It's been so cold around here I'm in the mood for mulled wine and hot chocolate. The calendar might say it isn't yet Halloween, but I'm pretty sure it's time to start my Christmas romance binge (since it's so close to my birthday, this holiday is very near and dear to my heart.
Luckily, Decadent Publishing has me covered. Join the Black Hills Wolves as they celebrate a year of good fortune, love and rebuilding since Drew became Alpha with authors Melissa Limoges, TL Reeve, Louisa Bacio and series creators Rebecca Royce and Heather Long.
Did the video fail to convince? Here are 5 sexy excerpts to tempt you to the shifter side....
Releasing November 6, 2015
Drew Tao is loving life. His pack is happy. And it’s time for the holidays. But his mate is keeping secrets and there is a crazy mother bear circling his borders. Can they survive the holidays or will everything fall apart?
The bar buzzed with the sounds of laughter and romance. His pack laughed, joked, and propositioned each other. He sat back and soaked in the happy. So many days, the rebuilding of Los Lobos didn’t have moments with anything other than pain and anguish. No good decisions, only bad choices, and trying to figure out which bad scenario was best.
When he’d killed his father, it had become his honor to lead the fine Wolves he called family. Drew pushed the thought away. Magnum had no place in the gathering in Gee’s bar. In the corner, a burst of high-pitched squeals sounded, drawing his attention. His mate, B, and four other women were giggling. He really didn’t want to know about what. Females could keep their secrets, the male population benefited from not asking too many questions.
He looked up as the chair across from his pulled back and Ryker, his Enforcer, settled in. The other man clunked his drink down with a grunt and didn’t make another sound to indicate his arrival. Drew had initiated these get-togethers at the bar with Ryker about three months prior. Once a week they sat and had a state of the pack discussion.
Or at least that was how Drew got him to show up. Ryker wasn’t what anyone would call chatty. Truth was, Drew was determined to forge some kind of real, lasting friendship with his Enforcer. In a pack where they both shouldered the burdens of leadership, they needed each other.
At least a decade with the humans had taught him, they were stronger together. He wasn’t certain if Ryker would agree.
But the Enforcer showed up. Every week. On time.
“Get your usual?” Drew motioned toward the beer. Gee didn’t have a great deal of choice at the bar, their need to keep Los Lobos all but completely off the grid, meant he didn’t do business with microbreweries or anyone who delivered fancy liquors.
Yet, he kept Drew’s favorite whisky in stock.
Ryker nodded toward the unopened bottle. No one save Gee opened his drinks; everyone else knew to serve him a sealed bottle. “I don’t know that I have a usual.”
The other man didn’t argue which didn’t mean he agreed with Drew’s statement. It simply meant he was done talking on the subject.
“Do you smell that?” Drew motioned his hand in the air.
Ryker raised a dark, severe eyebrow. “Smell what exactly?”
“That smell in the air. It’s happiness.” He grinned. “This is the way a happy, relatively functioning pack scents.”
The Enforcer leaned back in his chair, popped the lid from bottle, then took a deep pull from his beer. “They’re certainly loud tonight.”
“I’ve been thinking of what you suggested about the holiday celebration and the pack run.”
Drew nodded. “Right.”
Ryker gave his human mate credit for most innovative ideas. Drew liked Saja and he was more than happy to give the woman her due. “I talked it over with B. We think it’s a great idea—let’s face it, you and I are not decorating trees or lighting candles—if the others want to do it, I say have a good time.”
The other man gave a brief nod. “Is there anything else?”
“You seem tense.” Ryker’s usually solid shoulders seemed hiked even farther than usual.
“We had ten returns this month. That’s a lot. Not everyone who has come back can immediately be trusted. And you keep letting them, letting them blood oath.” Not a criticism. Ryker didn’t critique him—but maybe a quiet suggestion lurked within his statement.
