Throwback Thursday! Check out this excerpt from Savage Hunger!

* * * * *

The creatures inside the cell continued to howl and scream as their bodies contorted. Fingers splayed out at awkward angles, stretching longer and longer, while joints grew thick and gnarled. Hair poked through the human skin covering the—oh God it was a wolf. The smell in the hall was rancid with sweat and human waste…animal waste.

Her heart stuttered at the sickening scene, and she wasn’t even aware that she’d stopped fighting Warrick, but now clutched his shirt in fear.

Unable to close her eyes, Sienna watched as another creature appeared to shift back into human form, the fur on its body retracting as smooth dark skin appeared. And the change kept happening to all the creatures. Obviously uncontrollable, inexorable and agonizing. They were human, and yet they were animal.

Her gaze connected with one of the creature’s—a woman—inside the cell, and the glaze of pain in her stare had everything inside her clenching with compassion and helplessness.

“I’m taking the tango outside to the van,” Warrick said.

Her body jerked as he kicked open a door, his shoulder digging into her stomach. Then the door swung shut and the inside of the lab disappeared. But what she’d seen had been burned into her mind—she couldn’t get rid of the image.

Warrick’s grip on her tightened as he lowered her back over his shoulder and to the ground. Before she could get her balance or take note of their surroundings, she was forced up against the side of the building.

She welcomed the rough brick surface against her bare shoulders. It jarred her back to reality a bit. The slight chill in the night air added to the goose bumps that already covered her, but the proximity of Warrick’s hard body radiated a heat that reminded her this whole situation was entirely too real. What she’d seen was real. She swallowed against the nausea that now threatened.

Warrick’s arms came down on each side of her head and his face closed in on hers, his expression fierce, any trace of softness from earlier long gone. She blinked, trying to gain her surroundings, to calm herself, to form a clear thought.

“Tell me, Sienna. What the hell are you doing here tonight?”

Her heart couldn’t seem to slow from its erratic pace. In a daze, she shook her head, trying to suck a breath. “It’s not possible…things like that just can’t exist.”

He laughed mockingly, even as something hard—frightening—flickered in his eyes. “To the rest of the world, they don’t.”

“I…oh my God, Warrick, I don’t feel so well.” Her body started to tremble and she shook her head. “I need to get out of here. I need to get out of here! Warrick, let me—”

“Hey.” Warrick caught her chin in gentle hands and forced her to look at him. “Look at me, Sienna. Come on, look at me. There’s a good girl. You’re all right.”

She stared into his eyes, almost hypnotized at the intensity and firm conviction in his gaze. The reassurance and calm that Warrick had always been so good at giving. He stroked his thumb in a gentle caress down her cheek.

“You’re all right, Sienna. Okay, sweetheart? Take a couple deep breaths. You’re fine.”

And suddenly she was. His familiar, gentle voice and reassuring words sucked the fear and anxiety right out of her. It was the closest she’d been to a panic attack in years.

Her muscles lost the tension she’d been holding and with each slow breath she dragged in she became more aware of everything. The smell of freshly cut grass and the scent of Warrick’s soap. The sound of the suffering creatures inside, mostly muted by the thick brick walls of the building.

“Better?”

Sienna gave a heavy nod to Warrick’s soft question. “How did you find out about them, Warrick? Those creatures? Are your friends going to hurt them?”

“Are my friends going to hurt them?” The gentleness in his expression vanished, replaced instead with disbelief as he leaned his face closer to hers. “My friends are on a damn rescue mission from whatever the hell kind of evil your employer was behind.”

A flush of guilt stole up her neck and she averted her gaze. She couldn’t exactly deny his accusation. But what did Warrick mean by rescue mission? And who were the other guys who he was communicating with?

Feeling much calmer now and a little more in control, she asked, “How did you know they were here, Warrick?”

Warrick stared at her, his gaze narrowed with consideration. The intensity of his stare had her squirming and her gaze shifting away from his.

“You didn’t answer my question, Sienna.”

“I’m here for the same reason you and those men are. To set them free.”

Her admission was met with silence. A sliver of unease moved through her and she turned her head to glance back at Warrick. If his gaze had been intense before, it was downright intimidating now. Even though they’d grown up together, and she knew instinctively he’d never hurt her, a shiver of fear ran down her spine.

“You don’t want to lie to me, Sienna.” The low threat rumbled from his throat.

* * * * *

The man who vows to protect her may be her biggest threat.

