“I’m not bold. I’m deep-water angry.”
~ ~ Natalie
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.
About SAPPHIRE FLAME
Having a strong dislike for fae of any kind, a wolf’s plan to become alpha gets derailed when a beautiful fae saves his life during a vicious rogue attack…
Davis Grant, an officer of the Five Bridges Border Patrol, is next in line to become alpha of the Meldorin Pack. Because the current alpha is a psychotic monster who brutalizes his own pack members, Grant has made it his number one priority to bring the alpha down. But when a rescue in the deadly Graveyard throws him together with Natalie, a powerful fae female, he finds his attention shifting abruptly to her. His attraction to this woman has his bonding instincts flying at light speed. But he despises the futurists of Revel Territory, women like Natalie, who used their gifts against Savage’s wolves during the Fae-Wolf Wars. When his alpha demands a dominance battle, will Grant set aside his deep prejudice and join forces with Natalie? Or will he go it alone and face certain death?
The last thing Natalie McKinnon ever wanted to do was get involved with a wolf of Savage Territory. But when a ghost appears and sends her to the Graveyard to save Grant’s life, Natalie finds herself drawn to this powerful, handsome wolf. She resists her attraction, however, since her best friend died at the hands of wolves during the Fae-Wolf Wars. But when she develops an iridescent astral wolf of her own, and as new powers emerge, she must set aside her animosity or face capture and enslavement at the hands of the brutal alpha of the Meldorin Pack.
About the Author: As of January 2019, Caris Roane is a New York Times bestselling author and has published ninety books, forty of which are paranormal romances. She loves her desert garden, especially the birds and lizards who like to hang out. But she encourages the scorpions to inhabit elsewhere. Caris’s motto: Live the fang!
And now, here’s an excerpt from SAPPHIRE FLAME!
“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 turned 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 reverted his gaze 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.”
In 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 seats 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, don’t let this get to you. Please. 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’s 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 yelling 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 way-too-familiar voice 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.
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 a 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?”
“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 reclined on a bed in the compound’s medical unit. 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 now sat on a stool beside the 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.
Thorpe looked up from his magazine. “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 adjusted the bed to a sitting position but 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 duties 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 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.
~ ~ ~
Natalie McKinnon felt a sudden, profound need to strangle the human sitting in the tall, winged-back chair. Terry was complaining about her husband, also a human, who didn’t pay her enough attention.
Natalie tried to be sympathetic, she really did. Instead, her patience had run thin and all she wanted to do was slap the female silly for being such a small creature. Wasn’t she aware that while she could travel the world at her leisure because of the money her husband earned with future information Natalie provided, Natalie’s world would forever be confined to Revel Territory in the alter world of Five Bridges? Couldn’t Terry see how blessed she was?
Natalie met with her clients in her futurist studio in an upscale part of Revel Territory. Both witches and fae could reach into the future. She’d even heard some deadtalkers could as well. Almost from the beginning, she’d earned her bread-and-butter with her futurist gift.
Right now, she was positioned behind the tall client chair, which was her preferred way of working.
Terry continued to mumble her complaints. Same-old, same-old and boring as hell.
Natalie took deep breaths. She’d heard recently that in order to grow calm one had to take seven breaths, though she suspected given her state of mind, she’d probably need twenty.
She admitted she’d been less than patient lately. Something was going on with her, she just didn’t know what. She enjoyed an excellent seven-figure annual income from her work as a fae futurist, the name she preferred to ‘fortune teller’. For being confined to Five Bridges, she had a beautiful canal-side home, a lovely studio in a park-like setting and everything she could need.
When Terry paused in her whining, Natalie said, “Shall we begin?”
“Yes, yes. Of course. I almost forgot why I was here.”
No kidding. “Just relax.”
Natalie steeled herself to enter the future. She was grateful she earned a lot of money, because it hurt to bust open the secrets of what-was-to-come, or at least it did for her.
She took one final deep breath and prepared for the severe cramping she would experience all up and down her spine. The spasming of her muscles had just begun, when a ghost appeared next to her, though not within Terry’s view.
The ghost, a woman, seemed disgruntled, like she had better things to do. She was a mass of vaporous, well-delineated lines that were in full color. She shoved her long blond hair behind her shoulders then crossed her arms over her chest as she met Natalie’s gaze.
Natalie had never had a ghost visit her before.
The woman reached for Natalie telepathically. You need to help my husband. He’s trying to save one of your kind. The woman got mauled or something. It’s bad.
The ghost vanished.
Natalie lifted a finger in protest. She needed more information. A location, for instance, would be useful.
Ghosts usually didn’t come to visit. That was Deadtalker territory. She was a Revel fae. She dealt with what was to come, not spirits who had passed.
Who was this ghost’s husband? And where was this event supposed to be taking place? “What the hell?”
Her words broke the trance. Her client said, “That was faster than usual. Did you see my dear hubs in the future? Should he invest in the start-up or not?”
“I didn’t see him.” Natalie hadn’t had time. She’d barely made the absurdly painful connection to the future when the apparition disrupted her concentration.
