Blood Born

So, it’s Wednesday, and I’m in the writing cave today.  I have a new WIP I’m dealing with at present.  One of those fly by the seat of your pants kind of stories.  A new adult romance spinoff venture from Shadow Company.  Vampires, shifters, magic, and danger all congeal in this thriller about a small town girl falling for the bad boy bounty hunter.

Meagan Christiana turns twenty-one soon and among all the well-wishers are a few dangers she did not expect.  Since she is all grown up and ready to start her own life, Meagan figures she can handle what comes next.

 Dorran O’Hare, an Irish born ex-SEAL is on the hunt.   He has to save Cheniere Station from the Sultan’s diabolical schemes.  Having tracked the evil one across the Veil to the sleepy little town in Louisiana, he fears for the woman the Sultan seeks.  Her gifts are still a mystery to her, and he is the one chosen to show her the way.

Here’s a sample of what’s in the works.

***

Dorran’s breath on her neck had Meagan jumping back.  “What the hell?”  One look into his eyes and she could see he had been in her thoughts.  How else did he know she wanted him to kiss her?  A burning pressure radiated along nerve endings in her arms as he pulled her to her toes with those rough hands of his.  Leather met cotton in that second.

He breathed her in and narrowed his examination of her face.  “You smell like a woman, Stretch.  All simmer and sauce.”

She blinked.  What did he call her?  It took her mind a full four seconds for the comment’s meaning to register.  Was she a dish now?  Meagan wondered what came next.

I want to kiss you.  This is the only warning you’ll get.  Better let me know whether you can handle it.  Okay?”  His wicked grin was back.

Give me your best shot, ace.”   Her chin firmed under his keen eye.  “I may be just a woman, but I’m no kitten.”

The low growl sounded in his throat as he leaned into the kiss.  With a slant of teeth and tongue, he explored the corners of her mouth without hesitation.  When he eased back, his eyes stayed on hers.  “Just so you know, I’m a take charge kinda guy.”

***

Hope you liked the snippet.  These two still have a long way to go.  As the story unfolds, I’ll share more.  Now, let’s see who read to this point.  Drop me a line with your email address and let me know what you think.  I’m keeping a tally and giving away copies once the book is released.

Available at Amazon

 

Blood & Magic, Book 3 of Shadow Company – A Vampire’s HEA

Can a vampire have an HEA, a happy-ever-after in his life?  Well, the answer is complicated.  Certain factors have to be in place, the planets have to aline just so, and the world must tilt on its axis.  Yes, the fact a vampire has to rely on the fates for his romantic future is a puzzle.  Many have tried to work out the ending, many have failed.  Such a proclamation is not without its flaws or so the nay-sayers preach.

J.T. Leighton was a good soldier.  He was a good Navy SEAL.  He ran into a situation which altered his nature for all eternity.  He’s come to grips with the idea, or so he thinks.  Then, someone from his past shows up out of the blue.  She’s a long drink of water with a talent for dance.  No one had come close to stirring J.T. to wish for something more than a one-night-stand until Jessie Coulter came into his life.  They’d share passion and a tender connection.  Then she disappeared, literally in front of J.T.’s eyes.

Now, his days are filled with loneliness and his nights with murder at his own hands.  J.T.’s a vampire killer with a hard-on for bad guys.  Don’t blink or you might miss the rest of the tale.  Blood & Magic releases on Valentine’s Day.

Oh, if you don’t mind, wish J.T. a Happy Valentine’s Day.  It may be the only one he gets.  Pre-order your copy today.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078W2HYX2

Excerpt from Blood & Magic, Book 3 of Shadow Company

download (4)

She danced across the stage in a flutter of white netting over spandex.  Her hair, pulled back in a severe bun held the blues of an inky night.  Long and slender, she flowed with the music, each movement beginning and ending in the next.  A leap into the air reminded J.T. of a gazelle.  If only he could capture the moment, holding her so forever.  In the dream, J.T. saw Jessie as she’d been almost two years before.  She had been a beauty of exceptional poise and statue.  The grace of her movements were compliments of her tall, lean curves.  A ballerina – his ballerina.

