Hi peeps, we have Tempeste O’Riley popping in today to share her stunning cover for her upcoming release Fangs With A Heart, we have a brilliant guest post, great excerpt and a fabulous giveaway, so check out that wonderful cover, enjoy the excerpt and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
Fangs With A Heart
Lynx shifter Trace Wilson’s fun-loving exterior hides a heart scarred by severe domestic violence—a heart that might not ever trust another male, fated mate or not. When Trace moves to Seattle to take his place as trainer and council representative to the Glacier Rim Tribe, he discovers his mate is the vampire prince Sasha Tolstoi, leader of the Konstantin Coven. It’s not something Trace is ready to accept. Not now, maybe not ever. But if there’s one thing Sasha knows how to do, it’s how to be patient, especially when his fated heart is also his perfect sub.
When an outside force threatens the fragile bond slowly forming between them—and nearly kills Trace—Trace’s instincts shift into high gear. Sasha is powerful, and that means he has enemies, among them several rival covens and an uncle determined to force Sasha into a marriage with a vampire princess. But why involve the lynx Trace in their maneuvering? Finding the culprit won’t be easy, and it will mean building trust—a slow and difficult prospect for someone who’s suffered as much as Trace. Finding a way to move beyond the past, and to love, before those out to finish Sasha can destroy either, is a race the two fated hearts have to win.
Good morning and thank you for stopping by my newest cover reveal. I can’t wait for you to see what the wonderful Catt Ford whipped up for us today! When I set out to tell Sasha and Trace’s story, I had no idea Catt would again be able to so perfectly capture the feel and essence of the book on its cover. But…. Isn’t it beautiful?
As for story, I have included a bit of a teaser below 😉 and deliberately broke it midsentence because I’m not sharing what Keith reveals yet, lol. You’ll just have to read the story to find out all the fun bits. And the hot bits, and the kinky bits…. LOL. Well, for now. But know that Sasha and Trace’s journey isn’t easy and that there is more to come. They are neither perfect, just perfect for each other. And yes, you get to see Jason and Keith, plus you get to see the little lynx boys more.
I hope you enjoy and have some fun while reading. I know I did while writing!
For one lucky commenter below (to be chosen next Friday) I am giving away one book of choice from my back list in eBook, or if it comes in audiobook, you can opt for that format instead. Happy reading!
Trace prowled from treetop to treetop, unable to settle either his nerves or his body. His alpha, Keith Skyler, had ordered him to shift and go relax before their meeting with Aleksandr “Sasha” Tolstoi, Prince of the Konstantin Coven. Ha! Right, like he could do any such thing knowing he would have to spend the next few hours, most likely, with Prince Sasha. The infuriating vampire got under his fur even when he wasn’t around.
He brushed against the trunk of another tree, loving the feel against his fur, the tug and scritch of the bark of the huge old trees in the forest around Seattle, Washington. Trace had been to older forests, to ones technically nicer, better, et cetera, in Canada—where he was from—but in the years since he’d moved to Seattle, he’d found a love for the forest, the shifters, and the other beings here he never expected. Unfortunately he’d also found his mate. An utterly unwanted and unacceptable mate. Trace had no place in his life for such things, no place in his heart now, and fated or not, there was no way any vampire, even if he was sex on two legs, would change his mind. Ever.
If they’d met when Trace was younger… but wishes weren’t fishes, and he didn’t even want a long-term partner, much less a vampire mate!
“Trace?” Jason’s voice rang up through the trees.
Huh? Wonder what the human could want with me? Trace bounded down from branch to branch, curiosity cooling his ire at them for sending him outside as if he were a naughty kitten. He stopped, balancing on a branch just above Jason, and batted at Jason’s hair, careful to keep his claws away from Jason’s skin—Alpha Keith was not the forgiving sort when it came to his mate.
Jason’s chuckle was warm and sweet. “You’re all so playful when in your fur.” He smiled up at Trace, and the open and honest appreciation there made Trace relax a little more. How he wished he could have found a mate when he was younger, like how Keith had Jason. Not that he wanted Jason, he never had, but once upon a time, he wished for someone to share his life with. Someone who would dote on him the way Jason did Keith, who would look at him how they did one another.
Shaking off that horrible train wreck of a thought, he mewled at Jason, curious why he was out looking for Trace instead of inside his home with his mate and kit.
“You know I can’t understand you when you’re a lynx, Trace, so don’t ask me what I want via mewing.”
And yet that’s exactly what I asked…. Trace cocked his head and twitched one tufted ear at Jason and waited.
“Oh, fine. Like I don’t know what you want to know. Anywhozit, Sasha and his people will be here soon, and I thought you might wish to meet the fanged and fabulous with pants on instead of fur, though lovely fur it is. If not, you’re free to stay out until the meeting.”
They’re coming early? Dammit! Trace thumped down onto the ground beside Jason, landing on his feet, but still not as cleanly and daintily as he would have liked. So much for relaxing. He head-butted Jason’s leg before rubbing against him a few times, trying to get the man moving.
Trace didn’t appreciate the laughter, but he held his head high as he stalked back to his little house so he could shift and re-dress before having to deal with the damn vampires.
