My Life is Not Over

My Life is Not Over…

This is just the beginning!

My Daisys

I had a moment of reflection this morning and wanted to share.

I used to believe that I had to act a certain way. That I had to follow the lines drawn by society. I was told that I had a place in this world; that I had to follow the carefully planned out blueprint of what I was supposed to do, how I was to behave, what I was allowed to say. You don’t disrupt the carefully oiled machine. The circle of life is just this:

Grow up.
Go to school.
Get a job.
Get married.
Start a family.
Raise children.
Have grandkids.
Die.

As I grew older, I hated that shell around me. I wanted something more. I wanted to use the mind that was given to me. Not the one that was designed for me.

When I stopped listening to what others told me to be, I learned to use my mind as I wanted. I was able to become what I wanted to be in this life.

This is me in the forest between Port Angeles and Forks, WA in 2011.095

My life is at least half over. In all reality, my time left here is short. The average human life span is 78.74 years. According to these numbers, I have 36 years left to see and do the things I have dreamed about for so long.
Thirty six years to love my kids, to travel to places I’ve only read about, to make a difference in someone’s life.

To some, this would be saddening, but to me…it is a challenge. This life, this world, is mine to explore. I must leave my footprint on it, if not for a nation, but for the children I brought into this world to carry on, not only my legacy, but the history of my ancestors before me.

2014-09-12 11.07.10


My very first book signing as an author. Sept. 2013. Pictured left to right: Julia Sykes, Holly Roberts, Me, Teresa Gabelman

I see so many people my age who’ve just given up on their dreams, saying they’ve waited too long to find happiness with their inner self. I say, there is no time like the present. Do as your heart desires. Go find an adventure. Absorb all of the beauties of this world. Do something every single day to make someone smile. Don’t train yourself to think your time is over. Train your mind, body, and soul to believe that this is your beginning.

Thank you for listening to my ramblings.

Copyright 2016 @Theresa Hissong

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Vlog…Books, Music, Appearances, & Star Treatments

Here is your Q&A answers and other happenings….

 

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Chapter One of “Talon”

Talon Cover Ebook

Here is the first chapter of “Talon”.

*This is a raw, unedited, and subject to change.

Release Date: February 2016

Enjoy!

Chapter One

 

The footage had been seen on every news outlet around the world. Two men, shifting into black panthers at the edge of a forest in northern Mississippi. The video was as clear as the blue sky above. They’d been seen and the entire world now knew that shifters existed.

Talon Shaw gritted his teeth at the reporter who kept asking some of the most idiotic questions he’d ever heard in his life. Why the fuck they wanted to know about their mating rituals was beyond invasive and he sure as hell wasn’t going to let that bit of information out into the general public. Every human would run away screaming if they had any idea how that happened.

He’d been in talks with local law enforcement and the media for almost a week now. If it wasn’t for Ranger and Kye’s stupidity, they wouldn’t be in this situation. They’d be living peacefully on the pride’s two hundred acre ranch south of town with no one the wiser.

“How long have your kind been around?” a reporter asked.

“Where did you come from?” another chimed in, talking over everyone else.

“Are you dangerous?” a cute blonde asked, raising her hand.

“Our kind have been around for thousands of years,” Talon began, looking out into the sea of human reporters. It was hard to keep from squinting at the bright flashes from the reporters who were using cameras. “We are a peaceful group, usually keeping to ourselves. Our ancestors were warriors for kings in ancient times. Panthers have no hatred toward anyone, human or animal.”

“How old are you?” A male reporter asked, leaning forward to make himself be seen. Talon recognized him from the local station.

“I am twenty nine years old,” he answered.

“And you are the leader of this…pride?” the male asked, looking confused at his choice of words.

They were different from their animal cousins. Usually, panthers were solitary animals, only coming together to procreate. Since the beginning of time, the shifters had stuck close together, maintaining a family environment. Their ancestors actually coined the name pride in reference to their families.

“Yes, I am. Every pride has a leader, an alpha. It is his responsibility to nurture and provide for his people. Without the leadership of an alpha, the pride will suffer and eventually die out. It is my responsibility to make sure that they have work and a safe environment to exist and raise their young.”

“You own a few companies, Mr. Shaw,” another reporter began. “Is this how you provide? Do you only employee your own kind?”

“I employ members of my pride and humans,” he said, trying his best not to fidget in his seat. He had to answer these questions as honestly as possible, but not so honest that the people who worked for him would be targeted.

“Did the humans know that you shift into an animal?” a woman called out.

“No,” he answered, simply.

The questions kept coming and eventually, the time was up. His brother, Noah and his second in command, Winter Blue, escorted Talon to an awaiting SUV, whisking him away from the steps of the City Hall building.

“I’m so glad that is over,” Talon sighed, leaning back in his seat. It’d been a long day of answering questions.

“We should be able to breathe a little this weekend,” Noah smiled. “I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to have a beer.”

“That sounds like a great idea,” Talon smiled. “Let’s hit up The Deuce for dinner.”

“Do you think there will be a problem?” Winter frowned. Winter was not only his second in command, but also the head of his security company, S.S.S. or Shaw Security Specialists as the sign over their office complex stated.

“No,” Talon replied. “We will not run away from this town. Running only makes them believe that we have something to hide. This pride will continue their daily routines regardless of the media and whatever they say.”

“Then a beer it is,” Noah smiled. “Let’s hope that little bar owner is there tonight.”

“Just a beer, Noah,” Talon warned, not giving away any emotions. He didn’t want to think about that woman that owned the bar they visited.

Liberty Raines was there most nights, but that didn’t mean that they’d interacted with her very often. She was always too busy working for them to strike up a conversation. There was something about the little brunette that sent Talon’s panther into a growling frenzy. It must’ve been her scent. Oh, he could pick it out of the crowd. The combination of wildflowers and sunshine was permanently etched into his brain.

The last thing he needed in his life was a woman. He had too many things going on now that they’d been ousted to the humans. The fact that she was a human sealed the deal on the certainty that he wanted nothing to do with her. A panther and a human didn’t mix, and he sure as hell wasn’t going to drag a human into his world.

Not now…not ever.

 

* * *

 

The bar was mostly quiet. Liberty wiped down the old wooden bar top with a fresh rag out of the bucket with clean, sanitized water. The television was on above her head. The news had been on their breaking story for a week now.

The fairytales from childhood nursery rhymes had come true. Paranormal stories of men who shifted into animals were no longer fiction.

It was real. It’d been real for as long as the Earth had orbited around the sun.

Her waitress was sitting on a stool at the end of the bar, totally engrossed in the nightly newscast. A group of men were filmed shifting into sleek, black panthers at the edge of a wooded area just south of town not too far from her bar.

Some of these men had been regulars, and Liberty had never noticed anything different about them. They all seemed so…normal. Well, that was a lie. None of those men were anywhere near normal looking. They all were larger than the average man that stepped foot into her little business. Each one was tall, muscular. Their shoulders were wide, arms rippling with muscles that seemed to overlap themselves. They moved with grace despite their size. Every woman in the room noticed them when they took their normal seats in the back corner, ordering their drinks and food with no problems. Each and every one of the men that entered were beyond handsome. Sexual prowess oozed off of them whenever they were around. Even Liberty had to admit that they had thrown her hormones into overdrive a time or two.

“I still can’t believe this is happening,” Nicole gasped. She leaned back, her blonde hair falling in ringlets at her back. “And in our little town! Did you know that I saw several news vans on my way in earlier?”

“I’ve heard the media is going crazy over all of this,” she admitted.

Liberty shot a quick look at the screen, averting her eyes when the man claiming to be the pride’s alpha started talking about his secret. She didn’t have to even look at the screen to know who it was, because she would’ve known his voice anywhere.

Talon Shaw was a regular in her bar. He and his buddies would be there every Friday and Saturday night, staying until last call and sometimes during the week. They’d interacted a few times, and he’d always seemed to be aware of everything that went on in the bar. Oh, she’d noticed how he watched her move around, helping wait tables and delivering food when the place became busy during rush hour. She’d be lying if she said that she hadn’t watched him from the corner of her eye whenever he walked in the door, too.

