The Alpha’s Archer by Alexa Piper #paranormalromance @prowlingpiper

Lindsey likes being a police detective, and she also likes being a werewolf alpha and a good leader to her pack. What Lindsey doesn’t like is the trickster who has decided to court her in the middle of a series of uncanny murders.

Eris likes his bow, well-fletched arrows, and the werewolf alpha who claws at his heart with her werewolf claws, metaphorically speaking. Yet, law enforcement seems to have an issue with a trickster deploying arrows, and Lindsey is ever the diligent detective.

While bodies grace the streets of Fairview, Eris has decided to win his werewolf’s heart. All he needs to figure out is how to make the stubborn alpha into his lover.

Lindsey decides to team up with St. John Investigations, the best in the business of supernatural oddities in all of Fairview, to get to the bottom of her paranormal murder mystery, but she will have to deal with the trickster all by herself.

Will Lindsey overcome her fear of commitment, and will Eris overcome his urge to shoot people? Can the St. John Investigations B-team help solve the series of crimes, and why is there a bear? Find out in this mysterious murder comedy. Warning: Contains sentient and very horny office furniture.

Get it today at Changeling Press

Preorder for May 14th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Alexa Piper

Like any hunter, Eris enjoyed perching. He was doing it — perching on a fire escape — and watching the alpha bitch below who’d snatched his heart in her werewolf claws. Eris held his bow loosely in his hand as Lindsey, all serious Fairview Police detective with her tight ponytail, took in the corpse. It was a nice, distracting corpse, which made it even easier for Eris to remain unseen.

“The fuckery,” Lindsey was saying. It was quite some fuckery indeed. Not that the sight of a torn ribcage particularly troubled Eris, nor the sight of a Dumpster and a good chunk of the sidewalk decorated with guts. But he could agree with Lindsey’s judgment. It is probably wise to get used to agreeing with her. She will expect it, once I woo her, Eris thought. Of course, Eris had dated a hellhound before, like most archers, but a werewolf alpha was a different kind of fletching altogether. I think I might be looking forward to agreeing with her, Eris thought.

A pigeon landed next to Eris, interrupting the newly found agreeable state of the archer’s mind. The pigeon’s pink claws curled around the iron banister, and he looked at the archer with hungry bird eyes and made a pigeon noise while the alpha bitch discussed the bloody fuckery with the medical examiner who was poking and prodding the corpse.

“I don’t have any food,” Eris told the pigeon.

The pigeon stared with his beady eyes and cooed.

“Seriously. I don’t. Go away. I’m perching here.” Eris shifted a bit and adjusted his grip on his bow.

The pigeon did not move. Eris’s bow hand was beginning to feel the tingling need for an arrow, no matter how scrawny the pigeon’s feathery ass was.

“Go. Away.” He was being nice, wasn’t he? Surely even a Fairview pigeon could appreciate that.

The pigeon was being stubborn, however. Down below, Lindsey was cursing some more before she told the medical examiner to let her know the moment the autopsy was done. Then, the alpha bitch pulled out her phone.

“You know, I don’t hate pigeons, but your kind really shouldn’t be all this territorial,” Eris said.

The pigeon cooed.

“Fucks and feathers,” the archer said. Below, Lindsey ended the call and walked away from the fuckery. “Looks like I’m getting coffee. So long, pigeon.”

Eris, rather than descending, went up. Archers like him had an easy way when it came to high ground, and their kind rarely fell, if ever. And Eris felt pretty sure he knew where Lindsey was headed.

The pigeon stared after him. Then, his territory successfully defended, he cooed once more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexa Piper writes steamy romance that ranges from light to dark, from straight to queer. She’s also a coffee addict. Alexa loves writing stories that make her readers laugh and fall in love with the characters in them. Connect with Alexa on Facebook or Instagram, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter!

SPOTLIGHT: Dirty Rotten Vampires by J. Hali Steele #paranormalromance @JHaliSteele

In the battle for vampire supremacy, cold hearts and hot blood sweeten the pain.

Hurt Me Good: When Armada, a demi-vamp from Haiti, faces the cold-hearted slayer Ringer, she vows to hate him as much as he hates her. But Ringer’s ability to wield pain brings out a side of Armada she didn’t know existed.

Love Me Madly: Split Kryder needs a new partner. Tang Odette has curves and legs that go on, and on. A maddening inferno of desire ensues, wreaking havoc on his world, and to possess her Split plans to fight dirty… and win.

Hold Me Hard: Vig goes to war against demons threatening to destroy the demi-vamp who has captured his heart, becoming an out-of-control master hell-bent on annihilating anything that dares keep her from him.

Dare Me Once: Vald tests his power to make a creature beg on Drecara, whose curvaceous body he desires, and Mictain, her protector, just to feel the burn. Vald hopes the extraordinary demons are up for the challenge.

Make Me Right: Jordan isn’t afraid of the huge black hound — in fact, she takes him home. Little does she know her life is entwined with the beast’s destiny and his deadly need will change her forever.

Get it at Amazon

Praise for Hurt Me Good

“The tension between Aramada and Barringer is wire taut, and they come together in an explosive display that breaks all the rules. If you like alpha males, vamps, and a hint of mystery this will fit the bill.”— Shyla, Romancing the Book

Praise for Dare Me Once

“This book was well worth the read. Dre and Vald are dynamic and combustible. You’ll believe him to have mastered her but by book’s end, Dre is the one who is the master… a great thrill ride from start to finish.”— 4 Stars from Nikki, Sensuous Reviews

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A multi-published author, J. Hali Steele wishes she could grow fur, wings, or fangs, so she can stay warm, fly, or just plain bite the crap out of… Well, since she can’t, she would much rather roam where her fictional big cats live — in the high desert of California. Discovering a new love of contemporary male/male erotica has flipped a switch she can’t turn off, so she hopes eventually it drifts back into her otherworldly realm.

When J. Hali’s not writing, she can be found snuggled in front of the TV with a good book, a cat in her lap, and a cup of coffee.

Growl and roar — it’s okay to let the beast out.

Preorder: The Tethered Goat by Mikala Ash #steampunk #murdermystery @Ash_Mikala

Hell-bent on revenge for the death of her husband, Elizabeth takes the initiative and sets a daring trap for Vladimir, the Russian spy she suspects of the deed. Meanwhile, Peter Smythe, a handsome and dedicated correspondent, is investigating the disappearances of street people in the docklands of London.

The discovery of a horribly mutilated body of one of the victims reminds Elizabeth of the horrendous acts perpetrated by the Whitechapel murderer known as the Collector. Elizabeth slew that monster, itself a creature of Vladimir, and she fears this is a new apprentice.

Sparks fly when Peter and Elizabeth come together, and they set off on a roller-coaster adventure in a fogbound steam-driven world. When the hunted becomes the hunter, Elizabeth is the bait!

