With a tortured past, she’s a cat-shifter who refuses to get close to anyone. Yet she can’t seem to resist the leader of the vampire protectors.
Phoenix Kaplan has never felt a connection like the one she has with Dante Leonidas. She might service him monthly, allowing him to feed from her blood, but as much as her body tells her differently, she knows it can be nothing more, not with her insecurities and inability to be intimate with a male.
That is, until she realizes the one thing she desires most in the world is something he can give her…and she propositions him to impregnate her.
She’s never wanted anything more than to be a mother, and all she needs is this one thing from Dante.
Although he should refuse, Dante can’t resist the temptation. He’s addicted not only to her blood, but also to the enigma that is purely Phoenix. And he is determined to prove to her that he can give her much more than what she asked for.
She might protect her heart with an impenetrable wall, but he’s willing to do whatever it takes to break down that wall in order to get what he desires most in the world.
Dante Leonidas raised his head from the map spread out on his desk from where he’d been studying it when he heard the rap at his door.
Usually, he prepared himself before she arrived, but he’d been so lost in thought that he didn’t notice her scent or her presence, despite her blood in him. He cursed himself for not paying attention, but it didn’t really matter. He’d never be truly equipped to see her.
“Enter,” he called out.
The entrance to his office opened, and Phoenix slipped through before closing the door behind her.
Dante held his breath as the aroma of sunshine flooded the room, but it was too late. Her scent teased his nostrils, and suddenly, his pants were too tight as his cock hardened under his fly. He had to reach down and adjust himself under the desk before the painful position caused him to wince. Males always talked about having big dicks, but honestly, it wasn’t that great. It could really be a pain in the ass sometimes. No pun intended.
“Hey,” the beautiful cat-shifter said as she approached his desk.
She was sans makeup with her long red-and-black hair in a ponytail while she wore her usual outfit of shapeless clothing. Today, it was a sweater and jeans. But, despite her baggy attire, Dante could still make out her curves underneath. It didn’t hurt that he’d seen her without her clothes in the past. Picturing her naked didn’t help his hard-on.
She glanced down at the Minneapolis/St. Paul area map that he’d been reviewing before she entered. “What are you looking at?”
He pointed to the Xs he’d made in red. “I marked all the incidents on the list in hopes that maybe a pattern or something would jump out at me.” Dante threw the pen he held on top of the map as he leaned back in his chair and exhaled his frustration. “So far, it’s been a bust.”
Over the last few months, crimes had been happening to vampire and shifter residences and places of business. It wasn’t like the paranormal community was immune to crime, but the unusual part about it was how they were all coming in pairs. Whatever happened to a vampire-owned place, the same thing would happen to a shifter-owned place. The first incident had been graffiti at a vampire-owned restaurant on the same night a shifter-owned restaurant was hit. It was an obvious message to both vampires and shifters. The latest incidents were fires started at vampire- and shifter-owned homes with an hour of each other. The worst part of the entire situation was that the human police were starting to notice.
Phoenix came around to his side of the desk and leaned over to read the map and his notes. Her baggy pants hung on her hips, but when she bent over, they stretched across her ass, and Dante had to fight not to ogle her. His erection got harder, if that was even possible, and he fought his desire to pull her into his lap, strip off her clothes, and bury himself inside her.
But that would never happen.
Despite the fact that she was there to feed him, they were not in a romantic or sexual relationship. Dante didn’t know all the details about what had happened to Phoenix in her past, but he knew she had been traumatized. So, while he usually had sex with the females he fed from, the only thing he’d be sinking inside her were his fangs. His little head didn’t get it, but his big head did, and he wasn’t going to add to her issues. For now, feeding from her and being her friend was enough. But, damn, this celibacy thing just might kill him.
Maybe, someday, he would tell her how he felt about her, but today wasn’t that day. She wasn’t ready to hear it.
Turning his thoughts back to the task at hand, he asked her, “Have you guys come up with anything?”
She spun around and sat on the edge of the desk, the emerald greens of her eyes filled with vexation. “No. Are you coming to the meeting tomorrow?”
“Yes, we’ll all be there.”
“That’s good.” She nodded her approval. “One of the wolf-shifter sentinels is an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department. Damien told Vance that the sentinel would fill us in on what the humans knew.”
The wolf-shifter alpha was really proving himself to the cat-shifter alpha. Damien wasn’t going to let the newly healed bond between the two subspecies get fractured again, it seemed.
Dante furrowed his brows. “You don’t have any cat-shifters in the police force?”
