Merlin’s Legacy by Angela Knight #urbanfantasy #NewRelease

Aliens, vampire Knights of the Round Table, and a wolf in her Burning Moon. Love can be complicated.

Master of Passion: When blue-skinned aliens try to kidnap combat news cameraman Adam Parker, the attempt is foiled by a sword-swinging Knight of the Round Table and his witch partner. However once the vampire knight removes his helmet, Adam realizes Sir Baldulf is the father who abandoned him and his mother. Ulf swears he and Opal Cassidy are Adam’s only hope of survival, but Adam wants nothing to do with either of them. Opal doesn’t want anything to do with the handsome, cynical mortal, either. But orders are orders, so seduction it is.

Master of Honor: Cheryl Parker thought she was an ordinary woman — a nurse, a mother, a single parent. Now an alien spirit who has made her immortal. And not only is her ex back, he’s really Sir Baldulf, a vampire Knight of the Round Table. The good news is, he still loves Cheryl. The bad news is, he thinks the creature inhabiting her is a potential threat to humanity. The worst news is, there is a threat — and it could well kill them all.

Master of Desire: Half-Sidhe billionaire Conal Donovan’s rich people problems include his ex, evil Fairy goddess Siobhan, who sends a team of werewolf terrorists kill his family. He’s rescued by Helena Baker, African American, former FBI agent, and wolf-shifter, who’s best friend is a gun inhabited by a retired death god, so she can handle werewolves. She’s less sure about the handsome white guy with the talking phoenix and the relentless commitment to protecting his sisters. Especially considering that she’s in her Burning Moon — the werewolf version of heat. Her pheromones make Conal just as interested in her as she is in him. But is their growing love real? And what will happen when the hormones wear off?

Get it at Amazon

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Angela Knight
Excerpt from Master of Desire

“I’m hungry.”

“You just ate. Last week you had two Fomorians and a troll.” Helena Baker turned the page, trying to concentrate on her romance novel. The roses that covered the arched wooden arbor cast cool, sweet-smelling shade over the pages. Maeve’s palace was surrounded by glorious gardens, and the arbor’s cushioned wooden bench was her favorite spot to enjoy them.

She glanced up from her book. The palace looming over the trees was breathtaking in its fluid Sidhe architecture, white marble blazing in the golden afternoon sunlight. I’m living in a Fairy tale. When she remembered she used to be an FBI agent, it was enough to give her psychic whiplash.

“That was last week. I’m hungry now.”

“What you are is bored.” Why wouldn’t he shut up? She was almost at the good part. Sexy, threatening Daegan was about to dominate Gideon. These days reading a BDSM romance was the closest she came to getting any. And she needed some. So, so bad. Her Burning Moon hormones were driving her insane. Swear to God, it gets worse every year.

“But it’s your job to provide for me.” His voice was way too close to a whine.

“My ‘job’ to keep you from killing people.” Turning the page, she glared down at him. “Would you please let me read my book in peace? Or do I need to put you in the Box?”

“All right, all right! You get so bitchy this time of year.” His tone brightened. “Maybe we could release some of that pent-up aggression by hunting a serial killer. Remember that DCN piece about those murders in…”

She held up one finger, frowning. “Hear that?”

“What?” Liam said.

“It’s the Box, calling your name.”

“But…”

“That’s it!” Helena picked up the Desert Eagle and started to stuff him into the enchanted holster on her belt. “You’re getting quality time in the gun safe.” An hour in the Box would shut him up and give her a little privacy for a foursome with Daegan, Gideon and her new vibrator.

Liam promptly turned into a rocket launcher. She almost dropped him before she managed to get a good grip again. “The hell? You trying to shoot me in the head?”

“Of course not.” Lacking vocal cords — or a mouth, for that matter — he had to use magic to generate speech. “You’re my priestess.”

“For the last time, I’m not your damn priestess. I’m your keeper, and my job is to make sure you don’t kill anyone who doesn’t deserve to die. If I weren’t immune to magic, you’d be trying to convince me to shoot myself.”

“I’d never do that. You’re the best priestess I’ve ever had.”

“Yeah, in the sense I’m the only one you haven’t managed to kill. Yet.”

“I am a death deity.”

“A retired death deity. You swore to obey me, Liam. Change. Back.”

“Fine. Keep your flea collar on!” Sparks exploded, leaving behind a very ladylike Smith & Wesson with a pink grip.

Helena glared down at him. “Now you’re just being insulting.”

“Helena?” Maeve’s voice rang out over the garden, sharp and urgent. “Where are you?” Normally the Mother of Fairies could sense anyone on the palace grounds, but her magic rolled off Helena like water off a mallard.

Helena’s head snapped up as she rose from the bench, gun in hand. “Here! What’s wrong?”

“Werewolves have captured Conal Donovan.”

Liam cursed in a language that had been dead since the last ice age. Thrusting him into his belt holster, Helena leaped into a dead run. “Coming!” Conal Donovan might be a Changeling — half human, half Sidhe — but he’d also saved the life of Maeve’s granddaughter at considerable risk to his own. That was the kind of debt the Mother of Fairies took seriously. Since the goddess’s magic had no effect on werewolves, rescuing him would fall to Helena.

Maeve rounded a topiary unicorn and strode between towering mounds of Mageverse blooms toward Helena. Six feet, six inches of sculpted, regal beauty, the goddess radiated power like a storm front. Gleaming green hair fell around her shoulders, pulled back and bound with thin braids to reveal the elegant points of her ears. An emerald-green leather vest hugged her full breasts and bared powerful biceps, while matching leather pants and thigh-high boots made her muscled legs look even longer.

She was every bit the badass she looked, which was why the grim look on her face made Helena’s blood run cold. “What happened?”

“A team of werewolves broke into Conal’s house.” Maeve’s voice was clipped and crisp, but her peridot eyes held worry. “Essus was injured in the fight, but he managed to open a link to me. He says he can hear Conal screaming.” Her mouth tightened. “They’re torturing him.”

How many wolves?” Helena thrust away the memory of blowtorch pain as fangs ripped into her belly. Looking down to see a coil of something red…

“At least ten. But there’s worse news.” Her jaw flexed. “I tried to open a gate and couldn’t.”

“Siobhan,” Liam spat. The magical geas that bound Maeve and her daughter insured neither could use magic in anything directly involving the other. It was a devil’s bargain from Maeve’s point of view, but she’d have agreed to worse to save her granddaughter. Otherwise Siobhan would have killed the little girl despite Conal’s efforts to save her.

