He was the freaking Air Weaver. Not exactly what he expected when he got kidnapped by the pestilents, but Hale’s good rolling with the punches.
He can take a little time away from his pursuit of a doctorate in astrophysics to save the world.
Except that the final spell is poised to kill all the Weavers and their last hope lies with him finding his soul mate.
Hale doesn’t want a soul mate. He just wants Harrison.
Harrison William Davenport III
As the Keeper of the Heart of the Earth, Harrison must bring the final key to the Weavers if they’re to stop the pestilents.
He’s trained for this task his entire life. And he’s prepared to die just like his father did with the last generation of the Weavers.
But what if saving the world isn’t enough anymore?
What if the only thing that matters is saving Hale?
Storm Warrior is the final book in The Weavers Circle series. It includes fast-paced action, a dangerous cross-country roadtrip, dirty fun in tents, flying, bi-awakening sexy times, animal shenanigans, nerdy talk about the stars, jealousy, three crazy old ladies, magic, and a fight to save the world!
Bullets whizzed through the air closer to him with two shots digging into a column not far from his head. He whipped the gun around to spot where two pestilents were running toward him with guns drawn. Hale gasped and backpedaled. He squeezed the trigger, but nothing happened. Shit. The safety.
He fumbled with the little switch, but it was the pounding of feet racing his way from the other end of the porch that caught his attention. A tall man in a suit with raven-black hair and a stern expression was racing to him. Wow. Gorgeous. He was simply gorgeous.
So gorgeous in fact, that it took Hale an extra second to realize the man had a gun in each hand.
Fuck! He was only starting to swing the gun toward the man when he fired off several shots right past Hale. The Air Weaver spun to see the bullets hit their marks in three pestilents, killing them instantly.
The stranger saved him. What the—
“What are you doing out here if you don’t know how to protect yourself?” the gorgeous man shouted.
Hale took a breath to say something, but he wasn’t quite sure what. His brain wasn’t working, and his tongue was all tied up. He was overwhelmed. He generally wasn’t the type of person who got overwhelmed, but that described him in the middle of the bloody chaos.
Which was probably why it was so easy for the man to holster one of the guns, grab his wrist, and pull him back into the house.
Hale stumbled after him, trying to get his brain to process the events happening. The man turned toward the left but only glanced in the dining room before sneering at something and moving to the right. He made the same face when he peered into the library.
“Too many damn windows.” Twisting to face Hale, he jerked his arm as if trying to get his attention, but the stranger had all of Hale’s available brain capacity at this point. “What room doesn’t have a lot of doors or windows?”
Well, there was the downstairs half bath that had no windows, but there was no way he was getting shoved into that room, with or without the sexy man.
“The-the armory has no windows and only two doors,” he stammered at first, but finished, proud that he’d clearly remembered the room.
The stranger blinked, seeming surprised to hear the house had an honest-to-goddess armory, but he recovered fast enough. “Good. Take me there.”
Hale hesitated and sniffed the air. “You’re not a pestilent.”
The man gasped, looking appropriately horrified. “Of course not!” Well, that was a plus for him. Not only was he human, but he also knew what a pestilent was.
“Then who the hell are you?” Hale had already met all the Weavers, mates, and goddesses. He couldn’t even begin to guess who this handsome yet scary person was.
“A friend of the Weavers. The goddesses sent for me. Now, the armory? Where is it?”
Oh! That was much better. The guys had never mentioned the goddesses sending in more help, but they certainly needed it.
Hale took the lead, hurrying down the hall toward the armory. There was one main entrance to the room and a set of narrow French doors that connected to the front porch. That made the space much easier to protect.
The man’s quick dark eyes darted across the long table filled with weapons. He released Hale only when he had his back shoved against a bookcase in the far corner that gave him a good view of both doors. The man then moved to the French doors and peered out between the thin white curtains.
“Which of them are you?” the man inquired.
“Hale. Hale Anderson. I just arrived. I’m the Air Weaver.”
The stranger’s head slowly turned toward Hale. His eyes were wide, and his face had become incredibly pale. The bloodbath outside had not disturbed him, but something about what Hale had said had clearly shaken him.
“It’s true,” he whispered. “The Weavers Circle is finally complete.”
Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments. Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.
Arthur Adams takes his job seriously, keeping good guys safe and investigating bad guys. When his company is hired to secure the set for a film crew, the job seems straightforward, if not simple. Of course, the films are adult and graphic, so the situation can get hard fast. And it does.
Kit is an adult film star and an anomaly: he’s educated, experienced, and in the business for the fun of it. The seedy realities of his world reveal themselves, however, as his ex’s behavior grows more threatening. Unfortunately, the ex is wealthy and well connected in addition to being a stalker.
As Arthur watches Kit more closely, he finds it more difficult to look away.
The threats against the production become increasingly worrisome as Arthur’s team digs into the background of a rival studio, and they become personal as he unpeels Kit’s layers. As the case uncovers abusers, traffickers, and would-be murderers, all of Arthur’s skills and resources will be put to the test.
Arthur wraps a hand around his coffee mug and pulls apart the brittle beige window blinds to peer out at the street below. The morning is cool, even after the fog lifts. People pass quickly, hands in pockets. They do not look up. Steam radiates from the back of the newsstand across the street, and Arthur takes a sip, watching it curl and dissipate.
The building is mostly empty today. The pipes squeak upstairs, and something scurries in the walls. Business has been slow. Business is always slow.
