The Wolves of Craigellen: The Complete Highland Shifter Romance Trilogy by Ruby Fielding

The Wolves of Craigellen: The Complete Highland Shifter Romance Trilogy by Ruby FieldingHow much would you be willing to give up for the one you love?

Available in one volume for the first time:
The Wolves of Craigellen: Ruby Fielding’s stunning Highland shifter romance trilogy – murder, intrigue and breathtaking romance in a werewolf series like no other.

“An exciting suspenseful shifter romance… The characters are fantastic… a must read book!” Roxie’s Reviews

“This has been truly an amazing story and I have loved each and every character.” Books of Past, Present, and Future

“Just wow! Snow Wolf is the stunning conclusion of the three-part series… I highly recommend Ruby Fielding’s stories.” Night Owl Reviews’ Top Pick

“No, I’m not scared of a wolf. Believe me: there are far worse things…”

Three full-length novels:

Last Alpha
He never wanted to fall in love. She never planned to let him… Jenny Layne has made a career out of investigating werewolf reports, but every case has only confirmed that shapeshifters are the stuff of legend or madness. Until now. Billy Stewart has traveled the world in pursuit of stories of shapeshifters and other strange phenomena, but the last thing he ever expected to find was love. Billy is not a man who falls easily, but when he does, it’s a force of nature. As love boils over and the dark secrets buried away in the past rise to the surface, a night of murder raises the stakes yet higher. By turns passionate romance and gripping paranormal thriller, Last Alpha tells the story of two people whose paths collide with earth-shattering consequences, and asks can Beauty ever really hope to tame the Beast?

Rogue Male
She’d always known he was a bit of a rogue, but what if it was worse than that? So much worse… Skye Parker wasn’t that girl. The one who chases love. The one who puts romance ahead of everything else. The one who would travel the length of the country in response to a throwaway online comment and a whole lot of wishful thinking. Until now. Iain Logan is most definitely that boy. The wild one. ‘Trouble’ is not so much his middle name as something engraved on his heart. He’s a young man with secrets, too. Secrets that make him hold everything at a distance, even the girl who might just be the love of his life. When he finds wild wolves near his Highlands home after an absence of close to three centuries it’s a chance to prove himself – if only he can get people to believe him. But as old friends rebuff him and the dark truth unfolds, Iain has some tough choices to make. Choices with life-changing consequences. It would be madness for Skye to fall for him. Dangerous. But sometimes madness is the most sensible thing of all.

Snow Wolf
Can you ever be sure of a shifter’s heart? Jenny Layne has her man, but does she really have his heart? Just when Jenny needs him most, Billy Stewart has gone missing. Has she scared him away, is he in danger, or has he succumbed to the call of the wild? As the worst winter in a generation closes in, the search for Billy rapidly becomes a matter of life or death – for him, and for those who seek him. Jenny is the person most likely to find him, so why does she refuse to join the search? What does she fear even more than losing the love of her life?

She knew love could be tough. That it was never a smooth ride. That you had to work at it. She knew all the clichés from friends and books and films.

But nothing had prepared her for this.

For being with a man who could both terrify her and make her melt in a moment.

For that moment when you step back from the relationship and know you should keep on stepping back, turning away, running as far and as fast as you could.

And knowing you never could, never would.

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Excerpt

It’s late, it’s dark out here, and she’s tired, but she has no excuses. No reason why she approaches this man who she now knows to be a stranger.

No possible reason to put herself at risk like this when every bone in her body is screaming at her to stop, turn, walk away. Run.

Anything but carry on slowly approaching.

He’s standing on the bridge, leaning on the stone wall as if staring down into the water.

Waiting for her.

Now, he straightens and turns.

She stops walking, and his eyes crawl over her features, taking in the floppy fabric rose in her hair, the leather jacket.

“You must be Skye,” he says. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

She can’t move.

“I believe you have something I want,” he adds.

Why are her feet so frozen to the spot?

Why can’t she just turn and walk away?

All she has to do is calm herself. Lift her feet. Walk.

She hears a sound, turns her head.

Sees yellow eyes staring at her from the darkness by the bridge wall, the narrow path that leads down to the water.

Hearing a sound from behind this time, she twists at the waist and peers back.

A dark-coated wolf stands there, lips drawn back across its teeth.

“I believe you have information about some mutual friends,” says the man, taking a step towards her. “I want to know where they are.”

Two more steps, so that now he looms over her.

“I want you to come with me, Miss Parker. I want to know all that you know about our friends. And then either I will go and find them, or they will come looking for you. I’ve yet to decide which of these two alternatives is more to my liking. What do you think?”

The wolf down in the shadows by the bridge has edged forward. Now she can see that its fur is a dark silvery-gray.

How many are there?

She glances back, and the dark wolf has edged closer. Much more and she’ll be able to feel its hot breath on her back.

The other wolf is up on the road now, its body held low to the ground.

And the dark wolf: closer still.

Involuntarily, she takes a step away from them.

She would never have believed that terror could be so intense. She feels sick with the fear.

She doesn’t even need to look. She can feel the wolves closing in.

Herding her like nightmare sheepdogs.

What’s the advice to kidnap victims? Leave evidence. If you’re in his car you should pull your hair and leave it behind. Rub your skin raw on the seat so there’s DNA left on the upholstery. Scratch him to get evidence lodged under your fingernails… for when they find your body.

She isn’t in his car, though. She’s still out in the street.

She should scream.

She knows that.

But she has no voice. No control.

She should drop her purse.

Pull that ridiculous big flower from her hair and make sure she leaves it behind – everyone would recognize that.

Anything.

Anything but give herself up to this man…

(continues…)

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New: Snow Wolf – a Highland shifter romance by Ruby Fielding

Snow Wolf: a Highland shifter romance by Ruby FieldingCan you ever be sure of a shifter’s heart?

Jenny Layne has her man, but does she really have his heart?

Just when Jenny needs him most, Billy Stewart has gone missing. Has she scared him away, is he in danger, or has he succumbed to the call of the wild? As the worst winter in a generation closes in, the search for Billy rapidly becomes a matter of life or death – for him, and for those who seek him.

Jenny is the person most likely to find him, so why does she refuse to shift into wolf-form and join the search? What does she fear even more than losing the love of her life?

In the third and final part of her acclaimed Highland shifter series, Ruby Fielding asks just how much would you be willing to give up for the one you love?

§

Excerpt

Prologue

The wolf cuts across the flank of the hill, body held low, ears pricked, nostrils flared, alert to everything.

A big male, his silver-blond coat forms the perfect camouflage in the early morning light, almost ivory against the whites and grays of the first real cold snap of winter. The hill here is a mosaic of frosted heather and bracken, and herringbone drifts of frost-crisped snow against the bases of plants and rocks.

