Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday Briefers: Mine! Chapter 7


This week's update... rawr! LOL Inspired by the prompt: "There's a first time for everything." Enjoy!!

Chapter Seven

Kraig broke the kiss and gasped for air, his chest moving like bellows. He whimpered, running his hands over my body. I rubbed his side gently, the ripples of his ribs reminding me of how much he’d been through. I didn’t want him to wear out before we got to the good part.

Eager to combine our scents and claim him again, I pushed one hand between us and circled our shafts, pressing them together. Kraig cried out and pushed forward into my grip. He buried his face against my neck and shoulder, rubbing his cheeks against me to spread his scent. “More,” he demanded.

I’d give him whatever he wanted, no matter what it was, but this was my pleasure. I leaked enough fluid to smooth my strokes as I drove our pleasure to a feverish pitch in less than a minute. Pride swelled at every sound I wrung from him, and the raspy touch of his tongue and the sharp dragging points of his teeth on my skin as he tasted me tested my control.

“Spirits, Kraig,” I gasped. “Do it.”

“Are you”—Kraig strained against me, his toes digging into my shins—“sure?”

“Yes.” I needed him to bite, to blood me of his own free will. I’d beg if I had to. “Please, Kraig. I need you.”

The sharp flare of pain as his razor-sharp teeth sank into my flesh sent me over the edge, and I roared my triumph. Hot fluid spilled over my fingers as my balls spasmed and I stroked faster when Kraig mewled and began to suck on the wound. His hips bucked once, twice, and then the scent of his completion mingled with mine as our spunk mixed between us.

Nothing had ever felt so right. Kraig began to purr as I wiped my hand on his stomach and then rubbed our seed into his skin. His stomach was concave, and both his hipbones stuck out, but his purr was strong enough to make his chest vibrate against mine.

“I like that,” I said, when I could breathe again.

“Coming? Most guys do.” Kraig let out a faint laugh.

“I meant your purring.” I was a little disappointed it stopped.

Kraig’s face flushed. “It’s not normal.”

Like I cared about normal. “So? It feels nice, and it lets me know when you’re happy.”

“How is this even real? I’m not dreaming, am I?” Kraig’s pupils took up nearly his whole irises as he stared up at me. “It feels like you’re here, but....” His lip trembled, and he looked away.

I put my hand on his cheek and turned him back so I could meet his eyes. Feathering my thumb across the bottom, I parted his lips. “Smell us together. Taste us on my skin. This is real, and I will never let you go.”

His tongue flashed out, sliding across my finger, and then he parted his lips when I pressed forward. He sucked hard, and my eyes damn near crossed. When he got better, and we could finally fulfill all the fantasies I’d had over the years, I was going to be in big trouble. My status as an alpha meant I should have more power, more stamina, more... everything, but his touch made me as weak as a kitten, and I couldn’t resist him.

Which I didn’t want to do anyway. Kraig wondered if this was real, and maybe he had a point. My dreams had been vivid but I always woke up alone, disappointed sharp after the all-too-brief moment of happiness before the specter of him in my arms had disappeared. The pressure around my thumb eased, and Kraig began to blink slower and slower.

I slid my finger out and then claimed his mouth in a soft kiss, easing us both down from the intensity of the moment we’d shared. Wrapping him up in my arms, I surrounded Kraig in my warmth. He sighed and rested his cheek against my chest. “Sleep. I’ll still be here when you wake up.”



Lunch arrived before Kraig woke. It would stay warm long enough for him to wake on his own, so I let him sleep a bit longer while I worked at my desk. The streak was consumed with the rumors of Kraig’s return, and I had more than the usual requests for meetings—probably so people could try to catch a glimpse of him.

I knew he wouldn’t want that, though, so I adjudicated as many disputes as I could and put the rest off. Through the open door, I saw Kraig begin to move. I stood up immediately, but by the time I was in the bedroom he’d thrown of the blankets and was thrashing on the bed and whining.

“Wake up, Kraig.” He didn’t respond to my call, so I climbed on the bed, hovering over him. I chuffed as I patted his cheek. His eyes shot open, but his gaze was empty as he stared up at me in horror.

“Ahh!” I clapped a hand between my legs and fell sideways on the bed, nauseating pain radiating from my nuts.

Kraig pushed away and fell off the bed with a hard thump. I wanted to check on him, but I couldn’t move as I fought down the urge to hurl. Sweat beaded up on my forehead while my ears rang. It took a few minutes before I could uncurl. Creeping to his side of the bed, I peeked at where Kraig fell... but he wasn’t there.

