She was sin on two legs, and he wanted to drown in her wickedness.
The moment Damon Barese lays his gaze on Zaylah Wence, he knew he’d
move heaven and hell to have her. A beautiful siren singing in a sleezy jazz
club owned by one of his enemies. She’s given to him as a peace
offering, but the more time he spends with her, the more he wants to unravel
all her secrets.
A hint of cruelty lay in his gaze.
Zaylah was trapped, a prisoner in a gilded cage as she sang every night for
a man who holds her sister captive. She’s given to Damon, to learn his
secrets, but if she crosses the mafia king no one would ever find her body.
She walks a tightrope between the man she’s becoming enamored with and
the man who controls her.
Could there ever be a happy ever after for the mafia king and his
About the Author
I began reading my mom’s Harlequin Presents in the fifth grade, and
from the first story I knew I wanted to write romance novels. Love is the
most powerful emtion we can experience, and I adore happy ever afters. I
write about the very ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary
circumstance, so my heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors or
corporate highrollers. I try to write characters who aren’t cookie
cutters and push myself to write complicated situations that I have no idea
how to resolve, forcing me to think outside the box. I strive to write
complex characters full of flaws, heroes and heroines who find
redemption through love.
Normally when you say, “I have a stalker,” you think bad thoughts. That wasn’t the kind of stalker Folsom was when it came to Kobe Sano. Folsom liked to call herself a “guardian angel in disguise.”
The first time he catches her attention, he’s been assigned to hunt her down and throw away the key. All she did was steal someone else’s child. Well, embryo, that is. What Kobe doesn’t know, though, is the man that hired him is up to no good, and she has no other choice but to run without looking back.
From that moment on, she spends the rest of her spare time running away from him while also digging into every nook and cranny of his personal life, finding every weakness he has and utilizing it any way she needs to keep herself one step ahead of him.
Only one day, when she goes to do her usual snooping, she finds out that not only is her favorite person in trouble, but he’s also in need of her help.
Too bad it takes her years to find that help.
Her next step is to break him out of the pokey prison-break style.
If she knew he’d go without question, she very well might have.
It didn’t take a genius to know when someone was stalking you. The signs were all there, and they eventually pointed right at Folsom.
When he figures it out, he plans to confront her and maybe address the silent sexual tension that’s been brewing between them for the last few years.
However, right when he’s ready to admit to himself that she might be the one—daughter who intimidates the hell out of him or not—she up and disappears for a year.
In that year, he spends every waking moment searching for her.
And eventually he finds her, confronts her, and is hit in the face with the secrets she’s kept from him for years.
One of which is a big one.
The daughter that she protects with everything she has—the one that he’s come to love with all his heart, just like her mom—is the very abducted child from his one and only unsolved case.
Book Review – 5 stars
Kobe and Folsom are my new favorite couple!
This one has everything… action, suspense, heat, and a precocious child you can’t help but love. As with most of Ms. Vale’s stories, at least one character has a unique health issue — or in this case two of them do. I love that part of these books. It was also amazing to see how much Kobe overcame by the end of the book.
As always, Ms. Vale didn’t disappoint. Hands down an amazing book! She offers an intriguing story, fascinating and well developed characters, and a happy ending that will leave you smiling. What’s not to love?
Disclaimer: I received an ARC and am voluntarily leaving a review. The review above is only my opinion.
Savage Raptors MC, Book 3 – A Dixie Reapers Bad Boys Romance
Motorcycle Club Romance
Date Published: June 23, 2023
Publisher: Changeling Press LLC
Casey — It’s been a year since I showed up on my dad’s doorstep with my
surprise, you have a daughter bomb. He took me in. Gave me the first true
home and family I’ve ever had. But now I want more. There’s been one man
who’s always watching over me. Maui. He’s one of the club’s officers, and so
much older than me. To me, age is just a number. Does he feel the same? Or
is he only taking care of me because I’m his President’s daughter? With
Maui, I want everything, but will he want someone as broken as me?
Maui — I told myself I was too old for her. Tried to just be her friend.
Then I hear her screaming in her sleep, and I realize what types of monsters
she’s been fighting on her own. She needs me, and I need her. Whatever it
takes, Casey and her baby will be mine. But first, I need to get a little
bloody because there’s no way I’m letting anyone live after they’ve hurt my
family. I’ll wipe them off the face of the earth so Casey won’t be scared
anymore. I hope she accepts the darker side of me. Either way, she’s mine
and I’m hers.
WARNING: Content intended for adult readers. Maui contains darker subjects
which might trigger some readers, as well as violence and bad language.
Guaranteed happily ever after. No cheating. No cliffhanger.
Everyone thought Casey would be excited to celebrate her birthday. The
young woman I’d been watching didn’t look like today was the
least bit special. She’d been through hell. If anyone had a right to
not feel like celebrating, it was her. She’d shown up at the
clubhouse, seventeen and pregnant, and I knew it had been a big blow for her
dad. The Pres had never mentioned having a woman, or a kid. I wondered how
long it had festered inside him, hiding all the pain of losing his
During the time I’d spent with Casey since she arrived, I’d
learned quite a bit about her. Like the fact she’d never really
celebrated her birthday, wouldn’t divulge the name of the guy
who’d knocked her up, and she planned to live her life for her
daughter. She’d taken on a lot of responsibility, and I’d done
my best to help her shoulder some of it.
