BORN TO LOVE WILD
A Paranormal Romance Short Story Anthology
Stars and Stone Books
Featuring: USA Today Bestselling Author Traci Douglass, Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, Pepper McGraw, M.T. DeSantis, Read Gallo, J. Bigelow, and Andie Biagini.
Kindle | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
Traci Douglass – “Blood Strong: A Blood Ravagers Novella”
One guardian demon in love. One witch with a secret crush. One evil threatening their newfound connection.
Cara McKinnon - “A Change of Heart”
She’s a hybrid shifter who’s not supposed to exist. He’s a wolf who was born to protect her. But her secrets force him to choose: his mate, or his pack loyalty?
Sheri Queen - “The Robinson Agency”
Some are born with the gift to see into the future. Others create their own destiny.
Pepper McGraw – “Full Moon Shenanigans”
The full moon’s coming and it’s time to embrace the wildness within.
M.T. DeSantis - “Forever Love”
To find a chance… A chance to find…
Read Gallo – “The Flying Saltines”
When a river falls in love with an ordinary person will New York City survive?
J. Bigelow – “Focal Point”
Sometimes a wizard from Sweden needs help from a medium from Michigan.
Andie Biagini – “Water Temperature”
An engineering student and a cryptozoologist. One of them can talk to sea monsters, but it’s not who you think.
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Excerpt from Traci Douglass’s Blood Strong: A Blood Ravager’s Novella
Emma Bradstreet checked her watch again. She hadn’t even finished parallel parking her car outside Seven yet when one of the Frost twins rushed over to her door. Thank God for the rainbow streaks in Liz’s hair, otherwise she’d never be able to tell her and Anna apart. Her frantic expression had Emma hurrying to cut the engine and exit the vehicle. “What’s wrong?”
“Oh, I’m so glad you’re here,” she gushed. “Anna said you would be the only one who could help.”
She grabbed Emma hand and yanked her toward the club, barely giving her time to grab her purse from the front seat. Liz dragged her inside and over to the bar where her husband, a wolf shifter named Dex, stood. The guy was tall, blonde, and far too intense for Emma’s comfort. Still his violet eyes were kind and he smiled at her warmly when she approached. Beside him stood Anna, Dante’s wife and Liz’s identical twin. Both girls were powerful psychics and together they formed the gang’s Oracle—a powerful conduit for psychic energy used to protect and bind the Blood Ravager members together. Dante, the gang’s leader, stood behind his wife with his arms around Anna’s waist, holding her possessively.
Emma stumbled forward through the crowded space, knocking into several scary looking guys and one turquoise alien who acted as the gang’s official healer.
She managed to stop short of taking a header over the bar and pulled free from Liz’s insistent grip. “What do you need from me?”
“We need you to break a tie,” Anna said. “Which of these colors suits my sister better? I said it was the blue, but she insists on the purple.”
Two swatches were held in front of Emma’s face. Honestly, she couldn’t see much difference in either of the pastel shades, but she leaned slightly to peer at Liz then looked back at the fabric just the same. “The purple, I guess.”
“Perfect!” Liz jumped forward and wrapped her arms around Emma, sticking her tongue out at her sister. “See? I told you so, Anna. Thanks so much, Em.”
“No problem.” Still confused as to why the color choice was important, Emma slowly backed away from the group, only to run smack up against a massive, muscled chest. A chest covered in a soft black T-shirt that smelled absolutely fabulous—like lavender and musk and clean warm male.
“Oh,” she said, raising her eyes to see Spud’s smiling face. “I’m so sorry.”
“No harm done, Emma,” he said, his voice deep and tinged with amusement. “No need to run away either.”
For a moment, she stood transfixed by his handsome, chiseled face and sexy smile. Emma blinked several times to break herself out of her embarrassing daze, swallowing hard against the tingles racing over her skin from his touch.
“I’m early,” she blurted out.
Seriously? That’s the best you can do?
“That’s okay,” Spud said with a shrug. “We can go ahead and meet now, if you want.”
“Uh, sure.” She fumbled after him toward the stairs, wishing the earth would just split open and devour her whole. Her cheeks felt so hot she was surprised the fire alarms didn’t go off. “Yeah, that’s great…thanks.”
“Sure.” He grabbed two bottles of water from the bartender then cocked his head toward the back door. “Actually, why don’t we start out back in the courtyard.”
Her breath hitched. In truth, she’d had a crush on Spud from the first moment she’d set foot in Salvation and he’d rescued her after she’d been stung by a bee. Luckily, she wasn’t allergic, but it had still hurt like hell. Her parents couldn’t have cared less, and to her sisters she was like a surrogate mom, so therefore indestructible. But Spud had treated the sting with gentle hands and given Emma a cool towel for her head and a cold drink to wash down the pain meds. He’d even dried her silly tears when she’d cried for one insane moment. In her fantasies, he’d see past her prim, proper exterior and notice her as a woman. In reality, that seemed like a tall order. Especially since he was giving her a slow, head-to-toe appraisal.
Goddess bless it, why didn’t I wear something cuter?
Another gang member pulled Spud aside, whispering and pointing toward a heated argument at the pool table near the front of the bar. Spud handed Emma the waters then raised a finger for her to wait before he took off to break up the fight before it could start.
Guardian demons got a bad reputation because of their formidable size and gruff exteriors. But she’d found Spud to be nothing but kind and generous and loyal to a fault. It still amazed her that he wasn’t mated yet. It also made her secretly happy, because if Spud was still available, Emma might have a chance.
The kerfuffle was broken up in less than ten minutes and Spud slowly made his way back to Emma, his easy swagger highlighting his broad torso and trim waist. His shoulder length brown hair caught the overhead lights and her fingertips itched to run through the silky strands. Through the curls, near his forehead, peeked two tiny horns. Even that she found that insanely attractive. The only thing about she questioned was his name. She’d have to ask him about that.
Maybe once they got to know each other better.
Once he reached her, Spud flashed that sexy little smile, his warm gray eyes sparkling. “Sorry about that. You play pool?”
Emma took a deep breath to quiet the zing of awareness through her bones. “Nah. Not really my thing.”
“Not mine either.”
They stood near the back exit in silence for several moments, watching the crowd while Emma tried to figure out what to say next. The air around them pulsed with electricity and she couldn’t seem to stop fidgeting. She should say something intelligent and thoughtful and cute. Except words escaped her whenever Spud was around. So, instead, she leaned back against the wall beside the jukebox and stared out at the paranormal circus of creatures in front of them.
“Ready to go to the courtyard?” Spud pointed toward the exit with a water bottle.
“Yes!” she said, too quickly. “Please.”
“This way.” He grinned, pressing his palm against her lower back, ushering her through the door and down a short hall into the twilight. The whole time she kept repeating her mantra in her head to combat the buzz of being close to him.
It’s just work. It’s just work.
Emma kept reminding herself not to go overboard, not to fall for a guy who was so out of her league it wasn’t even funny. With each step, however, she couldn’t seem to shake the feeling they were crossing a threshold, entering a new realm where she would get to see the real Spud, not the tough guy badass he portrayed to the world.
And deep inside, her witch instincts told Emma she wouldn’t be disappointed.
© 2018 Traci Douglass