Sunday, December 30, 2012

Caomhnóir – Manny - 4

Even as he sat at his laptop in a monotonously decorated hotel room in a city south of the Mason-Dixon Line, Manny’s thoughts returned to Hamlin and the fact that he’d seemingly vanished to who knew where. Manny knew he should be concentrating of finding the man who called himself ‘Dr. Help’, an on-line therapist with a huge worldwide following. ‘Dr. Help’ was far from helping many of those people who came to his site with problems. In point of fact, the man behind the name was a Scriostóir who had come up with a unique way to stir up trouble.

The Scriostóir ran his site out of a house in one of the more affluent communities of the city. A house so well secured that even if the authorities were aware of just what he was doing, they would have been unable to gain access either legally or illegally.

Manny’s job was to stop ‘Dr. Help’ by whatever means possible. If he managed to kill him in the process, so much the better, although he knew that would probably not happen. He’d lost his taste for assassination many years ago, and the battle that ended with Cerdic’s death had only reinforced it.

Forcing himself to start concentrating on the job, he studied the files he had collected plus the ones Sofietje had sent him. It was then that he realized he didn’t have to have a face to face with ‘Dr. Help’. Manny might look, and often act, like an eighteen-year-old, but since he’d been around a lot longer than that, he knew more about computers, everything involved with them and how to use them, than most people.

Hell, he’d been around when Turing had come up with the machine that had paved the way for the modern computer. He’d followed the progression from that on through to the transistor-based machines with a layman’s interest. Then he’d become hooked, learning all that he could, carrying it beyond what the average person knew, and didn’t know, about how to use and manipulate information. In other words he’d become an expert hacker, although it had been a while since he’d put his skills to use. Three plus years to be exact.

“Okay, ‘Doc’,” he muttered under his breath. “Let’s see what I can do to fuck things up for you big time.”

* * * * *

Two days later, Manny was packing up to head back to New York. He’d decided, with Sofietje’s permission, to make the city his home base for the next nine months rather than returning to his apartment in Rotterdam. She understood why he needed to be there. When she finally gave in to his request he’d said, “Who would have thought that a Witte Wieven could be a romantic.” He could almost see her rolling her eyes in response as her soft laughter echoed on his phone.

The Scriostóir’s operation had been brought down. No longer would ‘Dr. Help’ be manipulating unwary humans who turned to him for on-line therapy, destroying their dignity and doing his best to traumatize them even more under the guise of trying to help them overcome their problems.

“I done good,” he muttered as he closed the hotel room door behind him and started down the hall to the elevator.

“Too damned good,” a man’s voice said, just before two shots rang out, throwing Manny back against the wall. As he slid down to the floor he felt something fall into his lap. Then darkness overtook him.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Caomhnóir – Manny - 3

A month had passed since Manny last saw the house which had belonged to Cerdic. “And it hasn’t changed in the least,” he commented under his breath, and then laughed. “Of course it hasn’t.”

“Talking to yourself?” a familiar voice asked from behind him.

Manny swung around and smiled. “Bad habit I know, Gebhard.”

“Are you back to stay now?” Gebhard opened the front door, waiting for Manny to enter.

“No. I’m on my way south but I couldn’t come through the city and not stop to say hello to everyone.”

“Manny!” Jakie shouted, racing down to the foyer the second he spotted him at the bottom of the stairs.

“Hey, kid. How goes?” Manny said, reverting to character as he ruffled Jakie’s hair.

“Better now that you’re here. You sticking around?”

“I wish, but I can’t. Places to go, things to do you know.” With a smile, Manny allowed Jakie to pull him up the stairs to the living room. “So where’s everyone?” he asked, seeing the room was empty and not hearing the usual voices.

“Mr. Shadrick took them on an outing to the museum. I couldn’t go cause I’m sick.”

“You sure as hell don’t act sick. What’s wrong with you?”

Standing on tiptoe, Jakie whispered conspiratorially, “Nothing. I just didn’t want to go so I said my stomach hurt.”