The ghost returned suddenly. With a roll of her eyes, she directed her thoughts once more to Natalie. My husband is battling three wolves in the Graveyard right where the canal ends. You know, that place where hell begins? She glanced off to the side, pensive. I think I died not far from there. Jesus.
The ghost gave herself a shake which sent the vapor trails moving across each other and disrupting the blond woman’s appearance. Natalie was surprised by the vivid colors she created: the dark blue of her jeans, the light blue of her eyes, the autumn gold of her hair. She wore it parted down the middle and straight. She wasn’t wearing shoes. Seemed like an outdoorsy, athletic type.
The ghost made a mental scoffing sound then telepathed, Why are you still here? If you don’t get the lead out, that woman’s going to die. She’s fae, like you. Doesn’t that mean anything? As I recall, you fae-types were all about Revel and nothing else.
Natalie’s turn to snort. As though the other alter species didn’t put their territories first. Half the problem with the Five Bridges was how often the different species tangled based on territorial loyalty alone.
She could admit, however, that she was no different. She responded telepathically to the ghost. I take it I’m headed to the small access bridge at the edge of the Graveyard.
That’s right. And in case you’re wondering, my husband is important to Five Bridges. He needs to unseat Kryder. That bastard’s a real psycho.
Natalie knew about the alpha of the Meldorin Pack. He had one of the worst reputations in Savage.
The ghost continued, In case you’re wondering the woman in the Graveyard stopped screaming a good minute ago. She wrinkled her ghostly nose. A lot of blood. I forgot how visceral this world is.
Natalie had lived in Five Bridges long enough to know the ghost was serious about the timeline. If the woman’s husband, whoever he might prove to be, was battling rogue wolves in the Graveyard, then she needed to get her butt over there.
Natalie nodded. On my way.
‘Bout time. Good luck. The facetious tone of the latter remark didn’t give Natalie much hope. But she’d do what she could, for a fae-sister, just as her visitor had said.
Once more the ghost disappeared.
Natalie plucked her client’s purse from off the small round table next to the oversized chair and handed it to the woman. “We have to reschedule, Terry. I have an emergency.”
“But what about Jim’s investment?”
Natalie spoke as she turned around to the cupboard behind her. “Sorry. Can’t help you right now. I gotta go save someone. We’ve talked enough about Five Bridges for you to have a basic understanding of our world.”
She opened a cabinet door and secured her Glock and holster. She’d had too many intruders over the years not to be armed.
She buckled her holster over her silk smock. She wore leggings and flat shoes. Not the best gear to go into the cactus-infested Graveyard. But it would have to do. At least she could levitate.
Though she was a strong futurist, she rarely consulted her gift on her own behalf. Knowing the future could be a real pain in the ass, something she avoided like the plague. She gave wolves a wide berth as well.
“Go home, Terry. I’ll be in touch. Lock the door behind you.”
She was levitating by the time she reached the door of her studio. She heard Terry’s protests trailing after her, the usual something about how she’d paid ‘good money’, blah, blah, blah.
Natalie resisted the urge to flip her off.
She flung her studio door wide, scanned the skies then shot into the air.
~ ~ ~
Grant kept the battle away from the woman. She’d passed out again, thank God, but he had no confidence she’d make it. She’d lost a helluva lot of the red stuff. He’d even gotten a heavy swathe of her blood pouring down his arm when he tried to lift her out of the Graveyard. But the wolves had returned for another attack and he’d set her back down on the ground, so he could face her attackers again.
The three rogue wolves in front of him were Neo-Nazi skinheads which seemed like putting a cliché on a cliché. Each had lengthening muzzles which meant they intended to shift. They were also hopped up on a variety of flame drugs evidenced by the different colors of flames on their necks and cheeks. The problem was, given the level of drugs, if they shifted, Grant would be up shit creek. He could battle mano-a-mano since he had a blade on him. But he doubted he could survive a three-wolf onslaught in full fur.
They’d brought the woman to the Graveyard, so they could do what they wanted without being seen. The Graveyard, a no-man’s-land that separated all five territories, was a dumping zone for Five Bridges, and was meant to keep the territories separated. Debris of all kind littered the rocky, weed-and-cactus strewn ground.
The dying woman had blue flames all over her body. Grant had no doubt she’d been shot up with sapphire flame, but why? She’d been mauled, not used for her futurist expertise, which was the general purpose of the drug these days for gifted fae.
The wolves began to spread out.
More fur appeared.
A string of foul words shot through his head.
This crew had been working together awhile. They had a strategy and liked making war. They liked hurting women as well. His rage kicked up a notch sending another cozy flood of adrenaline through his veins.
The wolf on Grant’s left shifted his gaze for a split-second. “What the fuck?”
A gunshot stunned the airwaves. The wolf went down with a hole in the middle of his chest, dead as soon as he hit the ground.
Grant had served as a Border Patrol officer for almost the entire six years he’d been in Five Bridges. He didn’t bother to look at who’d come to support him. All he knew was he had reinforcements and his battling instincts kicked in.
He levitated, added a thrust of power and aimed for the wolf in the center. He hit his chest square and the pair of them flew back about ten feet. The wolf landed on broken up concrete. Hard.
