Monday, July 15, 2024

HATTER by Harley Wylde #mc #romance @changelingpress


Underland MC, Book One

 

Motorcycle Club Romance

Date Published: July 19, 2024

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC


 

Jo: I’d thought Eddie was sweet and charming, until I learned the hard way his smile disguised the devil inside him. He speaks with his fists, and there have been many times I wanted to die. When I finally manage to escape, I vow to do whatever it takes to keep away from Eddie. But stepping out in front of the Underland MC and begging for their help hadn’t been part of my plan. Now that I’m with the Underland MC, I’m not sure if I should trust them, even if their club president does make me feel a bit weak in the knees. Will this be the best decision I ever made, or end up being the one thing that finally kills me?

Hatter: Becoming a civilian after nearly two decades of military service made me feel like I’d fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole, so my brothers and I made the Underland MC. We didn’t have any grand plan. Then Jo came into my life. The more I find out about her ex, the more I realize things are rotten in the town of Warren, TN. This place is my home now, and I not only want to protect Jo, but the townspeople as well. If that means we’re going to war, then so be it. I’ve never backed down from a challenge, and I won’t start now.

 

WARNING: Hatter is a contemporary suspense romance that is intended for readers 18+. It contains bad language, adult situations, and violence. If you’re looking for a light, fluffy romance, this isn’t it.

 


 

Excerpt

 

Hatter

 

“Cheshire, I said no strippers.” I glared at him, my eyes narrowing into slits as I emphasized each word.

“Come on, Hatter. It’s just a bit of fun,” Cheshire retorted, his trademark grin never faltering. He leaned back against the worn chair across from my desk, seemingly unfazed by the intensity of our discussion.

“Cheshire, this event isn’t about fun. We’re raising funds for the local kids’ hospital. A bunch of naked girls shaking their asses doesn’t fit in that picture.” My voice was hard and unyielding, leaving no room for compromise.

“Fine, fine.” Cheshire held up his hands in mock surrender. “No strippers. But we need some kind of entertainment. How about a live band?”

“Band’s fine,” I conceded, rubbing my temples as I felt the beginnings of a headache forming. These club events always gave me migraines, but it was my job to make sure they went smoothly. While we mostly kept to ourselves, at least twice a year we tried to do something for the community.

“All right then.” Cheshire stood and leaned over the desk, bracing his hands on top. “I’ll organize the band and take care of all the other arrangements.”

“Make sure you do.” I stared at him, ensuring my message sank in. “We can’t afford any screwups with this one.”

“Trust me, boss.” Cheshire winked. “Everything will be perfect.”

“See to it.” My tone brooked no argument. As the president of the Underland MC, it was my responsibility to make sure my club stayed out of trouble and maintained a good image in Warren. The town had been good to us, and it was important to give back. All right, so it hadn’t been all sunshine and roses. Not at first. When we’d built this place and moved in, everyone had thought we were criminals and treated us accordingly. We’d worked hard to prove we were trustworthy and wouldn’t destroy Warren.

When we’d first decided to start this club, it had taken weeks to narrow down where we might want to live. It just so happened, the small town of Warren, Tennessee, had the perfect plot of land for sale. Far enough from big cities, we still felt like we were relaxing in the country, but close enough to anything we’d need, like a grocery store or pharmacy.

Absolem had used his inheritance to buy the land, put up a fence, and build a clubhouse. With the exception of times we wanted to make sure we didn’t have people popping up, we’d leave the gates open. It wasn’t like we had anything to hide. Each of us had a room here, and a few more to spare. In addition to the men who’d created this place with me, we’d gathered a few other lost souls along the way, each one floundering after being discharged from the military, just like us. Tweedle had been the first. He’d come home so badly broken I hadn’t known if he’d make it. More than once, I’d worried he might decide to put a bullet in his brain. Thankfully, being around the club had helped him heal, even if he still had a long way to go. Knave and Mock had been next, joining almost at the same time. And Carpenter had been the last.

“All right.” Cheshire clapped his hands together, finally taking things seriously. “Let’s get this show on the road.”

