Tag Archives: Shifter

5 Star, 4.5 Star and 4 Star Reviews for Thirds Beyond the Books: Volume 1 by Charlie Cochet @charliecochet #MM #Paranormal #Shifter #Military @Dreamspinners

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Title: Thirds Beyond the Books: Volume 1
Author Name & Publisher: Charlie Cochet (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 8th, 2016 – 164 Pages

Synopsis

Join us as we celebrate the THIRDS universe with this collection of flash fiction stories written to prompts submitted by fans. Sometimes we want to know more about our favorite characters. Where they came from, how they became who they are, their families, friendships, and past heartaches. These snippets of moments in time offer an inside look at the lives of our favorite THIRDS characters. Whether it’s first shifts, the forging of unbreakable bonds, or a night full of shenanigans, these stories are sure to enrich your THIRDS reading experience.

** All royalties earned from THIRDS Beyond the Books are being donated to Big Cat Rescue.

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Review
FiveStars
Charlie Cochet is an exceptional author. She is always bringing some amazing book to the table and this is one that I really enjoyed. I like that Charlie took this book and made into a short story with snippets of everyone’s life that we as readers have wondered about and made it a reality. I liked being able to read about how Dex and Cael became a family. I liked being able to read about Dex’s mom and dad and maybe was able to get some insight on why they was killed. I also enjoyed being able to read about how some of the thirds couples met, first dates, thanksgiving and Christmas’s together and even times that was not the most pleasant if memories for some of them.

Charlie has an amazing way of capturing the readers attention and holding it till the very end of the book. She makes you want to read the next book in her serieses and making the reading wish the next book in a series will hurry up and come out. That is the mark of a true author and that is what Charlie is and has proved that with each book in the Thirds series. I am impatiently waiting for thirds book 7 to be out. I cannot wait to see what Charlie has in store for us all once again.

Tosha
FourandHalfStars
I will say that I absolutely adored these little insights to the characters outside of the novels. It was fun to read about special times in each person’s life in little snippets since they wouldn’t have fit into the normal books.
The only reason it isn’t a full five star rating to me was that I do enjoy the full stories where I can really sink into story and I couldn’t to that so much since each story was pretty short.
All in all, I really enjoyed the stories and can’t wait for more from Charlie Cochet.
Renee
FourStars

I really liked the concept of this story.  I, however, have not read this series, so it was somewhat of a challenge to truly understand what was going on and what the fans were requesting.  However, despite that fact, I really liked how this book was laid out.

Cochet was able to almost bring me up to speed within these snippets.  I felt that I was getting to know the characters as I was reading these snapshots of the book.

The writing was great and getting to see “behind the scenes” of the scenes was so fun and a great way to intrigue me in to this story line.

This authors definitely gained a fan by writing these too – I wish more authors would do that.

AvidReader

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5 Star, 3.5 Star and 3 Star Reviews for Fall by Michelle Chow #MM #Paranormal #Romance @LT3Press

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Title: Fall
Author Name & Publisher: Michelle Chow (Less Than Three)
Publication Date & Length: April 20, 2016 — 99 pages

Synopsis

Jeremy’s always looked after his little brother, Callum, and it’s his responsibility to make sure he’s safe. When Callum wanders too far into the woods, and finds himself at the mercy of two wolf shifters, Jeremy’s forced to act quickly.

It’s not ideal waking up in a strange house, with two shifters that scare him more than he’ll admit, but it’s temporary. Or it should be, until Jeremy realises getting rid of the wolves is far easier said than done.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

This was a cute story. More of a young adult read than romance, although it had a romantic theme. This is more about opposites attract and learning to just be who you are.

 

The story flowed well. There wasn’t much if any drama, unless you wanted to count Callum, the younger brother of Jeremy. Towards the end though, Callum explains why he does what he does and it all makes sense and you melt a little for Callum. Jeremy was pretty much in his cat form the whole story (for a very good reason), and his best friend Duke is human. Not being able to converse while Jeremy was in cat form, their conversations at times made me giggle. Sam who is a wolf shifter, was such a young gentleman that my heart tugged for him even before he mentions his family and growing up. I wanted Sam and Jeremy to have their HEA and I wasn’t disappointed.

 

This was a short simple story of boy meets boy, boy likes boy, boy gets his boy, and they live happily ever after without drama. There were no kissing or physical scenes. The ending (a span of 7 years) was quite rushed and was told in 3 short paragraphs. It did make you smile and giggle though.

