Monday, February 20, 2017

Garth Bentley Series Release Day Final Book & Giveaway

 
 
 
For her loyal services to the queen, Dark is granted one wish--to be human. The problem? Dark doesn't deal well with humans. She is a warrior fae, and all she knows is how to lead armies.

Garth is the last brother without a mate, and he's in no hurry to find one. But when a fire burns his house down, he finds himself at a loss. He has never met Dark, but she has graciously agreed to put him up until he can come to a resolution with his insurance company. When they finally meet, they both know what they are to each other.

An old foe has returned to seek his revenge, and Dark and Micah are butting heads for control of the pack. Dark knows how to deal with this enemy, but Micah is standing in her way. Can they get past their differences to save the family? Or will Snyder Black fulfill his thirst for blood and revenge? Find out in the final installment of The Bentley Legacy--Garth.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
Micah Bentley is a third generation cop and a panther. He always wanted to be a homicide detective like his dad, but kept getting passed up for the job because he was too good at what he currently did working the beat. Micah has a gift, he can read people's minds. Such a gift could be a help and a hindrance on a job. He could pluck the information he needs right out of someone's mind, but knowing they're guilty and proving it are two different things. But when his dad is killed off duty it has him rethinking his career choice.
Regina Webster, Reggie to her friends, is just trying to make ends meet by working three jobs to keep her head above water, and also take care of her invalid brother. She doesn't have time for socializing with bossy men like Micah Bentley who butt into her life making everything concerning her his business. She doesn't know anything about this mate thing he keeps spouting off about, she just wants him to leave her alone.Due to a random act of violence, she finds herself suddenly homeless: no home, no money, no car and suffering from a gunshot wound to boot. Reggie has no choice but to accept a helping hand from the Bentleys at―least until she can get back on her feet.Trouble has Reggie marked, and this time they take Micah's mom too. Micah knows they're in trouble, but when the bad guys don't go where they're expected it's a race against the clock...
 

 
Christiana McKenzie, Chris to her friends, was at her wits end. She and her sister, Angel, were born witches. Their mother had warned them that to use their powers would bring on another witch hunt, and they'd risk being burned, just like their ancestors. Her sister didn't heed their mother's warning and now Angel was dead. Angel had lived long enough to tell Chris that she'd left something for her with a man by the name of Bentley, then she died. Chris had to track down this Bentley no matter the cost....
Joseph Bentley almost had everything finished: the house, the barn...everything. In a few weeks it would be finished and he would be able to move into the house and get the ranch going. But the progress wasn't going fast enough to suit him?he was lonely.
Micah had come out to tell him that the sister of the girl that died to protect him was coming to see him, and he was hoping that the nightmares since the incident would stop. Micah wanted him to come out to the main house and be there when she arrived. But the limo delivered the woman to Joey's house instead of Micah's. Joey couldn't believe it, the hostile woman was his mate...and more than he could have ever hoped for....
Whether or not Chris wanted a mate or not was irrelevant, Joey wasn't letting her out of his sight. And when she found out that her mother had lied to her?she wasn't an ordinary witch?and that others would come to try to possess her. If they couldn't do that, then they would kill her to possess her powers?she needed help.
The Bentleys ban together to save one of their own, but will it be enough? Can they even fight the powerful magic that's targeting Chris and Joey?

 
Nolan finally had a practice of his own, and soon his brother Burke would be leaving the hospital and joining him. Now, if the rest of the family would mind their own business, Nolan would be much happier...or not. He was sulking over his dilemma when his nurse told him he had a patient, a hurt kid who wasn't doing much talking.
Rylee nearly collapsed with worry when she found out her nephew had been hurt. She wasn't sure if she was cut out to be a parent. She loved her nephew, Shane, dearly and had taken on his care when her sister died, but how she'd missed the warning signs was beyond her. He was being bullied at school daily and she knew nothing about it until he'd been cut with a knife.
"I didn't know." Her entire body sagged at her confession. "He said he had it handled. And I thought he did. It's my fault he's beaten up like this. I should have...I'm not any good at this parenting thing."Nolan reached for her just as Shane moved on the bed. He wasn't sure what the kid could do, banged up the way that he was, but as soon as Nolan touched her, he knew what she was to him. Her body, warm and strong, leaned into his even as he buried his nose into her neck. Christ, his body screamed at him, she was his. Licking her throat, tasting her, he could hear her moan, but when his head was jerked up by his hair, all he could do was stare at her.
 

 
Burke Bentley's decision to quit the hospital and go into practice with his brother was the best decision he'd ever made. With the daily pressures gone, he could do what he loved to do most --be a doctor.

Piper Cordale, Pip to her friends, just wanted to bust her friend out and go. She didn't handle people well and needed to be on her way, but fate had other things in store for her. Her friend's gorgeous doctor, Burke, insisted that he was her mate. Pip didn't have a mate, nor did she want one. The chore of breathing in and out was hard enough.

But when she saw Burke's nephew, Shane, sitting all alone, she reached out to him, and they formed an instant bond. She was fae and told the boy if he ever needed her, all he needed to do was call out and she'd be there.

When the unthinkable happens, and Shane and his brother Walter are targeted by a madman, can Pip reach his side fast enough? Is she strong enough to save them both?

The Bentleys must band together like never before to protect their young and pray that it's enough....
 
 

 
Coleen had heard just about all she wanted to hear from her grandmother about the Bentleys--no one could be that nice. There had to be an angle there somewhere. People just didn't help other people for nothing--not in this day and age.

Tony Bentley wasn't expecting to find his mate, and as a Were Panther he could even understand her reluctance. He was, after all, a Bentley, and the poor woman had been taken through the ringer, but she was his mate, and he wasn't about to take no for an answer.

Coleen's ex had left her in a heap of debt, and she couldn't allow herself to bring that kind of baggage into a relationship. She'd work through it somehow--without the help of the mighty Bentleys.
 
 
THE BENTLEY LEGACY
1. MICAH - http://smarturl.it/micah
2. JOSEPH - http://smarturl.it/josephBentleyLegacy
3. NOLAN - http://smarturl.it/nolanBentleyLegacy
4. BURKE - http://smarturl.it/burkeBentleyLegacy
5. ANTHONY - http://smarturl.it/anthonyBentleyLegacy









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I hated to see the series end I hope you enjoy Garth 
 
