darla grumbled but both women acquiesced. She shouldn‟t be having tingles of any kind! Defeated and confused. She grabbed her coat from the ground and brushed it off. slamming the door behind her. “Sorry. That‟s right. stark and painfully obvious. “Just do as I say. We‟ll skip this fight. Shit! Without another word. “Hey. He won‟t let us fight.” Or his hand slapping my ass.” His angry glare flashed in her mind. Sorin. Shoulders slouched. “You didn‟t see his face. just stop it! The man had spanked her. But was she tingly because she was annoyed? Or annoyed because his gruff commands made her tingly? Or were the tingles leftover from the mind-blowing orgasm – Oh. She watched him leave. She sighed. Might as well go to dinner now. a dark red bruise. the Northwest pack beta. stood out against her white skin. There‟ll be others and I‟ll keep chipping away at Sorin and the Council. Darla‟s gaze locked on Harmony‟s neck and her nose scrunched. “Or beat me at the very least.” “You‟re just gonna give up?” Darla asked. had marked her. she ran straight to her cabin. what happened to your neck?” “My neck? What –” She gasped. “I think he‟ll kill me if I don‟t. feeling annoyed and tingly all over. she trudged to the training ring. He‟d actually held her still and smacked her ass like she was an errant child.

And some menacing presence had her hair standing on end. The rain pounded on the cabin roof. Her bare feet splashed through the mud puddles as she sprinted to the other side of camp. Or were her eyes playing tricks on her? There were cabins on either side of hers but suddenly she felt utterly alone. She stepped inside and looked for his figure in the bed. Flashes of lightening outside were her only source of light. rhythmic snoring filled the sudden quiet. The only thing she had time to do was gasp. Out of the corner of her eye. “Harmony?” Sorin said. She shuddered and clutched her blanket closer. Waking the pack beta? Because of a bad dream and a thunderstorm? Idiot! She turned around to slip back out but a hand caught her around the throat and shoved her into the wall. The lights were off so its inhabitant was either sleeping or working. As her eyes adjusted to the dark. and Darla was visiting her grandparents in Nevada. instinct driving her toward the person she felt safest with. his voice filled with sleepy confusion. this whole thing seemed really stupid. drowning out any sound of an enemy. His footsteps pounded across the wood floor then the room filled with light. She didn‟t bother to knock. The hand on her throat pulled away and she sagged against the wall.Chapter 4 Harmony shot up in bed. Though she‟d been raised outside pack. And she‟d just had a horrifying nightmare. she was a pack creature by nature and sleeping alone still kind of freaked her out. A loud bang from behind the cabin startled a squeak out of her. Now what? Suddenly. a figure moved outside her window. She glanced at the two empty beds in her cabin then remembered she‟d traded the night shift with Monica. The rolling thunder in the distance startled her awake. A soft. Without another thought she dashed out of the cabin and into the pouring rain. The powerful creature bore down on her like an angry bear and robbed her of breath. . she couldn‟t seem to shake the uneasy feeling that something was watching her.

When I woke up it felt like someone was watching me. His biceps bulged like a boxer and his disheveled hair made him look like he‟d just come off a fight. “I‟m an idiot. Wearing only black boxer shorts. I came straight here. “If it brought you here at. “If it brought you here at two in the morning.” “Did you see anyone? Smell anyone?” She shook her head. He hung up the phone and stroked her wet hair. The large bed took up most of the space with a dresser. he pushed her into the chair. “Wait!” She jumped to her feet. . No empty beer cans. she still couldn‟t tear her gaze away from that fine ass when he bent over to pull on a pair of jeans. he crossed the room and sat her back in the chair. “I had a nightmare. “I‟m gonna have a look around. I‟ll be right back. Where was the arrogant teasing? Where was the superiority complex? “Seth is outside. “Don‟t leave me. Just try to relax.” He sighed and rubbed his bleary face.” She nodded and watched him walk out into the rain then studied his room while he was gone.” She fumbled with her hands. You did the right thing.” Wimp! How will you ever prove yourself as a serious warrior if you’re scared of a little thunderstorm? With a patient sigh. His brow furrowed and his lips curled down in a frown.” Looking down at the floor she mumbled. You‟re safe here. “I won‟t be far. um…ugh.” Somewhat forcefully.” He pulled her to a chair next to a small desk. and the chair she occupied on the other side of the room. I should have –” He grabbed her hands and squeezed them. “No. God.After she caught her breath. calming her in a way that surprised her. “Christ! Two in the morning. his abs rippled in six very distinct lines. “What are you doing here? What‟s wrong?” “I. “I didn‟t scan. she drank him in greedily. desk. Like most of the camp‟s cabins. “Sit down. She was surprised to find his space so clean and orderly. As shaken as she was.” he glanced at the clock. it sounds stupid now…” He relaxed his posture and strode toward her.” Her face must have shown her terror because he pulled out his phone and murmured a few instructions into it. it can‟t be stupid. she‟d never seen anything so sexy. it had a high rafter ceiling with wood floor and walls.” he said.

“I‟m sorry. But if she knew men. sweetheart. .” She scowled because he was right. come on.” He grabbed a towel from the attached bathroom and dried off his wet chest and hair then stripped off his jeans. there was a drawer somewhere that contained his deepest secrets. “Jesus.. “All of it. She resisted the impulse and sat shivering instead. she pulled her wet one off. Harmony. I really thought there was something –” “Hey.” Suddenly he was much too close.” “What?” “You‟ve gotta get dry. Despite feeling like a frozen popsicle.dirty socks.” When he turned around to grab a t-shirt from his dresser. then chucked her pants and underwear too. What did you expect. “No sense getting modest now.” She shook her head. And you‟re frozen to the bone. I‟ll give you a shirt.” He ran a hand down her bare arm. Harmony. She pulled his shirt over her head. He tossed her a dry one then watched her from the other side of the room.” Rolling his eyes at her hesitation. “Here. That’s not you. you‟re shaking. “Did you find anything?” “No. For a moment she considered snooping. I‟ve already seen it. or condom wrappers. “I believe you. “Turn around!” He gave her a lopsided grin. her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. “Take that off. to run back to your room half naked in the rain? “Unless you want to go back to your cabin. which fell down to her knees. Get in the bed. She stood. Then he looked at her. Come on.” His gaze raked her head-to-toe.” He gestured to her shirt. Sorin came back only ten minutes later.” She blinked. He pulled back the covers and climbed in bed. jumping at every little noise from outside. he added.. “Well. Not bad for a bachelor.

trembling a bit.” She pinched his nipple. What exactly did he mean? No way was she ready to find out. sending a wave of lust through her. It‟s my bed. “You don‟t want a gentleman. “Oh. woman. no matter how cozy it appeared and how frozen her toes. “How do you know what I want?” “‟Cause it‟s me you‟ll be having. Get in. “Punishment?” “For disobeying the pack beta.” Submit to my mastery and you’ll receive pleasure. “With you?” she asked. “Be quiet and let me sleep. smelling good enough to eat. I guess I picked the wrong cabin.” “Cocky bastard.” She slid into the bed and curled up under the blanket. “What things?” “Well. there‟ll be no sleeping until we‟ve settled things between us.” That snapped her out of her stunned daze.” “That was your idea!” Ignoring her. You want an animal. “Ow! Double punishment now.” His hand trailed down her arm then lingered on her hip.” She slapped his chest playfully.” He held the blankets up and motioned to the empty spot next to him.” Her heart thudded in her chest. he went on. A chuckle of male amusement tickled her ear as he tugged her into the shelter of his arms.” She almost laughed at his blatant arrogance.“I thought not. But crawling into bed with a man who lit her on fire with just a look was a bad idea.” Her head popped up again. “I‟ll show you punishment. It looked warm and comfortable. there‟s the matter of you lying half naked in my bed. The words hung in her head and she shuddered. darling.” . “Then there‟s the matter of your punishment. “Of course. Of course he would be arrogant about it. She huffed. “Sassy witch.” She lifted her head. I‟m an animal and you‟ll take me the way I am. “I was looking for a noble hero.

“I know. A rush of liquid heated her core and she shivered in excitement. make her helpless and vulnerable to his every desire.” He lifted his head and stared down at her. she said. And he just might be hers.” He nipped the finger near his mouth and she jerked her hand back. “Double punishment? That‟s the most ridiculous thing I‟ve ever heard. his weight pinning her to the bed. give me your hands. “Uh-huh. He was going to tie her up. When her wrists were tied securely together. Just you wait. He returned to the side of the bed and stood over her. Just to goad him. And I think you‟ll like this. She experimented with the strength of the bonds. She liked his unshaven cheeks though the scratchiness chaffed her skin. “Ow!” “Time for your punishment.Suddenly. She ran her fingertips over his lips. honest. For all his barbaric faults. I won‟t hurt you. she touched his face. “Give me your hands. she was underneath him. He held still and let her explore him. Her heart beat frantically as the soft fabric glided over her sensitive skin. He took her hands and wrapped a silk tie around each wrist. It made him look rugged and manly. Hesitantly. She obeyed. he was a loyal. “Trust me. but I like you anyway. That‟s why I like you. The thought should have flooded her with fear. hoping her trust wouldn‟t prove to be unfounded. But studying the proud man looking down at her. “Your lips are so soft and girly. “Now. I really must know what you use on them. He leaned over and brushed a kiss across her forehead.” She laughed and squirmed when he nibbled the spot behind her ear.” He left the bed and retrieved something from a drawer. sweetheart.” He rose back to his full height. caught in his deep blue eyes. a warm tingly sensation built inside her.” “I‟m not scared of you. You have no sense.” She stopped breathing. he pulled her arms tight above her head and fastened them to the headboard. tugging a little . hard-working man.” “W-what?” A flicker of fear made her heart pound. then ordered.

You‟re beautiful. half-expecting to be able to slip away. And – Her breath hitched when he stroked between her legs. “You forgot to take off the t-shirt before you tied me up. it was deliciously sexy. “Ohhhh…God. kissing and nibbling as he went. Eyes sparkling with lust. under her ass then down her legs.” His teeth scraped against her breast as he continued to tease her clit. are you?” Never taking his gaze off her. Her muscles relaxed into the bed.” he said.at first. bound and helpless. In bed.” He placed both hands at her shoulders then glided firmly down over her breasts. top to bottom. his grin widened then he ripped through the t-shirt. And nervous. she pulled harder. “I‟m in control. T-shirt. A bubble of nervous laughter erupted in her throat. And excited. . He looked her over. He chuckled then removed his hand from that sweet spot. She was terrified. Not so great at this. All you have to do is let go and enjoy it. using all her strength. but some reason. “You‟re wet. She was still wearing his shirt. “Naughty girl.” she moaned. When she couldn‟t budge more than an inch. he said. She squirmed and his t-shirt rubbed against her aching nipples. darling.” He tsked under his tongue as he stroked her lightly. bringing his hands back to her breasts and kneading them before tasting each one. leaving her fully exposed. She whimpered and started to protest but he cut her off with a warning look. “I love every delectable inch of your body. his arrogance was more than annoying. Chills raced down her spine and goose bumps covered her skin. At my mercy in every way. Shit. A dominant male who would take her pleasure into his hands – it went against every feminist concept she believed in. it was hot as hell. pinching each nipple before continuing down either side of her hips. a grin spreading across his handsome face and what felt like a thousand butterflies danced in her belly. She was good and stuck. I don‟t know if I‟ll last through your punishment. “You were saying?” Normally. He more than scared her. You do like this. His tongue swirled around the sensitive peak. little girl?” He crawled up her body like the predatory wolf he was. “Do I scare you now.

” He laughed.sending sparks straight down to her swollen clit. gripped her thighs. I do. the ache almost painful. his hand was gone. “Sorin.” Frustration got the better of her and she kicked at him. “Never.” He brought her so close to climax. “If this is punishment. “And by the end of the night. If her hands had been free. teasing and tormenting her.” His cocky smile made her want to kick him. and held them open. But all she could do was clench her fists and squirm. Slowly. The first sweep of his tongue sent her hips flying off the bed. “Then let me loose and I‟ll give it to myself. all playfulness wiped away. He caught her foot. I‟m the only one satisfying you from now on. Harmony. you‟ll know it. “I think not. You don‟t make the rules. And not good behavior for someone who wants something I have. they were nose to nose. but he backed away. She arched off the bed with a shout.” She groaned and tried to rub against him. And just like that. “I wouldn‟t be too sure about that. he pushed her back down. She panted and gasped. He glared down at her.” He bit her neck. kissing the breath out of her. Then he continued the gradual torment of her clit. finally. Nibbling her breasts.” he rasped. squirmed and screamed.” His brows shot up.” By the end of the night? As if he weren‟t making it perfectly clear right now! He went to work. “You‟re mine. the same spot he‟d marked earlier. alternating between a soft tickle and firm strokes. Or find someone –” Suddenly. Until. I should disobey you more often. His tongue soothed the bruise and she moaned. rubbing his thickness between her legs. she begged him for it. “Yes. She was burning up. but firmly. he made his way down the bed. that‟s not very nice. But he stopped and rose up from the bed. “Now. Do you understand me? I‟m a possessive man and you belong only to me. . The short burst of pain sent a shock of pleasure through her body. Please. “What? Down here?” His fingers returned to the spot between her folds and pressed down on her clit. she would‟ve dug her fingernails into his back and pulled him inside her. my little troublemaker?” “Do what you were doing before.

