Madeline Grant leads a lonely existence. Growing up an orphan, she's never felt she belonged anywhere or to anyone. But all that is about to change.
One snowy night, a huge man with piercing blue eyes comes into the ER where Maddy works. He takes one look at her and tells her she's about to go into heat. Maddy thinks he's crazy--until his strange predictions begin to come true. But inviting the man, Jake, into her life, throws her world into a whirlwind of confusion. As if the news that she's a shapeshifter isn't enough, she also has to breed with her own kind--which means that no matter how much she desires Jake, he's forbidden to have her.
Enter Jake's best friend, Will--a shifter of the same breed as Maddy. He wants her at once but her heart is already taken. Thrown into the dark and dangerous world of shifter taboos, Maddy must decide whether to follow her head or her heart as she tries to survive the Christmas heat.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Madeline's Mates by Evangeline Anderson
"Turn over. On your hands and knees--now!" The deep masculine growl in her ear is forceful, demanding. But Maddy isn't scared--rather the command fires her blood, filling her with a wanting that matches her captor's own.
"Make me," she returns, challenging him though he has her pinned to the bed, looming over her in a position of unmistakable dominance.
He growls again and leans down to nip the side of her neck almost playfully. Her senses are suddenly filled with him. Can lust have a scent? If so, he's drenched in it. Her body reacts, flaring with sudden lust of her own. Had she thought she was on fire before? Now she is burning out of control. Her nipples are suddenly tight and the cleft between her thighs is swollen with not just wanting but need--she needs him inside her, filling her, taking her as she has never been taken before.
Her fever must be catching. His hands on her hips as he turns her are rough, impatient with need. Maddy lets herself be turned willingly, not fighting the fire that is growing, threatening to consume them both. He flips her to her hands and knees and she arches under him, the naked curve of her ass brushing something hard and hot--his cock. Her pussy is drenched, juices slick against her inner thighs. She needs him in her, thrusting deep, opening her with his thick length, owning her completely.
But now he's in the mood to tease. She feels the blunt probe that must be the head of his cock slide over her inner folds, gliding over the throbbing bud of her clit but never quite finding her entrance. God, he's driving her crazy!
"Do it!" She is the one demanding now but he only laughs, a deep chuckle that seems to vibrate her from the inside out.
"Beg for it," he taunts her. "Tell me how much you want it--how you need my cock in your hot little cunt."
"Please!" She halfway knows that this is what he wanted all along but she is far past dignity. Past shame or embarrassment. Her whole body is on fire from the tips of her toes to the crown of her head and everywhere in between. Her skin is hypersensitive. She can feel the fringe of her long, flame red hair brushing the small of her back, his hot breath against the side of her neck, the heat of his big body branding her naked skin as he prepares to enter her...
"You ready?" he breathes in her ear, his deep voice full of promise. "Ready for me, sweetheart?"
"Yes!" she moans, pressing back against him. Her hunger for him is nearly overwhelming--the fire is threatening to consume her if he doesn't take her soon.
But he doesn't take her at her word. She feels him shift behind her and then big, hard hands are spreading her thighs even wider. Before she can ask what he's doing, hot breath bathes her swollen slit and then an even hotter tongue slides slowly, teasingly, between her pussy lips. He laps her cunt softly at first and then harder, thrusting his tongue into her as though trying to get every last bit of her cunt honey.
Maddy feels like she's going to scream. It's too much and not enough all at the same time. His tongue is good but it isn't hard enough, isn't long enough. She needs him inside her, needs to be completely filled with his cock. Needs to be held down, dominated, fucked.
At last he pulls back. "You're ready," he affirms, as though he had to be certain for himself before continuing.
She's almost sobbing with need. Of course she's ready! Can't he see it--see the way her pussy is opening for him? Can't he see the way her cunt is so hot and wet her juices are wetting her thighs? Can't he taste and smell her need to have him in her? Why won't he give her what she needs?
As though in answer to her silent prayers she feels him against her again. Not his tongue this time but his cock. Hard and hot and heavy, it sways against her leg, brushing her inner thighs before finally finding her slick entrance. And despite her burning need and overwhelming desire, Maddy feels a quick rush of fear. Somehow she knows that he's big--huge, in fact. Longer and harder and thicker than she's ever had before. Yet still she wants him, her hunger burning through the sudden terror and consuming her once more.
"Please!" she begs again, shamelessly.
And then he is on her--in her. One deep thrust is all it takes and she is completely filled with him. Though she is wetter than she has ever been in her life she can't contain a low moan as her inner walls stretch to take him. He's so big, so thick, pinning her to the bed with his cock, holding her down as he prepares to thrust.
But he doesn't move just yet. He is whispering in her ear, telling her what a good girl she is, how brave and beautiful and perfect to take his long, thick cock so deep in her cunt. Maddy warms to the words of praise, preening under him, arching her back and tilting her pelvis up toward him, as though trying to pull him even deeper into her tight channel.