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Chapter 1 
Garth watched the ticker tape that ran across the top of his laptop. He was waiting for the magical number that would make him money. Well, magical for him, he supposed. Most would find what he did boring. He supposed in a way that it was. But numbers and making money were his passion.  When the stocks that he was looking at fell to the number he’d been waiting for, he bought the nine thousand shares that were being offered up. Closing his computer, feeling pretty good about himself, he looked around the diner. As usual, it was packed. He was proud of his family. They had decided to pay some things forward and a great many people were benefiting from it. Not just with the diner, which mostly catered to vets down on their luck as well as some of the homeless around town. There was also the antique store, Barron and Bentley Antiques, the restaurant simply called Bentley’s that they all had a hand in, and Faerie Tales and Dreams, the nursery and gift shop. All the shops and places were working hard to make sure that townspeople had a paycheck if they wanted it. And a reference on their resume for those that hadn’t had a paying job for a very long time and wanted to get back into the workforce. Shane sat down across from him and smiled. He loved this kid. Being his uncle was wonderful, but he was also his friend, him and his brother Walter both. Garth asked him what was happening. “Did you know that there is this building downtown that is empty?” He nodded. Garth told him there were a lot of buildings empty, but filling up. “They are. But I’m talking about the one next to the mill. The big one that looks like it’s been empty for a long time.” “Spencer Building. When I was a kid, they used to manufacture cardboard boxes. Mr. Spencer was a good man but a terrible businessman. I think he lost everything when he tried to sell his boxes cheap to undercut the bigger companies.” Shane nodded. “And why do you have an interest in that particular place? I own it, by the way.” “Yes, I know you own it. I was wondering if you’d let me borrow it for a little while. It’ll look better when I’m done. I have a plan.” Garth asked him what it was. “My teacher said that I needed to take on a civic duty project. I asked him what that might be, and he told me that there needs to be some sort of action that makes an improvement to the city itself. It doesn’t have to be big, just a clean-up thing. There are a couple of people in my class that said they’d work with me on it.” “And these other people, are they really going to work with you, or are they just saying that so you’ll do all the footwork? I don’t mean to be crass, but you told me that most of them are lazy and do little to nothing when it comes to classwork.” Shane flushed brightly and Garth changed the subject back. “Okay, what sort of plans do you have for this place after it’s cleaned up? Ones that might benefit the community, I get that, but how?”  “Okay. There is an antique shop, bakery, restaurant, florist, as well as a couple of new shops going in the downtown area. But what we don’t have is a clothing store. And I
don’t mean new expensive things, but used…in good condition, but used.” Garth liked where this was going. “It would be a permanent place, if you let me, where people could come in and sell off items. You know, not enough for a garage sale, but too nice to just toss out.” “There was a shop in town where I went to college. They would take old bridesmaids’ dresses and prom dresses, clean them up, and resell them to kids. I think they did a booming business.” Shane said that was his plan. “So, how is this a civic duty? And that’s not to say I don’t like it, but I’m sure that someone along the line will ask.” “All the money would go for food baskets that are given away at Christmas. Buying turkeys and vegetables, as well as some warm coats for kids.” Garth loved that idea, and it would help with the community. “When the Taylor family lost their home, everyone scrambled around trying to get them a fresh start. Old couches were donated, beds and linens. I think you and I could use this place as a way to stock up on those things. Have them cleaned up and covered in the event that someone needs something.” “I’m in. But I’d like to be your partner on this. I mean, this was totally your idea after the clean-up, and I want to help with that part of it.” Shane looked like he wasn’t going to buy that. “Once this project is complete for your teacher, then you and I will put out the word that this place is here. After that, I’m sure you can have as much family as you need to help you.” “Okay. I can do that. But I want Walter to be a partner too. He’s working hard at college, and I think he’d really be a big help with what might sell or not.” Garth told him that was fine, but why would Walter be a big help? “Because he said that you’d not believe the crap that people just throw out at the end of the college year, and then more crap is brought in at the beginning. He means to figure out a way to see if he can get it donated to the shop.” “I don’t tell you often enough how proud of you I am.” Shane blushed again; the kid was going to go far in business, as well as with the women. “We have a deal. I’ll just need the names and permission from the other kids’ parents, in the event that they get hurt and need medical assistance or something. We need to be safe first and foremost.” “Dark said she’d help.” Garth nodded. “She’s really pretty now. I mean, she was before, but now as a person, she shines.”  “Pip said that she had all her magic still, and that she could even fly should she want. I’ve wanted to do that since I was a kid…fly like those superheroes do in the movies.” Shane nodded, but Garth knew he wasn’t really paying attention. “I think when I find my mate, I’m going to have her make me wings. I don’t know that she’ll be magical, but I gotta figure she will be, and have a trunk-like nose too.” “I’m listening to you. I just have a lot on my mind. How do you know if you want to ask someone out?” Garth said nothing but let Shane explain himself. “There’s this girl in my class. The end of school dance is in a few weeks, and I thought I’d ask her to go with me. I like her.” “Then that’s how you know you should ask her out.” Shane nodded, then shook his head. “You just go up to her and say, ‘Hey, would you like to go to the dance with me?’ Then go from there.”
“I don’t drive.” Garth pointed out that they could walk to school as he did now. “Yes, I know, but she’s a girl and everything.” “You don’t think girls walk?” He snorted at him. “I don’t know what you mean. If you mean that she’ll have on high heels I can understand, but what do you mean, she’s a girl and everything?” “What if it rains? Or turns really cold or something?” Garth nodded, but before he could suggest an umbrella or a coat, Shane went on with his reasoning. “She wears these pretty clothes. I’d hate to have them messed up because we had to walk to the dance.” “You’re overthinking this.” Shane said he wasn’t. “Yes, you are. You ask her out, and if the weather is bad, someone...I’ll drive you there in my car. I won’t say a word unless you ask me directly. Also, I’ll be around close in case you forget how to breathe, pretty much like you are right now.” “I’m nervous.” Garth said he could see that. “I don’t want to mess this up. I mean, she’s not going to marry me or anything, but I think the first time you’re out with a girl, it should be special. Don’t you think?”  “I do. And it will be so long as you don’t have a stroke while it’s going on. Relax. Take a breath and think of how much fun you’ll have with her, not about what could befall you.” Shane nodded, but he didn’t look convinced. “What is really bothering you?” “Sex.” Garth wasn’t sure this was an avenue that he wanted to travel. “I don’t want to have sex with her, but what if she does? I know how it works, but I don’t think knowing and doing are the same thing.” “No, not even close. And if she wants to have sex with you at her age, run. You don’t need to be hanging out with someone that would even consider it.” Shane asked how old he was when he had sex the first time. “This isn’t about me. And I’m pretty sure you already know the answer to that question, or you’d not be here busting my balls when I’m only trying to help.” “Micah said you were a lady’s man.” Garth was going to kill his brother. “Joey said that women helped you get through college on a dream. I had to look that one up. And Burke said that—” “I’m going to kill them all. You shouldn’t listen to those idiots.” Shane smiled. “All right. You ask the girl out; I’m going to be your ride and we’ll go from there. All right?” “Yes. Thank you.” Garth told him it was his pleasure. “Don’t you want to know what Grandma said about you? And Great Grandda said some pretty nice things about you and women too.” “No, I do not. And you need to hang out with other people than those perverts.” They both laughed. “I’ll get back with you in a couple of days. In the meantime, you can go ahead and start on whatever you need to do. If it helps, the faeries at my house are bored. I’m not making them enough work, apparently.” “I heard that too. You’re too clean, I was told. You even make your bed when you get out of it. For shame, Uncle Garth. Whatever did your mother do when you were growing up?” They left the restaurant together, both of them laughing and joking around. When they got to his truck, he asked the kid what his plans were. “The building. I want to get a good start on it, then I’m going home. Mom and Dad are staying in tonight.”
