#VegasStrong

Words are hard to come by after what happened here in Las Vegas on Sunday. But I’ll start off with a simple we’re safe. Hubby and I were at home safe and sound Sunday night. His youngest daughter was staying with us that night too. She had been staying down on the Strip for a few days before that. She was with us to visit with her dad before flying home to Hawaii on Monday. We are so thankful she was here with us and on the Strip.

I watched things unfold on TV that night in shock. This is MY city! How could this be happening HERE? I was still in shock Monday.

In the aftermath of this horrific event, my city has come together to support those involved and those of us that, while not directly affected by it, still feel most of the same emotions. Shortly after this started, the citizens of Las Vegas were lining up to donate blood all over the valley, sometimes waiting over 12 hrs to give. Water and food was being delivered by regular people to our first responders and anyone that need care. Restaurants, hotels, airlines, the cab companies, Lyft are all offering services to people needing them. THIS is what makes America great! Our caring for each other. Now we just need to make that caring an everyday thing, not just something that we rise up to be in times of shocking events. I’m so proud to be a member of the Las Vegas community. And to the brave members of the police, the fire departments, ambulance crews, and other EMS. THANK YOU! You guys ROCK!

I had all these feelings inside of me, a jumble of words that I felt needed to be put in order. Finally, yesterday afternoon I mix those words with what I was feeling and posted them to my Facebook. This is what I said:

We have been through this before, someone starts shooting, people die, the news organizations run with 24 hour coverage. Collectively, we as a nation grieve and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. We use hash tags to show our support for communities affected by heinous violence.

But after last night, watching it happen in MY town, I understand that I really had no idea just how these acts of violence affect those living it.

I wasn’t at the concert last night. I don’t know if anyone I know was. I can’t imagine how those that were there or their families feel. But I do know how I feel right now. Anxious, shocked, afraid, helpless, confused.

I truly feel I now know how the people of those other communities felt.

I hope, with all my heart, that no one has to go through what my city of Las Vegas is going through right now.

I hope… but I expect this will happen again and again until we find a solution to the gun issues.

#LasVegasStrong #PrayforVegas

 

 

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Polar Shift – Chapter 1 Excerpt

Polar Shift

 

Sig Olson was pissed. It was evident in every ridged line of his body as he stalked down the wide corridor leading to his office in the North Pole, Inc. main building. When he’d strolled into work this morning, he’d been in a good frame of mind. Even seeing the front counter of the North Pole, Inc. security center empty didn’t get a rise out him. He sighed and not for the first time wondered why he allowed himself be persuaded to hire Alabaster Snow’s baby sister, Alvira, as their receptionist. Where Alabaster was thin, wirier, and a lot more OCD, Alvira was plump and free spirited. She was also loud, opinionated, a tad messy, and was often late to work. Even as pissed as he was right now, his lips twitched in a slight smile. Everyone loved Alvira. Sig’s lips tightened in anger again as he walked to the left side of the reception area, where his office door was ajar. He shoved it open without even glancing at the nameplate mounted there that read Sigbjorn Olson – Chief of Security.

God, I despise that name! He thought as he walked around his massive desk and dropped into the comfortable leather chair. His parents had given him the powerful name to go with his bear side. No kid, polar bear or not, should be saddled with a name like Sigbjorn. His name had been the bane of his existence, no one got it correct when using it even when he’d enlisted in the Navy. While he was in basic training that it had been shortened to the easier to use nickname of Sig. He’d ignored his full first name until following his SEAL commander and best friend, Chris Kringle, to Mistletoe, North Pole after leaving the service. Within days of their arrival he’d been offered the job of running both the corporation’s security and that of the town of Mistletoe. It wasn’t a complicated task to perform given that Mistletoe was small and located in the arctic. Outside of a few fights at Rudy’s Diner, there wasn’t a lot of trouble in the small town. And so few outsides made there way this far north that any problems from them were nonexistent.

