Soulmate is releasing April 16! #teaser

SOULMATE will be releasing APRIL 16! 

 

  

Gay Romance, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Suspense, May/Dec
Word Count: 52,000
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Scroll down for excerpt.

Guy Keaton doesn’t want a hookup or a soulmate or anything in between. When he lost his wife to cancer, he knew he’d be alone for the rest of his life. He has a grown son, and his woodshop, and in a world where those born with powerful gifts are few and far between, that’s all that really matters.

Theo Fraser’s empathic gift is rare and strong. He isn’t looking for love, but when he meets Guy, everything changes, because he knows that when you find your soulmate, you hold on tight and don’t let go. The only problem is that Guy thinks he’s straight, and Theo doesn’t know if he can convince a man already set in his ways to change his mind.

Will Guy be able to give up his grief and accept Theo’s love? And what happens when a terrible betrayal forces them to fight to keep each other alive?

 

 

Story Excerpt:

“You seem very sure I’m bisexual.” Guy put his hands in his pockets.

Theo paused on the trail. He could see the trailhead just up ahead. “Aren’t you?”

Guy looked at him. “I was married for a long time.”

“That’s not an answer.” Theo took a risk and stepped closer. “I know a great way for you to find out for sure.” He ignored the little voice in his head that was telling him not to be an impulsive idiot. He looked back down the trail and waved a “wait” signal to the two bodyguards trailing them. Julio had already reached the trailhead, and Theo knew he was checking out the car. They were as alone as they were going to get right now. And it’s just a kiss. It’s not like we’re going to have sex in the middle of a hiking trail.

“How?” Guy asked, sounding wary.

“I kiss you right here, right now. If you like it, you’re bi. If you don’t, you’re not.” Theo waited, knowing even as the words left his mouth that nothing in life was as simple as what he’d just suggested. He knew that even if Guy enjoyed the kiss, there would be some serious questions for his soulmate to wade through before he came out the other side. Guy had just spent most of his life thinking he was straight, and denying the feelings that were buried deep all along. And I know firsthand that it isn’t easy to change beliefs you hold onto too tightly, Theo mused, thinking of his parents. He shook off the bad memories. Now was not the time to dredge up that emotional shitstorm.

“That’s crazy,” Guy said, half smiling, and half looking like a man about to run for the hills. “You could be a shitty kisser.”

Theo smirked. Guy hadn’t said no. “I’m an Empath. I’m incapable of being a shitty kisser.”

Guy laughed, as Theo had intended. “So the rumors about Empaths are true? They’re great in bed?”

Theo didn’t reply. He let his silence speak for him.

Guy ran a hand over the back of his neck. “This is crazy,” he muttered, repeating himself.

Theo’s cock swelled as he sensed Guy’s tentative arousal. And fear. Don’t forget the fear, he thought, as his power instinctively reached out to his soulmate. Guy was the one person in the world he would never be able to block out. He sensed Guy’s attraction to him, and his anxiety, as well as his bone-deep weariness with being sad. The relaxation he’d felt just a little while ago on the trail lingered, too.

“Yeah, okay. What the hell,” Guy said, stepping closer. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

Theo grinned. “You sound like a man trying to decide if he should try out a new taco, not a kiss.”

“It’s just as terrifying,” Guy replied instantly. “You never know when a taco could be harboring one of those insanely hot peppers. I could get burned.”

Theo reached out and put a hand on Guy’s shoulder, willing him to relax. “I’m not a habanero, Guy,” Theo murmured.

“You might as well be,” Guy said, his voice catching.

Theo moved his hand from Guy’s shoulder to his cheek. “Shh.”

Guy’s eyes widened.

Theo put his thumb on Guy’s lips and sensed a sudden spike in the older man’s arousal. Here goes nothing, he thought, just before he leaned in and kissed his soulmate for the first time.

****

Guy froze as Theo’s lips touched his. Theo’s mouth was soft and expressive, and so damned hot he thought he might go up in flames if he moved even an inch. He stood there, trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with him, when suddenly his Craft power lit up through his body. Energy rushed through him, and he reached out to grab Theo’s arms. He meant to push him away, but he found himself clutching at the younger man as if he were a life raft and Guy was drowning.

“Easy,” Theo murmured against his mouth.

“Fuck.” Guy kissed him back, searching for … what? He had no idea. All he knew was that he’d never felt so damned aroused in his life. His cock shoved against his pants, hard and hot and insistent. He groaned when Theo slid his hands into his hair and kissed him again, licking into his mouth with intent. They were the same height, so Guy didn’t have to crane his neck down the way he’d had to in order to kiss Pamela. It was strange. Hot. More than that, though, he felt unbalanced. Confused.

Theo gentled the kiss and pulled back. “There.”

There? Who was the man kidding? Guy stared at him. Was Theo as stunned as he was? The younger man’s mouth looked red and slightly swollen. I did that to him, Guy thought, and then, But I’m straight.

“Dammit,” Theo muttered, and then he stepped closer and kissed Guy again.

This time, Theo pressed himself up against Guy’s torso, and for the first time in his life, Guy felt another man’s hard-on against his hip. “Jesus,” he gasped, unable to stop his body’s instinctive thrust forward. He grabbed Theo’s arms again, absently reveling in the man’s strength, and pulled him closer. “What the fuck is happening?”

Theo answered by biting Guy’s lower lip.

Guy moaned into Theo’s mouth, and walked them back until the younger man’s body hit the sturdy oak tree at the edge of the trail. Guy’s Craft flared again, and the tree shuddered as his energy hit it, but then Theo slid his tongue into his mouth and he didn’t care about anything except the younger man coaxing him to open himself wide. He did, and Theo bit him again. Guy’s erection swelled, and he gasped. He slid his hands down Theo’s arms to his hips.

“Oh, God,” Theo said, head thunking back against the tree as Guy pushed into him.

