Authors: Madeline Pryce
Samantha has almost everything she
needs to inherit her magic. Everything but Trent, the sexy shapeshifter and
local sheriff she’s lusted after her entire life. She’s known for years Trent
is destined to be her familiar, but the last time she approached him he turned
her down flat.
Trent isn’t about to fork over his
bachelorhood to a witch, especially one he knows is too good for him. Turning
her down once was easy—she’d been too young and innocent—but Trent never
anticipated she’d grow into such an obstinate, sexy, entirely-too-tempting
woman. When she serves herself up, deliciously naked, walking away suddenly
Out of time, Sam focuses on
enticing Trent into her bed and into her life. But Sam’s toying with a
predator, and once Trent decides he wants her, beneath him and beside him,
he’ll pour every ounce of his stubborn pride into protecting what’s his.
paranormal erotic romance
“Time’s a-tickin’, babe. Are you gonna fuck him or not?
Trenton Gregory is one hot piece of man-meat,” Brenda declared.
“What?” Sam jerked her gaze from the stream of pale-amber
liquid swirling into the pitcher and stared at her roommate. She prayed Brenda,
the loud-mouthed, full-figured, gorgeous redhead, hadn’t just said that.
The words—hollered more than conversationally spoken—hit the
Watering Hole during one of those strange, silent lulls. That should have been
impossible considering how many shifters had packed into the bar. Gazes,
several hot, curious pairs of them, settled on Samantha Monroe. Heat rushed to
her face. She wished that the ground would open and swallow her whole. Was this
really happening to her?
Green eyes twinkling with laughter, her friend popped a
bright red maraschino cherry between her teeth and grinned around the fruit.
Nope. The bitch had totally announced that tidbit aloud.
At the bar, Brenda wedged herself between two heavyset men,
their wide shoulders stretching the limits of their red and brown flannel
shirts, and set her empty tray on the scuffed counter. She leaned forward until
her double-Ds all but spilled from the tight, black-and-orange-striped cat
shirt she wore. Her little black skirt and a faux tail completed her costume.
It was an ironic choice for a woman who turned into a werewolf three days a
The collective smoke from the numerous lit cigarettes
created a haze in the air that gave everything a foggy quality and stung her
eyes. The patrons, more rowdy then usual considering Samhain was nearly upon
them, vied for the waitress’s attention. As usual, Brenda ignored them. No, her
friend had other things on her mind.
“If you don’t wanna ride that, I will. I heard he fucks like
a stallion and has a tongue that’ll do wicked, dirty things to your honeypot.
Let’s not forget the man carries handcuffs, a gun and a badge.”
Oh. My. God.
Sam released the tap she’d been pulling and calmly set the
full pitcher of ale on Brenda’s tray. She glanced left, then right. The bar, a
safe haven for shape shifters of all species, seemed to get more crowded by the
minute. The booths lining the rustic wood-paneled walls were full. In the
center of the room, mismatched round and square tables hit capacity. Good for
business. Unfortunate for her pride. Several interested patrons stared back at
her as if waiting for her response. The only people who weren’t focused on her
were a pack of werewolves dressed in studded leather. No, they were more intent
on slamming back shooters and beaning each other in the head with quarters. She
hoped she wouldn’t have a problem with them.
She shook her head, determined not to give anyone the
satisfaction of seeing her blush. Oh she’d heard firsthand how good Trenton
Gregory was in bed. The walls in his family home, a place she’d spent countless
nights at thanks to her friendship with his brother, had been paper-thin.
Sam looked to the ceiling, drew in a breath laden with
sweet, acrid cigarette smoke and willed her racing heart to slow. A fan
swooshed overhead and shook the decorative cotton cobwebs placed in the corners
of the room. The dozen or so tissue-paper ghouls hanging from strings swayed in
tight, rhythmic circles. She shouldn’t have let Brenda decorate.
“Seriously,” Brenda continued. “Fuck him or you’ll be stuck
doing grunt work for the coven for the rest of your life. You don’t want that.
I don’t want that. Let him give your honeypot a lick.”
She glared at her friend and knew, honeypot aside—seriously,
who even used that term anymore?—Brenda was right. Time was a-tickin’. If she
didn’t give up her V-card in two days during Samhain, when the spirits of her
ancestors could pass through the veil between the living and the dead, she’d be
doomed to stay a fledgling witch for the rest of her life.
