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Excerpt: Irish (Devil’s Boneyard 4)
Fuck me! I hadn’t seen Janessa Rodriguez in so damn long. It still blew my mind that she’d walked into the Devils’ clubhouse. I felt like a complete and utter shit for hurting her the way I had, but it was the right thing to do. If her dad even thought I’d looked at his little girl with any kind of interest, I’d be a dead man. Even though I’d kissed the slut sitting on my lap, after Janessa had walked out, I’d dumped the woman on the floor. I was disgusted with myself.
The years had been really fucking good to her. She still had a pretty olive complexion and dark hair that looked so damn soft. She’d sprouted breasts that were more than a handful since the last time I’d seen her, and hips that screamed she was definitely all woman now. All it had taken was one look and I’d been hard as hell, and not for the woman who had been in my lap.
Janessa had been gone a few hours now, and I figured she was back home where she belonged. I closed my eyes, trying to block out the image of her standing in the doorway, all those gorgeous curves. But it was the look of anguish in her eyes that would haunt me forever. I hadn’t been a saint a day in my life. After meeting the Reaper’s daughter, I’d felt like I was in a downward spiral. She’d been just a kid, a teenager, and my reaction to her had sickened me. So I’d started screwing any woman who offered. Now I was wishing I hadn’t done that.
I’d never counted on her showing up here in Devils’ territory. It had been five years, and I knew she was a grown-ass woman now, but I’d figured her daddy would have her locked up somewhere secure. Away from men like me. Hell, he might have even asked a Reaper to marry her just to keep her safe. Did he even know she’d come here? She had to have been looking for me. I just didn’t understand why. Yeah, she’d plagued my thoughts since the day I’d met her, but surely she hadn’t been waiting for me all this time. Had she? I’d known when she turned eighteen because my VP had made sure I was aware. Maybe he’d thought she’d be the one to tame me, or had just hoped for some sort of reaction. I hadn’t made it a secret that I didn’t plan to settle down. Even knowing she was legal, I’d not had the courage to go after her, though, and had kept my distance. Now I was second-guessing that decision.
The clubhouse doors flew open and Scratch came inside. He never showed up on party nights, not since settling down with his wife and kids. The look on his face told me something was seriously wrong, and all my brothers went on alert. But he ignored every last one of them and came to me. I just couldn’t tell if he wanted to hit me, or console me.
“We need to talk,” Scratch said. “Somewhere quiet.”
“Something wrong, VP?” I didn’t think I’d screwed up lately. Well, other than hurting Janessa.
His tone demanded I obey. I followed Scratch to the back of the clubhouse and through the double doors at the end of the hall. I took a seat and Scratch leaned against the opposite wall, staring at me with his arms folded and a fierce look in his eyes.
“Did I do something?” I asked.
“There’s been an accident.”
I sat up straighter. “Clarity? The kids?”
The VP had an awesome wife and kids, and any one of us would lay down our lives for them. But if Clarity were in trouble, I didn’t think Scratch would be standing in front of me.
He shook his head. “My family is fine. This isn’t about me, son. It’s about you.”
“I don’t understand. You know I don’t have any family here, except the Devils. What’s going on?”
Scratch rubbed at his beard, then sat down in his usual seat. “A blue truck was found along the road heading out of town. It had gone off the road and crashed into a tree. The driver isn’t in good shape, but there are signs that something else happened.”
I still didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I didn’t know anyone with a blue truck. I wished he’d just tell me what the hell was going on. The suspense was going to drive me crazy.
“The truck had a Harley Davidson sticker on the back. And Alabama plates,” he said.
“The Highway Patrol called Cinder, but he didn’t answer, so they tried me next. They thought maybe the driver was related to someone at the club. They found a wallet in a purse. What I want to know is what the fuck Janessa Rodriguez was doing in Devils territory unannounced, and why didn’t someone tell me she was here?”
Oh, God. It suddenly hurt to breathe.
“Janessa,” I said, my voice cracking. “Is she… will she be okay?”
“Someone beat that poor girl half to death, ripped up her clothes…”
I couldn’t help it. I leaned over and threw up.
“She wasn’t sexually assaulted,” Scratch said, “if that’s what you’re thinking. The assholes did piss on her, though. Cut her up, beat her all to hell. They’re hoping to run DNA and figure out who did this to her, but if they aren’t in the system, then it won’t do much good. In the meantime, they haven’t been able to contact her next of kin.”
My heart felt like someone was trying to rip it from my chest. I stood and pulled my keys from my pocket. “I’m going to see her,” I said.
“Son, the only reason I can think of for that little girl to be here at all was to come see you. What the fuck happened? Why was she on a road headed south and not going back home? Or an even better question, why the fuck wasn’t she with you?”
