Flash Fic Friday, Serial

Flash Fic Friday

**Episode 17! Did I expect this one to go on for so long? No, I did not. But it’s nearing the end, though I hesitate to say how many episodes are left. Because I’m not so sure. This is what pantsing will get you. This post is ever so slightly NSFW so be aware. Enjoy!**

Walker shifted the moment we were inside and the door was firmly shut. I kept my gaze fixed on Archer, not because I didn’t want to watch my mate shift—though it sounded painful even though every shifter I’d ever known said it wasn’t—but because he seemed to need the reassurance. He was staring at me with an intensity I wasn’t accustomed to. But it was he look in his eye that had me smiling reassuringly. He’d been scared.

“Thanks again for looking out for me, Archer. I really appreciate it.”

He nodded slowly and snuggled Oscar in a little closer to his neck. “She didn’t seem like she was going to…” He shook his head. “It just seemed better if Dad was here.”

“I know. It’s okay. Of course you called him when you were unsure. And like I said, I appreciate the care you showed me.” I walked across the room and clasped his shoulder. When Archer leaned into me, just a bit, I couldn’t help the pride that surged through me. Despite everything, was coming to terms with me being a permanent fixture in his life and I liked that more than I expected to.

“Okay.” He blew out a breath and stepped back, out of my reach. “I’m taking Oscar for snuggles.”

Without waiting for my approval, Archer turned on his heel and headed down the hall. I watched him go with a chuckle before turning my attention to Walker.

A very naked Walker.

“Well, hello there,” I said, trying for salacious and almost succeeding. I waggled my eyebrows as I walked closer.

“You’re cute,” Walker said in a tone that implied I was anything but. “Don’t try to distract me.”

“Oh, but you’re very distracting.” My voice went low, husky, without my permission. “All that lovely skin on display. Come here so I can touch you.”

Walker’s pupils dilated, and he sucked in a breath. He even swayed toward me. Before he caught himself and gave me a veery stern look. “I want to know what’s going on.”

“But—”

“I will put on clothes,” he threatened.

“Noooo.” I whined, and Walker finally broke with a laugh. When I opened my arms, he surged into them, and we held each other tightly. For a long moment, we stood there just like that. Holding each other and breathing each other in. Walker was all but vibrating with tension, but eventually relaxed enough that I thought we were both settled.

“How much do you know?” I took his hand and led him to the couch. Part of me wanted to get naked too, so we could have this conversation skin to skin. But that wasn’t fair to the gravity of the situation, nor was it fair to Archer. Firstly because he didn’t need to see me without clothes—though as a shifter he didn’t see nudity as a bad thing. But more than that, naked time with Walker always led to other things and no one at all needed to see that, let alone his fifteen year old son.

“Not much,” he admitted as he cuddled in against me. He shivered at the friction of my sweater on his bare skin, but otherwise didn’t react. He pushed his face against my neck for a deep inhale that settled him further. When he continued, he spoke against my skin. “Arch called. Said your old partner was here, and that it was intense and he thought I should come. It was the tension in his voice, that little wobble, that let me know he was worried at best. Scared at worst. I know you can handle yourself, but I shifted and came anyway.”

“I always want you here.” The words were out of my mouth before my brain really processed them. But as I heard myself say them, something settled deep in my soul. Things with Walker had been a whirlwind from the start, but from the moment I’d laid eyes on him, I wanted nothing more than to hold him close and take care of him. I never expected any of this, but it seemed the old adage was right; everything happened for a reason.

The contented sigh Walker let out filled my soul. His voice was low when he murmured, “Good. And we’ll talk about that later. After this.”

Sounded good to me. “You heard what Fiona said?”

“Only about some missing body. Which, man, your job…” He shook his head. “And I inferred they want your help?”

“Yeah.” I debated what to say for a few seconds, because as much as I didn’t want to keep anything from him, I also couldn’t share too many details. “One of our old cases, that Fiona and I worked, has resurfaced. Or parts of it. You heard about the missing body and that they don’t have leads. They want me to take a look with fresh eyes.”

Walker nodded, and I could practically hear his mind work as he digested that. “And you want to?”

“Part of me does, yes. Part of me wants to jump in and work this. Find a lead they haven’t chased yet.”

