Mazes & Mistletoe by Ayla Ruse #holidayromance #paranormalromance #newrelease

AR_Mazes_Graphic1

Published by Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

Trevor runs the Puzzle and Games Workshop of the North Pole. Most think him quiet and ordinary, but no one knows about his fierce desire for the sexy owner of the day care center — not even the owner herself. If only he could get up the nerve to go meet her…

Missy, owner of The Little Care day care, harbors the biggest crush on the cute Elf from the Puzzle Workshop across the way. As much as she’d love to march over there and see what happens between them, she won’t, because she knows the results of her magic will be worse than unrequited lust.

When an encounter in a Christmas Maze brings them together, Missy and Trevor discover magic is tangible, mazes aren’t for the shy and awkward, and true love might be found under the mistletoe.

 

Get it TODAY at Changeling Press

or pre-order for December 20th at retailers

   

 

SNEAK PEEK

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Ayla Ruse

“The maze is going great, Trevor. Everyone who comes out is laughing and wanting to do it again. I’ve even heard a few say it’s the best attraction at this year’s Winter Fair.”

“That’s good to hear, Lulu. I think next year we’ll take Tommy’s suggestion and add a photo booth at the end.”

“That would be the best,” Lulu heartily agreed. “Or have mini photo opportunities at each dead end. I’m sure there’s some funny things that happen there, too.”

Trevor mused over this for a moment. “You have a point. Then at the end, the participants can decide which, if any, photos they’d want.” He started planning, speaking quickly and quietly as he became lost in thought. “I’d have to get in touch with the Electronics department, and we’d have to hire more help for the maze, but then we’d have extra profit from any pictures that’d be purchased and –”

His plans were cut off by Lulu’s loud shout. “Hey, Miss! You can’t go in there without purchasing a ticket!”

Trevor turned just in time to see an Elf shoot off into the Dead End Maze like her skirts were on fire.

“Damn it,” Lulu fussed. “Tommy won’t be back from break for another fifteen minutes. I hate to ask this of you, Trevor, but could you man the booth and let me run that freeloader down?”

Him be in charge of the booth? No way. The less he had to interact with groups of people he didn’t know, the better. Tracking down one lone female Elf would definitely be the safer choice.

“How about I go in after her? You’re faster with the whole ticket stuff, and I did design the maze, so I’ll be able to get around in there quicker.”

“Would you? That’d be great. Thanks! I’ll call in to the end of the maze to let those guys know what to expect if you don’t show up with her.”

“Sounds good. And I can call them too if any problems arise.”

He’d not been in the spacious maze for even a minute when he ran across the mysterious Elf. She’d found herself caught in one of the famous dead ends and probably couldn’t figure out how to get out. Of course, if she’d stopped at the booth, Lulu would have explained the rules.

A thin, frosted wall separated her from and him and kept her in the dead end zone. He sighed and made his way down the ice-walled corridor to rescue her. But when she turned around and her eyes settled on him with a grateful look of one who believes help has arrived, he stopped in his tracks.

It was her. It was that gorgeous little curly-headed blonde Elf that ran the day care across the field from his office. Every day, at ten, one and three on the dot, he stopped work to stare out his narrow floor-to-ceiling window to catch sight of her. He couldn’t remember her name, knew she ran the center only because he’d overheard one of his co-workers mention it in a conversation he’d overheard, but she was his. Well, his fantasy at any rate. He couldn’t stop the inward grin. And she was stuck in his maze.

He finally stepped closer when she waved her arms, like she was trying to get his attention. Little did she know she had his undivided attention. He approached and hit the hidden release button on the side of the wall. The thin, frosted barrier opened, and he swallowed, but couldn’t speak. She was more beautiful up close than he’d ever imagined. Angel-blonde hair cascaded around her face and shoulders in a wild array of curls. She had tiny, narrow ears that peeked out from her curls just enough to tease him with wanting to touch, to caress. A light dusting of freckles sprinkled across her nose and deep-chocolate eyes stared back at him. She wrung her hands together and looked worried. Maybe she thought, now that she’d been caught, that she’d be in trouble? She nibbled on her perfectly pink bottom lip and he stifled a groan, wanting to be the one to do the nibbling.

He tried to say “hi,” but it came out broken. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Um, hi. I’m Trevor. You ran into the Maze without a ticket.”

“I know. I’m sorry. Maybe you could help me? I’ll pay for the tickets when we get out if that’d be okay? You see, my name is Missy, and I run the Little Care Day Care off Ice Cap Street. Today is field trip day, and I’m afraid one of my charges took off. I saw him heading this direction, and this Maze is the only attraction in this part of the Fair. I kept everyone away from this area because I don’t like this kind of stuff, but I guess he knew about it? Could you help me find him?”

Her plea, combined with her softly wringing hands and full, doe-like eyes, melted him on the spot. He nodded silently, knowing he’d do anything for this female.

“Oh, thank you,” she gushed, laying a hand on his arm for a brief moment. He stuffed his hands in his pocket; he’d felt deliciously singed from her touch. She rushed on, “His name is Zack, and he’s not usually a naughty Elf, but maybe since his parents just had a baby girl, he’s feeling left out? I don’t know. I might have to talk to Taryn and find out… Oh, I’m sorry, sometimes I tend to carry on. Anyway, I don’t think he’d do anything bad, but he might put a few holes in the walls?”

“Holes? A little Elf can do that?”

