Throwback Thursday: The Freebies!

I’m doing something a bit different this week, and I’m showcasing all of Amber’s freebies! A great way to try her for the first time or to introduce her to your book loving friends!

 

Attracting Anthony
Moon Pack 1

attracting

NOTE: This is a re-release DO NOT repurchase if you purchased before!

Anthony Carrow never thinks to find the love of his life when he goes to a bar with his best friend Steven Dell. Getting over the death of his lover has been a hard task for Anthony. After two years he’s still broken-hearted and doesn’t have any intention of joining the dating scene. However, going with Steven to scope out a werewolf club to help his friend find a mate leads to unexpected consequences.

Silver, alpha leader of the Moon pack, has been searching for his mate for a long time. Unhappy with the men he meets he’s given up searching for the man of his dreams until Anthony walks into the bar.

Can a man who’s already suffered a loss once be persuaded to give love a second try or will fear hold them back from finding the love they both deserve.

Amazon | Amber Kell Books | B&N | ARe

 

 

And some Holiday themed short stories!

Christmas Tree Magic
Moon Pack 11.5

Christmas

Amber Kell Books

Santa Wishes

santa

Amber Kell Books

Xavier’s X-Mas

xavier

Amber Kell Books

Throwback Thursday!

wandmaker

Amazon | Amber Kell Books  | ARe | B&N

Cebrus had thought his quest would take him to new parts of the land. He didn’t know it would lead him to the prince of his dreams. When Prince Silvan catches sight of the sexy wandmaker it’s love at first glance. However, it takes a battle, a journey and an encounter with a fantastical beast before the two lovers can find their middle ground.

Silvan is determined to do anything to marry his mate even if he has to go against a king and give up everything to keep the man he has claimed for his own.

Excerpt:

Cebrus Starn strolled down the road with a small pack strapped to his back, a stick of wood in one hand, and a knife in the other. He whittled as he walked, flicking bits of wood behind him like a trail of breadcrumbs. The soft wood began to take shape beneath his nimble fingers as he continued to chip away at the outer bark to reveal the brighter wood hidden beneath. Several minutes later, he stopped by the side of the road to examine his work.

“Perfect.”

The rough column now fit the needed size and shape for a good-sized wand. He slipped his bag off his shoulders and set it on the ground. Crouching down, he opened his pack, pulled out a leather sheath, and slid his knife inside. He’d been taught young the value of keeping tools in their proper place and the harsh penalty for losing one. Small scars decorated his fingers, tiny reminders of his painful learning curve.

Clutching the stick in one hand, he used the other to search the bag’s inner pockets. After a few minutes of feeling through the contents, he wrapped his fingers around a shaping stone. A fond smile curled his lips as he pulled it out. One of a set of three given to him by his father, each piece helped smooth and conform the wood to create a plain, blank wand ready to be bonded to its new owner. It always served him well to have a good variety of wands prepared when he entered a new town.

Pleased he had found the right stone on his first try, Cebrus straightened, refastened his pack, then returned it to his shoulders, the soft sound of wood clattering together followed his movements.

As a wandmaker, Cebrus traveled from town to town trading his skills for food and shelter. Most wandmakers stayed in one place, plying their trade to the locals and merchants who traveled into town for their services. Cebrus’s itchy feet didn’t allow him to settle down in one location, despite his family’s disapproval of his nomadic ways. He tried to make sure he visited them once a year during festival season to help out with the influx of additional customers, but this year he’d miss it. His quest didn’t allow for backtracking or returning home halfway through his travels. If he’d even gone halfway.

He’d never met another traveling wandmaker. A shame since their specialized abilities were needed in every town and there were too few wandmakers to serve everyone. Most places had to use standard wands mass-produced by apprentice wizards and not properly matched with their new owners. Shabby bits of wood that most people didn’t realize were a step below their potential. Only high-level wizards bothered to have their wands correctly bonded because of the time and expense involved in traveling to a wandmaker.

Cebrus had no idea how close the next town might be, but the beautiful weather didn’t prod him to be too concerned about distance. There was no need to hurry, and he enjoyed the journey as much as his possible destination.

The sound of hooves had him looking up from his task to discover a team of five soldiers in full uniform riding toward him. Their large, powerful horses stirred up dust and thundered like an oncoming storm against the dry ground. He didn’t bother to hide his surprise when the men pulled to a stop before him. What could they possibly want? He didn’t have the wealthy appearance of a successful merchant or any discernible luxury about him. Stories of soldiers preying on unwary travelers drifted through Cebrus’s mind. He braced himself for possible confrontation.

“Halt, stranger.” The leader of the group blocked Cebrus’s path with his horse, his face stern and commanding.

“Is there a problem?” Cebrus examined the soldier with great interest. He’d never been stopped before. In general, people left wandmakers alone. Their special jurisdiction allowed them to travel wherever they chose.

“We’ve heard rumors a wandmaker is traveling this road. Are you that man?”

Cebrus looked at the wand in his hand, then back at the soldier and raised an eyebrow.

The soldier blushed, but quickly rallied. “Under the command of the king, I order you to accompany us to the royal palace.”

Cebrus sighed, then shook his head at the soldier. “I’m on a quest. I don’t have time for spoiled royals.”

Stepping to one side, Cebrus moved to go around the soldier’s horse. He grinned when the officious guard pointed his wand at Cebrus and muttered some garbled words Cebrus assumed created a spell.

Of course, nothing happened.

The soldier paled.

Why was it that people were never aware of the primary skill of a wandmaker? Taking pity on the confused man, Cebrus paused to explain. Maybe the soldier could pass on his knowledge to others. People were woefully uneducated these days.

“Magic doesn’t affect wandmakers. You can wave that thing all day, and it won’t do anything to me. Besides your wand doesn’t suit you. Whoever you got it from was an idiot.”

Nothing irritated Cebrus more than people who bought whatever stick someone offered to sell them under the assumption one wand was as good as another. Only a properly trained wandmaker could correctly calibrate a wand. He didn’t blame the soldier for his inferior tool. He likely had nothing else to choose from.

To Cebrus’s surprise, the soldier got off his horse to approach him.

“I’m Trelfan Fairwen, King Minr’s captain of the guard,” the soldier introduced himself.

Cebrus bowed at the introduction. “Cebrus Starn, wandmaker.”

“How can you tell my wand doesn’t suit me?” Trelfan asked.

Cebrus never knew how to explain to someone when they had a bad wand, but he gave it his best try. “Part of my ability is I can see the magical connection between wand and user. It’s a talent of mine.” Most wandmakers shared that skill, but not all. Cebrus didn’t like to brag, but his family considered him the strongest wandmaker ever born into their clan.