The wolf pauses, and instantly blends with this backdrop.

The sun is just brimming over the white-capped mountains to the east, painting its thin golden colors across the glen.

He hears the distant whirring sound of a covey of grouse taking flight, the mournful cry of a curlew.

Picks up the scent of deer and mountain hare, and the distant, astringent whiff of combustion engines from the road.

And something else.

A rich, complex layering of scent that paints a picture more vivid than any he can see.

Another has passed this way.

A wolf.

He feels the first rush in his veins, the thumping of his heart.

He squats and marks a nearby rock with a spray of urine, owning this place. Owning this other wolf.

He starts to trot again, following the scent, savoring that rush of adrenalin as pursuit kicks in.

The morning is crisp and his senses are alive. His breath spreads in plumes of white on the chill morning air.

He is in pursuit, and starts to run fast and low, the chase instinct taking over.

§

The other wolf is smaller, darker, in thick winter coat but the fur still smoother, sleeker than his. Narrower muzzle and head, the neck thinner, legs shorter, the whole body is less bulky, less stolidly muscular.

A female.

He’d tasted that already, of course, the pheromones heavy on the winter air.

A female, and oblivious.

Inexperienced. Not alert to the sounds of her pursuer. No scent would have carried to her, of course, as he had been careful to circle round higher up the flank of the hill so the wind would bring her scent up to him and not the other way round.

He lowers himself, the thick fur of his belly pressing down into the snow.

She looks up and he freezes, holding the air in until his lungs ache and burn.

She turns away, scratches at a clump of heather, dislodging its cap of snow. Starts to move away.

A moment later she stops abruptly, ears pricking.

He hasn’t moved, has made no sound, but something has alerted her. A trace of scent, drifting across from where he had looped up the hill?

She moves again, faster than a normal trot. Alert. Aware.

Not quite running away, but enough to feed his pursuit instinct.

He takes a step, still holding himself low, his belly dragging through the snow.

Another.

She’s running now, her movements smooth and athletic.

He starts to run too, no longer caring about concealment.

She still hasn’t seen him.

Snow flies up from his footfalls, and the wind against him is starkly cold.

In full flight now, she has no chance, even though she had a head start.

Every great stride takes him closer and then she is within reach and he leaps.

She senses him at last – his pursuit that good, or her awareness so poor? – and twists, lips drawing back to reveal sharp teeth.

At the last moment, he pulls away, spreading his bulk in mid-air to brake his flight, bringing him down short. He takes a stumbling step, careens into her, and they collide flank to flank.

She tumbles away, onto her side, rolling onto her back with her legs splayed, then flips herself back up onto her feet, squaring up to him.

He’s landed on all four, rump raised, shoulders low, front legs spread, flat to the ground.

He gives a little yap, puppy-like, and pushes himself up, skips ahead and turns to lunge at her once again. The blood roars through his body, heart racing, senses alive to every tiny detail.

The dark female rears, leaps, and in an instant is ahead of him, running flat out.

He turns, starts to run. Paws sting on hard, frost-crusted stone, then they’re in a drift of snow again and each step is a crunch as the paw breaks the crisp surface, the hard squeak of the snow, the pull and kick to get free again.

This is where his greater strength pays and he closes the gap again. Finally close enough, he pushes off, slams into her with front legs spread, chest striking her rear and knocking her fishtailing sideways.

She comes to lie on her side in the snow, panting heavily, a growl rumbling in her throat.

He’s landed beside her on his belly, muzzle driving deep into the snow so that for a moment he’s unable to breathe.

He arches his spine, dragging his head clear, shakes hard and a flurry of snow flies into the air, casting tiny rainbows in the low morning sun.

He turns to her, sees her features starting to melt, to shift, feels that same pull within himself.

Has never felt so alive.

§

She feels it as a ripping sensation, deep in her core. A zip being pulled. Fabric tearing. Joints popping, one by one.

At first the most satisfying, almost luxuriant thing, the scratching of a deep itch, but then… the sensations transform into something altogether more deeply unpleasant.

The pain, of course. But more than that: shiftings that no body should ever feel.

Her ribs shortening, pulling together. The bones in her pelvis reconfiguring, pulling muscles and ligaments in their wake. Fur retracting… that brief moment when it feels as if there is an entirely new layer just below her bare skin before that, too, contracts, and is gone.

And that pain! Unlike anything she had ever experienced before this, this thing, started to happen.

Pain so intense that she has blacked out before when this has happened.

Pain so bad she swears she must never do this thing again.

Until the next time.

Pain that leaves her gasping for breath, unable to think, unable to do. Just needing to get through.

§

Jenny Layne lay on her side, knees drawn up to her chest.

Her entire left side was numb from contact with the frozen ground. Snow hard and cold against her. The fierce, almost burning, cold of the rocks beneath the snow. The prickly contact of dry heather. The chill bite of the wind, whistling across the valley and freezing her exposed skin.

She opened her eyes, peering beyond him at first to the mottled white sweep of the hills, the golden light of the rising sun.

She would take every moment like this… keep it, savor it. Another reminder of what an extraordinary place she had come to know as home.

She’d come a long way from small-town Connecticut.

Finally, she let her gaze come to rest on Billy Stewart. Her lover. Her man. Her… something else.

The changes were still sweeping over him, the shifting of bone and muscle, the sucking in of thick winter fur beneath bare, human skin.

As he changed he watched her, his eyes still an amber yellow with tiny dark pupils.

Slowly, a smile crept over his features.

She looked down his body, and he straightened one of the legs that had been drawn up.

He was hard. Ready for her.

Strange how the elements intensified everything.

The senses.

The need.

She reached for him, put a hand to his shoulder. Pushed, so that he turned onto his back. His manhood came to lie hard against his belly.

She gave herself long seconds to take in the scene.

He was part of the landscape. A sculpture. A rock-form.

She pushed herself upright, the pain a distant memory, the absolute cold and the need – just as great – all that occupied her now.

Swinging low over him, her breasts against his thigh, she brought her face close to his torso, breath spilling out in a white mist across his abdomen.

She lowered her head, lips parted, teeth exposed.

The touch of her teeth on his shaft made him flinch, his whole body tensing up. She swept her head slowly upwards, dragging those sharp teeth along his length.

The cold was intense now, seeping through her limbs. Freezing knees and feet numb where they came into contact with the ground. Her bare skin was puckered tightly with goose bumps.

She needed warmth. Body warmth.

She moved to straddle his legs, pressing against him. His hardness found its home between her breasts, her face pressing against his ribcage.

She pushed herself against him, sliding slowly up.

He held himself rigid, letting her push and press in just the right places.

She found his collarbone with her mouth, kissed the cold skin. Found the hollow between shoulder and neck, breathed her warmth against him.

