Sapphire Flame 7

Sapphire Flame 7

“I’m not bold. I’m deep-water angry.”

                                ~ ~ Natalie
                                      SAPPHIRE FLAME      

A wolf ready to battle for alpha dominance. A fae bearing inexplicable wolf-sign. A vile alpha wolf who wants Natalie’s futurist gifts all to himself.

Hi, Everyone, and welcome to SAPPHIRE FLAME, the 7th book of the Flame Series. Set in the world of Five Bridges with five territories at war, SAPPHIRE FLAME takes us to Savage Territory where the alter wolves live.

SAPPHIRE FLAME is coming soon! Just for fun, here’s an excerpt from the first chapter!

Chapter One 

“Kryder will have your head this time.”

Grant stood at the railing of the Meldorin sandpit watching nine of the pack’s female wolves run training drills. He shifted slightly to meet Ryan’s gaze. “Do you honestly think I give a fuck?”

“No. But what will the pack do if Kryder decides you’ve pushed him too far? He’ll kill you and get away with it.”

Davis Grant shifted his gaze back to the sandpit floor below. His pack was one of the few that had their own pit, something he’d made happen four years ago. The Meldorin Pack had needed a focus to keep it together. The drills he ran every night had helped create that focus.

Kryder, as pack alpha, could not have cared less.

Grant crossed his arms over his chest uncertain if what he felt was rage or frustration. Both, he decided. Equal measures.

Ryan, as usual had gotten straight to the heart of the matter. For six long years, Grant was the only thing that stood between Alpha Kryder and total brutality in the Meldorin Pack.

Though suited by sheer brawn and a high degree of intelligence to be an alpha, Kryder was a fraction-of-a-gene short of criminally insane. He ruled not by an iron fist, but by an undercurrent of magic-filled terror. He’d raped a number of the women, especially those newest to the pack. He would beguile and seduce them, usually with the help of a wizard’s spell, then assault with a force that left the women brutalized physically and emotionally.

Kryder’s latest object had been three new females. Grant had coordinated efforts with Ryan and his team to get them to different hidden locations. This would keep them safe until Kryder’s interests waned. At least that was the plan. Once the alpha learned they’d disappeared, however, he would come for Grant.

Right now, despite Ryan’s accurate assessment of the situation, Grant asked, “But are they safe?”

Ryan, his features tight, nodded. “Yup, safe. Relieved to the point of tears.”

Ryan was a few inches shorter than Grant and had sharp features. His thick, curly black hair went almost to his waist and drove the females wild. His intelligence was off the charts.

He had a way of taking Grant’s best plans and making them better. Ryan missed nothing. Yet despite his abilities, he would never rise to alpha level. He was six-foot, stronger than most and lean. But he was no match for Kryder’s six-five, heavily muscled frame or a dozen others ahead of Ryan in pack order.

But for Grant, he was the best of them all. He had a heart and that spoke more for him than all the muscle, height and bulk ever could.

Not surprising, during Kryder’s rule, most of the serious rivals to his rank lost patience with his taunts and challenged him before they were ready. Each had died in the ensuing dominance battle. Kryder made sure of that.

Grant’s survival had depended almost exclusively on keeping his shit together and not giving into Kryder’s jeers. But Grant hadn’t succeeded this far on his own. Without Ryan’s level-headedness, Grant would have caved years ago, and he’d be dancing with the worms.

As for their current predicament, every time he, Ryan and those loyal to Grant effected a rescue, they walked a tightrope with Kryder. Would this be the moment that Kryder decided to hell with protocol and kill Grant outright? He’d come close more than once.

“Where exactly did you send them?”

“I turned them over to Kiara and she placed them in safe houses in Revel.” Kiara was Alpha Warren’s bonded mate. She had refuges in each of the five territories of their alter prison as well as a network of safe houses.

Technically, Five Bridges was a nation unto itself, with its own governance and a Border Patrol. But thousands of feet of barbed wire and tall concrete walls, that in turn kept each of the five alter species from escaping to the U.S. proper, meant it was a prison. At least, that’s how Grant saw it.