Hard, warm hands stroke her naked back, soothing her like a nervous horse he's getting ready to ride. And indeed, she can feel him quivering within her, almost ready to thrust, almost ready to fuck her so hard she'll never forget it.
Maddy is ready for it, more than ready to feel him thrusting, fucking into her with long, slow, hard, deliberate strokes as he takes her where she so desperately needs to go. As he gives her what she's been searching for so long...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Madeline Grant--Maddy to her friends--woke up suddenly. Sweat bloomed along her spine and her head was throbbing as it always did after The Dream. She thought about it like that, in capital letters, because it was always the same. The same animalistic need, the passionate fury, the aching to be not just taken but fucked within an inch of her life. God, she could practically still smell him--the man in her dream. The masculine scent of his lust seemed to permeate her sheets and she could almost feel him inside her...
Feeling the need for some reality, she threw back the plain white sheets and looked between her legs, half expecting to see that she was as wet and hot in real life as she had been in The Dream.
But no. As always her well-trimmed thatch of reddish-gold curls sat primly above the slit of her sex. She wasn't swollen or leaking juice as she had been in The Dream. In fact, when she touched herself she found that she was as dry and tight as always. What was the word Kevin had always used? Oh yes, "uninviting". Just another way to say frigid, which is what he'd graduated to right before their breakup a month ago.
Maddy stared at her sex in confusion. How could she have such a lascivious dream and have absolutely no outward effects from it? And why now? Why not before when she and Kevin were living together and she was trying every way she could to turn on for him? Not that anything had worked...
She sighed. Stop thinking about it. It's over now. He's gone and he's not coming back. Strangely the thought wasn't one of regret but relief. It had never felt right with Kevin. Even though he was a respected orthopedic surgeon and very handsome--despite being a little short--Maddy had never really felt that they belonged together. It was never real--like they were kids playing house and might get called in for dinner at any time, ending the game forever. So when Kevin had finally called it quits she'd let him go without a fight. "You're right, it's just not working between us," she'd told him when he asked for his ring, a four-carat diamond all her friends had oohed and aahed over, back.
Unspoken, at least by her, was the fact that she was the reason their relationship had gone down the drain. It was her inability to warm to him, her dislike of sex that was to blame for the wasted years they'd spent together.
It wasn't that she'd had a traumatic event in her past. Growing up in the foster-care system, she might have endured all kinds of mistreatment. But thanks to a kindly family that had taken her in for most of her childhood, she'd avoided sexual and emotional abuse. And she hadn't been attacked or date raped during her college years either. In fact, there was no good reason why Maddy didn't care for sex--she just didn't.
It's my body's fault, she thought as she dragged herself out of bed and went for the shower in the plain little apartment she was renting until she could find another place. Her body advertised fantasies she couldn't fulfill. At five-nine she had a lush, curvy form with full hips and heavy breasts tipped with pale pink nipples. Chocolate brown eyes as wide and innocent as a doe's dominated her heart-shaped face framed with long, flame red hair that fell in thick waves down to the small of her back. When men looked at her all they saw was sex. And when she couldn't deliver...
"They move on," Maddy muttered to herself as she twisted the shower nozzle, aiming the heated spray of water for her face. She tried to wash the cobwebs of The Dream away but somehow it wouldn't go. She could still almost feel her dream lover's big rough hands all over her body, caressing, squeezing, cupping her full breasts, sliding down between her thighs...
"God, what's wrong with me?" She pushed the images away. Whoever she'd been dreaming about, it certainly wasn't her ex-fianc�. Kevin's hands had been soft as a girl's--he babied them every night with special collagen hand cream that smelled unappealingly of overripe lemons. "My hands are my livelihood," he always said, flexing his long, skinny fingers until the knuckles popped. "Can't operate if I don't take care of the hands."
Maddy had gotten sick of hearing about his hands--almost as sick as she'd gotten of having them on her. She knew it was her imagination but it seemed like the lemon-scented cream he used left a trail of slime everywhere he touched her, making it impossible for her to want to make love with him.
Kevin hadn't just relied on his valuable hands, however. He'd tried every way he could to excite her. But toys, vibrators, exotic lovemaking techniques and plenty of what Kevin jokingly called "cunning-linguis" all left Maddy cold. Cold and dry and tight--uninviting.
So why was she having these incredibly sexy dreams lately? It seemed like every time she put her head on the pillow her dream lover was there, waiting for her. His hands were large and hard and knowing, heating her with their touch the way Kevin's never had. And he was big--looming over her, making her feel positively petite. Her ex-fiance had been about a half inch shorter than her with a slender build. But this man was huge and muscular, his big body hard and hot and demanding. Masculine in every way. And just by being near her, he made her want him. When she closed her eyes she could almost still catch that elusive spice that seemed to permeate her dreams, calling her to him...
