Sedona Pack Book 1 by Lisa Kessler Genre: Paranormal Romance
2020 Book Buyers Best Winner - Best Paranormal Romance
A new Alpha will rise...
Asher Mateo's future was stolen the night the Sedona Pack Alpha marked him to be bitten. Drafted into the werewolf Pack, Asher was forced to become a man he hardly recognized. After heading up a rebellion to overthrow their Alpha, Asher can't wash the sins from his hands and yearns for a fresh start. But he can't bring himself to leave Naomi and her twin boys. Without a strong Alpha to lead the Pack, all their lives are at risk from a new threat who will stop at nothing to expose shifters to the world as blood thirsty killers.
Naomi Rossi used to be a graphic designer with a black belt in karate and deadly aim with ninja stars, but under a full moon a wolf bite left her changed forever. Now she's a single mom to her twin boys, and doing her best to help her friend Asher see himself the way she does, as a leader. But a passing touch, threatens all of her plans as her wolf recognizes this man is destined to be much more than a friend...
I’d known Asher long enough to know he was usually a man of few words, and he was as far from a player as you could get. If he dated at all, I didn’t know about it. I also never caught him in a lie. So when he told me his attraction to me was about who I was, not because of some primal wolf instinct, I believed him. I wanted to pinch myself.
But then he kissed me. Only this wasn’t a sweet, chaste kiss like the one we’d had in the snow. This was a hungry, possessive kiss. I surrendered to the passion, my desire for him consuming me. My fingers slid back into his long, silky hair, clutching fistfuls and enjoying the growl rumbling his chest. He got up from his stool without breaking the kiss and lifted me into his arms as though I weighed nothing.
My teeth grazed his lower lip as he carried me down the hall toward the master bedroom. Holding me with one arm, he closed the door and then lowered me until my feet touched the ground. I slid my hands under his shirt, lifting it over his head, and he did the same to mine before claiming my lips again. The heat from his body warmed me all over as he held me tight against him, and I suddenly needed to get rid of my bra, my pants— Hell, everything had to go. I didn’t want anything coming between us. Ever.
“Need you naked,” I gasped into the kiss, my voice so breathless I almost didn’t recognize it.
Dear god, I’d never seen such a sexy smile on Asher’s face before. Wolfish. Damn, if he ever discovered the power of that grin, I was in trouble.
“You first.” His voice was deep, raw, and even sexier than his smile, if that was possible. He had my bra unhooked and off in record time. His fingers worked on my jeans as he kissed me again. My hardened nipples brushed his chest and I moaned, heat curling low in my belly. I ran my hands down his chiseled abs and unbuttoned his pants. I slid his boxers and jeans down over his perfect ass. He caught the front before his erection got in the way, and his pants fell to the floor.
I wriggled out of my own, and suddenly, insecurity swamped me. I hadn’t been naked with a man of my own choosing since before I was bitten, and with no one at all since I gave birth to twins in that storage facility. The last time I’d had a boyfriend, I didn’t have stretch marks right below my belly button, my boobs were probably perkier, and although I was still fit, my bikini body was long gone.
Asher’s gaze wandered over me, and I fought the urge to cover myself. His head cocked slightly. “What’s wrong?”
I walked my fingers up his tan, rock-hard abs and finally met his eyes. “Truth?”
“Always.” His large hand slid up my back as he drew me closer to him. His touch was reassuring, and while his erection pulsed between us, his gaze remained patient. The desire was there, but he clearly wasn’t going to rush me.
And I loved him for that. Wait, I what?
He frowned. “We can slow this down. I’m not going anywhere.”
I shook my head, pushing the shock of my revelation away. “No, I want this.” I chuckled, rolling my eyes. “It’s just…I wish I was as hot as you are.”
“You’re shitting me.” His smile made my heart skip. “You are so beautiful, Naomi.” For a moment, he seemed to be searching for words, then finally chuckled. “I have never in my life wanted a woman more than I want you right now. I…” He shook his head. “Sorry, it’s tough to get the blood back up to my brain.” His admission made me laugh, and his brow rose. “I’m not kidding. I wouldn’t change a single thing about you.”
Sedona Pack Book 2
Reviewers Choice for Best Series 2019 - Paranormal Romance Guild
Jaguar shifter, Vance Park used to be one of the Nero Organization's top assassins, but today he calls the Sedona Pack his family, and Sedona, Arizona, his home. He's no longer a hired gun, but a new senate candidate with insider secrets into Nero's shifter experiments, may change all that. Campaign promises could put targets on the backs of all the people Vance cares about, especially Kaya. He may have one last job after all.