Grant narrowed his gaze at Ryan. “Revel didn’t mind taking the wolves?”

Ryan shrugged. “I don’t know. Kiara said it wouldn’t be a problem. Because it’s been three years since the Fae-Wolf wars, she says times have changed.” The wars had been a blight on both territories and had lasted for two long months three years ago. He’d played his own unfortunate part. Ryan continued, “She called Kryder a scourge.”

The word was too mild. “He is at least that.”

Grant shifted his gaze to the pit below. Nine female wolves, in full-fur, were running a coordinated drill, leaping over each other, circling back, rolling to leap once more. He’d taught them at least thirty drills and the women of his pack, in rotation, ran them. He wanted the females to be able to elude pursuing males of rogue packs or even Kryder and his men. Savage Territory lived up to its name.

He also ran drills with the males of the pack. One day, he’d beat Kryder in a dominance fight. But Kryder wouldn’t give up the pack without a war. Grant had been preparing the Meldorin wolves for that day. He just wished like hell it would arrive sooner than later, but he was in no way ready to challenge Kryder in the sandpit. Kryder was still the stronger, more powerful wolf.

A dominance battle would have to wait.

Grant moved to stand at the top of the small arena behind the uppermost row of seat some forty feet above the pit. He wanted to see the women in action from the higher vantage. Ryan followed him.

The women were spectacular which gave him hope.

As he watched their moves, he thought yet again how different his life had been before the alter transformation. Prior to becoming a wolf, he’d been a high school science teacher built along the lines of Ryan, six-foot and lean. He’d loved teaching, bringing the bored students around to his fascinated view of the world, of science, and especially astronomy.

Before Five Bridges, he’d always been looking up. The stars were his world. Now it was the earth, sand, and the view of the pine forest path as he raced on four paws. Or like now, as he stared down into a battle-focused sandpit.

After a moment, it occurred to him that Ryan had fallen silent. His wolf instincts began rumbling. He sensed his friend was holding back.

He turned once more and met Ryan’s dark eyes, they were nearly black as coal, like his hair. “Tell me.”

Ryan lifted his chin. “You’ll find out anyway, but dammit, Grant, keep your shit together because it’s bad.”

“Just say it.”

Ryan lowered his voice. “Kryder got to the youngest female before we could. She was torn up as all hell when we bundled her into the van. He’d raped her viciously and used his claws to hold her in place. He’d bit her several times, ripping muscle and flesh from both shoulders.”

Grant shifted his gaze back to the wolves drilling on the sand below. His thigh muscles twitched, and his rage came to life like an engine that had been idling until a foot suddenly slammed down on the accelerator.

He was looking down. For six long, battle-filled years, he’d been looking down.

Down at the dead and dying when he was on patrol.

Down at the sand where he tried to give the women skills to survive.

Down at the earth as he levitated and moved across Savage Territory looking for rogue wolves intent on killing.

Down into his burrow where he lived his secluded life below the earth’s surface, where there were no windows to see the stars when night fell.

The part of him that was still, and would always be human, hated this view.

He’d stared down at his wife’s brutalized body when she’d been mauled in the Graveyard. He’d held her as she died. She’d told him to be strong and to watch his temper, that the women of the pack would need his vigilance, his protection and for him to stay alive.

But it was all low and brutal.

The young woman Kryder had just raped was only eighteen, a month into her alter transformation which she’d barely survived.

Ryan gripped Grant’s arm and squeezed hard. “She’ll have a chance now. She’s safe. Let it go.”

He’d seen Kryder working his wiles on the three women, but he thought he’d been in time.

“He’s provoking you.” Ryan said, his steely fingers digging in hard. “You know he is. He did this to get you to react, but if you do, you’ll die.”

Rage had Grant in its grip. He wanted Kryder dead. “He’s never been this blatant.”

“My point exactly. This was meant to get you to call him out. He wants you in the sandpit, so he can finish you off legally.”

Something was eating at Kryder, more than usual. Whenever he saw Grant, he started shouting at him, cursing him, trying to get him to offer a challenge.

