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Authors: Shawntelle Madison

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Bitten By Deceit

BOOK: Bitten By Deceit
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Contents

Bitten by Deceit

Copyright

Other Titles by Shawntelle Madison

Praise for the Coveted Series

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Did you enjoy Bitten by Deceit?

Sneak Peak - Collected

About the Author

BITTEN BY DECEIT

Shawntelle Madison

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Copyright © 2012 Shawntelle Madison

eBook ISBN-13: 978-0-9887985-0-2

 

Cover design: Shawntelle Madison

Edited by Jennifer Jakes

Copyedited by Sarah Bromley

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without prior written permission of the author.

Other titles by Shawntelle Madison

Collected (prequel novella)

Coveted

Kept

Praise for the Coveted Series

COVETED

“Characters of all shapes, sizes and species abound in this new series from debut author Madison…How can you go wrong when your heroine is a werewolf with OCD? Madison tells her story with a lot of humor, and readers will be waiting with bated breath for her next story.”

Romantic Times Book Reviews
, 4.5

“A regular person in a magical body, Natalya’s struggles with her job (irritable Harpies trying to return vases!) and love life are both hilarious and heartwarming.”

NYT Bestselling
Author Eloisa James – Reading Romance Column –
B&N Review

“This is the start of a funny and touching new paranormal series, which may be dealing with supernatural creatures, but gives them all very human problems that make them very relatable. I loved this book and can’t wait to see what’s in store for Natalya next!”

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

“I really enjoyed Coveted. It’s got pack dynamics, action and there is one hell of a weird therapy group…”

Night Owl Reviews

“Over the course of the novel, Nat makes strides in conquering her demons, and while she ends up far from perfect, the growth is definitely there. I was rooting for her and can’t wait to continue her journey in the next book, Kept.”

The Romance Reader

KEPT

“This welcome return of the South Toms River pack proves to be another rollicking adventure for Nat, with all manner of creatures following her. The dialogue between Nat and her partner on the journey is so delicious, the fact that it takes a while to accomplish the mission behind their road trip doesn’t matter. With Madison at the wheel, it’s a fun drive.”

Romantic Times Book Reviews, 4.5

“KEPT is the second book in a series but stands on its own with only a minimum of back story needed. It also blurs the line between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance by having non-romantic and romantic story arcs. This is a solid RECOMMEND.”

Fangs, Wands, & Fairy Dust

“Natalya is an appealing narrator. She doesn’t feel sorry for herself and she is actively trying to overcome her weaknesses...”

Dear Author

“I promise you, Kept is definitely worth the wait.”

Cocktails and Books

Curious about the Coveted Series?
Check out an excerpt from COLLECTED, the prequel novella, at the end of this book.

Chapter 1

All Emma had to do was open the car door. Seemed easy enough after driving all night through the Arizona desert. But how could she approach him after just one year? Three hundred and eighty-nine days to be exact. Long enough for most people to let go of a relationship. But the wolf inside her wouldn’t relent at the thought of moving onto someone else. She had been raised to know that wolves mated for life. Like the beast under her skin, she hungered to see him.

Emma reached for the door handle, watching her fingers tremble. She closed her eyes to avoid seeing the gauze wrapped over her wrist.

Sitting here and hoping wouldn’t make Kyle magically appear. She
had
to find him. But she couldn’t push away the black thoughts of last night. Her thoughts were plagued by memories of her crazed pack members circling her and holding her down while the pack alpha bit her. Kyle couldn’t see her like this. With what she hoped was a confident smile, she raised her chin and straightened her back. She could do this.

The hot August sun cast a noon day shadow as she walked toward the gas station. All the while, she couldn’t help but notice that the town of Stone Ridge didn’t offer much: a small grocery store, diner, and a few older buildings. None of them would possibly keep the heat at bay.

A sliver of pain sliced through her gut, forcing her to lean against a mailbox. The metal warmed her side, but it was far too easy to ignore it. The bite’s effect had begun—and soon other symptoms would come: madness, a fever… She dared not to think that far ahead.

The pain retreated enough that Emma could continue her search for Kyle. She didn’t spot anyone outside the gas station. But the place wasn’t exactly a tourist trap. The lone air pump was crooked and the two fueling stations were grimy with dirt and rust. A few months ago, a friend had mentioned he’d seen Kyle near here. It was still a gamble. But a town as small as Stone Ridge would still need a mechanic, and that was Kyle’s calling.

The station’s garage doors were shut, the square windows smudged with dirt. No one lingered behind the counter inside. When another pain from the bite’s infection stabbed her belly, she blinked twice before opening the door. What if he didn’t want to help her? What if she’d left her younger sister behind for nothing? Maybe she should turn back and forget she ever knew Kyle, but she couldn’t. Meg’s life was at stake. Others waited as well, hiding in the shadows, praying they wouldn’t be bitten. Someone had to help. Emma couldn’t save them all by herself. Not now. Not since she was infected. And Kyle was the only one she could trust, but that meant she had to take this first step and ask for help—if she could find him.
 

Determined, she pushed forward and entered the gas station. Her eyes flitted to the food on the shelves. Chocolate chip muffins, candy bars, a whiff of the mouthwatering pizza under heat lamps in the corner made her stomach growl. She hadn’t eaten in a while, but it didn’t matter—she had to search for Kyle.
 

