Wide Awake Every Day (Every Day #1)

Probably more irritating than all of that, however, was that Marcus kept trying to flirt with Roni. Where Dominic was sleazy-flirty, Marcus was smooth-flirty. The only thing stopping Nick from growling at the ass**le was that Roni was simply looking at the guy blankly, totally bamboozling him. Given how uncomfortable she was around all these strangers, Nick wouldn’t be surprised if she returned to her wolf form sometime soon. He had hoped that she would go home to the Ryland Pack with his mom and Amber. Unfortunately, she had refused. Even more unfortunate, so had his mom and Amber. And now—to top it all off—his beautiful mate beside him was totally pissed off because Amber was sitting on his other side. Not even the fact that Kent was throwing fries at Amber was cheering Shaya up. Wanting to soothe her and reassure her that she was the only one who mattered, Nick lifted Shaya and sat her in his lap. After a moment, she melted against him, and he locked both arms around her. Please tell me your bedroom is on a completely different floor than everyone else. Hearing the frustration in his voice, Shaya couldn’t help but smile. Her mate was in hell with all this attention and offers of friendship. Sorry to disappoint, but it’s only a few doors away from Jaime, your new best friend. His growl made her chuckle. They’re just all feeling bad for their behavior toward you when it’s clear you had your reasons for not claiming me in the beginning. They’ll stop smiling at you within the hour. He bit her ear for teasing him. I can’t believe we’ve only been here an hour and already all the females have our mating ceremony totally covered and have scheduled it for tonight. It was tradition that the other females of the pack organized the ceremony, but he’d never heard of one being so swiftly planned. Maybe they just want it over with quickly because they don’t trust me not to abandon you again. You didn’t truly abandon me. And the reason they want us to have it quickly is so that the humans don’t interrupt it with an attack. Dante and Jaime’s ceremony was spoiled by Glory and her relatives infiltrating the territory and attacking everyone. You do want to have a ceremony, right? Of course I do, dumbass. She spoke against his mouth. Good. Because if you don’t turn up at that ceremony out of some misguided attempt to protect me from what’s happening to you, I’ll hunt you down and beat the shit out of you with my bat. He smiled. Feisty. Besides, I asked Taryn if she would try healing you. She said she would. It might not work, Shay, he told her gently. I know, but you promised you wouldn’t give up. And I won’t; I’m willing to let Taryn try. Although, I have the feeling that Taryn would sooner cut my throat than heal me. I think she’s warming to you. He snorted at that and was about to comment when Derren, who had popped out of the room to take a call, suddenly barged inside the kitchen. Nick, I just got off the phone with Donovan. He said to turn on the TV. Why? He found the location of the preserve. And he called it in. Everybody quickly piled into the living area, but no one spoke as the news of the preserve was aired live. Nick had encountered much evil in his life, known cruelty and violence, but he had never seen anything like this. It was worse than even Lee-Roy had described. Dead bodies of shifters ranging from the age of seven—fucking seven—had been dumped on the land, all maimed, brutalized, and decaying. Some of the bodies were even frozen mid-shift while others were missing their eyes or limbs. Even the human reporter, the same reporter who had days ago portrayed shifters as animals, was horrified and close to tears at the sight of the bodies—particularly those of the children. Nick understood why Donovan hadn’t notified him before contacting the police; he’d known that when Nick saw how bad it was, he wouldn’t have been happy to let the police deal with it and that he’d have wanted to go after Logan and those other bastards himself. As such, Donovan was right not to have told Nick first. This was about more than just them. This was about shifters worldwide. Although many had been arrested in connection with it, Logan’s name hadn’t been mentioned, and there had been no mention of a shifter being involved either. Nick knew, however, that Lee-Roy had been telling the truth when he said the person running the preserve was a shifter. That meant the bastard was still out there, free as a bird. Feeling Shaya’s desolation and realizing she was crying, Nick moved her from her spot beside him on the giant sofa to his lap. He cradled her against him, rocking her. Most of the other females were crying too. The sickening sight of the preserve almost brought tears to his own eyes. The more the reporter revealed, the more nauseous he felt. Until they worked out who the shifter responsible was, they couldn’t be sure another preserve wouldn’t be set up somewhere else…and they couldn’t make sure the prick paid for what he’d done. Nick, croaked Shaya. After seeing this…I don’t know if I can— She cut herself off, but Nick knew what she was thinking: She didn’t know if she could go through with a mating ceremony and throw a celebration when this was on her mind. He was feeling the same way. The images were stuck in his head, and he couldn’t get them out and didn’t think he would anytime soon. It didn’t seem right to throw a party on the heels of something like this. Me neither, baby. We’ll do it after this is all over, okay? Nodding, she snuggled even more into him. Kent brought his hand to his mouth. I honestly think I might be sick. Derren looked at him, his expression grim. You know what this means. Nick nodded. It means the extremists’ case will be dismissed on Thursday morning. And it means they’ll be here Thursday night for sure—they’ll take this into their own hands, just as Logan planned in the meeting. That’s okay, growled Trey, because we’ll be waiting. I can’t wait to get my hands on those motherfuckers. They deserve whatever happens to them. I have a feeling the shifter behind all this will come with them, said Ryan. Nick was surprised to hear him speak. Me too, said Trick. He hates shifters anyway, and now that he’s no longer making money from charging humans to kill our kind, I’d say he’ll be pissed enough to join Logan in the attack.