Which was why I found myself on her porch, with Rebel. Atilla and Solena
had sent us over with a note. Basically, we were to let her pick who she
wanted to spend the day with, then give her a memorable birthday. Just not
memorable enough to have Atilla threaten our lives. He’d already made
sure we knew what would happen if we touched his precious daughter.
“You going to knock?” Rebel asked.
“You do it.” I was an asshole. Why did I make him knock?
Because if we woke up Casey, I didn’t want to be the one at
She opened the door and looked like she might drop at any second.
“Hey, guys. Did Dad send you over to get me?”
Rebel flashed her his signature grin, guaranteed to drop panties, and I
fought the urge to throat punch him. Instead, I shoved my hands in my
pockets and let him dig his own grave. She didn’t look ready to handle
his bullshit today.
“You have a choice,” Rebel said. “The note explains
He handed her the envelope. I knew what was inside. A birthday card from
her dad and Solena, along with a message from each. I’d read it as
they’d written it earlier. Atilla had kept things somewhat simple. You
have a choice to make. I asked Rebel to take you to dinner, dancing, and
make sure you had the best birthday ever.
Then there was Solena’s message, which was why I hadn’t dressed
up too much before coming over. Unlike Rebel, who’d styled his hair,
doused himself in cologne, and gone all out. Solena was on my side, and her
message proved it. Maui is there to give you whatever you really need for
your birthday. I doubt it’s a night out on the town like your dad
thinks. But you should know both were threatened with death and
dismemberment if they laid a hand on you.
Casey snickered after reading the card. Good. She needed to laugh
“So, which of us will you be spending the night with?” Rebel
asked, wagging his eyebrows at her suggestively. She shook her head at his
antics. If he wasn’t such a nice guy, I’d have been tempted to
kick his ass right off the porch.
“I hate to disappoint you both, but…”
“You aren’t up for going out,” I said. That meant I had a
better shot at spending time with her than Rebel. “When did you last
“I sleep every night,” she muttered.
“You know what I mean,” I said. “Don’t be a
She sighed and rubbed her hand over her face. “Becca had a fever, and
she’s still having reflux. I still have to be careful if I don’t
want her to throw up her food.”
“She’s eight months now, isn’t she?” I asked.
“Yeah. I’m starting to get her mashed up banana, yogurt, and
other things like that. Those do better with her than the pureed baby food.
Do the two of you want to come in?” Casey asked.
Rebel shook his head. Smart man. “I think I’ll head out. I hope
you’ve had a happy birthday, Casey. I’ll take you out for lunch
Sure he would. Over my dead body. As much as I didn’t want to be one
of those asshole cavemen, when it came to Casey, all bets were off. I
didn’t like how close she’d gotten with Rebel. At the same time,
I knew she needed the support of everyone around her. It felt like I was
caught between a rock and a hard place.
He waved as he stepped off the porch and wandered off into the night. I
studied Casey, wondering if she was still okay with me going inside.
She’d never turned me away, but typically I came over to help with
Becca. Tonight, it would only be the two of us. I’d heard Atilla
offered to babysit. Had he already picked her up? Lately, it felt like
something was building between me and Casey, but I didn’t know if it
was wishful thinking on my part. Casey could have any man she wanted.
For a lot of people, the age gap between us would be too much. As far as I
was concerned, it was just a number. Who the hell cared? As long as it
didn’t bother Casey, then I was fine with it. Her dad might take a
little convincing, although he tried not to be too overbearing after not
being part of her life for so long. As he often said, she’d grown up
just fine without his input.
“You coming in?” she asked, taking a step back.
“Where’s Becca?” I scanned the room as I entered her tiny
home. Solena had mentioned babysitting, but it didn’t mean they
already had her. I’d assumed it was only Casey at home right now, but
it might not be the case. If Becca was here, I wasn’t about to send
“She’s sleeping at Dad’s tonight. Now I know why he took
her.” She patted my arm. “I really appreciate you wanting to
take me out for my birthday. I’m sorry I’m not up for
“It’s your day, Casey. Which means we do whatever you want.
Looks to me like you need some help around here more than you need dinner
and a movie. Although, there’s no reason we can’t still do that
right here.” I rolled up my shirt sleeves. She could relax while I
cleaned, cooked, and prepared a special night for her.
“Are you sure you’re okay with this?” she asked.
“Go take a hot bath or a nap. Your choice. I’ll pick up around
here and get dinner going. Any requests?” I asked.
“No. Anything is fine.” She paused before going into her room.
“Solena brought over a cake this morning. We can have some for
dessert. It has fruit filling and whipped frosting.”
“Already had some?” I smiled, picturing her digging into the
cake. Her cheeks flushed, and she nodded. So damn cute. “Go relax.
I’ll call you when dinner is ready.”
I picked up what little trash I found in the main living areas, emptied her
kitchen garbage can, loaded the dishwasher, and dug through the cabinets to
figure out what I’d cook. I’d just preheated the oven when my
phone started vibrating in my pocket. I’d turned the ringer off, not
wanting anyone to disturb my time with Casey.
Wire’s name flashed across the screen, and I knew I needed to take
“Find something?” I asked. It had been months, and so far,
neither he nor Lavender had dug up anything. Except they said the
guy’s record was too clean, as in it had been doctored by
“Maybe. We know who his closest friends were back then. They
aren’t quite as clean as Casey’s ex. One is currently doing time
for rape. Another left the country, and the third is still in the same town
as Casey’s ex. They have a beer together at least once a
“That’s all?” I asked.