Then she caught in the air a faint mixture of sandalwood and leather that brought back memories of the passion between them before he’d left. Kyle’s smell. The scent increased as she went into the connected garage. She scanned around two minivans, even checked the small office in the back, but couldn’t see him anywhere. His scent had faded just enough that she realized he’d been here mere moments ago, and she’d barely missed him.
Damn it
.

A hand locked on her shoulder. “What are you doing here, Em?”

Kyle’s deep voice coursed through her before she turned to face him. When their eyes locked, pleasure followed by the burn of hate coursed through her. No matter how much she longed to see him after a year, the poison of the alpha’s bite drew her closer to madness.

The fine lines of Kyle’s jaw tightened, but he didn’t speak. He looked as intoxicating as she remembered, his dark brown hair a bit longer and that rough edge he’d always had still visible in his stubble and skeptical gaze. His partially opened shirt revealed a chiseled torso. When he backed up to leave a healthy distance between them, his shirt’s missing sleeves offered her a view of the muscled curves of his arms.

“I know this is a bad time and all. But I need to talk to you, Kyle.” She stepped forward, but he didn’t shift. “I’m in trouble.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed, as if she could see him mentally waffling with the up and down motion, but then he left her to work on one of the vans.
 

As she watched him retreat, she couldn’t help but think she should’ve approached this differently. She should’ve expected him to turn her down after she chose to remain behind in Hadley when he’d been forced to leave town. She’d had the chance to go with him, yet she didn’t.

“Look, I—”

“You need to leave,” he said. “Whatever trouble you got, I don’t need to hear about it.”

She wanted him to face her. To look her in the eye when he turned her away. “This isn’t only about me. Our pack has fallen in a big way. I don’t know where to go for help.”

“Talk to your pack leader. You chose him over me.”

“It was never like that between Liam and me, and you know it.”

His gazed flitted over her before he fumbled through the rack. “The way I see it,
your
pack leader convinced you to find me so he could rub you in my face. It’d have been better for him if he hadn’t waited a year to do it though. ‘Cause by this point, I don’t give a damn.”

Emma bit the inside of her mouth to keep from cursing. Kyle’s anger floated off him in waves and pounded against her skull. She had come here for a reason. Getting angry over his bitterness wouldn’t help Meg or the others who hid from Liam.

She tore at the gauze on her wrist and revealed the bite mark. The skin around the wound was mottled with purple streaks and bright red splotches from the spreading infection. With the protection removed, the flesh burned as if heated by fire. Her body had held on so far, but how much longer did she really have? Would it be long enough to see Meg again?

Kyle raced over to her, stood before her, and she gasped when he snatched her wrist to inspect the wound.

“What the hell happened to you?” His fingertips rubbed the delicate skin, and she winced. Anywhere he touched, the burn intensified until she ached to scream, and as much as she’d wanted Kyle to touch her, having him do so was torture. When he released her, she caught her breath and managed to speak.

“Liam...He bit me.”

She wanted Kyle to reach for her again, regardless of the pain. But he only loomed close, leaving her weary for support after the long drive. From his parted shirt, she peered at the hard ridges of his abs, then the faint trail of brown curls that led down to a part of him she’d
never
forget. It didn’t take much for him to rile her up. But her desire for him didn’t matter anymore. She needed him for other reasons.

His black eyes examined her. Would he see her desperation and help?
 

“Something happened to Liam a week ago. Members of the pack began to disappear, and then dead human bodies started popping up all over the place. They’d been mangled by the pack.” She took two deep breaths before she continued. “Then he came to my house… He didn’t look right. He had a sickly smell, and his face had wrinkles—as if he’d aged a few years. All of the missing pack members were with him, following his commands without any forethought. Without any mercy. They almost seemed dazed and rabid. He said he’d make me join him and be obedient at his side.”

“All this sounds crazy.”

“I agree. It’s something I’ve never heard of before. Or even if there’s a cure or a way to fight it.”
 

Heat radiated from Kyle as he rubbed his face with his hand. “Where’s Liam now?”

“After he bit me, he waited for me to fall under his control. But I didn’t, and I ran away. I managed to call one of the remaining pack elders. I thought I escaped undetected, but he said Liam’s chasing me.”

Kyle’s gaze darkened as he quickly closed in on her. He was so close she could see the muscles in his face twitch. “You led him
here
?”

Her mouth moved, but nothing came out.

“Do you realize you’ve lead Liam out of our territory—an isolated area—into another one with innocent humans?”

Any hope Emma had held faded with each of his words. The pain of the infection inside didn’t compare to the ache his response brought.
Oh, God.
What had she done? Had she signed a death sentence for anyone who crossed Liam’s path on his way here?

She searched for the right words to say. “If you come back with me, we can stop him before he reaches this place.”

“Em, you shouldn’t have come. You should’ve grabbed Meg and gotten the hell out of there. I’m not the man to solve your problems anymore.”

She bit her lower lip to control her words. She had to say the right thing. “It’s not my fault Liam deceived you. And it isn’t the fault of all the innocent people he’s killed.”

He scoffed. “So, after everyone in the pack turned their backs on me, I’m supposed to risk my life for them?”

BOOK: Bitten By Deceit
6.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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