South? I didn’t know. I’d seen how devastated she was when she’d left, and it was my fault. I’d done that to her. I’d thought she’d go home, get on with her life and find some guy her dad would approve of, maybe go off to college or some shit.
“She came here,” I said. “I didn’t talk to her. I was… I was with someone. A club slut. She saw the two of us and she left.”
Scratch cursed and leaned back in his chair. “When Tex wants to remove your balls, I’m not standing in his way. That was a shitty thing to do, Irish, and you damn well know it. That girl was completely hung up on you from the moment she laid eyes on you. Hell, anytime I go see my daughter and grandkids, she still asks about you, even though you never went after her when she turned eighteen.”
I hadn’t known that. Yeah, he’d brought up Janessa from time to time, but I hadn’t known that she’d asked about me, still thought about me. I’d figured when she turned eighteen and I kept my distance that she’d move on. Scratch had only brought her up in passing after that point, almost as if he were feeling me out, but I hadn’t understood why. Until now.
“She’s at the county hospital. You know I have to call the Reapers, right?” he asked.
“Just… give me enough time to see her. Wait twenty minutes before you call. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I need to make things right with her. Is she awake?”
“No. She was unconscious when they found her, and when I got the call, she hadn’t woken yet. You need to prepare yourself. From what I hear, it’s pretty bad.”
I gave a quick nod, then stood up. I stared down at the puke on the floor but Scratch waved me off.
“I’ll have a Prospect clean that up. Go see your woman and hope you don’t have to say goodbye while you’re there,” he said. “And, Irish?”
I met his gaze.
“Despite what you think, that girl is your woman. Don’t fuck it up again.”
Excerpt: Initiation (Wolf Pack 1)
Bleu Davis often wondered if destiny had brought him and Grey Davies together.
Although they were polar opposites, Bleu and Grey became best friends. Propinquity, their parents decided, the tendency for people to form friendships with those whom they encounter often. After all, they lived on the same street and their mothers became pregnant at the same time. The boys were born on the same day and both were named for the color of their eyes. The two families became inseparable. Play dates were arranged and often the families traveled together.
Grey and Bleu’s birthdays and surnames insured that they attended the same classes from kindergarten through middle school. In high school, they started drifting apart. Grey developed into a talented athlete, good in every sport. He was intelligent as well, but preferred to spend his time partying or playing sports. He relied on Bleu, the unathletic scholar, to help him keep his grades up. Grey took advantage of Bleu’s kind nature in other ways as well, repeatedly asking for favors, without returning them or showing gratitude.
Grey’s ego grew as big as the Keystone State. Sometimes he was obnoxiously arrogant, demanding what he wanted and pointing out Bleu’s flaws when Bleu couldn’t deliver. Bleu accepted this treatment, just as he accepted his place as sidekick to the more popular and charismatic Grey.
Bleu knew he was being taken for granted, but he never refused Grey. He felt Grey was destined to be an important person and his needs were more important than Bleu’s. But the real reason was harder to face.
Bleu had feelings for Grey, but he’d been suppressing them for a long time. He couldn’t accept the fact that he might be gay. After all, he dated girls, and had even kissed a few. The kisses were mechanical. “I just haven’t found the right one yet,” Bleu told himself.
But the person Bleu thought about when he masturbated was Grey. He’d imagine himself kissing and touching his friend until he got an erection. It didn’t take long. Then he’d stroke and tug until he came. It felt good, but it didn’t make him happy, because he knew Grey would be disgusted. He always promised himself he wouldn’t do it again, but it didn’t change anything, because what he really wanted, what he really needed, was Grey.
Then one night they were studying in Grey’s bedroom and Bleu almost revealed his secret.
Grey pushed the chair back from his desk and stood. He stretched and grabbed his crotch. “Fuck, I’m horny.”
Bleu was lying on Grey’s bed, his head propped up on two pillows. Programmed to echo Grey, he muttered, “Yeah, me too.” But he kept his eyes on his book.
Grey grabbed Bleu’s book and tossed it aside. “Great. Let’s jerk off.”
Bleu was shaken to the core. He made a grab for his book. “Stop messing around. I have finals tomorrow.”
“And trust me, you’ll concentrate much better after you come.”
Bleu’s face heated. “That’s private. Something I do at home alone.”
“But it’s more fun doing it with somebody.” Grey gave him a sly look. “All the guys whack off together. It doesn’t mean they’re gay.” He paused, waiting for a response.
Bleu feigned disinterest. “I’m not in the mood.”
“I’ll get you in the mood.”