“Lavender has an idea who cleaned the kid’s records. If she can
get in touch with the hacker responsible, and feel him out, we might be able
to put a few pieces of the puzzle together. Just don’t hold your
I whistled. “Man, you mean to tell me there’s something the two
of you can’t do? I’m in shock right now.”
“Shut it, fucker. We aren’t getting any younger, and some of
the fresh blood out there is nearly as good as we were at their age. Give
them time, and a few might surpass us.”
“Keep me posted. It’s her eighteenth birthday today, so
I’m at her place making dinner. If I don’t answer, I’ll
call back when I can.”
I ended the call and put my phone away before working on dinner again.
I’d found bell pepper and onion in the fridge, as well as hamburger
meat and shredded cheese. While Casey didn’t seem to have any taco
shells, I’d found some taco bowls. I baked them in the oven while I
browned the meat and veggies, seasoning it enough to add some flavor without
making it too strong for Casey. Cilantro lime rice was the next thing to
start. Dinner might not be fancy, but I knew it was something she liked,
since I’d made it for her before. Unless she’d lied to spare my
feelings. Too late to worry about it now.
Once everything was done, I set the table and called out to her.
“Casey, dinner is done.”
“I’ll be there in a minute,” she said.
I hadn’t realized she’d come out of her room and gone into the
bathroom until I heard the water sloshing before the sound of the tub
draining. I cleared my throat and adjusted myself. The thought of her
standing just one room away, and naked, had my cock’s full attention.
Last thing I needed was to sport wood when she came out of there. She might
very well run screaming from the house.
Since I’d never cared much for sweet tea, Casey always kept some soda
stocked. She’d offered to keep beer in the fridge for the times I
dropped by, but I wasn’t a big drinker. Not to mention I didn’t
want to drink around Becca. My brother had driven his car off the side of a
winding highway, down an embankment, and into the ocean. He’d been
drunk off his ass and the accident had kept me from alcohol for a long time.
I had the occasional drink with my club brothers, but it didn’t happen
I set out a soda for me and a glass of tea for Casey. She came to the table
wearing an off-the-shoulder top and leggings. Barefoot. The woman was
driving me crazy, and she wasn’t even trying.
About the Author
Harley Wylde is an International Bestselling Author of MC Romances. When
Harley’s writing, her motto is the hotter the better — off-the-charts sex,
commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk
dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the
right place. She doesn’t shy away from the dangers and nastiness in the
world, bringing those realities to the pages of her books, but always gives
her characters a happily-ever-after and makes sure the bad guys get what
Author’s Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook: @harleywylde
Author on Twitter: @HarleyW_Writer
Publisher on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: @changelingpress
Bellarose — My drive to my new job didn’t go as planned. Me and my
“photographic memory” got lost, ending up on a private road in
the middle of Nowhere, Indiana. Worse, I got a flat. And it was getting
dark. When a dangerous, sexy biker stops to help, I’m not sure if
I’m fortunate or not. Double that when I find myself mashed against
said dangerous, sexy biker with him kissing me like he wants to devour me.
Then things get really weird.
Atlas — I’m in so much trouble. Not only in the girl in my care the
most enchanting woman I’ve ever encountered, she’s the daughter
of one of the richest men in the world who happens to also be one third of
the Shadow Demons. Which means, that kiss I stole might have signed my death
warrant. Every instinct I have is telling me I need to call in my brothers
to get her out and end the operation I’ve been deeply embedded in for
months. But my little hellion has other ideas. I just hope we haven’t
waited too long. If I have, we’re both dead.
WARNING: Graphic violence, adult situations, and references to human
trafficking and domestic abuse that may be triggers for some readers. Happy
ending and, as always, no cheating.
What a fucking mess. This fucking club in Terre Haute was rotten to the
fucking core. I knew enough about it to make it implode with all the secret
deals going on inside, but I hadn’t been given the go ahead from
Sting, our president. Iron Tzars was an old MC, dating back to World War II.
Back then, they’d been off-the-radar Nazi hunters. Meaning, they
killed any they found and didn’t ask permission from anyone to do it.
Now we hunt down pedophiles and human trafficking rings. Occasionally we
infiltrate domestic terrorist organizations, but most of those are on the
government radar, and we let the FBI and ATF do their thing. This bunch,
They were as sadistic a bunch as I’d ever seen. Not only did they
have their hands into the obligatory guns and drugs, the women and girls
they took weren’t trafficked. Oh no. They kept them. Used them. It had
put me in a tenuous position because I couldn’t keep my cover at the
expense of innocents. With the help of my brothers at Iron Tzars, I’d
managed to pull all of the underaged girls out — there weren’t many,
thank God. There were two other women still in the compound. One was happy
to be there. Said so herself as she took one man after another with a smile
on her face. The other one… wasn’t in good enough shape to
express her wishes.
That had been two months ago. Nothing had changed except I’d gotten
the leader of this bunch to leave the unwilling woman alone. It
wouldn’t last long, though. The willing woman was fast becoming an
unwilling woman. Which meant I’d run out of time.
I drove down the road back to the compound. The bike I was on was an older
chopper, but it was still a Harley, if heavily customized. It wasn’t
my own bike, but I tried to still treat it with respect. The meeting
I’d just had, the plans being put into action, had me on the extreme
edge. Which was likely why I nearly missed the woman crouched on her knees
beside a new-model Ford on the side of the road.
I swerved, and I thought I heard her scream. Pulling over to the side of
the road, I looked back over my shoulder. She was flat on her ass, gasping
for breath. When she glanced in my direction, she scrambled to her feet and
snagged the tire iron next to the car, holding it like a baseball bat.
