October 15th, 2014
And the winner is…..

By random drawing, the winner of the $100 gift certificate to Amazon is….Sarah T., who wrote, “The scariest thing I ever did was divorce my husband. I had no money, nowhere to go, no other family. I completely started over.”

That DOES sound scary, Sarah. Please contact me within five day to collect your prize.

Thank you, everyone, for participating in the contest!

October 2nd, 2014
Contest: Capturing Caroline

All right…who wants to win a $100 GC to Amazon.com? Of course you do! It’s very simple to enter. I’m going to ask three questions and you answer one of them in the comments on my blog. Check back on October 15th to see who won (the winner will have five days to contact me and collect his or her prize). Good Luck!*

* * * * *

1.) If you were going to write a book, what would you call it and what would it be about?

2.) What’s one of the scariest things you’ve ever done?

3.) What accomplishment are you most proud of?

* * * * *

Capturing Caroline is now available for pre-order from Amazon.com and will release on October 10th. It will release from other ebook retailers on the 10th or shortly thereafter.

CapturingCaroline_final

* * * * *

Grief-stricken by the strange disappearance of her two sisters, Caroline Gannett tries to go on with life…until one day she mysteriously vanishes from the world too.

Pulled through “the veil,” Caroline finds herself in an alien world and is swiftly drawn into an adventure with the sexiest man she’s ever met. Together they are an unstoppable force, sparking desire off each other from the first time they meet.

Torrent had hoped this would never happen. He has lived his life under a dark prophecy that is about to come true. Even so, the temptation Caroline presents is irresistible. He seduces Caroline’s body as surely as he binds her heart to his. They are a perfect match.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the prophecy proclaims he is destined to die. There is no denying it. There is no escaping it.

And if there’s one woman in the universe who makes him want to live, it’s Caroline.

* * * * *

*Void where prohibited. (Some assembly required. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy equipment. Batteries not included. If rash, irritation, redness, or swelling develops, see your physician. Ect… Ect…)

September 27th, 2014
Capturing Caroline

YES….it’s finally finished!!! Now available for pre-order on Amazon. This novella will release on Friday, October 10th. Stay tuned for contest details!

CapturingCaroline_final

* * * * *

Grief-stricken by the strange disappearance of her two sisters, Caroline Gannett tries to go on with life…until one day she mysteriously vanishes from the world too.

Pulled through “the veil,” Caroline finds herself in an alien world and is swiftly drawn into an adventure with the sexiest man she’s ever met. Together they are an unstoppable force, sparking desire off each other from the first time they meet.

Torrent had hoped this would never happen. He has lived his life under a dark prophecy that is about to come true. Even so, the temptation Caroline presents is irresistible. He seduces Caroline’s body as surely as he binds her heart to his. They are a perfect match.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the prophecy proclaims he is destined to die. There is no denying it. There is no escaping it.

And if there’s one woman in the universe who makes him want to live, it’s Caroline.

* * * * *

Excerpt from Capturing Caroline

His eyes went dark and he looked away from her, throwing a branch into the fire. “You were not supposed to come here. I’d hoped—” He bit off the end of his sentence with a word in a foreign language she guessed was a curse.

“Hoped what?”

“I’d hoped to avoid this torment.”

“But you escaped from the prison. Doesn’t that mean you’ve avoided the prophecy?”

He shook his head. “It means nothing. Prophecies can never be escaped.” He lowered his voice and seemed to talk to himself. “The prophecy is still to be fulfilled, I’m sure of it. I feel it.”

“Tell me more about this…prophecy? In my world prophecies are only plot devices in fantasy novels.”

He locked gazes with her over the fire. “I am to die. My final act upon this world will be to end the war between the Magica and the Lycaon, but my fate is to find my eternal rest in the soil of my ancestors.”

“Oh.” She swallowed her final bite and tossed the bone aside. A dark, sinking feeling replaced the hunger in her belly.

He nodded. “It’s even worse if I have a woman to love, isn’t it? Worse still if she loves me back. Worse that we are fated to be together in perfect love and trust, that the force of our perfectness brought us together from two very different worlds only to have our relationship torn asunder by my death.”