Savage, Book 1

Being the daughter of a world-renowned scientist, Sienna Peters has struggled to carve out her own career in the field. But her world is sent spinning when she discovers a secret species being held in the lab where she works, and the horrible things being done to them. Compelled to do more than hand off an information-packed jump drive to her father, she sets out to free the creatures.

The minute his team enters the compound, federal agent Warrick Donovan knows their mission will have more trouble than they bargained on. Unfortunately, trouble comes in the form of Sienna Peters, the younger sister of his close friend. Now not only does he need to save her pretty ass, he needs to discover just how involved she is with the imprisonment of the shifters.

Sienna knows she should trust no one—not even the man she might still love. But as the danger escalates and past passion ignites, her heart has other ideas. Even when the shroud of mystery is ripped off more than one stunning truth…

Warning: Must love alpha males, be intrigued by federal agents who may or may not shift into wolves, and most importantly be prepared for intense action of the dangerous and sexual kind.

Amazon | Nook | Samhain Publishing

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today’s excerpt is from the opening of Beauty and the Sheikh! Hope you enjoy it!

* * *

The lights of Raljahar twinkled with life. They were the pulse of a desert city whose future had been on the brink of collapse a decade ago, until he’d inherited his father’s reign and breathed life back into it.

Sheikh Rafiq al Hakimi stepped back from the palace window, pride sweeping through him as he turned his attention away from the vibrant nightlife below. It was a place of indulgence and pleasure, of wealth and elitism. It was his creation, and yet he wanted no part of it.

He looked around the interior of his office, his fortress against a world that offered little mercy and even less compassion.

Rushed footsteps sounded outside in the hallway, followed by the urgent whispers of men who would give their lives for him. Men who served him faithfully and humbly.

What was going on now?

Rafiq strode across the room, his kandura swirling around his legs. He swung open the double doors and scanned the hallway until he saw the commotion near the end of the hall. “What is happening?” he growled.

His servants turned toward him, their eyes wide.

His closest advisor approached and bowed. “Your Majesty,” he said hastily. “Our apologies. It was not our intention to distract you. There is a situation, but it is being taken care of at this very moment.”

Irritation pricked and Rafiq gave a sigh of impatience. “You know I do not care for vagueness, Amjad. I would be apprised of the situation immediately.”

“Of course, Your Majesty.” Amjad paled and his gaze remained lowered as he continued. “A woman was discovered outside the palace as she attempted to break inside to see you. Of course, her attempts were not successful and she was seized—”

“Who is she?”

“We are not yet certain.”

Rafiq’s frown deepened and he glanced once more down the hallway that led to the marbled foyer of the heavily guarded palace. “Did you have any intention of telling me? When did this happen?”

“Just moments ago, Your Majesty, but there is no need for concern—”

“Do not tell me what there is need for!” he roared, and his advisor trembled in response. “Where is she?”

“Down the hall. She is being questioned. Everything is under control—”

“Min fadlak!” Angry, shrill, and most definitely female, the voice rang out. The two words echoed down the hall, somewhere out of view but within range of hearing.

“Yes. Quite under control.” He gave a sharp nod. “Bring her to my office.”

“But Your Majesty—”

“Bring her to me.” He didn’t need to raise his voice this time—the slight edge to his tone made his advisor whimper, before he scurried away with a mumbled reply.

Rafiq turned and strode back into his office to await her arrival, his curiosity piqued by the woman who hadn’t the sense to be afraid of the consequences of her actions.

Breaking into the palace? Was she dimwitted?

He’d garnered a reputation as a sharp, fair ruler of the kingdom of Raljahar. He’d brought the country back from the near destitution his father had let it slip into, and yet still his people feared him.

But then, how could they not?

It was not only because of his fierce temper. His fingers unconsciously rose to touch the jagged flesh of the left side of his face, tracing the line sweeping down across his neck.

Footsteps sounded outside his office, and he turned in time to see a handful of his bodyguards swarm in, flanking the heavily garbed figure he assumed to be the woman. Rafiq’s mouth tightened and skepticism swept through him. Had he not heard the high-pitched plea in the hall, he might have his doubts the person before him was actually female.

Nearly as tall as some of his guards, the figure struggled fiercely. The burka she wore hid any hint of curves and the veil shielded her face.

An interesting choice in clothes. Though the attire was not entirely unseen among the females of his city, nowadays most women wore modest forms of western clothing. The woman before him could have been a traditionalist to his country, or perhaps just trying very hard to disguise herself…

He suspected the latter.

“Ma ismuk?” he called out sharply, and waited for her to give him her name.

The woman stilled in her struggle, seeming to stare right at him from behind her veil, and then replied almost inaudibly in English, “I don’t speak Arabic very well.”

