Twice Burned cover - a woman with long dark hair stands in the foreground with a fireball in her hand, in the background are two shirtless men
Editions:eBook - Second Edition

Maron is being hunted. The thrill of the chase is unusual, exciting. Most of the time, she is the hunter—a demon sent to earth to imprison evil souls and hurl them down to the hot spot. It’s dirty work and it’s gotten her kind demonized by mankind, but someone has to take out the trash, and that’s her job.

But a demon can’t trap a soul alone. They need a partner, and the perfect synergy can be found in a Demon’s Triad. Three demons, triple the power, and the deeper the bond between them, the higher the power yield for trapping corrupt souls. Sexual bonds make the energy sizzle on every possible level. Maron’s partner was roped into a sexual Triad, and that leaves Maron at loose ends, tracking down an evil man alone and knowing there’s no way to capture him even if she can find him. She’ll have to tag him and then cool her heels until her boss, Samael, sends in reinforcements.

Only the demons he sends as backup are the last men she wants to see—Raum and Kobal—bonded partners who’ve been trying to seduce her into a Triad for months, since the night of debauchery when they found their combined power was nothing short of explosive. Now they hunt her as she hunts her human quarry. She’s stunned at how exhilarating it is to be chased. The last thing she wants is to give up her independence. She likes her work, she’s good at it, and Raum and Kobal would complicate her eternity.

But her two demons are as relentless as she is. They’ve found the woman to complete their Triad, and they’re determined to claim her heart and body…if they can cage the evil soul they’d been sent capture.

Note: This story was previously published as Demon's Caress.

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Treasured cover - a couple in 18th century clothing on the deck of a pirate ship with another pirate ship in the background
Editions:eBook - Second Edition

Graduate student Rebecca Small is so obsessed with the past—especially the Golden Age of Piracy—she doesn’t mind her unglamorous job preparing museum displays. This display is about her favorite subject, James Morrow, a famous pirate who mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

Becca touches the pirate’s antique sword, and finds herself on a ship in the middle of a sword fight, saving the sexy captain from being stabbed in the back—literally. Once the smoke clears, the man who claims he’s her husband is more than eager to reward her for her timely assistance.

James Morrow knows very little about the woman he was forced to marry five years ago, but the woman who saved him doesn’t fit the portrait he’s painted of her in his mind. She’s strong, brave, and submits to his every dark desire. She seems the perfect woman for a pirate, but he makes his living among the dishonest and disreputable—trust isn’t a commodity he trades in.

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Her fingers itched to touch it. They flexed midair, hovering over the smooth curve of steel blade. The long dagger’s jeweled hilt flashed and sparkled, taunting her, daring her to stroke over the intricate gold weaving of the guard. It looked perfectly balanced, just waiting for someone who knew how to wield its dangerous beauty. She slid a practiced gaze over the blade. Somehow she knew the sturdy hilt would sit perfectly in her hand. If there was one thing she knew, it was fencing—and she had the fencing-championship trophies at home to prove it. The only way she’d been able to squeak by in graduate school was to give lessons. She sighed. Education didn’t come cheap, and fencing sure beat prostitution. Not that any man in his right mind would pay to sleep with a short, brown-eyed, mousy-haired, girl-next-door type.

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Rebecca Small fisted her fingers and withdrew as she had every day for the past week. The museum had recently acquired the dagger as part of a collection that had belonged to an eighteenth-century pirate. A distant relative had donated everything. As a lowly intern, she had to prepare the collection for display. She could never touch the artifact with her bare hand. And the gloves she had to wear frustrated her because she wanted to feel the cool metal against her skin.

She turned away and pulled on a pair of gloves, intent on finding something else to occupy her. She glanced up. Captain James Morrow. The name echoed in her mind, made her shiver.

“Hello, James.” The man was a mystery, which probably contributed to her fascination with him. He was born in England in 1684, made lieutenant in the British Navy during Queen Anne’s War, became a privateer, then his thirst for adventure led him to piracy after France and England negotiated a peace agreement in 1711. He fell off the face of the Earth in 1720. No historian had ever found out what happened to him. Had he died? Given up the life of a pirate? There were no answers, and her curiosity about James Morrow burned unquenched.