She pressed against him now, soft against hard. She gave a slight roll of the hips and felt a delicious thrill stab through her, an involuntary tightening deep within.

Finally, he moved.

Strong hands found her hips, pressed, steering her against him, triggering that stab of pleasure again as the stiff little stub of her clit rode against his rigid shaft.

He pulled her higher and all of a sudden he was poised, pressing against her opening, that tantalizing moment of almost-but-not-quite…

Held her there as he pushed his hips upwards, parting her and pressing inside.

She’d never made the connection before, but this was the closest thing she knew to those deep inner sensations that came at the start of shifting. That moment of penetration, the sense of things shifting deep within her body. Things over which she had little control.

Something primordial. Something fundamental and raw.

She bore down on him, taking him deep, willing that deep, inner parting.

Arching her back and throwing her head back, exposed to the elements.

She breathed out and a white plume rose skywards.

When she swung her head down again he was pushed up onto his elbows, eyes locked on hers. Something powerful in that look. More animal even than when he had been in his other form.

She lunged forward and kissed him, hungry for him. Teeth, tongues, lips clashed, saliva and blood mixing.

He curled one arm around her waist now, tipped her sideways and then onto her back, holding her hard against him so their union was not disturbed.

The ground! So hard and rough on her back. So cold.

Now her breathing was ragged, her vision blurred, darkening at the edges with the intensity of it all.

He was on her now, her legs pulled up, wrapped around his waist as he thrust long and hard, grinding against her when he was in as deep as he would go, then pulling away and thrusting deep once more.

She felt that tightening again, that inner clenching, and knew he had taken her right to the edge in that one movement of sweeping her into his arms and turning her over onto her back in the snow.

He dipped his head, found a breast, took the nipple between his teeth.

The rough bucking of his body almost tugged the nipple free of his mouth immediately, but he sucked it deep, held himself steady, thrust again.

She drew her legs tight around him, squeezing him, holding him deep as the sensations grew and transformed, as the tightening blossomed in her belly and surged outwards, through her body.

She clung on, legs and arms tight, as she rode her climax, and as she held him deep she felt his own response shifting, pushing harder, deeper, a throbbing, and then that soft grunt, and that widening of the eyes as he drew his head away from her and she felt his wet heat explode deep within.

§

She slumped. Felt his weight heavy on top of her and pushed, flipping him sideways, trapping one of her legs beneath him.

She started to laugh. An almost manic giggle at the unreal nature of this.

Lying here naked in the snow.

The icy chill.

The breathtaking scenery.

The clumsy tangle of their limbs.

What they had just done.

What they had been.

He kneeled now; rocked back onto his haunches, grinning at her, studying her with those beguiling dark eyes.

He offered her a hand as he stood.

“Come on, will you? You’re going to get frostbite if you stay here like that.”

His eyes… Dark eyes turning pale as she watched, becoming amber. A twitch in his jaw as bones started to realign.

It still made her blood run cold. This thing they shared. This changing.

It defied everything she had ever believed.

But she couldn’t deny that part of her reaction was also the thrill, the excitement.

He let her hand go, as she rose to her feet. Wrapped his arms around himself.

Sure, it was cold, but that reaction was not to the temperature. It was to the onset of a new shifting, deep within. The sense that something was starting to happen, to change.

She stepped towards him then, stretched up and kissed him tenderly on the jawline, even as the bones within were reconforming.

Briefly, she held him, savoring the warmth, the thrill of feeling the bones and muscles shifting.

In all their months together, she had never held him like this, at this point.

He stayed within her embrace for a few more seconds, then pulled away, dropped to a squatting position, one hand on the ground to steady himself.

She turned away from him, breathed the chill air deep. Surveyed the white-frosted hills, the mountains, the dark forest lining the lower slopes and valleys.

They were miles from home, from the cottage they shared deep in the woods of the Blackbrigg Estate; from their clothes and the fire they had stoked up before heading out in the early hours.

She was no longer aware of the cold.

Only of that sensation deep within. The pulling. The almost sexual tug deep in her belly. The dagger-sharp rending of bones and flesh as she doubled over, dropped to her hands and knees, was almost sick with the pain.

Only barely aware of the silver-blond wolf bounding away across the snow and then pausing, looking back, watching. Waiting for her to join him.

§

1

Jenny sat at the ancient wooden table in the kitchen, a big mug of milky tea steaming, her laptop open. Waiting for email to download.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

This was one of the frustrations of life here at Blackbrigg. The old foresters’ cottage was deep in the woods of the estate, with no landline, no wifi and a weak-to-nonexistent cell-phone signal as their only connection to the outside world. This was connectivity on a good day, her laptop using the cell as an internet hotspot and piggybacking its signal.

It might not matter so much for most people, but this was her work. Their main source of income since Billy had left his position at Jonathan Carr’s Craigellen Estate.

She flipped the laptop closed and took the mug in both hands, making the most of the heat. The cold snap of a few weeks ago had passed and those first snows of the winter had thawed, but still it was cold.

It was easy to allow herself to get distracted by the discomfort and the lack of modern world amenities when things weren’t going so well.

She drained the cup, stood. Went over to the wood-burning stove that was this part of the cottage’s main source of heat.

No regrets.

That was stupid thinking.

She’d made her choices.

She had nothing back home – she still reflexively thought of Brooklyn, and to a lesser extent Connecticut, as home – other than a mother with whom she was only distantly reconciled. And work. But she could do that anywhere, as she kept insisting, as if to convince herself as much as Billy.

She could work anywhere with some kind of connectivity, at least.

Frustrated at the negative spiraling of her thoughts, she started to tidy the kitchen, not that it was in a bad way to begin with. More and more, recently, getting things in order had become important to her. Making this place feel right.

She didn’t know where that had come from. But then she had been through so many changes recently. Literally.

Hard to think that only a few months ago she had been everything the modern young woman. City dweller, rapidly rising star of online journalism with a rapidly growing following for her YouTube channel where she investigated claims of the paranormal and always found them wanting. A woman far more at home with a pair of drop-dead gorgeous shoes and a cocktail than traipsing through some remote Scottish forest.

And now… this.

She found herself standing before a half-emptied cupboard shaking her head like a mad woman.

It really wasn’t that she resented where life had taken her.

It was just…

How do you ever prepare for something like this?

For your whole world to be turned upside down.

To fall head over heels in love with a man who turns out to be possibly the last natural shifter in existence.

And to find yourself… turned.

Not by your shifter-lover, but as part of a scientific project run by Jonathan Carr, self-styled laird of Craigellen Estate.

And sworn enemy of Billy Stewart and all associated with him.

Nothing.

Nothing could ever prepare you for this.

