Welcome to My Birthday!


Finally, my birthday is here! I’ve always enjoyed my birthday maybe because I share it with my sister. I was born on my older sister’s 4th birthday so I’ve always considered it a fun day. My sister…not so much. LOL!

To celebrate today I am going to run a contest every hour. My wonderful assistant Sheri has come up with some fun contests for you to enter. Some of them you can enter to win a signed copy of End Street Vol 1 from RJ Scott and myself (yes international fans are welcome), or your choice of one of my ebooks. I will also be giving away ARe giftcards and Amazon gift cards and few prize packs.

All entries will be put in a big pot at the end of the month and one person will win a Kindle Paperwhite!




Quentin Heart – Day 21

Quentin Heart 400

Quentin jumped down to stand between Jaks and Grevin.

“Don’t shoot him.”

Jaks lowered his weapon. “He was going to stab you and steal your essence. You belong to me.”

Quentin was learning there was no greater theft to vampires than taking someone’s blood. He needed to defuse the situation fast.

“He was going to draw some blood to do a spell. I didn’t have the right magic to get out of here.”

Jaks stepped forward and grabbed Quentin’s wrist, pulling him close. “Every drop of you belongs to me. Do not offer it so freely to others. This is the second time you’ve offered yourself to another man.”

Quentin opened his mouth to object but technically Jaks was right.

“I’m sorry. I guess I didn’t think of it that way. I was just trying to get out of here and back to you.” Quentin said.

Jaks mouth twitched. “You think to distract me with your beauty.”

Laughter escaped Quentin before he could stop it. “I can honestly say I’ve never distracted anyone with my looks.” He wasn’t ugly by any means but he didn’t make heads turn when he walked by either.

“Then the world is peopled by fools,” Jaks said he wrapped his arms around Quentin’s waist and pulled him closer. “You are the most gorgeous creature on this earth and I will fight to the death to keep others from taking advantage of you.”

Before he could comment Jaks kissed him. He probably should’ve put up a token protest but he’d missed Jaks when he’d been trapped and wondering how to get out of this place. That the vampire had broken through to rescue him went pretty far in Quentin’s books.

Heat poured through him as if Jaks was sharing the warmth of his soul. He melted against Jaks’s firm body letting Jaks take his weight. For the first time he considered life with the vampire as a possibility instead of a burden to slough off as soon as possible.

When they broke apart, Quentin licked his lips, hungering for more.

“Let’s go upstairs we need to figure out who among my people could’ve placed such a trap. Maybe your wolves can hunt them down.” Jaks’ hard expression didn’t promise good things for the person found guilty of trying to trap Quentin below.

“We don’t know for sure it was meant for me,” Quentin protested.

“It was made to trap magic. We don’t exactly have a lot of magic users wandering about. You are too forgiving, my sweet.”

Quentin didn’t know about that but he didn’t want to jump to conclusions. He turned to the wolves. “Hunt for the caster.”

If the wolves tracked down the person who placed the spell maybe they could get the entire thing resolved then work on trying to break the wolves free of their curse.

Lars tilted back his head and howled.

Before Quentin could say anything about not killing the person the wolves took off.

“Do you think there will be anything left of the person once the wolves are done?” Grevin asked.

Quentin shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Serves them right if they are torn apart.” Jaks’s hard tone didn’t sound like he was kidding.

“But then we won’t know why they did it,” Quentin reminded him.

Jaks slid a hand through Quentin’s hair as if reassuring himself that Quentin was fine. “Sometimes people are just assholes. There isn’t always a deep meaning behind what someone does.”

Quentin thought in this case there had to be a connection to the vampire. If nothing else it was in the vampire manor. “Someone doesn’t want me to be by your side. Do you have anyone jealous of your claim on me or anyone upset that I captured the last guy.”

“Everyone was happy Vlad is gone.”