His wet hair hung around his face. shut up and do me!” His superior smile chaffed at her nerves like the binds on her skin. his lips twitching with a repressed smile.” His hand disappeared. “Sorin! Don‟t you dare!” He winked then turned and walked away. she resentfully acknowledged it could‟ve been worse – he emerged. framing those bright blue eyes. Without a word he retrieved something from the drawer. He sat down next to her on the bed.” Her eyes widened. are you?” He ran his fingertips down the side of her breast and she arched into him like a cat. she couldn‟t see a damn thing. feeling so hot she could burst into flames. remember?” Anger and frustration heated her blood and she tried to kick him again. She whimpered and cursed.” “Punishment. “Have you thought about your transgressions?” “Oh. He’s got to be joking. “Get back here! I‟ll kill you!” The water turned on. naked and aroused. she needed him. “No! Please. “Damn it! Sorin!” He left the door wide open and she lifted her head to watch him shower. Now come and finish me. This was just plain mean. from the bathroom.” he tweaked one nipple and she gasped. I can give it.” . Now! His gaze felt like white hot fingertips gliding over her body. right now. God. aching and throbbing.” “What? Right now? No!” He grinned. “What are you doing?” “I‟m in need of a shower. Oh. Fuck all! The way the bed was angled. I get your point. How could she think he was her mate? “Bastard!” Five minutes later – though they felt like hours. “Very funny.She was on fire. “I‟m in control of your pleasure. She squeezed her legs together to soothe the ache. “You‟re still not getting it. He’s joking. “Yes. Drops of water dotted across his well-formed chest. God. “or I can take it away. what now? She was relieved when he returned to the edge of the bed with a condom. He arched a brow.

Just before she was ready to let go.” With eyes wide. He grunted and grabbed her wrists. As soon as she was free. she shifted her gaze to his face. his thrusts grew faster. hitting just the right spots to make her see stars. gripping her hips with bruising force. she stilled her body. His eyes. with torturously slow movements. tempting body.” he rasped as he rode her. Now turn over.” Her breasts bounced with each thrust. but a second later he slid into her wetness.” Trembling. masculine voice sent shivers down her spine. She would not beg. He kissed her.” he breathed. “Do you want to come?” She nodded.” Whimpering. she punched him hard in the gut. “Yes!” she cried. dark and intense. away from that beautiful. like his kiss. He thrust hard and their skin slapped together. Her cries grew louder. “Say it. “You‟re asking for another set of love pats. “Damn you‟re beautiful. pushing her pleasure higher and higher. sucking so hard she screamed in pleasure. sweetheart. His calloused palm stroked her ass and she thought he might have changed his mind about those love pats. He grinned. “I‟m yours. His body rose up over hers. Strong fingers gripped her hips and raised them while his other hand pushed down on her shoulders.“Please. so commanding. what?” She forced her gaze to the ceiling. . he untied her hands.” His deep. He was so strong. He filled her completely. Maybe she would beg. she did as she was told. Faster he moved. seemed to rip through her soul. he flipped her over and slid back into place with her beneath him. she found it was all she could do to take what he gave her. deep and long.” He leaned down and latched onto one of her nipples. “Look at me. Then. “Harmony. Her groans echoed in the cabin. He tickled her thigh with a fingertip. “You‟re mine.” “Yes. “That‟s better.

crushing her into the mattress.” Three more hard thrusts and she did.” “What you said before…” He stopped and seemed to consider his words. “Well.” Submission had been nerve-wracking at first. To love someone unconditionally. But she couldn‟t deny he made up for it in sexual prowess. The bed dipped and Sorin rolled her into his arms.” In a state of post-orgasmic bliss. He laughed then grabbed the hand that assaulted him and kissed it. she drifted off into a peaceful sleep.“Come.” he commanded. “I am now. If you‟re telling someone who they should or .” he said tenderly. “Mm…you may be a willful pain in the ass. “but you‟ll do. “When you said love isn‟t about control…what did you mean?” The insecurity in his voice charmed her down to her toes. But she couldn‟t move even to pull the blanket on. patting her naked rear. not subdue. His rapid breaths tickled her ear as he let his weight fall on top of her. Feeling satisfied and positively glowing. well-satisfied. She sighed contentedly before remembering the torture he‟d put her through. And wasn‟t that the best orgasm you‟ve ever had?” “Yes. baby. but Sorin had done something no one else ever had. “I can‟t believe you left me like that. “Don‟t ever do that again. he whispered. Pleasure seized her.” His chuckle rumbled under her cheek. She was a limp noodle.” His weight lifted from her body leaving her empty and cold.” I’ll do? Clearly her mate wasn‟t the romantic type. He covered her face and neck with kisses.” “I didn‟t really leave you. limp noodle. Grinning against his chest. She pinched him. He‟d inspired her willingness to let go of control. Her muscles wobbled and her legs collapsed while Sorin let out a loud groan and finished inside her. “Are you awake?” Sorin‟s voice startled her from dreamland. Her head rested on his chest. her words lacked heat. At her ear. I just think that love is supposed to empower. I was only a few yards away. “But you know that only means you‟ll have to top it next time. sleepy. she added. There‟s no room for control. “Come for me. is to give them the freedom to be who they are. rolling through her body like a wave. A happy. “Told ya‟ you wanted an animal.

so she continued. she heard the question in his voice. is it? And there‟s no such thing as conditional love. “When it‟s wild and free. if you love someone. with no restricting fences.” Though he phrased it as a statement. “But.” He didn‟t say anything for a moment and her lids grew heavy. You can try to tame it but you‟ll miss out on its most beautiful form.” She waited for his response. you do what‟s best for them.” With a drowsy yawn. you support them in figuring out what‟s best for themselves. If you love someone.shouldn‟t be…well. His deep voice shook her awake again. it can go on forever. “No. . but he stayed quiet.” She snuggled closer to his warmth. “My dad always said love is like a stallion. she asked. that‟s not unconditional. “Where did you get your ideas about love anyway?” She fell asleep waiting for his answer.

To protect. there was no doubt she was his. She‟d surrendered to his dominion. though not without some fight. he still would‟ve kept her up. His mate. He‟d almost felt bad when she‟d asked him. that was saying a lot. forever. He‟d held her down before she left and marked her again. to treasure. The possessive streak of a mated werewolf male had come roaring to the surface that morning when she‟d left his bed. again. the Romanian clergyman of the Fier pack. religious father. He chuckled remembering the bite of her anger when he‟d left her to take a shower. He‟d almost tied her to the bed and had his wicked way with her. she was so damned cute. arms restrained overhead. to join . If he‟d known that he wouldn‟t have kept her up so late. ever use the word “cute”? To obey authority invites the Lord’s favor. Cute? He shook his head. she was a responsive. Intelligent and witty. and belt. To question authority invites His wrath. to love. After the kiss they‟d shared two nights ago. She‟d rolled her eyes and threatened to kick his ass in the training ring again. By God. just a proud desire to stand up for what she believed in. No. He craved her like he craved the moon. The thought of his mate working alongside men – most of whom were werewolves – eight hours out of the day nagged at him. The child in him rejoiced at Harmony‟s innocent defiance – which wasn‟t really defiance at all. her creamy breasts plump and nipples begging to be licked. just to be sure they‟d know she was taken. It‟d been the most painful shower he‟d ever had – and having been raised under the heavy hand. passionate little thing. of a strict. How many times had his father said those words when Sorin was a child? Ivander believed himself to be the divinely appointed wrath of God – one to mete out justice in His name. Visions from last night formed in his mind – her naked body laid out across the bed. But the screams in his ears when she‟d finally come had been worth it.Chapter 5 How could Sorin spend a whole night in bed with a woman then miss her so much his heart ached only a few hours after they parted? Harmony‟s work shift started at six in the morning. soft and sweet. pack beta and son of Ivander. He hadn‟t known having a mate could make him feel so…alive. Since when did Sorin. And Sorin had been on the receiving end of those lessons far too often.

I think he can make it. that it was forbidden. “He‟ll call me if he needs help. it‟s not a far drop to the water. She wouldn‟t give up. And I‟m here if he needs me. Luke shrugged then left to stand in line for food. Sorin approached him. If not. Bands of children wove through the chatting grown-ups. shrieking and laughing. His brother‟s been doing it all day.” By the time the fog cleared from Sorin‟s mind. my man. broken. Emotionless. “It looks like he‟s gonna try to cross it. But he‟d told her. vacant from years of repression. But that child was so small. in no uncertain terms. A tree had fallen over it creating a small footbridge for someone with good enough coordination to cross. His last memory of his mom made his heart clench and sadness lodge in his throat. step-by-step.” Harmony had said only a few nights ago. his thoughts never straying far from his mate. But today he watched the world go by. he said. His heart gave a satisfied leap when the spitfire determination burned in her eyes. Not like his mother.” Sorin‟s brows shot up. “It isn’t control. A woman.” he mumbled to his friend.” He couldn‟t calm the pounding of his heart as the little boy moved slowly.” Paul smiled. gesturing to the boy now hesitantly placing a foot on the tree. “I did it!” .” “He‟s a strong swimmer. “You gonna do something about that?” Paul looked at his son then back down at his food. The boy beamed then looked at his father. the pack picnic had begun.the fight against vampires. discussing war strategies with the men.” Luke clapped him on the back. He found Paul. Women prattled about baking recipes with babies on their hips.” Careful not to sound like a worried mother hen. “I know what love isn’t. “The current can be fast. Usually he‟d be first in line for food. his father. “What are you thinking about so hard? I can see steam coming out of your ears. “I would guess so. Sorin scanned the area for the boy‟s parents. He breathed a sigh of relief when he made it to the other side.” “Sorin. A child – about six or seven years old – caught his attention standing by a nearby stream. sitting calmly at a nearby table. He stood to the side as families filled plates with delicious smelling food lined up on tables outside. “Nothing. across the tree. stripped down to nothing.

Paul yelled back. . “I knew you could!” The boy went happily along and Paul finished his dinner. Love empowers. completely unfazed by the harrowing event.

She was under strict orders to stay in camp with promises of more love pats if she didn‟t.” She ran to the ranger station. Tires squealed as she peeled out of the parking lot and sped down the road heading straight to the Montana border. pushy werewolf be damned – where Darla and Monica waited to grill her about her relationship with Sorin. And they‟d called in reinforcements. “Is this phone from the vampire you killed last week?” “Yeah. 10am. or already in combat. the bold. why?” “Look at the text!” Darla‟s eyes were wide. “It‟s an ambush!” Darla cried. Not having had a lot of experience with men. “Mathias stayed behind to protect the pack. Darla burst out of the room and shoved a cell phone under her nose. Find him. Nevada coven? Shit. She dialed Sorin‟s cell but voicemail picked up right away. assuming male. Harmony didn‟t hesitate for a second. Harmony took the phone and read the text she was in a panic about. . had her things moved to his cabin while she was at breakfast. But before she made up the cabin steps. NV coven here. The Montana coven knew about the attack. Sorin.Chapter 6 Harmony watched the men as they prepared for the battle with the vampire coven. reminded her to stay in camp then left with the other warriors. Harmony made her way to her cabin – and it was still her cabin. her hands shaking. She didn‟t have girlfriends growing up so sharing about her passionate night two days ago was a novel idea. I‟m going to warn Sorin. “Shit!” If their cell phones were off it meant they were either close to their destination. some advice wouldn‟t hurt either. He‟d kissed her fiercely. She‟d ranted about his archaic treatment and he grinned the whole time. ignored the werewolf on duty and grabbed a set of keys to one of the ranger jeeps. Wolf howl.