Manny chuckled. “Brat. So everyone went including Hamlin?”

“Not Hamlin. He left.”

“He what?” Manny shot a look at Gebhard, who nodded. “Why?”

“He didn’t say exactly why,” Gebhard replied. “Just that there was something he had to do.”

“Did he say where he was going, or when he’s coming back?”

“No. He just packed up and took off.”

“Damn him,” Manny growled angrily. “He could at least have—“

He was interrupted by the sounds of many footsteps coming up the stairs. Then the boys flooded into the room, surrounding him with bodies and words all spoken at once as they greeted him. In the bedlam that ensued, Manny had no chance to think about what he’d just learned as the boys fed him with questions and told him about everything that had happened since he’d left.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Out this Saturday, the 29th, 'New Beginnings'

New Beginnings (Phoenix Rising #4)

Rome, a police detective, and Jeff Reynolds, a closeted construction worker, become friends and soon much more. Over the next four years they maintain their loving relationship while keeping their sexuality hidden. Then Rome is outed, quits the force and finds a new job as part of Vance Montgomery's covert ops team. Soon he and Jeff move to New Orleans to begin their new life together.

When a job goes bad and Ginna, the woman Van loves, is tortured and killed. Van goes off the deep end, hiding in the bottle, unwilling to see anyone including Ginna's son Theo. Eventually his associate, Rico, faces him down and makes him accept he can not continue on the way he's been going. With the help of his friends Van straightens out his life, bringing Theo into it, and goes after Ginna's killers.

CONTENT ADVISORY: This title includes a bittersweet ending.

Definitely one change for the better. Roman stepped out of the airport terminal and felt a cool breeze. Six hours earlier he'd been in Cleveland's sweltering heat. Now he was in Denver where even in the middle of summer there was hardly any humidity to speak of to make his clothes adhere to his tall, muscular frame.

He waited his turn for a taxi, one bag slung over his shoulder, the other two sitting at his feet. When he finally got a cab, he gave the driver the address he needed and once they were on their way he stared across the flat landscape at the mountains, the peaks of which still held vestiges of snow even in mid-summer.

An hour later he was unlocking the door of the small house he'd rented sight unseen except for pictures on the realtor's website. When he'd learned that his application for the DPD had been accepted and he had the job, he'd made the decision to live in a house. He was tired of apartments and the lack of real privacy they brought with them.

Dropping his bags on the floor just inside the door, he took a look around. The living room was small with hardwood floors and beige walls, the same with the dining room on the other side of the entryway. The furnishings were minimal; a sofa and a pair of matching chairs, ordered out of an online catalogue, in the living room and a table with four chairs, ordered from the same place, sitting in the dining room. He considered himself lucky that the realtor was willing to have someone come by the house to accept delivery of them and, hopefully, two beds for upstairs.

Right ahead of him was the flight of stairs to the second floor. Going up, he found the two bedrooms, each with a bed set up in the center. The bedrooms had their own bathrooms, a plus in his opinion. If his brother ever came out to visit at least they'd have their own bit of privacy if things got tense, which they sometimes did even though they were as close as two brothers could be considering the age difference and the fact that Paris was as straight as they came.

Back downstairs, Roman checked out the kitchen and then stepped into the backyard. A one-car garage sat at one edge. The rest of the yard was grass with a nice brick-paved patio in the center. He could envision having friends over for barbeque once he got settled in.

For now though he had to unpack, find somewhere within walking distance where he could get some supper, and then hit the sack. He was due to report in to his new captain at noon tomorrow and before doing that he had to get himself some wheels.

* * * *

"Welcome, Detective Grant," Captain Martin said holding out his hand. "All settled in?"

After shaking hands, Roman nodded. "As much as possible for now, yes."

"Excellent. Come, I'll show you around and you can meet some of the other detectives and your partner."

The squad room was half empty. The men still there were busy doing reports and other such day to day business before another case called them away. One of them looked up when the captain called his name. As he came over to join them, Roman noted his tall, slender build plus the definitely Hispanic cast to his skin tone and features, so he wasn't surprised when the captain introduced the man as David Martinez.