Unfortunately, the geas did nothing to protect Conal, which was apparently why Siobhan had gone after him. She had an uncanny instinct for the best way to hurt her mother. But why now? Helena wondered. It had been thirty years, for God’s sake. Figure it out after you save the hostage. “We’ll take care of it. Where’s Conal now?”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Knight’s romance writing career began in 1996, when she realized her dream of romance publication with Red Sage’s Secrets anthology. She is a New York Times best-selling author of more than fifty novels, novellas, and ebooks, including the Mageverse and Time Hunters series. Her career spans twenty plus years. Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine gave her a Career Achievement award in Paranormal Romance, as well as two Reviewers’ Choice awards for best erotic romance and best werewolf romance.

Angela is currently a writer, editor, and cover artist for Changeling Press. She also teaches online writing courses with SavvyAuthors.com. Besides her fiction work, Angela’s writing career includes a decade as an award-winning South Carolina newspaper reporter. She lives in South Carolina with her husband, Michael, a thirty-year police veteran and detective with a local police department.

Perfect Rythm by Meagan Slayer #romance #GBLTQ #gay romance #shifters

The moment the king passed down the curse, Minos knew he wasn’t getting his voice back. He’s caused enough heartache for two lifetimes, but when he sees a handsome man struggling in the lake, his innate desire to protect comes to the surface.

John Leed just wants to be loved. When he comes out to his friends, instead of embracing him, they throw him overboard — into the arms of a merman. Once together, he realizes he’s found the partner he’s always wanted.

Minos is determined to protect this human. Can they forge a relationship or will the secrets in Minos’s past disrupt their perfect rhythm?

Available Now at Changeling Press

preorder for February 5th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Megan Slayer

I’ll never get my voice back. Minos swam through the lake with nowhere to go. He wished he had somewhere to be, but being banned, all he could do was linger.

He’d lost his purpose — working for the king — and his voice. Why? Because he’d trusted the wrong mer. Sure, he’d been partially to blame. He’d pursued Rian, the prince of the mers, a bit too heavily. In his defense, he’d thought Rian loved him.

He’d been so wrong.

He continued to swim and cursed the king’s decision to punish him. He didn’t deserve to be without a voice. No one could understand him, and he’d failed at expressing himself. His magic remained, but faded the longer he was punished. Where was this perfect being to complete him and fix the problem?

That being probably didn’t exist.

He couldn’t shake his anger. All he’d wanted was to be loved. He’d truly thought he had a connection with Rian, and that they could’ve even been partners.

Except he knew the truth. He and Rian would never be together. They weren’t couple material.

Fuck. He wished he had his voice back. His anger wasn’t going anywhere, but time made him realize he needed to apologize and be honest with not only Rian, but himself. He’d been terrible to Rian, and the guilt ate at him.

Minos surfaced. One thing he loved was the way the moon shimmered on the waves on the lake at night. The water was never calm, but the ripples reminded him of magic. Like the magic surrounded him. The glittery effect never lasted long, but was still dazzling.

He shook his hair out and surveyed the landscape. At night, the water and sky seemed to blend into endlessness.

The moonlight sparkled on the waves. He trailed his fingers through the dark water. The ripples mesmerized him. A sound filtered to him, and he tipped his head. The sound reminded him of a whistle or horn. A boat?

He glanced over his shoulder and spotted a vessel. He’d seen plenty of boats, and this one didn’t seem overly exciting. It was a bigger watercraft and had people lounging in the moonlight on the deck. They were partying and singing or playing music. One man appeared to have a drink in his hand.

Minos stayed out of sight from the boat and watched the humans. Two men stood at the railing. A woman reclined in a chair, and another one stepped out onto the deck. A third man held a big glass.

Minos hated playing the voyeur, but he couldn’t look away. He wanted a group of friends and a place to belong. Those people seemed carefree and happy.

Maybe he could approach them. One of these people could be his destiny. Was he supposed to talk to the humans? He wasn’t sure how without his voice, but he’d been wrong about the magic before.

He listened closer, but didn’t hear the music. His destiny would come with the specific song of his mate. If anyone in the boat could belong to him, then he would hear the unique tune.

Nothing.

The voices filtered to him again, though, and he honed in on the conversation.

“John wants to tell us something,” one of the women said. She flipped her blonde hair over her shoulder. “He says it’s important.”

“Nothing with John is important.” The dark-haired man swatted at one of the women. “He’d have to speak up first, and he’s so shy.”

“And too dramatic.” The blond man laughed. “He can’t say anything too exciting.”

“Now, it might be important,” the other girl said. “My brother wanted that promotion at work. He’s good at his job and would be a great building manager. He’s been shift manager for a long time and proving himself.”

Minos dipped under the water to breathe. He had no idea what a building manager might be and wondered what it looked like. Did that mean the man was in charge of the boxes the humans lived in? Worked in? He surfaced and listened to the humans talk.

“Well, whatever it is, he can get his ass out here any time now,” one of the guys said.

Minos couldn’t follow the conversation, but he enjoyed listening. The humans were so angry and pushy.

A fourth man ventured out to the deck. The other humans were dressed for night swimming and lounging on the boat, but this guy seemed out of place. He wore glasses and kept his inky black hair cut short. Instead of being dressed like the other men in shorts, he wore a button-down shirt and slacks.

Minos stared at him. He liked the way this man looked. He longed to touch him. A faint tune played in his ears. Was it music from the radio? He wasn’t sure.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

Mara by the Sea #romance #shifters

Since her divorce, Mara has been moldering. Or at least that’s what her best friend tells her when she drags Mara to Cancun for a pick-me-up.

Mara finds more than a pick-me-up. On the beach, she meets two beautiful men who, though they’re obviously into each other, are very much into Mara, too. And when they invite her into their unique world, it’s an experience unlike anything she could ever imagine.

Available Now at Changeling Press

preorder for February 5th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Faith Talbot

“Do you know what your problem is? You don’t know how to have fun. Plain and simple. You are funless.”

Mara gaped at her friend Cor, offended. “I am not funless. I’m… funful. I have lots of fun.”

“No, you don’t.” With a slight flip of her shoulder length chestnut hair, Cor looked pointedly at Mara’s Diet Coke. Cor herself was drinking a margarita. “Seriously, when was the last time you had fun?”

“I went to the movies last weekend,” Mara shot back, defensive.

“Wow.” Cor’s voice was deadpan. “Really daring.”

Mara sank back in the booth, annoyed and chagrined at the same time. “Well, what would you suggest, Miss Ultimate Fun?”

Cor looked smug. “That actually is my name, you know.” She drew something out of her purse, holding it hidden under the edge of the table. “So of course I have ideas.”

“Of course you do.” Mara stared at the edge of the table as if she might suddenly develop X-ray vision and be able to see what her friend was hiding. “So what are these ideas? Should I be scared?”

“Of course you should be scared. I’m going to push you right out of your comfort zone.”

“I like my comfort zone. It’s comfortable. That’s why it’s called a comfort zone.”