Kaya Blackwing has always been a loner, but through a twist of fate, she's finally found her Pack, and a place to belong. When she discovers her one true mate is a man with a deathwish, and more secrets than she can count, she struggles to redirect her wolf's primal instincts, but one kiss from Vance seduces her to dream of a future together, and she won't give it up without a fight.
The Sedona Pack Each novel can be read as a stand alone, but you may enjoy reading the series in order as well.
At the end of the Moon Series, the Sedona Pack is freed from their tyrannical Alpha, but they're left without a leader. With bitten wolves, skin walkers, and former Nero operatives, this Pack will navigate uncharted waters against a government that may no longer hide their secret.
The scent of Vance’s blood hit my nostrils, alerting my wolf that her mate was injured before he entered the house behind Asher.
“Where are Naomi and the boys?” Asher asked.
“Locked in the safe room.” I moved past him, frowning at the dark-red stain on Vance’s shirt. “What happened?”
Vance peered down at his chest and shook his head. “It’s nothing. Are you all right?”
“Yeah.” As he got closer, it was impossible to miss the hole in his shirt. And unlike the scratch he’d gotten in my parking lot the other night, this bullet hit its target. “This isn’t nothing. You got shot again.”
I wrapped my arm around his waist and walked him down the hallway toward the guest bathroom.
“Keep Vance in there,” Asher said. “The police are almost here. I don’t want to have to explain a gunshot wound.”
I would never get used to this part of my life.
“What about the others?” I asked Asher as Vance went into the bathroom.
“We’ll have to wing it.” Red lights flashed on the walls through the large picture window. “We’ve got company.”
I followed Vance inside and closed the door, engaging the lock. He already had his shirt off when I turned around, treating me to the sight of his well-muscled torso, but the blood dripping down from a new hole in his shoulder lowered the sexy factor substantially. Flashbacks of my ex-boyfriend’s mangled body on the floor filled my head. Chet had died because of me. I couldn’t let Vance do the same thing.
My hands trembled as I opened the cabinet under the sink and took out the first aid kit. “Sit on the toilet and I’ll see if I can clean up the wound.”
Anything to stop thinking about what might have been tonight. He could have died more than once. My mate had a death wish. My mate. Focus.
Cole had filled all of the pack first aid kits with enough supplies and equipment to complete minor surgeries if necessary. He hadn’t trained all of us on how to perform them, though. I was a master at treating burns in the kitchen, but gunshot wounds? Not so much.
“What happened?” I kept my voice low as I took out the gauze pads and hydrogen peroxide.
“I found Duane, but he had backup.” Vance caught my hand. “Look at me. Please?”
The second my eyes met his, the reality that I could have lost him forever hit me like a ton of bricks. My vision wavered as I shook my head. “If you had died—”
“But I didn’t.” He cupped my cheek, his thumb stroking my skin, warming my blood. “I’ve always been tough to kill, but I’m bulletproof right now.”
I rolled my eyes. “How do you figure that?”
“Because I never had a reason to live before.” He searched my eyes. “I want to be around long enough to earn your forgiveness. I’ll admit, tonight I almost lost myself in the killing, but you pulled me back from the dark. Don’t give up on me, kitten.”
Sedona Scandal Sedona Pack Book 3
Chandler Williams keeps his personal life very separated from his public life as a news anchor, but the new story he's chasing seems to lead him on a collision course with not only exposing himself as a jaguar shifter, but potentially his entire Pack. He should drop it, but after meeting with the woman with haunting gray eyes he can't turn back.
Wendy Cain still has nightmares of the night she was bitten by a werewolf and changed forever, and she's determined to find a cure even if it means becoming a lab rat for the government. When she brings her story to her favorite investigative news anchor, one touch turns her world upside down. Her wolf recognizes her mate. But loving him could be the end for both of them.
Radio chatter filled the cockpit, and she glanced my way. “Who are you talking to? I don’t see an air traffic control tower down there.”
“All the pilots in the area are on the same frequency. When there’s no tower, we all watch out for each other. There are usually a few people listening on the ground, too.” I pressed the coms button on final approach to let everyone know we were coming in, then I gripped the yolk with both hands. “Here we go…”
Landings offered a delicious spike of adrenaline as I leveled the wings with the ground below and activated the hydraulic power. The landing gear dropped, and the indicator lights came to life. I lowered the flaps by ten degrees as I approached the threshold markings showing the beginning of the runway and then adjusted them again to keep the wings level. Flaring for landing, I kept the nose up slightly and pulled back on the yoke. The landing gear made contact with the pavement, jerking us out of weightless flight. I engaged the brakes until we slowed to a crawl.
Back to Earth, to reality.
She squeezed my thigh. “Nice work.”
I chuckled. “Not my first landing.”
My first with a copilot, though. And I liked it.
