Monday, September 30, 2019

Welcome to Pucker Up Monday. It's not what you think, lol. Since Mondays do tend to suck, I though I'd try to start the week off right for y'all.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Finicky Friday - White Chicken Enchiladas

Yield: 4 people


  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheddar cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas soft shells
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 4 oz can of diced green chiles
  • 2 cups shredded chicken about 1 big chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Cook/shred your chicken breast and mix it with 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  • Lay 8 tortillas out and fill each one with the chicken mixture making sure they are all even. Roll them up tightly and put them in a greased 9×13 baking dish.
  • In a saucepan, melt the butter and add in the 3 tbsp of flour. Mix and cook for about one minute.
  • Add in the 2 cups of chicken broth, whisking until it’s a smooth consistency. Whisk over medium heat until it is thick and creamy (usually takes about 5-8 minutes).
  • Mix in the sour cream, salt/pepper, and the can of chilies to the pan.
  • Pour the creamy sauce over the rolled up tortillas evenly.
  • Add 1 cup of the cheddar cheese over the top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown. Add salsa or cilantro and you’re ready to eat!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Welcome Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga!

Land of Enchantment 
By Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga 

Book Link (It's in KU right now):

East meets west. City meets country. Though there’s no denying opposites attract, can a college kid from New Jersey and a New Mexican cowboy learn to speak the same language, let alone trust each other?

When Mason Wild heads west to escape his past, he doesn’t have a plan or a penny to his name. Luckily he finds a job with a roofing company run by a rodeo cowboy who’s kind, easy to work for, and even with his jaw wired shut, hotter than July in the high desert.

Bull rider Levi Yost knows what it’s like to be down on his luck. He’s not much older than Mason, but he’s been around the block a few times, or at least around the rodeo arena. He takes a chance on the kid, giving him a job and a place to live on his ranch. The two of them discover a surprising amount of common ground, but trouble has a way of finding each of them. Mason has to learn to be fully honest with Levi, who in turn has to realize he’s not just riding out for himself anymore.


Chapter One
Mason Wild’s first stop after leaving New Jersey was a rest area west of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he met a truck driver in the men’s room who was headed down Interstate 81 toward Roanoke. It was the farthest away from home he’d ever been.
He had a little money on him but not much, and he had to stretch it pretty far because it was slow going finding rides after that until he’d passed through Knoxville and Nashville and landed in Jackson, Tennessee. By then he was a kind of hungry he’d never been in his whole life. He asked around, found some day work, and stayed there two days, keeping his head down and moving rocks around. It was shit money, but it was better than nothing, and nobody cared what his name was.
From Jackson he hitched a ride to Memphis. He was doing his best to be a good passenger, be polite like his mom taught him and just keep his stupid mouth shut. That was hard. He usually liked people and could talk about whatever when he wanted to, but right now he didn’t want to be too memorable.
Outside Memphis, he finally found a truck driver who was on a long haul. The guy was headed all the way to El Paso, and Mason figured what the hell, that was pretty damn far away, right? On the way, while the driver talked on and on for hours, he looked out the window as everything he understood disappeared in the rearview mirror and the world around him got flatter and drier. It felt like he spent weeks in that truck.
When he got to El Paso, he lucked into a stretch of work gutting some houses in town, but man, that was a long week. It was hot out and not only did the guys he was working with all seem to know each other, but they all knew what they were doing too. He knew some Spanish—you didn’t grow up in North Jersey and not know some Spanish—but apparently only enough local slang to figure out when he was being made fun of. Still, he was pretty much the biggest guy on the job, and he managed to hold his own even if they didn’t like his sneakers.
