Excerpt – Chapter 33 of Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc

“Come into the light, Kaden Regan.” Her words more of a command
then a request. A low growl preceded the scowling young man that walked from
the shadows, eyes never leaving the goddess’s face. Aveta gave him a small
smile when he stopped a foot from father’s body. They stared at
each other, one slightly amused and the other wary but defiant.

“You certainly look like Taylor.” Aveta mused as she studied
him. While the man stood taller and more muscular then his sister,
they looked the same. “Except your hair,” she muttered. Where Taylor’s was
midnight black with swaths of silver framing her face, Kaden’s was silver with
swaths of black. She could see the range of emotions as they swirled in his
dark eyes. Anger. Fear. Confusion. This boy… no, this man had seen and
done things that would haunt him forever.

“Who the fuck are you?” Jaden rasped, body
shaking, hands fisted at his sides.

“I am the Goddess Aveta,” Aveta drew herself up,
straightening her spine and seeming to grow a few inches. “I helped bring you
and Taylor into this world. I protected your sister from…” she glanced down
to the body at Kaden’s feet. Kaden’s eyes followed hers and one corner of his
mouth curled up into grimace at the sight of William’s body. It smaller than when the man had lived.

“And me?” He bit out before looking up, angry
gaze locking with hers. “Who was supposed to protect me?” Jaden took a half step
closer to Aveta, almost touching the body at their feet. “Who decide I wasn’t
worthy of being protected like my sister?”

“William wanted a son, he wanted you.” she answered. ” I knew
you would live…”

“Live?” Jaden ground out. “Do you even understand what my
life’s been like? What growing up with that… that… piece a shit of a
father was like?”

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

“No, not living,” Jaden sneered angrily, “I was just surviving.”

Drawing in a deep breath, Jaden closed his eyes, working to regain some control over his emotions. Eyes still closed he continued. “Do you understand what my life was like with him?” He opened his eyes , anger still there but now they also held a haunted expression. He didn’t wait for the Goddess’s response before continuing.

“I don’t remember very much of him before my thirteenth birthday,
just lots of different women working to care for me. They never lasted longer
than a year or so. Now I realize he’d kidnapped young women with any
kind of magic in their blood. They were permitted to care for me while he drained
their magic…” Aveta touched Jaden’s arm, stopping him .

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

A snort escaped him. “You knew he was grooming me to do the same
thing? That he compelled me to fuck countless women from the time I turned
thirteen? You understood those…” his voice cracked. “Girls… women…
died each time I fucked them to steal their magic?” He paused and glared into her
eyes. “You knew all of this but decided to only protect my…” With a
snarl he stepped to the side, breaking Aveta’s grip on his forearm. Jaden’s eyes
moved to the couple on the floor. “Was I so worthless you couldn’t…?”

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

Jaden threw back his head and laughed contemptuously. “Made
me stronger?” The laughter ended abruptly. “What it made me is just like my
father! It made me a murderer.” Turning away, he scanned the floor.

“Kaden, no,” Aveta insisted. “You didn’t kill those girls, your father
did! William wanted you to believe you had, but each one of those countless
deaths came at his hands!” Jaden ignored her comments, spotting the object he’d
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.

Long Over Due Update

stamp overdue in red

This update is long over due. Not just for my writing, but for me personally as well.

So… my writing “career”… I had started the second book in my Mistletoe, North Pole series. As I got into it, my charterers stopped speaking to me. The more I forced myself to hear them, the more frustrated I became. So I tucked the story away and worked on the Paranormal Operations, Inc story. I had finished it but it needed editing. I’m still working on it. I have 11 or so chapters to do. I’ve noticed as I’ve worked on it, that my writing seemed to improve in the later chapters. I’m using AutoCrit for first round editing and the later chapters have fewer corrections to make (i.e. in story pacing, word use…). Where it was taking me a week to edit one chapter, now I’m doing almost 1 every two days or so. Yeah me! I still need to find a pro editor and a cover artist to complete the book before I can publish. I’m on a shoestring budget for those.

While I’ll probably never be a multi books published a year kind of writer (and to those writers that do… you ROCK!). I would like at least one a year published. I have tons of ideas! One woke me up the other night and I was then up until 4 AM putting ideas for the story on “paper” (really an excel sheet). It’s be a shifter story and I even did a color coded map and names for several packs!