“Which makes your job harder.” Drew nodded; he valued the older wolf’s opinion even when it utterly disagreed with his own. The pack might be shocked by how much he relied on Ryker’s cynicism and experience or maybe they wouldn’t. It didn’t matter—the Enforcer never lied or sugarcoated anything. “We invited everyone back, told them the pack was reforming. This was their home. It can be again, if that’s what they want.”
He had a deeper belief in the goodness of his wolves than Ryker did. Then again who knew how much fucked-up stuff Ryker had seen under Magnum that Drew didn’t even know about? If Ryker distrusted, it was with plenty of pack history to back him up.
“Is there anything else?” When the Enforcer was done with a conversation, he was finished.
“Actually there is.” Drew let the whisky burn down the back of his throat. “I want you to know I’m grateful. This happiness tonight, the way the pack is gelling. That’s thanks to you. I want you to know I see what you’re doing, how you take care of our safety so I can bring us back to life.”
The other man stood. “Saja is waiting.”
“Right.” Drew set down his drink. Apparently, the man couldn’t take compliment. “See you next week.”
With a fast, smooth step and a nod to Gee, Ryker walked away. Drew watched his exit with a heavy heart. He’d not had friends for ten years because he had to keep himself separate from the humans; he couldn’t get too close. Since his return, he was Alpha. A solitary position. And although B kept him loved and busy, he would have liked a buddy to talk things over with on occasion. Like what to get B for Christmas. One week away. He’d asked him a couple of times and Ryker’s answer remained the same. Get her something she likes. Not. Helpful.
The Enforcer seemed to have less than any interest in opening that door. However, Drew was a shifter who got what he wanted. He’d keep working on it.
“You got eight minutes.” B slid into the chair next to him, a smile on her face. Her red hair was up in a bun with curls sliding down the side of her face. His mate was, without a doubt, the loveliest female ever born. “Is that some kind of record for Ryker? Eight minutes of conversation before he abandoned his beer and ran like you’d threatened him?”
Releasing November 13, 2015
There's magic in the air...
Kalum Truesdale is willing to take the leap and mate. Fawn Hawthorne has been at his finger tips for months now since his return, but the timid wolf rebuffs him at every turn. With the Winter Solstice right around the corner, he's got a couple of tricks up his sleeves to finally catch the elusive wolf.
Fawn Hawthorne isn't ready for a mate. After years of torture, all she wants is to be left alone. However, the handsome and persistent Kalum Truesdale, isn't willing to let her hide. So, when presents start arriving in the days leading up to the Solstice, Fawn has a decision to make. Take what Kalum is offering her, happiness and love. Or continue to fear the world around her while always wondering, what if?
Fawn Hawthorne forced the spoon toward her mouth and took a bite of the oatmeal she made for breakfast. The texture didn’t appeal to her; in fact she downright hated it. However, her goal to experience one thing each week she hated required she push through, maybe she would still hate the hot cereal when she was done or maybe she associated it with something bad from the past. Either way, she considered it therapy after everything she endured under Magnum’s reign as Alpha. On the upside, she earned a reward every time she tackled one of her personal challenges. Tonight’s prize: pizza.
With her cup in one hand and her breakfast in the other, she settled at her computer to eat and work. Located on the outskirts of Los Lobos, Fawn’s home had been a fixer-upper even when her mom owned it. Since moving back in, Fawn worked as an accountant, and when she had the money, she made tiny repairs to the place. Though the revitalization of Los Lobos was a work in progress, she took pride in the fact she ran a valuable service for her pack—even when she felt like an outcast—plus she also gained a few customers in Rapid City.
Today, her schedule included a few clients dropping off their books for the month and a visit from the man who drove her insane, Kalum Truesdale. “Arrogant buffoon,” she muttered, grabbing a pencil out of her mug with a picture of a howling wolf on it.
The broad shouldered, Southern-charmed cowboy crawled under her skin. Made her want things she didn’t need.
He commanded her.