she couldn’t be here. joy. The stench of death tainted the air. He must‟ve been hit harder than he thought. Oh. Victorian-style house sat isolated in the backwoods of a section of Montana that didn‟t even have a name. Someone had given them a potion to withstand the sun. We‟re-fucked-ville. The next twenty minutes were a blur of battle cries. growing at least four inches taller. Vampires. And Sorin. Without undressing he shifted to his half man. They huddled together. She fought alongside his men. Heat flooded his veins and a growl tore from his throat. he‟d name it now. Hands turned into razor sharp claws. the leader of the mission. surrounded on all sides but ready to fight as they protecting each other‟s backs. tell me I have a concussion. Sorin had no idea how. which was nothing more than a blood-soaked front yard. could only be killed by beheading. half wolf form. But apparently they‟d been prepared. The vampires charged and Sorin fought with ferocity. She made the hour long trip in forty minutes and parked behind the three identical jeeps on the side of a lonely dirt road. barked instructions. His gaze darted around the battlefield. God. At least two dozen vampires crawled out of the house in full daylight.She was glad she‟d snuck a peek at their mission plan and knew where the coven was. Well. and splattering blood. Please. Blood. *** They‟d been ambushed. like werewolves. But a familiar scent hit the air and he froze. The large. It was ten fifteen in the morning – he knew because they‟d planned to sneak into the house and slaughter each vampire as they slept. Panic welled in his chest. As soon as she jumped outside the vehicle. Then he saw her. What the fuck was she doing here? Anger consumed him. He shook the dizziness away and faced his opponent. three inch long canines . A fist hit him square in the jaw and his neck snapped to the side with an audible sound. tearing flesh. stronger than before. dodging and striking a male vampire that looked ready to tear her apart. which made for a messy fight. Lots of blood. The scent hit him again. Tomas. Harmony? No. but they were hugely outnumbered. the scent hit her.

right? His message was clear – get the fuck out of here. several already shifting to their crinos form. Though she knew he wouldn‟t hurt her… He bared his teeth with a fierce snarl. slicing through the vampire‟s neck before he even landed. . He wouldn‟t hurt her. Before she could react. turned tail. a sharp force slashed across her back. vengeful howl. Crouched on all fours he spanned the distance between them in one leap. Sorin grunted and jerked his head up the road again. Maybe once he calmed down. his thoughts a mixture of rage and fear. He spun to face Harmony. getting in trouble for trying to do the right thing. She breathed a sigh of relief. she could give him peace of mind and go to safety. Her last memory before the world slipped away was the sound of a murderous. her teeth snapping together. “I can help. She nodded.ripped through his gums as his jaw double in size. *** Harmony stared at the towering beast before her. But they were still outnumbered. She gulped. With a sharp nod. Her eyes widened and she took a step back. Sorin jumped in the way and ripped its head off. It was so like her. shamed by her shaky voice. and never so angry. Now that the numbers were even. God help her if she didn‟t obey him now.” he said with his eyes. he gestured up the driveway. She‟d seen men in their warrior forms but never so close. she wasn‟t sure if she feared them or looked forward to them. Just before turning the corner toward her jeep. As for promises of punishment.” she insisted. Muscles bulged and thick fur covered his body. She screamed as burning agony consumed her. “Get your ass out of here. tearing through her flesh. and jogged up the road. blood spraying straight up into the air. Mathias sprinted down the dirt road with at least forty men behind him. An army of footsteps came from behind her and she spun around. She fell forward and hit the ground hard. A vampire lunged from her left. he‟d listen to reason. wishing she could‟ve explained why she was there. He growled and glared to convey his displeasure.

“I hurt. She tried to lift up off the bed then hissed as the pain worsened. “Lie down and don‟t even think about trying to get up again. “You little idiot. Except for the sound of a steady heartbeat. Everyone else went home. I –” . But she wasn‟t in the battlefield any longer. In a hotel room. “Oh. Even that small movement sent waves of pain across her back. remember?” There was no hint of mercy on his face. She opened her heavy eyelids. human now. He sat on a chair next to the bed and gently pushed her hair away from her face. A blank wall stared back at her. This is battle. Awareness hit and she remembered the searing agony of her flesh torn to ribbons on her back.” She scowled the best she could with her face half smothered in a mattress. her throat dry and achy. love. “Cranky one.Chapter 7 Fire spread across Harmony‟s back as she came to. But first…“Sorin.” “Where‟s –” “It‟s just me. How long had she been out? “I bet. She closed her eyes and inhaled a deep breath. You wanted it. fuck off.” She had so many questions. She moaned. I‟m sorry but I had to come. but movement only made it worse. And she was lying face down on something soft.” she whispered.” It was too hard to see him so she pulled her arms up and rested her chin on them. it was silent around her. but with the same fiery eyes. easing her anger. “I would punish you but I think you already did it to yourself.” He chuckled and stroked her hair. aren‟t you?” She tried to lift her head to see where she was but Sorin raised two brows in challenge and gently pushed her back down. “Where am I?” “Safe.” Sorin came into view. shifting to ease the pain.

” “Why don‟t you let me worry about the kind of woman I want.” “We really have to work on your choice of nicknames. And if that means reevaluating my…oldfashioned ideas. His eyes softened though his voice was still chastising. But right now.” She rolled her eyes. sweet kiss on her lips. draga mea. “Puiule mea. He sighed.” She tried to look at the damage behind her but could only see her legs tucked under the blanket. my beautiful. It was time they set a few things straight. barefoot and pregnant.” He planted a swift. And I don‟t even want to know why you had a vampire‟s cell phone. “You love me?” “I do. now don‟t say that.” “Then you‟re dumber than I thought. you should know there‟s not a romantic bone in my body.” He continued to stroke her hair lovingly. you want a pet. I will.” He smiled and stroked her cheek.” Ignoring his protest. I won‟t lose my wolf to sit at home. Sorin. I love you.“I know all about it. If you‟re going to make me say it. “You say the sweetest things.” “I don‟t regret it.” “I‟m not the kind of woman you want. she pushed to her side so she could face him fully and looked up at him.” “You don‟t want a woman. My brave little idiot. …my baby. “I‟m serious. frumos mea.” He tugged her hair.” “I‟ll do it again. pet.” It was a warning and one he needed to hear. “I want you just the way you are.” He purred. “I know.” She glowered at him.” He leaned down and kissed her head. “But you shouldn‟t have come.” “I‟m serious too. “How bad is it?” “You‟ll heal. who told me. Darla told Mathias. I‟m still mad at you. I don‟t compose poetry or sonnets. “Aw. “I‟ll say sweet things when I have you naked in my bed. It wasn‟t worth the risk. my dear. “But Harmony. I‟ll always be rough . then I will.

“Your partner.” He leaned in and kissed her. running his tongue across her bottom lip then tugging it into his mouth. you can’t help who you fall in love with. domineering beta with a fondness for bondage.” She scrunched her nose.” She scowled. thorough claiming. My treasure. She‟d never have guessed her fated mate would be a rigid. “That‟s good because I‟m keeping you.around the edges. only who you stay in love with. “My possession.” “My troublemaker. His eyes lit up.” His answering grin made her heart swell in her chest.” “Here we go with the pet references again.” . “My companion?” “No.” she said. And Harmony would forever choose him. After a long. And even if it takes forever. But.” “Definitely not!” She reached up and stroked his face. “Not my pet. “My everything. “I love you too. I‟ll try my best to make you happy. laughing.” Her lips curled into a wide smile. as her mom always said. But I‟m willing to learn how to love you. he pulled away and cupped her cheek.

he was grinning. Harmony jumped from one foot to the other.” He winked then pushed her into the ring. stretching her arms over her head and rolling her shoulders. She had a lot riding on this tournament. “Give „em hell. This was her chance to prove her worth to the pack. Harmony! Show „em what you got!” The towering pile of muscle glared at her from across the ring. long and hard. “Come on. Darla and Monica‟s voice carried over the others. growling and flexing for the crowd. And not just for her. a grim expression on his handsome face. Love empowers. When she thought he might have changed his mind about the fight. but for all the women. Sorin looked down at her. She scanned the crowd nervously. most bad-assed werewolf stepped in. A pair of heavy hands settled on her shoulders. he bent down and kissed her. there were a lot of people. . Maybe this was a bad idea. until she felt it right down to her toes.Epilogue Three months later Shouts and cheers surrounded the training ring as the biggest. When he lifted his head. On the edge of the circle. God. baby.

Books by Leia Shaw Destiny Divided (Book 1 of Shadows of Destiny series) – available now! Destiny United (Book 2 of Shadows of Destiny series) – available now! Destiny Unchained (Book 3 of Shadows of Destiny series) – coming December 2011 Continue reading for samples of each .

a vision of confidence. vampire. She‟d tracked it by scent. if it isn’t Robin Hood and his merry men. “Didn‟t think so. Weapons. The black wolf blended into the shadows of the thick trees. each with an arrow trained on her. She tightened her muscles ready to spring at the beast.Destiny Unchained Coming December 2011 Chapter 1 Crouched on the ground Natalia crept silently through the leaves. A badge.” She made no move to obey. The Terminator?” Two of the werewolves chuckled. As if it could read her mind the werewolf turned on her and snarled. “Don‟t even think about it. A husky male voice sounded from behind her. But nothing scared her. “Bow and arrow? How archaic. “Kick them toward me. The growl would‟ve sent the toughest human screaming through the forest. vampire. her sharp gaze focused on her target.” the werewolf ordered. Want a demonstration?” She gave no reply. Rangers? Werewolves worked at Yellowstone as rangers? The werewolf interrupted her thoughts. “Don‟t make the mistake of testing us. Gods I hate these creatures. Well. I know you have at least a dozen on you. “Who do you think you are. A flash of gold on his coat caught her eye.” She stiffened but kept still. Three men stepped out of the trees. .” His lips curled in amusement. its teeth gleaming in the darkness.” “It‟s effective. My patience is dwindling.” He said the word “vampire” with a sneer that would‟ve offended her if she‟d cared what anyone thought of her. “Put your weapons on the ground. but his gaze never left her face. The blonde on her right was eerily silent. All of them. You reek of metal and rust. The distinct odor of smoky pine invaded her nostrils. Especially not some barely out of the cave Cro-Magnon that sprouted fur and fangs once in a while.

She nodded. She looked down. A werewolf could usually beat her in an arm-wrestling match but they had nothing on her speed. She frowned at her assailant. Natalia leapt into the air avoiding the first of the arrows released. She smiled inside. The werewolf‟s voice stopped her. She spun to face the last werewolf. Grabbing his arm when he swung at her again. She collapsed on the ground. Poison arrow. it was easy to snap his neck. Shit. Only it looked better on him. She kicked him in the chest. the familiar feel of cold metal on her skin. A savage yelp echoed in the forest. “I really liked this shirt.She reached down to her calf to grab the first knife. commandeering his arrow. . holstered under her fitted leather pants.” he commanded. her captor‟s heavy boots her last vision before she faded. She ducked under the first flying fist. she flung it at the werewolf to her left. showing full cooperation. “Slowly.” The silent blonde stood perfectly still. Her knees wobbled and her mind thickened with fog. Finding a werewolf attractive? That was new. She lifted an arm to pull the arrow out. Her feet were swept out from under her and she landed on her ass but deftly jumped back up. When she had the knife in her grasp. Her limbs felt heavy. Nothing more disturbing than seeing a pointy weapon lodged in your chest. Upon landing she lunged for the nearest archer reloading his bow. Especially knowing it would hurt like a bitch when she pulled it out. With him off balance. An arrow sliced through the air a fraction of a second before she could react. With an easy toss it landed in the black wolf as it sprung toward her. she used his momentum to send him stumbling across the terrain. Burning agony overwhelmed her senses. Pain erupted in her chest. mimicking her earlier vision of confidence. It took some effort to maintain her usual calm. lodging it deep into his throat. gritting her teeth at the expected explosion pain. His body slumped in a heap on the ground.

It was still night. She wasn‟t far from where she‟d been ambushed. that’s right.” She experimented with her binds. for now. It would hold things up. “I don‟t suppose you can loosen these?” she asked drily. Always causing trouble they were. fresh water. “Where are the rest of your merry men?” she asked. a common herb used to weaken vampires. werewolf. “Which unlucky bastard do you work for?” He picked up another arrow and began sharpening it. She inhaled the cool autumn air. but to no avail. Natalia knew all about witch blessings. He kept his gaze fixed on his work.Chapter 2 Natalia woke in a hazy stupor. And she‟d walked right into it. Werewolf ambush. . Ah. And she wasn‟t about to bruise her skin for a lost cause. It almost always didn‟t work. “Not until I know you won‟t be a problem. you‟re a bounty hunter?” she guessed. She struggled with all her might to break through them. She opened her eyes. tied at each wrist then secured around the tree. local game. his expression bemused. waiting for the memories to surface. She kept her eyes closed. “Just me. Her legs were bound together at the ankles with the end of the rope resting beside the werewolf. since vampires were allergic to the sun. He looked at her. cursing others. A campfire crackled several feet away.” “Define problem. And she was bound. The mystery man had done a bang-up job with the knots as well. If the werewolf had any experience with vampires he would know there wasn‟t much that could hold them.” “Lucky me. On the other side the blonde werewolf who‟d shot her sat on a log. using a rock to sharpen something. So it wasn‟t ordinary rope. she assessed her environment. An arrow head.” “In a word? You. Her arms were twisted behind her. First step in any escape plan was to ask to be released. blessing some. Pine trees. A pity. of that she was thankful. So she was dealing with a professional. “So. He‟d probably purchased the damn thing from a witch. Using her heightened sense.” A werewolf with a sense of humor? That was new. Most likely it had wolfsbane threaded through it.