Cor leaned over the table, a conspiratorial gleam in her eyes. “You know what else is comfortable? Hot guys fucking you senseless” — she revealed the envelope she held — “on the beach at Cancun.”

Mara stared, then reached out to take the envelope. “You didn’t.” She opened it hesitantly, as if a poisonous snake might leap out and bite her. Inside the envelope were two tickets to Cancun, one for her and one for Cor. Mara sighed. “I hope my passport’s up to date.”

“It is. I checked.” She grinned brightly and snatched the tickets back. “You’ve been moping around for eight months, ever since the divorce was finalized. This will do you some good. Trust me.”

Mara looked mournfully at her Diet Coke, then Cor’s margarita. “I guess I’ll have to.”

Cor’s grin turned to a smirk. “Damn straight.”

* * *

The sand between her toes and the mojito in her hand helped a bit, but Mara still felt out of sorts. This just wasn’t the kind of thing she did. It wasn’t a Mara thing.

That’s the point, her little voice said. Doing Mara things isn’t going to get you anywhere. Mara things are boring.

She took another sip of the mojito, enjoying the tang of mint and citrus. Maybe that little voice was just the rum talking. Maybe she should quit worrying so damn much about it and just enjoy herself. She might not break down and have a crazy sexual fling, as Cor insisted she should, but at the very least she could relax for the weekend. God knew she could use some relaxation.

She took another sip of her mojito, then leaned back in the beach chair and closed her eyes. The sun was warm, the breeze off the ocean vaguely cool, and the rum was working its way into her system, leaving her nicely limp and relaxed.

Somebody giggled.

Mara wasn’t sure why that particular sound, out of all the sounds around her, caught her attention. She wasn’t alone on the beach, after all. There were couples all around, lotioning each other, running up and down the beach, smooching, doing God only knew what under beach blankets, kids tossing beach balls and squeaking like kids do — but that giggle rose above everything else and set something off in her brain. Maybe because of the incongruity. It wasn’t a woman giggling, or a kid. It was a man, the sound of the giggle strange when paired with the deepness of his voice.

The sound came again, this time a bit more toward the laugh end of the spectrum than the giggle end. Mara turned her head and zeroed in on the source.

Two young men were sprawled over a blanket not far away. The giggling seemed even more incongruous now; the giggler was a big, lanky man, easily six feet three. And young. He’d be lucky, Mara thought, if he’d seen his twenty-fifth birthday yet. The other man looked to be a few years older and a few inches shorter. He sat bent forward a bit, a wry smile on his face, while the younger man slathered suntan lotion over his wide, muscular back. The younger man’s hands were huge, engulfing the older man’s broad shoulders. As Mara watched, he leaned forward to kiss the hollow of his friend’s shoulder, then laughed again. The sound was deep and melodious, and made Mara strangely warm. Friend, hell. Lover, more like. The older man reached up to cup his friend’s face, smiling, and Mara gulped down more mojito.

They were just so… pretty. Unselfconscious, relaxed, obviously enjoying each other’s company. She remembered feeling that way once on a beach with David, curled up into his wide body on a beach blanket while he combed his fingers through her wet hair —

She pushed that thought back. No sense thinking about that right now. She was here to have fun, to forget about the divorce and everything having to do with David.

The men moved closer together, the taller one draping his arms over his friend’s chest. They looked happy to her.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Faith Talbot has been a body double, a prima ballerina, and a forklift driver. In her spare time, she likes to knit and play the zither. Sometimes she can be found at rock concerts not being the least bit stalkery at all.

Claiming Chloe Book Tour

Claiming Chloe
Northern Rockies Pack Book 4
by Anne Kane
Genre: Paranormal Romance
He might not deserve her, but he didn’t plan to let that stop him.
Chloe: She’s young, passionate, independent. She’s just bought a coffee shop and has plans to make it the best place in town. While away from home learning how to make the best ever pastries for her new venture, she hooks up with a hot stranger for her first sensual experience. She doesn’t expect to ever see him again, certainly not in her new coffee shop.
Damon: He’s ex-military. Tough. Protecting others is his mission in life. He long ago gave up expecting to find a bond-mate. When he agrees to watch over his Navy SEAL buddy’s little sister, he doesn’t expect her to turn his world upside down. He’s too old for such a vibrant young woman, but the mate-bond is hard to ignore, even if he wanted to.
Award winning author Anne Kane lives in the beautiful Okanagan Valley with a bouncy little rescue mutt(Merlin the Wonder Dog), a slightly larger rescue dog (Lexi the Bouncy) a cantankerous Himalayan cat, and too many fish to count. She has two handsome sons and seven adorable grandchildren. She’s always been fascinated by science fiction and fantasy so of course when she writes, she lets her imagination take over. The one thing the reader can always count on is that the main characters will live happily ever after, even if they have to defeat a few nasty aliens first.
When she’s not busy writing the next great novel, she likes to kayak, hike, ride motorcycles, swim, skate, practice karate, play her guitar, sing and of course, read.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$25 Amazon

The Bear by Stephanie Burke

 

After observing the mistakes made by his fellow Huntsmen, Arcas, the Bear, refuses to follow their example. He immediately claims his mate, a descendant of the cat goddess Bastet. Their pairing will be powerful and his mate is courageous, wise, and sexy as hell. Too bad they have to bring down the remnants of a murderous cult and stop a demonic disaster from being let loose on the world.

Marshal is no fool. From the moment they met, he has been drawn to the red-haired Bear. He didn’t think world ending events would ensue to make their developing relationship a bit more difficult to navigate. But now The Hunt was on the move and nothing would stop them from achieving their goals: rescue Kern’s mate and save the world.


Available Today at Changeling Press


EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2020 Stephanie Burke

“Fuck.” Arcas paced in his room, fighting the urge to heal the many bites, bumps, and bruises he’d received as he kept trying to purge the insidious drugs from his system. That those bites and bruises had come from one he considered his sister just made him… What was he feeling? Angst? Frustration? Anger? Well, yes, there was anger. A whole lot of anger, but there were more underlying emotions that refused to process.

He was angry. That he was sure of. In fact, one could say he was way beyond incensed and approaching furious at a rapid pace and there was nothing he could do to stem the tide of righteous anger that filled him to overflowing.

He remembered each one. He remembered their faces, their nasty little comments, how they treated him as a beast, something less that human… less than the animals they had gathered for this modern-day travesty of a gladiator sport. They had treated him like he was an object. Brave in the face of the drugs they had constantly injected into his veins and blew in his face. He remembered them, each and every one of them from the time he opened his eyes in that piece of shit van after they dosed him the first time to the time when they applied electric cattle prods to his back in an effort to make him shift… because there was no way he would ever forget that no matter how hard he tried.

