Winter (Rise of the Pride, book 2) Chapter One

Winter Ebook Final

Here is your first chapter of Winter’s book…

(Raw, Unedited, and Subject to Change)

Chapter One

A storm raged outside as Nova stomped down the hallway, taking a sharp left, heading for Liberty’s office at the back of the bar. Her temper was getting the best of her and she’d had enough. She didn’t even bother knocking as she pushed the door open wide, startling her sister who was sitting behind the desk, going over bills. Liberty gasped, but didn’t say anything, her face looking pale.

“I’ve had it!” Nova barked, throwing her hands in the air.

“What’s wrong?” Liberty demanded, her new ice blue eyes flickering amber. Her sister was now part of the pride…a shifter. She’d been changed into a panther when a group of werewolves had held her and one of the young girls from the pride in a cabin, torturing them until Talon had shown up to save the day. Liberty had been beaten almost to the point of death. Talon, her mate, had made the decision to turn her to save her life.

“Pride whores,” Nova snarled. “These women are in here every damn day, trying their best to get themselves one of the pride to mate them. I just had to kick three of them out of here for trying to get their claws into the Guardians.” She wouldn’t admit it but that blonde bitch that was all but humping Winter’s leg was lucky she didn’t get punched in the throat.

“I don’t know what the hell I have to do to get them to stop coming in here and chasing the Guardians,” Liberty cursed, resting her head in her hand. Nova frowned at her sister’s sudden exhaustion. She’d been working a lot lately, opening the bar and staying as late as possible.

“Are you okay?” Nova asked, taking a step toward the desk. When she moved closer, she noticed that not only was Liberty’s face pale, it looked a little green. “Liberty?”

“Oh, God. I’m going to be sick!” Liberty barked, jumping from her seat. She darted around the desk and barely made it to the office bathroom before retching up whatever she’d had for lunch.

“What the hell?” Nova gasped, rushing to her side. She immediately knelt beside her sister, pulling her long brown hair back from her face. “I didn’t think shifters got sick.”

“They don’t,” Liberty groaned, turning her head to expel into the toilet again.

“Then what’s wrong?” Nova worried, unsure of what she needed to do.

“I think I’m pregnant,” Liberty cried. “No. I know I’m pregnant!”

“Oh. My. God!” Nova gasped, scrambling from her spot on the floor. She grabbed a couple of paper towels, running them under the cold tap before ringing them out. She returned to her sister’s side and held them to the back of her neck. “I’m going to be an aunt!”

“Yeah,” Liberty moaned, leaning back against the wall. “I don’t even know how to explain it. The other females had told me that I would know when I was pregnant. Something about it being part of my nature. When I woke up this morning, I knew. I’m so confused. I don’t even know how far along I am. I just started feeling weird this morning and then I was so tired. This was the first time I threw up.”

“What did Talon say?” Nova asked, stroking a strand of hair back from her sister’s forehead. “I bet he’s beside himself with joy.”

“He doesn’t know,” Liberty admitted closing her eyes.

“Uh, don’t you think it would be a good idea to tell him?” Nova asked, raising a curious brow.

“The females said that he would know just from my scent, but he was already gone when I woke up this morning. He had meetings at City Hall again.” Liberty slowly climbed to her feet, holding the wall for a moment to steady herself. “I don’t want to bother him.”

“Go…lay on the couch,” Nova ordered, helping her out of the bathroom. “You need to tell him, because if he finds out you were working and sick, he’s not going to be happy.”

“Okay,” Liberty sighed, dropping down onto the old couch that sat against the wall in the bar’s office. Nova frowned. It wasn’t like her sister to not put up a fight about being told what to do. “I’ll call him later.”

Before Nova could call Talon herself, a swift knock sounded on the office door. She quickly hurried over, opening the door slightly. Winter and Dane, two of the pride’s Guardians stood there. Dane started to speak, but froze before his words sounded. Both men’s nostrils flared as they inhaled a breath, tilting their heads to the side.

Nova stepped back as both men stepped forward, their gazes narrowing on Liberty. Liberty gasped when both men dropped to their knees beside the couch, but neither one of the men touched her sister. They knew that it would cause her pain and Talon would have their heads if they did anything to cause his mate harm.

“Does he know?” Winter asked, his voice full of concern.