“Yes, we do, but none of them are sentinels. They give us information, but we don’t share what we know back with them. It’s a good idea, what Damien did, having someone working both angles. I just hope Vance doesn’t make one of us sign up for the police academy.” She made a face of disgust. “At least, I hope it isn’t me.”
Dante chuckled. “Humans aren’t that bad.”
She looked at him like he was crazy. “Humans aren’t that bad? The same species that traditionally comes at your species with a stake through the heart?”
“Pretty sure none of the members of the St. Paul Police Department are carrying stakes.”
“No, just guns.”
He laughed again. “I suppose you have a point.”
“So, does that mean you have vampires on the force? How does that work with the sun thing?”
“Of course we do. They enter the academy before their conversion, and after, they work the night shift.” Dante frowned. “Although I never thought to have one of the Guardians work for us and the police at the same time. It is smart.”
The conversation stalled, and silence fell over the room. Their eyes met, but neither moved.
The knock at the door broke the quietness, and Dante looked at the bare skin on Phoenix’s neck. “Come back later. I’m busy.”
He swiveled his chair to face her and opened his legs. “Come here, Red.”
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Since one fateful evening at a nightclub, Kenzie Swanson and Sawyer Lennar have shared an undeniable attraction. They’ve had moments where they couldn’t ignore their desires, succumbing to their needs, and Sawyer has marked Kenzie in a way that no other man can.
But there is one problem that continues to keep them apart.
As a cat-shifter with a traumatic past, Sawyer hates humans—and Kenzie is all human.
Sawyer’s hatred pushes Kenzie away, and they try to maintain their distance from each other—until they are mistakenly kidnapped and have to act as a couple. When the unforeseen happens, Kenzie can only do so much to deny herself from being intimate with Sawyer.
Given a chance at what might have been, Sawyer and Kenzie are forced to face the forbidden temptation to be with one another.
She stared down at Sawyer, asleep in her lap. He looked so peaceful, and she felt a little bad that she would have to wake him. She brushed his tawny hair off his face and neck before picking his head up and softly setting it down on the edge of the driver’s seat.
She climbed out of the vehicle and opened the door to the house, so there wouldn’t be anything in their path from the car to the house once she woke him.
She opened the passenger door and poked his leg. “Sawyer. Sawyer.”
This time, she shook his arm. “Sawyer.”
She leaned in and shook his shoulders.
Finally, she reached into the car and lightly smacked him on the face while trying not to fall on top of him. “Sawyer, wake up.”
“Sawyer, you need to wake up, so I can help you into the house. It’s cold out here.”
She went back around to the driver’s side since his head was lying on the driver’s seat. She sat down on the outside half and gave him a few more pats on the face since that had seemed to get a response out of him. “Sawyer, you need to get up. Now.”
“Mmm,” he muttered again. This time, he turned his head toward her and mumbled a word that sounded like make or Nate.
“You big oaf, will you please get up?” she hissed.
He opened his eyes.
Finally. Apparently, calling him names had worked.
She leaned her head over, so he could see her better. He looked at her with his amber eyes and smiled, as in an everything-is-hunky-dory-and-life-is-good kind of smile. Sawyer rarely smiled and never a smile filled with such happiness and contentment. And he certainly didn’t smile at her.
Something wasn’t right.
She tried to see his pupils since he had been drugged and knocked out, but the garage was too dark to assess them.
“Hey there, big guy. Can you get up for me, so we can go into the house?”
“Sure,” he said with a dopey smile, still lying there without even attempting to get up.
Sure? Now, she knew something was wrong.
This was not the Sawyer that she knew. Sawyer was not passive. Sawyer was not cheerful. And Sawyer certainly did not agree with anything she said.
The sooner she got him into the house, the better.
“Okay, big boy, let’s get you up.”
She exited to go to Sawyer’s side of the vehicle again. As she walked around to the open passenger door, he stared at her the whole time through the windshield, almost as if he were in a daze. He was starting to creep her out a little because he was never like this.
When she reached him, she got his legs out of the car and grabbed his hands. “I’m going to help you sit up. On the count of three, you push, and I’ll pull, okay?”
“Okay,” he answered.
She wasn’t sure if he’d even heard what she said.
“Okay.” She nodded. “One, two, three, and go!”
She yanked on his arms, hard, and it appeared that Sawyer was trying to help, but holy shit was the man heavy. She got him into a sitting position, and his feet were on the ground, but it hadn’t been easy. It took another ten minutes to get him into the house, and despite the cold garage, she had started to break a sweat.