“Prove to them they made a mistake in reassigning you?” Walker’s voice was soft and kind.

“Not going to lie, yeah, that’s part of it.” I blew out a breath. “But that’s also the same part that doesn’t want to help, because they did this to themselves, kicking me down. They made their bed. They can lie in it.”

“You won’t do that.” Walker kept his voice quiet, but I heard the conviction. He kissed my neck and pressed his forehead against my jaw. “You might think that, because you’re hurt. And that’s understandable. But you wouldn’t do that because you always do the right thing.”

I sat with that for a second. “You think I should do it.”

Walker hummed. “Yes, I do. You’ll regret it if you don’t. One of the things I adore about you is that you have such a strong moral compass. You have a strong ethic code, and maybe it doesn’t match up with the MBI all the time, but you never have to worry that you’re compromising yourself, your morals, or your innate goodness.”

I couldn’t help it. I had to squeeze him tightly to me and just hold him. I loved the way he snuggled in. I kissed his hair, and when he lifted his face to mine, I kissed his mouth. Long and hard and with all the feeling I had. We were both panting when we broke apart.

“I am amazed at how well you get me, even after such a short time. Thank you.”

Walker blushed slightly, but his gaze heated at the same time. “You’re mine, Delaney Willis. I will always understand you and support you. You hear me?”

“I do. And I feel the same. Walker, I wasn’t expecting any of this, but I can’t help but be grateful Fate put us on the same path.”

“Good.” Walker’s gaze glinted with fierceness before it softened. “So hold me a little longer, and tell me what you can about working a case, and then call your ex-partner and go save the day.”

Uncategorized

The New Car Saga

Things tend to go badly for me. Not always, of course, but usually my luck doesn’t run so good. When I got into a car accident that ultimately totaled my car–a car that I loved–two weeks after replacing the water pump and 4 months after putting on new breaks, I thought it was more of that bad luck.

A little background for those who don’t know: I don’t actually like driving that much. I do it because I must, and I do it well. It’s everyone else on the road that’s terrifying. I am one of those cautious drivers who follows all the rules and doesn’t speed. Okay, sometimes I speed but never by much. And if I’m going somewhere with other people, I always get them to drive. But even though I don’t like driving so much, I love cars. Classics especially, but just cars in general. (And Chevys in particular. Pretty sure Chevy love is in my DNA. Or perhaps generational conditioning.)

Anyway, after my little Lola was deemed a total loss, and after we sorted out all that paperwork and I got the check and it cleared the bank…it was time to get a new car. So Saturday I took my sister and we went to look at cars. I knew what I wanted and how much I wanted to finance and for how long. And I was fairly certain we weren’t going to find that or it wasn’t going to work out (because my luck isn’t that good. And also I have generalized anxiety disorder so that makes me worry extra hard).

But the stars aligned. In a way they hardly ever do for me. The right car for the right price and low mileage. All the fancy amenities and perks she had were just a bonus. The right sales person who was full of stories and tattoos and LGTBQIA friendly. And the right time because they were able to give me same day delivery.

I went in at noon expecting to test drive a few cars and walk away with a better idea of what I wanted. I drove off the lot five and a half hours later in a 2020 Chevy Equinox that’s so fancy it makes my techy heart sing.

It wasn’t completely smooth sailing, as it took two trips home and back to the dealer for various things. But it wasn’t very far. And I had signed half the paperwork before I realized they had my middle initial wrong and they had to reprint all the paperwork.

She’s certainly not as gas efficient as my Sonic was. But she’ll be a heck of a lot better in Central New York winters, which was my big need when looking. The all wheel drive is a big plus. Plus there’s a lot of convenience features that just make driving nicer.
The automatic lift gate might be my favorite bonus, but there are a lot to choose from.

But when I say the stars aligned, I’m not kidding. It was a perfect storm of everything falling into place. I’ve probably used up all my good luck, but I’ll take it. Because now this chapter is done and I can put it behind me. And it’s a stressor gone from my life.

Uncategorized

Mages and Mates

Do I need to tell you how much I enjoy reading and writing series again? No, I didn’t think so.