“I doubt it,” Grevin said. “For every psychotic leader there is always at least one super fan. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vlad’s followers wanted Quentin gone. Maybe we should investigate the wolves’ curse somewhere else.”

“No! Quentin stays with me.” Jaks’s eyes glowed an eerie light sparkled in the middle.

“Take it easy vamp, I don’t want to fight over Quentin. I’m just his friend.” Grevin’s normally mocking tone took on a soft lull.

“No one is trying to take me anywhere,” Quentin stroked Jaks chest trying not to notice the hard body beneath the well-tailored suit.

Jaks glared at Grevin. “Good.”

Lars’s howl snapped them out of their staring match. Quentin wasn’t certain Jaks would win. Grevin could hold his own against pretty much anyone.

“Let’s go see what the wolves have found.” Jaks said. He grabbed one of Quentin’s wrists on his way out the door dragging in along.

“I could just teleport us there,” Quentin offered.

“No, I want everyone to see you when we walk down the hall. They need to get used to seeing you. You’ll be a member of my family from now on and they will accept you or leave.”

“But some of these people have been with you for a long time, right?” Quentin hurried along, not wanting his arm pulled out of his socket from Jaks hurried march.

“They could be with me a hundred years and not be as important to me as you. You don’t understand Quentin. Once a vampire meets his match no one else can ever be as important in their life. I didn’t just pick you because I wanted a wizard. I picked you because I could pick no one else.”

Quentin didn’t know what to say about that. He’d have to find a way to brush up on his vampire lore. He didn’t truly understand the vampire nature and kept misunderstanding Jaks.

They came to a halt where the wolves stood staring at a solid wall.

“Either the magic wielder made another door disappear or they walked through walls.” Quentin could make an argument either way.

“Let me see.” Grevin pushed his way forward and muttered a quick spell.

The wall swirled pink for a second before turning back to its normal color. “Whoever it was has left. Who did you upset this time?” Grevin asked Quentin.

Quentin sighed. “At this point the possibilities are endless.”


Quentin Heart – Day 20 (B)

Quentin Heart 400

Grevin grinned, more color leeched from his eyes. “I mean we pull magic in here with us and over power the runes.”

“What kind of magic?” Quentin worried about Grevin’s answer. There was only so many kinds of magic a necromancer could pull toward him.

Grevin patted Quentin on the arm. “You worry too much Q.”

“Uh, huh and I have a feeling you don’t worry enough.”

The expression on Grevin’s face didn’t reassure Quentin at all. Grevin pulled off his shirt exposing rows of runes branded across his skin.

“What the hell did you do?” Quentin asked. The raised marks covered both of his upper arms and two lines down the middle of his chest then disappeared beneath his waistline. He tried to ignore the appealing firm muscles beneath the scars.

Grevin’s smile disappeared. “I did what I needed to. Us necromancers need a lot more protections than the rest of you. You don’t have to worry that one of your spells is going to try to eat you. If I call a demon he can’t possess me because I’m warded against it. When one of my kind makes bone wolves the pack can turn against them. The worse you have to worry about is magical backlash.”

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to criticize but that looks like it hurt.”

“It did. Every single time but that it would kill me not to have the right runes.”

Quentin nodded, chagrined. He didn’t know what necromancers had to go through but connecting to demons and the undead couldn’t be easy. Only certain people had the energy and skill to handle that sort of dark energy and Quentin wasn’t one of them. “What’s your plan?”

“I’m going to call a demon and have it break through the barrier. I think if I introduced a negative magic into the room it will shatter the runes.”

“How do you figure? Won’t it just suck up the demon’s energy?” They didn’t need to make the marks more powerful.

“I’m thinking it will break the magic because it is coming from outside in instead of inside out.”

Quentin thought about it for a while, turning the different ideas around in his head. “You really think it will work?”

“It’s worth a try. Even if we make the field stronger it’s not like it can capture us less.”

“True.” Quentin couldn’t argue with Grevin’s logic.