J.T. sat up in the bed.  Nerves rippled along his arms.  Glancing at the clock, he snarled at the readout – three in the afternoon.  Damn!  Rubbing the tension in his neck, he flung his legs over the side of the bed.  Too early to go out.  He padded downstairs for a drink.

Trapped!  He was a fucking prisoner in his own house when the past came calling.  Snarling at the fact, he switched gears, shoving at the memories from years before.  Her laughter caught him off guard.  Glancing around just in case, he stilled.  Her image flitted through his mind.  J.T.’s maker, the damn Sultan, was up to his old tricks.  J.T. would wager money on that idea.  With the bag of chips under his arm, he headed back.  Thank the gods he was allowed some small favors such as something other than pig’s blood to enjoy.  With the glass of warmed blood in his hand, he wandered back up the stairs.  He wanted to wallow in his memories of her, his Jessie.

No, he did not forget how he had come to meet her.  A suspect in a crime of murder.  No, he did not see her as a murderer or a psychopath.  His job as a private investigator meant he sought the truth.  In her case, the truth held his heart in the palm of her hand.  She convinced him of two things in their short time together.  Number one – that she was not the perpetrator.  Number two – that despite being a vampire, he would move heaven and hell to keep her safe.  The trouble with safe was he had no control over the realm in which the woman resided.  In fact, he had no control over any realm or any condition.  Only his existence in death.  Glancing down at the glass, he realized he had finished the blood.

“Have you seen anyone who looked suspicious hanging around today, Zodiac?”

The cat rolled from sitting on his hind legs to resting on his side, before leaning into J.T.’s side.  “Meow.”

“I’ll take that as a ‘no,’ Zodiac.”  Getting back up, he prowled the room.  Agitation, an old friend, appeared in not being unable to remain still for more than two minutes.  “Blast it all to hell and back,” he groaned.

568156592_1280x720

***

Thanks for reading and thanks for dropping by.  I look forward to seeing you again real soon.

 

 

 

Shadow Company Continues

catherine wolffe1 (3)
Beyond the Veil, Book One of Shadow Company – Aubrie and Logan

That’s right!  Shadow Company will soon have a third book – Of Blood and Magic.  If you haven’t read the first two books in my Shadow Company series, better check out the sale this week.  Both Beyond the Veil and Deliberate Intent are on sale at Amazon.com.  I suggest catching up because I have some exciting news.  Of Blood and Magic is due out in January.  Book three of the Shadow Company series introduces a third ex-Navy SEAL, J.T. Leighton.  Here’s a working blurb.

J.T. Leighton, ex-Navy SEAL, and teammate of Logan Latimer and Duke Taylor starts a new life in Cheniere Station.  Since the Sultan is responsible for J.T. becoming a vampire, he has his own reasons for hunting down the mind-bending shadow walker.  Tall, mysterious and oh, so sexy, J.T. is a licensed private investigator and undercover vampire hunter.

Each member of Shadow Company has a reason to go after the ‘blood viper.’  J.T. seeks the opportunity to join their little band of warriors on a mission to save those enslaved by this demon of pure evil.  He spends his time killing the Sultan’s spawns while masked as an undead P.I.

J.T.’s plans don’t include discovering the woman who disappeared from his life two years before.  Jessie Colter is the one or was before things changed forever.   Her gifts work some sort of spell on J.T. making him believe they can have a future together.  But what does that future hold?  J.T.’s not sure he dares to find out.

***

Now, here’s a snippet from Of Blood and Magic:

The night crept over the land moonless and damp.  Late November held a gloomy grip on Louisiana.  No brightly colored leaves floated from the trees any longer.  No crisp cool tinge to the air of Cheniere Station’s advance into winter.  No, the chill was bone deep and miserable.  J.T. glanced up then down the deserted street with a keen eye for trouble.