Grant heard the crack, levitated off the dying wolf and turned to face the last assailant. He half expected his support personnel would fire off another shot, but realized he was caught in-between.
No problem. He’d take the third one out himself. Hell, he wanted to. He’d needed a battle after Kryder’s beating.
Emerald flames pulsed on the wolf’s face as well as blue, and he came at Grant screaming, but no weapon in hand. When he got close, Grant reached across the man’s chest, grabbed his opposite arm at the elbow, levitated and jerked the wolf through the air. The man landed not far from the broken-up cement but was on his feet in a flash. The flame drugs always added a meth-like quality of increased wolf strength.
But Grant hadn’t served on the Border Patrol or answered every dominance fight without a ‘hell, yeah’. He worked out and kept his muscles tight and toned. He sparred with hand-to-hand as well as swords. Plus, this wolf was drugged-up and out-of-control. His kind relied on numbers, which he’d just lost.
When the wolf rushed him again, Grant levitated, flipped through the air and came down behind him. He used both arms to encase the wolf’s neck then twisted with a firm, familiar grip.
The resulting crack sent the wolf crumpling to the ground.
“Need help over here.” An unfamiliar woman’s voice called to him.
Grant remembered the gunshot, but he’d thought Ryan or one of his other fellow officers had come to the rescue.
As he turned, he saw that his back-up warrior was fae, the last thing he’d expected. She was bent over the mauled woman.
He rushed to help. Blood still oozed from dozens of deep bites and tears. His rescuer stripped off her leggings, wadded them up, then used them to pack what was no doubt the worst of the wounds on the victim’s abdomen.
Grant knew what he had to do. He scooped her up and flew her straight into the air. The other woman, her gun in hand, tracked beside him. Her voice was suddenly in his head. Do you know Kiara’s refuge in Revel?
Yep. That’s where we’re headed. He had the fae pressed tight against his chest to hold the packing in place. He could feel the warmth of her blood oozing everywhere, especially on his chest. How was she still alive?
His battle-mate spoke again, I’m contacting one of the nurses now. They’ll be ready for us.
Grant flew damn fast and was surprised the woman could keep up. What’s your name?
Natalie McKinnon. Yours?
Grant. Officer Davis Grant of the Savage Border Patrol.
I’ve heard good things about you.
He crossed one more rise of houses and a strip center appeared. Waiting in the parking lot was the refuge medical team with a gurney. He dropped down fast. Two of the members moved quickly out of the way to give him room. He wasn’t a small man.
He laid the woman on the gurney but kept his hand pressed to the packing against the abdominal wound.
Natalie explained things quickly. Hands moved in to replace his. He felt a grip on his arm. Natalie spoke close to his ear. “They’ve got her. You can let her go now. You did good.”
With difficulty, he released the woman.
He rose upright as the team hurtled the gurney into the refuge and down the long hall. His feet followed as though having a mind of their own. Natalie held his arm and stayed with him. She was holding onto him tight, which surprised him. She probably wasn’t used to battle.
A nurse hurried up to them and took his other arm which also surprised him.
Suddenly, he was dizzy as hell, and he stumbled, but the women held him upright. “We’ve got you,” Natalie said.
Her words didn’t make sense. Maybe both women needed emotional support. One thing about being at alpha-level in his pack, over the years he’d gained a better understanding of women.
He didn’t know why, but suddenly he started feeling light-headed and his vision began to fade at the edges. When another gurney appeared, some instinct had him hurtling toward it.
One thought went through his mind. Oh, shit. Some of the blood was mine.
Then he passed out.
~ ~ ~
“He didn’t know he was wounded,” Natalie explained to the nurse now tracking the gurney on his right side.
“I figured. These big wolves never know when to quit.” It was more a statement than a criticism.
“It’s a good thing. If Officer Grant hadn’t carried her here, I know I couldn’t have done it. I’m grateful beyond words he made it this far.”
When he’d picked the woman up off the ground, Natalie had almost stopped him. He was bleeding profusely from a deep cut in the well of his right shoulder and he was horribly pale.
But he was also pumped from battle. She’d seen it before. Adrenaline could do amazing things, like blocking pain and keeping a warrior upright. Besides, what had their options been? Zero, if he’d fallen. The fae would have died. Officer Grant might have as well. Now both of them had a chance.
So, she’d flown beside him and kept sending up prayers to an alter God she wasn’t sure existed, hoping Grant would be able to make it all the way. Funny the things you do and think when you’re desperate.
Two nurses worked on Grant. One set him up quickly with an IV of wolf blood. In their alter condition, blood-type didn’t matter. The other nurse used a big-ass needle and quickly started setting stitches in his shoulder. Natalie helped since some suction was needed. The artery had been nicked, hence the level of blood loss, but nothing the nurse couldn’t handle. The refuge doctor was busy with the near-dead fae. Emergency room tactics were down and dirty.
Even so, Grant was in excellent hands.
When he began to pink-up, though he wasn’t yet conscious, Natalie moved to the other bay to check on the victim.