“So you okay with it?”

Quentin sighed. “Sure, I don’t have a better plan.”

It killed him to admit it and he worried Grevin’s plan would go horrible wrong but he didn’t have a better one.

“Good because I’m going to need some of your blood.”

Lars jumped up and snarled at Grevin.

“Whoa, down Fang,” Grevin jumped up on the barrel away from Lars’s sharp teeth.

“Lars stop!” Quentin shouted.

The wolf continued to snap at Grevin for a few more minutes before settling down. He lay at the base of the barrel Grevin stood on, keeping his snarl to a low growl.

“Why do you need my blood?” Quentin tried to keep his voice neutral. If he sounded nervous Lars might decide to take Grevin down. Quentin didn’t want there to be bloodshed on either side.

“Because if I use both of our blood the demon can’t enter you either. Since you don’t have my wards I thought it best to combine them.”

Quentin thought it over and realized Grevin had a good point. He didn’t want to be possessed either. “What are we going to use to cut with?”

“Oh that’s not a problem.” Grevin lifted his pant leg revealing a knife strapped to his ankle.

“Great.” Quentin tried to infuse excitement in his voice but must’ve failed from the look Grevin gave him.

“I promise not to cut you too badly. I only need a little bit. Besides I’m not so sure your big wolf there won’t try to go for my jugular if I try to take a drop more than necessary.”

“I trust you.” Quentin didn’t trust a lot of people but he’d known Grevin for years and knew the necromancer wouldn’t try to harm him on purpose.

“Really?” Grevin smiled. “Not a lot of people trust necromancers. We get a bad rap.”

“You’ve never done anything to make me distrust you.” Granted he didn’t know Grevin for very long but Quentin considered himself a good judge of character. He held out his hand. “Do it.”

Grevin sat back on the barrel then pulled his knife out of the sheath. He grabbed Quentin’s wrist and raised the knife.

An explosion burst the wall where the door used to be. Jaks marched through the opening a Glock in his right hand and a trio of vampires behind him. His angry gaze took in Quentin and Grevin sitting together, when he saw Grevin’s knife he raised his weapon.


Quentin Heart – Day 20 (A)

Quentin Heart 400

Grevin cast a small spell. The runes flared. “That’s what I was afraid of. The runes are absorbing our magic. Anything we cast will be sucked into the runes making them stronger.”

Quentin stared at the runes. Crouching down he brushed away some more dirt. “They were purposely covered with a concealment spell.”

The squiggly lines moved beneath Quentin’s gaze. He blinked, trying to pull them back into vision.

“They also placed a distraction spell on the symbols so you couldn’t decipher them.”


Grevin nodded. “Whoever laid this was trying to trap a wizard. How many of those do you think wander into a vampire manor?”

Quentin sat on one of the barrels. “What do you think we should do?”

The walls were smooth, with no signs of the door or any window. Quentin turned his attention to the ceiling. “Do you think it goes all the way up?”

“What, the spell?” Grevin asked coming to stand beside him.

“Yes. It is only confined to the floor and walls?” Quentin asked.

“Good question. Lift your feet off the ground and check.”

Quentin blushed over the simple test. He lifted his feet and cast a light spell. For a brief second a ball of light flared then snuffed out. “Well that answers that question.”

“Not quite.” Grevin hopped up on a barrel and stood. “Maybe it’s a proximity thing.”

He placed his hands apart and said a quick incantation. A glow ball flew from his hands and lasted an entire minute before disappearing. Grevin hopped back down to sit on the barrel beside Quentin.

The pair sat there for a few minutes in silence, each contemplating their situation or at least that’s what Quentin thought.

“I’m hungry,” Grevin said.

“Well you’re going to be hungrier if we don’t get out of here soon.”

“Your vampire is going to miss you and come looking. From what I can tell the spell is to contain not harm.” Grevin said, kicking his feet against a barrel.