Get it at Changeling Press

Preorder for May 7th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Mikala Ash

Alone at last.

I was sitting unaccompanied in a Cumberland steam-cab. By myself, without anyone to protect me.

It was a strange sensation after the intensity of the last few months. A return to normal, as it were, to a time before I began my Investigation Bureau, and before I became an Agent of the Queen.

A time when I had been just an ordinary widow.

“Ha!”

I pardoned myself for what was a small, but understandable, expression of conceit, for I’d given my protector, the ever-reliable Bisby, the slip. I forgave myself the sin of self-congratulation, so enamoured I was on the audacity of my cunning subterfuge. Sin or not, it had been a nice piece of work, using guile, disguise, and a certain boldness. I was still panting, and my heart still pounded with the excitement of it. Perspiration was running cold beneath my shift, and inside my button boots my feet ached appallingly. Despite these reminders of physical effort, the exclamation of conceit turned into a slightly manic chuckle, then into a full-blown belly laugh. Goodness knows what the cabbie perched above the cabin thought.

Today had been intended to be more practice of the techniques taught to me by Oxley, himself an Agent of the Queen, and assessed by the aforesaid Bisby, another agent. The two, posing as footmen, had been assigned to protect my household from the attentions of the Russian agent, Vladimir, a diabolical monster who I’d bested only a few months ago, when I’d killed his murderous slave, The Collector, who had terrorised Whitechapel with a series of brutal mutilation murders. Oxley could, I am certain, gain renown as a teacher, for I’d learned a great deal over the last few weeks. Tomorrow my skills in evasion were to be formally put to the test. The challenge being to evade Bisby for the period of one hour.

“Do you think I’ll be ready for tomorrow’s test?” I’d asked Oxley in a suitably tremulous voice, when he saw Bisby and me off after breakfast.

“We must crawl before we can walk,” he replied sagely. “Just remember what we’ve been practising, and you will do well.”

“I’ll try,” I said with a dash of uncertainty.

Of course, that was nonsense. I’d been ready for over week, so I took the opportunity of taking the test today instead, and not just for an hour. Bisby or Oxley had only themselves to blame, for I had given them fair warning with my dreadful overacting. I mean to say, pinched cheeks, fluttering eyelashes, trembling lips and a voice hesitant and pitched slightly higher than usual? I gave it everything. Proof that even the best Agents of the Queen can be the victims of feminine wiles.

Naughty of me, I know, but necessary, for it was integral to my grand plan.

To be strictly honest, I hadn’t thought it possible to evade the suffocating twenty-four-hour protection the general had erected about me. It seemed impenetrable, a forbidding brick wall a hundred feet high and a mile thick. As silly as that sounds, that’s the way I felt. Of course, a lady was never alone in public. She was either accompanied by her lady’s maid, a burly footman, a relative or mature female friend or companion, or, of course, by her husband. Such was the condition of women of quality, as we are termed in the year of our Lord 1860. Our virtue, and by that, I mean our reputation, was never safe if we were out in public alone.

Yet here I was.

Alone.

Admittedly the protection I suffered went even beyond what would be considered normal for the upper middle echelon of society. Whenever I left the house either Bisby or Oxley would be with me, disguised as footmen, a decadent luxury for a widow like me. At least they were not dressed in ostentatious livery as those working for the gentry. If those two professionals were not with me, I was with Archie, my late husband’s young batman during the Crimean War, who I considered the son we never had, and who now managed my Investigation Bureau, or with Felix, my former teacher of the erotic arts, a former prostitute and now assistant to Archie. If not with them then I would be in the company of Baudry, a doctor who had been intimately involved in my cases and had also graced my bed.

That was not the full extent of it. The general, my mentor, a confidant to the Queen, and commander of the clandestine force of agents protecting the realm, took it one step further. In addition to assigning Oxley and Bisby to watch from within my household, he also posted watchers over my house and staff. Thus there were eyes focussed on me all the time, unrelenting, and though invisible, the knowledge of their existence was like a heavy shadow from that imaginary brick wall, enveloping me, pressing in on me from every side, suffocating the life out of me. The general feared the eyes of Russian agents were also set fast upon me, ordered by the indefatigable Vladimir, awaiting his signal to strike.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aussie Mikala Ash used to be a mild-mannered training & development consultant by day, and a wild sci-fi and paranormal adventure writer by night. Now she is a brazen full-time writer and nature photographer who is concentrating on having among other things, “… bags, and bags of fun!” Mikala can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

Preorder: Ara (Selkies #1) by Alice Gaines #paranormalromance @AliceGaines

As a seal shapeshifter, Ara has the once-in-a-lifetime chance to mate. She’ll share an island in the Galapagos with a human male, but the rules of the Sisterhood say she must not bond with the man who will father her child.

Nature documentary videographer Nate Adams is astonished when a naked woman shows up on the isolated island. He can’t fight his overwhelming attraction to Ara, and she seems eager for his lovemaking, but he knows she’s keeping something from him. Will Ara’s secret keep them apart, or will she share her mother’s fate?

Available at Changeling Press

Preorder for May 7th at online booksellers

Cover Art by Bryan Keller

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Alice Gaines

The selkies had assembled beside the lagoon on one of the islands the humans called Galapagos. Nearby in the brackish water, stately flamingos — dozens of them — strutted in a silent ballet, as though they’d also gathered to watch the initiation of one of the seal shapeshifters into sexual maturity.

Ara stood at the center of the circle of selkies. All had shed their seal skins to assume human form. All but Ara then put on the ceremonial robes, which now rustled around their ankles in the gentle breeze. Only Ara stood naked before the others. The warm air caressed her skin as excitement coursed through her. A human male had taken up residence on one of the uninhabited islands. A rare occurrence, and an opportunity for one of the sisters to conceive a female child to carry on the Sisterhood, and she’d been chosen.

A selkie could only mate once, and her body demonstrated her receptivity by developing the exact sexual characteristics that would attract a human male. Her hips broadened. Her breasts developed. All those things had happened to Ara, as her sisters would now witness in the ceremony that would send her off to conceive a daughter for a new generation.

And right about the time the man had appeared, Ara had started to have dreams of a male who created chaos in her body. She’d awake trembling with drives she couldn’t recognize. Could it be the human she’d soon be meeting? Could he make sense of what was happening in her body?

Inu, the tribe’s current Mother, went to the center of the circle and walked around Ara, inspecting her for mate-readiness. A formality only, as Ara’s body had prepared itself for mating months earlier. Ara stood her ground and let Inu note the all the signs that she’d conceive, if not on the first try, soon thereafter.

“You have not been touched?” Inu asked. Again ritual.

“I have not.” Lots of people visited these islands, including human males. Tourists who only stayed a few moments, not enough time to truly mate, but enough time for Ara’s seal form to study them. Not as massive as the sea lion males, but muscular in their own way. Would her mate be handsome? Smart? Sexy, like the man in her dreams?