“Sorry, Trace, but this is my home, ya know. You don’t have to herd me back with you like I’m one of the children.”
No, but you’re more vulnerable than a shifter, and something might be around that could hurt you. Trace had smelled and felt the presence of something unknown to him out in the forest a few days prior. It hadn’t been on the part that was tribe land, but it still unnerved him. He’d told Keith, but no one else had, as of yet, found the scent he’d noticed.
It didn’t take long before Jason and Trace were back at Jason’s home. Once he was certain Jason was inside, Trace darted back to his own home, which was thankfully close by. He slipped into the kitchen via the cat door—something most all the homes on the tribe land had—then stood still as the shift washed over him. His fur receded as his body broke apart and reformed. Thankfully Baast, in Her infinite wisdom, had made the process painless. It was more a tickle and rush of sensation than anything, at least for him. He’d heard it was different for others, but he’d keep how it felt, thanks.
Naked and crouched, he twitched and stretched, reorienting himself to his human body and limbs before standing. He hated going too fast and falling—which he’d done more than once when younger. The pops felt good, though, as did his human muscles flexing. “Clothing, then back to Keith’s and to dealing with the vampires.” He could do this. He was certain if he just chanted it enough in his head, it would stick, and eventually it would all be okay again.
It didn’t take long to get dressed, as he’d laid out his clothing earlier in the day, knowing about the meeting and that Sasha would be there. The fact they would not mate didn’t stop him from making sure he looked damn fine in his slate-gray suit pants with a starched white shirt and the jade-green tie and accents. Shoes on and assorted extras gathered, his gaze fell on the strange gathering of jewelry sitting on top of his tall dresser. That he had an admirer was obvious, but he’d never found out who it was—not really. He suspected Sasha at times, but why would a prince send him anonymous gifts? No, that made no sense, so he always ended up back at square one when trying to figure out who would send the presents. Bangles, bracelets, necklaces, and even a torc had arrived sporadically over the time since he moved to Seattle. He didn’t often wear any of the items, as most shifters didn’t wear jewelry of any kind, though all the pieces were made specifically with a shifter’s needs in mind. Still….
Without allowing himself to consider why, Trace gathered up a set of bangles and quickly slipped them onto his right wrist, making sure they settled over his sleeve properly before he slipped outside. He took a deep breath, taking in the clean air and fresh scent of the various pines, oaks, and other trees in the area, then sauntered over to Keith and Jason’s.
No one lived too close to their alpha and alpha’s mate, though Taylor, Keith’s sister, was the next closest. Then there were the homes of Keith’s closest friends; Vance, his second; Chance and Kelley, his enforcers/guards; and Trace, his adviser and council representative. After that the tribe chose their own layout of homes, with tribe council and members intermixed as they saw fit, though Keith and Jason did insist on proper roadway plans and such. Trace had enjoyed watching as Chance and the wolf shifter Caleb had worked together to map out the lynx tribe “town” of sorts. This was the only tribe he knew of who worked so closely with wolf shifters or with vampires.
And thinking of vampires, Trace caught sight of the prince’s sleek metallic off-black Charger Hellcat, followed by a black SUV coming down the road as he reached the front porch of Keith and Jason’s home. He bit back a sigh and turned away to knock on the door, refusing to acknowledge he’d seen the vampires coming. The polite thing to do would have been to wait, he knew, but he didn’t think his nerves could manage it. He needed the other lynx around him if he had any hope of surviving the meeting. They and the topic should serve to distract his need and his unease at being near Sasha.
“You can come in,” Keith’s voice boomed from the other side of the door. “No need to knock, Trace. I can both hear and scent you out there.”
Trace turned the knob and pushed the door open, then stepped inside. “It’s your home, Alpha. It’s only polite.”
“I sent for you.”
“And I am here as requested, sir.”
Keith shook his head but smiled. “Did your outing do you any good at all?”
With a shrug, Trace replied, “No good was needed. I’m all right. The vampire coven representatives are arriving now. Are we ready?”
Jason came out of the side hall that led to the bedrooms. “Yeah. Sean is down for his nap and the oak door is closed, so he shouldn’t hear anything.”
“You don’t really think there will be any yelling, do you?” Keith asked, a sudden frown marring his handsome face. “He’s your best friend and our ally, but I won’t have him scaring Sean.”
“You know I can hear you,” Sasha said as he sauntered into the large, open-space-layout living room they were all standing in. “Pardon my intrusion, as I know this is official, not a personal visit, but I was the topic of discussion and the door was open.”
Dayum! Trace fought not to shiver as he took in all five feet six inches of Sasha Tolstoi, vampire prince and walking wet dream. His clothes had to have been made for him, how they hugged his body and accentuated every curve and plane. It took a moment for Trace to fight down his lynx, who didn’t like that Trace refused to go get their mate and claim him. His lynx didn’t understand how unsuitable Sasha was or why it wasn’t possible for Trace to take a mate. No one knew why, and no one ever would! Not if he could help it.
“Sasha!” Jason squealed and threw himself at his much shorter friend, quickly wrapping him in a tight hug. “You know you’re always welcome here.”