No, she most definitely wasn’t a citizen of Raljahar, or likely any Arab nation.

Rafiq stood and approached her. Though she was tall for a woman, he still had a half a foot in height on her. Her hands were visible at the end of her sleeves—long, graceful-looking fingers. Her skin, smooth and pale ivory, flashed against the black robes she wore.

“Remove her veil,” Rafiq commanded flatly in his own tongue.

The guards reached for her and she renewed her struggle.

“No, wait, please!” Her words grew frantic as they forcibly removed the veil from her head.

Any fading doubts of her being a woman evaporated completely as long waves of chestnut hair spilled down past her shoulders. With a soft cry of frustration she ducked her head and stared at the floor, her face shielded by the curtain of brown.

A sliver of familiarity raced through him. Had it been his imagination, or had her voice also sounded familiar? Rafiq took a step toward her, ignoring the way his blood quickened. “You are quite fortunate that I speak English.” He stopped just inches from her, watching as her fingers knotted together. She was nervous. “Now, tell me your name.”

The woman hesitated long enough to increase the unease growing in him. He reached out and caught her chin between his fingers, then gently lifted her head. The curtain of brown hair slid away from her face, until his gaze clashed with crystal blue eyes.

Recognition slammed into him like a punch to the chest, sending the air rushing from his lungs. “Holly?”

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A is for Alpha series (book 1)

Indulge your fantasies with these steamy, contemporary romances about sexy, billionaire alpha males, and the women who capture their hearts.

His price is her innocence…

Holly Winchester is desperate. With her brother facing theft charges and a potential prison sentence in a foreign country, she seeks help from the one man she knows can give it. But will the ruthless, billionaire sheikh who once broke her heart be able to forget and forgive their painful past?

Two years ago, Sheikh Rafiq Al Hakimi allowed a beautiful foreigner not only into his country, but nearly his heart. It was all too easy, falling for the one woman who didn’t fear him or his scars.  Until he discovered her intentions were as shallow as the modeling world she thrived in.

Now Holly’s returned to his country, begging for his help. He’s willing to give her brother his freedom—if Holly gives up hers by agreeing to become his mistress…

 

LochAndKey72web Happy Mardi Gras! How about an excerpt from Loch and Key that has a jambalaya scene?  The book is available for pre-order on Amazon and all other e-book retailers: http://amzn.to/1leja2b

* * *
“Peppers are already half cut up over there. Go ahead and finish those if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all.” She dove right in, chopping anything he handed her, and then watching as he began cooking the jambalaya.

“I like to cook the veggies in the fat and juice from the cooked sausage. Adds a lot of flavor.”

“It sure smells amazing. I’m not sure I’ve ever had jambalaya,” she admitted, sliding a plate’s worth of sliced onions into the pan.

“This will be your first then, and I guarantee, pretty amazing.”

“That’s quite a guarantee.”

“Absolutely, and I don’t make it lightly. Just you wait.”

“And not the least bit humble,” she drawled and softened the teasing statement with a laugh.

“Not even a little bit.” He grinned and went to the cupboard to grab the spices he needed. “Ah, hell.”

She glanced at him over her shoulder from where she stirred the veggies in the pan.

“Everything all right? Did you trip on your ego?”

“I’m out of paprika.”

“Hmm, sounds important if I go by the sound of your voice.”

“Yeah. I’m gonna need it.” He shook his head and glanced at the pan full of simmering veggies and sausage. Shit. He’d made sure he’d had all the perishable food ingredients, but had forgotten to check the spices. “As much as I hate to say it, I’d better run to the store and grab some.”

“Let me.” She stepped away from the pan and handed him the wooden spatula. “You know what you’re doing with this far more than I do. You leave me with a pan full of cooking jambalaya, you’ll probably come back to find it burned and resembling a preschooler’s art project.”

“That sounds like it would taste kind of shitty actually.”

“Quite likely. Still better than cheap arse burritos, though.”

He groaned. “I’m never going to live that down. Not from my sailors. Not from you.”

“Never,” she agreed.

“You sure you don’t mind?”

“Not at all. I’ve actually got a craving for a chocolate bar anyway.”

He arched a brow. “A chocolate bar? You’ll spoil your appetite.”

“I’m not a child, I’m a grown woman with an embarrassing appetite, who was also turned down for sex a moment ago. So I’d very much like to stuff my face with a chocolate bar as a replacement for now.” She pointed her index finger at him. “Don’t judge.”

His mouth was still flapping as she strode out of the kitchen toward the front door. She was replacing his dick with a chocolate bar?