I slipped off the bed, and then I saw the faint shine of his eyes where he huddled under the frame near the wall. I never thought I’d have to crawl around under the bed as an adult, but there was a first time for everything.

“Kraig? Can you hear me? It’s Deke. You can come out.”

“Go away.” Kraig snarled.

“Can’t. Your mom would kill me if she knew I let you get covered in dust bunnies.”
TBC

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine Chapter Six


Another week, another update! I almost didn't get his done, not writing until Tuesday and then giving myself a salt imbalance with too much water and too much yard work, but I pushed through because this scene just begged to be written. Next week's is already hot in my mind... and I bet yours when you're done reading this week's flash inspired by the prompt: "I dreamed about you last night." Enjoy!


Chapter Six


“Us?” Kraig craned his head back and looked at me. “I thought you wanted to know what the doctor did to me, what I knew about the way he changed me. I’ve been trying to remember if I heard any names when the others came, but my memory is hazy.”

I shook my head. “That’s important, but I still need to finish going through his files. You’re malnourished and exhausted. I don’t want to put you through that trauma after all I’ve already put you through.”

Kraig frowned. “You’ve said something like that twice now. You didn’t do anything to me.”

Guilt swamped me. “I blooded you. You told me no.”

“Because you deserve more than me. You’re an alpha, a streak leader, and I am... was human werekin. Now I’m a freak.”

“You know I wanted you as a human werekin; the bias and small-minded bigotry in other groups is not how I run this streak. My father would come back from the beyond and kick my ass if I even thought of believing that crap. And I’d deserve it. He’d probably do it anyway, if he knew how I blooded you. If there had been time, I would’ve tried to give you a choice, but I couldn’t lose you. I’m sorry.”

Kraig shivered, and I pulled the blankets up higher, tucking them behind his back. He dropped his gaze, hiding those cornflower blue eyes. He licked his lips. “Do you... regret it? With me?”

“Saving you was the only choice. If there had been another way, I wouldn’t have blooded you though. I know you left because you didn’t want me.” It killed my alpha pride, and my stomach churned as I considered our future. “You still don’t.”

“What?” Kraig plastered a cool hand on my chest and pushed away so he could scoot up in the bed and look me full in the face. “I’ve always wanted you, but I wanted what was best for you more.”

“You’re what’s best for me.” I stroked his sharp cheekbone with my thumb, cupping his face gently. “When I thought we’d lost you, I was devastated. I haven’t looked at anyone else to blood bond with–I couldn’t. Even thinking about it made me sick. Ever since I knew what a mate was, I wanted you to be mine. But you wouldn’t mate me.”

“And that just drove your alpha nature crazy.” Kraig snorted indelicately. “You always did expect everyone to fall in line with what you thought was best.”

“I was a jerk back then, but I thought I’d changed. If you want to leave, when you’re better, I won’t stop you.” It was like ripping out my heart to even say it; I’d be left off worse than broken if he did, but I had to let him make the choice.

A pained look crossed Kraig’s face.

“What is it? Are you okay?” He’d warmed up, but he was still in rough shape. “Where does it hurt?”

“You’d give me up?” Kraig whispered. His lower lip trembled, and he pressed them together.

“Not if it was my choice. But I won’t make you stay if you want to leave. We’ll find a way to make the blood bond work somehow.” The tiger spirit inside me was not happy even saying the words.

Kraig took a deep breath and let it out in a long sigh, the tension leaving his body as he leaned closer to me, tucking his head against my neck. The warm puff of his breath brushed against my skin as he said, “I tried to run before, and look how that turned out. You know, I dreamed about you last night.”

“You did?” I held my breath, everything hanging on what Kraig was saying.

“I dreamed about you every night when they had me. What our life could’ve been like together—the happiness I’d pushed away when I refused to let you risk your status with the other groups by blood bonding with me.”

“I never cared about that.” My heart began to pound faster, and Kraig flattened his hand on my chest again. “You’re the most important thing in my life.”

“We might not have a traditional bonding, but I want you for my mate. I never want to live feeling the kind of regret I did all those nights when I’d wake up, so happy from being in your arms, and realize I was still on the cold stone floor of whatever basement I was chained up in.”

“So...?” I needed him to say it.

“I’m never leaving you. You’re my mate, and I’m yours.”

Relief swamped me, and I had to close my eyes to hide the stinging tears that made Kraig’s face blur. “Thank fuck.”