She pointed to the wall to his right, and sure enough, a small hole was in the wall. It couldn’t be bigger than a hole an artic hare would dart through and was hardly noticeable. “How…”

“Well, he is half demon and he tends to have hot hands from time to time. His father is teaching him to control it, but,” here she looked around at the dead end they were in, “in a place like this…” She shook her head and a worried frown creased her brow. “I’ll pay for the damages, I promise. Could you please just help me locate him?”

Trevor wanted to pull her into his arms and tell her he’d take care of everything but bucked up and reminded himself to be practical. He shouldn’t touch her — yet. “I’ll help you find him. It won’t be a problem. In fact, let me call the Elves at the end of the Maze so they can keep a look out for him, too.”

“Would you? I really appreciate it.”

Trevor tapped his watch and called Lulu. She confirmed that she hadn’t seen any little Elves enter. Then he called the exit team, only to hear that yes, a little one had emerged and, since he was without an adult, they were keeping him occupied with hot chocolate and peppermint drops and would watch over him until they came out. When Missy heard this, she sighed audibly.

“Thank you! Now, can you show me the way out? I’ll gather Zack and go back around front to pay for both tickets.”

Trevor might be a quiet one when it came to strangers, but he wasn’t a fool. The entire time they’d been talking, he knew he had the Elf of his dreams, trapped, so to speak, and at his will, in this maze of his own design. He’d never forgive himself if he let her simply walk away. He did know how to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

 

MORE FROM AYLA AT CHANGELING PRESS …

Handed a historical romance at the age of twelve, Ayla Ruse fell in love with love and with happy endings. Having grown up living life tasting a little of this and a little of that has not changed this attitude, but it’s expanded her views. Love isn’t always happy and it isn’t always the way a person “thinks it should be.” Sometimes it’s outside the box, and it’s always a challenge.

The challenge of finding and holding onto this love is what drives Ayla in her fiction. She likes stories that strip love — among other things — down to the skin and tests the attachment and beliefs of the participants. Sometimes that test can come in the form of multiple partners, overcoming a desperate fear or even being sexually inventive.

 

 

Viper (Bones MC) by Marteeka Karland #bikerbooks #holidayromance #newadult

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Published by Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Marteeka Karland

 

Who knew I’d find my destiny at Christmas? Not me. Or her daddy. Don’t mean I ain’t keeping her.

Darcy: I didn’t run away from a sadistic stepfather and a mother who wouldn’t protect me just to be carted off by some strange man. I fought the son of a bitch. Woulda won, too, except the bastard had help.

Viper’s rough around the edges and some kind of badass biker, so there’s no way this is going to work out well. Unfortunately, he calls to me on a purely sexual level. Makes my heart race and my body melt just looking at me. It doesn’t help he’s actually nice to me. He claims to know my dad. My real dad. Says he’s been sent to bring me back. I have no idea if I believed him or not. Just don’t really have a choice but to go along. At least for now.

Viper: I tracked the cunning little wench for three fuckin’ days. In the fuckin’ snow. She’s good, too. She survived on her own in a hostile environment with only a little trouble. That alone would make me respect for her, but then she had to go and kick me in the balls. Had I not been on the ground in agony, I’d have been turned on beyond belief. Now, with her safely under my protection, I’ve got to figure out how to keep my hands off her so her father won’t kill my sorry ass. He’s our intel man and one of my best friends, so I don’t want to cause him grief. But I want Darcy. Badly.

It’s Christmas Eve, and there’s an enemy on our doorstep with a unique gift. One that will leave us all with some hard choices — Darcy especially. What unfolds next is something none of us ever planned for.

Warning: Viper (Bones MC 4) deals with issues of abuse and human trafficking that may be triggers for some readers.

 

Get it TODAY at Changeling Press

or pre-order for December 20th at retailers

   

 

SNEAK PEEK

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Marteeka Karland

Winter hung heavy in the hills of Kentucky. One thing Viper hated was winter. Not because of the cold, snow, and ice, but because of the absolute silence in the outdoors. It made hunting that much more difficult. Normally, he enjoyed a challenge, but when the prey was human, there could be nothing to give him away. He’d been on her trail for three days now. There had been no sign of a fire or that she’d sheltered anywhere other than a snow dome she’d built to block the wind and keep in as much of her body heat as she could.

She was good, he’d give her that. He’d been in the service with men who couldn’t do what she could, especially given the few resources she had. As far as he could tell, she had nothing but the clothes on her back. One thing was for sure, once he got her back to the Bones compound, she had some explaining to do.

“Anything yet?” Data sounded anxious. And with good reason. Their intel and communications man had only just found out the he had a daughter, and only because her mother had called exactly three days ago — an hour before Viper and Arkham had been set on her trail — and informed him. Though the woman had remarried several years earlier, she kept in touch with Data. Why, Viper didn’t know. That was Data’s story and one he’d have to share with his daughter. Apparently, the only reason his ex had told him about Darcy now was because she’d run off, and her mother was done with the girl. Couldn’t deal with Darcy any more. Data’s daughter was her daddy through and through. Though Viper had no idea what Darcy had done, it was enough to make her mother and the woman’s husband abandon Darcy while the couple and their other two daughters — not Data’s — went to California on vacation. Data had been livid. Viper had a feeling his next assignment would be to hunt down the girl’s mother and stepfather and teach them a lesson.

“I’m just that little bit behind her, brother. Another hour and I should have her, though.”