“What?” she asked, a confused look crossing her sister’s face.

“You’re with young,” Winter said in awe and ran his large hand over his short cropped blond hair. Nova’s brow raised when both men began to purr softly. They looked at Liberty as if she were the most beautiful thing in the world. Nova knew it was part of their panther nature, and had heard about some of their ways from other females of the pride when she’d been there visiting Liberty one afternoon, but it was really strange to see it first-hand. The panthers could scent a pregnancy and the men found the scent to be soothing. A female who was pregnant was the most cherished thing in their lives.

“You can tell, too?” she groaned.

“Your scent,” Winter paused, his brows pushed forward. “Does our alpha know?”

“No,” Liberty said, shaking her head. “Nova was just about to call him.”

“I’ll call,” Winter demanded, pulling his phone out, but paused when Liberty held her hand up for him to stop.

“Don’t tell him,” Liberty ordered.

“I would never take that right from you,” Winter frowned, turning toward the other Guardian who was standing at attention at the door. “Secure the hallway.”

“What?” Nova asked, suddenly confused. “What the hell, Winter? She’s pregnant, not in danger.”

“All females with young are protected,” Winter said, his eyes swinging back toward her sister lying on the couch. She’d covered up with a throw blanket that was kept over the back of the couch when the office became chilly on a cold day before lowering his voice. “An alpha’s mate is the most protected of all females, and any male would give their life to save that of the alpha’s mate and their young.”

“Okay,” Nova nodded.

She tried her best to ignore the man who’d taken up her every thought during the past few months. That was, until she’d accepted a date from one of the guys that frequented the bar. When Winter had found out about it, he’d raised hell, saying Perry was a loser and wasn’t worthy. Nova had yelled at him and refused to allow him to watch over the house she lived in alone. Dane had become her new bodyguard since the wolves, who’d almost killed Liberty, were still at large. Winter had been furious, but so had Nova.

Winter’s ice blue stare followed her as she crossed the room, kneeling beside her sister. Nova didn’t need to see his face to know that he watched her closely. He’d been doing it for months.

“Can I get you anything?” Nova asked, stroking the hair back from her sister’s face.

“Ginger ale?” she asked.

“I’ll get it,” Dane spoke up, his eyes never leaving Liberty. “You stay with your sister.” The moment Dane took off down the hall, Winter stepped to the door, blocking anyone from entering. Nova shook her head, thinking that they were being a little too protective, but didn’t say anything.

The Guardian returned quickly with a tall glass for Liberty, placing it on the ground so that Nova could pick it up without touching him. She’d become accustom to the no touching policy these men adhered to with any females.

“Oh, that’s good,” Liberty sighed, handing the glass back to Nova. She stood up to place it on the desk when she heard the sound of her sister’s mate and the alpha of the Shaw pride bark, “Where is she?”

The moment the office door opened, Talon Shaw stood there, his wide shoulders touching the door frame, his eyes sparking amber. Rain drops glistened in his dark hair. He inhaled deep and moved forward, dropping to his knees. His large hand pressed softly against Liberty’s stomach.

“Liberty?” he asked, his voice sounding thick like he was about to shed tears. One moment, Liberty was on the couch…the next, Talon had scooped her up into his arms and spun her around as he shouted out his happiness. “I’m going to be a father!”

“Put me down, Talon!” Liberty barked, turning green again. “Now!”

“Let her go, Talon,” Nova warned with a grin, thankful her sister didn’t lose her ginger ale on her mate. Talon saw the look on Liberty’s face and rushed her toward the bathroom. The sound of Liberty getting sick was cut off when Talon kicked the door closed with his booted foot.

Nova smiled at her sister’s mate and his obvious concern as she left the office, almost running into Winter as he leaned against the wall in the hallway just outside the door. The big blond jumped back almost three feet, his eyes wide.

“Sorry,” she mumbled, sliding past him so that she wouldn’t even get close to touching him. She didn’t have time to worry about the damn Guardian. Nova had somewhere she needed to be.

“Where are you going?” he asked, following her down the hallway and looming over her just outside of reach. She didn’t need him bothering her or asking questions, because if he knew where she was heading, Nova was sure he’d raise hell, again.

“Cole,” Nova called out, ignoring the panther at her back as she leaned against the bar. “I’m out of here. Liberty will be leaving soon, too. She isn’t feeling very well. Call me if you need anything.”