Like most nights, he prowled the streets looking for a fix.  Not the kind most vampires sought.  No, he hunted other vampires.  J.T. had been a professional vampire slayer since that fateful night in Afghanistan.  The Sultan, a blood viper of pure evil, had turned him.  He was J.T.’s master.  The Sultan viewed him as a blood slave and his number one boy.  The shadow walker saw J.T. as an asset.  His go-to-guy for blood kills.  The irony was the Sultan didn’t want the bodies for blood.  He wanted them for their souls.

For the first year of his existence as a vampire, J.T. performed the duties of a blood slave.  His instructions from the Sultan were to suck the victim’s blood until they were on the verge of death.  Any more and the victim would die and be useless to the Sultan’s plans.  Any less and J.T could die at the hands of the attacked.

Thank the gods the Sultan’s hold over him diminished once he escaped the Middle East.  Here, he exacted vengeance against all who killed ruthlessly and without remorse.  His notion was killing them was his way to even the score.  J.T. sought justice because there were those who were turned and fought to survive while holding on to some small ruminant of their humanity.

“So, you have a death wish.”  The observation was one he used over and over again.  Each time he confronted a fellow bloodsucker, he taunted his target.  A surprised vampire made for an easy kill.  Plus, J.T, liked the thrill of a face to face encounter.  Sure, a stake through the heart of an unsuspecting vampire was quicker.  The fact was, J.T. craved the confrontation.  If he was going to kill his own kind for a living, why not enjoy the job.   In his line of work, there was never a shortage of prey.  It didn’t matter that he would never kill them all.  J.T. like to think of his nightly hunts as a way of leaving his mark.  That’s what he did, too.  To date, he had killed over a hundred bloodsuckers since returning from the desert.  The job beat the hell out of wandering the streets at night and thinking of the woman he could never hold again.

The vampire whirled, his eyes registered the shock.

J.T.’s feral growl signaled an attack.  A lunge off the ground sent him flying into space before dropping atop the shocked blood hunter.  After all, vampires did not kill vampires.  Laws against such were in place and had been for centuries.

The vampire’s weak punch glanced off J.T.’s chin.  He grappled with the bloodsucker.  Reaching out, he managed to grip that one by the throat.  Wasting no time, he went for the jugular.  Blood spurted as J.T. sank his teeth into the neck of his prey.  His victim’s life fluid filled his mouth and throat as he drank his fill.  Soon, the lifeless body lay crumbled at his feet.  “Good riddance.”  Wiping blood from his face, J.T. whirled at the scent of more vamps.  They were close.

Their spokesman sneered, his fangs shining in the street light.  “Gonna need a little bit of magic to finish us all off, traitor.  You are a hunted man, you know.  The high council has a bounty on your head.  Your days, they are numbered.”  Sauntering sideways, the cocky fellow examined his opponent.

“That fact isn’t going to slow me down.  You’re the next to die.”  Before the trio could blink, J.T. materialized behind them.  Wheeling, each, in turn, found their doom.  The blade in J.T. hand dripped with fresh vampire blood.  Quick and efficient, he wiped the blade on his jeans.  “No need to waste their carcasses,” he mused aloud.  “The werewolves can always make use of a fresh kill.”  Satisfied with a glance about for witnesses, J.T. scooped up the headless monsters and took to the sky.  Dawn was approaching, and he grew weary.

***

Look for a cover reveal coming next month.  Thanks for dropping by and leave comments below.  I’d love hearing from you.

Catherine

Beyond the Veil  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4FIW55

Deliberate Intent  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072TNDGYJ

733956_413774912016705_1447522732_n

 

Flash Sale! Deliberate Intent is #FREE!

banner3

Fabulous Friday (today, August 11th) and Sublime Saturday (August 12th) just got better.  You can purchase a copy of my latest paranormal romance, Deliberate Intent, book two of Shadow Company #FREE at Amazon for these two days!!

 

But wait.  There’s more.  How about a snippet?  You’ve got it!  Logan Latimar, a warlock, and ex Navy SEAL is confronted with what he hopes is a vision.  Reality has fingers as cold as ice though, and he needs solace.  Check out this steamy scene in the Louisiana heat.  Hugs and Happy Friday!

