Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wild Woods by Kate Hill

Wild Woods

by Kate Hill

Cover art: Marteeka Karland
ISBN: 978-1-60521-487-0
Genre(s): Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Theme(s): Shapeshifters
Series: Mate Marks Cursed
Length: Novella

The pain will come later.

After a magical artist tattoos an intriguing demon on her skin, Madison meets a gorgeous stranger with an alarming reputation and a fiercely sexy winged creature with an attitude. She senses they are one and the same. Despite the danger surrounding them, she's drawn to them by an inexplicable force.

Half-human and half-demon, Brody has spent his life fighting against his evil birthright. Despite the hatred of the townsfolk, he uses his supernatural powers to defend them from his foul bloodline.

Neither Madison nor Brody can fight their lust or deny their love, but hell is out to get him. When everyone close to him, especially his destined mate, is targeted by eight generations of Blazewood demons, the only way to fight evil is with evil.

Wild Woods

Kate Hill

All rights reserved.

Copyright (c)2011 Kate Hill

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.

Madison stared at the tattoo inked on her skin from mid-thigh to just above her hip. She'd wanted something for herself that she could enjoy in private but conceal at work. Actually, one of her coworkers had recommended this particular tattoo artist. Rumor had it that the woman possessed magical powers, and her tattoos reflected the image of the wearer's destined mate. That story, which had at first intrigued Madison, now frightened her. If the rumor held true, then her destined mate was... not quite human.

Though handsome, with a strong jaw and a well-defined nose, his wide-set eyes had an almost supernatural glow. The faint smile on his finely shaped lips revealed his needle-sharp teeth. His buzzed haircut exposed the pointed tips of his ears.

If this man -- or monster -- were real, she wondered what other bestial characteristics he possessed, for the tattoo only showed his face.

"You like it?" asked the tattoo artist.

Madison glanced at the dark-skinned woman with wild black hair and eyes so intense they looked almost inhuman as well.

"He's... beautiful. In a weird way, that is," Madison replied. "You know what's weirdest of all? It didn't really hurt. With my other tattoos I always felt something, but this --"

"It's my technique," the artist replied and turned away. Madison thought she heard the woman whisper, "The pain will come later."

Once again Madison stared at her tattoo. This was certainly an interesting start to her vacation.

First stop, the crazy tattoo artist. Next stop, a peaceful town in the mountains of New England. Hiking. Shopping in quaint little stores. Lounging among the smooth rocks in a cool stream on a hot summer day.

Madison could hardly wait.

* * *

"Here you are, hon," said the gray-haired lady clad in a salmon-colored jogging suit and sneakers. Though elderly, the owner of the bed-and-breakfast where Madison had decided to stay had a lot of spunk. She continued, "This room is one of my best. You have your own private bath and a nice view of town."

Madison walked to the window framed by cream-colored lace curtains and gazed out. From here she could see the old-fashioned post office and the steeple of the little white church. In the gazebo that stood in the center of the park, a local country band played to a small crowd. Madison heard the twang of the guitar through the half open window. Though she wasn't a fan of country, the music enhanced the atmosphere of this New Hampshire town.

Beyond the town stood mountains covered in trees -- fantastic woods for hiking. Madison could scarcely wait to get out there.

Her gaze drifted toward a winding road that stretched out of town and disappeared into the forest. A few miles into the trees stood an enormous stone house seemingly dropped in a clearing. "Wow, look at that place," Madison said. "It's huge. How many wings does it have?"

The woman's easy smile faded. "I'm not sure. No one in town ever goes there. The owner is... well, take my advice, hon, and stay as far from that place as possible. There are no public hiking trails over there, anyway."

"I wouldn't trespass," Madison said. Not in a town like this. She pictured a roughneck wearing hunting camouflage and toting a shotgun running her off his property.

"Just keep to the trails on the east side, and you'll be fine. You're all alone?"

"Yes. I wanted some peace and quiet."

"Well, there's a young couple staying here, and they're into hiking and camping. It might be a good idea to get friendly with them. Walking through the woods alone isn't a smart idea."

"Thanks, Miss Jefferson, but I'm used to doing things on my own."

"Suit yourself, hon."

"Just out of curiosity, who owns that big house in the woods?"

A look of apprehension crossed her face before she replied softly, "His name is Brody Blazewood. His family founded this town in 1675. He's the last of his line."

Ah. A cranky old man, then. No wonder everyone avoided his house.

"Miss Jefferson, where do you recommend going for lunch around here?"

"Heidi's Diner. When you step out the front door, turn left and it's about a quarter of a mile down the road."

* * *

After unpacking, Madison freshened up in the bathroom, then left Miss Jefferson's large old Victorian and headed for the diner. On the way, she stopped at the drug store for chewing gum. Walking through the door, she glanced down at her handbag and accidentally bumped into the person stepping out of the store.

"Excuse me," she said, moving away from a broad chest covered by a tan T-shirt snug enough to show off the chiseled pecs beneath. Wow. This body sure caught her attention. She tilted her gaze up toward a handsome, angular face accented by dark gold five-o'clock shadow. Wide-set blue eyes stared back at her. A jolt darted through her when she realized this guy resembled her tattoo -- except he was obviously human. No glowing eyes, needle teeth or pointed ears. A dusting of sandy hair covered his scalp, and the urge to touch it to find out if it was soft or rough almost overcame her.

"Sorry," he said.

They moved simultaneously to the left, then to the right in a misguided attempt to step out of each other's way. A faint smile on his lips, he took a step back and extended his arm for her to pass.

"Thank you," she said.

He nodded. His eyes blinked slowly, and the tip of his tongue moistened his lips. A little thrill shot through her, and her gaze again dropped to his chest, then lower to his long, lean legs encased in faded denim. Damn, this guy was gorgeous. He even had an eye-catching bulge in the front of his jeans.

Once again, she met his gaze and, after a lingering moment, he left the store.

"Blazewood was in for his monthly visit," said a hushed female voice from behind the prescription pick-up counter.

Madison glanced toward the young, auburn-haired woman who stretched over the counter, staring after the hunk who'd just left. Blazewood? No way. That athletic stud was the cranky old man from the mountain mansion?

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