The man who was the leader of these shifters was huge. His dark hair was short cropped, but on the top of his head his hair was a little longer. It barely covered his ice blue eyes where it fell off to the side. His arms were so large that she was sure his shirt would split at the seams if he sneezed. His skin looked to be soft as satin, and a few times, Liberty would have a full bodied shiver attack her when she’d thought about the possibility of those arms brushing against hers by accident. She honestly didn’t think she’d live through that much stimulus…if she’d ever get that close to the man.

“Are you even watching this?” Nicole called out.

“No,” Liberty replied. “It’s none of my business.”

“Yes, it is,” Nicole cursed. “Do you realize these guys have been here every weekend? It is your business, Liberty. Are you going to let these freaks back in the bar tonight when they show up?”

“Now hold on one damn minute,” Liberty barked. “They are as welcome here as anyone else.”

“Are you serious?” she scoffed, throwing her hands in the air. “I can’t believe this!”

“I’m going to only say this once, Nicole,” Liberty said, dropping her rag in the bucket and making her way to the end of the bar. “This is my bar and I will decide who is welcome or not. If these guys come in here, you are to treat them like any other paying customer. Got me?”

“Yes…yes, ma’am,” Nicole answered in defeat.

“Now, go prep for the dinner rush,” Liberty ordered, flipping off the television. “This place should start filling up within the hour, and I think maybe I need to have a meeting with everyone before we get started tonight.”

She watched Nicole hop off the barstool, grabbing her order pad as she walked into the backroom. The last thing she needed was for her waitresses to be mean or hateful to the group of men…no, the panthers that spent time in her bar.

She busied herself with making sure all of the coolers were stocked with beer bottles and covered with ice. She stacked cups at each station behind the bar and refilled the napkin and straw caddies for the bartenders who’d be arriving soon.

It was thirty minutes before the employees started trickling in for their shift. Moe, their cook, was the first to arrive, stopping to kiss Liberty’s cheek. “Good evening, doll.”

“Hey, Moe,” she smiled. Moe had been around since before she took over the place. The Deuce had been in her family for two generations. Her father had left the bar to her when he died from a sudden heart attack just less than a year before. Her mother and grandparents had passed several years prior in a fatal car accident, leaving her younger sister as the only living relative in the area.

The Deuce was located at the very outskirts of the town of Olive Branch, in Northern Mississippi. The town was just over the state line from Tennessee and the city of Memphis. Liberty loved her town, never finding the appeal of moving away. The people there were friendly and having the best, most popular bar in town kept her busier than she’d ever thought possible.

Moe tied on his apron, covering his rounded belly. He was in his late fifties and had already started shaving his head to hide the fact that his hair was now completely white. “Before you start prep, I need to have a meeting with everyone.”

“Sure, darlin’,” he drawled in his southern accent.

The two bartenders and four extra waitresses gathered around Moe, waiting for Liberty to make her speech.

“I’m going to make this short and sweet,” she began, letting her eyes fall on each and every one of her employees. “We’ve all seen the news and know that it all centers around some of our customers. We will treat everyone that walks through that door with respect. A lot of things are going on right now and we need to show that our customers are our top priority. These men, who’ve been coming here for a while now, are still just like all of us. They eat food and drink beer. I want you to treat them as if you’d never heard about their story. This is all I ask of you. If you have any problems, and I mean any, you come get me. Okay?”

Everyone nodded or spoke their understanding, most of them heading off to their stations. The two bartenders, Cole Bryant and Luke Everett squeezed Liberty’s shoulder as they passed, silently giving her their support. Nicole didn’t show any emotions as she headed off to the backroom for more supplies. Mary Grace Browning and Della Carter smiled warmly and started turning on lights over the pool tables in the back of the bar.

“Sis?” Nova, Liberty’s baby sister, smiled, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “That’s awesome that you are willing to treat those men just like anyone else.”

“Why do you say that?” Liberty frowned.

“People around town are a little spooked,” she shrugged. “I don’t really see a problem with what they are. It’s not like they’ve ever caused any trouble in here or in town.”

“Exactly,” Liberty smiled, ruffling her sister’s long, brown hair. Nova giggled and swatted at her hand, shaking her head as she left to get ready for the dinner crowd.

Liberty and Nova were just three years apart in age. Nova had just turned twenty one a few months ago and Liberty’s birthday was in a few weeks. Being a bar owner at the age of twenty four was not something she’d imagined for herself at this age. She’d hoped to go to college, and had taken a few classes, but after her father’s death, she had to step up and take over the bar or it would’ve been lost to the bank. The Deuce meant too much to her and her sister to let it go. It was one of the hardest decisions she’d had to make as an adult, but she could honestly say that it’d been the best.

As the bar began to fill up, Liberty spent time doing office work so that she could be on the floor when the crowd really got going around eight o’clock. Her office was in the back of the building, down the hallway from the bathrooms and a small employee breakroom.

The building itself was old, but had been renovated about eight years ago, her father updating everything in the building. There were minimal problems with the bar and Liberty was thankful that she didn’t have to spend time fixing leaks or any type of maintenance issues that came up, because she had no clue how to fix things on her own. She was thankful that Moe and the two bartenders were handy with tools.

Leaving the office, she checked the bathrooms, refilling the paper towel dispenser in the women’s room. She knocked on the men’s room door and yelled, “Management! Is there anyone in there?”

“I got it, Libby,” Cole announced as he came around the corner. “Go on out front and cover the bar for me. I’ll be right out.”

“Ah, thanks, Cole,” she smiled, handing him a rag and a bottle of cleaner. He nodded and ducked into the men’s room without another word.

The hallway by the bathrooms dead ended into another short hallway. Turning left would take you into the kitchen and turning right dumped you out into the bar area. She quickly checked on Moe in the kitchen but didn’t say anything to the older man. He was busy plating orders and setting them in the window for the waitresses to deliver to the tables.

Liberty gasped as she turned the corner and almost plowed right into her sister. “Nova! Where’s the fire, girl?”

“Sorry,” Nova gasped, her face flushed. “They’re here.”

“Who’s here?” she questioned.

“The cats,” Nova giggled, but zipped her lip when Liberty scowled at her. “Sorry, Talon Shaw and his crew are here and everyone is staring at them.”

“Why is your face so red? Did anything happen?” Liberty asked.

“No,” Nova smiled. “Um, one of them was flirting with me.”

“Girl,” liberty swore. “Stay away from those boys. In fact, stay away from all boys. They’re nothing but trouble. Now, go wait your tables.”

“Okay,” she giggled, bouncing off to the kitchen to grab her orders. At twenty-one, her sister was strikingly beautiful and single. That was a bad combination.

Liberty shook her head and made her way out to the bar, glancing over at the booth in the back corner. Talon and his brother Noah sat with four other men, all talking and laughing amongst themselves.

As if she’d called out, Talon’s head snapped around, their eyes locking from across the room. His face was momentarily cast in a shadow from the dim lights; that was until his head tilted to the side curiously. Liberty was rooted to her spot as Talon’s ice blue eyes darkened. A hint of yellow seeped into them, and as quickly as she gasped, the color was gone and so was the hold he had over her body. His brother nudged him, causing the alpha to turn his head, but not before the corner of his lip lifted into a naughty smirk.

“Can you take these drinks over to our local celebrities?” Luke asked, setting another round of beers on a tray.

“Sure,” she nodded, sliding the tray onto the flat of her hand that was suddenly shaky.

As she approached the table, she watched Talon’s back stiffen. His head raised slightly and his shoulders seemed to double in size as he breathed deeply. Two of the men lifted their gazes and smiled. Talon lowered his head and looked up at her through thick, dark lashes.

“Gentlemen,” Liberty smiled, setting a fresh bottle in front of each man.