“Which makes me wonder why?” Anyone with the ability to trap Quentin could’ve used the same opportunity to kill him.

“It does.” Grevin began humming tunelessly until the wolves growled at him.

“I don’t think they like that.” Quentin couldn’t resist saying.

“No they don’t appear to.”

Quentin played with the links on his necklace thinking of Jaks. For the first time he wouldn’t mind seeing the vampire. Jaks handsome face would be quite welcome right now.

“I’d examine the wolves but I don’t want to feed the runes any of my power,” Grevin said in an apologetic tone.

“No, that’s all right. I understand.” Quentin examined the wolves. The beasts decided to lay down and nap since there wasn’t anything to do. “I’m worried they are starting to behave more like wolves.”

“That’ll happen over time. They might even begin forget their other life.”

“We have to reverse the spell or break it, or whatever before that happens. I might not like my father but no one deserves to have their soul trapped.”

“Once we’re out of here I’ll identify the spell signature. I’m surprised you can’t do that.” Grevin gave Quentin a pointed look.

“Because he’s related to me my spells won’t have as much effect. My casting could have a different response than yours.”

“That’s true. Okay, I appreciate you letting me tag along. I’ve never actually seen real bone wolves before. I mean I’ve read about them like everyone else but I’ve never seen them. It took a high powered mage to pull this off.” The admiration in Grevin’s voice rubbed Quentin raw.

“I don’t think I’m going to be joining his or her fan club anytime soon.”

Grevin shrugged. “You don’t have to like the person to admire their skill.

“True.” Quentin sighed. “I think confinement is making me irritable.”

Grevin laughed. “It’s been what five minutes? You really don’t have much patience do you?”

“Not really, unless it’s spells.” Lost in academic study Quentin had endless patience over studying a spells complexity and trying over and over to see if something worked.

“Do you have any enemies who would want you trapped?”

“Where do I start?” Quentin asked.

“Please, you’re one of the good guys. You probably have people throwing yourself at your feet.”

Quentin laughed. “Not likely. I’m not one of those rock star wizard with groupies. I recently sent the leader of this coven to jail. My stepmother would probably enjoy killing me and some weirdo is stalking my mother’s garden, not to mention the vampire that changed Glenn is still walking around.”

Grevin stared at Quentin for several minutes before speaking again. “And here I always thought of you as a nice quiet guy. Maybe a bit nerdy, but nice. You’ve got this whole darker, bad boy, vampire hunter side of you I’ve never seen before. It’s kind of sexy.” Grevin leered at Quentin in such an over-the-top expression it made him laugh.

“Yeah, that’s me. Bad to the bone,” Quentin said in a dry voice.

Grevin tapped his chin with his right index finger. “So it’s a matter of discovering who wants to trap you but not necessarily harm you.”

“I don’t know.” Quentin shrugged. “If they sucked enough of my magic into the runes it could harm me.”

“Yeah, but they gotta know you aren’t going to let that work for long. You’re a smart guy and anyone stalking you is gonna know that.” Grevin’s eyes turned black around the edges of his irises.

“What are you doing?”

“Well, if we can’t pull magic from us. What if we attract it to us?” Grevin jumped down off the barrel and began to pace as he thought.

“What do you mean?”

Had Grevin finally snapped? The necromancer wasn’t the most balanced individual anyway.

Quentin Heart – Day 18

Quentin Heart 400

When they returned to the vampire manor Jaks took Quentin aside. “I have some business to attend to. Don’t spend all night out in the garden playing with the wolves.”

Quentin took a deep breath then let it out in a huff. “Sign the form.”

“What? I thought we went over that. I paid your debt.”

“As much as I appreciate that.” He really didn’t. “I can’t let you take away my choices. If you sign the form then I know you aren’t cutting off my independence.”

A low growl rolled up Jaks’s throat. “Why do you have to make me into being a controlling monster. I only want you to be safe.”