Grey pulled off his jeans and then climbed onto Bleu and straddled his hips. He unzipped Bleu and had his cock in his hand in less than five seconds. “See, you’re hard already.”
Part of Bleu wanted Grey to stop, but the other part wanted this to go on forever. He made a halfhearted attempt to shove Grey off. “Stop playing.”
Grey tugged on Bleu’s cock. “You like this, don’t you?”
How could Bleu deny it? His dick was throbbing and he was already leaking precum.
Grey rubbed the pearly drops of fluid over the head of Bleu’s cock and down the shaft. He fisted Bleu’s cock and slowly stroked the length. A whimper escaped Bleu’s throat and his hips arched.
“Nice.” Grey murmured. “Now you touch my dick the way you would touch yours.”
Excerpt: Accounting for Love (Wit & Wizardry)
“Well, try to be nice to her,” Dillon said.
“Nice isn’t in my nature.”
“I hadn’t noticed. Believe me, Lucas, the only reason you’re working here is because you’re great at your job and because you don’t have to work directly with paying customers.”
“One thing I’ve always liked about you, Dillon. You’re honest.”
Dillon grinned and shook his head. “The second thing I wanted to say is you don’t have to stay late tonight. You have plenty of time to set things in order during working hours. What’s the point of taking a vacation if you’re stressed again by the end of your first day back? It’s St. Patrick’s Day. After work, my brothers and I are going to the pub to hang out with friends. Why don’t you come along?”
“Your brothers hate me and so do your friends.”
“They don’t hate you.”
“And I’m not too fond of them, either.”
“You’ll be doing me a favor if you come. Truth be told, I don’t feel like celebrating anything so soon after…”
Dillon paused and Lucas shook his head. Dillon’s girlfriend had left him recently and despite his grinning exterior, he still hadn’t gotten over it.
“You need to put that woman out of your mind entirely,” Lucas said. “Tell you what, instead of going to the pub, maybe you should work late, too. I find that if I immerse myself in –”
“Forget it. I’ve worked enough late nights and early mornings. I need to relax. If you change your mind about joining us –”
“No thank you, Dillon. I’m not leaving this office until it’s back in order. Pixie slurs aside, I ask again, who looked after this department and left such a mess?”
“That would be me. Your employer.” Dillon grinned and winked before he turned and left Lucas muttering over his paperwork.
* * *
Cait sat at her desk in one of the tallest towers of the magical headquarters of the Wit and Wizardry brewery. She loved working in a renovated castle and she adored her office in the sky. Whenever she needed inspiration, she merely turned to the window and gazed out at the gorgeous Irish countryside.
She’d been staring at her computer for too long and decided she needed some of that inspiration now. To her surprise, instead of sunlight over green fields, she saw moonlight on darkness.
Glancing at her watch, she realized that it was nearly time for the building to close — or at least the operational area. The workers had probably already started leaving, either to go home to their families or perhaps out with friends to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Cait had several invitations, but had declined, not because she didn’t love her family and friends, but because at this time, her job needed extra attention.
Someone tapped on her office door.
“Come in,” she called.
One of her bosses, Daryl Dunn, stepped in carrying a long, slender package wrapped in green paper and decorated with a gold bow.
“Aren’t you going home, Cait?” he asked.
She shook her head. “I want to finish a few things first.”
“It’s already late and it’s St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t you have plans?”
Smiling brightly, she said, “Yes. To stay here and finish my latest project. By Monday I’ll have something amazing for you.”
He approached her desk. “How about an early look?”
“No, please,” she said, stepping in front of her computer. “I want to iron out some kinks and give a proper presentation at the meeting.”
“I’m sure it will be excellent, Cait. You’ve been working nonstop since we hired you. Go home now and enjoy the weekend. Work will still be here on Monday.”
“Thank you, sir, but I wouldn’t be able to relax. It should take just another hour or two. I want to make sure that Wit and Wizardry is still the most popular brewery in the magical world and I don’t want the recent incident to affect sales. It would be my fault if that happened, and believe me, this new campaign will keep the faith that we’re the best.”
“The incident and its effects on our business are the fault of one person — my brother, Dillon. I love the guy, but I don’t know what he was thinking, mixing a true love potion and adding it to random beers before shipping. I think he’s completely lost his mind.”
“No, sir, just his love,” Cait said with sincere sympathy.
She wondered what kind of woman would break up with one of the Dunn brothers. They were rich, attractive and generous. They were also, due to their Leprechaun ancestry, clever and good at business. Good men were hard to find — not that Cait was on the lookout. At the moment she was content with her life. She had a job she enjoyed, her friends and family. Maybe someday, if the right man came along, she’d think about romance…