Just a quick update. So, I've spent the past 10 days curled up on the couch with my favorite blanket, hot tea, and a box of tissues. I was basically a walking, barely breathing NyQuil commercial. You know: sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, fever, blah, blah, blah.
I'm still recovering from bronchitis and a sinus infection. Still coughing and sneezing, but for the most part, I'm feeling a lot better. Unfortunately, taking almost two weeks away from writing kind of put a kink in my writing schedule. I have two Serendipity books almost finished, but I've just lost the mood on those stories, so I'm not sure when I'll get back to them.
So, I guess that means that 3013: SHATTERED is next up on my list! After that, I'm not sure, but once I have a little more energy, I'll make a plan and post an update.
That's it for now. I'm off to take more medicine and watch Christmas movies on Hallmark. (Don't judge me. I'm still sick!)
Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!!
Draken Marcor is probably one of the only Aleucians who doesn’t hate being assigned to Hope. Taking over as Director of Education isn’t exactly his dream job, but it beats the hell out of living under his father’s thumb. The position also comes with certain perks—like access to the beautiful and perplexing kindergarten teacher who has filled his thoughts every day for nearly two years. Too bad she already belongs to someone else.
Jaiyu Zhao has been half in love with Draken since their first meeting. It doesn’t matter that he’s pushy and unreasonable, arrogant and frustrating. Her heart doesn’t seem to care that he’s the last person in the city she should get involved with. When he smiles at her, it makes it easy to forget that anything beyond a professional relationship would certainly end in disaster. Too bad he’s completely uninterested in her.
But even secrets and misunderstandings can’t keep the pair apart forever, especially when Draken is used to getting what he wants. And what he wants is to make Jaiyu his…forever.
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“I didn’t know you liked kids,” Jaiyu said when the door closed behind the chattering brood. “You’re really great with them.”
Draken shrugged. “Kids are easy. They don’t expect much.”
She didn’t know who had told him that lie, but that hadn’t been her experience at all. “I would disagree. It’s just that their expectations are different than adults.”
They expected adults to be safe and reassuring, to ask the right questions and know all the answers. They didn’t demand perfection, but they did require honesty. Kids hated being lied to, maybe even more than adults.
“Fair enough,” Draken conceded. In a casual move, he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her against his chest. “Are you ready to leave, isha?”
“Yes, but you don’t need to walk me.”
“I do, but it won’t just be me. Zevon and Aziza are going to help.”
That gave her pause. “Draken, I appreciate your concern, but I really don’t need a small army to escort me home.”
Draken gave her a droll look. “They’re coming to help you pack your stuff and—”
“—move it to my quarters.”
Sure she’d heard him wrong, Jaiyu gaped. “You want me to move in with you?”
Chuckling, he secured both arms around her waist as he dipped his head to rest their brows together. “Well, I am your boyfriend, after all.”
She wasn’t joking, though. “Are you sure about this?” The idea of moving in with him didn’t bother her as much as it probably should, but she didn’t want him asking out of some misguided sense of guilt. “I can request a transfer from Human Resources. This really isn’t your problem.”
His expression turned stony, and he growled as his arms tightened around her. “You are mine. Your problems are my problems. Don’t ever doubt that.”
Her heart fluttered at his possessive declaration, but it also confused her just as much. “Just like that? You won’t even kiss me, but you’re ready to stake a claim and move me into your quarters? Right.”
“Right,” he echoed, but there was no anger in his voice. “I wasn’t rejecting you. I was trying to give you time. I didn’t want you to think I was taking advantage of you after all the shit you went through with Jason.”
When he said it that way, it made a lot of sense. Her only defense was that in all the time she’d known him, she wouldn’t have listed patience as one of his virtues. If he wanted something, he took it. So, in her mind, if he wanted her, he’d have had her long ago.
Instead of trying to explain the inner workings of her mind, she settled on something simpler. Something that couldn’t be misconstrued. “I don’t need time.”
He stared at her, his eyes tracing every line of her face. Nodding once, he slid his hands up her back, over her shoulders, and along the column of her throat until they cradled her face. Another moment of pause, then his mouth was on hers, hard and searching, his tongue sliding past her gasp to plunge between her lips.
This was the male she knew, the one she’d wanted since the moment they’d met. He didn’t seek permission or approval. He made no allowances, demanding she keep pace with him rather than slowing to meet hers.
When it was either stop kissing him or pass out from lack of oxygen, she reluctantly wrenched her mouth away, burying her face against his shoulder as she gasped for breath. Her heart pounded so violently, her entire body trembled, and she arched against him, a silent plea for more.
Draken chuckled, but he didn’t cave. Nor did he offer her empty platitudes or flowery words. He didn’t question her resolve or ask if she was okay. Instead, he made her a single promise that meant more than any romantic murmurings ever would.
Brushing her hair back, he leaned close, growling the words against her ear. “You’ll never regret being mine.”