Manic Readers loved The Fixer (The Criminals 2)!

mrheader

The Fixer (The Criminals #2) received 4 stars at Manic Readers!

“This story by Ms. Leaf is well written and enjoyable.  I enjoyed returning to this world and look forward to more in the future.”

Read the rest of the review.

buy links: EvernightAmazon – BookStrand –  SmashwordsKoboiBookstore – Barnes & Noble

  

Gay Romance, Suspense, Erotic Romance, Lawless, May/Dec
Word Count: 42,500
Heat Level: 4
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Scroll down for an excerpt.

When Zero Graham wakes up in the hospital, he has only one thing on his mind: revenge on the mastermind who shot him and trashed his home. He’s the best fixer in the business, and that means he has a reputation to uphold.

Julian Amon doesn’t want to check up on his mother’s patient, but he can’t say no to her, and he finds the older man intriguingly hot. His decision to tag along when Zero checks himself out of the hospital borders on crazy, but the older man interests him, and Julian has always enjoyed a good mystery.

Zero doesn’t want or need a babysitter, but Julian’s physical competence and lack of fear push all of his buttons in exactly the right way. Violence is his kink, and the younger man doesn’t seem to mind the scent of blood, but will Julian be able to handle the pressure when Zero closes in on his enemy?

What are people saying about The Fixer?

Manic Readers — 4 stars!

“This story by Ms. Leaf is well written and enjoyable.  I enjoyed returning to this world and look forward to more in the future.”

Story Excerpt:

Zero couldn’t help it. He leaned in and cupped Julian’s cheeks. Fine auburn stubble pricked his palms. He loved it. “Darling, how enterprising of you,” he murmured. He really liked this man. Julian’s delightful combination of youthful innocence married to a startling level of self-confidence flat out did it for him. Instead of jerking his head away from Zero’s hands, Julian’s skin heated more. Zero watched while the younger man’s face flushed a deeper pink. “Lovely,” he murmured.

“What the hell, Zero?” Julian stared at him.

Aw, fuck it. Zero moved closer, crowding Julian up against the bathroom door. It didn’t take much movement to pin the younger man there. His motorhome might be a luxury model, but it was still a small space for two large men. “Are you quite certain you want to stay here with me, Julian?” he asked, giving the man one last exit possibility. “I can’t guarantee that you will remain innocent under my care.”

“Innocent?” Julian laughed. “I’m not innocent, and neither am I in your care. For the last time, I’m a grown man. I choose where I want to be.” Julian leaned into Zero’s touch, eyes going heavy lidded. “You keep making the assumption that I don’t know what I want.” He put his hands on Zero’s wrists. “I’m bisexual. I’ve never been in anyone’s closet, let alone my own. Stop pretending that you’re in charge of my life, Zero.”

Arousal slammed into Zero, despite his exhaustion. Most men looked at his size and ran the other way. The ones who liked their lovers big ran away when they discovered Zero’s brain was just as impressive as the rest of his body. Julian, however, hadn’t shied away even once. Delight warred with the violence Zero worked so hard to keep in check. He wanted to grind himself into Julian until they were both dirty and aching. Zero hummed under his breath, and leaned in. “I’m going to kiss you now. And you’re going to like it.”

“So much talk,” Julian whispered, but Zero’s mouth shut him up.

****

Julian froze the moment Zero’s lips touched his. Instead of devouring him, Zero coaxed him open gently. Instead of biting, Zero licked and nibbled until Julian’s need for a solid touch burned through him. He yanked Zero closer, groaning when the man’s heavy body pressed him to the wall. “Fuck, Zero. Stop with the teasing.”

Zero lifted his head. “Oh, but teasing can lead to such delightful things, Julian.”

Julian answered by biting Zero’s bottom lip. “You talk too much.” He knew he was asking for trouble by hooking up with a guy recovering from a gunshot wound, who also had a lot of unfinished and probably illegal business to deal with, but fuck if he cared right now. He wanted Zero. He hadn’t felt this revved up by a simple kiss, like, ever. So what if I get myself in trouble? I gotta live my life, right? He licked inside, chasing the fading taste of beer on Zero’s breath.

Zero shuddered, hands going around Julian’s neck. He threaded his fingers up into Julian’s hair. “Mmmm. You taste like a very, very bad idea.”

Julian groaned, then ground his cock into Zero’s hip. “Don’t overthink this, Zero. We could have a good time together.” He wasn’t a small man, and he knew he was in fantastic shape, but his lean muscles were no match for Zero’s bulky frame. Decades of some kind of weight lifting had given Zero enough mass to shoulder his way through just about anything. He locked one hand in Julian’s hair, and then he used the other to jerk Julian closer. Julian let him. Hell, Julian liked it.

“Someday we’re going to fuck and nothing will be the same ever again,” Zero murmured.

“Promises, promises.” Julian smirked, grinding against Zero until his dick hurt with the pressure. “You feel like a guy in need of some relief.”

“Fuck.” Zero’s eloquence seemed to have completely deserted him. Julian let Zero manhandle him down the hall to the master bedroom.

“You’re going to get us both killed,” Zero muttered, muscles bulging as he moved.

“But what a sweet way to die,” Julian replied, not giving a shit about Zero’s paranoia. “You talk too much.” He inhaled, catching a hint of the man he knew lay under all the hospital scents.

Zero grunted, lips busy along Julian’s jawline. “You don’t know what you’re fucking with.”

“I know you’re going to fuck up your incisions if you keep that up,” Julian said when Zero shoved him up against yet another wall.

“Shut up.” Zero kissed him again, savagely this time.

When the kiss ended, Julian gasped for air. “We definitely doing this then?” he asked, trying to get his bearings.

Zero stared at him, dark eyes gone black with lust. “You better be very sure, my dear.”

 

 

Soulmate is coming soon!

When you find your soulmate, hold on tight and don’t let go.

Book 1 of my new series will be releasing in APRIL! 