I think it’s pretty obvious by now that this is going to be a whole thing. When I wrote the first episode of Gareth and Owen, I had intended, whole-heartedly, for it to be a one shot. Literally just Gareth summoning his familiar and surprise, it’s a shifter instead! That was it. But it ended up being a whole-ass thing. A 13 part serial story. And in the process, of course, Aeron was there and obviously Lane.

So it’s not only a serial, but a series. I’m enjoying it so much I intend to continue. Because Aeron obviously needs his story. And then….well, maybe other people too. I like this world I created, and I love that I can just throw out episodes when the muse strikes (though I do try to be fairly consistent, barring life.)

So it’s a thing now. And it will continue to be a thing. We’re calling it the Mages and Mates series.

In that vein, I’ve done a few things to make navigation here easier. Somehow, in all the time I’ve spent here, updating and reorganizing and changing colors and themes and pictures et al…I’ve never noticed that the tags aren’t in the sidebar. So I fixed that. Now you can click on any one of those and it’ll take you to the fic or just the serials or any other tag. So that should make things a bit easier, even if they are in reverse order, so you’d have to scroll to bottom to start at the beginning.

I’ve also gone through and made sure both serials are ALSO tagged with the Mages and Mates tag. And that all the other tags are correct as well. While I know the categories are helpful when searching, the tags are even more specific, so hopefully that helps as well.

So continue to enjoy the stories and the series and I’ll keep writing!

Flash Fic Friday, Serial

Flash Fic Friday

**Episode 16! Lane finds himself in a predicament for sure. And Archer is on edge. Enjoy!**

It took a lot of convincing, but I finally managed to get Archer to go inside. He didn’t need to be part of the conversation, and just the fact that Fiona was in his territory made him uneasy. I wanted him safe and in the house. Not that I thought Fiona would do anything to him. But it was just safer all around for all of us if I kept them separated.

Archer staunchly refused to leave me alone with my former partner until I promised to put up a personal shield. Fiona snorted and rolled her eyes at the suggestion, which made Archer growl. I agreed and performed the spell the moment the teen crossed the threshold. He wanted me safe just as much as I wanted him safe, and it was an easy enough compromise. I left it in place even after he shut the door, knowing full well he’d be watching out the window.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Fiona said, sounding annoyed.

“Didn’t think you were.” Though my voice was easy, conversational even, I didn’t drop the shield. I wouldn’t break my promise to him.  “Tell me what you can.”

She stared me down for a long second. I let her, not sure what she was looking for. It didn’t matter. She’d come to me for help, which meant the order had come from higher up. Agent Mathers would never have shown up if it hadn’t been approved. That wasn’t her way. The questions was had it been her idea? Had she offered to come speak with me? Or had she been ordered to?

In the end, the answer to those questions didn’t matter. She was here and the leadership approved it. That much I knew for certain. This was the situation at hand and what I needed to deal with.

“Do you remember the Leighton case?”

Fiona’s voice startled me out of my thoughts, though I didn’t physically react. Did I remember? Of course I did. It had taken us six months to track down the man responsible for draining supernatural beings of their magic and life force. He’d been crafty, sneaky, and one step ahead of us the entire time. And that was after eighteen months of us finding evidence of the heinous crimes without a single lead. It had been one of the biggest cases the MBI handled in the past three decades. And Fiona and I had been at the forefront, and though we weren’t alone, we’d made the collar.

“Of course.”

Fiona nodded. “The fifth victim we linked to the case, Anita Anderson. She was different than the others.”

That was putting it mildly. She’d been a dark mage to begin with, and the reason we hadn’t immediately linked it to the first four was because the location and MO didn’t match. Her death had actually come earlier than the two most recent victims, but we hadn’t known that until we’d pieced together all the evidence.

She’d also, by all accounts, deserved her fate for the type of magic she’d been working. Unlike the reset of the victims, who’d been innocent.

“Are you saying her death wasn’t related?”

“No.” Fiona drew the word out, as though she wasn’t sure. “She was definitely killed by Leighton.”

“Okay, then.” I squinted at her. “What does that have to do with—”

A blur of fur distracted me and it only took me a moment to realize that Walker was barreling into the yard, full tilt and panting. He skidded to a stop in front of me, pushing me back several steps. His hackles were up, making him look even larger than he was. And though he wasn’t growling, his fangs were bared and he was radiating tension.

