Saturday, May 4, 2019

Wolf's Guard has Published!

Finally! Wolf's Guard has published!

Wolf's Guard took much longer to write than I thought it would. In a way, that makes sense, because this book is over 61,000 words compared to the 35,000 to 42,000 words for the books in the rest of the series.

The book opens, like many of the books in this series, with several chapters setting the story up from different points of view.


Rogue werewolves attack the White House!

Nate, king of all shifters, not only has to deal with the werewolf threat, but he must also deal with the consequences of being outed to the public. No one said being the king of all shifters would be easy. No one said it would be this hard, either.

Meanwhile, Bess finds her mate in the queen's kitchen. Learning he's a dragon is almost too much. Bess doesn't need a man to be happy. Especially not one who keeps his foot in his mouth.

As the only dragon shifter on Earth, Magnus never expects to find a mate. When he sees Bess, he knows she's the bear for him. But she won't have anything to do with him, and everything he does seems to shove her away.


Let me know what you think of it!

2 Preview Chapters

Chapter 1

    Peyton Marston turned off a Texas farm-to-market road into the Rollins Ranch driveway, the RV’s wheels grumbling over the cattle guard bars. Cedar and evergreen live oak trees cast deep shadows on the brittle, brown grass welcoming him back to the ranch. Another rumble of sound and a glance in the rearview mirror verified that Phillip followed behind him in the second RV.
As much as he enjoyed the trip to Florida with Gloria, his soon-to-be mate, his kids, Paige and Phillip, and the Heath family, Peyton was relieved to be back on the ranch. After his only shift in the Everglades resulted in a confrontation with a couple of alligators, Krieges, his wolf, refused to shift again. Krieges howled in his mind, excited at the return to pack lands.
Peyton glanced at Gloria. Sitting in the front passenger’s seat, she surveyed the area, as if looking for wild animals running through the trees. He tapped the back of her hand where it rested on her denim-covered thigh, then grinned when she looked at him. “Looking for wolves?”
Gloria bit her lip, then grinned and nodded. “I suppose I am.”
“You’re not likely to see any this time of day unless they’re patrolling the ranch border.” He cast another glance her way. “I thought you were okay with all this.” He didn’t intend for the sentence to end in a question, but it did.
“I’m, it’s just . . . well, it’s just a little weird, still.” She lifted a shoulder and smiled into his eyes. “I’ve known Nate for more than ten years, but I never knew he was were.”
“I’m not surprised since he didn’t know until last spring. I told you about his medallion, right? The one that prevented his shifting?”
“You did.” Gloria pressed her palms together and tapped her lips with her forefingers.
“Not changing your mind, are you?”
“About what?”
Peyton pulled the RV to the side of the road, put it in Park, and waved out the window for Phillip to stop. “Paige!”
He heard muffled movement, the bedroom door opened, and Paige walked to the front of the RV. “Need something, Dad?”
“Yeah. You and Laci Jean get out and ride the rest of the way with Phillip and Lacy’s family. And tell Phillip to go on ahead.”
“But we’re almost there.” When Peyton raised an eyebrow, Paige frowned, glanced from her dad to Gloria, then sighed. “Okay.” She turned and called, “Hey, Lacy, let’s ride the rest of the way with Phillip.”
Peyton watched in the mirror as the two girls, one in her teens and the other in her mid-twenties, opened the door and left. After they climbed into the other RV, Phillip pulled around Peyton and Gloria and drove toward the ranch compound. Peyton turned off the ignition and twisted in his seat to face his mate.
“What’s wrong?”
She twisted her hands in her lap, shook her head, and looked out the windshield. “Nothing.”
The acrid smell of the lie filled the RV. Nose twitching, Peyton studied her profile for a moment. Gloria looked good for her early fifties, but after Nate changed Peyton to a wolf, his fifty-two years didn’t show. He regressed until he looked as young as his twenty-four-year-old daughter. But even with grey highlights in her black, pixie-cut hair and crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes, Gloria was the most beautiful woman Peyton had ever seen.
He gazed at the side of her face, watched as pink climbed her neck and spread across her cheek. “We both know that’s not true.”
When she cut her eyes at him, he grinned and tapped the side of his nose. “I can smell it when you don’t tell the truth. Remember?”
“It’s just . . . that guy at the station . . ..”
“The one that called you my mother?”
Her blush darkened, and she bowed her head. “It feels so strange, Peyton. I mean, I know you’re a couple of years older than me, but you don’t look it.” She clenched her fists.
Peyton frowned as she slowly unfurled her hands and pressed them against her thighs. “You know you’ll regress, too, once we’re mated.” He visually searched what he could see of her face. “You haven’t changed your mind, have you?”
“No, but . . ..” She blew out a long breath. “You don’t really know me. I mean, we met right before Christmas, and even after spending Christmas together in Florida, we haven’t known . . . I mean. What if you suddenly change your mind?” She swallowed hard and turned to look out the side window with a soft gasp of breath. “What if you decide I’m not your mate?”
“Gloria, look at me.” When she refused to turn, he gently took her shoulders in his hands and turned her to face him. “Krieges knows you’re my mate. He told me the first time I walked into a room with you in it that you’re the only woman I will ever love.” Palm gentle against her face, he searched her eyes. “You don’t have to choose me. Nate told you that. If you decide you don’t want this or decide you want someone else, you’re free to choose.”
“But you . . ..”
“No, I’ll never find anyone else. For me, you’re it. If it will make you happy, I’ll let you go. I’ll protect you and watch over you from afar, but I won’t push you into anything you’re not ready for.”
She was silent for a moment, her gaze pinned to the hands she clasped together. “What if I get stuck? I heard Phillip tell Violet that sometimes changelings get stuck between forms and can’t control themselves.”
“That’s what’s bothering you?” Peyton clenched his jaw and was happy Phillip wasn’t within reach at the moment. “Gloria, Nate won’t let that happen.”
Her face jerked toward him. Eyes blinking rapidly, she swallowed. “He’ll be there? I mean, I thought you would bite me while we, um, while we . . ..”
He managed not to laugh but couldn’t help a few chuckles. “We could do it then, but I’d prefer Nate not be there for that.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Stop laughing at me.”
“Sweetheart, I’m sorry. We’ll do the bite during the wedding ceremony. Nate will be there to make sure it works without problems.” Peyton captured her hands in his and raised them to his lips. After pressing a gentle kiss to her fingers, he smiled at her. “I wouldn’t do anything that could harm you, Gloria. You are my life.”