Until now. Sig growled and leaned his elbows on his desk, scrubbing them down his face. Kristopher Kringle, CEO of North Pole, Inc. and his boss had just hand him an job that would definitely spell trouble. For him.

 

So Yeah, It Happened To Me

Yeah it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here or on my author’s page. July started out good, but ended in fear and chaos. The chaos was when there was a surprise layoff at my work.  Or should I say my former work. Yep, I was laid off, cut, kicked to the curb. After 16 years, let go. I can’t talk about the details but I feel like I’ve lost family and friends.

So where do I go from here? Well, I’m working with a company to polish up both my resume and me personally. I’ve one meeting so far and it gives me hope. Once I get my resume back, I’ll start flooding the local market looking for a job. In the meantime I’m working on my writing and being a stay at home wife.

I also looked at just flat out retiring now. I’m 62 and half so I could do it now, but I’d lose a good chunk of change between pulling it now and waiting 3 and half years. I decide to stick it out for now and wait for now.

Financially I’m OK with paying bills and such for a 5-6 months. As long as I don’t do any needless spending. It does mean that until I get back to work I can’t do much with outside writer stuff (editing, book covers, etc)  so I’ll do a few round of editing on my own and move on to my next book. I’ll do a WIP post after this.

But I’m OK. And I will be OK. I’m strong and have a good support system. My hubby is supporting me and I’m so thankful for that. It cause less stress. Oh and I can now play the lottery!

But hey… if anyone out there in the Vegas area has a job lead, hit me up!

Scammers Break The Kindle Store

This is why I’ll never put my books in Kindle Unlimited (KU). It’s a shame that scammers and fakes can get away with stuff like this while honest authors struggle to do it right.

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

View original post 2,302 more words

And It’s A Wrap!

I’m thrilled to say that the first draft of my second book is done! Yes, I finished it yesterday after a week of struggling with where it was going. I just felt I had gotten off track with this story and wasn’t happy with the last few chapters. But after a chat with my BFF (I’m talking about you, Calen!) I’ve found my way back to loving it. I did cut a little over two and half chapters from the end of the book but I think it makes for a better ending.

I’m going to post something from the last chapter, than I’m stepping away from Taylor- Paranormal Operations, Inc. for a week or so, clear my head, and then start the first round of edits. In the mean time, I’ll jump on one of the other wips I have started. Also I’m getting some requests for the next Mistletoe, North Pole story (Sig and Holly’s story).

 

Devon leaned on the balcony railing a pair of sweat pants hung low on his hips, and watched as the sun rose over the snowcapped summit of Mt. Hood. The sun’s rays transformed the snow into a million sparkling crystals. He smiled as he brought a steaming mug to his lips, sipping cautiously at the hot, rich coffee. This was his favorite time of the day, when the air was cool and crisp, and Portland was just beginning to wake up. He lifted his mug again but paused midway to his mouth.

No, he mused, my favorite time of the day is when I slip into bed next to Taylor and pull her tightly into my arms. He smiled as he took a second sip of his coffee and his body began to harden at the remembered sensation of her body spooned into his. Yeah, thats it, thats my favorite time. A slight frown crossed his face, Of course when he woke up each morning and she was cuddled up to him was a pretty spectacular time as well. Or when they were fresh out of the shower and her body glistened wetly

“Hey, sweetheart,” A soft voice pulled him out of his reflections. “Why the frown?” Warm arms reached around his waist just above the waistband of his sweats. He’d been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t heard the sliding glass door open. Not good for a trained agent like him.

Devon looked  over his shoulder at his beautiful mate and grinned. They had been back in Portland for nearly six months now and he had no regrets about making the move half way across the globe to be with this woman.

There were elements of Portland that reminded him of Ireland, the green all around them and the rain. And in the time they been back, Taylor’s condo had become their home. He’d been a little surprised at how quick they had grown accustomed to each other’s living habits.

Even working for Axel Jackson was good… now. There had been some hostility at first between the two men until Taylor had set them both straight one night at Axel’s bar. She’d lost her temper when he’d thought Axel was getting a little too friendly with her. Now he knew that the big shifter was like a brother to her.