Strange.” She was flattered. Feeling the ache in her shoulders she looked down at her binds. But she told him so because she wanted to see his reaction. Silly doggie. Did he just laugh at me? She‟d been sneered at plenty. From the tree roots jutting from the ground. husky chuckle came from across the fire. “Because I like to.” His eyebrows darted up. to the closest body of water. Sort of. or show any sign of anger. and even the smallest rocks on the ground. “A minor inconvenience. “And why do you do that?” he asked. He stopped his task and studied her with narrowed eyes. “I kill werewolves. identified every scent. “And I‟ll kill you too. Of course. nasty business – with no workman‟s comp – but surely he knew that. “Interesting thing for someone in your position to say. “Yes. “A hundred grand. that was a few decades ago.” she told him without hesitation. that may not have been the best word. . Didn‟t he know she was a weapon of perfect focus? “Before now. but genuine laughter was a first.“What‟s my bounty up to now?” Last she‟d heard it was ten thousand. disgusted.” Well. “Why do they want you?” She couldn‟t tell if he was impressed. “beautifully. Mostly it was bloody. She studied every sound. or merely curious. He didn‟t flinch.” “How‟s that working out for you?” So he was curious about her too? Or maybe he was attempting to distract her from her escape.” she answered. concentrating only on her environment.” Her position. growl. “What‟s your name?” She smirked then tuned the werewolf out.” A dark. They were always angry about that. One never knew when a sharp rock may be the difference between life and death. to low hanging branches. “So you‟re a vigilante?” he asked.” It was true. When she broke free of the binds – and she would break free – she would use anything she could to escape.” “Not bad.

according to her driver‟s license. blah. vampire?” She arched a brow. “You‟ve got a lot of nerve. I really don‟t like being tortured. He was huge. So it’s going to be like that. disapproval written all over his face. You‟ve most likely taken my wallet. the other baby blue. “Feeling territorial?” “Answer the question. “for a dog. Natalie. “But you‟re not American. What I don‟t have is my weapons. But it was his eyes that caught her attention. “Fair warning. are you?” “Perceptive. she had none now.” . his arms folded over his massive chest.” she said.” Well. “Bad things happen when you‟re in a foul mood?” “Let me put it this way.” He shook his head slowly. He hadn‟t been her intended revenge but he had sufficed until she could catch up with the man she really wanted to castrate.” “Let me guess. She tried not to stare. blah. It puts me in a foul mood. One was brown. “So.” “Do you really think it will be that easy?” “So you will make me torture you?” Her eyes narrowed into her best threatening glare. Her captor rose gracefully from the log. tied up with my rope.” He stood in front of her. and you‟re mouthing off?” “Nerve. She sighed.” was his only response to her gruesome threat. Who are you? What are you doing here? Why did you kill my brother? Blah. If she had any doubt he was a werewolf before. “I was merely concentrating on my escape plan. I fed his balls to a pack of wild dogs. huh? A very nice American name.” His mouth curled up in mocking amusement. My name is Natalie. “I‟ll keep that in mind.” She wanted to roll her eyes at the repetition of it all. at least six and a half feet tall with broad shoulders and thick muscles that made the standard ranger uniform a little snug. as all werewolves were. “What are you doing in Yellowstone. The effect was unnerving. “No.” The werewolf had deserved it. the last time someone tried to torture me. Here you are.“Will you make me torture you for answers?” the werewolf asked after she‟d been silent for a few minutes. I won‟t withhold information you already have. in my territory. I have an abundance of. Her mate.

just like yours. didn‟t you? To sound American.” He stooped down so they were eye-to-eye. “Irrelevant. “What‟s the name of my temporary captor and soon to be dead man?” He hesitated only a moment. “Cristian? Cristian the werewolf? That‟s rich. Did you forget you tried to kill me?” “You started it.” He laughed.” He paused to look in her wallet. “Cristian. “You‟re too beautiful to be Natalie.” Two blonde brows darted up.” Impatience flared in his eyes. “Natalie from Wisconsin. “You changed it. Her eyes widened. Why did she like the feel of his skin on hers? “What‟s your real name?” he asked in a buttery voice. When his chuckles faded she asked. “You don‟t look like a Natalie. She stared at him. Well.” He snorted. his teeth white against his lush lips. she‟d been near it too long. Using a knuckle he stroked her cheek. She had to purse her lips to keep the answer from spilling out. It was a dangerous rogue werewolf. “You were about to take out that lone wolf!” The amused arrogance was gone when he took another step towards her.“Nor will you get them. as much as she could with her arms tied behind her back. she ignored him. And that wasn‟t a lone wolf. . To her own surprise she didn‟t snap at him with her fangs. What the hell was going on? It was almost as if he had some power over her. “Who has who tied up?” She looked at her binds. “What wolves‟ blood? I have no idea what you‟re talking about. Can‟t you tell the difference?” “Answer the question. “How did you hear about the wolves‟ blood? Who sent you?” I guess fun time is over.” She couldn‟t hold back a mocking smile. Must be the wolfsbane. Won‟t you tell me your real name?” He smiled warmly and tucked a loose strand of her hair behind her ear. She shrugged.” He smiled. “My mother was human.” Since it was none of his business.” “You answer the question.

there was probably a blog somewhere out there on the web sphere dedicated to the ways she should die. Silver hoops did look lovely dangling from her ears. cut out her heart. and stabbed. “Or else so many wouldn‟t have failed. “You make your own rope?” He nodded. etcetera.” “I guess everybody needs a hobby. are you?” “Never said I was. Actually. Werewolves wanted her dead. “You‟re no ordinary vampire.” he said with a slow smile.” He stood up and walked back to his spot on the log.” he said. She could barely see him through the haze of the fire. On more than one occasion. ever did they want to caress her. She‟d been locked in cages. he guessed again. “Natalia then. I make rope. Was this some kind of trick? “Is it Natasha? Nathalee?” When she didn‟t respond.” “I think you can see it‟s more than just a hobby. This was no ordinary werewolf. bad news for her. “No? What about Nata? Natalene?” She bit down on her tongue until she tasted blood. Talia. “That‟s much better. She knew this because they‟d told her so. isn‟t it?” He shrugged. But she‟d always escaped because the deadliest agent in the supernatural world had no effect on her.” . she‟d have been free before she even opened her eyes. All of them.” “No doubt.” She looked at the bindings around her legs. “Some people knit. But I don‟t trust things I haven‟t made myself. Her body yearned to answer him. isn‟t it?” She didn‟t bother to confirm it. What most werewolves didn‟t know was that Natalia was the only vampire immune to the effects of silver. In fact. handcuffed. burn her alive. etcetera. “Natalia. stab her.Her eyes widened at the strange encounter.” “Maybe I‟m just a good fighter. “Tedious. “Why didn‟t you use silver to subdue me?” If he had. But never. “Natalia?” Her face must‟ve given her away because he grinned. Good news for the northwest pack. hung from ceilings. that‟s wasn‟t quite true. They wanted to beat her.” “You‟re not really a bounty hunter.

She used all her power this time as she reached out around her. “How old are you?” Ignoring him. Good to know. She sighed. yes. searching for the one thing she needed to escape. On average she had at least a dozen weapons on her at one time. Using her gift she extended her senses. best tread on out of here. “I‟m a patient man but I‟ll only tolerate so much from a prisoner. Usually metal was easy to find. It was her essence. Talia. She had the unique ability to manipulate it. Clothing. As if a werewolf could scare her. Next to that was a whip. A bow and quiver of arrows rested against a tree. Well. All metal.” “You‟d be surprised. hair clips. Time for the most important part of an escape plan.” “It‟s not a very useful weapon you know. The actual escape.” he warned. the area she was currently bound in was almost void of it. Almost. mostly it‟s for intimidation. . That was what made her deadly. “I see you are immune. Her gaze rested on Cristian‟s pile of weapons. she put her feelers out again.” A soft gaze landed on her. Maybe she‟d pegged him for Robin Hood too early. Which means you are either very old and experienced or very young and stupid. dog. no daggers. Surprisingly. Cristian grinned. But.” she hissed. “Talia? We‟re on a nickname basis now.” “Careful.A nickname? This was getting far too personal. shoes. Natalia?” He was using that seductive voice again. that and combat skills that rivaled the Navy Seals. Best tread lightly. “A whip?” she asked. Of course she would get caught by the one man in North America who doesn‟t use metal weapons.” She snorted. phones. “Where are my weapons?” “At the bottom of the river. not even a switch blade. letting her emotions get the best of her for a moment. “Which is it. searching for her own weapons.” Actually. It was everywhere. “Also homemade. almost everything contained metal of some sort.” “Bastard. wallets. But there were no swords. heating her more than the fire only a few feet away. jewelry.

circling Cristian in a defensive crouch. Natalia always “missed” the first shot. Her hand reached for her knife. the buckle pulled away from his pants and molded into a shiv. She struck him in the stomach with the heel of her boot. He had a wild look about him that made her heart flutter. It took exactly three seconds to make it to slice through her bonds and free her arms. “Wanna see why the bond is so high?” she asked. The corner of her mouth twisted up into a smug smirk. Natalia studied him. One rip with her claws and her legs were free too. “I can see how you‟ve managed to evade them for so long. He was trying to bait her for a fair fight. cutting through muscle and lodging into his spine. He grabbed his whip while she put out a hand and her makeshift knife flew into it. She‟d left him a clear message not to mess with her – one he would heed if he had any common sense.” . While he was unconscious. The only thing that would kill him would be to sever his head from his body. but she didn‟t kill him. “Too bad we‟ll never know. facing her captor. A simple thought and the knife unloaded from the tree and stabbed into Cristian‟s back. With an arrogant smirk he flicked his wrist and the whip lashed menacingly towards her. she wasn‟t one to gloat overly much. But I wonder. She started with a little tug and his belt buckle began to change shape. And that was his first mistake. “Cristian the werewolf. With a big mental yank. She preferred to just get the job done.” She threw the knife but he dodged it easily and it thunked into the tree behind him. She chuckled and brushed back a piece of hair from his face. Oh yeah.Picking up the essence on Cristian‟s belt buckle she smiled inside. But she doubted very much that he did. With a long drawn out sigh. metal was her bitch. His scraggly blonde hair was just long enough to touch the tops of his shoulders. But she couldn‟t deny a certain satisfaction in escaping Cristian‟s handmade bonds. It matched the scruffiness of his unshaven face. She shed the ropes and jumped up from the ground. but she stopped. He was playing. When he lurched forward she grabbed his head and twisted. she slid it into her boot instead. A snapped neck would put a werewolf out for just long enough to get a good head start. Normally. how long would you last without your special…gift?” She‟d seen that trick before. Maybe it would be the biggest mistake of her life.