Gay Romance, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Suspense, May/Dec
Word Count: 52,000
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

 

Guy Keaton doesn’t want a hookup or a soulmate or anything in between. When he lost his wife to cancer, he knew he’d be alone for the rest of his life. He has a grown son, and his woodshop, and in a world where those born with powerful gifts are few and far between, that’s all that really matters.

Theo Fraser’s empathic gift is rare and strong. He isn’t looking for love, but when he meets Guy, everything changes, because he knows that when you find your soulmate, you hold on tight and don’t let go. The only problem is that Guy thinks he’s straight, and Theo doesn’t know if he can convince a man already set in his ways to change his mind.

Will Guy be able to give up his grief and accept Theo’s love? And what happens when a terrible betrayal forces them to fight to keep each other alive?

 

Happy READ AN eBOOK WEEK!

Stock up and save 25% on your entire order now through 3/10 at evernightpublishing.com with Coupon Code: ebook2018

Here’s my Complete Book List at Evernight :

Author Page

Four-Letter Word TM

Risk is a Four-Letter Word

Kiss is a Four-Letter Word

Lick is a Four-Letter Word

 

Angel Shifters TM

Angel’s Honor

Angel’s Power

Angel’s Blade

Angel’s Shield

 

Planet Alpha TM

Broken

Damaged

 

Stronghold TM

Dark

Dusk

Dawn

Day

 

The Billionaire’s Bodyguard TM

The Billionaire’s Bodyguard

The Blizzard (FREE)

Better Together

 

Blue’s Boys TM

Thief

Cops

Beloved

 

Bad Oak Boys TM

Rock Star Baby

Alpha Shaman

Wulfgang

Lone Wolf

 

Sky Hunters TM

Gunpoint

The Criminals TM

The Nullifier

The Fixer

Anthologies

Lover Unexpected: Sappho Edition

 

Stand-Alone Books

Love, Desperately

Little Dove

Something Shifty

Kaylee’s First Crush

Shane’s Submission

Mr. Rockstar

You Taste So Sweet

Joyful Devastation

Karma Bites

Captive Fire

Bitter Bite

Handy Harry

Caged Killer

Her Dangerous Mistake

LR Cafe’s Best of 2017 voting is open!

Vote for your favorite author/book at LR Cafe!

I’m up for BEST AUTHOR of 2017! Please vote for me! *begs shamelessly*

Best Author of 2017: Erin Leaf

Evernight, my awesome publisher, has many books nominated in the LR Cafe Best of 2017 awards. Voting is this week. Please support your favorite Evernight authors!

Best Science Fiction/Futuristic/Space Opera Book:
All That Shatters by James Cox

Best BDSM/Kink Book:
Paddled by the Teacher by Ravenna Tate

In His Hands by Raven McAllan

Best Contemporary Book:
A Different Kind of Therapy by Charlotte Howard

Best Anthology/Boxed Set:
Lawless by Multiple Authors

Best All Around Book of 2017:
Break Me by Elyzabeth M. VaLey

Best GBLTQ Book:
Winning the Campaign Manager by Lucy Felthouse

Coy Wolf by Gale Stanley

All That Shatters by James Cox

Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Book:
Beauty and the Gargoyle by Tamsin Baker Author

Best Author of 2017:
Erin Leaf
James Cox
Lily Harlem

Best Ménage Book:
A Fighter’s Love by Lily Harlem

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/L6T9VV5

Evernight’s 7th Birthday Celebration!

Head on over to Facebook and join me for Evernight’s 7th Birthday Celebration!

I will be chatting with you TODAY, Thursday, October 26th, at 4 pm EST. I’d love to talk about my upcoming novel, The Nullifier. Or we can discuss Day, the final book of my Stronghold series. Or you can just… well, ask me anything!

There will be all sorts of fun photos and teasers and general ridiculousness you won’t want to miss. 😀

Author line-up (all times Eastern/NY Time):

Thursday, 10/26/2017
9:30 – 10:00 AM Ravenna Tate
10:00 – 10:30 AM Sam Crescent
10:30 – 11:00 AM Lynn Burke
11:00 – 11:30 AM Iyana Jenna
1:00 – 2:00 PM ASK THE ARTIST: Jay Aheer
2:00 – 3:00 PM ASK THE EDITOR: Christine Klocek-Lim
3:00 – 3:30 PM Kory Steed
3:30 – 4:00 PM Nicola Cameron
4:00 – 4:30 PM Erin Leaf
4:30 – 5:00 PM Naomi Clark
5:00 – 5:30 PM Jocelyn Dex
5:30 – 6:00 PM Melody Jewell
6:30 – 7:00 PM Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
7:00 – 7:30 PM Cecile Tellier
7:30 – 8:00 PM L.D. Blakeley
8:00 – 8:30 PM Roe Valentine
8:30 – 9:00 PM J. J. Lore
9:00 – 9:30 PM Angelique Voisen

Friday, 10/27/2017
9:00 – 9:30 AM Lea Bronsen
9:30 – 10:00 AM Katherine Wyvern
10:30 – 11:00 AM Jessie Pinkham
11:00 – 11:30 AM Allyson Young
11:30 – 12:00 PM Peri Elizabeth Scott author
12:00 – 12:30 PM Aletta Thorne
2:00 – 2:30 PM Tanya Jean Russell
2:30 – 3:00 PM Katerina Ross
5:00 – 5:30 PM Elyzabeth M. VaLey
5:30 – 6:00 PM C. E. Vescio / Cara Vescio
6:00 – 6:30 PM ASK THE EDITOR: Diana Stager Thomas
6:30 – 7:00 PM Lorraine Nelson
7:30 – 8:00 PM Megan Morgan
8:00 – 8:30 PM Magali Fréchette
8:30 – 9:00 PM Jean Maxwell
9:00 – 9:30 PM Libby Bishop
10:30 – 11:00 PM April Zyon Author

 

 

Evernight Celebrates 7 Years of Publishing!