“I was just deciding what time of day is my favorite.” He responded. Taylor moved in front of him, her arms still encircling him and peered up with a puzzled expression on her face. He set his mug down on the railing and wrapped his brawny arms around her, pulling her close.

“Umm… favorite time of day?” The same puzzlement in her face was in voice.

“Yeah, you know, like when the sun breaks over the mountain,” He glanced over her head, to the glittering peak. “Or when I slip into bed each night with you…” He trailed off as Taylor chuckled.

“Ahh…I see,” She grinned up at him. “And what time did you decide on?” she asked with a slight tilt of her head. He was quiet for a moment than bent his head and kissed her tenderly, his tongue running over the seam of her lips until she opened them. She moaned as he deepened the kiss, his tongue caressing hers. After what seemed like forever, he raised his head and whispered his answer against her kiss swollen lips.

“Anytime that I’m with you, baby.”

“Smart man.”

Devon lifted his head and laughed at her sassy come back. His laughter died off as the opening bars of Sweet’s Bar Room Blitz came from inside of the condo. Taylor sighed and stepped back as he released her.

“Are you ready to get back to work, sweetheart?” She questioned.

“No,” Devon replied in a low voice as she snagged his hand and led him inside. “I prefer to take you back to bed and never come out.” He watched her pickup her cell and swipe to unlock the screen.

“Hi, Axel.” She answered with wistful glance at her mate. “What’s up?” She paused. “A job?” Devon raised one eyebrow. “Yeah, ok, we’ll be there in about an hour.”

“So, going back to bed is out of the question?” Devon asked Taylor as she hung up. She gave him a seductive look and reached out for the string of his sweats. He groaned at the fire in her eyes.

“That depends on now quick you are, Mr. Brady.”

 

 

Paranormal Operations, Inc. Chapter 35 Excerpt And A Shout Out

OK, here’s something a bit lighter then the last few excerpts from Taylor and Devon’s story. I’m dedicating this one to my BFF Calen! She called me last night to encourage me to not give up on this story! Big *HUGS* BFF!!

 

Taylor slowly opened her eyes and a languid smile formed on her lips at the feel of a hard body pressed into her from behind. She could tell that Devon was still sleeping from the light puffs of breath that caressed her neck each time he breathed out. They had woken up in each others arms every morning since coming back from the north and the defeat of William Regan a week ago.

The first several days had been hell for them. Between the debriefings with Shay, the reports that had to be filled out and dealing with Taylor’s aunts, they’d had limited opportunities for only themselves. At last, Devon had roared enough! and tossing Taylor over one broad shoulder had retreated to their suite of rooms and locked the world out. They hadn’t left the bed for more than food and showers since.

Her smile shifted into a grin when he gave a snort and mumbled her name. Devon had one arm slung over the top of her and one of his legs was resting over hers.

Wiggling deeper into his body she froze for an instant when her butt encountered his thick cock. Mischief filled her and she wiggled right up against that steel shaft and gently rocked her butt until it slid between her butt checks.

“Careful, baby,” a gravelly voice caressed her ear. “We’ll have to pick up where we left off last night if you continue moving like that.”

Taylor giggled. “Don’t you mean this morning, love?” She gave a slight gasp as Devon flipped her to her back and covered her body with his. His legs parted Taylor’s and he settled between her thighs, his cock brushing her naked mound. His muscular arms held his upper body up so he wouldn’t crush her under his weight.

“Last night, this morning…” He dropped a swift kiss on her lips. “It’s all same.” His grin was devilish as he rocked his hips forward, his cock sliding between her wet folds. “No panties…” He teased.

Taylor’s arms went around his neck and she brought his lips down to hers and whispered against them.

“You ripped them off of me last night, Devon Brady.”

“Yeah, well, they were in my way.” He said unapologetically and smirked.

Taylor’s eyes became solemn as she gazed up and into his.