With a scowl, I turned the bike around and drove the hundred feet or so
back to her car before stopping and shutting it off.
“Did I hit you?” Despite my worries, I never wanted to hurt an
innocent. The mere fact I hadn’t seen her until I was right on top of
her showed how distracted I’d been. A mistake like that could get me
killed in this fucking club.
“I — I…”
“Come on, girl! Are you hurt?” I snarled the question like a
demand. Which it was. She took a step backward and rounded the back of the
vehicle, putting the car between me and her.
“Don’t come any closer! I know how to use this!”
I couldn’t help but snort. “That thing probably weighs more
than you do. Now, tell me if I hit you with the bike, li’l
She shook her head slightly. “No.”
I glanced at the driver’s-side rear tire. Sure enough, it was flat.
“Do you need help?” Again, she shook her head but didn’t
relax one bit. I sighed, scrubbing a hand over my beard. I didn’t need
this. Not now. “Look. We got off on the wrong foot. I shouldn’t
have snarled at you. I didn’t think I’d hit you, but even if
I’d clipped you, you could have been hurt. It scared me as much as I
scared you. Now. Are you sure you’re OK?” I tried to soften my
tone when it wasn’t my nature. Women usually looked at my size, tats,
beard, and muscles and ran straight into my arms, begging for a hard
fucking. I had no interest in any woman who didn’t.
I barked out a laugh. “I hate it when women do that, girl.
You’re not fine. I scared you to death.”
“It’s all right. You said it scared you too.” Her voice
was soft and lyrical, wrapping around my insides like silken ties. What the
fuck was wrong with me? I wasn’t hard up for female companionship. In
fact, until I’d been planted in this fucking club, I’d had a
different woman practically every night. More than one sometimes. Now, a
little bit of timid innocence was burrowing inside me within a few seconds?
“Not the point.” I raised my open hands in a non-threatening
gesture. “At least let me change your tire. Can I come
Finally, she lowered the tire iron slowly. “I suppose so. If
you’re sure you don’t mind.” She was so small I had doubts
she could hold the damned thing for much longer anyway.
“I don’t mind at all. It’s the least I can do for nearly
running you over. Besides, I don’t leave women alone to fend for
themselves. No matter how much they don’t trust me.” I’d
meant the last to be a small joke. To lighten the mood. Because the fear on
her face in the fading light hit me viscerally. I didn’t like her
thinking I’d hurt her or meant her ill will. That was the last thing I
wanted after what I’d been through the last few months.
“I appreciate the help.”
I knelt by the car, positioning the jack properly before inserting the jack
handle and cranking to raise the car. “What are you doing on this
road? It’s pretty out of the way. Not many folks live around
here.” Because the club I was currently embedded in kept everyone out
of their territory through terror and destruction.
“I got turned around,” she said as she squatted beside me,
holding the lug wrench at the ready. “I realized I was in the wrong
place when the road went from four lanes to two. I don’t remember
passing another road, but I might have missed it.”
“Where you headed?”
About the Author
Erotic romance author by night, emergency room tech/clerk by day, Marteeka
Karland works really hard to drive everyone in her life completely and
totally nuts. She has been creating stories from her warped imagination
since she was in the third grade. Her love of writing blossomed throughout
her teenage years until it developed into the totally unorthodox and
irreverent style her English teachers tried so hard to rid her of.
The woman that’d been hounding my every step since the day she was born. From the moment we first comforted each other in the hospital, to the day that I left her to follow her dreams, I knew that she was my one.
Through marriage, divorce, and a prison sentence, I had low expectations when it came to her ever coming around to my way of life. What kind of woman wanted a man that’d been to prison, had a child that disliked him and everything he stood for, and had zero prospects in life?
But then she popped into my life again, and that feeling of suffocation slacked off for the first time since I let her go.
The first time I tried to come back to Aodhan, I found him married with a kid on the way.
The second time I tried, he was heading to jail.
As one would say, the third time is the charm, right? Wrong.
The third time, he was divorced, fresh from prison, had a kid, and was again with his ex-wife.
That was the final nail in my coffin. I decided to give up.
I would do anything and everything I could to avoid him. Hiding wasn’t beneath me.
I only wish he’d stuck with my plan, because the moment he sees me again, it’s like he’s seen the light. Avoiding him is impossible when he goes out of his way to insinuate himself into every aspect of my life.
If only life was as perfect as my dreams.
My Review – 5 stars
The Voices Are Back was an enjoyable read that hooked me from the beginning. For me, this seemed a little lighter on suspense and action than of Ms. Vale’s books, and heavier on the dramatic. It didn’t detract from the story in any way. In fact, it’s what worked best for these particular characters.
We once again have a perfectly imperfect heroine with health issues. It’s a common theme with Ms. Vale’s books, and one that works for her. I like that her characters have issues more complex than the usual things you find in romances. Despite Morr’s POTS, she doesn’t let it hold her back. Sure, there are things she can’t do without harming herself or others, but she finds a “new” normal and keeps moving forward.
I thought the romance between her and Aodan was so sweet! There was heat, but there was so much more to their love story than just sex. They’d had a connection all their lives. I cheered them on from the very beginning, anxious to see how their happily ever after would unfold.
If you’re looking for a dramatic romance, with a timeless love, and secondary characters that will add to the comedy and theatrics, then you can’t go wrong with The Voices Are Back!