I enclosed him in my protection shield, not because I was worried Fiona would hurt him, but because I needed to touch, and I couldn’t do that through the magic without disrupting it. I sank my fingers into his ruff, trying to soothe.

“Hey, babe.” I couldn’t keep the affection out of my voice and I didn’t care if Fiona heard it. “What’re you doing here?”

“I called him!” Archer had cracked the front door open so that I could see an eye and half his face. He left the screen door closed. I didn’t miss the glare he shot Fiona’s way.

“Thank you for looking out for me, Archer.” I was touched down to my soul. This kid had been through so much, and he was still getting used to the fact that his dad and I were mates. But he still had my best interest at heart. He was worried about the situation, and he knew he couldn’t do much to protect me. Archer had done the only logical thing in his mind.

He’d called his dad.

I threw Archer a smile, then crouched next to my mate. With an arm around his neck, Walker calmed somewhat. But his attention never left Fiona.

“Tell me what Anderson has to do with your current case,” I directed.

For a few seconds, I thought Fiona would refuse to answer. Walker wasn’t an agent, and therefor technically not privy to the information she was about to impart. As a shifter herself, she knew full well Walker could understand everything she said. As could Archer who was blatantly eavesdropping at the door. She’d been careful about her words before now and I could practically see the gears working as she figured out how to keep talking, give me what I needed, without saying too much in front of civilians.

She let out a huff of breath. “The body is gone. The circumstances are…suspect. We’re running out of time and have no leads.”

My interest was immediately piqued. A thousand questions raced through my brain, and it was on the tip of my tongue to agree to jump on this. To follow her back to HQ and find out exactly what was going on and how I could help crack the case.

Walker leaned more heavily against me and Archer pulled the door a little wider, and the words died in my throat. It wasn’t just me and Oscar anymore. I had other people to take into consideration. And I had to think about how this would effect them. About what this would do to me and my mental state, and therefore my ability to be there for Walker and Archer.

I stood and kept my fingers clenched in Walker’s fur. “Send me as much of the brief as you can. I have to talk to Walker about this, and then I’ll let you know.”

Fiona’s frown was intense and immediate. “Delaney—”

I shook my head, a quick, sharp motion. “You came to me. You need my help. This is on my terms.”

She wanted to argue. I saw it all over her face. But after a few seconds, she gave a single nod and left. I watched until she was gone. Once she was clear of the property, Archer opened the door all the way, his dark eyes staring at me.

I rubbed Walker’s ears. “Come on, honey. Let’s go inside and talk about this.”

Oscar led the way, his tail high, and jumped right into Archer’s arms. I had to smile as we followed him in.

Flash Fic Friday, Serial

Flash Fic Friday

**Saturday Edition! I had an all day thing yesterday and it was boring and I would have rather spent some time on this, but alas, that was not to be. Instead, you get a Saturday version. We’re closing in on the end. I think there’s only 3 or 4 episodes left. (But don’t hold me to it). Also, be sure to check out the poll at the end of the post! In the mean time, here’s episode 15. Enjoy!!**

Walker was caught up at work, and since my schedule was a lot more flexible these days, he’d asked if I’d be willing to take Archer to his therapy appointment. I didn’t have a problem with it, so we ran it by Archer. For a long moment, the kid didn’t say anything, then he just turned and walked away. I was still shellshocked and feeling bad when Archer stuck his head back in the room.

“I gotta think about it.” Then he was gone again.

I appreciated the open communication, and also the fact that he was giving it serious thought instead of dismissing it immediately, or saying yes when he was actually uncomfortable with it. I was also glad he didn’t try to skip the appointment or insist on going by himself. He knew he needed to go if he was going to work through his trauma. And no one was comfortable with Archer venturing out on his own right now, even though it had been a couple of weeks since the abduction. Not even Archer.

We were all working on it.

Eventually, Archer came back and said he was okay with me taking him. He still wasn’t completely onboard with me dating his father, but he was getting better about that. Logically, he knew Walker and I were mates, and that was a good thing. But he’d had his father to himself for a long time, and it was understandable that it would take time for Archer to be okay with the change.