As she made her way out of the bar, Winter growled behind her when the door closed in his face. Nova cringed when she heard him push through with a curse.

“I asked you a question,” he barked. He used his long legs to move in front of Nova, trying to stop her from getting to her car, but she walked around him with a scowl on her face. “Are you going out with him again?”

“That’s none of your business,” Nova replied, gritting her teeth. She really didn’t want to talk to him about the fact that she was going home to get ready for another date with Perry. The last time that happened, Winter had lost his temper and Dane had to send him away. “Tell Dane I’m going home.”

“Nova,” he called out, cursing when she shut the door to her car and pulled out onto the two lane highway, heading south to her home. She didn’t even look in the rearview mirror as she sped away, wishing that she was going home to get ready for a date with the panther instead.

 


 

Winter pounded his fists into the punching bag in his garage, his mind strictly focused on the area he needed to hit to achieve the best satisfaction. The tightness to his muscles sent a burning fire through his arms that was more than welcomed. Sweat poured down the sides of his face, his back, and his legs. His frustrations were not leaving his mind as well has he’d hoped. His panther was pacing, upset over one tiny woman.

She was out on a fucking date. The little human female that had been eating up his every waking thought for the past two months was on another date with some low life jerk that she had no business hanging around in the first place. The human male was not man enough to handle that little spitfire.

“Fuck,” Winter snarled, feeling his canines thicken in his mouth. He wasn’t jealous. Punch! No, he wasn’t. Punch! He just couldn’t stop thinking about her. Punch! She wasn’t his. Punch! Punch!

Every time he closed his eyes, Winter could see her, laughing at something he’d said or done. He’d watched her from the corner of his eyes most days when he’d stayed in human form to work on putting new locks on the old farmhouse.

He remembered one time that she’d been sitting at the kitchen table, reading a book. It was one of those romance novels she loved so much. The sun had been shining through the kitchen window and caught the side of her face. She’d radiated beauty and he’d been so mesmerized by her that he’d dropped his screwdriver, causing a loud clattering against the tile floor. When she looked up from her book, those brown eyes of hers sparkled and the smile that lit her face had made his heart swell.

They’d been together for weeks while the wolves had caused havoc in their town. He’d thought that he and Nova had become friends, but it’d been Dane who’d been protecting with her at the bar for the past week and a half. The other Guardian had been requested ever since Winter found out that Nova had been seeing this douchebag, Perry. He’d definitely angered her by voicing his concern about the male. That pissed off the little woman, and she refused to talk to him for two days…wouldn’t even look at him.

It wasn’t his problem. Nova had her own free will and could date whoever she damn well pleased. She wasn’t his mate.

Or was she?

He wouldn’t even know, because he refused to touch her. He didn’t want to take that chance, just as his alpha did with Nova’s sister, Liberty. Granted, it was an accidental moment when his alpha touched the female, but he didn’t stop himself from having contact with Liberty’s skin.

He didn’t want to damn Nova to a life as a panther. Being a human once, Winter knew the pain of the transformation. Liberty had been lucky. She was already comatose when Talon had forced his blood down her throat and the healer had given her enough sedative to at least make her forget the hours she screamed in pain in the main house. No one ever told the alpha’s mate about those horrible three days, but everyone remembered it all too well.

Winter had never forgotten the pain…the begging for death as his body accepted the blood, making him change into something lethal. He was different now, bigger. He’d been an average sized human five years ago, barely six foot tall and less than two hundred pounds. Now, he towered over many of his pride. At six foot five and almost three hundred pound of muscle…Winter wasn’t one to cross.

There was something in the shifter’s blood that made him grow, and grow large he did. He had strength that no human male, no matter his size, would have even with the best training. A werepanther could run at speeds faster than any of his animal cousins. Yes, he was a paranormal creature only once thought to be a myth.

As a human, he’d lived in the worst parts of Memphis, trying to keep himself alive while caring for his mother and baby sister. They’d both died the night everything changed. Winter squinted his eyes, trying not to remember that night, but like always, when he let down his guard…the memories came back.

