NOTE: The rights are reverting back to me on these books, and they will be released again in 2017. Thanks for your patience!
In the year 2078, Cross Step is home to strange portals called Voids, and species who’ve come through are now a part of everyday society. Humans mistakenly compare Ravagers to werewolves, but Ravagers are so much more than myth. They’re real, and they’re here to stay.
Kate Savage should be the happiest Ravager on the planet. She finally has the two males she’s been lusting after for years. But her mates don’t seem to want her. To make matters worse, she’s in her first heat. But when she wakes up in a hotel room, tied up and confronted with two angry mates who feel wronged and abandoned, things really heat up.
Logan and Jesse are tired of tradition and waiting on Kate. They’ve decided to claim her themselves, and to finally get the stubborn female to see what’s in front of her. Love, lust and danger combine to make Kate’s heat the hottest thing ever. If the three of them have the courage to put their hearts on the line, they’ll have that happily-ever-after yet.
- Release Date: December 1, 2010
- Publisher: Ellora's Cave
- ISBN: 9781419932106
- Length: Novella
Kate Savage glanced around her at the many people sitting at the outdoor café drinking their morning coffee. None of them seemed to care about the worm holes sitting a few hundred—unobstructed—feet away. To Kate’s keen senses, the hum of chaos sounded loud, despite the chatter of passersby and the flow of traffic around the granite island. She stared at the great gaping doorways that had delivered her to Cross Step, Kansas nearly two decades ago.
Twenty feet tall and just as wide, the Voids were surrounded by a fiery blue aureola that seethed with energy. If it weren’t for the fact that going through one of them might mean her certain death, she might have taken her chances and left Earth forever. It wasn’t as if she had much keeping her here anymore.
“I hate it down here around all these…people.” A woman’s whispered disdain from a few tables away caught her attention. “At least in uptown, most of the Voiders pass for human. It’s hard enough to deal with fangs, fire and the freakish psychics.”
Her friend tsked. “Don’t be such a bitch, Nadia. Not all of them are psychic, and only a few handle fire. Just because they came from other worlds doesn’t make them any less. Voiders have brought a lot to the community.”
“Like thievery, murder and rape,” Nadia muttered.
Her friend shook her head. “You have to stop reading the tabloids. Voiders aren’t all bad. They make great healers, and most of them are big into environmental issues. I mean, look at the Ravagers.” Kate caught the husky undertones in the woman’s voice. “I heard that big compound they live in outside of town is gorgeous.” She sighed. “Just like their hunky men.”
Her friend gasped. “Gorgeous? Try brawny, big and bulky.”
“They’re animals, Cheryl.” Nadia looked around her, her gaze passing right over Kate, then leaned closer and lowered her voice. “They’re either fornicating or fighting.”
I wish. Kate sipped her coffee, glad she at least blended in with the local populace. Though taller and more muscular than the average woman, she could pass for human with ease.
“I’m down with fornicating,” Cheryl groaned. “I swear, my divorce has turned me into a cliché—the horny divorcee. I’ve never seen a Ravager that didn’t make me think of getting naked with him between the sheets. All that animal sex appeal is so hot.”
Nadia frowned. “How can you think of screwing something with a muzzle?”
“I’m not talking about when they go all werewolf. Besides, I heard it straight from Gina that the sex is incredible. They’re big everywhere. Gina said she could barely walk when he was done putting it to her.”
“You’re so crass.” Nadia made a face, then tittered. “So what else did Gina say?”
Gossip-mongering humans. At least Cheryl had her facts straight. Ravagers were big, liked sex, and when shifted into their guer, resembled what humans thought of as werewolves. Except unlike the fictional beasts, Kate’s kind were reasoning creatures who could talk as easily as kill while in shifted form, and they didn’t depend on a full moon. The women’s conversation continued and Kate wanted to hear more, but shadows looming over her table caught her attention.
“Well, well. I’m surprised the Savages let you out here all by yourself, Kate.”
She glanced up to see trouble in not one but two large, rangy men. Holdovers from the Lawless Clan, who’d recently been integrated into the new Ravager order. “Do I know you?”