Nate. His name had come to her one morning right after waking up.

Inu finished her inspection and stood in front of Ara. “A male has come into our territory. Are you willing to take his sperm?”

“I am.”

“Will you love him?” Inu asked.

“I will not.” She would not share her mother’s fate. Her mother had truly bonded with her man to the point that she couldn’t give him up. She’d pined for him publicly. That had disgraced her in the eyes of the Sisterhood. Without the love and support of her own kind, she’d become more despondent, finally throwing herself into the ocean. Her seal skin had floated to shore sometime later, and Inu had forced Ara to bury it.

No, she would not fall in love.

Sex and procreation, yes. But she wouldn’t be able to stay with him. History said that human males mostly wanted sex without attachment, so no harm would come to him from their mating.

“Your duty is always to your sisters,” Inu said. “You will return, and your daughter will be one of us. The way it has always been, and the way it will continue.”

“The way it has always been,” Ara repeated. “And the way it will continue.”

“Then, I bless you, my daughter.” Inu pulled Ara’s head down and kissed her on the forehead, the sign that the pact had been made for all of the sisters. Ara would take a mate and bring new life into the tribe. And she would enjoy human sex.

They’d all witnessed seal mating. It happened quickly and always the same way. The male simply climbed onto the female and pushed his way into her. Then, after some vocalizations, the whole affair ended. The female didn’t seem to enjoy it much, if at all.

In contrast, human mating took many forms, according to sisters who’d experienced it. The encounter lasted for some time, in different positions, and with the woman achieving climax at least once. Most men took great pride in giving their partners sexual pleasure. Such a rare occasion, and Ara’s time had come.

With the ceremony concluded, the others gathered around her with many words of encouragement and touches, as if they shared her excitement. Already, a dull ache had started in Ara’s belly and below. Anticipation of what she’d get to enjoy. Her body had primed itself for the coupling. Soon, the ache would build to a fire that only the man could put out. But then, it would return again and again until their sex produced a child.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Alice Gaines has published several sensuous and erotic works. She prefers stories that stretch the imagination, highlighting the power of love and sex. Alice has a Ph.D. in psychology from U. C. Berkeley and lives in Oakland, California, with her collection of orchids and her pet corn snake, Casper.

Trucker/Vicious (paperback) by Marteeka Karland #mcromance #agegap @marteekakarland

Trucker (Bones MC 6)

Helen — I’ve made some bad choices. The worst was falling for a man who kidnapped me and held me hostage. He wants my baby. There’s no way he’s getting it without a fight.

Trucker — The small redhead blows me away, and not only because of the knife sticking out of her very pregnant belly. She’s fierce and brave as any member of Bones. I know I have to protect her and her kid with my very life. Once the asshole who did this is dead, then I’ll prove to her why I’m the best choice to be her man.

Vicious (Salvation’s Bane MC 1)

Lucrecia: Me and  my sister Mae were on our own until Rycks from Black Reign, one of Lake Worth’s most infamous MCs, takes us in. When Mae is kidnapped, Rycks sends me to Palm Beach and Salvation’s Bane.

Vicious: I might be falling for the little dancer in my care. Not that I’ll ever admit it. We’ll pull out all the stops to rescue Mae. Salvation’s Bane. Bones. Shadow Demons. Hell, even Black Reign. Busting Mae out of some rich banker’s estate will be a piece of cake. No worries. Yeah. Right…

**WARNING** Graphic language and violence. The men of Bones MC and Salvation’s Bane don’t play by the rules. They’ll do whatever it takes to protect the women they love.

Get it at Amazon

Praise for Trucker (Bones MC 6)

“Helen and Trucker. And a baby. For me, it was the little things he did for her that just stole my heart. The highlight for me was when Helen goes from not trusting him to falling in love with him. That kind of change takes time… he was also sweet, understanding, and proud that his woman is strong. Trucker is fast, quick read that will tug at your heart strings while satisfying your urge to read an MC Romance.”

— 5 Stars from Sorrel, Long and Short Reviews

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Marteeka Karland
Excerpt from Trucker

“Trucker! You pussy! Where’s the fuckin’ cage?”

Trucker rolled his eyes and sighed. “Right where you fuckin’ left it, you bastard!” He had no idea who was calling out, but it didn’t much matter to Trucker. It was all pretty much the same every time a member of the club needed a vehicle other than their own bike. He’d long ago given up being really angry. Besides, it was all part of the camaraderie.

“Ain’t you in charge of all the vehicles around here?”

“Yep. Ain’t no Goddamned babysitter though. And I ain’t your Goddamned housekeeper! You take somethin’, you can damned well put it back where you found it.”

“Fucker!”

Trucker continued working on the bike in his shop, a grin tugging at his lips. The men of Bones could act like kids sometimes. It was all part of the fun. They’d had several close calls recently, and the whole of Bones needed to have a little fun.

That was the beauty of Bones. They’d started out as an MC club of men. Now, they were becoming a family complete with wives and children. Trucker was gratified to see Cain and Torpedo encouraging the change. Oh, they still sometimes skirted the edge of legality and wouldn’t hesitate to do what had to be done to protect their own people, but now they did more toward protecting their community. Their reputation was mostly enough to keep out the rabble who thought they’d just run roughshod through Somerset. The ones who weren’t as afraid as they should be soon learned to be.

Thirty minutes later, Torpedo, their vice-president, came into his shop. “Seriously, Trucker. Where’s the fuckin’ RV?”

Trucker didn’t look up from his task. “In the barn where I intend to service it when I get done servicing the bikes in here.”

“Not that RV, the other one.”

He looked up. “The ‘80 Winnebago?”

“Yeah. Couple of the prospects wanted to go huntin’. I told them they could take that one. Figured if they trashed it, you wouldn’t have to kill them over it.”

Trucker snorted but went back to work. “You know better. They take it out, they bring it back like they found it. With everything clean. Including the fuckin’ toilet.”

“Not a problem. Except, we can’t find it.”

“It’s in the other bay in the barn. Serviced it for Cheetah a couple weeks ago. She always puts things back where they belong. Must be the absence of the Y chromosome.”

“Cheetah?”

Trucker paused, looking up at Torpedo. “Yeah. Said she needed it. Didn’t see no reason not to let her have it. Didn’t think she was gonna be out this long, but ain’t none of my business. And I know I saw her just a few days ago.”

“Hmm. Well, it’s gone.”

Trucker shrugged. “Give her a call. See what she’s got goin’ on. She called first dibs though. Ain’t tellin’ her she’s got to come back, and neither are you or any of the others.”

“Hey. I had no intention. She may not be a patched member, but she’s done good by the club and ExFil.”