She ran a gloved finger down the gilt frame that edged his portrait. She wondered what color his eyes were. In the painting they appeared a laser blue shade that couldn’t be real. They seemed to follow her as she worked. She often stopped to stare at him.

He was gorgeous. His inky black hair hung in a neat queue. The painting showed the tall, broad man lounging against a large chair. Treasure chests lay open at his feet, spilling jewels, silks and furs. A model of his ship, The Dark Fortune, rested on a table to his left.

A half smile pulled at his full lips. The wicked glint in his eyes made her wonder if he was any good in bed. Heat pulsed between her legs, and she squeezed her eyes closed. She could see them together in her mind, rolling on the plush furs depicted in the painting. Pleasure rushed in her veins. Guilt flashed through her—she was at work. This wasn’t the time to get hot and bothered. And yet…she was alone in the museum. What could it hurt to indulge herself? She discarded her gloves, bit her lip, and let her head fall back. Dropping her hand, she stroked her fingers over her pussy. The man in her fantasy thrust his hand into her hair, tugging her head back to nip and suck at her neck. He forced his leg between hers and rode her cunt on his muscled thigh. Wetness soaked her panties, and her clit bloomed against her fingertips. Gasping, she shuddered as her hips worked faster and faster.

Her harsh moan echoed in the large storeroom and startled her out of her lustful daydream. She jerked her hand away, her body still shrieking for orgasm.

Blushing hard, she shook herself. “Get a grip, Becca. It’s a painting.”

It was insane, the fantasies she had about him. She had a perfectly nice guy who kept asking her out, and she always turned him down. For what? A pirate. A painting of a pirate.

She’d say yes to Steve the next time he asked. She nodded. That was that. No more lusting after Captain James Morrow.

Tonight, she got to open the slatted wood carton that held the painting of his wife. That should cool her fantasies off. She’d never gone for married men. “Especially not dead-for-three-hundred-years married men,” she muttered.

The concrete floor froze her toes, and she wriggled them against the rough surface. She’d kicked off her shoes as soon as she arrived. The museum director, Dr. Cuthbert, would have a seizure if he saw her this way, but she hated wearing shoes. And since she was the only one here this late, she figured she should get comfortable. It would be a long night. The things she was willing to do to finish her Master’s degree in History amazed her. At least this collection was free of bugs and other pests. She shuddered just thinking about the last acquisition the museum had received. What a nightmare.

She was stalling. Rambling in her own head to avoid opening the wife’s portrait. Once she did, it was real. No more pirate booty for her. Not even in her dreams. It was the last piece in the collection and she’d avoided it as long as possible. Everything was going on exhibit in the morning, so she couldn’t put it off any more.

This was it.

Shoving a few empty boxes out the way, she uncovered the mystery woman’s crate. A few sharp tugs and the lid came off. Straw-covering protected the painting from the elements. She carefully lifted the straw away to reveal the bottom of the painting. All she could see was James’s wife from the neck down. Rich red silk made up the bodice of the dress the woman wore. A long string of fat black pearls hung from her neck to pool in her lap. Becca loved pearls. An envious sigh slid from her lips.

Impatient to see the rest, to know what the rest of the woman looked like, she scooped out the remaining straw.

“Huh.” She blinked down at the portrait.

The painting had seen better days and the woman’s picture had sustained heavy water-damage. Someone with obvious skill had repaired it, but her face looked…smudged. Out of focus. Becca sighed. What a let-down. From what she could make out, James’s wife wasn’t a gorgeous woman. Her chin was lifted and in profile, but she glanced out of the painting from the corner of her light brown eye. Blondish-brown hair was piled on top of her head. Still, there was something about her that Becca couldn’t put her finger on. Like she’d seen her somewhere before. Perhaps in one of her history textbooks? She couldn’t be sure. She made a mental note to look into it.