“I love you, Devon Brady, I will always love you.” One finger caressed his cheek, “My mate, my life.”

Devon’s eyes were equally serious as he stared into hers.

“And I love you, Taylor Connor.” He turned his face so his lips were brushing her now open palm. “Mo ghra, mo chroi, mo maité fíor.” His words, mere whispers in the ancient language, sent quivers through her body. They were quiet for several minutes, absorbed in each other.

The buzz of a phone vibrating on the bedside stand brought them both back to the present. Devon glanced over at his with a frown.

“Did you turn the phones back on, baby?”

“No,” Taylor replied with a frown of her own. “I mean we were pretty occupied when you carried me in here, but I thought we turned them off.” The buzzing ceased and Devon looked back at Taylor with a perplexed expression. “But maybe we didn’t…” She trailed off.

“I thought we had…” He broke off when the phone began buzzing again.

Taylor sighed and pressed on Devon’s chest. “You should get that.”

Devon looked down at her. “Why?” he asked.

“We’ve been in here nearly a week, Dev,” She pushed a little harder. “And we did sort of leave matters just hanging. I think we’re lucky Shay wasn’t up here pounding on our door days ago.”

With a grunt, Devon heaved himself up and off of Taylor. His gaze caressed her body even as he reached out for the phone.

“I don’t know, babe, he might have.” he replied. “I think I remember hearing something like pounding two days, or was that nights, ago.” He winked at her. “I thought is our hearts pounding from all the great sex we were having.” Taylor’s face turned a delicate shade of rose. He swiped the phone’s screen without looking at the caller I.D.

“Brady.” He answered. If she had to guess, Taylor would bet that was Shay, demanding they return to Ops and complete the whole Regan business. The voice on the other end was loud enough to know she was right, on both counts.

“Look, Shay, we”ll…” Devon began to say before Shay interrupted. She could hear him speaking, and but couldn’t make out what he was saying.

“If you’ll just shut the hell up for two seconds!” Devon shouted into the phone. There was silence at last. “I was going to say, we’ll be down as soon as we shower. Give us ten minutes.” He glanced back at Taylor sprawled on the bed and grinned. “Make that twenty minutes.” And he hung up.

Taylor raised her eyebrows, “Did you just hang up on the boss?”

“Yeah, I did.” He stood up and held out a hand to her. “We have twenty minutes to shower before we have to be in Ops.” She stretched out and let him haul up from the bed and into his arms.

“It doesn’t take that long to shower, sweetheart.” Taylor glanced up at him with a wicked grin and desire in her eyes.

Devon chuckled. “Oh, I can assure you, we’ll use every one of those twenty minutes, baby.”

“Will we?” She questioned rubbing against his body. He groaned. “And what do you have in mind?”

Devon bent his head and started whispering in her ear. Taylor’s eyes widened before becoming half lidded as she listened to what Devon planned to do to her. When he raised his head, his grin was wide.

“Well?” He asked.

She shifted out of his arms and headed to the bathroom, her generous breasts bouncing and her firm butt swaying. She peeked back over her shoulder and gave Devon a saucy smile.

“Come on, lover boy.” She sassed. “I have a few ideas of my own.”

“Hell, yeah!” Devon enthused, following Taylor into the bathroom in all his naked splendor.

Paranormal Operations, Inc. Chapter 34 Excerpt

From Chapter 34 (not edited):

Aveta stepped forward when Kaden disappeared, as if she would go after him. A muffled moan from the couple on the floor stopped her. She glanced in their direction than back the shadows in front of her. Her lips thinned into a taut line as she stood for several seconds, uncertain of what to do next. A louder groan made the decision for her. She crossed to where Devon was moving restlessly on the floor. Taylor was as still as death in his arms.

“Wake now, Devon Brady.” Aveta whispered. She closed her eyes and sent a thread of her essence into the man, tickling along his nerve endings and simulating his mind. She could feel consciousness returning to him. He’d used his mate bond with Taylor to pursue her into the Ether to bring her back. But before she could come back, he had to remove the athame from where it was embedded in her heart.