“What kind of wand would suit me?” The soldier obviously wasn’t going to let the subject or Cebrus go without a more thorough explanation.

Tilting his head, Cebrus focused entirely on the soldier, he let his power pour over Trelfan and waited for his magic to give a proper answer. Pulling his pack off his shoulder, he opened it again. He tucked his current blank in with the others as he searched around until he found the wand he sought. It was long, heavy, and made out of a grainy hard wood he’d come across during his travels. Perfect.

“This one.”

The soldier gave Cebrus a cynical look. “And what will it cost me to get a wand like that?”

“Your old wand. I would like to give it a home with someone who can use it. I will siphon the absorbed magic from your old wand into your new one and take the empty one with me.” Cebrus hated to waste a wand, and even though the poor quality of Trelfan’s wand offended him, Cebrus could salvage the piece.

Interest sparked in Trelfan’s eyes. “Really? That’s all you’d ask for?”

Cebrus never understood why his fee always surprised people. “My father gave me a bit of advice before I started out on my own. He told me, ‘A man who only asks for what he needs will always be wealthy.’ I don’t need much besides food, the occasional roof over my head, and a bit of coin to replace my clothes when they wear out. I’m a man of simple needs. Now would you like the wand or not? I have a bit more land to travel before I reach my stop for the evening.”

Trelfan’s face took on an even more serious mien. “Yes, thank you. Will the transfer hurt?”

“Why would it hurt?” Where did people get their foolish ideas? Preposterous.

“Because it hurt the first time.” The shadow in the soldier’s face told Cebrus all he needed to know about the other supposed wandmaker’s skill.

“Magic transfer shouldn’t be painful. It is your magic going where it belongs. I’m sorry you had someone incompetent last time.”

“Then I want to do it.” Trelfan straightened his shoulders as if he were still expecting pain despite Cebrus’s reassurance.

“Captain.” One of the other soldiers sounded like he was going to protest, but Trelfan glared over his shoulder and nothing more was said.

“Give me your old wand.” Cebrus held out his hand.

Trelfan handed it over.

“Take your new wand in your right hand and put your left on top of mine.” Cebrus held out his right hand flat while clutching the soldier’s wand in his left.

Trelfan audibly swallowed before taking a deep breath and obeying Cebrus’s command.

“Relax. This won’t hurt, I swear.” Cebrus felt a pang of sympathy for Trelfan. No one should be afraid of their own magic.

Closing his eyes, Cebrus focused on the transfer of power from wand to wand until he felt the connection click in his mind. “Transfer,” he whispered. He opened his eyes and watched the wand in his hand dim and the wand in Trelfan’s hand glow a bright white before turning back to its natural brown color.

“Wow.” Trelfan’s eyes widened.

“We’re not done yet,” Cebrus warned.

He tucked Trelfan’s old wand into his pack before turning back to the soldier. “Put your hands together with the wand in the middle. We need to connect you to your new wand and rebind it with your magic.”

Cebrus placed his hands on the outside of the soldier’s fingers. “Bond.”

The air crackled with electricity, and an intricate tree design worked its way around the wand until the carving covered the entire surface.

A soft chime sounded, and Cebrus released Trelfan’s grip. “There, all done.”

He looked at his work with the satisfaction of a job well done. The wand’s energy now aligned in perfect rhythm with the Trelfan’s magic.

Trelfan turned the wand over and over in his hand. “This…this is my family crest. How did you do that?”

Cebrus frowned. “I didn’t do it. You did. That’s what happens when a wand is matched properly.”

Personal symbols helped magic users identify their stick. How did he not know this? Cebrus couldn’t remember what Trelfan’s wand had looked like before. He just remembered it hadn’t fit the soldier.

The captain shook his head. “No one in the kingdom has any carving on their wands. I’ve never heard of this. Will the magic wear away the engraving?”

“A bit. Yours will last until you either die or you change wands again.”

Trelfan’s forehead creased, and his bushy eyebrows almost met in the middle. “Why would I change wands?”

Cebrus stared at the soldier. “Do you people know nothing about wands? You need to change your wands as you age and fine-tune them as your magic changes. If you don’t re-bond your wand every ten years, your magic will stagnate at that level.” The idea that no one in this kingdom had such essential information changed Cebrus’s mind. He couldn’t let them remain uninformed. It was almost criminal. “I will come with you after all. It’s obvious you people need some instruction.”

He’d have to put off his quest for a bit, but he’d already done it for three years, a little more time wouldn’t make much difference. Besides, the more kingdoms he could enlighten about the importance of a proper wand, the better off they would be. Although his family might not thank him for the additional work bound to come out from Cebrus’s educational tour.

Cebrus rode behind Trelfan on the soldier’s horse. He tried to concentrate on not falling off. He didn’t enjoy horse riding, mostly because horses were evil. They enjoyed tossing off their riders and stomping on them afterwards. He had a scar on his left shoulder from one such occurrence.

Trelfan spent the time enthusing over his new wand. A few of the other soldiers cast Trelfan envious looks, but maybe they figured the captain should receive special services. Cebrus silently vowed to help them later. Everyone deserved a proper wand.

Even on the back of the devil spawn, it still took almost two hours to reach the castle. Cebrus hadn’t realized he’d wandered so close to a kingdom. Generally, he avoided the royals and went directly to the townspeople. Even with protection laws in place, royals always thought they could order wandmakers around. Explaining they were mistaken never went over well. One of these days, he’d end up in a royal’s prison, but hopefully not today.

The soldiers were saluted at the gate and allowed in with only a few curious glances toward Cebrus. Maybe the soldiers brought strangers in often.

After dropping their steeds off at the stables, Cebrus was escorted to the throne room.

“He might be a bit bossy, but he’s a good king,” Trelfan swore.

The first thing that caught Cebrus’s attention was the size of the throne room. He could easily fit his entire village inside the audience chamber. The second thing he noticed was the man sitting beside the king. Tall with pitch-black hair and brilliant blue eyes, he had the build of a soldier and the sex appeal of a man Cebrus wouldn’t mind finding in his bed.

“Your majesty,” Trelfan bowed to the monarch. “I present to you Cebrus the wandmaker.”

“You’re a wandmaker?” King Minr was a big, muscular man who looked as if he could wield an axe with one hand and a sword with the other. His cool gray eyes examined Cebrus like he was an interesting bug who had mistakenly wandered into his court and might need to be smashed at any moment.