“When you put it like that…”

“There is nothing good about this situation.”

“Hey! Who says I even want to be with you? Some force I can’t see or comprehend? How do I know any of this is even real?” Anger jolted her to her feet. “And if this unseen force is so powerful and wise, why the hell did it bring me through if we’re doomed?”

“I’m doomed, not you.”

“If I’m supposed to be head-over-heels in love with you, if we’re fated to be together for the rest of our lives. I’m just as doomed as you.”

Torrent said nothing in reply.

Fuming, she stared at him, then stalked away from the fire, her voice rising. “So, screw your invisible force or whatever it is that brought me here. Screw your prophecy. Screw anyone or anything that tells me who I’m going to be with. I’ll make that decision, thank you very—” She turned and came nose to chest with Torrent, the end of her sentence dying in her throat.

“You can question our spirituality and curse our ways, you can condemn the prophecy, but never question we were meant to be together.” His husky, emotion filled voice rolled over her, lifting every hair on her body. Then he pulled her up against his chest and covered her mouth with his.

August 30th, 2013
What I did with my summer vacation (chickens!!!)

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I’ve been pretty much absent from the usual cyber places lately—Twitter, Facebook, my blog, ect. It’s funny to think of the Internet as a “place,” but it kind of is. I disappeared when I was fighting breast cancer and just sort of never came back (I’m totally fine. Reconstruction at the end of September!).

I mostly took the summer off. My daughter only did a couple days of camp a week. The rest of the time was summer figure skating training, so I was heavily involved with her stuff. Also, I just needed some time off. I needed to relax with coffee in the mornings, spend time in my garden, meet up with friends. That sort of thing. I needed no stress, no deadlines, no “shoulds,” no “oughts,” and no word count goals. I needed to let writing go so I could find it again.

Writers need to be careful not to turn the thing they love into something they resent. I never want writing to feel like my old cubicle job. If it feels like that, I’ll quit. And there’s nothing like cancer to put life into perspective for you.

But I haven’t quit writing, and I have found my love of it renewed. I’m back to word count goals now…and I want them. I’m well into the third novella in the Mates of the Lycaon series and I’m really enjoying the world and characters.

Other than ferrying my daughter to the ice rink and back, the summer was filled with raising Monarch butterflies (give me a few minutes and I’ll bore you to tears about their decreased numbers due to pesticides killing off all the milkweed….), my organic garden, and chicken raising.

Chicken raising! OMG, what was I thinking? Well, I know what I was thinking—we have the space, I have the time….free range eggs!!! They’re a lot of work, though, those free range eggs.

Right now I have three bunches of chickens. The first bunch is three young pullets that just started laying (first pic is of Juliette, Claudia and Priscilla).

The second bunch is made up of nine week old Rhode Island Reds (second pic). Unfortunately, they are mostly turning out to be roosters. (If a farmer ever tells you he can sex a week old chick by looking at their wings, run away.)

The third group is only two weeks old and will be in the brooder for awhile (third pic…cute, right?). Eventually I’ll get all the groups grown up and integrated, though most of the roosters are going to have to go.

April 15th, 2013
Another Update

So it has been awhile since I last updated about my cancer journey. I hope, for the most part, it’s over.

I got the happy news that I will not be needing chemo. They analyzed the tumors using a test called the Oncotype DX, which determined that, as long as I take a drug which blocks estrogen in my body, the chances of the cancer returning is only about 8%. In my case, chemo would have no effect and would not lessen that 8% any further, so there’s no reason to undergo it.

I’m only 39 and I’ll be going into menopause because of this drug, but, hey, I also get to live. I call that a win.

Also, I had a test checking for a genetic component. If I had tested positive, I would have lost a couple more body parts. Thankfully, I tested negative. So, no more surgeries and no chemo. All I need to do is take a pill every day.

For my own part, I’m also juicing twice a day. Fruit in the morning, vegetables in the afternoon. Always organic everything. I have changed my diet to about 80% fruits and vegetables, total, juiced and solid. I consume zero processed foods. I’m eating less meat and drinking no alcohol. I’m exercising every day. Cosmetics, lotions, shampoos, ect all remain natural and as chemical free as possible.