“Taylor…” Devon groaned and opened his eyes. His body was stiff from being on the floor so long and he shifted his legs, grimacing as sharp tingles ran up and down his limbs. Taylor’s body moved with his but was still a dead weight in his arms.

“Taylor!” Devon looked down at her pallid face, his eyes seeking signs of life. “Come on, Mo ghra, come back to me. Open those incredible eyes!” Her body remained still. Devon looked up at Aveta standing over them.

Do something, dammit, you’re a fucking Goddess!” He demanded. “I did what you said to do and went after her. She was coming back with me!” One finger touched Taylor’s faint blue lips. “Why isn’t she…”

“The athame is blocking her from coming back.” Aveta explained. “Only you, her true mate, can remove it before she can travel back to this world.” She gazed at Taylor. “There’s no more time, Devon, you have to do it now or she’ll be lost to this world.”

“Remove it?” He questioned as he squinted up at the Goddess. “How the fuck do I do that? Just yank it out?” Aveta shook her head and sighed.

“You grasp the handle of the blade and slowly, smoothly draw it out.” She answered. “Yanking it out would damage her heart and she may actually die.” Devon cursed under his breath and wrapped the fingers of one hand around the athame handle. It warmed at his touch and he was conscious of power singing within the blade. His fingers tightened and he began to slide the blade from his mate’s heart.

“Careful, Devon.” Aveta whispered and he stiffened, glareing at her before returning his attention to the athame. Inch by inch he withdrew it from Taylor’s heart until at last the point of it pulled clear. Blood saturated the hole and begin to spead out in an expanding bright crimson blotch on her shirt.

Fuck!” Devon cursed as he dropped the bloody athame and pressed his hand over the wound. Instinctively he forced his magic into the wound but as exhausted as his magic was it didn’t appear to diminish the flow of blood.

Fuck!” Devon cursed again, desperation in his tone. “I can’t stop the bleeding.” A cool touch brushed the side of his cheek and a quiver of pure, light magic flowed through him and into Taylor’s open wound. He watched as it began to close up from the inside, breathing a sigh of relief as the bleeding slowed, than stopped. Next the wound closed until it was only a faint scar on Taylor’s breast. Devon’s body tensed as for the space of a few heartbeats nothing happened. Suddenly Taylor’s body lurched and she gasped, drawing in a deep lungful of air. Her eyes, when they opened, were a swirling violet hue. The whiteness of her cheeks changed to a pale pink and the tip of her tongue peeped out from between her parched lips, struggling to wet them.

Paranormal Operations, Inc. Chapter 33 Excerpt

We’ve been back from Hawaii for two weeks now and I’ve been hit and miss on getting a lot done on Taylor and Devon’s story. It’s coming along slowly. I’m going to post this excerpt from chapter 33 (non-edited!) and will post one from chapter 34 in the next post.

 

“Live?” Jaden ground out. “Do you even understand what my life has been like? What growing up with that… that… piece a shit of a father was like?” He was panting hard, his chest rising and falling rapidly. His eyes burned with anger.

“But you did live!” Aveta pressed home her point. Jaden stepped over the corpse, closing the last foot between them. Aveta was tall in her goddess form, but she had to tilt her head back to meet Jaden’s gaze.

“No,” Jaden uttered, his tone was low and trembling, his breath fanning
her face. “That wasn’t living, that just existing.” He took a deep breath as he
closed his eyes. Aveta could see that he was working to regain some control over his emotions. Without opening his eyes he continued. “Do you what
to know what my life was like with him?” He opened his eyes to glare at
her. His anger was still there but now they also held a haunted expression. He didn’t
wait for her response before continuing.

“I don’t remember very much of him before I turned thirteen, just a lot of
different women working to care for me. They never lasted longer than a year or
so. I realize now that he was kidnapping young women with any kind of magic in
their blood. He permitted them to care for me while he  drained their
magic…” He stopped short when Aveta touched his arm.