The team was still working on her and had IV’s in both arms. The doctor was closing the abdominal damage. Alter medical assistance was very different from the human world. The alter transformation gave long life as it stripped the humanity out of each person. Alters could self-heal and viruses and germs were rarely an issue.
Blood loss, however, was a different matter. The woman was deathly pale. Healing from this kind of mauling was almost always impossible.
Movement to her right shifted Natalie’s gaze. A witch entered the facility on quick, levitated flight. Natalie knew her well. Emma had a facility in Elegance that took in all kinds of strays. Someone had called her in to help.
The different alter species that worked in a variety of refuges and shelters were a loose network. Each territory had several, staffed with people determined to save lives while working against way too many people intent on taking them.
Their world was a mess.
“She’s in here.” Natalie lifted her arm and gestured to the bay, though it was hardly necessary. The blinds were open, and the level of activity was visible from the distant, front entrance.
Emma rushed in. The team made way for her to pass to the head of the table. She placed her hands on top of the woman’s head and let her healing ability flow.
Even in her unconscious state, the woman released a sigh as though her body recognized that the right kind of help had come at last.
Emma was an amazing woman, with beauty to match. She had long, thick auburn hair. The front part was pulled into a top knot that seemed to suit her, while the rest cascaded to her waist. Her eyes were a lovely green.
For a moment, Natalie didn’t recognize the masculine voice in her head. When she realized it was Grant, she left the bay and moved next door. His eyes were open, and his color was much better.
“You rang?” she asked.
His answering smile was weak.
She shifted to stand at the foot of his bed. A second nurse wiped the blood off his arms and chest. Because he was naked from the waist up, and the crisis had passed, Natalie blinked a couple of times. Her thoughts grew completely inappropriate.
Damn, he’s built. Grant had muscles on muscles.
Of course, most of the Border Patrol officers were constructed on powerful lines, especially the wolves.
Natalie ordered her thoughts and lifted her chin slightly. She would rise above her unhelpful lust. Grant was a wolf. The last thing she’d ever do was get involved with a wolf. Every fae cell of her body did a twist of revulsion even at the thought of it.
“How’s she doin’?” He asked. His voice had a gravelly, masculine edge that hit her at the back of her knees.
Wolf. Remember, he’s a wolf.
She steeled herself and finally responded, “Still touch and go, but Emma is here. Do you know her?”
His lips quirked. “Emma and Officer Vaughn run a teen shelter in Elegance. Everyone worth a damn knows Emma.”
“Couldn’t agree more.” She smiled. There was way too much to like about this man.
The monitor in the next room suddenly hit that horrible flat-line sound.
Before Natalie could stop him, Grant had pushed the sheet back and moved to sit up on the side of the bed. There he stopped and planted his hands on the mattress edge. He was white-knuckling it and probably trying not to pass out again. What did he hope to gain?
The nurse tried to get him to lie back down, but he lifted a hand that had an imperious edge. She drew back and stayed silent. He shifted his gaze to Natalie.
“Check on her.”
It was half command, half plea.
Natalie stepped around the corner and restrained a gasp. The woman’s complexion was white, a terrible juxtaposition to the blue flames on her skin. She was dying.
Natalie met Emma’s gaze. Emma shook her head.
Natalie’s eyes burned suddenly. This woman couldn’t die, not when she and Grant had worked so hard to save her.
She felt compelled to do something.
Natalie opened up her faeness and aligned herself with the immediate future. Several cramps attacked her spine. She pressed on. What she saw there, startled her but gave her hope at the same time. She returned to Grant.
“You have to come with me.” She drew close, took his arm beneath the elbow and gave tug. “Lean on me if you have to. We have only seconds to save her, to bring her back. I don’t know why, but she’s important to Five Bridges.”
He nodded and rose to his feet. He switched to telepathy. I feel it, too.
She shifted to his opposite side and grabbed his IV stand. He moved slowly, working hard to keep his balance. The nurse caught his other elbow and as a unit they began to move.
When they reached the other room, all the techs had stopped working. Everyone stared down at the woman.
Natalie urged Grant to get close to the bed. She then took his hand and had him touch the woman’s ankle, which is what she’d seen in the future. Because she retained her hold as well to make sure the contact took place, she could feel a ripple of energy pass from his body to the woman. It was the strangest thing she’d ever experienced.
Natalie stared at the monitor.
A second passed, then another.
A blip erupted into the small space.
Gasps fluttered around the bed.
Emma murmured, “Thank God,” then returned her hands once more to the top of the woman’s head.
Grant leaned forward and covered both ankles with his hands.
His voice entered Natalie’s mind. I don’t understand. I’m not a healer.
It’s not so much about healing as connection. I think she trusted you because of what happened in the Graveyard and needed to feel the connection in order to live. For all I know, she may have been hunting for you just now, in the afterlife.
What a strange world we live in.
Yes. It is.
She glanced at him and met his gaze. His eyes were an unusual shade of gold and green with small shards of brown. They were exquisite. Maybe they were his wolf’s coloring. She knew some wolves’ eyes changed color.
The blips on the monitor grew closer together. Steadier.
He shifted his gaze toward it. “She’s getting stronger.”