He chuckled. “Tell me how you really feel,” he joked.

I opened my eyes. “I love you,” I said.

Kraig’s breath caught in his throat, and his eyes began to shine in the soft light seeping in past the curtains. He licked his lips. “I love you too.”

We’d bonded, we’d slept in the same bed, and I just heard the words I love you come from my mate... but we’d never kissed. The first press of my lips to his made me glad we were lying down—my knees would’ve buckled if we were standing.

The soft warmth, the taste of his skin, and the flick of his tongue against my lips, all combined with the knowledge that he wanted me as much as I wanted him... I groaned. Kraig took advantage and thrust his tongue inside my mouth. His hand slid up my chest and neck to sink into the hair on the back of my head as he took control of the kiss.

And I was perfectly content to let him. I followed his lead, pulling him close with a hand on his lower back. This time his erection met mine, and I swallowed his shuddering whimper.

“Deke! Oh god, please.”
TBC

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Winners! Cosmic Inception Cover Reveal Blitz

The winners of the Cosmic Inception Cover Reveal Blitz have been chosen by Rafflecopter's randomizer drawings, and...

Congratulations to:

eBook copies of The Experiment & Adverse Effects: Scott U.

$10 Gift Card: Susana P.

Emails have been sent so check your Inbox! If you don't find it, feel free to contact me at: anordwell@live.com


To everyone who entered my contest to celebrate Cosmic Inception hitting Dreamspinner's Coming Soon page!



Friday, June 17, 2016

It's Here! Cosmic Inception Cover Reveal

I can finally share the awesome cover made by Christine Griffin for Cosmic Inception. This moment in time was so poignant and intense, and the cover Cris made brought it to life!




Blurb:

Their journey will span the universe and back, but there’s no guarantee they’ll make it together.



Though Nick and Fieo are drawn to each other, their relationship has never been easy. Their differences go beyond their races, but they’ve managed to work together to prevent the spread of corruption, growing closer along the way. Nick still battles the effects of years of loneliness, fear, and pain but surprises everyone when he refuses to stay behind when Fieo is sent on a vital mission to find the Collectors. Fieo objects, but there’s no stopping Nick when he sets his mind to something. Over the course of their mission, it becomes clear Nick is more than anyone ever imagined, but the mystery of his past threatens to derail his future.



The search for the truth will take Fieo and Nick far from Caeorleia, to worlds both familiar and completely alien, and put stress on their already tenuous relationship. It’s a journey that will either tear them apart or finally bring them together.
Dreamspinner Press Buy Links:





Excerpt:

“Can you explain how you know that?” I’d only just seen the black organ for myself. The Collector said it had to do with the ancient race and that I was special, but all I saw was something that scared the shit out of me. “How is that thing supposed to help me save a being the size of an entire planet? Compared to you, I am miniscule, nothing.”
Fieo pinned me with a look. “You are not nothing.” I broke his stare, unable to hold it. “You are my whole world.” What I saw in his gaze was raw emotion, more than passion and want, and I could sense his feelings for me though the bond like a wave washing over me.
I swallowed hard, closing my eyes. All that love, for me, was overwhelming. I tried to share my feelings back with him, all the love and gratitude that he was part of my life, no matter what I’d endured before we met.
The being looked from me to him at Fieo’s fierce objection. “I can sense you, through him. You care very much.”
“We’re joined in besedad. He is my tziu. I would do anything for him.” Fieo spoke quietly, his hum full of conviction.
She stared at him, but then nodded. “I will try to use terms you will understand. Your form is somewhat familiar, but so much is different.”
Was the being rifling around in my body and my mind? The thought sent a shudder down my spine. Why did I keep getting caught up in situations where aliens mucked about in my brain at will?



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Official Release Date: 7/18/2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cosmic Inception Cover Reveal Tomorrow!!

That moment you've been waiting for... Cosmic Inception is about to hit Dreamspinner's Coming Soon! In honor of that, I've arranged a Cover Reveal Blast contest tomorrow. Make sure you don't miss out on seeing the amazing cover and enter my contest!


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter Five


Today's post is inspired by the prompt, "Maybe tomorrow". Enjoy!!



Chapter Five

Maybe no one else had ever noticed, but Kraig should’ve remembered. Whenever I ate at his parents’ house I dished up my plate first, and I’d take things I knew he liked—because Park knew his favorites too and would as much of them as possible. Once we sat down to eat, usually out of sight of the adult werekin, I’d take food off his plate and claim it for my own... usually after switching for the coveted rolls or extra burger patty.