“Yes, Your Majesty.” Cebrus didn’t bow. The man wasn’t his king, after all.

King Minr frowned. “I expected you to come to me sooner, but never mind, you can still be of some use. I want you to make me a wand out of heartwood. I expect it ready in two days.” He waved his hand as if dismissing Cebrus to go carry out his request.

“Sorry but no, Your Majesty.” Cebrus gave a respectful nod, hoping to take a little sting out of his rejection. Royals never appreciated hearing no. It never failed to get Cebrus threatened with prison time. Monarchs were a pretty predictable lot overall.

“What?” The king’s shout echoed through the chamber.

Cebrus sighed. “You aren’t suited to heartwood. You would do better with iron wood.”

“I want heartwood,” King Minr insisted.

Damn, royals were stubborn.

“I won’t make an inferior wand. If you want heartwood, find another wandmaker.” It didn’t matter to him what the king demanded. He refused to make something unsuitable.

The king jumped to his feet. “I could have you killed.”

Cebrus pulled out the pendant he had hidden beneath his shirt. He hated confrontation, but that didn’t mean he’d back down. “If you don’t mind losing your kingdom and your life, go ahead.”

He hated bullies.

The king stomped over to look at Cebrus’s pendant. “Well crap, you’re a heritage wandmaker.” He paused for a moment. “So, iron wood, huh?”

Cebrus bit his lip to hold back his smile at the king’s new respectful tone. Curiosity compelled him to ask, “What kind of wand do you have now?”

“I don’t. I lost it while hunting.” The king returned to his throne.

Cebrus gaped. “You lost your wand?”

How was it even possible for someone to lose their wand?

The king blushed.

“Was your old wand heartwood?”

“Yes, and it suited me just fine,” King Minr insisted. If he weren’t a king, Cebrus would accuse him of pouting.

“Uh-huh.” Cebrus didn’t even try to hide his disdain over the king’s previous wand. He probably got it from some charlatan. Opening his sack, he pulled out the iron wood blanks he’d stuffed inside. After some contemplation of their differences, he pulled out the thickest. The king had big hands. He’d need something solid to hold.

“Put both of your hands on your wand.” He pointed where he wanted King Minr to place his grip. A few minutes later, Cebrus had the king bonded to his new wand. He also now knew the king didn’t have much magic since the transfer process took hardly any time at all.

The king stared at the piece of ironwood in shock. “It has my family crest.”

Cebrus rolled his eyes, but refrained from mentioning the king must’ve used a second rate wandmaker for his last wand. He might not like royalty, but he didn’t want to get a reputation for being too rude.

A yawn had him covering his mouth.

“Sorry, it’s been a long day.” And the king was boring, but he kept that part to himself.

The king nodded to the sexy man Cebrus had been eyeing during their entire encounter. “Silvan, escort our wandmaker to the blue room.”

Silvan raised an eyebrow at the command, but didn’t argue. Instead he walked over to Cebrus and offered his arm. Surprised by the old-fashioned show of manners, Cebrus tucked his hand in the crook of Silvan’s elbow. At the contact, a crackle of electricity went through him, and he gasped to catch his breath.

“Mmm, don’t worry, little wandmaker. I’ll take good care of you,” Silvan’s voice, filled with dark promises, sent shivers of need down Cebrus’s spine.

He cleared his throat. “Who are you exactly?” he asked as Silvan led him down the hall. He had no objection to the handsome stranger gracing his bed, and being taken care of sounded like just the thing to make this entire side trip worthwhile. However, he liked to know a bit about his bed partners in case they turned out to be psychotic killers.

“You don’t know who I am?” Silvan stopped in the middle of the walkway and turned Cebrus to face him. As he searched Cebrus’s expression, a look of wonder filled his eyes. “You really don’t know me.”

“Should I?” Maybe Cebrus should’ve known one of the king’s companions was half a load short of a cartful, but he didn’t exactly follow castle gossip in any kingdom. He didn’t like it when people talked about him. Why would he encourage that sort of rumormongering from others? He didn’t really care who Silvan was, as long as he knew what to do in bed.

A wide smile brightened Silvan’s dark features. “I don’t believe it. The fortuneteller didn’t lie. I did meet the one man who didn’t know me.”

Fortuneteller?

“Don’t think so much of yourself. I’m sure there are others who haven’t seen your face before. No one is that famous.” Cebrus frowned at the impudent man even as a dawning suspicion grew. But surely the king would’ve mentioned…

“Ah, you finally figured it out,” Silvan said, a smile spreading across his face.

“You’re the crown prince.” Cebrus was ready to accept his award for dumbest man in the kingdom. Only someone royal would share the throne dais with the king. He blamed the long day of travel for his idiocy. He searched his mind for details about this particular kingdom and drudged up a few facts from his memory.

The prince was known for leading a successful battle against the troll rebellion, for single-handedly negotiating a treaty with the giants, and for being the best strategist in any kingdom. He thought he’d heard a story about Silvan enjoying both men and women, but gossips rarely got those sorts of details right.

“I see you figured it out. I knew you were a bright lad,” Silvan teased. His brilliant eyes glowed with approval.

Throwback Thursday!

master

Amazon | ARe | B&N

 

Everyone needs a little romance…

 

When artist Stephen Carter catches a glimpse of Master Jones on the security monitors of his brother’s BDSM club he’s entranced. A hastily drawn sketch manages to capture the Dom’s high cheekbones, square jaw, and hot, hard body. A body the quiet, reclusive Stephen would love to explore.

 

The subs who fall for Victor Jones always get hurt. He has no desire to enter into a committed relationship and no room in his life for romantic entanglements. But then the seasoned Dom starts to receive intriguing gifts from a secret admirer. When Victor discovers his admirer is Stephen, he decides maybe it’s time to try out something new, someone less experienced.

 

What will happen when Master Jones discovers that sometimes even he has to do a little wooing?

 

 

Excerpt:

 

Looking back at his drawing, Stephen couldn’t help saying as he looked at the monitor, “I wouldn’t mind if he ate me up.”

“I’d stay away from Master Jones if I were you. The man’s bad news.”

“He’s dangerous?” Stephen frowned; irrationally disappointed in a man he hadn’t even met.

“No. He’s the best Dom in town and he knows it. He breaks all the little subs‟ hearts because they all fall in love with Master Jones. He never takes the same sub more than once or twice and he’s never offered a contract to any of them. I’ve heard he’s never even gotten close to collaring anyone.”

Stephen shrugged off the warning. “Maybe he hasn’t met the right man.”

Ralph laughed, not unkindly. “Honey, you’re sweet, but don’t build any romantic dreams around Master Jones. Men who do that always get hurt.”