So now he paced as he tried to process what it felt like to be knocked completely off the food chain. They didn’t even want to steal his life energy, they just wanted him dead as if he didn’t matter, as if he didn’t live and breathe and think. They just wanted him dead, almost as an afterthought. And what was worse, they’d made him attack his sister.

He remembered her wolf form screaming at him as he lunged at her, unable to stop the cursed animal within him from acting on instinct and trying to obliterate any threat that would do him more harm. He was grateful that he was incapacitated enough not to clearly think or he surely would have done more harm to his sister than he had actually managed. He shuddered as he remembered the feel of not being in control of his own body, of being a visitor in his own mind, screaming in futility, as the world turned into madness around him.

And he remembered his taste…

It was the taste of him, of his blood that gave Arcas the final push to take control of his own body and its actions once more. By then, it had almost been too late. He had been moving in for the kill and Caille, no matter how powerful she was, would not have been able to fight off the power of a god who was still being actively worshiped every time someone looked into the night sky. He would have snuffed her back to her component parts. It would have taken her centuries to re-form and it would have all been his fault.

So, yeah, add guilt to the pile of emotions threatening to drive him insane now, thank you. Guilt for not being fast enough, for not being strong enough, for not being wise enough… just for not being enough. Because of him Kern’s mate had been taken to parts unknown because when he opened his eyes in that rocking van, Thomas hadn’t been there. He could add nothing to the hunt for Kern’s mate, but he did remember each and every face that had hovered over him, had lorded over him, that had spit in his face and applied their boots and shoes to his body. He remembered each and every one and they would pay.

And there was him… How could he ever be good enough for Marshal? He himself was weak and useless… and… and… his blood.

Gods above, Arcas had never tasted anything as sweet… Marshal tasted of sunshine, of desert sands and of lotus petals. He had tasted of his forever and that was such a travesty that it almost brought tears to Arcas’ eyes because he had almost killed the man.

Caille, a goddess in her own right, would have survived. But The Cat… he was not being worshipped, had never been worshiped because Arcas could taste that in his blood. He was immortal but not invulnerable, and if he hadn’t acted when he did, Arcas would have been responsible for the destruction of his own mate.

That was something that Arcas could not abide. So he paced in his room, withheld the healing he could have so easily done to his human form, and he did his best to stick to the story that The Raven and The Wolf, along with help from his mate, had constructed. It was laughably easy how eager the police were to accept their convoluted tale. The story had all the hallmarks of a movie of the week. There were rich assholes to blame, an insane group of homophobic cultists who had access to poor, abused animals, and there were guns and drugs, lots of drugs. Hell, in this world where people cared more about animals than their own brethren, it was so easy to play the sympathy card. To add to the human interest angle, there was an obvious blended family, a person of color, and the sexual orientation of the one still missing man that guaranteed that in the right reporter’s hands they were looking at a Pulitzer. Exotic animals were just the icing on a journalistic cake that was going to be served up on all media platforms, and with today’s sentiment about eating the rich… well, companies and stocks were going to be dropping like flies after a judicious application of bug killer.

Yet now, here he was, pacing ineffectually in his room, feeling his blood pressure rise as he sought to find some outlet for his wrath.

Yes, wrath was the perfect word for the emotions that he was now feeling. Wrath and rage were coursing through his body, heating his blood, and making him want to explode.

But it was an impotent wrath for the moment for there was no clear target to aim his ire at, no one single person to blame… but himself.

And fuck, he had never been so angry in his long, never-ending life.

A knock at the door drew him away from his mounting self-anger, and as he spun around, a snarl on his lips, ready to tell whatever well-meaning sycophant disturbing his solitude to fuck off, he froze as a familiar scent suddenly filled the room.

It was — it was The Cat… his mate… and he smelled concerned.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stephanie is a USA Today Best Selling, multi published, multi award-winning author, Master Costumer, handicapped, wife and mother of two.

From sex-shifting, shape-shifting dragons to undersea worlds, sexually confused elemental Fey and homo-erotic mysteries, all the way to pastel-challenged urban sprites, Stephanie has done it all, and hopes to do more.

Stephanie is an orator on her favorite subjects of writing and world-building, a sometime teacher when you feed her enough tea and donuts, an anime nut, a costumer, and a frequent guest of various sci-fi and writing cons where she can be found leading panel discussions or researching varied legends and theories to improve her writing skills.

Stephanie is known for her love of the outrageous, strong female characters, believable worlds, male characters filled with depth, and multi-cultural stories that make the reader sit up and take notice.

Find Stephanie Online: Blog | Facebook | Twitter


Taming Taelyn is Live! #werewolves #shifters #NorthernRockiesPack3

Taming Taelyn (Northern Rockies Pack 3)

Anne Kane

Taelyn: Abandoned by her parents and raised in the uncaring foster system, Taelyn finds out she isn’t truly human when fear triggers her first shift. She finds a temporary home with a pack of gray wolves, but she knows she isn’t truly one of them, either. When she feels the pull of the mate-bond, her world changes forever.

Dylan: Dylan is more at home in the woods than the city. Working for the Forestry Services, he sets out to catalog the endangered grizzly bear population in the Interior of British Columbia. What he didn’t expect was to find his bond-mate running wild with a pack of gray wolves.

Taming Taelyn is a challenge Dylan is determined to win.

Chapter One

Taelyn skidded to a halt, lifting her nose high in the air. A strange scent drifted on the breeze, teased her brain, calling to her in a way she’d never experienced before. Not danger. Not food. Human, but not. Something different.

Mine.

The thought lingered, strange and unfathomable. What did it mean?

The rest of the pack raced on, heading to the caribou grazing grounds in the high range.

Mine.

There it was again. An irresistible temptation.

The Alpha gave her a cursory glance as she veered off to investigate. The pack was used to her strange methods of doing things. Even the Alpha ignored her peculiar ways, letting her roam at will. As long as she didn’t endanger the pack, he was willing to indulge her for the sake of his mate who had all but adopted her.

She was a wolf, but not. The pack accepted that. They were so much more direct than humans. Their way of life was brutal but fair, and they would fight to the death to protect any one of their packmates no matter what their position was in the pack hierarchy.

Taelyn bounded through the thin undergrowth, sifted the information brought to her on the wind. It was spring and the scent of newly budding flowers and greenery floated on the breeze, nature emerging from its long sleep. But to her keen nose, there was something else as well.

Human. Intruder.

And yet she felt no sense of danger, no urge to run and hide. Every wolf in the pack knew about humans. They were destroyers of the forest, dangerous two-legged creatures who killed from afar using death sticks that spit out fire and metal. They were cruel beings who set traps to capture and torture the creatures of the woods. They were to be feared and avoided. And her childhood in the foster system had given her no reason to dispute that.