They’d been at home, the family gathered for a rare family meal. His mother was attempting to stay clean and had cooked a decent meal for them. He was twenty and his baby sister was only eleven. The conversation had strayed to her schoolwork and how he’d just gotten a job with Shaw Security Specialist, making enough money that he planned on moving them out of the slums within the next few months. That was…until the front windows shattered, bullets flying everywhere.

The kitchen was open to the front room and the first bullet hit his mother in the head, ending her life with no suffering. Winter lunged for Summer, his sweet baby sister, but he was too late. A bullet grazed his shoulder and buried itself into her chest. The next one got him in the leg, but at the time he didn’t care. His only worry was for Summer.

She died in his arms, gasping for every breath.

It wasn’t until two days later that he woke up in the hospital. He’d been hit more than just in the leg. He’d taken another bullet to his abdomen, barely missing vital organs. Winter had come alive that day, demanding to be released. He wanted vengeance and he would stop at nothing until he found the people responsible for killing the only family he had.

He checked himself out of the hospital, against doctor’s orders, and made it his life’s mission to find the killers. He checked into a motel for the first night, planning and preparing. When he arrived at work the next morning, everything changed.

As he stepped in the office, two pairs of icy blue eyes swung in his direction. Savage, his then boss, and the owner’s brother, Noah glared at him, their nostrils flaring in what he thought at the time was anger. He’d not had a chance to even explain what had happened before he collapsed on the floor from a fever he didn’t even realize he had…or the infection that almost took his life.

They’d smelled the infection with their super human senses. Of course, Winter didn’t know that at the time, but now he understood. It was either let him die…or change him. He remembered Savage telling him as much and apologizing for the next few days when the pain would subside enough for Winter to hold a coherent thought.

The day he opened his eyes, and he wasn’t in pain, Winter stumbled around the room on all fours and thought he was going insane. There was something taking up his brain…his thoughts. No, it wasn’t something…it was someone…

His panther.

Savage had calmed him and had taken him under his wing for the next several months, teaching him how to live and thrive. They grew to be brothers in all ways, even blood. It’d been Savage who’d changed him on Noah’s urging, and in the end…he was thankful for everything they’d done.

The men who’d killed his mother and baby sister were found. The extent of their injuries were unexplainable and they died painfully. It was the right thing to do and Winter had no remorse for the actions of that night he and a few Guardians went hunting in the city.

His phone rang, interrupting his workout. Winter frowned when he saw it was the sheriff’s department phone number. He’d been working with them on a missing child case last week and he thought everything was taken care of when he and Savage found the kid hiding in the woods about a mile from the playground she’d walked away from only a few hours prior.

“Winter,” he answered.

“Winter, it’s Sheriff Lynch,” he announced. “I need to get in touch with Liberty, but she isn’t answering her phone.”

“What’s going on?” Winter asked, going on instant alert. “Is there something wrong at the bar?”

“I really need to speak with Liberty,” the sheriff replied, a heavy sigh sounded through the phone. Winter’s panther sat up straighter in his mind. Warning bells were going off in his head and he knew this had nothing to do with the bar.

“Is it Nova?” he growled, his panther prowled angrily.

“Do you know where Liberty is or not?” the other man asked. “I have to notify the next of kin before I can say anything.”

A deafening roar left Winter’s mouth as the words sank in…words he’d wished he’d never heard again. His knees hit the floor as a pain worse than this first shift struck him in the center of his chest.

“Wait!” the sheriff gasped. “Nova is alive, but she’s at the Methodist Hospital. I need you to find Liberty and bring her here.”

“What happened?” Winter snarled, his canines so thick in his mouth that he tasted blood on his lip where they’d nicked the tender skin.

“I really need you to get Liberty,” he replied. “Now, Winter. It’s urgent.”

“I’m on my way,” Winter snarled, disconnecting the call. His panther struggled for dominance, but Winter shoved him back. Now was not the time to go on a hunt to find the human and kill him. As soon as he knew that Nova was okay, he would let his panther out to play. It’d been a long time since Winter had gone on a good hunt.

Copyright 2016 Theresa Hissong

Look for Winter’s book, Coming August 2016!


 

Have you read Talon, book 1 in the Rise of the Pride series?

Get the first book for 99 cents at the links below!

Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/talon-theresa-hi…/1123229445

iBooks: Talon (Rise of the Pride, Book 1) by Theresa Hissong
https://itun.es/us/DDH8_.l

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/…/talon-rise-of-the-pride-book-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/605846

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1V2SEcW

 

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Twenty (20) Minutes…

***Warning: Graphic ***(Pictured below are Sexual Assault Kits aka. Rape Kits and these are photos from Google that are candy coated to give you an idea of what’s inside. But I can guarantee that when they are used, they are not this well put together for show.)


What has this world come to that women are seen as nothing more than an orifice for a man’s demented torture?

Did I get your attention?

No?

Then close your eyes for a moment and put yourself into the victim’s shoes. Imagine what she went through…the residual feeling of her rape.

It’s not something you want to think about, huh?

I’m going to start by telling you that I am not the only one writing a post about the rapist. I am also not the only one who is outraged.

And that last statement is a good thing.

Because it’s time we stop sticking our heads in the sand, ignoring what is happening to women and fight back!

Stop fucking looking away when this topic is brought up because it makes you feel weird! How the hell do you think the victims feel? I wouldn’t use “weird” as an answer.

Just twenty (20) minutes ago, I watched the CNN reporter read the victims statement. (the abbreviated one for TV)

Just twenty (20) minutes ago, my heart shattered for a woman I don’t even know.

Just twenty (20) minutes…that’s the estimated time the rapist’s father coined as his son’s “getting action”.

Twenty (20) minutes of sick satisfaction by a sick piece of shit who felt he had every right to violate this woman with “foreign objects” while she lay unconscious behind a dumpster.

This woman was processed and sent on her way home without being told anything. She found out everything from the news! Her own rape and assault was told to the media before it was ever told to her…the woman who’d been violated.

Do you know all of these people screaming about their “rights” to make $15 an hour working at McDonald’s?

Where the hell was this woman’s “rights”?

Why did her “rights” get published right next to the weekly weather?

The state of this society sickens me. Women have fought for equality since the beginning of time. We have risen above so much to show that we are not helpless twits without brains.

When are we going to stop slapping the hand of men who think it’s okay to take their liberties with a woman and punish them for not being able to control their dicks?

What is it going to take to stop the violence?

What is it going to take to stop some sick and twisted waste of fucking space who gets off on raping an unconscious woman for his own satisfaction?
Our world is not improving and I fear that these instances will continue to increase.

I encourage women everywhere to take a self defense class…learn to handle a gun…train yourself to fight back.

If you don’t take the class, please at least put your pre-teen and teenage daughters into a class. Give them the knowledge and confidence to protect themselves, because we all know that in twenty (20) minutes, a woman’s life can be drastically changed…forever.

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Sneak Peek at “Winter” Rise of the Pride, Book 2…Coming Soon!

Black Leopard, 6 years old, in front of a white background


“Winter”

Rise of the Pride, Book 2

Here is your first look (unedited) at the second book in the Rise of the Pride series!  Enjoy!

“Can you ask Dane to take me home?” she asked, glancing up into his beautiful eyes that had turned from ice blue to glowing amber.

“Dane is not taking you home,” he snarled, leaning forward. Nova leaned back when his eyes narrowed, his panther taking over. She gasped when Winter opened his mouth to speak and his canines had lengthened. “I trust no one but myself to keep you safe, Nova.”

“Are you just going to yell at me every time I do something stupid?” she whispered. “Because, Winter…I don’t think I can handle that.”

His gasp and predatory snarl froze Nova in her spot for a moment. His head tilted to the side and he leaned forward. She felt the heat rolling off of his body…even smelled the scent she’d come to associate with Winter Blue. It was the same scent she remembered from her dreams. The wildness to his scent drove her insane with lust for this man…this animal. Her breasts tingled and a heaviness settled inside her stomach.

Winter’s glowing eyes locked onto her lips, the tick in his jaw relaxed as he let out a tortured breath, then inhaling again long and slow. Nova braced for the kiss that she knew was coming. She wanted it…she wanted him. A thrill raced through her veins as she realized he was going to finally make contact.

Nova was frozen in the spot there on the bed, not moving…not even breathing. Winter’s face showed the war that was raging in his mind. She knew he had to touch her to know if they were mates, but she wanted so badly to just close the distance between them…to take that decision away from him.

But she wouldn’t do that. He had to come to her, because she already knew her feelings toward the Guardian.