Stephen decided to ignore the negative bouncer. There was something about the Dom that called to him and Stephen always followed his heart. Absently, he worked in the shading and finished off the sketch. It was rather well done if he did say so himself. He put his initials at the bottom with a flourish.

Looking around he spotted a manila envelope he knew would fit his sketch without bending.

“Would you do me a favor, Ralph?” Stephen looked up, giving the bouncer the full benefit of his baby blue eyes.

A look that never failed to bend anyone to his will.

The bouncer looked nervous. “If I can and it doesn’t get me fired.”

“Would you give this to Master Jones? Don’t give him my name. Just tell him it’s from an admirer.”

Ralph laughed. “Aren’t you the little man of mystery? Give it here. I’ll get a real kick out of this.” He held out his hand and Stephen passed the envelope over.

Minutes later Stephen watched in anticipation as Ralph approached the table.

*****

“Master Jones.”

Victor looked up to see one of the club’s bouncers standing above him.

“Is there a problem?”

The bouncer smiled. The man was a handsome devil but definitely not his type. He liked his men more slender and delicate.

“I was instructed to give this to you; it’s from an admirer.”

Victor accepted the envelope to the cooing and kisskiss noises of his companions. The bouncer immediately departed, making Victor wonder what he was hiding.

With a look around the table at his friends, Victor shrugged. Opening the envelope he pulled out a sheet of paper and stared.

Inside was a sketch of Victor so lifelike, despite being done in pencil, that he almost thought he’d be able to feel the bristles of the hair on his chin.

“Wow, I want one,” Carlyle said, leaning over to see the picture.

“Get your own admirer.” Victor scanned the room, trying to see if anyone was watching him or holding a pad of paper. The page was obviously torn from a sketchbook.

Everyone was looking at him, as usual, but there were no strangers and he was pretty certain he didn’t know anyone with this kind of skill.

“Let me see.” As the owner of several galleries, Lindi considered himself an art connoisseur. He let out a low whistle when he saw the sketch. “I wonder what this person could do with a little more time. This is obviously just a quick sketch. I’d love for whoever this is to sketch William.”

William was Lindi’s long-time sub.

Lindi tilted the picture down so his sub, sitting on the floor, could see it.

“What do you think, pet?”

“It’s very lifelike,” the sub agreed, giving his master a loving look.

“Don’t get it all wrinkled,” Victor snapped. He snatched it back. Oddly, he didn‟t want his friends to touch his gift. It felt too personal to share. Smoothing out invisible marks, Victor slid the picture back into its envelope.

“Anyone see where that bouncer went?”

His friends shook their head.

“Well, he’s a bouncer,” Carlyle said logically. “He’s probably by the front door or wherever there’s a scene.”

Victor snapped his fingers at a passing waiter. The server wore tight, white leather shorts, some interesting swirls of body paint and nothing else.

“I’m looking for a bouncer. The one with long brown hair, tattoos and an eyebrow piercing.”

“That’s Ralph. He’s gone for the night.”

“Shit.”

Victor let the server go after placing an order for drinks.

“I guess you’ll have to ask him next time you come,” Carlyle said, not unsympathetically.

“Yeah. I guess so.” The evening had lost some of its glamour though. Now all he wanted to do was find out more about his insanely talented admirer.

 

Don’t miss the next in this great series, pre-order today!

seducing

ARe

Welcome Guest Beany Sparks!

Pib's Dragon - 600x900

Amazon | Rainbow Ninja Press | All Romance Ebooks | Smashwords

A dragon is about to find out what happens when a cat discovers his cave of shiny treasures.

After nine years, Pib is finally free from his contract with the newly wed prince. Slipping out in the middle of the night to avoid getting stuck in another contract, Pib shifts into his cat and makes his way home to the little village he foolishly left, hoping his best friend Wil still lives there.
Dray is bored. His services as a princess-guarding dragon are no longer needed and even his gold and jewels are unable to cheer him up. His mood changes quickly when he catches someone in his treasure cave, and it starts a series of events that change his life forever.
When the two finally meet, sparks fly, but Dray will have to move quickly if he’s to save his cat after Pib gets kidnapped.

 

Excerpt:
Prologue
Pib snuck into the darkened room, tiptoeing quietly so as not to wake the newly crowned prince Geraint and his princess. Looking around, he both thanked and cursed his shifter senses. While he was grateful he could see inside the room, the smell of sex throughout the air was something he could have done without.
Reaching the desk on the far side of the room, he paused and glanced at the couple. Once he was satisfied they were still asleep, he eased open the cover and found what he was after—his freedom. After nine long years as the bastard’s slave, the letter freeing him from servitude almost brought tears to his eyes. Carefully folding it and placing it in his inside pocket, Pib gently shut the desk and tiptoed back toward the bedroom door, leaving the room as silently as he’d entered.
He knew there was only a limited window of opportunity for him to make his escape. Even though the pompous bastard had made a production of signing the form and granting him his freedom, Pib knew it was all for show. If he didn’t escape now, Geraint would get him alone and force him to sign another contract and then make some sort of bogus announcement about how Pib wanted to stay.
Pib snorted, unable to help himself. Luckily there was no one else around the castle at this time of the night, though even if there was, Pib didn’t care. He was leaving, and no one was going to stop him. Anyone who tried would have a close encounter with his knife, or his claws, he wasn’t picky.
“Hey, Pib, where are you off to in the middle of the night?” asked the guard at the front door of the castle. Pib never bothered learning their names or getting friendly with them, especially since Geraint could force him to kill any of them at a moment’s notice. He’d learned that it didn’t pay for him to form any attachments with those surrounding Geraint.
“Getting an early start on my retirement,” Pib replied, smirking at the man while he continued to stroll toward the exit.
“Sorry, Pib, but I have to check. Do you have a signed letter from Prince Geraint?” The guard shifted from foot to foot, showing his unease.
Pib stopped in front of him and forced a smile. “Of course,” he said, carefully extracting the letter and handing it over to the guard.
He waited, watching the guard closely as he read the letter. One wrong move and Pib was going to gut him. Nothing could happen to that letter.
“Looks good,” the guard said, handing the letter back to Pib. “It’ll sure be different without you around, but all the best. And, uh, don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope I don’t see you again.”
Returning the letter to his pocket, Pib looked up and smiled a real smile at the man. He wanted to laugh when the guard’s face paled as he caught sight of Pib’s canines, but restrained himself. “Don’t worry, I hope never to see you again either.”
With that, Pib walked out of the castle and made his way through the sleeping village. Pulling his hood up, he used the dark material to blend into the surroundings. He wasn’t taking any chances that Geraint wouldn’t wake up any moment and send guards running after him. After all, Pib was practically friends with all of the skeletons in Geraint’s closet.
Pib reached the edge of the village and paused. After nine long years, he was finally free of Geraint, his orders, and most importantly, his shackle. The magical cuff that had decorated his right ankle for nine years had been removed after Geraint had signed his release. The cuff was the only thing ensuring Pib’s obedience, and finally, it was gone.
Taking a deep breath, Pib stepped over the invisible boundary line and felt the remaining enchantments shatter and disappear, leaving him standing as his true self for the first time in years. Reaching inside, he called out his inner cat to come out and play, and in seconds, his clothes disappeared and he was standing on all fours in his serval form.