So I dropped Archer off with Anna, and then sat in the car waiting for him to be done. When he emerged a little over an hour later, his eyes were red-rimmed, but his shoulders weren’t as hunched. I didn’t push or pry. If and when Archer wanted to share or talk, I would absolutely listen. I’d made that clear. But just because Archer was a teenager didn’t give me the right to insist he share with me. He was his own person and entitled to work through things in his own way.

Oscar didn’t have any such boundaries, and he curled up in Archer’s lap immediately, purring loudly. It got a half-smile out of Archer.

“I think Oscar likes you more than he likes me,” I said, feigning the grumpiness. Oscar and I were bonded heart and soul, and nothing could replace that. I was glad he’d taken such a liking to Archer and Walker.

“Can we get ice cream before we go home?”

For all that Archer was fifteen, he was still a kid. And sometimes kids needed comfort foods to feel better. Hell, sometimes adults did too. I smiled, though I kept my eyes on the road. “Sure.”

After ice cream—where I had to admonish Archer to not share his cone with Oscar, unless the kid wanted to be the one to clean the litter box—we headed back home. Even thinking the word brought me up short. When had I started thinking of Walker’s little house as home? We’d only been together few a few weeks, and I definitely spent more time there than at my condo. Some of my things, and a whole bunch of Oscar’s, had migrated over there. Walker had even built Oscar a window shelf in the living room, where the sun came through the big picture window for a good portion of the day. It was cozy and comfortable. More than that, it was where Walker was, and that was where I wanted to be.

I filed that thought away, but not too far. I’d bring it up with Walker later, when the timing felt right. I didn’t just want to invite myself to move in, but I hated being away from him. And Archer too, for that matter. I was pretty sure Walker wouldn’t have a problem with it. He’d crawl inside me if he could. Simply because of his nature, the bond was stronger on his side. I still had human hang-ups I was trying to reconcile.

It certainly seemed as though I was making progress in that area if I was ready to uproot my life for him. For them.

“You’re being weird,” Archer said as I shut off the engine. He gathered up Oscar, clearly not ready to let the cat go, and pushed open his door.

“What?”

“You got all quiet and, um, what’s the word. Introspective? Am I using that right?” Archer cocked his head, reminding me much more of his wolf side than his human one.

I cleared my throat. “Yeah. Uh, yeah, you’re using it right. But how is that weird? And how did you know?”

He tapped his nose, giving me a smirk. But then it fell away and he shrugged. “I dunno. You’re just—” He snapped his head up, going on instant alert. With speed I didn’t know he possessed, he was around the car and pushing me up against it, keeping his body between me and the world. If he’d been in wolf shape, I was sure his hackles would have been up. He hissed, “Someone’s here. Shifter.”

I lightly touched his back, letting him know I was right there. Oscar scrambled over Archer’s shoulder and leapt onto mine. I called magic to my fingertips, an undefined spell just keep it at the ready. I was prepared to surround us in a shield charm at the very least and use deadly force if I must.

Nothing was getting through me to Archer again.

Then a tall figure ambled around the side of the house, and though I didn’t release my magic, I did breathe more easily. Not that I was glad to see Fiona, but at least I knew my former partner was trustworthy. Why she was here, though, was another matter entirely. She appeared to be by herself, and a quick seeking spell didn’t turn up anyone else in the vicinity. But I couldn’t fathom why she was here.

But I had a scared and traumatized teenager to look out for, so I made my voice easy and light, even as my body thrummed with tension. “Archer, meet Agent Fiona Mathers. Fiona, this is Arch.” I purposefully used the nickname Walker sometimes used, wanting to convey more familiarity. I wanted her to know he was important to me.

Archer, though he tensed a little, leaned back into me. He was practically crushing me against the car—for all that he was a lot smaller, he was a shifter and had more strength then his frame belied—but I didn’t protest. He needed me, I was there.

“Nice to meet you,” Fiona said, not sounding like she meant it. Her gaze was fixed on me. “Stand down, Delaney.”

On the rare occasions Fiona used my first name, it was always the full version and never the shortened on my friends used. It spoke volumes about our relationship.

I let the magic go, but not far. It was no longer actively sparking at my fingertips, but it was just under the surface. Oscar didn’t relax either. He’d never liked Fiona all that much. Come to that, neither had I. She was an outstanding agent and we’d always worked well together, but personality-wise, we’d never meshed.