“Thank you,” Talon said, his voice a deep timbre. In fact, she could’ve sworn she heard a slight rumble coming from his chest, but she could’ve been mistaken too. The music was so loud that it may have been a part of the song that was playing over the speakers.

“Is there anything else I can get you?” she asked, taking the empty bottles off of their table.

“Yes, darlin,” a slurred voice said from behind her. “You can tell these freaks they’re not wanted.”

“Excuse me,” she snarled, setting the tray on Talon’s table and turning around to find Terry Holmes, a guy she’d gone to school with, swaying where he stood, his eyes bloodshot and watery.

“I said…you need to kick these abominations out of your bar,” he snarled. “Your daddy would be rolling over in his grave if he knew you were serving these…these pussies, Liberty.”

Liberty was shocked for a moment, but then her temper kicked into high gear. “Terry, my daddy would’ve never been so hateful. Now, you need to just go on back to your seat, and if you can’t behave yourself, I’ll call Sherriff Lynch and have him come pick you up. I think you’ve had enough for the night.”

Terry sputtered for a moment, his face turning red. Before she could blink, Terry reached around her and grabbed Talon’s wrist, “I said they need to go!”

In a move her daddy would be proud of, Liberty seized hold of Terry’s wrist, adding just enough pressure for his hand to release the alpha’s wrist. The men at the table cursed and began to scramble as Liberty spun herself to the side, taking Terry to his knees. In a matter of seconds, Liberty had Terry’s arm behind his back at such an odd angle, the other patrons in the bar cringed at the look of pain that cross the drunk man’s face.

“Hear me and hear good,” Liberty bellowed, her southern accent thickening with her anger. “This is my bar! It doesn’t matter who or what you are…black, white, human…shifter or God knows what else is out there, you will not disrespect my customers or anyone who works in this building. From this moment forth, The Deuce is neutral territory. Leave your opinions and your differences at the damn door.” With that, Liberty dropped her hold on Terry. The man scrambled to his feet just as Talon’s friends gathered at her back.

“You will regret this, Liberty Raines,” Terry snarled, pointing a dirty finger in her direction. Liberty stifled a laugh because Terry was pointing at something over her shoulder.

“Go on, Terry,” she barked, shaking her head. “You are out of here for two weeks. Don’t let me see you back here until you can behave yourself.”

She watched Terry until he stumbled out of the door, one of his friends following him out to his car. When she turned around, she gasped at the six men who were standing so close to her back that she almost face planted into one of their beefy chests.

“Why did you do that?” Talon asked, stepping closer. His head tilted to the side again. She mentally slapped herself when she thought he resembled her cat Mittens when she would tilt her head from side to side.

“Um, because he was drunk and touched one of my customers,” she answered. “I’m sorry that happened. Are you okay?”

“I’m perfectly fine,” he snarled, looking like he could take her over his knee. Damn, he was mad.

“Are you mad?” she scoffed.

“No, ma’am,” Talon sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “I’m not angry at you. What I want to know is, why did you defend us?”

“Because this is my bar and I won’t tolerate disrespect,” she nodded, toward his hand. “Do you need some ice? He grabbed you pretty hard.”

“No,” Talon snorted, calming slightly. “We…um, we heal pretty quickly.” To prove his point, Talon raised his wrist for her to see.

Liberty gasped as she watched as the darkening under his skin evaporated and immediately vanished within seconds. “That’s really cool.”

“Thank you,” Talon smiled. “We believe in repaying our debts. The Shaw Pride is in debt to you, Ms. Raines. If you are ever in need of us, please let us know.”

“Ah, that won’t be necessary,” she blushed, looking up into Talon’s eyes. He was damn near a foot taller than her. His shoulders were wider than a damn door frame. This man, and all of the men with him, probably lifted dump trucks just for the fun of it. “Maybe if I need some manual labor…moving a house. I’ll let you know.”

“Liberty?” Talon called out, just as she turned to walk away. When she looked over her shoulder, Talon’s nostrils had flared slightly and yellow sparks had seeped into his eyes. She felt her body warm from just his look. Oh, this couldn’t be good.

“Yeah?” she stuttered.

“Do not ever put yourself in a dangerous position with a drunk human male again,” he ordered, his eyes completely changed to a glowing yellow.

“Yes,” she sighed, breathlessly. “Um, okay.”

Without another glance, Liberty rushed off to her office, slamming the door behind her. Bending at the waist, she gasped for air as she tried to calm her heart from thundering in her chest. If she closed her eyes, she could still see those beautiful eyes, and she could’ve sworn his scent still lingered around her body. That scent alone caused a heavy feeling in her breasts and a dull ache deep in her belly.

She didn’t know what the hell was going on with her body. Liberty Raines was a strong, independent woman and she would never let a man tell her what to do, but why in the hell did every part of her mind, body, and soul want to obey exactly what Talon Shaw had ordered her to do?

 

* * *

 

“You know that son of a bitch is going to come back, right?” Noah asked, draining the rest of his beer. His keen eyesight swept across the bar, looking for any sign of trouble.

“He won’t touch her,” Talon vowed. There was something about the woman that made his protective instincts awaken. The feeling was so foreign to him that it shocked him silent for a moment. The feeling was different from his need to protect his pride. No, this was different…stronger.

“Whoa, dude,” Noah drawled, leaning forward to get a good look at Talon’s face. “Your panther interested in the little bar owner?”

“What?” Talon growled, feeling his panther close to the surface. He shook himself, trying to silently tell his cat to calm the fuck down. He wasn’t looking for a mate and that little human bar owner was not what he needed…ever. They why in the hell was he being drawn to her?

“Uh, yeah, man,” he snickered. “Your kitty cat is prowling.” Noah laughed and pointed to his own eyes, alerting Talon to the fact that his were turning amber.

“Why the fuck do you call it my kitty cat?” he barked, wanting to strangle his little brother and change the subject. The kid was barely twenty two years old, but acted like he was still fifteen sometimes. “Boy, did momma drop you on your head as a baby? I don’t remember if she did.”

The other men at the table, Savage, Dane, Storm, and Winter, looked everywhere but at their alpha, choosing to ignore his brother and his stupid mouth.

“Naw,” he laughed. “I was the good one, remember? She loved me more than you or Kye.” Kye was the youngest. At seventeen, he was about to graduate high school and head off to college. Talon hoped like hell that their little announcement to the world didn’t affect his bother’s future.

“Shut up, Noah,” Winter barked. “Boy, you don’t know when to quit do you?”

“Nope,” Noah grinned. “He loves me. It’s all good, my friends.”

“Now, I see why some mothers eat their young,” Talon mumbled.

Talon ignored his brother’s rambling and watched the bar with a keen eye. Liberty was rushing out with a tray of food. The tiny brunette looked very small in comparison to the tray she was holding. Her big brown eyes were framed with long lashes, her cheekbones high and sculptured just right. Talon suppressed a groan when he watched her lean over to place a plate of food in front of one of her customers. The tight denim jeans she wore molded to her shapely hips. Her tight tank top made her large breasts defy the material’s ability to stretch to its limits. On her feet, she wore a pair of tennis shoes that had seen better days.

“Your tongue is hanging out,” Winter said, nudging Talon’s side. “She’s human, boss.”

“I know,” Talon replied, not taking his eyes off of the beautiful woman. “I’m trying to figure out why she protected us, and to take on a man twice her size.”

“She’s a human alpha,” Savage shrugged, pointing the top of his beer bottle in her direction. “That little lady right there is a force in her world. I’ve met a few like her. That man, Terry, best not be causing trouble in here or she’ll eat him for lunch.”

“It goes against everything we’ve been taught to see a woman have to defend herself, let alone people she doesn’t even know.” Talon glanced at all of his men.

“If I were a human male, I wouldn’t want to piss her off in a dark alley.” Savage shivered and downed the rest of his beer.

“Nope,” Storm laughed, running his hand through his short cropped blonde hair, his ice blue eyes sparkling with humor. In fact, the only way to tell that these men were in fact panthers was to look at their eyes. Each and every one of their eyes had a unique ice blue color. Only when their panther took over did the color change to a glowing amber.

