Alphas of Summer Excerpt: Dragon’s Desire by J.D. Monroe

Alphas of Summer Excerpt: Dragon’s Desire by J.D. Monroe

J.D. Monroe

J.D. Monroe

Author

J.D. Monroe is a Georgia-based author with a love for all things paranormal, magical, and downright fantastical. She has not given up on the dream of riding a dragon someday.

(Let’s take on the first person, shall we? There are few things as awkward as writing about yourself in the third person!)

I’ve dreamed of being a writer since I was little, with early literary gems such The Three Fish. However, it wasn’t until college that I started to think about writing seriously, and by that I mean writing endless plot ideas and devouring every book on writing I could get my hands on. (Please note that very little actual writing occurred in this stage.)

It was another few years before I realized that thinking about writing was not actual writing. My first completed novel – which will never see the light of day – was a NaNoWriMo project in 2006, which spawned the realization that I was, in fact, capable of writing a book that was moderately readable. I’ve been hooked ever since.

If I’m not writing my own books, you might find me curled up in a chair reading the latest from Stephen King, Ilona Andrews, Rob Thurman, or Chuck Wendig. Or you might just find me asleep with the cutest little cat you ever saw pretending he doesn’t like me while simultaneously occupying the same room I’m in for 80% of the day.

Sometime after the third solid punch to his ribs, Pahlin Stormcaller realized he had made a colossal mistake in coming here. He had barely conjured a memory of home—the sweeping vista of fire-orange rock and the glittering stone spires of Arvelor—when a fist slammed into his jaw and knocked him backward. Reality converged on him again as the gathered crowd roared their support for his opponent. Pain bloomed in his face as he tried to focus. Quite literally, since the blow to his head left his vision blurry and the world tilting dangerously to the side.

The Back Porch was having a slow night, but even if it had been packed for a Dollar Draft night, Violet Ray would have noticed the two hotties strolling through the front door of her bar. She could have picked those faces out of a Super Bowl crowd. They were big boys, tall and broad-shouldered like Swedish-imported hockey players. And they were both handsome, with cheekbones and jaws carved from granite, and skin painted with the perfect sun-kissed copper shade. One had a well-groomed goatee, while his companion was clean-shaven. In the neon light of the Jägermeister sign by the door, she could see a dark welt on the clean-shaven one’s jaw. They were quite a pair, though by their body language she’d guess they weren’t a couple. A girl could certainly hope.

Two women in the booth closest to the door gaped as the men passed.

“Same here, girls,” Violet muttered.

Longer Snippets

Her attentiveness wasn’t entirely because they were attractive. She wanted to place their accents. While she was no linguistic expert, she could pick out a few of the more common ones, and this one wasn’t ringing any bells.

“You want another?” she said as she approached. The clean-shaven one had only drunk about half of his beer. He winced, then forced a smile. “Or something else?”

“What are those?” the one with the goatee asked, gesturing toward the customer with the Fireball shots.

“That? That’s Fireball,” she said.

“Fireball,” the clean-shaven one said slowly. “Is it good?”

“If you like to not feel your face,” she said. His hand drifted to his jaw. “You want to try it?”

“Sure,” the goateed one said. “How much?”

“This one’s on the house,” she said. She pulled out three shot glasses and lined them up, then poured a generous shot of the cinnamon whiskey into each. Before pushing them across the bar, she said, “I don’t drink with strangers. I’m Violet. And you are?”

“I’m Eric,” the one with the goatee said. “And this is my friend Paul.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said. “Where are you from? I’ve been trying to place your accent.”

Paul’s eyes widened slightly. “Not from here.”

“Yeah, I got that,” she said playfully.

“Eastern Europe,” Eric said quickly. There was a weird expression on Paul’s face, almost like relief. His constant deference to Eric was strange, but it could have just been a language thing. If he didn’t speak great English, then he might be relying heavily on his friend to help out. Still, it was weird that he didn’t name a specific country. Maybe they thought she was too dumb to recognize it. Whatever. They were cute and maybe the Fireball would loosen them up to give good tips. She wasn’t going to pry.

