Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tuesday Teaser - Shadow's Embrace

  


SUDDENLY THE tension in the room spiked. A beautiful woman walked among the tables toward the center of where they were all clustered. 

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Isadora Ocho. Welcome to my restaurant, Beau Monde. As a favor to the King of the Fire Court of San DeLain, I have opened what I consider my territory to you. Act accordingly or else.”

Austin swallowed. The woman standing in the middle the room was breathtaking. But then, all paranormals seem to be incredibly good-looking. Every last person in this room, outside of him, looked as if they deserved to be on the cover of a fashion magazine.

She was dressed in a formfitting gold evening gown that showed off every curve and suited her Mediterranean skin tone. Her dark hair was piled on top of her head with a few wisps hanging around her face. 

She might be beautiful, but she definitely gave off a ‘don’t fuck with me’ vibe. This was the arachne Kage had mentioned earlier—the one who shifted into a spider. Or had spider-like features at least. Austin fought the shudder that threatened to wrack his body. 

“Hudson? I turn the floor over to you.” Isadora glided to the bar at the back of the restaurant where a wine glass waited for her.

Hudson strode forward, taking her place . “As you know, a corporation called Illuminacon is funding a group of hunters. The name Nighthawk was thrown around. We don’t know if that’s a person or a group of people.”

Kage quickly relayed how he come about that information.

“The goal is a hybrid soldier that can be controlled. I’ve given you all the details of this,” Hudson said. “This organization has a compound set up in the Bitterroot Mountains, Montana. I have verified this.”

“How?” Li Li asked. “Surely you don’t expect us to just take your word.”

“Of course not. This was verified by synthetic-aperture radar, or SAR. It’s a form of radar that’s used to create two-dimensional images or three-dimensional reconstructions of objects, such as landscapes. 3D SAR can enable localization in all spatial directions—even giving the potential to resolve, or separate, the target from surface clutter.”

“In plain English, James Bond,” Kage tossed out. 

A few of the paranormals in the room laughed.

Hudson simplified the explanation. “Now, the base has an underground bunker. Images show what looks to be inhabited cells and possible labs. But it’s a few miles down into the ground. I’m in the process of trying to get an up-to-date blueprint of the base.”

Raven leaned back in his chair. “Yes, yes, we know about the werewolf who’s being held there. A wolf who isn’t even from San DeLain. We all know you want us to help you attack this place to save this wolf.”

“Don’t be an ass, Raven.” Li Li glared at the vampire. “There’s no telling who else is being held. Tell me, Master of the City, are you missing any vampires?”

Raven’s lips tightened.

“Exactly.” Li Li slammed her hand on the table. “The werewolf being held there is not one of mine, and I don’t care that he isn’t. I care that paranormals are being hunted.”

Kage nodded.

“But to be clear, I am missing two of my pack members,” Li Li added. “It’s the weres, vampires, and mers who are being taken and experimented on, Raven.” 

Fenton spoke up. “I have a mermaid missing from my colony.”

“I’m missing a gargoyle,” Ward said. “My clan member is most likely dead since gargoyles also cannot change humans. Yet here I am.”

“Raven?” Li Li asked.

“Fine. Yes. I have two of my coven missing,” Raven admitted.

“It’s not just about attacking for this one wolf, and you damn well know it. They’re experimenting on us. What’s your problem?” Li Li asked.

“There is no problem,” Hudson said. “Raven just likes to stir shit up.”

“Too true.” Raven sprawled in his chair. “But that isn’t what I was trying to do. If I’m going to commit my people to this endeavor, I will make sure everybody is equally willing to sacrifice.”

Hudson cleared his throat. “They killed one of mine and attacked me. They cannot use my kind in their experiments because we’re unable to turn humans, but I’m dedicating people to help deal with this.”

“Same. We gargoyles can’t change humans either, so we’re useless to them, but I will do what I can to help,” Ward said. 

“As will I,” Kage said. “I’ve been attacked. My mate has been attacked. They’re not interested in my kind either since we can’t turn humans, but here I am.”

Austin sat straighter in his chair when every eye in the room turned toward him.

“Ah yes, the human among us,” Raven commented lazily. He licked his finger then stared at Austin. “He’s a pretty little morsel. Congratulations, Elder.”