“Hey, boys,” a waitress smiled as she approached the table. “Names Della, and the boss lady said these were on her.” Della popped her bubblegum as she unloaded her tray of ice cold beers on the table. She folded the tray under her arm and smiled at Winter, winking when his brows raised. “Let me know if you need anything else.”

“Can we order some food?” Noah asked, pulling a menu from behind the salt and pepper shakers at the back of the table. “I’m starving.”

“Whatcha craving, baby boy?” she smiled. Over the past few months, they’d learned this new waitress, Della Carter, was in her mid-forties and didn’t take crap from anyone. She dressed as if she were twenty and had the body to pass it off. Talon was certain she achieved that by some type of plastic surgery, but he wasn’t one to judge.

“I’d like a double cheeseburger,” he paused. “With a side of fries, onion rings, fried mushrooms and add two chicken sandwiches to that.”

“You’re going to eat all of that?” Della raised a brow in shock.

“I’m a growing boy,” Noah smirked. “Plus, that’s just an appetizer.”

Della laughed and made her way around the table, gasping at the amount of food the men ordered. Talon smiled to himself. If she only knew how much we spent on groceries, she’d be happy with this small order.

“What’s on the agenda for this evening, boss?” Winter asked, still watching the crowd for any trouble.

“Sitting here,” Talon replied, making his own sweep of the bar. “I’m not leaving here until this place closes tonight. Not sure if ole Terry will come back to confront Liberty.”

“You really think he will?” Noah asked.

“He may,” Talon nodded. “Let’s just enjoy the night off and tomorrow we can rest until the Fall Equinox gathering at the main house.”

Every Equinox and Solstice, the panthers gathered for a night of celebrations, giving thanks to the ancient gods who made them what they were. Usually, the women of the pride would prepare a large meal, serving it at the alpha’s home. After the sun set, Talon would hold a ceremony of thanks and then dismiss his pride to shift and hunt on the land. Whatever meat they didn’t eat was dragged back to the main house and the men would stay up past dawn to prepare it for storage, providing the pride with meat for the next three months.

They could shift anytime, day or night, but on the night of each season, their cats called to run with their fellow shifters. The women were guarded and they were not allowed to run alone. This was more out of a habit from ancient times. They were once hunted by their enemies and the one way to take out a pride was to kill their females. It was bred in their DNA to be protective and the women let them. For the females who were with child, they were not allowed to shift during their last trimester. A few of the men would stand guard at the gathering site, ensuring that the women were fully protected.

A commotion at the door had Talon backing out of his thoughts. The remainder of his guardians arrived fresh off of work for his construction company. Ranger Coleman and Booth Woods smiled at the passing waitress. Talon believed her name to be Mary Grace. She was a looker as well. Her old world looks gained the attention of Ranger and he laughed when he saw Booth smack his guardian in the back of his head to get his attention.

“Jesus, she fucking beautiful,” Ranger sighed, shaking his head and taking a seat outside the booth they were sharing.

“And she’s human,” Talon reminded him.

“But she’s a sturdy human,” Ranger wagged his eyebrows. Noah shook his head as he placed his face into his palms. Mary Grace was curved in all the right places. Human men ignored her because of her size, but to a panther…the healthier the woman, the better she’d handle him. A healthy female carried healthy cubs. It was the way things used to be and for their kind, the way it still was when it came to women.

The thought of sexy, thick thighs had Talon groaning under his breath when his mind drifted back to Liberty Raines. She was tiny in his eyes, but to a human, she could be considered stout. There was nothing wrong with her body. Her hips flared just enough for his large hands to grasp when making love. Her breasts were bountiful enough to feed his babe and any cubs that came after the first. Her skin was slightly tanned, her hands small but strong. Her lips looked like a cupid’s bow and they plumped perfectly when she pursed them in thought.

And those thoughts just needed to stop. Was he that observant of the little woman? Damn, he’d only spoken to her directly once and that was just earlier when Terry had caused a scene.

The night wound down and before Talon knew it, Liberty had started cleaning tables and shooing customers from their seats. As she made the rounds, he watched as she smiled warmly when she stopped at each table.

“Here’s your tab,” Liberty said, handing Talon a long slip of paper. They’d accumulated quite the bill. Talon didn’t even flinch at the amount at the bottom, retrieving his wallet and pulling out four large bills.

“That should cover everything,” he said, holding the money out for Liberty.

The moment their fingers touched, Talon’s spine stiffened and his panther lurched forward. A hot, debilitating current blazed through his body. His panther roared inside his head. From the look on her face, Talon knew she’d felt the odd sensation as well.

“Are…are you…purring?” she gasped, locking eyes with him. She didn’t cower down, nor did she run away. “Um, your eyes…they change color?”

Talon tried with everything he had to push his panther back. He knew what the hell was happening and the revelation stunned him even more. There was no possible way this could be happening.

“Boss, what’s wrong?” Savage growled, his body stiffening. Every one of the panthers could feel the electric charge in the air. Something was amiss…something was wrong. Winter, Savage, and Noah crouched low, defensively, awaiting a threat. Little did they know that there was no threat. They’d just witnessed something rare…something unusual.

“Boss?” Winter questioned.

“Um,” Liberty breathed, her eyes still locked with Talon’s penetrating gaze.

As Talon’s eyes began to clear, his panther finally relaxed. Knowing there were guardians around for protection, he felt his tension ease slightly, but not before the word slipped from his lips. It was one word…and that word told all of the panthers exactly what had happened.

Mate,” Talon growled, reaching out to cup Liberty’s face with both of his hands. As soon as his lips crashed down on hers…he was lost. He’d found his mate.

And she was human.

Copyright 2016 @ Theresa Hissong

 

 

 

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Excerpt from “Talon”

Talon Cover Ebook

Here is a raw and unedited sneak peek from “Talon” Book 1 in my new paranormal series, “Rise of the Pride” out Feb. 2016!

A knock on her office door had Liberty groaning, afraid to open it to see who was standing there. Setting the letter opener aside, she stood up and walked to the door, pulling it open to find Talon towering over her. His body was so large that he took up the entire space of the door…and then some.

“Shut the door,” he ordered, eliciting a gasp from Liberty.

“What?” she asked, confused at the look on his face.

“You never open a door without knowing who is on the other side,” he stated. “Now…close the door, Liberty.”

She smirked at him and slammed the door in his face, only to hear two quick raps on the wooden frame.

“Um, who is it?” she chuckled.

“It’s Talon,” he replied. “May I talk with you?”

She cracked the door to see him standing in the same position he’d been in only a few seconds ago. The thought of letting him into her office sent a thrill and about a million dirty thoughts through her mind. Clearing her throat, she stepped aside and pushed her hand out to the side in a silent invitation to enter the room.

“What did you want to talk about?” she asked.

“Our date,” he said, his voice rumbled with its depth. She had to fight her eyes to keep from closing in bliss just from the sound.

“Is that all?” she asked with a smile. She remembered the flower delivery and smiled some more.

“No,” he said, not a man of many words.

“And?” she pushed.

“Is the Sherriff your mate?” he growled.

“Hell, no,” she barked. “Never.”

“Good,” he replied. “May I see your hand?”

“Why?” she asked, narrowing her eyes. In fact, her hand still tingled with the creepy crawly feeling and she found herself rubbing it against the material of her jeans.

“Does it burn?” he asked, almost in a whisper. When she looked up into his eyes, they’d sparked amber again and she found it fascinating. It wasn’t like anything she’d ever seen. His ice blue eyes were still there, but parts of the blue were now amber and they seemed to glow. The amber parts were just little pin pricks of color.

“It feels weird,” she admitted. When he held out his hand, she automatically raised hers for him to take into his warm hands. The moment his fingers came in contact with her wrist that was now a little pink from her rubbing it, the feeling diminished. Her eyes shot up to his and then she saw it…his fangs had descended. “Talon?”

“I could kill him for touching you,” he whispered, still caressing her wrist. “In my world, a male doesn’t touch a mate…ever.”