“You‟re late again. With her ripped up jeans. disapproval thick in his husky voice. If only the classes she‟d been sneaking into counted towards a degree. dumping her looted treasures into a shoebox. Another sigh and she pulled on her faded gray button down janitor shirt. “Not bad. if class attendance was all it took. Her thighs burned as she sprinted up the basement stairs. Mostly she wished for Erin. She kicked the table in frustration. “Sage?” Her boss‟s voice boomed from above. though not by blood. She tucked the cash back into her jeans pocket then looked at the old metal filing cabinet that held her meager belongings. but on the inside. he was a mushy teddy bear. an MP3 player. Tony may have looked like he belonged in the mafia. Hell. It still wasn‟t enough for an apartment even in the scummiest parts of town. Maybe I could cut back on meals. If you’d stop buying books then you’d save more. He must have known she was . yet she wasn‟t even close. and combat boots.” she said. Once a week he would bring her home-cooked meals his wife had made. and twenty bucks. and saving for two months. “Fuck all. working. black tank tops. Would it really matter even if she had enough? She had no one to co-sign. For once. she‟d look sketchy to anyone who looked closely enough. He‟d proven to be an ally Sage sorely needed.” she muttered. She hated arguing with herself.” he said. snapping the padlock in place. her sister. She pulled out a wad of cash and counted it.Destiny Divided Available now for all e-readers Chapter 1 Sage emptied the contents of her backpack onto a desk in the basement of the school. she‟d have a fucking PhD. no bank references. Two phones. She‟d been stealing. “Are you down there?” She shoved the shoebox in the cabinet and closed the metal doors. she wished she had someone to argue with. She sighed. He wasn‟t angry. I wonder how hard it is to forge a degree. she scolded herself.

struggling. The one with the squeaky wheel. Maybe she‟d make it in time for Mythology in the afternoon.” she said as she strolled by him. I‟ll bring you leftovers.” Another lie. Tony. His forehead creased and his eyes filled with concern. He grimaced. Tomorrow she would be at the pawn shop. well. admittedly there wasn‟t much angelic about her. She liked that class. an Italian term of endearment.” . but he stopped short when he met her gaze. Sage?” “Yes. The sound of metal grating against metal made her shudder. Sage was many things – perky was not one of them. “Just peachy. “Sure. when he felt bad for her. Tony grumbled something about having to quit hiring based on his damned bleeding heart. And the professor wasn‟t bad to look at.” Tony disappeared into the supply closet.” he said. Her face must have paled because he looked concerned again. tesora?” Tony called her “tesora”. He pushed her cleaning cart into the hallway. cutting him off to shift topics. She frowned. “What did you say you were taking Friday mornings?” “Umm…British Literature. He furrowed his brow then opened his mouth. you need someone to keep you on your toes. Do I look that bad? “How are you doing today. If she never heard that sound again. “Maybe if we‟re fast tonight you can get some sleep before your first class.” she lied.” she answered in a perky tone. He sighed. “All right. He appraised her with a long glance. Yes. she would die a happy woman. “Should I do the west side again?” she asked. Tomorrow my wife is making chicken cacciatore. She only hoped he didn‟t notice she was living in the basement of the building they cleaned every night. “Have you eaten tonight. “Aren‟t you glad it‟s someone as charming as me?” She batted her eyes and gave her best angelic smile. “Come on Tony. The acting class she‟d snuck into was paying off.

Peterson. The hallway was mostly empty. Curious. She took a deep breath and held back a groan. She brandished a mop like a weapon. Yes. are you from Russia?” He dismissed the class before he fed into the urge to rile them in a way that would ensure they never slept in his class again. but he wasn‟t fond of America. He missed his home country of Wales. His people. “make sure she doesn‟t leave.“I‟ll be looking forward to it.” the Dean said to the guards. you will remain here while I call the police. Two students had actually fallen asleep.” That was the truth. “Tell Isobel I said thank you. which explained the presence of the security guards. But she looked more like a scared kitten than a dangerous threat. then the long empty hallway before her. He sighed. I‟ll be back with my phone in a minute. At least they were close.” the overweight guard ordered. But on more than one occasion.” The subject of the ruckus was a slender brunette with striking jade colored eyes and a mutinous look on her face. . Americans. Sage stared at the mop. the rolling hills. dude. But Sage wasn‟t picky either. I love your wife‟s cooking.” After Tony left for his side of campus. “Uh. Kill Bill. No point complaining. James loved to teach. The rocky shorelines. and he was grateful to have a job. “Martin. a student had approached him and asked. The two security guards standing stiffly with their hands on their hips must have discouraged nosy bystanders from lingering. *** James had just finished a lecture on modern depictions of mythological creatures at the small liberal arts college in Eastern Massachusetts when he paused and peered around the room.” The Dean‟s voice echoed outside James‟ classroom. Julio. he could give them nightmares for life. Most people assumed he was British. She was an amazing cook. Wales and England were neighbors. “Put the mop down. Forty blank expressions stared through him. “Ms. It won’t make it any better. he went to investigate. But now he was the subject of silly female crushes that whispered about his “sexalicious” accent. the people. He had been respected in Wales. A commotion in the hallway distracted him from his violent thoughts.

They looked up at the long florescent bulbs and Martin shrugged.” he answered the Dean. . “She‟s a janitor but we found her living in the school basement. Yes. so that’s where I’ve seen her.” The girl‟s expression didn‟t change.She sucked in a sharp breath and gripped the mop tighter. “I‟ve got the police on the phone now. There‟s been a string of thefts we think she might be involved in.” Ah. And she‟s been sitting in on classes without being registered. She was a supernatural.” He waved a dismissive hand. weird shit always happens in this school. no. He could feel it in his bones. Magic. the other still holding the phone to his ear. “I‟m on hold but the police should be arriving soon. Don‟t make us Taser you. “What the hell is going on?” Julio asked. “Must be a storm coming. They skirted out of the way as the glass rained onto the floor. involving the police would turn into a disaster. “Nothing for you to worry about James. “The police will take care of it.” The police? The girl could barely control herself with the threat of the security guards. focused only on the guards.” Martin said.” “The police?” James questioned. The Hispanic guard laughed and the lights flickered. is there anything I can do?” “No.” the Dean bellowed from the end of the hallway. A soft feminine growl erupted before the florescent light behind the guards burst.” James knew for a fact they didn‟t have Tasers. “Come on. “Put the fucking mop down. “Professor Elias. “Eh. Her eyes were narrowed slits. “But since I‟m here.” the Dean said with a smile.” Martin answered. Their attention shifted back to her. powerful and raw rolled off the young woman. James took a step forward and it hit him like a freight train. what are you doing here?” “Just leaving for the night. “What has the girl done wrong to warrant an arrest?” James used all the influencing ability he had to get an answer from the Dean. if he remembered correctly she was the only one who paid attention during the deities lecture in Mythology.

A quick yank and the mop was out of her hands. “Come home with me and we‟ll talk.” he whispered in her ear. “I ask you for leniency. I have a feeling I’m going to regret this. “The police –” “She‟s not going anywhere. “It‟s either that or spend the night in county.He sighed. She studied him. “Fuck you. For all her bravado she was as insecure as a small child. she stepped back. Smart girl. I promise.” Her eyes grew wide for a fraction of a second before she schooled her features. Sage and I just signed a contract.” He stepped towards her. willing to fight if pushed. “I know what you are. His tone commanded obedience and she obliged. “You do?” Sage looked appalled. She will be renting a room from me. then at the guards blocking the only exit. You see.” He gave the Dean a winning smile that always worked to soothe humans. She‟s only slept here a few nights while my other tenant moved out. “Like hell I –” “Hush. He grinned.” . “Actually. angry. A guarded scowl aged her.” he ordered. He led her down the hallway. “Would you excuse us for a moment?” Dean Merrit looked confused. She looked at the Dean. a hand perched on her hip. He smiled at the Dean. By the look on her face it was a loathing obedience. appraising him like a gazelle would a lion. still on the phone with the police. “Sage and I have a prior arrangement.” he snapped with a sharp look. sir. assessing her body language.” Sage gasped. With a loud exhale she nodded. He strode toward Sage. Do you want to get arrested?” Her lips tightened into a thin line and the lights flickered. He stepped forward.” The Dean looked skeptical. far enough out of hearing range but close enough not to worry the Dean. “Do you want to get arrested?” “Why –” “It‟s a simple yes or no question. the girl –” He stopped himself then glanced at the name on her work badge. “We do?” He gave her a conspirator‟s glare but kept his voice cool. She was confused. “Who the hell are you?” she hissed. This should be interesting. “Come with me.

get a good night‟s sleep in my guest room…” He paused to let it sink in.” .” Her gaze was harsh as it raked him over.“What‟s the catch?” Typical American. You‟ll just have to trust me.” He had to bite back a laugh. It was such a contrast to the cynical glares that it unnerved him.” she answered flippantly. “We don‟t have time to agree on every detail. I‟ll even buy you breakfast in the morning. “And I‟ll get you out of this mess. Cornered and desperate yet she still makes demands? “Done.” “Strong coffee. Sage. “What kind of questions?” “You‟ll just have to wait and see. You come home with me tonight. answer my questions. Always expecting to get screwed over.” He smiled. “But I want coffee with my breakfast.” He shook it. “Sage Peterson. “Here are my terms. “James Elias.” A small smirk formed on the edge of her lips.” She gave him a sideways glance. Was she scheming? “Fine. “Is there any other kind?” She stuck out a hand.

. Once inside. he flipped on the lights to reveal a kitchen that opened to a living room with wide windows on three sides. It didn‟t seem likely a woman would take too kindly to her husband bringing home a twenty-five year old girl like a lost puppy. At least he’s not a complete ass. It was an attractive home.” She had lost her job and was banned from campus. He pointed out a bathroom then flung open a door across the hall. Sage couldn‟t tell if he was being sarcastic but she shot him a cutting glare. She had repressed a snarl when James promised to “take full responsibility of her. attempting to grab it back but he put an arm out to stop her. but what women didn‟t see was the lethal potential simmering just below the surface of the calm exterior. did she expect any different from the uptight. because at first glance he looked like a wealthy gentleman. Deceptive. as if he were about to shoot a hair gel commercial. she was used to saying goodbye. “None of your business. James walked her through the kitchen and down a hallway. She drank in his deceptively charming appearance.Chapter 2 “Welcome home. As a product of the foster care system. very clean. Too clean. still an ass. He looked young. Of course. The professor had stayed true to his word and talked the Dean into dropping all charges. “What do you have in this bag?” he asked. perfectly groomed professor? She assumed he was a bachelor. Strawberry blonde hair was cut short and styled in perfectly random spikes. She cringed. “Rocks?” Nope.” James said as they pulled into the driveway of a quaint blue house several miles from campus. His chiseled features and regal confidence reminded her of European nobility. James opened the car door and carried her bag toward the house. He had looked heart-broken when she‟d packed her meager belongings and gave him a quick hug. for a professor. But the only thing she‟d felt guilty about was lying to Tony. A neat freak.” she snapped.

she couldn‟t stay. she took extra care to open it quietly then popped the screen out. “Fuck off. It did look comfortable. I will tolerate many things but stealing is not one of them. You can‟t talk to –” “I‟ll be waiting in the living room. “There was twenty dollars in here. “I don‟t know your background but I understand your desperation. thankful the bedroom was on the first floor. A desk with a reading lamp and office chair filled the other corner of the cozy room. “My wallet?” Busted. She took several steps before bumping into a hard wall of muscle.” the familiar voice said. It was a moonless night and she struggled to orient herself in the darkness. A multi-colored quilt that looked like a grandmother had stitched it lay across the full size bed.” He dropped her bag inside. “I should have known you‟d be trouble. He opened it then arched a brow.” With another sigh she took the twenty out of her other pocket. Glad to see a window big enough for her to fit through. . But she would get the last laugh. He can’t really think I’ll just go along with this. You have five minutes. “Bastard.“You can sleep here. She grabbed her backpack from the ledge and slung it onto her back.” He slammed the door before she could utter another word.” she hissed at the closed door. He grabbed her hand pulling her into his body and whispered in her ear.” She yanked her hand away. She had a feeling he was serious about that five minute time limit so she didn‟t waste any time. “Can I get a few minutes before you interrogate me?” “Sure. stumbling back a few steps. “Privacy?” she hinted. Tempting as it was. She looked longingly at the bed. She squeezed her body through. He only widened his stance in the doorway and crossed his arms over his chest. She sighed then pulled it out of her back pocket and handed it to him. Maybe he was smarter than she gave him credit for. and slapped it into his palm.” She waited for him to leave.

” With the small amount of light coming from the flood light up ahead she could see his lips twitch in amusement. fighting for release.” He squeezed her wrist until her bones threatened to snap. What other weapon did she have against him? “Look. She knew what would happen if she let it go. Out of habit she searched the room for exits and weapons. his pale skin glowed in the black night. He could easily overpower her. the heavy weight of power disappearing with it. You can‟t force me to stay here. “I can see you‟re thinking about running again.” “You and I need to have a talk. How could she not have seen him. set it in the middle of the living room then ordered her to sit. Bad things happen when I get angry. “Cut that out. And he was strong – she could feel it in his grip around her wrist. okay? As of right now. Ha! As it if were that easy. It had a life of its own. James. “Ow!” Her light flickered then disappeared. crossing the driveway.” He continued his hurried pace. Keep dragging me around and I‟ll change my mind. A bright blue light burst into her free hand. which put her on edge. She panicked. “Hurt me?” Oh yes. dragging her along behind him. he didn‟t seem fearful of her power. “Let me go. The magic flowed through her.She groaned.” he snapped. Still.” “Wanna bet?” was his smooth answer. arrogant one. James swung around to face her.” he said calmly. He sounded utterly confident. She tried to stay calm. Inside the house he grabbed a wooden chair. “Do you think I won‟t catch you?” . She remained standing. “I may be small but I‟ve hurt bigger men than you. You have no idea what you are unleashing. barely contained. She turned to run but a hand shackled her wrist and he dragged her through the dark at a pace that made her depend on him to remain upright. I don‟t want to hurt you. “Control yourself.