I still have no clue where this cancer came from, and I’m going to do all I can to make sure it never visits my body again.

Today I’m going back to writing. I have about 5k emails in my inbox asking about a sequel to Pursuing Paige. I’m working on it!!! I’ll be wading through emails today, so, if you wrote, please expect a reply soon. :)

February 28th, 2013
Update

Sorry for any typos there might be. My right arm still isn’t at its best.

So, it’s been a month since I had the mammogram that showed two lumps in my right breast. They were small, so small that three manual exams by my gyn and one previous mammogram had been unable to detect them. They caused me many symptoms all the same, and had been doing so for far longer than I like to think. I knew there was something wrong, but I had no idea it was something so serious. This was my fourth visit to the doctor for this problem.

On the day of the mammogram, the radiologist tried not to broadcast to me that she believed it was cancer. However, I’m a pretty intuitive person and I picked up on it. She told me I needed a biopsy, but that if the diagnosis was positive she assured me that the cancer appeared to be low grade, slow-growing.

The day of the mammogram was probably my most emotional day of this entire journey. I was shocked that they’d found something. I thought this visit to the doctor would be like all the rest. “The mammogram/my examination shows nothing. Your symptoms are probably due to poly cystic changes.” Instead I saw the tumors for myself and got words like “biopsy” and “low grade.” I was terrified.

I’ve had cancer scares previous to this one, so I dealt with it the same way I had before, with meditation and mindfulness. I created a sort of in-the-moment zen bubble. It’s my best coping strategy and I remain in it to this day…and will for many more. I was a mess that first day, but then managed to get my mind and emotions under control.

I’m not really all that afraid of death. (If there’s one thing an experience like this will do is put you nose-to-nose with the reality that one day you’re going to die.) Obviously, I don’t want to die, but what I really fear is leaving my daughter motherless. She’s adopted and has already lost one mother. The thought of her losing another is absolutely heartbreaking and horrifying for me. This is the fear I need to reconcile.

When the biopsy results came back positive, I wasn’t surprised. I had been hoping to dodge this, but no luck this time. I had the name of a highly recommended surgeon and I made arrangements to meet with him. I already knew that, in my case, a mastectomy of my right breast was the best choice. My radiologist had termed it, “the more definitive option,” instead of using the word “mastectomy,” but I prefer to call a spade, a spade.

Before my diagnosis, the thought of a mastectomy was appalling. After my diagnosis, it was the only thing I wanted done. It’s funny how things change when you know you have cancer inside of you. You’ll do anything to get it OUT. NOW.

My husband kept (and keeps) reassuring me that I would still be attractive after the operation, not to worry about that part of it, but my head wasn’t there. How I would look in a bikini was the last thing on my mind. MY BOOB IS TRYING TO KILL ME. GET IT OFF. That’s how I felt. If I could have had a mastectomy on the day of my diagnosis, I would have.

I couldn’t have a mastectomy right away, though. I had to wait two weeks. Which, considering, wasn’t that long.

It felt like forever.

I am 39 and don’t have a family history of any kind of cancer. Over the last few years I have greatly improved my diet and health and I’ve always been conscious of chemicals in food. I don’t know how I contracted this disease. I am told that for 75% of people who get cancer, it’s this way.

That said, in those two weeks, I not only cultivated a sitting meditation practice and became adept at maintaining the purest form of mindfulness I have ever been able to achieve, I also took a look at the toxic substances in my life and began researching ways to replace them with natural compounds. I started juicing fruits and vegetables as well.

Food is source of great concern for me now. Before I ate for enjoyment in large part, now I treat food as medicine. Nothing goes into my body that doesn’t nourish me in some fundamental way. I eat no fruit or vegetable that isn’t organic. I will probably never eat anything processed ever again, nothing with chemicals or unpronounceable compounds of any kind. I will probably never drink alcohol again. Maybe, eventually, red wine.

Basically my new rules for eating go this way: 1.) consume nothing for which there is a commercial. 2.) consume nothing that isn’t organic. 3.) consume nothing that doesn’t serve my health in a needful way.