“Why?” she asked, breathlessly. He continued to stare at her wrist and not into her eyes.

“When our kind mates,” he began, raising his eyes to meet hers. “If an unmated male touches her, it will cause the female pain. I don’t know why this is. It has been said that it was nature’s way of protecting the mates. They are precious to the males.”

“But we are not mated,” she whispered, watching his eyes return to their natural color. When his fangs receded, she felt like asking him if he could make them reappear. It was fascinating to her how these people changed into an animal and seeing his body transform, even slightly, interested her. She thought back to that book of Nova’s and she shook her head to keep from going glassy-eyed at one of the intimate scenes she’d read before work.

“Not yet,” he sighed. “If you are touched by a male and it is unbearable, I need you to tell me. It’s very important that you have my touch to heal you.”

“Even if the man has no intentions to mate me,” she snorted. “So, I’ll never be able to touch a man again? What about here at the bar? What if someone grabs me?”

“No man should ever grab a woman,” he growled. “And if a man ever grabs you, I want to know his name.”

“You can’t go around killing men for touching me,” she scolded, looking down at her wrist, seeing the skin had returned to its normal color. The icky feeling disappeared. How weird was that?

Instead of a reply, Talon growled and turned for the door. “Winter and his men have been at your home since nightfall. If you need anything, call me or just yell for Winter. We have excellent hearing.” The door closed and she was left staring after him.

The room felt as if she were in a wide open place. His presence didn’t linger in the room and she immediately wished he’d stayed.

Copyright 2015 Theresa Hissong

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First Peek at Fatal Temptations…Fatal Cross Live! Book 2

Ein Dutzend Hände mit gespreizten Fingern als Silhouette eines Konzertpublikums vor einer besonderen Lichtshow, die an Aquarien oder an Pyrotechnik erinnert

Here is your first look at Fatal Temptations, book 2 in the Fatal Cross Live! Series.

This Prologue is RAW and UNEDITED…..

Look for Fatal Temptations to be out this winter…Enjoy!


Prologue

Presley

Remembering

11 years ago…

He’s drunk again.

Hell, he’s always drunk.

My entire life had been nothing but whisky sours and Bud Light from the time he walked in the door in his three thousand dollar suit fresh from his hard day’s work as a corporate CEO until he passed out from the alcohol right after dinner. Daddy dearest thought he was the best thing to grace the air I breathed and reminded me of that as often as he felt the need.

At nineteen, my life should’ve been college classes and late night parties with my best friends, flirting with boys, and chasing the sunrise on Saturday mornings. That would never be a part of my world. No, I was not allowed to do the things that normal children were allowed to do because it would embarrass my perfectly sculptured family unit if I was to step over some invisible line of his social standards. I was only allowed out of the house on school nights for my job. Yes…I said, school nights. I was actually in college with a curfew.

In the last six or seven years, I’d learned that when I had bruises around my throat, he was disgusted by the sight while he tried to eat his perfectly prepared meal. Even though he’s the one to put those marks on me when he felt the need to let off some steam or the booze changed him into a monster. Just like the ones I received the night I came home to find him sitting in the recliner, drunk, and I hadn’t made it home by nine after my shift at the pizza shop I worked at in the evenings. The end result was always the same.

A door slamming downstairs had fear racing up my spine and I shivered from the unknown of what that sound meant. Was it a simple mistake from the wind catching the door? Or was he angry for my mom not having his dinner on the table when he required it? Was he leaving the house for some dinner meeting I wasn’t aware of?

I couldn’t get that lucky.

The only saving grace I had was that he surely wouldn’t want me at the dinner table tonight. No, not with the way I looked. I’d just wrapped a soft scarf around my neck, the same one I always used, and stayed in my room for most of the day, only coming out to grab a sandwich.

My mother was no better. She made excuses and always took his side in any argument. The lies were getting easier to spot now that I was older. If I heard how he’d “just had a horrible day at work” or “you know your father…he didn’t mean it” one more time, I seriously thought I’d kill my fucking self. Just give me the gun, I’d pull the trigger, because I’m not sure how much more of this I could take.

A soft knock on the door announced my mother arriving with a plate of food. The sound of the fine china plinking against the silverware always made my skin crawl. The lap of luxury wasn’t all it’s made out to be on television. Trust me…I was living in my own personal hell, candy coated with money.

“Here’s your dinner,” she snapped, setting the plate on the small desk beside the door. The upturn to her nose was a dead giveaway that she’s still taking his side, not caring that her beloved husband almost killed the child she’d given birth to.

In fact, with the silent treatment and pity party for one she’d been throwing for herself all day, I’m sure somehow this entire thing was my fault. Oh, and the shopping trip this afternoon was probably retail therapy for her distraught nerves for having a wild teenager living under her roof.

“I’m not hungry,” I whispered, pulling the headphones back over my ears to drown out her voice. I looked up out of the corner of my eye when she slammed the door as quickly as she opened it. I just wanted to make sure I was alone in my room, relaxing when he wasn’t standing there behind her.

I didn’t want anything from them…I just wanted a way out. Things were falling into place for me, but I had to just hold on a little while longer. I’m not as stupid as they think. I’d been saving up for a while now, having my own account for the past three years. I’d been putting away money so I could get out on my own, and somehow, they hadn’t known about my little bank account.

I had a safe place to go, if I needed it. A friend from high school had gone on to play for a fairly known band and was currently traveling the country, but he gave me a set of keys to his place if I needed to get away from home. I’d packed away all of the things I needed into a duffle bag and had hidden them behind the shed at the back of our property where I knew my father would never venture out. The little shed held lawn equipment and was only used by the hired help during the spring and summer when they would mow the lawn. Since it set so close to the fence line, I tucked my bag as far back as I could and prayed it was never seen.

“Do you not have any fucking respect for your mother?” my father blared, pushing the door open to my room so hard the door handle imbedded itself into the wall behind it. “Huh? Do you? You ungrateful bitch!”

The plate with my meal was picked up and thrown at my face, but I dodged to the side to miss it. I guess that was the wrong thing to do. The fact that it didn’t hit me actually made things worse…so much worse.

As my eyes blink to clear the past few hours, I gritted my teeth to fight the tears that had fallen down my scraped up cheek. My left eye was now totally swollen shut, but I still had full use of the other one. As I took stock of my body, I breathed a sigh of relief when I come up with only the busted eye. He’d gotten really good at punching me hard enough to knock me out, and I’m thankful that this time he didn’t keep up the beating. I guessed his food was getting cold.

It didn’t take long before I made the decision that would forever change my life. I found the second hidden bag I kept between my mattresses. This duffle was empty, but it only took me a few minutes to pack the clothes I needed.

I didn’t even look back when I climbed out of my window and ran away from home, swearing I’d never let that man have any more control over my life.

The darkness surrounded me as I walked the seven miles to the apartment I would be using as my own. By the time I arrived, my head was pounding and my vision had started to blur. I’d already been yawning for the past hour as I’d walked down back roads and alleyways to get to where I needed to go. So, it wasn’t a surprise when I did nothing more than face plant on the couch of my best friend and sleep for the next two days, praying I wouldn’t ever go back to the hands of the monster I called my father.

Copyright 2015 Theresa Hissong

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Playlist for “Fatal Desires”

 
After every release, I post the music that inspired the book. Here is the list for Fatal Desires!

Boss’s Daughter by Pop Evil

Higher by W. E. R. M

Darkest Part by Red

Gravity by Papa Roach

Failure by Breaking Benjamin 

Angel by Theory of a Deadman

Eyes on Fire by Blue Foundation 

Lonely Boy by The Black Keys

Room to Breathe by You Me at Six

That Day by Nonpoint

Your Kisses Burn Like Fire by The Picturebooks 

Thank you all who have read and loved Taylor and Coraline’s story! 

 

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***SOLD OUT*** Fully Loaded Signed by Matt DiRito & Theresa Hissong ***LIMITED AVAILABILITY***

***SOLD OUT***

I WANT TO THANK ALL OF YOU WHO PURCHASED THE COPIES OF FULLY LOADED SIGNED BY MATT DIRITO!!

