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always hated cruel werewolves, is the former prisoner turned mate of Dougal
Sterling, Alpha of the Scottish pack. She’s courting jeopardy with her
determination to attend the funeral of her brother’s father, since the Pack
blames her for Alistair’s death. But still Dougal protects her from his wolves.
balance loyalty and attention between the Pack and Caitlyn. When the Pack’s
stability crumbles, he’s faced with the return of his older brother, the
rightful Alpha, who shirked his duty after their father’s death. However,
Ewan’s challenge will be a battle to the death. Sheltering Caitlyn can only
lose Dougal more friends, but he knows she’s the mate he’s longed for.
Highlands; Alistair and Ewan’s supporters and haters of shapeshifters abound.
Caitlyn and Dougal must stick together, pushing back fiercely when they are
attacked. Even if that puts them in mortal danger…
Pack’s massive headquarters stretched almost half a mile. I rested my chin on my
arms and stared out of the Alpha’s window on the second story, overlooking the circular
section of the drive. The Pack’s castle came complete with its very own dungeon,
but at least they weren’t keeping me in there anymore. The memory of Alistair’s
craggy face haunted my dreams each time I closed my eyes. His brutal fists hammered
away against my face, ribs, and stomach, until I could no longer sleep.
and I balled my hands into fists. No, Alistair—Colin’s father—was dead. Dougal
had protected me, and my brother, from that monster when I didn’t have the strength
to fight back.
sudden departure. Now Colin was on his own with no one to watch his back. How
could he leave without saying anything to me? I flexed my fists again,
welcoming the anger as it bubbled up in my chest and replaced my sadness.
descended on my back. I twisted around, my knuckles connecting with a solid jaw
lined with dark, coarse stubble. A familiar jaw. Shite.
he planted his feet like a tree with strong roots, not budging any further.
Sharp power flared outward from him before he squelched it, stretching the muscles
in his jaw. A frown tugged at his lips, and the corners of his eyes creased,
either in pain or displeasure.
movement of punching him had shot a searing ache through my battered ribs again.
The pain stole my breath away, but I tried to force it down. How could I have
been so careless? If he’d been anyone else in the Pack, I would’ve caused World
hurt, though. I didn’t realize you were so strong.” Dougal’s frown melted away
as he pulled me closer and pressed a kiss to my forehead. “Seems like you’re recovering
your strength.” His gaze drifted past me to the long gravel driveway of the estate.
“How are you doing, love?”
to the surface again. “I cannae believe Colin left me. He left before I even
regained consciousness. How could he?”
weakness, but I rested my forehead against Dougal’s chest, needing his touch and
savoring his warmth. “I barely had time to talk with him, and when I did, it
wasn’t a good time to ask how he was doing after the months he’d spent in that
bloody research facility—or even to ask where he would go to heal…”
back, refusing to cry. “I gave up so much—my job, my flat, my life—while trying
to track him and bring him home. What if my sacrifices were all for naught?”
Dougal kissed the top of my head. “I know you’re hurting. You have plenty of
reasons to be, but the man who came back wasn’t the same one who left for the
United States.” He lifted my chin, forcing me to see the sincerity in his clear
blue eyes. “Whatever those scientists did affected him in ways neither of us will
probably ever know. Waiting at the window won’t make him return any sooner.” He
wrapped his arms around me and gently pulled me against his chest again. “Let me
draw you a bath. Remember, I’m here if you need to talk.”
it. Waiting for Colin’s return wouldn’t help, but what else could I do? “I
know, but that doesn’t make this any easier for me. He’s my younger brother. I
feel helpless that I cannae be there for him…again.” A heavy ache settled on my
heart, and I pulled away hating the awkward emotions crushing me.
out of the window again. His jaw clenched and unclenched, as if he were trying
hard to hold in his words. A lot was going on in his life too, and yet he was
making a strong effort to support me through my problems. Things had become
increasingly strained between him and his Pack since my arrival and Duncan and
Alistair’s subsequent deaths. He didn’t talk about what he faced, and I didn’t
want to pressure him.
released a sigh and turned back toward me. “You’ve done what you could for him,
lass.” The ghost of a grin spread across his lips. “Do you still want the bath?”
awakened from unconsciousness, Dougal had been there for me. We’d made love,
and he brought me to new heights of pleasure. We also became intimately
acquainted with the fancy Jacuzzi bathtub that could easily fit three or four
humans…or one big, scary werewolf. The perks of being mated to the Alpha of the
my arms around his waist, bringing him back to me and drawing in his musky
lupine scent. “Thanks for the talk. I wish I could’ve spoken with him before he
took off. It would’ve made me feel better about him going.”
his fingertips over my back in light, soothing strokes. “If I weren’t confident
that he presented no danger to others, I wouldn’t have let him go. He would’ve
stayed here whether he favored the idea or not.” The muscles in his lower back
tensed beneath my touch, and his hand paused over my spine.
gaze to meet Dougal’s. Was he not telling me something? We hadn’t known each
other for long, but my sharp, feline instincts knew when someone spoke an
untruth. He wasn’t outright lying, but he was holding something back. What
could it be?
sank into one of the nearly healed spots where Alistair had punched me in the face.