"Snap out of it, Maddy," she told herself sharply. "It's just a dream and you know the reality." Yes, the reality was that she couldn't get hot. Not for Kevin, not for anyone. She'd never tried so hard to get aroused as she had when she was with her ex but she had been with men before Kevin and every time it was the same. First, her body's refusal to get excited, no matter how skillful her lover. Then the embarrassing need to use some kind of lubricant in her tight, dry channel, and the unsatisfying and often painful thrusting. The experience always finished up with an orgasm but it was never hers. Another shameful secret that Maddy had never dared share with anyone was that she'd never been able to come, even on her own. It made her wonder why everyone thought sex was so great. But then, maybe it was great with normal people--which she clearly wasn't.
Trying to drive the useless loop of guilt and blame from her mind, she twisted the dial to cold for a moment and endured an icy blast of water that left her gasping. Then, The Dream finally eradicated, she shut off the water and reached for a towel. Shivering, she twisted the water from her hair and dried the roots with rough strokes before wrapping the damp terrycloth around herself and climbing out of the shower stall.
No matter that her love life was in shambles, she still had to go to work. And this being the week before Christmas, the ER would be hopping since a lot of local doctors' offices had already closed for the holiday. Being a triage nurse in the only hospital available for fifty miles in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains was okay--most of the time. Mountain residents tended to be hardy and resilient, reluctant to come to the ER for anything less than a life-threatening illness or trauma. But there were always spikes around the holidays and since Maddy didn't have any family to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with, she usually wound up working at least one of them.
This year she had already worked Thanksgiving and after tonight she had Christmas and the week leading up to it off. Not that she had anyone to spend the holiday with. She'd planned it that way six months ago, back when she and Kevin were still together. Now it just seemed pointless.
Sighing, she looked through her closet and picked out a pair of plain navy blue scrubs with no design on them. She supposed since this was the season she ought to wear a pair of her Christmas scrubs but somehow she didn't feel festive right now. The red scrubs with the pattern of holly wreathes weren't right. And the green scrubs with the upside down Santa stuck in the chimney with his boots sticking out and a muffled "ho-ho-help!" coming out in a little cartoon bubble just didn't fit her mood. In fact, the way she was feeling right now, she wished she had some scrubs that were the color of the sky outside--iron gray and gloomy.
Suddenly she was disgusted by her own weakness. "Get over it, Maddy," she muttered savagely, pulling on the navy blue scrubs. "Life goes on." Yes, it did, one gray day after another and they were all the same. And nothing was going to change because she would never find someone who wanted her the way she was instead of for what her body seemed to promise.
Twisting her still-damp hair into a knot at the back of her neck, she shoved in a few bobby pins to hold it in place. Staring at the mirror, she started to reach for her compact and then let her hand drop. She hadn't been wearing much makeup lately--not that she'd ever been the type to pull a Tammy Faye Bakker. But trying to play up her looks, even a little, just seemed like false advertisement now. The baggy scrubs hid her unresponsive body, and with her thick red hair scraped back and her face naked of makeup, no one could accuse her of flirting or leading them on. What you see is what you get--plain Jane, Maddy thought with grim satisfaction as she glanced once more in the mirror.
Stopping in the tiny, utilitarian kitchen, she grabbed a cold Pop-Tart to eat. She wasn't really hungry, but she was about to work a twelve-hour shift and she knew from experience that without some fuel she'd be half dead before she was even halfway through. The tasteless pastry crumbled in her mouth and the gooey, too-sweet strawberry filling coated her tongue as she grabbed her coat and keys and stepped out into the gray November day. She forced herself to eat it anyway, knowing that if she waited for her appetite to catch up she'd be waiting forever.
Lately she was never hungry and always tired. She'd probably lost ten pounds in the last month or two without even trying--she just never wanted to eat. Adding to her fatigue and loss of appetite were the wickedly bad cramps she'd been having for the last week--and it wasn't even time for her period yet. Maddy knew she should get it checked out but somehow it seemed like too much effort to ask one of the docs to write her a script for a pelvic ultrasound. Probably she just had an ovarian cyst that would burst on its own when it was good and ready. As a nurse, she knew this was fairly common and nothing to really be alarmed about. In the meantime, all she wanted was to crawl back into bed and sleep and sleep and sleep. But even that was ruined by the damn dream that wouldn't leave her alone. God, she was a mess!
Outside the sky was just as iron gray as it had looked from her bedroom window and the trees were almost bare of leaves. The mountains were a beautiful place to live but in the winter their beauty turned stark and austere. The bones of the Blue Ridge seemed to push up under the sparse brown grass, reminding her that no matter how gorgeous the landscape was the rest of the year, she was really just living on a jagged shelf of rock as bare and cold as her heart.
Maddy climbed into her small but powerful truck--a V8-engine was a necessity when it came to getting altitude on mountain highways--and turned the key. The engine caught with a coughing roar, making her glad she'd gotten it tuned up recently. Winter in the mountains could be brutal and you didn't want to be stranded without your ride. The air outside already smelled like snow and who knew what it would be like when she finished her shift at nine tonight? Next time she went to the garage she'd have to get Pete to put chains on her tires. In the meantime she turned on the heater and hoped the snow would hold off a little while longer.
She had a feeling it was going to be a long, cold winter.