“Get in here, Arthur.”
“Coming.” He leaves the window and sets the mug on his desk, which he sidesteps to make his way to the door. He turns the corner and steps over the uneven floor plank. He scratches his elbow and raises an eyebrow. “What do you need?”
Maurice leans forward in his desk chair and fixes Arthur with an impassive gaze. His office smells of Big Red and sulfur, and he scribbles onto a steno pad with a stubby yellow pencil. Arthur leans against the doorframe and watches. The desk is cluttered, as usual, with a gas station coffee cup, photographs, and the morning paper. Maurice gestures to a seat, and Arthur shakes his head. “I’ll stand,” he says, provoking an annoyed glare.
“Suit yourself.” Maurice runs his hand across the desktop. It’s easily the sturdiest piece of furniture in the place, bought secondhand from an auction at the old library. They had to haul it in through the window, and Arthur is convinced someday it will fall through the floor. It hasn’t yet. It probably won’t until Maurice retires and he’s sitting behind it instead. “Client coming by in a few minutes. I’m putting you on this one.”
“It’s nearly ten.”
Arthur shrugs. “Philandering husband or wife?”
“Neither. Guard duty.”
“Guard duty? Why would I—”
“Because I’m assigning this one to you.”
“It’s going to require coordination with an outside security team.”
“You know I don’t like—”
“I don’t give a damn what you like, son. You’re good at it, and I’m assigning you the case. That’s the end of the story. You got something to say?”
“No.” Arthur grinds his teeth.
Maurice nods and unwraps a fresh piece of chewing gum. “Let her in when she arrives. And clear your datebook.” He snorts at his joke.
“Anything I should know first?”
“I’d hate to spoil the surprise.”
The surprise arrives promptly at ten, as if she waited outside the frosted glass door until the turn of the hour. She is striking, with coal-black hair and piercing blue eyes, outlined dark despite it being a weekday. She wears a tidy knit suit with a well-tailored skirt and silk shirt buttoned high on her neck. “Therese Spielman,” she says, shaking his hand. Her skin is ice cold, and her grip is tight. “Pleasure.” She doesn’t smile, but most people don’t when they hire a private investigator. Arthur leads her to Maurice.
“Welcome. Please, have a seat.” The vinyl on the chairs splits and flakes, but they’re serviceable. If Therese notices, she’s too polite to complain.
“You’re the gentleman I spoke to on the phone.” She glances from him to Arthur and lifts a meticulous eyebrow.
“Yes,” Maurice says, “I’m the one you talked to. This is Arthur. He’s my number one.”
“I see. Very militaristic.”
Maurice tilts his head in a nod. It’s easy to spot, even if Arthur no longer calls him by rank. “You said you want someone who can coordinate your security team. Arthur’s the man for the job.”
She looks him up and down. “I see.”
Arthur clears his throat. “And what exactly is the job?”
“We make films, Mister—”
“Adams. You make films? Here?”
“We are a long way from Hollywood, it’s true. But, yes, I assure you, we make films too.”
“They’re pornographers, Art.”
Therese watches him and purposefully nods. “You’ll do.” She looks him up and down again. “You’ll do nicely, and if that”—she pointedly looks down—“matches the rest of you, I may have even more work for you than securing our warehouse.”
“Am I done here?” she asks.
“Yes.” Maurice smiles. “Thank you, Ms. Spielman.”
“I’ll see myself out.”
Arthur finally takes a seat. “What’s going on? Guarding a porn shoot at a warehouse? You’re serious?”
Maurice shrugs and unwraps another piece of gum. He takes out his chewed piece and sticks it to the lid of the coffee cup. “I tried to get details over the phone, but she’s prickly as fuck, and cagey. Said they’ve received some threats—notes and letters warning them to close up shop or else. Looks like the whole thing probably has something to do with a rival company. She’s worried about a stalker. They’re shooting for two weeks in the warehouse district, down by the docks. Basically, she doesn’t want questions asked; she said she just wants”—he reads from a note—“‘a smooth production schedule.’”
“Huh.” Arthur drums his fingers on his leg. “Two weeks for porn?”
“I’m not sure that’s the relevant question.”
“You’re right. Why do they need extra security? What rival company?”
Libby Simone lives in Kansas City, where she learns for a living and writes for fun. When she isn’t designing research or napping, she can be found taking long walks, people watching, and dreaming up different worlds.
Life on Mars is no fairy tale for Morgan, a scrappy adventurer who plunders Earth’s carcass in search of loot—and evidence of an elusive scientist. She hopes he can cure her father’s dementia, but instead he kidnaps her father and flees into the deceptive dreamlands of Mars. During her frantic search to locate them, Morgan begins experiencing strange hallucinations that make her think she’s losing her mind.
Meanwhile, Nil, a tormented killer struggling to repress his humanity, thinks his hallucinations are a flaw in his system. Soon his pesky emotions roar back to life, throwing a dagger into the whole “cold-blooded assassin” thing. While he pursues his next mark, a witty hacker trying to save Nil’s other victims, he battles with his disorienting visions and burgeoning emotions.
What he doesn’t realize is that he’s falling in love for the first time—and the hacker he’s falling for is also the scientist who kidnapped Morgan’s father.