“No, but you’re going to soon enough,” the Ravager on the right said.
As one of the few female Ravagers on this world, Kate naturally attracted attention from her kind. Unfortunately, the two males staring down at her like dessert weren’t the Ravagers she wanted. She suppressed the urge to growl and snap at the intrusion into her private, much needed space. The assholes blocking her morning sun had every reason to watch their step around her.
“I’m not good company.”
“We’re not here for the company.” His eyes settled on her breasts and he grinned.
She sneered. “Trying to show some backbone, eh, Lawless? Must be tough walking around with your tail between your legs.”
He sat down at her table and a waft of his scent hit her hard. He stank like yesterday’s trash. His greasy hair, dirty fingernails and noxious breath suggested he’d eaten fresh meat only recently. She didn’t even want to think about what he called breakfast.
“Run that smart mouth while you can,” he said around a toothy grin. “Because soon enough, my tail’s gonna be between your legs, you little bitch. I can smell how much you want it.”
Her stupid heat. It wasn’t going away. And it was all her mates’ fault. If they were here, she’d maul the pair of them. Unfortunately, they couldn’t seem to stand the sight of her. She glanced at the Voids again, wondering how bad the next world might be…
“Besides,” the Ravager on her left spoke up and sat on the other side of her. “We’re Savages now, or hadn’t you heard? The Prime declared the Lawless name no longer exists. Now we’re all just one big, happy fucking family.”
When the Ravagers had initially arrived on Earth over a hundred years ago, they’d formed two clans—the Savage Clan and the Lawless Clan. The Savages tried to adapt to their new life. They took humans as friends and lovers. A few of their kind even worked in town, side by side with the Norms—normal humans—and other Voiders—those who came through the Voids.
The Lawless Clan lived on the fringe between Cross Step’s outskirts and the Boundary that segregated the town from the rest of the Unites States. They spent most of their time in their guer—their animal fighting form. The Lawless Clan only deigned to entertain humans as sport, or worse, dinner.
Ever since Eric had killed Nev Lawless, their clan leader, only one large group of Ravagers remained. Or at least, that was the idea.
The bastards watched her with interest, and with hunger. She had a bad feeling her Monday was about to turn considerably worse.
The Ravager on the left continued. “Everyone knows your claiming didn’t take. We’re here, we’re strong. And we want you. Give us a few days, we’ll plant brats in that belly easily enough.”
She drank more of her coffee, needing the caffeine boost. “Do I look that desperate to you?”
“I told you, Mike. This bitch is too high-handed. Bet she’s frigid. Why else would her packmates ditch her? She’s got no problems in the looks department. And that body is hotter than hell.” His gaze crawled over her like slime.
Mike grinned. “Maybe they’re just too weak to handle her. Pussies, if you ask me. I mean, how the hell do you let a female in heat go without fucking her for this long?”
Kate wanted to know the answer to that question too. “It’s early. I haven’t finished my coffee yet. You two need a bath, and I’m in a rut rage like you wouldn’t believe. Do you really want me to hurt you this early in the morning in front of witnesses?”
The men blinked at her in surprise. Mike actually leaned back in his chair. “Rut rage, huh? Thought that only happened to males.”
Rut rage occurred when a Ravager didn’t get the requisite sex he—or she—needed. Sexual creatures, Ravagers needed the daily release of certain hormones in the body to stay balanced. And Kate hadn’t been laid in nearly two months.
“Fuck it. I figure that cunt has got to be worth—” Before Mike’s friend could finish his thought, Kate cold-cocked him in the face. She heard his cartilage pop and watched as blood exploded from his nose. Several nearby patrons swore and scurried out of the way. But she didn’t care. The violent release felt surprisingly good.
“Thanks. I needed this.”
“Fuck. Leave me alone.” Mike scrambled back in his seat but she was on him in seconds.
She grabbed his crotch. He retaliated by striking out at her. Fists met flesh, but she squeezed until he whimpered.
“What’s wrong, Mike? Rape is okay, but a little rough sex isn’t?”