Barely thinking about, she grabbed a series of shot glasses
and filled them with Jack. “Damn it, Brenda. Will you stop blurting out words
like ‘fuck’ and ‘honeypot’? What’s wrong with you?”
Brenda grabbed the full tray and straightened her spine.
“Unlike you, I’m not a sexually repressed prude who uses her vibrator every
night. Talk to him, lay it out, get your world rocked. I don’t know why you’re
being such a girl about it—so what if he turned you down one time six years
ago? Get over it.”
Turned her down was putting it mildly. Sam narrowed her
“Thanks for bringing it up. And it was five years ago
actually. I hate you, do you know that?”
The sting of his rejection had shredded her pride and
obliterated her confidence. She’d been sixteen, impressionable and convinced
all she had to do was take off her clothes and man-whoring Trent would do the
Brenda threw her head back, sending her tangle of red curls
dancing as she laughed, the sound carrying over the ruckus of clinking glasses
and male conversation. “I love you too, bitch.”
“Hey, wait a sec,” Sam said and used her chin to motion to
the table of bikers who were getting louder by the second. Full moon aside,
Samhain tended to bring out repressed traits—both good and bad. “They cool?”
Her friend eyed the leather-clad wolves before turning and
giving Sam a lustful smile. “Oh they’re cool all right. I’ll keep an eye on
them for ya.” Without another word, she moved through the crowd and set about
delivering drinks and checking on her tables.
“Sam, I’m dry, darlin’,” one of her regulars yelled and drew
her attention away from where Brenda had perched herself on the lap of one of
The front door to the bar creaked open. A wave of fresh air
swept out the lingering smoke and heat, cooling her sweat-slicked skin. It was
unseasonably hot for October. As she’d done a thousand times in the last three
weeks, she glanced at the entrance and held her breath.
She tried not to stare when the stallion in question
strolled through the door and stopped dead in his tracks the second he caught
her gaze. His younger brother Jeremiah, the same age as her, ran directly into
Trent’s broad, muscular back.
“Shit,” Sam groaned.
If she’d known Trent, the object of her lifelong fantasy,
the source of her ultimate humiliation and the answer to her problems, had been
planning to crawl out from beneath the rock he’d died under, she would’ve done
her hair or dressed up a little. Makeup would have also been nice.
A knot of anxiety and lust tightened the muscles in her
stomach. Butterflies swarmed inside, tickling her throat and making her feel as
if she was going to throw up at any second. Her heart sped until the only thing
she could hear was its erratic pounding.
Thrown off her game, she knocked over the bottle of Jack
she’d been about to snatch off the counter. The bottle clanked, liquor gurgled
as it spilled out. The dark liquid dripped over the edge of the bar, directly
onto her pants. Could her night get any worse?
A chorus of boos rang out at her sacrilege of spilling good
“Leave the lass alone. She’s honoring the faeries!” someone
“Shut up, Dev, it ain’t for those pansy-ass faeries,” another
patron argued. “It’s for the ghosts.”
A hot flush crawled up her neck and she quickly turned to
dodge Trent’s gaze, hoping he’d magically blinked or something while she’d made
an ass out of herself. The last thing she wanted to see was his smug-as-hell
grin. The ass always had gotten off on making her blush and fumble like an
idiot, something she’d been doing around him her entire life.
“You know…” She glanced up at the sound of Jeremiah’s deep,
rumbling voice, and found herself subject to one of his intense stares. It made
her wonder how he’d crossed the room so quickly. “You never spill a drop unless
my brother’s in the room.”
He grinned while she sopped up the alcohol with extra vigor.
The glare she gave him wiped the smile from his face, but it didn’t hide the
amusement in his big brown eyes.
“Brenda called you, didn’t she?”
Anger simmered. She threw the rag at him. The effortless way
he lifted his hand and caught the towel ramped up her irritation. “You told him
I wasn’t working tonight, didn’t you? He’s been avoiding me since, ya know…”
She grabbed the silver pentagram hanging between her breasts
and closed her hand around its round, familiar shape. Back and forth, she drew
the medallion her mother had given her across its chain, a nervous habit she’d
acquired since being abandoned a few years ago. If only her mother were still
around to help her through the transition—if there was going to be one.
Jeremiah’s gaze darted to the side and he set the towel down
on the bar a little too softly. His actions said it all. So Trent had been
avoiding her. She should have been pissed—after all, he’d been the one who’d
punched her sorta-kinda boyfriend in the face. Talk about mixed signals. So
what if the guy was a jerk, she’d been more than ready to defend herself. She
was mad at Trent, right up until she gave in to instinct and glanced in his
A shiver of pure, undiluted lust raced through her and
heated her blood from the inside out. Her nipples tightened. Shivers of
anticipation danced through her belly. She absently lifted a hand to fan her
face to help soothe the hot flash.