Stretching, he threw one last glance back at the castle and the village before slinking away into the trees, using the natural camouflage to shield him as he made his way toward the start of his new life.

 

About the Author:

Beany lives in Western Australia. She first started reading romance novels in 2008, but it wasn’t until January 2010 when her Kindle got delivered that the world of erotic romance opened its doors to her, and she hasn’t looked back.

With suggestions and support from friends, her muse—”affectionately” known as PITA—was finally able to break free, and in January 2014 her first story was written. Since she can’t put PITA back in his box, Beany has decided to give in and team up with him.
Social Media Links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beany.sparks/
Twitter: @BeanySparks
Website: http://www.beanysparks.com/
Blog: http://www.beanysparks.com/blog/

Throwback Thursday!

The winner from last week is…. BLAINELEEHALL. Please email Sheri at authoraccomplice@gmail.com, to claim your copy of To Bite a Bear or To Have a Human!

 

4244protectorofdragons510w-430x645

Amazon | B&N | Extasy Books | ARe

Secrets long hidden are brought to the surface on the shiny scales of a dragon.

After thousands of years petrified in stone, Jiang is finally free. The search to find his friends leads him to the doorstep of Aden Gale. Will Jiang’s need for his comrades unravel a family’s hidden secrets?

Meeting pigeon shifter Kurtis changes everything for Jiang. Drawn to the sweet man, Jiang vows to find a way to end Kurtis’ curse. However, dark magic works against them, and it will take the combined strength of many people to keep back the tide of destruction coming their way.

 

Excerpt:

 

“Hey, don’t do that. I don’t care if our connection has done something to change my DNA. I’m fine with that.” Aden rubbed his hands up and down Gallen’s back.

“But what if you start experiencing weird abilities?” Gallen asked.

Aden snorted. “What kind of transformation do you expect? Is my voice going to get deeper? Am I going through magical puberty?”

“Funny man. I’m going to keep an eye on you.” Gallen frowned at him.

Aden kissed him on the nose. “Good plan. You should examine me very closely, daily, perhaps naked in bed.”

Gallen laughed. “That could be arranged.”

Aden grinned. “Don’t worry so much love, there’s not much I can’t handle.”

He hoped the words would turn out to be true. Even with the knowledge of shifters, vampires, and sorcerers, Aden still found himself surprised by the variety of paranormals who were out there in the world without humans being the least aware.

A low roar outside yanked Aden’s attention away Gallen. On the other side of the glass a large blue dragon jumped through the water like a porpoise.

“Can no one else hear that too?” Aden asked.

“Not really. Humans will feel a twitch to vacate the area but they won’t hear or see him.”

Aden watched the dragon continue to play in the surf. Every now and then it gave out a cry as if it were calling to someone. A restless urge had Aden shifting uneasily on the couch.

“What’s wrong?” Gallen patted Aden’s chest.

“I don’t know. I think he’s calling to me.”

Gallen sat up then looked from the dragon to Aden and back again. “If you feel compelled to go to it, there could be dragon shifter blood in your family. It could also explain your tattoo.”

“You think so? Then why haven’t I ever shifted?” The thought of changing into a dragon terrified Aden. He’d watched his boys change into an eagle, a bear or a croc but never had he wished to become one himself.

“Maybe you weren’t ready yet. Not much is known about dragons. There aren’t enough of them to study.”

“You don’t have anything in your book?”

Gallen ran his fingers through his hair. “Not the one I have with me, maybe in the coven library. If they even have a library now. I’m the only one who ever cared about the books.”

From Gallen’s wistful tone, Aden know his mate missed his resources.

“We’ll start a new library, babe. We can put up shelves in the spare room.”

The dragon’s cry cut through the air, reverberating the glass.

“Let’s go see what he wants.” Aden’s stomach swirled with nerves. So far the water dragon hadn’t tried to hurt him, but if the beast decided to spit acid at him Aden had no defense. For the first time, Aden didn’t know how to take down a potential enemy. “On second thought, maybe you should stay here?”

The disgusted noise Gallen made had Aden smiling. “If you think I’m going to let you go talk to an acid spitting dragon by yourself, you’ve lost your mind. Now let’s go.”

Gallen stood up and offered Aden his hand. Aden let his mate help him up. They left the condo then crossed the street. No one else walked around in the cool winter air, so they didn’t have to worry about bystanders. Maybe the dragon had subconsciously run them off.

“Dragons tend to have a large territory. The only thing that could be attracting him here is you,” Gallen said as they approached.

“Or you.” Despite the mark on his chest, they didn’t know for sure the dragon was there for him.

“I’m thinking it’s probably here for you, since you saw that other dragon a few weeks back and I haven’t seen any without you present.”

Aden nodded, even though he hated that Gallen might be right. “True. It killed the guys shooting at me. It was a different type of dragon though, not a water one—it was gold and black and had wings.”

“Two dragon sightings within a few weeks can’t be a coincidence.”

“As long as I have my big, bad mate to protect me, I’ll be fine,” Aden teased.

“Damn right you do.” Gallen grabbed Aden’s arm. “Come on, love. Let’s go.”

Gallen steps slowed the closer they came to the beach steps. The dragon had abandoned the water to crawl up onto the sand. It watched them approach with liquid, brown eyes.

“Shift!” Gallen ordered.

The dragon ignored him. The large beast turned its head toward Aden.

“Tell him to shift,” Gallen whispered to his mate.

“Into what?” Aden didn’t know if he wanted the beast any closer.

“Human.”

“Oh, right. If you could shift please, we’d like to talk to you.” Aden politely addressed the dragon as he would a human. If the dragon were like his shifter friends, then he would understand Aden in either form.

