It’s here! It’s here! Ever After released yesterday. I’m so happy to have a story in this awesome paranormal anthology with 4 other wonderful authors.
My story, A Rebel’s Heart is number 3.5 in the Ashwood Falls series. It’s Nevan’s and Graham’s mother’s, Sarah, story. I have an excerpt for everyone.
Damian opened his eyes and cautiously looked around the room, not sure where the hell he was. The room held a warmth to it. The single window was covered with red and gold curtains. The walls were a soft cream color. The whole room reminded him of something. No, someone. Then memories of the fight with the rebel human and Sarah…
He’d come here to protect her. Instead he gotten his ass shot, and she’d ended up protecting him. Way to go, Damian.
You’re such an ass.
He sat up and sucked in a sharp breath as pain shot across his ribs. Peering down at his chest, he frowned and touched the red spot just below his heart. He let out a sigh and pushed to a stand, slower this time. He should consider himself lucky that Sarah had been there and the bullet hadn’t hit his heart. By the look of the healing wound, Sarah must had called a Healer, but from where?
As he got closer to the door, he heard voices coming from the living room. They were speaking low, but Damian could sense the tension in each syllable. A few of the voices were male and made Damian’s puma growl and claw at him from under his skin. Opening the door, he took slow steps down the hall and stopped at the sight of Sarah sitting on the arm of a recliner with her arms crossed over her chest. Her blond hair fell around her shoulders in soft waves, framing her slightly rounded face. A face that held a mother’s scowl, which did nothing to take away from her beauty.
Following her line of sight, Damian saw one of her sons, Graham, sitting on the couch, head in his hands.
Graham let out a sigh and said, “Mom, please. It is much safer for you at Ashwood. Plus you’ll be closer to Nev and me and the kids.”
Sarah snorted in an unamused way that made Damian smile. She was so beautiful. “You mean so you can keep an eye on me.”
Graham sat back on the couch and shrugged. “We can’t help it that we love you and want you safe.”
Nevan stepped out of the kitchen with a very attractive redheaded leopard shifter by his side and stopped to stand next to his stepmother. The female leopard wrapped her arms around Nevan from behind and rested her chin on his shoulder.
The love that radiated from the couple caused a dull ache in Damian’s chest. Too long he’d watched Walt and Sarah share the same love, the same connection. He’d been happy for them. They were his best friends, but it hurt to be around them because Sarah was also his potential mate.
“I’m not leaving my home, and that’s final.”
Sarah’s stern outburst brought Damian out of his thoughts and drew his attention to the only female he’d ever loved. Shaking his head to clear the fog caused by blood loss, he stepped into the living room and said, “I’ll have to agree with your sons.”
Everyone in the room turned to him. Now that he was fully inside the living room instead of hiding in the hallway, he saw the other two shifters in the room. A male and female stood with their shoulders touching next to the patio door. Both of them glared at him.
Whatever. They could send their accusing gazes to him all they wanted. Damian was here to make sure the human rebels got nowhere close to Sarah.
Graham stood from the sofa and turned to face him. Shock, confusion, and anger mixed into his expression and his scent. But it was Nevan who walked toward him with his hands fisted by his side. The human male stopped a foot from Damian and said, “Why are you alive?”
Damian didn’t flinch at the venom in the male’s voice. In fact Damian deserved everything Nevan threw at him, even his fist. Nevan had a right to be angry. They all did.
“I ask myself that question every day,” Damian replied, much too tired to spar with his best friend’s son. The thing was Damian didn’t have any answers, at least none Nevan wanted to hear right now. He looked at Sarah and locked gazes with her. “Your life is in danger.”
Sarah’s expression didn’t change as she said, “For all I know, the human I killed was after you and not me.”
It was a lie. He knew it, but not by her scent. No, her scent didn’t change. He knew by the way her left eye twitched in that subtle way it did when she was nervous and hiding her feelings from her boys. That only confirmed to him that she already knew she was a target, but how?
Sarah let out a low growl and addressed her sons and their mates. “Please leave us.”
The male standing behind Graham who Damian didn’t recognize moved forward to stand in front of Sarah. There was a power surrounding the male that Damian could only describe as an Alpha’s power. The male held out his hand to Sarah and said, “You are always welcome to Ashwood. Just say the word, and I can have a place set up for you. Hell, you’re welcome to stay with us.” The male looked back at Graham and the female before continuing. “Or even with Nevan and Dani.”
Sarah eased her shoulders and placed her hands in his. “I know, Blaine. I’m just not ready yet.”
Blaine nodded and tugged Sarah into a hug. Damian had to force his feet to stay planted in place. Jealousy rushed through him, making his cat pace within.
Sarah was the first to pull out of the hug, and her gaze met Damian’s for a brief moment as if she sensed his mood shift. “I’ll be fine. Damian won’t hurt me, and I’m not alone now.” When no one moved, she rolled her eyes. “I promise to call if things change. Please.”
Blaine nodded. “I’ll send some sentries over to guard the property.”
That made everyone but Damian, and Sarah by the way she pursed her lips, a little happier. They said their goodbyes and left Damian alone with Sarah and her pissed-off stare.