Drawn together by their common target, Morgan and Nil harness their mysterious visions to find each other amidst holographic recreations of Oz, Wonderland, Neverland, Atlantis, and Camelot. Before she loses her father forever, Morgan must work with a killer and kidnapper to discover the sinister truth behind her father’s illness and her bond with Nil. And Nil is forced to decide between protecting the man he loves and helping the girl he’s inexplicably linked to.
Because they share more than disorienting hallucinations—and what they share will change everything they thought they knew about themselves.
I don’t know why I kill. I’m ordered to, true, and it’s all I’ve been trained to do. I’m good at it.
But that doesn’t mean I like it.
Lately, I’ve been losing my touch. Each time I suffer an emotional episode, my handler remedies it by sending me in for reconditioning. The guilt goes away, my efficiency improves, and the nightmares stop.
But the guilt always returns. And so do the nightmares.
Up to the point I awoke at the Guild’s headquarters, all I remembered was a dim, murky muddle of nonexistence. My eyes opened to a roomful of shadows. Vague shapes hovered over me, surrounding me in a nebulous circle. My vision remained hazy, my awareness cloudy—I mistook what would be my first memory for a chilling dream.
“Good morning, my son,” a cold but cajoling voice said. Lilith. My handler. “Your slate has been wiped clean. Let’s see if you do better this time.”
I was floating. But when I moved my arms, I displaced something thicker than air: water. My bare, pale limbs drifted in the translucent pool. Reflecting on it now, it was my birth. And the darkness delivered me.
Which makes Lilith the closest thing I have to a mother.
Tonight, she’s ordered me to slip into the Emerald City, Oz’s entertainment subdistrict. The buildings are green and glittery, disorienting like the rest of Mars’s vast and vacuous districts. Citizens stumble along a yellow brick road nestled between fields of red and pink poppies. A tiny dog frolics through the field alongside his mistress, an adolescent girl in a gingham dress and silver slippers. She darts in front of me, but I walk right through her. The image shimmers, light particles interrupted by my mass, until she reassembles and skips off without a sound.
None of it is real. It’s a projection, both literally and metaphorically, an idealized vision of our world according to the minds who invented it. A fantasy brought to life. All I’d have to do to destroy it is smash the lenses installed on the construction’s framework, strip the taciturn gray structures of all their glimmering emerald, and reveal the ordinary bricks beneath the yellow. Dorothy and Toto would disappear. The poppy fields would vanish, expose barren cayenne clay and ashen rock.
At least shadows are real. Honest. I slink into them, darting between hologram-cloaked buildings and grappling to the rooftops. Ads promising the improbable—the cure for any ailment, all at the low cost of submitting yourself to the Pantheon’s experiments—glint and glitch at the skyline’s zenith. I set up a zipline to the adjacent roof and grapple from rooftop to rooftop, leaving as many lines as I can in my wake. Haste isn’t necessary when entering the target zone, but a speedy exit is crucial.
As I traverse the rooftops, I scan for thermal signatures beneath and behind me. No one’s noticed me. Good. Though I pass several Bouncers patrolling below me on the street, they’re all underneath the Guild’s thumb and therefore instructed to ignore us. Even if a civilian sees me, they’d never see my face again—or see it at all. I use a different shroud on every job, but I sometimes leave them turned off in lieu of the full black bodysuit, which means I resemble some subverted superhero creeping and swinging through the night, mask and all. Not the most outlandish sight on Mars, believe it or not.
I send Isabeau off to survey the area around the soaring spires of the Emerald Castle, my target’s last known location. The synthetic falcon launches from my shoulder, wings shimmering as she slices through light beams shining in the air. I close an eye and perceive what she sees, one camera transmitting an image to another. This eye isn’t mine; it’s a replacement implanted with a chip. I don’t recall how I lost mine, but Lilith says it had something to do with the traumatic incident that sabotaged my memories.
I’m not sure I believe her, but I can’t question the woman who controls my life—unless I want to risk losing it.
Isabeau perches on a ledge outside the building. She monitors the area through a faux stained-glass window, her viewpoint displaying in my cybernetically enhanced eye. Inside the Emerald Castle, writhing clubgoers surround my mark.
I activate my shroud and shimmy down the side of the building with my grappling hook. The regulator installed in my chest controls the speed my heart beats at, keeping my pulse and temperature low at all times. Makes it tougher for thermal imaging and pulse readers to pick up on my signal. There shouldn’t be many people around with tech that can outdo mine, but a few paranoid denizens carry them as a precaution.
Not everyone trusts the Pantheon. With good reason.
I glance into a compact mirror to ensure my shroud works, then stow my gear and waltz into the street, blending with the crowd. The music inside the club vibrates beneath my feet as I approach the front doors, so I prepare my ears for the decibel assault. I nod at the Bouncer, make eye contact, press my palm into the scanner. It approves my print and accepts my false identity with a beep.
Knowledge-seeking animal-lover, supporter of diversity, and OG Floridian. Lifelong gamer who grew up drawing Disney characters, whales, and dinosaurs. Proud INTJ (which I share with the likes of Hannibal Lecter, Batman, and Ellen Ripley).
The day after telekinetic supervillain (and billionaire philanthropist), Stetson Nadenheimer dies, he wakes up on the autopsy table and falls in lust with the man hired to cut his cold, dead corpse open. The problem is that the forensic pathologist is Doctor Julian Dandridge, the part-time superhero, Scatter. It’s probably a bad idea for a supervillain to get into bed with a superhero. Probably.