Just because he didn’t think I should blood him didn’t mean I was above staking a subtle claim back then, and I was proud to show the world that Kraig was my partner now. Every instinct I possessed screamed at me to protect him with everything I had.

I tried to run my hand through my hair, the lack of ruff startling me for a moment when the hair I expected to be there wasn’t. Taking care of Kraig was a part of me, much like my animal soul bonded with my human spirit—two halves of one whole.

Kraig was wilting visibly and he hadn’t finished half of what was on his plate while most of us were done.

“You should eat some more,” Lydia urged him. “You love eggs.”

“I’m full, Mom.” Kraig dropped his chin and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath.

“That’s not enough. You didn’t—”

“Maybe tomorrow he’ll be able to eat more,” I said. “He’s been through a long ordeal. Right now, Kraig knows what his body needs.”

Lydia was his mother, but Kraig was the blooded mate of an alpha, and he was an adult. We all wanted to take care of him, but she couldn’t smother him in the process. He was already pulling away from everyone. I met her eyes, urging her silently to understand what she risked if she tried too hard.

The Kraig I knew before barely tolerated it. I didn’t the Kraig sitting next to me would either, but the yelling and rushing off to pout that marked his teenage years wouldn’t be his response now. Pushing him before he’d had a chance to heal mentally could break him completely.

She pressed her lips together and echoed her son’s sigh then dipped her head in the slightest of nods.

“You want to go lay down, Kraig?”

He nodded. He pushed his chair back and tried to stand up, but his knees buckled. I’d half-expected it and was ready. I hated how light his body was when I tugged Kraig into my arms. Steel ran through my voice when I said, “We’ll see you later.” I didn’t even look back.

He smelled amazing, but his skin was cool, too cool for a bonded werekin. I nuzzled his head, rubbing both sides of my face in his hair. My bed had plenty of blankets, but I planned to warm him up other ways.

“What are you doing?” Kraig asked when I set him down on the edge of the bed and tugged his shirt up, urging him to lift his arms.

“You’re cold.” I nudged him back and grabbed the shorts barely hanging on to his hips even with the drawstring pulled tight.

“And taking off my clothes is a good idea because?” He raised an eyebrow.

I yanked my shirt off and tossed it toward the hamper. “Because I’m going to warm you up.”

Kraig’s breath caught in his throat when I dropped my pants and kicked them away. “Naked,” he said in a strangled voice. He pushed himself toward the head of the bed on his elbows, collapsing on the pillows.

“Not the first time you’ve seen me this way. We showered and slept together last night.” I slid the blankets from under him and slipped into bed beside him, covering us both up. I stayed on my side but Kraig rolled to face me. Our faces were inches away, but I slid my hand across his side and down to his lower back, urging him closer until our legs tangled together.

My cock plumped but I didn’t feel an answering response. I stifled a stab of disappointment and fear. “We haven’t really had much time to talk,” I said softly.

“I know.” Kraig’s eyes shifted as he studied my face. I stroked one of the stripes on his shoulder that terminated in a small row of rosettes. “You need information from me.”

“Telling me how you feel isn’t so hard that you have to state it so... coldly, is it?” Kraig needed me, but I hadn’t asked him before I blooded him. He’d said no, but I’d ignored him. Shame pervaded me, but my need to save him had been greater and still was. No matter what I had to do prove how sorry I was, the one thing I would never do was let him go.

“How I... feel?” Kraig repeated haltingly. He frowned.

“I thought we’d maybe talk in the tub last night but you passed out on me, and then Park rushed in here this morning. I certainly wasn’t going to ask you in front of your parents.”

“They don’t need to know what happened,” he said quickly.

His words struck a blow to my heart. “I already sort of told your mom what I did.”

“What you did?” Kraig shook his head. “I don’t think we’re talking about the same thing. This isn’t about the doctor?”

“No. This is about us.” I pressed closer. The scent of Kraig’s warming skin, the barely audible pulse of his blood in the thin skin where I’d marked... I wanted to touch him, lick him, and learn every spot on his body that made him writhe.

But he wasn’t aroused by me.

I’d blooded a man who didn’t desire me in return, so how could I expect him to stay with me once he was well? He’d never lose his status, but I wanted him and no one else.
TBC

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

eBook Review: A Kind of Romance by Lane Hayes

KindofRomance[A]_FBbanner_DSP


A Kind of Romance is the ideal title for this eBook by Lane Hayes. Is it a romance? Well... kind of. I think I was more sure of it than Zeke and Benny, though. After all, they weren't really friends. They were pushed together by Zeke's dad, but neither of them are really the other's type. What starts a quick drink date to appease an old man who means well--even if he's being pushy as hell about it--becomes a get to know you session. Zeke is casually insulting with his misconceptions, though he doesn't mean to be, and Benny is way too loud with his pink shirt and pink highlight.