Emma spoke, “Your touch brought her back. She was gone, Grant. I promise you. She was gone.”
“It’s a miracle,” one of the nurses said.
Emma asked, “How did you know to touch her?”
“I didn’t. Natalie did.” He glanced at her and dipped his chin.
Emma smiled at Natalie. “Well, then, how did you know?”
“I accessed the immediate future and saw Officer Grant just like this, or rather I saw us.” She glanced down at her hand. One of hers still covered his. The truth was, she feared letting go. She didn’t want the woman to slip away again, but she had no idea how long they should remain as they were or even if her involvement mattered.
“She’s safe now,” Emma said as though answering the unasked question. “You can see by the wounds. Many of them have finally started to heal. They weren’t before.”
Natalie’s gaze was drawn to several of the cuts that had been left open to the air. Emma directed the nurse to start pulling back the gauze on some of the larger wounds and it was the same everywhere. Emma’s healing abilities were now having a profound affect.
Natalie withdrew her hand from on top of Grant’s, but he didn’t break contact with the victim. Maybe he sensed the woman still needed the connection.
~ ~ ~
Grant felt better as well. Maybe he was experiencing a residual effect of Emma’s care for the woman. Or maybe it was the additional wolf’s blood flowing through his veins. He would need to return the favor and give a donation of his own to the refuge in the coming weeks. The least he could do.
Natalie believed this woman was important to Five Bridges, though she didn’t know why.
Within a few minutes, he experienced a conviction he could now withdraw his touch from the woman. Emma truly was gifted and most of the cuts on her arms and legs and were completely gone.
The more serious abdominal wound might require another full day of healing to see her completely restored. He had to agree; the whole thing was a miracle.
As he backed away from the bed, Natalie moved with him.
The nurses began to bathe the woman and it no longer seemed appropriate to be looking at her mostly naked body. One of the nurses must have felt the same way, since she drew the curtain to conceal the bed from view.
He moved close to the wall opposite the emergency bay to allow traffic to move easily. He no longer felt like he would faint again, though he kept one hand planted on his IV stand.
The refuge had close to thirty employees and there was still quite a bit of activity even though the early morning hours were closing in on dawn.
“So, you’re a wolf.”
He glanced at Natalie and his lips quirked. “Seems I am. And you’re fae.”
Her response made him chuckle.
When a nurse drew near and began unhooking him from the IV, he stole a glance at the woman who had saved his ass in the Graveyard.
She was lovely. That was the exact word that went through his head. She had a light complexion and a faint pink bloom on her cheeks. Even her lips had a rosy color. Her eyes were large, hazel and fringed with dark lashes.
Her long and curly, light brown hair was scattered everywhere like a wind had come up or at the very least a battle with three rogue wolves. Yet it suited her face and the light in her eyes. She wore a patterned silk tunic in teal and violet shades. She no longer wore her holster.
He realized with a start that if he’d been in his human form, he would have asked for her number. As it was, he’d no more date a fae woman than he’d put his boots on the wrong feet. He didn’t have anything against her kind, some of his good friends were fae Border Patrol officers. But he was one solid dominance fight away from taking over the Meldorin Pack and wresting it from the worst alpha wolf ever born. He wanted a female wolf for his alpha-mate. A fae was not even on the farthest reaches of his radar.
Still, he kept looking at her. “You’re a good shot and you saved my life. I don’t know if I could have handled all three wolves once they shifted.”
“You were wounded as well. Honestly, I didn’t think you’d make it to the refuge.”
He chuckled. “I couldn’t figure out why, if I had the victim’s abdominal wound held tight against my stomach, I kept feeling all this blood flowing down my chest and under my arm. One of the wolves had a blade.”
He narrowed his gaze. “You aren’t with the Border Patrol or the Tribunal Law Enforcement service, are you? Because I’m sure I’ve met everyone.”
“No, I’m not.”
He narrowed his gaze. “Then, why were you even out there, with a weapon? When I heard the shot, I thought it was one of my pack-mates or a fellow officer.”
She looked away, her softly-arched brows high on her forehead. “As to that, it seems your wife, I mean her spirit, showed up at my studio, in the middle of a futurist session, and told me to get my ass out to the Graveyard.”
His wife? Renee? He didn’t understand. “My wife?” His voice had dropped almost to a whisper. How many times had he begged for her to pay him a ghostly visit? Six years ago, when she died, he’d spent a small fortune with deadtalkers trying to bring her back, to have one last conversation with her, to apologize for not being able to save her.
Yet, here she was somehow involved in saving a fae female from a Graveyard mauling.
“Well, she said she was your wife. I had no reason not to believe her. She had an attitude, real no-nonsense. I liked her.”
“Sounds like Renee.”
“Sorry for your loss.”
“It was a long time ago. Six years now.”
She remained standing beside him, shoulder to shoulder. They faced the drawn curtain of the emergency bay. He could hear voices now and was pretty sure the victim was awake and talking, if quietly.
“Are they here?” the woman asked. “I want to thank them.”
Natalie pushed away from the wall. He followed suit.
Emma appeared from behind the curtain and waved them close. In a quiet voice, she said, “She’s come around, but she’s very weak and traumatized. She’ll need rest. Just let her lead the conversation. She might need to talk.”