Instead of confronting Dougal, I turned my attention toward the window. “You
would tell me if he was dangerous to himself, wouldn’t you?”
as convincing as I’d wanted. He leaned away, putting me at arm’s length. “Enough
of that, I suppose. I’ll draw the bath for you.”
en-suite bathroom. His hands clenched and unclenched at his sides all the way.
The door snapped shut behind him, and he started the water running a few moments
stomach. Should I believe Dougal? Something about his words didn’t feel right. The
Jacuzzi tub would take a few minutes to fill, and I needed to get out of this bloody
bedroom and away from him. The strain of standing there and trying to keep myself
calm was becoming too much.
the round wrought-iron clock on the wall. It was almost one o’clock in the
their Alpha was mating with a wereleopard, so I usually skipped the mealtime
rushes to keep my distance. It wasn’t easy, because several of the wolves lived
here in this honest-to-God castle full time. Apparently, that was how many Packs
operated. The thought boggled my mind. How did they stand to be around one
another all the time? How would I survive being the sole feline in this house
full of wolves?
to run as fast and as far away from this place as I could. Too much held me
here, though. Besides, if Colin returned from his trip, I wanted to be around
to greet him. Maybe throttle him, too, but it’d be a greeting nonetheless…
white tank top, not wanting to reveal too much bruised skin, then headed for
the kitchen to grab leftovers. Dougal had tried to convince me to eat with him
and everyone else. He wanted me to get to know the wolves and socialize.
Getting friendly with the Pack might be a nice idea, but I couldn’t do it. Not
with how his Pack watched me when they thought I wasn’t looking. Even Dougal’s
second-in-command wasn’t a fan of mine. The sentiment was mutual. For as long
as I could remember, I’d hated werewolves. One of my main reasons would soon
rest six feet underground. Their hatred of me for Alistair’s death just added
to my reluctance to get friendly with them.
the corner to enter the kitchen. If my sharp feline reflexes hadn’t kicked in,
I would’ve run straight into a towering werewolf. I leapt back at the last
minute to prevent Kerr from spilling his plate of food. The already agonizing
ache in my side intensified from moving so fast, but I kept my arms at my sides
and my face neutral.
recoverin’ well.” Kerr nodded, looking curiously at me.
him an uncomfortable smile, then edged past the broad, barrel-chested man into
the kitchen. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as the others, but I couldn’t shake the overwhelming
feeling that he disagreed with Dougal’s decision to mate with me.
My spine stiffened, and I gripped the sleeves of my jacket to keep from swinging
on him too. “Keep tryin’, then.” His deep voice rumbled through the kitchen. I glanced
pointedly at his hand, but he didn’t move it.
fear, hatred, or whatever it is ye feel toward my kind. If ye cannae, ye won’t last
long here, lass.” With that, he walked down the corridor toward the massive grand
hall where the wolves held their meetings and ate.
feel so hungry, but my leopard still needed to eat. We couldn’t skip any more
meals. It hindered our healing process and weakened us too much. Right now, I couldn’t
afford weakness, not while I was amongst a pack of wolves.
over my shoulder with the Pack, but such was life for now.
Dougal noticed I’d left the bedroom.
the clean countertop. There wasn’t much food left, but I grabbed a bag of crisps
and one of the last club sandwiches. A female wolf—Mairi, I think—ran a catering
company, so she always brought by food to keep the Pack well fed. She was one of
the nicer wolves.
room, where I would probably find the rowdy werewolves laughing and talking, I
remained in the kitchen. I sat on the counter farthest away from the entrance, hidden
from anyone who might walk past.
the hall became louder as someone approached the kitchen. The sound of soft
sniffing tensed every muscle in my body, then Dougal stepped into the room. His
gaze slid over me, and desire darkened his eyes.
hungry, I would’ve brought something earlier when I ate.”
as if checking to make sure no one else was near. When he turned back, he wore a
frown that creased the corners of his lips and eyes. “You shouldn’t be in here all
alone, love. Things within the Pack are tense right now. Let’s go back to the
bossed around again. “I’m not alone. You’re here.” I opened the bag of crisps and
munched on one.
arms over his broad chest. The move might’ve been scary as hell if it wasn’t him
doing it. “That’s not the point. Come on.”
and now I’d become a prisoner in his bedroom. Not in a fun way, either. Why was
crisps as tears burned in my eyes, but I refused to let them show. The flood of
emotions I’d experienced over the past week was becoming too much to all push
down at once. As soon as I dealt with certain fears or emotions, others popped up
to take their place, like some horrible version of whack-a-mole.
do was return to Scotland and be here for my brother. In that time, I’d been
reintroduced to a childhood nightmare, imprisoned in a dungeon, and now I was
the prisoner/mate of a werewolf Alpha. When would the roller coaster end?
few long strides. He pulled me from the counter into his arms.
every bit as feral as I felt. Once again, anger rescued me from my moodiness. “Set
me down this minute!”
her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She has been inspired to read and
write since reading a collection of her mother’s poetry as a child. Her real
passion for writing began after receiving an Excellence in Writing award for a
children’s story her seventh-grade English teacher encouraged her to enter for
a school contest. Her love of romance novels became evident after picking up
her first Harlequin, Chateau of Flowers by Margaret Rome, shortly thereafter.
spare time, she enjoys reading, computer and console games, and traveling all
over the world. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, as well as the
Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and the Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal
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