Demanding her attention every time he walked into her home office, he would tip his hat and greet her in his lazy drawl…. Ma’am. She shivered, remembering his gravelly tone. Rough with a hint of sexual intent, it reverberated through her. Not to mention the jokes he told. They were corny to the nth degree and made her groan. Of course, he’d later saunter out of her office laughing after his silly barbs.
Several times, she tried to hand him lists of accountants who’d better serve his bovine endeavors, but he never took the hint. The Wolf-slash-cattle rancher seemed determined to stay under her skin, like a tick, sucking the life from her. No, she didn’t mean it like it sounded. Persistent was more like it. Yet, a sick, twisted part of her reveled in his attention. She looked forward to the beep of her alarm system signaling his arrival.
By now, she knew him by his scent—leather and aftershave, even though he had a scruffy beard. Her mouth watered. It wasn’t right the way his Wranglers encased his ass, fitting him to perfection. Or the glimpse of a dimple in his left cheek when he smirked at her. Or the way his cool slate-colored eyes assessed her. Peering deep into a soul tattered and torn. Worn threadbare by years of abuse.
Not to mention, he had a horrible way of making her forget about everything, including logging onto her computer. She typed her password and hit Enter. The cheerful greeting Tinks programmed into the startup scrolled across the screen before a picture of two wolves filled the monitor. The bigger of the two stood over the smaller, protecting her from any predator, which might happen upon them. Like you wish someone would have protected you? She mentally shook off the thought as the desktop appeared. An old picture of her and her brother Kru stared back at her.
Without a second thought, she pulled up her accounting program then licked her spoon. As she ate her paste-like breakfast, daydreaming about pizza, she worked on the files lying in front of her. The majority of it was easy: print out their checks and balance their ledgers. Tomorrow she’d run to town and get them to sign them and send them off.
“Hello?” The alarm chimed seconds after Kalum called out. His heavy footfalls echoed against her hardwood floors. “Your welcome light is off, sugar.”
His scent filled her workspace. The clean, crisp smell wrapped around her, draping her in its safety. Her mind betrayed her, encouraging her to use him as a security blanket of sorts. “Well you weren’t due here for another half hour so….” She shrugged. Taking another bite of her breakfast, she frowned and smacked her lips together. God, she hated oatmeal.
“Right. Sorry. I have a guy I need to meet in Rapid City for a couple head of cattle. Here.” He handed over his information and a small four-by-four box.
“What’s this?” She eyed the plain box suspiciously.
“Don’t know, sug. Why don’t you open it?” Kalum sat in the chair across from her and extended his lean yet muscular legs. The cocky gleam in his eyes along with his relaxed posture unnerved her.
“How about no. Now” —she pushed her bowl away from her—“are you buying today or selling?”
He scratched his chin. The rasp of his scruffy beard sent a shiver down her spine. Kalum stared at her, narrowing his eyes before he shifted and sat up a bit as though contemplating a chess move or a new strategy with which to approach her. The top three buttons on his plaid shirt were open, exposing the white thermal lying below. Why did she feel disappointed at not being able to glimpse his sun-kissed flesh? Or the coarse smattering of chest hair? God, how many nights had she imagined running her fingers through it while wrapped in his embrace? His hands on her body, caressing her.
“Selling,” he said, jolting her out of her thoughts. “The spring brought me five bulls and six heifers. I’ve already got my studs. I don’t need more. As luck may have it, this fellow does.”
“Great,” she answered while opening his file on the laptop. “Anything else I should know about before you go?”
“Have dinner with me, Fawn.”
Releasing November 20, 2015
Patience is a virtue…a lesson Stephen Dorsett has learned over the years, wooing his mate. He loves the prickly woman with all his heart, but he’s keeping a secret from her—one that will soon change the entire dynamic of their relationship.
Kate Matthews has a secret of her own, but she’s reluctant to share her surprise with Stephen. With her mate spending too many long hours and late nights at work recently, Kate begins to second-guess Stephen’s commitment to her.