~Keri

FiveStars

This turned out to be a really good short story. It is a definitely a book about opposites attract. And add in the fact that it is about shifters and you have a winner.

Jeremy is a shifter bob cat that follows his parents rules and tries not to rock the boat when they say not to do something. His little brother Callum is the opposite and does whatever he feels like doing which usually lands them both in trouble cause being a good big brother Jeremy will not leave his brother behind or left to get hurt. That is exactly how they meet Thom and Sam.

Thom and Sam are shifter wolfs and Jeremy’s parents have always told the boys to stay away from them because shifter wolves are dangerous. Stay out of the woods because shifter wolves are territorial. But Callum being Callum does not heed the warning and that is where the trouble begins and how all four boys meet. While I guess I should say five boys because Duke (Jeremy’s best friend) meets the wolf shifters because of Callum doing what he was not supposed to do.

This was a very interesting story because it is the perfect example of when a boy likes a boy he picks on said boy to show him he likes him. It is such a cute story and I really enjoyed it. It was very refreshing. For a while I wondered who was going to end up a couple in the end but I was very pleased with the way it turned out. Very good short story.

~Tosha

ThreeStar

Fall has an interesting premise and great potential in the beginning. But there were things about the book that turned me off the further I got into it.

I was engaged right away by the unique start to the potential romance between Jeremy and Sam. There were some great moments along the way – some cute, some romantic, some moving.

But the story moved along very slowly, and it was hard to stay interested. Things pick up near the end, but then the actual ending feels very abrupt. I feel like if the first half of the book was condensed and the ending was fleshed out, then this would be a great story.

If you’re looking for a unique paranormal romance you might like this book. As there is no sexual content, I wouldn’t recommend this to someone looking for an erotic romance.

Amanda

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3.5 Stars and 3 Stars for Freeing Pain: Annex (Freeing #1) by Lor Rose #MM #Shifter #ParanormalRomance @Lor_Rose9009 @GoIndiMarketing

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Title: Freeing Pain: Annex (Freeing #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Lor Rose (Thirteen Below Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 7, 2016 — 66 Pages

Synopsis

Jude Kash’s life was filled with abused animals and too little sleep. His work at the We Are One Foundation brought him his new devil-dog Teddy Bear and his new obsession: an abused liger named Sampson.

Sampson suffered from poor living conditions and threats with a gun. Jude, or Kash to his friends, witnessed it first hand when he snuck onto Whitman’s, Sampson’s owner’s, property. When Kash and others from the We Are One Foundation finally make a plan to rescue poor Sampson things go terribly wrong.

When Kash finally regains consciousness he awoke to a very handsome and naked man taking care of him. Kash felt a connection with the man he couldn’t explain. The man introduced himself as Maj and explained everything except for one small detail of his life: he was Sampson, a liger shifter.

Kash took the news considerably well except for one problem… that detail wasn’t so small, in fact, it could cost Kash his life.

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Review

ThreeandHalfStars

Maj and Jude are a strange couple.  I didn’t really ever connect with this story until the very end.  It had intrigue, but it was just kind of a disconnected story for me.

First, you have Jude who is an animal lover.  He does everything in his power to save a liger who is being abused.  You learn all about Jude’s previous life – his abusive father and somewhat less than ideal childhood.  However, he has surrounded himself with his own hand picked family and after meeting Maj, the Liger and his mate, he’s just OK with leaving everything and everyone behind.  That seemed a little strange to me.

Then you have Maj.  He is a gentle man/creature but I felt that he was in and out of the story so frequently that I never was able to really pin down his character.

Overall, this was an interesting story.  It does include love, faith and the desire to fight for what you believe in.  While I didn’t love the story, it was well written and I would imagine a lot of readers would love it.

~AvidReader

ThreeStar

This book really through me for a loop. I enjoyed it because it was different from all the other paranormal books that I have read.

There was definitely questions that was left unanswered about certain parts of the book and things that I felt could have been explained more but overall it was a decent book.

There are definitely a lot of twist to this book that I did not see coming. I guess I would classify this as paranormal mystery.

It started out to be a pretty normal book as far as I would say but I guess about half way through it it changed to more of a fairy tale.

I enjoyed the main characters but at the same time they were kind of confusing. I am hoping this is a series that continues to make more sense as the books come out.

