The Ghost Circus By Diandra Archer
The Ghost Circus: An Onyx Webb Supernatural Thriller
Genre: Paranormal Thriller
Publisher: Lust for Living
Date of Publication: July 26, 2022
Number of pages: 280
Word Count: 64,000
Cover Artist: Alex at https://www.nessgraphica.com/
Tagline: If You Think Life is Precious, Just Wait Until You’re Dead
A ragtag traveling circus sits outside a small California town. Two hundred miles north, the rumors of Onyx Webb, a legendary ghost, are "alive and well" in the seaside hamlet of Crimson Cove, Oregon.
After mysterious deaths occur in both places, the FBI gets involved. By the time the circus travels to Crimson Cove, the little town is starting to unravel. It's one thing to stop people from committing crimes, but how do you stop ghosts?
Onyx existed in a constant state of guilt over what she considered to be stealing the best years of Noah’s life. What some would call robbing the cradle or being what was currently called a cougar.
It was the opposite of the norm, in which men had a tendency to date and marry younger women.
When Onyx brought up the topic, Noah pointed out how it was no longer a big deal for couples to have differences in their age. “Age is just a number,” Noah would say, having pointed out the age difference between Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. “She’s like 15 years older than he is.”
First, Onyx had absolutely no idea who these people were since she never watched television. And the 15-year age difference paled in comparison to their ages since Onyx was 114 and Noah was still in his 30s.
The thing that made the age difference livable, no pun intended, was that ghosts appeared as the age they were on the day they died and returned as their perfect selves. No scars or blemishes or wrinkles. Even severed limbs reappeared.
She may have been 114 years old, but in terms of appearance, Onyx looked 39.
And as a ghost, she would be 39 forever.
Assuming she could get the energy.
Onyx watched as Noah took advantage of the last bit of daylight, shirt off—sweating and swearing when the rocks wouldn’t fit together—his skin glistening with sweat and red with color.
Onyx held up her hand and examined it. Unlike Noah’s, her skin was gray. Transparent.
When she held the hand up to her face, she could see right through it.
Tonight, she would go to the hospital and see if there was anyone whose time had come. If there wasn’t, she would go into town and look for an addict shooting up in a dark alley—the kind that could be found in all towns, even small ones like Crimson Cove.
She had no problem taking drug addicts. They were killing themselves, anyway. If they wanted to die, she was happy to help them along.
Those who were young and healthy? No. Onyx’s code would not allow it. They were off-limits.
And children? Never.
Onyx walked to the opposite side of the lighthouse and peered out toward the water, seeing thin red lines of red forming as the sun was being slowly swallowed by the ocean.
Soon it would be dark. It was time.
1 Onyx Webb: The 31 Immutable Matters of Life and Death
(Based on the original 10 book, 31 episode Onyx Webb series. )
“Should you one day discover you have both light and darkness inside you, do not despair. We all do. The only thing that matters is which you choose to act on.”
“We do not fear heights, we fear falling. Nor do we fear the darkness… but, rather, what we think may be lurking there. And in matters of life and death, we do not fear dying: only that it may be final.”
“It is not important to know what fate awaits you beyond the living plane. All that matters is that you know there is a ‘there’ there.”
“The greatest temptation in life is to pursue everything that catches your eye. What matters is: Are you willing to pursue only that which captures your heart.”
“The universe is a blank canvas, and you are the paint. The only thing that matters is how much of yourself you are willing to splash upon it.”
“The universe is impressed when you find the courage to stand with others. What matters more, however, are the times you find the courage to stand alone.”
“Everything in the universe is temporary, yet everything lasts forever. And it does not matter if you believe this—it will be true with or without your consent.”
“It is not the job of the universe to tell you what your destiny is. For that matter, no one is destined to become anything other than what they choose to become.”
“No matter how unfair the world may seem, the world is perfect just the way it is.”
“Those filled with hate believe the edge of the universe is surrounded in darkness, while those filled with love believe it to be bathed in light. But what does it matter? Upon their deaths, both will discover they were correct.”
