It’s time to fall in love with a new family of sexy werewolves, starting with Mercenary Moon (Blackbriar Creek Wolves Book 1).
***NOTE: This hasn’t been professionally copyedited yet. Grammar, spelling, and typos will be fixed before final publication. =) Enjoy! Don’t forget–newsletter subscribers get free chapters I don’t share with the public. Sign up here to get in on the action.***
Blackbriar Creek Wolves #1
He’s bad to the bone… and so is she.
Werewolf Nyx Dawson has blood on his paws—a lot of it. But he’s done with the brutal life of a mercenary. Doesn’t mean he ever thought he’d end up in his small, Southern hometown of Blackbriar Creek, Tennessee. Back with his mother and baby sister, and the rowdy bunch of werewolves he’d sworn a pack oath to as a pup. For a while, life seems peaceful, and he thinks he can put his dark past behind him—until one of the most vicious, powerful alphas this side of the Smokies shows up and threatens to kill his family if he doesn’t comply with his demands…
Evangeline “Eva” Carlyle has spent her life wearing a mask. Being the perfect, obedient daughter. Being the stoic alpha-elect of her father’s pack. Being the face of her father’s paranormal pharmaceutical company, Carlyle Enterprises. Only, she doesn’t want her sizable inheritance or his paltry love—she wants his head. A life for a life, the collection of a blood debt that has been long overdue. The Golden Wolf is going to answer for his many covered up crimes against the paranormal world, and she’s determined to be the harbinger of justice.
But her father’s nobody’s fool. He knows someone is out to get him, and so blackmails one of the deadliest mercenaries into hunting down his would-be killer and taking them out first. Legend or not, Eva doesn’t think the arrogant and hotter-than-hell Nyx will be a problem. And Nyx certainly would never allow himself to fall for a werewolf aristocrat, no matter how much his inner wolf yearns to mate with her.
As the two of them tiptoe around each other, sparks begin to fly and passion mounts. Secrets—and blood—will be spilled. The closer Nyx grows to Eva, the more he’s convinced she’s his mate. And in the end, he’ll have to make the ultimate decision—kill the woman he loves to save his family, or defy his greatest enemy and risk losing everyone he holds dear.
This is the last time, Nyx promised himself as he pulled open the heavy wooden door and stepped inside the shifter bar. He loved the smell of Pete’s Pub—aged wood, fresh beer, cigarette smoke, and greasy food. The sounds of card games, pool balls smacking around a beer-stained table, rock n’ roll blasting over the radio, and big talk and laughter met his ears. But what Nyx loved even better about this place was the way the air changed as he stepped into the room.
Conversation dried up.
Nyx’s muddy shitkickers made heavy thuds across the wheezing wooden floor as he crossed the room and sat down at the bar beside a grizzly old man. The weight of at least twenty pairs of eyes settled comfortably around Nyx’s shoulders.
“Hey, man!” Pete, red-bronze hair shining like a flame atop his head, came around, threw a towel over his shoulder, and shook Nyx’s hand. “If it isn’t the infamous Nyx Dawson, come back from the big city to see us lowlife country folk.”
“I’ve seen worse.”
“I bet you have. Welcome back, you cranky son of a bitch. You still like Sam Adams?”
“Here you go, nice and cold. So how have you been?”
“Same shit, different day.”
“Probably you starting the shit.”
“Finishing it is more like it.”
“You still raising hell?”
“With the best of ‘em. How’s Mary?”
“Eight months pregnant and ready to burst. She’s excited, though. We both are.”
“As well you should be. Congratulations, man. You’ve done well for yourself since high school. A mate, pups, your own business.”
“Yeah.” Pete’s eyes shone with pride as he gazed out over his patrons, his bar. Conversation had picked back up, though quieter than before. “I still can’t believe this reality is mine. I mean, my family and I aren’t living like royalty, by any means—”
“Yeah, you are.” Nyx smiled, feeling a twitch of envy in his chest. Sometimes, it surprised him he still had a heart. “What you have is gold. Never forget that.”
“Hey, Pete, get an old man a refill, would you?” said the gray-haired, bearded man beside Nyx.
“You got it, Mr. Snow.”
Mathias Snow sat atop the stool waiting, elbows on the bartop, calloused hands clasped tightly.
“Been a long time, Mathias.”
Mathias’ back stiffened, which he quickly tried to cover up by stretching his arms above his head and yawning. “Long time is an understatement, boy. What has it been, a decade since you skipped town? The last time I saw you was on Blackbriar High’s graduation day. I remember because I was so stunned to see you’d made it.”
“Prick. Damn near didn’t, thanks to your whacked out grading scale.”
“I can’t help it you suck at chemistry and didn’t want tutoring.”
Pete returned with the frothy mug of piss—excuse him, “light beer”—and scurried around the bar to break up a bar fight in the back of the room.