I will definitely read the next book in the series because as I said I was left with a lot of questions were this book was concerned. I am not going to elaborate because if I do it will end up being a major spoiler for the book.

I look forward to the next book especially since I am hoping some of my questions will answered.

Tosha

AuthorInterview

This is dedicated to who? It ended how?

Most books contain a dedication, it isn’t a “have to,” but it’s commonly done. So far, just from what I’ve read, all the dedications are to parents, siblings, significant others, pets, things like that.

Well I did something a little differently. I dedicated Annex to myself. Why? Because I finally finished it. Authors deserve recognition for their work just as much as those who support and help them through the process.

I wanted recognition for what I had accomplished, damnit.

Although if Annex had ended the way I had originally intended I might not have wanted that recognition.

You see originally there wasn’t an epilogue. I can’t say more beyond that without revealing some spoilers but to those who have read it: wouldn’t you have just killed me? I mean start a mob and lynch me kill me? Dead author.

Originally the epilogue was to be the starting of book two, if there ever was a book two. After pondering on it a minute I decided most of my readers from book one wouldn’t hop onto book two with that ending. Besides, I’ve learned people don’t like cliffhangers where books are concerned. Come to think of it, neither do I.

If you’d like to learn more about Freeing Pain: Annex visit my website (www.LorRose.com) for my next stop on this tour.

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5 stars for Loaded for Bear (Shifter Hardball #2) by Cheyenne Meadows #MM #Shifter #Paranormal @Dreamspinners

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Title: Loaded for Bear (Shifter Hardball #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Cheyenne Meadows (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: May 11, 2016 — 192 Pages

Synopsis

Polar bear shifter Graham Tundra can’t believe his bad luck. Not only is he traded to another baseball team midseason, but he’s also teamed up with Trigger Mallow: widely considered the best player in the game—but with the worst attitude.

Trigger is on the fence about Graham. As a grizzly bear shifter, he’s relieved to have another ursine on the team, even if they are different species. The problem is Trigger is in the middle of his natural mating season, and Graham looks too damn good to pass up.

What begins as friends with benefits shows potential to grow into a deeper connection. If only they can put aside their differences, learn to trust, listen to their feelings, and realize it’s more than just a bear thing.

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Review

FiveStars

I enjoyed book one in this series because it was light hearted and funny to boot but I liked this one better because it was not given that these two men would come together and there were things that they had to work out.

Trigger could not have a more perfect name that is for sure because his personality has a short trigger and can go from not saying anything at all to biting someone’s head off in an instance. But regardless deep down Trigger has a soft side and when he lets that soft side out, watch out because he is going to blow you away. I think that a lot of Trigger’s problem is, he is lonely and has not connected without anyone on a personal level. He has friends and teammates but as far as someone he lets in his everyday life, he has not had that. I believe that Trigger was the perfect person and bear for Graham.

Graham is the exact opposite personality wise then Trigger. He is laid back, likes to be around others and he is a people pleaser. The thing is, if you get on his bad side he can be scary. But that is a rare thing. I don’t think Graham is comfortable with telling others his sexual preferences because his old team tormented him and left him not being so confident about being gay and out in baseball. But Trigger is able to break his tight lippedness about being gay and these two men connected on many different levels.

The old saying opposites attract is definitely the case in story because they are definitely opposite personality wise but they bring out the best in each other and they build the other up and their personal insecurities start to heal because of the other. They make each other stronger and give each other the confidence in different situations that they may have been secure in before meeting each other.

This was an amazing read and cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out and see what this team gets up to next.

~Tosha

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New Release: 4.5 star and THREE 4 star reviews for The Better To Kiss You With by Michelle Osgood #FF #Romance #Shifter #Paranormalromance @OsgoodMichelle

The Better 900px (Tumblr)Title: The Better To Kiss You With
Author Name & Publisher: Michelle Osgood (Interlude Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 21, 2016 – 182 pgs

Synopsis

Deanna, the moderator for Wolf’s Run, an online werewolf role-playing game, wanders the local forest with her dog Arthur and daydreams about Jaime, the attractive, enigmatic woman who lives upstairs. When threats from an antagonistic player escalate, Deanna wonders if her job could be riskier than she’d ever imagined—and if her new girlfriend knows more about this community than she had realized.