*Disclaimer: I received an ARC and am voluntarily leaving a review. The review above is only my opinion.
Published by Changeling Press Cover Artist: Marteeka Karland Genres/Themes: Motorcycle Club Romance, Suspense, Age Gap
Talia — Helping one of my students out of a bad situation shouldn’t have been a life altering event. But the second Doc meets us in nothing but jeans and motorcycle boots, I know I’ll never look at any other man the same way. I knew Caroline’s father was sexy, but he’s a well-established physician in the community as well as a member of Salvation’s Bane MC. As the daughter of Grim Road MC’s president, I know that’s a line I can’t cross. All I can do is look from afar. Maybe it’s time to break some rules…
Doc — When my daughter Caroline shows up in a beat-up Ford, I’m prepared to have me a little chat with some boy who needs a lesson. Instead, an angel emerges from the driver’s side, and I’m a goner. Of course, life is never that easy. The girl is the daughter of an MC in the area that flies under the radar. Grim Road MC is even more secretive than Salvation’s Bane. Whatever they do must be dangerous, because the next thing I know, her Dad is telling me to make her my ol’ lady. And my wife. Good thing I’ve already decided to do both.
WARNING: Graphic violence, adult situations, and references to human trafficking and domestic abuse that may be triggers for some readers. Happy ending and no cheating, as always.
Fifteen minutes later, Chucky still hadn’t answered her text, and Linnie hadn’t answered mine. Not surprising, since Trix took every phone I gave her and pawned them. Linnie had a burner phone for emergencies, but if she wasn’t in trouble, she might not even have it on.
“I swear to God, Trix, if something has happened to Linnie…”
“She’s fine, Jude,” Trix snapped at me. But her brows were knitted together, and she was calling Chucky over and over. Apparently it was going straight to voicemail.
“Dad!” Linnie called out to me from the parking lot. I hadn’t noticed her right away because the car she got out of wasn’t the car she was supposed to be getting out of. Instead of the sleek red Mercedes I knew Chucky usually drove, she got out of a light blue Taurus. Car had to be at least fifteen years old. Judging by the slight trail of smoke coming from under the hood, the poor thing had had it.
Relief flooded me, but I did my best not to let it show. Instead, I lifted my hand and waved to my daughter, plastering a big welcoming smile on my face. “Hey, sweet Caroline!” There you go, Trix. She wanted me to use Linnie’s given name? I hoped she never got the song out of her head.
Linnie ran around the front of the car to the driver’s side. She appeared to be begging the person driving to get out of the car. I was prepared for some sixteen- or seventeen-year-old punk wanting to date my daughter. It was bound to happen sooner or later, though I’d hoped she’d be at least forty when it did. What I wasn’t prepared for was the slender beauty who stood and allowed Linnie to snag her hand and lead her toward me. Wasn’t expecting this. If this was Linnie’s girlfriend, I was so fucking fucked, because I was sure it was bad form for a man to lust after his daughter’s girlfriend.
The woman was young. Probably barely out of her teens, if that. She had long, jet-black hair that hung down her back in tight spirals, shimmering with bluish-silver highlights in the sun. The breeze blowing off the sea made all that shining silk blow to one side and whip around her body with every sudden gust. Her skin was pale, a sharp contrast to the gleaming ebony hair. She wore pink shorts with large yellow flowers on them and a short-sleeved white T-shirt. The same flower in pink was inlaid with a smaller, identical flower in yellow. Definitely one of Linnie’s friends, romantic or otherwise. Which meant I needed to look the fuck away. Because, no matter how young she looked or dressed, something in me noticed the woman beneath. Even if she was trying to hide that woman.
“Dad! Dad!” Linnie waved as she tried to run with her friend in our direction. The woman with her, however, refused to follow Linnie’s lead willingly. She looked reluctant as hell to come near us. Every now and then, her gaze fell on me, and she’d immediately look away. Kept coming back to me, though. Like she couldn’t decide whether or not to be afraid of me. “I want you to meet my teacher.”
That got my attention. This lovely young woman was most certainly not Janet Wankum. Which made me wonder exactly how old this girl was. If she were Linnie’s teacher wouldn’t she be at least eighteen? No. Not necessarily. This was a private music class. This could be another student further along than Linnie helping out Ms. Wankum. I couldn’t help but let my gaze sweep over the girl again in a more thorough perusal. Thank God for sunglasses. Surprisingly, I recognized her. Should have by the hair, but she always kept it in a bun at the base of her skull. Though I hadn’t known she was a teacher, I knew she was a stellar musician. I remembered seeing her play various instruments from the piano to the guitar and violin. Thought she played the flute too, but I wasn’t sure. What I hadn’t realized at the time was how stunningly lovely she really was.
Yep. She was luscious, her eyes a gleaming silver that seemed to look into a man’s soul. Her body was slender yet filled out to perfection. Her breasts were small, but with her compact body and finely muscled thighs, she gave the appearance of someone athletic. Maybe that of a delicate ballerina. Not a musician.
“This is Talia. Her dad’s in an MC too.”
I’d seen her with the younger kids, helping them with all the patience of a woman twice her age. I’d caught her staring at me more than once, but she never approached me or gave me the indication she was anything other than afraid of me. I also thought I knew her father. Which probably explained her trepidation. If she lived in a biker compound, she’d be wary of another MC member.
“Rocket? From Grim Road?”
Her lips parted in surprise, and her pale gaze met mine briefly before she lowered her eyes submissively. Goddamn if my cock didn’t give a jerk.