One simple misunderstanding, fueled by insecurities and doubts, is all it takes to throw Kate and Stephen off course. Will they allow their secrets to pull them apart, or make their love stronger?
Kate Matthews gaped at the small, plastic stick she clutched in her hand with a death grip. The frantic drum of her heart beat against her ribcage while her stomach churned in discord. A swift influx of panic, elation, disbelief, and fear bombarded her all at once, dragging the air from her lungs in a noisy whoosh.
Reeling from the revelation, she stumbled backward to drop down on the toilet lid before her weak knees buckled. Unfortunately, she miscalculated the distance and fell backward between the sink and toilet with a surprised squeal, landing in a squished heap and banging her head on the wall in the process. Temporarily rendered stupid, she simply sat there, wedged in the tiny space, gawking at the little strip of plastic glaring the truth at her.
“You alright in there?” Her mate, Stephen, called from the other side of the door. No doubt he’d scented her distress.
Alarm whipped through her bloodstream and the pregnancy test flew from Kate’s trembling hand to clatter on the floor in front of her. When he twisted the doorknob, she bolted from in between the toilet and sink and snatched the small stick from the bathroom tiles.
“I’m fine,” she exclaimed. “There was a spider.”
He twisted the knob again, and she sent up a quick prayer of thanks she’d had the foresight to turn the latch.
“Why’d you lock the door?” A mix of irritation and concern tinged his deep voice.
Frantic, she yanked open the cabinet beneath the sink and stashed the plastic strip in a box of tampons, certain he’d never look there, and then darted for the entrance. Once she fumbled with the lock, she tugged open the door, and came face to chest with Stephen.
“I must’ve locked it by accident when I came in.” The excuse sounded weak to her own ears. Surely, he would think the same. They never locked the bathroom door, if she could get him to close the damn thing at all.
A frown creased his golden features. He watched her through narrowed blue eyes—attempting to decipher the obvious lie and cow her with his probing stare at the same time.
Drop it. Drop it. Please, for the love of God, just drop it.
As though he’d heeded her silent litany, he shrugged and his knitted brow eased. “Well, I gotta head out for work, so give me a kiss good-bye.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Kate stepped forward and lifted her mouth to his for a quick kiss. Instead of the fast peck she expected, Stephen snagged her around the middle and dragged her against his body. He seized her mouth, sliding his tongue past her parted lips. His hands gripped her ass and he shoved his hard thigh between her legs.
Within seconds, Kate melted against him, drowning in the overload of sensation. Each time he kissed her, it felt like their first kiss all over again. Too soon, he pulled back and rested his forehead against hers.
“Was there really a spider?”
“Yes.” She panted. “A grossly huge one with hairy legs.”
“Better you found it than me then.” He shuddered.
She swatted his chest and he captured her hand, placing a soft kiss in her palm.
“I gotta go, babe.”
“So soon?” Kate glanced at the bedroom window and frowned. “The sun’s not even up yet.”
“Can’t help it, Sunshine. There’s a lot of new development in town, which means more contacts to fill. Plus, the pack’s getting ready for the Solstice next week. Hey, don’t complain. Means more money for us in the long run.” He lifted her chin with the knuckle of his index finger. “Any chance you’ve changed your mind about the run? You know Drew wants us all there.”
Ugh, again with this nonsense? So what if she didn’t want to join in the pack run? Of course, he wasn’t going to drop it. Problem was, she didn’t want to embarrass him or herself in front of their pack with her awkwardness. Or worse, what if she couldn’t shift when the time came?
“Yeah, didn’t think so.” With a shake of his head, he strode to the closet to grab his heavy winter coat.
She couldn’t help but admire the flex of his arms and broad shoulders when he slid into the warm material. “When will you be home?”
“I’ll probably be late, so don’t wait up for me. Love ya, babe,” he called over his shoulder as he glided out of the bedroom without a backward glance.