Ward groaned. 

Austin raised an eyebrow. Pretty little morsel? And did that vampire really think licking his finger was sexy? There was no telling where that thing had been.

“Thank you, Master of the City . But Austin isn’t fully human anymore. He’s my bonded mate, and he takes my blood. But yes, he is pretty. And he can go out in the sun, too, unlike you,” Kage replied calmly.

Eyes wide, Austin’s head whipped around. He looked at Kage. Oh dear. Kage’s eyes were completely black.

Raven bared his fangs at Kage’s not so subtle threat.

Hands on his hips, Hudson glared at Raven. “You do know it’s daytime somewhere in the world, right?”

The three other vampires with Raven hissed at Hudson.

Hudson hissed back, the power of his dragon behind him. It was a much meaner sound than the three vampires managed to make together.


Monday, December 5, 2022

Pucker Up Monday Christmas Style!


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

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Thursday Book Recommendation

 


These are books I’ve read and really enjoyed. Most of what I talk about will probably be paranormal/scifi but not always. Although it’s rare, I do read some contemporary. 


This week is: Bad Habits (Wages of Sin Book 1) by Neve Wilder, Onley James 


Blurb:

Jonah taught Cas a million ways to protect his body but not one to protect his heart.

Smart-mouthed hacker Caspian escaped an abusive home at sixteen. Now he’s one of the most sought-after black hatters in the world. 

Jonah is a ruthless contract killer with only one weakness, the vibrant runaway he took in years ago: Caspian. 

But Cas bailed when he turned eighteen, and Jonah has maintained a steady diet of eat, kill, sleep since then. 

Jonah had always been the fatal flaw in Cas’s code, the bug that froze the part of his brain separating logic from emotion. 

A threat to Cas’s life brings him back years later—not as the boy Jonah remembers, but as a hardened computer hacker with a price on his head and a list of names everybody wants. 

The chemistry between them is as undeniable as it is dangerous. 

In a world of secrets and murder, trust is a liability and feelings can get you killed. But Jonah let Cas go once, and he’s not willing to do it again. Even if it means confronting his past, solving a twisted puzzle, and taking out half of New York City’s seedy underbelly to keep Cas safe.

 

Bad Habits is a steamy, action-packed thrill ride of a romance with a HEA and no cliffhangers. It features morally ambiguous men, pancakes drizzled with snark, chosen family, drive-in movies, and the kind of love that drives a guy to murder in order to protect. In short: all the emo, heat, and sarcasm you'd probably expect from an Onley/Neve collaboration. This is book 1 in the Wages of Sin series. Each book will follow a new couple.

 

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KTXL2N5?ref



Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tuesday Teaser - Shadow's Embrace

 


FRIDAY ROLLED around and brought with it a rather heated argument between him and Austin. Since Austin had reacted so negatively to the idea of a spider shifter, he’d suggested Austin skip the meeting.

Kage wasn’t fond of the idea since there were hunters in San DeLain, but Austin should be safe enough at home, especially if he left Maia there.

Austin had suggested Kage check himself. Sometimes current slang baffled Kage, but he understood Austin clearly—Austin was coming with Kage.

Once they were dressed, they went downstairs. Kage took his cell phone out and sent a text message to Denisha and Maia. Both of them would be attending this meeting with him.

“Is there anything I need to know before we get there? Any rules or protocol I need to know when dealing with the other paranormals there?” Austin asked.

“For you, no.”

“What do you mean, ‘for you’?”

“Only that you’ll still be considered human by many there, even though we’re mated and you take my blood. Which, technically, is stupid since you are mated to me and you do have my blood in you. But you’re not born or turned.”

“Why do I have the feeling that I’m at the bottom of the food chain?”

“Just be yourself, babe.” Then Kage paused. “And maybe not wander off by yourself. There’s going to be a lot of people there with massive egos.”

Austin rubbed his hands over his face. “Great.”

They took the elevator to Kage’s private garage where Denisha and Maia were waiting next to one of the black armored SUVs. Maia drove them there, and Denisha sat up front with her while Kage was in the back with Austin.

Beau Monde was like any other ridiculously expensive restaurant in San DeLain—lots of windows, great location, and elegance that bordered on ostentatious.