She smiled. The soft pink color painted on her lips distracted him, drawing his eye to the full curve of her lower lip. “Been in any fights lately?”

He laughed. “Not in a few days.”

“Your face looks much better,” she said. “What are you drinking?”

He paused. “Not whatever you gave me the other night. I was very ill.”

“You were sick?”

“A headache,” he said. What was the word Ariv had used? “I was hungover.”

She grinned. “To be fair, you drank a lot of it. That much of anything will give you a hangover. Give me a minute.” She spun around, sending her glossy hair flying. As she reached for bottles on the backlit shelves, he had a fine view of her figure. There was a lovely curve to her shape. It awakened an almost compulsive desire to run his hand from her waist to her thigh, exploring that sweeping curve of hip as he buried his face in the smooth warmth of her neck. She turned back to him and caught him staring. “You still here?”

He shook himself. “I was thinking,” he said, hoping his cheeks weren’t red. He watched intently as she poured streams from two bottles into a glass of ice. Her teeth tugged at her lower lip as she dumped the contents of the glass into a silver container, shook it vigorously, then dumped it back into the glass. After adding a wedge of lemon to the edge and dropping a cherry into the glass, she pushed it across the bar to him. “What’s this?”

“This is a Tom Collins,” she said. “It’s a solid drink. You’ll like it. If not, we’ll keep trying.”

He accepted it. “What do I owe you?”

“It’s on the house,” she said.

“Why?”

She propped a hand on her hip. “If the bartender gives you free drinks, you don’t ask why. You smile and say thank you.” Her tone was teasing, not angry.

Emboldened by her coy smile, he leaned closer. Her eyes were mesmerizing, a shade of green with a hint of gold that made him think of leaves just about to turn. “Then I will simply say thank you. The bartender has my highest regards.”

Alphas of Summer Excerpt: Charmed Wolf by Lia Davis

Alphas of Summer Excerpt: Charmed Wolf by Lia Davis

Lia Davis

Lia Davis

Author

In 2008, Lia Davis ventured into the world of writing and publishing and never looked back. She has published more than twenty books, including the bestselling A Tiger’s Claim, book one in her fan favorite Ashwood Falls series. Her novels feature compassionate yet strong alpha heroes who know how to please their women and her leading ladies are each strong in their own way. No matter what obstacle she throws at them, they come out better in the end.

While writing was initially a way escape from real world drama, Lia now makes her living creating worlds filled with magic, mystery, romance, and adventure so that others can leave real life behind for a few hours at a time.

Lia’s favorite things are spending time with family, traveling, reading, writing, chocolate, coffee, nature and hanging out with her kitties. She and her family live in Northeast Florida battling hurricanes and very humid summers, but it’s her home and she loves it! Sign up for her newsletter, become a member of her fan club, and follow her on Twitter @NovelsByLia.

Power is her greatest weakness, but love could be her salvation.

Dana Hutson is about to make one of the toughest decisions of her life: walking away from her twin and her Pack. But the anger of her late mate’s betrayal burns deep, and her guilt threatens to push her over the edge. Combined with the magic she was born with intensifying to a lethal level, she has no choice but to leave Whiskey Hollow in search of her inner peace. But what she finds could be more than she bargained for.

Cooper Reed will do anything to keep his sister and adopted daughter safe from the demented rogue Alpha of the Bloodrose Creek Pack. That includes killing anyone who threatens his family and going on the run. He is willing to do whatever it takes. He isn’t prepared to find his mate in the midst of the chaos.

When even more secrets and dangers come to light, Dana and Cooper must band together to stop the rogue and his minions before all is lost. But will their bond be enough to harness the power needed to defeat such a foe?

Pain arched across her skull, piercing every nerve ending. Dana growled, holding her head in her hands. With deep, calming breaths, she gathered the built-up magic that ran in her veins, the power that grew stronger every day.

Dreams of destruction and loss had interrupted her sleep over the last month. With only a few hours of rest a day, she feared the control she tried desperately to maintain would slip. She could kill her brother, then the Pack.

Ross did this to us. Her wolf’s words cut through the hammering ache in her skull.

Ross wasn’t their true mate. The mating had been a political arrangement between his Pack and hers, to merge two small groups of wolves together. The first few years had been good, and she’d actually believed she could grow to love him. She’d trusted him to be the strong Alpha that her father was.

However, when the Alpha power transferred to Ross from her father, everything changed. As Ross’s mate, the Pack magic mixed with the power Dana been born with. The power the witch’s Coven, her great-aunt’s Coven, believed was a gift from the goddess, Diana.

Ross became drunk on the magic and wanted more. He went from a compassionate wolf to a power-hungry, abusive mate. He distorted her Pack, and broke her in ways she wasn’t sure could be fixed.

She’d learned to hide the witch’s power from him, containing it deep within her soul. But that power had only grown, and now, it wanted out.

“You don’t have to go.”

Dana squeezed her eyes shut and willed away the ache in her head and her chest. Her twin brother’s soft plea hurt on so many levels. In all of their hundred years of life, they’d never been separated. Never needed to be. They were linked through a familial bond, as well as psychically.

Since Darin had taken over Whiskey Hollow as the Pack Alpha, his power was now hers. And her agony was his. She couldn’t stay, knowing that she caused him pain and may one day hurt him physically. “Dare, we both know I can’t stay. Our link is too strong, and I’m not sure how much longer I can hold my wolf back from challenging you. She grows more aggressive as the poison inside me grows. A healthy Pack can’t survive with two Alphas.”

“You are not poisoned. I took Ross’s Alpha power when I killed him.” Darin stepped closer, his hand extended to her.

Involuntarily, Dana growled and jerked back. “Don’t touch me!”

He let out a soft sigh and lowered his hand. Disappointment and sadness flowed along the link that bound them as twins. Dana hugged her waist. She wanted nothing more than to embrace her brother and believe that everything would be okay. But she couldn’t.

“Where will you go?”

Dana shrugged. “Not sure. North, maybe.”

Darin shoved his hands into his pockets. “I can call a few Packs and ask if you can stay in their territory.”

She sighed and shook her head. “I’m not going to put any other Pack in jeopardy. I know where the neutral zones are, and I plan to stay within them.”

The truth was, she had a place about twenty miles west of Whiskey Hollow. However, she didn’t want to tell her brother that was where she planned to go. Although, he’d find her anyway. And he would, just to keep tabs on her.

She needed the time to get control of her wolf and the growing power within her.

“Take an enforcer with you.”

Dana whirled on her twin and snarled. “I am not taking anyone with me. I’m not helpless, and I don’t need a fucking babysitter.”

His wolf flashed in his blue eyes, and he curled his upper lip. “I know you don’t need a babysitter, but shit happens.”

She strode to him, placed a hand on the center of his chest, and felt the beating of his heart through the thin cotton T-shirt he wore. Instantly, she calmed. That was Darin’s gift as a charmed one—a shifter with magic in their bloodline. “The time has come where I need to search for my own Pack.”

There, she’d said it. Up until then, she’d let her brother believe that her leaving was temporary, that she’d return. However, she didn’t plan on coming back. “Look. You may be fine with lying to yourself, but I have to face reality. The Alpha blood runs thick in my veins, just as it does in yours. Being mated to Ross only added a shit ton of fuel to the fire.”

She stepped back and turned away from him. The unspoken words lingered between them. Her guilt for mating the former Alpha had further distorted the Pack and left her bitter. Especially after she’d watched the bastard kill her parents. When Darin had killed the asshole and claimed the Pack, Dana was no longer responsible for protecting it against her mate.

Yet, the hurt, the anger, and the power she’d gained from Ross had damaged something inside her. Had broken her on a level she hadn’t thought possible. She feared she’d go rogue, mindless and bloodthirsty.