We rode in silence as I taxied down to my parking spot and turned off the engine. I leaned over to kiss her cheek, but she turned and pressed her soft lips to mine. I slid my hand back into her hair, tasting her as her lips parted. Damn, I couldn’t get enough of her.
She hummed as she broke the kiss and opened her eyes. “That was amazing. Thank you.”
I rested my forehead against hers. “The kiss or the flight?”
She laughed, a sexy playful spark in her eyes. “Both.”
“Hope you’ll come fly with me again sometime.”
“Deal.” She smiled and looked down at the ground outside. “So how do we get out?”
I unlatched the canopy and slid it open. “Give me a second.” I climbed out of the cockpit and dropped to the ground. If I were still human, I would’ve taken it in steps, climbing out and onto the wing before using the step. But I wasn’t human, and neither was my copilot, even though she was still learning to embrace it.
I walked over to her side and smiled up at her. “Are you coming?”
She grinned. “Did you seriously just jump down?”
“Yeah.” I gestured for her to follow. “Your turn.”
“I’ll break my leg.”
“It’s not that far.” I scanned the empty airstrip before meeting her eyes again. “You’re a badass werewolf, remember. This is nothing. You can make it.”
She didn’t look convinced, but she got out and hung onto the edge, laughing and kicking her feet. “It’s too far.”
“You’re practically on the ground.” I grinned. “You’ve got this.”
She let go and landed on both feet. I didn’t even need to steady her. She turned around with her eyes shining. “Made it.”
God, I loved seeing her smile.
I bottled it up and took out my phone. Asher, Vance, and Kaya wouldn’t be back from Phoenix for almost an hour so I sent a text to Cole to pick us up.
Finishing up at a ranch call. Should be to the airport in about an hour.
I thanked him and stuffed my phone in my pocket. “Want to hike to the vortex?”
Sedona was the mecca for energy vortexes, places where ley lines deep in the Earth crossed. Tourists from around the world came to town searching for spiritual meaning, and the vortices were a big draw. The vortex near the airport was only a short hike along rocky, uneven terrain.
Wendy peered down at her shiny black flats and sighed. “I wish I’d worn hiking shoes.”
“No problem.” I turned around and crouched down. “Hop on.”
“You’re going to carry me?” She laughed. “No. You’ll twist your ankle.”
I looked over my shoulder, trying not to laugh. “I’m a jaguar, remember? Cat’s always land on their feet.”
She rolled her eyes and hopped onto my back. I caught her knees, enjoying the feel of her breasts pressed against my back. Her lips brushed my ear as she wrapped her arms around my neck. “If you think I’m going to make out with you at the vortex…you’re right.”
I started to run, making her squeak in surprise. Her laughter echoed off the rocks, and just as it did when flying in my plane, the rest of the world faded away.
“You’re going to get heat stroke,” she cautioned.
“Nah. I’m just desperate for another kiss.” I slowed my pace to a walk, keeping my eye on the rocky trail ahead. The elevation in Sedona made the temperature more moderate than the unforgiving desert of Phoenix.
She rested her chin on my shoulder, her cheek against mine, and my fucking heart was in her hands. I never wanted to lose this closeness, this fun, this amazing, badass werewolf on my back. A selfish part of me hoped she’d never find her mate.
Sedona Surrender Sedona Pack Book 4
Cole Vega never expected to find his mate. He didn’t figure he deserved one anyway. But during a ranch call to assist a mare with a difficult delivery, he meets the newest employee at the farm. She also happens to be the sister of one of his packmates, and she’s off-limits.
Madison Williams moved to Sedona to be closer to her brother. Taking a marketing position at a large cattle ranch in Sedona, she expects she’ll have plenty of time to spend with her brother and his fiance, but nothing is as it seems, and everyone in town has secrets including her new employer, Deidra Harlow. When she bumps into the sexy veterinarian, sparks fly, but there’s something he’s not telling her.
One touch makes keeping his distance from her impossible, but one mate for life means putting Madison’s needs above his own. He can’t tell her he’s a werewolf, or that her brother was bitten and now shifts into a jaguar, and if she discovers she’s working at a ranch owned by a top secret defense contractor her life will be in danger. Surrendering to his feelings is not an option...
She looked over at the woman singing karaoke in the corner, and my gut clenched. Shit. I had hoped she’d forgotten about the musical part of the night.
Her eager gaze cut back over to me. “Sing a duet with me.”
I grinned and lifted my beer. “You know we’re new friends, right?”
“Friends… I like the sound of that.” She laughed and something twisted inside me, aching for more than friendship.
She had a great laugh. I reminded myself again that she was off-limits.
Her eyes sparkled as she looked up at me. “Come on. It’ll be fun.”
“I don’t know any of the songs.”