“You don’t need to tell me, Kaden, I know full well what he did to you.”

He snorted. “You understood he was grooming me to do the same thing? That he compelled me to fuck countless women from the time I was thirteen? You
understood that those…” his voice cracked. “Girls… women… died each time I fucked
one to drain her magic?” He stopped and glared into her eyes. “You were aware of all of
this but decided to only protect my…”  With a
sigh he stepped to the side, breaking Aveta’s grip on his forearm. His eyes
moved to the couple on the floor. “Was I so worthless that you
couldn’t…?”

“No!” Now it was Aveta’s turn to be angry. “I… we never thought you were worthless, Jaden.” She stroked his arm. “As much as I disliked leaving you with him as a babe, I had to. You have your own destiny to fulfill. What you endured has made you stronger…”

Jaden threw back his head and laughed contemptuously. “Make me stronger?” His
laugh stopped abruptly. “What it made me is just like my father! It made me a murderer.” He turned away and scanned the floor until he caught sight of what he had come for.

“Kaden, no,” Aveta insisted. “You didn’t kill those girls, he did! He wanted you to believe that you had, but each one of those countless deaths were from his hands!”

Jaden ignored her comments as he saw the object he been looking for. Bending, he picked up William’s withered heart and clenched his fist around it. He watched,
mesmerized, as thick black blood oozed from between his fingers and dripped
slowly to the floor. When he spoke it was more to himself rather then to the goddess
in the room.

“I won’t allow his evil to hurt anybody else.” His voice was hushed and the words
sounded like an oath. Aveta took a step toward him, reaching out for his arm. “No!” He hissed, peering at her as he
clutched the hand gripping the heart to his chest.

“Kaden, stop. Think about what you’re going to do.” She realized that he
intended to take his father’s heart between the realms, beyond the Ether. In
that fiery region, it would be incinerated, burned to ash in blink of an eye.
“Allow me send it there for you,” she kept her tone low, calm and soothing.
“Once it’s gone you will be free of your father. Free to be yourself, free of
the taint of…” Kaden cut her off with another scornful laugh and he shook his
head. His laugh broke off suddenly and when he looked at her, his eyes were
haunted again.

“I’ll never be free of him!” he snarled. “Free to be myself? I don’t know
who the fuck I am! All I understand is what he made me into. I can’t have a
life, a mate…” his voice cracked and he peered at where Devon still
was wrapped around Taylor. “…a family.” He stepped back a few paces, almost
into the shadows at the periphery of the room. “I will end this now. I will end both
of us now.” With that declaration he moved back another pace and the shadows swallow
him.

Aloha From Honolulu, Hawaii!

Yep, we’re in Honolulu right now. We got here last Wed at 5 AM. Hubby had to take a class at the CC here, so we made a vac out of it. I’ve even beeb getting some writing done. Below was my view yesterday while I slaved away at my WIP. This morning hubby and I are sitting on the lani surrounding the courtyard of our hotel, sipping coffee and just enjoying not doing anything! Well…I am going to write some. 

And here’s a snippet from what I got done. As always, it’s not editied.

Come, it is time to leave this place.” Mikhail stated, attempting to sweep Aveta up and into his arms. She slapped at him.

“I can walk, blood sucker!” she snapped with a lot less bite then she would normally have. She pushed against his hard chest until he released her and she stepped away from him. Mikhail smiled at her with a hit of fang showing.

“As you wish, goddess.” He replied in an amused tone. Aveta made a hmph sound and turned to the two humans standing in the background.

“You two,” she waved a hand at them and they both flinched. Aveta rolled her eyes. “Oh for goddess sake… take everyone back to the car.” She looked at Devon, Taylor, and Mikhail. “Return to Dublin. I need to clean up some things here yet. Taylor, your aunts are waiting for you there. Tell them I’ll join them as soon as I can.”

“Shay will want to know about what happened here,” Devon said. “And about the Donovan twins.”