Deliberate Intent

Lingering at the door, Logan made a show of waving.  The cars drove away followed by the dust of a dirt drive.  Guests were fun but the day had been long.  “That went well.”  His estimation settled in the silence.  Turning, he searched the great room for Aubrie.  She’d been quiet most of the evening.  He missed her usual banter with Pilot, her shadow walker friend.  Katie, Aubrie’s best friend, and Gus, Logan’s brother probably hadn’t notice.  He did.  Had Aubrie, the seer already figured him out?  No, discovering his secret would cause an eruption.

Padding barefooted to the sofa, he dropped down on the cushions.  The day had been tediously long.  Words were stilted.  Conversation with Aubrie came at a price.  Glancing up, he noted the ceiling fan’s swift swirl.  Logan closed his eyes.  How had he gotten himself into this mess?  Even knowing the answer didn’t help.  A casual encounter with Connie, his ex at Joiner’s grocery had mushroomed into a full-blown situation.  Throwing an arm over his head, he propped his feet on the coffee table.  Aubrie would protest if she walked in about then.  She didn’t.  He could hear water running – in the shower.  Most times, he would slip out of his jeans to join her.  The notion of his hands on her silky skin appeared in his mind’s eye.  Those long legs wrapped around his hips.  Suds rolled down their bodies as he kissed her senseless over and over again.  Giggles and groans accompanied the hot, wet shower sex.  The image was one of his favorites.

The laughter switched.  No longer alluringly sweet, the sound rang raw as if on the verge of hysterical.  Logan opened his eyes.  Connie stood on the opposite side of the coffee table.  She cocked a hip while smirking at him.  Logan jumped.

“What’s the matter?  Not who you were expecting?”

His senses sharpened.  He went into military mode.  “What do you want?”  Nasty rimmed the question.

“That’s not very hospitable of you, Logan.”  Easy as you please, she strolled around the table before dropping down in front of him.  “Why don’t you let me work my magic on you, Latimar.”

Logan glared at the fingers slipping up his thigh.  Was she real?  With a free hand, he clamped down hard and unyielding.  “Don’t.”  Noting the chill in her skin, he shifted to stand.  “Get out.  Now!”

“All right.  But I’ll be back.  After all, I got more of a right to you than Aubrie does.”  With a jerk of her head in the bathroom’s direction, Connie stood, giving her long blonde tresses a good shake out.  Sauntering to the door, she narrowed her eyes at him.

“Have a nice night, Logan or should I call you daddy?”  With those words, she disappeared.

Logan released a sigh in a long, laborious effort to somehow cleanse his skin of her touch.  No good.  The incident wasn’t merely a dream.  He could smell her cheap scent. She had been in the room.  Flesh and blood, Connie had stood almost where he stood now.  “What the hell,” he growled in the silence.  “I’ve seen a ghost or an apparition, maybe a vision.  Something.”  Glancing down, he noted his hands shook.

“Who’re you talking to in here?”  Aubrie appeared in the door to the bedroom.  “I heard voices in here.  Did Katie forget something?”  Raking a fat comb through her chocolate lengths, she eyed him coolly.

Ice hardened along his spine.  “Nobody.  I was talking to myself.”  The habitual shove of hands in pockets followed by clearing his throat spoke volumes.  Logan would put money on it.  “Are you getting ready for bed?”

“Yeah, are you coming?”  Her questioning eyes tracked him as he gathered up his boots.

“No.  I’m not tired right now.  Hey, I think I’ll fly over to Gus’.  He said somebody’s been hanging around the garage after dark.  I want to scout out the area.  Sorta give him some help.  Won’t be long.  Go on to bed.  I’ll be back soon.  Okay?”  Reluctance appeared in her features.  He stepped to her.  “Look, I promise, I won’t be long.  Lock the doors.  I’ll use my key when I get back.”

“Sure.”