“If that is too tame for you, call me up and we’ll head for some pizza. But I’m betting you want to be with them.” He nodded. “All right then, I’m off to my office. Call me if you need me.” “I will.”  Garth watched Shane as he made his way to the Spencer building. After he was sure he was going to be all right, he started his truck. Then his phone dinged when the timer he’d set went off. Opening his computer again after turning off the truck, he sold the shares that he’d only just purchased, plus the three hundred that he’d picked up yesterday. “How much?” He looked at the passenger window and smiled at his grandda. “You only look like that when you’ve made some money. So tell me there, Whiz-boy, how much did you make off that thing there?” “Whiz-boy? It’s Whiz-man to you. And nearly four million. What have you been up to, Grandda? You have dust on your hat.” He took it off and slapped it against his leg a few times, then opened the door and got in. “Are we hanging out today?” “I got me a project in mind and you can help me. Oh, congratulations on the sale. I’m guessing this one is for you…or all of us?” He said him for now. “Got you a right good head on your shoulders there, boy. I’m proud of you. Go on over to the shelter. I need your help.” “All right.” Starting the truck up, he drove to the shelter. The Micah Bentley Shelter had been open for nearly seven months now, and it was helping a lot of people. “Coleen said that she’d been having some fun with the soups you asked her to make for the shelter. How’s that going?” “Right fine. Yesterday we was serving it up and nearly ran out. Then one of Pip’s buddies came by and we had more than enough. Did you know they were hanging out everywhere now?” Garth said he’d heard that too. “You got any at your house?” “Several. They’re upset with me. Apparently making my own bed is a no-no.” His grandda laughed. “And since I’m not there much lately except to sleep, I’m not giving them enough to do.” “Heard that too. You should make them a mess occasionally. When they got nothing to do, they get into mischief. Speaking of that, I want to know when you’re going to find you a mate.” Garth nearly hit the car in front of him, he was so startled by the question. “You’re the last one, and you should be finding her soon enough, don’t you think?” “I was going to put a full-page ad in the newspaper to ask where she was, but I’ve been a little busy of late. I’ll work on the wording of it today and get right on that.” Grandda glared at him. “I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but you have five grandsons that are very happily married, and some are even giving you great grandchildren to bother. Leave me alone, old man.” “Ain’t no reason why you have to be nasty about it. I’m just inquiring.” Garth just laughed. “I tell you, you should have more respect for this old man. You might need me to hold your hand when you find her, and I might not be around. I got me things to do, you know.”
“I do. I’m betting that fishing with the kids and the rest of them is really time consuming.” He smiled when Grandda huffed at him. “And I’ve heard that you’ve been at the restaurant too, snitching food when Grandma told you to watch your weight.” “I’m watching it. I got it right where I want it.” The man wasn’t heavy, but he didn’t eat as well as he should.  They pulled into the parking lot at the shelter. “I need you to look something over for me. It’s about them computers they have set up. I’m thinking that we need a few more, but I don’t know if that’s on account’a I’m wanting more or they’re needed.” Garth knew that there was a need for them. There were only three in the place now, and one printer. It had been on his list of things to do this week, getting a couple more to put in place. But with his grandda wanting it done now, he saw no reason to put it off until Thursday, which was the day he’d scheduled for it. Garth wasn’t anal, not at all. But he did like lists. He would make one out the night before and hang it in his bathroom. Then after he was finished with his shower in the morning, he’d take it down and start on it. And if things didn’t get done that he’d set for himself to do, that would be the priority for the next day’s list. It had kept him on track all his life. After spending three hours with his grandda, he mentally moved things around in his head. It was going to be hard going tomorrow to get his list finished, but this was important. And Garth got to spend time with one of his favorite people, as it happened. His grandda was the best person he knew, next to his mom and grandma. ~~~ “Should it look like that?” Dark looked at the little man and huffed at him. “I think the directions aren’t terribly clear. What does it mean when it says that the voltage needs to be set at a right setting?” “I don’t know.” She snapped her fingers and the meal, along with the mess it had made when she’d cooked it, was gone. “I can command an army of thousands, yet I cannot make this microwave thing work for me. I will have starved for all that I have learned in the last several weeks being here.” Sitting down at her new table, she smiled when a salad of fresh flower petals appeared in front of her. Dark knew that she had to learn this thing, cooking, but it was frustrating to say the least. Then there was the fact that she was taller too. “Did you know that when you take a cleaning—a shower, I mean—it is important not to put too much of the bubbly stuff on your body? It took me nearly an hour to get it all washed off. I have learned to read the instructions on things carefully now.” Augustus laughed when she did. “I think there might still be a great amount of the stuff sticking to the walls yet. It is most troubling, this being a human.” “You are beautiful.” She told him to go away. “Do you regret your wish to be human like? I think I’d not care for it. There is much you must put on daily. I cannot fathom why a person would want to wear shoes all the time.” She looked down at her own bare feet and thought about the lovely sandals that Pip had given her. They were wonderful to put on and wear, but what made them the best
thing she’d ever found was that she could slip them off easily and put them back on when she was sitting somewhere. Her feet could breathe in them as well. “I have to work out with the army today. I hope that they are not falling behind in their duties to the family.” He told her that he’d been watching over them and they were tip-top. “Good. What do you know of the blooms? I am to understand that the queen has asked that my men help with the new births.” “Yes. She was going to send word to you today about it. The fields that were planted are nearly ready to receive her. We are nearly to our numbers from last year. If this were to keep up, in a few springs we’ll be back to a goodly number of faeries again. I am very excited for that.” She told him she was as well. “I was wondering about something, my lady. Now that you are big...I was wondering if you were going to need an assistant. Not me, but I have a person in mind to help you.” “Who?” He told her. “Why her? I mean, I don’t mind having you help me. Why is it that you don’t want to be my right-hand man?” “The queen has finally allowed some of us to marry.” She smiled at him; this was indeed good news. Dark would speak to the queen about it soon and see how that was going. “She has given us all permission to take a mate should we want. The queen said that it is good to have someone there that you can be with. I’ve asked Lilith to become my bride.” Faeries like Augustus couldn’t have children, but they could still fall in love and have a mate. All faeries were born from the flowers that came in the spring. Once the flowers had their first bloom, then the queen would come by and kiss the little blossom and a faerie would be formed. Then when the flower opened, showing the world its beauty, the faerie would be collected and taken to the top of the trees to be warmed by the sun until it was ready to join the rest of them in working on projects.  Occasionally a few would be missed and drop to the ground beneath their hosts. This was how brownies were made. They were of the earth and would, while warming in the soil, make the flower they had fallen from bloom a little longer in the summer, and it would be bigger for its help. The life of the flower was a constant give and take. “Tell Liz to come to see me on the morrow. I have a list of things to do today that I cannot put off any longer.” He asked if it was finding a job. “Yes. I’m bored, if you want to know the truth of it. I will see if I can work with Pip in her shop.” “Oh.” She glared at him. “I do not wish to be critical, my lady, but are you sure that is a job for you? You are not very good with people.” “I can be.” He only had to cock his brow at her. “I will be. Okay, I’ll try. But people are so noisy, don’t you think?” “I do. But I do enjoy spending time with the elder Bentley. He is most noisy, but he is a man who knows how to get things done.” She did agree with him there. “I will go now, and have Liz come to you. So that you know, she is terrified of you but excited to work with you.” “Why is she...? Oh. Never mind. I will see her later. And good luck with Lilith, my friend. I hope you will come to see me still.” He told her he would, but that he wished to spend more time with his mate now. “I understand.”
Dark made her way to the bedroom and smiled. It was her place, this room, and one that she’d worked hard to make a resting place for herself. Going to the closet, the only part of the room that she’d not changed, she opened the large doors and looked at the sparsity of her clothing. There were three shirts of varying colors and a single pair of pants. She didn’t understand the necessity of having a closet full of clothing when you could only wear one outfit at a time. Pulling a shirt off the hanger, she pulled it over her head after she removed the one she had on. Hanging the used one on the hanger, she knew that when she returned it would be as clean and pressed as the others. It was her magic that made things the way that she wanted them. Sitting on the log that she had on her floor, she looked around her bedroom. Plants were everywhere…the room looked like she’d simply opened the wall to the forest and let it take over. A lovely waterway that had fish in it took up a large part of the room. Flowers near the walls with bees lazily flying around them gave the room a fresh scent daily. Her bed was a hammock that she had fashioned after one she’d seen in the yard of one of the Bentleys. It was, to her, perfect. And the only thing that she’d ever sleep in as far as she was concerned. Leaving her home was hard for her. She really was terrible with people. She supposed a lot of that had to do with her ability to see them for what they were. Some people, and she had no idea why, seemed to like puffing themselves up to be more than they were. But not like that man that was coming toward her.  Mr. Kendal wasn’t a bad person, but he was lonely and didn’t have a wonderful home life. Still, he tried hard to make everyone believe that he was happy and that everything in his life was just perfect, when she knew for a fact that it was not. He didn’t like his wife or his daughter, he had no say in anything that went on at home, and he hated his job more than she did shoes. The poor man was in a tizzy, as Howie called it, trying to please everyone but himself. “Hello, Dark. I was just coming into town to see about the dress I ordered for my lovely bride. Mable is going to have a big Memorial Day bash. I hope you can make it.” She told him that she’d been invited to the Bentley home. “Oh yes. A lot of people are telling me that. I was invited, but Mable, she had it in her head to have one for herself this year.” “I’m sure that you’ll have a wonderful time.” She saw his disappointment…it washed over him like a blanket. “You’ll be missed.” “Yes, well, Mabel wanted to do this.” Dark nodded and moved down the street when he just stood there. “I’ll talk to you later, Dark. I have to set up for the food and all.” Heading to Faerie Tales and Dreams, she thought of what it must be like to have a mate. It was nothing that she’d ever have, she knew this, but she wondered all the same. Having someone ruling over you all the time would be vexing as well as boring, she thought.  
 