“Text her. Make sure she actually has it. I’d hate to have to start the fuckin’ day with a killin’ if that fucker Pig took it.”

“I thought Stunner took care of that little fuck?”

“He did. Boy seems to have responded to brute force more than all the fuckin’ talkin’ and smacks upside the head in the world.”

“Good thing Mama was able to patch him up. I was worried about the fucker for a while there.”

Trucker shrugged. “He’d been asking for it for a while. Guess him mouthin’ off to little Suzie wasn’t the worst thing he did, but maybe it will be the last.”

“Boy can’t even look at Stunner without shivering.” Torpedo laughed. “It’s funny as shit.”

“He got what he deserved. I just hope he learns from it.”

“Sent a text. Though, I don’t remember seeing Cheetah today. She’s probably got the thing parked at some community event. Wasn’t there a fun run today? She usually makes hot chocolate and coffee, or lemonade and iced tea for things like that.”

“Good point.” Trucker took out his phone and sent off a quick text to Cheetah behind Torpedo’s before shoving it back in his pocket. She might ignore one text for a few minutes, but not two.

“Bikes look good?” Torpedo nodded to the line of six bikes Trucker was servicing.

“Yep. Routine stuff.” Trucker pointed to Torpedo’s bike. “You could go a little easier on the brakes.”

Torpedo grinned at him. “Now, what fun would that be?”

“No fun if you end up on the pavement.”

“True that.”

Torpedo turned to go, but Trucker called to him. “Let me know when you find Cheetah and my RV.” He didn’t have to wait long. Trucker actually heard the old Winnebago long before he saw the thing.

Picking up a rag to wipe off the wrench he was using, Trucker walked outside his workshop into the brisk, February air. Off in the distance, screaming up the long driveway to the clubhouse, was the missing RV.

“What the everlasting fuck? Torpedo!”

“I see it, Trucker.” Torpedo was just outside the building talking with Bohannon, Sword, and Viper.

“Is that Cheetah?”

“Don’t know. Comin’ in hot though.”

“Look out!”

The Winnebago made a sharp turn and slid to a halt next to the clubhouse in the parking lot. Several men jumped out of the way. A few seconds later, the door to the back flew open. Cheetah stumbled out.

“We need Mama! Help!”

The men headed for the RV. Bohannon yelled for Luna, his woman, to go for Mama and Pops. Trucker ran for the RV along with the others. Something made him… uncomfortable. There was a tingle between his shoulder blades that always meant there was something wrong. What it could possibly be, Trucker couldn’t imagine. Not in their home territory. Cheetah had brought the RV into their clubhouse, so he doubted she’d brought danger to their door.

An ear-piercing shriek came from inside the Winnebago. A woman? The men looked at each other before Bohannon, who was closest, shoved Cheetah out of the way and entered the vehicle. Trucker was right behind him. What he saw froze his blood.

There was a table that folded down into a bed across from the stove and counter. On that bed lay a very pregnant woman who had been stabbed in the abdomen. He knew she’d been stabbed because the knife handle was still sticking out. The blade appeared to have been stabilized, probably by Cheetah, but the wound was steadily and persistently dripping blood onto the thin mattress and down to the floor.

Sweat beaded the young woman’s face, strands of dark auburn hair sticking to her forehead and cheeks. Her expression was one of pain, fear, and grief. Her gaze locked with Trucker’s, sea-green eyes sparkling like diamonds with her tears. “Help me. Please.” Her voice was tremulous. Her lips quivered as tears coursed from her eyes down her temples.

“What the fuck happened here?” Bohannon demanded as he checked the small area for anyone else.

“What’s it look like?” Cheetah bit out. “She’s been fucking stabbed! Get her to Mama!”

Trucker couldn’t seem to move. He was caught in some kind of web as he continued to stare into the young woman’s eyes. He couldn’t register much other than the brilliant green of her eyes and the red blood staining her clothing around the knife.

“Get her inside,” Bohannon ordered. “Luna’s gettin’ Mama, but she can’t do anything out here. Not enough room.”

When Bohannon moved to the girl, Trucker shouldered his way in front of his brother, carefully scooping her up into his arms. Her hands were covered in blood, one shaking horribly where it fluttered close to the knife. He could tell she wanted it out but knew better than to just yank.

“Easy,” he said, as he turned sideways to get them out of the small door. With his size and her advanced pregnancy, they barely fit, and he had to be careful not to jar her too much with that knife stuck in her abdomen. “Just relax if you can. We’ll get you taken care of.”

“No police,” she gasped.

Trucker looked up sharply at Cheetah as he got them in firm ground, out of the RV. She just shook her head before falling into step behind them. Later. He’d deal with that later. Getting the girl to Mama was the main concern at the moment.

“They call me Trucker,” he said as he strode up to the clubhouse in long, confident strides. “What’s your name, little miss?”

“Helen.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.

Author Website | Facebook | BookBub

Blood & Fire/Blood Curse (Duet) by Mychael Black #LGBTQ #RockstarRomance

Blood & Fire: Jason Summerfield is the lead singer for local metal band Firestarter. Jason’s an all-around love ‘em and leave ‘em type of guy. He’s also pyrokinetic. Strong emotions can literally start a fire with him, so he’s always struggled to hold himself in check. Then along comes Julian Kristados, a man who turns Jason’s world upside down. With Julian, Jason finds it impossible to control his fire. But when Jason discovers why Julian remains unscathed, he doesn’t know whether to run… or let the man into his heart.

Blood Curse: Jason has finally found the man of his dreams — Greek vampire Julian. Along with the fame, though, Jason has also garnered the attention of a stalker. When the stalker’s attentions turn deadly, will they be able to save Jason from forced repayment of an ancestor’s debt?

Get it today at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 30th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Mychael Black
Excerpt from Blood & Fire

“Jason?”

The lightest touch and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I turned my head and looked up at the man standing beside me, an expression of genuine concern on his youthful face. I gave him a weak smile; it was all I could do.

“Dude, you okay?”

I wiped my hands down my face and sighed. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine. Just tired, I guess.”

“The other band is finishing. You sure you’re up for this?”

I glanced at him from between the fingers spread across my face. “Not like I have much choice.” He shrugged and smiled sympathetically. “How much longer?”

“They’re on their last song now. Then we’ll have a fifteen minute break before we have to go on. You look like shit. Want a drink or something?”

I stood and stretched. “Sure. What’s out there?”

He grinned. “Whatever you want. Terri said drinks are on her tonight.”

I cocked an eyebrow at him. “Pritchard isn’t here, is he?”

“How’d ya guess?”

“All right, gimme a minute and I’ll be out there,” I said. As he turned and started out the door, I called to him. “Oh, and Mike, tell Terri I want vodka.”

Mike grinned and left.

I turned back to the emptiness of the meager dressing room, caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and grimaced. “Fuck. Make that a gallon of vodka.”

