Author: Amber Renard
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Kel O'Conley, DVM, treats supernaturals and their pets. Where else can a witch take a talking familiar for vaccinations or vampires get a stake removed? Kel wants experience in her field before returning to her pack. She's fought tooth and claw for her dream and nothing will stop her.
Until Tavis Alger, Heir to a rival pack, appears at her clinic with a gravely injured werewolf. Accustomed to obedience, Tavis doesn't know how to handle Kel—except in the bedroom. She completely disregards Tavis' title, but remains his packmate's best chance at survival. But Tavis' Alpha doesn't trust Kel and swears a blood oath: Should the injured werewolf die, so does Kel.
To save herself, Kel proposes a political mating with Tavis despite their bickering. She didn't expect their white-hot attraction or developing feelings, but when more supernaturals are targeted, Tavis and Kel must work together or lose everything.
Tavis leans against the door to my unit, looking dangerous in the fading light. Now that I know we’re to be mates, I don’t fight responding to him on a physical level. I have no excuse not to now, I guess. My wolf snorts at my thoughts. She knew he was a desirable mate as soon as we set eyes on him, with good, strong genes to ensure our line is superior to all others.
“Did you find my bed comfortable?”
His spine straightens in response to the irritation in my voice. Apparently, he’d expected a much more enthusiastic response. He should try bringing tacos next time.
His voice is low and possessive. “Don’t you mean our bed?”
“You can always sleep on the couch, floor, front porch, or bath tub. The right to sleep in my bed is earned, not taken for granted.” I try to slide around him into my unit. Of course, Tavis follows.
“You gave me that right when you involved me in a plan without telling me all the details.” He pulls me to his chest in the doorway, rubbing his chin on the top of my head. “Why didn’t you tell me about the mating aspect of your plan?”
I stiffen against him, fighting back the honesty. I didn’t want you to reject me in front of everyone once you thought it over. “I expected one of your Betas tonight. Figured you had other things to do.”
It’s his turn to stiffen, offended. “You’re my mate. It’s my duty to protect you.”
I know exhaustion is to blame for making me irritable, not him, so I lean against him and let him hold me until the stress melts away. As a bonus, it soothes my anxious wolf to inhale his scent. “I’m perfectly capable of protecting myself. I’ve managed this long,” I murmur into his chest. I’ll pull away in a minute.
“I don’t know how,” he mutters under his breath, kissing the top of my head. I elbow him hard enough to make him grunt and his arms tighten around me. We stay there until the moment passes, untangling enough to flip on the lights and prepare for potential patients.
Remembering the test I ran on the strange powder found in Ben’s wound, I head to my machine, glaring at the readings.
“Still don’t know what was used on my wolf?” His voice is casual but he moves close, crowding me and making it hard to think.
I hand him the readings, hiding my reluctance behind a scowl. Even though it’s counterproductive, I don’t want to tell him. He’ll take over and leave me out of the investigation like every other male in my life. With all the recent injuries, I want justice.
“It’s lye. Easy to buy at a craft store and hard to trace since you don’t need large quantities to do serious damage. I did my part, now you do yours.”
Tavis’ eyes flash gold for a split second and his body tightens. “And your patient?”
“A fey that can drown people on land and a mouth like a sailor. I liked her.”
“Only you would like such a deadly creature.” He shakes his head.
“Thank you.” I toss him the paper I wrote her story on and tilted my head, trying to think of any other details I might’ve forgotten. “They used iron buckshot on her instead of silver.”
“They knew what she was,” he murmurs, quickly reading the page.
“Or they got lucky again.”
“That’s an awful lot of luck.” Tavis folds the paper and sticks it into his back pocket. “It’s still not enough to go on.” His fingers rake across his scalp and he leans against the exam table.
“I have an address where she was shot. An old steel warehouse by the river.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that immediately?” His hands slap the table in frustration. “If there’s any evidence, any trail to track, it’s probably gone by now.”
I lean on the table, not letting him intimidate me, not that he’s trying. I know it’s grief fueling this reaction. “I only found out last night and then… everything else happened.” I hand over the address as a peace offering.
Tavis scans the paper eagerly. “I know where this is. Why was a fey around all this steel? Why are they in my territory and I don’t know about it?” He starts texting, fingers flying over the screen.
“A few of my Betas are meeting me there once I’m done here. You only have one planned patient for tonight. I need you to close after they leave.”
My business phone goes off, cutting me off before I can tell him where to shove his orders. Someone’s at my door.
Tavis shoulders me aside as I reach for the door, his body ready to spring.
The smell of dirt and undead flesh greet me as the door swings open, even over the smell of moth balls. I almost slam the door in his pale, gaunt face, but with even the deadliest of supernaturals at my storage unit, I remember this vampire came here for a reason.
I just wish he would have fed, and bathed, first. I can feel the vampire’s need to hunt, his hunger pulsing in time with my heartbeats, and swallow hard. I’ll have to add that stipulation to my next ad. Feeding, not bathing.
Tavis growls, his body smoldering behind me compared to the vampire’s body temperature that’s well below dead. I elbow Tavis in the ribs, stopping him mid growl, and force us both to back up a step. “If you can’t play nicely with my clients, go stand outside.”
I take another step back but he doesn’t, trapping me against his front with one hand. His fingers play with the hem of my shirt. “As your mate, I will protect you.”
I rub his arm and try to ignore the goosebumps his touch elicits. “We’re not mated yet,” I hiss. “I can’t treat patients with you breathing down my neck. Go back to your corner.”
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I'm a wife, mother to two little girls, equestrian, gardener, and of course author. I was an avid reader long before my writing career began in the second grade. My mom soon found the only way to adequately discipline me on the rare (ha!) occurrence I misbehaved was to take away my books. It was awful and effective and I've been devouring any genre of book that catches my eye.
As for writing, I love Urban Fantasy, sci-fi, specifically of the dystopian bent, and now Paranormal romance.
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Twitter: @abarnard3 https://twitter.com/abarnard3