The one word grazed across the rawness of having lied to her.  You did not lie to your soulmate.  Stepping to Aubrie, Logan eased in for a kiss.  Soft and gentle, his lips skimmed over hers.  Without effort, his mind relaxed as her hands touched his shoulders.  She had a magnificent talent for making the outside world go away.  Reaching up, he cradled her face in his fingers.  Long, pleasurable moments passed as his mouth swept the corners of hers.  Nibbling her flesh, he bit the corner of her top lip before sucking.  She molded her body into his.  The easy way she gave into his attention stoked his ardor.  Small pulses of electricity ran the length of his body.  His shaft hardened as she stirred his blood with her hands.

“Logan?”

“Yeah, Sugar?”  His heart thrummed with a new and vital beat.

“Make love to me.”

In the light shining in from the bedroom window, her request hit him with the force of steel.  The words were ones he had heard before.  A flicker of memory brought back the night they’d made love under the stars.  This woman channeled his emotions like no other.  No magic compared to her touch.

With a groan, he walked her backward to the bed.  The urgency for her drove him to pull her nightshirt over her head.  “I need you, now,” he whispered.

###

Discover more snippets of Deliberate Intent right here where paranormal and romance collide.  Thanks for dropping by.

230872_497159500302255_1874821006_n

 

 

Deliberate Intent – Release Day!

The day has finally arrived.  Book two of Shadow Company is live at Amazon.  One of my beta readers commented, “The book is intense.”  I agree.  She also pointed out I left two story threads slightly unraveled.  Again, I agree.  I want readers to be intrigued enough to want more.  I hope you won’t be disappointed.  Instead, I hope you’ll look forward to book three for answers.

Katie and Duke are nothing alike.  He’s a grounded in reality ex-SEAL with no place to call home.  Katie is a small town girl born and raised.  She believes in medicine and natural medicine.  She believes in magic to some degree.  Yet, Duke and Katie can’t deny the attraction between them.Beach Travel Photo Collage

Tracking shadow walkers is dangerous work.  When magic’s involved, there’s always the threat of the unknown.  Katie discovers her friend, Logan has been charged with a crime.  Working to save the life of their friend leaves them with no place to go but each other for help.  Here’s an excerpt from Deliberate Intent, Book Two of Shadow Company.

Amazon link  

Katie stormed the stairs like an operative on a mission.

Duke answered the door on the third pound.

She charged past him as if he was invisible.  “Where is he?”

“Where’s who?”  Duke wondered absently if she looked as beautiful as he remembered or if the picture was simply the stingy light swinging precariously overhead.

Wheeling, she faced him with red-rimmed eyes.  “Don’t play games with me.”  Her eyes darted from the kitchen to the bed.  “Where’s your worthless friend, Logan?”

Her breath came quick and hard.  The skin along her collarbone flushed red with agitation.  “I don’t know.”  Duke shook his head.

“You’re lying.  All alike-men,” Katie muttered.  Turning, she started for the door.

“Wait a minute.  I’m not lying.  Logan was here earlier.  Have you tried Aubrie’s?”

Stopping, she turned.  Eyes narrowing, she glared at Duke.  He was glad there was the span of the room between them.  “You know what he did, don’t you?”  Taking a step, she glared at him.  Her eyes chilled with calculation.  “Yeah, you know what the worthless, two-timing bastard did.  There’s no need to protect him.  The cat’s out of the bag.”  Her voice cracked over the last word.  Glancing toward the swords and candles, stuffed in the room’s corner, she sighed.  “Those are his, aren’t they?”

Without giving him time to answer she threw up her hands.

“This is too much.  Really a pisser.”

His brow winged up!  The reaction dissipated fast as she examined him standing there in his boxers.  “Put on some clothes.  You’re gonna take me to him.”

“Sure.”  He’d follow her into hell, so the answer wasn’t hard to share.  “Except I don’t know where he is.”

“Liar.”

Temper simmered under the surface of her pristine skin.  Duke imagined reaching out to touch.  He wanted to trace the red flush of anger along her cheek.  “Easy.  I’ll get some clothes.  You want something to drink?  Water?”  A quick swipe toward the kitchen counter brought no response.  Time to grab his jeans.