“Bullshit.” She grinned and slid off the stool. “I’ll be right back.”
Her hips swayed hypnotically as she walked over to the deejay booth.
Ryker came over and leaned on the bar, keeping his voice low as he said, “She’s hot.”
My gaze cut over to him, my eyes narrowing. “She’s also Chandler’s sister. Hands off.”
He put up his hands with a chuckle. “Easy there. I didn’t know.”
“She doesn’t know about shifters, and Chandler wants to keep it that way.” I glanced over at her across the bar. “We’re just friends.”
Ryker smirked. “I saw the way she was looking at you. She likes you.”
“She’s buzzed.” But I enjoyed the thought that she might be interested in me. I shouldn’t. But I did.
“Maybe, but she’s still into you.” He straightened up and grabbed his towel to wipe down the bar. “Be careful, man.”
I was trying.
Madison came back with the song list and started flipping through the pages. She stood close enough that the scent of her hair teased my senses. She smelled fresh and clean with a hint of a sea breeze even though we were miles from any ocean, like a flower in the desert. I fought the urge to reach out and touch her, reminding myself of Chandler’s warning. The less she knew the safer she would be.
But she was working for Deidra Harlow, and somehow Deidra knew about Chandler. Madison was already in danger and she didn’t even know Chandler shifted into a hulking black jaguar during the new moon.
Her lips vaguely moved as she read the song titles. Her fingernails were manicured but not painted, her fingers were slender but not bony, and her arms were toned without being thin. I forced myself to look someplace else before I started staring at her breasts.
It was like her being forbidden made everything about her even sexier.
I shifted on my stool to relieve some pressure. Obviously, I was way overdue for some female company.
She pointed and tapped her finger on a song title. Grinning, she looked up at me. “Here it is.”
I looked down and frowned. “‘Shallow’? The one from A Star Is Born? Seriously?”
Her eyes shone with mischief. “Oh so you know it…”
Damn, she didn’t miss a thing.
I rolled my eyes. “I’ll sit this one out.”
“Aw come on. Please? I love this song.” Her hand landed on my knee, and the touch sent a jolt of desire through my bloodstream. “The words will be on the screen. It’ll be easy.” The pleading in her gaze tipped the scales against my misgivings about singing in front of people.
“Fine.” I groaned and knocked back the rest of my beer. “But no recording on your phone.”
“Deal.” She hustled back to the deejay, and Ryker caught me studying her ass.
“Dead man walking,” his deep voice rumbled from behind the bar. “You like her, too.”
I shot him a glare. “Fuck you.”
He grinned. “Off-limits.” He tossed the hand towel over his shoulder and walked away, leaving me to sing karaoke in some hellish dimension where gorgeous, intelligent women were untouchable.
Madison smiled, and her eyes locked on mine from across the bar as she made her way back over to me. How was I supposed to deny her anything?
“We’re tenth on the list so we can eat first.” She mounted her barstool, and right on cue, Ryker returned with our food.
“Let me know if you need anything else.” The asshole was looking right at me when he said it. Could he see the daggers in my stare? Probably. Did he give a shit? Probably not.
I took a bite of my burger, and she nudged me. “Did you always want to be vet?”
No. My pack had needed a doctor. From an early age, those of us born with the shifter gene grew up knowing we were part of the pack, and for some of us, the pack’s needs came before our own.
But I couldn’t tell her any of that. I shrugged. “I’m good with animals.”
She raised a brow. “That’s not an answer. What did you really want to be?”
The door opened behind us, and I caught Chandler’s scent instantly. Fuck. Could this night get any more screwed up? He came straight for us. At least he saved me from answering her question.
“Hey, Cole,” he said as he approached. I got up from my stool and clasped his forearm in the traditional pack greeting. I shot him a questioning look while my back was to Madison, and he whispered, “Just checking on my sister.”
I rolled my eyes and stepped back, growling so low only shifters would be able to catch it. “I can fucking control myself.”
He narrowed his eyes at me and then smiled at Madison, pulling her in for a hug. “I was in the neighborhood after I finished the newscast. Thought I’d stop by and say hi.”
She pulled back with a grin. “Oh please. No one here buys that.” She shoved him playfully. “I’m way too old for a chaperone.”
God, it was easy to like her. She didn’t take anyone’s shit and she had no problem speaking her mind. Her no-games approach would’ve been refreshing if I could be honest with her in return. But no, the big blond guy standing beside her was determined to keep her in the dark.
Yes, he had good reasons, but I was betting Chandler had no idea Deidra Harlow owned Serenity Farms, either.
Chandler took the stool beside her and ordered a beer. “Okay, so I wanted to make sure Cole was being good to my sister. Guilty.”