And yet the scent said mine.

She slowed her pace, approaching the origin of the scent carefully. Lifting her nose high, Taelyn searched the wind for information. Yes, it was a human. Human male. A sharp tang of metal mixed with his scent. A sure sign of danger. She should leave before he detected her.

Mine.

Dropping to her belly, she crawled closer. Thick brush at the edge of the clearing marred her view, only allowing glimpses of the human male. Big. Strong.

Something coiled deep inside her, an unsettling desire that she’d never felt before for any of the wolves who’d come sniffing around when she’d entered her first heat cycle. After that, she’d learned to avoid the pack at those times.

She crept closer, belly tight to the ground, ears swiveling in a constant search for any danger. Humans often came in packs as well, although Taelyn could detect no others in the vicinity.

The sharp tang of metal was stronger now, a foreign scent in the forest. Metal never heralded anything good for the wolves. Strong jaws that broke legs. Death sticks. Caves with no exit. Metal was a tool the humans used against the creatures of the forest.

And yet that scent was stronger now.

Mine.

She felt a slow heat ignite deep inside her, the pull of something ancient and strong.

Uncertainty flickered through Taelyn. A mating bond? Surely not. This was a human male. She was a wolf, albeit one who could become human.

She liked to think there had been a time when life in the human world had been good, when she’d had parents, a family, a home. But she wasn’t sure if it was true or just wishful thinking on her part. Now, Taelyn existed with the pack, or in the little cabin she’d restored for herself deep in the forest. She raised herbs and vegetables that she could sell at the farmer’s market in the small town closest to her home for those things she couldn’t get from nature.

She didn’t want to be human. To be human was to be heartless. To be human was to be cruel and brutal. To be human was to hurt the Mother Earth and the creatures who lived in harmony with her. To be human was to hurt those of your pack who were weaker than you.

Long ago she had lived exclusively in that world and it had not been kind to an orphaned child with no family of her own to protect her. She’d learned to fight out of necessity, and to protect herself at all costs. When she’d discovered the duality of her nature, she’d embraced it fully. Taelyn had started to sneak out at night to run with the wolves. On those nights she found liberty she’d never had, a sheer joy in living. Although she still functioned in the human world, she had the freedom of her wolf to escape to whenever things got too tough. She’d sworn then that she’d never let any human control her destiny ever again.

And yet still the man’s scent called to her.

She crouched behind the bushes, watching him as he loaded a strange-shaped bullet into his death stick.

Rifle. Gun.

Taelyn knew the names the humans used to identify the weapon, but to her wolf, it would always be a death stick.

The man propped the death stick up against a tree and proceeded to assemble a strange looking contraption, covering most of it with sticks and leaves from the ground. When he was done, she could barely discern the outline of the odd-shaped thing. It was unlike anything she’d ever laid eyes on. A trap?

Was he a hunter? Was the strange scent a deliberate attempt to draw her close so he could capture her? Why had it not attracted any of the other wolves in the pack? So many questions and yet all she could get from his scent was that strange sense of belonging, of ownership.

A faint rustling in the bushes behind the human drew her attention, and a pungent odor overlaid the one that had drawn her here.

Bear. Grizzly bear.

A moment later, the massive animal lumbered into view. Yup. That was a grizzly bear, all right. And it did not look friendly, not that grizzlies ever really looked friendly. This one looked as grumpy as a wolf with a thorn in its paw.

The human whipped his head around with a speed that startled her, his attention locked onto the bear. Interesting. Taelyn could have sworn human senses were too dull to detect even a grizzly bear at that distance. And yet, there was no doubt that he had.

The man stepped over to the death stick, his movements slow and steady. She gave him credit for that. Any sudden moves might entice the bear to attack.

Grasping the death stick with one hand, he slowly sunk to the ground, seeming to melt into the surrounding foliage. Even his scent seemed to get smaller. He remained still, his image blurring into the background.

The bear reared up on its hind legs, the big head swiveling back and forth as it searched the area. After a long, tense minute, the animal dropped back down onto all fours.

For a moment, Taelyn thought a confrontation had been avoided. Perhaps the human’s ploy had worked and the bear had not detected him or had decided he wasn’t a threat.

The bear snuffled the ground, pawing with its powerful front claws. But just as Taelyn let out a quiet sigh of relief, the huge mammal let out an angry bellow and charged straight at the human male.

The male came to his feet in a single fluid movement, lifting the death stick to his shoulder and firing. The weapon spat out one of the odd-looking bullets, which impacted the bear but did nothing to slow it down. Two more shots, and the only results were a couple of silly-looking tags hanging from the bear’s meaty hindquarters. If anything, they angered the already aggressive animal even more.

It was not her fault the human was about to die, and she had no good reason to interfere. Life in the wild was brutal, and death could be swift and violent. Kill or be killed was not just a cute saying. The human had chosen to use the death stick and it had failed to thwart the grizzly’s charge. In about five seconds, the bear would be on him and his chances of survival were less than nil.

Taelyn launched herself from the thicket, racing directly toward the bear. Some tiny part of her brain screamed “no,” but she ignored it as she snarled loudly in an effort to distract the bear from its target.

The powerful animal skidded to a halt, once again raising itself on its hind legs as it swiveled to meet the new threat.

This was not Taelyn’s first encounter with one of these majestic beasts, and she knew enough to stay out of reach of its formidable front legs. Having distracted the grizzly from its initial target, she settled in to harass it into leaving the area. She knew better than to think she could kill it. An entire pack of wolves wouldn’t stand a chance of taking down a grizzly in its prime. Her sole aim was to keep it from killing the human male and give him time to escape.

The bear let out a long-annoyed huff, looking at the wolf that had dared to interfere with its attack. Razor-sharp claws slashed through the air as the grizzly swiped at her.

Taelyn easily avoided the danger, but she had no illusions about her abilities when it came to dealing with the bear. One miscalculation, one slip on a leaf would be all it took for the bear to send her flying through the air. She needed to be careful. Incredibly careful.

Keeping a respectful distance, she darted back and forth, alternately snapping and snarling to keep the grizzly’s attention on herself. Dancing on her four paws, Taelyn darted in and out of range, anticipating each move of the powerful mammal.

In a few moments, she noticed a distinct difference in the bear’s performance. The massive animal seemed to be getting slower, its moves less coordinated. Before long, it dropped to all fours and took a few lumbering steps away from the clearing.

Taelyn stopped her attack, cocked her head to the side, not sure what to make of this new situation. Grizzlies were not known for running away but that did seem to be what this one was doing. She paced back and forth, glancing back at the human.

He seemed to be unconcerned, standing in a loose stance with the death stick in one hand. He glanced at the grizzly, then back to her. The look on his face was unreadable. Confused? Surprised? Shocked?

