TGIF! Let’s kick off the weekend with Amber Morgan’s purrfectly wonderful new novel Waking the Lioness, now available from Evernight Publishing and other purveyors of fine erotic romance. Take it away, Amber!
I’m a werewolf girl first and foremost, but my second-favourite shifter is definitely the werecat. Although the term “werecat” only really came about in the 1970s, there’s been myths and legends about humans turning into cats forever. In European folklore there are stories of witches turning into domestic cats. In Africa, leopard gods and goddesses would take human form and mate with mortals, and their offspring would be shapeshifters (hmm, now there’s a story idea…). In Asia, the ghosts of people killed by tigers could become evil beings called Chang, who made sure that tigers killed even more people!
And in America, where WAKING THE LIONESS is set, we have were-jaguars. In Mesoamerican cultures, priests and shamans would wear jaguar skins to become jaguars themselves. There are also stories of bipedal felines – kind of like Bigfoot, but, you know, cats. There doesn’t seem to be much about shapeshifting mountain lions, but that’s the beauty of being a writer – I can make it up! I’m hoping that WAKING THE LIONESS will be the first in a series of werecat stories, because there’s just so much to explore! In the mean time, I’m looking forward to you meeting Lara, Zane, and Tate, and getting to know my werecats very, very intimately.
Convinced she could never give her fiance what he truly wanted, cat-shifter Lara Carey walked away from her home and her engagement, and started fresh in New Orleans. One year on, she’s never stopped missing Zane Walker…but it’s too late to do anything about it, isn’t it?
Zane Walker hasn’t come to New Orleans to find Lara, but when chance throws them together, his passion for her is reignited. There’s just one problem. Zane’s new lover is missing somewhere in New Orleans, and even if Zane and Lara find him, can Lara accept him and Zane?
She smiled, hoping she didn’t look as nervous as she felt. “Is Tate the jealous type?” she asked, flexing her fingers. Zane let out a long sigh.
“Lara, this isn’t—”
She moved in front of him, sliding her hand down his torso until she cupped his balls. Another ragged sigh. Lara licked her lips and kissed his throat, nipping lightly. The smell of male arousal mingled with her own musk. She kept her eyes on Tate as she teased Zane, raking her nails over his balls and rubbing her thumb across that soft, sensitive stretch of flesh beneath, just the way he loved. If Tate was the jealous type, she could be making a major mistake here, one she’d never recover from.
But Tate didn’t look angry or jealous as the dull glaze faded from his eyes. He looked…curious.
Zane groaned as she encircled his hardening cock. He pulled her hard against him, crushing her breasts to him with just the right balance of pleasure-pain. She whimpered as he dug his fingers into her hips, silently urging her on.
She worked her hand slowly up and down his shaft, her other hand making lazy trails up and down his chest. It had been so long since she’d been with anyone. The slightest contact burned like wildfire, and this was Zane, the only man she’d ever loved. Breathless with desire, wound tight with need, it was impossible to pretend she did this only to force Tate into a shift. She was doing this all for her own selfish pleasure and she wasn’t going to stop. And if Zane’s reaction to her touch was anything to go by, he didn’t want her to.
On the bed, Tate raised his head and chirped at Zane. Zane raised his head, a little growl escaping his lips. “You know the rules. You want in, you shift,” he said in a voice thick and throaty with desire.
The words caught Lara off-guard. They implied so much with so little. So much history, past threesomes maybe. Her heart skipped. Did Zane think… Would she even…?
Her stomach filled with butterflies as she realized she would. Dammit, she was so starved for skin contact, so – yes, still so in love with Zane, that she would. She’d take both men. Excitement raced through her. She’d take them both and savor the thrill of it.
Tate shook his head and pushed himself up, his wounded back leg clearly hampering him. Lara’s hand faltered for a second, worried he’d hurt himself worse, but then Zane’s hand closed over hers. “Finish what you started,” he growled.
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About Amber Morgan
Amber is the secret identity of a writer who normally pens urban fantasy, but feels like stretching her wings. Amber loves darker romance, anti-heroes, good red wine, and expensive chocolate (sometimes all at once). She’s based in the UK and lives in an adorable cottage with her dream man and two stupid snakes.