“Yes,” she said with a quick nod. “Rocket is my dad. You know him?”
“I do. Good man. Leads his club well.”
“Of course, you know
that outlaw,” Trix spat. “He’s a thug, and that girl is as bad as he is. She’s trying to steal Janet’s students.” Trix lunged for Linnie, trying to pull her away from Talia. My daughter gave her mother an impatient look and shrugged her off.
“Mom, Ms. Janet asked Talia to help. She has more students than she can handle but doesn’t want to drop anyone. Since Talia is the most advanced of any of us, she helps. Ms. Janet has us two days a month and so does Talia.”
“I’m not paying for this little… tramp to sit back and play on her phone while you have another practice session.” Trix nearly spat the word “tramp.” “You can practice at home, Caroline. From now on, you’ll let me know what days you’re supposed to be with Janet, and those are the days you’ll go.”
Caroline looked like her mother had slapped her. “Mom! I can’t believe you said that! Besides, I know Dad’s the one paying for my lessons, because he gives me money for them every week I’m with him.” She stepped away from Beatrix and snagged Talia’s hand again. The older girl tried to twist free, but Linnie was having none of it. “Talia is a wonderful teacher. Even Ms. Janet says so.” Linnie looked at me with pleading eyes. “Daddy, Talia’s not like Mom says.”
“It’s all right, Caroline.” Talia spoke softly, patting Linnie on the shoulder and gently tugging her hand away. “Not everyone understands my dad or our way of life. I’m used to it.”
The girl turned to go, but Caroline was persistent. “Please don’t go yet, Talia. You promised to eat dinner with us. Remember?”
“I said I’d think about it.” She glanced at her watch. It wasn’t a fancy watch like the kind that connects to your phone, but one that looked vintage grandma. Tiny face. Elastic metal band. “I’m sorry, but I really need to go.” To say Talia looked supremely uncomfortable was an understatement. She wouldn’t look at Beatrix at all and only cast furtive glances my way. Mostly she had her head down.
“Daddy?” Linnie gave me a pleading look, like she thought I had the power to keep her friend with us. When my little girl gave me that look, there was no denying her. Good idea or not.
“It’s all right, Talia. Trix was just leaving. You’re more than welcome to join Linnie and me for supper.”
God help me, the girl’s head snapped up, and she looked at me with wide, startled eyes before glancing at Trix again and lowering her gaze. “I’m sorry. But I really can’t. I was supposed to go straight home. I’ll be in trouble as it is.”
“I’ll make things right with your dad, but tell me why you disobeyed him? Did Linnie ask you to bring her here?” I wanted Trix to hear this. Whatever it was. Because, again, I already knew the answer. It didn’t take a genius to figure it out.
“No. She didn’t ask. And don’t worry about my dad. I’ll be in trouble, but I know the rules. I’ll tell him what happened and let him be the judge of if I was right or wrong.”
“Lia…” I deliberately shortened her name, making it intimate so she’d look up at me again. It worked, though I thought I might fall to my knees the second her gaze locked with mine. The girl was stunningly lovely and so Goddamned innocent I knew I was going to hell for all the dirty thoughts I’d have about her tonight. “Who asked you to bring Linnie to me at the beach?”
“Mr. Rothschild, sir.”
ABOUT MARTEEKA KARLAND
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.
Jolene – My life wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t have any real complaints — until something went horribly wrong and one of my potions blew up, killing my husband. Raising our son on my own hasn’t been easy. Grief and guilt keep getting in my way. But a certain biker keeps stopping by to lend a helping hand. Is it wrong I wish he’d do more than fix my porch steps?
Alan – I knew Jolene was mine, even when she belonged to someone else. Now that she’s single, I might have a chance. I can’t rush this, though. Not after what she’s been through. Not till I’m sure she’s ready. I’ll take my time, build a friendship with her, then lay all my cards on the table. Only one problem. I didn’t count on traffickers hitting our little town. Everything’s gone sideways. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep my new family safe, even if I have to get my hands dirty.
WARNING: This is a Dixie Reapers Shifter MC story and contains bad language, violence, and adult situations. Recommended for adult readers 18+.
When Harley’s writing, her motto is the hotter the better — off-the-charts sex, commanding men, and the women who can’t deny them. If you want men who talk dirty, are sexy as hell, and take what they want, then you’ve come to the right place. She doesn’t shy away from the dangers and nastiness in the world, bringing those realities to the pages of her books, but always gives her characters a happily-ever-after and makes sure the bad guys get what they deserve.
ABOUT JESSICA COULTER SMITH
Award-winning author Jessica Coulter Smith has been in love with the written word since she was a child writing her first stories in crayon. Today she’s a multi-published author of over seventy-five novellas and novels. Romance is an integral part of her world and she firmly believes that love will find you at the right time, even if Mr. Right is literally out of this world.
Raya — Elias kidnapped me nearly a decade ago and used me for his awful
experiments. His goal: to create a superior race. How could that possibly go
wrong? Now I’m no longer fully human and I’ve lived a life in
hell. But I adore my two kids, no matter how they were conceived. I thought
we’d die before we ever found freedom, but it arrived in the most
unexpected way. The big biker shifter is scary as hell, but it’s
either go with him, or remain chained and starving.