Whatever had him on edge, the pack felt it as well. Tempers ran short. Fights broke out. Shouting matches. Wolf battles involving claws and deep gashes. Order had become increasingly difficult to maintain.

Across the upper row of seats, from an opposite entrance, a shout drew his attention. “You’ve gone too far this time, asshole.”

Kryder. And he was in rage.

“Speak of the devil,” Ryan muttered.

The sound of the alpha’s voice caused the wolves in the sandpit to stop what they were doing, shift back to their human form, then to assume submissive poses with heads bowed. The scattered spectators rose to their feet and did the same.

Grant shot a telepathic message to Ryan. Get the hell out of here so Kryder won’t turn on you. I want you gone before he thinks to vent his rage on you instead of me. He’d lost count of the number of times Kryder had beat up Ryan in the hopes of forcing a dominance challenge out of Grant. Those were the worst for him. But each time, Ryan would be yelling at him telepathically to hold his own for the sake of the pack.

Ryan said, For the love of God, don’t lose your shit.

I won’t.

Grant rose into the air as Kryder levitated above the sandpit and moved in a beeline toward him. From the corner of his eye, he watched Ryan begin his retreat.

Grant called out loudly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Alpha.” He stayed at the back near the wall because there was plenty of room to maneuver.

He would do everything he could to stand up to Kryder, just short of challenge behavior. He felt his wolf fur begin to prickle his chest and form along the upper ridges of his cheeks. Keeping his temper in check was always easier said than done.

Kryder wore a t-shirt with cutoff sleeves which put his massive guns on display. One right hook had knocked more than one wolf out cold.

His long, wavy dark brown hair was parted down the middle. Two thick braids framed his scarred face while the bulk of his hair hung down his back. He slowed on approach and dropped to within inches of Grant. He was three-hundred pounds of fierce muscle and the support structure of the arena seats shook with a thud as his heavy boots hit the walkway.

Grant dropped down to match him.

Half of Kryder’s intimidation came from his face. He had a thick nose that must have been broken before his alter transformation. His olive skin was pitted and scarred across the left cheek in three deep and very old knife wounds. His eyes, which may have been brown when he was human were now permanently amber.

Kryder came from a different time. He’d been in Five Bridges for almost thirty years. He’d been a mechanic before his alter transformation. A biker. A dope runner. A killer. What he’d become after moving to Savage was more of the same but heightened with new power, ability and sheer size.

Five Bridges, especially in the early years, had given men like Kryder a license to murder as they pleased. The Phoenix Police Department never interfered in crimes committed within the walls of their alter world.

Kryder didn’t believe for one second he’d done anything wrong in brutally raping an eighteen-year-old. It was his right as alpha.

Grant kept his gaze pinned to Kryder’s face. If he understood one thing about the man, it was the necessity of standing up to him, right up to the mark.

“I want all three women returned. They’re mine.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Kryder glanced around. “Where the fuck is Ryan? I saw him from across the way.” His voice was a deep, heavy bass. “His shitty paws are all over this.”

“Again, I don’t know what you’re talking about, Alpha.” He used his title purposefully. “I’ve been in here drilling the females. We’ve had rogue sightings all week and I don’t intend for any of our members to get caught or hurt by their kind.” This much was true. Whenever he spoke to Kryder, he chose each word carefully. He was never sure if Kryder heard them all, but specific words ignited his alpha duties even if he continued to hurt his own people.

“That’s right,” a female voice called out from the pit below where all nine women now stood in a line. Kryder turned to look at the intruder and Grant shook his head at her.

But she was one of the more stubborn females and apparently was going to have her say. “He’s been drilling us, Alpha, for the past hour. Only I wish to hell he’d drill me instead.”

Grant’s brows rose, and his lips twitched.

The bunched muscles of Kryder’s arm began to relax. To Grant’s surprise, the alpha guffawed, his broad chest shaking.

His amusement didn’t last long, however. He turned back to Grant a scowl drawing his features down. “I’m always amazed by futurists. Know what I mean? How did she know I’d be laughing when I’m furious with you?”

Grant tried a change of subject. “What futurist?” Was this a clue to how Kryder operated?