Mason hated them lately too. Everybody he knew wore sneakers at home, but out here, not only did he stand out as a city kid, but they were totally useless. He demolished a kitchen with a couple of guys one morning and stepped on a screw sticking up out of a cabinet door. It went right through his sole but luckily not into his foot. After that he spent half his time making sure he didn’t step on anything else or drop anything on his toes either. He couldn’t afford to do the hospital thing.
He was pretty sure he had enough money for some decent boots now, though, and he decided he’d buy some at his next stop—not that he knew where that was yet. But he was running out of real estate and he’d better figure something out soon. He couldn’t travel much farther away than he already had.
From El Paso the interstate only went north. He found a guy headed up 25 through Albuquerque, and hitched a ride, hoping he could bail somewhere near civilization.
It was an amazing drive—the grays and the tans and pinks seemed to be everywhere, the mountains and mesas like a whole foreign landscape.
“You know where you’re headed, kid?” The old cowboy didn’t look the slightest bit worried about picking him up. In fact, “Almon Ryder from right outside Dallas, pleased to meetcha, I do have my conceal carry permit,” looked like he might enjoy a bit of a fight.
“No.” Mason glanced over at him, wondering how polite the old guy expected him to be. He wasn’t planning on fighting anyone again. Ever. “Uh… no, sir. I’m just looking for work. You know.” Not too friendly, keep it to small talk. He’d gotten pretty good at riding in the passenger side of a semi and mostly pretending he wasn’t there, but a pickup was closer quarters.
“I do. There’s always work for guys that are willing. I’m going to see my son at UNM. He plays baseball there.”
Mason had no idea where that was. Baseball was awesome, though. “Yeah? That’s cool. Is he on a scholarship?”
“Yeah. He’s a good kid. My youngest. I have eight.”
“Children. Seven of them are girls.”
“Holy crap!” He winced. “Uh. I mean, wow. That’s great. You’re totally outnumbered. And lucky. You’re very lucky.” He rolled his eyes. He should be keeping his stupid mouth shut. “Sorry.”
“I am totally outnumbered, kid. I lost my wife to breast cancer five years ago, with three still in school. Thank God for the oldest girls or the youngest might have starved.” The huge laugh boomed out, filling the cab.
Whoa. Small world. “I’m sorry, man. I lost my mom two years ago, same thing.” What a horrible time that had been. His whole senior year. “What was your wife’s name?”
“Sueann. She was a good woman. I’m sorry about your momma. It ain’t right.”
“Sueann. That’s a pretty name.” Nope. It wasn’t right. He used to think there was a bigger plan, but he wasn’t so sure anymore. He was just glad he didn’t have to break Mom’s heart when he left home. “So your youngest is in college. Where’s your oldest?”
“Married with four babies in Dallas. She’s an ER nurse. Her husband does something on the computer for work. He’s good to her and loves those babies, so I suppose I won’t have to kill him.”
“Uh. Well, that’s good, I guess?” Jesus. Everything he’d ever heard about Texans was true. Other things were true too, like this guy was super friendly and kind, but the whole gun-toting, bigger-than-life, major-accent thing? Totally true. And awesome. He’d never met anyone from Texas before now. Or wait, one of the truck drivers? The guy who’d driven him from Harrisburg to Roanoke… no wait, he was from Georgia.
His stomach growled. Loud. He looked out the window and pretended like he didn’t notice.
Almon grinned over at him. “You too, huh? There’s a McD’s up here. I’ll buy you a burger. You ain’t a vegetabletarian, right?”
He cheeks got hot. He hated handouts, but he wasn’t exactly flush at the moment. “Not me. If it’s food, I’ll eat it. That’s really nice of you. Thanks.” Vegetabletarian. Awesome.
“I hate eating alone, and I been down on my luck once or twice.”
“I’ll figure it out. I can work. I don’t know how to do much, but I’m big enough and I learn fast.” He had no choice, right? Thank God he didn’t have eight kids to feed. Whoa.
            “Then you’ll be fine.” Almon pulled off and parked. “Let’s go in. Christ, my ass is too old to make this drive for a ball game.”