 
 







 

 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Caleb: Winchester Brothers ( New Series ) Release Day & Giveaway



Caleb Winchester didn't care for his boss, in fact he despised him. He hadn't meant to quit that day--the words 'I quit' spilled from his mouth without thinking--but once said he had no regrets. He was a good ad executive, he could find another job.

Quinn Dorsey and her father, Alexander, had seen Caleb's work and that was the artist they needed for their dog food labels. When the agency couldn't deliver the ad campaign they ordered, and then lied about Caleb working on the project, they went looking for the man himself.

Caleb hadn't expected his customers to seek him out, but when Alexander shows up at Caleb's house with his daughter, Quinn, Caleb is floored--she's his mate and she's been marked by another alpha.

Caleb's not going to let an alpha beat him out of his mate. This lunatic has been marking females left and right, but if Caleb claims her, he risks not only his life, but the life of his mate and family as well....


















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Prologue


“Dag nabbit boy, what is wrong with you? Do you have sawdust in that noggin of yours?” Caleb said he wasn’t sure. “I’d be thinking you’d better be getting sure if you wanna live through this here thing. Your momma, she’s going to be having herself a kitten if I don’t miss my bet.” He looked over at the truck, or what was left of it. Caleb wanted to tell his dad that it wasn’t his fault, that he’d done nothing wrong, only he was sure that he’d still be in trouble. Caleb had been driving and he had hit the tree. “I’ll pay for the damages.” His dad said he darn tooting was. “And I’ll make sure that the tree is all right. I don’t know how I’ll make that happen, but I will. Mr. Wheedle likes this tree, and I would feel bad if it died.” The tow truck arrived about ten minutes later, and Caleb saw his mom get out of it almost before it was completely stopped. She asked him if he was all right, then she hugged him. Caleb waited for her to make sure he wasn’t bleeding profusely, then stood straighter when she glared. “Where were you going in an all-out hurry?” He told her he wasn’t speeding. She looked at the truck, which was on the dolly now, then at him. “You want to tell me why the truck, the only vehicle that we have, is all mangled up like those towels you left on the floor this morning?” “I wasn’t driving fast, but the wolf that ran out in front of me seemed to be...I think it was hurt.” He looked over at his dad, then at the ground again as he continued. “A wolf came out of nowhere. I wasn’t going to hit it, but it seemed to just jump in front of me. Like it was trying to kill itself. I swerved to miss it and lost control. I’m not blaming the wolf, because I was the one driving, but I didn’t want to hurt the wolf. But like I told Dad, I’ll pay for all the damages and work on the truck until it’s running again.” Neither of his parents said anything and Caleb looked up. They were looking at each other, and he felt his wolf run over his skin. There was something going on and he had no idea why, but he thought they believed him about the wolf. “This wolf, you ever seen it before? I mean, around the house?” He said that he’d not. “Can you tell me if you thought it was a shifter or just a regular old wolf? And I need you to be sure, so if you don’t know, then say it.” “It was bigger than a regular wolf. Of that I’m sure. But as for whether or not it’s a shifter, no, I don’t know.” His mom nodded and looked at his dad again. “May I know what’s going on?” “You know old Mr. Cartwright?” He asked if she meant his old math teacher. “Yes, that’ll be him. His mate died a few days ago. She was poorly for a while now and she just passed on. Mr. Cartwright, he was with her a good long time. Said he didn’t think he could live without her.” “So he was trying to kill himself?” Caleb’s mom said nothing, but he could see the hurt on her face. “Mom, I didn’t hurt him. I missed him by a mile. He...I like that old man. I hurt that he does.” 
“I know you do, son. So do I. To lose a mate…you know how that would make me feel should I lose your father.” She hugged him again. “But I need for you to do me a favor. A big one. And before you say something, yes, it is a lie, but it’s a good lie. Don’t tell anyone what happened here today. The pack will frown on him trying this.” “All right.” He looked at the truck, then back at his parents. “I’ll still take care of this. I swear to you that I will. And I’ll make sure that I keep a better lookout for Mr. Cartwright, too.” “You do that, Caleb. You go on ahead and do that for him.” Caleb and his dad made their way to the tow truck. “You know why we don’t want you to say anything? I mean, the real reason?” “No sir.” He watched his dad help Mom into the tow truck. She didn’t need it; Caleb knew that, but he loved watching his parents together. They loved each other the best, he thought. Always thinking of the other one no matter what was going on. “Mr. Cartwright loved his mate. I know that you understand that part of it, but he had nobody but her. They don’t have themselves any children or anybody else to call their own. If he were to die like this, by suicide, the pack wouldn’t bury him in a proper way. They’d just let his body rot in the field where he crawled to and let him just be more alone. On account’a that, he’d not be next to his mate in the cemetery. Understand?” “Yes, sir. He’s a good man who’s suffered a great loss.” His dad said that was it. “I’ll go on over and see him later. I won’t mention what happened, just see if he wants to go fishing or something. Keep him company.” “You’re a good boy, Caleb. All you boys are. I’m right proud of you.” Caleb felt his face heat up with embarrassment. “Now, you go on home. I’ll work something out with the driver here. We’ll muddle through this. I swear it.” Caleb knew that his family ran right on the edge of poverty, like a lot of families around here. But unlike most of them, his family had food on the table nightly and they had power and heat. His dad worked hard every day to make sure of that. And he and his younger brothers, all of them, did everything they could to help too. This wrecking of the truck, however, was going to hurt them for some time.  Instead of going home, he found himself standing in front of the Cartwright home. Mr. Cartwright was sitting on the front porch, rocking in his chair like he was going someplace. And he was crying. Caleb coughed, then cleared his throat to make sure to give the older man a little bit of time to collect himself. “What are you doing here? Don’t you have enough to do around that farm of yours that you should be here bothering me?” Caleb nodded and told him he had plenty to do, but wanted to ask him something. “Whatever it is, you don’t have any business asking me. Go on home.” “Would you like to go fishing with me? I sure could use a nice little break today. And I know you have that nice stream that goes behind your house.” Mr. Cartwright stopped rocking and asked him why he needed a break. “I had myself an accident earlier. My mom, she’s not mad at me. More glad that I’m all right, but I’d like to make it up to her by bringing home some meat for dinner.” 
“And that means what to me? Are you telling things that aren’t true, boy? You do that and I’ll come after your entire family.” Caleb asked him what he meant by that. “What did you tell your parents about wrecking the truck?” Caleb looked at the ground again. He’d not said a thing about the truck, or wrecking for that matter. Mr. Cartwright would only know that if he’d been there. His parents were right in what they had thought. “I just needed to take a little break, that’s all. I thought.... Well, I guess you have more important things to do than to spend a lazy hour with a kid.” He nodded at him, his heart hurting for what the man was going through. “I’ll see you around, Mr. Cartwright.” “Now hold on there a minute. I never said I’d not go.” He stood up and Caleb tried not to notice how his face was a little scuffed up and that he was walking slower than usual. “You and me, we’ll go fishing today, but I don’t want you to make a habit of just showing up here. You need to be working on your math more than you need to be fishing with an old man.” Mr. Cartwright got them both some gear and even packed them up a nice basket of food to share. There was sweet tea to go with it, too. As they made their way down to the stream, Mr. Cartwright told him about how he had a good recipe for trout, and that he had some stored apples still from last year.  The two of them caught nine trout and two catfish. As he was helping the man gather up their papers from the food and the gear, Mr. Cartwright asked him if he’d take the entire catch with him to his house. “I already told my mom what I caught. She said that there was so much, you should come join us.” He hadn’t talked to his mom, but knew that if Mr. Cartwright would agree then he would. “She even baked a nice peach cobbler today. I was smelling it this morning. I’m betting there might be some homemade ice cream too.” In the end, Caleb was able to convince Mr. Cartwright to join them, and his dad said he’d dig out the old churn, that ice cream sure did sound good. The cobbler was the only thing he’d not lied to the man about. It was, after all, what he’d asked for as his special dessert for his birthday. Caleb Kelley Winchester was seventeen today. As he walked the man back to his house, they didn’t say much. He was stuffed as he’d ever been, and eating with the man beside him had made for a great gift, one he’d not expected to get. When he was up on his porch, Caleb turned to go home when Mr. Cartwright said his name. Caleb turned back to see him standing there with a sad look on his face. “My wife is gone. I know you know that, but I hurt with it. Worse than I ever dreamed I’d be, and that was a lot.” Caleb said he was sorry. “I’m sure you know it was me that caused you that accident. And.... Well, I’m sorrier than I can tell you that you missed me.” “I’m not. Had you died out there, I would have killed a great man on my birthday. I don’t think that would have settled well for me, do you?” He shook his head. “Mr. Cartwright, if you don’t mind, I’d very much like to hang out with you sometimes. I’m sorry that you hurt so much, and there isn’t anything I can do to fix it, but I really enjoyed today. And the meat was an added bonus. You’re a good man, and I liked today.” 
“I did too. It’s the first enjoyment I’ve had in a while.” Caleb nodded. “And if you want to come by here and see me, I’ll not be sorry about that either. You’re a good boy, Caleb. I hope you know that.” “I hope so. My mom will be really disappointed in me if I’m not.” He laughed with Caleb. “I’ll come by tomorrow, sir. And we’ll see about fixing that leaky roof that you were telling me about. All right?” “Yes, I’d like that. I might have a few other chores around here that you can help me with too, if you’ll allow me to pay you for them.” He said that wasn’t necessary, but he’d like the company. “I would as well. I’ll see you tomorrow then.” Caleb returned home with a lighter step. He knew that things were going to be tighter now. His dad had told him that the truck towing alone cost nearly fifty dollars, more than he knew his parents had. He was going to go see Shelton in the morning to see if he could work off a bit of that a week. Caleb was going to hold to his promise of paying for the damage. ~~~ Arnold sat on his rocker and felt better than he had in a while…since his wife had taken her last breath, as a matter of fact. He wiped at the tears that fell, thinking that he just hurt to think about her too much. “I failed you, my darling. Failed to come to you today.” He looked in the direction that the young Caleb had taken. “I should have been a little more selective of who I ran in front of, I guess. An older driver, he wouldn’t have been that quick to swerve to miss me. But I got me a friend out of this mess I put me in. A few of them, I think. And the trout was almost as good as you made me on occasion.” Rocking more, he thought of the Winchester family and how meager their table had been tonight. He wondered what they might have eaten had they not brought the fish to them. But whatever might have been on their table, he was sure that they would have enjoyed it and felt blessed by it. He rocked a little harder. “They got themselves nothing to get around in because of me. I did that to them. I heard that boy telling his daddy that he’d make it right. And I have a feeling that he will too. No matter the cost to his time.” Arnold paused in his rocking to think of what he could do to make it up to them. “That old truck out back, I think they’ll be able to use it, don’t you?” He thought of other things that he had that he no longer had any use for. He’d give it to them, to make up for what they’d lost. But he’d have to be sly about it. Arnold would not take their pride from them. And he knew for as much as they didn’t have, their pride was a thing they valued a great deal. Pulling his phone toward him, he called Shelton Bloom. When he answered his phone on the forth ring, Arnold had to laugh. He was sounding like a man who might need a break himself. “Shelton, it’s Arnold Cartwright here. I wanted to talk to you about the Winchester truck that you brought there today.” Shelton told him it wasn’t worth fixing even if they had the money. Arnold had already figured that was what he’d say. “You got anything there that they can use up? I’ll pay you for it. Not top dollar, but I’ll pay you for it. That 
boy, Caleb, he’s going to be running me around, and I need him to have something to use.” “There are two old beaters in the back that run all right. But I don’t know, Mr. Cartwright. You might need something better than that. I’d surely hate to think of the two of you broken down on the side of the road. How about I let him take that car that Masterson never paid for? It’s a beauty and runs like it’s in its second childhood.” Shelton understood what he was doing, even if Arnold was a little nervous about it. “I think it’ll hold you both, and his family, should they need to be on an outing together. What do you think? It won’t cost you a thing either. Mr. Masterson said I could have it for working on it.” By the time he hung up the phone, he’d planned to have the towing paid by him and his old truck looked at to make sure it was running well. There wasn’t any reason why he couldn’t drive himself around, but to have that boy helping him might be worth it. As he settled into his chair again, Arnold spoke to his lovely wife. “I might not be joining you just yet, my love. This family, I have a feeling that they need me as much as I do them. And I have a powerful need to help them out.” He nodded into the darkness, thinking of how much more alive he felt because a boy hadn’t killed him like he’d wanted. “You just hang on tight and I’ll be there soon enough. I need to be helpful to them and in return.... Well, I think they’re going to be more helpful to me than I ever thought.” Over the next few weeks, not only did he get his leaky roof fixed by Caleb, but he also got his lawn mowed, his bushes trimmed, and he even got the steps to his barn repaired. Not only did Caleb help him, but the rest of them, including that mom of his, lent him a hand or two. He had berries in his freezer, and a few little pies he could eat when he wanted. His pants were patched up, and there wasn’t a single button missing off any of his shirts. His wife, Thelma, she’d been sick for a time, and those things had gone by the wayside. It was nice having the house all aired out and the sheets on his bed to be fresh. It was like they’d adopted him, and he was liking it. Caleb was in his yard, mowing the last of the grass, when he realized how much more he could help this boy. College. He needed this boy—hell, all them boys—to go to college. Arnold also knew that the Winchesters would be lucky to send one to college, not to mention six of them. So he set about, in his own little way, making that happen as well.  And he sat down to dinner with them every night too. Sometimes there was meat, most nights not. But Arnold didn’t mind. He was with good people, and that made up for his belly being just a little upset with him for not having a hunk of meat in it. He decided to help them out with that as well. Arnold was having fun. Helping these people was fun. “I need me a person to work for me full time.” Caleb’s father asked him what he needed and that he’d find him someone. “No, I’m talking about you, Kelley. I need you to come work for me full time.” “Mr. Cartwright, you’re a very nice man. And I have to tell you, you couldn’t have helped us out any better than giving us that vehicle to get around in. Mary said it’s a real 
treat for her to go shopping and not have to load it all in the back end of that old truck of ours. And don’t think I don’t know that you’ve made a few other things happen for us too. I’m appreciative of it, I swear to you. But you don’t have to go making up work for me. I’m glad to help you out.” Arnold started to speak, but Kelley cut him off before he could. “Caleb is learning a lot from you. How to be a better man, and to know that not everything he does needs to have a payment in the end in the form of money. I thank you for that too. But like I said, you’ve done about enough.” “No, I’ve not, Kelley. Without you—without that boy there—I’d be dead now. We both know it.” Kelley nodded and Arnold nodded before continuing. “That day that I hurt him—and I know that it did—but that day he gave me something I’d not had in a long while, since my wife took ill. He gave me purpose. And this job that I have for you, it’s not a made up one. I do need you. I have...I don’t have anyone else.” “You know that I’ll surely be glad to help you. You’re a good man.” Arnold thanked him. “What is it you need help with? I’m not too smart, but I’ll give it my best shot.” Arnold had no doubt whatsoever that he would too. Yes, sir, he was going to have the time of his life with this family.    