Bad Alpha and Bad Alpha: Manlove Edition feature a select collection of stories with shifters so ruthless they will stop at nothing to protect their pack. These aren’t sugar-and-spice heroes. Our alphas are feared, inked, and don’t ask questions first. They take what they want, never give in to their enemies, and think love is for the weak—until they meet their mate. Are you ready to learn how to tame a savage heart?
Hey folks, Nicola here! I am extremely delighted to host both of Evernight Publishing’s newest anthologies today (and not just because I have a story in one of them). I asked some of the authors to tell me what inspired their stories about bad alphas and the mates who love them.
From the minute the submission call for the Bad Alpha Anthology went up, I knew I would have to write something. I love shifters and bad boys. Combine the two…yes, I could not resist that, so it wasn’t a huge surprise when I woke up one morning with bear shifter Zayden growling in my ear.
He was a sought after assassin, and he came to me mid kill of his latest assignment. Cynical, deadly, this killer for hire has no time for tender feelings, let alone a mate, so when he finds out that the Alpha he’s been hired to kill, is his mate.
In his words…
Quinton Thorn was his fucking mate. The universe was having a great big laugh at his fucking expense. He’d come here to kill his mate. His bear roared at the mere thought, and Zayden shook his head. He could no more kill the man than he could have killed his own mother. He wasn’t a complete fucking animal, but the new tender feelings that had coursed through him when he’d shaken Quinton’s hand meant he felt like a fish out of water. He knew how to kill and fuck, but he had no idea what to do about these emotions.
Such a delicious conflict. What would Quinton do when he finds out that his mate is a killer?
When the call for submissions was announced for Bad Alpha: Manlove, I mulled it over for approximately 10 seconds before deciding, “Yep! It’s time to throw your hat into the horror/supernatural ring.” Later that evening, while picking out a movie to watch, my husband mentioned that the myth behind the 2001 French movie Le pacte des loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) might be fun to somehow incorporate into a story. So off I went, down the Google rabbit hole. There is a ton of info out there with regard to the Beast of Gévaudan. And with so much actual fact mixed up nicely with the fiction, the idea became all that more appealing. My story, “Destined”, didn’t take long to work its way onto paper (especially with Joe Manganiello and Gaspard Ulliel taking shape in my head as Marick and Caleb, respectively!)
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Bad Alpha: Manlove Edition
“For Blood” by J.R. Gray
The only way to end the war and stop the bloodshed is to marry the enemy. Every fiber of Roman wants to hate Victoria, but the more he sees, the more he craves her. Can he fight their past demons to be with her?
“Destiny Realized” by Khloe Wren
Leonardo has been the clan’s alpha for 300 years. Ruling his people has always been his one and only priority. Until he, along with his brother and sister, stop at a broken down car near their home in the Flinders Ranges on the edge of Outback Australia. The woman they rescue turns both Leo and, his brother, Valentino’s lives upside down. A mate was the last thing Leo wanted, and everything Val had ever hoped for.
Felicia is on the run. Again. Her baby’s daddy broke her daughter’s arm the last time he caught up with them so she’s desperate to stay ahead of him. But her car breaks down and trouble finds her. A killer takes advantage of her failing vehicle and she fears all is lost for her and her little girl, until another car stops and she finds herself in a whole new world where she may just have found the future she’s always wanted but never dreamed she’d have.
“Exiled Alpha” by Amber Morgan
Rachel Jacobs is a wolf on a mission. To save her pack from destruction, she’s turning to the werewolf who nearly destroyed it once before. Arkady Gusev is everything her father ever warned her against – so why does she find him so irresistible?
Arkady Gusev isn’t looking for a pack or a woman. But when Rachel walks through his door, she throws down a challenge he can’t resist. Is this exiled alpha about to come home?
“Drakon’s Prize” by Moira Callahan
Being the Alpha of a misfit clan of Dragons comes with its share of troubles. When the supernatural Council comes to Drakon Blackwood with yet another false claim against his clan he knows it’s time to make someone pay. Preferably with their life.