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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tuesday Teaser - Hamza's book

Chapter One (continued)

Hamza and his guards transported to the war room and walked into controlled chaos. All branches connected to planetary security—space and ground, plus their subunits—were housed here, along with the Space Academy.
Harried males read reports from Castron, Lowbrett, and Kiton. Others dealt with status updates on the deployed fighter’s or news on starships en route. Each relayed the information to their commanding officers.  
Hamza prowled into the middle of the chaos. “The Onfre are sending help, so be ready to assist when their warbirds arrive. Now, give me a report on the situation with—”
“Prince Hamza! Readings show a new wormhole opening! It’s not the Onfre. Three more Ne Reynian battleships are coming through. I repeat, three more Ne Reynian battleships have come through and are entering the atmosphere.”
Hamza snarled. The buzzing and eerie glow from the red alert annoyed his already frayed nerves. “Get a read on them. I need to know their targets.”
“Battleships descending unbelievably fast.” A male shouted from a computer. “It looks like…. Prince Hamza, according to long-range scans, one is aiming for us, and the other is targeting the palace. The last ship seems to be acting as a guard for the other two. ETA is five unit minutes for them reaching their targets.”
“Activate the red alert for Darkkit palace. Send a message through King Duran’s comm that they’re about to be under attack!”
“Yes prince!”
“On viewing screen. I want to see what we’re dealing with.” The last of the three battleships acting as a guard appeared. It was huge, ugly, and loaded with weaponry. Gods. Hurry, dabba. “We need starships engaging the enemy now. Update?” Hamza snarled at one of the commanders.
“The starship Archon’s ETA for the palace defense is fifteen unit minutes. Two more starships are due to disengage from space dock within five unit minutes. Add another twenty unit minutes to that before they can engage.”
“Too long,” Hamza whispered. “Palace on screen, please.”                                                                                                                
There simply wasn’t enough coverage. The palace was located in the heart of Darkkit, so the palatial city was in jeopardy too. All those people, helpless. Running for their lives. Neo’s at the Darkkit Hospital too. His heart pounded. No. Can’t think of that. If something happened to Neo, to any of his loved one….
“Fighters are engaging enemy ships, Prince Hamza.”
Powerless, he watched as a battleship targeted Darkkit palace. There was nothing he could do but pray. Please, please let them be okay. Please.
“Photon torpedo in-coming. Target is Darkkit palace,” someone yelled.
The flashed of light lit up the viewing screen as the palace sustained a direct hit. Hamza clenched his fists. Rage built as long unit minutes passed as the battleship relentlessly fired.
“Palace shields are holding but they can’t take many more hits like that, my prince.”
“Understood,” Hamza said. Please let them be okay.
“Sensors show the Ne Reynain battleship targeting us is powering weapons.”
“Shields are up too, my prince!”
Hamza swore softly. The very first thing he was going to do once this was over was have weapons installed here at the Tah’Narian Planetary Defense. They were helpless.
“Prince Hamza, a spread pattern of photon torpedoes has been fired at the palace. Detonation in three, two….
More flashes of light. Hamza wanted to scream in frustration. He checked his comm. There was no transmission from his dabba. Had they gotten Dayo and Szin moved in time? What about the patients in Medical? More unit minute passed as the assault continued. Now they seemed to be targeting certain areas. How much longer could the shields withstand such an attack? He squinted at the viewing screen. Was that smoke?
“We have confirmation of a breach in the shield! They’re hit, my prince, and shields are down.”
Hamza swore. “Where?”
“The sector that houses Medical.
Where the Royal Physician offices are located. “Damage report?”
“I can’t tell if that area took a direct hit but—” The console blared a warning. “Readings show unknown life signs in the vicinity of Medical.” The male typed fiercely. “Ah… Highness, they’re Ne Reynain.”
What?” No. That couldn’t be right. Why would those females beam down and to that specific location? If the shields were down, why go there? “Report!”
“Scans are being disrupted due to the attack. I can’t get a fix on where the life signs are actually at in that sector, but they are definitely Ne Reynain and there are several of them.”
“Highness! Reports say our fighters are taking heavy loses too. They’re inflicting damage to the battleships, but—”
“In-coming! We have in-coming photon torpedoes at our position.”
Hamza braced himself. The building shook as the torpedoes were deflection by their shields, and the lights blinked. Males rushed around Hamza, calling out status updates.
“The starship Archon has arrived and is engaging the Ne Reynain battleship targeting the palace.”
“Thank all the gods.” Hamza watched as the battleship broke off its attack to defend itself. “Get me information on the palace. Now.
“My prince, the Unity has its full crew complement and is leaving the space dock. ETA twenty unit minutes.”
“We have a worm hole opening!”
Sweat beaded at Hamza’s temple. Gods help them if it was another Ne Reynian battleship.
“It’s the Onfre! Five warbirds have dropped out of warp and are in-bound!”
Weak in the knees, Hamza grabbed the console next to him.
“The Ne Reynian battleships are pulling back. They’re retreating. I repeat, they are retreating!”
“Did they beam up those who invaded the palace?” Hamza barked.
“Unsure. I can’t raise the palace and can’t get a reading now.”  
Cheering echoed around Hamza. He hardly noticed the slaps on the back. Why were they retreating? Were the Ne Reynian that afraid of the Onfre? He didn’t believe that, considering most Onfre officers were male, and they all knew how the Ne Reynians felt about males in positions of power.
He needed to get to the palace and find out what was happening. Hamza caught a flash of white from the corner of his eye. Relieved, he turned to face his dabba. The smile on his faced died when he saw Keyno standing there. A soot covered, clothes torn, Keyno.
Hamza’s heart beat faster.
“Hamza? I need you to come with me. Now.”

Monday, September 23, 2019

Pucker Up Monday

Welcome to Pucker Up Monday. It's not what you think, lol. Since Mondays do tend to suck, I though I'd try to start the week off right for y'all.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Are y'all ready to step back into the Harvest world? If so, come follow me for a little teaser for the next Young book. :)