A ball of neon light formed between her hands. Really. thrusting it towards him. The blue light congregated in her palms again but it was weaker. Sage. “This is your last warning. “I‟m afraid I can‟t do that Sage. “Sheath your claws. “I really don‟t like being backed into a corner. He didn‟t pick up.” he said. . Sage slowly stood.” His voice warmed. burning through her veins.If there was one thing Sage knew. the power yearned for release. missing her target. anwylyd. “There‟s your payment. “I know.” she said with an extra bite in her tone. He looked surprised at first then his eyes darkened. In answer she reached into her pocket. Her energy was fading. Adrenaline burst in her chest.” He sighed.” she warned. Please don’t miss. Please don’t miss. then ricocheted off a metal cabinet and blew up the wooden chair between them. “I‟ll do it again. “Now what?” She narrowed her eyes and took a deep breath. No one is going to hurt you. took out the wad of cash – her only cash – and flung it at his chest.” he said.” She almost believed him.” He shook his head.” He stepped towards her. “Must we do this the hard way then?” The hard way? She didn‟t like the sound of that. Then reality hit. “Impressive. “You‟re going to pay for that.” he told her. Squaring her shoulders she took aim then released the ball of light. it was body language. Just unsettled. sturdy like a tree. You‟re like a scared little kitten. but his body was not. the pressure built. As soon as the energy left her fingertips she ducked and covered her head. “I have nothing to say to you. She tried to control it but it was intense. his pale blue eyes softened as he looked deep into hers. Now let me go.” He smiled and took a step towards her. she told herself. since when have you been scared of anyone? She wasn‟t scared. Had he always been that tall? “We need to talk. claws out ready to fight the world. A couple pieces of the chair bounced off of James but he barely seemed to notice. He stood several feet in front of her. blocking her only exit. studying his reaction. It bounced against it then plopped to the floor. The light soared across the room. His voice may have been calm.

What has come over me? She lifted her head and stared into his tranquil eyes. No matter how much she struggled.He shrugged and took another step.” He shook the light free from his finger. He wrapped a hand around her upper arm and set her down on the chair. “Sit in the chair. “That‟s better. A strange stream of light snaked from his index finger and wrapped around her body pinning her arms to her side. your powers. She didn‟t even know where her powers came from. Sage.” He sat down on the couch opposite her. She tensed to flee when he released her arm. But there wasn‟t anything she could do about it. The light made a sort of magical rope that tied her to the chair. “Damn it!” She shook her hands as if it would spring the power back to life. There was something wrong with her that her first thought was how warm it felt against her skin. What the hell? She tried to pull up more light but her hands only sparked. Seeing no other option. and desire. His scent hit her like a tidal wave. Panicked. the grip on her neck was still a threat. He stepped closer. she launched another. Was she that starved for human contact? Though gentle. she launched another lightening ball. She never did do well with orders.” She heeded his sharp command. She tried again but exhaustion washed over her. wrapping a cocoon of comfort around her. but he flicked that one away too.” . It was the kind of smell she would have liked to curl up in on a cold day. But he put up a hand and the light sizzled then disappeared. Crisp fall days. He pulled another chair into the center of the room.” Her fists clenched. Erin was only person who‟d known about the mysterious things that happened when she was angry or scared. putting himself just a few feet away. “Fickle. but before she could move his hand clamped around her throat. This time it flew straight toward him. she couldn‟t get free. aren‟t they?” She couldn‟t deny they were spiraling out of control. She blinked and he was inches in front of her. “As I was saying…we need to talk about your powers. He took another step. And she‟d be lying if she said it didn‟t scare her. “Don‟t move. her nails dug into her palms. Sucky time to run out of juice! The professor sneered. aftershave. Her eyes widened. And she‟d been taken from her sister long ago. “There.

I have certain…abilities. Sorcery was not a stretch from witchcraft. Nothing described the types of things she could do. She didn‟t know much about it. “And I cheat at cards too. She had long since believed that anything was possible. and even teachers. there were more of her out there. for as long as she could remember. and around her. He folded his arms over his chest. The corner of her mouth curled up.” he scoffed. We‟ve had years to learn how to control our powers.” .” A Bolt? At his unbending glare she yelled. “A sorceress. She‟d been tossed out of foster homes over and over because she was “bad”. students.” A flood of emotion overwhelmed her. a hint of sorrow in her voice. Or at least buy her some time to form a new plan. She had first recognized her power at the age of five when a blender her foster mother used to make a seaweed breakfast smoothie had exploded. Who are your parents?” “I don‟t know. hoping he would let her go if she played nice.” she said out loud. “Well nobody taught me!” “Obviously. “Why should I believe you? You‟re a liar and a thief. “Okay. Always a survivor she surrendered. She‟d won that battle.” she admitted.” An accurate assessment. I could get used to the sound of that. “But I can tell you‟re untrained. but at least it was a name. Something that explained what had been happening to her. had whispered rumors of witchcraft behind her back.” He furrowed his brow. In high school. But more importantly. A very powerful one. It‟s a good thing your aim is shit because the first Bolt you sent could have killed me.” James glared at her with contempt. “Yes. “You‟re a sorceress. Growing up she‟d been called a witch because of the unexplained events that happened around her. When she went searching for answers she came up blank.She was at his mercy. But I don‟t know how they work or where they come from. knocking the wind out of her newly flown sails. “Do you really not know what you are?” “Do you?” “Of course. Sage had wanted Lucky Charms. Most of us have been guided by teachers and mentors since we were very young. A sorceress. Yes.

I had a name and that was it. “If you try to run.” She dropped her head. But since the arrogant spawn of Satan stood by her instead. She had a couple of close calls though. was clearly more powerful than she. Nothing like a sorceress should be. for the first time in a long time.” “I already told you I don‟t know who my parents are! I‟m not lying. “All right. His brow creased.” She sent him a glare that told him exactly where he could shove his apology. A flash of lightning lit up sky outside. “You‟re nothing but a volatile. foul-mouthed. This man. A gust of wind rattled the windows. “I can see now that you‟re not lying. Do you understand?” It really couldn‟t get any more humiliating. “Yes. I‟m going to remove the rope. This was the most vulnerable she had felt in a long time. God. she allowed someone to tell her what to do. She would have cried if she hadn‟t banned it years ago. James looked from her face to the windows and back again.” His gaze raked her body. I hate it.” The rope tightened across her chest. she‟d have either run or fought. She panicked. Do not move from that chair.” For some reason she needed to make that clear.” He pointed a finger at her and she rolled her eyes.” Only because of the light. Sage. little smartass. I will catch you.” he said in clipped tones. feeling helpless and broken. My mother left me at the hospital to be adopted right when I was born. “If I let you loose. “I‟m not a child. “What are your parents‟ names?” “I told you I don‟t know. that she now guessed was a sorcerer. “Look at you. And stayed there. Why did he look surprised? Didn‟t all sorcerers affect the weather? “It‟s really quite simple. He blinked and stepped back. she sucked up her pride and.He exhaled a laugh but it was humorless. crushing her until she could barely breathe. but now she felt naked under his heated gaze. I‟m surprised you‟ve managed to stay alive all these years. Usually she liked the attention her low cut shirts and well-endowed chest got her.” The lighted rope faded away and she stretched out her arms. His gaze landed on her breasts. “Answer the questions and we won‟t have a problem. not that she had a choice. “I‟m sorry. If it had been a normal person guarding her.” Regret tinted his voice. “I can . do you promise not to run away?” She nodded.

There are rules for our kind. You‟re lucky it hasn‟t caught up with you so far. “What if I told you that I could make you more powerful?” This piqued her interest. “You could be ten times stronger. I‟d rather starve. And that‟s why I‟ve decided to train you. Did you forget the part where you almost suffocated me with a magical rope?” He took a deep breath. I‟m not a dog.” “No angle. I‟ll give you a warm place to sleep and regular meals. Sage. “When‟s the last time you ate?” he asked. Sage. I will not be trained by you. “Excuse me?” She arched a brow.” “I know. Here‟s the thing Sage.see that. you can forget it. that‟s just what I want. “What makes you think I want to be trained? And by you. “What‟s your angle? If you think I‟ll sleep with you. Don‟t you have a book or something?” “What happens when your powers get out of your control? You need someone watching your back. I do.” “Umm…yes. With some guidance and practice –” “No thanks.” She‟d grown up with the old adage. “I‟ll figure it out on my own. “Stay here with me. You watching my back.” “And before that?” Her gaze dropped to the floor. which made her uneasy. No. Just a sense of obligation. no less?” “I don‟t really see how you have a choice. Momentarily. All you have to do is allow me to teach you how to use your powers responsibly.” She snorted.” He said it with so much resolution Sage thought he was joking at first. You can‟t go around using magic anytime you please. “Yes. I don‟t want that on my conscience. it usually was. She shifted in the chair. if something sounded too good to be true.” .” “How will you know what the rules are for our kind?” “I don‟t know. How am I supposed to know all the rules for your magical wizard world? I can barely follow people rules in my own world. That‟s not how it works and it‟s going to get you in a lot of trouble. “Lunch.” He didn‟t seem shocked by her refusal. It‟s called „no‟.” “I‟ve never known anyone else like me. You‟re dangerous and need to be controlled before you hurt somebody.” she snapped.

But what do you have to lose?” She stared down at her hands. And I promise. “Goodnight James. .” She had to stop herself from bursting out loud laughing. “Don‟t let your pride get in the way of taking something good that‟s offered. “What makes you think you‟re my type?” And now he insults me? Bastard! His icy eyes melted to warmth as he held out a hand.” She gave him a wary glance.” Am I really considering this? Life had taught Sage to be adaptable and resourceful. I sleep with one eye open. she had control issues too. She bypassed his outstretched and grabbed her bag off the floor. A wad of cash. Trust? In one day? That was not something she could afford. “I don‟t trust you. she wasn‟t scrawny but had – or used to have – ample curves in the right places. he appeared to be ready to feed her and teach her. Something slid underneath it while she unpacked her things. It was the only thing about herself that she liked. Well. “You look like you‟re half-starved.” He smiled.” she conceded.” “Nor I you.” She grimaced. If she learned more about her abilities – how to harness them and control them – then she could finally have a normal life. Maybe she would thrive.” he snapped. when I‟m done with you. “But just so you know. “Fuck if I know. She counted it. He hadn‟t taken a single dollar to pay for the broken chair.” She stalked to her new room and shut the door. “I know we got off on the wrong foot. Especially not with a demanding male who was clearly used to being in control. you‟ll never have to mop floors again. since she didn‟t consider herself particularly pretty. “All right. She stared at it. she always won. but I want you to know you can trust me. There‟s no better opportunity for you than this.“Controlled? Who the hell do you think –” “Don‟t be stubborn. Standing at an average 5‟7”. This proved to be another situation where she needed to access those skills to survive. And when it came to a battle of wills. Even though this sorcerer bugged the hell out of her. Or maybe she wouldn‟t just survive this time.

alcohol.” The next drunk frat boy that got within a foot of Marcelo would be growled at. dirty sex. He was there to pick up one very specific woman. The next step would require a certain amount of finesse this battle-scarred vampire did not possess. NY. Actually. and then escort her to the Underworld. he mused. although he‟d already committed it to memory. Music assaulted his ears. growing more irritated with each step. At least there were plenty of shadows for a vampire to fade into. that wasn‟t quite true. but cheap. Not good sex. . His hunt had landed him at a small liberal arts college in Albany. fiercely. Hunting the girl had been the easy part. Marcelo shook his head in disapproval. “Let‟s get some karaoke going!” Cheers erupted around her as she waved her hands in the air. He choked on the thick scent of tobacco. At the other end of the packed room. He chuckled remembering the look on the students‟ faces when he‟d demanded to know Erin‟s whereabouts. One particularly rowdy juvenile spilled his drink on Marcelo‟s boots. He turned on his phone and studied the picture his queen had sent of her sister one more time. Erin Bolton. It didn‟t happen often. He stared out into the sea of faces. Interesting.Destiny United Available now for all e-readers Chapter 1 Marcelo elbowed his way through the crowded bar. vibrating painfully through his skull. His queen owed him for this “small favor. One bold woman offered to buy him a drink. While walking to the counter he‟d been bumped twice by drunk adolescents. Date rape bait. He loved these boots. Sometimes it was good to be a vampire. and sex. He had to convince Erin to trust him. although he‟d been told he was terrifyingly handsome. a woman jumped onto a table and yelled. But Marcelo wasn‟t there to drink or pick up women.