For a moment Aden didn’t think it would work. The dragon snorted, spewing a fine spray of mist from its nostrils. Before Aden could say anything else a flare of blue light encompassed the dragon. The glow transformed from a large blob of icy fire to a smaller shape. When the light show ended, a slim oriental man in a suit of scales stood on the sand. The shimmering scales fluttered for a bit before transforming into a pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt, an exact copy of Aden’s clothing.

“Hello.” Aden bowed his head slightly to the Asian man uncertain of a proper dragon greeting.

The dragon bowed deeply at the waist toward Aden then straightened. He ignored Gallen.

“Greetings Protector, I am Jiang, a river dragon, first of all river dragons named after the river Jiangguo.”

“I am Aden Gale, and this is my mate, Gallen Theos.”

Finally Jiang examined Gallen as if he found an interesting new fish in the waters. “A sorcerer mated to a dragon—how odd.”

Gallen gasped. “I didn’t know any of you were still around.”

A sad smile curved Jiang’s lips. “There are of five of us that I know of. We’ve been imprisoned in stone for centuries. We’ve only recently been freed.”

“The sea water doesn’t bother you?” Aden asked.

Jiang shook his head. “I might have been formed from a river initially, but all water accepts water dragons. I will never travel to a desert again.”

It was a strange vow for a water dragon to make. Aden would’ve thought it was a rather obvious for an aquatic creature to avoid an arid desert.

“What are you doing here?” Gallen asked, interrupting their discussion of water.

Jiang raised an eyebrow at Gallen but remained silent.

“Answer his question.” Aden nodded toward his mate.

The magical power pouring off the dragon scrambled his brain a bit. It was like standing next to a lightning rod and waiting to be struck with a bolt.

“My fellow dragons and I were turned into stone by the emperor and his sorcerers. We had no chance to elude them once they set their trap.”

“What trap?” Aden questioned. He didn’t like this story. If the dragon was bringing danger to his doorstep Aden had to be ready.

“A dark spell that changed us. They placed fenghuangs and foo dogs as our guardians and companions. Sadly, the foo dogs died when the spell shattered and the fenghuangs went mad from their prolonged captivity. I woke up in the water. I’ve been calling for days but so far no one has answered my beacon except you. I need to find my friends.”

The frantic expression on Jiang’s face pulled at Aden’s heartstrings. His need to help out the lost dragon tugged at him.

“You came all the way from China?” Gallen asked.

Jiang shook his head. “We were brought here and put in a musical theater.”

“That was you? I don’t think anyone in Seattle knew those statues were living beings.” Aden frowned as he remembered the many times he’d gone to that theater and never known the decorations could come to life.

Jiang tilted his head to one side. “You didn’t know?”

“Why would I know?” Aden turned to Gallen, knowing his confusion must’ve shown on his face.

“Because you’re part of the reason we’re free.”

Jiang’s answer startled Aden into returning his attention to the dragon shifter.

Aden’s mouth dropped open. “Why would you think that?”

Jiang stared at Aden as if he were trying to see through Aden’s clothing. “Don’t you have a dragon tattoo?”

“I recently acquired one, yes.”

“Then you’ve come into your power?”

“So far I haven’t experienced anything considered power. I have a new tattoo and that’s pretty much my only super ability.”

Jiang laughed, a low rusty sound, as if he wasn’t sure if the noise should leave his throat. “If you are newly connected to your magic then it might take a bit before you gain your skills. It can take centuries for a dragon to get his first ability. I couldn’t spit acid for the first fifty years of my life.”

Aden scowled. “I’m still not certain I’m a dragon, and I won’t have centuries to figure it out.”

If Aden truly was the reason the dragon broke free, he had a responsibility to the lost shifter.

“When the spell shattered, we must’ve been sent to different locations. I can’t even sense my companions any more. I need to find our leader, Zhou. He can tell me what to do next.”

Gallen’s sigh dragged Aden’s attention from the dragon shifter to his mate.

“Are you sure you’re all right, Gallen?” Aden asked.

“Yes, I’m fine. What can we do to help?” Gallen asked the dragon.

Jiang snorted. “I don’t know if you can help at all, sorcerer, but I’ll never turn down extra hands. Like I said, I need to locate Zhou. Even more immediately I need to figure out where the fenghuangs have gone. They were the first ones to escape and they could cause immense damage in their current condition.”

“What are fenghuangs?” Aden asked. “You mentioned them before. Why will they be trouble?”

“They are a Chinese phoenixes,” Gallen said. “They come in times of peace. They are actually male and female pairs, feng is the male and huang is the female. They are known for being good luck, a symbol of prosperity and to represent the yin and yang, the symbol of the lunar cycle.”

The dragon shifter nodded his agreement with Gallen’s definition. “Except our fenghuangs have gone mad. Over two thousand years of being stone has snapped their minds. There are two pairs of them and I doubt they will leave the area without venting their rage. Luckily they are one of the mythological beasts pure humans can’t see. I think one of the males has kept his sanity but I could only hear snatches of their conversation, they mostly only talked to Zhou, but the past few years they kept to themselves.”

“How did the rest of you remain sane?” If the peaceful birds had snapped, why had the dragons remained sane?

Jiang shrugged. “We stuck together and kept our communication open. Our guardians didn’t fair so well.” Jiang’s eyes turned watery. “The foo dogs had grown too brittle to survive.”

Sadly, there wasn’t anything Aden could do to bring back the foo dogs. “I’m sorry for your loss. What do you think the phoenixes will do now?”

“If they aren’t stopped, they could set the city on fire,” Jiang said. “They aren’t like regular phoenixes. They are immortal. They don’t die to be reborn—they will continue to live and burn down the city.”

“They could try, but it wouldn’t get them very far,” Aden argued.

“Why not?”

“After The Great Seattle Fire, they put a lot of extra fire protection downtown.”

“How would you know that?” Gallen asked.

“I took this tour with the boys a few years ago. It takes you underneath Seattle and they tell you all about the history. It’s pretty cool. We should go on it sometime.”

“Well I’m sure that would be great for a normal fire, but a phoenix fire is different. Magical fire is all but impossible to put out,” Jiang argued.

“How do you plan to deal with them? I’m not sure I’ve got the right weapons to kill immortal birds.”

“You have the blood of a dragon king. You will come into your magic when it is needed.”

“I hope you know what you are talking about.” Aden had barely survived his last injury. “If I were immortal, somehow I think my father would still be around.”

“What happened to him?” Gallen asked.

Aden shrugged. “I don’t know.”

His mother had never told him, she’d just said that his father had disappeared after Aden’s birth.

“Are there many dragon king descendants left?” Gallen asked.