Chapter One
“Transporter ready?” Hamza asked, stepping onto the pad. His royal guard spread out around him.
“Yes, prince. Coordinates confirmed for Darkkit palace transporter room.”
Moments later, Hamza strode toward the Royal Physician’s suite with several of his guards flanking him. The clicking of their boots on the polished floors echoed in his ears, ratcheting his anger higher. Tension radiated from him, sending palace employees scurrying out of his path. Damnation. Those around him had nothing to do with the violent urges seething inside him, so he shoved his burgeoning rage deep inside. Still, he fingered the phaser on his hip.
Stopping by the door to the birthing suite, he took a breath and tried to marshal his thoughts. Dayo and Szin were in labor, and the families were in attendance. What should be a wondrous occasion was soon going to be spoiled. As much as he hated that, he didn’t have time to spare. His guards stayed back as Hamza stepped inside.
His dabba, King Duran, turned to him, a smile gracing his face. “Hamza! We were wondering—what’s wrong?”
Out of the corner of his eye, Hamza saw Malk, Kia, and Laken enter. Had he been so rattled he hadn’t noticed them as he stormed down the hall? He’d been trained better, but the news he brought stole his focus. Hamza swallowed and shoved his slipup from his mind.
“Hamza? Where’s Neo?” Doc asked. “We thought the both of you would be here.”
Hamza bowed his head toward his mate’s dabba. “He wanted to be, but something came up, and unfortunately his presence was required elsewhere.” Hamza faced his dabba. “Sire?”
King Duran frowned. “Speak freely. What has happened?”
“There have been multiple attacks on Tah’Nar. The cities of Castron, Lowbrett, and Kiton were bombed by photon torpedoes ten unit minutes ago. The war room is code red.”
“Shit,” Dale whispered.
“Oh God.” Chad grabbed Gibor’s arm.
King Duran inhaled sharply. “Who, Hamza? Who dares attack Tah’Narian cities?”
“Five unit minutes ago, three Ne Reynian battleships appeared via wormhole in orbit around the planet. Hails were sent and ignored. Red alert was activated on all space ships due to this. The Ne Reynian battleships immediately entered our atmosphere. They were moving at a speed I have never seen, Sire. It was like warp drive, but that’s physically impossible since wrap is used to jump from star system to star system. It’s not utilized for this type of short distance travel.”
“Wait,” Keyno gasped. “Are you saying they entered our atmosphere and then in five unit minutes managed to get from where they appeared… to where they attacked?”
Hamza glanced at Keyno. “I’m afraid so. The speed was faster than impulse, but it wasn’t warp. It must be a new technology. I scrambled fighters from bases near each city as a first wave of defense. The Sunder and the Obsidian Cross starships were not spaced docked and are on an interception course, but right now, only the fighters are engaging the battleships. There has been massive damage to those three cities.”
Keyno growled. “Major cities of ours. Three major cities on three different continents on Tah’Nar.”
“Yes.” Hamza nodded. “Starships are being dispatched from various orbiting space stations as we speak but that takes time. Other ships are recalling crew members. In the meantime, I’ve increased fighters around Darkkit and the Tah’Narian Planetary Defense building.”
Ti straightened. “King Duran? The Onfre stand ready to assist you. Shall I call for reinforcements?”
“Please,” King Duran said. “Thank you, Ti. Your peoples help will be much appreciated.”
Ti pulled his comm from his pants pocket and moved to a corner of the room.
Hamza watched the easy-going look on Cielo’s face dissolve into ruthlessness. Mentally Hamza corrected himself. No, that wasn’t Cielo. That was Cielo’s other personality: Colt, the gangbanger. The killer. The sociopath who would do anything to protect his love ones. All of them had grown up hearing about Colt.
“They did it. They attacked us. Oh my God, they actually went through with it. I can’t believe this.” Dale pressed his hands over his mouth. Chad released Gibor and hurried to Dale, wrapping his arm around Dale’s waist.
A shrill cry of a new born young came from the birthing suite.
King Duran clenched his fists. “My friends, I’m going to have Szin and Dayo moved into the underground bunkers since they just gave birth. Hamza? Return to the war room, please. I’ll be there as soon as I take care of this.”
“Yes, Sire.” The war room was the nickname for the Tah’Narian Planetary Defense building. It was actually a misnomer since it wasn’t a ‘room’ but more of a sprawling complex.
Standing in the outer chamber, Hamza watched his dabba lead everyone into the birthing suite. Ti stood behind King Duran. Colt had his arm around Dale’s shoulders.
“What’s going on?” Dayo questioned.
“Ti?” Takeo asked.
Hamza heard Dale try to speak, but his voice broke.
“Guys, what the hell is going on?” Szin demanded.
King Duran cleared his throat. “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, especially at what should be a joyful occasion, but the Ne Reyn have not only attacked the Unity, but now they have launched a strike directly at our planet. Captain Ti is here to witness the birth of Szin and Takeo’s young, but he also came bearing news. The Onfre stand with us. Gentlemen, we are at war.”
From the floor, a mist swirled, and the arkhim who had bonded to Dayo appeared. Dayo and Raiden quickly assured everyone there was no danger, but still, tension rose at the sudden appearance of Dayo’s new guardian.
Hamza had been briefed about the magical animal, but hearing about it wasn’t the same as seeing it… or caught in its fierce gaze. Hamza gulped. It was large animal with an arrow-shaped head, a long muzzle, and a lengthy neck. Thick, white iridescent scales cover its powerful body. A row of small, clear horns that shone like sparkling ice ran down its spine. A tail stretched out from behind it. Damn thing was rather intimidating in appearance.
Composing himself, Hamza turned from the outer room of the birthing suite and stepped into the hallway. His guards stood silently. Face carefully blank, he nodded at them. They fell in behind him, and together, they returned to the transportation pad.
War. They were at war once more.
All hybrids were well aware of what happened the last time Tah’Nar got itself into a battle with another species. Due to Tah’Nar attacking the Onfre for resources, the Onfre released a virus that invaded the Tah’Narian reproductive system and destroyed it, rendering all Tah’Narians sterile.
But anyone pregnant had a much worse fate. The virus flooded the surculas, attacked and killed the young, and then kept going, eating its way through the surculas and attacking the rest of the body. The person was literally dissolved from the inside out.