He held up his phone next to the girl dancing provocatively on the bar table. “and I’ll meet you by the portal in Wales. No wonder the men were drooling over her. the Queen of the Underworld. He rolled his eyes. Her shirt was an almost see-through white billowy blouse covered with a brown leather vest. which was why he hated it – alcohol and adolescents. On top of her head was a matching brown cowboy hat. He‟d made a promise to Sage to protect her sister. “Five days. one distinctive word echoed above the noise around him. “Oh. More noise came from the table where the same girl was singing about putting a dime in a jukebox and loving rock and roll. “Fight!” Oh shit. Might as well get a good look since she insists on displaying herself. he scanned the crowd for her again. but he feared for the girl. Big brown eyes looked out into the crowd – eyes that looked oddly familiar.” she had said. whoever she was. had sexy down to a science. a job he took seriously. Alcohol did that to hormonal adolescents. This girl. Honey colored hair flowed down her back in loose curls as she shook all the right parts at all the right times. He remembered when music used to be good. Her hair wisped wildly around her sweaty face. It was the same girl though the phone displayed a much more innocent version with a bright smile.” Then what the hell was she doing in a bar like this? With an aggravated sigh. A glass bottle broke then the crowd turned vicious. and Marcelo. And Sage had called her timid? He took several determined steps forward. The sister he‟d been sent to retrieve was drunk and dancing half naked on a table. hurrying to finish this inconvenient side trip. Before he made it half way through the crowd.His mind drifted to the conversation he‟d had with Sage. Bloody hell! Marcelo flipped to the photo on his phone again. Of course anyone who dared bump into Marcelo was thrown aside. Her short denim shorts were ripped up on the bottom and cut off at the perfect spot just below where the thigh met the buttocks. be gentle with her. She threw her cowboy hat to a tall boy cheering loudly in the back then spun around giving Marcelo a full view of her face. His gaze made its way up the girl‟s body.” This was only day two. her slender calves changing to shapely thighs. When he looked . She’s timid. She wore brown leather cowboy boots.

Traveling the mortal way held no appeal. he tried again. Yes. This ability was the only reason he‟d agreed to perform this “small favor” in the first place. he turned down an empty alley. After trying three more times. especially toting a very breakable. He‟d expected someone to fight him. confused and growing angrier by the second. He‟d never been unable to traverse before. He caught her when she tumbled off the ledge then cradled her against his chest. as his queen called it – to any place he‟d previously been. So far Marcelo was the only vampire he knew that could traverse – or teleport. He carried Erin the four blocks to the hotel. it was just in time to see a beer bottle launched straight into her head. he gave up with an exhausted sigh. He‟d never been so glad to step out into the warm summer air. He stood in the piss and garbage filled alley. holding the unconscious girl in his arms. The last thing he needed was for the human to wake up and see fangs poking out from under his lips. After he checked over both shoulders to be sure he wasn‟t followed. Marcelo shoved his way towards the table. Up close. but it was enough to soothe his anger. The crowd parted once he slapped on his “get-the-fuck-out-of-my-way face”. Was this woman here alone? Dressed like bait? Drunk with no one to watch over her? He was irritated before but now he was downright fuming. She weighed close to nothing. When he reached the generic hotel room he gently laid the girl on the bed. Now what? Should he undress her to make her more comfortable for bed? Someone ought to smack him for that thought. still on the table. drunk-on-her-ass human. easily killable. Scrubbing a hand over his unshaven face he stared at the body stretched out before him. Puzzled. He was a dangerous looking man carrying away a beautiful woman. But no one approached him. Nothing happened. or at least question him. Closing his eyes he concentrated on his intended location. Still nothing. a hotel room he‟d reserved several blocks from where they stood. receiving plenty of odd stares. Shock filled her eyes as she staggered backwards. he and his queen would be having a talk soon.up at Erin. In Marcelo‟s world you didn‟t stay alive for long without being paranoid. It wasn‟t exactly fresh air. but still no one questioned him. the girl was smaller than he‟d thought. If she woke up in a hotel room next to a stranger with nothing on but . He strode towards the exit with Erin hanging limply in his arms.

He suppressed the urge to shake her awake. Nasty habit. it would keep her from running. As he looked her over. Might as well take them off. but he could see the tips of her fingernails were chewed off. As it was. A nail biter. So mortal. One. How long would she remain unconscious? He wanted to feed but wouldn‟t risk leaving her alone. She was so fragile. human women did not like being ordered around by men. Most likely she was passed out more from being drunk than from being hit. But the similarities stopped there. he expected some sort of panic when she awoke. Two hours later. With that in mind. He‟d need to get ice when she awoke. But Marcelo knew from experience. His queen had taught him that when she had tried to kill him only a few months ago. I mean you no harm. You were hit hard. He brushed her hair away from her face to inspect the wound at her temple. Two reasons. He tossed the boots under the bed. It wasn‟t his place but he wasn‟t sure he could stop himself from giving her a stern lecture about her disregard for safety once she awoke. Hopefully she had more sense than her sister and wouldn‟t try anything foolish like attempting to fight him. A soft moan broke free from her lips. it might be more comfortable for her to sleep. So human. But more importantly. to a rowdy bar with no one to look after her? So foolish! He growled with an odd sense of protectiveness. he sat up straight and said. female. Erin‟s was a shade darker. then go in search of a woman to feed from. he realized everything about her was delicate. Natalia had pale porcelain skin. When her eyelids fluttered open. but it didn‟t look like a serious injury. Yet she‟d ventured out. His gaze moved down her body and rested on her boots. How he missed her. the body next to his began to stir. barely dressed. it was silky like Natalia‟s. . She had unimaginably long thick lashes that spread delicately over her skin.” He put his hands up in a non-threatening gesture. almost matching her honey colored hair.a bra and panties. He combed his fingers through her hair. command her to stay put. I‟ll get some ice as soon as –” Her eyes were pools of terror. Marcelo settled himself onto the bed and plotted the next place he would resume his hunt for Natalia. Women were so temperamental. she would surely have a fit. And all because he‟d forced her to drink blood and steal the throne from her twisted father. “Be calm. The small reminder made his heart heavy. “Be careful. Her fingers were long and thin.

She didn‟t ask questions. Feeling a flicker of frustration he barely stopped himself from twisting the doorknob and barging in.” The shallow breathing continued. “Your sister.” He could hear her heart racing with fear. Nothing. As soon as he stepped a foot through the bathroom door. Mierda! She was hyperventilating. She looked like she was going to faint any second. open the door. “Come out of there.Before he could reassure her with an explanation about Sage. If she was scared and mad. Not unless it was silver. a bottle of sample shampoo clenched in her fist. chuckling a bit about the lock. He gave her his sternest expression. At least she’d be easier to deal with. where she slammed and locked the door. He was glad he‟d grabbed her boots. Her body slumped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. “What‟s the matter?” he demanded. That’s just not right. . Sage. so be it. Patience. the last thing he wanted to do was scare her further. With a deep breath he softened his voice and tried to tone down the feral look in his eyes. “Please. Rather than waiting until it was too late. a glass vase whizzed towards his head. she didn‟t even scream. “I‟m sorry I scared you. Marcelo was the threat. She flinched away from him. A steel door couldn‟t stop him from getting through it. not looking for threats. But there was a chance she could have a concussion. She was a runner. He rushed to her side. I will not hurt you. kneeling on the bathroom floor. Her wide eyes darted around the room as if she were searching for invisible threats.” She dropped the bottle and started gasping. Marcelo. For fuck’s sake. “Don‟t do that again. didn‟t threaten him. sent me to see you to safety. You can trust me.” Still no response. not a brute showing of strength. Timid my ass! Erin stood in the corner. he took a deep breath and twisted the doorknob. But I am not going to hurt you. dragging air into her lungs as if it were suddenly difficult. We need to talk. breaking through the lock. No. She was looking for an escape. Safety came first. She needed reassurance. she flew off the bed and bolted into the bathroom. He barely dodged it before it thudded onto the carpeted bedroom floor. Still. He knocked. Marcelo walked to the bathroom door.” He waited for a response. He mentally kicked himself.

“Will you not speak to me?” he asked the girl. She didn‟t respond. “Do you need medical care? Should I take you to the hospital?” She shook her head so hard he thought he heard it pop. “Then calm down so we can talk.” When she continued to gulp air, he added, “Female, I will have no choice but to take you to the hospital if you do not calm down.” A tear slid down one cheek as she covered her mouth with trembling hands. “Aw, hell. Don‟t cry.” “Go…away,” she said between gasping breaths. “Or…my boyfriend…will…kill you.” He repressed the urge to laugh out loud at the ridiculous threat. Instead he pressed his lips into a grim line. “I‟m sorry, I can‟t go away. Sage sent me to protect you. I‟ll bring you to her as soon as possible but we need to get a few things straightened out first.” Her breathing quickened, growing louder and more labored with each one. Seeing no other alternative, he dialed Sage‟s number then thrust the phone into Erin‟s shaking hands. “Do you have her? Is she safe?” Sage‟s voice rang clear on the other end. She must have heard the heavy breathing because she said, “Erin? Is that you?” Erin inhaled sharply. “Yes...” Another gasp then she tried to form a sentence. “Who…who…what…” “Fuck! I should‟ve known this wouldn‟t go well. Look, just calm down. I know Marcelo isn‟t Mr. Personality but he won‟t hurt you.” Erin continued to breathe raggedly into the receiver. “Slow down, Dot. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. Marcelo will take care of you. I promise. You can trust him with your very life. Just calm down.” “I‟m…trying…” “Hey, remember when I punched that kid Joey in the face cause he called you a freak? The principle was going to expel me but you convinced him my fist had Tourettes.” Erin choked on a laugh but the distraction seemed to calm her enough to listen to reason. Though Marcelo could hear Sage as clearly as if she were in the room, he kept his concentration on Erin‟s eyes. They narrowed, taking him in with skepticism as Sage described his appearance. So mistrustful. He supposed it was only fair. If she‟d had a life similar to Sage‟s, then she had every right to be mistrustful. Once Sage had confirmed who he was, relief washed over her features. Marcelo smiled when her heart rate slowed to a steady pace. He hadn‟t realized he‟d been holding his own breath until he finally exhaled.

“I‟ll see you soon,” Sage said. “Miss you, Dot.” “I…miss you too.” She shut the phone then looked up at him with those big brown eyes. No, not brown. Amber, with flecks of orange and black. Captivating. “Will you speak to me now?” She shook her head. “Just one little word?” he coaxed with a half-smile. She stared at her hands for a long moment, then inhaled deeply and squeaked a meek, “Hi.” He offered her a comforting smile. She scooted back an inch. Guess I need to work on that. “You‟re going to have one hell of a hangover.” She winced and nodded. Sage had been right, Erin was timid. Then why had she been dancing on a bar table? He shrugged. Wasn‟t his problem. “Come then. Let‟s get you some coffee. I won‟t be bringing you to your sister half dead.” She took his outstretched hand and he helped her off of the bathroom floor. “We need to treat your head wound as well. How do you feel standing up? Are you dizzy?” “I‟m fine.” Her voice came out hoarse. She cleared it with a cough. “I think you‟ll be okay. Coffee first. Then I‟ll get ice for your head.” She nodded, pulling on her boots when he handed them to her. Silently she followed him out the hotel door towards the 24 hour gas station and snack shop across the street. Marcelo smiled to himself. Maybe this would be easier than he‟d thought. Although he was still confused and worried that he hadn‟t been able to traverse that night, at least the girl followed directions. Not like her sister at all. He stepped over a bum passed out against a garbage can. The store‟s florescent lights stood out against the black of night. Outside the snack shop, Erin froze. “I‟ll wait here,” she said, her voice no more than a whisper. He shook his head. “Not possible. You go where I go.” Clearly she didn‟t know the danger she was in. They‟d be having a talk about that later. “Not in there.” She gestured to the store with her eyes.

“I‟m not asking,” he said with a warning growl. Perhaps he had spoken too soon about her willingness to follow his orders. Either way, she needed to know that they would be doing things his way. And better to clear that up right away. “No!” She took one shaky step back. What the hell is wrong with this girl? “Why not?” he demanded. She didn‟t answer but she tensed as if she were going to flee. “Damn it, tell me!” She shook her head. “If you won‟t give me answers I‟ll assume you‟re being difficult. In which case I‟ll throw you over my shoulder and march you in there myself.” Her skin paled at least three shades. Her eyes turned to saucers as air hissed in and out of her mouth. A wild heartbeat reverberated in his ears. She smelled like fear. Grasping Erin‟s elbow he pulled her down an alley, stopping under the brick building‟s outside light. She leaned forward, bracing herself with her hands on her knees, calming her breaths. Marcelo looked from the store, to Erin‟s face, then back again. Realization struck. “Are you having a panic attack?” he asked. She cringed and nodded. “Because of this store?” Another nod. “Only this store?” She gazed up at him, auburn eyes peeking from under thick lashes. Slowly she shook her head. “Everywhere?” he asked, praying to gods she said no. “Just about,” she answered. He staggered back several steps. “Bloody hell!” He rubbed his hand against his forehead as if soothing a headache. Only vampires didn‟t get headaches. “Bloody, bloody hell.”