Henry — The dark mage killed my mate and unborn child. There’s
nothing I want more than revenge. It never occurred to me he’d have a
woman and kids chained in his cellar. They reek of black magick, enough so,
I hated them on sight. I’d planned to leave them behind. Until I heard
their story. My club won’t be happy when I walk in with three people
covered in the stench of black magick. But something unexpected happens when
I catch Raya’s true scent. She’s my fated mate, and now I have
the difficult task of not only gaining her trust, but the children’s
WARNING: Contains subject matter some readers may find difficult to read.
Recommended for ages 18+ due to adult situations, bad language, and
violence. Guaranteed happily-ever-after, no cheating, and no
Elias paced the small cabin. I didn’t know why we’d come here.
He’d spoken about this town before. Many times. I knew a shifter
nearly killed him thirty years ago. Fatally wounded, he’d escaped to a
community of mages, where they’d healed him. It had taken years for
him to regain his health and full power. He’d often bragged about
Why return now? He’d dragged us all over the country. At first,
I’d thought he was running from something. Now I wondered if
he’d simply been heading toward Wolf Creek. Even though I’d been
with him for years, he never confided in me. Not about anything important.
There was no reason for it, since I was little more than a prisoner. His
I heard the chains clink in the cellar and fought not to wince. It
wouldn’t be long before I joined them. My babies. No matter how
they’d been conceived, I’d love them with all my heart until the
day I died. They were my reason for living. And the only way Elias
maintained control over me all this time. If it weren’t for my
precious children, I’d have run before now.
“It’s nearly time,” he muttered. “I’ll take
her just like the others. I’m sure she’ll be useful. Stupid
fucking dhampir doesn’t know why I invited him to Wolf Creek.
Everything is falling into place.”
Her? I didn’t know who he was talking about, and I would not ask. And
a dhampir? Did he mean the man I’d heard him speaking to a few times?
It didn’t matter. The less I knew, the better. I’d learned that
the hard way. Although, his words bothered me a great deal. Was he going to
enslave someone else? I reached up to lightly touch the collar around my
throat. I hadn’t been the first, nor the last. However, I’d been
the only woman to survive.
Elias not only used black magick, but he also liked to experiment.
He’d abducted countless women across the globe, all in the name of
creating a better species. It wasn’t something recent, either. From
what I’d learned during my time with him, he’d been working on
this project for decades. Even before he’d fled Wolf Creek thirty
years ago. I didn’t know what made me so special. Why had I survived
when others hadn’t?
I lifted my hand and stared at my fingers. Even now, black tendrils of
smoke shifted around the digits. I’d been completely human until Elias
snatched me off the street. Through pain and suffering, he’d infused
me with some of his black magick. I couldn’t actually use it, but it
had become part of my cellular structure, which meant I passed those traits
to my children, which had been his intent all along.
“It’s time.” He rubbed his hands together, a wide smile
on his face. “Into the basement. You know the rules. Keep your mouth
shut. But first… I’m going to prep you for a special guest
arriving within the next two days.”
I knew exactly what that meant. He removed a syringe from his pocket and
injected me with the serum that would make me mindless with need. While he
preferred for me to get pregnant without it, and enjoyed hearing me scream
in pain, he’d used this on me several times before. I honestly thought
he got off on hearing me beg for someone to fuck me. At least, it
didn’t take effect immediately.
Elias tossed the syringe aside and gave me a shove, and I walked to the
hidden door. He opened it and I went down the steps into what I assumed had
once been a root cellar. My children perked up when they saw me. Elias
followed me into the hole, attaching a chain to my collar. I held open my
arms and my babies ran to me. Their chains barely reached, but we were close
enough I could hold them.
I smoothed the hair of my precious little girl, Marigold, and kissed the
forehead of my son, Logan. Mari had not only inherited some of the black
magick, but she’d also gained her father’s ability to shift. As
for Logan, he only had black magick. His father had been a dark mage like
“I’m scared,” Mari said.
I hugged her tight and wished I could ease her fears. Instead, I did my
best to tamp down my own. I didn’t think we’d ever escape Elias.
One day, he’d sell my children. When I became useless, he’d kill
me. As it was, I’d lost the last two babies. I knew he was searching
for another male to impregnate me. He’d desperately wanted a baby that
was half vampire and half dark mage. It seemed my body rejected the
vampire’s offspring, as both babies came from the same male.
“When I’m older, I’m going to get us out of here,”
Logan said. “With my magick, I’ll take down Elias and free us
from this prison.”
I placed my fingers over his lips. “Hush, sweetheart. If he hears you
say such a thing…”
He nodded, understanding what I meant. I hated that my children had to grow
up so quickly. They’d never been able to play, make friends, or enjoy
their lives. If I thought it would be possible to run away with them,
I’d have done it long ago. But I knew Elias would hunt us down and
The door upstairs slammed, and the tension in my body eased. At least he
would be gone for a while. I felt bad for whatever woman he’d lured to
this town. Would her fate be the same as mine? I hoped not. I didn’t
wish this existence on anyone.
Mari began humming The Itsy Bitsy Spider, and I rocked her. Logan slumped
against my side and stared at the opposite wall. Elias hadn’t even
left us with anything to occupy ourselves while he was gone. There’d
been times he’d left a rubber ball or a pack of crayons and a coloring
book. I knew it wasn’t out of the kindness of his black heart.
He’d claimed it made the children less whiny and more tolerable.
“One day, if we’re ever free of Elias, you’ll get to
enroll in school so you can learn new things. You’ll make friends.