For a moment, she lamely stared at the empty doorway, halfway expecting him to walk through it again, but he didn’t. Hounded by disappointment, she padded to the bed and slumped on the edge. She rested her elbows on her thighs and buried her face in her hands.
Great, how was she supposed to tell Stephen about the baby?
Winter Solstice Menage
Releasing November 27, 2015
Sugar isn’t as sweet as her big brother, Yas, believes. After he leaves the big city to venture a small pack in the hills he’s heard about from their mom, she decides to let loose in all the best ways. Except when all hell breaks loose and she’s faced with some tough decisions, she runs … to her family.
After growing up in Los Lobos, twins Derek and Tyler Baker lived through all the hardships under the former Alpha leader. While one twin is happy playing the dating field, the other wants something more special. They both find what they’re looking for when newcomer Sugar comes for a visit.
Where Sugar goes, trouble follows. It’ll take more than one member of this pack to tame the new shifter she-wolf. But will the Winter Solstice Ménage be enough to convince her to settle down?
Towel in hand, Sugar snuck down the stairs as quietly as possible. As expected, the love-Wolves had excused themselves to bed early. The only people who turned in by nine either worked super early, were old, or planned some private extracurricular activities.
Once outside, she opened her senses and took in the solitude of being so far out in nature. Without the conflicting sensory information, everything from the stars shining above to the slight breeze took on another dimension. Growing up in the city, she never realized how much she’d been missing. She headed to the hangout spot, following the directions Tala had grudgingly given her earlier, along with the advice to “be careful.”
Despite being a little bit reserved at first, her new “sis” seemed pretty cool, especially when playing go-between with Yas. If left to him, she’d stay in twenty-four/seven.
As she drew closer, she heard a whoop, whoop, whoop of laughter and a huge splash. A rope swung, and, below, a few people swam. She wasn’t feeling quite that adventurous yet and made her way over to another watering hole. She dipped a toe in and sighed at the luxurious heat. A natural hot springs? Here?
Forget the fancy spas; she’d take this spot any day. Before stripping down, she got as close to the hot spring as possible, and made a mental plan of attack. For the briefest of moments, she’d be butt-ass cold, but as soon as she hit the warmth…. Ahhh. She tossed her jacket and clothes on a nearby chair, uncovering a white bathing suit with pink flowers, and sank into the waters. Leaning back against the side, she closed her eyes. The contrast between the blustery winter weather and the bliss of the heat shocked the system, in the best way. Getting away from it all was unnatural. After the onslaught of harassing text messages from her ex, she’d left her phone home. Who’d be contacting her anyway? Plus, cell service here sucked. The idea was to get away from it all and let Jerry get some breathing space. Hopefully, he’d find someone else to focus on and leave her alone. He hadn’t been such a loser when she first met him, but, then again, he hadn’t been honest either. She’d been duped into thinking he was a college student. Then she learned he only saw them as an easy pickup.
“Mind if I join you?” A man’s deep voice broke through her thoughts, and she opened her eyes. Have mercy.
He towered over the spa, and she looked up, up, up—past those tapered hips and sculpted stomach to broad shoulders and a mouth that promised all sorts of wicked goodness. The cold didn’t seem to bother him much, except for those hard nipples.
“Come on in. There’s plenty of room.”
Rather than taking up residence on the other side, where someone who followed social norms might have, he sat next to her. Real close. The water level rose as he got in.
“You must be new to these parts. Haven’t seen you around. I’m Derek.”
The tone of his voice moved over her body, eliciting a physical response. Her nipples perked up, and the weight of his gaze settled on her chest, which just about floated on the water. Feeling uncharacteristically self-conscious, she dipped below.
“Ah, perceptive. I’m Sugar,” she said. “I’m staying with my brother Yas and Tala at the B&B.”
“Is Sugar short for anything?” he asked.
“You mean like “Sugar-licious?” She licked her lips, overemphasizing the way she ran her tongue over the full bottom one. The way his eyes zeroed in on her mouth gave her a thrill.