"Roman here will be your partner, Davy. Fill him in on what you're working on and, well, you know the drill."

Martinez nodded, beckoning Roman to follow him to two desks back to back in the rear of the squad room. "I hear you're from out East," he said once he'd told Roman that the vacant desk would be his.


"Never been there but I've heard stories." Martinez chuckled. "Something about the river burning up?"

"Its chief claim to fame, I swear," Roman admitted with a grimace, "other than King James bringing the Cavs out of their rut and the Indians' yo-yo performances."

"Sports fan?"

"Naw, but you can't avoid the headlines. You?"

Martinez snorted. "Our teams are worse than yours, not that I give a damn." He picked up a file, handing it to Roman. "Top priority, so the other ten we've got fall by the wayside. Read it and then I'll fill you in on what you need to know that isn't in there."

Roman cocked an eyebrow at that last but settled down to read about the case.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Caomhnóir – Manny - 2

“Too long indeed,” Manny agreed. “Three years to bring down Cerdic. But it was worth it.”

With a nod of agreement, Sofietje said, “I am relieved that you completed your mission successfully, and also surprised that he and his people did not realize that you hadn’t aged, to be quite honest.”

Manny shrugged. “I am good at what I do and know how to fool people, especially humans.”

“Even your lover?”

“Even Hamlin, yes. So far.” He took a deep breath and then asked, “Are you sending me back soon?”

“Now you know that I can’t do that for another nine months. Or did you mean back to the States?”

“Both, I suppose.”

Sofietje twisted a strand of her long, white hair around her finger as she thought about that. “To be truthful, I am not certain it would be wise to give you a task that would keep you close to this Hamlin. On the other hand, if I don’t then you will be distracted, thinking of him. Give me a day and I shall let you know what I decide.”

“Fair enough. Do you need me for anything else at the moment?”

Sofietje chuckled. “No. Go out on the town. Be yourself for a while. Be young and alive, but behave.”

“Behave? Now what fun is that?” Manny’s lips quirked up in a grin for the first time since he’d returned to Rotterdam.

“Manfred,” Sofietje growled. Then she laughed. “You know what I mean. I do not want to have to bail you out like the last time.”

“Then come with me. We can do up the town together.”

“While I would enjoy that, I don’t think it would be wise. I might be tempted to deal with some rude young man in ways that would be hard to explain to those around us.”

“Yeah. Turning one into a dog might not be your wisest move.”

“Indeed,” she replied with a laugh. “So go, have fun, and report back here this time tomorrow.”

Monday, December 24, 2012

Caomhnóir – Manny - 1

“It went well?”

Manny nodded. “Let us just say the Scriostóir is dead, but not happily so, mijn commandant.”

Sofietje arched one white eyebrow. “He’ll spend forever in eternal damnation? How unfortunate.” The tone of her voice gave lie to her words. “It is good to finally have you back, Manfred.”

“Thank you, mijn commandant,” he replied quietly.

“What is it?” she asked when he said nothing more. “Something troubles you.”

Manny smiled wryly. “You live up to your name, Sofietje. Another Scriostóir died when Cerdic did.”

“I would say excellent but I have the feeling you are betwixt and between about that.”

“He was a man of honor who died to save my life. If you had asked me before I met him I would have said it was impossible for a Scriostóir to have anything close to honor, but he did.”

Sofietje, who knew Manny perhaps even better than he did himself, asked in a kindly voice, “Did you love him?”

“A little I suppose, at the end. In another time and place, if we had been different men, I might have truly loved him.”

“I’m sorry,” she replied softly. “And what of your human lover?”

Manny glanced at her in surprise. “You know about him?”

“I suspected. I didn’t actually know until this moment. Now that your job is over are you thinking about continuing the relationship?”