“Damn right.” I nodded. “And let’s remember why we’re doing this. It’s not just a party. It’s for those kids.”

“Understood.” Cheshire saluted me, his grin returned to his face as he turned to leave. “I won’t let you down.”

“See that you don’t,” I warned, watching him stride out of the room. “Or you’ll be scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush for a month.”

“Promises, promises.” Cheshire laughed from the doorway. “I’ll get on it, Hatter. You can count on me.”

“Good,” I called after him, “because if this event goes south, it isn’t just the club that’ll suffer. The whole damn town will feel it too.”

The event might be adults only, but we’d charge a fee to enter the compound for the night. Everyone would kick back with drinks, food, and music. By the time we closed it down, I hoped we’d have a decent chunk of change to help those kids.

“Understood.” Cheshire nodded once more before disappearing into the hallway. I could only hope he’d take my words to heart.

“All right.” I sighed, rubbing the back of my neck. “Let’s get this done.”

The door slammed open, and in walked March, his eyes blazing with urgency. He was all muscle and grit, an imposing figure who had seen more than his fair share of shit. For that matter, we all had.

“Boss,” he said, getting straight to the point. “We’ve got trouble.”

“Spit it out,” I demanded, my pulse racing as worry gnawed at me. This was the last thing the club needed right now. We kept our noses clean, paid taxes, and did our best to not draw attention to ourselves. So what the hell could have happened?

“Rumblings from North Carolina.” March’s voice was low, serious. “A rival MC’s been sniffing around our territory. Looks like they’re planning something. And these assholes aren’t like us. They’re into some nasty shit. If they get their hooks in Warren, this place won’t be the same.”

“Fuck,” I muttered, my mind racing. “How close are they?”

“Too damn close.” March growled. “They’ve been spotted just outside town, and it isn’t a coincidence they picked here.”

“All right,” I said, my brain shifting into high gear. “We need a plan. We can’t let them jeopardize what we got going on here, especially not now.”

“Agreed.” March nodded. “I’ve already put our boys on alert, but we need to be ready for anything.”

“Good,” I said, my thoughts swirling like a tornado. “I want you to gather intel, find out everything you can about their movements, intentions, whatever. The more we know, the better prepared we’ll be.”

“Roger that.” March saluted, his face set like stone. Some old habits were harder to get rid of than others. “I won’t let them get the drop on us.”

“See that you don’t,” I warned. “We’ve worked too hard to let some wannabe tough guys tear us down.”

“Understood.” March gave a mock salute and turned to leave. “I’ll report back as soon as I have something solid.”

“Good,” I called after him. “And keep Cheshire in the loop too. We need to stay united on this one.”

“Will do,” March replied, his steps echoing in the hall as he left.

“Shit,” I muttered under my breath. “Just when things were starting to look up.”

I knew we had our work cut out for us. Our enemies were relentless, and any sign of weakness would be like blood in the water. The club was my family, and there was no way in hell I’d let anyone threaten what we’d built together.

 


 

About the Author

 

Harley Wylde is an accomplished author known for her captivating MC Romances. With an unwavering commitment to sensual storytelling, Wylde immerses her readers in an exciting world of fierce men and irresistible women. Her works exude passion, danger, and gritty realism, while still managing to end on a satisfying note each time.

When not crafting her tales, Wylde spends her time brainstorming new plotlines, indulging in a hot cup of Starbucks, or delving into a good book. She has a particular affinity for supernatural horror literature and movies. Visit Wylde's website to learn more about her works and upcoming events, and don't forget to sign up for her newsletter to receive exclusive discounts and other exciting perks.

 

Author on Facebook, Instagram, Patreon, & TikTok: @harleywylde

 

Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress


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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Cover Reveal! To Find a Killer by Leah Brewer #mystery

 


A Natural State Murder Mystery, Book 1

 

Murder Mystery

Date to be Published: 10-04-2024

 

 

When Atlanta Detective, Tammy Sharp's past collides with her present, it's a wild ride of bullets, broken hearts, and chilling mysteries.

In her hometown of Pocahontas, Arkansas, she faces not just her ex, Jace Eubanks, but also a dangerous killer on the prowl.