Chapter 2

     “Peyton and Phillip just entered the ranch gates.”
“Thanks, Jonathan.” Nate Rollins, royal alpha of the Rollins Ranch pack and King of the Were, disconnected the call and dropped his cell phone into his pocket. “The Peyton’s and Heath’s are here.” He smiled at Janelle, his mate, and handed their daughter, Ophelia, to her.
Ophelia squirmed in her mother’s arms, reaching back to her father. “Daddy!”
Nate’s jaw dropped and he huffed. “Did she just . . .?”
Janelle laughed and gave Ophelia a squeeze. “She did. She called you Daddy. It’s the first word she’s spoken since the night Pace tried to kill Mason.”
“Hmm. Let me have her.” Nate lifted Ophelia into the air and looked up into her laughing face. “Want to go with Daddy to see Peyton?”
Giggles erupted and Ophelia grabbed his hair with both fists as soon as he lowered her enough that she could reach him. “Ouch. Guess it’s about time for a haircut.” Careful not to hurt her, Nate pried her hands from his hair. Patting her back, he settled her into the crook of his arm and walked toward the office door. He quirked an eyebrow at Janelle. “Coming?”
A few minutes later, Nate opened the front door and walked out on the covered, wrap-around porch. The younger ranch kids played in the center of the compound, chasing each other. A group of teens came around the corner of the house, watching to see who was coming up the drive. Nate stood at the top of the steps and watched an RV pull up and stop. By the time Paige, Phillip, Lee, Violet, Laci Jean, and Claude, Violet’s and Laci Jean’s father, exited the RV, a second RV rumbled down the drive toward the ranch compound.
Nate waited until the second RV stopped and Peyton helped Gloria from the cab before walking down the porch steps. “Welcome home.”
He ignored the surprise on Claude’s face and handed a key to Violet. “Violet, this is the key to your house. You and your family will occupy the house on this side of the pond.” He waved a hand toward a modular home in the distance. “It’s the closest one to the schoolhouse that’s available. With four bedrooms, it will allow you to consider moving your grandparents in with you if you desire.”
“Thank you, Mr. Rollins.”
“None of that. Everyone calls me Nate. I expect you and your family to do the same.”
“Yes, Sir.”
“School starts Monday, so that’ll give you a few days to prepare for your classes.”
“Monday?” Violet glanced at the faces around her. “But it’s the middle of January. I thought I was late.”
“Monday. We combined Spring Break with the holiday break to give you the time you needed to travel to Florida.” Nate shrugged. “The kids didn’t mind having extra time off, but I think most of the parents are ready for school to start again. After you get settled, you can meet with Flora. She’ll show you where everything is and help you get started.”
“Thank you, Nate.”
“Sure.” Nate glanced over his shoulder to the teens standing at the corner of the house. “Reese, Trey, Adrian.”
Three teen boys walked to the group. “The boys will help you get the RV unloaded. Boys, you remember Violet?” When they nodded, Nate waved at the teen girl in Peyton’s group. “This is Violet’s sister, Laci Jean, and her father, Claude.”
Reese stepped forward and offered his hand to Laci Jean. “Welcome to the ranch. I’ll be happy to show you around.”
“As if,” muttered Adrian. He shouldered past Reese and took Lacy’s other hand in his. “I’m Adrian. You need anything, you let me know.”
Nate laughed at the boy’s antics, then smiled at Claude’s glare. “Don’t worry, Claude. They’ll be perfect gentlemen. Right, boys?”
All three whipped their faced to Nate, then looked relieved when he didn’t seem upset. They nodded. “Yes, sir,” chorused three voices.
The door behind Nate opened. He glanced back and smiled at Freyja and Dana. “Dana, come meet Laci Jean. She’s new to the ranch, too.”
Dana’s soft footsteps came down the porch steps. She walked past Nate and gave the three teen boys the stink eye. “You guys leave her alone for a while. Let her get used to everyone before you start being silly.”