I took a swallow of my beer and leaned forward to make eye contact. “Because I’m some kind of big bad wolf and she’s Little Red Riding Hood?”
A muscle jumped in Chandler’s jaw, but he shook off my jab and focused on Madison. “I sent you a text with the address for the baby shower tomorrow. I can pick you up if you want to ride with us. It’s sort of remote.”
Madison turned my way and hooked her arm with mine before facing her brother. “Actually, Cole offered to take me.”
I did no such thing, but I wasn’t going to pass up a chance to stick it to Chandler for showing up here tonight. I snapped up a fry and nodded. “I’m picking her up at one o’clock.”
She squeezed my bicep, warming my blood through my shirt. “So I think I’m all set for the shower tomorrow. Thanks for the offer, though.”
Chandler opened his mouth to respond when the deejay called out, “Madison and Cole to the on-deck circle.”
Madison grabbed my hand to tug me off my barstool, and from the depths of my soul, my wolf howled, clawing forward in my consciousness like a raving beast before I could tamp it down. My eyes dilated, blinding me for a second as I struggled to keep my balance.
Holy fuck. I blinked, fighting to clear my vision. What the hell?
I didn’t get time to process what was happening as Madison pulled me toward the lighted corner of the bar. My wolf…recognized her. This had to be a mistake. Maybe I wanted it to be true so I’d imagined it.
When she stopped, I almost ran into her. She turned around, so close to me I could smell the Kahlúa on her breath, and I wanted to taste her lips so bad I could barely breathe. The full moon was still a week away, but my wolf was just beneath the surface, the animal instincts pushing me to claim my mate.
Madison was my…
I vaguely noticed the applause in the background, and she tugged me into the bright lights. I winced, shielding my eyes as we stopped in front of a television screen. She handed me a mic, and for the first time, she must’ve looked up at my face. And the shock must have been written all over me.
“Are you okay? You don’t have to sing with me. I didn’t realize you really had stage fright. You can sit this one out.”
I stared into the ocean of her eyes as the guitar strings plucked out the first notes. Without thinking about it, I lifted the mic to my lips and started to sing. The crowd didn’t exist as I asked her if she was happy in this modern world. Was there something she was searching for? I poured myself into the lyrics. I hadn’t realized until this moment that I really was longing for change.
God, her smile. I’d sing all night to see her smile.
She lifted her mic and took the next verse. Her voice was clear and bright, but there was something beneath the surface. Passion. I couldn’t pull my gaze from her face. When she hit the chorus, she broke eye contact, facing the rest of the bar.
I’d forgotten we were even in one.
She was a superstar. I swallowed the lump in my throat before she turned to me again and we sang together. Our voices blended into a melody I never could have imagined—a union I never realized I wanted.
We were miles from the shallow. I was sinking into deep emotions.
And she had no idea.
What the fuck was I going to do?
Sedona Pack Book 5
Two lost souls, lost no more...
Ryker Lawson has had a string of bad luck over the years. After a disaster at work, he mounted his Harley and rode into the sunset, only to be attacked and bitten by a werewolf. Burying the past, he’s focused on the future as a member of the Sedona Pack and working as the bartender of their Wolf Pack Bar.
Serenity Harlow is in the battle for her sanity and her life. After her mother’s torturous attempts to “cure” her powerful psychic abilities, she’s lost in the maze of her own mind. Ryker’s voice calls to her, luring her back to her physical body, but if she can’t control the power growing inside of her, she could lead to his destruction.
One touch and fate sets them on a collision course with tragedy, but Ryker isn’t afraid of a fight. In fact, he’s betting his life that his luck is finally about to change...
“Morning, Serenity. Did you miss me?” The tall, dark-haired man paused like I might actually answer before shaking his head. “I’m going to keep coming here until you open your eyes.”
He was built like a walking, talking brick wall, filling the doorway of the guest room of his Alpha’s house. He came by every day, patiently waiting and watching over the body in the bed.
It was so hard to remember that pale, emaciated woman was ever part of me. Time lost its meaning when I no longer ate or drank or slept. Usually I was miles away from this physical form. Astral projection was a myth in many scientific circles, and although I was living proof it was real, my scientist mother attempted to “cure” me instead, even if that meant keeping me unconscious in a sensory deprivation pod.
But her prison led me to true freedom, my consciousness astral-projecting through time and space, far from that comatose body. Me.
What did that even mean anymore?
He came closer and sat beside the bed. I watched him from the other corner of the room as his gaze wandered over the sleeping face—my face. Whenever the doctor came for a house call, my sentinel allowed himself to blend into the background, but when we were alone, he would talk about the world outside. There was something about his voice that called to me like a siren’s song. It wasn’t rich or smooth, but it was deep, with a timbre of refreshing honesty the rest of my world had always lacked. And no matter how far my consciousness had wandered, the sound of that soulful voice lured me back to the room.