***LIMITED AVAILABILITY***

FULLY LOADED SIGNED BY MATT DIRITO!!

IMG_1728

I spent the evening with Matt (Our Donovan Milano!) in Clarksville and had him sign a few copies of Fully Loaded!

Matt

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These copies are SOLD OUT, BUT you can get an autographed copy from Theresa (her signature only) at this link…. http://authortheresahissong.com/fully-loaded/

THANK YOU!!

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Teaser Scene from “Fatal Desires”, Book 1 in the new Fatal Cross Series

Teaser Scene from “Fatal Desires”, Book 1 in the new Fatal Cross Series:

Because I had to push the release date further out, I wanted to at least give you a little bit of Coraline and Taylor’s book…

This is raw and unedited.

Enjoy!

My phone rang, disrupting our moment. I cursed when I saw it was my bandmate and the lead singer of Fatal Cross.

“Hey, Ace,” I said, greeting him with more enthusiasm than I felt. “What’s going on?”

“Hate to bother you, man,” he sighed. “We just fired Jose.”

“What? Why?” I asked, shocked at his words. Jose was the guy who’d been our tour manager for the past six years.

“He was arrested last night,” Ace cursed. “He’s been selling drugs when he wasn’t working for us. Looks like he was deep in the drug trade here in Seattle. They found a few hundred thousand dollars of coke in his house. He’s going to be put away for a long time.”

“Son of a bitch!” I roared. How many people did we know that had their finger in the very thing we were trying to stay away from? “I swear, we are going to have to start doing drug tests on our crew.”

“That very thought has crossed my mind,” he sighed. “I called because we need to find a new tour manager, like yesterday, man. We leave for London in three weeks. I know you will be over there already, but I need your help finding a replacement.”

My eyes locked with Cora’s and she was already shaking her head, but I ignored her. She’d planned on a lengthy vacation after this tour, but I wasn’t going to let her get away from me this time. She wasn’t going to run…no, not this time. I had to keep a strong hold on her or she’d leave me in her dust as she found a secluded place somewhere on this planet to sulk in her own self-induced exile.

“I’ll get back to you,” I said, hanging up the phone after a promise to call him back soon.

“No,” she growled. “I like my quiet time. I need a break, Taylor.”

“I’m not giving you an option, Cora,” I said, using my knuckle to direct her chin back in my direction. She squirmed to get out of my lap, but I locked my other arm around her tightly. She wasn’t going to run from me this time.

“You can’t make me go,” she cursed. “Taylor, please. Don’t make me…I can’t.”

“Can’t what?” I asked, looking deep into those hazel eyes that hid so much, but also showed so much pain.

“I can’t be around you,” she whispered, tightening the hold around her stomach. “It…hurts too much.”

“I know it does, baby,” I said, pressing my forehead to hers. I felt her shoulders begin to shake and I knew she was about to break down again. “I’m not asking you, Coraline Maddox. I’m telling you that you will work for me on this next tour. It’s time we work things out. You and I both know that being apart doesn’t work for either of us.”

“You sound so sure of yourself,” she barked, but I saw the relief in her eyes. She was going to cave and come to work for us.

“You know I’m right,” I said, cupping the side of her face. I peered into her eyes and did the one thing that I’d wanted to do ever since I pinned her to the side of the bus when I first got here.

I finished the kiss I started when she ran away from me.

Her lips were just as soft and warm as I remembered. There was a salty taste to the bottom one when I bit it to demand she open for me. On her gasp, my tongue invaded her mouth, tasting, plundering and marking her as mine. She only protested for a second. Once I deepened the kiss, she melted into my embrace. By the time we parted, she was panting just as heavily as I was, her tiny body was formed against my chest as if she was made for me.

“Come on baby,” I said, kissing the tip of her nose. “Let me feed you and then we can get to work. You have another tour to prepare for.”

I didn’t give her the option of telling me no.

Copyright © 2016 Theresa Hissong

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Blood at Stake Chapter 1

Happy Friday!

Here is chapter 1 of Blood at Stake!

Coming in October

Chapter 1

Lydia

Security was tight tonight for the Krieger wedding of the century. Men were posted on a catwalk that ran the top of the brick wall that surrounded the Krieger mansion. At least I wouldn’t need to worry about my child’s safety.

Charity wasn’t my biological child, but our relationship was damn near close to that. You see, I found her a very long time ago laying in a pile of dead leaves and her own blood. I couldn’t let that young woman die there, so I did something I said I’d never do. I changed her into a creature of the night. I took away her sun. I turned her into a vampire.

Thankfully, she was more happy that she was alive than dead. Over time, we had become as close as sisters, best friends for eternity. Recently, the town we lived in, Port Royal, was overrun with Lycans, and they had attacked many humans and vampires in the area. Fortunately, we were able to save them with a potion from a local witch. During those horrible few weeks, my Charity had found her mate. He was man she’d dreamt of when she was human.

Dragus was a warrior of the highest esteem and also the head Krieger for Port Royal. He’s a perfect match for her, and for that, I was happy. They truly deserved each other. The Joining ceremony was everything she’d hoped for in a wedding. “A fairytale in the making” was what I’d heard from most of the crowd here tonight.

“May I have this dance?” I looked up at the warrior who’d stopped next to my chair. Rowland must’ve noticed me staring after Ashby, the warrior I’d been lusting over the past several months, and came to my rescue.

“Sure, Rowland,” I nodded, casting a quick glance around, looking for the man who’d sat at our table during the reception, but hadn’t stayed long. I was saddened that he quickly returned to his post without even a backwards glance in my direction.

“I’m sorry he had to work tonight,” Rowland said, clasping my small hand in one of his as he guided me onto the dance floor.

“It’s okay,” I sighed, placing my other hand on the top of his massive shoulder. “It wasn’t a date.”

“No, it wasn’t, but he should’ve asked you to dance at least once,” he frowned, the scar in his lip pulling his bottom lip at an odd angle. “I would’ve covered for him.”

“That’s very sweet of you, Rowland,” I smiled, patting the top of his arm. “I’m fine, really. I think I’m going to head out anyway.”

“Are you sure?” he asked, twirling me around and capturing my waist with his large hand, dipping me so far back that I laughed loudly at his antics. The big ass Krieger was trying to make my night better, and I appreciated him for trying.

“Yes,” I smiled. “Thank you for the dance, Rowland. You are a good friend.”

“You are very welcome,” he said, looking over my shoulder. A mischievous glimmer in his gaze had me trying to turn my head in the direction of his gaze, but he pulled me close and continued to dance.

“What?” I began, but my question died on my lips as Rowland twirled me away from his body, just the tips of our fingers left touching, before he curled his hand into mine to pull me back into his arms. During my unexpected dance move, I noticed Ashby standing at the corner of the room, blood filled his eyes and his hands were clenched tight at his sides. An angry tick worked his jaw.

“He is an idiot,” Rowland whispered.

“He has a job to do,” I sighed. “Thank you Rowland, but I’m ready to go home.”

“Okay,” he said, stopping his dance to bow at the waist. “Thank you for the dance, Ms. Duncan.”

“Thank you, Krieger,” I curtsied, giggling when he winked.

I quickly gathered my things as Rowland excused himself to go speak to two other warriors who were here from a town not far from Port Royal.   It was early in the morning when the mating ceremony for Charity and Dragus ended, so I made my way to the front of the mansion in preparation to leave.

As I walked toward my car, I noticed the guards scattered across the front lawn. The men were posted all throughout the grounds. Some were dressed in standard warrior clothing, black cargo pants and a black cotton shirt, others in tuxedos to blend in with the mass of people gathered for the occasion.

I wouldn’t say that I was jealous, but it did sadden me that I was walking out of these gates alone. Who doesn’t get a little depressed when you go to a wedding without a date? Ashby and I sat at a table together during the reception, but by no means was this a date. We talked, maybe even flirted a little, but as with the life of a Krieger, he was on duty and in charge of the security for tonight’s event. So our time together was short lived, and I was a little miffed that he didn’t even ask me to dance. I’d spent most of the evening stealing glimpses of him as he worked.