Head on over to Facebook and join me for Evernight’s 7th Birthday Celebration!

I will be chatting with you on Thursday, October 26th, at 4 pm EST. I’ll be happy to talk about my upcoming novel, The Nullifier. Or we can discuss Day, the final book of my Stronghold series. Or you can just… well, ask me anything!

There will be all sorts of fun photos and teasers and general ridiculousness you won’t want to miss. 😀

Author line-up (all times Eastern/NY Time):

Thursday, 10/26/2017
9:30 – 10:00 AM Ravenna Tate
10:00 – 10:30 AM Sam Crescent
10:30 – 11:00 AM Lynn Burke
11:00 – 11:30 AM Iyana Jenna
1:00 – 2:00 PM ASK THE ARTIST: Jay Aheer
2:00 – 3:00 PM ASK THE EDITOR: Christine Klocek-Lim
3:00 – 3:30 PM Kory Steed
3:30 – 4:00 PM Nicola Cameron
4:00 – 4:30 PM Erin Leaf
4:30 – 5:00 PM Naomi Clark
5:00 – 5:30 PM Jocelyn Dex
5:30 – 6:00 PM Melody Jewell
6:30 – 7:00 PM Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
7:00 – 7:30 PM Cecile Tellier
7:30 – 8:00 PM L.D. Blakeley
8:00 – 8:30 PM Roe Valentine
8:30 – 9:00 PM J. J. Lore
9:00 – 9:30 PM Angelique Voisen

Friday, 10/27/2017
9:00 – 9:30 AM Lea Bronsen
9:30 – 10:00 AM Katherine Wyvern
10:30 – 11:00 AM Jessie Pinkham
11:00 – 11:30 AM Allyson Young
11:30 – 12:00 PM Peri Elizabeth Scott author
12:00 – 12:30 PM Aletta Thorne
2:00 – 2:30 PM Tanya Jean Russell
2:30 – 3:00 PM Katerina Ross
5:00 – 5:30 PM Elyzabeth M. VaLey
5:30 – 6:00 PM C. E. Vescio / Cara Vescio
6:00 – 6:30 PM ASK THE EDITOR: Diana Stager Thomas
6:30 – 7:00 PM Lorraine Nelson
7:30 – 8:00 PM Megan Morgan
8:00 – 8:30 PM Magali Fréchette
8:30 – 9:00 PM Jean Maxwell
9:00 – 9:30 PM Libby Bishop
10:30 – 11:00 PM April Zyon Author

 

 

Day (Stronghold 4) #FirstChapter Excerpt!

This is how Bruno and Amy’s story begins….

Bruno Day knows the moment he sets eyes on Amy that he won’t be able to stay away from her, but he doesn’t want to drag her into his dangerous life—his duty is to save humanity. She may help them survive if he makes her his mate, but what if the price is her death?

Amy Roderick never expects Bruno Day to show up at her house and ask for her help. She’s just an ordinary person, and he’s the larger-than-life leader of the Sentries. What could she possibly do to help? And why are her instincts telling her they’re meant for each other?

Power and determination have kept them safe for years, but now Bruno and his brothers must face the ultimate battle: an alien swarm that could devour the entire planet. Everything depends on the decision of one young woman: will Amy follow her heart or sacrifice her life for duty?

buy links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandSmashwordsKobo – iBooksBarnes & Noble

 

First Chapter Excerpt:

Bruno Day stood at the window of his penthouse in midtown Manhattan. The thunderstorm rolling up the East River threw lightning at the horizon like a vengeful child while ominous clouds billowed over the Statue of Liberty in the distance. He couldn’t help but think of the storm as a portent of doom.

The silver shield ring he held chilled his palm, so he closed his fingers around it to warm the special alloy. He didn’t usually have time to stand around idle, but today he’d somehow managed to squeeze out thirty minutes of blank space in the midst of his insanely busy day. He wished he hadn’t. Nothing good ever came of giving himself time to brood. When the elevator doors to his floor opened on the far wall, he turned in relief. His mind had been circling the same problem with no solution for days now.

“Bruno? I have the briefing on your next appointment ready,” his assistant, Eileen Parker, said as she stepped out of the lift. As usual, she wore her hair scraped back into a tight ponytail. Her suit jacket and slacks were immaculately pressed. If he didn’t know better, he’d almost think she was an automaton, but the photos of her daughter and husband on her office desk two floors down belied her professional exterior. He’d seen her with her family, and his empathic gift gave him more intimate details of the people he met than they realized. He knew Eileen’s emotions well. He knew her kindness and loyalty. He counted on them. And her efficiency continued to impress him.

“Thank you,” Bruno said, walking toward her. They met in the middle of the vast space, near the Stronghold pillar that dominated the center of the room.

She unclipped a paper from her clipboard and handed it to him. “This should be a fairly routine meeting. Fifteen minutes tops,” she said.

Bruno nodded and scanned the information. “The President sent his favorite hacker to interrogate me? For what?”

“Because he can.” Eileen laughed. “If that’s what you want to call his cyber-security chief.”

Bruno sighed softly. “I hope they don’t still think that the Stronghold net has somehow compromised the government’s networks.”

“They long for something damaging that will force the Sentries under their control. Something that will force you, as the most visible Sentry, to answer to them.” Eileen reshuffled the rest of the papers on her board, then tucked it between her arm and torso. “Human nature and all that.”

“I know, but that will never happen. They couldn’t force us to do their bidding if they tried. My brothers and I must remain outside and above human governments,” Bruno said, rescanning the brief. As he did so, he absently rolled his shield ring around his palm. He glanced up to find Eileen frowning at him, and closed the ring inside his fist. “What?”

“When are you going to see her?” She looked pointedly at his closed hand.

Bruno stared at his assistant. He knew better than to assume Eileen didn’t know what was happening. He knew she’d spoken to his brother Greyson’s wife, Eva, just yesterday. If Eileen was asking this question, that meant all of his brothers and their paired mates knew everything. “You spoke with Eva?” he asked, stalling for time.