“Let’s go to the couch,” she told him.
Thankfully, it was cleared off. Her brother was a bachelor, and even though he was in his early thirties, he still lived like he was ten years younger. After she helped Sawyer get to the couch, she looked around and noticed the place was remarkably clean. She hoped it didn’t mean what she thought it meant.
She went over to the thermostat and saw that the temperature was turned down to sixty-two degrees. That wasn’t good either. She turned the heat up to seventy before she used the bathroom. She prayed her brother’s girlfriend, Anna, had left some feminine products there.
Kenzie was in luck. She was relieved to get rid of her makeshift pad. Thank God that she was on birth control, that her periods were really light and would only last a few days, and that she was already on day three.
After she was done with the bathroom, she rummaged around her brother’s coat closet for a warm coat, hat, and gloves. Once she found a spot to leave the car, she’d have to walk home. To say she wasn’t looking forward to freezing her ass off while wondering if someone was out there, planning to kill her, would be an understatement.
She looked back at Sawyer and tried to ignore her irritation. She knew it wasn’t his fault that he’d been drugged and injured, but it wasn’t fair that she would have to do this all on her own either. She could really use his help right now.
After finding everything she needed, she returned to his side to check on him before she left. His eyes were closed, but he didn’t seem to be sleeping, so she nudged him.
He opened his eyes and looked at her. She could see his pupils now, and they didn’t appear to be dilated. That was a good sign, yet something was up. Even injured, she couldn’t believe he wasn’t taking charge, getting things done, and bossing her around.
She’d have to worry about it later though. If she had to deal with one more piece of bad news right now, she might explode. “I need to go and get rid of the car, but I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
She put on her brother’s winter gear while Sawyer watched.
“Do you think you’ll be okay while I’m gone?”
He just blinked and stared at her hands while she put on the gloves.
“Sawyer, did you hear what I said? I need to get rid of the car. Are you going to be okay?”
He slowly raised his head and looked into her eyes. His brow furrowed, he asked, “Who’s Sawyer?”
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Payton Llewelyn, daughter to the cat-shifter alpha, wakes up with a throbbing head and a bullet wound to the hip. Recalling the events that led her there, the scent of a shifter permeates her senses—not that of a cat though, but of a wolf.
Damien Lowell, future pack leader of the wolf-shifters, has found himself in an impossible situation. Cat-shifters and wolf-shifters aren’t friends, and what Payton doesn’t know is that his father is behind her attack. He only meant to prevent her from being kidnapped, and he now has the wounded princess of the cat-shifters in his custody.
But when the heat becomes too much to handle, Damien and Payton must choose whether to follow their instincts or question the forbidden.
She tried to open her eyes, but she had a headache, and the daylight hurt her pupils. Then, there were the smells. She wasn’t at home or any other place that was familiar, and the scent of wolf-shifter was strong.
Wolf-shifter. Payton sat up in bed, jarring her side and sending shooting pains through her head.
“Oh,” she moaned as the previous night came back to her.
She’d left the restaurant after dinner with friends. Three humans had come out of nowhere and attacked. She had been injured, and then surprisingly, a wolf-shifter had saved her. It was all very strange.
There shouldn’t have been any wolf-shifters in the Twin Cities, but she supposed a few would slip past their radar every once in a while. Since this one had rescued her, she was shockingly unconcerned. So, that was not what bothered her the most.
Actually, it was the humans. Something about them and that whole situation disturbed her. She’d been in the lit parking lot of a busy restaurant in a good neighborhood. Why had they picked her to rob? Why there? Unfortunately, thinking only made her head hurt worse. She’d worry about it later. She should be more concerned about the present anyway.
She looked around the room, finally noticing her surroundings. Hardwood floors and walls all around showed that it was a cabin of some sort. From her spot on the bed, she looked through the window and could see the cloudy winter sky and an endless sight of bare trees with a small amount of snow coating the branches.
The scent of cedar was strong, but it wasn’t the wood cabin. It was her wolf.
She mentally shook her head. She’d meant, her wolf rescuer. It was obviously his place. She looked at the empty spot next to her with the rumpled sheets and the dent on the pillow. This was obviously his room. Had he slept next to her?
A cupboard slammed in the other room. Sticking her nose in the air, she caught a whiff of food cooking, and her stomach rumbled.
She searched the room for a clock with no luck, and she assumed it was late morning or early afternoon. It was light outside, and days were short in November, so midday was a good guess.
Throwing back the covers, Payton attempted to swing her legs over the side of the bed.