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Review

FourandHalfStars

Deanna moderates an online werewolf game and begins to receive threats from a man claiming to be a werewolf. He is insulted by the way werewolves are portrayed in the game and wants to make Deanna pay for it. His threats become more and more violent but Deanna doesn’t take it seriously enough. Meanwhile she begins an exceptionally hot relationship with her upstairs neighbour, Jamie who turns out to be a werewolf too – a nice one though!
I got frustrated at Deanna not taking the stalking by ‘Crywolf’ seriously as it became more scary. She didn’t seem to realise how dangerous he could be. Jamie on the other hand knew exactly how bad it could get and what the werewolf was capable of. She was a really interesting character, full of strength on the surface but so vulnerable emotionally when it came to telling Deanna who she really was. The love scenes were sizzling and came to show how totally connected they were. Deanna seemed to take the whole werewolf revelation thing in her stride and it was so well written that I never once doubted it. The last part of the book was very exciting and full of threat and suspense and the confrontation between ‘Crywolf’ and those out to stop him was great and so believable. When we met Jamie’s family I could see more to this story. I hope there is a follow-up.

Kitty Kat

FourStars

Personally I found this novel was more representative of an adult comic strip and I loved it. From the opening chapters when the dry wit and quick retorts sprang from Deanna’s lips, that I felt, appeared in speech bubbles before my eyes. To the unveiling of Jamie’s secret persona, everything was so colourful and refreshingly different.
Ms Osgood added plenty of intense sexual encounters between the women and proved her penmanship by also making transitions seem commonplace and totally acceptable.
Things did slow down around the middle of this amusing but exciting novel but quickly roared back into life.
There was a definite energy and vibrancy that ran almost entirely throughout the novel with picturesque scenes both of colour and imagination.
The ending was as satisfying as it was in explaining the significance of the title. After reading this book I was left  with a smile on my face and respect for this author whose further novels I will certainly be looking out for.
Chris
FourStars
This book totally had me turning pages. The pace makes the story move quickly and I couldn’t put it down. The chemistry between Deanna and Jamie is apparent from the first meeting, and everything that follows just seems to turn up the heat between them. Deanna’s stalker from the game she moderates makes things creepy and serious, and forces Jamie to come clean about her own little secret. The danger brings Jamie and Deanna closer together as Jamie basically moves in to ensure Deanna’s safety. Deanna’s freak out when things get real should have been expected, but we were placated by her initial response to Jamie’s revelation and so it was a bit of a surprise. I love Jamie’s family, and wish we could have gotten to know them a bit more. In all, I really enjoyed this book.
~AmyP
FourStars

In this novel we meet Deanna and Jamie, who have a chance meeting that leads to them spending time together. I love what we see of Deanna’s personality; I had hoped that being the moderator for Wolf’s Run, a RPG, would make her a bit geekier and nerdy but I understand that this isn’t that sort of book.

 

The characters felt a bit clichéd and typical; however, the story pulled me in and I enjoyed the book. I loved the added bit of suspense and the witty, clever dialog between the women kept me laughing. The steamy scenes played on the instant chemistry that the women had and had me fanning myself off a few times.

 

I appreciated the bit at the end of the book after the event so that we could see a bit more of Deanna and Jamie’s life together. I think a lot of authors end their books too quickly after the main suspenseful obstacle has been resolved and it leaves the characters in limbo; I was glad to see that wasn’t the case here and we got a nice little extra look into their lives.

 

All-in-all, the book was a lovely romance with a dose of suspense thrown in to mix things up. Good read!

~Tori

Excerpt

“I think I know blood when I see it,” Deanna pointed out. “It was definitely blood.”

Beside her on the floor, Nathan leaned his head back against the couch and, behind the black frames of his glasses, rolled his bright blue eyes. “I’m not saying it wasn’t blood. But just, like, blood happens.”

“‘Blood happens.’ You sound like a tampon commercial.”

“Not true.” Nathan snickered over the top of his glass. “They never use the word ‘blood.’”

Deanna choked on a mouthful of wine.

“Anyway,” Nathan continued, “it was probably just a dead animal. Dogs love that stuff.”

“He wasn’t happy, though. He was scared. Something scared him. And Arthur’s brave. He doesn’t scare easily.” Deanna wiped the Pinot Gris from her chin and they both leaned forward to look at Arthur, who was sprawled artlessly on top of his dog bed and snoring loudly. Deanna smothered a giggle with the back of her hand and grabbed the bottle of wine.