I had already replaced some household cleansers with natural ones, but now I threw everything I wasn’t sure of. I dumped all my makeup, my face and body creams, deodorant, hair care products, everything….and replaced all of them with safer options.

I don’t know what caused this cancer, so I need to change as much about my environment as I can…so I NEVER have to go through this again.

The day of my surgery came and I was calm, floating in my little bubble of zen cool. The anesthesia made me dream, so strange. I woke in recovery thinking I was waking up in my own bed (if only)!

I’m pretty sure there’s a book in here somewhere and, one day, I’ll probably write it. This was my second attempt to start a journal of my experiences, however. The first time damaged my calm state of mindfulness big time. So, I think the book (whatever form that will take…probably fiction) will be for down the road a bit.

So, yes, it’s been about a week since my surgery and I’m doing really, really well. I’m in pain, of course, but I’m healing. We got the cancer before it made it to my lymph nodes. Obviously, that’s super awesome. I do still have a phantom boob once in a while, but that phantom boob has pain, so I’m thankful when it goes away. I do still look down occasionally and wonder where the hell my breast went. I find this kind of humorous rather than sad.

I am so, so thankful we caught this early. To think I almost didn’t ask my doctor about my symptoms that day, since I’d asked so many times before and they’d found nothing. To think I almost didn’t do that and she would never have ordered a second mammogram…..no, I’m very grateful.

And I have a recommendation for an apparently great reconstructive surgeon, so in six months I’ll have a new boob…and whole brand new rack, probably, and all this will be in my rearview mirror.

February 13th, 2013
Announcement

Out of all the words I’ve written in my life, I’d hoped to never write words like these. Life has a way of making you face your worst fears sometimes, though, so here goes: I have breast cancer. A week from today I’ll be having a mastectomy. I don’t know much more about my treatment to come. I expect I’ll need chemo. Hoping not, but it seems likely.

I am 39 with no family history of cancer. I’m still under the age for which they recommend yearly mammograms. I’m lucky we found this. And we only found it because I listened to my body. Pay attention to your intuition. TRUST YOURSELF. And get your mammogram. Every. Year.

Any good thoughts or prayers you have for me and my family as we enter this journey are appreciated. I fully intend to KICK CANCER’S ASS. I fully intend to MAKE IT THROUGH THIS and I intend to do it with a positive attitude and hope in my heart.

January 25th, 2013
Now Available: Pursuing Paige

Pursuing Paige

Self-Published | January 24, 2013
Mates of the Lycaon, book 2

Order ebook: Kindle | Nook | Smashwords

Second in the Mates of the Lycaon series. Sequel to Keeping Kaitlyn.

Paige is a dedicated ballet dancer who neither wants nor needs any romantic entanglements. She put her sex drive in the deep freeze long ago to focus on her career. Yet the universe has a way of turning well-laid plans to dust. When Paige is pulled through a veil between worlds she finds herself in the arms of two male dire wolf shifters who thaw Paige’s libido with a mere look.

Kaiden has spent more time as a wolf than as a man and his brand of loving shows it. Yet Paige brings out tenderness in him he never thought he possessed. Jarek is a leader and, unlike Kaiden, is a man completely in control. But his desire for Paige shakes the foundations of his formidable power and brings this man to his knees.

Kaiden and Jarek profess to be Paige’s perfect mates and she can’t deny an instant attraction to them that isn’t just skin deep. But the war between the Lycaon and the Mages is heating up and it will test every fiber of their bond.

Note: This paranormal erotic romance is M/F/M.

Excerpt

Chapter One

“When,” Kaiden gritted out. “When will she be ours?”

The woman brought to mind a slender tree as she moved, long limbs reaching, dappled in sunlight. Slender and graceful, she moved her body to the music like a birch tree in the wind. It was called ballet, Kaiden recalled from his study of her culture.

He fisted his hands, his fingers itching to stroke her pale, delicate skin and experience the silkiness of her dark hair. Her hair drove him more insane than anything else. Long and lush, he imagined it brushing across his bare skin while he pulled her beneath his body.

“It’s been a month of these peeks past the veil. It should be any day now. Any moment.” The way Jarek’s body tightened every time they were treated to a view of her made his torture clear. His voice faded into a low growl. “I hope it’s any moment. I don’t know how much longer I can wait.”