Aveta smirked. “Tell him that I will fill him in when I see fit return to Dublin.” Devon and Mikhail both frowned at that.

“He won’t like…” Devon started to argue.

Aveta drew herself up to her full height. “As if I care what that blood sucker likes or doesn’t like.” She sniffed and turned away before stopping to look back, her face sad. “But for the sake of the Donovans, the girls are gone, victims of William and his quest for the more powerful fae magic.”

With those words, Aveta walked toward the piles of stone where the chapel had been and disappeared into the night.

Paranormal Operations, Inc. Chapter 32 Excerpt

Part of the start of Chapter 32:

Lady Aveta walked into the ancient chapel, her steps light as she approached the front. The smell of blood and powerful magic hung in the air as she bypassed the stone alter. She stopped short at the sight of Devon Brady sitting in a puddle blood, cradling the body of his true mate in his arms. He was lost in his grief, calling out to her to come back, to not leave him here without her. As for Taylor, she seemed serene, like she was taking a nap in the arms of her lover.

“Devon.” She quietly called out to him. “Devon, she isn’t gone.” There was no acknowledgment from the man on the floor. Aveta moved nearer and touched his shoulder. “You need to get a grip of yourself if you want her back!” Her voice was hard, the force in it breaking through to Devon.

“How?” he croaked. It didn’t surprise him that venerable lady and Goddess of the Fae was standing next to him. In one form or the other she had always been a part of Taylor’s life. His eyes never left Taylor’s body as it lay in his arms. “How, damn you!” He demanded harshly.

“She is your one true mate,” Her voice had softened. “You must follow your mate bond link to bring her back.” He looked up at her and a soft gasped escaped her at the anguish she saw in his face. “She isn’t dead, Devon.” She repeated. “But you must act fast or you will lose her forever.”

“She’s not breathing.” He looked down at Taylor’s pale face and his hand went to her neck, seeking a pulse there. “She’s… gone. I… I… failed her!” His words were a broken whisper. “I’m sorry, my love, sorry for not protecting you better…for…” He bent his head, his lips touching Taylor’s. The room seemed to lighten and heat up around them.

Enough!” The voice that spit the word out did not belong to the Lady Aveta. No, the matronly fae Aveta had become the Goddess Aveta. She stood tall over the couple on the floor. Her thick, long red hair streamed past her bare shoulders. Her alabaster skin, covered by a rich green robe, made her seem even paler then Taylor.

Devon stilled, captured by her gaze. Her brow was farrowed as she looked down on him.

“If you will not listen to me,” she said, the power behind her words sinking into Devon’s grief stricken mind. “She will be lost to the ether for eternity.” She reached out one slender arm and offered him her hand. “Take my hand, Devon Brady, son of the Fae, true life mate to Taylor Conner.”

Devon felt compelled take the hand she offered. As he did a bolt of magic raced from the Goddess and into him. The slight burn from their contact raced up his arm before spreading and making every tiny hair on his body standup. He felt… renewed, his magic alive and stronger than before within him. Aveta smiled.

“Find the mate bond linking you to her,” she tilted her head to Taylor’s body, still in resting in Devon’s lap. “When you find it, follow it to where Taylor waits in the ether.”

“How…” Devon’s voice was still ragged.

“Look within yourself, Devon.” She released his hand and took a step back. “Look in your heart.”

Devon watched her for a second before looking down at Taylor again. He stroked her cool cheek and closed his eyes as a single thread of magic flowed from his fingers into Taylor. His brow wrinkled with concentration as he tried to connect to her heart and mind. He found nothing, no trace of life from her.

“Deeper,” a voice whispered in his mind, “What you seek is deeper within her.”

He pushed harder, almost becoming one with her. Still he found nothing… Wait, there was something there! He reached for the slight pink spark he saw deep within her heart. His mind touched it and it thinned out, like a thread that he could follow. His breathing slowed as he did just that. Wherever it leads too, there he would fine Taylor.

“I will stand over you, protecting you both.” The words sound faint and sound as if coming from far way.