He and Natalie each nodded.
Emma drew the curtain back slowly. The top of the bed had been raised so that the woman was no longer flat on her back. She was covered in a soft, blue blanket as well. She had long, rust-colored hair and light blue eyes. “My name is Talya and I understand together you brought me in from the Graveyard.” A smile quavered on her lips. Blue flames still appeared on her neck and cheeks.
“We did,” Natalie said.
“How are you feeling?” Grant asked.
Her smile broadened. Grant had a sudden sense of a tender, kind spirit. He hated the thought that wolves had done this to her. Rage worked at the edges of his mind, but he pushed it back. She didn’t need to see the resulting wolf-sign if he got mad. He’d sprout fur in a few places and his maw would elongate.
He forced himself to take a sustained, deep breath.
Talya’s gaze became fixed to his. “I know I died, at least for a moment. But there was a woman waiting for me with long blond hair. She kept shoving at me with both hands. She didn’t understand that I wasn’t there to leave Five Bridges. I think I was looking for you.”
“Did this woman also have blue eyes?” He asked.
“I believe you met my wife.” He explained about how she’d brought Natalie out to the Graveyard as well.
Talya listened intently. “But Officer Grant, how did you find me in the first place?”
He was surprised to hear her address him by name. He supposed Emma or one of the nurses must have told her who he was. “It was a routine call from one of the neighbors whose house backs up to the Graveyard. Because wolves were involved, I got summoned to help out.”
Talya dropped her gaze to her hands folded on her lap. She grew silent and swallowed hard a couple of times. When the nurses started to move toward her, Emma lifted a hand in warning. The nurses backed off. Emma went to her and hovered both hands above her head.
Talya’s shoulders relaxed and some of the tension left her face.
Grant got it. Emma worked with trauma victims night and day. She’d seen everything. She clearly knew when a patient needed to talk, and when she needed a restorative moment.
It wasn’t long before Talya lifted her chin then met his gaze once more. “You don’t remember me, do you?”
That was the last thing he’d expected her to say. He searched her face. She now wore a hospital gown and the injuries on her arms were fully healed. Her color was much better. Still, he honestly didn’t recognize her. “I’m sorry, Talya, I don’t recall having met you before.”
Her lips turned down, then she bit her lower lip, hard. Her head bobbed once. “My husband died in Savage several months ago. He was shot to death outside one of the Strip Clubs. Several of the Border Patrol officers were there. You were one of them.”
He looked away from her searching his memories. He didn’t speak his thoughts aloud, how there were shootings every damn night. Talya’s husband had been one of hundreds over the past year. If Talya had been there, he might have turned his back to avoid seeing her pain. There was only so much an officer could absorb each night, each week, each difficult, horrendous year.
Finally, he met her gaze again. Maybe more information would help. “What month was this?”
He frowned. Something about this woman and February began to hit some memories, a kind of clanking deep within his mind. He could recall getting word of a shooting on the Savage Strip, outside a club called Rock Hard, a real dive known for gaming and flame-enhanced sex.
“Was the club called Rock Hard?”
The clanking grew louder.
He’d pulled up. Four other patrol vehicles were already there. A woman, with long red hair stood in the middle of the street. She must have been Talya. She’d covered her mouth with her hand and tears had streamed down her face as she stared down at the body of her husband. He’d been shot at least a dozen times.
Talya had lifted her gaze to him. Now he knew why he’d blocked it. Her story had chilled his blood because she’d spoken straight to him. “My sister was killed last week in the Graveyard. Before that, she’d been shot up with sapphire flame and used in a secret gambling club here in Savage, for her futurist gifts. The place was called The Sapphire Club.” Grant had never heard of it before. Afterward, he’d been unable to locate anything resembling an establishment by that name. Talya had continued, “They’d used my sister to predict winners and losers then she’d been killed for knowing too much. My husband was looking into her death. When will this end? What’s wrong with you people?”
She’d run her accusing glare, rightly so, around every club owner and officer there and every gawking human who’d come to enjoy the violence of Five Bridges. There would be no investigation of her husband’s murder. He was fae and a citizen of their under-policed and under-prosecuted world. That’s why Five Bridges had its own Border Patrol. They were a cut-off ghetto nation not subject to U.S. laws and justice.
He understood why the U.S. had made the decision to force their kind, the five alter species, to live separately from the States. Any human who entered Five Bridges forfeited justice as well. There was no guaranteed safety in their set-apart world.
“I remember the night now, Talya. It was a terrible situation. Had your sister been in this gambling club by choice?”
“Yes. She was being paid a portion of the profits. They paid her all right. They took her life. Later, the night you were there, the owners said my husband had gambling debts and that’s why he’d been killed. But he wasn’t a gambler. I think it was because he’d asked too many questions about my sister’s death.”
Grant processed what she’d told him. But this had happened months ago. “I recall looking for The Sapphire Club, but I couldn’t find it. You’re sure your sister gave you the right name?”
Talya released a heavy sigh. “I know she did because she took sapphire flame to heighten her futurism. I begged her to quit, but she wanted the money.”