The warrior Ashby was complete male perfection. Short blonde hair highlighted his sharp features. His pale, ivory skin was toned…muscular. Many times in the past, I’d stared at him when he wasn’t looking, trying to figure out if his skin felt as smooth as it looked. His hands told a story of hardship from the thickness and strength that radiated off of them. They’re large and everything he handled was with skill. I often wondered how they would handle me. There was something about that warrior that had me feeling drawn to him in some weird way. Even the dragon tattoo on his neck called to me as if it saw something deep inside my soul and wanted to protect me.

Every warrior was given the mark of a Krieger when they were chosen to protect our race. The tattoo of a dragon was placed upon their necks by our queen. She oversaw and approved every warrior that ever lived. When she’d marked Charity’s guard at the wedding, I was stunned at her abilities. With just the press of her hand, a dragon tattoo appeared on Adam’s neck, officially boosting him into the ranks of a warrior.

I shook myself out of my thoughts and walked toward my car. With a sigh, I tapped the button to release the locks. When I reached for the door, a hand slipped past me and grabbed the handle before I could do it myself.

“Ms. Duncan,” Rowland nodded while opening my door. I saw his eyes flicker to the front of the mansion, and I knew he was only doing this to get under Ashby’s skin. “I hope that you had a nice time.” Bless him. He was a soft hearted man, even though he had a scar that ran from the bottom of his ear and under his chin that came up through his lip. He looked menacing, but nothing else about the warrior would cause you to be afraid of him.

His Krieger tattoo, on the same side of the scar, was placed on top, hiding most of the damage that obviously happened to him as a human. He kept his light red hair loose, and it hung right at his chin. The vampire was stunning despite his obvious deformity. His eyes were different from anything I’d ever seen. They were a stunning crystal blue, but the rims were black as coal and seemed to thicken depending on his mood. Right now the trim was thinner, more normal.

“Thank you, Rowland. It was a lovely ceremony.” I tossed my purse on the passenger seat and climbed in, “Have a good night, Krieger.” With a wink, he closed my door and nodded politely. As I drove away, I looked in the rearview mirror and saw Ashby on the porch to the mansion. He was standing there at attention, and boy did he look mad.

Was he mad because Rowland was being nice? Why in the world would he be mad? Ashby had never shown any interest in me all of those times that he would escort me to the hospital or over to Charity’s during the curfew a few months ago.

Except for the past few weeks. He had been plenty nice when we’d run into each other, and I had this crazy idea, a few days ago, that he may like me more than just a friendship. But then again, he hadn’t tried to hold my hand, make a pass at me of any kind, or even ask me out on a date. He had my phone number and had never called for anything personal. Only to inform me that he would be picking me up at Charity’s request.

The man was frustrating and sexy as hell. My hormones were all in a knot over what could be…or maybe it was just my stupid female head getting the best of me.

My super hearing picked up the sound of a growl, low and deep, coming from the direction of the house. I checked the porch again and saw Ashby clenching his fists, his body vibrating from anger. “What the hell is wrong with him?” I growled in frustration.

When I turned around, I saw the gates to the main road were open. I punched the gas pedal a little too hard, and my car jerked forward. I didn’t bother letting off the gas and looking like an idiot. I pressed down harder and sped down the driveway, throwing rocks in the process. My little blue Mercedes would probably have chips in the paint, but I really didn’t care what it looked like. Ashby was being an ass, and I needed to get out of there.

Instead of going home, I drove over to Nights, the club I owned with Charity. The clock on the dash said the time was only two-thirty in the morning, so I had plenty of time to do some paperwork.

The club was vacant because we did not open due to the wedding. I parked and made my way to the back door. The parking lot was lit, and for some reason it was almost too quiet. I stopped suddenly, when I heard a slight rustling to my left. My nostrils flared as I tested the air. My superhuman senses realized something wasn’t right. The predator in me automatically tensed in preparation of something bad. Scenting the air again, I realized that it was not a vampire I scented and definitely not Lycan or Hybrid. It was human.

The hair on the back of my neck prickled, and I spun around, grabbing for the door as pain bloomed at the back of my neck. Warmth spread from that point out to my arms, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that I’d been shot.

My eyes blurred as I turned around and found two males coming at me fast. They were definitely human, and the first thing I noticed was that they had huge stakes hanging off their belts. I heard a whooshing sound, and a small stake pierced me in the middle of my chest, thankfully missing my heart. I growled out a curse, swinging my head around to see how many people were coming for me.

A younger man carried a black bag, like doctors used to use back years ago. I tried to use my right arm to feel my injuries, but it didn’t cooperate. I reached up with my working arm and felt the back of my head. From the agonizing burning, I knew the bullet must’ve been wooden, but it wasn’t Hawthorne. This burning was worse than that horrible wood that vampires are highly allergic to and could poison, if not kill, my kind.

My hand came away sticky with my own blood. The coppery smell fired my senses, causing my stomach to clench with the need to feed and repair my body from the bullet wound.

My attackers advanced on me as I tried to return to my feet. Blood filled my eyes and my fangs burned as they thickened in my mouth. Humans were not prey, but at the moment, I wanted their blood.

The first one was older, probably in his fifties, bald and a little pudgy. He grinned slowly and said, “Hey, Jerry! We got us a vampire! Bring me the vial.” He reached for me, and even in my weakened state, I hissed in warning, the predator in me poised ready to fight. The human paused for a moment. I could’ve sworn I saw fear on his face, but he quickly righted his features and continued to pull on my arm.

The one named Jerry ran up looking downright pissed off. “Damn, Dad! You gotta get ‘em in the heart.” Jerry was about twenty years younger than his father and resembled him perfectly. Except, Jerry still had his own hair and his was brown. Both of them had eyes the color of dark chocolate and dressed in black cargo pants and long sleeved black shirts.

“We need her blood,” the father yelled at his son. “They said they needed her vampire blood.”

I screamed, “B…bastard.” It was hard to breathe. The jackass turned and staked me again, but this time in the shoulder. The burning from the wood impaled in my body caused me to stumble, and I fell to the ground, hoping they’d get within a few inches of my teeth.

“Don’t move you damn bloodsucker,” Jerry cursed.

They stood over me for several minutes, judging my ability to attack them. Or, shall I say, my inability!

The father’s hands shook as he rummaged through the black bag. I heard the glass vials moving around in there and I knew that I couldn’t let them have my blood. I had to fight them, but at the moment, I was incapable of lashing out at them. I was getting weak. A weak vampire was worthless…and could end up dead very easily.

Headlights suddenly rounded the corner, and a vehicle I recognized screeched to a halt. Meadow – our waitress who was just learning her talents into seeing the future – jumped out of her car and ran straight for me. The panicked look on her face changed into one of rage at seeing these men over me.

“Run!” I screamed, but it came out more as a garbled moan than a demand.

Meadow hissed, her eyes filling with blood as she rammed Jerry, knocking him off his feet. The father produced a gun, aiming it at her head. “I will kill you. These bullets are wooden, you crazy bitch.”

She stopped a few feet from me, but couldn’t edge any closer, because the dad pulled the hammer back on the gun, showing us that he meant business.

“You better run humans,” she growled. I saw her hands shaking with nervousness, but I wasn’t going to point out that she was the shyest person I knew and probably wouldn’t know how to protect herself in an altercation. She was doing mighty fine holding her own at the moment.

Both Jerry and his father scrambled to gather their things, making fast time getting into their old, brown pickup truck. As I tried to right myself, my weakened body collapsed in a heap on the ground. My beautiful dress was ruined. The bastards laughed loudly as they drove out of sight.

“Lydia,” Meadow cried. She reached for me, pulling me to the back door by my good arm.

“Call…my…Nachtmann,” I growled. Once she dropped me, I used my good arm to reach into my pocket for my cell phone, handing it to her.