As the months turned to years, I returned to the mainland often, hiring local workers to help build the infrastructure required to keep us safe and secure for the many decades to come.Coco stopped being grouchy and cross and blossomed into a brilliant, helpful child. As her birthdays ticked four, then five, now six, she became entwined with the Fijian nationals and culture. She would never fit in with the concrete jungle of a city. And I worried about that. But at the same time...who cared?

Undead and Unsure (Undead #12)

She learned the value of hard work and the sacred connection of hunting for your own food rather than ignoring the cruelty and sacrifice of mass marketed meat.She hung around with my construction worker’s children, being ferried from island to island and attending a local kindergarten.Soon, she would start primary school a few islands over. Estelle and I would speed over the waves every morning to deliver her and again every night to collect her. We would never own a car but what a way to commute over the aquamarine atolls of our chosen home.

Royal Blood (Vampire Kisses #6)

We’d contemplated the idea of using the helicopter taxis that now flew regularly, but I couldn’t get over the fear of what’d happened. I doubted fate would be cruel enough to crash us twice, but I wouldn’t risk it.Eventually, Coco would head away to university if she was inclined or stay here and do whatever she wanted. But that was far enough away not to be an issue.

We learned, once we’d returned, that our island was located on the boundary of the Fijian archipelago. If we’d ever had a chance to paddle on our kayak, our chances of surviving the current rushing out to sea would’ve been slim.

Our island was classed as dangerous, which was why it’d been uninhabited when we’d arrived. However, the journey to other islands, unseen in the distance, only took forty minutes or so by boat.Now it was Bee’s turn to shrug, and she turned away from the buffet. Maybe, she said. But in any case, they’re not dreams I want to have.

Me, neither, I said, trailing behind her as we made our way to our tables. Our friends Abi and Amanda were sitting near the window with their parents, both of them in mint-green sundresses, Amanda’s hair in a low ponytail, Abi’s loose around her face, which was the only way I could tell them apart from this far away. I would’ve thought they’d have outgrown dressing the same around, oh, second grade or so, but I think their parents liked the matchy-matchy thing. I wiggled my fingers from under my plate at them, and they waved back.I also saw Bee’s mom and dad, and saw the way they glanced from me to Ryan, sitting at Bee’s mom’s left. I gave Ryan a smile I hoped conveyed the right amount of Totally fine with this, Bee’s parents! I knew my own parents thought the switch from Ryan dating me to Ryan dating Bee was kind of awkward, and no matter how much I tried to tell them we were all totally fine with it, I didn’t think they bought it. Mom’s smile was definitely a little tight when I put my plate down, and as I took my seat, she leaned closer to murmur, Everything okay?

Shades of Midnight (Midnight Breed #7)

I’m fine, I told her, laying my napkin in my lap. Ryan and Bee are actually way more suited for each other than Ryan and I were. Look how she hasn’t even complained about his elbows being on the table!Mom shot me a wry look, one hand going to the delicate strand of pearls around her neck. So you keep saying, and I have to admit, you really do seem . . . okay with everything.

Of course she is, Aunt May said from the other side of the table, not even bothering to lower her voice. Our Harper isn’t one for crying over spilled milk.My aunts ate with us after church every Sunday, and today, they were all in different shades of green. Aunt May and Aunt Martha were twins, but their sister, my aunt Jewel, was almost identical to them, all three sporting silvery perms and glasses they liked to wear around their necks fastened to sparkly chains. They were pretty much my favorite people, and Aunt Jewel was especially high on my list after Friday night. It’s not many people who will help talk you out of getting arrested. As I met her eye over the linen-covered table, she gave me a little wink and I smiled back. It was funny how much better you could feel just sharing a secret with a person who loved you.

Across the table, Dad smiled at me, giving a little lift of his chin that I think was supposed to signal, Buck up, little soldier, or something similarly Dad-ish. I wasn’t sure if he thought I was upset about Ryan and Bee, or if I was just making a particularly tragic face, but in either case, I appreciated it, and smiled back.How is work at the pool hall, Harper Jane? my aunt May asked, and Aunt Martha jabbed her with an elbow.

She’s not working at a pool hall, May, honestly. She works at the pool.Aunt May gave a little shrug as if there weren’t much difference between the two, and I caught Aunt Jewel’s eye.

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