Nate raised an eyebrow when the boys nodded and took a step back. Glancing from them to Dana, he started to ask what was going on, when Freyja nudged him from behind. Nate glanced back at the tiny woman. She smirked at him and shook her head. Deciding to wait and ask Freyja later, he cleared his throat to capture everyone’s attention. “Since the weather turned off warm today, we’re having a barbeque at the shelter this evening. We’ll see you all there.”
Ophelia jabbered as if she was repeating his last sentence, then grinned at her audience. Nate laughed. “And Miss Ophelia wants you all to be there.”
After Phillip loaded everyone back in his RV and drove to park in the drive at the house Violet’s family would live in, Nate gave Ophelia a kiss and handed her to Janelle. “Sorry, Sweetheart, Daddy has to go to work for a while.”
Behind him, Peyton’s RV motor roared to life, and Peyton moved the RV to park in the line of RVs between the main house and the warehouse. Peyton’s family would still live in the RV until the bear carpenters could get more houses ready. Nate sighed. The ranch was starting to get crowded.
Janelle called Lisa to take Ophelia to the playroom. Nate shared a grin with Janelle when Lisa took Ophelia and the child pouted all the way up the steps and into the house. Taking hold of Janelle’s elbow, Nate walked to the front door, then turned and looked back at Freyja. “Come to the office for a minute, Freyja.”
When he reached the office, he settled into the executive’s chair behind the desk and glanced at Janelle and Freyja. Janelle settled in the chair on the other side of his desk, while Freyja continued to stand. Sunlight streamed through the window behind him, warming his shoulders. “Something tells me I missed something out there. What’s up?”
Freyja lifted one shoulder, and Nate forced himself not to grin. Viking though she was, the woman was quickly picking up Americanized habits. “The boys teased Dana, so I told her to take care of it.”
“Take care of it?”
“Hmm. After all the training I gave her while we were prisoners, she’s pretty good at self-defense.”
Nate stilled, red tinging his eyesight. In his mind, Koreth tensed. “She needed to defend herself?”
“It’s nothing, Nate. The boys were teasing her. One at a time, she put them on the ground, and they couldn’t get up, no matter how hard they tried. Now, they leave her alone.”
“But Dana’s human!”
Head tilted to the left, Freyja laughed at his expression. “She’s half were, Nate, and stronger than you would think. With a little training, she’s more than able to take care of herself.” She motioned toward the door. “I have chores to complete unless you need something?”
Nate shook his head. “Let me know if I need to . . ..”
“Nate, Dana’s fine. The boys respect her and her abilities to take care of herself. I really think they were flirting, and she took it wrong. She hasn’t been around many boys her age, so she doesn’t always know how to handle their antics.”
“Okay. I’ll stay out of it.”
“Sometimes, that’s the best thing to do. If you get involved, the boys will resent it. As it stands, they know to treat her well, and you can deal with more important things. Like, you know, having a dragon on site. It’s going to take time for the were to get to know him and trust him.”
“But not you?”
“I’ve known Magnus my entire life. He’s faithful and loyal, but sometimes single-minded. He’ll fit in, eventually.”
Nate released a sigh. “I’m sure he will. I think it’ll take longer for me to be comfortable with him than the reverse.”
“Probably.” She studied him for a moment.
Nate fought the need to squirm in his chair. “What?”
“Has anyone told you that you’re doing well?”
He blinked at her. “What?”
“For a man who didn’t know he was were until less than a year ago, you’ve adapted quite well. Give Magnus time, Nate. He’ll grow on you.”
“Like a friend?”
“If you let him. If you choose not to be his friend, he’ll grow on you like a fungus. He won’t let you face danger alone. His entire purpose is to be the king’s protector. Relax and be his friend. It’ll make the future easier on both of you.” With a wave, she grinned at Janelle and left the office.


The paperback version will be available soon!


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