“Just don’t confuse fantasy with reality. I think your job is messing you up.”

Deanna snorted. “Wolf’s Run is a just game, Nathan. I haven’t forgotten that.”

“Really? Because you’re talking about mysterious bodies torn up in the woods, and if that doesn’t sound like werewolves…”

Deanna gave Nathan a shove. “Ha, ha, very funny. I’m not like that weirdo who thinks that werewolves actually exist. It’s role-playing. Playing being the key word.”

For the most part, the players of Wolf’s Run were a good crowd—with the exception of one user who seemed to think that he actually was a werewolf. Apparently, he took offense to the game’s depictions of “his species,” considering them inaccurate and insulting. The rants had been going on for months, and the situation would have been laughable, except that in the last few weeks his posts had taken on a more threatening tone. Every time Deanna deleted his posts and blocked his username he simply created another account. The Wolf’s Run team didn’t want to block his IP address because IP addresses could be shared by a large number of people, and doing so might block legitimate players from the game. Besides, it was child’s play to circumvent a block by logging in from a third-party app or web service, or just logging in from a different location. Deanna could only shut him down and hope that this time he finally gave up.

“Well, then just accept that Arthur found a bunny rabbit or something and decided it would be a good idea to roll around in its mangled corpse.”

Deanna shook her head. “You didn’t see him. It was a lot of blood.” It had taken two desperately unpleasant baths and an entire bottle of shampoo to get Arthur clean. Deanna had had to scrub her bathtub three times before she’d felt comfortable using it again.

Nathan grabbed her hand with his long, thin fingers. “Listen, you’re my best friend, and I love you, and I’m sure that it was really terrifying, but I’m also one hundred percent sure that you are blowing this way out of proportion. No more fantasy werewolf role playing nonsense for you.”

“Until my shift starts in…” Deanna tapped the screen of her phone. “Ten hours.”

“Until then,” Nathan agreed and clinked their glasses. “Now, tell me more about your hot neighbor.”

Deanna buried her head in her hands and groaned. “It’s awful. She’s gorgeous. And I can’t think around her. Or speak. I turn into a spluttering sixth grader with her first crush.”

“That’s disgusting and adorable. Tell me more. What’s her name?”

AuthorInterview

  • Tell us something about your character’s friends.

 

Deanna’s best friend is Nathan Roberts. Nathan has a Masters degree in Library Sciences and works at the university library. He has a rotating cast of lovers, a trendy loft apartment, and identifies as pansexual. Scenes involving Nathan were some of my favourite to write because they have such a fun dynamic.

 

  • What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food?

 

Deanna’s favourite meal is a meat-lovers pizza with extra cheese from her and Nathan’s favourite pizza place and a nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon. Her favourite dessert is anything with chocolate and peanut butter, and her favourite snack food is popcorn.

 

  • What activity does your character absolutely hate?

 

Deanna doesn’t like clipping Arthur’s nails because one time she cut too far and Arthur started to bleed. And even though he was okay and immediately forgave her, she cried for an hour. Now she takes Arthur to the groomers and lets them do it.

 

  • What other author’s book do you think your character would be good in?

 

Great question! I think Deanna would fit in perfectly with Lilah Suzanne’s Broken Records. She would fangirl over Grady, and totally get along with Nico and Gwen.

 

  • What’s your favorite decade and why?

 

Can I say a future decade? I’m going to say a future decade. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the 2020’s will be like! We’ve already made a lot of amazing social progress in the last ten years, and I’m excited to see where we will be at in another ten.

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4 stars for Stag and Hound (An Underdogs Novel) by Geonn Cannon @GeonnCannon @SupposedCrimes #MM #Shifter

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Title: Stag and Hound (An Underdogs Novel)
Author Name & Publisher: Geonn Cannon (Supposed Crimes)
Publication Date & Length: April 1st, 2016 (200 pages)

Synopsis

Paris in Winter, 1943.

The Loupin pack is a group of canidae operating as a cell in the French resistance, sabotaging German supply lines and taking out as many German soldiers as they can. After a series of successes, they’re dealt a staggering blow in a surprise attack that leaves their leader, Philip, dead. Philip’s lover, Simon, becomes the pack’s new leader, but the fight has gone out of him. He and the rest of the pack retreat to occupied Paris where he drowns his grief in whatever alcohol can be found in any taverns that are still open. He’s finally pulled out of his stupor by the arrival of a British Intelligence officer named Kenneth Mackay, another canidae who reveals the attack on their cell was not an isolated incident. It was part of a concerted effort by the Germans to clear northern France of any opposition for reasons unknown.