“It’s not that I’m making you the bad guy. I just refuse to have an obsessive boyfriend. I won’t turn into one of the people who let their significant other take over every part of their life. I’ve worked hard my entire life to be independent and make my mother proud. I’m not going to have her die thinking I’ve fallen into a bad relationship.”

He thought for a moment Jaks would deny him. Hard resolve flickered in Jaks’s eyes. “This is really important to you isn’t it?”

“Yes. It is.”

“Fine. I’ll sign it but I want you to clear any hunting with me before hand and I will send you backup if I deem your assignment too dangerous.”

Quentin nodded, too happy to speak. He couldn’t believe Jaks was giving in.

Jaks walked over, cupped his fingers around Quentin’s shoulders then kissed his forehead. “I might be a possessive asshole but I’m your possessive asshole. I want you to be happy. I want to make you happy.”

Quentin leaned into the embrace. “You can’t make someone happy. You can only work hard not to make them miserable. People make their own happiness.”

“And are you a happy person?” Jaks’s pinned Quentin with an intent gaze as if his words mattered.

“Yes. I think overall I’m happy. I wish my mother wasn’t ill but we’ve both come to grips with her health.” They’d had long talks into the night. Trina Heart was ready to meet her maker.

“I’d like to meet her if you don’t mind,” Jaks said.

Quentin smiled. “She’d probably enjoy meeting a vampire.”

His mother liked meeting new people and with her death imminent she was squeezing every last bit of life out of everything before she went.

“Good. I’ll stop by tomorrow.”

“Let me know when and I’ll come with to introduce you.”

Jaks pressed a quick kiss onto Quentin’s mouth. “I look forward to it. Are you spending the night?”

“No. I have an early seminar in the morning.” He’d signed up for the two-day special class on elemental magic early in the year and since it had taken him three years to get into the class he didn’t want to miss it.

“Come see me before you go.” Jaks kissed Quentin once more then turned and walked down the hall.

“He’s really hot,” Grevin said.

“Yeah.” Quentin couldn’t argue with the necromancer’s assessment.

Grevin nudged Quentin’s arm with his elbow. “Are you going to keep him?”

Quentin tugged at his necklace. “Well he plans to keep me.”

“Let me see.” Grevin moved to stand in front of Quentin. He hooked a finger through the chain and held it up to examine closer. “I can just make out the runes. I can probably get this off you.”

“No!” Quentin stepped back moving the necklace out of Grevin’s reach. “I mean, no that’s all right. It’s fine.”

A day earlier and he would’ve jumped at Grevin’s offer. What had changed? Before Quentin had a chance to examine his thoughts the wolves began to howl. “What’s going on?”

“They’ve scented something,” Grevin said.

Curious over what had the wolves in a frenzy, Quentin said the only thing he could. “Hunt!”

Howling the wolves raced down the corridor. Quentin and Grevin exchanged glances then ran after the wolves. They ran down several hallways and down a set of stairs. Quentin’s legs began to burn as he raced after the animals. Something had them on edge and he hated to think what could upset fae royalty enough they wanted to hunt it down.

The hunt ended in front of a closed door. Quentin pushed past the wolves and tried the handle.


“Let me try.” Grevin said.

Quentin stepped back to allow more room for the necromancer.

Grevin wrapped his hand around the handle and whispered a soft incantation Quentin couldn’t quite make out. A loud sizzle and pop was followed by the stench of burning metal. Grevin pulled off the handle and tossed it to ground then reached in and popped the catch.

The door swung open with a groaning screech of hinges. Quentin peered over Grevin’s shoulder but didn’t see anything right away.

“Huh.” Grevin entered the room with Quentin on his heels.

“Looks like a storage room of some kind.” Quentin said, walking inside. The stone walls and dusty barrels stacked to one side didn’t show signs of occupants. No footprints disturbed the heavy dust and the air didn’t smell of magic. The wolves milled around them but didn’t indicate any particular direction.