With murders old and new intertwining, Tammy faces a choice: team up with her ex or let justice slip away.

As the clock ticks down to a sinister ultimatum, will Tammy outsmart the sociopath or fall prey to a deadly game of cat and mouse?

 

 

About the Author

Leah Brewer writes all kinds of things.

Sometimes, she writes Christian Fiction (Seeds of Faith Series). Other times it’s Historical Fiction (Petunia 1949). Right now, it’s all about murder. The first novel in her Natural State Murder Mystery series, To Find a Killer, is set to release this October.

In 2019, after an Ovarian Cancer diagnosis, Leah decided to pursue her passion for writing. Being cancer-free, she now revels in her life as an author.

With an extensive 28-year career that encompasses diverse leadership roles in a Fortune 500 company, Leah brings an authentic perspective to her storytelling.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook: @writingleahbrewer

Twitter: @leahlbrewerr

Goodreads

Instagram: @writingleahbrewer


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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Prendarian Chronicles by Gemma Woods #scifi @changelingpress


A Sci-Fi Futuristic Women’s Fiction

Date Published: July 12, 2024

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC


 

Two worlds hang in the balance. Two love affairs will change both societies. Forever.

For the Love of Rigah -- Rigah, the most powerful woman on the world of Prendara, has purchased a handsome Earther slave to serve as her consort. Jason vows to resist and refuses to accept his role as Rigah’s personal whore. But he can’t fight the passion she demands from him… or the need to demand much more than passion from her. More than she may be willing to give.

For the Heart of Daria -- A human who’s lived under alien domination for her entire life, Daria vows to rid Earth of the evil invaders no matter what the cost -- even if it means seducing a powerful alien sympathizer. But Gray isn’t the monster she wants him to be. Yet despite the passion he forces her to feel, nothing will ever convince her to trust him.



About the Author

Gemma Woods has no spouse, no children, and no pets. Her family is imaginary -- she writes them. Outside her imaginary world, she enjoys the typical author hobbies of reading, traveling, and fretting over her dying houseplants.

 

Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress

 

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Monday, July 8, 2024

Doll Face by Beth D. Carter #mafia #romance #giveaway @evernightpub

 

Romance / Mafia Romance

Date Published:  May 10, 2024

Publisher: Evernight Publishing


 

The moment Macy met Matteo Romanelli she knew he’d change her life. After a whirlwind romance, however, he betrays her in the worst way possible. Macy Moore dies. She is reborn as Gianna, with a desire for vengeance and a plan to bring down the house of Romanelli. With a new face and a new name, the love she once felt for Matteo has turned into hate.

Matteo knew he was going to marry Macy the first time he saw her working in a coffee shop. Beautiful, sweet, and caring, she is oblivious to who he was really is. When he discovers she’s been killed by a rival family, his broken heart vows revenge.

Can Gianna learn to trust Matteo again? What does it mean for her plan of vengeance when she learns they were victims from the same lie? And can hate turn back into love?



About the Author

I began reading my mom’s Harlequin Presents in the fifth grade, and to this day it still boggles my mind that my mother allowed me to read them at age 11! My love for romance was born and from that first book, I knew I wanted to write romance novels. Love is the most powerful emotion we can experience, and I adore happy ever afters.

I write about the very ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary circumstance, so my heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors or corporate high rollers.  I try to write characters who aren't cookie cutters and push myself to write complicated situations that I have no idea how to resolve, forcing me to think outside the box. I strive to create characters who are complex and full of flaws. Heroes and heroines who find redemption through love.

 

Contact Links

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Threads

 

Purchase Links

Amazon

Evernight

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Apple

Kobo

 

 

 

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BEAR by Marteeka Karland #mc #romance @changelingpress


A Bones MC Romance

Grim Road MC, Book 5

 

Motorcycle Club Romance

Date Published: July 12, 2024

Publisher: Changeling Press


 

Olivia: I’ve been sent to infiltrate Grim Road -- specifically looking for any information to do with the man they call Bear. I didn’t expect to jump into the man’s arms on the first try. I also didn’t expect to feel an illogical sense of belonging and safety when he whispered in my ear, “You’re safe.” My deception will probably get me killed. I’m not a damsel in distress, at least not how they think. But I think Bear knows I’m lying. He just doesn’t seem to care.