“I’m sorry, Talya.”
Her features took on a familiar, weary look and not just because she was recovering from a near-death mauling. This was life in Five Bridges.
“All that to say,” she continued, “I haven’t exactly found peace in Revel. But I do remember you. I remember you were kind to me that night. Several of the officers were. But no one could help me.”
Grant wanted to ask about the attack that had landed her in the Graveyard, but Natalie suddenly caught his hand and squeezed. Her voice entered his mind. She needs to rest. See how pale she is?
You’re right. Aloud, he said, “I’m sorry we had to meet again under such extreme circumstance, but I’m glad you made it.”
Her smile was twisted. “I’m glad you did as well.” Her gaze slid from Grant to Natalie then back. “Thanks so much, both of you.”
Natalie leaned forward. She still had hold of his hand probably to keep him in check. He was amused by it and decided not to let go. “Get some sleep. When you’re feeling better, let’s get coffee.”
“I’d love that.”
Natalie finally drew her hand from his. Since he was closest to the curtain opening, he led the way out. When he reached a private distance a couple dozen feet away, he turned to her, but spoke quietly. “I want to thank you again for all that you did, start to finish. I appreciate it.”
Her smile was crooked. “You can thank your wife and my Glock. You did the rest.”
He chuckled. “I admire your cool head.” He swept an arm in the direction of the med-bay, “And for checking into the future to figure out how to bring Talya back.”
She blew the air from her cheeks and rubbed her back. He wondered if she’d gotten hurt out at the Graveyard. “Least I could do. I thought for sure we’d lost her.”
“Same here.” He glanced toward the entrance doors. Dawn was coming. He needed to get back to Savage. “Are you headed home?”
“Feel free to say no, but would you mind if I accompanied you home? I’d feel better knowing you were secure after the night we’ve had.”
She put a had to her cheek and shook her head. “You know, I’d like that. Most of the time, I can tolerate our world, but tonight, yeah, it’s been rough.”
With another sweep of his arm he gestured toward the front doors. She put her feet in motion immediately. “Dawn’s getting close.”
“I’m feeling it, too.”
Once outside, she added, “We’d better get a move on.” She didn’t say anything more. Instead, she launched into the air, a solid shot that took her forty feet up with barely a show of effort. He caught up with her swiftly.
He flew beside her to her canal-side home and descended into her backyard. He had a quick impression of a structured, almost Mediterranean garden. He hovered in the air a couple of yards above a gravel path as he watched her enter by the back slider.
As she crossed the threshold, she turned toward him and for a moment she looked as though she wanted to say something. Instead, she waved, then closed the door.
He had the oddest sensation she’d just shut him out. But he supposed that wasn’t a bad thing. The woman, as beautiful as she was, with all that flowing, curly hair, was fae.
He rose swiftly straight up then vaulted south as he headed to his burrow home not far from the Meldorin Compound. Along the way, he contacted Ryan telepathically and let him know he would soon be bedding down for the night.
Ryan then informed him that Kryder had left the compound an hour earlier. Grant doubted he’d return, perhaps not even for a few days. He’d been doing that a lot over the past year and a half. Grant didn’t mind. With Kryder gone, his wolves would be safe.
Once inside his burrow home, he locked down the surface dwelling then headed to his living quarters belowground. He showered, secured his long hair in a fresh braid, then climbed onto his bed of furs.
His last thought before falling asleep was a wish that he was still human, that Natalie was as well, and that he could ask her on a date.
But she was fae.
He was a wolf of Savage.
There was nothing more to be said.
Still, he wished it otherwise.
~ ~ ~
Here are the buy links!
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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:
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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To read more details about The Flame Series, go here.
To Purchase EMERALD FLAME:
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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!
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Do 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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Most Recent Releases:
A TOUCH OF FLAME
A powerful alpha wolf. A gifted witch. Each haunted by death. Can passion drive them to an everlasting love? Or will the enemy forge a hopeless chasm?
‘The Graveyard was not the place Mark Braden thought he’d breathe his last. He was sure he’d die in the pine forest of Savage Territory, chasing a drug-runner and getting hit by a spray of bullets.
Instead, he’d been ambushed…
~ A Touch of Flame
A VAMPIRE’S EMBRACE
Having lost his entire family, Mastyr Rez vowed never to love again…
‘Rez drew closer and caught her softly pointed fae chin. “You buy shoes on the black market because it’s exciting and different. You can’t fool me, Holly. You’re a secret rebel.”’
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A VAMPIRE’S SOFT EMBRACE
Taking the vampire into the past, changed the future…
The man held her heart in his hand.
He had for the past five years.
Did he even have the smallest clue?
~ A Vampire’s Soft Embrace
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REVEALED: Rapture’s Edge 3, A Guardians of Ascension Novel #11
He’s a warrior deep in his bones, but all she ever wanted was peace…
As Duncan battles the dangerous death vampires at night, during the day he fights an even greater monster: He can’t believe he’s worthy of the woman he loves.