“She’s one little girl! You’re a big bad Marine sniper! This shouldn’t be that fuckin’ hard!” Viper raised his eyebrows. Data was normally a by-the-numbers kind of man. He never got excited unless it was warranted. Kind of like when he realized his crew was in the middle of El Diablo’s muscle with only one team and minimal backup.

“Relax, brother.” Arkham sounded almost bored when Viper knew he was alert and watching as intently as he was. “Girl’s wily. Uses the landscape for cover. Even found a snow dome where she slept last night.”

“She can’t last out there forever with no fire. Rein her in!”

Viper knew when a man was on the edge. Didn’t take a genius to know Data was there. “We got this, brother. We’ll have her back at the compound by tomorrow.” It was a hard promise, but one Viper intended to keep. He ground his teeth. One little girl indeed.

Light was fading in the winter sky. Clouds hung heavily, promising more snow after nightfall if not sooner. Nothing stirred around them. Animals huddled down to wait out the coming storm. Even the evergreen trees were still in the slight breeze. The silence was nearly total.

“Got her,” Arkham muttered through his earpiece. “Your four o’clock. She just sat on a fallen log.” There was a pause while Viper looked in the indicated direction. “She’s done, Viper. I’m headed in.”

Sure enough, the girl sat on the long about a hundred yards away. She looked up at the sky, then at her surroundings and put her head in her hands. Yep. She was done.

Viper made his way to her as Arkham came at her from the opposite direction. They were almost on her before she realized she wasn’t alone. Immediately she slipped off the log and crouched into a defensive position, grabbing a rock beside her to use as a weapon.

She didn’t say a word. Viper expected to see fear in her eyes, and perhaps there was. But mostly what he saw was a cold, hard determination.

“We’re not gonna hurt you,” Viper said, hands out in front of him as he approached her.

“I know,” she said, her voice a whisper of sound.

“Viper!” It was the only warning Arkham could issue before the girl attacked. She launched herself at Viper. In reflex, he caught her.

Two things happened when he closed his arms around her. First, Viper recognized she was more than a girl. The woman had curves aplenty, two of which were mashed against his chest, rubbing over him with every movement of her body. Second, the woman was fucking fierce. Viper was perfectly capable of defending himself, but he was hesitant to do anything for fear of hurting her. So she pummeled him with that fucking rock. By sheer luck, she didn’t catch his head with it, only his jaw. Viper retained his hold on her with one arm securely around her waist while using the other to block her blows as best he could. For such a small little thing, she packed quite a punch! Despite his efforts, she still connected several times before Arkham disarmed her. Bastard didn’t help him any more than that. And still, she fought. Apparently frustrated with her lack of progress, Darcy shrieked, kicking out and continuing to hit at him with her fists.

“Knock it the fuck off, woman!” Viper finally set her on her feet and captured her wrists in his hands and wrapped his arms around her, trapping her with his superior strength. “Look at me, Darcy!” Viper used every ounce of command he possessed. In the end, it was probably the use of her name that made her pause in her tirade. “Look at me!” When she gave him a wary look he took a breath. “Your father sent us to find you and bring you home.”

“I’m not going back! I’m old enough to make my own decisions, and I’ll be damned if I go back to that bastard!” Her struggles resumed. She tried to hike her knee up into his groin, but he managed to avoid it, pulling her tighter against him. It was getting exceedingly hard to ignore the lush curves pressed against him. The woman was tempting in the worst way.

“You’ve never even met your dad,” Viper said, struggling to hold her while not hurting her. “I assure you, he’s a good man.”

“Rayburn, my stepdad, is a molesting bastard and my mom is nothing more than his pimp! I’ll kill both of them and you before I go back!”

Viper was so shocked, he relaxed his hold for a second, giving the girl enough leverage to break free. Darcy promptly kicked him in the balls before spinning around to flee again. Arkham caught her, spun her back around, and zip-tied her hands behind her back, ensuring he didn’t get a repeat of what Viper got. Once she was secured, he looped a length of rope around her waist and tied her to a tree.

“That should take care of that.” Arkham turned his attention to Viper, kneeling down beside his biker brother. “You gonna be all right?”

“Shut the fuck up, you smug bastard.” Viper tried to sound menacing, but it was hard to do when his balls were stinging. Didn’t help with him down on one knee looking up at the big man, either.

“Just trying to help a brother out.” Arkham raised his hands in surrender before turning back to their prisoner.

“You gonna fight me, girl?”

“You gonna try to take me back to that hellhole?” She had to look up at Arkham, but Darcy didn’t seem the least bit intimidated. In fact, she looked to be sizing him up, looking for the easiest way to take him down.

“Hadn’t planned on it,” he said.

When Arkham didn’t offer anything else, Viper added, “It’s your biological father who sent us. We’re takin’ you back to the clubhouse.”

She looked from Arkham to Viper. “Biological father. Clubhouse?”

“Yeah.” Viper groaned as he got to his feet. “Look. I’m Viper. This is Arkham. We’ve been huntin’ you for three fuckin’ days, sweetheart. I’d like to get out of the fuckin’ snow.”

 

MORE FROM MARTEEKA AT CHANGELING PRESS …

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.