“Your forgiveness may not matter to those who harm you, but it was never intended for them anyway. It is a gift you give yourself.”
“When you die, one of the following two things must be true. You are dead and gone, or you are dead but not gone. To settle the matter once and for all, as far as the Universe is concerned, we are never gone.”
“The desire to remain young matters most to those who do not realize that growing old is a privilege denied to many.”
“Your dreams matter to you, but also to the universe. Do not let anyone who has given up on their dreams talk you out of yours.”
“The world is filled with unspeakable evil, but it is also filled with unstoppable love. The only thing that matters—as long as there is one person with a single ounce of love in their heart—is that evil cannot win.”
“The thing that matters most in your final hours is that you do not find yourself crying and begging for more time. Only those who have failed to live fear death.”
“There is no such thing as a lifetime—only a series of moments strung together that matter to us that we call a lifetime. To miss these moments is to miss your life.
“The universe is not interested in your long list of casual wants. The only thing that matters is your short list of passionate desires.”
“No matter what you think or how you feel when times are tough, life is a precious gift. Just how precious is it? Don’t worry. You know when you’re dead.”
“If knowing every secret in the universe matters to you, your time on earth will be a disappointment. The number of secrets is infinite; the capacity to understand is not.”
“The best way to deal with matters of hate, jealousy, anger, fear, and regret is to be so busy living your life that you simply have no time for any of them.”
“It does not matter that you reach out to the universe. What matters is that you reach inside yourself.”
“The universe does not care if you are beautiful. What matters is that you surround yourself with that which is beautiful to you.”
“Nothing in the universe is good or bad, big or small, hot or cold, up or down, right or wrong. The only thing that matters is the perspective of the observer.”
“If fulfilling your mission on earth truly matters, why have you yet to even start? And don’t say it is because you don’t know your mission. You have always known.”
“In matters of karma, the universe is excruciatingly fair. What goes around does indeed come around. But you must understand: the universe is under no obligation to ensure it comes around to you.”
“Thoughts don’t just matter. They are matter. In the same way that the moon tugs on the oceans, the gravity of your thoughts have pulled both things and people into your life.”
“The true wonders of the universe can be seen in three ways: through the lens of a telescope, the lens of a microscope, and—when it matters most—the lens of human understanding.”
“Every choice, large or small, matters more than you’ll ever know. In the end, your life will have been nothing more than a collection of your choices.”
“Show the universe what matters most to you, and the universe will show you… you.”
“The differences between us matter less than the ways in which we are the same, for in the end we come to understand we were all connected by the same frail web called life.”
A Poem from the Journal of Onyx Webb
I want to be alive again, feel wind blow through my hair.
Take a deep, glorious breath, have my lungs fill up with air.
I even want to feel the pain as thorns draw drops of blood.
Run outside in a pouring rain, dance barefoot in the mud.
What good is hearing music when you cannot sense the beat?
What purpose does passion serve for a soul that feels no heat?
Why pray for more tomorrows when your present is such hell?
Why hope to one day fall in love if you have no heart to swell?
There was a time when I believed that I would do it all—Climb the Eiffel Tower; walk China’s long Great Wall.
Dance on my wedding night, in the arms of the perfect man,
But life did not turn out that way, for fate had other plans.
What good is one more day on Earth? I ask myself again.
I know that I was happy once yet cannot remember when.
Why continue on this way, doing nothing but survive?
Why stay among the living, simply dying to be alive?
Crimson Cove, Oregon
About the Author:
Diandra Archer is the pen name for professional speakers and best-selling authors, Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz. Richard and Andrea have been entrepreneurs, writing and publishing non-fiction business books for over twenty years. Onyx Webb is their first fiction book series. They live in Central Florida with their cat Storey, and newly adopted senior dog, Peppers. Diandra Archer is a combination of both of their first names.
$20 Amazon Gift Card from Diandra Archer
Welcome To Nowhere
Today sees the release of the first book in my brand new series Road To Nowhere. Book 1 - Nowhere Left To Run is out now, with book 2 out Sept 30th.
With killer werewolves on her tail and the mysterious Council breathing down her neck, Nissa is going to have to trust in her own abilities if she hopes to survive.