His, however, didn’t align with hers.

“I would never yell at you,” he said, his voice nothing but a deadly whisper. His warm breath caused bumps to raise on her neck. She felt her body relax, although her sex clenched with need. Nova’s breath hitched as he stared deep into her eyes. She wanted to close her own but didn’t. She needed to see the moment they touched for the first time.

“Nova?” Liberty said, walking into the room. Winter jumped up from the bed like he’d been struck, shaking his head to clear whatever was on his mind. “I’m so sorry.”

“I was leaving,” he muttered, walking toward the door. Liberty had to step to the side to allow him to pass, but didn’t say anything about what she’d walked in on.

“I want to go home,” Nova said, her voice cracking as her heart beat fast in her chest. “Liberty, I just want to go home.”

“Okay,” Liberty sighed, looking toward the door. “Okay, I’ll take you home.”

 

Copyright 2016 Theresa Hissong

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Unsolicited Pictures by DM

Unsolicited Pictures by DM

 

At some point in my life, I decided to write some dirty romance books. I spent my days, dreaming of muscular men; some with tattoos, some with long hair, some in uniform…some out of uniform. My mind would create scenes of passion, love, and companionship; the ultimate Happily Ever After.

Portrait of a young group of students paying attention in class.

 

As time passed, interest in not only my books, but my personal life started to grow. I’d have several new friend request on my personal Facebook page every morning. For the first few months, I tried to redirect them to my author page, sending them a link and asking politely that they like that one instead. After awhile, the requests started coming in as I made my way into the book world and as an author. I’d made friends with other authors and then their friends and fans started sending me requests. I found more new people at book signings during events and made a host of new fans/friends there.

In the beginning, I would accept most friend requests, unless the person had no history on their page and the account looked brand new. It goes without saying that 99.999999% of those accounts are spam or worse.

Well, as a lot of you can agree, some of those people get through. It happens. And then…then here come the love letters from foreign lands, the instantly-get-down-to-business types who ask for money or for you to set up some account for them to transfer my great-great uncle’s billions of dollars that is supposedly rightfully mine. Okay, whatever!

Then one bright, sunny day when you are least expecting it…you get the picture. The unsolicited dick pick from hell.

Surprised sexy housewife

 

At first, you’re shocked…then angered…..then thoroughly disgusted!

Here’s where my life lesson on unsolicited dick pics begins:

 

My first question to a male with an itchy trigger between his legs (Not calling this thing a “Man” because a “Man” wouldn’t be slinging his nasty penis all over the internet to unsuspecting women) would be ….”Why in the ever-loving hell would you think sending a picture of your dick would make a woman jump up from her computer and scream “Halleluiah! I got a dick pic and now I’ve found the man of my dreams!”

Seriously?

No…Seriously?

Let’s say for a moment, that the woman did actually jump up from her seat with that exact excitement. How in the hell would you two do it? Other than Skype sex? Which, yes…it’s the ultimate safe sex practice, but please! There is no way that you two will be able to “hook up” unless you live in the same area. Or, if you lived far away, that would be a long ass haul for a booty call.

Then we get into the fact that “Itchy Trigger” is doing it because he gets off on getting a negative reaction out of the strange women he sends his dick pic to while sitting at his computer, naked in his mom’s basement.

Now look….I’m all about kink and discovering yourself, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere. At what point does your need for weird satisfaction turn into a cry for help?

Are you seriously thinking that sending a picture of your dick is going to find you a wife?

Are you that desperate that internet sex is all you can find?

Are you that sick that you get your jollies off on sending that pic to strange women?

Is this the new “flasher” of our time? (Like…dude!  Where’s your raincoat?)

Is that even your dick in the picture?

Did you steal it off of PornHub?

And why in the hell do they call them “Unsolicited Dick Pics” anyway? I mean, I would never contact a male model and say, “Hey man! Send me a dick pic?” I shouldn’t even have to explain how that would go over.

I have so many pressing questions for these “Itchy Triggers” that I’m very curious as to why in the ever-loving fuck would you think this is okay? Then again, I don’t want to know…I just don’t think I could hold a grown-up conversation with him if my life depended on it.

There are so many questions and so few answers as to why guys get off on this shit.

I guess I’m back to where I began…

 

Theresa Hissong

 

 

 

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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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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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