Men were so obvious.
Wolf in Winter Clothing
Releasing December 4, 2015
Roland James waited a long time to return to the Black Hills. After Seth, his best friend, left—was driven away—and Seth’s family vanished in the night, he had no reason to stay. Only one purpose remained for him—to build his strength and his skills until he could kill the men responsible for their loss. When word reaches him about Magnum’s demise and Drew’s ascension, he rushes home. Though Drew welcomes him and the town seems to be thriving with a Winter Solstice Run in the offing, Roland can’t celebrate. Not all of his enemies are dead. One—the worst—still lives.
Professor Claudia Donovan has spent a great deal of time and effort to locate one of her colleagues. Then she receives an odd message telling her to meet someone about the woman she’s been trying to find in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota. Taking the first flight and renting a car, she waits at the designated spot. A chance meeting and an even riskier hookup for her TA leaves her with more questions than answers. When she ends up in Los Lobos no one wants to answer her questions.
The last thing Roland expects when he lures the human to the Black Hills is to delight in her scent, her temper, and her cutting tongue. He needs the pawn to distract Ryker because the Enforcer has a weakness. Take away his mate, and Roland can kill him once and for all. Maybe his plan makes Roland the bad guy, but he can live with that. The only problem he has is his need for revenge may cost him Claudia….
Her hands trembled as she pulled a cigarette out and turned away from the wind to get it lit. She was alone standing outside the little coffee shop, huddled as close to the wall as she could. Why the hell did I just decide to fly to the middle of nowhere? Have I lost my damn mind?
Or was she desperate for her last real connection? Shoshanna was great, a fantastic student, a brilliant protégé, and a girl with a bright future, but she wasn’t Saja. Saja had been more than her—
A truck door slammed across the street, and she glanced at the man striding across the winter-slicked road toward the coffee shop. Tall with dark hair, which he wore long and tied into a loose tail at the nape of his neck, he reminded her of a mountain man—except he wore a dress shirt, open suede jacket, and jeans. The mountain-man look from Giorgio. It will be all the rage this season.
His beard, though—damn. She had a thing for bearded men, and he wore his so well. Snow flurries populated the air, and flakes clung to his beard and hair, adding to his rugged appearance. How the hell did he walk so calm and collected through the frigid cold? It didn’t even seem to touch him.
He glanced toward her, and she sucked in a drag off the cigarette even as she jerked her attention away. Staring was rude. Still, she couldn’t help sliding a sideways peek when his booted foot hit the pavement in front of the coffee shop. Her hand trembled when he opened the door and disappeared into the shop. Exhaling the cold with the smoke, she glanced inside. Shoshanna continued to read papers, and a fresh cup of coffee sat waiting for Claudia, along with the untouched second burger.
Mr. GQ Mountain Man took a seat at the counter and raked his fingers through his hair, loosening the tie at his nape. Some of his hair escaped, but the tousled look suited him. The man was the whole package, and he looked damn good from the rear. Nearly as good as he had from the front. The icy air didn’t do a damn thing for the heat unfurling in her blood or the lust coiling in her belly.
After finishing her smoke, she extinguished it and seriously considered a second one. Maybe if she froze to death outside, she wouldn’t go inside and make an idiot out of herself. No sooner did the thought take root than she dismissed it. She’d come for Saja, not to get laid. South Dakota might grow them pretty, but she belonged back in New York.
No getting laid.
A shudder rolled down her spine, whether from the cold or hot stuff with the beard, she had no idea. Squaring her shoulders, she pulled the door open and charged inside. Priorities.
Yeah, the mental lecture didn’t do a damn thing for her libido. Dear Santa, can I have a hot guy for Christmas? Laughter welled upward, and she chuckled. Shoshanna gave her an owlish blink. Of course, when the idea of writing Santa sounded more sane than hitting on a gorgeous stranger, maybe she had cracked.