On the personal side, I decide last year to just call myself “retired”. I struggled with looking for a job after the layoff in 2017. I went on interviews but most places were looking for longevity when hiring. Add my age (2-3 years from true retirement) to the fact I was a woman with no degree and the prospects of a job just wasn’t there. So when the unemployment ran out I called it quits. I decide to try my hand at full time writing. Easier said than done, my friends! Being home all day is distracting! I’m kind of back on track now and looking to “officially” retire at the end of this year. Hubby retires in two days, so he’ll be home for a while with me. Might cut back on my writing time some, but he’s worth it! He wants to pick up a part time, consulting gig later this year.

And there you go… all caught up! One thing I want, no need, to do, is keep both my blogs up to date. Good intentions abound in the New Year!

 

 

Excerpt – Chapter 20 of Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc

I’ve been MIA from this blog and my Author’s blog for a long time. But I haven’t stopped working on my writing. I’ll have to do an update post after this one. But I have been working! Here’s the first part of chapter 20 of Taylor – Paranormal Operations, Inc.  Front and center is the bad guy of the story. Please feel free to comment!

 

Halloween concept. Mystery evil eyes

 

Slumped in the oversized stuffed chair, Aife O’Hara opened her eyes. and raised her head, eyes struggling to bring the room into focus. Where am I? What happened to me? A painful moan escaped her as she licked bruised and swollen lips. Aife closed her eyes again and tried to move, to raise her hand to touch her lips but it wouldn’t move. Her eyes popped open, and she saw that both hands and ankles were bound wooden chair legs. Panicked, she struggled to free herself as memories of the last few hours filled her mind. A deep chuckle snapped her head up and Aife cringed as she met the gaze of the man leaning against a big desk in front of her.

“Welcome back, Ms. O’Hara,” The man grinned. “I’m sorry for the rather rough treatment of my men before your arrival to my home,” glancing behind her with a slight frown. “I asked Wallace to find me a skilled dowser to assist me in finding a witch.”

William pushed off the desk and walked forward, stopping in front of Aife. She drew back into

the chair as far as her bonds would allow. His eyes, as they held hers, were black and cold. One hand grasped her chin and tilted her head up and his thumb caressed her swollen bottom lip. “I do so hope you can help me.”

“Who… who are you?” Aife stammered. “Where am I?”

“I am William Regan,” He stated, as if he expected her to
know his name. When she didn’t respond, his lips tightened before he continued.
“As I said, you’re in my home in Kilcommon.” He released her chin and stepped back, his eyes roaming over her in the chair.

She was small, maybe five feet in height. William saw the pixie blood that ran in her veins. It showed in her small frame and somewhat pointed ears and eyes that slanted upwards a bit at the corners, but not enough for her to have the gossamer wings of her ancestors. William captured her eyes with his and began a silent chant. His smiled coldly as he watched her eyes grow large and unfocused.

“You will help me find the witch I’m looking for, won’t you, Aife?” His voice was low and hypnotic.

“I… I… can’t.” She said in a soft, sing song voice. William frowned down at her.

“You will.” His spell should have made her totally compliant to his wishes.

“I can’t find witches.” Aife replied with a puzzled frown as she stared up at William standing over her. “I can only find humans and animals.” Her voice trailed off as William released her chin and his lips curled up in a snarl. He glared at the two men standing behind the chair with in fury.

“What the fuck?” he ranted at the two henchmen standing behind the chair. “You were supposed to bring me a witch dowser that could find the witch at the source of that power surge!”

Aife’s head dropped to her chest, her breathing ragged and William returned his attention to her. “Where did you find this little bitch?”
Neither of man responded and he glowered at them. “I asked you both a question,” His words dripped with an icy rage. “And I expect an answer.”

Wallace Flanagan gave his brother, Francis who stood next to him, a furtive glance. Francis didn’t notice, his eyes staring down at his feet. Wallace swallowed, his Adams apple bobbing up and down as he started to speak.

“Um… well…” Voice shaky, he swallowed again.
“We sent a crew to Donegal looking for a dowser, boss.” William raised one eyebrow and Wallace rushed on. “Me and Francis went to Bundoean and Sligo looking for one.”

“And this is the best any of you could do?” William interrupted with a snarl as he stepped away from the now unconscious girl. The brothers glanced at each other before Francis eventually spoke.

“Her granddad said she was able find anything and anyone,” he muttered. “Said we were lucky to find her.” William waited for his henchman to go on, but nothing was forthcoming.

“And?” he growled the men.