And for all the highs and thrills and for all the absolute certainty that she would not want to be anywhere but here, like this, with Billy, it still took one hell of a lot of adjusting to.

§

How did he do it?

One look from those dark eyes. A slight raising of an eyebrow.

That was all, and it was like a balloon had been burst.

Two steps across to the doorway and she was in his arms, face buried against his shoulder, the first tears spilling unbidden into his thick woolen coat.

“Hey, hey, lassie,” he said softly in that thick Scottish accent. He wrapped one arm around her waist, the other raised so he could stroke her hair. “It’s all okay, ye hear me?”

“I know,” she said, her words muffled. “It’s just… I don’t know what’s gotten into me.”

“It’s no’ easy, is it?” He knew. He got it. Probably because they’d had this discussion a hundred times before.

What kind of future did they have? Living in someone else’s tumbledown cottage, relying on favors, eating mostly from the land – at least when they shifted they could hunt…

“What if they shut me down?” she said. “What if they track me down and kick me out?”

Jenny had come to Scotland on a short trip, expecting only to stay for two weeks while she followed up a story about an eccentric Scottish millionaire who was rumored to be doing strange things in his remote laboratory.

Events had taken over and she never did use her return flight. For an anxious few weeks she’d thought that in itself might be the trigger for the authorities to come looking for her. Might that empty seat draw attention to her possible status as an illegal immigrant?

Upon investigation she’d learned that she could stay for six months but after that she would be illegal. So sometime this winter she would become a fugitive. Could they close down her bank accounts in an attempt to flush her out?

To guard against this, she’d transferred all her savings, such as they were, to Billy, so now she was not only a near-illegal immigrant, but she was also totally reliant on a man. She felt bad resenting that, but while it was something she found difficult to accept on many levels it was also a very practical concern. If something happened to Billy, heavens forbid, she would be totally screwed.

“We’ll deal with that if we have to,” said Billy now. “I’m no’ going to give you up, you hear?”

Billy was strong, passionate, one hundred per cent committed to her, but they both knew his words were platitudes.

In truth, they were keeping their heads down, hoping to fly under the radar, and struggling even to get through their first winter.

She straightened, pushing herself away but that long arm looped around her waist held her firm. For all the stresses and uncertainties of this life, she’d never felt as good as when she was in Billy Stewart’s arms.

“Work going okay?” he said, glancing across at the closed laptop.

She shrugged. “Oh, you know,” she said, and she knew that he did. Another conversation they’d had a hundred times. Not only the practical difficulties of a life online when connectivity is all but nonexistent, but the lack of subject matter.

Her writing had taken off on the back of her blog, and almost without trying she’d found her stories running in high-profile places like the Huffington Post and then syndicated to newspapers and magazines around the world. Quirky, chatty takes on the strange: “City girl throws herself into scary shit and sometimes makes sense of it” was her pitch. In no time at all casual writing had become a career.

The irony now was that she was living in the middle of some seriously scary shit, was perfectly placed to make sense of it, but couldn’t write the truth of her situation. That whole keeping her head down thing. That and the fact that nobody would ever believe it, even if she and Billy wanted to share their story.

That didn’t leave a great deal to write about. She was hardly well placed to go off finding new stories to investigate.

She buried her head against Billy’s shoulder again.

How had she gotten like this? So volatile. So emotional. It just wasn’t like her.

“So what have you been doing?” she asked.

“Och, just off with Iain,” he said. “Checking the perimeter.”

“Any sign?”

He was shaking his head. “No, no,” he said. “No’ a thing.”

That was good at least. No intrusion. No sign of anyone scouting around.

Jonathan Carr and his pack remained at bay for another day, at least.

(continues…)

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Rogue Male: a Highland shifter romance by Ruby Fielding

Rogue Male: a Highland shifter romance by Ruby FieldingShe’d always known he was a bit of a rogue, but what if it was worse than that? So much worse…

Skye Parker wasn’t that girl. She never had been. The one who chases love. The one who puts romance ahead of everything else. The one who would travel the length of the country in response to a throwaway online comment and a whole lot of wishful thinking.

Until now.

Iain Logan is most definitely that boy. The wild one. ‘Trouble’ is not so much his middle name as something engraved on his heart. He’s a young man with secrets, too. Secrets that make him hold everything at a distance, even the girl who might just be the love of his life.

When Iain finds evidence that wolves are running wild near his Scottish Highlands home after an absence of close to three centuries it’s a chance to prove himself – if only he can get people to believe him. But as old friends rebuff him and the dark truth unfolds, Iain has some tough choices to make. Choices with life-changing consequences.

It would be madness for Skye to fall for him. Dangerous. But sometimes madness is the most sensible thing of all.

Rogue Male: a gripping paranormal romantic thriller from the author of Last Alpha.

[This novel features the same setting and some of the same characters as Last Alpha, but can be read as a standalone novel.]

Some reader review quotes for Rogue Male from Amazon and Goodreads

“Gripping from the start, Rogue Male has a good mix of romance, action, mystery, drama, suspense, secrets, some steamy sex, and an unexpected twist to throw you off.”

“Great storyline, mystery, action, drama, werewolves and spice what more could you want? It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I couldn’’t put it down.”

“What is happening in this sleepy Highland village? What has Iain gotten himself involved in? Can Skye and his old friends help him? A tense and exciting story!! Loved it!”

“If you like wolf shifters, mad rich scientists, hot steamy scenes this book is for you! Ms. Fielding has done a superb job in this one!”

Review quotes for Last Alpha:

“Awesome… Readers are in for steamy scenes, romance, action, drama, and enough suspense to keep them interested… over 300 pages of great storytelling.” Night Owl Reviews

Some reader review quotes for Last Alpha from Amazon and Goodreads:

“Full of suspense, a few thrills, a dash of romance and a wee bit of hot, steamy sex.”

“Wow! What a great werewolf shifter story! … a great book by a new favorite author.”

“One of the best shifter books I have read in a while.”

“What a fast moving and suspenseful love story!”

Ebook available from:

Excerpt

It’s late, it’s dark out here, and she’s tired, but she has no excuses. No reason why she approaches this man who she now knows to be a stranger.

No possible reason to put herself at risk like this when every bone in her body is screaming at her to stop, turn, walk away. Run.

Anything but carry on slowly approaching.

He’s standing on the bridge, leaning on the stone wall as if staring down into the water.

Waiting for her.

Now, he straightens and turns.

She stops walking, and his eyes crawl over her features, taking in the floppy fabric rose in her hair, the leather jacket.

“You must be Skye,” he says. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

She can’t move.

“I believe you have something I want,” he adds.

Why are her feet so frozen to the spot?

Why can’t she just turn and walk away?

All she has to do is calm herself. Lift her feet. Walk.