“I think we were led astray,” Grevin said.

“Yes, but why?” Quentin didn’t feel any animosity in the room or any other sign of magic.

“A better question would be by who?”

“Isn’t it whom?” Quentin asked.

“It’s who the fuck cares is what it is,” Grevin snapped. “Someone is playing mind games and you’re worried about correct grammar.”

“Sorry.” Quentin raised his hands defensively against Grevin’s tirade. “Let’s go to the courtyard and try some spells with the wolves.”

“Good idea.” Grevin said.

They turned to exit only to find no door. Where before there had been a wooden entrance was smooth stone wall.

“That can’t be good.” Quentin said.

“I think we stupidly fell into a trap.” Grevin examined the new wall, tapping it with his fist.

“Hmm. I wonder how long it would take Jaks to notice I’m missing.”

“I’d say two minutes but who knows. There are some spells that make everyone forget about you. Your entire life could’ve just been erased,” Grevin said. “I doubt it works on vampires though.”

“You don’t have to be so calm about it,” Quentin snapped.

Grevin shrugged. “I don’t have anyone to miss me.”

Quentin opened his mouth to speak then shut it again. That was one of the saddest things he’d ever heard. “We’ll work on that when we get out of here. Everyone should have at least one person to mourn them.”

“I’m a necromancer, Q, people are happy if I’m not around.”

Quentin would’ve thought Grevin resigned to that fate if he didn’t sound so forlorn. “I’d miss you, okay?”

Grevin smiled. “No you wouldn’t. You only remembered me because your wolves needed help. Hey, it’s all right. Some people aren’t meant to make an impact on this earth. Besides I’ll get reflected glory by being friends with you. No one is going to forget you. I don’t care how many spells are laid down.”

“I appreciate your pep talk but I’m not quite ready to vanish quite yet. Come here. Between us we should be able to get out.” Quentin tried to reach for his teleporting magic but something had him blocked.

Grevin shuffled his foot along the floor stirring up dust. The wolves sneezed.

“What are you doing?” Quentin asked.

“I think we’re in bigger trouble than I thought.” Grevin’s worried tone had Quentin rushing to his side.

Grevin had scraped a clear spot on the floor revealing a glowing set of runes.

“Oh crap!” Quentin said.

Grevin nodded. “Exactly.”

Quentin Heart – Day 17

Quentin Heart 400

I was feeling kind of blah today so this is a bit short. Sorry.

Grevin slid on a pair of sunglasses before nodding to Quentin.

“We could just walk outside,” Quentin said.

“Naw, then we’d have to reset all my wards. Let’s just teleport back to your vamps before they figure out how to storm the castle.

Quentin smiled. “Let’s go.”

They teleported in synch, reappearing in front of Parson. Parson was no longer alone.

Jaks crossed his arms and glared. Behind him stood a dozen other vampires. Collectively they had disapproving looks.

“Hey Jaks, what are you doing here?”

Grevin’s choked laughter didn’t reassure Quentin he’d pulled off his nonchalant act.

“I had a disturbing phone call from your guard. Apparently you aren’t being cooperative.” Jaks’s expression didn’t change with Quentin’s grin.

“I just had to stop in to visit a friend.” He waved a hand toward Grevin.

“At your service,” Grevin bowed to Jaks.

“You can go back to your creepy house. Quentin doesn’t need your help,” Jaks said.

“I do need Grevin. He’s going to look into the bone wolf problem for me. Did you bring my signed form?” Quentin couldn’t put off going on another hunt. He still needed to meet with the hospital administrator.

“No need. I paid your mother’s bill.” Jaks informed him.

Grevin groaned. “Oh vampire dude, you are completely clueless.”

“What? He doesn’t need to hunt if he doesn’t have the bills. It makes perfect sense.” Jaks said.