The alpha’s amber eyes hardened as he held Grant’s gaze. “None of your goddamn business. Now, where are the women?”

Grant held his gaze. “I still don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Kryder’s lip twisted into a grimace. “Like hell you don’t.”

When Kryder’s fist came at him, Grant took it on the chin. The blow threw him against the cement wall. The impact knocked the wind out of him.

By long practice, he slid down to the floor. Every bone in his body wanted to leap back up and take Kryder on. He’d fly straight up into the air, tilt back slightly, pull his knees in just enough then with his forward momentum shove his boots into Kryder’s chest. He’d carry him across the seats, over the railing then ride him down to the sandpit and the battle would be on.

He’d wanted to do this from the time Kryder had ordered his wife’s murder.

Instead, he reined in his temper and stayed on the floor.

Kryder bunched his fists tight. “Get up, you piece of shit, and fight me like a man.”

Grant spit blood from his mouth, closed his eyes in what he trusted was a sickly manner then rolled onto his stomach. He’d feigned passing out a dozen times in the past.

The blows from Kryder’s boots were already punching at his ribs. After six long years of dealing with this monster, however, Grant knew how to take it.

For the sake of the three young wolves, for Ryan, for his entire pack, he’d do it a thousand times over.

An hour later, he sat in the medical unit of the compound. The wolf attending him, Dr. Thorpe, had been an internist in his previous life. But alter medicine wasn’t nearly as intensive as normal human treatment.

Thorpe sat on a stool beside his bed leafing through a car magazine.

“How bad is it this time?” Grant asked. He smiled as he asked the question. Unless the wounds were fatal, his long-lived healing kicked in fast and kept on coming.

“He got a couple shots to the kidneys, and two of your ribs are broken. I’d say one more hour and you’ll be good as new.”

Grant forced himself to stay put. If Kryder was anywhere near when Grant left the medical bay, he might want another beating session.

But after a few minutes, his usual restlessness set in. He was a man who liked to be doing. His ass planted on a med-bed wasn’t his style at all.

He gritted his teeth as he swung his legs over the side of the bed. He took a few deep breaths. He could all but feel the ribs knitting together at light speed. It was one of the best parts of his alter life.

Thorpe knew him well and didn’t bother yelling at him to stay. Instead, he smiled and handed Grant his black tank top.

Grant grunted as he put it back on. Though his normal duties included serving as a Border Patrol officer, he had the night off. The extra time meant he could run more drills with the pack wolves, go over administrative needs with Ryan, or any of a dozen tasks he’d set for himself over the years.

Thorpe rose from his stool, his magazine slung under his arm. “Eat a couple of steaks, bloody as all hell, and you should be good to go.”

Grant’s stomach rumbled. He decided to take Thorpe’s advice and headed in the direction of the kitchens.

As he left the med-bay, however, his wolf instincts vibrated heavily up and down his spine. He wasn’t sure if it was his confrontation with Kryder or something else, though he leaned toward the latter.

He was on the third, belowground level of the compound. Near the med-bay was a door with a sign that said ‘Supplies’. He knew every room in the compound but this one didn’t look familiar. He’d have to ask Ryan about it later.

As he headed to the ground floor, he received all kinds of thanks for taking one for the team yet again. He had to admit, though, he was tired of being Kryder’s punching bag.

Another vibration traveled down his spine. The uneasy sensation grew stronger.

He contacted Ryan telepathically. Everything okay where you are?

Fine, but are you ready to serve because we’ve got a situation?

And there it was.

Ryan usually pushed him to take it easy after Kryder unleashed some hurt, but not this time.

Grant looked at both his hands. He felt the strangest tingling race up his forearms then over his biceps. He felt odd, as though he could almost sense the future, which was more a fae trait than wolf.  What’s goin’ on?

I just got a call from the Revel Border Patrol.  A fae who lives near the Graveyard called in to report are three wolves attacking a woman not far from where the canal ends. Revel thought we might want to take care of this ourselves.

It was the right call. Better to have wolves taking down wolves than the fae Border Patrol.