She pranced gracefully near them. Kaiden reached out as if to touch her and grabbed only air. On the stage before them, she danced away, long legs stretching, arms extended. She had no idea they were there, getting a glimpse of her through the veil of reality that separated them. She knew nothing of the Lycaon, the veil, or her mate bond with him and Jarek.

She danced. They watched…and wanted.

* * * * *

Paige came to a stop in the center of the floor, perspiration glistening on her warm skin. Despite her exertions, she shivered. There it was again, that sensation of being watched. It should have been creepy or alarming, but it wasn’t. A benevolent ghost, perhaps? Did such a thing exist?

Grabbing a towel from a nearby chair, she wiped off her face and neck. Her body ached from the dance she’d been doing, her part in the upcoming production of Giselle. It was a sweet ache, a good ache. The kind she strived for every day, just as she strived to be the best dancer she could be.

Glancing at the clock, she saw it was five thirty; her slot for the floor was over. She had just enough time to shower and get to her dinner appointment with her sister, Caroline. Nodding at the dancers who were warming up at the bar, she headed out to get ready.

As she changed her clothes, she fought a wave of melancholy. The same melancholy that always seeped into her on the nights she met Caroline for dinner.
She had another sister besides Caroline, or, at least, she’d had another sister. Kaitlyn had disappeared about a year ago. At first she and Caroline had assumed the worst, assumed foul play. Then, a short time after Kaitlyn had disappeared they’d received a mysterious letter from her, clearly and unmistakably in her hand. Wherever Kaitlyn had gone, apparently it had been her choice and she was happy. That made enduring her absence only slightly better.

Kaitlyn had left them both pendants, too, in the shape of three individuals intertwined with a ruby at the center of each. She and Caroline never took them off. Somewhere, she felt certain that Kaitlyn was also wearing hers.

The last year had been hard on both her and Caroline. They’d all been very close. With Kaitlyn gone, she spent more time than ever with Caroline. They went to dinner at least twice a week. Neither of them was married, although Caroline had a new boyfriend. Paige hadn’t been in a relationship in years. She’d rather dance. Every Wednesday she and Caroline met for dinner, but today was a more special Wednesday than usual.

Freshly showered and changed into her favorite dress, a short one with a multicolored pattern, and a pair of cream colored heels, she made her way down the street to Maxine’s, one of her favorite restaurants. Caroline was already there, waving through the large window. Paige slid into the chair opposite her and slipped her coat off. Her gaze landed on the wrapped present in the center of the table and the smile faded from her lips.

She swallowed down a sudden rush of emotion. “You got her a present?”

Caroline tucked a stray bit of her blond hair behind her ear. “Yes. Dumb, right?”

Paige tried for a smile and failed. “I wonder if somewhere, someone is spoiling her rotten today.”

“I think so.” Caroline smiled and it lit her delicate features. “I feel in my gut that someone is. Who knows, maybe she has a whole bevy of gorgeous men waiting on her hand and foot today.”

Paige laughed. “Kaitlyn would love that.”

“Wouldn’t anyone?”

She laughed again, but didn’t reply. She wouldn’t love it. Instead she raised her glass. “Happy birthday, Kaitlyn, wherever you are.”

Caroline raised her glass. “We love you, sis.”

The waitress arrived just in time. Paige was fighting tears. They each ordered one of their regular meals and stopped talking about Kaitlyn. Paige missed her sister, but she also couldn’t help but feel a little abandoned by her too. If Kaitlyn had left of her own free will to a happier life, one in which she knew true love, why hadn’t she at least said goodbye? Didn’t she and Caroline deserve that?

They spent the rest of the meal talking about their lives, Paige’s upcoming show and Caroline’s new guy, Eric. All the while, Kaitlyn’s gift sat on the table in an empty third place. When they said goodbye outside the restaurant, Caroline pulled her close and whispered in her ear, “I’m glad I still have you.” Then she pushed the gift into Paige’s hands.