“Why don’t you tell me why you’re here,” I said, working to keep my tone conversational.

Fiona squinted. “Can we go inside instead of having the conversation out in the open?”

Archer went rigid, pushing against me even more. I suddenly found it hard to breathe, so I put my hand on his shoulder. But that made it very clear he did not want Fiona in the house, and of course I would abide that.

“No. Tell me what’s going on.”

She sighed like I was the most exasperating thing she’d ever dealt with. Maybe I was. I found I didn’t care. She could deal with this right here or another time and place. Or not at all. It didn’t matter that much to me. Archer was my top priority right now.

“Willis, I really think…” Another sigh and then she shook her head. “Fine. Whatever. I need your help.”

I blinked. Then blinked again. That was surprising. I took a breath, and then another, before I finally spoke. “With?”

Her scowl was epic. “A case. It’s stumped us all, we’re out of leads, and you’re the only one I can think of who can tackle this from another angle.”

For just a second, I was ready to leap in. If I was needed, then of course I’d help. But before the words made it out of my mouth, I paused.

“I’m not an investigative agent anymore.” If there was bitterness in my tone, it couldn’t be helped. “I work in archives now, remember?”

The snort Fiona let out was inelegant at best. “Bullshit. You’re one of the best we’ve got, and that doesn’t change just because you were shuffled down.” She took a few steps closer, and Archer gripped my pants leg. I moved my hand from his shoulder to his neck in an effort to soothe him.

“While I appreciate the compliment, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not longer an investigator.”

Fiona’s voice was low when she responded. “But that can change if you help on this case. Do you want your old job back?”

Uncategorized

New Release!

Crystal Clear is out in the world!

With everything going on, I missed actual release day. *hangs head in shame* But the sequel to The 12th Witch is out now. You can get it here from the publisher (with a discount!) or click here if another platform is your preferred method.

You definitely need to read The 12th Witch first, so if you haven’t gotten it yet, then I suggest you start there. But if you’re looking for continuing love, Samhain, and just a bit of drama, make sure you check this out!

Sequel to The 12th Witch

Justin Trews lucked out when he found Cole Demauro and the coven he’s joined. He’s still working through his trauma, but he now knows what it’s like to be supported and cared for. His magic is thriving, and so is he. And of course, dating Cole has proven to be the best part. The past three months have been the happiest of his life.

When the veil is the thinnest, Justin experiences Samhain as it is meant to be. It’s a far cry from how he celebrated in the past. With the coven gathered, he participates in the ritual to honor the dead and the end of the harvest season. His magic is full and so is his heart.

But when Justin’s past rears it’s ugly head, he’s faced with dealing with his family. Old hurts run deep and insecurities resurface. Its hard not to feel like a burden and an imposition. With his coven behind him, and Cole’s love buoying him up, Justin finds the strength not only to confront his family but to rely on his coven for help. And when the dust settles, Justin has taken great strides toward healing. Now Justin needs to show Cole just how much he loves him.

Flash Fic Friday, Serial

Flash Fic Friday

**Tomorrow, Crystal Clear releases. And if you read the post earlier in the week, you know there’s an Easter egg for serial readers. I thought I would do the reverse here. So catch up with Lane and Walker today, and Justin and Cole tomorrow. But for now, episode 14! Enjoy!**

I stared at my phone until the screen went dark, then woke it up again. The message hadn’t changed. And really, my coworker was taking a chance on sending it to me in the first place. Technically, the case wasn’t mine anymore and technically, I wasn’t privy to information in regards to it. She’d used code words to keep it sounding innocent, but it was clear what she meant. And though I kept my face neutral from long practice, I couldn’t help the emotions that roiled through me.

“What’s wrong?” Walker sat up. He’d been leaning against me, snuggled into my side, which had become his preferred position over the past week. I didn’t mind. At all. I loved having him there, warm and pliant against me.

“What?” I offered him a smile. “Nothing. Why?”

The face he made coaxed a chuckle out of me and went I reached for him, he came willingly. But he didn’t resume his previous snuggle position, though he did push in close.

“I smelled it. The…upset? Yeah, you smell upset. And your leg went tense. What’s wrong?” Walker’s eyes went wide. “I mean, if you want to tell me. I’m being nosy.”