Mike was right; I looked horrible. I didn’t sound much better either. I grabbed my hairbrush and worked out the tangles I had managed to incur during our last set. I loved being the main act, but damn, I just wanted to go home tonight.

Go home to what, Jase? An empty bed? To stare up at the ceiling again?

I threw the hairbrush at the mirror. It bounced onto the countertop before landing on the hard tile floor. I didn’t want to think about it anymore, not tonight. But I had to. It had become the only thing left in my life that got me so fucking pissed that I could perform like my fans expected. I looked in the mirror again and felt the heat begin to build up. I still had to control it, even when I didn’t want to. Mike stuck his head back in the door. From the grin on his face, I figured I finally looked the part.

“Ready?”

I nodded. “Let’s do this. Last set of the night.”

I followed him out into the hallway. Jesse twirled a drumstick while Vic hummed one of his solos with his eyes closed. Marcus stood a little further down the hall, seemingly content to corner one of the prettier groupies, one hand flat against the wall by her head and the other stroking her cheek. As the rest of us walked by, Jesse whacked him on the head with his drumstick.

“God damn it,” Marcus grumbled. “I’m fucking coming already.” He turned back to the woman and gave her a quick kiss before falling in beside me.

The lights in the club had been turned down and the fog machine was cranked up. It was so smoky I could barely see the crowd at all. By the time we were all in place, it had dissipated as if on cue. With the first chord from Vic’s guitar the crowd went wild. I stepped out of the smoke and up to the edge of the stage. It was one of our newer songs, yet there were people in the crowd singing my lyrics back to me. Fuck, that was such a rush.

I never brought out the “big guns,” as Mike called it, until our fourth song. “Thy Savior” was a crowd favorite and our fans knew every single word. As I sang and growled and gripped the mic with my left hand, I lifted my right, palm up. With the music pounding in my eardrums, going soul-deep, it didn’t take much.

Blue flames flared across my skin, sparking six inches above my palm. The crowd roared, fists pumping into the air. I blew on the flame during the solo and it flickered outward. With a snap of my fingers, it snuffed out and everyone cheered and whistled over the finale.

Times like that, I enjoyed my weird ability.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Myc has been writing professionally since 2005, solo and with Shayne Carmichael. Genres include pretty much anything (no steampunk yet), though Myc is well known for paranormal stories. When not writing, Myc is usually playing PC games, reading, watching Netflix, and spending way too much time on Facebook. Since the question has come up in the past, pronouns are not an issue. Myc is bio-female, mentally male, and 100% genderfluid, so any pronoun works!

Naughty & Sweet by Megan Slayer #agegap #contemporaryromance @MeganSlayer

Kelly Fenn came to the Honey Dripper seeking what she thinks is an easy way to make cash to pay off a loan. Martin Malachi is the one man she never expected to find, let alone fall in love with.

Martin’s not looking for a girlfriend, but Kelly needs a job. When he suggests an offer Kelly can’t refuse, she’s got a choice to make. Will she risk her heart for a chance at forever with a man fifteen years her senior, or walk away?

Get it Now at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 30th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Megan Slayer

Martin sat at the desk counting the take from the night before. Lots of customers meant the club was busy and would hit the quota, but that didn’t mean he enjoyed counting the receipts. He should check the liquor levels in case they needed to order more. He needed to go through the pipeline and replenish the beer kegs, as well.

He hoped they’d have a decent night tonight, too. He liked seeing the club full. A busy club equaled brisk business and happy dancers.

A young woman walked into the foyer. He swept his gaze over her — fresh-faced, sweet, co-ed type — not the kind of girl who worked at the Honey Dripper. The exotic dancers tended to be on the jaded side.

Martin frowned. “Excuse me? Can I help you?” He shut the lid of his laptop.

“Hi.” The girl’s eyes widened. “I’d like to apply for a job.”

“A job? Here?” Her blue eyes captivated him, and were those freckles? Blood rushed to his dick. He had a thing for girl-next-door types. He wasn’t a fan of younger women, but something about this one spoke to him.

“Yes.” She rested her hands on the desk. “Please?”

She’d pulled her dark blonde hair into a ponytail and her T-shirt stretched across her ample bosom. Martin stifled a groan as she licked her lips. If the innocence she projected was an act, then she was damn good at it.

“Hello?” She waved her hand. “Sir?”

God, he’d love to hear her call his name or Sir in the bedroom. When she waved again, he blinked. “Huh?” Shit. He hadn’t been listening to her.

“I’d like to apply for a job.” She tapped the desk. “Here.”

“At the desk?” He needed to screw his head on straight. “Doing what?”

“Um…” She blushed, and her confidence seemed to vanish. “Dancing?”

“You know it’s nude dancing, right?” She didn’t strike him as the type to strip without a stiff drink and a double dare.

“I do.” Her blush deepened. “Sure. Yeah. I know.”

“You’re twenty-one, right?” He wasn’t above moving and selling illegal booze, but the Malachi family refused to hire anyone under the age of twenty-one.

“I am.” She withdrew her wallet from her bag. “Want to see?” She opened the case and produced her driver’s license. “There you go.”

He read the information, then shined the card under the special light. The holograms and embedded strip shimmered. If this was a fake, then it was the best fake he’d ever seen. The holograms were hard to counterfeit.

“What are you doing?” She frowned, knotting her pretty features together.

“Making sure it’s legit.” He handed the card back to her. “Kelly.” The name suited her.

“Yes.” She smiled. “Kelly Fenn.”

“You’re a college student?”

“Yes.” She put her license back in her wallet. “Do you want to see my student ID?”

“No.” He should talk to her in one of the offices, instead of the foyer. “Let me call Amanda over. She can cover the desk.”

“Okay.” She shrugged. “Whatever you’ve got to do.”

He tapped his phone, summoning the woman who normally manned the desk. He sent the text, then turned his attention to Kelly. “Tell me about yourself.”

“What do you want to know?” she asked. “I’m twenty-one, in my third year at Green College. I’m studying film history, and I’d like to get a position working with a museum or in the film industry cataloguing movies. Ideally, I want to work here in Cambridge in the little museum, creating digital and film content for the museum as well as cataloguing the films and clips in the archives.”

“Ah.” He gestured to Amanda, who’d just arrived. “I need you at the desk while I speak to this applicant.”

Amanda crooked her drawn-on eyebrow. “Is that what you’re calling it now?”

“What?” Kelly sighed. “If you can’t take me seriously, then I give up.”

“You’ll never work here with that attitude.” Amanda took her place behind the desk. “Good luck.”

Martin groaned. He liked Amanda, but not in a romantic way. Her sense of humor didn’t gel with his, and she tended to look at the world in a pessimistic manner. “Thank you.” He picked up the laptop and gestured to Kelly. “Ready?”