Allegra Hanson doesn’t work for the Council, and yet she’s been roped into assisting them in their investigation into the Blackwood clan’s supposed activities. Against her better judgment she goes to the clan’s lands to do what she can. What she never planned on was her visceral reaction to the Alpha.
The Blackwood clan land is valuable. Not for its location, but for what lies beneath the earth’s surface. Many will do anything to get it, one will stop at nothing, and is willing to kill Drakon’s woman to get it. Allegra is his, and there’s no way Drakon will lose the most precious prize of all.
“Tiger’s Mate” by April Zyon
Streak politics, and differences in opinions forced Kurt Owens to choose his own path. While it may be outside of the law in many regards he sees it as ensuring justice for the true victims of crimes when the system fails them. It’s his way of seeing the guilty pay, and keeping his own inner beast in check with the violence, and blood it craves.
Everyone thinks having a super power would be great. Alexa Harold would beg to differ. She’s been cursed to see ghosts, the dead not yet having gone to their final resting place, or judgment, or wherever they belong. They track her down, and harass her until she’s ready to go mad. Learning early in life what she needs to avoid has been the only saving grace in keeping her sanity intact.
Kurt never thought he’d find his mate outside of the streak, or streak functions. While those of a supernatural inclination aren’t exactly rare, they have had to be careful and keep their population down. Alexa is the woman for him the only one he could ever want or need. And when her life is put in danger by his own past Kurt won’t stop until everyone understands to get to this tiger’s mate, they’ll have to get through him.
“Dark Heart” by Elyzabeth M. VaLey
Ten years ago, Daryl Jones lost his pack to a group of demon vampires. Since then, he not only lost his will to battle for good, his life has become a spiral of drinking, fighting and fucking anything in sight. In his opinion, a pretty perfect existence. Until, he meets the new SOA representative sent to convince him to go back to the lab. With mile long legs, a tight little ass and a smile to kill for, when she offers him a bargain, how can he possibly refuse?
Silvia Adams, has one mission: convince Daryl Jones to work for SOA again. The agency needs him to get back into the lab and help develop a serum to neutralize the growing number of vampires. She knew it wouldn’t be easy task, but with her job on the line, she’ll do anything it takes, including, bargaining with the shifter and surrendering to her deepest desires. Only problem is, she might have bartered for more than she can handle.
“Resisting His Mate” by Lynn Burke
Warrick Keaton eludes a forced pairing with one of his kind. No one is going to choose his mate for him, not when he wants nothing to do with being tied down to a woman. He never expects fate to intervene in the form of a freezing, barely alive female. With his independence in jeopardy, Warrick fights his inner hawk’s desire to stake a claim on her.
Clare Byron longs to escape her domineering ex-husband, a jealous bear shifter determined to keep her prisoner. She seizes the opportunity to run and lands in the arms of another alpha—exactly what she doesn’t want or need.
For Warrick, Clare is everything he’s ever wanted in a mate and all that he’s run from. For Clare, Warrick is freedom in a way she never dreamed possible—the one man who will own her heart yet give her wings to fly.
“Alpha’s Vixen” by Jocelyn Dex
Dax is overwhelmed by desire when he catches the white fox trespassing on his land, and that totally pisses him off. He refuses to mate, no matter how much the fox inside him wants it, Dax definitely does not.
Opal is instantly enamored with the menacing black fox, but isn’t surprised when he chases her away—no one ever wants her, the freak-of-nature albino.
When theft and violence bring them together again, will they give in to passion, or will their hang-ups force them apart?
“Always Midnight” by Ashlynn Monroe
Taryne Michael is all her younger brother Travys has ever had for stability. When fifteen-year-old Trav doesn’t come home after he fights with her she spends the next week searching for him. He finally comes home he’s not the same boy who slammed the door the night he left. Something is very wrong and when she discovers he’s been transformed into a werewolf she’s at a loss as to what to do. The violent, angry boy isn’t the little brother she knows how to deal with. Teenage hormones are nothing compared to the animalistic young man emerging from the boy she’d raised.
Ax Greyson is a lone wolf, an alpha without a pack. He enforces laws non-shifters don’t know about. Celo Valley, is a place where two species co-reside. The werewolves keep the humans blind to their existence by being careful. Someone isn’t following the rules. Someone is killing, with no regard for secrets. When killing the woman seems like the only way to keep his people’s secret until Ax’s instincts find another way.
