Book One - Winter Wolf
A plague is killing off the werewolves of North America, and Nicky might be the only person capable of saving them before it is too late.
When Nicky and her twin sister were attacked by werewolves, Nicky emerged relatively unscathed. Her sister, on the other hand, is transformed into a werewolf. Ten years after their separation, she can finally meet with Lisa for the first time since their attack. But a pack of werewolves in Seattle have different plans for her. Kidnapped just days before their reunion, she is given a choice: Help them find the Winter Wolf, or watch as her sister and all of the werewolves of North America succumb to plague. But the Winter wolf is a legend among legends. If such a powerful werewolf exists, he doesn't want to be found, even if his powers are all that can save the wolves from extinction.
Book Two - The Jewel of the Hidden Hand
When her betrothal turns sour, Vera flees from the Crimson Isles with the assassin who had been set on taking her life.
But until she can make the Imperial Princess Pacifica Veradine disappear completely, she will never be able to find peace. Unfortunately, every Kingdom wants her alive, for her hand in marriage will ensure an alliance with the Crimson Isles and as well as its wealth of jewels, ore, trade goods and knowledge.
From Scene 1 of Winter Wolf:
Nicky fumbled for the phone perched on the edge of her nightstand to silence its shrill ring. It hit the floor with a crash, the handset bouncing out of reach of her fingers.
With the annoying ringing silenced, she wormed her way half off the bed to capture the fallen handset.
“Hello?” Her voice emerged as little more than a croak, which was followed by a rasped cough. Her elbows dug into the hardwood floor as she wiggled to keep as much of her body on the bed as possible.
“You need to leave,” a deep, masculine voice said.
“Alex? It is three in the morning. What do you want? Is there something wrong with Lisa?”
“Your sister is fine,” Alex replied.
She struggled to hold back a cough but failed. Clearing her throat several times, she tried to push back up on her bed, but slid down on the floor. Muttering curses, she slipped off the bed, got her legs under her and stood. “My flight doesn’t leave until five. At night. Tomorrow night. Did Lisa put you up to this? Is that how you got this number?” She furrowed her brows. Alex did have one of her numbers, but it was her agent’s line, who would forward his call anonymously to her home phone number or cell phone as needed — if needed. Three AM did not count as as ‘as needed’.
“Don’t you use caller id? I’m on Lisa’s cell phone.”
“So why aren’t I talking to Lisa?” Nicky tried to growl at her twin’s boyfriend, but the effort agitated her throat and it came out as a rasped cough. “I’m going back to bed, Alex.”
“Wait! Stop, Nicky. I’m serious. You need to leave now.”
“I’m hanging up now. Tell Lisa I love her and to guard her cell phone better. I’ll be up the day after tomorrow, not today. Good night, Alex.” She curled her lip up in disgust and slammed the phone back on the hook where it belonged. For good measure, she unplugged the phone from the jack before rolling over. Tomorrow, I need to tell Dominic to have my phone number changed. And to stop routing Alex’s calls unless Lisa talks to him first.
Shaking her head, she walked to the wall and flipped on the light. Bad enough Lisa is one of them, but did Alex really have to call? I’m not interested in his games, Lisa’s boyfriend or not.
Despite Lisa’s attempts over the past three months, she refused to address Alex as Lisa’s Mate. It was his fault that Lisa couldn’t come to Los Angeles, and his fault that they hadn’t seen each other in over ten years.
_Don’t know why they decided it was safe I could visit now. It isn’t as if I hadn’t been attacked too. It isn’t my fault they didn’t turn me into one of them. Not like they did my sister._
Nicky pressed a hand against the wall and bowed her head. In truth, she didn’t remember much of the attack that had transformed Lisa into a werewolf, or even how she’d gotten back to Los Angeles almost a year later. But even if she couldn’t remember it, she couldn’t forget the four long, jagged scars that ran between her breasts and down to her bellybutton. Lisa called every week, had since she could remember. Each time, forcing her to acknowledge that she was only a human while Lisa no longer was.
“You should have listened to your friend,” a man’s voice said from down her hallway. While lighter in tone than Alex’s, there was a growled undertone to the words. Nicky jerked her head up. A tall figure stood in her hallway, hidden in the shadows of her apartment. “He was right that you should’ve left. If you come with me peacefully, I promise that you’ll will not be hurt. Just come quietly, and tell us where your pup is.”