This time, my smile was a lot more genuine. I cupped his cheek. “You aren’t being nosy. And I love that you care enough to ask, and that you can tell. I’m far too used to keeping emotions under wraps and keeping a professional demeanor at all times.”

Walker took that all in, his mind working. I could practically see the gears turning. After a long moment, he nodded. “So will you tell me?”

I let out a sigh. “I can’t give you all the details. But…” I took a moment to get my thoughts in order, figuring out exactly what I could say. “Part of my job is investigating complaints of misconduct. Was, I mean. It was my job. Before I was moved.”

Walker pushed into my arms, holding me tightly. For a split second, I thought about pulling away and insisting I was fine and that it was no big deal. But that was a lie. I wasn’t okay. I was still pissed about the way things had been handled. Angry that I’d been demoted. Sad that I couldn’t do the work I loved. So I just let Walker hold me and took comfort in the touch, the physical support he was giving me.

After a few minutes, I took a breath and pulled away. Not far, but just enough so that I could see his face. It was such a good face. Strong and angular, with the softest, most beautiful dark eyes I’d ever seen. It took me another minute to get my brain back on track. I could seriously get lost just staring at him.

“Anyway, one of the cases I was involved in that got reassigned…” I had to take another breath, so the bitterness didn’t come out in my voice. “The case came to ahead and has resolved. Fortunately, it was as satisfactory as can be. But the fact that I didn’t get to see it through…it rankles.”

Walker stroked my hair, and it took me a minute to realize he was petting me. I wasn’t complaining. It felt really nice.

“You don’t seem happy with your job. And maybe it’s not my place to say it yet. We’re barely us.” Walker pressed his forehead against my temple. “But I don’t like seeing you unhappy.”

Everything moved faster with Walker. It had from the moment I laid eyes on him. Even though I was still figuring out how to navigate my own feelings, I felt the sincerity pouring off him. And I was solid in the knowledge that for Walker, as a shifter, this level of attachment this quickly was absolutely normal. I knew I could trust that completely.

“I was happy.” My voice was soft and I closed my eyes. “I really liked my job and I was good at it. And maybe I bent the rules sometimes. But I did what was right and moral and—.”

Walker climbed into my lap, and he didn’t exactly fit, but neither of us cared. It was so good to just hold him. So that’s what I did. Let the emotions wash through me, the disappointment about my work situation, and took strength from his presence.

“Lane? Uh, are you okay?” Archer’s tentative voice came from out of nowhere. I turned in the direction to see him hovering in the hallway. I loosened my hold on Walker in case he wanted to pull away, but he didn’t move.

“Yeah. I’m okay. Thanks for checking.” I gave the teen a smile. And then, because Archer knew a little about how things had gone down for me with the MBI, I added. “I’m just going through some stuff in regards to my job. And how I’m not happy with things as they are.”

Archer chewed his lip as he nodded. After a few seconds, he asked, “What are you going to do about it?”

And that, right there, was a very good question.

Uncategorized

Connections

As a reader, I love connected books. I’m talking beyond just series, though I am an absolute fanatic for series. But what I mean here is for multiple books from the same author that has a character or a thing pop up in books that aren’t necessarily connected in any other way.

There you are, reading along, and the MC in the book has an interaction with someone else. And because you’ve read other books by that author, you recognize that person for who they actually are. Or the MC goes to a place that’s shown up before somewhere else. It always gives me a little thrill, like I’m in on an inside secret, and I think “Ha! I know that!” I particularly love it when it happens in a way that doesn’t necessarily impact the story. The MC could have had that conversation withany person or gone to any café/restaurant. 

When I write these kinds of things (and tbh, I haven’t done it as much as I’ve wanted to) I always have a little giggle about it. Jason didn’t have to send Cody gingerbread goodies from Pounds and Grounds, but it was fun for me to include it. Those two books don’t actually have anything to do with one another, but it was just an extra tidbit. Readers don’t lose anything if they haven’t read one or the other, but if you have readPumpkin Rolls & Porn Sounds then you get that “Ha!” moment when you read Gingerbread & Good Tidings. It was something that came to me in the moment, when I was writing that Christmas story, that I could include Pounds and Grounds

But one place I did it deliberately is with The 12th Witchand the very soon to be released Crystal Clear

For some explanation, I created the Magical Bureau of Investigations (though I know I’m not the only one). The MBI was invented for my worlds in which the human world knows about the paranormal one. And I had plans for it that never saw the light of day. 