Not that it stops him, but trying to start a relationship with a reluctant hero without getting caught turns out to be easier said than done. Between midnight meetings over games of checkers and kinky secrets, Stetson and Julian begin a tremulous romance. Unfortunately for them, there’s an actual villain watching from the shadows, waiting for Stetson to stumble.
The last thing I remember seeing before I died was the garish gold and orange spandex-clad fist of Major Bigstuff flying at my face at something like a million miles an hour. I lost my telekinetic grip on the wall I was holding. The debris came down on my head, which the masonry squished like a rotten melon. Brains all over the place. Bones shattered. Totally dead.
Not my finest hour.
A day later, I woke up on the medical examiner’s slab. Nobody knows why this happens. It’s a super-thing. Superheroes come back from the dead all the time. It’s practically a requirement for the job. Like when you go to get your physical at the Hall of Good Guys Forever and they stab you in the heart to make sure you’ve got what it takes to come back. I’m not entirely sure this is true, but you hear rumors.
What’s odd about me waking up is that I wasn’t a superhero. I was kind of the opposite. The anti-superhero.
My name is Stetson Nadenheimer (it’s not my fault), and before my timely death, I was a supervillain. They call me Jester. Nice to meet you.
It’s not that supervillains don’t come back from the dead. We do, but it’s usually the big-time ones. The “build a death ray and hold the world to ransom for all the money” ones. I’m not even Major Bigstuff’s main rival. He just happened to be flying past the bank I was robbing on his way home from Denny’s.
That’s what I did, by the way—rob banks. No building death rays, no kidnapping or killing people. I’d never even held anyone hostage. My Fortress of Evil is more like a Penthouse Belonging to That Mildly Irritating Villain.
But I liked robbing banks. Since most super-people are what you’d call physical (strength, size, agility, speed—you know, that kind), they don’t know what to do when someone’s power is mental. Mental powers aren’t common—and they’re not popular. Telepathy isn’t as flashy as super strength and doesn’t play well on camera. Hence, nobody’s figured out anti-telekinetic security.
Besides, I liked to flirt with the tellers. They had no idea how to handle a tall, handsome man in a sleek (cheap) black tux and white masquerade mask. I’ve got some killer green eyes too. Alas, while my black hair is long enough for a ponytail (tellers love ponytails), I kept it bound up and hidden in a hat. I’ve never wanted to take over the world, but I’m damned charming. It drives superheroes up the wall.
Anyway, back to the ME’s slab. Right. So. After knowing for a fact that my brains are all over the floor of the First United Citizens Bank on Twenty-second Street, I open my eyes. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever woken up to? In my case, it was a whirring bone saw in the general vicinity of my head.
I screamed. Well, wouldn’t you?
The bone saw immediately stopped, and I quickly became aware of someone laughing. A glance to my left confirmed that I wasn’t alone. A young man in green scrubs with tousled blond hair was turned away, covering his mouth to hide his grin.
“Works every time,” he said and set the saw down on a table just out of my reach. Then he turned to look at me, and I stopped breathing again.
In addition to the adorable hair, the man was indeed young with deep-blue eyes, dimples, and the prettiest smile I’d ever seen.
The smile faded quickly. “Welcome back.” He narrowed his eyes and watched me carefully.
My mouth opened to say something, but my brain hadn’t caught up. It was still trying to imagine what the man would look like in my bed. I’m an uncomplicated person like that. It might not have been love at first sight, but lust? Certainly. The problem currently facing me was this: I was obviously in a morgue of some kind, half-naked, drenched in my own blood, and sitting on a frigidly cold metal table. The place smelled of chemicals—formalin (I found out later) and bleach.
Forget flirting. This man had seen me dead, which is so much worse than naked.
Eventually, I managed a strangled, “Hello.”
The corner of his mouth quirked, and the smile came back slightly. He nodded and walked away from me toward the far wall, where he dug a clear bottle of water out of a cooler. He held it up for my inspection. “Thirsty?”
I nodded. My voice was still on the fritz, and he thought it was because my throat was dry instead of…oh…any other reason. I was thankful for it. Anyway, my mouth was parched. I took the bottle gratefully and drank half in one go before finding my voice again.
“Do you often wake people up in the morgue with a bone saw?”
He smiled. I wanted to melt. God. I can’t describe that smile and do it justice. Accept for a moment that it was stunning, will you? If it helps, compare it to rainbows on sunny spring mornings. Like the sun rising at dawn. The light of his smile forgave all sins, watered all crops, and brokered world peace.
The hyperbole is necessary. Everything that happened after that night started with his smile wrapping me up and turning my world on its head.
“Only people like you.” The smile didn’t budge.
“Dead people who aren’t dead anymore.”
“Oh.” I blinked. “So, you do it to heroes, too, then?”
He pursed his lips and rolled his eyes thoughtfully. “Mm-hm. They don’t like it either—Mistress Tidal broke one on me, but there’s something about the sound. It tends to bring people around quickly.”
“The alternative is getting our heads cut into.”
He laughed. Please insert a description of silvery bells and songbirds here. He had a pleasant voice. “I wasn’t going to cut you open. You were already breathing.”
“I…was?” I glanced around, certain I knew where I was now. I looked down at my blood-stained hand. “Tell me, were you able to get fingerprints off my corpse? I’ve never been arrested before, so I doubt they’d do you any good.”
“No.” He shook his head. “And no DNA either.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Ah. And now we’re just waiting for reinforcements to arrive, aren’t we?”