She hears a sound, turns her head.

Sees yellow eyes staring at her from the darkness by the bridge wall, the narrow path that leads down to the water.

Hearing a sound from behind this time, she twists at the waist and peers back.

A dark-coated wolf stands there, lips drawn back across its teeth.

“I believe you have information about some mutual friends,” says the man, taking a step towards her. “I want to know where they are.”

Two more steps, so that now he looms over her.

“I want you to come with me, Miss Parker. I want to know all that you know about our friends. And then either I will go and find them, or they will come looking for you. I’ve yet to decide which of these two alternatives is more to my liking. What do you think?”

The wolf down in the shadows by the bridge has edged forward. Now she can see that its fur is a dark silvery-gray.

How many are there?

She glances back, and the dark wolf has edged closer. Much more and she’ll be able to feel its hot breath on her back.

The other wolf is up on the road now, its body held low to the ground.

And the dark wolf: closer still.

Involuntarily, she takes a step away from them.

She would never have believed that terror could be so intense. She feels sick with the fear.

She doesn’t even need to look. She can feel the wolves closing in.

Herding her like nightmare sheepdogs.

What’s the advice to kidnap victims? Leave evidence. If you’re in his car you should pull your hair and leave it behind. Rub your skin raw on the seat so there’s DNA left on the upholstery. Scratch him to get evidence lodged under your fingernails… for when they find your body.

She isn’t in his car, though. She’s still out in the street.

She should scream.

She knows that.

But she has no voice. No control.

She should drop her purse.

Pull that ridiculous big flower from her hair and make sure she leaves it behind – everyone would recognize that.

Anything.

Anything but give herself up to this man…

(continues…)

Ebook available from:

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Some recent paranormal romance releases

Midnight Shift by Renee George
Can two alpha wolf shifters love Benie enough to put their differences aside to save her? When Other Worlder monsters start hunting slayer Benoica “Benie” Dilian, she enlists the sexy genius Ian Arent and the hot telepathic werewolf Trace Calder to help find out who is trying to kill Benie–and why. But as the investigation takes them deep into the Other Worlder community, Benie discovers a dark truth that may well destroy her. Only the love of the two very different men can help her survive and accept her ultimate destiny. **Urban Fantasy meets Paranormal Romance for one intense, pleasurable, and exciting adventure. This book contains bloody fight scenes, scorching M/F/M menage scenes, and a love story that will melt your heart.
Amazon USAmazon UK

Furgotten: BBW Paranormal Shapeshifter Romance by Kate Kent
Chloe Roberts has a secret. A big one…she’s Chloe Roberts not her twin sister Courtney Roberts. BBW Bite Me Bar bartender Chloe Roberts is having a normal day shopping at the mall when the hottest guy on the planet, wolf shifter Drake Roma, grabs her sweet body from behind. Nice huh! Only there’s a problem. He thinks she’s her twin sis Courtney. Uh oh, what do you do in a case of mistaken identity? You fess up who you are right? But our girl Chloe has a sense of adventure and a desire to get to know the hunky dude whose arms are locked around her waist. The sexy wolf shape shifter decides she can be Courtney for the day AND night! Courtney is a brilliant, high powered attorney with the firm Gatel & Sons. It feels good to pretend to be her, even if it’s just for a little while. Chloe keeps meaning to tell Drake the truth, but uh, things don’t quite work out as planned. It gets more than a little bit heated as the two tango. And Chloe has another issue. Her father has huge medical bills and an obnoxious landlord demanding his rent. Can Chloe help her dad get on his feet? And does she stand a chance with Drake Roma after tricking him?
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Shiftr: Swipe Left for Love by Ariana Hawkes
What if your fated mate was just a Shiftr swipe away? Curvy Dina Taylor hates the idea of online dating. It’s something kids do, not 36-year old women, whose boyfriends have left them for the office intern. But her best friend Lauren has a secret she’s bursting to share: there are men out there who absolutely love voluptuous girls like her. All Dina has to do is tap Shiftr, the cute little paw-print app that Lauren has just installed on her phone. In the time it takes Dina to get over her shock that there are guys who can shift into animals, she’s hit up by Logan – a dark-eyed bear-guy with a torso like sculpted marble and eyes like pools of lust. He tells her that he feels a magnetic connection to her, but before she can tell him that the feeling’s mutual, her clumsy thumb swipes the wrong way, and he’s gone. Dina is distraught, but Tamika, the creator of Shiftr has a cunning plan that may just bring them together again. Will Dina find the sexy Logan in the midst of the eccentric matchmaker’s beautiful, opulent summer garden party? And will they discover that they’re fated to be together? This is a short, sweet, steamy read, perfect for a lunch break, bath time, or a little dose of me-time, wherever you are. HEA and no cliffhanger!
Amazon USAmazon UK

Bearly Cursed: A Bear-Shifter Romance (Fairy Tales with a Shift) by Cara Wylde
A retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon. Girls my age usually spend their days dancing, singing, and dreaming of Prince Charming. Not me. I spend my days hunting and praying my poor parents and my dear sisters survive another harsh winter. I never expected to find the solution to all my problems in the cave of the white bear I was hunting. My parents will never starve again, and my sisters will get to live that life of dancing and singing, but there’s a catch: I must become the wild beast’s wife. Giving up my freedom, accepting I’ll never feel the warm touch of a man… it’s all worth it for my family’s happiness. So, I let the beast lock me up in its icy castle, and I get ready for a life of boredom and sacrifice. However, when my first night in the white bear’s home turns into a passionate encounter with a mysterious stranger, I understand my life will be anything but boring.
Amazon USAmazon UK