Monday, January 23, 2017

Everette The English Dragon Release Day & Giveaway



Cassie had just arrived in Danburn’s territory and she knew as a dragon she had to report to him. Whether she liked it or not, she’d gone from one ruling male, her father, to another. Being a female dragon, and unmated, she felt cursed for her lot.

Everette Welsh, Rett to his friends, was having a hard time making ends meet. He was a good attorney, but it seemed to do him little good. His good friend, Danburn, insisted he quit his job and come work for him. Rett had no intentions of taking Danburn up on his offer, but when his boss called him into his office and was demanding that he apologize for threatening a man who blackmailing him, the words “I quit” spilled from his mouth without thinking. However, once said, he felt better for it.

Rett found himself on the wrong end of a shotgun blast, and Cassie gave a bit of herself to save him. There were only three conditions of taking dragon’s blood that a human would survive, and the other two didn’t apply to him. Rett and Cassie were mates.

Only two things stood in their way: Rett’s obnoxious mother, and Cassie’s father, a lethal combination…





B&N  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/everette-kathi-s-barton/1125448725?ean=2940157234614

SmashWords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/695099

I Tunes  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/everette/id1193310766?mt=11

KOBO  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/everette

PaperBack https://www.createspace.com/6841617





Danburn English is the ninth earl of the English castle. He and his dragon alter ego have been on this earth for a very long time. Danburn is accustom to his orders being followed to the letter, no questions asked, so when this feisty young woman bucks his authority he is beyond angry.
Kendrick Barrera can’t seem to get caught up. Every time she turns around, her sister is in trouble again. Now, because of her sister’s new mess, she’s being evicted and has nowhere to go.
Danburn’s intentions were to defend her honor, but when Kendrick intervenes, she steps in front of a punch intended for her mouthy landlord. Now Danburn has to step back and take a good long look at himself, and he doesn’t much like what he sees.
Kendrick doesn’t care for the overbearing lord of the manor and makes no bones about telling him so either. No one, especially him, is going to tell her what to do or how to act or dress.
There is something about the feisty woman that has touched Danburn’s heart. She has a rare honesty and bravery that has him take notice. A woman like that is hard to find and should be protected and cherished. The chemistry is there, they’ve both felt it, but controlling his mouth just might get in the way of winning Kendrick’s heart….





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I am so excited to tell you I am in a upcoming boxset .. You can now pre order  

Stoking the Flames: 
13 Tales of Dragons, Destiny and Desire
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Happy Reading ,





First Signing of the year  Coming Jan 2017 



ATTENTION AUTHORS & READERS
Join us for ARC NOLA 2017
Jan 27th & 28th, 2017
Holiday Inn Superdome (Just 3 blocks to the French Quarter!)
Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arc-nola-2017-tickets-22804931163

Reader tickets only $15.00 for both days
Book Signing is FREE and open to the public

Author spots still available
Each 1/2 table includes 1 free reader ticket the author can give away.

Where Authors and Readers come together for fun in the French Quarter.

Friday is registration and small group outings into the French Quarter.
Plan what you would like to offer as an outing for the readers.

Saturday
Speed-date the authors in the morning.
Lunch break
Afternoon FREE to the public book signing
Another evening in the French Quarter

Sunday
Travel home

The ticket does not include meals.
 There are so many incredible restaurants in the French Quarter;
I have left meal options up to the attendees.
Authors may want to organize small groups for lunch or dinner outings.