The dark woods and low lighting, along with fireplaces, ocean views, and splurge-worthy meals gave the place a romantic feel. There were limos, sports cars, and SUVs parked all along the street. Maia got as close as she could and parked.

Austin reached for the door handle.

Kage rested his hand on Austin’s knee. “Wait.”

“Huh?”

“Let Denisha open the door.”

“Um, why?”

“Because, trust me, there are many eyes on us, and appearances are everything, especially dealing with powerful paranormals. Also, let Maia make sure the coast is clear.”

“I feel like I’m in a bad mafia movie.”

Kage snorted. “Just like with the human mafia, swagger is everything in our world.”

Denisha opened the passenger door for them. As soon as they stepped out, Kage buttoned his jacket as he waited on Austin to join him. He made sure to wipe all amusement and affection from his face, leaving only haughty indifference.

To the outside world, he was Elder Kage Dargan, leader of the daemons of San DeLain clan. Maia and Denisha also wore the same expression.

Then Austin stepped out.

Kage barely suppressed his grimace. No haughty indifference there. A blind person could see the purity and goodness in Austin. Kage was fully aware there were certain paranormals inside that restaurant who’d want to corrupt such loveliness… or terrorize it.

Fuck him running. Before the night was through, someone was going to step out of line and end up in the middle of Antarctica, weren’t they?

Resting his hand on the small of Austin’s back, they followed Denisha inside. Maia brought up the rear. Isadora had darkened the smart windows for privacy. Round tables were set up for the paranormal leaders of San DeLain.

One of the two werewolf packs was already in attendance. Kage tentatively used the mind link he shared with Austin. Austin?

Austin jerked slightly as they walked but didn’t react otherwise. Holy moly, that never gets old! What’s up?

I thought I would give you a who’s who.

Awesome.

See the lovely Asian lady? She’s the alpha of the Cross River pack. Their territory is located on the eastern side of San DeLain. I’ve never met the alpha, but I’ve heard good things about her.

The alpha is a woman?

Yes.

They were considered a progressive pack, especially since their alpha was female. Alpha Li Li Kim and her mate, Jerome Benton, were already seated. Two wolves were with them. Kage assumed they were the alpha’s enforcers. All of them were dressed in suits.

Kage didn’t see anyone at a table for the Crimson Fangs pack, and he breathed a sigh of relief. If anyone was going to cause trouble, it would be them. They were considered nothing more than thugs by the San DeLain paranormal community. Their territory was to the south of the city.

See the man with long black hair that’s parted in the middle?

Yep.

That’s the Master of the City, Raven St. Clair. He took over the position about one hundred years ago. He’s based downtown—not far from us, actually. He’s a vampire.

Whoa. A vamp!

Master Raven was hard to miss since he and his three vampires looked as if they were attending a goth/Victorian/steampunk ball. As far as Kage knew, Raven was not mated.

Kage was actually surprised to see someone sitting at the table reserved for the gargoyles. They rarely interacted with other paranormals. Okay, see the two men sitting alone at a table? They’re gargoyles.

Oh my God, gargoyles?

Yes, babe. The slender one is their king. His name is King Hereward Tywyll. I don’t know who that big brute of a gargoyle is with him. Probably protection. They lived north of the city, and their land butts up against Hudson’s. Both dragons and gargoyles like the mountains.

Finally, there were the merfolk, who again, Kage was surprised to see in attendance. Generally speaking, mers did not concern themselves with the matters of land dwellers, but the hunters had kidnapped mers too, so this did directly affect them.

See the guy with long blond hair? That’s Fenton Moss. He’s the current chieftain of the Golden Reef colony. He’s a merman. I don’t know who the other three.

Holy moly, merpeople! This is every paranormal author’s dream, you know that, right?

The mers territory was located in the ocean, which was west of the city. A mer community was called a colony, and was led by a merchieftain or merchieftainess.

Is this everyone?

It’s everyone who agreed to meet. There’s a witch’s coven in San DeLain, but they claim they’re not in the targeted group, so they refused to get involved. Which is stupid and short-sighted. Hunters kill witches too because they aren’t human.