Her lips twisted. Discontent settled in her belly. It was always this way. The past was the only thing that made her heart pound. And even her ardor for that had begun to cool. Deep down she knew she never quite…fit. Not with her colleagues, her friends, her classmates, her love interests. Nowhere. She wished she could be satisfied with herself, her life. But it never seemed right to her either.

God, she must be tired. She never let herself think about this kind of thing. It just depressed her. She shouldn’t dwell on what she couldn’t change, but she was building her career on looking backwards. Obsessing over the past had always been her escape from a world she didn’t fit into. Stretching her stiff shoulders, she sighed.

Turning away from the painting, her gaze again landed on the dagger. It drew her to it, and she found herself standing over it, staring. Her fingers shook, clenched in an effort not to touch. The guard spun in intricate whorls studded with tiny rubies and sapphires. She appreciated good craftsmanship in blades. This one was a beauty. On an irresistible whim, she gave into temptation. What could it really hurt? No one would know. A single finger followed the sensuous curve of the blade and up over the delicate jewels.

Since she’d already broken the rules, she curled her hand around the handle and lifted the dagger. She sighed. Perfect. Just as she suspected.

“En garde!”

She snapped into the familiar fencing pose, swung the dagger experimentally. For someone as short as her, it served as a short sword. Block, riposte, parry. She thrust forward into a deep lunge and the blade sank into a man’s chest. A thick, silencing fog surrounded the two of them. His gurgling death scream pierced the silence and was echoed by a dozen other shrieks of agony. The warm, unnatural fog rolled back to leave her in chilled evening air. Her shocked gaze followed the man’s sickening slide off her sword and to the blood-slicked wooden deck. Smoke surrounded her, choked her as a wild cacophony slammed into her ears.

COLLAPSE

Marra's body burned with desire. It was Wild time, the first week of spring, when Lynx from all over North America gathered in the Sierra Nevada foothills to mate. The time when every Lynx female went into heat.

But Wild is bittersweet for Marra. She's past the age when most Lynx find their mate. She only comes to Wild for sex and always leaves as she came: alone.

Yet this year is different. A new male Lynx has come to Wild, a foreigner who will claim her in ways she only imagined...

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Wild.

God, she needed it. Marra's body burned with the cravings she could barely contain. Restlessness made her fingers tighten on the steering wheel, made her squirm in her seat. She flipped the headlights off as she exited the highway. She could see just as well in the dark, and she didn't want to blind any of her kind who might be nearby.

And many of them would be close.

This was the Wild time, the first week of Spring. Lynx from all over North America gathered in the Sierra Nevada foothills every year for this one event. Hers was a solitary kind, except at Wild. Every female of their breed went into heat at this time.

A shiver wracked her body. Heat held her in its unyielding grip, and she reveled in it. The urge to fuck was more than she could bear, made her skin feel too tight for her body. Her nipples peaked in anticipation of the days to come.

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Lynx would rut in the abandon only Wild could grant them. She allowed a small smile to curve her lips at the thought. Wild always caused a bittersweet pang for her. This was the time for mates to be sensed and claimed, but Marra was long past the age of mating. She arrived alone and left the same way, denied what others had found. Her shoulder lifted in a rueful shrug. It was her destiny, no matter how lonely. But Wild was not about regrets—it was about connection. Sex. And she would enjoy it as she always did. A fuller smile bloomed on her lips, and she almost purred. Pulling off the dirt path, she parked in the long row of other cars. Everything from new Mercedes to old pick-ups held together with bailing wire lined the road.

Money didn't matter now, only instinct. The veneer of civility they wore in the human world would be cast aside to let the feral cats within them loose. Her hands shook as she fumbled for the door handle.

When she stepped out of the car, the unmuted scents of the night pressed in on her. She breathed deep. The smell of other Lynx, of sex and all that was Wild filled her nostrils. She barely held a moan in check.

