Friday, December 31, 2010

Shepherd's Watch-- Protected by J Hali Steele

Shepherd's Watch: Protected

by J. Hali Steele

Cover art: Bryan Keller

ISBN: 978-1-60521-141-1
Genre(s): Paranormal

Theme(s): Shapeshifters

Series: Shepherd's Watch

Length: Novella

Max Alsatian spends most evenings at the Seared Soul watching the only woman alive who makes him pant. His heightened senses and her alluring scent have pushed him to the edge. Now that he knows what she is, Max expects more than a meal -- he intends to take what's rightfully his.

Victoria Germaine buries herself in the kitchen of her restaurant to hide from the world. When the brooding, sexy stranger appeared, she hid what she was under a cloak of deceit. No longer able to fight her natural desires, she aches to give herself to him. She waits patiently for his arrival... he will come.

Shepherd's Watch: Protected

J. Hali Steele

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2010 J. Hali Steele

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Closing and locking the door to one's heart is a cold and lonely business. Max Alsatian had just done that. His hand trembled as he turned the key with a clinking sound. The two shepherds growled and scraped at the chain links of the pen, seeking freedom.

"Are you sure this is what you want to do?" The timbre of his brother's voice made him look up. Ren's head leaned to the side, his eyes squinted with concern. "She won't like it."

His brother had a right to be concerned. Capturing the two dogs, cowing them, had not been an easy task. Victoria Germaine would be pissed as hell. Good. That's exactly what Max wanted -- her, so fucking mad, she'd come running. Vic was a bitch. Literally. For months she'd used that syrupy, mesmerizing voice on him and his brothers, and hid her true self under the cloaking scent of cinnamon. What made him even angrier was he had come to love the smell.

He'd spent the month since he'd discovered what she was vacillating between anger and seeking revenge. Having decided on revenge didn't make him feel any better. Max felt worse. Victoria was what they were -- genetically fucked up animals. She was a shepherd with the ability to change at a moment's notice into a beautiful woman.

The Austrian monk who had experimented with recessive traits in peas, moved on to something much more sinister -- screwing with DNA. He'd used his, mixed with that of a shepherd, and, well, here Max and his kind were. Monsters. Part man, part dog. He hoped God punished the fool when he reached the pearly gates. Better yet, maybe the Devil was roasting his balls in hell!

His shepherd pranced back and forth inside him, seeking freedom. It clawed at his insides, wanting to get out for the second time tonight. Unlike Ren and Wade, Max always had total control of himself and his animal. Until tonight. Right now the only thing he controlled was the two dogs he'd locked in the training kennel. And that was tenuous, at best.

His cock flared to life as he thought about Vic's smooth, chocolate colored skin and her curvaceous body. She wore her light brown hair short, keeping it neatly trimmed. The style fit the woman he'd come to know perfectly. Not a flamboyant or vain bone in her ample, athletic body. Often, when following her, he'd envisioned mounting her wide, firm ass. Taking her like the animal he was. Had he only known...

The day she stood in the meadow, her brothers at her side, was the first time he got a whiff of what she really was. Something in him had snapped. Her friend, Jetta had since mated with his brother Wade. In fact, had Victoria not shown up, Wade might very well have killed the man who'd stalked and hurt his mate. Things certainly would have been different.

A snide laugh slipped through his lips, causing the largest dog to snap and growl even louder as he lunged at the kennel's locked door. "You'll learn manners, and you will bow to me, you bastard."

The dog sat back on his haunches and lifted his head high in the air. The howl reverberated around the small room, causing the smaller dog to crisscross the cage frantically. The bigger animal lowered his head, shook his jowls from side to side and bared his canines at Max, growling deeply.

Ren chuckled. "Shit, he thinks he's alpha."

"Fuck him, fuck you, and fuck her." Max, fists clenched so tight the nails drew blood from his palms, shook with anger.

"Yeah, well, if you do that you'll probably be all better, bro." Ren wiped his hands down the front of his jeans. "Look, I love you, man, you know that, but this last month has been crazy. You haven't been out with me and Wade in weeks. Every waking minute you've pursued these two. Now that you have them, what's your plan?"

Max sucked in a stream of air, then expelled it heavily. "I don't understand why she hid what she was from us. From me." Gaining some control, Max breathed deeply, settling the dog inside him. What angered him the most was he'd known something was different, but he had become so enamored of the woman he'd lost sight of his responsibility. Now he understood her silky voice, the effect it had on him. A female shepherd right under his nose the whole time.

He was the alpha of his tiny band of dogs. It was his job to keep them safe and out of harm's way. With more packs slipping into the country, Max needed to be alert and on guard. Protecting his small pack was paramount.

How in hell could he do that with his dick leading him around like a puppy?

The tip of his semi hard cock dripped with desire. He sniffed loudly at the air, catching her scent. Coming from her brothers, the smell was just strong enough to make him want to seek her out, finally taking what he'd wanted all along. But no, not Max. Not the perfect, always in control alpha dog.

Ren peered into the cage. "You've become so much like a man, you've forgotten what you really are. Maybe you should loosen that noose you call a tie. You'd have been better off if you had taken her. This wouldn't be happening."

His brother was right. Acting like a man, trying to wait for her to give him a sign she felt something for him, hadn't worked.

"Go talk to her, Max."

"I'll be damned to hell before that happens," he growled. Ren shuffled from foot to foot on the bare cement floor. The gritty sound scraped across his nerves, setting him more on edge. He glared at his brother, and practically growled, "Don't you have somewhere to go?"

"Look, I know you're pissed and you think the world is a crappy, fucked up place right now." His brother gripped Max's shoulder. "Vic is the only thing that will make you feel better."

"Go to hell."

"Have you considered the pain she must be in if I'm right?" Ren stepped in front of him, his brown eyes piercing Max like arrows. "She's had to smell you for months."

"Right about what?" Max gave Ren his full attention.

"Man, you haven't been with a female, human or bitch, since the day she slunk to our table at the Seared Soul. Why do you think that is?"

Christ. Please, let Ren be wrong. The last thing he needed was a snarling bitch, or a clinging woman for that matter, underfoot while he tried to carry out his duties at Shepherd's Watch. Especially one who didn't trust him enough to be honest about what she was.

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