Jiang nodded to Aden. “He’s the only one I know of. If another dragon child has awakened, he or she would’ve snapped our spell earlier.”

Gallen bit his lip looking from one man to the other. “Are you sure you have the right person? I’m pretty sure Aden’s mark is just a sign of our mating.”

“May I see your mark?” Jiang narrowed his eyes at Aden.

Aden sighed. With one swift motion he removed his shirt. The dragon pattern shimmered in the sunlight as if it had true scales with iridescent ink.

Jiang dropped to his knees in the sand. “My lord.” He bowed his head low.

“What are you doing?” Aden asked.

“You are truly a descendant of the dragon kings.”

“Kings? How many are there?”

“There were four main dragon kings of the seas but there are others. Once there were too many to count, but time and the emperor have killed most of them off.”

Aden’s heart went out to the displaced dragon. It sounded like he and his friends might be the last of their kind. “What do you need me to do? I can’t kill a mystical bird. Stand up and talk to me.”

He wasn’t comfortable with the dragon kneeling before him.

Jiang got to his feet. “You don’t need to kill them. We need to capture them before they destroy Seattle. Hopefully once contained, we can try to help them. They’ve suffered enough—they need to be rehabilitated, if they can.”

“Do you think Zhou might have gone back to China to hunt down the sorcerers who created your spell?” Aden asked.

Jiang shook his head. “No. He wouldn’t have returned without making sure all of us were safe. Zhou has watched over us for centuries, he’s not going to stop just because he’s been freed.”

“You are so certain he will find you?” Aden wondered if the newly freed leader might have flown the coop. As much as Jiang said Zhou wouldn’t behave that way, who really knew what went on inside the head of another?

“Yes.” Jiang’s conviction left no room for doubt

Throwback Thursday!

So sorry this is a bit late. To make it up to you, I’m going to give one lucky commenter an ebook copy of To Bite a Bear or the first in the series. (Plus we haven’t given anything away lately!) – Sheri

So, if you could have a shifter mate, what animal would they be?

biteabear

Amazon | Extasy | B&N | ARe

 

Sometimes you need a grand gesture to prove your love, and sometimes a bear hug will do.

Harris Bender had a crush on vampire leader Rohan, so when the alpha male requests him to paint a mural, he can only say yes. However, after a passionate encounter, Harris discovered Rohan is his mate.

Is the carefree artist ready to settle down with one man even if he’s extremely hot?

Rohan had been looking for his blood bonded for centuries. One taste of the bear shifter’s blood and he knows he’s found the one. However, outside forces threaten to tear the couple apart. It will take more than a flash of fang to put them in their place.

 

Excerpt:

 

Harris Bender watched as the vampire leader, Rohan, lit the caskets on fire. Vampires didn’t bury their dead, they freed their souls by burning their bodies in a tradition as old as time.

The flames cast shadows on Rohan’s face, giving his handsome face harsh angles beneath sharp cheekbones. To Harris, Rohan appeared beautiful at any angle. His fingers itched for a pencil to sketch out the scene.

The heavy weight of silence coated the proceedings as if surrounded by an invisible shield. No one fidgeted or rustled. No birds sang in the distance. Even the bugs held their chirps and buzzes until Rohan finished his eulogy for the vampires who had passed. Rohan’s sorrow pierced Harris’ heart, as if he had personally experienced their loss when, in fact, he’d barely met them.

Poisoned blood from human donors had killed three vampires, compliments of the sorcerers.

Eaton had saved the rest of them by warning the vampires of the problem but not soon enough to save this trio. Unfortunately, the sorcerers had gone underground where no one could find them, so the vampires weren’t able to retaliate.

Harris didn’t have to be there. He didn’t belong to the coven and wasn’t a vampire. However, he couldn’t let Rohan mourn alone. The few weeks he’d worked for the master vampire had forged an odd friendship between the two men. A relationship Harris planned to take to the next level soon. Rohan called Harris his beloved but hadn’t made any further moves despite the longing looks and possessive behavior. After Rohan had a chance to mourn his friends, Harris would show the vampire he didn’t have to be alone.

Rohan had come to Harris’ aid when Eaton had been kidnapped, and although Rohan didn’t end up having to do anything, having the vampire leader there had given Harris the emotional support he needed. Harris wanted to return the favor.

When the vampire turned around, he immediately searched the crowd. Harris saw the vampire relax when Rohan caught sight of him.

After whispering something to the people milling to his right, Rohan walked over to join Harris.

Without ceremony, Rohan wrapped a proprietary arm around Harris and scooted him to one side, putting Rohan’s body between Harris and the other vampires. Rohan didn’t like other people too close to Harris. For some reason, ever since Harris started working for him, Rohan had watched over him like a dog with his bone.

“You doing all right?” Harris whispered. He fought against the urge to hug Rohan closer. The vampire leader probably wouldn’t appreciate coddling in front of his people. The way they stood now, Rohan could’ve been offering support to Harris. Harris knew Rohan was absorbing some of his calm. The vampire had said before that Harris zen-like peace soothed Rohan deep inside.

Apparently, the closer the proximity, the better the calming took.

Ignoring everyone else, Harris scooted closer to offer his presence if not his clumsy words of sympathy. He’d always been more of a person of action, not verbal expression.

Rohan had taken his vampires’ deaths hard since he hadn’t been able to prevent the poisoning.

Sorcerers and vampires were mortal enemies, but from what Harris had heard, they’d been in a semi-truce for years. Until sorcerers had poisoned the humans the vampires used for food, they had no idea the sorcerers were going to attack.

Rohan didn’t speak, but he slid a hand down from Harris’ shoulder as he stepped away and tangled their fingers together instead. “Thanks for being here,” he murmured in Harris’ ear, a soft, intimate sound. His breath brushed across the soft hairs of Harris’ ear lobe. Harris fought back both a shiver and the urge to turn his head for a kiss.

Before Harris could give in to any of his urges and after a quick squeeze of Harris’ fingers, Rohan released him and stepped away. Harris immediately missed the vampire’s presence. His inner animal yearned for contact with Rohan as if Harris couldn’t be complete without being close.

“You’re welcome. I’d do a lot more for you…” Harris confessed. He turned bright red. When would he learn not to say everything in his head?

With his friends, his tendency to blurt things out was mildly embarrassing. With Rohan, it reached a more humiliating level. He might as well strip naked and throw himself at Rohan’s feet.

Rohan turned to give Harris his full attention.

He cupped Harris’ cheek with one elegant hand.

“I’d love to hear about what you might be willing to do. Later,” Rohan said.