Benny seems to peg Zeke a lot quicker than the other way around, challenging him and leaving him wanting more. But they're not boyfriends, so why does Zeke get all upset when he learns Benny has a real date?

Well you're going to have to read it to find out! It might include some hilarious embarrassment, but I won't spoil the surprise.

I loved Lane's writing style, and A Kind of Romance is a real page-turner. I was easily drawn into the story and the words effortlessly got out of the way as I followed Zeke and Benny's whirlwind... not romance. Well maybe romance. There is kissing. And other stuff. Fan yourself and don't read in a public place hot stuff. Add in some snark, some fabulousness, and some growly denial for a five star eBook you should go read right now!





AboutTheBook

KindofRomance[A]FS
TITLE: A Kind of Romance

SERIES: A Kind of Story 

AUTHOR: Lane Hayes 

COVER ARTIST: Aaron Anderson 

LENGTH: 82,963 words 

RELEASE DATE: June 06, 2016 

BLURB: Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can’t let go—not until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he’s the perfect man for Zeke. 

Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he’s working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can’t ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he’s willing to let go and forgive what he can’t forget… and give in to an unexpected kind of romance. 

Excerpt   

THEY SAID you could remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when a life-altering event took place. I could do better than that. I could tell you the date and time too. May 9, 7:04 a.m…. It was a Monday. Of course. I was standing in my kitchen, cradling a cup of coffee while reading the news on my iPad when my cell phone rang. I didn’t think twice about it. It rang all the fucking time. The setting was almost always on vibrate, but last night I’d changed it, thinking I didn’t want to miss Taylor’s call in case he decided to come by. He didn’t call. And he didn’t come over. I didn’t really think he would, but when we ran into each other at the farmers’ market in Union Square Sunday morning, I’d foolishly hoped he might. That was our spot. It seemed like providence. A sign of some sort telling us we should stop this nonsense and get back together immediately. True, Taylor had confessed he’d been cheating on me with one of my coworkers for the past six months, but… still.

The second round of incessant ringing served as a reminder I was a complete moron for wanting him back. And when I saw the name displayed on my cell, I knew the caller would agree wholeheartedly.

“Mornin’, Pops.”

“Ezekiel?”

I didn’t recognize the voice on the line. It was masculine but a little high-pitched. Definitely not Dad. Whoever he was, he was calling from my father’s phone. My heart slammed against my chest in a wave of instant panic.

“Just Zeke, actually. You’re calling from my father’s phone. Is he oka—?”

“He fell and hit his head. We called 9-1-1. The paramedics said it looked like a superficial wound, but there was blood everywhere and—They’re taking him to Mount Sinai on First. I’m following now with William. Filipe doesn’t speak much English, so Rand is staying to help mind the store and—”

“Whoa! Hang on. Where was he?” It was a stupid question. However, I felt nauseated from the unexpected adrenaline rush and was struggling to catch up and make sense of this conversation.

“At Bowery Bagels,” the caller replied with a heavy sigh. “I’m so sorry. I—I don’t know what else to say. I’m sure he’s fine, but—I’ll meet you in the emergency room.”

“Wait! Who are you?” I asked, staring into the open great room of my condo in a trancelike state.

I noted the sun’s reflection on the shiny dark hardwood floors and the way the tiny flecks of dust sparkled like fairy dust in the air. But I felt as though I were in a vacuum. Sound was muffled, and the light was suddenly too bright. I pushed away from the island and moved with purpose toward my bedroom, forgetting I’d been waiting for a response until the caller spoke again.

“Benny.”

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AuthorBio

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles both be men! Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her first novel was a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards and her third received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. She loves travel, chocolate, and wine (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow lab ever in an almost empty nest.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter Four


More tidbits, more questions! Here's a little more of both for readers to enjoy. This week's flash update was inspired by the prompt: have a tornado in your story. Happy reading!



Chapter Four


“Hi, Dad,” said Kraig. He looked down at his hands and then slipped them under the blanket over his lap.

“How are you doing this morning, honey?" asked his mom. Lydia hurried over, so I moved out of her way and stood off to the side of the couch. She ran her hand over Kraig’s forehead. “Do you sleep well?”