After half-wizard Nissa’s power to manipulate time ends in tragedy, she flees home to Nowhere, but before long, her past catches up to her, in the form of another supernatural asking for help.
Nissa has one rule: no fraternizing with customers. Especially of the sexy werewolf variety. Blake, however, won’t take no for an answer…and neither will the dead body in the bar parking lot.
If anyone discovers her abilities, they’ll exploit her, and she’s too ready to think Blake will be an exception. Yet, he’s pulled her into the mystery, and tasks her with helping get his sister out of town.
It won’t be easy, but if anyone understands being on the run, it’s Nissa. Problem is, time is running out, and if Nissa doesn’t figure out who the real killer is before they strike again, she could be the next victim.
Fans of Midnight, Texas and Wynonna Earp will love this urban fantasy series.
To Snare A Witch Book 2
Dark Fantasy, Gothic Horror
Date Published: 26th July 2022
Terror as a reluctant sorceress discovers that once you enter the deadly world of magic, there's no turning back...
Elizabeth Fiennes thought her troubles solved with one desperate act of enchantment, rescuing her wrongly accused husband Jack from the gallows. But she soon learns that, in mystical 17th century England, magic is a cruel mistress and for every spell cast there is a devastating price to be paid.
Now both face a future of damnation, Elizabeth dragged deeper and deeper into the mystical life of curses and invocation, while Jack is forced to abandon every moral belief he once held sacred.
As dark act follows dark act their love and innocence is stretched to snapping point, projecting them into the heart of a demonic conflict between the coven who seek to harness Elizabeth’s extraordinary witchcraft skills and the ruthless magistrate determined to destroy all her kind.
But who will live and who will die?
Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men. He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the old TV reruns of horror classics he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.
If you would like to be informed of new releases, enjoy bonus short stories and exclusive behind the scenes material, simply join the Jay Raven VIP Readers Club. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time.
For more details, visit: www.jayraven.com
Q&A With Romy Lockhart
1. Tell us about your Alpha book.
In Moon Cursed, coming out in July, a rare female Alpha must find a way to help clear her Omega mate of a crime that puts him at the mercy of another pack. Her shifter side was hidden before so her primal urges are still new and can make her a little bit temperamental. Luckily, she has three mates to help her adjust.
2. What do you love about Alphas?
I love that they’re always deeply protective of their mates and their packs.
3. Is this a series or a standalone?
Moon Cursed can be read as a standalone, but it exists in my Hybrid Shifter world of standalone novels and this pack were first formed in Vicious Love.
4. If you could shape-shift into an animal, what would it be and why?
Probably a cat. I’m quite klutzy, but they always land on their feet so that would make a nice change!
5. What is next for you?
I’m working on the seventh novel in my Hybrid Shifter world now, and the second book in a new Omegaverse world.
Romy Lockhart writes paranormal reverse harem. All of her books contain steamy scenes between consenting adults. All of her reverse harems have harem ever afters, and all of her romance novels have happy endings.
Q&A With Author Z. Knight
1) Tell us about your Alpha book.
My book, Pack Queen: A Shifters of Crescent City Novel, is a high octane paranormal reverse harem romance. It features Chastity Johnson, a reporter swept up in a government conspiracy to genetically alter shifters. She meets three mates over the course of the book—Maahes, Omar, and Rajesh, a lion, frostwolf, and tiger shifter.
2) What do you love about Alphas?
I love the fact that they can command a room and also protect and nurture their mate, or mates. This will be my first time writing a luna, or alpha female, and I’m excited to explore the possibilities. It’ll be fun navigating swoony scenes with three bull-headed alphas (including the FMC) and one mate who is a unique shifter (which would spoil the story so can’t say!).
3) Is this a series or a standalone?
So Pack Queen is intended to be a standalone, though it might become a duet in the end. However, the book is a part of a large shared universe called Luna City. Stories set in Crescent City will include slayers, vampires, shifters, and more paranormals as they navigate inside “human society.” Luna Cove stories take place in a world dominated by the paranormal, as well as feral immortals. I’m excited to introduce readers to Crescent City with Pack Queen. Which reminds me, I need to get a reading order up stat!