It wasn’t that he had anything important to share, not really. It was the way he included me—as if I mattered. There were times he made me wish I could find a way back into that beaten body. But that body was a prison. Now I was free.
Still, when he spoke, I wished I could open my eyes and see him through that physical lens. Sometimes I caught myself yearning to reach out and touch him. I imagined his hands would be warm, strong, and never soul-crushing like my mother’s had been.
“I’ve got my Harley right out there in the driveway if you’d like to get out of this room and ride sometime.” He sighed, stared up at the ceiling for a moment, and then looked around the room. “Cole told me you moved one of the books when you first got here, but nothing’s been out of place since then. It’s been almost a month.”
He turned to the body again. Was that shrunken form really me?
I focused on the bookshelf for a moment. The night the werewolf pack rescued me from my mother’s lab, I did move the books, using my telekinesis to show them I wasn’t brain dead, and to warn them about my mother’s plot to take me back with her.
I didn’t realize a month had already passed me by.
My spirit floated between us, hovering between worlds. My soul walked free among the living while my body wasted away, edging closer to the land of the dead. What would happen to me when that tether was gone? Would I evaporate into the ether as if I never existed?
His voice lured me closer to him. “Since you moved that book, I was thinking that maybe you like to read, so I brought a few books with me.” He opened a plastic shopping bag and laid three books on the bed beside the body. Me. “I’m not sure what you like so I brought some options. Fahrenheit 451 in case you like futuristic books—plus, you can’t go wrong with Ray Bradbury, right?” He pointed to the one in the center. “And if you’re more into love stories, I’ve got a copy of Dark-Hunter.” He peeked over at the door and back again. “It’s a little steamy in parts so I’ll have to make sure the little ones aren’t around.”
His gaze wandered up to my sleeping face again, and I wondered why he never touched me, not even to hold my hand or brush the hair back from my forehead. “And then I’ve got The Stand.” He lowered his voice as if he was sharing a secret just between us. “I’m hoping you’ll like that one because…well, it’s the longest. So I’d have an excuse to…extend our visits.”
I stared at the three books, studying the covers. He didn’t say it out loud, but everyone who had come in the room recently—from the doctor to my half siblings Madison and Chandler—was worried. I hadn’t given them any signs of life since the first couple of days after they’d freed me from the sensory deprivation pod in my mother’s laboratory.
I didn’t have to tune into their thoughts to know they were beginning to think I’d never wake up. Maybe I wouldn’t…
My younger half sister, Madison, was just starting to unlock her telepathic abilities, but I hadn’t reached out to communicate with her, either. I wasn’t sure if I even cared about living anymore. Since they’d rescued my body from the lab, I’d been content to embrace this new reality. If I returned to the weakened body in the bed, I’d be back in that prison of flesh. And then what if I died?
Maybe I already had. Was this weightless perception any different from a ghost?
He sighed, and the sadness in his eyes tugged at me. If choosing a book might make him smile, it suddenly seemed worth the effort. I focused my energy on the thick volume and flipped open the cover of the The Stand. His eyes widened, and the flash of his white teeth and the sparkle in his eyes sent a jolt of excitement through my ethereal consciousness.
“A Stephen King fan.” He chuckled. “Good choice.”
He turned a few pages to get to the beginning, but this rare connection with another person had triggered something in me. I waited for him to read the first line and then popped open the cover of the Bradbury book.
He raised a brow, glancing over at the sleeping face. At me. “Toying with me?” He leaned a little closer. “So you are still with us.”
And just like that, I wished I could speak. While I couldn’t make that body utter words, I had no trouble speaking telepathically, and unlike Madison, I understood the power at my disposal.
I focused on his soulful dark-brown eyes, envisioned reaching out to his consciousness, then whispered into his mind, Tell me your name.
He shot out of the chair, his gaze locked on the body in the bed as he stumbled backward. “What?”
If I could have laughed, I would have. The spectacle of this strong mountain of a man, this werewolf, bolting away from an unconscious waif as if she could attack him at any second tickled me.
Of course, I could hurt him, but I wouldn’t.
Sedona Sacrifice Sedona Pack Book 6
For Gage Woods, being a single dad means making sacrifices, and being a werewolf on top of it all makes secrets a must. As his pack brothers find their true mates, he yearns for his own, but dating is almost as perilous as fighting the rogue jaguar shifters who attack his pack. The moment he decides to give up and focus on his boys, fate steps in, but what if Becca is actually working with the enemy?
Becca Yates has always been a loner, and never more alone than today. When her uncle calls her with a dire warning about her boss and only real friend, her world is upended. She’s not sure who she can trust anymore, but if she doesn’t figure it out soon, it could cost her life.