Wallace spoke now, “He said all the other dowsers had left the north.” Francis nodded in agreement. “Said after that surge of magic they made themselves scarce. You know, due to the strange things happening in the area.”

“Yeah,” Wallace chimed in quickly. “But her granddad, he made her stay, said she owed him for rising her after her whore of a mother disappeared a few years ago.”

William walked past the chair to stand just in front of the two men. “And he just let you take her?” His voice deceptively quiet. Both men’s Adam apples bobbed as they swallowed in time with each other.

“Um… we… um… paid him a small sum for the…” Francis stammered.

“You paid for this girl?” William’s nostrils flared and his lips thinned. He had no issues with the buying and selling humans when needed. But to buy this girl without first checking to see if she
could even fill his need for… William was now shaking, close to losing control to his magic. It had been a few days since he had recharged that magic.

“Go.” He ordered the two men, his hands clinched into fists at his sides. “Get out of here before I kill you both.” The two men didn’t need to be told twice. They both turned and headed to the door, slipping out of the room without looking back.

July 2018 Camp NaNoWriMo

So I’m doing the July 2018 Camp NaNoWriMo with a couple of friends (Hey Calen and captainamy!). And since I was struggling so much with the second book in my Mistletoe, North Pole series (as in I’m not really ready write Sig and Holly’s story), I decide to work on my paranormal MC WIP, Demon -Incubus MC.

Image2

My goal for Camp is a modest 5000 words in 31 days. I know that’s a low number, but I can adjust it upwards as I go. Today I did 1001 words. I started the morning by working on it outside, than moved inside when it got hot. Being outside seemed to get my writing juices flowing!

writing outside

Now the weekend is coming up. So less words as I like to spend time with the hubby. Plus we have eye appointments for new glasses tomorrow. I will get some words over the weekend through.

I’m also going to try and get my time organized. The last year (since getting laid off) I just haven’t been able to find a rhythm to my life as it is now. This resulted in my bouncing from one project to another and not getting much done on any of them. This to stop. I love writing and I want to keep publishing/sharing what I write.

I WILL DO THIS!

Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 4

It’s been a rather non-productive May for me. I’ve been trying to work on Sig and Holly’s story. But it’s just not “speaking” to me right now. And I no matter how much I push at it, it’s just kind of stalled. But I still post excerpts from each chapter I do get done (see below).  I am going back to continue first edits on Taylor- Paranormal Operations, Inc.

 

Holly stood still, enclosed in Sig’s arms, his heat radiating through his parka but for the sharp crack that reverberated through the dark. The sound snapped her from the fog of Sig’s kiss. Pressing her hands against his chest hard, she struggled to break free of his grip. Sig lifted his mouth from hers and stared into her green eyes, seeing they were hazy. She pressed harder and he let her go, stepping back to give her some of space.

Another crack sounded and he glanced in the direction of the sound. In the dark, he couldn’t see much, even with his enhanced shifter sight. A haze of snow drifted near the small knot of spruce and fir trees next to the parking lot. The heavy, wet snow covering them had snapped a couple of smaller branches, sending them crashing to the soft cushion of the snow drifts that ringed the trees. His gaze slid back to Holly and he frowned. Her eyes had lost that soft, hazy look and were now narrowed in anger.

Holly took a step back before she hissed at him. “You ass, you have no right to kiss me.” She scrubbed at her lips with one mittened hand, trying to get the taste of him off her lips.

Sig’s narrowed in determination. “But I do have the right to kiss you,” He reached out to draw her back into his arms, but she eluded him, taking two more steps back.

“No,” she rejected. “You gave up any rights you had in our relationship the day you disappeared from my life years ago in Afghanistan.” He tensed, his whole body going ridged. This was what he’d needed to talk to her about. He owed her an explanation for walking away from her.

“You’re my mate, Holly–” She shook her head before he even  finished.

“Mate?” She shook her head as she spit the word out. “I didn’t know what that word meant until after you left. But I now know what it means. If I was your mate, you wouldn’t have–” She halted and drew in a deep breath of the frigid air. Tears glistened in her eyes.

Sig took a step closer but halted when Holly held up both hands. A pained expression passed over his face. “Holly–

Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 3

So here’s a snippet from chapter 3 of Polar Shift. This Sig Olson and Holly Rowan’s story. I’m still working on which direction I want to go with story.

 

The silence lengthened as they drove out of Mistletoe and toward the NPI building that housed the med center on the edge of town. Nether one of them knew what to say. After fifteen long minutes the front of a sleek, white two story building came into view. It was in the middle of a flat, snowy area, the perimeter of the building surrounded by dim lights. Sig brought the SUV to a halt in front of the steps leading up to the doors. Holly shifted in her seat, reaching with one hand to unlatch her seatbelt, the bag with now cold dinner gripped in her other one. Sig turned his head, studying at her.

“We need to talk, Holly.” His tone was throaty. Her eyes flashed to his face, already shaking her head no. “Yes,” he reached over and fingered a strand of red hair that had escaped her pony tail when she’d pushed back her hood after getting in the car. He stared at his fingers as he caressed the silken strands between them.

Holly stilled. “Mistletoe is a small town, Holly, we see each other around town, we work in the same building and I don’t want what…”

“Don’t,” she said, her voice quivering as she too watched his stroking fingers.

“We have unfinished business…”

Unfinished business?” She looked at him now, her eyes in the shadowy car narrowed on him. “Was that all I… we were to you? Business?” She wrenched her hair free of his touch and fumbled with the door handle, thrusting it open and sliding out of the car.

“Holly, wait!” Sig throw open his own door, appearing next to her before she could even blink. He grasped both of her arms, her bagged dinner falling to the snowy ground as he pinned them to her side. “You know that’s not true.” He insisted quietly.

“Do I?” she countered. “What I do know is that I thought we had something between us, Sig. Something…” She broke off and took in a deep breath of the icy night air and glared up at him. “You know, just skip it. Forget those six months in the Afghan desert, forget that I fell in love with you, forget the plans we made before you…” She couldn’t finish.

Tears pooled in her eyes but she’d be damned if she let him see them. She jerked back, struggling to free herself from his grasp. Sig tightened his grip on her, tugging her into his arms, trapping her arms between their bodies. He tilted his head, his lips hovering just above hers.

“I haven’t forgotten a fucking thing.” He rasped, his eyes locked with hers.

“Let me go-”

“Not a chance in hell, sweetheart.” His lips crashed down on hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth when she gasped.

Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 2

A sneak peak at Polar Shift, chapter 2. It’s not edited, so be aware if that!

 

 

Holly shivered, tingles racing through her body. “It feels like I’m being…” She frowned, peering around the diner until her eyes found the big man setting in the corner. She dragged in a sharp breath as he stared at her, need flashing across his face for a moment before a shield of indifference slide into place.

“Being what?” Kandy asked, following Holly’s gaze to the guy at the corner table. “Ahh…” Sig was staring at Holly, his face stoic. Anyone observing the two of them together would realize something had taken place between them before coming to Mistletoe. She’d asked Holly once, but the Holly declared it was the past and better left there.

She’d asked Rudy if he had any notion what had transpired, since he’d known Sig from thier SEAL days. But he’d just shook his head and grumbled something along the lines of it not being any of his business.

“Come on, hon,” Kandy touched Holly’s arm. “Let’s get you seated and fed.” She waited for the other woman’s gaze to break away from Sig’s and focus back on her. “Holly?”

With a shiver, Holly looked from Sig to Kandy, and with a quiet sigh, nodded. “Thanks, Kandy, but I’ll just take something to go.” She lifted a hand and rubbed her right temple. “I have a mountain of paper work to finish on the poisoned shifters that were released today. I’ll eat when I get back to med center.” Both women walked to the bar and Holly slid onto a stool before picking up a menu from where it was stuck between the salt and pepper shakers. Kandy walked around the bar and stopped in front of Holly.

“Are you positive you want it to go, Holly?” She peeked to where Sig was sitting, noting his eyes had followed them and were locked onto Holly’s back.

“He’s staring at me, isn’t he?” Holly asked with a sigh.

Kandy nodded. “Yeah.” She narrowed her gaze on Sig. “Try to ignore him.”

Holly gave a low snort before shaking her head. “Easier said than done, Kandy.” She stared down at the menu. “I’m just beat right now. That’s the only reason seeing him bothers me.” Lier! Her inner voice grunted.

That same voice had called her a coward when she’d wanted to turn around and run back to Seattle on seeing Sig Olson stalking toward her in the small Deadhorse, Alaska airport. To say it was a shock to him was like saying a hurricane was gentle summer’s rain. Holly shook her head, struggling to clear out the memory of that encounter. Lost in thought, she started when Kandy cleared her throat.

“So… what will it be tonight, girlfriend?”

“Umm…” Holly wrinkled her nose as she decide what she wanted. “I’ll have the…”

“Rudy’s Kickass Mac n Cheese?” Kandy was already writing it down on her notepad as she chuckled. Rudy’s had great food and the best Alaskan brewed ales and Holly told herself she was going to try everything that was on the menu at least once. But not tonight.

“God, I’m so predictable!” Holly grimaced. “Yeah, the mac n cheese.” So much for trying something new, she thought. But damn, Rudy’s mac n cheese was to die for. Just thinking about food had her stomach rumbling loudly . She felt her face heating up and realized she was turning a nice pink shade.

“Please, tell me only the two of us heard that?” Holly groaned, her hands covering her face in embarrassment. She dropped her hands and peered up as Kandy started to giggle.

“I… I want to say we were the only two, but…” The words sounded a bit breathless, her giggles turning into chuckles. “The place is full of shifters, elves, and who knows what else. All with super-duper hearing.” Kandy sucked in a tremendous breath before blowing it all right back out, struggling to reclaim some control. Once she had, she sobered and glowered at her friend. “Did you even eat today?” There was worry in her voice.

“I had a banana and a cappuccino at work this morning.” Kandy had to lean over the counter to catch her words.

“And that was when this morning?” Kandy stepped back, frowning, palms on her curvy hips.

“Umm… around six or six-thirty this morning.”

Kandy threw up her arms and rolled her eyes. “No wonder your belly is loud!” She turned and with a few brief steps slapped Holly’s order on the counter between the bar and kitchen. “One mac n cheese to go, sweetcheeks!” A growl sounded and Rudy’s rich, rough voice came from kitchen.

“Told ya, babe, don’t call me that while we’re workin’.”

Holly laughed as Kandy stuck her tongue out and blew a raspberry at her mate. There was an abundance of love there and she envied the bond between the blond and her reindeer shifter mate. She’d had that, once, with… Stop! Don’t think about him. Kandy turned her attention back to her friend and shook a finger at her.

“For god’s sake, Holly, you’re a doctor! You know better then go with eating.” She huffed. “I mean, you get on other people about taking care of themselves, especially in this weather.”

“Yeah, I realize that, Kandy.” Holly admitted. She was aware that she didn’t always follow her own advice. “I’ll try harder, OK?” She grinned.

“OK, OK,” Kandy narrowed her eyes as she studied her friend. “But if you don’t, I’ll call Jamie and we’ll both show up to be sure you taking care of yourself.”

“Order up!” The shout came from the kitchen and Kandy walked to where Rudy had deposited a large, insulated bag on the counter. “One mac n cheese to go!”

Kandy puckered her kips and blew her mate a kiss. He smirked and wiggled his eyebrows at her.

“Yeah… promises, promises, big guy.” She teased as she walked back to Holly. “Here you go.” She handed the bag to her. “It should remain hot until you get back to the med center.”

“Thanks, Kandy.” Holly reached over the counter and squeezed her hand. Looking toward the kitchen, she yelled back “Thanks, Rudy!” He grunted at her and brandished the large spatula he was using in her direction.

“Be careful out there, Holly.” Kandy tilted her head toward the exit. “It’s nasty cold out there. Where are parked?”

“I’m not.” Kandy’s eyebrows wrinkled at that. “I got a lift with one of the lab techs who was headed this way. He dropped me off a few from blocks here.”

“So how are getting back?”

“I’ll order an Uber and wait outside for it.” Mistletoe may be small but they did have most things big towns did, Uber was one of them. Well…sort of Uber. Theirs consisted of one snowmobile, a newer snow cat, and one eight dog sled team. Kandy frowned.

“You shouldn’t be standing around outside in this weather.” Her gazed shifted past Holly to a place behind her. Holly tensed, her body stiffening, tingles racing up and down her spine.

“She’s not going to be.” Sig said from behind Holly. Deep and smoky, it sent quivers through her. “She’s leaving with me.”

Excerpt From Polar Shift – Mistletoe, North Pole Book Two, Chapter 1

I’m working on book two of the Mistletoe, North Pole series featuring Commander Sig Olson and Doctor Holly Rowan. It’s been slow going so far as these two are being stubborn about talking to me. This excerpt is from chapter one. It’s a rough draft.

 

Sig Olson sat at a small table in the corner of Rudy’s Diner, his back to the wall, nursing a large, frosted bottle. He scanned the door as people arrived and left. He noticed everything that was going on around him in the diner. Sig’s position as commander of security for North Pole, Incorporated, and by extension the town of Mistletoe, North Pole, meant a part of him was always vigilant.

Christian Kringle and his mate, Jamie Winters, had been attacked few weeks ago. The man behind the violence, Jackson Frost, never made it to the Paranormal Correctional compound in Alaska. Sig had been notified via email to be exercise cation as the plane carrying the man responsible had disappeared in an epic snow storm on Christmas Eve. That was twelve days ago. A PCC team sent to search for the plane found it along with it’s crew. But no Frost, the man was missing.

Sig lifted the bottle into the air, catching the eye of the tall, buxom blond waitress making the rounds with a coffee pot. She nodded her head at him before filling the mugs on the table she was standing next to. A pair of tight jeans and soft gray t-shirt hugged every curve of her body as she headed to Sig’s table. She could turn the heads of every man in the room. No one watched her as she worked the tables, knowing that Rudy would hand any man his head on a platter if they came on to her in any manner.

“Hey, Sig.” Kandy stopped next to the table and sit the coffee pot on it. “Need another brew?” She nodded her head to the almost empty bottle in his hand. “Or something to eat?”

“Kandy.” He lifted the bottle to his mouth and drained it before smiling at her. “How’s Rudy doing?” Kandy’s mate, Rudy, had been attacked and injured a few days before Christmas Eve by Jackson Frost. The psychopath’s family carried a long festering resentment against the Kringle family over the generations. In an attempt lure Christian Kringle to a deserted toy shop to kill him, Frost had kidnapped Christian’s new mate. Kandy’s smile wavered as she remembered and he saw pain flash through her eyes.

Kandy was silent for a few moments. “He’s fine. We’re both fine.” Sig doubted they were both fine but he didn’t comment. Rudy was a tough as nails ex SEAL who happened to be a reindeer shifter. He seen and done a lot over the years, so Sig wasn’t surprised to hear he was doing OK. But Kandy, she was human and it was tougher for her to put Rudy’s almost dying and her best friend’s kidnapping behind her. “So,” Kandy’s smile returned, maybe not as bright as it been before. “What can I bring you, Sig?”

“Ribeye, rare.” Sig didn’t need to see the menu to know what he wanted. “Baked potato, butter and sour cream on the side, and a large salad, no dressing.” He waited as she wrote it on her pad. “And another ale, please.”

“Sure thing,” Kandy looked at him. “Another Alaskan Winter? Or are you feeling… adventurous… tonight, big guy?” She grinned at him. Sig’s eyes narrowed in mock suspicion.

“Are flirting with me, Kandy?” He asked. He leaned closer to her. “Just what kind of adventure did you have in mind?” His voice was low and amused. Kandy turned a nice shade of pale pink but before she could speak, a booming voice bellowed from the kitchen. Even through he kept his voice low, he knew Rudy could hear him. Shifter hearing was beyond excellent.

“No flirting with my woman, Sig!” Sig looked over to the pass through behind the bar. Rudy was glowering at him and Kandy, a huge metal spoon clutched in one hand. Sig grinned as he fisted one hand, his middle finger offering Rudy a one finger salute. The place grew quit, watching and listening to the exchange.

Both Kandy and Sig spoke at the same time.

“Can’t help it if she’d rather have an adventure with me then with you, old man.”

“Oh my god! Will you two stop it!” She was laughing now and within moments both Sig and Rudy were grinning. Soon laughter and chuckles filled the diner as people returned to what they’d been doing.

“So, I’ll ask again,” Kandy challenged, “Feeling adventurous?”

Sig leaned back in his chair again and nodded. “Sure, what do you have?”

“A brand new dark ale, brewed just for the diner.” She eyed Sig. “Tomas has been dabbling in home brewing and came up one just for us. He’s called it Rudy’s Mistletoe Ale.”

“What’s it taste like?” Tomas was one NPI’s List Keepers. He’d been attacked the week before Christmas while transferring the Naughty and Nice lists to digital. Both lists had been stolen in a try to derail Christmas. Like all the paranormals attacked that week, he made a rapid recovery. Sig hadn’t known he was into making his own beer through.

“It’s nutty with hints of candy cane and sugar plum.” Sig grimaced, it sounded cavity inducing. “Don’t look like that, Sig” Kandy swatted his shoulder with her order pad. “It’s not so sweet you can’t drink it. Like I said, it’s more nutty than sweet.”

“OK, OK,” he responded. “I’ll try one. But only for you, sweetheart.” He winked at her when a growl rumbled from the kitchen.

Kandy rolled her eyes before she turned on her heel and walked to the kitchen pass through, slapping Sig’s order onto the counter between the kitchen and the bar. Rudy looked up from the grill and made kissing noises in her direction. She sighed softly and did the same to him. He offered her cocky grin as he reached out one long arm and plucked the order up.

“Love you, babe.” He mouthed and she melted. This huge man owned her heart and it sent shivers of fear through her at the memory of how close she’d come to losing him.

“Love you always.” She murmured back before pulling up a bottle of Rudy’s Mistletoe Ale from the cooler and taking it back to Sig.

 

 

Polar Shift And Rewriting

 

 

 

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past two, maybe three years of writing is that you’ll always be rewriting. And rewriting! This is where I’m at with Polar Shift. I had three chapters done, even posted them here. But rereading those chapters as a whole I find I’m not happy with them. I love them, just not for this book. They were angsty, way darker then I wanted, and  just not the direction I wanted to take the story.

Santa Baby was lighter and I want to keep the series that way. So… I rewrote chapter one one day last week. I hauled my butt, my new tablet, and Polar Shift off to our new local Starbucks and knocked most of the rewrite in just under 3 hours. I’ve done some light editing and now I’m going to post the new and (I hope) improved chapter one!

 

Sig Olson sat at a small table in the corner of Rudy’s Diner, his back to the wall, nursing a large, frosted bottle. He idly scanned the door as people arrived and left. He noticed everything that was going on around him in the diner.

To anyone watching him, he’d just look like a guy having a beer on a wintry evening after work. They’d be mistaken. Sig’s position as commander of security for North Pole, Incorporated, and by extension the town of Mistletoe, North Pole, meant a part of him was constantly vigilant.

He needed to be. With everything that had happened over the last few weeks and now the man behind the violence never making it to the Paranormal Correctional compound in Alaska. The airplane that had retrieved the man responsible had disappeared in an epic snow storm on Christmas Eve. Sig had been notified via email to be exercise cation until a PCC team could locate the crash scene and report back.

Sig lifted the bottle into the air, catching the eye of the tall, buxom blond waitress making the rounds with a coffee pot. She nodded her head at him before filling the mugs on the table she was standing next to. A pair of tight jeans and soft gray t-shirt hugged every curve of her body as she headed to Sig’s table. She could turn the heads of every man in the room. No one watched her as she worked the tables, knowing that Rudy would hand any man his head on a platter if they came on to her in any manner.

“Hey, Sig.” Kandy stopped next to the table and sit the coffee pot on it. “Need another brew?” She nodded her head to the nearly empty bottle in his hand. “Or something to eat?”

“Kandy.” He lifted the bottle to his mouth and drained it before smiling at her. “How’s Rudy doing?” Kandy’s mate, Rudy, had been attacked and injured a few days before Christmas Eve by Jackson Frost. The psychopath’s family had carried a long festering resentment against the Kringle family over the generations. In an attempt lure Christian Kringle to a deserted toy shop to kill him, Frost had kidnapped Christian’s new mate. Kandy’s smile wavered as she remembered and he saw pain flash through her eyes.

Kandy was silent for a few moments. “He’s fine. We’re both fine.” Sig had his doubts they were both fine but he didn’t comment. Rudy was a tough as nails ex SEAL who happened to be a reindeer shifter. He seen and done a lot over the years, so Sig wasn’t surprised to hear he was doing OK. But Kandy, she was human and it was tougher for her to put Rudy’s nearly dying and her best friend’s kidnapping behind her. “So,” Kandy’s smile had returned, maybe not as bright as it been before. “What can I bring you, Sig?”

“Ribeye, rare.” Sig didn’t need to see the menu to know what he wanted. “Baked potato, butter and sour cream on the side, and a large salad, no dressing.” He waited as she wrote it on her pad. “And another ale, please.”

“Sure thing,” Kandy looked at him. “Another Alaskan Winter? Or are you feeling… adventurous… tonight, big guy?” She grinned at him. Sig’s eyes narrowed in mock suspicion.

“Are flirting with me, Kandy?” He asked. He leaned closer to her. “Just what kind of adventure did you have in mind?” His voice was low and amused. Kandy turned a nice shade of pale pink but before she could speak, a booming voice bellowed from the kitchen. Even through he kept his voice low, he knew Rudy could hear him. Shifter hearing was beyond excellent.