4) If you could shape-shift into an animal, what would it be and why?
Hands down an orangutan.
5) What is next for you?
Right now I’m working on that aforementioned reading order and other website freebies. My main focus for the rest of May and June will be getting two newsletter serials going when I’m not writing for publication. Finally, I’m editing a huge anthology that I can’t wait to share.
Zelda Knight is a USA Today bestselling author, British Fantasy Award-winning editor, and diverse bookseller. She writes speculative romance for all orientations. She’s also the publisher and editor-in-chief of Aurelia Leo, an independent Nebula Award-nominated press based in Louisville, Kentucky. Zelda co-edited Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora (Aurelia Leo, 2020), which has received critical acclaim. Zelda’s currently co-editing Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction (Tordotcom, 2022). Keep in touch on social media @AuthorZKnight.
Every Pack needs an Alpha...
In a pack, you answer to the Alpha, without question, but what happens when you don't want the job? Or when the other wolves are against you?
It's never easy being in charge, but for these Alpha Queens, it could prove deadly...
This collection of paranormal and urban fantasy tales explores the world of werewolf packs and female Alphas. Our heroines will face their deepest fears, darkest urges and terrible betrayals, but a Queen always comes out on top.
A Limited Edition Female Alpha Collection
Featuring stories from -
★USAT Bestselling Author S. K. Gregory
★NYT Bestselling Author Zari Hunt
“I can’t do this.”
We’d taken three days to drive here and now I wanted to turn around and run back to the comfort of Alaska. I mean, Green Mountain itself wasn’t bad—hilltops all around, trees as far as I could see, fresh air away from the city. It had its charm.
But as I sat in Rhys’ truck and watched three grown men brawling in the middle of a dirt pit, I knew I didn’t have it in me to be an alpha.
“Stop fidgeting,” Rhys said. He reached over and squeezed my thigh.
“Where is everyone else? And what are they doing?” Just as I asked that, one of the men ripped off his flannel shirt and threw a beer can at another one’s head. The third man let out a laugh and then spit of the ground and wiggled his fingers, inviting the fight. In an instant, all three were on top of each other again, rolling around in the dirt and throwing punches at anything and everything they could reach. “Oh, my god,” I breathed.
“They’re just playing around,” Rhys said, although I heard the hesitation in his voice. “Come on.”
He jumped out of the truck and jogged around to open my door. The three grown men didn’t even notice us as they continued to pummel each other. Even when we walked toward them, hand in hand, they kept fighting. At one point, the ball of bodies rolled our way, and I was too slow to jump out of the path, so they slammed into my legs and knocked me to the ground.
“Hey!” Rhys shouted while he helped me up. “This is your fucking alpha!”
The men looked up at me, faces dirty and bloody, bodies shirtless and pants all ripped up. One of them belched. Another punched him in the neck. And the third scrambled to his feet. “Get up, assholes,” he said.
The two still on the ground didn’t move so I glared down at them and crossed my arms. “Do I really have to order you?”
They sighed, mumbled some curses under their breath, and finally stood. The belcher fake-punched the man who’d stood first right in the groin. And when he freaked out because he’d almost hit him, the gassy man laughed like a child.
“Where is everyone?” I asked.
The three looked at each other and then back to me without answering.
“Is this seriously how it’s going to be?” I snapped. “Where’s the rest of the pack?”
“Gone,” the tallest one said. He had shaggy brown hair and a beard and was the one who’d thrown the beer can earlier.
“Who are you?” I asked him.
“What do you mean gone?”
“They left about a week ago.” Jack rubbed his beard and then dusted off his jeans. He said nothing as though he’d already given me the information I needed.
I turned to the belcher. “Who are you?”
“Where did everyone go, Colton?”
The blond behemoth of a man shook his head. “They left when the money ran out.”
I glanced at Rhys, panic in my eyes and needing his strength right now. “I don’t understand.”