A Slice of Honeybear Pie by Jacqueline Sweet and Eva Wilder
Matt Morrisey is a bear shifter with a sweet tooth, an easy smile, and muscles for miles. When Mina Brooks’ dreams of opening her own bakery go up in literal flames, she has no choice but to run. Bad men are after her and they won’t stop coming until she’s silenced for good. It’s hard to escape though when you roll your car off a mountain road and get tangled up with the local police. Trapped in jail with her enemies closing in, Mina is all but done for. Matt Morrisey expected the call would be just another drunk who needed a lawyer he couldn’t afford, but when the big shifter laid eyes on his client and her sweet curves, he knew his life was about to change. Mina was his fated mate, he could feel it in his blood. How could he convince the terrified woman that they were destined for each other, that he could protect her, without scaring her off? As fate pulls the two of them closer, and the dangerous men close in on Mina, Matt has to prove he’s got what it takes to defend the woman he loves from the mysterious forces pursuing her. A Slice of Honeybear Pie is a standalone story set in the cozy yet mysterious town of Bearfield.
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Lost Angeles by Lisa Mantchev and Amanda Purol
So step into my world where I’m the dreamer and the dream… A year ago, Lourdes Chase lost two months of her life to a kidnapping nightmare that she’s only now piecing together. She arrives in California with every intention of tracking down those responsible, but when she wakes up in a strange motel room with no recollection of how she got there, it’s a blue-eyed, fast-talking stranger who offers an assist. Then a chance audition at a downtown nightclub drops her in the proverbial lap of everyone’s favorite immortal rocker… Xaine is the poster boy of hedonistic infamy, from his supercar to his Palisades mansion to his record label, Apocalypse. But his life abruptly shifts gears from Grammy Awards and blood dolls to police statements and coroners’ reports when dead blond girls start turning up on his property. Everyone is quick to accuse the resident vampire, and with a list of enemies that dates back four centuries, only his newest opening act can clear his name and help him figure out who’s behind the murders. Within days of meeting, Xaine and Lore are caught up in a web of intrigue, pursued by fallen angels, sin-eaters, reapers, and a coalition of vampires with a deadly agenda. Virtue and Vice, Light and Dark, they will have to battle their every demon to vanquish the ghosts that haunt them both. But fame and fortune come at the cost of anonymity, and when a powerful enem
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Invitation: BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance by Elle Thorne
Sexy bear shifter Tanner Navarro has an invitation to the wedding, he’s got an invitation to Bear Canyon Valley, but he doesn’t have an invitation to sexy, curvy Marti’s heart–or bed. Marti’s secrets are life or death. Tanner and his bear know they’re up to the job. Now they have to convince Marti.
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Masters of the Hunt: Fated and Forbidden by Elianne Adams, Sarra Cannon, Ramona Gray and more
Kneel before the Masters of the Hunt: Fated and Forbidden, a stunning collection featuring OVER 15 Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Fantasy Romance Alpha Hunter Tales, featuring NYT, USA Today and National Bestselling Authors! From sprawling Gothic cityscapes and vivid fairy tale worlds, to ball-busting urban fantasy huntresses, to heart-stopping assassin bad boys, we’ve brought together a collection of authors who want to take you on an amazing, fantastical, and emotional journey. Steal an adventure with a swashbuckling dragon slayer. Hunt with the hounds. And fall in love (and lust) with the animal in every hunter. Anthology Includes: Slayers & Assassins, Alphas, Hunters & Huntresses, Guardians & Protectors, Marshals & Special Forces, Trackers & Scientists, Paranormal & Urban, Fantasy, Futuristic, Fairy Tales, Contemporary, New Adult, Romantic Suspense, Romantic Comedy, Sweet & Steamy Romance, Fated Mates & Forbidden Lovers, Witches, Wizards & Werewolves, Dragons, Demons & Devils, Magic, Ghosts, Billionaires and so much more! Get this limited time box set now! Over $50 worth of titles boxed into one collection! Are you ready to join the hunt?
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Called by the Bear – Part 9 by V. Vaughn
Carly – Securing the safety of Sierra’s children is my priority. When the plan is fast-tracked by Victor’s attempt at controlling the situation, more than custody is threatened. The catastrophic results change everything. Lily – Discovering my husband would kill to have the power he craves unleashed my fearless warrior. Now it’s up to me to save the Veilleux from themselves, and I’ll do whatever is necessary.
Amazon USAmazon UK

The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter
Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. The tourists think it’s all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better. Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all. After seeing her maybe-mobster boss murder a guy, Delaney James assumes a new identity and pretends to be a mail order bride. She finds her groom-to-be living in a town that celebrates Halloween every day. Weird. But not as weird as what she doesn’t know. Her groom-to-be is a 400-year-old vampire. Hugh Ellingham has only agreed to the arranged set up to make his overbearing grandmother happy. In thirty days, whatever bridezilla shows up at his door will be escorted right back out. His past means love is no longer an option. Not if the woman’s going to have a future. Except he never counted on Delaney and falling in love for real. Too bad both of them are keeping some mighty big secrets…
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First Bite – Shifter Romance Box Set by V. Vaughn, Ellis Leigh, Annalise Nixon and more
Delicious romance you can sink your teeth into. Ten steamy tales of love and adventure. Meet wolves, bears and tigers who shape-shift from sexy to smoldering. All stories are first in a series! Full Moon Rising – Amy Green; Called by the Bear – V. Vaughn; Captured – Amber Ella Monroe; Surrendered to the Pack – Anna Craig; Conjuring a Wolf – Viv Michaelson; Beast – Holley Trent; Desert Moon – Anna Lowe; A Bear of a Reputation – Ivy Sinclair; Between a Wolf and a Hard Place – Annalise Nixon; The Gathering: Killian and Lyra – Ellis Leigh.
Amazon USAmazon UK

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And, of course, my own recent offering:

Last Alpha: a Highland shifter romance by Ruby Fielding
He never wanted to fall in love. She never planned to let him… Murder and intrigue in the Scottish Highlands: a werewolf romance like no other. By turns passionate romance and gripping paranormal thriller, Last Alpha asks can Beauty ever really hope to tame the Beast?
Amazon USAmazon UK

New – Last Alpha: a Highland shifter romance

99 cent introductory price / free on Kindle Unlimited

He never wanted to fall in love. She never planned to let him.
Last Alpha: a Highland shifter romance by Ruby Fielding
Jenny Layne has made a career out of investigating werewolf reports, but every case has only confirmed that shapeshifters are the stuff of legend or madness. Until now. Lured to a remote Scottish estate to meet a researcher working on the science behind the werewolf phenomenon, Jenny finds steadily mounting evidence that something strange is running wild in the hills.

Billy Stewart has traveled the world in pursuit of stories of shapeshifters and other strange phenomena, but the last thing he ever expected to find was love. Billy is not a man who falls easily, but when he does, it is a force of nature. When he meets Jenny he knows immediately that she is his soulmate, but Jenny is not so sure. Are his intense feelings for her just some kind of insanity, or is Jenny turning him away because that’s exactly what she always does when a guy gets interested?

By turns passionate romance and gripping paranormal thriller, Last Alpha tells the story of two people whose paths collide with earth-shattering consequences. As love boils over and the dark secrets buried away in Jenny and Billy’s past rise to the surface, a night of murder raises the stakes yet higher.

And as she fights for her own survival, Jenny must face perhaps the biggest question of them all. In matters of life, death and love, can Beauty ever really hope to tame the Beast?

Excerpt

There was a moment.

A split-second, when it seemed he was towering over her, looking down. Those dark eyes smoldering. Soft lips parting. When his physical presence was suddenly a thing, and her breath snatched in her chest, and her heart thumped like a trapped animal.

She’d drunk too much. She would regret this, if this moment turned into a kiss. Even though it suddenly felt so right, she knew it was all wrong.