If she were smart, she’d turn tail and head on back to her pack. But she didn’t. She just stood there, a few yards away from the grizzly, which sank awkwardly to the ground. Its eyes closed, and within minutes it appeared to have fallen asleep. Very strange.

She looked over at the human, who hadn’t taken advantage of her distraction to run for safety. Not a very smart human. Or maybe he’d known the bear would fall asleep. He might be smarter than she’d given him credit for.

She stared at him, wondering what it was about this human male that she found so alluring. He was tall and muscular, with an unruly shock of dark hair. His eyes were an unusually dark green, and right now they seemed to see right through her. Taelyn took a step backward, feeling suddenly skittish.

The human male hunkered down on his heels to study her intently. “Hello, sweetheart. Where did you come from? There’s nothing around here for miles. You’re beautiful.” And you’re mine.

The last three words floated soundlessly into her head. Taelyn blinked. What the hell? She must have imagined them. Unless she was hallucinating, it made no sense.

“You can feel it. Our connection. I know you can.” The human held out his hand, palm up. “Shift and we can talk.”

There was a note of command in his voice that set the hairs on her back standing straight up. No one, not a human or a wolf, had the right to tell her what to do. Not now. Not ever again.

And yet, she felt an almost unbearable urge to obey, to shift to human form so she could talk to this man. That fact alone terrified her. Taelyn pivoted and started to run.

Come back.

The words echoed through her mind, lending speed to her paws as she raced back the way she came. Back to the safety of the pack.

She must have eaten something bad, to give her hallucinations like this. Wolves were not telepathic. Hell, they didn’t even speak. Not really. They communicated ideas and feelings through a series of bark, whines, and body language. The Alpha could communicate with the rest of the pack, but not in words. More like images and vague outlines.

We belong together. I will find you.

Fainter now, but still in her head. Putting on a burst of speed, she located two of her packmates, flanking a herd of caribou as the others closed in from the sides.

This was familiar. She knew her place in the hunt.

Mine…

The echo refused to leave her alone.

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Cover Reveal~

A Hades Abyss MC Romance

Delilah – I love my family. I really do, but having three older brothers and an overprotective father doesn’t make it easy to have a life. They’ve run off every guy I’ve ever tried to date. It’s time I made a life of my own, even if that means I have to leave home to do it. I never thought I’d end up in yet another town with a motorcycle club, or that I’d be working out of their clubhouse as a webcam girl. I enjoy the freedom, and the money. No one would ever believe I’m technically a virgin. I haven’t even been really, truly kissed much less done anything else with a guy before. When the club President, Titan, kisses me then issues a challenge, how could I possibly refuse?

Titan – I no longer looked at the girls frequenting the clubhouse the same way I had before. Being a dad changed my perspective, especially since I had a daughter. I still had fun, but it had lost it’s appeal. Then she walked in. Too young. Too innocent. Until she asked to join the webcam girls. The thought of strange men watching her made my hands clench. It was safer if only I had access to the feed, or so I told myself. Really, I’m just being a possessive bastard. Delilah will be mine, whether she realizes it or not. One kiss is all it takes for me to know she belongs to me.

WARNING: This book contains strong language, graphic sex and violence, and spanking. It also has a dog who’s too smart for his own good, a sweet yet sassy heroine, and a hero who knows there’s nothing more valuable than love and family.

Coming October 2020 from Changeling Press

Add to your Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55285204-titan

Terras Five Blog Tour!

That’s right. The Cyborgs are going on a virtual tour. There will be prizes and excerpts and lots of fun! Did I mention prizes? As in Amazon Gift Card kind of prizes? The tour is being hosted by Silver Dagger Book Tours, and the grand kickoff is on their site right HERE, along with the schedule of where and when you can find the Cyborgs.

If you’ve never met my Cyborgs, book one is on perma-sale for only 99cents.

Blurb:

Natalie’s loved and lost, and she’s not so sure she wants to risk her heart again. She’s willing to settle for a challenging career as a space-pilot instructor and a succession of no-strings-attached lovers. But that’s before her boss saddles her with the last thing she wants — a new partner.

Jebediah recognizes his perfect match in Natalie from the moment she seduces him on a dare. Everything that makes her a top-notch pilot, from her fearlessness to her passion, make a night in her bed both challenging and unforgettable.

A dangerous confrontation with a brutal enemy, an exploding drive engine and a traitor close to home throw everything into perspective. Natalie is going to have to put the past behind her and risk it all, because when your partner is also your lover, failure is not an option.

EXCERPT:

Her Cyborg Lover (Terras Five 1)
Anne Kane
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2017 Anne Kane


Natalie pulled the cerebral interface down over her forehead, scanning the display with a practiced eye. A blip on the bottom corner of the screen caught her attention.

“Identify ship, lower quadrant.” She rolled her eyes, waiting impatiently for the ship’s avatar to reply. She already knew the answer, or as much as she needed to know. One of the hotshot cadets thought they could sneak up behind her and beat her back to the base.

“Ship identified as delta class reconnaissance pod. Single occupant, unidentified male. No flight plan filed.”

No flight plan? That certainly raised questions. Probably a lower-class cadet returning from a routine scouting mission.

Maybe she was wrong about their motives. After spending the last decade on active duty, she’d come to expect the younger pilots to challenge her. They thought mature meant slower and less alert. So long as he or she didn’t make any surprise moves, she’d ignore them. “Keep track of their progress.”

“Affirmative.” The ship’s deep voice no longer sent pangs of loss through her. After the accident that had taken her life mate, she’d programmed his voice into her ship’s avatar as a way of keeping him close.

That had been a long time ago, though. Now, the voice belonged to her ship, and if she thought of her lost love at all, it was with a fond twinge of nostalgia. Life went on.

“Are we visible to the unidentified craft?”

“Affirmative. We are within visual range.”

Even as she prepared to give the cadet the benefit of the doubt, the other vessel began to pick up speed, darting in front of her ship in an obvious show of contempt.

So much for playing Mrs. Nice Gal! “Computer, turn off autopilot. We’re going to show that little snot what a real pilot can do.”

“Aye, Captain. Autopilot disengaged. Do you wish to hail the craft?”

The scout ship slipped between two asteroids, picking up power as the pilot zigzagged his way through the rock-strewn sky with a flagrant disregard for his ship’s safety. Where did kids learn to fly these days? In a vacuum? If he wasn’t careful, he’d end up a red smear on one of those asteroids.

“Why not? Open hailing frequency.”

A few seconds passed as the avatar located the proper frequency.

Natalie slipped the steering yoke over her shoulders, adrenaline already spiking through her as she prepared to meet the unknown pilot’s challenge.