 

 

Book Tour: Annie’s Gift by Barbara Bretton #PNR #holidays

Barbara Bretton Deck the Halls InstaAnnie’s Gift
Rocky Hill Holiday Romance
Book Five
Barbara Bretton

Genre:  Paranormal romance

Publisher: Free Spirit Press

Date of Publication:  2017

ISBN:1973271575
ASIN:  B077BF911C
Number of pages:  80
Word Count:  20,000

Cover Artist: Erin Dameron-Hill

Because love never dies… 

Everyone knows Christmas is a time for family but not for Harry Barnes. If he had his way, he would close his eyes and not open them again until January second when all the fuss was over. Once upon a time he had loved the season but that was a long time ago. His wife Annie and daughter Erin are gone and he hasn’t spoken to his only son, Sam, in years.

The Christmas candlesticks he’d lovingly carved for Annie and their children are buried in the attic under a thick layer of dust along with memories that could break a man’s heart . . . if he still had one left to break.

After years of living on military bases all around the world, Sam Barnes has moved his family back home for keeps but they might as well still be in Japan or England or Timbuktu for all the difference it makes. His father’s heart is still closed to the idea of family and there is nothing Sam can do to change it. Not even if the only thing his twelve-year-old daughter Riley wants for Christmas is the grandfather she has never met.

But then on a snowy Christmas Eve in Rocky Hill, Harry and Sam are visited by a determined mother and daughter who have just a few earth hours to bring their family together or lose them forever.

Amazon

Annie's Gift Deck the Halls with Books

When it comes to the holidays, I am a traditionalist. Whether it’s the movies we watch, the music we listen to, or the food we eat, I look forward to revisiting those old (and beloved) favorites every single year.

One of our most cherished traditions is our Christmas Eve Brownie Extravaganza. Deep. Dark. Still warm from the oven. Crowned with a ginormous scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a holiday-red maraschino cherry.

Why limit this delicious guilty pleasure to just Christmas Eve? These brownies would be delicious any day of the year!

Ingredients

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted

1-1/2 cups butter (6 ounces), melted

6 eggs

3 cups sugar

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons vanilla

1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Beat eggs, adding sugar and vanilla. Add the melted chocolate and butter. Blend until light and airy. Add flour, then nuts (if using.)

Bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven in two 8-inch pans for 25-30 minutes. Do not overcook. They should be moist in the center. The timing is personal. Keep checking and take it out of the oven when it’s reached the degree of doneness that warms your heart.

Top with ice cream and enjoy.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Excerpt:

He heard a sound like autumn leaves crackling underfoot, and then felt a soft rush of cinnamon-scented air as a small form appeared then disappeared right in front of his eyes.

He watched, paralyzed with fear and hope, as she took form one more time, looking less like a hologram and more like a flesh and blood woman. The woman he had loved since he was sixteen years old.

“Annie!” Her name tore from his throat and spilled into the space between them. This was his Annie, before sorrow and sickness had taken their toll.

Bubbles of laughter danced in the air around her. “I did it! How about that, Harry? I did it!”

He reached for her hand but it was like grasping cotton candy. His brain was a bowl of overcooked oatmeal. “I don’t know what’s going on.”

The room began to spin. He could feel himself starting to go under and he put his head between his knees.

“Low blood sugar,” she said, shaking her head. “I don’t miss that at all.”

“It’s not low blood sugar,” he managed, gulping in some air. “I’m talking to a ghost.”

“If you want to put it that way, I guess you are.”

What other way was there to put it? He had buried his beloved wife six months ago and now here she was in their living room acting like nothing had happened.

He took another huge gulp of air then lifted his head.

“I’m still here,” she said, her tone softening. “You can trust your senses.”

“Why?” he asked, his disbelief beginning to show cracks. “How?”

She spread her arms wide. “Look at this place! You’d never know it was Christmas Eve.”

“It doesn’t feel like Christmas Eve.”

“It would if you put some effort into it. Put up a tree. String some lights.” She aimed a sharp look in his direction. “Place the candles in the window where they belong.”

“No.”

Her brows darted into a scowl. “Did you forget your promise?”

“That promise was made a long time ago. Things change.”

“Family doesn’t.”

“I don’t have a family anymore. When I lost you, I lost everything.”

She reached out and for a second he imagined he felt the touch of her hand. But that was crazy, wasn’t it? She was no more real than Santa Claus or Easter Bunny.

“I’m here because I love you,” she said. “And because you need me tonight.”

Tears threatened to overwhelm him. He wanted to believe.

“I need you every night, Annie. That’s never changed.”

“But tonight is the night you asked for me.”

One moment he was standing there next to the refrigerator with a carton of brown eggs in his hand.

The next moment the eggs were on the floor in a yellow and white mess and his Annie was in his arms.

He had lived long enough to know that second chances didn’t happen often in life.

This time he wasn’t going to let her go.

About the Author:

Barbara Bretton is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of fifty books. Her titles have been published in twelve languages in over twenty countries by Harlequin, Berkley, Crown, Pocket, and Free Spirit Press. When Barbara isn’t writing, she can be found knitting, reading, and cooking in New Jersey with her husband and a house filled with pets.

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SPOTLIGHT: A Changeling for All Seasons Vol. 9 #paperback #holidaystories #Romance

Spotlight: A Changeling For All Seasons 9 (Print) (Changeling Seasons (Print) 9)

Published by Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

Thirteen tales of Christmas Magic from your favorite Changeling authors!

Ayla Ruse — Racing Wild: A wild race can lead to anything — even love.

Anne Kane — Tinsel Wars: Braedon intends to win the final skirmish in the Tinsel Wars!

Ruth D. Kerce — Christmas Cowboy: Chaz breeds horses. What’s a cowboy supposed to do with a herd of reindeer?