The catastrophic change to Tah’Narian way of life resulted in a desperation for mates. Earthlings called it ‘the harvest’.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Pucker Up Monday

Welcome to Pucker Up Monday. It's not what you think, lol. Since Mondays do tend to suck, I though I'd try to start the week off right for y'all. 

We're gonna do something a little different this time. ;)

Monday, September 9, 2019

The One and Only is live in KU!

The last werecat book is out and purring up a storm lol. ;) I'm kinda sad to see the series come to an end, but oh... I have plans. PLANS, I say lol.

Blurb: Turmoil in the West Falls clowder has reached a boiling point.

Brier Fendon, the last unmated beta, is sweating bullets. His goddess has swept through their ranks, handing out mates willy-nilly. While he would be okay with a human as a mate now, thanks to the changes his Alpha has brought, he’d still prefer a werecat. And he sincerely hopes the goddess Bast has taken note of that, because he figures he’s next.

Careful what you wish for.

Reports of an unknown werecat in clowder territory spurs unease, and Brier is sent to investigate. Fortunately, the scent still remained, but there’s something disturbing about it. All werecats have a personal scent marker, all except for this one. What Brier’s smelling—or not smelling, as the case may be—is impossible.

Tyler Smith has suffered a lifetime of abuse from the paranormal community. His own species considers him an abomination. Hated and reviled since he isn’t a pure werecat, Tyler has learned the hard way not to trust anyone but his mate, Seth. But although he’s an outcast, Tyler is more special than anyone knows, and he has a choice to make.

Seth Galloway is the most feared paranormal to ever exist, thanks to his abilities. What he’s capable of is the stuff of nightmares, and if he has to kill to protect his mate, Tyler? So be it. He has before, and now Tyler’s goddess has set him and Tyler on a path that may end with even more death and destruction.

Fear of the unknown and a lifetime of pain are just some of the roadblocks Brier, Seth, and Tyler will face. Bast has waged a war to bring her children out of their isolationism and bigotry, and things have spun out of control. A threat hangs over them all and death looms on the horizon. A sacrifice will have to be made, and Tyler’s choice will dictate the future of werecats—and other shifter species as well.

Monday, September 2, 2019

At Sixes and Sevens is live in KU!

At Sixes and Sevens (Fur, Fangs, and Felines Book 4)

Werecats mating with humans was bad enough…. But an Alpha werewolf?

Aidric’s life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Alpha Carter Lovelock of the Dark Lake Pack—who is apparently his mate. Now Aidric must decide whether to accept the mate the goddess chose, or deny her gift because cats and dogs just don’t mix.

Carter is in a pickle. He always assumed his mate would be a female werewolf. How else is Carter supposed to carry on his line and retain Alphaship? When Aidric comes into his life, Carter’s ex, Sabrina, isn’t giving up easily. Her brother, Delaney, is a thorn in Carter’s side, and some of the other werewolves go out of their way to make Aidric feel unwelcome, including one of his deltas, Evan.

Unfortunately, what little headway they make is destroyed during a full moon hunt when enemy werewolves attack Aidric and threaten the pack house where the Dark Lake pups are kept—an ambush that could have devastating consequences on their future.

Werewolves are notoriously insular, and before Carter and Aidric can build the life they want with each other, they’ll face a fight for acceptance.

**Second Edition, Previously Published** 
This book has been previously published. The cover may have changed, but the title, author, and story content have not changed from the first version originally published. If you have that version in your library, please do not purchase again.