Simon puts aside his grief and sorrow to discover the truth behind Philip’s death. Teaming up with the British soldier, Simon and the pack return to the countryside they abandoned months before. They soon find themselves facing a fierce and cunning enemy whose plans could bring countless deaths and untold destruction.

In this novel set in the world of ‘Underdogs,’ Simon, Kenneth, and the rest of the Loupin pack are the only thing standing between the new darkness and must do everything in their power to stop it… even if it costs their lives.

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Review

FourStars

Once again Mr Cannon shows what a versatile writer he is. This novel once again has great characters with strong personalities and the fact that they transform into wolves, and, as a reader, this is totally believable is due to such a good storyline and ingenuous writing.
I enjoyed reading about the camaraderie between both the humans and the pack, before and after the transformation.
Interspersed with a compelling story line the sexual encounters between the two main males was well documented.
My only criticism was finding some of the comparisons of the Germans, English and French a touch stereo typical, but that was purely personal.
~Chris

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NEW RELEASE: An Erie Garden Party (Lake Erie Shifters #3) by V. L. Locey @VLLocey #shifter #MM #Romance #paranormalromance

An Erie Garden Party

Title: An Erie Garden Party (Lake Erie Shifters #3)
Author Name & Publisher: V. L. Locey (Torquere Press)
Publication Date & Length: April 13th, 2016 — 114 pages

Synopsis

Spring has finally arrived along the shores of Lake Erie and no one is happier than skunk shifter, Templeton Reed. Now that the snows have melted, he can frolic and play on the grounds of Lupei Manor, the formidable home that he shares with his life partner, Mikel Lupei, the alpha of the Lake Erie pack. What a pity that his joy is short lived.

Not only does a stranger appear to shake things up in the manor, bodies begin showing up on the grounds as well! Could the newcomer to the pack be the one viciously killing innocent humans and shifters? Or is there a more nefarious force at work lurking just outside the boundaries of the ancient manse Templeton, Mikel, and their LGBT friends call home?

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Excerpt

“Son of a human,” Mikel snarled.  He stripped and shifted. I stood with his clothes over my arms, watching the wolf work the scent. He padded to the lake, snuffled the shore intently, and then slowly made his way back to the corpse. I turned my head to stare at Erie when he shoved his head under the bloody sheet to smell the body. The water seemed almost tranquil today. How I wished we were planning our spring fete instead of standing here beside a dead man. Mikel tapping my arm brought my attention from the Great Lake back to him. I handed him his pants.

“So, what can you tell us about this poor man’s fate?”

“He’s human.” Mikel zipped his trousers vehemently. “And he was killed by a large animal, either wolf or bruin. Whoever did this dragged him through the lake to mask the scent. I’ll have to gather the pack to scour the woods. Damnation.”

“Oh dear me,” I sighed. “I suppose the call must be made then.”

Mikel threw his head back and stared at the soft white clouds ambling past. “Yes. We have to notify the Elder counsel. That is standard operating procedure when a human is involved in mystical matters. Damnation!”

I reached out to pat his thick bicep. I wasn’t sure he wanted consolation but I offered it anyway. He placed his hand over mine.

“Let me know when they plan to arrive. I’ll take a long stroll through the woods.”

Mikel’s lip rolled as he turned to look down at me. “I hate that as well. You should be at my side. This mansion is as much your home as it is mine.”

“Yes, well, the times they aren’t a changing as rapidly as needed,” I smiled then snuggled into his wide chest. His arms cinched around me tightly, his smoky shirt smashed between us. My ear rested over his strong heart. “If one of the Elders saw me here it would raise questions. I know we have a lie all in place, but I for one do not wish to put that lie to the test. Better I enjoy the forest for an hour or so while they attend to this mess.”

“I love you beyond words, Templeton,” Mikel said into my black hair. “Someday, I swear, we shall not have to hide our love for each other.”

“From your mouth to the Elders’ ears,” I whispered, then tipped my head up for a kiss. We both needed one. Pity it couldn’t be a longer one, but it was tender.

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