Dahlia Rose — Silver Bells: Tia was the sexy little elf that made Danny Grinch’s Christmas that much hotter.

Crymsyn Hart — Sleigh Balls: Instead of snow this Christmas, it’s raining reindeer!

Lena Austin — Ghosting: Ghost hunting means sometimes you find a ghost you weren’t expecting, when you aren’t even looking.

Judy Mays — Jingle Buds: Dr. Jon Claus finds the perfect woman when Emily Olson’s grandmother gets run over by a reindeer!

Julia Talbot — Merry X-Moose: Can a were-moose and a Santa-obsessed Elf fall in love — and save Christmas at the same time?

Lily Vega — Wicked Game: All’s fair in love and war during Santa’s Reindeer Games.

CJ England — Snip! Snap! Dragon!: With a fiery Snip! Snap! a passionate modern day dragon lures his forever mate into the flames.

Ana Raine — White Stag: When the scent of peppermint reaches his nose Crane knows he has to remember or lose it all forever.

Sara Jay — Sleigh Ride: Can one magical sleigh ride deliver love to two lonely Elves?

Sean Michael — Five Golden Beads: When kinky gifts begin arriving, Shay knows it’s time for a visit from his very own special Elf.

 

Print Edition: at Amazon.com $14.95

 

 

Praise for A Changeling For All Seasons Volume 9

“This is a nice collection of stories that will keep readers engaged with eh characters and their worlds. Each author builds their own world full of holiday magic. As hot and sexy as these reads are, love is always the prize. Time and time again love proves to be the gift of the year.”

— Gabrielle, Love Romances & More

 

 

 

My Two Front Fangs by Emily Carrington #UrbanFantasy #holidaystories #Christmas #LGBT #GayRomance

CHP_EC_Fangs_3

Published by Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

As the holidays approach, Luis and Charlie are looking forward to spending time together. But after Charlie’s mother commits suicide, a whole host of problems arise to threaten Charlie and Luis’s marriage. Can the healing promise of Christmas save them?

 

Get it TODAY at Changeling Press

or pre-order for December 13th at retailers

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EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Emily Carrington

“All I want for Solstice is my two front fangs… so I can bite you on the ass.”

Luis was singing under his breath but some of the other trackers probably heard him. Ethan would; he was a werewolf. Wind Child might; he was an elemental and who knew what kind of powers he did or didn’t have? Garrett didn’t have sharp ears, although his eyes were keen as a hawk’s so maybe he saw Luis’s mouth moving and could read his lips. As for Pierce, he probably missed everything, human that he was.

Except it was Pierce who said, “Whatever you’re muttering over there, Delgado, keep it to yourself, would you?”

“If you can’t tell what it is, why does it bother you?”

“Because everyone else is snickering and I hate being left out of the joke.”

“I’ll share,” Pierce’s tracker partner, Garrett, said. “Although it’s nothing to write home about, just kindergarten humor.” And he repeated Luis’s song, his voice rich and melodious.

Under the cover of Garrett’s singing, Ethan muttered, “I thought you’d be singing ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’.”

“Only if I actually knew my Life Dancer was going to be home. ‘Home in my dreams’ is not my idea of a happy ending to all this waiting.” His beloved, Charlie, alpha above all alphas, had been gone more often than he was home lately. “Putting out fires,” was how Charlie put it.

In addition to playing negotiator/firefighter, Charlie had been seeking… well, permission wasn’t the right word. Neither was approval. He wanted to practice shifting from human to wolf. Being a half werewolf, he’d been under the impression, as all the wolves in North America were, that only full-blooded werewolves could change to four-legged guise. And then the research came down: half wolves weren’t subject to the call of the moon, required to change when that heavenly orb was full, but they could still change at will.

With practice.

The alphas below Charlie, although they had no true say over what he did or didn’t do, had kicked up a mighty stink about their leader risking his life. Because while the change was possible, no one knew exactly how dangerous it would be.

Luis was confident that Charlie would be okay. Wasn’t shifting only dangerous for pups who weren’t strong enough because of their age or constitution?

His cell phone buzzed. Luis tended to keep it in the top drawer of his desk because the buzzing seemed loud to his psychic vampire ears. Now he drew it out and glanced at the screen casually, most of his attention still on Ethan, who was looking at him sympathetically.

Tilthos Charles: Be there in ten minutes. Meet you upstairs.

Luis almost dropped the phone.

“What is it?” asked Pierce, the nosy bastard.

Luis saw by Ethan’s face that he didn’t need to ask; Luis’s tracker partner was sharp, particularly when it came to reading those closest to him.

Luis got up, set his cell on the desk, and headed for the door.

“Trouble?” Pierce asked, getting to his feet.

“Doesn’t look like it,” Garrett said. “Let him go.”

Luis started for the stairs at a brisk walk. One did not run in SearchLight headquarters, even if said headquarters was small and considered a “backwater” by the rest of the organization.

He grinned. His Life Dancer was here, in this building, or very nearly.

Luis strode out of the stairwell and into the antechamber of the director’s office. He smiled at the secretary, the mother of one of the Tilthos Pack’s members. He addressed her in Spanish, his native language and hers. “Good morning,” he said in his mother tongue. “How are you this morning?”

She smiled. She’d been treating him like a son since moving to the United States to be closer to her daughter. “Good morning, Luis, my son. Do you need to see Agent Shalling?”

