Authors: Lynde Lakes
Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is
illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in
print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations
embodied in reviews.
is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
dedicate my heart and this book to my husband, John
Publishing, acquisition manager
. And, of course, to my
and cover artist Sour Cherry Designs.
also to the staff at
& Kapolei Libraries.
last but not least, my loyal and supportive readers, now friends.
Copyright © 2014
At midnight, below the surface of the ground, the
body-less blob of mud and ash shook its liquid-nothingness, releasing a flurry
of ashes onto the fiery hand offered to him. The horned and tailed flaming specter
with a wolf’s head led the long departed Reeves into a realm of fire. “You must
face the furnace once more,” the specter transmitted telepathically. “This
time, in the bowels of hell. Your long, hot journey could take months, years,
and some never make it out of the blazing inferno.”
“I’ll make it out,” the blob said. “I have a score
to settle.” His fragmented mind whirled about his nothingness in ashes and
desperately grasped only that he had a driving urge to kill his half-brother,
darkness wrapped a malevolent mist around the towers of the historic mansion
nestled below Mt. Baldy. Angela Ward-Lamont had barely stepped into the foyer
and heard the latch click before the December storm broke. Thunder echoed
around her and reverberated through the drafty rooms, sending tremors through
her. She looked around the unsettling sanctuary she now shared with her new
husband, Damon. Another tremor slid down her back as an icy essence drifted
over her. She felt like Little Red Riding Hood who, after escaping a fierce
storm, found herself in the wolf’s den. Yet, more frightening than her daunting
surroundings were the Lamont family’s undying secrets. What if within this
mansion, with its soaring towers, there were dark, undiscovered rooms and
twisting tunnels? The prickling hairs at the back of her neck warned that
lurking within the darkness behind the walls were dusty dregs of evil. Although
Reeves was dead and his ashes scattered behind the mansion, she had an eerie
sense of his presence. She looked around, expecting someone or something to be
there, but she was alone.
shifted in the fireplace. She jumped. It was then she noticed that Kyle Cooper,
their new houseman, had a crackling fire in the living room fireplace waiting
by his thoughtfulness, she hurried to the hearth and stood in front of the fire
a few moments until she felt warm enough to remove her coat. She hung the brown
leather garment in the entry closet. The sole dim light from the lamp table
flickered off and, for a moment, the house lost power—then it blinked back on.
That was all she needed in her skittish mood. She rubbed her arms.
let this mansion spook me. I have enough worries.
pelting the windows with angry force drew her closer. She’d hate to be on the
road now. Her saliva tasted metallic, and her steps were slow, hesitant. She
shivered and rubbed her arms again. The rain bombarding the glass matched her
tumultuous mood. Yet the unnerving tempest raging outside was mild compared to
her internal turmoil—she’d almost lost her life—and Damon. Those two harsh
realities contributed to her belief that through their struggles, they’d earned
a deep, durable love and a
world. Believing in their future to the
depths of her soul, she’d let him persuade her to run away to Las Vegas.
of the love-making made her heart race and heat flared in her like a runaway
California forest fire. She mentally shook herself. The mind-blowing
anything-goes lovemaking was the out-of-control passion that had thrust her
into this frightening dilemma.
the gynecologist’s report in her trembling hands, she felt a shiver of
foreboding and wondered if the werewolf curse was really over.
Dr. Lopez had
used the word mellizo, twins. Dear God, Damon’s sperm could’ve fertilized my
eggs before Madam Nola released the curses.
to talk to him.
He didn’t greet me when I came in.
For a moment, she felt
neglected, then childish. She had no right to feel ignored. No man had ever
doted on his wife more. Probably the storm had drowned out the sound of her
Camry coming up the drive.
froze. Was that a file drawer opening in the den? Damon had a new project and
deadline at work. He was probably slaving away, trying to get it done. She
should be grateful he did most of his work at home. She definitely wouldn’t
want him on the roads in this storm.
a few steps. Perhaps facing him right now wasn’t a good idea. How would she
break the unnerving news? Rather than brooding, she needed to do something
constructive to elude her fears for awhile. She got out the folder with her
sketch board, switched the table lamp to bright, and tried to lay out ideas for
redecorating the manor for the coming Christmas holidays. After thirty minutes
of mostly erasing, she tossed the folder aside and picked up the large manila
envelope with the doctor’s report. She reread it and returned to her pacing.
Maybe she should wait until after dinner when they were relaxing together by
the fire. She tried to read a book, but the pages blurred before her. The
dreary day descended into late afternoon.
This is his problem, too. Just march in there and tell him.
She paused, took a deep breath,
and entered the den. Damon was bent over his computer, typing up a storm,
totally absorbed in his work. She stared at him. The glow of the bright desk
lamp emphasized his strong features. She yearned to sit on his lap and run her
fingers through that familiar black hair, alive with blue glints and maybe give
him a little lap dance. She caught a whiff of woodsy shaving lotion. He’d
shaved this morning, but now stubble faintly shadowed his jaw. This morning, in
the early hazy dawn light, he’d been gorgeous in nothing but his sexy grin. How
wonderful his lips had tasted…how marvelous his strong arms had felt around
her…how intoxicating his male scent…. Her body ached for him.
Without or with clothes, the man took her breath away. Now he
looked devastatingly handsome in his tailor-fitted gray trousers and matching
pullover cashmere sweater. The soft wool added a layer of pillowy bulk to his
already impressive shoulders. She yearned to rest her head there and forget her
troubles. He looked up from the computer and stack of business correspondence
with a glint of joy in his brown eyes. His smile sent quivers down her spine to
hear you come in.” He glanced at his Rolex. “How long have you been home
he asked in a deep, feral voice that unfailingly liquefied her core.
with a strand of long auburn hair. “A couple of hours, I guess.”
didn’t you let me know?”
shrugged. “I knew you were busy.”
too busy for you, Hot Stuff.”
started calling her Hot Stuff in private on their honeymoon. She called him her
Alpha Hero. Although he was no longer affected by the natural rhythm of the
moon, the feral lust he brought to their lovemaking, along with tremendous
tenderness, was an explosive combination. Whether alpha werewolf or alpha man,
Damon was an expert at giving pleasure. Their honeymoon, though short, was all
she’d ever dreamed of. While in the throes of passion, the nickname Alpha Hero
sounded hot. She shivered. Now, the wolf ramification brought her fears to full
met her halfway, put his arms around her, and nuzzled her neck. The shadows in
the room shifted with the movement. “Want to go upstairs, or shall I just shut
the den door?”
backed up a step and looked up at him. She couldn’t stop a small, wistful
we need to talk,” she said, feeling the pressure of emotions rising in her