“Are we?” He smiled again, and my reply stuck in my throat. “It’s nearly ten o’clock on a Thursday night. Nobody’s around.”
“Ah…and you’re alone here with a formerly dead supervillain because you’re, what? Confident in your medical plan?” I asked with a snort.
He laughed again. “I don’t think you’re going to hurt me. I’m pretty durable. My name is Dr. Julian Dandridge. I’m a part-time superhero. They call me Scatter.”
Ah, Scatter. I’d heard of him, but never run up against him. He belonged to the Guild, which was Kinsley City’s very own organization of superheroes. A sort of Hall of Self-Righteousness. Major Bigstuff ran the show over there.
Well, that put a wrench in my dream of having him tie me to my bed.
I frowned. The revelation that Dr. Julian was a lost cause stung more than it should have, considering we’d just met. Still, he was in the Guild, and that wasn’t good for me by any means.
The Guild didn’t typically bother about me. I was small-time and didn’t offer much in the way of a challenge. When I did run into one of their members, I tended to extract myself from the situation as quickly as possible. I can fly—and over my months-long bank robbing spree, I’d gotten good at evading the Guild’s fliers.
I glanced around, getting my bearings. A few pencils on the desk behind Julian rolled on my command, and I breathed a little easier. My telekinesis was up and ready to go.
I smiled. “You know what they call me, I’m assuming.”
“Jester.” He shrugged. “So, here’s what’s going to happen—”
I held up a hand to forestall him and started talking. It was important to prattle on so his attention focused on me and my mouth. That way, he wouldn’t notice me telekinetically prying the window out of its frame until it was too late.
“There’re a couple ways this could go. The first is dull and causes more of a mess than its worth. You call your Guild. They show up, we have a spirited scrap, and maybe I end up dead again. If not, and you manage to throw me in SuperMax, I call my astronomically overpriced lawyer and make bail in under an hour. Then we spend weeks wading through red tape, and in the end, I get a slap on the wrist, some community service, and maybe a fine. I’m not the kind of supervillain who makes headlines, Scatter, and you lot have bigger things to worry about than someone like me. Death rays and such.”
He crossed his arms.
“Of course, there’s option number two.” Grinning, I simultaneously lifted myself off the table and out of Julian’s reach and crooked my finger at the window, popping it out of its frame and setting it gently aside. “Which involves me escaping. You can’t fly, can you?”
“If I could, I’d have you down already.” He shrugged. Then he did something I did not expect.
I paused near the ceiling. “You’re letting me go?” I asked, incredulously.
“Letting you go? Oh no. No. What kind of superhero would I be if I let a villain escape?”
“A very bad one.” I pressed my hands against the ceiling and stared down at him in disbelief.
He frowned. “Do you want me to stop you?” The tone of his voice implied that he could. I believed him.
He looked away, thinking, arms crossed, then glanced back at me. “Then do me a favor and knock over some tables on your way out.”
“So it looks like we got into the aforementioned tussle?” I asked.
“Look, either go or don’t. Let’s just say I’ve seen some things, Jester. Supervillain?” He smirked. “Sure.”
“You’ve seen some—”
He waved me away. “Get out of here. If I see you near a bank in the future, you can be sure I won’t be so nice next time.”
I stared at him for a few more seconds, but his expression suggested that his patience was wearing thin and the invitation to escape wouldn’t last indefinitely.
So, stunned and unsure if what had happened was real, I flew out of the window. But I made sure to knock over two sets of shelves and a table on my way out.
Sebastian Hansen (she/her) is a non-binary mess of a person. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and herd of opinionated cats, where she spends most of her time playing video games, reading comic books, and writing about superheroes. She likes strawberries and is easily frightened by the Internet.
#MM #Mystery #Suspense #Crime #Violence #Detective #Profiler
Coulter and Woodard 1
by MJ Calabrese
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Friends since childhood, Albuquerque detective Eagle Woodard and criminal profiler Adam Coulter are dragged into a serial killer case. Gay couples are being murdered and tortured and the FBI needs their help to capture the sadistic murderer.
Deciding to implement a plan to trap the killer, Adam and Eagle go undercover as an involved gay couple. Or is it really pretend?
Faced with their toughest challenge yet, they must find the active serial killer before he strikes again. With the powers that be not cooperating and the killer proving to be elusive, will Eagle and Adam be able to stop the murderer while navigating their changing relationship?
PLEASE NOTE: This is the first book in an ongoing story arc. Although the case is solved, the relationship ends on a cliffhanger. Contains graphic violence and scenes of torture.
Get Book 1 in this series before book 2 releases on March 31, 2020!
My mother now regrets her fateful words she offered the day I came home from our small town library in Palm Springs, California (yes, I’m a Cali girl) complaining that there were no more books to read. “Then why don’t you write some.”
My father never saw his old Remington portable until I entered college and they gifted me an IBM Selectric. By then I had produced at least two dozen unpublishable novels which make me cringe when I read them today.
I found inspiration in innumerable odd jobs (from migrant work as a Date palm pollinator to the person who cleans the washing machines at the launderette to professional Dominatrix) for stories. After a stint in Rehab for Alcohol and Heroin abuse (so when I write those scenes, I know what I’m talking about), I cleaned up and have stayed that way for 29 years. (Me and Sir Elton, LOL). My gypsy lifestyle gave me a unique perspective on the different people who inhabited the Washington, Oregon, Arizona, California, and New Mexico areas where I have lived.