Grant experienced a sudden, powerful need to head out there. I’m on it. When it came to Revel, he had his own making-up to do. He’d always regretted his part in the Fae-Wolf wars. Since that time, he’d bent over backwards to repair the damage that had been done to the relationship between territories…

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I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from SAPPHIRE FLAME, book #7 of the Flame Series. It will be available soon for purchase and download! Can’t wait for you to read Grant’s and Natalie’s story!

Here are details of the 6th book of the Flame Series, EMERALD FLAME, in case you missed it!

To read more details about The Flame Series, go here.

To Purchase EMERALD FLAME:

Amazon US // iBooks // Barnes & Noble // Kobo //
Amazon Canada // Amazon UK //
Amazon Australia // Info

A witch scarred him…

Warren couldn’t trust witches. One had tried to kill him with her poisoned spell.  Though he survived, he was left badly disfigured and blind in one eye. When Kiara, a beautiful witch, begins to heal him, he finds himself craving her. But his prejudice against her kind runs deep. As an evil wizard attacks Savage Territory, can Warren set aside his prejudice, or will he lose his pack, and his territory, forever?

 Wolves hate the secretive nature of Elegance Territory…

Kiara never meant to fall for a wolf. But from the moment she met Warren, her heart beat only for him. She also knew he could never go for her. A witch had almost killed him once. When a vile wizard makes a play for Savage Territory, and Warren needs her help, their relationship climbs to dizzying heights. Yet the scars he bears tells her she can only be a passing flame. Can she protect her heart? Or will the passionate affair leave her forever desolate?

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I hope you enjoyed this quick look at EMERALD FLAME. Let the Flame Series become a new journey for you!

To read more details about The Flame Series, go here.

To Purchase EMERALD FLAME:

Amazon US // iBooks // Barnes & Noble // Kobo //
Amazon Canada // Amazon UK //
Amazon Australia // Info

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And now, have a wonderful day and an even better night! For more information about my books, keep scrolling! Live the fang!

Caris Roane Home Page

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Caris Roane Home PageDo you enjoy free books!?! All year, I’ll be giving away copies of my e-books through my newsletter. I also run subscriber-exclusive giveaways, so be sure to sign up on my home page in the right hand column where it says: Subscribe to Our Mailing List! Once you do, you’ll receive a welcome letter with a link to your free e-book! Enjoy and hugs, Caris Roane!

Be sure to look for your welcome letter which has the link to your free e-book! 

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorBlood Rose 6 – EMBRACE THE WILD

Mastyr Vampire Malik has only one goal: to serve the realm he loves. Battling both the dreaded Invictus wraith-pairs and an element in Ashleaf Realm that wants all innocent wraiths dead, Malik can’t afford to get distracted. But Willow has already become an obsession as he lusts for the powerful fae whose blood he craves.

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorBlood Rose 7 – EMBRACE THE WIND

Mastyr Vampire Zane didn’t want another woman in his life not after the dreaded Invictus killed his wife five years ago. He serves Swanicott Realm, the land he rules, and doesn’t want anything to interfere with his war against the enemy.

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorBlood Rose 8 – EMBRACE THE HUNT

Mastyr Vampire Ian never wanted to see Regan again. He blamed her for the massacre at Raven’s Overlook, an attack that killed his sister and her children. He’s convinced Regan enthralled him, using her extensive fae powers to keep him by her side. If he’d been in his realm that night, he could have saved 200 people.

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Caris Roane Paranormal Romance AuthorLove in the Fortress: Blood Rose Series 8.1

Mastyr Vampire Griffin hates his enslavement in Margetta’s fortress. He sought death a thousand times because of it, but was denied when the Ancient Fae brought him back repeatedly, forcing him to train her evil army. When a beautiful fae-slave, Sandra, tells him to live, he begins to believe his life could have more meaning…

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Caris Roane is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty-nine paranormal romance books. Writing as Valerie King, she has published fifty novels and novellas in Regency Romance. Caris lives in Phoenix, Arizona, loves gardening, enjoys the birds and lizards in her yard, but encourages the scorpions to inhabit elsewhere! Her motto: Live the Fang!

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