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Mastyr Vampire Stone wants to bond with Aralynn, his battle partner, until he learns she lives a double life as a woman he despises…
For hundreds of years, Stone has lived a solitary life, serving Tannisford Realm as he battles the deadly Invictus wraith-pairs with his Vampire Guard.
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More about Caris Roane and her books!!!
THE FLAME SERIES
Vampire Officer Connor of the Crescent Border Patrol tries to suppress his desire for Iris, a powerful witch. Because the woman possesses the ability to kill him with the tips of her fingers, how can he possibly fall in love with her? When a double homicide throws them together, he soon finds his deepest fantasies fulfilled as Iris succumbs to his seductions.
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Vampire Officer Vaughn of the Crescent Border Patrol gets called to a triple homicide in a deadly place called the Graveyard. When he finds that Emma Delacey has been summoned to the same crime scene, warning bells sound. He’s tried to suppress his desire for the beautiful witch knowing nothing good can come of a relationship in the alter world of Five Bridges.
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Brannick works with Juliet Tunney to help several human women escape the nightmare of Five Bridges. But something isn’t right. Juliet acts as though she knows him really well, yet he’s only met her once. Unless…the dreams he’s been having about her aren’t dreams at all.
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AMBER FLAME, Book #4 of the Flame Series
Fergus has been without an alpha-mate for three years, from the time his wife was murdered. He’s failed repeatedly to bond with the female wolves of the Gordion Pack. When he rescues a fae woman from a sex club, his need to bond with her goes into overdrive.
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On Christmas Eve, vampire Officer Kyle Drake has finally persuaded the shy wolf shifter, Verena, to go on a first date. His plans include a little mistletoe and a lot of seduction.
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THE GUARDIANS OF ASCENSION SERIES
(After Ascension, Burning Skies, Wings of Fire, Born of Ashes, Obsidian Flame and Gates of Rapture)
Includes Sub-Series: Dawn of Ascension and the Rapture’s Edge Saga
Warrior Gideon swore he would never see Elise Jordan again even though they’d been passionate lovers for two years. Her human nature couldn’t survive in his ascended vampire world; she would be vulnerable to attack on every front if he tried to continue a relationship with her.
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Fearing that his newly emerged grayle power will kill innocent ascenders, Samuel Daman struggles to keep his distance from beautiful Vela Stillwell. But the breh-hedden has struck and her light floral scent tears at his restraint.
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For the last few weeks, since Warrior Duncan professed his intention ‘to try’ to make his relationship with Rachel work, he’s failed on all fronts. But how can he explain that a serpent lives in his gut, poisoning him against her?
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For decades, Warrior Duncan has had an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman opposed to his warrior lifestyle. When Rachel shows up in his life again, he wants to keep his distance, but the infamous breh-hedden, the myth-that-isn’t-a myth, bears down on him keeping him in a perpetual caveman-like state.
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THE BLOOD ROSE SERIES – SHORT WORKS
The Blood Rose Tales, are much shorter stories than the “Embrace” books of the Blood Rose Series. Each ‘tale’ highlights one particular aspect of the world of the Nine Realms as well as a mastyr vampire in pursuit of his Blood Rose.
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Zephyr can’t keep away from Alesia and feels obligated to keep her safe. They’d broken up, unable to reconcile painfully opposing views on what should be done to the evil Invictus pairs. But when several wraith-pairs attack her diner, he flies her to safety, taking her home where they’re trapped together for the entire day.
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Yolen keeps his love life and his work life separate with one goal in mind – to protect Brianna. After seeing his best friend slaughtered by the enemy, he will do whatever it takes to ensure Brianna’s safety even if it means holding her at a distance.
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For weeks, Mastyr Willem, agent for the Realm Investigative Unit, has been tracking Charlotte Vail, a human college student at the local Grochaire University. He’s had a thing for Charlotte that he doesn’t quite understand.
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THE BLOOD ROSE SERIES – THE BOOKS
Enter a world of blood-starved mastyr vampires and the rare women who can satisfy their deepest needs…
How can he resist his blood rose…
Gerrod, mastyr vampire of the Merhaine Realm, never thought to have his blood-needs satisfied by a mere human. But Abigail is no ordinary woman.
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Ethan, mastyr vampire of the Bergisson Realm, never thought to find his blood rose, the one woman who could ease the blood-starvation he’s endured for decades. But Samantha carries a surprising level of power as her newly discovered fae heritage emerges..
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Quinlan must keep Grochaire Realm safe from the enemy at all costs. As ruler of his realm, a woman has no permanent place in his day-to-day existence. But when his lust takes him to Batya’s bedroom, he soon discovers he’s deep into a powerful experience that threatens to blow his life apart.
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Seth, Mastyr Vampire of Walvashorr Realm, craves Lorelei, his new bodyguard, but he has a hands-off policy with those under his command. However, the sexy glint in her eye, as well as her wolf-shifter ways, keeps him in a fevered state.
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Mastyr Vampire Jude has kept his distance from all women because he lost his wife and daughter to an enemy attack a hundred years ago. He won’t go through that kind of loss again. And he won’t jeopardize another woman’s life while the deadly Invictus wraith-pairs still pose a threat in the Nine Realms.
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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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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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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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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…
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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