The third man, a tall but scrappy wolf with brown hair cut like Rhys’, spoke up. “When you killed Cade, all hell broke loose here.”
“What do you mean? And who are you?” Jesus Christ, it was like pulling teeth to get information out of these assholes. Out of my new pack.
Jack started explaining. “That’s Sawyer and the Green Mountain pack might have had a shitty alpha, but we were making bank. Cade made sure of it. But his family liquidated everything after he died, and left the pack broke and homeless.”
“Homeless?” Rhys asked. “Why didn’t you call us?”
“Because what’s the point? What were you going to do about it? Cade used us to make his money and stashed it all away under his name. We got fucked. And now you’re fucked too.”
“What happened to the houses?” I asked.
“Gone. Bank owned now,” Jack said.
“So whose land is this?” Rhys asked.
“It was a little something the three of us purchased together a few years ago,” Sawyer jumped in. “It’s not much but it’s all we’ve got.”
I looked around the site. A trailer park basically. One tiny, flattened piece of land with three small trailers in various stages of decay. One of them had two pink flamingo lawn ornaments in the dirt patch out front and they were positioned so that they were humping each other. Another trailer had “Jack Off” spray-painted on the side with a big red slash through it. The third trailer looked like someone was taking care of it, until I saw the hole in the side where two kegs of beer had been shoved into the house in place of a window. Someone here drank a lot of beer.
And I’d just inherited this shit show.
“What about the Green Mountain pack?” I asked, that dark pit of doubt and fear snaking up my skin.
“You’re lookin’ at ‘em,” Colton said. “We’re the only ones left.”
“And I guess that makes you an alpha of three,” Sawyer said sarcastically before turning his glare to Rhys. “Or four.”
“Great,” I mumbled. “So where are we supposed to sleep?”
The three men laughed, and it wasn’t a pretty sound. “You’re on your own, sweetheart. Better get into town and start trailer shopping,” Colton teased.
I glanced at Rhys again, who reached out and squeezed my hand in solidarity.
“Well…can you at least help us unload some of our stuff?”
They started to walk away. My new pack started to fucking walk away when I asked for help. My wolf growled, stopping them in their tracks.
“Look, lady,” Jack said. “There ain’t no reason to unpack your shit until you have a place to put it. Go to Tommy’s Trailers in town, he’ll get you hooked up.” And with that, they disappeared into their own homes.
“What the fuck was that?” I asked.
“Bright side?” Rhys said, wrapping me in his arms. “They aren’t drug addicts or adrenaline junkies. You’re already starting off better than I did.”
Huffing my annoyance, I tried to wiggle free. “Really? You think this,” I waved my hand at the pitiful Green Mountain pack, “is better?”
Rhys kissed my head. “Much.”
“Sometimes I hate you,” I teased.
“You’re going to make this great. I know it.”
“I don’t have money to buy a trailer,” I sighed.
Looking up at my mate, I lifted my brow. “You do?”
“Not important. We need a home. Why don’t we go into town and see what we can finagle?”
I giggled. “Did you just say finagle?”
“It’s a funny word.”
Rhys turned me around in his arms so I was facing him. “Well, if I can make you laugh like that, I will say it more often.”
I lifted my chin and welcomed his kiss. The drive had been exhausting. This pack was exhausting. The whole damn situation was exhausting. But I had Rhys and with Rhys by my side, I could do anything. His tongue slipped into my mouth and in no time at all, our make out session turned hot and heavy.
And then the beer can hit Rhys in the head.
“Get a room!” Colton called out.
“Get a trailer!” Jack said.
“Everyone shut the fuck up!” Sawyer yelled from somewhere behind the humping flamingos.
I shook my head and let out a deep breath. “I can’t do this.”
Rhys pulled me over to his truck and helped me inside. “You can and you will. These guys need someone strong like you in their lives.”
“How do you know?”
“Because they’re lost. Look at them. They stayed. For a reason.”
“They probably can’t afford to go anywhere else.”
Rhys shook his head. “No, I think it’s more than that.”
“Since when did you become the perpetual optimist?” I teased.
He tapped my nose and started to close the door. “Since the moment I met you.”