With the gift in her hands, Paige watched Caroline drive away from the restaurant then started down the street toward her apartment. The air was cool on her bare legs as she watched the busy streets—lights of the shops still bright, cars numerous, and late night strollers dotting the sidewalks. A couple blocks down and the shops faded into a residential area. Her shoes clipped on the pavement as she walked. She enjoyed the dappling of the streetlights through the leaves of the gigantic trees lining the street. Her apartment wasn’t far from the dance company.

Again she had the strange sensation of being watched. It made all the hair along the back of her neck stand straight up, like she was being haunted. Over dinner, she’d almost told Caroline about these odd episodes she’d been having lately, but she didn’t want her sister to worry about her. They’d had more than enough drama in the last year. No need to add more.

Flipping the collar of her coat up, she glanced around. There was no one even remotely near her, no reason to feel observed. It was creepy, but didn’t feel threatening. It was like she had two people she trusted walking on either side of her. Like she could feel the heat of them, their strong presence. Maybe they really were ghosts. Had she somehow picked up a couple spirits somewhere?

A gust of wind came out of nowhere and blew her skirt straight up. She yelped and pushed it down, not really feeling inclined to show the world her underwear. The wind gusted again, harder this time, and stole her breath. She gazed into the sky. No clouds, no storm brewing, just a moon and a whole universe of bright stars.

The wind blew even harder. Now the gusts were gone, replaced by a steady gale. Suddenly she had the sensation she’d been caught up in a tiny, personal hurricane. The wind threatened to pull her purse from her shoulder, the gift from her hands. Her skirt now blew around wildly, but she couldn’t stop it. She inched her way over to the steady comfort of a massive tree trunk and huddled into it, searching the street for any passersby having the same experience to verify she wasn’t going insane. Unfortunately, it seemed she was alone in this strange weather event.

She closed her eyes, unable to move, to speak. Sinking down, she crouched at the base of the tree and endured it, the gift tucked against her stomach. Above her the branches creaked and groaned under the force of what had to be hurricane force winds. Her hair whipped crazily around her face, the wind pulling at her clothes.

Then, just as abruptly as the wind had begun, it stopped. Warm light touched her eyelids. She opened her eyes to day. She stood, the gift tumbling to the ground as she stumbled back. “What the—”

“Paige!”

She turned at the sound of her sister’s voice to see Kaitlyn standing behind her. “Katie?” Dropped her purse, she launched herself into Kaitlyn’s arms. They hugged like they would never let go. Tears streamed down Paige’s face. This had to be a dream, but Kaitlyn felt so real.

“Happy birthday, Katie,” Paige whispered.

“This is the best present I could have ever wished for,” she answered in a tear-filled voice.

After a moment, they broke their embrace. Kaitlyn wiped her eyes and picked up the pendant she wore around her neck, gently clinking it against her own. “You kept it.”

“Of course I did. It was the last thing I had of you.”

The metal colliding made a real sound, as did the birds twittering in the trees. The warm sun beating down on her back was real, too. Paige looked around at the stand of trees not far away, the gently swaying tall grasses of the meadow. “Kaitlyn, what happened? Am I dead? Did that wind knock a branch down on me and—”

Kaitlyn took her by the shoulders. “I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. I know because I went through the same thing. You’re not dreaming and you’re not nuts.”

She wrinkled her brow. “Well, that only leaves reality and that can’t be possible.” She looked around her. “Where the hell am I?”

“You’re in a country called Selaryica.”

“Sell-lar-re-ca?”

“It’s a land with several races, though there’s only one you need to be concerned with—the Lycaon.”

“Katie, what the hell are you talking about?”

“I have so much tell you.” She glanced around. “But this is not the time or place. You’re in another dimension, Paige.”

Paige hesitated a moment, then laughed. “Nice one, but a bad joke. That’s impossible.”

“It seems like it shouldn’t be possible. We’ve been taught our whole lives that alternate dimensions are only found in science fiction. Yet, here we are, standing in one of the many, many different realities layered on our own.”

Paige stared up into the blue sky. It was a sky and it was blue, but, somehow, it seemed different than the one she’d stared into every day of her life. She shifted her gaze to Kaitlyn’s. “So you’re saying I was sucked through a worm hole and am now in a different world?”