Pain radiated everywhere. She would need to do this a little slower.
Carefully, she put her right leg on the floor first. She noticed her right leg was bare. She looked down at herself. She could feel she was sans underwear. A man’s flannel shirt was the only thing she wore. She grabbed the collar and brought it to her nose. Although the smell was faint, it was the wolf’s shirt. It had been washed after he’d last worn it, and now, her scent covered it, too.
She pulled up the shirt to look at her throbbing hip. The wound was bandaged and clean from what she could see. Next, she picked up a chunk of her hair, seeing it had also been washed.
He had bathed her, and she wasn’t sure how she felt about that. She appreciated his care, but she knew he’d seen her naked—as if things weren’t already awkward.
She lowered her shirt and moved to place her other foot on the floor. She was working up her motivation to stand when the wolf came to the door, carrying a tray of food.
They both froze.
Wow. Now, this was a man.
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Next in line to lead the vampire species, Princess Naya Kensington has always abided by her royal responsibilities. At the urging of her best friend, Naya breaks the rules and crosses the line when she goes to a human nightclub. Following a chance encounter, Naya alters her life with a singular act forged from lust and blood.
Vaughn Llewelyn has secrets and obligations of his own, but he ignores them when he spots Naya across the nightclub. He wants her in a way he’s never felt before, and although he can’t possibly have more than one night with Naya, he knows no one else will do.
One night of forbidden love creates a bond that will forever change both of their lives…as well as their worlds.
As Naya moved closer, she found a small opening near the corner of the bar. When she reached the counter, it was obvious as to why the space had been empty. Next to her sat a disheveled man perched on a stool. He stank of alcohol and smelled like he was about a week overdue for a shower. He ogled her, making her uncomfortable, but people were swarming the bar around her, so she was unable to put the space she wanted between herself and the dirty drunk.
However, she was sick of people forcing her to do things she didn’t want to do, whether it was consciously or subconsciously on their part. She was going to get a drink, head to the floor, and dance until she started to have fun, even if it killed her. She would not let anyone ruin her plans.
“Hey, baby,” he said as he scooted closer, looking her up and down and almost falling over in the process. Apparently, his intoxicated state wasn’t going to stop him because he next slurred, “You’re hot,” as he swayed into her personal bubble.
She’d had to hold her breath when he spoke since his teeth hadn’t met a toothbrush in some time.
Naya faced forward and ignored him, hoping he would get the hint. While situations like this didn’t happen often, she had learned that silence was sometimes the best policy.
He leaned in closer. “I said, hey, baby.”
This time, she gave him a stern look. “Sir, I am not your baby.” She turned away, praying the straightforward approach would work.
“Wanna come home with me tonight? We can grab a six-pack of beer and fuck.”
She gasped. “No!” Gross.
“What? You don’t like beer?” He laughed at his joke and extended his hand to touch her.
She jerked her arm away and lifted her chin with confidence. “I’m here with someone.”
If only it were true.
He called her bluff. “I don’t see anyone with you. Why are you playing hard to get, dollface?”
She groaned. Why won’t he go away?
She took a small step back, irritated that she had to be the one to leave, when she sensed a presence behind her. Even though she couldn’t see the person, she knew immediately that he was big, male, and powerful. But she wasn’t afraid. In fact, a calm sense of relief came over her, and she instinctively recognized he was the one who had been watching her. The deep feelings he’d first stirred in her now flared to life. Anticipation, excitement, arousal, and exhilaration fused into one. Her head was spinning as her nostrils flared, and the lonely place between her legs blazed to life.
From the mirror behind the bar, she caught a glimpse of a virile male before he slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her flush against him, engulfing her body with his own. He kissed her neck and lingered there as if he had the right.
She tilted her head and let him.
About The Authors:
R.L. Kenderson is two best friends writing under one name.
Renae has always loved reading, and in third grade, she wrote her first poem where she learned she might have a knack for this writing thing. Lara remembers sneaking her grandmother’s Harlequin novels when she was probably too young to be reading them, and since then, she knew she wanted to write her own.
When they met in college, they bonded over their love of reading and the TV show Charmed. What really spiced up their friendship was when Lara introduced Renae to romance novels. When they discovered their first vampire romance, they knew there would always be a special place in their hearts for paranormal romance. After being unable to find certain storylines and characteristics they wanted to read about in the hundreds of books they consumed, they decided to write their own.
They both live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where they’re a sonographer/stay-at-home mom/wife and pharmacist/mother by day and a sexy author by night. They always love hearing from their readers.
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