Bear: Yeah, I know the girl’s lyin’. I also happen to believe she has a good reason. If I can get her to trust me, then I can make her demons disappear. But trust is hard-earned. Even if I earn hers, can I trust her after she started out with lies? Do I really care if she’s lying as long as she’s mine? Trouble’s following this girl. And it’s headed straight to Grim Road.

 

WARNING: Bear includes scenes of graphic violence and adult situations including those that may be triggers for some readers. There’s also a protective hero, a determined heroine, and an eventual happy ending. No cheating, as always.

 


EXCERPT

 

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2024 Marteeka Karland

 

Bear

I hated venturing out into the city. Always made me feel like there was a target on my fucking back. My true identity was buried so deep even facial recognition software couldn’t find me, but since I’d been in my twenties, I’d spent my life running. The government saw to that.

What I thought was a service to help my country turned into a killing spree on the order of genocide. I’d disobeyed my orders but ended up on a Terminate with Extreme Prejudice list. Rocket, the closest person I had to a friend, had brought me to Riviera Beach, Florida, where I’d taken up with the motorcycle club, Grim Road. The club’s history was long and distinguished in hiding men like me. I’d been here ever since.

It was nearly midnight on a Saturday. The streets weren’t exactly teaming, but several bars were open, which was where most people were this time of night. Some headed home. Others milled about enjoying the evening air. It wasn’t cool by any means, but the night brought in a breeze from the ocean that wasn’t stifled by the heat of the sun during the day. This was my favorite part of the night.

“You lookin’ for somethin’ in particular or just wishin’ you could go back and change your life choices?” Ringo, our enforcer, sidled up next to me, handing me a beer.

“Thanks,” I said as I popped the top and took a long swig. “Just thinkin’. Ain’t much for bein’ out of the compound.”

“Oh, I know. Which is why I followed.” The other man gave me a half smirk, half smile.

“Right. That, and Lemon probably told you to have my back.”

He chuckled. “Little witch is certainly big on that kinda shit. But no. You’ll be happy to know I did this all on my own.”

I gave him a side eye. “Really. You tryin’ to keep me honest? Afraid I’m out to betray the club?”

Instantly, Ringo’s whole demeanor changed. “Hey, now. Jumping to conclusions there, Bear?” Ringo raised an eyebrow. “Of all the men in this club, you’d be the last one I’d accuse of betraying the club or anyone in it. Fully expected Rocket to make you his VP. I’d have supported that.”

I snorted. “No way in fuckin’ hell I want that job. Besides, Lemon is much better suited.”

“Ain’t sayin’ she’s not. Just sayin’ I was surprised when Rocket didn’t put your name in the hat for the job long before Lemon came on the scene.”

The two of us headed down the sidewalk. Kind of felt like we were patrolling the area. There were several bars and clubs here, and some of them weren’t altogether safe. A couple times a week, I’d taken to walking up and down the strip. I wouldn’t say I was looking for trouble, but I wasn’t opposed to stopping trouble if it found me. The self-imposed job got me out of the compound as well as extended some measure of protection to the community which pleased the VP to no end. I wouldn’t exactly call the city our community, but I got the impression that’s what Lemon wanted it to be. Crush and Byte worked continually to strengthen all our identity covers. Rocket wasn’t opposed, so I took this as my due diligence. I was doing my part, however quietly, to set an example to the other members. It’s how I did things.

“He offered.” I shrugged. “Not my thing.”

“Oh, really.” The bastard smirked and I wanted to beat the shit outta him, but restrained myself. Barely. “Was that before or after you corralled us all and put the idea of voting Lemon in as VP, or after?”

“Well, I wasn’t gonna do it. Someone had to, and she was the best choice. You look me in the eye and tell me who else in Grim would be doing a better job than Lemon, and I’ll volunteer that bastard.”

Ringo chuckled. “Right. I’ll get on that. But you have to promise you’ll be the one to break the news to Lemon.”