Kaitlyn nodded. “But it wasn’t a worm hole you went through. It was more like the force of two magnets drawing together, certain powerful energies finding alignment. Since you are one part of a three part energy system, you were the one who was pulled through the fabric of our reality and into this one.”

“Three part… Kaitlyn, I’m only barely following you. Speak English, please.”

“Okay, I’ll lay it out for you.” Her sister took a deep breath. “You have two soul mates and their energies called you over to be with them. The same thing happened to me about a year ago. That’s why I disappeared.”

Paige didn’t know what to say. She just stood staring at Kaitlyn, her mouth open. Her mind whirled. “Kaitlyn,” she said in a trembling voice, “this is crazy.”
“Nonetheless—”

“So, you’re saying—insanity of the story aside—that I’ve been yanked from my reality, from my dancing career, for a couple of people who think I’m their soul mate?”

“I know how it sounds.”

“I don’t want a soul mate, let alone two. All I want is my dancing, maybe my sister back, definitely my reality and my sanity—” Paige had begun to pace back and forth.

Kaitlyn took her by the arms, stopping her in place. “Just relax. Take a deep breath. You need more than what you just listed. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have been pulled over. Admit it, sis. You want love just as much as the rest of us.”

She hesitated. Of course she did. Of course there was a secret part of her that craved attention from someone who regarded her as his moon and stars. She missed hugs and she really missed kisses. Hell, she missed sex. A vibrator was great, but a man was better, and it had only been herself and her vibrator for years now.
“Okay, yes, I will admit that.” She grasped Kaitlyn’s shoulders. “But I don’t want to be trapped here against my will.”

“You’re not trapped here, at least, not yet.”

“What do you mean, not yet?”

“You have two weeks to decide if you want to stay and honor the mating bond. Kind of like a trial period. You’re locked here for that amount of time. At the end of it, a doorway will open. You decide if you want to step through it and return home.”

“Mating bond? Trial period? I don’t need two weeks. I want to leave right now.”

“You haven’t met Kaiden and Jarek yet.”

“Kaiden and Jarek? What the hell are those for names? Kaitlyn, no. I want to go home right—” realization swept over her. “Wait. You’re trapped here, aren’t you?”
Kaitlyn nodded. “I had my two weeks. When they were over, I’d fallen so totally in love with Lucas and Rafian that I gave up everything to stay here with them.”
She paused. “Even contact with my beloved sisters.”

Paige tried not to feel hurt. “Wow, these guys must be really great.”

“They are. So are Kaiden and Jarek. Give them a chance.”

Paige had no intention of giving these two guys with goofy names any chance at all, but she desperately wanted time with Kaitlyn. It appeared she didn’t have much of a choice anyway. She sighed, looking skyward. “I seriously feel like I’m going to pass out right now.”

“Deep breaths. It’s okay. I’m here with you. You’re lucky. I was all alone when I was pulled over.”

“Lucky, lucky. Sure.” She put a hand to her head. “I really do feel light-headed.”

“You’ll be—”

Paige collapsed into darkness.

* * * * *

Jarek stared down at Paige who was sprawled on his sofa. He still couldn’t believe that she was actually here. Kaiden stood near the mantle, his gaze focused and intense on the unconscious woman. He had his fists clenched as though trying to stop himself from rushing over to her. That’s the last thing Paige needed, some hulking warrior leaning over her as she woke. She was frightened enough.

Her sister, Kaitlyn, had signalled to them after Paige had collapsed. They’d been hiding in the nearby trees, hoping to introduce themselves after Kaitlyn had explained the situation to her. Instead they’d ended up having to take dire wolf form to transport her home.

If the mostly human woman woke up and realized she’d just traveled five kilometers on the back of a two hundred and fifty pound wolf, she’d probably pass out again.

Kaitlyn had told them her sister was about as prepared for this as she’d been. That meant Paige was shocked beyond all belief. Kaitlyn also gently told them that Paige really had no interest in a relationship, let alone a relationship with two men. She was all about her dancing, Kaitlyn said, very dedicated. She wouldn’t want to give up her career.

From their time peeking through the veil, a soft spot in the barrier between their realities, Jarek had already gathered as much. If Paige wasn’t practicing dance, she was talking about it, or reading about it. Paige had a passion for ballet.