THERE WAS nothing better than being the butt of a cosmic joke.
My mate was a werewolf. A werewolf. Just what the hell was I supposed to do with that? The fact my cat wasn’t freaked out surprised me. It certainly freaked me out. What was my goddess thinking? My cat huffed, annoyed with me. Well, he was in good company—I was annoyed with myself.
I rested my forehead against the windowpane. In the week since I found out who my mate was, all I’d done was torture myself with the information. Enough already. Turning from the windowpane, I stripped and threw my clothes on the couch. There was just enough time to play outside before the sun set.
Squatting in front of the fire, I cleared my mind and let the change take me. I groaned loudly with the first crack of the bone. My body twisted in ways a regular human body was never intended to. Things tore and modified as I shrunk. Muscles realigned and bones reformed in a feline shape.
My spine tingled as my tail grew. Ears sprouted on top of my head, and my face pushed out to form a muzzle, complete with whiskers. Damn things caused my nose to twitch, and I pawed at it to stop the itch. Hair sprouted over my body, and then all four paws hit the ground. I stretched one leg out behind me—oh yeah, that felt good.
I took a step and stretched the other leg out, then swished my tail lazily behind me as I shook out my coat. All my human worries faded into the background as I strolled into the kitchen toward the patio door. One thing occupied my mind, and I pushed through the cat door I’d installed. I stood on the back porch and yowled loudly.
I plowed into the pristine landscape, joy spreading through my heart. Wet coldness surrounded me, and I pranced. I loved snow. Loved it. However, since my clowder lived so far south, it was rare we got the cool fluffy goodness.
Bouncing around in the snow, I reared up on my hind legs and… hey. Hey! What was that? My front paws hit the ground, and I crouched, darting my eyes to the left and right. Something dark and slender fluttered right outside of my line of vision. Quiet. Must be quiet. Quick as a flash, I turned and pounced. The long furry thing wiggled away, jumping back and forth.
Jumping in the air, I twisted and came down. Whap! Whap! Whap! Growling, I pursued the long slender thing hopping around, determined to get it. Round and round I went, turning in circles as I chased…. Suddenly I stopped, plopped my butt down, and nonchalantly licked my paw.
Jeez. That was my tail.
Damn thing was always distracting me. Satisfied no one had seen, I flopped down in the snow. Fortunately my coat was thick enough to keep me warm. I stuck a paw out and watched it sink down. My ears twitched. Okay, that was totally cool. I shot out my other paw from underneath me to lay it upon the snow, and it too sank. Fun! Fun!
I bulldozed my way through a gigantic snowdrift. Wheeee! Nothing could stand in my way. The snowdrift I battled through might be larger than Mount Everest, but I would persevere and take no prisoners. I’d slay my enemies. The cold wouldn’t stand in my way. As I tunneled forward, the cold embraced me in its chilly arms.
Damn. I paused in the snow tunnel I’d created. It was kind of cool in here, but a bit harder to breathe than expected. Ears twitching, I backed out and shook my head. Snow flew everywhere. My nose twitched. Oh. Oh dear. I pawed at it, but….
I sniffed, snorted, and twitched my nose. Sneezing as a cat was probably the most uncomfortable thing ever, and I pawed at my nose. Ugh. Not much I could do since I currently had paws and not fingers.
All of a sudden, I froze, and my ear swiveled. What was that? Casually, I turned. Several feet away from me there was movement, which caught my attention. I crouched, my itchy nose forgotten. Listening closely, I tracked the sound, but I wasn’t sure…. Yes!
Something moved, and it wasn’t my tail this time. On superlight paws, I tiptoed across the snowy whiteness, edging ever closer. My breathing leveled out as I prowled nearer… nearer. There it was again, and I paused. Ears twitching madly, I scanned the area, and even though nothing moved, I knew where the sound originated.
I focused on it, waiting… waiting. Holding my breath, my tail skittering behind me, I pounced… and whatever I’d heard burrowed madly through the snow, escaping. I debated chasing after it, but I wasn’t really hungry. Besides, playing was more fun than hunting. I fell backward, kicking my back legs. A shower of snow rained down. There was nothing better than being a cat.
I rolled onto my paws and shook out my coat. Too bad my mate wasn’t here. I’d love to see him rolling around in the snow. We could run, or he could chase me. Or I him. The human part of me snorted in derision. I ignored him. Humans made things much more complicated than they needed to be.
A red bird landed on a branch above me, and, unable to resist, I raced toward the tree. I sprang, claws extended, and climbed. Up the tree I flew until I found the branch where the bird sat. Carefully I edged out on the limb, my eyes glued on the prize and… with a squawk, the red bird flew off. Damn.
Annoyed, I sharpened my claws against the tree. Yeah, bird, that could’ve been you. Oh well, part of the fun was climbing the tree anyway. Trees were fun. So were balls of yarn. And boxes. Ohhhhh. I loved an empty box. An empty box sitting in the sun was even better. Oh! Oh! And a blanket in the box that was sitting in the sun where I could nap. Yeah. Kitty heaven.
My tail drooped. But lately even those things couldn’t cheer me up. Thoroughly disgusted with myself, I climbed down the tree and trudged across the snow toward the house. After I slipped inside through the cat door, I shifted into my human form.
Tired and aggravated, I dressed, then knelt in front of the fireplace, stirring the fire. The month of February promised to be a cold one, even down here in the South. The flames danced across the surface of the wood in an explosion of heat and energy, consuming it. The process would continue until there was nothing left but ash.
Morosely I stared into the fire, unable to stop the comparison between the wood and myself. Was this my fate too? To be consumed? Would there be anything left of me if I mated Carter—I refused to call my mate by his damn title inside my head.