“Of course.”

Bruno exhaled. “There’s no rush to go see Saige’s friend.”

“No?” Eileen tilted her head. “Saige is a good person. I’m glad Isaac found her.” She narrowed her eyes. “But she isn’t in Flagstaff anymore. Isaac took her out to Alpha Centauri in one of the starships, remember? If her friend Amy needs protection, shouldn’t you give that ring to her?” She nodded at his fist.

“Amy Roderick is safe. She has Isaac’s ring.” Bruno didn’t elaborate. He didn’t have to. Eileen understood enough to know he was being uncharacteristically reluctant with her.

“But the ring Amy has is meant for Saige, right? It’s for Isaac’s wife, not for her best friend to carry around,” Eileen pointed out.

Bruno sensed her honest concern, and suppressed his frustration. He’d foreseen this exact moment in a dream over two hundred years ago, and one would think that having that much time to chew over an event was long enough to get used to the idea of meeting one’s mate. It wasn’t. He had no desire to put an innocent young woman’s life at risk, even if it meant he’d finally have someone to share his life with. “I need you to clear my schedule for the next few weeks,” he heard himself say, as if from a great distance.

Eileen’s eyes widened with surprise. “Weeks? Are you serious?”

Bruno nodded, understanding her shock. He never took time off, and certainly never that long a stretch at a time. “I’m sorry. I know what a mess that will cause.” But I can’t run from my fate any longer. The world’s survival depends on me. And on Amy, though she doesn’t know it yet.

“I’ll do my best,” Eileen said as worry seeped into her expression. “What’s happening?”

Bruno shook his head. “Nothing is happening right now. No incursions or swarms, so you can rest easy, Eileen. I am merely taking your advice.” He showed her the ring he still held. “I may not be gone for that long. I may be able to resolve things sooner.” He lifted a shoulder. “But I can’t promise it.” He squeezed his fingers around the silver ring so tightly that it hurt his joints.

Eileen stared at him for a long moment, and then her expression eased. “Bruno, if you want a rest, you should take all the time you need. You have never taken even one day off since I first started working for you twenty years ago.”

“Sentries do not take time off.” Bruno knew the words sounded pompous the moment they left his mouth, but they were true, nonetheless. He smiled wryly as he caught Eileen’s smirk.

“Tell that to Greyson. He hid in his woods for what? Decades?” Eileen smiled. “That’s a lot of time off.”

Bruno folded the briefing notes in half and then in half again. “My brother had good reason to hide away. And he has different duties to fulfill.”

Eileen raised an eyebrow at him.

Bruno pursed his lips, and then decided to tell her a secret that she surely suspected after working with him so long. “You know that Sentries have certain abilities, yes?” he asked, watching her for the merest hint of confusion. “Beyond the technology we use to safeguard Earth from the Spiders.”

She nodded. “Yes. I figured that out in the first year I worked for you.” Eileen glanced at the pillar in the center of the room. “And you have some impressive technology, but that’s not what you mean, is it?”

“The abilities I refer to are biological tech. Long ago, a group of benevolent aliens tampered with our DNA,” he explained.

“Everyone knows that,” Eileen said, frowning. “But the Others have been gone for a long time, right?”

If only she knew, Bruno thought, remembering the alien he’d fought with his brother, Isaac, just a few short weeks ago. “Yes. They are extinct,” he said, not wishing to explain the situation that had led to a single, surviving, rogue Other attacking his brother and his paired mate. The creature was dead now, anyway. “What no one knows is that we have a heightened sense of empathy,” he continued, watching her closely for signs of disbelief. There were none.

Eileen waited a moment, then nodded when he didn’t elaborate. “Well, I assumed you had some sort of enhanced intuition, given the way you interact with politicians and the like. I know that you are gifted. No one else could keep all these crazy leaders from blowing each other up.”

“Humans can be very trying.” Bruno grimaced. “What I have is more than simple intuition. It’s an energy-based ability to read and sometimes influence the emotions of other people.”

Eileen blinked. “You can literally sense my emotions?”

“Yes.” Bruno smiled. “Right now, you are feeling surprise, but also satisfaction. I have confirmed something you suspected but did not know how to articulate.” He exhaled. “I’m relieved that you’re not afraid.”

“I’ve known you too long to fear you,” she said slowly. “However, what does this have to do with Greyson and his short temper? And why he hid himself away in a forest for so long?”

Bruno swept out a hand. “Imagine being able to sense the emotions of everyone around you. Then imagine being in the midst of one of the largest concentrations of sentient beings on the planet.” He looked out of the windows at the storm drenching the city. “Imagine feeling all of Manhattan inside your brain.”

Eileen blanched. “Oh.” She followed his gaze, then put a hand to her throat. “Dear God.” She glanced back at him. “How do you function? I assume you can feel … everyone.”

“I can, and it’s often quite uncomfortable.” He ran two fingers along the crease in the paper he still held. “I have developed some coping mechanisms after so long among so many humans, but Greyson’s work requires him to remain more open. He requires solitude.”

“Open? Open to what?” Eileen asked, then visibly gathered her wits. “Wait. He’s an engineer. He creates a lot of your tech, and he uses this ability to help him do that,” she reasoned.

Bruno didn’t interrupt her musing. His assistant was a highly intelligent woman, and she’d already gotten to the point he didn’t have to explain aloud.

“And that leaves his mind exposed, since he’s manipulating energy, right? He’s grumpy because he feels too much.”

“Precisely,” Bruno said, not surprised that she’d put it together so quickly.

Eileen frowned. “And you all have this ability?”