Designed for maximum integration of the ship and its pilot, the yoke made it easy for her to control every nuance of the ship’s reactions. She rammed the throttle forward, engaging all four thrusters and leaning left to avoid colliding with a small rock that careened into her path as the ship surged forward.

“Hailing frequency open.”

Natalie took a deep breath. “Delta class scout ship. This is Captain Freer, lead instructor on Gamma Base Seven-Two-Seven. Identify yourself immediately.”

She waited impatiently for a reply. Even the greenest of cadets knew better than to openly defy her. Dead air lay between her and the scout ship. Seemed this cadet was stupider than most.

“Delta Class Scout ship. I order you to identify yourself, or be prepared to handle the consequences.”

A deep male chuckle rolled through the com link.

Natalie blinked. Laughter? Was the idiot actually laughing at her? He was so going to eat her dust, and that would be before she grounded his sorry ass for the next decade or two.

Years of practice gave her the edge every single time one of the cadets pulled a stupid stunt like this. Engaging the infrared overlay on the cerebral interface, she mentally plotted the other ship’s most likely course.

Only an experienced space jockey understood that the shortest route was rarely the quickest, or the easiest. Sure enough, the idiot darted between the two large asteroids directly in front of him. A seasoned pilot would know that the combined gravitational fields of the rocks created a braking effect on any smaller object caught between them. Real-life one on one versus theory in the classroom.

She could almost feel sorry for the pilot as he struggled to wrest back control of his ship from the two inanimate objects.

Almost, but not quite. She circled around the trap, putting herself directly between the rocket jockey and base ship. Let him watch her tail for a while before she slapped him into the brig. Waggling her wings in an insulting salute that the unfortunate pilot couldn’t possibly miss, she veered toward base ship.

She hadn’t quite finished congratulating herself on such a swift victory when her ship careened sideways, almost colliding with one of the smaller asteroids in the field.

What the hell? She jerked her head up, hardly able to believe the display in front of her eyes. The smaller ship had freed itself of the gravity well and moved to parallel her before turning so that his thrusters aimed directly at her side. When he fired them, the shock hit her craft with all the force of a herd of thundering moon-cats.

Crap! This kid had balls. Balls and the makings of a star-class fighter pilot — if she didn’t kill him first.

GET IT HERE!

Her Cyborg Captor

Keily: Human. Curvy. Independent. An intense, do-good activist who’s never without a cause to throw her limitless energy into. She likes her sex hot and impersonal. She doesn’t have time for silly romantic dalliances. She has a planet full of Battle Rats to save!

Ryker: Cyborg. Scarred. Cynical. Rejected by the females of Terras Five, he becomes one of the most sought-after mercenaries in the galaxy. But when he accepts a contract to capture a female activist he finds out not all females find his scars terrifying. One particular human female finds them incredibly sexy.

Engine failure, hastily terminated jumps, and a fluffy stowaway challenge the unlikely pair to work together to find their way home and into each other’s hearts.

~NOW AVAILABLE!~

Excerpt:

Was the little minx actually trying to use sex to get to him? He smothered the unfamiliar urge to laugh. Did she really think he’d believe she still found him irresistible? Or even remotely desirable? “Just until the negotiations are over. Shouldn’t be more than a few moon cycles.” He leaned forward, deliberately looming over her and giving her a closeup view of his scarred face. “So what did you have in mind? To amuse ourselves?”

He had to give her credit, she didn’t flinch away from his scarred visage. “Well, I haven’t had much time to myself lately. Haven’t really had any downtime to speak of.” The pink tip of her tongue appeared, running over her lips in a blatantly suggestive gesture.

Tempting. Damn, she was tempting. It had been so long since someone has tried to seduce him, he’d forgotten the thrill of knowing a female wanted him, wanted to feel his naked body sliding against hers. His gaze strayed to those perfect globes rising and falling with each breath. Reaching down, he gently pulled the edge of her top apart. For a brief second, the material resisted him. Then, like a flower opening under the welcoming warmth of a planetary sun, it popped apart to let her luscious breasts spill out.

And they really were luscious. Keily arched her back, wordlessly offering them up for his approval. Oh, yeah. He definitely approved. Lowering his head, he scored his teeth across one dark pink nipple, feeling it pebble into a hard tip in his mouth.

He lifted his head as a tiny tinge of guilt stirred in the corner of his brain. He had no intention of allowing her to escape so she could go back to champion the Battle Rats in the upcoming confrontation. Accepting her sexual advances knowing he had no plan to give her what she wanted wasn’t fair.

Then again, life wasn’t fair. He was living proof of that.

What the hell. She’d started it, and he didn’t recall keeping his hands off of her being one of the conditions of the contract. He just had to keep her off the planet and incapable of throwing a monkey wrench into the Conglomerate’s plans.

“You sure you want to do this?” Ryker cupped the warm mounds of flesh, his damnable sense of right and wrong forcing him to give her a chance to stop him before it was too late. “I know I’m not the kind of male you humans like to dream about.”

She cocked her head, a look of startled confusion on her face. “Seriously? You think you know what kind of male I fantasize about? Let me assure you it isn’t some slick young pretty boy who wouldn’t know what to do with a real woman.”

Her gaze ran over him from tip to toes, igniting a slow burn he hadn’t felt since before he’d become more machine than man. She didn’t linger on the scars or the metallic arm. What she did linger on was the growing bulge at his groin.

Damn. Was there anything sexier than a female who wasn’t afraid to let you know that she wanted you?

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Programmed to Please

Programmed To Please, by Jenna Ives

Chapter One

 “Turner, I’m sending you undercover as a Beautiful Dolls sex robot.”

          Jai Turner stared at her boss, Commander Talis Rainey, convinced she couldn’t possibly have heard him right. She and her partner, Leith Wyatt, had been called into his office at the end of their duty shift. It had been a long day, as they all were on Tau Cetus in this post-apocalyptic era, and she was in no mood for a joke.

​          “Sir?” Jai noticed that even Leith, who was standing beside her, had raised his eyebrow in question.

​          For an answer, Rainey leaned forward in his chair and pushed a button on the console on his desk. “Send in Mr. Carron.”

​          A minute later, a short man stood in the doorway. His eyes darted nervously as he checked out the Spartan office before taking an apparently reluctant step into the room. He was such a stereotype that Jai felt herself stiffen. Thick glasses… hair askew… frankly, all he needed was a lab coat with a pocket protector to complete the picture. Savant. Adept. Carbon-copier.

​          Maybe her boss hadn’t been making a joke.

​          Rainey cleared his throat. “This is Anson Carron. The creator of Beautiful Dolls.”

​          If the abrupt and impersonal introduction annoyed their guest, he didn’t show it. His eyes had locked on Jai, and were scanning her up and down in a way that felt decidedly intimate despite the generic, navy blue one-piece uniform that she and everyone else on the Tau Cetus force wore.