“Nope. Tilthos Charles is back.” He was careful to call his Charlie “Tilthos Charles” whenever he spoke of him, and his cell phone said his mate’s title and full name. Nicknames were verboten among the werewolves. The only reason Charlie was “Charlie” to Luis was because he’d been cursed with the nickname when he was young as a sign of disrespect, and he’d claimed it as a name of power. He was Charlie to himself and always would be. And he was Charlie to his nearest and dearest, at least the wolves who could get over themselves and their sense of propriety enough to recognize that calling him Charlie wasn’t a slur. At least not in their alpha’s mind.

“He’s not here yet,” Luis was told.

He nodded. “I know. I just wanted to be waiting when he finally arrives.”

The door to the director’s office opened and Agent Andrea Shalling stepped out. As always when she saw Luis, she looked as if she’d been sucking on a lemon. “What is the purpose of all this noise?”

Luis, cognizant of his role as Charlie’s mate and yet his lesser status as a tracker rather than a member of the leadership, asked, “Will you speak with me privately, Agent Shalling?”

She sighed. “All right.” She walked back into the director’s, into Charlie’s, office.
Luis followed. When the door was closed, he approached her and, keeping his voice low, said, “Calling another language ‘noise’ is disrespectful.”

She flushed. “I wasn’t calling Spanish noise, but your loud voice is, Agent Delgado.”

Luis could have cheerfully decked her. Instead, he announced, “Tilthos Charles will be here momentarily.”

Her eyes widened for the briefest instant. Then she said, her voice casual, “I wonder why he didn’t text or call me.”

Luis hid a smirk.

There was the muffled sound of tapping, like hard-soled shoes on tile and conversation outside the door, and then the knob turned.

Charlie, looking both tired and exultant, walked in. In his left hand was a briefcase. In his right was his white cane. He smiled at Andrea and walked to Luis. In front of God and everybody, he kissed Luis.

And kissed him.

And kissed him.

 

MORE FROM EMILY AT CHANGELING PRESS …

 

A Daddy for Mika by Shelby Morgen #ChristmasRomance #holidaystories #singlemom

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Published by Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

A woman running from her past. A man with no future. A little boy with one simple Christmas wish.

Mika wants a daddy for Christmas. Deputy Kaden Hunter may be just the Christmas miracle Stevie needs… if the drug dealers and her thieving ex don’t catch up with her first.

Healing may be just one kiss away.

 

Available TODAY at Changeling Press

or pre-order for December 13th at retailers

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REVIEW FROM HARLEY WYLDE…

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ — 5 stars!

If you want a heart-warming story for the holidays, then A Daddy for Mika is a must-read!

You’ve read it all a million times before. Down on her luck single mom, and hunky hero to the rescue. But … Stevie isn’t your typical single mom, and there’s more to Kaden than you at first realize. I thoroughly enjoyed little Mika wrapping the deputy around his finger, and Stevie doing her best to resist the sexy Kaden. My only complaint is that I wanted more… I hope we get to see more of Stevie, Mika, and Kaden in the future.

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Shelby Morgen

It was after two a.m. by the time Stevie scooped a sleeping Mika up out of the chair in Mel’s office and followed Janice out the back door. Her arms ached from the late mop-up and her back hurt from standing at the drive-thru register for the last nine hours, but Mika was full and happy, with a racecar in his pocket, and she had a job. Lord knew how many regulations Mel’d broken putting her right on the floor like that, but he’d written her up as a rehire, even though it had been four years. And really, nothing much had changed. She’d figured out the updated menu buttons long before the after-work crowd had thinned to a trickle.

She crossed the street to the market, devoid now of the outdoor Christmas display and the crowd. And everything else. The parking lot was utterly empty. She stood under the light, staring blankly, unable to comprehend. How could her car not be here? She knew she’d left the car here. Right here. In the front row, near the doors, under the security light. Because it was safe. And easily seen.

And now it was… gone.

It wasn’t a great car. A twelve-year-old Toyota, with over one hundred thousand miles on it, but still. It was a car. It ran. And everything she had left was in that car. What was she going to do now? She couldn’t walk across town to their apartment carrying Mika. Not at night. Not in this weather. It was far too cold. He’d get sick. She couldn’t lose that car. How could you lose a car?

Santa and the children’s train ride were packed away for the night. There were no cars in the employee lot. Everything was quiet now aside from the occasional whistle of the wind that whipped the snowflakes under her hood to sting her cheeks.

Someone had to know where her car was. Stevie pressed her face to the plate glass window. The whole front of the market was dark — even the multicolored Christmas lights outlining the plate glass panes were dark, now, hanging dead and barren like ghosts of Christmas past, but she could see white work lights in the very back. The stock crew worked overnights, when the market was closed. Maybe they parked around back.

It was a business, so there wasn’t any doorbell. She raised her free arm — the one that wasn’t holding Mika tight against her to keep him warm — and smacked her palm on the big glass door. Hard. Hard enough to rattle it a bit and made a dull thud, but nothing anyone in the back would be able to hear. She tried pounding on the door with her fist.

“Hey!” she shouted. “I need my car! Give me back my car!”

“Momma? What’s wrong? Are you OK?”

“I’m fine, baby. Everything’s going to be OK.” She pounded on the window again. “Where is my car, damn it!”

Headlights flashed off the plate glass windows, and a siren blared half a beat, then quit. Stevie turned slowly to face the inevitable. She could feel the tears starting to roll down her cheeks. This day just couldn’t get any worse.

As soon as the thought formed, Stevie knew she’d just challenged Fate to screw with her… again.