“Sure.” Kelly inched around the desk.

Amanda grabbed Martin’s arm.

“Hang on,” Martin said. He directed Kelly to the conference room. “Wait here. I’ll be right back.” He left her alone and returned to the desk. “Yes?”

Amanda rested her hands on her hips. The dress clung to her curves and showed too much cleavage, but she did her job and brought in customers. “What’s the deal?” she asked.

“What do you mean?” He raked his fingers through his hair. “What’s your beef?”

“She’s young.”

“She is.” He knew and couldn’t do much about it, but most of the girls who danced at the club were under twenty-five.

“She’s not dancer material.”

“Nope.” He could’ve told her that when Kelly first walked into the building.

“Yet you’re wasting your time on her.” She crooked her eyebrow again. “What’s gotten into you?”

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.

Author’s Website | Facebook | Instagram

Spotlight: Tobias (Salvation’s Bane MC) by Marteeka Karland #mcromance #agegap @marteekakarland @changelingpress

I hate bullies. Gymnastics moms are the worst, too. So when a girl who looks no older than the kids with the overbearing mothers steps in to take over, I’m more than a little skeptical. Her name is, of all things, Kitty, and I’ve been watching her from a distance. I just didn’t realize she was a highly trained athlete in the body of a young, beguiling, innocent woman. Everything about her calls to my protective instincts. Especially when I find her putting herself in the hands of the very tormentor who broke my sister.

Available Today at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 16th at online booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Marteeka Karland

One thing Tobias had decided over the last few weeks was that little girls ought to be able to be little girls. Oh, and gymnastics moms were bitches.

Like right now. There was a busty redhead yelling at a kid who looked like she was maybe in her late teens. Tall with flame-orange hair, the girl looked like she was on the verge of crying. Which pissed Tobias the fuck off. He wanted to punch the bitch in the face. Let her take a fall. Maybe she’d find out the fucking mat wasn’t so fucking soft when she landed.

Just as he was about to intervene — it was his Goddamned gym in the first fucking place — another girl inserted herself between the two. This girl looked close to the same age. Slight of build, she carried herself with confidence. It was the only indication she might be older than a teenager. Her mahogany-colored hair was braided into a long, thick tail at the back of her head that fell almost to her hips. It was what gave her away.

Kitty was obviously very good with the kids, but she also seemed to be an accomplished gymnast on her own. Not much bigger than the orange-haired kid, she had more muscle in her legs and arms, though she was much shorter than the adult redhead. She talked to the older woman for a moment, smiling a megawatt smile, seeming to smooth things over. The older woman backed off, but shook her finger at the young girl once before turning back to the mothers’ area.

Tobias watched as the two girls interacted for a while, Kitty obviously giving some pointers before putting a hand on the other girl’s shoulder and urging her back to the large, square spring floor. Tobias had no idea how they kept everyone from slamming into each other, but each gymnast seemed to have his or her own section, depending on what they were working on. He watched for several minutes while the two girls went through some moves, then Kitty encouraged the other one to do the skill she’d previously fallen on. Immediately, Tobias could see how the stuff they’d worked on for a scant few minutes fit with the skill the kid was trying to learn. She stumbled a little on the landing, but she didn’t fall on her face, and it was obvious she was pleased with the change.

The orange-haired kid jumped up and down, clapping her hands, and threw herself into Kitty’s arms. They both laughed for a few seconds before the girl did the skill again. Then again. Repetition was a staple of gymnastics.

Not for the first time, he wondered why he’d taken on this responsibility. He’d volunteered to hire a decent coach and install the recommended equipment. Not high-end, but sturdy and competition legal. Three days a week, he opened the gym for the coach and her band of tumblers. They ranged in age from about five or six to high-school boys and girls. Classes were free to the students through level seven. Everything beyond that was preparation for elite-level gymnastics, which he knew from previous experience was basically Olympic level. Professionals. This coach said she didn’t teach that level, and most of the kids were just that. Kids. Either in cheerleading or school gymnastics. Even though Salvation’s Bane had discovered she was trying to break into elite gymnastics, they paid the coach for her time and gave her a decent, rent-free place for her students to train. In return, Bane used the place as a tax write-off and sometimes, occasionally, every once in a very little while, laundered money when they were paid for some paramilitary operation inside the US without permission. Happened from time to time when Thorn took jobs outside of ExFil, the security company run by the president of their sister club, Bones. Or something like that. Tobias didn’t do tax shit. He punched things.

The reason Tobias had taken on this responsibility was twofold. First, he wanted control over the remodel of the building. He was the instructor for any police or military organization they trained, so he wanted a say in what it was OK to change. Second? Yeah. He really hated gymnastics moms. Always had. In his opinion, they were worse than Little League dads and pageant moms. They pushed these tiny little girls into doing things they could — and often did — hurt themselves doing. Tobias saw it as his mission in life to make sure any mom who was out-of-bounds got called out. Dads didn’t seem to be as bad, but there were one or two. The come-to-Jesus meetings had been swift and eye opening for those men.

As he watched, the two girls continued until Kitty encouraged the younger one to continue on her own. Kitty gave a little wave and went to the balance beam and started working out, stretching and doing handstands and such on the narrow surface. The younger girl’s mother, instead of praising the girl like Tobias thought she should, gestured wildly at her, obviously displeased about something. Fucking bitch.

Tobias made his way from his office to the stair on the balcony overlooking the massive gym. The place was three stories of open space. When he was training the guys, they built scale models on the floor to replicate urban settings or whatever they needed. Now, it was filled with local children on competitive gymnastics apparatus. He trotted down the stairs and stalked straight toward the orange-haired gymnast and her mother.

“Tobias.” The warning came from the gallery where some of the parents waited for the lessons to be concluded. Stryker gave him an exasperated look. “You can’t go beating up on women you don’t like. It’s bad for business.”

“Ain’t like we’re gettin’ money from this anyway. It’s a fuckin’ tax write-off.”

“Yeah, but we still need it. I know you’re headed to the redhead, and I’d say with good reason, but keep it down, OK? We don’t want people afraid to come here.”

“They yell at their kids like that, maybe they need to be afraid.”

“Yeah, well, if you run them off, what happens then? Be nice so the kid has a safe place to go if she needs it.”

Tobias sighed. He and Stryker always had each other’s backs. But sometimes it was a bitch when Stryker was right.

“Fuckin’ bitches are just as vicious as I remember.” Tobias still stood there, watching. The mother seemed to sense his presence and glanced in his direction. Did a double take. Then she stood up straighter, her entire focus on Tobias, her daughter and the girl’s perceived failure forgotten. She pushed her chest out and slinked his way.

“Yeah,” Stryker chuckled, clapping him on the shoulder. “I hear ya. Good luck with that.”