Bruno sighed. “To a certain extent, yes. We can all heal a little bit, and use our energy against the Spiders, but our abilities are most focused where our interests lie.” He waved a hand at his home in the middle of one of the biggest cities on the planet. “I am good with people.” He had other gifts, but they weren’t something he felt comfortable sharing. Even his younger brothers didn’t know everything about him. They’d all inherited their abilities from their parents, but his father had tinkered with him when he’d been born, boosting his personal energy beyond natural levels. When he fully bonded with his paired mate, her power would match his. It was another reason he’d been so reluctant to claim Amy: he didn’t want her to have to deal with such a difficult responsibility.

Eileen raised her eyebrows, obviously recalling numerous incidents over the years when his private anger had bled through his extremely composed exterior. He didn’t bother to explain. He’d done nothing more than stalk around in private, even at his most angered. No politician had ever seen him less than composed. One thing he prided himself on was his self-discipline. A man in his position could not afford to lose control. Ever. He continued his explanation. “And when we pair, our mates gain the ability, too, because their DNA is irrevocably changed during the process.”

Eileen went still for a moment, and then she tilted her head. “You feel more than Greyson, don’t you?”

Bruno stared at her. She deserves at least some of the truth. “No one knows this.”

“I’ve known you for almost my entire adult life, Bruno. You’re over two hundred years old.” Eileen ran a hand over her face. “Jesus. I thought living forever was a curse. This is worse.”

He laughed shortly. “It is also a gift.”

She shook her head. “No. Now I definitely know you need time off.” She flapped her hands at him. “Go. I’ll take care of all your meetings.”

“Thank you,” Bruno glanced outside. He’d go tomorrow. Perhaps startling the girl on a Saturday would be less stressful for both of them. And she’d likely be home, not at work.

“Do you need a driver?” Eileen asked.

“No. I don’t think showing up with an entourage would endear me to her,” he replied.

“Oh, I don’t know. If the most powerful man in the world showed up at my door with all of his minions, I’d probably be pretty damn impressed,” Eileen retorted, eyes twinkling. “I might even swoon on my doorstep.”

Oh, hell no. Never. Bruno made a face. “I did show up at your door one day. Your daughter vomited all over my shoes. I had to throw them out. I had no idea that human bile could destroy leather.”

“That’s because you insisted on coming to see if we were all right. I told you to stay away that day. We all had the plague.” She rolled her eyes. “And anyway, that was years ago. Many years ago. Martha’s all grown up and off at college. She knows how to throw up in a toilet now.”

Bruno smiled, pleased that Eileen wasn’t treating him any differently after the past few minutes’ disclosures. What she didn’t know was that he’d used his healing abilities on her and her family that day, so long ago. When he’d shown up at her house, he’d wanted to make sure that they hadn’t contracted a particularly virulent form of ‘flu, and a bit of discreet healing had assured him that they would be okay. He didn’t regret the vomit, not that he’d admit that to her. He had to maintain his stern image, after all. “If Amy is still in Arizona, I’ll use a starship. If she’s back on the east coast, I’ll take my motorcycle,” he said instead of elaborating on that particular visit.

“The Harley?” Eileen laughed. “Oh, Amy’s mother is going to love you.”

Bruno narrowed his eyes. At that moment, a loud roll of thunder echoed across the room as rain started pelting the floor-to-ceiling windows when the wind changed direction.

Eileen shook her head, still smiling. “Enjoy the briefing, if you can. And then enjoy your time off. You deserve it.” She checked her watch. “I’m heading out for the day, but if you need anything—”

“I know how to text, Eileen. You forced me to learn how several years ago, remember?” He walked her to the elevator.

“Yes, yes. But still. I know you. If you need anything, I’m only a phone call away.”

“It’s a good thing your husband trusts you,” Bruno muttered.

“He’s met you, remember? I think he told me that you would never be so crass as to steal another man’s woman,” Eileen said, stepping on the elevator. She grinned at him.

Bruno refrained from yet another sigh. He didn’t mean to come off so stuffy. He simply had a great deal of responsibility, and never enough time to handle most of the problems that fell across his desk. He’d considered hiring more assistants, but almost immediately dismissed the thought because more people close to him would only weaken the security of the Stronghold net he and his brothers maintained. They had to remain vigilant, as the non-sentient Spiders continued to send swarms down to the surface of the planet every so often. He slid the shield ring into his pocket. No, he’d manage. He always did. And he didn’t want a crowd of folks following him around all day, every day. It was bad enough living in the middle of one of the largest cities on the planet.

“Have a lovely weekend, Eileen.” He pushed the button to send the elevator down to her office level.

“You, too,” she said, as the doors closed.

Bruno ran a hand over his face, sensing her amusement fading as she descended, and then he checked the time again. He had approximately seven minutes until the briefing, just enough time to check in with Isaac. He went to the Stronghold pillar and put a hand on the smooth white surface. An interactive window opened, but he didn’t bother trying to establish a video connection. His brother and his new wife, Saige, were out on the edge of the solar system, heading for Alpha Centauri. The Sentry tech could send text over interstellar distances, but not video. He typed an inquiry into the interface as more thunder rolled across the room. The summer storm darkened the view of the city, and overhead lights clicked on automatically as he waited for his brother’s response. He didn’t have to wait long.

Isaac: Bruno. Hey, what’s up?

Bruno: I am going to exchange the shield rings tomorrow. Is she still in Flagstaff? He knew his brother would immediately know he was talking about Saige’s best friend, Amy, so he didn’t bother with explanations. He’d put off the exchange for long enough already.

Isaac: Nope. She’s back with her mom in New Jersey. She graduated, remember?

Bruno frowned, suspecting as much. He’d have to drive. New Jersey was too close to warrant taking a starship. Address?

Isaac: Dude. You’re not seriously going to her mother’s house, are you?

Bruno: Yes. And don’t call me “dude.”

Isaac: I can give you her phone number. This is Saige, here, btw.

Bruno took a breath. He had a feeling Saige was going to give him a hard time. I don’t want her number. I want her address.

Isaac: You have to give her time to prepare!