Ticket Link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arc-nola-2017-tickets-22804931163
Attendee Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1744305265789567/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Authorreadercon





Chapter 1  
Rett needed a break. It was that or he was going to break someone. He stretched his neck muscles, hearing them pop and crack, and smiled when the man across from him seemed to freeze up for several seconds. Leaning onto his desk, he was glad to see the man back away as far as his chair would allow. “I’ve not asked you for a great deal of money, Mr. Welsh. Only enough to see me through this hard time. You’ll pay for the retraction or things will not go as you had hoped they would.” Mr. Ralph—Douglas, he thought his first name was—smiled at him. “It matters very little if it’s true or not. People will have it in the back of their mind for all time. Every time something else is written about you, even if it is true, they’ll think of this. So, you pay me, then I’ll see to it that a retraction is printed, not that it will do you much good. You’re about as done in as they come, I think.” “You are right about that and more. But even had you only asked me for a dime, Dougie, you wouldn’t have gotten it. I don’t do well with people who blackmail me. And in the event you’ve missed reading your own papers of late, I’ll let you know something that the entire world probably knows. I don’t have any money. Not even the dime that you might have asked for.” Dougie said his name was Douglas. “Well, when you come to my office, making demands that piss me off, I need to find some pleasure. And shortening your name gives me that. Now, as I was saying, Dougie, I don’t think you understand the consequences of pissing me off.” “What are you going to do, Everettey?” For some reason his comeback about his own name was funny to him. “What do you think people will say when I tell them that you’ve threatened me? I will too. Do whatever it takes to get you to pay me. Do you think they’ll come running to your aid? I think not. They’ll say you’re the monster that I’ve portrayed you as. Just pay me the money, I’ll put in a retraction, and then things will be good for us both. For a while anyway.” Dougie laughed again. “You just never know what might happen if I find I like getting money from jerks like you. But the article as it stands will run regardless of your opinion of me or what you call me.” Rett’s phone ringing startled him and Dougie. Instead of telling the man to fuck off, which he really wanted to do, he picked up his phone. The laughter at the other end made him smile. There was only one person in the world that laughed like that. It was his good friend Danburn. “I’m wondering if you’d like to come and spend the holidays with us. We’re going all out this year. Mother has even gotten some of the staff to.... What’s happening?” Rett laughed. Even to his ears it sounded bitter and cold. “Tell me what’s going on, or so help me, I’m coming to get you. You’ve had enough crap going on for several lifetimes.” “I have at that. But right now, I have a man in my office that is blackmailing me. And the really strange part of it is, he’s thinking that he’s going to get money from me. Apparently, he thinks that I’m going to just bend over and take it up the ass. Would you like to buy a newspaper and get me out of this shit?” Danburn asked him the name of the paper. “The Centennial. You’ve heard of it. It just ran your marriage announcement. 
Which I hate that I had to miss, but with money being tight and all…. Well, I’m even further down on my luck than before with this jackass here.” “Hang on. Let me do some checking on something.”  The man across from him looked at his nails, then brushed off something only he could see from his pants. He was trying to act as if he had not one care in the world, and Rett had a feeling that he didn’t. The man was used to getting his own way in this sort of thing.  When Danburn came back on the line several minutes later, gone was the laughter and in its place was the man he knew could be as hard as nails.  “Put Mr. Ralph on the phone, please. I’d very much like to speak to him.” The laughter and humor were gone, and in their place was the man that frightened him a little, even through a phone connection. Rett just handed Dougie the phone without a word. He had no idea how Danburn knew who was in his office or who he had talked to while he held the line. But when Dougie whimpered and stood up, Rett got up as well to get himself a bottle of water. It would be like his friend to make someone shit themselves even over the phone. Without a word to him, the phone was laid on the desk and Dougie left. When he picked it back up, not only was Danburn talking, but a woman was speaking as well. It had to be Danburn’s new wife. And she was having a good time with whatever was going on at their end. “Thank you, love. Now we only have to get Rett here and things will be so much—” The woman’s voice again. Rett wasn’t quite sure if she was pissed or laughing, but Danburn growled low. “If you do that, then I will spank you.” “Danburn?” The laughter again, and this time it made him laugh as well. “I’m only assuming that you’re speaking to your lovely wife, and she thinks whatever you did to Dougie was wrong.” “She spoke to him, made him tell her what he was up to. I did not. She’s very good at that, making people tell her the truth when all they want to do is lie to me. What a world we’ve come to, don’t you think? Where the first thing people want to do is lie to you. Sad is what it is, just sad.” Danburn laughed. It was something that he’d now heard his friend do several times in the last several moments. A thing that Rett hadn’t done himself in a very long time before now. “Come here to stay for a few days. A month. Hell, for the rest of your days. I miss you. And I need your help.” “I’ve got to work. Unlike some people who own the world, I need to pay my bills and eat. And my mom’s bills too. Apparently, my dad hadn’t been…never mind. You only need to become your other self and feed yourself by gorging on fresh fish. Which, I will say, is much too fresh for my tastes.” He leaned back in his chair. “I miss you as well. And I’m sorry I couldn’t come for the wedding. I would have loved to have met your wife. But as I said, I can’t right now. I have a lot of things riding on me having a job, even as piss poor as it is.” “She regrets it too. The not meeting you part…she loves being my wife.” Rett would just bet she did. “Like I was saying, I need you for a few things. A good attorney is hard to come by, and you’re the best. But I’m sending a plane for you now. You’ll be on it or 
so help me, Rett, I’m going to become my other self and come there for you. I’m sure that won’t go over any better for you than the now dead article in the paper.” The article. He’d completely forgotten about it in talking with his friend. Dougie said that he was going to have an entire story printed up that told all about his family. Some of it would be true…there had to be a kernel of truth to make people believe the rest. And if he was honest with himself, he would have thought the public had all they wanted on him and his family. But Dougie had pointed out—and he might have been right—that a scandal was what people craved. Even when it was a lie. “Did you buy it? The newspaper? Did you buy it?” He told him he already owned it. “It figures. You own everything, my dear friend. But this thing, I can’t believe he thought that he could get anything out of me. Danburn, they think I’m rich. Everyone does when they hear someone is an attorney. I’m not. Why would someone come here, say that I’m some sort of asshole and killer, then expect me to come up with forty million dollars? I don’t even think there is forty dollars period in my account, much less forty million.” “I’m sorry buddy. I truly am. I’ve been reading up on your dad’s ordeal again, and your mom’s predicament as well. You should know that I wish I could have been there for you from the first, but I had no idea at the time that it was you. But I have good news. I need you to come and work for me, Rett. I’ve asked and asked, but now I need you here.” Rett closed his eyes. He knew Danburn was serious, but he had no idea of the obligations that held him here. “I’m sending the plane and my wife to get you. When she gets there, you’d be best served to do as she says. She’s not a nice person when she doesn’t get her way.” “I bet she would have to be hard being married to you. But I just can’t do it, Danburn. I’ve told you this before, I’m broke. I have vacation left but if I quit, I’ll even lose that. I have no money to take off even if I wanted to. I don’t even have.... Hell, Danburn, I don’t even have a pot to piss in right now.” He told him he knew that. “You would. I can’t swing it without things falling apart here. I’ve told you that. I’m supporting my mom and myself pretty poorly right now.” “I’m going to help you. And so you know, my wife is on her way.” When the line went dead, Rett put the receiver in the cradle.  He wanted to cry. Turning his chair so that he faced his tiny window with the worst view ever, Rett was tempted to jump. He was sure that he’d live. That his broken body would be on life support forever and he’d be broker, if that was even possible, than he was now. All he had was his name, a name that used to mean things. Now it only meant ruin. Rett—Everette Welsh the third, to be exact—had gone to college with Danburn. Not with him, really, but they met there. While he had struggled to study, Danburn had cruised. When things came up, like fees and such, Rett had taken a second job. Danburn had just pulled out his credit cards. The man had it all, and Rett had been in awe of how mature, how smart the man had been. Then he found out the truth. They weren’t friends then, only acquaintances really. Danbur Danburn was in his study group, not that he ever showed up for them. They shared a table together in lab too, and had spoken during class. That had been the extent of their 
