Sunday, July 21, 2019

FINISHED & SUBMITTED: The Bear Necessities

Bear Essentials 4
coming August 22nd
Enforcer Jeb Taylor found his mate in bear shifter Erik Thomas. He couldn't be happier. The man was sexy, smart, and funny. He wasn't happy that someone seemed intent on taking Erik from him. Helping his alpha establish a new clan wasn't easy, but losing his mate would be impossible.
Erik Thomas's life was one big roller coaster ride. He went from traveling home from seeing friends to being kidnapped to being rescued by the sexiest bear he'd ever seen. He'd get off the wild ride except that might mean giving up the best thing that ever happened to him.
When trouble comes at them from every direction, they have to learn to rely on each other and those around them to survive what might be someone's bid to take over the clan.

A scream ripped through the night air, sending chills down Jeb Taylor's spine. When his clan beta went tearing off toward the thick trees, Jeb went after him. He wasn't sure if he was running to protect Harvey or if it was the obsessive need to find that scream. He just knew he had to follow.
The sound of harsh whispers cut through the thick forest. It was coming from the same direction the scent of blood was coming from.
"It hurts," someone cried out. The voice was laced with pure agony.
"Quiet!" someone else whispered. "They'll hear you."
Anger unlike anything he'd ever felt in his life raged through Jeb when he broke through the trees and saw a young man caught in a bear trap. Tears streamed down his pale face. Jeb had been caught in a bear trap once, so he could sympathize. He knew it was beyond painful.
When Harvey placed one foot on the edge of the trap then reached down with his hands. Jeb moved forward and placed his hands on the other side.
"On three," Harvey said.
Jeb nodded.
"One, two, three." Harvey pushed with all of his might, pressing the teeth of the trap down and away from the young man's ankle. "Pull him out, Jasper."
Harvey grit his teeth and growled as he waited for the man's ankle to be pulled free. Once it was, he glanced at Jeb. "Ready?"
"One, two, three."
Harvey jumped back, barely escaping the metal teeth as they snapped back together. "Can you shift?" Harvey asked the young man.
"No." The guy almost cried when he said that. "They gave me something that keeps me from shifting."
"What?" Harvey snapped.
Jeb growled as his anger renewed. Someone gave him something to keep him from shifting?
When Harvey slowly panned to look at him, Jeb shrugged. He couldn't explain his anger. He didn't understand it himself. Yes, anyone would be angry in this situation, but Jeb wanted to kill someone for what they had done to this poor man.
Harvey frowned then looked back down at the injured man. "Have you transitioned yet?"
"Yes, a little over a month ago."
"I'm going to wrap your ankle for now. We'll talk to Alpha Kersey when we get back home and see if he knows what they might have given you. How's that sound?"
The nod was instant.
"What's your name? Mine's Harvey."
"Erik Thomas."
Harvey ripped off the bottom of his shirt and started tying it around the young man's ankle. "I know this hurts, Erik," he said when Erik whimpered, "but it's got to be done. We have to stop the bleeding."
Erik nodded rapidly, his lips pressed so tightly together, they were white. Once Erik was all wrapped up, Harvey went to lift him. Jeb growled and pushed him out of the way, picking Erik up himself.
Harvey lifted an eyebrow.
Jeb's jaw clenched. He tightened his grip on the man in his arms, refusing to let him go, even to his beta. "I've got him."
"Jasper, did your brother kidnap you?" Harvey asked.
"He sent some of his guys for me," Jasper said. "I didn't want to go, but they made me."
"Did your brother tell you why he kidnapped you?"
Tears sprang to Jasper's eyes as he nodded. "He knows I'm an omega. He was going to sell me to the highest bidder."
Jeb's jaw dropped. Jasper was getting sold? By his own brother? What kind of madman were they dealing with?
"He was going to sell you?" Harvey snarled.
Jeb understood his anger.
"That's what he does," Erik whispers. "He kidnaps and sells people, and he doesn't care if they are shifters or humans as long as he can make money off of them."
Harvey clenched his hands. "Where is he now?"
"I heard him tell one of his men that he had one more package to pick up before the next auction," Erik said. "The auction is tomorrow."
"How do you know all this?"
A tear slipped down Erik's cheek. "I was to be auctioned off."
Oh hell no!
Jeb's growl was loud and clear this time. "No one is auctioning you off!"
He didn't care how many people he had to kill. It simply wasn't going to happen.
"Come on," Harvey said. "Let's get these guys—"
Jeb lifted an eyebrow when Harvey just suddenly zoned out. "Harvey?"
"Hold on." A frown wrinkled the man's forehead before his jaw clenched and his nostrils flared. "We need to get back to the house. Dwayne says there's trouble."
Oh right. Jeb had forgotten that part. They could talk to each other telepathically. It was a very handy skill to have.
"What kind of trouble?" he asked.
"Jason trouble."
Erik shivered.
Jeb pressed his cheek against the top of the man's head. "I won't let him get you, Erik. I promise."
He had no idea why it was so important to his bear to make sure Erik was safe, but it was. It was all Jeb could do to keep from shifting. His bear was being very growly.
"I'm not sure you can promise that," Erik whispered. "Jason always gets what he wants."
"Jason hasn't met my alpha yet, but I suspect he's about to." Jeb chuckled as he envisioned that meeting. "He has no idea what he's up against."
Jeb might have grown up with Rob, and they'd been best friends since forever, but the man was still impressive even to him. Rob Colton stood a towering six foot five inches tall, and had the muscle to back that up.
Rob also had the heart and determination to be a great alpha someday. He had a little growing to do before then. He'd been an official alpha all of a day. He needed a little more experience, but Jeb and the others had his back no matter what.
Jeb kept a firm hold of Erik as he carried him through the woods. He was concerned about Erik's injury. The scent of blood was overwhelming and the man whimpered every few minutes. Jeb knew he had to be in a lot of pain.
"It's okay to cry, you know," he said. "I've had my leg caught in a bear trap before. I bawled like a baby."
He hadn't really, but he sure had wanted to.
"You can shift just as soon as whatever they shot you up with wears off and then your leg will heal and the pain will go away."
Eyes as blue as the summer sky peeked up at him through a fall of sunlight blond hair. "What's your name?"
Crap. His manners had gone to shit.