Holding herself with the thinnest thread of restraint, she unbuttoned her blouse and slipped it off of her arms. The rasp of her pants' zipper sounded loud and unnatural to her ears. Wriggling her hips, she pushed her slacks down and stepped out of her heels. No pantyhose or underwear. She wouldn't need it for this. She wouldn't need clothes at all. Tucking her discarded garments into her car, she closed the door. The cool mountain air caressed her taut nipples, the planes of her belly, the damp heat of her pussy.

Then her control snapped.

COLLAPSE
Between Lovers cover - a man and woman embracing, the man has his back to the viewer and the woman is looking over his shoulder, a greyscale lion head in the background
Part of the The Between series:
Editions:eBook - Second Edition

The Between. A race of people between light and dark. Good and evil. Human and animal. The world discovered their existence over a decade ago, and so far the balance between humans and Between has been precarious at best. One bite is all it takes to cross the line from human to Between. It doesn't matter what species of shapeshifter bites a human--only the soul can dictate what kind of animal is most suited to a Between. Many humans think they're dangerous and should be locked away, while others covet their power.

On a fateful camping trip, fiery Oregon beauty Rhiannon Reid is kidnapped and turned into a "Between"--a magical shape-shifting creature. Now forced to prove her worthiness to the group's golden king, lion-shifter Elan Delacourt, the two test each other's strength and character--but lose themselves in the hot-blooded battle...

Note: This story was previously published as part of the Sexy Beast 9 anthology.

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Elan rolled his tight shoulders, shoved his hands in his pockets, and left the room to wander down the hallway that lead to his suite. He smiled tiredly to the Guards positioned along the hall, and they nodded back.

His eyes burned with grit, and he knew he should sleep, but doubted he'd be able to. The way his muscles felt, he'd probably do better if he spent an hour in the gym before he crawled into bed. What he should not do was call Rhiannon to see if she was still up. Nor should he walk down the long pathway to her house and just surprise her. So far, she'd protested neither, no matter how late he worked. She just slid her hands over his body and kissed his as greedily as he kissed her. No questions, no accusations, nothing but a quiet understanding of the momentary escape from reality they both needed.

And, God, he needed.

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It was dangerous and stupid to crave her like he did. Even more dangerous was that he enjoyed talking to her as much he enjoyed fucking her. Sex was one thing, but any other kind of intimacy shouldn't even factor into this affair. He was supposed to be winning her over, not the other way around. Damn it.

“Sire.” The Guard stationed outside Elan's suite snapped to attention and held the door open. “You have a visitor.”

The other man didn't specify who, but he didn't need to. Only a handful of people had the security clearance to be allowed in the king's private quarters, and when Elan stepped into his sitting room, he drew in a lungful of her sweet scent.

Rhiannon.

Tilting his head, he waited for the feel of her boundless energy to vibrate along his senses. It didn't come. Frowning, he followed the smell of her into his bedroom and over to the wide expanse of his mattress. She lay curled on her side, one palm tucked under her cheek in sleep. His chest tightened with a tenderness he didn't want and shouldn't feel. The pose made her look impossibly young and innocent, something he knew wasn't true. A smile curved his lips. The woman more than matched him in insatiable wickedness.

Reaching out to push back a flaming curl gently, he watched her eyelashes flutter. She yawned, rolled onto her back, and stretched. Those changeable eyes locked on his face, unpredictable as her moods, and she smiled. “Mmm. I tried to stay up, but the bed looked too inviting. What time is it?”

“Very late. Or very early, depending on your definition.” He let his fingertip trail over her soft cheek, down her throat, and across her collarbone as he mapped his way to her cleavage.

Arching into his touch, she chuckled. “I wore myself out today. Kira has me teaching Pilates to the poor, unfortunate guys on your Guard. The women on the Guard are loving the show, and I'm pretty sure Kira's just enjoying watching the men be tortured into flexibility.”

He knew that. Every move she made was reported back to him, but listening to her animated retelling made him smile. “How's my brother doing with it?”

“Very well.” She licked her lips and stared at his mouth, desire shimmering in her gaze. “And flirting with me outrageously while he shows off for his people.”