Play outside. Go to the movie theater, the park, learn to swim. We’ll
have so much fun.” I smiled wistfully, thinking of all they’d
missed out on, and the things I’d taken for granted before Elias
“Do you really think we’ll ever get away from him?” Logan
My heart ached at the despair in his voice. My little angel already knew
the answer. No matter how much I’d tried to instill hope in my
children, Logan somehow knew we’d be the property of Elias until he
either sold us or killed us.
I couldn’t answer him, refusing to lie.
Mari dozed a bit, and even Logan closed his eyes for a little while. Every
second was even more agonizing, because time stretched endlessly in the
cellar. At least the lightbulb hadn’t gone out. The dim light helped
little, but it dispelled some of the darkness. Being locked down here in
absolute blackness would have been much worse.
Mari whimpered in her sleep, waking Logan. I smoothed her hair and murmured
to her, hoping to ease whatever nightmare she might be having. Logan blinked
and rubbed his eyes before sitting up a little straighter. I knew he’d
fight to stay awake now. My little boy had grown up entirely too fast.
Mari woke twice and dozed off again each time. While she napped, I told
Logan a story. Mari liked the romantic fairy tales about princes. Logan,
however, wanted action and adventure. His favorites were tales of pirates or
explorers. So I talked about One-Eyed Willie, Captain Jack, and the others
I’d watched in movies when I’d still had my freedom. He ate up
every word, and it helped pass the time.
My stomach rumbled, and so did the children’s. Mari woke again,
yawning and leaning away from me a little. I knew she wouldn’t fall
asleep again anytime soon. Every time the monster who owned us made her go
hungry, she’d be awake for hours. Unlike Logan, who said sleep made
him feel less hungry.
Elias hadn’t left us with any food or water. A bucket in the corner
served as a toilet, but none of us had been desperate enough to use it
today. We’d each had a chance earlier to use the bathroom upstairs to
relieve ourselves and clean up a little.
“He’s been gone a while,” Logan said. “He
didn’t forget us, did he? I’m not sure starving to death is much
better than suffering whatever he’s planned for us.”
With no windows, I couldn’t tell what time of day it was by now.
However, my butt had gone numb from sitting on the hard ground. I had to
have been down here for more than an hour. I listened intently, wondering if
Elias had managed to quietly return. Minutes ticked by, and when I was going
to give up, I heard booted steps. They seemed to scout the entire
Would they find the hidden door to the cellar? Did we want them to? I
caught Logan’s gaze, and he gave me a slight nod. Whatever he sensed
or smelled seemed to make him feel as if the person upstairs wouldn’t
“Help! Please, we’re down here!” I yelled as loud as I
could. By the fifth time I’d called out, the door at the top of the
stairs opened and a large silhouette moved toward us. My breath caught when
the man approached. I couldn’t tell his age and depending on what he
was, he could have been hundreds of years old and still appeared
“What the fuck?” he muttered. His gaze narrowed on me before
shifting to my children. I held them tighter, wondering if I’d made a
mistake by calling for help. “Who are you?”
Author Contact Links
Harley Wylde on Facebook , TikTok, Instagram: @harleywylde
Jessica Coulter Smith on Instagram: @jessica_coulter_smith
Raya — Elias kidnapped me nearly a decade ago and used me for his awful experiments. His goal: to create a superior race. How could that possibly go wrong? Now I’m no longer fully human and I’ve lived a life in hell. But I adore my two kids, no matter how they were conceived. I thought we’d die before we ever found freedom, but it arrived in the most unexpected way. The big biker shifter is scary as hell, but it’s either go with him, or remain chained and starving.
Henry — The dark mage killed my mate and unborn child. There’s nothing I want more than revenge. It never occurred to me he’d have a woman and kids chained in his cellar. They reek of black magick, enough so, I hated them on sight. I’d planned to leave them behind. Until I heard their story. My club won’t be happy when I walk in with three people covered in the stench of black magick. But something unexpected happens when I catch Raya’s true scent. She’s my fated mate, and now I have the difficult task of not only gaining her trust, but the children’s as well.
WARNING: Contains subject matter some readers may find difficult to read. Recommended for ages 18+ due to adult situations, bad language, and violence. Guaranteed happily-ever-after, no cheating, and no cliffhanger.
∙∘☽ SNEAK PEEK ☾∘∙
Copyright 2023, Harley Wylde
“He’s been gone a while,” Logan said. “He didn’t forget us, did he? I’m not sure starving to death is much better than suffering whatever he’s planned for us.”
With no windows, I couldn’t tell what time of day it was by now. However, my butt had gone numb from sitting on the hard ground. I had to have been down here for more than an hour. I listened intently, wondering if Elias had managed to quietly return. Minutes ticked by, and when I was going to give up, I heard booted steps. They seemed to scout the entire house.
Would they find the hidden door to the cellar? Did we want them to? I caught Logan’s gaze, and he gave me a slight nod. Whatever he sensed seemed to make him feel as if the person upstairs wouldn’t harm us.
“Help! Please, we’re down here!” I yelled as loud as I could. By the fifth time I’d called out, the door at the top of the stairs opened and a large silhouette moved toward us. My breath caught when the man approached. I couldn’t tell his age and depending on what he was, he could have been hundreds of years old and still appeared young.
“What the f**k?” he muttered. His gaze narrowed on me before shifting to my children. I held them tighter, wondering if I’d made a mistake by calling for help. “Who are you?”
“A slave,” I said. “And these are my children.”
He scented the air, and a low growl came from him. “Dark mages.”
I shook my head. “No. At least, not entirely. If you could please release us and get us upstairs, I’ll tell you everything.”
Did you miss book one? Click the cover to find out more…
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