After 3 very bad marriages to men, I finally figured out what was wrong and fell in love with a woman when I lived in Portland, OR 23 years ago. We’ve been married since 2008 (yes it was legal in California at that time). We now live in Asheville, NC and love the people in this liberal and accepting corner of the mountains of North Carolina.
To learn all about my upcoming releases, news, and specials, please follow or like me at any of the following links!
Pyk never thought he’d find his destiny deep within the shadows of the dark forest.
Pyk doesn’t fit in with the light Fae, no matter how hard he tries to conform to the ways of his people. He craves things, dark things, that no light Fae should ever think about, much less desire. At four hundred years old, he thinks he should have things figured out by now, not still be feel like he doesn’t belong. Until the day the dark forest calls to him…
Prince Llewellyn was banished from his home long ago, his deformities too much for even the dark Fae to handle. Nearly forgotten, he’s lived in isolation for five thousand years. Stories of the monstrous Fae prince have become fodder for nightmares to scare Fae children into obedience. But Llewellyn lives, and he’s lonely. When a light Fae comes to him, Llewellyn demands that Pyk bow and submit. He only means to keep Pyk long enough to ease the ache of being alone — he doesn’t count on falling in love.
When others want to destroy Pyk and use him to start a war with the light Fae, Llewellyn knows he must do everything he can to protect his mate, even if it means going home. Now that he’s found the perfect Fae to give in to his dark desires, he’s not letting him go.
WARNING: contains bondage, spanking, sex toys, anal sex, and a bit of darkness. If you don’t like over the top hot scenes between two sexy fae males that may melt your e-reader, then this book isn’t for you.
Magick swirled through the air as spells were thrown with arcs of color and light. Pyk scowled at the juvenile behavior as a puff of pink smacked him across the face, the magick settling over his skin leaving tingles in its wake. He shook it off before trudging across the field. Magick pelted him, making his temper spike with every spell. It was wasteful, and was going to draw the wrong kind of attention to their small gathering.
A breeze teased the tall grass and made the leaves rustle. His gaze was drawn to the dark forest, a place where monsters and evil lived. Even the bravest of souls who entered were never seen again. It was said that a beast lived in the forest. Eyes black as pitch, horns the color of brimstone, and a soul that was badly damaged. Young light fae were told to never enter the forest or the monster would eat them, bones and all.
Pyk was too old for such stories, but there was something sinister about the dark forest. Whispers reached his ears, a calling that was hard to ignore, as the voices beckoned him closer. He’d taken three steps toward the forest before he jolted back to awareness. Unease skittered down his spine, a feeling of dread overcoming him, as if he were being watched. Nothing moved from within the forest, and no animals made a sound. It was said that any creature who survived the dark forest became twisted and evil, like the monster who ruled over the territory that lay in shadows and mist.
A glance over his shoulder let him know that no one else was wary of being so close to so much danger. They laughed and played, acting as if they were ten and not two hundred. Part of him envied them. It had been so long since he’d felt carefree. When was the last time he’d played or had fun of any kind? They joked and called him an old man, but Pyk wondered if maybe he had aged before his time. He was only four hundred, still quite young, but being different from the others had given him more of a cynical view of the world. He knew if any of the light fae knew what he really desired, they would shun him.
The whispering grew stronger, drawing his attention back to the forest. Tendrils of black smoke danced and reached for him, pulling him closer. His heart thudded in his chest and his mind screamed for him to back away, and yet his feet carried him closer. The sounds of the laughing fae behind him dimmed as the whispers grew more insistent. The forest was closer than ever before, the darkness luring him in. A scent teased his nose, something rank and rancid. The stench of rotting flesh made him gag and he stumbled back a step.
A black, clawed hand reached from the darkness, wrapped around his wrist, and jerked him into the forest. Pyk stumbled and fell to his knees, the decaying leaves of the forest crumbling under his weight. His gaze lifted, following a pair of black leather boots, pants that molded to strong thighs and an impressive bulge, and a shirt as dark as the endless night sky. Despite the fear he felt, his cock responded to the pure strength in the male standing over him. Looking further up, all he saw was darkness where a face should have been, and the glow of red eyes. Horns curled toward the canopy, tipped with a silver metal.
He should run. Scream. Do something to get away, but there was a pull he couldn’t ignore. His cock throbbed in his pants, and he wondered what sort of spell the creature had cast over him. Other than the horns, claws, and strange face, he had the body of a fae. Stronger than most, broader perhaps. Beautiful. Pyk stared at the expanse of the creature’s chest and he wondered what it looked like under all the black clothing.
The claw-tipped fingers tightened on Pyk’s wrist and the creature began dragging him through the dark forest. Pyk stumbled to his feet and trailed after the figure, his magick sparking then fizzling at his fingertips. Fear pulsed through him combating his growing lust, and he reached down deep, trying to pull from the well of his magick to no avail. Either his fear was too great, or the creature held some sort of power over him.
Darkness closed in around them as twigs and leaves crunched under their feet. The air grew colder, and there was silence around them, as if even the twisted creatures who lived in the forest were afraid of whoever was holding him captive. As much as Pyk wished he was back in the field, he still felt that pull he couldn’t ignore. A mixture of curiosity and desire spiraled through him as he tried to study the figure hauling him through the forest.