I snorted. “Not on your fuckin’ life. Girl might be small and young, but she’s vicious like no man I’ve ever met. You tell her your own Goddamn self.”

We stared at each other a moment before Ringo’s lips twitched. Once that happened, we both broke down into chuckles. Neither of us would be suggesting a replacement for Lemon.

The conversation eased something inside me. Like I knew Ringo had my back or something where always before I’d kind of felt like I was on my own in the middle of a crowd. Yeah, I knew if I were really in trouble, outside of a mission, I could count on my brothers. Always had. But it was different now.

“Thanks, man. I think I needed that.”

“For what? The reminder that a little five-foot-nothing girl is making a better vice president than you?”

I snorted. “No, dumbass. The laugh.”

Ringo grinned. “Wait till I tell Lemon you were wanting to replace her.”

“Whoa. Not cool, bro. Besides, it was you who brought it up. And I will totally throw you under the bus if you start that bullshit.”

God, it felt good to banter with Ringo. I’d had that kind of atmosphere a couple of times on jobs for the CIA, but it was never as relaxed as it was now.

I took a deep breath and rolled my head on my shoulders, easing some of the tension that always seemed to be there when I ventured too far from the compound. It wasn’t that I was scared. It was more like I felt like someone was watching. Just waiting to make a move.

I could handle myself in an ambush. Fuck knew I’d been in that situation before and had come out on the other side. Worse for wear maybe, but the other guys fared far, far worse. Always.

Ringo snorted. “Glad to be of service, brother.”

We continued down the street. The sound of people partying or generally having a good time filled the night. Each time we passed a bar, the scent of alcohol hit us. Occasionally someone would be smoking a joint or a cigarette and those scents would blend in as well. Passing a strip joint brought the cheap perfume into the mix.

I was about to suggest we go inside one of the strip clubs, just to pass the time with something different when I spotted a woman making her way down the sidewalk. Something about the way she moved was just that little bit off. She glanced behind her, then straight ahead. She hesitated, then continued moving.

“What’s goin’ on there?” I asked the question more to myself than to Ringo, but the other man zeroed in on the woman immediately.

“Not sure. Could be she’s just lost.”

“Right,” I agreed, though I wasn’t so sure. Something about her posture wasn’t right. “Could be.”

“Uh-huh.”

We both continued forward but at a slower pace. Grim Road MC wasn’t a secret club, per se. The club was known to the locals, just not where the clubhouse was or who any of us were beyond our road names. To everyone around us, we were simply another motorcycle club in the area around Palm Beach. As such, we wore our colors proudly. So, when the girl got closer to us, and we slowed down, we wanted her to know what we were.

I stopped while Ringo turned slowly around in a circle with his hands out, letting her see the emblem on the back of his vest proclaiming him a member of Grim Road.

She let loose a little sob and ran the rest of the way to us. To my complete and utter shock, instead of stopping when she reached us, the girl threw herself into my arms, wrapping her arms tightly around my neck.

And I’ll be Goddamned if my whole body didn’t come alive. Lust I’d never even dreamed about punched me in the dick before sucking me into its mouth and making me hard as a fucking pole. The scent of her was like something out of a dream. Fresh spring flowers and a dash of cinnamon. She was slender, but I could feel every single one of her slight curves against my big body. She was so small I could easily wrap my arms all the way around her with room to spare. Unfortunately, instead of moaning and finding my mouth with hers, she trembled in my arms. I didn’t think it was from desire. Her mouth at my ear was a sinful promise. Until she spoke.

“Angela,” she whimpered. “I need Angela.”

“Hey, sweetheart,” I said loudly. “Missed you, too.” I chuckled, swinging her around happily. What I was really doing was putting my body between her and the two men I now saw following her.

I didn’t acknowledge the men. Instead, I strode down the sidewalk with her still in my arms. Ringo had my back. If he couldn’t discourage the guys, I could get her far enough away she could get inside to the relative safety of a bar or club. Then, I’d help Ringo help these motherfuckers have themselves an accident.