“Wait. You leaving?” It was all Tobias could do not to burst out in a maniacal laugh. It wasn’t that he was afraid of the woman. More that he was afraid of what he’d do to the bitch if he had to be in her company more than a few seconds.

“Only stepped in to calm your tits. How you proceed from here is all you, brother.”

“Fucker.”

As the woman approached him — eyefucking the living hell out of him — it took everything in Tobias not to take a step back away from her. The only thing making him stand his ground was his Marine pride. No gymnastic-mom bitch was making this Marine retreat.

“Hello there,” she purred. Perfectly manicured nails reached for his chest. Before she could touch his shirt, however, Tobias caught her wrist. A not-so-subtle hint she shouldn’t touch him. “I don’t remember seeing you around. I’m Madonna.” She glanced behind him, not making an effort to hide what she was doing. “Where’d your friend go?”

“None of your fuckin’ business.” Rude, but Tobias wasn’t in the mood.

Red just shrugged. “His loss, but no matter.” She gave him a carnivorous smile. “You’re still here. We could…” She trailed off, her smile going even wider, “pass the time in private until my daughter’s finished for the day. Could take a few hours.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.

Shepherd’s Watch by J. Hali Steele #Interracial #paranormalromance @JHaliSteele @changelingpress

These big dogs usually get what they want, but will their mates accept what they are?

Serviced: When Ren’s forced to care for a blind woman, the last thing he expects is the straight-laced librarian who reads him like a book. Marguerite knows it isn’t going to be easy living with the service animal. This one comes with a handler whose husky voice and wild, sexy scent enflame her…

Guarded: Wade is stuck guarding the owner of the escort service he frequents. He doesn’t count on the sexy as hell woman tying him in knots. Jetta still carries scars from a dog attack. She’s given up on men — but she wants this one.

Protected: Victoria buries herself in the kitchen of her restaurant to hide from the world. When the brooding, sexy stranger appears, she hides what she is under a cloak of deceit. No longer able to fight her natural desires, she aches to give herself to him. She waits patiently for his arrival; he will come.

Controlled: Elle Naylor’s caught his scent and can’t get it or Harm out of her mind. Strong and stubborn, Elle knows she’s found the one man who can make her life complete. Harm is an alpha in training who embraces his ability to be man or dog. Elle loves dogs! But will she love him when she finds out that’s exactly what he is?

Now available in Paperback

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 J. Hali Steele
Excerpt from Serviced


Bounding down the steps, he joined his brothers in the office to discuss business and anything else that might be pressing. They owned and operated Shepherd’s Watch, an elite company that provided professional protection and guard dog services to the rich and famous — or infamous, depending on how you looked at it.

Max eyed his watch. “Ren, how many times do I need to remind you we start at nine?”

“Christ, it’s ten after.” Wade slouched across from him, his mouth a slash, his eyes barely slits.

What the hell was going on? “I was looking for something. Let’s get started.”

“Shoes?”

“What?” Ren peeked under the table. “Aww, fuck.” He still wore his slippers. “Hell, now you’ll rag me about how I dress for meetings.” He glared at Wade. “What’s your problem?”

“Screw you, Ren.”

“You’re both acting like someone died or something.”

Max gritted his teeth and the sound skidded across Ren’s nerves. Shit. Something was up. Maybe his brother had good reason to be irritated this morning.

“There was an accident last night with one of the rotties guarding the senator.”

“Damn, I keep telling you those guys are rough around the edges. Who was handling?” Some of the human employees had a tough time with the stronger dogs. Rots and pits only went out with experienced controllers because of their inherently rowdy nature.

“Daggett.”

“He’s one of the best.” Ren turned to Wade. “Guess you know what happened since Dag’s a friend of yours.”

“What does his being my friend have to do with anything?” Wade’s eyes remained lidded, his voice gravelly.

“Don’t go all defensive, tell me what happened.”

“Senator Gardner hugged some lady, she dropped her purse and when she bent to pick it up, she lost her balance.” His eyes cast down. “She fell back into Dag and the dog went berserk.” Wade cleared his throat. “The rot slammed her face-down on the pavement.”

“Shit, is she okay?” Ren swallowed hard.

“Dag’s at the hospital with the senator now.” Wade’s voice cracked. “The rot’s dead. Daggett broke his neck pulling him back. Everything happened so fast and he feels responsible.”

Shepherd’s Watch had lost dogs before. Clients, too, for that matter. Why was this one different? “Accidents do happen.”

Max stood and walked to the open bay window. Curtains billowed in the morning breeze. “The woman is the senator’s niece; he raised her like a daughter.” Turning back to the table, he said, “He’s pretty upset.”

“She’s going to be okay, right?” Senator Jack Gardner was actually a good politician and a nice person. He had connections everywhere, even Hollywood. He’d recommended clients, and Ren didn’t want to think what could happen if he pulled his business from the Watch.

A heavy sigh floated on the breeze. “She’s blind. Doctors aren’t sure how long it will last or if she’ll ever see again.” The chair thudded on the floor when Max sat down. “He wants us to supply a guide dog and a handler to help her adjust.”

“We can’t, everybody who’s capable of that kind of service is on assignment. We don’t have time to train a new dog.” Wade and Max continued to stare at him in silence. Finally, it hit Ren like a ton of bricks. “No. Fucking. Way.” Coffee cups clattered in their saucers when his fist hit the table. “I’ve got an assignment. I’m not babysitting some blind chick. Find someone else, man.” The chair scraped loudly across the floor as he stood.

“Wade will cover the concert.” Max slid an envelope across the table. “You’re all we got and… uhh… you can handle both roles. After all, she’s blind and won’t see you shift. In here is everything we know about her, where she lives and works, even what she likes to read.” His fingers tapped annoyingly on the envelope. Ren opened his mouth and Max’s hand flew up. “You’re it. I’ll do everything possible to get you out of this as soon as I can. We can’t lose the senator’s contract.”

Ren’s growl circled the room, bouncing from the walls. He ripped his clothes from his body without a care and fell to his knees. The long velvety snout was already forming and his hands twisted into gnarled paws. Ren didn’t even feel the fleeting pain associated with the change as a hunch pulled his shoulders up. Sucking in a draft of air, he slammed his front paws to the wood floor. Toenails scraped beneath his weighty body.

Raising his head, he loosed a howl that would have made a wolf proud.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A multi-published author, J. Hali Steele wishes she could grow fur, wings, or fangs, so she can stay warm, fly, or just plain bite the crap out of… Well, since she can’t, she would much rather roam where her fictional big cats live — in the high desert of California. Discovering a new love of contemporary male/male erotica has flipped a switch she can’t turn off, so she hopes eventually it drifts back into her otherworldly realm.

When J. Hali’s not writing, she can be found snuggled in front of the TV with a good book, a cat in her lap, and a cup of coffee.

Growl and roar — it’s okay to let the beast out.