As he walked around the front of the truck, I wondered if he meant our recent meeting or our entire childhood together. I loved Rhys Murray with all my heart, and I couldn’t imagine facing this without him by my side. I wasn’t ready to lead a pack of unruly men. That part was pretty clear when they all walked away from me. I’d have to find a way to make it work, and knowing I had Rhys standing behind me, made it that much more possible.
“You ready to go find a home?” he asked as he jumped in the truck.
I turned and smiled. “I am.”
I was ready. I would have a home with Rhys by my side and the support of my pack. If I could dream it, it would happen. And when I reached across the seat and grabbed my mate’s hand, I knew it would all work out in the end.
Ashlee Sinn fancies all creatures of the paranormal persuasion, especially those who like to bite. Her steamy romances tend to feature swoon-worthy heroes and kick-ass heroines. Whether it's vampires, shifters, or demons, the women who keep them in line have a special place in her heart. And in her chaotic head.
All of Ashlee’s books take place in the same world with overlapping characters. Find the suggested reading order on her website!
Rogue Wolf by Diane Riggins
The warmth from the sunlight streaming through the window woke Hayleigh up. She groaned, sat up, and rubbed her eyes. She flopped back onto the bed when she realized what she had to do that day. It wasn’t going to be a good day for anyone.
There was a knock on her door. She got up, opened it and motioned for her sister Stacy to come into the room. Hayleigh frowned it couldn’t be good if her sister was coming to see that early in the morning. Her sister never appeared before 10 am.
“What’s wrong now?” Hayleigh asked as she sat down on the bed.
“There was another attack last night. The sheriff called just a little while ago. He said he doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be able to keep townspeople from hunting the creature down themselves,” she said as she sat down in the chair across from Hayleigh.
“The last thing we need is for people to go hunting in the woods for it,” Hayleigh said.
“I told him it wouldn’t be a good thing. He’s going to try and keep people back if he can,” she said.
“Is everyone in the pack accounted for?” Hayleigh asked.
“Yes, including our brothers. Konner though was defensive when asked where he was and if anyone could vouch for him,” she said.
“It doesn’t surprise me. Konner has always been defensive when asked to prove his whereabouts when something has happened. Kaden-Scott is the more level-headed of the two,” Hayleigh said.
“I would say Konner’s adopted but since they are twins it’s not likely,” her sister said.
“Konner’s not all bad. He does have some good qualities about him,” Hayleigh said.
“Name one good thing or quality about him,” her sister said.
“He helped out with the festival last year when he didn’t have to. Mom had given him an out but he worked the festival anyway. Mom was so proud when he showed up to help,” Hayleigh said.
“He wasn’t doing it to be helpful he was doing it so mom wouldn’t be mad at him. He didn’t want her to make him feel guilty about it afterward,” her sister said.
“I’m trying to give him some leeway. He hasn’t had it easy over the last few years,” Hayleigh said.
“Stop making excuses for him. Things would have ended differently if dad hadn’t of stepped in and you know it,” her sister said.
“We don’t know that. You were there you know he was defending himself,” Hayleigh said.
“He was fighting the enforcer of the pack Hayleigh. He was out to kill him for no good reason. He changed while he was away,” her sister said.
Hayleigh had to agree with her sister about their younger brother. Something had happened to him while he was away for a year. When he had returned, he was defensive and shut everyone out. They had tried to get him to open up about what had happened but he refused.
She couldn’t help but wonder if her brother was behind the attacks. They had begun after he had returned to town. Hayleigh would have to deal with her brother later. There were more important things on the agenda for the day.
The council had called a meeting about the attacks. Everyone had to attend the meeting. Hayleigh would rather be hanging out with her friends.
“Why do we have to attend the meeting?” her sister asked.
“I don’t know other than they want everyone where they can keep an eye on them,” Hayleigh said.
“I bet they want to prove no on in our pack is the attacker. If everyone is in the same place at the same time and another attack happens while we are gathered together then our pack is innocent,” her sister said.