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Trick McCall isn’t like most humans in Hope. For one, he doesn’t mind the schedule or routines. He doesn’t care that someone is always watching him, and he actually prefers the Aleucian’s telepathy to verbal communication. Not a whole lot gets to him, and he doesn’t need much to be happy. In fact, the only thing that would make his life perfect is if a certain female would stop fighting and just agree to be his.
Assigned to Hope as punishment, Aziza Dakar is more confused by the human inhabitants than anything. They never do what she expects, and that’s doubly true for the gorgeous bartender who makes her want things she can never have. Claiming a human isn’t against the rules exactly, but she’s just a guard, a lowly grunt with zero authority. Besides, she’s already in enough trouble with the Council without waving a human mate in their faces.
But she can’t seem to get Trick out of her head. When he convinces her to spend just one day with him, she knows it will never be enough. Now, she just has to decide how much she’s willing to risk…and if the rewards are worth the consequences.
Note: These stories are not full length novels. Each book in the City of Hope series is approximately 15k words and can be read as a standalone.
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“You’re in my seat.”
Perched on a bench in the middle of the crowded mess hall, Trick McCall tensed, his body priming for a fight as he lowered his fork to the table. He’d mostly finished his meal, though he couldn’t have said what he’d eaten. The display on the replicator told him he’d ordered spaghetti, but pretty much everything on the menu tasted the same. Fuck, what he wouldn’t give for a steak and a giant baked potato with all the toppings.
“You deaf?” the beefy guy next to him asked. “I said—”
“I heard what you said.”
Glancing to his left, he blinked at the green shirt the man wore. It had been almost six months since the introduction of color to their wardrobes, and while he liked it a hell of a lot better than the constant sea of blinding white, he still hadn’t gotten used to it.
Calmly, he rose, stepped over the bench seat, and turned to face the asshole who had interrupted his lunch. The guy stood several inches shorter than his own six and a half feet, but he held his shoulders back and his spine rigid. A muscle in his jaw ticked, and his green eyes flashed with defiance as he slammed his tray down on the table next to Trick’s. He was young, full of testosterone and anger, but his mess of red curls made him look almost innocent. The kid even had freckles, for fuck sakes.
“Table’s all yours.” Leashing his own anger, Trick turned away to pick up his tray, which was why he didn’t see the meaty paw aimed at him until a fist connected solidly with his jaw.
His bottom lip split open from the impact, spraying blood across the ivory tabletop. The kid was spoiling for a fight, but Trick wasn’t going to be the one to give it to him. Wiping the back of his hand across his mouth, he grimaced when it came away bloody, but made no move toward his attacker. It wasn’t that he couldn’t fight. Heaven knew he’d been in his share of bar brawls. He always came out on top, and he always felt like shit for it afterwards.
“You’re barking up the wrong tree, kid. Enjoy your lunch.”
Trick shrugged. “Whatever you say.”
Menace sparked in those green irises, and the kid hauled his fist back again, but he never got a chance to land a second punch. Long, slender fingers wrapped in radiant, bronzed skin surrounded his wrist, twisted sharply, and jerked his hand behind his back, torquing it up between his shoulder blades.
“Again, Brian?” With the barest hint of a smile, the female guard swept the man’s legs, tripping him forward so that she could force his face down onto the table.
“What did I tell you about irritating me?”
Trick was instantly hard.
Thank fuck Star Donavan had convinced the director of Hope to change the dress code within the city, because he’d be giving the whole cafeteria an eyeful if he still had to wear those godforsaken white harem pants. Not only had bright, vibrant colors replaced the boring white, but she’d also made it possible for the residents to have access to the same leather pants the guards wore.
As it stood, his cock swelled, straining against the button fly of his leathers, and his pulse pounded up into his throat. Which was why it surprised him how steady he sounded when he spoke.
The female pinned him with her sapphire blue eyes. “Trick.” She nodded, her gaze settling on his busted lip. “You good?”
Other than his lip, nothing was bruised except his pride. “I’m good.”
“Hey!” Brian yelled, squirming beneath Aziza’s hold. “Let me go.”
Tangling her fingers in his red curls, she lifted his head a fraction of an inch, then slammed it back down on the metal table. Her nostrils flared, and her upper lip curled over her teeth to reveal the tips of her fangs.
Brian whimpered when she wrenched his arm higher up his back, but he was smart enough to shut his trap. Back on Earth, a crowd would have started to gather by that point, but sudden outbursts of violence weren’t so uncommon in the underground city. Putting that many people—especially that many men—together in tight quarters, it was bound to happen.
Officer Aziza Dakar was stunning. She had the kind of long, ebony hair a man could sink his fingers into, and those intense blue eyes sent a flash of heat through his veins every time she looked at him. He didn’t usually go for the biker-chic look, but damn if the black leather that encased her sleek curves didn’t flick his Bic.
“Thanks for the rescue,” he teased. “You’re my hero.”
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