A clearing came into view, and with it, a tall castle. Pyk would have frozen in place had the dark figure not been dragging him along. The gray stone structure reached toward the sky, shadows clinging to it, and vines climbing the sides. The massive doors opened as they approached, as if welcoming their master home, and Pyk wondered if his life was about to end. Being led to the evil being’s lair couldn’t be a good thing.
The stones under his feet absorbed the sounds of his boots as he crossed the threshold. As they trudged further into the castle, the doors behind them swung shut, just as soundlessly as they had opened. It was an eerie feeling, and Pyk couldn’t shake the sensation of his skin crawling. Magick swirled through the air, dark and heavy, its hands twisting and reaching for him. The mysterious creature led him further into the castle, the halls seeming to bend and move on their own. Another set of doors opened as they approached, and the creature dragged him further inside, climbing steps to a dais.
Pyk was released and nearly fell face-first onto the floor. He landed on his knees, and waited for his fate. The figure sprawled across a wooden throne, and with a wave of a clawed hand, light illuminated the room they had entered. As the warm glow bathed the creature, the shadows of his face cleared and Pyk was struck dumb by the most handsome fae he’d ever seen. The red eyes changed to a silvery gray, and as more of the creature’s cloaking spell cleared, Pyk realized he was looking at a dark fae.
Long, black hair cascaded over the fae’s shoulders, and slightly pointed ears peeked through the strands. The horns remained, and Pyk realized they weren’t part of the illusion. The fae’s hands really were tipped with claws, even though his fingers looked normal otherwise. Pyk had never heard of a fae surviving in the dark forest, and now instead of being afraid, he was intrigued. His gaze scanned the figure, and he bit his lip at the bulge that still pushed against the male’s pants. It seemed the desire he’d felt wasn’t one-sided.
“Who are you?” Pyk asked.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
With an overactive imagination and a penchant for making up stories, was it any wonder Dulce Dennison decided to be an author? From cowboys to shapeshifters, she has a story for them all, but her passion lies in writing m/m romances. Dulce believes in love in all shapes and sizes, and that everyone deserves a happily-ever-after.
Pyk has never fit in with the light fae, no matter how hard he’s tried to conform to the ways of his people. He craves things, dark things, that no light fae should ever even think about, much less desire. At four hundred years old, he should have figured things out, not felt conflicted and like he didn’t belong. Until the day the dark forest calls to him… Lured into the shadows, Pyk never thought he’d find his destiny in the forbidden territory, the place all light fae feared.
Prince Llewellyn was banished from his home long ago, his deformities too much for even the dark fae to handle. He’s lived in isolation for around five thousand years, the stories of the monstrous fae prince nothing more than fodder for nightmares and to scare children into obedience. But Llewellyn lives, and he’s lonely. When a light fae comes to him, Llewellyn demands Pyk bow and submit. He’d only meant to keep him long enough to ease the ache of being alone. Llewellyn never counted on falling in love.
When others want Pyk, want to destroy him and use him to start a war with the light fae, Llewellyn knows he must do everything he can to protect the male he’s claimed as his mate, even if it means going home. Now that he’s found the perfect fae to give in to his dark desires, he’s not letting him go.
WARNING: contains bondage, spanking, sex toys, anal sex, and a bit of darkness. If you don’t like over the top hot scenes between two sexy fae males that may melt your e-reader, then this book isn’t for you.
With an overactive imagination and a penchant for making up stories, was it any wonder Dulce Dennison decided to be an author? From cowboys to shapeshifters, she has a story for them all, but her passion lies in writing m/m fantasy romances. Dulce believes in love in all shapes and sizes, and that everyone deserves a happily-ever-after — even grumpy bear shifters.
Married since 2000 to a man she isn’t sure is quite human, her husband and children (which she fondly calls the demon spawn) keep her busy, but never too busy to write. Is there such a thing as too busy to write? Most mornings you can find Dulce set up with her laptop, a cat curled up next to her, and a steaming cup of coffee just an arm’s reach away.
Comfortable in the high-backed armchair, Hans watched his brothers.
“The hair dye won’t stay for more than a few hours.” Tian grimaced at his reflection. “Andy, what the hell’m I supposed to do?”
Andy didn’t look away from the book on his desk. “You could start by not croaking like a new-hatched chick.”
The armchair was positioned in a corner, well out of the way of the teasing and annoyance that always flew between Tian and Andrew Weinberg. With a mug to warm his hands, Hans smirked. He loved listening to his brothers bicker without true heat.
Tian stalked over to the desk and gave one of its legs a hard kick.
The book jumped, but Andy didn’t react.
“What’m I gonna do?” Tian’s voice rose. “He’s a hideous, self-centered water demon.”
“Is there any other kind?” Hans asked, his voice barely audible to his own ears. Although he thought Prince Felimid mac Lugh rather attractive for a water demon. Yes, his skin tended to resemble that of an eczema sufferer when he walked in air-breather form, but his grace when he swam… Hans drank deeply of his tea in an effort to hide the flush of his cheeks with the liquid’s heat. In an effort to distract himself, he considered the archaic form of the prince’s last name. Mac meant “son of.” And lugh was some sort of sea god. The space between both names wasn’t common anymore, but from what Hans knew, the mac Lughs were a highly traditional people.
Tian stomped back to the mirror and whined, “Andrew, help me.”
“You’re pathetic.” But Andy got up from his desk at last and crossed to Tian. “You know our bodies don’t hold human chemicals well. Why did you waste time trying?”