conversations and friendship until one night, when he’d been invited to his home for a dinner party for Danburn’s mother, Elissa. Two men who were as different as night and day in the same house.  The dinner was far better than anything he’d had in a long while. The courses were perfectly timed, the wine flowing. As he sat there with Danburn and his mother, they all talked about not just college, but Danburn’s other home, the servants that had come here for the party, and the things they were going to do when they graduated in a few months. He’d known very little about the big man. It wasn’t until about halfway through their first year that he realized that not only was Danburn a truly nice guy, but he wasn’t human. He’d told him—during a bitch session with him—that he could change into a dragon. A big fucking one, he’d told Rett. That night, the night of the dinner, he got to see him in his full glory. It was that part, the man shifting into a large dragon, which had startled him out of the house and into oncoming traffic. Rett had thought, but knew better now, that Danburn had been trying to fob him off, get rid of him with this ridiculous story throughout their college years. But the car that had hit him had nearly killed him, and brought the two men together in such a way that Rett still wondered about. It was then that he met the other people that Danburn had called friends too, each of them dragons in their own right. And Rett had been friends with them all since that fateful night. Not that he thought Danburn had had anything to do with him being hurt. He knew it was his own fault, running away from words that confirmed what he’d been told several times over the years. Danburn had not left his side the entire time Rett was in the hospital. And when he’d been released, his leg and arm in a cast, Danburn had brought him to his home, a larger home than most of the dorms that he’d not been able to afford, and helped him catch up with his classes. That was when he’d learned that not only was Danburn a dragon, but he was older than anything Rett had ever known. And much better off than Rett could have ever in all his life imagined. “I don’t need the education. As I have told you, I’m not human. But I’m not in my twenties either. I’m old enough to remember things that even history books no longer cover. The money that I have, it’s from my family. So far back now that I doubt even my mom knows who started the first savings account that put us where we are now.” Rett had nodded then, not sure if he wanted to know it all. “You have questions?” “Too many to put out right now. You’re a dragon, I know that, but are there more of you? I mean, your mom for sure, but others too?” Danburn nodded and told him he knew two others. Hanson McClain and Kip Newton. “How am I supposed to believe that, Danburn? I mean, I know you showed me, so I know that you’re not lying to me, but I have to admit, it’s a lot to take in. Especially for me, when I’ve never even thought of dragons.” “Would you like for me to show you again?” Rett said no, once was enough. “You’re a good man, Rett. A better friend too. And the reason that you’ve never thought of dragons is because we like to keep it that way. For humans not to ever get it in their heads that they have to be out hunting for us like they used to.”  
“All right, I guess I can understand that. I mean, you hear about…I guess I never thought that part was true either. That there were dragons that flew the sky.” He looked around the room, then at the books that he’d been studying. “Why are you doing this for me? I’m not in your league of…well, anything. Why?” “You’re a good man, as I said. And you’re going to make a great lawyer someday. I think, sometime down the line, I might need you to come and rescue me from myself.” Rett told him about his money worries. About his family and his father. “I’ve taken care of your money issues at the college. There isn’t much I can do about the rest, I’m sorry for that. But the other…well, it’s the very least I could do after what I made you do by running from me. You won’t have to work anymore to go here, either. There is a fund set up for you to use for housing and food.” “I don’t want you to do that.” He told him it was done. “Danburn, you don’t know me. For all you know, I could be this guy who scams people all the time. I need for you to stop this now.” “I trust you more than with my life, but those of my friends and family as well. Besides, it’s done. And someday, I don’t know when, I might need you to come to help me. I’d like for you to think of this as a loan, a loan until you can repay me with help.” He nodded, unsure how that was going to work. “Rett, I swear to you, I will never ask you for anything that you aren’t willing to give.” As the years rolled by, he studied like it was his job. At first, he’d not wanted to take help from the other man, but he needed it to make it work. His name, the Welsh name, hadn’t been much in a long time, but it got worse once he was out of school and trying to make a name for himself. Rett looked up from his musings when someone touched his hand. “Mr. Welsh, Mr. Peashaw would like to speak to you.” What now? he wondered. But instead of asking, he told Mary that he’d go now. “I don’t think he’s very happy.” “Do you know what’s going on?” She shrugged and he smiled. The girl was as shy as he was when it came to making friends. “I might need some empty boxes with the way my luck has been going of late. I don’t know what he might want, but to be called to his office like this, it can’t be good.” “You’ll be all right, I know it. You’re a good attorney.” He nodded. Rett was a good attorney, he just worked for shitty people. “Go on now. See what he wants. Maybe he has a promotion coming up.” Not likely, but he made his way to the tenth floor. If Mr. Peashaw could have managed it, he would have had his offices on the roof, just so he could have the highest level to look down on people. Rett had disliked the man since he interviewed with him all those years ago, but he had taken the job when no other offers were forthcoming. As he knocked on the door, Rett ignored the secretary at the desk. She was as snobbish as Peashaw was, and even if he were to ask her a question, she’d just glare at him. He figured that was her job, to put people in a bad mood before they entered the office. Rett realized how much he really hated his job. The room, when he was allowed entrance, was just as it had been all those years ago when he’d interviewed with the man. The walls were dark, the furniture too, and the 
carpet was a blue so dark that it looked black. Not even a dust moot dared mar the dark surface. The books, all of them as old or older than Rett was at thirty-two, were dark with age and unused. It was like being in a cave. Or a haunted house. He sat down when told to in the most uncomfortable chair he’d ever put his butt in. “Mr. Welsh. What do you have to say for yourself?” He had plenty to say, he supposed, but nothing that Peashaw wanted to hear. Of that he was positive. “I’ve just gotten off the phone with the local rag, the Centennial. They’re saying that you’ve threatened one of their staff.” “I don’t think Mr. Ralph was actually working there. But yes, I did in a way. But not until after he threatened me. He was printing an article about me that wasn’t true.” His boss stared at him. “He put in there that I was a murderer, and I’m not.” “Might do you some good to have a wife. She’d keep you cleaned up if nothing else.” Rett didn’t even bother looking down at his worn and old suit. He had no idea where his comment had come from, but it was a moot point he supposed. It was probably in reference to his own wife and how, rumor had it, she picked out everything the man wore, including his underthings. “But we don’t like to have our people threaten anyone. You’ll apologize this moment and take out an ad in the paper stating that you were wrong.” “I’m not wrong. I think I’d remember if I had murdered someone, don’t you think?” His boss asked him if he was trying to be funny. “No, but I don’t think I should have to tell someone I’m sorry for him lying about me. And, well, if I apologize, it looks like I am someone that would kill for no apparent reason, and I’d never do that. I don’t think I’d ever murder a person for any reason, as a matter of fact.” “I don’t see what one thing has to do with the other. Just man up and do what I said.” He started shuffling the papers around on his desk, dismissing him, Rett knew. “I’ll expect to see it in tomorrow’s edition. That’ll be all.” “I quit.” The words spilled out almost too quickly. Rett looked at Peashaw when he finally looked at him, and could see that he was just as shocked as Rett was. But when the words hung there, just for a moment, Rett realized that’s just what he wanted to do. “I can’t be subject to a firm that won’t back up someone that’s been here for as long as I have. I will turn in my resignation before I leave for the day.” “And what will you do, Welsh? Run your own firm? You don’t have the money to get your rent paid on time since your father killed those two people and left you high and dry. Why, your mother is calling here every week wondering if there is some delay in your pay so that she can get her part of it on time.” Mr. Peashaw shook his head and went back to shuffling papers. “You are no more quitting than I am. Get back to work, and like I said, have that apology in the paper tomorrow.”  “No.” Rett was feeling better with every word. “I’m not going to do that, and I’m not going to work here any longer. I’ve had enough, and I think this is the best thing I could do for myself. My mother will have to.... Well, I’ll survive this. As I have a great many things in the past, I suppose.” Before he could change his mind, he left the office. On his way back to his desk, he thought of all the shit this was going to do to him. How hard it was even now to make 
the threads of his life meet. But he wasn’t going to stay here. Not any longer. And that alone gave him a little more bounce in his steps. It took security ten minutes to make it to his desk. He had already told Mary what he’d done, cleaned out his desk, and had his equally threadbare coat on. It was terrifying to think he was out of work, but it was also the best feeling he’d had in a long time. He was standing on the sidewalk when it hit him. He was no longer employed. Going to his apartment, Rett set his things on his table and sat down. He didn’t have the slightest clue what he was going to do now. There wasn’t much in the way of food in his house, no stash of money to lean on when things got tough. Things were always tough for him, it seemed. And he had no idea what his mother would think. The worst, no doubt.  As he sat down to a bowl of cereal, the last good meal he would have for a while, he thought of nothing but putting the food on the spoon and getting it to his mouth. He was nearly done with it when someone knocked on his door. He could only stare at the beautiful woman standing there. She had a coat in her hand that looked entirely too large for her, and a smile that not only put him at ease but made him smile back at her. “Hi. It’s chilly out, isn’t it? I forgot my coat, and this was on the plane. I think it belongs to Danburn.” The woman standing at his doorstep took his breath away. He knew who she was, Danburn’s wife, but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember her name. “Kendrick. Danburn told you I was coming. I’m here to take you back with me.” “I quit my job today.” She grinned at him. “I don’t know why I did that, but I’m in deep shit. But I’m free to come for a visit now, I guess.” “Great. We’ll be glad to have you, for as long as you want to stay. But as far as you being in deep shit, I don’t believe that either. From what I’ve been told about you, you’re a very resourceful man.” Rett told her that Danburn always said that. “And I’m sure he’s right. Well, since you have no ties here now, you can pack up and come with me. The plane is waiting for us. Someone will come here and close up for you too. I’ve already arranged it.” “Why?” She told him that she knew she’d be able to talk him into coming with her, and didn’t want to chance him changing his mind. “No, I mean, why are you wanting me to go home with you? I don’t know what Danburn told you, but I’m not really the type of person he hangs around with.” “I’m not the type of person that one like him marries either, but here we are. And I’ve been where you are right now. Broke, no hope, and nothing to show for all the hard work you’ve put in.” He nodded before he could think that wasn’t something he should share. “Come on now, Rett. Let’s get you going before Danburn comes too.” He wasn’t sure how it happened, but within an hour not only was he going with her, but they were having dinner on a very expensive plane. Rett also found that he really liked Kendrick English. She was a perfect match to his friend the dragon. ~~~ 