I shuddered. Of all the mates out there, why him? I turned away from the fire. Questioning her will was pointless, but I couldn’t stop myself. Carter had plainly stated he thought his mate would be female since he had the burden of providing an heir for his pack.
Well, there was already one strike against me. There were many things I could do, including shifting into an animal, but providing children wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or disappointed.
The whiteness of the landscape caught my attention, and I stopped in front of a window. Sightlessly I stared out over the stream in front of my cabin. Alpha Carter Lovelock of the Dark Lake Pack—okay, that last name did bring a smile to my lips—was a big bull of a man with cold golden hazel-brown eyes. Whoever said such a color was warm never met Carter. He was tall, taller than Marshell. If I had to guess, I’d say he was at least six foot six inches or more… and stocky. Broad.
Our meeting was brief, but I walked away with the impression of a man who commanded the space around him. Intimidating. Powerful. Sexy. The diamond earring he wore was insanely sexy too. He was the things I yearned for. I placed my hand on the cold glass pane and shivered, unsure if the action came from my thoughts or the coldness of the day.
My cat grumbled loudly, letting me know it wasn’t the cold, even though there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground. All this back-and-forth was giving me a headache. There was no denying I wanted Carter. His body—all that bulk, sharp planes, and muscles—appealed to me.
And he was bald. I clenched my fists and tapped them lightly against the windowpane. If there was one trait that drew me to a potential sex partner, it was that. I loved bald men, but it was so rare among shifters it was almost nonexistent.
Shifters simply were not bald—not on purpose, anyway. I was sure there was a story there. Sure, they could shave their heads, but once they shifted and then returned to their human forms, the hair regrew. Because of that, I didn’t get to indulge my little quirk often.
Through the years I’d noticed several humans who were bald, and I found them appealing but… well, human. Until recently we simply did not mix with them. But since Dolf’s half-human mate, Kirk, hit our clowder like a tornado, several firmly held beliefs had been destroyed.
Thanks to Kirk opening our eyes, I finally admitted I might’ve made a mistake in judging humans so harshly. I even hooked up for a one-night stand with some who, of course, happened to be bald. I found humans weren’t as bad as we always thought and was even considering asking a few out on a date when my life fell apart. Which was a nice way of saying I met my mate.
Speaking of my mate, my fingers itched to run across that hairless dome of his. My breathing spiked. Goddess, I was getting hard just thinking about all that smooth, shiny skin. My cat yowled in exasperation. He didn’t understand my human nonsense. Carter was my mate. As far as my cat was concerned, that was the end of that.
And this was just stupid.
There was no way a mating between a werewolf and a werecat could work. All I was doing was delaying the inevitable. Obviously Carter felt the same way since he hadn’t bothered to call me in the week since that meeting. He certainly wasn’t pursuing me.
Growling, I stomped to the bedroom. Well, screw him. I needed to be mated to a werewolf like I needed a hole in the head. I snatched up my cell phone and promptly dropped the thing on the bed when it rang. Startled, I hissed at it. Shit. The ringtone continued to blare as I snatched it up. If I’d cracked the stupid screen, I was going to…. I blinked in surprise.
Speak of the devil—or in this case—the werewolf. Running my finger across the screen, I unlocked my cell. My heart pounded. If I answered this, I’d have to stop avoiding the situation. Was I ready? There’d be no going back. Did I really want to take this step? Did I have a choice?
I answered the damn phone. “Hello?”
“Aidric LeClair?”
I closed my eyes for a second, took a deep breath, and then opened them. Why did his voice have to be so low and rumbly? I shivered. “Speaking.”
“This is Carter Lovelock.”
Right away I noticed he omitted his title, but that didn’t surprise me. He had no way of knowing how secure my phone line was.
“Are you there?”
“What?” Jeez, what was I doing? “Yes, I’m here. Sorry about that. I was….” Okay, no, I was not going to tell him I was perving on his voice. “Anyway. What can I do for you?”
There was silence on the line. The temptation to bang my head against the nearest wall was great, but I resisted. Had I actually asked him what could I do for him? Could I possibly sound stuffier?
“I can think of several ways to answer that question, but maybe it would be better not to.”
“I’m sorry?” I cringed. In my mind I saw my cat with his paw over his eyes. Well, guess that answered the question of whether I could sound stuffier. Apparently I could.
“Ah, is this a bad time?”
Is there ever a good time to make an idiot of myself? “No, no, it’s not a bad time.”
“I see. Cat got your tongue, perhaps?”
Whatever nerves were plaguing me suddenly ignited, and with a whoosh, went up in a screaming mass of indignant flames. Abruptly I wanted to use Alpha Lovelock as a scratching post.
“You know, your kind is proof evolution can go in reverse.”
Now I understood exactly what the term “dead air” meant. I couldn’t believe I’d said that, but by damned, he deserved it. Cat got my tongue—seriously?
Finally Carter chuckled. “I guess I did ask for that, didn’t I?”
“I would say so.” I collapsed on the bed, knees weak. Conversing with this werewolf was like pushing a boulder. Uphill. During a monsoon.
“Hey, it got you talking to me, at least—even if it was to insult me,” Carter said. Then his voice turned serious. “You and I need to meet.”
“Yes, I suppose we do.”
“I’ll give you directions to my house and—”
“No.” He couldn’t be serious.
“Excuse me?”
How much arrogance could a person cram into two words? “I’m not coming on your pac… your, ah… your place. No way.”
“You have my word you won’t be harmed.”
Whoop-de-freaking-do. “That’s nice and all, but I’m still not coming there.”