Mate…the word is the only thing that can scare a man like Ax.
“Becoming His Mate” by Harper Shaddock
After escaping an abusive ex, lone-wolf Brenna is looking for a fresh start. She never expected to stumble across a pack’s territory, or that the Alpha would claim her for a mate. Remy had enough on his plate dealing with a rival pack, but it was love at first howl and he’s not about to lose his mate…even if it means fighting her past her fears.
“Bully Boys” by Nicola Cameron
When Victorian solicitor Arthur Finter is forced to cut down a dangerous London alley after work, he stumbles upon pit bull shifter Alpha Gunner Jones in the middle of a dogfight with a rival shifter pack. The hard-nosed bully boy scents Arthur and recognizes him as his mate, but will events orchestrated by the other pack separate them before Gunner can lay final claim?
“The Alpha’s Assassin” by Doris O’Connor
Bear shifter Zayden Reid makes his living doing what he does best—killing people. The sought after assassin doesn’t have to think twice when he’s offered a lot of money to kill the Alpha of a wolf pack, until he scents his mate.
As the Alpha of his pack Quinton Thorn is used to giving orders. He may be gay, but that doesn’t mean he’s weak, and he’ll squash any challenge to his leadership with ruthless efficiency. When the threat comes from a source he trusts, however, can he afford to give into his feelings for his mate, knowing that he’ll endanger everyone under his protection?
The mating bond cannot be denied, no matter what the consequences, and they might well kill.
“Discarded Pup” by Angelique Voisen
Betrayed by his beta and abandoned by his pack, Cole Reyes wasted the last ten years of his life rotting behind bars. A cage is no place for a wolf, and wounds left open, fester. Cole has zero tolerance for mercy. The time Cole spent in prison didn’t just bleed out all the decency he once possessed. It broke him. Made him hard and unforgiving. Cole’s vengeance starts now, beginning with his beta’s new toy.
“Yellow Eyes” by Gale Stanley
The brutal war between shifters and humans is over, but each side still sees the other as a threat. The only thing they can agree on, is that they can’t agree. Humans live east of the bridge, shifters live west. Camden is a halfbreed, the product of a rape that happened during the war. Neither side wants him, but he lives with his human mother. The night she dies, Camden goes west looking for revenge. He knows he won’t find his father, and he’ll probably get himself killed, but he doesn’t care. As long as he takes a shifter with him, he’ll die happy.
Wyat is alpha of the pack living in the west. He’s a warrior who believes in separation of the races. Then on the night of the full moon, he discovers a half-breed hiding in the alley. The man’s scent makes him burn with lust, and against his better judgement, he takes him home—and discovers that sleeping with the enemy might just lead to a better future.
“Destined” by L.D. Blakeley
Caleb Stokes has had a shit night. Too bad catching his boyfriend in flagrante delicto with the club DJ isn’t the worst thing he’ll witness before the night is through. Marick Gevrees has no time for romance. He has even less time for a tipsy twink looking for a man to fill some Daddy fetish. But what the hell is he supposed to do when said twink wanders headlong into the middle of a bloody vendetta that could result in the exposure of his clan?
“Trouble” by James Cox
Tremarc is sleeping his way through the entire Bear Shifter Clan. He’s sent to the moon, under the colonized dome to stay out of trouble. When he meets sexy alpha Lyon and his mated human, Quinn his life takes a sharp turn that may just find him his happy ending or get him kicked out of yet another bear shifter clan.
“Outlaw Wolf” by Elizabeth Monvey
Dekker ran away from his pack in an order to protect his lover and Alpha, Grey, when he overheard two higher ranked wolves talk about killing him.
When Grey finds him six months later, Dekker tries to convince the man he loves to go away. But Grey won’t take no and as the two talk it out, their mutual attraction overwhelms them.
In desperation, Dekker renounces Grey as his Alpha. But when another force tries to punish Dekker by silencing him forever, Grey must choose which stand he’ll take…being the alpha for all his pack, or being the man Dekker needs, even if it means breaking the rules.