Did she start to turn away first? Avert her eyes, a slight turn of the head…

Or was it him?

That smile. Amused that she should even be in this position, all of a sudden, out of nowhere.

The moment passed. She didn’t know where it had come from, or where it had gone.

He stepped back, away from her, and then he was in the doorway, reaching for the handle. “I’ll be off,” he said. “I… If you still fancy that tour I’ll be around in the afternoon. Shall we say two?”

And then he was gone.

(continues…)

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Paperback available from:

24 Karat Romance blog hop: win a copy of Hunted

24 Karat Romance Blog Hop

27th January to 2nd February, 2014

 

Grand Prize – $100 Amazon.com gift card
Ruby’s prize: free copy of Hunted

I’ve been very busy recently, with numerous guest appearances on other blogs: interviews, extracts and other features. For the 24 Karat blog hop, I thought I’d post one of those extracts here. I’ll also be giving away a free copy of my shifter romance Hunted to a randomly selected commenter on this post – so remember, if you’d like to be entered in the draw do please include contact details and preferred format (Kindle, epub or PDF) in your comment!

 

Hunted: a Shifters’ World novella

Hunted: a Shifters' World novella by Ruby Fielding (werewolf, shifter, shifter romance, post-apocalypse, werewolves, dystopian, shapeshifter romance, paranormal erotica, shapeshifter, werewolf romance, erotic romance, plague, werewolf erotica, breeding, breeding romance)

Should she struggle to survive alone or give in to desire and risk the – perhaps deadly – company of others?

In a world where plague has swept civilization away like leaves in a storm, where viruses that cause people to shift and change have altered what it is, for most, to be human, a few survivors hold out in a desperate attempt to save the human race. Selene lives alone in the forest, protecting herself from human and shifter alike until one day a stranger turns up: a young man called Skinner, out on a quest to hunt down and destroy any shifter he can find. Torn between desire and fear, Selene must confront her true nature and make some impossible choices if she is to survive this harsh, post-apocalyptic future.

Hunted: a Shifters’ World novella – a shapeshifter erotic romance of survival and desire in a deadly future from the co-author of Seduced by Moonlight and The Touch.

(The contents of this book first appeared in different form as four separate stories, Lone WolfWanted by the PackSanctum and Hunt Her Down.)

Extract

With the water up to her waist, she stood close to him but not touching. Intensely aware of his musky man-scent, of the rise and fall of his chest, of the lean tightness of his physique.

“How do you know I’m safe to be with?”

He seemed surprised by her question.

So close… she turned, still moving, starting to circle him.

“How do you know I didn’t flee in the night to protect you?”

What was she doing? Toying with him like this… Teasing him with the truth in some kind of seductress’s double-bluff.

She continued to circle and he turned slowly on the spot, so that he was always facing her.

He smiled now, as if deciding to play along. “Believe me,” he said, “but I’d know. Have you ever seen a beast up close? Even by day, when the shifting virus is at its lowest ebb, it’s a twisted, debased thing. A man taken by the virus becomes less than a man. They can’t hide it, not when you know what to look for.”

Her heart thumped in her chest. Surely he must be able to hear it? Was he playing with her, just as she had thought she was playing with him?

“You sound like you’ve a lot of experience.”

He nodded. Not bragging, just matter-of-fact.

“I told you yesterday, I’ve been in the refugee camps. I’ve seen people taken by the viruses.”

“You know the signs?”

A simple nod again.

Was he toying with her, or simply over-confident in his own abilities and over-distracted by her naked body as she circled him?

She stopped, reached out, and trailed a finger down his sternum to the first ripple of his abdomen.

Her touch elicited a slight twitch in his belly. So yes, maybe this was as intense for him as it was for her.

Down, and her hand reached water level and the hollow of his navel.

Almost immediately, hardness made contact with her wrist below the water and she moved down to take his solid shaft in her hand.

He put a hand to her face then, his knuckles brushing along her jaw. Burying his fingers in her hair, he tipped her head back. His mouth came down on her neck: hard lips and then the wet heat of his tongue and the delicious pain of raking teeth, dragging across her skin to that point where too hard is exactly hard enough.

Hunted: a Shifters’ World novella is available from:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


New – Hunted: a Shifters’ World novella by Ruby Fielding

Hunted: a Shifters' World novella by Ruby Fielding (werewolf, shifter, shifter romance, post-apocalypse, werewolves, dystopian, shapeshifter romance, paranormal erotica, shapeshifter, werewolf romance, erotic romance, plague, werewolf erotica, breeding, breeding romance)Should she struggle to survive alone or give in to desire and risk the – perhaps deadly – company of others?

In a world where plague has swept civilization away like leaves in a storm, where viruses that cause people to shift and change have altered what it is, for most, to be human, a few survivors hold out in a desperate attempt to save the human race. Selene lives alone in the forest, protecting herself from human and shifter alike until one day a stranger turns up: a young man called Skinner, out on a quest to hunt down and destroy any shifter he can find. Torn between desire and fear, Selene must confront her true nature and make some impossible choices if she is to survive this harsh, post-apocalyptic future.

Hunted: a Shifters’ World novella – a shapeshifter erotic romance of survival and desire in a deadly future from the co-author of Seduced by Moonlight and The Touch.

(The contents of this book first appeared in different form as four separate stories, Lone Wolf, Wanted by the Pack, Sanctum and Hunt Her Down.)

Extract

Content that there was no immediate danger, she gathered the empty water drum from just inside the ruined wall and set off on the rough trail that led through the scrub and down into the trees. She was lucky to have somewhere like this: a building with a door that closed and walls that were intact until just past the level of her head. It might not look much, but it was a castle to her.

Before long, the track leveled, cutting across the sloping forest floor and then, ahead of her, there was a splash of sunlight where the trees thinned again.

She approached cautiously, a lesson well lodged in her head despite her failing memory. Clean water was a place where animals gathered, and therefore a place of danger.

She came to a place where creepers hung down from the trees forming a natural screen, a vantage point she used every time she came here.

Today, she sensed threat before she saw anything. It was something in the air. Maybe sounds her ears had picked up but her brain was yet to process. A strange scent, perhaps.

As her eyes adjusted to the bright light of the clearing she surveyed the forest fringe, looking to see if anything was lurking in the shadows. There was nothing, and then she looked at the pool itself and saw rings of spreading ripples followed by a sudden swelling of the water as a bulbous object emerged.

A head. A man’s head, dark hair and beard plastered flat by the water. Pale shoulders, a dark smudge of hair to the chest as he bobbed up and then settled again, deeper in the water. He raised a hand to rub water from his eyes, then flicked his hair back, creating a fountain of glimmering droplets flying through the air.