“He is,” Keith said, but his voice was hard, not the soft or indulgent tone it usually was with his mate. “However, Prince Tolstoi is also correct in that he should have waited to enter. He’s here officially, so he should have been announced, not have just come on in like he usually does, Jason. You know that.”
Jason released Sasha—which did not make Trace’s lynx happy! honest!—and pouted. “But—”
“No, hon, he’s right. I should have waited, but the thought that I would do anything to hurt or scare Sean made me reckless.” Sasha looked from Jason to Keith. “Forgive my rudeness, but why would you think I would hurt my nephew? I would rather give up my fangs than hurt him or Jason. I thought you knew that.”
Keith shook his head and looked around at his gathered members, then at Trace, and motioned to him. “Trace, please.”
Trace nodded. “If everyone would please take their places. Prince Tolstoi? Would you and your entourage please join us? We have much to discuss, and our alpha would like to do so before his son wakes and wants to come out and visit his favorite uncle.”
Sasha gave a small smile but nodded. Jalin moved to stand beside where Sasha sat. Dimka and Summer stood behind Sasha, his ever-present and usually silent guards. Keith and Jason sat on a loveseat. Vance, as Keith’s second, sat in a plush chair to Keith’s right. Taylor, Levi, Gloria, Darla, and Neil—all part of the tribe council—sat in chairs around them. Chance and Kelley stood to the sides of Keith and Jason as their guard.
“In the normal course of events,” Keith began, looking from Sasha to his council and back, “I would not alert the vampire coven to what was going on, much less invite you to a discussion about the situation, but you are both our allies and involved in a way, so it would be both impossible to hide and ill-advised to try.”
Trace listened to Keith but watched Sasha intently, for once not because of his not a crush. The confident, near-haughty look slowly slid off his face, replaced by one of worry. Sasha leaned forward, his hands clutched to the armrests. “What’s wrong?” He quickly shifted his gaze to Jason. “Hon? He mentioned Sean before. What’s wrong with my nephew? I’ll call my doctor right now. Jalin?”
Huh. That wasn’t the reaction Trace had expected—any of them. He knew the vampire prince cared for Jason and for Sean, he’d seen that many times over since the boy was born, but the near panic was confusing. Why would a vampire be that worried about a human? They fed on humans. True, the Konstantin Coven didn’t kill or torture humans as some covens did, but humans were still food….
“Calm down, Sasha,” Jason said as he hopped up and bounded over to Sasha. Jason knelt and then laid his hands over Sasha’s. “Sean’s fine. Better than fine, really. Just hear Keith out, okay? It’s a good thing, what he needs to tell you, promise.”
Sasha took a couple of deep breaths, then sat back and nodded. “Sorry, but you know how protective I am of you and Sean.”
“I do. Now be a good boy and let Keith finish, ’kay?”
“Yeah.” He looked back to Keith. “You were saying?”
Keith shook his head and chuckled. “Thanks for that display of concern, Prince Tolstoi. Not all of my council”—he gestured to Levi, Darla, Neil, Taylor, and Gloria—“believe you will be pleased with the news I have to impart, or that you will see it as a positive thing. I believe your display for Sean’s health and welfare should allay their fears some.”
The scowl that overtook Sasha’s heart-shaped face would have terrified Trace had it been turned on him. The fact he knew it wasn’t was the only reason he wasn’t trembling as Levi, Darla, and Neil now were. Only Taylor and Gloria seemed immune, but then, they both trusted the vampire and his entourage implicitly. “Why would any here doubt my love for either human?” Sasha ground out, his fangs peeking out between his plump lips.
“Sean isn’t human,” Taylor said, her voice soft but firm.
“True, but he’s not cat enough to count, as he can’t shift. When the attack at Keith and Jason’s engagement party happened, Jason and the little one with the one human parent were left outside while the full-shifter children were all gathered and protected. So pardon me if I count Sean as human when speaking to shifters.”
“And do I tolerate such actions, Prince Tolstoi?” Keith asked, his voice just as hard as Sasha’s.
Sasha tore his gaze from Taylor and shook his head. “No. Well, sort of, as it did happen.”
“No, the situation in which a human-shifter child and a human mate were left outside during an attack happened. But as you know full well, it wasn’t because they are human. The child panicked and ran the wrong way, getting separated from the others. The adults were all punished for losing her. As for Jason, who is right here and can remind you, if you need, he chose to run into the attacking shifters to protect the child. He wasn’t abandoned. He made a choice, and while I was sick at the thought of losing him, I am, to this day, proud of him for what he did that day.
“I was referring to the practices of my father and those like him. Those who treat humans and those of mixed blood as lesser. The human members of my tribe are no less protected than the lynx shifter members. Any who do so will face me—something they do not want to do. Now as for the reason for this meeting
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic that loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.
Other Tempest books
Designs of Desire – Simple Desires*+ – Bound by Desire* – Desires’ Guardian – Temptations of Desire – Truth in Lace* – Desires’ Pride* – Signs of Desire – Micah’s Medicine+ – Caged Sanctuary – Whiskers of a Chance
*shorts in series +shorts in anthologies