Author: Kara Thorpe
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Alpha of the only Shifter pack in Houston, Rick Haskell has his hands full. When the Mage of New Orleans calls for a favor – a favor that pays $400,000 – Rick can’t refuse. Even if that favor means adopting the Mage’s daughter into his ragtag pack. Az Vardan is beautiful, smart, and takes frequent vacations from sanity. Before Rick can learn how to handle the blonde kiss-and-run firecracker, wolfsbane appears in the local coven’s garden, witches mysteriously die in police custody, and a rash of centaur murders rocks Houston's Paranormal Community. Az’s knowledge of magic may be all that saves Rick’s pack when a new, powerful threat moves in to take over his city.
First person, present tense
Warning: language, violence, and irreverence (and Oxford commas)
About the Author
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“Yes. I spent two summers with Uncle Evan. One summer was after an… incident… at a Flegan boarding school.” She licks her lips and shifts her weight. Her eyes are still glued to the gun in my hands. “He taught me how to shoot a shotgun and a revolver. He was going to give me a gun for my birthday, but Aunt Evelyn found out. I got a new purse. Uncle Evan spent a few nights on the couch.”
“This is a last-resort weapon only, got it?” I don’t place the gun into her hands until she nods. “I don’t care if you’re the reincarnation of Annie Oakley, when there are Shifters involved in a fight it’s damned impossible to get a clear shot. This is just in case Jose can’t protect you. Or you fall out of a damn tree.”
I go over all the Kahr’s specs with Princess twice. She likes the laser sight, but I advise her to only use it when absolutely necessary. It’ll help her trace her target, but it’ll help her target trace her. When we get home, I’ll have her fire a few practice rounds. I have a spare holster and clip at the house, but for now she carefully tucks the gun in her purse.
She reaches for my arm before I can pull open her door. Her lips are pressed together in a solemn line. “I hope I never have to use it. Not because I’m a bleeding heart or anything,” she quickly assures me, “but because I couldn’t live with myself if I accidentally hit you or any of my family.”
When she says “family” she means “pack” and another layer of my defenses crumble like a sandcastle at high tide. Which makes it all the more vital that she protect herself.
“If someone is threatening you, you bet your sweet ass you’re going to use that gun.” I rake a hand through my hair. “This isn’t a pretty thing to say - and if it hurts your feelings then I’m sorry, but it’s the truth – you are the weakest member of the pack.”
“I know,” she says calmly, though there is a trace of something wounded in her eyes.
“And if something happens to you, Az, I don’t know how well I’ll be able to control myself. I have to think about the rest of the pack. They don’t need me to go off half-crazed because you got stupid or you hesitated.”
I expect her to laugh. I expect her to needle me about the moment of vulnerability. I expect her to take her advantage and run with it. I don’t expect her to cock her head like an inquisitive bird and purse her lips.
“So what you’re saying is that your biggest weakness is the weakest member of the pack. What does that make you?”
Oh, Princess, that’s an easy one. I flash a smile that’s all fangs and malice. “Dangerous.”