“Of course I am thinking about it. I care for him and he cares for me. But as you were so careful to point out, he is human. I am not.” He paced across her office now, stopping in front of the night-darkened window to stare at his reflection. Finally turning back, he sighed. “Not human, and forever eighteen, so while I would like to be with him, how could it work? He’s already four years my senior, at least—“

“At least in appearances.” Sofietje smiled in compassion. “So, enjoy him while you can and then—disappear. There are many tasks I can give you, as always. You have been too long in this century as it is this time.”

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Scriostóir - 27

The next few days were a flurry of activity. Manny knew he couldn’t just walk away from everything despite the fact that his job was over. He needed to know that the boys would be alright and, if it came down to it, find good families to be placed with.

As it turned out, that wasn’t going to be necessary. Manny was shocked to find out that, against all reasonable expectations, Cerdic had made provisions for the boys. He had willed the house to Gebhard and Mr. Shadrick equally, with the proviso that until the boys reached eighteen they were to take care of any of them who were in residence at the time of his death.

What surprised Manny even more was the return of Hamlin. When the young man heard about Cerdic’s death he was on the next plane back to the city. He showed up at the front door and was immediately surrounded by the boys. Jakie refused to let go of his hand, as if if he did Hamlin would somehow vanish.

It wasn’t until several hours later the Manny got a chance to be alone with Hamlin.

“So, are you planning on sticking around now?” were the first words out of Hamlin’s mouth as he perched on the edge of what had been Godric’s bed just a few days before.

“I was going to ask you the same thing,” Manny retorted from his seat on his own bed.

“I probably am. There’s nothing holding me in London now. It’s a great city, and I’ll miss it I suppose, but when it comes down to it this is home.”

“Meaning New York or here at the house specifically?”

“Both, I guess,” Hamlin replied with a smile. “Now, your turn. Staying or going?”

Manny dropped his eyes. “Going.”

“I see. I suppose I should have expected that.”

“It’s not by choice.” Manny looked over at him again. “There’s somewhere I have to be.”


Manny just nodded, because in some strange way he supposed that being a Caomhnóir made him part of a very unique kind of family, one whose purpose was to keep humans like Hamlin and the boys alive and safe.

Hamlin stared at him for a long minute before getting up. He crossed the room slowly to sit down again beside Manny. “Will you come back again?”

“Yes,” Manny replied with a smile. “For you, when I can, I’ll be back as often as possible.”

“That’s all I ask, other than that someday, when you feel comfortable about it, you tell me exactly what’s really going on with you.”

Wrapping his arms around Hamlin, Manny said softly, “I will, when the time is right.” And then he kissed his lover deeply, all his feelings for the man poured into it. And Hamlin returned it with equal fervor and love.

The End

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Coming next

Caomhnóir – Manny 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Coming - January 26th, 2013

Three Anthologies from Silver Publishing

Silver Presents: Three's a Party 


Some loves are too big to confine themselves to just two. The heart has room for more. Three's a connection. Three's a relationship. Three's a party.
This anthology contains:
Slow Burn by Jade Astor --
Three Lovers on the Grift by Edward Kendrick --
Poly Sigh by Allison Cassatta --
Nikki's Secret by TN Tarrant --
Afternoon Delight by Caitlin Ricci

Silver Presents: Dreams and Desires



There's someone for everyone...the man of her dreams...the woman he desires. You never know where you'll meet or when. Will it be love at first sight or maybe an instant dislike that grows into familiarity and then love? Welcome to Silver Publishing's authors' dreams and desires.
This anthology contains:
A Fate Filled Christmas by Cheyenne Meadows --
Aphrodite's Rubicon by Angel Martinez --
Spanking the Boss by Heidi Lynn Anderson --
Dreamscapes by Ashlynn Monroe --
Sating the Slayer by Allison Cassatta --
Cat Burglar by Pelaam