RELEASE DAY: Saving Sawyer

Mech Warriors 2
Allied Defense Force soldier Stefan Andres lost the love of his life two years ago in a terrifying mech attack. He harbored hatred in his heart until his friends convinced him Sawyer might still be alive. Dealing with the guilt of shooting his commander isn't nearly as overwhelming as discovering Sawyer is actually alive. What he learns when he finds the man might be more than even he can handle.
Lewis Sawyer loved Stefan more than his next breath, which was the only reason he forced himself to stay away from the man after escaping the mechs. What was done to him could put Stefan's life in danger. When a nighttime attack forces him to come out of hiding, he has to face his demons, and the love he left behind, but will Stefan see him as the man he was or the monster the mechs made him?
Stefan stiffed and spun when he heard someone coming up fast behind him. It was Sam and Butler and they were hauling ass. When the two men waved their arms in the universal sign to get moving, Stefan turned and started running right along with everyone else. He had no idea what was coming, and he didn't really want to find out. If it was enough to send Sam and Butler running, it couldn't be good.
As he ran, he scanned the area for any place they could all hide as well as a high vantage point where he might be able to get off a few good shots. He spotted a parking garage about half a block down.
When Roark looked back at him, he pointed. Roark looked to where Stefan pointed then nodded even as he grabbed Frankie's arm and started pulling toward the garage.
They were lucky in the fact that the rebar in the building was build from steel and not iron or the place would be nothing but a pile of rubble. If they were lucky, the staircase would still be intact and they could take that up instead of running up the ramp.
"Stefan, find a place to roost," Roark called out. "Foster, track Dahl down and then get your ass back here. Sam, see if this place has a basement leading to the sewer. Butler, booby trap the entry. We'll meet on the top floor."
Stefan wanted to stay and make sure his friends stayed safe while they did as their commander ordered, but he knew he'd be of better use high up somewhere. He ran inside the parking garage and searched for the staircase. As soon as he spotted a sign for the stairs, he headed right for it.
As he ran up the stairs, Stefan noticed something that seemed odd to him. Just another line in odd things. Footprints in the dust. They looked too fresh to have been there since the city was destroyed years ago.
Stefan pushed his curiosity and confusion to the back of his mind and ran up the stairs until he reached the top floor. He wasn't thrilled with how open it was on the top deck of the parking garage, but he didn't have a whole lot of choices.
He hurried over to the edge facing the street they'd been running down. He set everything down except his rifle. He kept crouched down as he looked over the solid cement wall, trying to spot whatever had spooked Sam and Butler so damn bad.
The scorpion wasn't hard to spot and easily explained why Sam and Butler had been running for their lives. The only one of them who'd taken on a scorpion and lived to tell the tale was Roark, and he swore it had been blind luck.
The damn things had six legs and a tail that shot a phaser. They were faster, stronger, and deadlier than any of the other mechs. The consensus was that they were the mechs in charge of all the others. So, the question was, what was a scorpion doing in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado?
Stefan glanced in the other direction. He wasn't sure if Dhal and Foster had made it back yet and leaving the guy to run into a scorpion wasn't a choice he was ready to make.
"What do you see?" Roark whispered as he crouched down beside him. Frankie James, Roark's lover, crouched down beside him.
"It's a scorpion."
"Here?" Roark leaned up and peeked over the edge. "Damn."
He leaned back down. His eyes grew a little wild there for a moment before they landed on the building next to them. "Do you think we can get over to that building?"
"You don't want to wait it out?" Stefan asked.
Roark shook his head. "I think they're looking for us. It might have been that silver flier and those two scarabs you took out at the cryogenics facility or maybe they have a new way of tracking us, but we can't chance that that damn thing knows we're here."
"There's too much of a gap between the two buildings, Commander," Butler said. "I checked that when I was coming up."
"What about the basement?" Frankie asked. "Is this place hooked up to the sewer system?"
"I won't know until Sam gets up here."
It was a parking garage, but surely it had some sort of sewer access. At least a maintenance room in the basement for the electrical system. Something.
"Fuck! Silver flier!" Roark shouted as he jumped to his feet, grabbed Frankie and yanked him up, then started running back toward the stairs. "Hide."
Stefan grabbed his stuff and started to jump to his feet when an explosion rocked him back on his ass. The silver flier that was just about on his position when it changed directions and took off toward the explosion.
Stefan climbed to his feet, but as he went to take a step, he glanced back toward where the scorpion had been. He frowned as he turned and gave his full attention to the scene below. The scorpion was nothing but smoldering metal.
The silver flier flew into his line of vision as it circled the destroyed scorpion. Stefan brought his rifle up and took aim, but before he could pull the trigger the silver flier exploded into a million tiny metal shards.
"What the fuck?"
Stefan used the scope on his rifle to search the surrounding area. There had to be someone out there. As much as he wished otherwise, mechs didn't explode on their own. He couldn't see anything out of place.
Just as he was about to lower his rifle, a flash of movement caught his attention. Strangely enough it came from the same tower he'd been in not ten minutes before. The world fell out from beneath Stefan when he sighted in on the one face he'd never thought to see again.