_My pup? What the hell?_ Nicky blinked and crossed her arms over her chest. “How the hell did you know that? Who are you? I don’t own a dog.”
“I do not mean a dog. I mean your child. Where is he?”
“What? Who are you? Why are you in my apartment? Get out! I don’t have any children or any dogs. I don’t own a cat, either. No pets, no men, and no children!” Nicky glanced toward her nightstand. While she owned a gun, it did no good hidden away when she needed it right now. The man chuckled.
“A gun would do no good against me, though you are wise enough to own one. I can smell its steel from here. Recently oiled, I see. The scent of it is on you.”
Nicky drew in a sharp breath. Her throat burned with the need to cough. It burst out with brutal force, her shoulders shaking as she struggled to breathe.
The intruder crossed the distance between them in two strides, his hands outstretched to seize her shoulders. She jerked away, one hand over her mouth, the other waving him away. He stayed just out of reach, staring at her through a curtain of his dark hair.
There was nothing to distinguish him as anything other than human, albeit a handsome one. Standing in the light, he wore tight-fitting jeans, a pair of black cowboy boots, and a black leather jacket over a white dress shirt. His eyes reminded her of a wolf’s, golden and glinting with a light of their own.
Just like Alex’s eyes.
“You’re a werewolf,” she gasped out. The man tilted his head to the side and flashed her a grin.
“Now why would you think something like that?”
“If you had my sister, you wouldn’t ask that question. I think that you are probably looking for her. I’ll be quite happy to forget about this whole thing if you leave right now and go knocking at her door instead. I’d even be quite happy to give you the address and make you her problem. I don’t have anything to do with your likes. No offense, but I don’t have a thing for dogs.”
He reached his hand out to her. Nicky flinched away, taking a step back toward her bed and the handgun.
“No, it is you my pack leader desires. And I do not disobey. Understand? When the Alpha calls, I answer. And no slip of a woman will stop me. James said this house, showed me your picture, so you’ll be coming with me. Quietly. Wouldn’t do to disturb your neighbors.”
Damnit, Alex. This is somehow your fault. If your pack hadn’t gone crazy and attacked Lisa and me, wouldn’t be in this situation right now. So tempted to castrate you if I make it up to Canada. Nicky put on her best smile, the one she reserved for the director or one of the lackeys at the movie studios. “Well, seeing as I can’t best one of your kind, at least let me get dressed. I don’t suppose I’ll be done with your pack leader before, say, five tomorrow?”
“You’ll be finished when James says you’ll be finished. If you come quiet, fine, get changed. But be quick about it. It wouldn’t do to leave him waiting.”
The man leaned against the frame of her bedroom door, his eyes following her as she crossed the room to her dressed. She arched a brow at him after lifting out a t-shirt and jeans. “Do you mean to watch me change, then?”
“Said not to take my eyes off you for a moment after I got you,” was the smug response. “And no smart man would turn their back knowing there was a woman with a gun nearby.”
“As if something like a gun would hurt you,” she replied. The coughing fit struck without warning. She leaned against the oak dressed, her fingers curling into fists around the clothes she held. Damned laryngitis. _Damned werewolf. Damned Alex. No better than Alex’s kin. Should’ve known. Can’t even file a police report. What would I tell them? ‘Oh, Officer, a man that can transform into a dog-man-thing broke into my house and demanded I see his pack leader.’._
“Fine, fine. Just stay over there where I can see you.” _It is no different than changing with actors and actresses around. You’ve changed on camera before. And if he is telling the truth about his pack leader, it should be all right. I hope._
The man’s smile was gone by the time she wiggled out of her nightgown. His eyes focused on the long scars, both brows furrowed. She slipped into her jeans and worked her way into a sports bra before shrugging on the t-shirt.
“Those are wolf scars.” The smugness in his voice was gone.
First Paragraph of The Jewel of the Hidden Hand:
Vera pressed her back against the cool stone of the hall and peered around the corner. Lords and ladies clustered in her Father’s hall. The golds, greens, blues, and reds of their attire spread through the white marble chamber with the same disregard for order as the fallen leaves of autumn. A breeze wafted through the great stone doors of the Imperial Palace. The scent of salt and sea drowned out the perfume that wafted from her jewel-encrusted gown. The golden fabric hung heavy over her shoulders, the ambers and sun stone beads catching the light and glittering with each breath. Her corset cut off her breath, the laces tightened to the point that her ribs ached from the stiff, constraining fabric.