Silver Presents: Love is Love



Love comes in all shapes and sizes. Love does not conform to any one narrow definition. Love between two men is as poignant and true as love between a man and a woman. Love is love.
This anthology includes:
A Return to Normalcy by Anel Viz --
Clean Monday by A.J. Llewellyn and DJ Manly --
Smoke Break by Allison Cassatta --
Unmasked by Patricia Logan --
Chosen by Pelaam --
Never Too Late by Chris Quinton --
Leap of Faith by Lexi Ander --
My Unintended by Faith Ashlin --
Solitude Disrupted by Andy Slayde and AliWilde



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Scriostóir - 26

Twenty-four hours after the battle, Manny had healed sufficiently to be able to finish what needed to be done. He packed his belongings and Godric’s, taking them out to the car. Then he returned to the cabin. In a storage room off the kitchen he found what he was looking for. Hefting the sealed can, he took it back to the main room. There he opened it, pouring the liquid back and forth across the floor, ending at the fireplace, pouring the last dregs of fuel into it. Then he paused, looking around the room. His eyes lit on the tapestries and for one moment he considered taking them with him. Then, with a shake of his head, he turned back to the fireplace. Dropping to one knee, he lit the tinder beneath the logs.

Standing again, he bowed his head for a brief second and then strode quickly to the door. Closing it gently behind him, he walked to the car. As he started to drive away the first of the flames lit the cabin windows.

He waited until he reached the highway and then called the authorities, letting them know that he’d seen what appeared to be a fire and telling them where.

Two hours later he was parking the car at the house in the city. He walked into the living room by way of the terrace to find the boys huddled around the television watching some shoot ‘em up.

Jakie was the first to notice him standing there. “Where’s Rick and Mr. Wyndham,” he asked, trying to peer past Manny to see if they were coming in behind him.

“There’s something I have to tell you, but first I need everyone in here, so would you please go get Gebhard and Mr. Shadrick.”

Jakie nodded, and then raced off, returning minutes later with the two adults.

“What’s going on, Manny?” Gebhard wanted to know.

“There’s—there was a fire at the cabin. I—I was—I took a walk cause I couldn’t sleep and—hell.”

The boys listened in disbelief. “They’re dead?” one of them asked hesitantly.

Manny nodded. “I’m afraid so. I don’t—I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” Jakie said, throwing his arms around Manny’s waist.

Gebhard looked as if he was about to say something and then changed his mind. “Boys, I think we should let Manny get to bed, in fact all of you should be heading that way.”

“I’m alright, sir,” Manny told him.

“Be that as it may, Mr. Shadrick and I will get them to bed and let them talk if they need to.” Gebhard looked somewhat uncomfortable; as if that wasn’t something he was sure how to handle. Mr. Shadrick took over, herding the boys out of the room.

Gebhard remained behind, asking, “Do you know how it started? And are you quite certain they’re dead?”

“I know they’re dead. The cabin was fully engulfed in flames when I got back and there was no sign of them outside. I—I don’t know why it happened.”

“Alright. We’ll talk more about it in the morning, and about what happens now that Mr. Wyndham is dead. Go get some sleep, if you can.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you for—“ Manny shrugged disconsolately.

“Nothing to thank me for,” Gebhard replied with a small smile. “I’ll see you when you get up.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scriostóir - 25

“Children,” Cerdic spat out as the battle raged. “Mere infants when it comes to dealing out death.”

At that moment it would have appeared that he was correct. Both Godric and Manny, despite fighting two on one against Cerdic, were getting the worst of it as Cerdic wheeled, dodged and came back at them, the great sword pounding against their lesser weapons, his other one slashing through even the smallest opening that his foes left in their defenses.

Godric stumbled back, avoiding a potentially deadly blow by the merest of inches. At the same moment Manny swung his mace, intending to stave in Cerdic’s ribs, a move he’d tried before with minimal success.

Cerdic gave a sharp laugh as he nimbly dodged the mace again, slashing his shorter sword deeply into Manny’s thigh. Manny dropped to the floor, crossing sword and mace to catch the Cerdic’s next swing in the ‘V’ and twisting his weapons hard to deflect the sword from his chest.

