ISBN: 0515147001Publisher: Berkley Jove
And something totally inviting.
It's the perfect gift for the holidays.
Four bestselling authors invite readers to spend the night with these never-before-published novellas spiced with sexy romance and paranormal passion. So come in out of the cold and experience the thrill of a soul-stirring new tale of the Breeds from Lora Leigh, a return to the beguiling world of the Mageverse from Angela Knight, and two more mesmerizing and unexpected stories of sensual surprises and seasonal spirits from Anya Bast and Allyson James
Includes A Christmas Kiss by Lora Leigh
There was something about a winter snow fall that Jessica Raines had always loved. A sense of warmth, despite the cold. A sense of wonder, a remnant of her childhood that she had never lost.
Now, as she moved through the soft heavy winter white that fell around her, she had never felt less a child. At twenty-four, she felt old, worn and tired.
Christmas was coming. Lights were strung around the wolf breed compound of Haven and windows were lit up with the festive colors of the seasons as lavishly decorated trees twinkled merrily into the winter night.
Christmas was coming and Jessica had never felt less festive.
The snow was beautiful though. She had missed it last year during her imprisonment in the underground cells that the Wolf Breeds had kept her confined to. Because she had been a traitor. No matter how reluctantly, still, she had betrayed the very people she had believed so deeply in. Even as she had done it, helpless against the compulsions rising inside her, Jessica had raged, fought, screamed silently. But still, she had hidden information, relayed defense maneuvers and revealed the residences of the wolf breed alpha and his mate, as well as their second in command to her father.
The pure blood society he had worked with had nearly killed them. If she hadn’t found the strength to pull two of the mates from their homes before the attack, then they would have been killed.
She pushed her fingers through her hair, tugging at the tender roots as she fought to make sense of the betrayal her father had dealt her. He had been sending her to certain death. He had to have known it. The drug he had slipped into her food and drinks when she visited, the orders he had given her, he had known beyond a shadow of a doubt that she would be caught, and that she would die. And still, he had done it.
She couldn’t even ask him why he had done it. He was dead now. The society he had been a part of was disbanded. Advert, the small town outside the breed compound was under wolf breed control, but still, Jessica suffered.
She had lost everything because of his hatred for a species of humanity that hadn’t asked to be created. One that was determined to survive now that it lived. He had sacrificed his daughter, and then his own life, for nothing.
She lifted her face to the falling snow and imagined the dampness on her face was the moisture of the melting ice. It wasn’t. It was tears and she knew it. Her father wasn’t the only one that had lost in his bid to destroy the breeds, Jessica had lost as well, much more than anyone could imagine.
Pausing, she leaned against the large trunk of a towering oak and gazed up at the close canopy of thick, dark clouds. The snow was flying thicker, harder. It had a heavy, ominous feel to it suddenly, as though nature were moving in to exact vengeance for crimes untold.
Or perhaps against her.
Grimacing at the flight of fancy she shook her head before moving quickly to turn back to the cabin she had left. That sudden movement was followed by a loud retort and a chunk of bark striking her in the face.
There was that second of disbelief. That pause as knowledge filtered through her system that someone was shooting at her, before Jessica jumped behind the tree, heart racing, fear pounding through her system.
Someone had just fired on her.
She was in the middle of the forest, no coat, no weapon, no guards. She was undefended in a place where she shouldn’t have needed defending.
She stared around the bleak winter landscape, fighting to catch her breath through the pounding of her heart as she tried to think quickly. Logically.
She couldn’t see anyone, couldn’t sense anyone. Right now she would give her eye teeth for those nifty super senses the breeds possessed. Advanced hearing, seeing and senses of smell would come in handy right now.
She couldn’t stand here much longer, she told herself. She was going to have to move soon or the shooter could work his way around until he had a line of sight on her that she couldn’t escape.
There was only one course of action. She gripped the rough trunk of the tree hard before throwing herself past it and racing for the large rocks and boulders a short distance away.
Shots fired behind her. Clumps of dirt thre up, striking against her as she ran. Throwing herself the rest of the distance she slid into the snug embrace of the boulders, flinching on a hard shudder as another bullet exploded against the side of a huge rock.
“Cowards,” she bit out furiously, pushing herself as close against the rock as she could rock. “Bastards.”
Surely to God one of the breeds would have heard the gunshots by now. Haven, the wolf breed compound was patrolled by one of the best breed security forces in the world. So where were they now? Maybe it hadn’t really been such a good idea to slip away from her bodyguard.
On hands and knees she crawled through the mess of boulders lying around like a child’s toys tossed haphazardly in place.
The sharp retort sounded again, this time sending chips of stone flying over her head as she wedged herself between upright columns and fought to make herself as small as possible.
She was dead. The breeds should have just killed her a year ago when they were debating the action, because she was definitely going to die now.
Where the hell were the breed patrols? Or was that who was shooting at her?
Fear rushed through her system in a surge of adrenaline as the next shot sent a bullet tearing into the stone above her head. They were getting closer. She wasn’t going to survive. She would die here, in the cold and the snow, and it would probably take a while a find her. Evidently no one was too concerned with her now that she had been released, though she was confined to Haven. It was probably a breed trying to kill her.
“Jess.” A hand clamped over her mouth as she pushed herself past the boulders and strong hands jerked her behind the rocks as another shot struck beside her shoulder.
Heated, hard and male, the large body she was suddenly cushioned against was a welcome relief, a place of security as she recognized the voice at her ear.