With his special forces background Gage is ready to help Becca fight for the truth. The question is, will it set them free, or put them on a collision course with a disaster that even love can’t survive.
He turned to face me. “This is all so fucked up, and those little guys never asked to be a part of any of it.” Pain lined his face. “How can I protect them from all this?”
I wrapped my arms around him, instinctively needing to ease his burden. He held me tight, molding my body to his, and unlike my earlier hug from Asher, this one had my heart racing.
We clung to each other in a stranger’s massive kitchen, and I suddenly felt like we were the only people left in the world. He drew back just enough to see my face. His gaze locked on mine, desperation in his eyes, not to mention unspoken questions. But I didn’t have the answers. All I could offer was myself.
I rose on my toes and kissed him. It was clumsy at first, but his grip on me strengthened as he parted my lips. He explored my mouth as our tongues tangled together with an urgency that made my knees weak. He walked me backward until we hit the cupboards. My fingernails raked down the back of his shirt and a growl rumbled in his chest. Fire burned low in my belly until my thighs pressed together, my body aching for his attention.
His fingers tightened in my ponytail, tugging my head back as he deepened the kiss. This was a hunger I’d never known in my life, and if I could’ve gotten him naked, I would’ve been having sex in some stranger’s kitchen. This need for him consumed me.
Dex called Gage from the other room.
He stumbled away from me, and my legs almost gave out as we stared at each other. With his heated gaze locked on mine, he slowly ran the back of his hand across his wet lips, and I practically had an orgasm right where I stood.
Sedona Suspect Sedona Pack Book 7
Natasha Sokolov is a survivor, but this new cage she finds herself in could be the end of her colorful career as a jaguar shifting assassin. After she starts tailing a state Supreme Court justice, she finds herself locked up on bogus charges, and with the new moon approaching, her choices are grim. End her life now, or expose shifters as a reality to the entire world.
Dex Stewart is a sought after contractor in Sedona with a reputation for his craftsmanship, but it’s his demolitions abilities that his Alpha is depending on now. When the pack gets word that a shifter is being held in the Arizona lock up, Dex discovers the prisoner he’s risking everything to free, is also an enemy of the pack.
Helping her escape is only the beginning of his problems. The moment Dex touches her his loyalties are torn. This suspect is also his mate, but love might come at too high a price for him to bear...
“How much do you know about werewolves?”
I shrugged. “Just the basics, I guess. You shift during the full moon, work and live in packs, and you have a keener sense of smell than I do, but I can find you in the dark. You’re also strong.” I looked over at his chiseled profile. “Am I missing anything?”
He nodded and his gaze locked on mine. “We have one true mate for life, just like wolves. They’re chosen by fate, and the wolf in our soul will recognize them when we touch skin to skin.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Are you trying to tell me you’re…married?”
“No.” He frowned shaking his head. “I’m trying to tell you when I grabbed your wrist in that jail, my wolf went berserk.”
“What?” I fought to focus. I must’ve misunderstood. “How can that be? I’m a jaguar shifter.”
He shrugged. “Vance is Kaya’s mate and he’s a jaguar.” He broke eye contact, his voice distant. “I just turned forty the other day and I lost hope I’d ever find my mate, but Deacon was sure she was out there. He said fate would bring us together once the time was right.” He pinched the bridge of his nose, sucking in a shaky breath as he shook his head. “I fucking hate this. I should be sweeping you off your feet, but I just held my brother’s hand and watched him fade away. My best friend in the whole damned world is gone. Snuffed out. How can fate be this heartless?”
“Oh, fate and I go way back.” I squeezed his hand. “She can be a bitch.”
He chuckled softly. I caught myself wishing I could hear him really laugh. He glanced my way. “Thanks for not sprinting back to the house when I mentioned mates.”
“Just to be clear, I’m not sure where to go from here.” I focused on our joined hands. I didn’t know anything about this man who seemed to think fate had chosen me to be his mate. It wasn’t that I didn’t want a relationship. More that my way of life meant I couldn’t have one. “I don’t have that wolf instinct.”
“I’m well aware.” He met my eyes. “That’s why I should be working my ass off to sweep you off your feet.”
I chuckled with a slow nod. “I get it now. I could walk away but you…”
“Will never love another.”
“That might be romantic if we even knew each other.” I laughed. I couldn’t help it. “You don’t know me other than the fact I fought with Naomi when she was escaping from the Nero satellite facility.”
“True.” He nodded. “And you don’t even know my last name.”
“Stewart.” Before he could ask, I added, “I read it on your truck.”
He almost smiled. “So, now I know you’re beautiful, deadly, and literate.”