***
I hate when they do that. Erin watched the towering figure pace before her. He was obviously irritated about her…disability. Most people were, once they found out exactly what it meant. Erin had social

anxiety. Anytime she was around new people, she panicked. No grocery stores, no restaurants, and no shopping malls for her. Not without alcohol. Lots of alcohol. Which was why she often drank. It was the only time she felt free. Free of fear. Free of anxiety. She could be herself. Well, a really loose, reckless, impulsive version of herself. She trusted the man her sister had sent only because she trusted her sister. I wonder if he knows she’s not my real sister. Sage and Erin had spent several years in the same foster home as children. They were the closest thing either of them had to family. And they‟d fiercely protected one another throughout their lives. Sage would never have sent someone who would hurt her. That was why she felt like she could give him a little push. “Is it that big of a deal to just let me wait outside?” she asked though she knew he wasn‟t upset about the coffee. “I‟m not going anywhere. And you can see me from the window.” He whipped his head around to pin her with a stern glare. “Yes it‟s a big deal!” he snapped. “Clearly you don‟t understand the danger you‟re in.” She didn‟t, really. All she knew was some wizards were after her and it had something to do with Sage. It was no surprise to Erin. Her sister was good at pissing people off. “You stay by me at all times until this is over, is that clear?” The menacing look on his face was enough to make her nod her head in agreement. Taking out her arsenal of weapons, she slapped on her most charming expression. “But,” she said, taking a tentative step towards him, “you could just run in real quick and grab me a coffee couldn‟t you? It would only take a minute.” She shrugged with an innocent smile. “In, out, no big deal.” He stopped pacing to face her with an arched a brow. “I could say the same to you, querida.” Damn. He’s got me there. She hung her head then looked up at him with the puppy dog eyes she‟d mastered over the years. She knew the moment he became putty in her hands. He inhaled deeply then ended in a long, drawn out sigh. “All right. I‟ll get you coffee. But you are to stand here,” he dragged her by the arm and placed her in front of the store window, “and you don‟t move. Understand?” It was a tad overdramatic for her taste, but she nodded. Hopefully she wouldn‟t have to deal with him for long. In only the few minutes they‟d spent together she could already tell he

His powerful thighs. were wrapped cozily in the soft pliable leather. thick and rooted like tree trunks. Tall. she thought. Just when she was about to ask if he was from Spain strong fingers gripped her jaw and tilted her head to the side. “Marcelo. She would text him as soon as she found out from this mystery protector what the hell was going on. Brown eyes as dark as chocolate flickered back and forth between fury and a strange sort of warmth. “Did I hurt you?” She smiled. “You never told me your name. She hopped onto the counter while he ran cold water over a washcloth. Coffee in hand. dark.” His accent mixed with his rich. Immediately he backed up.” His breath whispered across her skin giving her goose bumps. She insisted it was fine but the unbending look on his face told her she should just go along with it. She gave her head a shake. His face was rough and strained. That reminded her. His language was from a different time but he didn‟t look a day over thirty.” . “Marcelo? Is that Italian?” “Spanish. husky voice was hot enough to melt ice on any Albany winter day. I have a boyfriend! She shouldn‟t be drooling over a friend of Sage‟s when she was completely happy in her current relationship. but it was handsome in a rugged Hugh Jackman as Wolverine kind of way. Men just don’t wear leather pants enough anymore. Jimmy would be back from poker night soon. nibbling her lip. replace handsome with terrifyingly delicious and you would be spot on. he was sexy as hell. overbearing. He leaned forward to study her temple. She couldn‟t help but feel like she was the reason for his bitterness. His black leather pants hugged his backside perfectly. She flinched when he pressed the washcloth to the wound.was arrogant. but I can take it. Only. Thick raven hair framed his gorgeous bronzed face reaching his chin.” she said. and…grumpy. “A little. Erin followed her bodyguard back to their room where he ordered her to sit on the bathroom counter so he could treat her wound. Hm…maybe there’s a gentleman under all that uncombed hair and surly exterior after all. No. and handsome came to mind. pulling back her hair to give him access to her wound. staring shamelessly while he waited in line. At least he wasn‟t bad to look at. his eyes filled with concern. He‟d be worried if he found the apartment empty.

” “Well aren‟t you a downer. Erin! You’re being ridiculous! Even the sting of the alcohol he dabbed on her head wasn‟t enough to stop her from breathing him in and feeling the sudden urge to just melt into him. I was there. Warmth poured off of him. “Put this on your head. You put yourself in a very dangerous situation. cosita.” He waved a hand at her clothing. breaking the silence with a cool voice.Marcelo nudged her knees apart and settled his hips between them. You don‟t know how men think when they see a girl like you dressed up like…this. Marcelo lowered his head and looked her in the eye.” she answered casually. She almost moaned out loud in pleasure. Her heart was pounding ferociously in her chest. I saw no friends step forward to defend you. It was enough to snap her out of the strange hypnotic trance his body had induced. But she‟d never been a good liar. She furrowed her brow. What was he trying to say? She looked like a slut? “And when I left with you. But he was right. “You cannot lie to me. remember? I caught you when you tumbled from the table you were dancing on.” she grumbled to herself. He leaned in so close she could hear his heartbeat. Yep. With a sideways glance he plopped a towel filled with ice into her hand. Something about his tone and the way he‟d used her name made her feel like she was about to be scolded. Erin?” he asked. What happened to the gentle giant? With a disappointed sigh. “Umm…just having a couple drinks…with some friends.” . Pure male. “Ow!” she cried when he scrubbed the dried blood viciously from her head. Inviting. Or maybe that was her own. he wet the washcloth again and soothed the sore area with gentle strokes.” But it had been fun and she had no regrets. “Why do you laugh about getting drunk? You could have been raped. “No…I was tanked.” A chuckle escaped her. wrapping her in his scent. She never would have guessed hands as big as his could be so gentle. You were quite drunk. And you didn‟t have just a few drinks. Snap out of it. seducing. relaxing. Yup. “What were you doing at that bar alone. he saw right through her.

I will protect you until I hand you over to Sage and James. what do we do now?” “Now I take you to your sister. The more questions Erin asked. It was just a little bump. it is.” “Where is she?” Sage had been vague about her location in the last few months. “Where‟s your car? Is it at the bar?” She followed him. Slapping the ice onto her head she jumped down from the counter.” She scrunched her nose in displeasure. “Is there anything you can tell me?” He ran a hand over his chin. give her halftruths. “This can happen quickly if you cooperate. Ignoring her question. Marcelo turned away and strolled into the bedroom. attempting to tame her rising frustration. I better pick my battles. We think it has to do with Sage but we don‟t know for certain. the less her sister answered. As if she weren‟t already doing everything he told her! . never having a family. It was the perfect relationship for people like them. Either Marcelo was going to lie to her.” “Whatever. For people who‟d grown up never really having a home. or. at bare minimum. “Okay. studying her face as if the answer were written on it. wasn‟t it? She opened her mouth to argue then shut it when he arched a challenging brow. She knew that look. What about the wizards –” “Sorcerers.” She sucked in a sharp breath. This was a man used to getting what he wanted. But they were the kind of friends that could go a long time without talking then pick up right where they‟d left off.” He gave her a weighted glare that irritated her. They are powerful and dangerous.” She scowled at the implication that she was some sort of package. are you hard of hearing or just ignoring me?” He paused at her sour tone then dropped his gaze. Now. “Yes. “I better let her explain where she is. Uh-oh. “So. “There is a group of sorcerers who want you in custody.She frowned. ice against her head. What do they want with me?” “I better let her answer that as well.

“Not that I even believe Sage is th –” . when you put it like that… “Look. “Why do you look so surprised?” His lips curled up on one side. With graceful movements. sir. “Two of them came to my apartment. No one dressed up like FBI agents but acting like preschool teachers should be trusted. “How did Sage know the sorcerers were interested in you? Did they try to hurt you?” She shook her head.” She‟d meant to be sarcastic but he smiled and said. swirls of midnight black threaded through the tawny brown. “Now you‟re getting it. Plus. “Yes. Let‟s go get your car. Jimmy had convinced them she wasn‟t home though she‟d stood just inside the door. it was his very presence. It was dangerous. Just take me to my boyfriend. she didn‟t know. Together.” She shook her head roughly. he asked. The faster I get you to Sage. They had been too friendly.” He opened the door to the hallway. then muttered.” Before she could question him. It wasn‟t just his looks that made her breath hitch and her knees tremble. With Sage. the faster I can get on with my life. He took over the room and everyone in it with a quiet sort of strength. Rich and deep. “we will be traveling to Colorado. “And as I said before.” She had known they were up to no good straightaway.” Rolling her eyes again she watched him walk to the window. listening to every word. We‟ve always protected each other.“Also. Whether it was in amusement or disgust.” Then he was inches from her face so fast she flinched. Marcelo turned back around to face her.” Marcelo‟s brows shot up. It sucked you in and held you captive as you found yourself ready to do everything and anything he asked with no question or hesitation. it‟s obvious you don‟t want to be here. Powerful. He was dangerous. “They said Sage was in danger and needed my help. surprising her with the depth in those chocolate brown eyes. she can take care of herself. it could go either way.” he continued. Confident. “How‟s your head?” She lowered the icepack. “Leave the icepack. “Cold. He can bring me to Colorado just as easily. right now.” Well. he opened the curtains and stared into the night. you do not leave my side!” She rolled her eyes. Sage would never send for me if it involved danger. “I happen to have an interesting history with your sister.” His lips twitched. “Right now?” “Yes. I knew it was a lie.

Sage had also told her to stay away from anyone too good looking to be real. She‟d only heard about sorcerers and witches – her sister was both. . It was more unsettling than the visual of the werewolves he‟d just given her. Sage may have sent someone who wouldn‟t hurt her but that didn‟t mean Erin was stupid enough to believe everything that came out of his mouth. “That‟s who‟s hunting you. Marcelo took another step closer. And vampires are no better.” Marcelo let the door slam shut and took one intimidating step towards her. holding her phone in his palm. In a dark voice he explained. They were empty. “Sorcerers are known to hire werewolves to hunt their prey. “When they turn to their crinos form. “Werewolves are just under seven feet tall with shoulders wider than that doorframe. Vampires and werewolves. And this guy looked like trouble.” His eyes twinkled with amusement. they get even bigger.” His gaze roamed her body in a disturbing way. making an exaggerated effort to loom over her. They are just as deadly. You wouldn‟t even know if you were talking to one. Where the hell – “Looking for this?” he said. Erin had begun to believe that anything was possible. seeming to search her very soul. Ever since Sage had begun blowing things up with a single thought and making thunderstorms appear in sunny skies. half human. “You stole my phone?” Okay. and anyone who gets furry on the new moon.“That will not be happening. Averting her gaze. querida. They are fast and unbelievably strong. Their fingers turn into claws with nails five inches long and as pointy as daggers.” He gestured with his eyes towards the door. “Jimmy can keep me safe. “Why? Because of the danger?” When he nodded she insisted.” She arched a brow. the dictatorship is officially annoying. “Really? Did Sage tell you about werewolves?” She shook her head. careful not to show any fear. she stepped back and dug into her pockets for her phone. half wolf. “Strong enough to snap you in half like a twig. Still think your boyfriend can keep you safe?” Erin stared at him. They grow upper and lower fangs and their jaws extend big enough to fit my entire fist in their mouth. It hadn‟t taken much for Erin to believe her. He looked deep into her eyes.” Prey? She shuddered. only worse because they often look like ordinary people.

“I merely caught it as it fell from your pocket while you were shamelessly dancing half naked on a table top. Just go with it. When she saw his eyes glued to her ass.He shrugged. you‟re wrong. Marcelo outweighed her by at least one hundred pounds. she held back a string of profanities. “You won‟t allow me to at least tell my boyfriend I‟m okay?” she asked in her sweetest voice. You’ll soon be rid of him and reunited with Sage. she stomped through the door. Repressing a growl.” . “If you think you can make me feel guilty about that. Lieutenant.” Was he holding back a grin? Amused by her anger? She lunged for the phone but he yanked it away at the last second. She wasn‟t about to fight him for it. Now get going.” He opened the door and held it with an arrogant smirk. He was so silent behind her that she looked over her shoulder to be sure he followed. Sent a text while you were sleeping. “Not likely. palm up. “Already did. she sighed.” Lips pursed. With an irritated huff she gave up. Now give it back!” She thrust her hand towards him. Men! “Eyes up. she told herself.