Elan's hand froze, hovering over her silken flesh. He shoved back the totally unfamiliar jealousy, reminding himself that the more Between Rhiannon liked and cared about, the more successful his plan would be. He closed his mouth tightly, hiding the fact that his fangs had elongated to deadly points.

Sitting up, Rhiannon tugged her shirt over her head and tossed it to the floor beside the bed. “It's good that I'm keeping in practice with my teaching for when I go back to Portland. I'm going to have to hit the ground running at the gym.”

His muscles tightened as the blow of her leaving hit his gut the same way his jealousy had. That she was leaving wasn't a surprise--that he hated the idea was. It was a bad sign and it worried him. Shoving his hand into her red-gold hair, he pulled her head around until he could slam his mouth over hers. The possession in the gesture angered him because he knew he had no right to feel it.

Her lips parted under his, welcoming his kiss. He groaned and filled his hands with her breasts, desperate to touch her, to claim her. The lace of her bra maddened him, kept him from softness of her flesh, the tightness of her nipples. A quick jerk and the fabric gave under his superhuman strength. He threw the offending garment in the same direction as her shirt.

COLLAPSE

Two years after her lover died, Lynx Jenise finally feels ready to indulge the consuming urge to mate at the shifter gathering known as the Wild. Though her very human heart was broken, her animal instincts can no longer be suppressed.

But even as she finds the rough pleasure she craves with other Lynxes, another instinct haunts Jenise—the feeling that another mate is near...

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She was being hunted.

A small smile curved Jenise's lips, and her heart began to pound with heady anticipation. The cold mountain air of the Sierra Nevadas kissed her naked flesh, curling between her bare legs to stroke the heated folds of her sex. She shivered, her nipples tightening to an almost painful degree. The slightest rustle of a cat's paw on dew-covered grass whispered in her ear.

He was catching up with her. Her hunter. The Lynx within her nearly purred as the excitement built higher. She couldn't wait for him to fuck her, but he'd have to catch her first. Her smile widened. The first week of Spring every year was the Wild time for her kind. Every female went into heat simultaneously, and every Lynx on the continent gathered here. To connect with their animalistic nature, to rut until the heat burned itself out.

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It was the last day of Wild. She could feel the heat easing its grip on her body. Tears pressed against her lids at the prospect of this time away from time ending. She clenched her jaw, shoving the thought away. No. She would enjoy the now, squeeze every ounce of sensation out of what time remained to her. Her grin sharpened, showing her truest nature. Feral woman.

Shivering again at the cool breeze licking at her flesh, she shifted into her Lynx form. Her body flowed into the new shape, bones and sinew remolding into those of a feline. Spotted fur soon covered her skin, protecting her from the chill wind.

She wound through the tall trees, padding lightly on her paws as the underbrush thinned and gave way to the rocky shore beside a flowing river. The last rays of the fading sun sparkled on the water as it gurgled around and tripped over larger rocks. The breeze fluttered through her thick fur, bringing with it the scent of her pursuer.

Soon. Soon, she would have him as she had had so many others this week. A pang struck her, and her heart clenched in her chest. Guilt twisted inside her, choking off her breath.

Two years had passed since Shane died. Her mate. The first year, she hadn't been able to make herself attend Wild. The loss was too raw, too new. Alone in her house, the cravings of her body had eaten her alive until she'd screamed from the relentless want she couldn't stop. She was in heat, she needed to fuck. Those animal instincts didn't care that her very human heart had shattered, that half of her soul had been ripped away, leaving her empty and barren. Broken.

Lost.

She couldn't face her Wild time alone the second year. She just . . . couldn't. The need had clawed at her too deeply, slicing through her control. She swallowed and twitched her ears, trying to ignore the guilt. Shane was possessive, as all males of their kind were. He would hate knowing that she craved the touch of another man, any other man who might want to stroke his fingers down her naked skin, who might be willing to thrust his long cock into her overheating body. Anything to assuage the need, to ease the carnal torment for even a single moment.

He would never have understood.

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