October Book Of The Month
The Barbary Lion
Once a king and now a police detective and always a hunter, Atlas Leonidus dreamed of his mate and knew the instant her foot touched the soil of his country. In order to secure her cooperation, he drugs, kidnaps, and imprisons his mate who had come to Italy for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. He's handsome and charming and utterly ruthless: a man who's 1,600 years old doesn't thrive for centuries without believing himself superior to everyone else and doing pretty much as he pleases.
Chloe cannot believe what her captor says, though the changes wrought in her own body give evidence to his wild words. Isolated, she becomes depressed. Rebellious, she breaks beneath his autocratic rule. But Chloe's smart and she's no doormat. Beneath the veil of meek obedience, she plots and schemes: all it takes is one mistake, one moment of inattention, to escape.
Upon discovering her escape, Atlas realizes what his cruelty has cost. He sends a hunter after her when he fails to find her. Dmitry, the hunter, has been searching for a mate for 800 years; he's lonely, too. Atlas hopes that Dmitry never learns that he did not complete the bonding ritual and that Chloe can still be claimed.
Tiger in the Snow
Tiger shifter Dmitry disgraced himself. Fleeing his disgrace, he travels to the Appalachian Trail and rescues the woman his tiger recognizes as his mate and claims her. Tessa acknowledges the blazing chemistry between them, but she's not sure she wants to be tied to this big, dominant male for eternity. Dmitry seeks redemption, but will he find it through Tessa?
People called to one another in short bursts of sound. Singly and in small groups they raced to the stone building where the shelter was obviously sturdier than the awning that flapped in the storm wind and where, she understood, the concert would continue. Clutching her purse, she followed the general trickle of people inside.
People pushed and shoved, trying to get in out of the sudden summer storm. She felt a tug at her shoulder and then a sudden lightness. She gasped and shouted, trying to pursue the thief.
“Stop! Thief!” she called to no avail.
But he was too fast and her pretty sandals weren’t made for running. She cursed under her breath. At least she’d had the foresight to keep most of her money and her identification in a money belt. Trudging back toward the building, she squeezed past several people who were nearly as wet as she. Rain pelted the pavement. She looked around a corner of a stone wall and gasped to witness a struggle, the orange burst of gunfire as lightning cracked overhead, and a man collapse onto wet flagstone. Another shot rang out, that time not obscured by the sounds of the storm. Screams erupted and people pushed and shoved — their good-natured jostling for a dry spot vanished — to flee.
She flattened herself against the stone wall in an effort to avoid being trampled. Her lungs heaved wet air scented with cordite, ozone, and panic. She yelped when a hand wrapped around her upper arm.
“My apologies for startling you,” said the man attached to that hand grasping her arm. His voice was charmingly accented. Dimly, she realized he spoke English. “You are American, yes?”
“Er, yes,” she said, wondering how he could know.
“You saw the shooting?”
She cocked her head, glanced at his hand on her arm. He obligingly removed it. She wrapped her arms around herself as though to contain her shivering.
“And you are?” she prompted.
He flashed a badge at her and said, “I am a detective with the city police.” He gave her a short bow and his name, “Detective Atlas Leonidus.”
She nodded curtly and replied in a trembling voice, “Yes, I saw the shooting. My name is Chloe Gardner.”
“You are cold,” he observed as she trembled. “Come, we will get some coffee and you will tell me what you saw.”
He saw the wariness in her eyes, but she accompanied him without balking. They dashed from overhang to awning to doorway and into a small shop redolent with the rich aroma of coffee. The detective guided her to a small table and bade her take a seat. She did and he walked to the counter to purchase their beverages. She took the opportunity to observe him: taller than the average Italian with tawny blonde hair worn long and caught at the nape of his neck in a short ponytail. His broad shoulders narrowed to a trim waist and taut ass. He moved with coiled strength, like an athlete or big cat.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
Book Of The Month