“No flirting with my woman, Sig!” Sig looked over to the pass through behind the bar. Rudy was glowering at him and Kandy, a huge metal spoon clutched in one hand. Sig grinned as he fisted one hand, his middle finger offering Rudy a one finger salute. The place had grown quit, watching and listening to the exchange.

Both Kandy and Sig spoke at the same time.

“Can’t help it if she’d rather have an adventure with me then with you, old man.”

“Oh my god! Will you two stop it!” She was laughing now and within moments both Sig and Rudy were grinning. Soon laughter and chuckles filled the diner as people returned to what they had been doing.

“So, I’ll ask again,” Kandy challenged, “Feeling adventurous?”

Sig leaned back in his chair again and nodded. “Sure, what do you have?”

“A brand new dark ale, brewed just for the diner.” She eyed Sig. “Tomas has been dabbling in home brewing and came up one just for us. He’s called it Rudy’s Mistletoe Ale.”

“What’s it taste like?” Tomas was one NPI’s List Keepers. He’d been attacked the week before Christmas while transferring the Naughty and Nice lists to digital. Both lists had been stolen in a try to derail Christmas. Like all the paranormals attacked that week, he made a rapid recovery. Sig hadn’t known he was into home brewing through.

“It’s nutty with hints of candy cane and sugar plum.” Sig grimaced, it sounded cavity inducing. “Don’t look like that, Sig” Kandy swatted his shoulder with her order pad. “It’s not so sweet you can’t drink it. Like I said, it’s more nutty than sweet.” She peered at him expectantly.

“OK, OK,” he responded. “I’ll try one. But only for you, sweetheart.” He winked at her when a growl rumbled from the kitchen.

Kandy rolled her eyes before she turned on her heel and walked to the kitchen pass through, slapping Sig’s order onto the counter between the kitchen and the bar. Rudy looked up from the grill and made kissing noises in her direction. She sighed softly and did the same to him. He offered her cocky grin as he reached out one long arm and plucked the order up.

“Love you, babe.” He mouthed and she melted. This huge man owned her heart and it sent shivers of fear through her at the memory of how close she’d come to losing him.

“Love you always.” She murmured back before pulling up a bottle of Rudy’s Mistletoe Ale from the cooler and taking it back to Sig.

Sig looked at the bottle of dark, reddish ale that Kandy sit it in front of him. There was a picture of the diner on the label, with a reindeer paw print stamp in one corner. With a sigh, he picked it up and took a small sip. His eyes widened in astonishment. A full but delicate nutty flavor burst over his tongue, accompanied by minor notes of peppermint and sugar plum. “Damn,” he murmured. “Shit’s good.” He tilted the bottle up again and took a deeper drink.

It seemed that in no time, Kandy returned with his meal. She placed a wooden platter in front of him with a sizzling plate on it. The aroma of perfectly seared steak wafted around his head and his mouth started to water. Next to it was a huge, steaming potato with butter and sour cream in small ceramic tubs and a big green salad. Being a big guy, and a polar bear, he could pack away enormous volumes of food. Tonight, he’d gone for a lighter dinner. Another bottle of ale appeared in front of him.

“Thanks, Kandy.”

“Enjoy, Sig,” She smiled at him. “Let me know if you need anything else.” She strolled away and Sig picked up his knife and fork.

About half through his meal, the front door opened and a burst of freezing air swirled into the diner. He peered up from his plate and stiffened. The figure that entered pushed back the hood of her parka and dragged her ear muffs off, before removing her gloves. Sig’s eyes followed her hands as long, elegant fingers tugged her parka’s zipper down. So focused on the woman’s movements, his meal was forgotten. He stared as she slipped out of it up and hung it on a peg by the door before, with a smile, she waved at Kandy.

That smile had Sig’s inner polar bear roaring in his head, wanting out. Sig pushed hard at his bear, driving the animal back. He recognized what his bear wanted, he wanted the woman now walking toward the diner’s bar.

“Fuck,” He cursed under his breath. “Holly…” His bear grumbled when he said her name. She was the last person he needed to see right now.

Doctor Holly Rowen. Head of North Pole Inc. medical center and his mate. The mate that had his bear prowling and growling inside of him now.

The mate he’d left behind in the dry, gritty sands of Afghanistan.