Rubbing his cheek against the vampire leader’s palm, Harris lost track of his thoughts. There was

little he wasn’t willing to do to have Rohan touch Harris as if he cared. His inner beast fought to come out and play.

“Easy, beloved,” Rohan said. “Keep the calm I love so much.”

Love?

Harris wondered how Rohan could toss such words around. Beloved. Love. Did the vampire not understand the power of words? That a foolish bear’s heart might patter a bit faster when presented with even casually tossed affection.

Harris took long, slow breaths to pull his bear back under his control. Years of meditation had kept Harris mellow in the face of true emergencies. Aden had sent him to a monk years before to gain the skills needed to find his inner calm and keep his bear subdued unless needed.

Unfortunately, whenever Rohan touched someone else, Harris had to wrestle back his inner beast. No

one should touch Rohan or speak to him unnecessarily or look in his direction. Yeah, maybe I do have a bit of an obsession going.

He worried over his reaction to Rohan. When shifters became possessive, it usually meant they’d found their mate. Harris didn’t know if he was ready for that level of commitment. He liked Rohan, but vampires were different than shifters.

Really different.

“Come on, let’s get you to bed. You’ve had a long day. This is the part of the ceremony where people go to mourn alone,” Rohan said. He took Harris’ arm and led him back into the house, then up the stairs.

Harris dug in his heels at the top. What is going on?

“Did I move in here?” Harris asked, confused.

He’d come to support Rohan during the funeral, but he’d had every intention of returning home afterward. He had already spent his day sketching out his concept on the wall by the foyer. Harris didn’t need to live there.

“I like you close by,” Rohan said, his words final, as if he’d closed the subject. Nothing showed on the vampire’s face. No teasing smile. No forbidding scowl. He acted as if Harris was the one acting strange.

Harris tried to object. He opened his mouth to complain, to voice a negative response. He couldn’t. Every atom in his body responded to Rohan. Harris tamely let the vampire lead him down the hall to an empty bedroom. A large bed filled most of the space along with a wardrobe, a side table and little else. Harris spotted two more doors in the room. “Where do those go?”

Rohan pointed to the left. “Bathroom.” He pointed to the right. “My room.”

“Your room?” Harris tried to hide his surprise.

He’d initially hoped Rohan might be taking him to the vampire’s bedroom. The fact Rohan gave him a choice raised his estimation in Harris’ eyes no matter how stupid his supposition.

“Something wrong?” Rohan asked.

“Um, no. Nothing wrong.” Harris tried to shove his desires to the darkest corner of his mind.

Rohan didn’t need him drooling over him while he was still wrapped in sorrow over the death of his coven mates.

Rohan cupped Harris’ face between his palms.

“You would tell me if you had a problem, right?

The only reason I want you to stay is because it’s late and you’re tired. If you want to sleep in your own bed tomorrow, you can.”

“What if I want to stay in your bed?” Damn, his runaway mouth had taken over again. Of course, there were always the benefits of healing sex.

Rohan frowned. “I don’t think you’re ready to be in my bed, Harris. As much as I’d like you there, I don’t want you to feel pressured.”

A tingle of yearning sizzled between them.

Need pulled at Harris like a physical force. “You want me. I know you do.”

Rohan dipped his head, placing his lips next to Harris’ ear. He spoke in his whiskey-smooth voice, “I want you so much, I would give up blood to have you.”

Harris jerked back. “I thought you couldn’t have sex without biting.”

“For you, I would.” Rohan’s sincerity couldn’t be faked.

Harris licked his lips. “Kiss me.” If nothing else, he’d get at least one kiss before being sent to bed like a child.

Rohan didn’t bother to ask Harris if he was certain before he wrapped his fingers around Harris’ head and held him still. Pressing his lips against Harris’ mouth, he sucked and licked until he gained entrance.

 

Blog Story Post #15

Sorry I didn’t get this to you last week. I had to review the story since it had been so long since I’d written it. I’m still not sure where I’m going with this. Feel free to offer suggestions. LOL!!

Vin rubbed his eyes relishing the burn. If his eyes still hurt at least he knew he was awake. Teleporting every night to see his mate took more out of him than he thought it would. He still had a few years left at college he didn’t know if he could keep it up at this pace. His classes this term had become harder as the year progressed and once he went to see Loren, the vampire didn’t want him to study. It hadn’t take more than a few visits for Vin to realize Loren didn’t care if Vin did well in school or not. As far as Loren was concerned Vin’s job was to be Loren’s mate and anything else he wished to do was secondary. If he never finished school Loren would be fine with that.

He teleported from his dorm room into Loren’s bedroom. A soft pop followed his leaving.

“Evening my mate,” Loren said.

“Good evening.” Vin wrapped his arms around Loren and rested his head on Loren’s shoulder.

“Tired?”

“Yes.”

Loren rubbed Vin’s back. A long sighed slid out of him as tension fell away beneath his mate’s touch. As much as Loren was a difficult vampire with old-fashioned ideals Vin couldn’t say Loren didn’t try to show he cared. As the vampire leader Loren didn’t show much emotion outside their bedroom but he never held back a smile or the soft squeeze of his hand if he thought Vin needed a bit of affection.

“Maybe you should cut back on some of your classes. Your schedule appears to be wearing you down.”

Vin laughed as he stepped out of the shelter of Loren’s arms. “I don’t think it’s the schedule. If I got some sleep I’d be doing fine. Between my early morning classes and late nights with you I’m running on fumes.”

He ignored the fact he was taking a heavy load. If he took both non-magical and magical classes he would learn more. Only studying one half of the world’s population didn’t help anyone. If he was truly going to be a cop he needed to understand all people not just the ones he knew best. Paranormals were easier to understand than humans. Humans made no sense.

“Come. Let’s get you some food. We’ll have to readjust your schedule next semester so you have later classes.”

Vin dumped his backpack on the bed ignoring Loren’s wince. He followed Loren out of the room as he tried to explain how that wouldn’t work. “A lot of the classes I can get into only have morning options. Afternoon and evening classes are harder to get since a lot of working professionals snatch those up first.”

Loren rubbed Vin’s shoulder. “We’ll work it out. I know some people on the school board. If I have to I’ll have them override your class schedule.”

Vin opened his mouth to object then closed it. It was an ethically questionable way to get his schedule and he didn’t want special treatment. But then he had to consider how many more of his classmates had to deal with late nights with their vampire mate while taking twenty credits. “Fair enough.”

He tried not to resent how much Loren’s wide smile made him warm inside. It was almost disgusting how easily Loren manipulated him.