Nyx watched with amusement. “Wolves will be wolves,” he murmured.
“Neanderthals will be Neanderthals. Blackbriar’s finest,” muttered Mathias, taking a long swig of his beer. Nyx watched his Adam’s apple bob and his throat tighten. Mathias shifted in his seat, glanced at him, glanced away. Drummed his fingers against the mug. “You sticking around for a while?”
“Planning on it.” Nyx continued to stare at his former teacher, between casual sips of his Sam Adams.
Nyx’s ears pricked as Mathias’ heart rate kicked up a notch, exciting Nyx’s inner wolf. “How’s Christine?”
“Graduating from med school next week.” Mathias’ whole face lit up, his anxiety broken. For the moment. “She’s got her mamma’s work ethic and my smarts. She’s a good girl.”
“Yeah.” While Mathias had been talking, Nyx’s hand had slipped into his coat pocket and retrieved a picture. He dropped it on the counter in front of Mathias.
Mathias went still and pale. His eyes widened as he stared, stared, and stared, fingers frozen on the mug, eyes frozen on the picture. A pretty blonde, maybe sixteen, fifteen. Tanned skin, blue eyes, full of life. At least they had been. There hadn’t been much life left when Nyx had found her.
“Was Maria Eddington a good girl, Mathias?”
“I-I don’t”—hard swallow—“I d-don’t know what you’re talking about. I-I’ve never seen this girl.”
“Sure you have.” He produced another picture and dropped it atop the first. He leaned a bit closer. “Patrons of the Silver Owl saw you pick her up after you paid for her. You know sex with an under-aged girl is illegal whether you’re human or Other, right, Mathias?”
“Sit down,” Nyx growled, placing a hand on Mathias’ shoulder as he tried to stand. He came around back of his old professor, kept both hands on his shoulders as he brought his mouth next to his ear. “Human trafficking, especially that of children, is an unforgivable crime. You’re a sick, sick fuck, Mr. Snow.”
“I didn’t know—”
“What, that she was kidnapped? Drugged, beaten, and God knows what else between her home in Santa Barbara and where you picked her up in Memphis? The Silver Owl’s gone, by the way.” He made a explosion sound as he puffed out his cheeks and spread his hands wide.
“The bomb… That was you?”
“Perry will kill you for this.”
“Perry’s dead.” Mathias went from white to green as Nyx got in his face. “As you will be, if you don’t make the right choice.”
“Turn yourself in, confess all your crimes, and request they lock you up and throw away the key.”
“I can’t do that! I have a lecture series in Washington soon. My career, my research, is finally taking off.”
“The dead don’t talk, Mr. Snow. You can either face God after you’ve lived out your life in prison—or you can face me, the closest thing to the Devil your kind can find on this earth. You can live or die, I don’t give a shit which, but it damn well will be on my terms.”
“My wife, Karen… Christine…”
“Will be better off without you. So which will it be, Mathias? Life or death? Because if you choose death, I can promise you you won’t leave this bar. Either way, you’re never going home, so get used to that fact.”
Mathias swallowed hard. Tears filled his eyes. “My work…”
“Yeah, I’m heartbroken. Maria won’t ever get a chance to complete her life’s work either, thanks to you. You had your way with her, then you murdered her to cover up the evidence.”
“I… I never meant for it to go that far.”
“Yeah, you did. You’re a murderer, plain and simple. And the Angel of Justice just came calling.” He grinned. “Angel sounds too good for what I am, deep down in my black soul. I would call myself the Grim Reaper, but my pack brother’s already claimed that title.”
Mathias shivered at the mention of Reaper and rubbed his arms, as if he’d gone cold all over. He stared long and hard at his hands. “I’ll never go home again.”
“Hey, Nyx? Everything all right?”
“Yeah, Pete. It will be, soon. Do me a favor would you? Lieutenant Stone still working at the sheriff’s office?”
“Actually, it’s Chief Stone now.”
“Even better. Dial her up for me. Let her know she’s got a child killer coming her way, ready to pay for his sins.”
Pete’s eyes flashed in shock, darted to Mathias and back again. He didn’t question Nyx, just grabbed the phone off the wall and punched in the numbers.
“Oh, and Mathias?”
The sharp crack of knuckles meeting skull lit up Nyx’s hand, and then Mathias was flying, eyes rolling back in his head. The stool clattered as he hit the floor, groaning.
The other patrons gave Nyx a wide berth as he strolled over, knelt down, and spit on Mathias’ face. Right on the bruise blossoming over his eye. “That’s for Maria, you son of a bitch.” Hoisting the lousy sack of shit over his shoulder, he stood and started toward the door.
The silence was back, tenser this time. As were the stares, but hell, he was used to those.
He tossed a wad of cash onto the counter. “Nice seeing you, Pete. Keep the change, and say hi to the misses for me.”
“Yeah…” was the last thing he heard before the door slammed shut behind him.