But he and Kaiden had passion for her. They had two weeks to convince Paige she could have everything she wanted…and the most important thing was a relationship with them.

He reached down and took a tendril of her silky hair between his fingers and rubbed it. So soft. Just how he’d imagined it. Kaiden knelt beside her and studied her face with a hungry expression. They had waited so long to have her and now they couldn’t believe she was here. Kaiden likely felt as he did—if they let her out of their sight, would she disappear like a dream?

She roused and Jarek caught his breath. Her eyes fluttered open, met his, and widened. “Who are you?”

“I’m Jarek.” He motioned at Kaiden. “And that’s Kaiden.”

Paige glanced at Kaiden, bolted up and scrambled off the other side of the couch. ““Where’s my sister?

“She went home.”

“Why didn’t she stay?”

“She thought we needed some time alone.” He paused. “You, with us.”

Paige stood warily, her gaze skirting between them. “Didn’t anyone ever tell you it’s not polite to stare, especially when someone is sleeping? It’s creepy, just FYI.”

He wrinkled his brow. “FYI?”

She shook her head. “I really want to see my sister.”

“And you will, tomorrow. Tonight, you eat a good dinner, have good conversation with me and Kaiden, get good sleep.”

Her stomach growled at the mention of food, loud enough to hear across the room. She pressed a hand to her abdomen and wanted to turn down any meal they offered, but couldn’t. She glanced toward the kitchen.

“I can’t cook, but Kaiden makes the best vegetable stew I’ve ever tasted.”

Probably all vegetables she’d never eaten before. Alien vegetables from a different dimension. She swayed on her feet.

Jarek caught her before she went down. She stiffened at the feel of his arms around her and the alluring scent of his skin. He lowered her into a nearby chair. “No more fainting. If you do it again we’ll need to take you to a doctor.”

“You’d faint too if you’d just been pulled into another reality.” She paused, looking between them. “So you’re supposed to be my soul mates?”

Kaiden walked toward them, the expression on his face intense. “Not supposed. If there was any question you were not meant for us, you would not be here.”
Paige curled her pretty lip. “I’ll reserve judgment on that one, okay?”

Kaiden was hurt. No one but Jarek would have seen it because he’d known Kaiden since childhood, but it was there in his eyes. Kaiden was tough on the outside, six and a half feet of massive muscle, with a strong jaw and a stoic demeanor, yet the man had an emotional side too. Paige could have no idea how intensely they felt for her.

“I’ll make dinner,” said Kaiden, moving into the kitchen.

Paige watched him walk away and Jarek had the sense that maybe she did understand she’d hurt him after all. Breaking her contemplative stare at Kaiden’s back, she shivered and hugged herself. “So, if I didn’t suffer a psychotic break and am somewhere in a hospital hopped up on medications and all of this is actually real, I have two weeks until I can go home.”

“It’s called the bonding period. The hope is that you will see that our bond means more to you than anything you left behind at home.”

“I left my sister at home. I left my dancing.”

Jarek nodded, but his heart sank at the tone in her voice. It said you two could never equal their worth.

“And why can’t I just go back and forth? Why does it need to be all or nothing?”

“It’s not easy or without health consequences to pass through the energy field that separates our realities.”

“Great, now I’m going to get cancer.”

“Cancer.” He searched his mind for what that was. Both he and Kaiden had done much reading about her world. “We don’t have cancer here.”

“You don’t have— How is that even poss— Nevermind.” She shook her head.

He hesitated a moment, watching the pout of her lips. It was wrong how sexual his reaction was to her. He wished he could stop imagining those lips around his cock, or parted on a moan from the ecstasy he was giving her. He tried to think of other things, but it was impossible. He wanted her too much and had waited too long.

Of course, he was betting that she hadn’t had sex in a while either. Maybe that could work to their advantage. She was a young, healthy, physical woman who seemed to have put her libido in the closet for some reason. Maybe freeing it from its prison would heat her up and open her to the possibility of a life with them.

Maybe that would be the way to reach her heart.

“I’m going to gather some firewood.” He turned and went for the door. This strategy definitely bore consideration.