Godric took advantage of Cerdic’s momentary inattention to swoop in, his scramsaxe leaving a wide swath of blood streaming down Cerdic’s back. The elder Scriostóir bit back a cry of pain, turning it into a shout of rage as he sent one booted foot into the open wound in Manny’s thigh. Manny gasped, the blood draining from his face.

“One Caomhnóir down, one bastard to go,” Cerdic almost chortled as he lifted the great sword and started it on a downward arc that would cleave Manny from throat to groin.

“Like hell,” Godric shouted, diving forward, delivering a vicious slash to Cerdic’s wrist with his scramsaxe.

With one practiced move, Cerdic switched his sword into his off-hand, spun, and brought it down with fearsome force on Godric’s shoulder. It split through it and continued down, severing spine and ribs.

Godric’s eyes widened in shock, his last word as he fell a growled, “Damn.”

As Cerdic shouted in triumph, Manny staggered to his knees. Fighting off impending darkness, he raised his mace, slamming it into the Scriostóir’s spine. The sound of crushed bone filled the room as Cerdic arched momentarily and then dropped like a stone, his legs now useless bits of flesh and bone. 

Manny swung one more time, the mace entering the back of Cerdic’s skull. Leaving it where it landed, Manny crawled to the side of his fallen comrade. Taking his dagger from its sheath, praying that there was still one small glimmer of life in him, Manny plunged it into Godric’s heart, as he said the ritual words that would free him forever.

Then, angrily, he turned to Cerdic, seeing the last bit of life draining from his eyes. “You murdered one of your own,” he told him. “One who, by rights and the purity deep in his heart, should have been one of ours. For this you will die, but not be freed.” Holding the dagger’s blade over the Scriostóir’s heart, he slowly pressed down. Then, that part of the ritual completed, he pulled it free and sheathed it again without another word spoken.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Scriostóir - 24

Stay calm Cerdic admonished himself as he leaned against the back of the bench in the main room. He found that doubly hard to do however as he watched Godric trying to work his wiles on Manny. Thankfully Manny still seemed to be resisting. Cerdic hoped that soon he’d tire of the games and go to his room for the night. Then Cerdic would be able to destroy Godric without Manny being any the wiser. In the morning he would tell Manny that he had sent ‘Rick’ back to the city on an errand. Later, when he and Manny returned themselves, he would come up with some excuse why ‘Rick’ was no longer around.

He scowled when Godric casually put one arm around Manny’s shoulder and whispered something to him as the two boys watched the end of whatever show was on the television. Manny shook his head, but didn’t pull away and Cerdic’s scowl deepened.

Minutes later, Manny suddenly jumped to his feet. “Enough is enough,” he said angrily. “I thought you were just kidding around.”

Godric was standing seconds later. “I don’t ‘kid around’ about something like this. I’ve grown more than fond of you since we met. I want you to feel the same about me. Damn it, Manny, at least give me a chance!” He gripped Manny’s arm to keep him from walking away, apparently not caring the Cerdic was watching their every move.

Manny appeared oblivious to Cerdic’s presence as he struggled to get free of Godric. “I’m not like that,” he said angrily. “I’m not some fucking faggot like you.”

“Then why did you lead me on to believe that you were interested?” Godric retorted angrily, tightening his grip.

“Both of you, stop this now!” Cerdic roared at he crossed the room. “Rick, release him now! Manny go upstairs. I’ll deal with him.”

Godric dropped his hand from Manny’s arm, staring hard at Cerdic. “How do you intend on dealing with me, sir,” he sneered, his arms hanging loosely at his sides.

Without answering Godric, although his eyes never left him, Cerdic again ordered Manny to leave the room and go upstairs to his room.

“Oh I think not,” Manny said under his breath as his weapons materialized, a hand-and-a-half sword in one hand, and a flanged mace in the other.

At the same moment Godric’s also appeared. He held both a scramsaxe and sword with a wide, double-edged blade. His face was grave as he said, “You can surrender and face your death honorably and I’ll make certain that it is indeed a final death, not one that puts you into the eternal torment that you so richly deserve.”