And then, as if water were his natural element, he dipped forward. His head submerged as his back appeared, a sinuous, flowing movement, and then his butt, legs, feet and he was gone once more, lost below the churning surface of the pool.

Briefly transfixed by the sight of the man, which had lasted only a moment, she tore her eyes away and searched the forest perimeter again for signs of any others.

Nothing.

She waited, and then there was another swelling of water and the man’s head and shoulders bobbed up again, followed by the same eyes swipe and head flick.

She didn’t know what to do. If she slipped away, she would never know where he went, only that there was a stranger here in her forest. But what else? She could hardly approach him. That would be too dangerous. He was an unknown, a risk.

She needed water, too, and the spring that fed this pool was the only safe source she knew.

What to do?

She watched him carefully, now picking up all those clues that must have been subliminal before. A grunt as he cleared his throat, an irregular splash of water as he moved, the sound almost lost to the steady gurgle from the stream. A scent in the air, perhaps. When you live a life like this your senses become attuned to all these subtle warning signs.

§

He had been lying back in the water, arms spread, eyes shut, drifting slowly until now he straightened, found his footing on the rocky bottom of the pool – she knew the slimy hardness of those rocks so well! – and stood.

Swaying for balance, the water came up to his ribs now.

His arms were long and lean, his frame wiry and muscular. He had the look of a fighter, a scrapper. A survivor.

That smudge of dark hair thickened across his chest, down over his ribs and over his belly, she saw, as he started to emerge from the water, treading carefully as he headed towards dry land… towards her.

His belly rippled with muscles and looked hard, dark with that hair as it thickened towards…

She swallowed as he paused, the water around his thighs and the long shaft of his manhood hanging down, fat and heavy. Its head just touched the water’s surface, sending its own ripples spreading outwards.

She reached down, fingers trailing across her ribs, her belly, to the waistband of her jeans, that belt of cord and the hardness she had tucked there before venturing out.

Easing it free, she raised the handgun, suddenly very aware of its weight. She didn’t aim it yet, just stood there with it poised. A solid lump of reassurance in her hands.

The man stretched, yawning, and she watched his manhood twitch, and then flop to one side as he took another step out of the water. Its length swung easily as he moved.

“You got a silver bullet in that thing?”

He was staring right at the screen of vegetation, as if he could see through it!

She didn’t move. She wasn’t the only one whose senses were attuned to the environment, it seemed.

“If so, you don’t want to be wasting that silver bullet on me,” the man went on.

How long since she’d heard another voice? She didn’t know. Another memory lost, or buried deep.

“It’s an old wives’ tale anyhow.” The man’s tone was easy, conversational; no indication from his voice that she had a handgun that was now trained on him and he was standing there butt-naked in front of her. “Silver bullet or any old bullet – you hit one of the beasts right in the head or in the heart and it’ll drop just like a man. Useful piece of information that, and I’m giving it you as a gift, you hear me?”

One more step, another, and he was clear of the water.

She studied him, unable to deny the base feelings the sight stirred in her. How long had it been? Since the touch of another human, of bare skin against her own. The intimacy, and the trust.

And damn, but he was growing hard as he stood there! As he’d been talking, that shaft had thickened even more as it filled out, hung longer, then started to push away from his body. Then, like an animal emerging from its lair, the swollen purple head started to break free, the skin rolling back to reveal that most intimate of places.

Now, the man shrugged, and a shy smile broke across his face. “I think I need to apologize, ma’am. It’s been a time and I guess my body’s got a few less manners than the rest of me. If you’d just allow me to…?” He nodded towards a pile of clothes nearby.

She caught herself. She had to pull herself together, stop reacting like this. She was a woman. She was a human. She was in control of herself and her responses. She wouldn’t allow herself to be distracted by…

“No,” she snapped.

How long since she’d spoken aloud? Her voice was dry, little more than a croak. “You wait there where I can see you,” she went on. “Ain’t no reason why I should trust you with your things.” Who knew what he might have concealed there with his clothes?

He shrugged, and spread his hands briefly, as if to acknowledge the sense in her caution, and damn, but that thing of his just cranked itself up a notch or two higher as, finally, she broke free of her hiding place and came to stand before him.

§

Close to, he was younger than she had guessed. No gray to his hair, no craggy lines to his face. A few scars on his body, but that could happen at any age.

Now it was his turn for eyes to roam, and suddenly she was reminded of when she’d checked herself in that shard of mirror earlier on, remembering how exhausted she had looked and – fainter – a time when that kind of thing had mattered a whole lot more than it did now.

“You can shoot me now, if that’s what you want to do,” he said, his tone still conversational. “But I suggest you don’t want to do anything that’s going to make so much noise. Never know what you might draw in, and that’s not meant to be a threat, although it sounded like one. Just common caution born of experience.”

He moved his hands to cover himself, cupping his manhood but barely containing it.

“As an alternative to shooting me you could just let me get my things and I’d beat my retreat. That’d be a sensible thing to do – no point killing off those of us who may just be ordinary good folk like yourself when some day you may come to realize just how rare a commodity we are. But then I’d be the first to acknowledge the inherent risk in that proposition, ma’am. Set me free and how do you know I’ll be as good as my word and won’t just hang around until I can take you off guard and do whatever it is I might be wanting to do?”

As he shrugged, she couldn’t help but notice the movement of his hands, pulled by the raising of his shoulders, and the slight gasp that induced in him. Damn, but her guard was low today! She’d never have thought she would be drawn so much to the physical…

She lowered her aim until it was pointing at his crotch. “Am I to take that as a sign of what you ‘might be wanting to do’?” she asked.

“No ma’am. That’s just what a man’s body does when he puts himself naked before…” he stopped. “Hell,” he then started again. “That’s just a natural response, ma’am. Ain’t much I can do about it, I’m afraid.”

“So what’s it to be?” she asked him. “Shoot you or set you free on the promise there’ll never be a hint of you round these parts again?”

“You asking my advice? Hell, if I were you I’d take the third option, ma’am.”

Hunted: a Shifters’ World novella is available from:

New: Hunt Her Down (Shifters’ World 4)

Just out: the fourth story in my Shifters’ World series.

Hunt Her Down (ShiftersAlone in the forest, Selene didn’t know where she was going, but she knew where she did not want to be. And also, she knew that someone – or something – was following her…

In a world where plague has destroyed civilization and viruses cause people to shift from human to animal form, the surviving humans can be the worst enemies of all. Struggling with her own condition and fighting the need to give in to the changing viruses, Selene’s tormentors are on her trail. Will she survive, or will they hunt her down?

An explicitly erotic story in the Shifters’ World setting, from the author of Lone Wolf and co-author of paranormal erotic romances Seduced by Moonlight and The Touch.

Available from: