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- Protective Alpha Hero
- Secret Shifter World
- Cursed Heroine
- Fated Mates
- Magic & Witches
- Action and Mystery!
Cupcakes and canines
Ashlyn Reed came to Alaska to run a bakery, not run from the law. But after she's attacked in a dark alley and the guy ends up dead, the hot detective investigating the case tells her she's not only a werewolf, but his fated mate. Can either one be true?
Whispers of witches
Someone in town is hexing shifters, and Detective Kepler Stone is determined to hunt them down, especially when it turns out his new mate may be next. But the pack wants Ashlyn eliminated before the curse spreads. Can he solve the case and keep her safe?
Secrets and sacrifice
With the passion between them growing, they stay one step ahead of their foes, but the magic inside Ashlyn may be more than either of them can handle. As witches close in on one side and the pack on the other, will they have to decide between staying together and staying alive?
Dive into a chilling, passionate journey where love battles fear, and embracing the beast within might be the key to salvation.
Intro Into Chapter One
Intro Into Chapter One
Music from the bar shook the sidewalk under Ashlyn’s feet as she waited for the bouncer to check her ID. She’d let her new hair stylist talk her into “mermaid hair,” and the pink and blue color seemed to make people think she was younger than her twenty-five years. That, and the fact that she was carrying cupcakes.
“They’re mojito flavored,” she told the bouncer, feeling stupid. Who brings cupcakes to a bar? “For a bachelorette party.”
“Ah.” The bouncer returned her card with a wink and waved her in. “They came in a while ago. Have fun.”
“Thanks.” She smiled and stepped inside. Since moving to Kenai a couple of months ago to take over her cousin’s bakery, she’d come to appreciate how friendly the locals were. Even this bachelorette party was proof of that. Between baking and catching up on the mess cousin Lana had called bookkeeping, she’d barely had time to meet anyone. Muffy, a local bride-to-be, had come into the bakery looking for a quote on a wedding cake and, after learning Ashlyn was new in town, had invited her to the party.
Ashlyn wasn’t usually one to take invitations from complete strangers, but she needed friends, and Muffy seemed nice. At least the party would get her out of the house.
Pausing just inside the door, she scanned the crowd for Muffy’s familiar face. Multi-colored lights flashed over a tiny dance floor packed with people, and patrons hovered around high-topped tables nearby. A long bar extended through the center of the room, and the delicious aroma of fresh Alaskan halibut and steak fries drifted from the kitchen in the back. Her stomach growled. She’d been too busy for lunch today, and sugary cupcakes weren’t going to cut it, especially if she was going to be drinking.
Laughter caught her attention from several semi-circular booths along the wall. A group of women in low-cut blouses held shot glasses in the air, and she spied Muffy’s dark, artistically tousled tresses beneath a sparkly plastic tiara. Nerves tightened her belly. She wasn’t shy, but joining a clique of women who already knew each other was always awkward. Too bad Cousin Lana was busy on her fishing boat or Ashlyn would’ve made her come along.
Straightening her shoulders, she headed over, looking at Muffy’s white sash proclaiming her soon-to-be hitched status. Cliché. But she kind of liked cliché. It felt stable. Predictable.
The bride-to-be spotted her and rose, leaning across the table and waving her manicured pink fingertips in a shooing motion at her other friends. “Scoot over, let Ashlyn in. Ashlyn, this is Jen, my sister. She’s visiting from Idaho. I’m trying to convince her she should move here.” She pointed to the auburn-haired woman Ashlyn settled next to, then toward the other women at the table. “And these are my friends Bev, Christy, and Alison.”
The women greeted her with smiles, and Ashlyn felt a warming welcome flow through her. She hadn’t realized how much she missed hanging out with friends. She didn’t know these ladies yet, but they seemed really nice, and the penis-themed gag gifts scattered across the table promised they had a sense of humor. Maybe they’ll even appreciate my bad jokes. But first, she’d bribe them with cupcakes.
Ashlyn held out the pink pastry box. “I thought you might like some treats.”
“Oh, you’re so sweet. You shouldn’t have!” Muffy set the box aside and pushed a shot glass at her. “Here, drink. You need to catch up!”
The sharp scent of tequila wafted from the glass. Last time she’d had tequila, she’d turned into a bitch and alienated everyone at the party. Not that Ryan, her ex, hadn’t deserved every ounce of her alcohol-fueled anger, but she definitely could’ve handled the break up better. “No thanks. Really.”
“Oh, come on! The bakery is closed tomorrow!” Muffy wiggled her shoulders in time to the music, gravity-defying breasts staying perfectly in place. “Live it up a little.”
Ashlyn reached for the laminated menu buried beneath the gag gifts. “You do not want to see me on tequila. Besides, I haven’t had dinner yet.”
“We have appetizers on the way.” Muffy splayed a hand over the menu, pressing it flat against the table. “Don’t worry.”
Jen leaned closer, auburn tresses cascading over bare shoulders. “Just do the one and she’ll leave you alone.”
“At least until the next time someone says you know what!” Bev—a blonde who Ashlyn thought might’ve been in the bakery a time or two—gave an exaggerated wink.
“What words are we not allowed to say?”
“Oh, she’s sneaky!” Jen laughed. “Trying to trick us into saying them out loud.”
“I told you you’d like her.” Muffy leaned over to drape a string of Mardi gras beads over Ashlyn’s head. “Jen made a list. It’s somewhere in there.” She gestured to the baubles strewn over the table. “But everyone has to do at least one shot to start.”
Ashlyn was a lightweight, and any amount of alcohol would go right to her head. On the other hand, a small buzz would help her relax. She tipped the shot glass back. The tequila burned an oily trail down her throat, followed by a moment of vertigo. Whoa, that was fast. She scrunched her eyes and shook her head. “Ack!”
“Yeah!” several of the ladies at the table cheered.
Ashlyn accepted a piece of paper titled bachelorette bingo as another round of shots arrived. The waitress set a glass in front of her and Ashlyn said, “Thank you.”
That was apparently one of the things they weren’t allowed to say, and the surrounding women started chanting, “Drink! Drink!”
Stomach twisting, Ashlyn looked over her shoulder, hoping for the promised appetizers. The waitress had moved to another table, but food had to be arriving soon, right? You didn’t come out tonight to be a party-pooper. Taking a deep breath, she lifted the glass and downed it.
She knew right away she’d made a mistake. Stomach revolting, she shot to her feet. “Excuse me.”
“Are you going to the bathroom? Wait for me,” Muffy said.
Ashlyn didn’t wait. The tequila was coming up, and she’d prefer not to spew all over her new friends. The bathrooms had to be near the back, right? She elbowed through the crowd of sweaty bodies to reach the rear of the bar. No bathrooms, only a door to the kitchen and an emergency exit. Tequila rising in her throat, she shoved against the exit door.
Blessedly cool night air flooded over her, and she only managed to stumble a few steps outside before she doubled over and heaved into the dirt alley. After a couple of spasms, her stomach was empty. She rested with her hands on her knees, panting. Glancing upward, she noticed the aurora borealis was out, ribbons of green light roiling behind wisps of clouds. This was the first time she’d seen the lights since moving here, and she wished she was in a better condition to enjoy them.
The alley remained quiet but for the muffled beat of the music from inside as she took a few deep breaths. Ugh, she hated throwing up. And the smell—it’d been gross out here before she’d barfed. Now it was disgusting. At least the door didn’t appear to have been hooked to an alarm.
Straightening, she wiped her mouth against the back of her hand and turned to the bar. She collided into the solid chest of a man. Fuck. The bouncer must’ve come to check on her. She raised her chin. “Excuse me, I was…”
A pair of glowing purple eyes met hers.
She gasped and stumbled back. She’d heard of tequila giving people hallucinations, but she’d never had any herself.
The man opened his mouth, exposing unnaturally pointed teeth. She backed up another step. Her heart was about to pound its way out of her chest. His mop of hair had a white streak down the middle, and her mind immediately conjured images of Frankenstein’s Bride.
Knowing it was a bad joke, but unable to stop herself, she murmured, “It’s alive!”
In a move almost too quick to follow, he reached for her.
She screamed, trying to remember anything from the self-defense class she’d taken in high school. But that’d been almost ten years ago. Like claws, his fingertips jabbed into her arms, yanking her toward him. His face descended to her shoulder, and pain seared through her.
Did he just bite me?
Agony surged through her. Pain. Anger. Fury. Her entire being seemed to explode in a shower of sparks and fur. Fur? Her lips curled back from her teeth.
The next thing she knew, her mouth was against his throat. The taste of iron coated her tongue.
Not iron. Blood.
What the fuck was happening? She wasn’t in control. Her head twisted, jaws refusing to let go. She felt the tear of flesh and heard an awful gurgling as the man’s hands pawed uselessly against her. The light in his eyes shifted to green, and she swore he whispered, “Thank you.”
Then the glow faded to darkness.