Prepare for what? Bruno wondered. He checked the time again. He had maybe a minute left before his meeting. No time to be nice to his new sister-in-law. Address.

Isaac: OMG she’s never going to forgive me if I give you her address.

Bruno hated to annoy her, but he had no choice. Saige would understand. Eventually. Put Isaac back on.

Isaac: !!! Fine. 985 Manito Lane, Oakland, NJ. Don’t tell Amy I told you her address or she’ll kill me.

That response startled a smile out of Bruno. He could almost sense her disgruntlement. She’ll know anyway.

Isaac: Shut up. You suck.

Bruno: Isaac has been a poor influence on you, my new sister.

Isaac: I can be irked at you all by myself, Sentry Day.

Bruno grinned. He liked Saige, not that he’d ever tell her that directly. He had a reputation to maintain, after all.

Isaac: Good luck, brother.

Bruno knew that last message was from Isaac. Saige still didn’t feel comfortable calling him “brother”. Thank you. Be safe, out in the universe.

Isaac: The stars are quiet. All is well.

At least there’s that, Bruno thought, relieved that Saige’s first jaunt into deep space was a noneventful one. They didn’t need any Spider incursions right now. Bruno touched the corner of his eye, even though he knew his brother couldn’t see the symbolic gesture. The connection dissolved, and the pillar returned to a seamless white sheen just as his elevator door opened once more. Men walked out, scanning the room for threats and who knew what else. Bruno put on his diplomat’s face, and turned to welcome his last appointment of the day even as rain chased the last of the light into darkness.

Day (Stronghold 4) Coffeehouse Teaser Peek

DAY is now available!

Scroll down for a peek into the time right after DAWN (Stronghold 3), before Bruno Day meets his match. The coffee is hot, but none of them are going to get to drink any.

buy links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandSmashwordsKobo – iBooksBarnes & Noble

Erotic Romance (MF), May/Dec, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Suspense
Word Count: 41,070
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Bruno Day knows the moment he sets eyes on Amy that he won’t be able to stay away from her, but he doesn’t want to drag her into his dangerous life—his duty is to save humanity. She may help them survive if he makes her his mate, but what if the price is her death?

Amy Roderick never expects Bruno Day to show up at her house and ask for her help. She’s just an ordinary person, and he’s the larger-than-life leader of the Sentries. What could she possibly do to help? And why are her instincts telling her they’re meant for each other?

Power and determination have kept them safe for years, but now Bruno and his brothers must face the ultimate battle: an alien swarm that could devour the entire planet. Everything depends on the decision of one young woman: will Amy follow her heart or sacrifice her life for duty?

Coffeehouse Teaser Peek:

Bruno stopped just inside the coffeehouse. “This is a bad idea.” The midmorning crowd filled the small space, and he winced as their emotions battered against his mental walls. Sometimes, being an empath was more of a liability than a gift.

“Doesn’t matter. I’m in desperate need of caffeine.” Isaac pushed past him into the crowd and got in line. Solomon followed.

“He didn’t even try to disguise his appearance,” Bruno muttered.

“You know how Isaac gets without his coffee in the morning.” Greyson scowled as he hung back at Bruno’s side.

Bruno jammed his baseball cap further down on his head. He usually wore a suit and tie in public, but today his worn jeans and leather jacket might keep him from being recognized. He saw people staring at Solomon and Isaac, but so far, he and Greyson seemed to be escaping attention. “We could have made our own coffee. We didn’t have to come here.”

“When Eva gets an idea in her head, it’s best to listen. They wanted to put together a picnic, and they took over the kitchen.” Greyson shrugged. “It is what it is.”

“Isaac could have convinced Saige to let us—” Bruno broke off as Greyson laughed. His gruff younger brother rarely displayed that much emotion.

“You think any of us can argue with our paired mates? You are delusional.” Greyson’s eyes twinkled. “You’ll see.”

“I don’t think so.” Bruno frowned. He knew who his paired mate was, and he had no intention of dragging her into his life. “No woman deserves to wake up every day knowing that the entire world is watching her,” he told his brother. “Ah. Our brothers have been discovered.” He lifted an eyebrow at Greyson, watching Isaac and Solomon slowly back away from the counter as a cluster of young people accosted them. “We are next, you realize.”

Greyson sighed noisily. “Eva really wanted that latte I promised her.”

Bruno shrugged. “It’s not going to happen.”

“Oh my God! It’s Bruno Day,” a girl screamed, grabbing her friend’s arm. “Holy crap, he’s wearing *leather*,” she added, voice rising.

Greyson winced. “You should have worn a ski mask over your face, not that stupid cap.” He stepped behind Bruno as if to hide.

“Coward.” Bruno removed his hat as the girls rushed towards them. He ran his hands through his hair and straightened his shoulders. It wouldn’t do to appear anything less than supremely in control of himself.

“I’m going to slip out the back,” Greyson said.

“Don’t you dare,” Bruno replied, grabbing his arm. His brothers thought they could wander around in public with impunity, but he knew better. A practiced smile slid over his face. “Smile, Greyson. It is time to earn your pay.”

“You don’t pay me,” Greyson said, but he stepped forward to help.

“This is also part of our job,” Bruno told him.

“When you meet your woman, I’m going to tell her you are a cruel man,” Greyson said.

“You seem very sure that I am going to meet someone,” Bruno signed the notebook one of the girls thrust at him, then posed for a selfie.

“It happened to me, and you know how long I fought it,” Greyson replied. “Fate is a stubborn mistress.”

Bruno glanced at his brother. Greyson tried to stare him down, but Bruno had centuries of practice at looking inscrutable. The only way he would ever claim the woman he knew was destined to be his was if the fate of the entire world was at stake. “Fate can be fooled,” he finally said.

Greyson frowned, but he looked away. Bruno signed another notebook. He smiled for another selfie. He very carefully did not think about the woman he’d spent his entire life ensuring he would never have to meet.