“Let me go, bitch, or I’ll kill you.” She squeezed harder and he quickly started babbling. “Okay, okay. Stop, please. I’m sorry.” Tears left dirty trails down his cheeks. The spot in her side where he’d struck her started to throb, and she shifted her hold. His flailing subsided at the same time she heard approaching sirens.
“Next time you’ll think twice about inviting yourself to breakfast, hmm?” Kate glared at him and let go. He curled in on himself and gagged at the pain, much to her satisfaction.
A quick glance around her showed a shocked audience staring at the scene in horrified fascination.
Just then, Mike’s friend started to rise. The murmuring of the appalled crowd grew louder. Hell, she’d practically announced her species. And the Salinas, the local cops, were closing in… Kate leaned closer to the male whose nose she’d broken and whispered, “Lawless scum, beaten by a mere female.”
He launched a fist, and she turned to take it on her cheek. Seeing the Salinas in the periphery of her vision, she dramatized the event. “Ow! Officers, help! Help me, please!” She clutched her face and forced a few tears.
A half-dozen human cops quickly converged on the scene and took the Ravager males into custody. Kate they treated like a queen. Never let it be said she didn’t know how to use her breasts or her looks to her advantage.
“It’s okay, honey. We’re here to help.” Like clockwork, her chest attracted attention like a magnet.
“My head hurts, and it’s hard to breathe.” She forced a few shallow breaths and unbuttoned her blouse to show off her cleavage. “Do you see a bruise?”
Two more Salinas joined the ones crowding her, but no one could see any damage. Go figure.
She gave her statement of the attack, promised she’d call one of the many Salinas who’d left their cards for a follow-up, and then left in the ambulance they called for her. While wondering how the hell she planned to get out of this one, she let the EMT take her vitals.
As he worked and made a few notes, she swore she saw a flash of red in his eyes. He must have noticed because the glow winked out as if it had never been. He cleared his throat. “You okay?”
She winked at him and flashed a fang.
“Hell. Ravager, right?” To show she could trust him, he clenched a hand that turned into a ball of fire and waved it at her before extinguishing the flame.
“Yep. So you’re Vulcani?”
“Yeah.” They studied each other for a minute. Though not enemies, both Ravagers and Vulcani tended to keep to their own kind. “So I don’t guess you want a human hospital.”
“I don’t want any hospital.” Kate fastened the buttons of her blouse and used the cold pack he’d handed her on her cheek. “Thanks. Can you drop me off at the next corner?”
He glanced past her out the back window of the van. “We’re in midtown,” he warned. This section of town was much more mainstream than the downtown area. Here, Norms and a few Conduits, humans affected by the Voids, coexisted in peaceful denial that Voiders actually existed.
“I just want out. I never did get to finish my coffee.”
“No problem.” He called over his shoulder for the driver to stop at the corner. Then he turned back to her. “You sure you’re okay? Your cheek is turning blue and your breathing is off.”
“Good ears.” She could hear the faint wheeze that would heal with a good rest, but she was surprised he could. Vulcani commanded fire. She didn’t know anything about them possessing healing talents.
“Yeah. That’s why they pay me the big bucks,” he drawled. The ambulance stopped and he scooted past her to open the doors.
He smelled pleasant, even had a handsome face. But he didn’t make her heart race. Only two Ravagers did that anymore, and neither one was worth the effort it took to even think of them. Or so she kept reminding herself.
She sighed and hopped out of the van. “Thanks.”
He nodded and closed the door, and the ambulance sped away.
Needing a clear head and a break from her life, Kate walked to the nearest hotel. Work could keep for the next few days. Her clients were happy, and she’d been ahead of schedule anyway. Working for herself paid off when she needed time to breathe.
Like now. After paying for a room with her credit card, she locked herself in, stripped and headed for a bath to soak her wounds, both physical and emotional. She didn’t know how much longer she could keep up this charade. Kate couldn’t eat. She couldn’t sleep, and she hungered for the touch of two males who were in lust with someone else.
“And I still haven’t finished my coffee. What a shitty start to a shitty week.
Copyright © 2010 Marie Harte
All rights reserved — Ellora’s Cave publishing