I shouldn’t like that he thought I was beautiful. Shouldn’t. But I did. I bumped him with my shoulder. “You’re funny even when your heart is broken.”
“That could be the only time I’m funny.” He shrugged, and behind all the pain in his eyes, I noticed a longing that I recognized. I’d seen it before when I looked in the mirror. That wish that someday I might matter to someone.
He raised a brow. “You don’t know anything about me either.”
“I guess not.” A gust of wind came up from the valley tugging hair free from my messy braid. Before I could comment on how bad I must look, he reached over to tuck my hair behind my ear and my breath caught in throat.
He released my hand and brought the other up to the other side of my face. My pulse raced. I knew he could hear it, because I had no trouble hearing his keeping time with mine. My lips parted as I lost myself in his eyes.
“I’m so broken right now,” he whispered. “I’ve dreamed of finding my mate for most of my life. Never thought when I found her that I’d have no heart left to give.”
I placed my hand on his chest, my voice wobbled. “You must hate me.”
Confusion lined his features. “Why would you think that?”
My mouth went dry. “If I hadn’t gotten arrested, your brother would still be alive.”
Tears shone in his eyes as he shook his head. “If you hadn’t gone to jail, we never would have touched. You’d be out of my life by now. Long gone.”
“You’d be better off if I was.” I choked out the bitter truth I wished I could bury. Lying came so easily to me…but not with him. “You’d have your brother.”
“Don’t,” he whispered, his thumb stroking my cheek. “My brother didn’t blame you. Not even for a second.”
His eyes dipped to my lips and back up. I should pull away and protect myself. I couldn’t stay here. I’d have to say goodbye.
But I didn’t move. He crushed his lips to mine, and I wrapped my arms around him, clinging to him like a lifeline in a storm as our tongues wrestled in an urgent, desperate passion. His hand slid into my hair, his fingers threading through my braid, tightening until I shivered against him. The fever in my veins surprised me. I’d been with many men for a variety of reasons through my life, but the emotion in this kiss was new.
I wanted to put his heart back together. I ached to take away his hurt. And I yearned to know all there was to know about him.
And that could get him killed.
I broke the kiss and stumbled back a couple steps.
There was a new fire in his eyes and his aura throbbed with the red and pink of desire. His nostrils flared as he sucked in a breath. “I’m not sorry.”
“I’d like to keep it that way.” My voice was breathless.
He tipped his head slightly. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
I wet my well-kissed lips. “The police are looking for me. I’m going to have to disappear. I can’t stay here without putting you and your pack in jeopardy.” I gestured to the red rocks. “We can’t hide here forever. I’m going to finish Judge Jones and then I have to start over somewhere else. Being with me will put a target on your back.”
“Being without you isn’t an option,” he growled.
“You’re being blinded by wolf instincts.” I hated saying those words out loud. This was the first person who had ever risked themselves for me. It would’ve been nice to believe it was because he cared about me, but it was instinctual. Nothing more. “You don’t know me, Dex. You’ve already lost too much. I won’t stay and destroy your whole pack. I won’t.”
The intensity in his gaze threatened to break my will. Would it be so bad to rush back into his arms and escape in the warmth of his kiss? Yes. Eventually he’d hate me. He’d lose everything he loved.
I steeled myself, turned around, and walked back to the house.
Lisa Kessler is a Best Selling author of dark paranormal fiction. She's a two-time San Diego Book Award winner for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror and Best Published Romance. Her books have also won the PRISM award, the Award of Excellence, the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award, the Award of Merit from the Holt Medallion, and an International Digital Award for Best Paranormal.
Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award.
When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, and has performed with San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.
Hey there –
If we haven’t met before, I’m author Lisa Kessler, and I write passionate, page-turning, paranormal romances. I’ve written a few series that feature vampires, shifters, Greek gods and muses, demon slayers, and even the magical fae.
But the Sedona Pack came about unexpectedly while I was writing the Moon Series. Wolf Moon featured a hero who left the pack in Reno for a job in Sedona and not only found his one true mate, but also discovered the pack there had a very bad Alpha. Luke helped them kill the Alpha, but then he and his mate moved back to Reno to his pack. This last the Sedona Pack without and Alpha, and I couldn’t stop thinking about Asher.
From the moment he came onto the page in Wolf Moon, I wanted to get his story, and even though he was bitten and not born a werewolf, he seemed like Alpha material.
Once the Moon Series was completed, Asher still haunted me and I decided I couldn’t leave the Sedona Pack without an Alpha, and now I’m so glad I did! I love this new pack so much and it’s allowed me to toy with bitten wolves, born wolves, skin walkers and mutated humans. So fun!
I hope you enjoy the Sedona Pack! Have you read them yet? Who are your favorite pack members?
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