“I’m fine. The alpha helped me take a shower last night.”

I put my hand on Kraig’s shoulder and squeeze gently. “Deke.”

Kraig leaned his head back and looked up at me. “What?”

“I’m not just your alpha. We’ve known each other forever and…” I looked up at Kraig’s dad. He’d entered the room but he still stood several feet away from the couch. “I didn’t have a chance to speak with you first, but I blooded Kraig. I should have had more control but I didn’t. I hope you can forgive me.”

Henry shook his head. “Lydia told me about that last night. You’ve always been like another son to us, and everyone knew how you felt about Kraig.”

My face flamed. Once my hormones had settled and I’ve gotten past the obnoxious stage of being attracted to everyone with a firm chest and tight ass, I’d been very fixated on Kraig. No one had taken it seriously; an alpha heir just did not have a future with a human werekin. I couldn’t have cared less what everybody else thought, but Kraig was just as insistent on ignoring the heat between us. Once he turned eighteen he’d left.

At just twenty, he insisted I didn’t know what I really wanted. That he was familiar to me and that was the only reason I was so attracted to him. He calmly packed a suitcase—not even looking at me when he shot me down. No matter what I said or did he’d been determined to leave.

Look how that turned out.

Who knew what people would say once they saw him? In our streak Kraig was loved. No matter what had been done to him our family would accept him. But what about the other groups? Had the doctor experimented on any other werekin? I really needed to go over his files again. There was so much I didn’t know, but Kraig came first. He needed a lot of care both physically and emotionally. I wasn’t going to let him down again.

Linda had grabbed Kraig’s hand and had let go and she sat down beside him. Henry had yet to close the gap between them, and I could see the pain in Kraig’s eyes. He closed his eyes, but his lip trembled.

His mom squeezed his hand. “He is still our son, Henry.” She narrowed her eyes and stared at her husband with a look. Experience made me wince in sympathy for him. “If you can’t look past—”

“No, Mom. It’s too much to expect. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror.”

Kraig’s dad crossed the space between them into big steps. He squatted next to the couch and clamped his hand on Kraig’s thigh when Kraig inched away. I tense but held my place. Henry’s voice shook as he said, “You could look like the damned hippopotamus, and I wouldn’t care. I thought you were dead. To get you back… I don’t know what to say right now, but I love you. You are my son no matter what you look like on the outside."

“But I’m not the same on the inside either. I have a werekin soul.” Kraig took a breath and met his dad’s gaze. “Two of them.”

“That was obvious.” Henry reached up and traced the black lines outlining Kraig’s elongated cheek bones, the rosettes on his neck, then dropped a hand down to cover the stripes on Kraig’s arm with his fingers. “You have beautiful markings.”

“No one has two souls. It’s abomination,” Kraig whispered.

“Says who?” I barked.

Kraig craned his head back to look at me. “The werekin who were working with the doctor. For him? Or maybe he was working for them. I don’t know. They wanted me dead, though.”

This was all information I didn’t know. “Who are these werekin? Bonded or human? I need names.”

Kraig closed his eyes and sighed. “I don’t know. It’s all so hazy, and it’s hard to remember the details. There were others though, werekin and not human.” Kraig rubbed his forehead with a shaky hand.

“That’s enough,” Linda said. “You need to eat and rest so you can recover your strength.” She straightened up. “Questions can wait.”

I might be the alpha, but I was not about to gainsay my blooded mate’s mother. Especially not since she’d tanned my hide more than a few times growing up so I knew her bark was not even close to her bite. Not even my position would save me if she thought I wasn’t treating her baby with all the care he deserved.

Good thing I agreed with her. “Why don’t we eat? There’s plenty for everyone.”

Having Linda in the house was like inviting in a hurricane. We were seated around the table in my sitting room, food piled high on every plate, in what felt like the space of a blink. Kraig stared at the mound of eggs in front of him.

“Eat.”

The fork he grabbed rattled against the plate and the eggs slid off. Kraig made a small sound and tried again, but there was next to nothing on the fork by the time it got to his mouth. Everyone tried to avoid staring, but I couldn’t watch his struggle and do nothing. I grabbed a sausage off my plate and wrapped it in a syrup-soaked pancake. “Here.”

Silence blanketed the dining room as everyone froze.

“That’s yours,” he said.

“You’re mine.” I held it out, chuffing. “Take it.”

Kraig took the food and a low purr filled the silence. “Thanks.”

“Eat.”


TBC

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