* * *

Kaden Hunter parked his patrol car right in front of the market’s main doors, crossways to the fire lane, so his lights lit up the whole storefront. The woman dropped her fist from the plate glass door and turned to face him, her whole body sagging in defeat.

Woman? Hardly more than a girl. A wisp of a thing, but a fighter. He had to hold back a smile. Her hood fell back, and a cloud of red hair as fiery as her temper whipped around her head in the wind. She might have been gorgeous — if she hadn’t looked so exhausted.

What the hell was she doing out here after two a.m. — with a kid on her hip? She didn’t look much more than twenty. Any bartender worth his weight would have carded her. And the boy looked to be three or four. Didn’t she know that little man needed to be in bed asleep?

He moved closer, cautious, his hand near his hip. Trusting the woman as an innocent was the kind of mistake that got police officers killed. He got close enough to see the tears streaming down her face before he spoke. “Deputy Hunter, Sheriff’s department. Mind telling me why you were assaulting this building, ma’am, and at this time of night?”

“My car,” she sobbed. “They took my car.”

He blinked, trying to make sense of what she was saying. “Who took your car?”

“I don’t know. I just need someone to tell me where they took it to.”

“The folks from the Market had it towed? Did you leave it here overnight?”

“No!” She looked around. “I guess they could have thought I did, but Mel has an agreement with them. Or at least he always used to. Late shift parks over here under the lights at night. I filled out an application, but the market wasn’t hiring, so we walked across the street to Debbie’s, and the drive-thru clerk walked off the job just as I was applying, so Mel hired me on the spot, even though he didn’t want to, but he was in a bind and he didn’t have to train me. Then after mop-up we locked up and all I wanted was to go home and get Mika to bed and get some sleep but my car’s gone. And everything I own is in that car.”

He was a sheriff’s deputy, not a social worker. Or a rescuer of damsels in distress. Especially not redheaded banshees who attacked buildings in the middle of the night. But he had a weak spot when it came to redheads — and children. “You were living in the car?”

“No, we’re staying at the Country Inn Efficiencies, on the other side of town, but I don’t trust the place enough to leave anything there anymore, so everything was in the car. I’m such an idiot… I thought it was safer…”

The little boy raised a hand to her cheek. “Don’t cry, Momma. Everything’s going to be OK now. The policeman’s here. He’ll find Mr. Happy.”

Kaden bit his lip. “Mr. Happy? You named the car Mr. Happy?” That sounds more like the name of some kinky sex toy, not…

The little boy shook his head. “No, silly! Mr. Happy’s my pony. He’s in the car. The car’s name is Rollo.”

“Mr. Happy’s a pony… and Rollo…” Kaden rolled his tongue around the child’s nickname to translate. “Corolla?”

Momma nodded.

The visual was just too much. “Let me get this straight. We’re looking for a missing Toyota Corolla with a pony living in the back seat?”

“Yes!” the little boy agreed, bobbing his shaggy blond locks with a waterfall effect.

“No,” Momma answered at the same time, a trace of a smile washing across her tear stained face. “Well, not exactly. Mr. Happy is a stuffed pony. He’s lying down, with his legs all folded up, but he’s so big he takes up most of the back seat. Mika likes to sleep on him.”

And anything that would get a little boy to sleep… that Kaden understood. “OK, then. Tell you what. Let’s go down to the barracks, fill out some paperwork, and we’ll do our best to find Mr. Happy and his Corolla. Soon as we’re done with the paperwork, I’ll get you back to your hotel so you two can get some sleep while we look for them.”

 

MORE FROM SHELBY AT CHANGELING PRESS …

 

 

Naughty or Nice by Harley Wylde #ChristmasRomance #holidaystories #ContemporaryRomance

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Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller

 

My marriage is a sham. I’ve already loved and lost my one and only. Making Carmella Juarez my wife was the only way to save my daughter, but I never intended to stay married. A decade has passed, ten years that I’ve kept my distance, but now it’s time to set things right and free both of us.

I never counted on her being sick and nearly dying. Didn’t count on falling for her as I nursed her back to health. But it’s the Christmas season and what better time for miracles? My heart isn’t as cold and dead as I’d once thought. Carmella has brought me back to life, and now that I’ve had a taste of the tempting woman who wears my ring, I know that I can’t ever let her go.

PreOrder for December 13th at retailers

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Praise for Naughty or Nice (A Bad Boy Romance)

“Naughty and Nice is a great novella where we finally met the woman Casper married to save Isabella.  I wanted to punch Casper in the face for breaking this beautiful woman’s heart.  It takes a near tragedy to open his eyes and see his second chance.  Casper has always been elusive and reclusive.  One wonderful woman changes all of that.  Watch out for the next generation of Dixie Reapers they might be scarier then their dads!”

— 5 Stars from Melissa Toner, Advance Reader Review

 

EXCERPT

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2019 Harley Wylde

Carmella

I stared at the enormous rock on my finger and rubbed the golden band with my thumb. I’d always dreamed of getting married, but not once had I ever considered my special day consisting of marrying a man I didn’t know, leaving the only home I’d ever had, and being utterly and completely alone. My husband was a powerful man, and feared by many. He was also extremely absent in my life. Casper VanHorne had married me, flown me out of Mexico, then dumped me in some mausoleum of a house only to vanish before I’d even unpacked. It wasn’t at all what I’d anticipated. Yes, he was older than me, but I’d looked forward to my marriage. When he’d said he would take care of me, even though love wasn’t part of the deal, I’d imagined we would at least live together.