When I rounded the corner with her, I set her on her feet, but kept hold of her hand. Everything inside me rebelled at the separation. I wanted to pull her solidly against me again but needed to make sure I had one hand free if Ringo needed me. Stepping from behind the wall, I eyed Ringo. He stood where I’d left him, but the men were already gone. Ringo took slow looks around the area as he backed toward me. I gave a low whistle, and Ringo turned and hurried in my direction.

“Get to the bikes.” Ringo’s order was delivered in a crisp voice. “They didn’t keep following after you picked her up. You spoke and they backed off. Still don’t want to take a chance.”

“To Knox’s place?” I knew we couldn’t take her to the compound. Not without precautions. If the guys had truly backed off, she wasn’t in immediate danger. If they hadn’t, we’d reevaluate when we spotted them.

Ringo nodded. “I’ll be on your six. Just gonna let Rocket know what’s goin’ on and that we’ll call him when we know more.”

I grunted, but tugged her with me and hurried to my bike.

 

About the Author

Marteeka Karland is an international bestselling author who leads a double life as an erotic romance author by evening and a semi-domesticated housewife by day. Known for her down and dirty MC romances, Marteeka takes pleasure in spinning tales of tenacious, protective heroes and spirited, vulnerable heroines. She staunchly advocates that every character deserves a blissful ending, even, sometimes, the villains in her narratives. Her writings are speckled with intense, raw elements resulting in page-turning delight entwined with seductive escapades leading up to gratifying conclusions that elicit a sigh from her readers.

Away from the pen, Marteeka finds joy in baking and supporting her husband with their gardening activities. The late summer season is set aside for preserving the delightful harvest that springs from their combined efforts (which is mostly his efforts, but you can count it). To stay updated with Marteeka's latest adventures and forthcoming books, make sure to visit her website. Don't forget to register for her newsletter which will pepper you with a potpourri of Teeka's beloved recipes, book suggestions, autograph events, and a plethora of interesting tidbits.

 

Author on Instagram & TikTok: @marteekakarland

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Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress

 

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Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Taken by the Valkyrie by Megan Slayer #paranormal #fiction @changelingpress



A Paranormal Women's Fiction Novella

 

Taken, Book 6

 

Paranormal Women's Fiction

Date Published: July 5, 2024


 

Kara is tired of her role as a Valkyrie, not that she has much choice. Being a Valkyrie is her identity. It’s in her blood. But she can only witness so much death and destruction. Her faith in humanity has waned. Until she meets Eric.

Eric, a retired Airman, is just as tired. He’s seen things he believes no one else would understand. Then he picks up Kara and his world is turned upside down. She’s the one he never saw coming and the one he can’t live without -- if only she can handle his past.

The past might not be more than they can overcome, but what if these two warriors are exactly what they each need?

 


EXCERPT

 

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2024 Megan Slayer

 

“Don’t you dare get attached.”

Kara folded her arms and groaned. She’d heard that line so many times through the centuries. What did attachments have to do with her? She wasn’t about to hook up with anyone long-term again. She’d made that mistake once and nearly paid with her life.

Not again.

Brynhildr glared at her. “You’re not listening.”

Kara snorted and shifted her attention from her thoughts to the elder Valkyrie. “You’re right. I’m not.” She mentally repeated the rules -- Valkyries are duty-bound, not permitted to form attachments, should stay free and vigilant.

Fine. Except she didn’t want to be on duty any longer. The job had become too dangerous. She’d long tired of the blood, the gore, the anger. She’d retrieved so many warriors from the field of battle and delivered them to Valhalla, but she could only take the devastation for so long.

“I don’t like you getting into scuffles in bars.” Brynhildr shook her head and leaned her elbows on the high-top table. “You’re looking for trouble. What do you have? A death wish?”

“What if I do?” She picked at the peanut shell remaining in the bowl. The bartender needed to replenish the snacks. When the monster came back around, she’d say something.

“What do you mean?” Brynhildr asked. “You’re getting careless, like you’re inviting trouble. You do know there’s something big planned for you.”