“Hurry up.  I haven’t got all day.”  Pacing with the anger seething from her pores, Katie snarled at the candles in the duffle tossed into the corner of the tiny apartment.  “He wouldn’t go anywhere without those.”  Pointing to the warlock tools, she pivoted before returning to stand in his personal space.  Almost nose-to-nose with him now, Katie glared into his eyes as if trying to examine his soul for the truth.  “I want you to take me to him.”  Her finger appeared in his face.  “And don’t even think about any funny business, understood?”  Huffing out a breath, she shoved him in the chest.

***

Thanks for dropping by,

Catherine

“It takes a village to publish a book.”  Someone once told me, or so I believe.  I am an Indie Author and proud of the fact.  As such, I ask for assistance from friends and family.  Thank you to the wonderful people who gave selflessly for my story.  Without my beta readers and supporters, my books would not be possible.  My sister is my rock and support through the whole process.  Thanks to you all for everything!

 

Friday Teaser – Deliberate Intent – A snippet

Happy Friday, everyone.  This week, I’m sorting through the plot of Deliberate Intent and came across a secondary character scene that pretty much sums up the problem facing Shadow Company.  The backstory begins with dreams so real they can kill you.  Shadow walkers have upped the ante with their mind control.  Manipulation is the key to garnering power when the dreams evolve into reality.  So the new puppeteer, The Sultan, creates nightmares for our team members.  One such dream has Logan Latimar, the warlock from Beyond the Veil, so concerned, he asks his fiancee, Aubrie Sinclar, the seer from book one,  to visit the woman featured in his nightmare to see if she can figure out who’s behind the trouble.  Here’s the meeting between Aubrie and Connie Colter, Logan’s former lover.

 Deliberate Intent, Book Two of Shadow Company

“I can’t come into the pharmacy to work today.  Got some things to do.”  Aubrie hurriedly texted the message to her best friend, Katie.  “Talk to you later.”

The dirt road rambled through the countryside outside of Cheniere Station like a lover eluding capture.  Not intending on going anywhere except back into her lover’s arms, the road ended abruptly when that lover reached for her.

Dust swirled despite the dew lingering in the canopy of trees bordering either side of the dusty road. The air hung heavy and sultry.   Aubrie got out of the car, eyeing the ramshackle house, the last façade of a fallen hero.  He was a farmer at heart.  The essence of Luke Colter, SEAL team six team member and friend of Logan’s, lingered in the telltale remnants of the barn and rusting equipment.

“Morning.”  Connie stood propped against the weather stressed paint of the tenement house.  The early morning mist settled over the fallow ground of her dead husband’s cotton fields.  Her hair was damp as if she’d just bathed.  Her cotton wrap covered her milky white skin to a point close to her upper thigh.  “I’m surprised to see you.”

“Sorry I dropped by so early.  I wondered if we could talk.”  Aubrie scrubbed her hands on the back pockets of her jeans.

“Sure.  Come on in.  I got coffee.”  Shoving off of the porch support, Connie sauntered back through the broken down screen door one hip at a time.

The dimly lit front room smelled of dust and garbage gone over.  Maybe the visit wouldn’t take too long.  Following Connie into the kitchen, she offered, “Coffee sounds good.”  Thinking of the several cups she’d already had, she shoved at the idea for more caffeine.  Still wondering if coming out was a good idea, she smiled.  “How are you, Connie?”

Standing at the counter of the vintage kitchen, Connie poured.  “Fine, you?”

The smell of caffeine and cream reminded Aubrie of the last time Connie had poured coffee for her.  She and Logan had visited Hightower’s diner.  Connie waited on them and served coffee.  Malice lay right below the surface on that occasion.  Remembering the hot Java burn on her hand from spilled coffee, Aubrie wondered if the same was true today.  “I’m fine.  Been busy.”

“Yeah, busy.”  Connie’s laugh was mirthless.  “The diner’s been keeping me occupied.  Seems the oil wells nearby have plenty of employees.  Cream?”

“Yes, please.”  She waited as Connie set the cup down on the table.  “Thanks.”