“Well, I can’t come to you without permission from your… from Dolf.”
That was definitely a no too. “I agree. That’s not a good idea either.”
Dolf and the rest of the betas were already too interested in my life. The nosy bunch of felines would probably hide in the surrounding trees if Carter came here. It wouldn’t be curiosity killing the cat; it’d be me.
“Then what do you suggest, because we do need to meet. I’m afraid I really must insist.”
I almost told him he could insist until he turned blue in the face, but I was trying to be civil. “I think somewhere neutral would be better.”
“And private.”
I hesitated. Private meant isolated, and isolated meant… well, isolated. Although I understood why he’d request that—we didn’t have to watch what we said if humans were not about—I didn’t know this Alpha. He was my mate and wasn’t supposed to be able to hurt me, but did I really want to put that to the test?
“I… fine. I will tell Dolf where I’m going to be, though.”
“You should. Temple and Shea will know where I am too.”
I’d forgotten all about his betas. “You’re coming alone, correct?”
“I… no. I can’t. You know that. Would you allow Dolf to go somewhere unescorted?”
Damn. He had a point. Alphas never went anywhere without at least one beta with them. Now what? “So you’re going to have one of them with you?”
“I’m afraid so. That’s nonnegotiable, and you know why.”
This was turning into a massive headache, and we hadn’t even laid eyes on each other yet. I growled softly. “I am not discussing anything of a personal nature with you as long as you have an extra set of ears listening in.”
“Which is why I suggested you come here. It’s easier.”
Of course it was—for them. I didn’t find anything about going there easy. The idea of being the lone cat surrounded by nothing but wolves was intimidating. In shifted form they were bigger and heavier than my cat, which was the size of a large Savannah.
While we could be arrogant, we had nothing on werewolves. Ha! Arrogant. The word described them perfectly, along with sarcastic, bossy, and vain. They acted as if the rest of us shifters should bow down to them.
If Carter came here, one of his betas would be with him. Plus they’d have to spend several nights, considering Carter’s pack land was several hours away. I was uncomfortable offering Carter my guest room, but I might’ve done it. But his beta too? Not happening. That was one werewolf too many.
Having two strange males—who were werewolves—under the same roof with me was more than I could handle. Not to mention I only had the one spare guest room, and I couldn’t see Temple and Carter sharing a bed.
My cat immediately growled his opinion on that. I’d probably fillet that sucker if he tried to get into bed with my mate… oh no. Banging my head against the nearest wall was looking better and better. I was getting possessive of Carter, which was a bad sign. A very, very bad sign.
“What?” I snapped.
“I’ve already given you my word nothing bad will happen to you here.”
“That’s supposed to reassure me?”
The growl that came across the phone line lifted the hair on the back of my neck.
“You question my word? My word? That’s an insult in so many ways I don’t know where to begin.”
By the goddess’s right paw, what was I thinking? “Okay. That was uncalled for, and I apologize, but you have to understand how uncomfortable this makes me.”
“Apology accepted. I do understand, and I promise you if any of my wolves lays a hand on you, they will regret it.”
Well, hell. He meant it. I heard the conviction in his voice and pinched the bridge of my nose. A voice in the back of my head whispered this was a disaster waiting to happen, but I couldn’t see a way around it.
It’d be easier for me to go there, even though the thought left me trembling. On the other hand, what better way to see if I could tolerate living among the wolves? Better to find out now before we mated, than later when there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.
“Fine. I’ll come there.” I clutched the phone as my stomach dropped to somewhere around my knees. “But understand this—the moment I feel threatened, I’m out of there.”
“Understood. If that happens, I want to know about it immediately, because you won’t feel that way for long, I promise you. Would you consent to staying for a couple of nights?”
Yep, the aforementioned headache just sank its claws into the base of my neck. “Might as well.”
“Thank you. I know this is difficult, but all I ask is that we sit down and discuss this like two rational adults.”
Then we were already screwed, because I’d never known a werewolf to be rational, but why throw that into the conversation? “Agreed. Send me your address so I can program it into the GPS.”
“I will. Is the snow awful down there?”
Oh yay. Small talk and the ever-safe topic of the weather. “No. Not really. The temperature is supposed to rise tomorrow. That’ll get it melting quickly.” Which sucked, but it was better for driving. “I need to talk with Dolf and square this with him so I can have the time off. I’ll probably leave tomorrow after lunch. Since it’ll be Sunday, the traffic shouldn’t be too bad.”
“Excellent. Send me a text so I know when you leave.”
Already with the demands. “How about you ask me to send you a text? I’m not Temple or Shea, even though I hold the same rank. And you’re not my Alp… well. You know. You might want to remember that.”
“But I do hold the same rank as Dolf. You might want to remember that.”
I gritted my teeth. We were already off to a rip-roaring start. “While I am perfectly willing to give you the respect your rank deserves, I kiss nobody’s ass. If you want me to do something, ask instead of demand. I’m your mate, not your beta.” I cursed softly for my slip of the tongue.
“You’re right. I….” Carter sighed. “Will you send me a text before you leave?”
That was better. A firm believer in starting out how I meant to go on, I answered him in the perkiest voice I could muster. “Sure. I can do that.”
“I’ll see you when you get here. Have a good evening. Good night.”
“You too. Good night.” On that cheerful note, I ended the call and slipped my cell back into my jeans pocket.

If we didn’t kill each other within the first hour, it’d be a miracle.