There was only one more empty table, and that had a place card with Kage’s last name on it. Denisha led them to their table. Sure enough, several heads turned as they made their way. One or two paranormals lifted their head and inhaled as they passed—they were sniffing Austin.

As much as it annoyed him, it wasn’t an unusual reaction, especially since Austin was the only one there who wasn’t fully paranormal. Still, he was tempted to bear his teeth at them.

Right next to them was the Fire Court. The dragons were all dressed in black leather pants, black knee-high boots, and black shirts. Hudson’s hair was left long, except for the one single braid beside his face.

Once they were seated, a waiter brought them each a glass of water then disappeared.

Kage‘s gaze swept the room. He made eye contact with the dominant personality of each group. Each one of them returned his gaze steadily. As a leader, no one could afford to be seen as weak. Or scared.

Every last paranormal in that room might be uncomfortable around him simply because of who Kage was, but they also wouldn’t back down. Like he’d told Austin earlier, there was a whole lot of egos in that room.

“We seem to be missing a group,” Maia said, nodding her head toward the empty table.

“Just as well,” Kage said. “We don’t need the chaos they’d bring.”

Denisha snorted.

“Who are we missing?” Austin asked, glancing at the empty table.

“Crimson Fangs pack,” Kage answered. He picked up his water, took a sip, and then set it down. “They are—”

“Thugs,” Denisha said, scowling. “The make their money by selling drugs and running guns. And that’s just what we know of. They’re probably into more stuff. They’re a werewolf pack, but they act more like a gang.”

“More like a biker gang, but instead of humans running it, it’s wolves,” Maia added. “They’re one of the two packs based in San DeLain, and they are trouble.”

“Gotcha,” Austin said.

Through the mating bond Kage could sense that Austin was a little self-conscious with the attention focused on him, but he didn’t seem overly nervous.

In fact, Kage could see the curiosity shining in Austin’s eyes as he looked around. His lovely mate’s inquisitive nature was beginning to peek out.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Pucker Up Monday

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




Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Tuesday Teaser - Shadow's Embrace

 


~Excerpt from Shadow's Embrace. We're at Hudson's home and about to meet some of his dragon's.


“Now, come on, you two. I want to introduce you to some of my people, Austin.”

They followed Hudson to what could only be described as a communal living area/game room. There were several black leather couches set in front of a big screen TV, and on the other side of the room was a pool table.

Several men and women crowded around the TV playing video games, and two more were at the pool table.

People were snarling and hissing—either at the TV or at the balls on the pool table—while others egged them on or laughed good-naturedly at the jokes flying around the room.

The hissing reminded Austin of the noise a snake made in warning—low and mean. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. The primitive side of his brain warned that there was danger and to back away. He clutched Kage’s hand.

He knew there wasn’t a threat, but good God, that sound. Kage squeezed his hand. The comforting gesture helped. Some. Okay, not really, considering there were at least six dragons in the room, and Austin was the only human there—kind of human, at least. Sort of.

Shit, was it too late to take a rain check? He was on the verge of dragging Kage out of here.

Hudson cleared his throat. “Everyone, Kage and Austin are here.”

“Hudson.” Kage’s voice was low when he spoke Hudson’s name—low and a tad bit growly.

Had Kage picked up on Austin’s unease? Of course he had. Several heads turned toward him suddenly, and holy moly, the timing on that was horror movie worthy. A few dragons eyed Kage.

The intimidating hissing and snarling came to an abrupt stop. Thank God. Now that his hind brain had calmed down, two things jumped out at Austin immediately.

Everybody had some shade of red hair—which was a trait of the Fire Court—and they were all breathtakingly sexy.

One dragon set his pool stick down on the table. “Sorry about that. If you’re not used to us, we can sound a bit daunting.”

Austin didn’t know what to say without sounding like a smart ass, so he just nodded. It was scary, but he was in their house. In their territory. He really didn’t have a right to complain, even if it did freak him out. Jeez, he could live forever without ever hearing that sound again.

Yeah, he’d take daemons over dragons any day of the week.

A dragon walked around the pool table and toward them. “Hey there. My name is Conrad Turner, and I’m Hudson’s assistant.” Conrad held out his hand. “Welcome to the Redmond Compound, base of the Fire Court.”


Monday, November 21, 2022

Pucker Up Monday

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