Tonight, the blue shade of Trent’s shirt matched his eyes.
When he moved, the cotton stretched tight over his chest and hinted at the
muscles beneath. He strode straight to the table that he’d deemed his and the
bar quieted as all eyes fell on the group who’d chosen to sit there.
Trent narrowed his baby blues and placed his strong, large
hands on his hips. His stance drew attention to the shiny police badge affixed
to the waistband. Or maybe it was the black and brown gun in its holster that
caught the men’s attention. One at a time, the men shuffled from their chairs
and moved over to another table without question.
She’d never understood how he commanded that kind of
reaction with a look. So what if he was Area Enforcer, the police liaison who
dealt with the shifters in the area. If she’d been those guys Trent had made
switch tables, she’d have told him to fuck off and sit somewhere else.
In the three weeks since she’d seen him last, the normally
smooth curve of his jaw was now dusted with hair. The unruly mop of curls that
touched the top of his ears made him look as if he’d recently rolled out of
bed. His wrinkled Levi’s said the same thing.
God, she really wanted to rip those jeans off him and see
what was underneath. All the pent-up sexual frustration inside her was going to
explode if she didn’t do something drastic. She imagined his finger, rough and
slightly calloused, trailing along her neck. The back-and-forth rhythm of her
necklace slowed to match her fantasy. A bolt of desire raced straight between
her legs and made her wet. Aside from the whole “if she didn’t give up her
virginity to her chosen familiar by her twenty-first birthday” thing—the day
after Samhain—she really needed to get laid.
“I might have told him you had the night off.”
The sound of Jeremiah’s voice jarred her back to reality.
That was a good thing. Maybe Brenda was right. She should go for it. If he shot
her down—again—she’d find someone else to tie herself to for the rest of her
life. Ugh. She didn’t really want to be a full-fledged witch anyway. Fetching
ingredients and mixing potions was fun. Who needed the elements to answer them?
Spells and hexes were stupid.
She reached below the bar and grabbed a longneck, popping
the top on the edge of the counter. She tossed a round orange paper coaster on
the bar before she set the beer on it. The chilled bottle that left her palm
wet did nothing to cool off her libido.
As she always did, she pushed her lustful feelings aside and
gave Jeremiah a full smile. She glanced from Trent to his brother, and her
smile widened a bit. “You know he’s going to kick your ass, right?”
Jeremiah shrugged, picked up his beer and took a long swig.
“You’ll take care of me when I’m bloody and beaten, won’t you?” He fingered the
two black triangles on the coaster and looked up at her. “Since when do you
celebrate Halloween? You went a bit overboard with the decorating.”
She hadn’t done anything. Pumpkin coasters? Please. The Watering
Hole was a bar, not a funhouse. It was Brenda’s fault.
“Brenda. You think it’s bad in here?” She groaned. “You
should see our house! In the hall, Brenda put this green, half-decomposed hand
that pops up from a bowl every time you walk by. I swear I almost peed my pants
on the way to the bathroom last night.”
Choking on his beer, Jeremiah slapped his hand on the bar to
rein in his laughter. It wasn’t working. His uncontained amusement gave her a
warm, all-over comforting feeling. It helped ease her apprehension. While she
was doing all she could to keep her eyes off Trent, he sure the hell wasn’t
being as considerate. He tracked her every move.
She’d been sixteen, Trent twenty-four, when the double doors
of her family bar had slammed open and in staggered Trent with a shiner and a
bloody lip, and she’d known for sure he was her familiar—the shifter who’d help
her tap into the innate magic running through her veins. It wasn’t because of
the presence he demanded or the way he looked at her with a mixture of
dominance and hunger. It was because, for the first time in her life, her skin
tingled with magic the way her mother said it would when the time was right.
A smear of blood had framed his narrow jaw and drawn her
attention to the slit at the side of his swollen lower lip. A thin rivulet of
crimson rolled over his chin before it dripped onto his dirt-smudged shirt.
There were five diagonal slashes across the tee from the neck to the hem. When
he limped forward and grasped a chair for balance, his shirt gaped to expose
the hard, tanned lines of his torso. It was smooth and flawless. Whomever he’d
tussled with had gotten only cotton.