Infernal Desire by Angela Knight #DarkFantasy @AngelaKnight @changelingpress

For the past five years, Zana Alasdair has been obsessed with Rafe Cazadero. Which is an issue, to say the least, because Rafe is a half-angel demon hunter, and Zana is… well… a demon. Sort of. Anyway, she’s a succubus — a half-human demon who draws magic from the erotic energy she collects making love to mortals. Which means Rafe would probably kill her if he caught her hanging around.

Which is why Pointy doesn’t approve of her little crush on the hunter. Pointy is her evil tail, which has a mind of its own, and is thoroughly convinced Rafe is Bad News. And Pointy does have a… well… point. Except if Rafe’s not careful, he’s going to get himself killed, and that would be a damn shame. Especially since one of those most interested in killing Rafe is Zana’s psycho father, Jargoth, a Lord of Hell, who’d also like to kill Zana.

Zana’s been thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if she could talk Rafe and his magic sword into an alliance? She can be pretty persuasive… assuming she can convince her evil tail to be a little less evil…

Get it now at Changeling Press

Preorder for April 2nd at Online Booksellers

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Angela Knight

Rafe

I needed the night off, but I wasn’t going to get it. I’d be killing demons before dawn. That or dying.

My skin had the itchy feeling that meant something nasty was about to emerge from Hell. Trouble was, it was hard to tell when that itch would escalate to the fiery burn of the Call.

Frowning, I swallowed a mouthful of Scotch, absently stroking the cat in my lap as I gave the problem some thought. Witches preferred to do their summoning at midnight, because that’s what some idiot wrote in a grimoire once. On the other hand, a demon manifesting on his own could choose any time between dusk and dawn. Once the sun came up, you were in the clear for the day. All that solar radiation interferes with dark magics.

“Blllurrrt?” Hocus stretched upward to scrub her furry head against my stubbled jaw. The cat was a Maine Coon, sixteen pounds of fluff and affection. Her bright green eyes peered from a coal-black face surrounded by streaks of white, gray and black, as if she was emerging from a cloud of smoke.

Five years ago, I’d found her meowing in a storm drain as a half-drowned kitten. I’d fished her out and taken her home. I have no idea how an expensive purebred ended up in such a mess, but the vet said she wasn’t chipped. I decided not to look a gift cat in the fangs.

I’d needed the company of something alive to stay sane, since there was no way in Hell I’d risk a woman in my life for more than a few hours. Sometimes I still woke with tears on my cheeks, remembering the clean toddler scent of Ettor’s white-blond hair and the music of Ynes’s laughter.

And the sight of their bodies, when I’d returned home from the mission to find what the demon had left of them. It had been more than three centuries, but you don’t forget that kind of pain. I’d never dared love another mortal since.

Fortunately, one of the Diabol would ignore a cat. Animals don’t have enough innate magic to attract their attention. Hocus was a safe enough companion.

I took another sip of Scotch whiskey as the electric tingle on my shoulders started rolling over my skin in stinging waves. The sensation sharpened between my shoulder blades, burning like a brand where wings would have been — if I’d had them.

Grimacing, I drained the Scotch. The Call would sober me up, no matter how drunk I was. Part of the magic. I ran one hand down the cat’s silken back all the way to the end of her tail, which twitched out of my grip.

It was quiet, the only sound Hocus’s metronome purr and the steady click of the grandfather clock. The library was my favorite room in the house. No weapons lurked anywhere, other than the blessed blade in my boot. No grimoires occupied the maple hand-carved floor to ceiling shelves. Just mysteries and science fiction novels and volumes of poetry, stacked three deep. It wasn’t a rich man’s library — no leather-bound first editions. Most of my books were paperbacks in a dozen languages, dog-eared with cracked spines. I read books, I don’t collect them. I clung to the moment of peace with a drowning man’s desperation, knowing it was about to…

My vision snapped crystal-sharp around the edges, a signal that meant I had exactly twenty minutes to the Call. I put the rocks glass down on the end table with a click, scooped Hocus off my lap and dropped her to the floor as I rose. She meowed plaintively and trotted at my heels as I strode from the library and down the hall.

I’d built the house in the Craftsman style a century or so ago. Its exterior was rough fieldstone in shades of brown and cream, with thick, square columns and oak accents. Inside, I’d hand-carved exposed oak beams and wainscoting with intricate patterns. You’d have to look closely to see the warding spells worked into the carving to discourage demonic visitors. It was a bit dark inside for contemporary taste — no blinding white open plan for me. I displayed the art and sculpture that was too realistic for modern collectors where it suited me. I replaced it with whatever piece I did next and liked better.

When you’re immortal, you don’t get sentimental about your work. That’s why I’ve got three storage units stuffed to the gills.

The door at the end of the hall opened at my touch — no one else could have opened it at all — and the wrought iron rang under my feet as I descended the spiral stairs to the armory.

Hocus trotted at my heels muttering weird little Maine Coon vocalizations. I was almost tempted to run her commentary through Google Translate, but I didn’t think Cat was one of the language options. Besides, I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what she was bitching about.

“I shouldn’t be gone long,” I told her. “But just in case, there’s water, and the feeder will dispense your breakfast in eight hours.”

More Maine Coon grumbling.

“Yeah, I know you hate dry food, but that’s all the feeder takes.” She was picky as Hell, but I figured she’d eat it if she got hungry enough.

She leaped past, the stairs ringing as I stepped off onto the smooth-finished concrete floor inscribed with runes and three different spell circles. I pulled my cell phone out of my jeans pocket and thumbed a button, then dropped it on my worktable.

If I wasn’t back in forty-eight hours to cancel it, an email would go out to Jo Landon telling the gallery owner where to find the key I’d hidden. She’d pick up the art and the cat. Remuiel would take care of everything the mortals didn’t need to know about. “Jo’ll come pick you up if something goes seriously sideways.” I gave the cat a glower. “I know you never like my friends, but too bad. No biting, no clawing, no breaking her shit. I don’t want you to starve if I’m not around to take care of your furry ass.”

As I spoke, I started stripping, methodically swapping jeans and T-shirt for the skin-tight Lycra that would keep my armor from chafing. Then I turned to the big man-shaped form that held the blessed armor and began to slide into it.

Back in the day, a knight needed the help of a squire and a page or two to get into his armor, but this suit had been conjured by an angel for combat with demons. The hip-length jacket and pants looked like leather and weighed about the same, but the spells and sigils embossed into them made them stronger than a battleship’s hull. I could have taken a blast from a tank without mussing my hair. Black gloves, boots and a helm with a transparent faceplate completed the armor, all marked prominently with the sign of the cross. Which, unfortunately, didn’t do as good a job at repelling demons as legends would have you believe.

Because that would make my life too fucking easy.

The burn was intensifying. I was running out of time…

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.