“Is there?” At least she didn’t have to explain herself. She wasn’t about to tell the elder she wanted to rest for a long time -- like forever. She’d contemplated final solutions a few times, but the idea of actually dying scared her. Her ex had tried to kill her, but she’d been reincarnated. Helgi swore he’d never let her forget him.

She hadn’t.

But she also didn’t want to be with him any longer.

“There’s a plan for you, Kara. Don’t jeopardize it.” Brynhildr sighed and reached for Kara’s arm. “What’s got you so upset? Talk to me. You can’t bottle it inside or you’ll lose the battle.”

She knew that all too well. Brynhildr was right. They did need to talk. “I don’t want to retrieve any longer. I want a break. I can’t handle the death and gore anymore. I’m tired of seeing so much pain. My heart can’t take it. I don’t want to settle down, but I need time away. I’ve thought about just ending it all to make the pain go away.”

“Don’t do that.” Brynhildr squeezed Kara’s bicep. “You’re my dear friend. When you feel that way again, you tell me. I’ll sit with you as long as you need and even when you don’t.”

“I know you will.” She’d never doubted her friend and elder Valkyrie. “What’s this big thing planned for me?”

“Promise me you’ll call me when you get low.” Brynhildr held tight to Kara’s arm. “Promise.”

“I will.” She wouldn’t go back on that.

“But you asked about the something big,” Brynhildr said. “Not all warriors need to go to Valhalla. Some need care here first. It’s up to you if you’re interested in giving that care before they can go. It doesn’t mean they’re on the battlefield. In some cases, they’re still fighting even though they’re home.”

“Still?” she murmured. Someone else understood what she saw when she closed her eyes?

“You might even find yourself along the way.”

She hadn’t expected the elder to say that. She’d expected to stay lost and drift away. But if she could help someone, that would be good -- if she could even help. Most people were afraid of her. What if the person she was supposed to assist didn’t want her help? What if they didn’t like her?

“We have someone specific in mind for your first job. What if I could tell you what he looks like?” Brynhildr asked. “Could show you?”

“You could?” Now the elder had her full attention. “Show me.”

“Are you interested in taking a different route and helping him?”

She hesitated. She should say no and return to sulking. “I am.” The words spilled off her tongue. She didn’t hear the undercurrent of conversation in the bar, didn’t smell the cigarettes and stale beer in the air, or even notice the smoke swirling around her. Her senses hyper-focused on what Brynhildr said. “I want to see him.”

“Very well.” Brynhildr produced a mirror.

The image of a man formed in the glass. Brown hair, crinkles around his brown eyes, tension in his posture, too thin, but handsome. Kara narrowed her eyes. He was damn cute, but wasn’t he off-limits? “I can’t get attached to him?”

“You know the code.”

She did.

She also wasn’t entirely sure what he’d be like. He might be a jerk. Have the  personality of a brick. Or he could be damn sexy, enticing, and sweet. Just lost too. He could be the kind of man a woman wanted to chase, to wrap up in, and never let go. The kind she wanted to kiss, touch, and tease. To feel moving inside her.

Not the perfect man -- but damn close.

If he really existed.

He might not.

There wasn’t much point in getting her hopes up.

“Just don’t fall in love.” Brynhildr shook her head. “Remember how that worked out with Helgi? This one might be a better fit and not nearly so violent, but you’re a proud Valkyrie, and you should remain unattached.”

“I should.” She’d followed the rules during this life. Previous ones? Not so much. This time around, she wanted to be a good Valkyrie. A proud one. She didn’t have time for romance. No time to waste on something that wasn’t going to last.

What if it did? What if this wasn’t just a passing fancy? What if they fell in love?

She had to stop thinking like this. Just because falling in love was possible didn’t mean it’d happen. Falling on her head was just as possible. Gods, it was more believable. She wasn’t a kid and didn’t need love.

Right?

Everyone could live without love and affection.

What if she didn’t want to any longer? What if she wanted to be romanced?

What if he had the key to her happiness, and he held the key to her heart?

Only the power of the gods could show her that truth.

Where was a god when she needed one?

“He’s here in Eerie. I’ll bet you’ve seen him,” Brynhildr said. “Don’t spook him. I know you’re good at being blunt.”

 


About the Author

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

 

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