“Sounds like it’s the plan. There is a rogue wolf out there attacking not just other wolves but the townspeople as well. We can’t let it continue,” Hayleigh said as she finished getting dressed.
They headed over to the main house to meet their parents and brothers. They hoped Konner would be there. He hadn’t been part of the family meals since he had gotten back.
The girls walked through the foyer to the kitchen. Their parents and brother Kaden-Scott were already seated. They waved, grabbed plates and filled them up before sitting down.
“I guess Konner decided to be non-social again,” Hayleigh asked as she sat down across from her brother.
“Yeah, he didn’t get in until around 3 am this morning,” Kaden-Scott said with a cautious glance at their parents.
“Your brother needs to grow up and take his responsibilities to this family and pack more seriously,” their father said.
“Dad, he hasn’t been the same since he came back from the assignment you sent him on. You have to see it. He needs help or he’s going to kill or be killed by someone,” Hayleigh said.
She was tired of everyone doubting Konner and his sense of responsibility. He had been sent on a mission for the pack that had gone wrong for everyone involved. No matter what he was still her brother.
“We offered to get him help. He wouldn’t do it,” their mother said staring at Hayleigh.
“Can we not argue about Konner right now. We have to find the attacker before someone else gets hurt,” Kaden-Scott said.
“I agree. Can we have a peaceful meal for once?” Stacy asked glancing around the table.
“Your brother and sister have the right idea. No more talk about Konner or even about the attacker,” their mother said gazing around the table at each one of them.
Hayleigh and her siblings gazed down at their plates without muttering another word.
Konner listened to his parents and siblings talking about him. His wolf paced. He took deep breaths to calm himself and his wolf down. He left the house because he didn’t want to hear anymore of their conversation. They stopped talking when they heard the front door slam shut. Kaden-Scott sighed and left the table to go look for his brother. Konner had to stay within the pack compound today because of the meeting.
He hadn’t cleared the steps when he heard the shouting and scuffling. Kaden-Scott ran toward the sound. He rounded the corner of the house to see Sean and Tony trying to stop Konner from leaving.
Kaden-Scott entered the scuffle and grabbed his brother. He motioned for the two men to let him go. They released Konner after they knew Kaden-Scott had a grip on him.
“Sorry, little brother but you can’t leave. Did you forget we have a pack meeting to attend today?” Kaden-Scott said fighting to keep his hold on him.
“I don’t care about the meeting. No one around here cares if I’m here or not,” Konner said breaking out of his brother’s grip.
“Not going to happen. You’ll be put on lockdown until the meeting if you try to leave,” Kaden-Scott said.
“Fine, I won’t leave before the meeting but as soon as it’s over I’m gone,” Konner said slamming his palm against the wall. He turned and walked away before Kaden-Scott could say anything else.
Kaden-Scott watched his brother walk away. Hayleigh was right his brother needed help and soon. He was a ticking time bomb and it didn’t help he was a wolf.
His brother was headed down a dangerous road. He turned and headed back to the house. His parents were waiting for him when he walked into the foyer.
“Everything’s fine. Konner overheard us and was leaving but Sean and Tony stopped him. I explained to him why he couldn’t leave. He was upset but agreed to stay for the meeting. After it’s over he’s leaving and I doubt he’ll be back before tomorrow morning,” Kaden-Scott said his hands curled into fists by his side.
“Son, you did what had to be done. Your sister is right. He has to be dealt with before something bad happens. I just don’t know who to call or where to look,” their dad said glancing around the room.
“I think I know who we can call. It might be a long shot though I haven’t talked to them in a long time,” Hayleigh said leaning against the wall.
“Fine. Can they be trusted? We are wolves and have a reputation to maintain within the pack,” their dad said gazing at her.
“Yes, he can be trusted. I’ll begin trying to track him down after the meeting,” she said.
“Let me know as soon as you do get in touch with him,” their dad said.
“Yes, sir. Now, we have a meeting to attend and as the family of the alpha we can’t be late,” their mom said motioning everyone toward the door.