It took Quentin a few minutes to gather his temper and not send a lightning bolt through Jaks. “I appreciate the thought but it was my responsibility.”

“And your mine so that makes it my issue also. I’d like to meet your mother also but I thought it would be pushy to introduce myself.”

“Good to know where you draw the line.” Quentin rubbed his forehead, hoping to stave off an impending headache.

“Q-man, let’s get somewhere I can examine the wolves. We’re too exposed here,” Grevin broke into Quentin’s stare down with Jaks.

“Okay. We can take this to my mother’s house.”

“No. You can do it in the manor. I’ll feel better if I know where you are and can have people protecting you,” Jaks insisted.

“Protecting Q?” Grevin began to laugh, a loud boisterous sound Quentin had never heard before.

“It’s not that funny,” Quentin said after there were no signs of Grevin stopping.

“It is.” Grevin wiped his cheeks. “The big, bad vampire is trying to save the super powerful wizard.”

“No matter how powerful, everyone has a weakness. It’s my job to make sure no one exploits Quentin’s.” The tender look Jaks sent him had Quentin melting.

Damn, he wanted to keep his anger toward the vampire. Holding onto resentment became harder when real affection was involved.

“Okay, we’ll go back to your place.” Quentin could give in on this factor. Besides the vampires probably had a bigger courtyard. His mother’s place had a small garden that wouldn’t give them much space to practice whatever Grevin wanted to try.

“Good, we’ll take the cars. No teleporting without protection. I never know where you’re going to pop up,” Jaks wrapped an arm around Quentin’s hand and marched him toward the limo.

Quentin almost objected but better to pick his battles with care than fight over every little thing. “Fine but I still expect you to sign my paper.”

“Why?” Jaks asked, frustration filling his tone. “Why is it so important to you?”

“Because you took away my choice. Instead of asking me if I wanted to be bonded with a vampire you put this leash around my neck and declared me yours. You then tried to take away my employment. I won’t be subject to your whim. I’ve worked hard to get where I am and I won’t have you strip it all away because you like to be the man in charge.” Quentin threw himself into the limo. He slid his palms along the soft leather seats as he fumed.

“You’re such a tactile man,” Jaks remarked, sliding into the limo.

“If you keep this up you’ll never find out how tactile,” Quentin teased. Like a pin popping a balloon all of his righteous anger exploded out of his body, leaving him hollow.

“I don’t want to always be fighting with you, my sweet.” Jaks moved to sit beside Quentin. Jaks ignored Grevin and the wolves as they joined them.

“I don’t want to fight either but I won’t be a puppet for you to command at will. I need to be my own person.”

Jaks slid his fingers through Quentin’s hair, caressing his scalp in slow, soothing circles. “I don’t want a puppet. You want to know why I claimed you?”

“Yes I do.” Quentin had been so busy there hadn’t been much time for soul searching. Still he’d wondered what had been the pull.

“Because when I saw you I looked into your soul and saw a person so vibrant, so thriving with life that I wanted to absorb some of that. You are willing to risk life and limb to raise money for your mother’s medical care but you won’t accept a ride with me because it might put you in debt. I picked you Quentin Heart because you have the purest soul I have ever seen and I will do anything to keep it that way.” Jaks picked up Quentin’s hand and kissed the back of it.

“Oh.” He didn’t have a response to that.

“Real smooth Q, that’ll keep him hooked.” Grevin snickered.

Quentin kept his gaze on Jaks, basking in the admiration he saw there as he replied to Grevin. “Remind me to replace your dead man’s ash with cigarette ashes.”

“Bitch,” Grevin muttered under his breath.

“I heard that,” Quentin said.

A wet wolf nose bumped Quentin’s hand. He broke his gaze with Jaks to look down. It wasn’t Lars but one of the other wolves.

“I haven’t forgotten you. I swear we’ll look for a cure.”

Apparently satisfied with that, the wolf lay down on the limo floor with his siblings.