Hans watched as Andy flicked a hand through Tian’s hair. Gray dye flaked off into the air and dropped to the carpet.
“Were you thinking to pretend you’re an ancient mortal?” Andy raked his fingers over the part in Tian’s chestnut mass. “The prince — or at least his parents — know we’re triplets. The moment Hans and I walk into the room, your secret will be out.”
Color blazed high in Tian’s cheeks, but his voice carried less prissy outrage and more fear. “I wanted to make myself unattractive to him. I’m too young to be married off this way.”
“Too young by whose standards? We’ve been eighteen for almost six months. Most of our cousins were married within a moon cycle once they reached their eighteenth year.” In spite of his pitiless words, Andy put an arm around Tian’s shoulders. “You’re attracted to males in general, if not this specific prince, and that’s more than many an intended bride or groom can claim.” He lowered his voice. “And you’re no stranger to sex.”
Assured that he was still being ignored, Hans grinned. Tian was the second of their trio to be born. He’d always played the part of middle child even though he’d broken shell a scant three minutes after Andy. Tian went on the adventures, got into more trouble than Andy and Hans together, and was able to maintain an erection many months before his nest siblings. Of course he’d gotten laid first. Andy often played the role of older brother. He had also enjoyed a coupling or two, although he’d waited until he turned eighteen.
Hans pressed his lips together when Tian spun to bury his head against Andy’s shoulder. That leaves me to play the virginal shadow. It was either that or act the part of the weak but intensely intelligent youngest one. He wasn’t quite fit for that. Not when he enjoyed swimming and diving so much but couldn’t manage to learn more than one language besides his own.
“Shh, shh, it will be all right.” Andy rubbed Tian’s back. “He’s a good match for you: brave, strong, and playful. I’ve heard –”
Tian shoved his way out of Andy’s arms. “You go marry him if you’re so convinced he’s wonderful.” He went to the desk and kicked its leg again. “I want a chance to pick my own ball and chain. We’re immortal, Andy. Hasn’t it occurred to you that I’ll be trapped in this marriage for the rest of my life? A thousand years from now, I’ll be stuck with someone I’ve never — could never — want.”
“I’ll take your place.” Tian and Andy whirled toward him, and only then did Hans realize he’d spoken loud enough for them to hear. Blushing under their regard, he refused to back down. He’d always been told the sons of Lord Cuirm and Lady Weinberg must say what they meant and mean what they said. So he raised his chin and balanced his mug on one knee. “I find Prince Felimid attractive.”
Tian’s expression, startled at first, morphed into one of amusement. “Hans, I love you. You’re a selfless li’l thing with a tragic heroine’s heart.”
“Don’t call me li’l thing.” But he couldn’t put any heat behind his voice. Andy and Tian were the warriors; he was only the shadow.
Andy sighed and returned to his desk. “It’s a kind gesture, Hans-a-la, but Tian can’t accept.”
“Why not?” Now Tian’s attention was back on Andy. “Not that I would put our li’l thing” — he smirked over his shoulder at Hans –”in such a position, but I’d like to know why you think you can speak for me.”
“I speak for you because Father and Mother aren’t here. And because, after them, I’m the keeper of our family’s traditions.”
“You mean you’re the only one self-important enough to want to keep them.”
Hans got up, setting his mug silently under the armchair. While Tian and Andy glared at each other, he escaped the room. Neither of his brothers said anything to him. Soon he was halfway to his favorite balcony.
Loch Erie — what the humans called Lake Erie in their newspapers — was considered to have mostly deserted shores where it bordered with New York State. But the glamour that kept kelpies like Hans and his family disguised from the nonmagical world also made their home invisible. It wasn’t a castle, but Hans had never cared for his cousins’ grand, impersonal homes. He liked the relatively small dwelling that allowed him to jump from the second-story balcony into the water below. There was just enough time between leap and splash for him to change from his mostly human aspect to his true shape.
He opened the balcony door, prepared to sprint to the railing and vault it. But he froze with his hand still on the doorknob. Someone sat on the low stone railing Hans often thought of as his. It’s him. Prince Felimid. The auburn-haired man in the leather kilt sat with his back to the loch. His face was broad and a little homely by popular standards, and the reddish, almost pebbly look of his skin in human form would be taken as unattractive by most. But his hair and eyes were beautiful, and his posture bespoke royalty.
“Hello?” Hans asked in clumsy, memorized Gaelic. He gave up and switched to English. “Are you Prince Felimid mac Lugh?” Gaelic was not his second language. He’d chosen to study Scots, best known as English’s second cousin once removed. It was his people’s tongue.
He was rewarded with English. “I am.” The prince smiled a little. Gestured for Hans to join him. “Sit for a moment. I’m sure the master won’t mind.”
You consider me a slave? It followed that Felimid didn’t know what Hans and his brothers looked like. Repressing a grin, Hans approached and bowed. “Thank you, Majesty.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Carrington has been writing m/m erotic romance (specializing in urban fantasy) since 2010. She is currently branching out into the other letters of the LGBTQ rainbow. She lives in Maryland with her guide dog.
Sean has spent his life in the small-minded town of Willow Grove. Given his preference in sexual partners, finding romance has always been a challenge — until Brian.
When Brian walks into Sam’s Place, the first thing he sees is Sean, and he knows he has to have him. When he takes Sean back to his place, he reveals his true self, and hopes that Sean will accept him — fangs and all.