“Calling for help,” she said, as she dialed a number.

“Hurry, please,” I tried to swallow, but my throat was dry. I was quickly losing blood, and I needed a replacement supply….like yesterday. I curled up on my side as best as I could with all of these damn stakes protruding from my body. Blood trickled down my neck from the bullet wound that was starting to itch.

It was soon obvious that she’d dialed 111, our emergency hotline for all things vampire. I could strangle the little bitch. I was fine. The pain would go away if I could just dig out the bullet and pull out the stakes.

“Yes, my name is Meadow Parks. My boss has been shot and staked at her business. It Nights, a club down by the river. Yes, ma’am. I’ll stay.” She hung up the phone and said, “They’re coming, Ms. Lydia. Hold on.”

“You know,” I paused to take a small breath of air. “I’d be much better if you could pull this stake out of my chest and shoulder. Help me dig out the damn bullet while you are at it.” Meadow looked abashed for a moment.

“Is it safe to do that? You may bleed out,” she argued.

“That’s why I wanted you to call my Nacthmann,” I growled, my fangs sharp against my lip. “One of them would have fed me so I could heal.”

“You need a hospital,” she scowled. “Can I give you some of my blood? Will it help until they get here?” She was offering me her blood, and I really needed it, but that would just be awkward. She was just a child, sort of. It was weird, taking blood from an employee. I’m fairly certain there were some rules against that like harassment or something.

“No,” I panted, then hissed as the bullet in my neck sizzled. (Yes, I heard it!) “I think I can wait.” I frowned to myself when I heard sirens coming. Whoever she called was moving at top speed to get to us. Honestly, it was just a little wound. I’d be okay.

“Lydia,” a familiar voice called out.

It was him…Ashby.

He was here for me and somehow it made me realize everything was going to be okay. Right now wasn’t the best time to get all girly over the warrior, but damn, I just wanted to let him hold me. What the hell, Lydia!

“Over here,” Meadow called out.

When Ashby turned the corner, shock set in, and I started to shake. The bloody tears I’d been holding back finally fell over my lids, making a warm trail down my cheeks. My teeth chattered uncontrollably as I reached a hand out for him. Ashby dropped to his knees beside me and immediately started checking my wounds.

“Oh, doll,” he growled. “Who did this to you?” He placed his hands on the side of my face, and the worry in his eyes made me cry even harder. My vision took on a reddish hue, due to the blood in my tears. I really hated that I was crying, but given the situation I was in, all I could do was cry. It didn’t help that the warrior was showing me sympathy. He was only doing his job, but a little part of me hoped that he was doing it because he cared. Ok, I’m lying. A big part of me wished that he was doing it because he liked me.

“H…humans,” I gasped, when the bullet sizzled again. “Please pull out the stake, Ashby. It…it hurts.”

Bastian arrived and moved Meadow out of the way as he set down a medical bag. Opening it up, he removed gauze and tape. I groaned when I realized that this was going to hurt worse than when the damn thing went in.

“We have an ambulance coming, Ms. Duncan,” Rowland began. “We are going to pull out the stake so that your accelerated healing can begin, but you’re going to need blood and stitches. Do you know who your maker is?”

My heart lurched and a new round of tears began. “My maker is deceased.”

“I’ll feed her,” Ashby blurted, to my surprise.

“You don’t have to feed me, Ashby,” I scowled. I sure didn’t want him to put himself out.

Ashby sat back on his heels and pulled me up to him. He turned me on my side, and I heard his flesh open as he used his fangs to bite into his own wrist. The smell of warrior blood hit my senses, and I growled with the need to feed. My predator instincts kicked into overdrive, and when his wrist appeared at my face, I struck with the speed of a snake. I felt him tense behind me, then his large body relaxed. For a split second, I felt his erection pressing at my back. He shifted to a more comfortable position, thinking I didn’t notice…but I did. Oh, boy did I ever notice! Wowza!

“Pull the stake out, Rowland. She’d occupied with feeding,” he said, but I ignored my surroundings, because Charity was right, warrior blood was amazing.

The moment Rowland pulled the stake out, the flow of blood trickled faster down my back. I sucked harder on Ashby’s luscious wrist, moaning embarrassingly at the flavor. Someone pressed gauze to my back, and the pain from it caused me to growl, like an injured animal giving a warning. A huge hand stroked my hair, and the calming effect shut off my sound.

“Alright,” Ashby whispered. “Doll, you’re taking too much. I’m getting weak.”

Immediately, I pulled away and looked at his beautiful face. He was a little pale, and I held up my weak wrist. He shook his head in denial. “Please,” I whimpered. I really didn’t want him to suffer for helping me.

“I’ll be fine,” he smiled and stroked the side of my face, his calloused hands were rough against my skin. I nuzzled into his palm and closed my eyes, savoring his touch. “Where’s the ambulance?” He turned to Rowland who was on his cell phone.

“E.T.A is six minutes,” he announced.

“That’s too long. I’m taking her,” he stated, swooping me up into his strong arms. Oh, I liked that. I didn’t know if it was his strength, his blood, or a combination of both, but I had to squeeze my thighs together to keep from moaning at the idea of his strength protecting me.

Now was still not the time to get all starry-eyed over the warrior. Even though, from my vantage point, he was even more handsome than I’d ever noticed. His scent swirled around me. The blood from the wound that had recently closed on his wrist mixed with his natural male scent, and it was driving me crazy with lust. His blood was seriously stronger than any human blood I had ever tasted upon my lips. Even stronger than my makers.

When he reached the Krieger SUV, he used one hand to open the back and retrieve a blanket. He wrapped me up carefully and gently placed me in the passenger seat of the Krieger vehicle. The loss of his touch hurt more than the holes in my body. He used his speed and was in the driver’s seat an instant later.

“What did they want? Other than to kill you?” he growled, so deep that the frame of the vehicle vibrated with his words. The spot between my thighs heated with the action of his anger.

“One of them said something about a vial,” I told him, pulling the blanket around me tighter.

“Did they want your blood?” Ashby turned toward me, just for a moment. It was then that I noticed the whites of his eyes had filled with blood, his fangs were making points into his bottom lip.

“I assume so,” I frowned. “Why else would they need a vial?”

The bullet at my neck started to burn, and I reached back to feel the hole. I hissed at the constant burning sensation, then absently scratched at the wound. It itched like an insect bite.

“What’s wrong?” Ashby demanded.

“It burns,” I cried, digging more at the hole in my neck. “It itches!” He didn’t say anything, but the increased speed of the SUV told me that this wasn’t good. Something was not right about this bullet in my neck.

“Feed from me again,” he said, twisting his arm and shoving his wrist in my face.

“I took too much before,” I shook my head, refusing to feed.

Do it now,” he ordered on a growl, causing my heart to clench with the need to obey his command.

I didn’t argue, as I sank my fangs into his vein. The warmth spread across my tongue, and I greedily drank his offering. My stomach was full, and I didn’t want him to yell again. He obviously was concerned, so I did as I was told.

I noticed the hospital was only a few blocks away when I suddenly felt the pull of death upon me. It wasn’t even close to dawn, but for some reason, I was…sleepy?

Someone shouted my name, but it was too far away. All I really wanted to do was close my eyes.

And so I did.

Blood at Stake is up for preorder.  Release date is 4/28!

Preorder Links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/533121

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Fully Loaded Release Day!

It’s finally here!

Fully Loaded Cover 1

Fully Loaded released officially today!  If you preordered it, then it should be in your library.  Paperbacks are being printed and I hope to have them in the mail to you (if you preordered) by March 10th.  I will let you know when I ship them by posting it to my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/authortheresahissong).

Links to the eBooks are on the page at http://authortheresahissong.com/fully-loaded/

I hope you all love Fully Loaded as much as I loved writing it!  Share with your friends and tell them 50% of the proceeds go toward Matt’s charity, Star Treatments!!

Thank you all so much for all of your support over the past several months!  I can’t thank you enough!

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