Day (Stronghold 4) Release Day!

It’s release day for Bruno and Amy!

The Sentries are territorial, guarded, and relentless in their duty to defend humanity from a secret, deadly menace. In order to remain vigilant, these semi-immortal men must remain aloof and solitary. No one, not even their true mate, will distract them from their mission to protect Earth from annihilation…

buy links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandSmashwordsKobo

Erotic Romance (MF), May/Dec, Sci-Fi, Paranormal, Suspense
Word Count: 41,070
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Bruno Day knows the moment he sets eyes on Amy that he won’t be able to stay away from her, but he doesn’t want to drag her into his dangerous life—his duty is to save humanity. She may help them survive if he makes her his mate, but what if the price is her death?

Amy Roderick never expects Bruno Day to show up at her house and ask for her help. She’s just an ordinary person, and he’s the larger-than-life leader of the Sentries. What could she possibly do to help? And why are her instincts telling her they’re meant for each other?

Power and determination have kept them safe for years, but now Bruno and his brothers must face the ultimate battle: an alien swarm that could devour the entire planet. Everything depends on the decision of one young woman: will Amy follow her heart or sacrifice her life for duty?

 

 

Teaser Excerpt:

Bruno stared at her hands. She was a tiny little thing, but he knew that her small stature was merely a mask for the strength she didn’t yet know she possessed. He stood up and walked over to her, giving into his desperation. He wanted to touch her skin. “Amy, I need you to help me.” He reached out and untwisted her hands. “I know you don’t understand, and I don’t want to frighten you.”

“You’re doing a crappy job of explaining this, Bruno,” she whispered, eyes going dark.

She wasn’t frightened. Bruno felt her arousal suddenly spike like a punch in his gut. He inhaled sharply. His brothers never mentioned the insane need that came with being in the presence of one’s paired mate. He’d thought it was bad earlier, when he’d given her his ring, but the attraction seemed to increase with every moment in her presence.

“I know,” he replied, sifting through a dozen explanations in his mind and discarding all of them. None of them mattered. He needed her for the power she would add to the Stronghold net when they paired, yes, but he needed her for himself even more. Suddenly, all the years he’d spent alone felt like an unbearable eternity.

“Just tell me the truth. It can’t be as bad as all that,” Amy murmured.

Bruno brought her hands up to his lips and kissed the backs of her fingers. She sucked in a breath. “This is the truth.” He slid his hands up her arms and took a step off the cliff he’d been holding himself back from for centuries. “I saw you in my dreams two hundred years ago.” He leaned down, watching the black of her pupils swallow the sweet brown of her irises. She smelled like roses and sugar. He licked his lips, desperate to kiss her. He’d never felt so overwhelmed with desire, not once, in his long life.

“Are you saying that you can tell your future?” she asked, voice barely above a whisper. “And I’m in it?”

“I can see this future,” he murmured, then leaned down and kissed her.

****

When his lips touched hers, Amy . She couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. He kissed her gently, and then he gathered her up and pressed in harder until she couldn’t do a damn thing except cling to his shoulders like some damsel in a romance novel. He tasted like spice and fire, and she must have made a sound in the back of her throat, because he groaned and dipped his tongue into her mouth. Amy shuddered, not understanding how she could go through life thinking that what she’d experienced before this moment was anything at all. Nothing could have prepared her for how it felt to kiss Bruno Day.

Amy dug her fingers into him, and then he abruptly broke away, panting as though he’d run a race. She wasn’t doing much better. She sucked in air, hands still locked around his biceps. “What just happened?” she asked, bewildered. Heat coursed through her bones. She couldn’t let go of him. If she did, she’d fall to the floor in a ridiculous heap.

Bruno swallowed. “What do you feel?” He slid his arms back around her waist, drawing her into his body.

“Confused. Hot.” She frowned at him even as she let him cradle her between his thighs. “This is insane.” She didn’t tell him that she’d dreamed of him kissing her since she was a teen. She didn’t want him to think she was some crazy fangirl. She lifted her hands to her cheeks. Her skin felt like it was on fire.

“Do you know what a paired mate is?”

Amy sucked in a breath. “What are you saying?” She thought about her friend Saige. When she’d eloped with Isaac, the connection between the two of them had been palpable. Amy didn’t quite understand it when Saige first explained it to her. But I think I understand it now.

“Sentries can sense things about people. Emotions,” he said.

That means he can sense my arousal. God. Amy licked her lips nervously. Bruno stared at her, obviously waiting for her to say something. She took a deep breath. “I know. Saige explained it to me. And she’s always been very intuitive, so I believed her, even though I didn’t understand. It’s easy to see how connected she is with Isaac, too.” She tilted her head, trying to ignore the heat of his body. She was so hot she ached, and trying to hold a rational conversation while she buzzed with need was proving difficult.

“We have the same kind of connection, Amy,” Bruno said, sliding a hand up to cup her cheek. “Can you feel it?” He kissed her gently.

Amy trembled. He thought she was meant for him? That they were meant for each other? “I don’t know.” She felt something, but lust had a way of confusing a person. She’d been down that road before.

Bruno lifted his head. “I can sense your emotions, Amy.”

Amy felt her skin flush hotter. If he could sense her emotions, he knew exactly how much she wanted him right now. “We don’t even know each other,” she said, wondering why she was arguing with him. Bruno Day had just kissed her! She had to be an idiot to keep protesting. I should just go for it. It’s not like I haven’t hooked up before, right? And he said he needed my help. It doesn’t have to mean anything.

Even as she thought that, she knew she was lying to herself. She’d had a thing for Bruno since the first press conference, when the Sentries had finally come out in the open and publicly explained who they were. She flexed her fingers against his muscles. He felt like a mountain: strong and immovable. “This isn’t how I expected my day to end,” she muttered, looking away from the intensity of his gaze for a moment. She couldn’t look away for long, though. Something compelled her to glance back up at him.