Cerdic’s lips curled up in contempt. “Boy, do you truly believe that you can defeat me?” While he spoke weapons materialized in his hands as well, one great sword that he held as if it weighed nothing, and a shorter one of the same type as Godric’s.

“We can,” Manny replied, stepping into Cerdic’s view.

“Well now, this is unexpected. Scriostóir or Caomhnóir?”

“Caomhnóir,” Manny answered even as he made the opening lung of the battle.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Please welcome Mahalia Levey

Being smart and sassy with a great sense of humor comes easily for Mahalia Levey. An avid reader of books, she found herself enchanted with disappearing completely into the worlds authors created. One day she vowed to herself she’d be one of them. Then family life came, and college right after. Swayed from her childhood course of action, it took many years for her to get back to that place she held dear as a child. Now she is running full steam ahead to keep up with the many ideas flowing freely. She plans on taking her work to higher levels and expanding her genres. Her main focus is giving her readers variety. Her works in progress include paranormal, fantasy and mainstream romance. Taking characters and watching them grow past what she’s imagined is her true passion.

Satin and Steel


Amaranta Costa uses her Kanima as an avoidance tactic, until the one person she cherishes most is taken from her. When Gavin Ford enters the fray uninvited, she’s forced to accept the help of his pack to find her mate.

Trusting others isn’t her forte. Though her inner jaguar accepts him hands down, the woman in her fights his dominating, take-control nature. Unlike Marisol’s soft personality, Gavin’s wolf challenges her at every turn. She can find no escape. His abrasiveness both sets her on edge and pleases her. She finds being in Marisol’s arms isn’t enough; the all-consuming need to be his burns to her core. There’s no denying the chemical attraction arcing among the three of them.

Will she reach out, and accept the love and support waiting for her?

The raucous wails intensified and the crunch of tires entering her private drive grew louder. Amara pressed on, breaking through the foliage into her large back yard to see uniformed officers walking the perimeter of her house.
“Excuse me?” Amara padded across her back yard, aware of her nudity and one enforcement officer leering at her. The other looked uncomfortable. Humans. Why do they find nudity unacceptable, since everyone born into the world came without clothes? How she hated the restricting fibers and longed to live in nothing but her skin. Maybe a blanket for times when the cold bit into her, chilling her to the bone.
“Ma’am, your alarm system activated. We called and no one answered. Are you harmed?”
“No, not at all.” She crossed her arms under her breasts. Their eyes roved over her and the one speaking seemed to lose his voice. They appeared confused as to why she paraded around like she did.
“Sir, the house is clear.”
“I’m sure it was just a false alarm.” Amara whipped her head to the left, addressing the female officer entering through her veranda doors.
“Are you certain? We found your front door wide open when we pulled up the drive. The perpetrator may still be in the area. Ma’am, would you mind putting on some clothes?”
Of course there wasn’t an intruder in the house; she’d feel the presence. She weighed the probability of Mari forgetting to lock up behind herself. No other lingering scents clung in the air. No dark aura. Seething in anger at her girlfriend’s lack of awareness, she stalked to her door, leaving the officers to follow her indoors. “I do mind dressing on my own property. I like being naked—”
“Still, ma’am…talking to you’d be a lot easier if you wore clothing.”
“For fuck’s sake.” Amara glared at the unwanted guests.
“She’ll put on some clothes if I have to drag her to her room myself and dress her.” Gavin’s authoritative voice entered into the standoff.
“I will not. This is my place. If they don’t like my appearance they can leave.” Amara whipped around and stared down Gavin’s steel wall of unwanted authority. “What are you doing here?” She’d never seen the man anywhere but at The Delightful Kitty. In his cargo pants and T-shirt, he looked damn good standing in her house.
“Heard the call on my scanner. Wanted to check on you and Mari. Go put on some clothes, babe. I’ll keep the five-oh company.”
Amara opened her mouth to speak and switched outlets.
How do you know where I live?
Drake told me. Now go put on some clothes. Though I don’t mind staring at you, not one bit.

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