I’d barely been eighteen when he’d married me. At first, I’d thought that’s why he had left, and that he’d return before long. Then one year passed, and another. In nearly ten years, I hadn’t once seen my husband. It was lonely living here alone. Not to mention, I was twenty-eight and a damn virgin. I was starting to think I would die before ever knowing what it was like to have a man’s hands on me, to feel his cock thrusting inside me. My fevered dreams were likely far from what it would really be like if Casper ever came back and claimed me.

As another sharp stabbing pain made my eyes close and my body crumple, I wondered if my husband would return… before it was too late. I’d sworn the staff to secrecy, even the bodyguard Casper had left to watch over me. I’d grown close to the people who ran the house and protected me, even considered them my friends. When I’d first arrived, I hadn’t been able to speak any English. Now I was fluent and didn’t even use my native tongue anymore.

“Carmella,” I heard Bowen shout.

His strong arms wrapped around me, and I felt my body being lifted and carried, likely into the house. The pain had been worse lately, and coming more frequently. I had a feeling I was on borrowed time, but maybe that was for the best. It wasn’t that I wanted to die, I really didn’t, but I couldn’t help but wonder if my husband would be happier if I were gone. I knew he’d been forced into claiming me in order to save his daughter, a daughter he clearly never wanted me to meet.

I’d thought she was younger until he’d explained she was older than me. He didn’t look anywhere near old enough to have a fully grown child. There were a few lines around his eyes, but hardly a hint of gray in his hair or beard. At least, last time I’d seen him that was the case. I had no idea what he looked like now.

As the pain eased, my eyes fluttered open and a concerned Bowen was peering down at me.

“He needs to know, Carmella.”

“No, he doesn’t. He’s had no interest in me all this time. The last thing I want is him showing up out of pity. I only wish…” I bit my lip, refusing to say the words.

“I know, sweet girl,” Bowen murmured.

We’d grown close over the years, but not in a romantic way. Bowen was more like an older brother than anything else. I gripped his hand as I settled back against my pillows. The frequent headaches that later turned to migraines had started a few years ago, and I’d ignored them at first. After Bowen found me passed out in the sunroom, he’d forced me to go to the doctor. It had only taken one test to discover the tumor lodged in my brain. The doctor had referred me to a neurosurgeon, who had wanted to start treatment immediately in hopes of avoiding surgery, but I’d refused. They said it appeared to be benign, but the pressure it was putting on my brain was the problem. Thankfully, my husband didn’t receive the bills directly. I didn’t know how Bowen and Mrs. Weathers had managed to pay for everything without alerting my husband that something was wrong, but they had and I was grateful.

“I can’t stand to see you like this,” he said. “Please accept the treatment, Carmella. You’re young still and have your entire life ahead of you. What you’re doing is the same as committing suicide.”

“I’m not as strong as I once thought I was,” I admitted. “I endured a lot as the illegitimate daughter of the infamous Miguel Juarez. When Casper made me his wife, I’d thought maybe I was going to have a new life. A family of my own, people who would love me. Then he ran and left me here.”

Bowen squeezed my hand. “I love you, and so does every other person in this house.”

“It’s not the same, Bowen. I’m twenty-eight and I’ve only been on a few dates. The only kiss I ever had was sloppy and gross. I’ve never… I’ve never been held by a man who loved me, never experienced passion. Is it wrong for me to want those things?” I asked.

“Of course not, Carmella. Casper would be here if he knew what you were going through. I have no doubt that he’d come and stay with you, take you to the doctor and convince you to start treatment. Don’t make me watch you die. They said if you act soon enough, surgery likely won’t be needed.”

The doctors had said that even though the tumor wasn’t cancerous it was still life-threatening. If I had something to live for, then I’d fight with everything I had in me. But what would be the point? I was lonely, so damn lonely. I didn’t have a family, and at this rate, I didn’t think I ever would. Bowen and Mrs. Weathers were my friends, but they were also paid to stay with me. I knew they cared, but it was different.

I reached up and cupped his whiskery cheek. “I’m sorry, Bowen. I just don’t have any fight left in me. There’s nothing to fight for.”

I felt his jaw tighten and watched as his eyes narrowed. I had a feeling I hadn’t heard the last from him on the matter. And he wasn’t the only one. The cook, Mrs. Weathers, was of the same mind, and so were the two maids and the butler. I knew they’d come to care about me, and I felt the same, but it wasn’t enough. I was so damn tired. The pain was debilitating on the best of days, and more and more often, it would make me lose control of the right side of my body, sometimes for an entire day.

I released Bowen and rolled to my side, letting the tears fall silently. He sighed and I heard the door click shut behind him. Left alone with my misery I wondered if maybe I was doing the wrong thing. I had no doubt they were right and Casper would be here if he knew something was wrong, but I wanted him here because he wanted to be, because he cared… not because someone tattled and said I was possibly dying. The last thing I wanted to deal with was his guilty conscience, assuming he even had a conscience. I wasn’t completely certain what he did, but if he’d had business with my father, I wasn’t certain he had a moral compass. It wasn’t just that Casper didn’t seem to want me. No one had ever wanted me. My mother hadn’t, and I’d been an embarrassment to my father who had given me to Casper as a business transaction.

What would it be like to be loved? Truly loved?

 

MORE FROM HARLEY AT CHANGELING PRESS …