Dropping into the other chair, Connie smiled slyly, “Sit down.”  Tapping a polished fingernail on the Formica surface, she eyed Aubrie speculatively.  “What brings you all this way, Aubrie.”

There was no hiding the fact.  Aubrie’s visiting Logan’s former lover to ‘chat’ was highly suspect.  “Logan said you were dealing with some things.  Asked me to talk to you.  Since I’m a seer, he thought I might be able to help.”  The shrug wasn’t planned.  Wincing inside, Aubrie glanced about the drab kitchen with its faded paint.  Light spilled in the one tight window over the sink.  Somewhere in the shadows, a room fan hummed in the silence.

“He did, did he?”  Connie tapped a lacquered nail on the tabletop.  “Seems like our Logan is having a difficult time with me lately.”

Connie’s scrutiny made Aubrie uncomfortable.  Funny, but the woman seated across from her seemed to be reading Aubrie’s mind, instead of the other way around, she mused.  Aubrie shrugged again.  “You know how men are.  They get spooked when a woman says she’s got troubles.  Seems like feminine wiles aren’t their forte’.

Connie sniffed.  Giving her dishwater blonde hair a flip over her shoulder, she reached out, snatching up the pack of cigarettes on the tabletop.  Thumping the open pack against her index finger, she asked, “Want one?”

Waving away the offer, Aubrie answered.  “No, thanks.”

With a shrug, Connie pulled the cigarette out and lit the tip with a ‘Geaux Saints’ lighter.  The slow trail of the smoke slide toward the water stained ceiling.  “No wiles here.  Just facts.  If Logan can’t deal with that, then who needs him anyway.  Right?”

Connie was harboring some resentment.  That was apparent in her words.  Careful not to poke at the fire brewing, Aubrie sipped her coffee.  “I guess.  You want to tell me what’s going on?  Maybe I can help.”  Her fingers slid around the cup for safety.  No sense in reaching out and accidentally seeing what the woman wasn’t going to volunteer.  She’d have to go with what Connie offered.

“I told Logan something he wasn’t ready to believe.  If I hadn’t been present when it happened, I’m not sure I’d believe it either.  It seems I’m pregnant.  He’s the daddy.”

Aubrie’s hand tightened on the coffee cup.  Now, she desperately wanted to reach over and see the truth.  Air suddenly became a precious commodity.  “What makes you think he’s the father?”

Tamping out her cigarette in the ashtray, Connie paused.  Her mouth lay in a flat line as she gauged her response carefully.  Leaning in on one elbow, she eyed Aubrie smugly.  “Because he’s the only man I’ve been with in a long while.”

The coffee in the cup vibrated.  The tension rippled up Aubrie’s arm.  The need to defend Logan surfaced.  She swallowed the bile in reflex.  “You’re lying.  You can’t have him, so you don’t want anyone else to have him either.”  Her cool demeanor shattered as Aubrie stood.  Fight or flight teased her courage.  “This is your way of ruining our wedding, isn’t it?”  Taking a step backward, Aubrie wished to run as far and as fast as she could go.  “Your way of keeping him even if he doesn’t love you.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure about that last part if I were you.  That’s not what Logan told me while he was inside me.  You’d better check your facts.  Where’s he been going lately?  He hasn’t been working down at the garage as much, has he?  As for your wedding – people marry every day.  Doesn’t make it stick.”

Doesn’t make it stick.  The words rang in Aubrie’s head.  She wheeled.  The light went out for a second before she reached the front door.  Somehow she made it down the steps.  Where had the lead in her step come from?  Her breath came in short, hard pants.  The constriction in her chest was real.  Behind the wheel of the car, she cursed the anxiety attack for zapping her nerve, Aubrie turned the key in the ignition, spinning out as she left.

***

Trouble’s brewing in Cheniere Station.  Deliberate Intent is nearing a close, which means a release date is coming up.  In the meantime, check out Beyond the Veil, Book One of Shadow Company for the start to the series.  SEALS and magic collide in this test of wills.

Thanks for dropping by.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Catherine