Cassie walked the hallway once more, just to make sure there was nothing out of place. She’d been doing that all day, just taking a trip down hallways to make sure that the place was ready to open in a couple of days. She wanted things to be perfect. Three weeks ago, she’d found herself on the doorstep of Danburn English. She knew what he was. His dragon, larger and stronger than hers, had called to hers. As soon as she met him, Cassie wanted to leave the area immediately. When she’d first met him she thought...well, he wasn’t a mean person, just not...kind, she supposed she’d call him. Then she’d met Kendrick. “I need someone to work with me. Not behind me, but right beside me. I know that you’re a dragon, and I could also use some help with that as well.” Cassie had nodded, then shook her head. “You don’t want to work with me? Well that sucks. I thought we could be a good partnership or something.” “I don’t want to work for anyone. What I mean is, I don’t have to work, not really. I have money, a great deal of it, but I can’t get to it. I might not ever be able to, honestly. My father is holding it over my head. I’m only here…well, I’m here because I have no place to go and my dragon needs to submit to Lord English’s while I’m in the area. I know that I’m babbling, and I’m sorry about that, but I’ve been having some trouble lately and.... Well, let’s just say that while I’m here, I’m under Danburn’s rule.” She asked her why her father was doing that. “I suppose because he can. He is not a nice person at all, and has it in his head that women, all of them, are only good for a couple of things. Mostly to cater to his needs. It’s not his money but mine. But because of the laws of our kind, he can pretty much do what he wants. I have no mate that can, I guess, take over his duties of making my life a living hell on earth.” “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” Cassie agreed with her, but said it was the way they’d done things for centuries, and she was just a lowly female in the eyes of the laws of their kind. “I don’t believe that any more than you do. I’m going to have Danburn look into this for you. There is no reason for you to be homeless and without money when you’ve got it.” Four days later, not only did she have her money, but her dad had also given her some of her other things. Like the jewelry that her mom had left her, as well as a few other things, personal things that Cassie thought she’d never see again. Cassie went to Danburn after her things had been delivered by a large van and asked him what he’d done. “I did nothing. My wife did.” She looked over at the small woman, then back at Danburn. “In the event you don’t know this yet, Kendrick isn’t a pushover, nor is she one to order around. I think your dad figured that out pretty quickly when she spoke to him. By the way, there are a few more things coming your way too, things that I only just found out about. He will turn them over to you.” “Thank you very much. I never…he gave me my money. All of it. And my mother’s jewels as well.” Danburn congratulated her. “No, you don’t understand. He told me that he’d sold them off. Took them and sold them to a pawn shop a few years ago.” “Well, I’m sure that he’s regretful for that as well, if that was what he actually did.” Danburn had leaned back in his chair. “So now that that’s settled, would you like to come 
and work for me? Mostly you’d be working for Kendrick. But I’d need your help on occasion too.” “Doing what? I just got out from under one bastard…I’ll not work for another.” He laughed, and she had felt her face heat up. “I’m sorry. I’m not normally so rude. I mean I am, but not to people that have gone out of their way to help me.” “That’s fine. What the job would entail is you working with my wife. Kendrick doesn’t want to be a housewife, and I don’t blame her. It’s very time consuming and we have staff. But what she wants to do is work with the homeless and find them shelter and a good hot meal. The building that we have renovated is done now. It only needs someone to keep things running smoothly. There will be people there to help you, but you would be in charge.” She asked if he normally indulged his wife. “You should ask her that. To hear her tell it, it’s all I do. But I assure you, I can only do so much before she comes down on my head again. She isn’t one to take fools lightly. And I do make a fool of myself where she’s concerned.” “And you want me to come and work for you both. Doing what?” Danburn explained just what it was they needed her to do. “That’s all? Just run the shelter for you and keep it in working condition?” “Pretty much. I mean, I’m sure there will be pitfalls. But we have attorneys for that sort of thing. There will be a staff too, one that will report only to you. Also, I’ve hired a doctor and a dentist, but I don’t know them that well and hope that they’ll work out for us. If not, then we’ll do something else.” So here she was, working for a dragon and his mate. Cassie enjoyed it too. And working for the English’s wasn’t as difficult as she thought it might be. They were good people, very much in love with one another, and they treated her with respect. Two things she’d not had a lot of in her lifetime. But they were far from friends, she thought. He was her boss, as was his mate. Cassie had just entered her office when she turned at the sound of her name. One of the people staying there full time, a helper of sorts, knocked before entering with her and closing the door behind him. “There’s are two men at the door who are asking to speak to you.” Cassie, as everyone there was calling her, asked who it was. “I’m not sure who one of them is, but the other one is Timothy Bond. He claims to be a friend of Lord English.” As she made her way to the front of the building, she tried to remember if she had any appointments today. There was no one that she could think of, but sometimes, not often, she’d forget to write something down. Or, Kendrick would set something up and forget to let her know. Cassie smelled the wolf before she got to the door and turned to Colin, the man who had come to her office, and told him to keep the cameras on the front of the place. She didn’t want any trouble, but if there was, she wanted it recorded. The doorway was open but both men stood outside it. For some reason, she thought that she’d be better off just closing the door in their faces. Cassie didn’t invite anyone into anything if she could help it. Vampires had a nasty way about them, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to tangle with one today.  
“May I help you?” The wolf turned to look at her. His eyes were a startling shade of purple, and full of anger and something more. She wanted to think she was wrong, but she thought he was insane. “We’re not open just yet. And Lord English isn’t around today.” “Danburn said he’d call you.” She didn’t say anything. He hadn’t, and if this man thought she was going to fall for this, then he was dumber than she was. “I think you should check your messages. And if you can’t read them, then find someone that can. I don’t have time to be hanging out here while you try to do your job. Danburn is a very good friend of mine, and don’t think he’s not going to hear about this.” Pulling out her phone, because there had been times when she’d missed a call, she saw that she had not just a voice message, but also two texts. Reading them over before going to the message, she saw that Danburn had indeed let her know these men were coming. But she was to ask for identification.  After checking both men’s credentials, she invited them in. The wolf, Timothy, told her to take him to the clinic with his friend, Walter. Walter, the vampire, was a doctor. Timothy.... Well, she had no idea what he might have done for a living. She thought it might be asshole. And if that was right, he was really good at his job. Before she could welcome them to the shelter, Walter looked her over like she was a bug on the wall. She disliked the man immediately. “The next time we come around, I don’t want to have to wait outside like I’m some sort of criminal. Be better prepared if you’re going to work here.” She didn’t say anything, but he must have thought she needed more bashing from him. “You’re not what I expected in a person running this place. I thought they’d be…I don’t know, smarter. At least have a good deal more respect for those that are not just older, but much more experienced in the ways of the world. Next time, pay attention so we don’t have to do this again.” “You mean like you’re giving me respect? That’s what you’re talking about? Pardon me for saying so, but you’re a dick. First class, but a dick all the same. So, fuck you and your getting respect from me.” He just stared at her. “And for your information, I’m nearly twice your age, so you should have some respect for your elders, prick. Or someone might burn you to a crisp.” As she walked away, she heard him laughing. She had no idea why she’d done that— it wasn’t like her to be so brash—but when she entered her office, Cassie called Danburn to be sure she wasn’t fired after talking like that to one of his friends. He wasn’t any happier with the man than she’d been. “Neither of them are a friend. But Walter was willing to work at the clinic a couple of days a week as a physician until I can find someone else. Timothy is…I’m not entirely sure what his role there will be, but I’ve heard that he will be in charge of getting funding for the clinic and getting others to invest. I don’t know either of them that well. But if you have to kick either of them out on their collective asses, I’ll hold the door for you.” Casandra thought that might just happen, too. She told him what had happened when they’d arrived and how she had handled it. Danburn was both pleased and tickled that she could handle things there for him. As they hung up, she wondered what his wife 
would say, but realized that she’d more than likely agree with her. Kendrick wasn’t going to take their shit either, Cassie thought.