But when I began writing Gareth and Owen’s serial story here on the blog, I knew it was time to make the MBI resurface. And, as you know, that led to a sequel for Agent Delaney Willis with his shifter mate Walker (and side note: don’t worry, you’ll see them again soon). When I was writing The 12th Witch, it only seemed natural for the MBI to be the Federal arm of law enforcement for that book as well. I realized pretty quickly that Justin and Cole would also get a sequel, as their story wasn’t done yet. 

And that’s when I decided, the moment I started writing Crystal Clear, that I would include an Easter egg. One that doesn’t impact the story in any appreciable way. But that readers of the blog serial will definitely spot. And hopefully have that “Ha!” moment. 

Crystal Clear will be out October 8th. You can preorder it here.

Uncategorized

Coming Soon!

On Saturday in fact. It can be in your hot little hands on October 8. You can pre-order it now, and it’ll be delivered right to your device if you so wish. Check it out at JMS or Amazon

Sequel to The 12th Witch

Justin Trews lucked out when he found Cole Demauro and the coven he’s joined. He’s still working through his trauma, but he now knows what it’s like to be supported and cared for. His magic is thriving, and so is he. And of course, dating Cole has proven to be the best part. The past three months have been the happiest of his life.

When the veil is the thinnest, Justin experiences Samhain as it is meant to be. It’s a far cry from how he celebrated in the past. With the coven gathered, he participates in the ritual to honor the dead and the end of the harvest season. His magic is full and so is his heart.

But when Justin’s past rears it’s ugly head, he’s faced with dealing with his family. Old hurts run deep and insecurities resurface. Its hard not to feel like a burden and an imposition. With his coven behind him, and Cole’s love buoying him up, Justin finds the strength not only to confront his family but to rely on his coven for help. And when the dust settles, Justin has taken great strides toward healing. Now Justin needs to show Cole just how much he loves him.

For the greatest enjoyment, you really need to read The 12th Witch first as it is the beginning of Justin and Cole’s story. Click here and scroll down to find buy links if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet.

I love these guys, and I loved writing them again. This time, the story is from Justin’s POV, so we get a different perspective on the next stage of their relationship and the things going on in their life.

Uncategorized

So That Happened

You may have noticed that there was no Flash Fic Friday these past two weeks. There’s a valid reason for that.

Most of the time, I don’t write it until Friday morning. It’s how my schedule works out and it puts less pressure on me. Since the serials here on the blog are for my fun and enjoyment as much as yours, I strive to make it the most stress free I can.

Let me preface this story by saying I’m fine. Totally fine, other than some bumps and bruises.

But Friday 23 Sep, as I was driving to work, I was suddenly going off the road and crashed into a tree. A small tree, but still. Tree. It turns out someone was backing into the street, hit my car, and sent me off the road. Now, there’s a whole story about how she tried to blame me but it’s not worth it to rehash it here.

Needless to say, my plans got very derailed that day, because I went home and there was no way I was going to work. And it took me hours to fully stop shaking from the adrenaline rush. So I just made a mental note I would write one for yesterday and tell y’all why and move on.

Except yesterday ended up being another day where stuff happened. I was told that my car was deemed a total loss, so I had to go to the towing place to get the last of my things out of the car (because I didn’t completely clear it out on the day). I also ended up speaking with the loss team from my insurance and find out just how much I would be getting for the car. So I had to deal all of that as well.

All that is to say that I didn’t get anything written again. And while I debated writing something for today, and just posting a Saturday edition, but in the end I just had to chalk it up to stress and nonsense and postpone Lane and Walker for another week.

I have a book release next week, October 8th, so I’ll post info about that this week. Crystal Clear is the sequel to The 12th Witch and features Justin and Cole again. They do need to be read in order though! So make sure you pick up The 12th Witch if you haven’t already. As I said, more info soon on that.

Anyway! Take care of yourselves out there. I’ll have more good stuff coming your way soon.