​          “Yes,” he murmured. “I suppose I can work with this.”

​          “This,” Rainey said hotly, “is Jai Turner, one of my best agents. She’s human.”

​          The little man seemed lost in his own train of thought. “She meets his prime criteria. Of course, it would be better if I could see her without her clothes on before I make a final assessment.”

​          Jai stiffened even more. “Commander!”

​          Rainey let out a loud sigh, then glanced at Jai and the two men. “Sit. All of you.”

​          Instead, Carron took a step closer. “Can I touch her, at least?”

​          “Lay one finger on me,” Jai growled, “and it’ll be the last thing your hand ever touches.”  Wyatt stepped closer to her to drive the point home.

​          Behind his desk, Rainey blew out a breath. “I said sit!”

​          The three of them held their adversarial positions for a moment, then took the hard chairs arrayed around Rainey’s desk. Jai crossed her arms and legs defensively, and even Wyatt turned his chair around to straddle it. It was obvious neither one of them anticipated liking whatever the Commander might be about to say.

​          Rainey ran a hand through his grey-black hair and looked at the partners. “Before I start, I have just one thing to say to you two. Marque Callex.”

​          Jai gasped. “What?”

​          That changed everything. The infamous name had both her and Wyatt leaning forward in their chairs, now eagerly waiting for Rainey’s next words.

​          “You know how long we’ve been trying to get close to this guy. We may now have a chance, albeit by a very unconventional route.” Rainey nodded toward their guest. “A month ago, Mr. Carron here ran afoul of the law. No need to get into the specifics, but in an effort to save his neck – and his very lucrative business – he suggested a unique proposal in return for us not pursuing charges against him.”

​          “What kind of proposal?” Wyatt asked.

​          “A clever one, as it turns out.” Rainey smirked. “Mr. Carron agreed to send out an… invitation… to Marque Callex, in the guise of offering ‘a select number of high-powered businessmen’ the chance to sample the latest model of Beautiful Doll for free, in exchange for their feedback on the product. In reality, Callex was the only person to get this invitation.”

​          Jai’s mouth set in a disgusted line. “And he accepted.”

​          “He did,” Rainey confirmed. “It was a gamble, but it paid off. In this supposed ‘latest model,’ clients are able to customize their girl. Callex filled out the form specifying the criteria of his ideal Beautiful Doll, and now all we have to do is fulfill his requirements.” The Commander gave Jai a pointed stare. “With you.”

​          Jai’s eyes went wide. “You want me to impersonate a sexbot?”

​           “He’s requested certain specifics,” Anson Carron spoke up. “Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Lean, athletic build.”

​          Jai let out a relieved breath. “Well, that rules me out then. I’m brown-haired and brown-eyed.”

​          “Easily fixed,” her boss pointed out. “You fit the most important characteristic: athletic build. We can’t fake that, but we can correct the other things with hair dye and contact lenses.”

​          Uneasy, Jai leaned forward in her chair. “Sir, do you really believe a man who can have any model of girl he wants, would pick a B-cup and not a triple-D? For a sexbot? Come on, Commander. Are you sure Callex is even serious about this?”

​          Rainey stroked his chin thoughtfully, and then shrugged. “Well, we’ll have our answer on Monday, if he shows up at the Beautiful Dolls boudoir. Until then, prepping you for the assignment is the way we’re going to proceed. That is, if you’re agreeable.”

​          Jai scowled. There was absolutely no way she was going to volunteer for this. Have sex on command? Not a chance. Not even to bring down a man they’d long been after for suspected weapons smuggling. Besides, she could never pass for a sexbot. She had a heartbeat, for Christ’s sake! “Why don’t you send in a real Doll for the job?”

​          “Because the whole point is to get information out of him,” Rainey answered. “A robot can’t be programmed to be clever. We need someone to coax him into spilling his secrets.”

​          “With all due respect, Commander,” Wyatt interjected. “Callex is locked up tighter than a penitentiary. Security is everything in his line of work. It’s not realistic to think he’s going to give away top secret information while in the throes of passion.”

​          “You haven’t met my Dolls,” Carron mumbled.

​          Rainey ignored the remark. “Maybe not during sex, no. But haven’t you heard of pillow talk? Read your history books. Greater men have been brought down by baring their souls during that post-coital sense of euphoria. I want Jai to build a relationship with him, gain his trust.”

​          In response, Jai re-crossed her arms and legs. There was no way – absolutely none – that she was going to be anyone’s personal sex toy.

​          Rainey sighed into the stubborn silence. “Do I really need to play the Joran Breaux card with either of you?”

​          A spark of anger shot through Jai, even as she heard Wyatt shift uncomfortably on his chair. Joran was the second – and definitely much more personal – reason they were after Marque Callex. Joran had been sent in to infiltrate Callex Industries from the inside, to discover how one of the government’s top weapons contractors was secretly diverting arms to militant countries. Joran’s cover as an employee had seemed secure until two months ago, when the police force had lost contact with him on the very day he’d scheduled a meeting with Marque Callex. Three weeks later, Joran’s body had turned up – in pieces – in a recycling center a hundred clicks away.

​          Joran had been Wyatt’s partner before Jai.

​          Jai would relish the chance to avenge the death of a fellow Tau Cetus agent, but was becoming a sex slave really the best way to do it?

​          “How do we know Jai won’t end up the same way Joran did? Dead?” Wyatt rasped. Raw emotion was clear in his voice.

​          “Because we’re embedding you as the Beautiful Dolls concierge,” Rainey answered. “You’ll be there secretly taping the sessions, close by to protect her if things get out of control.”

​          “Good God,” Jai balked. “You plan to record the sex encounters with Callex?”

​          Rainey scowled. “You know how long we’ve been trying to get to Marque Callex. This may be our best chance. But if you’re not up to it, Turner, I’ll find another female agent with athletic build who’s more committed to her job.”

​          “I’m committed to my job, Commander,” she protested hotly.

​          Rainey waved a hand. “I probably shouldn’t have even offered it to you two. Wyatt is too close to this case. I just thought he’d want a crack at the guy who murdered his partner. But you’re right, Turner. Wyatt could very well be a liability.”

​          “I didn’t say –” Now the Commander was accusing her of letting down the force and her new partner. The guy was a master manipulator.

​          Silence stretched in the room while Jai considered her options. Her very limited options. As in, none. “I’ll do it.”

​          “What?”

​          Jai’s mouth set into a mulish line. What real choice did she have? Marque Callex needed to be stopped. “I said I’ll do it. If this is our best – and possibly only – chance to get to him, well, then, I’m in.” 

© by Jenna Ives

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Programmed-Please-Cetus-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B00HFJRY1W/

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