The family arrived at the meeting hall to find Konner outside with several of his friends. Their dad shook his head and walked in without acknowledging his son. Konner glanced over at them and waved. He was acting nothing had happened earlier. Hayleigh sighed and walked in behind their dad. Stacy and their mom followed after her. Kaden-Scott growled and walked over to him.
“Let’s go inside now. You can hang out with them later,” he said as he grabbed Konner’s arm. Konner jerked away from him.
“You don’t tell me what to do. I’m going to sit with my friends and we’re leaving right after the meeting’s over,” Konner said walking away with his friends.
Kaden-Scott believed Konner was going to do something to disrupt the meeting and embarrass their dad more than he already had.
He moved toward the door of the meeting hall and walked in. He scanned the room for his brother. Konner was in back with those troublemaker friends of his. Kaden-Scott strode toward the front of the room.
“Konner not going to grace us with his presence?” Hayleigh asked when Kaden-Scott reached them.
“No, he would rather sit in the back with his friends so he can leave as soon as the meeting ends,” Kaden-Scott said sitting down beside her.
“Do what you have to if he begins to cause trouble,” their mom told him.
“Yes, ma’am,” Kaden-Scott said.
Hayleigh glanced back to where her other brother was sitting. She shook her head and turned around to face the front. Kaden-Scott gave her hand a little squeeze. She glanced over and smiled. At least she could trust one of her brothers.
The meeting began and Hayleigh pushed all thoughts about Konner out of her head. She wanted to a clear head to listen to the council. The council members began with news about the attacks happening in the area. The attacker(s) were rogue wolves and had to be found.
Hayleigh wasn’t surprised by the news. She had deciphered from the clues at the scenes it was a rogue wolf behind the attacks. She glanced around the room eyes landing on her brother. Konner and his friends were whispering while the Alpha was going over the plan he and the council had decided on.
They were creating teams of 4 to go out and search for the rogue(s). There were groans all around the room when he announced no one other than the teams would be allowed to leave and return until the rogue(s) were found.
Hayleigh closed her eyes and muttered to herself. She hoped it would be on a voluntary basis. Next thing she knew her parents were pushing her toward the front after the Alpha had called her name for one of the teams. Kaden-Scott was chosen for one as well. Stacy was staying behind because she was still too young to go on hunts for rouges. She let it be known how unhappy she was.
Their mom glared at Stacy and she hushed. Kaden-Scott and Hayleigh were up front with the groups conversing with each other and several of their friends who were chosen. The meeting adjourned so everyone else could leave. The teams had to stay so they could be briefed on their assignments and areas to search.
The two returned to their parents house several hours later. Hayleigh wasn’t shocked to find Konner gone. Their parents and Stacy were watching a movie when they walked into the living room. The two let them know they would be leaving out the next morning and didn’t know when they would be back. They promised to stay in touch as much as possible. Stacy, Hayleigh, and Kaden-Scott left after saying good night to their parents. Stacy had to pack along with Hayleigh. She lived with her sister and when Hayleigh would have to go out of town Stacy stayed with their parents until she returned.
The next morning the siblings meet in front of the meeting hall. Their parents and sister were there to see them off like the rest of the pack. Konner and his friends were arriving back at the compound as Hayleigh and Kaden-Scott left with their respective teams.
“Let me guess they were picked for the teams,” Konner said wiping his palms on his pants.
“Yes, they did. You would’ve known if you had stuck around for a few minutes longer,” Stacy said glaring at him.
“I did but I don’t remember their names being called,” Konner said glancing between their mother and Stacy.
“Oh please. You and your friends were gone a minute after the gavel slammed down ending the meeting,” Stacy said before walking away.
“What’s with the attitude? I just stated a fact,” he asked his mom as Stacy walked away from them.
“She has a right to be unhappy with you. We all are. You need to grow up Konner,” their mom said and walked away.
He watched his mom walk away and enter the house. His dad leaned against the nearly tree.
“You have pushed your luck with your mom and siblings. I would say leave and not return for a long time but you can’t do that,” his dad as he turned away from Konner.
Konner growled and stormed away from the meeting hall. They were going to pay for treating him the way they did.
Hayleigh and Kaden-Scott got in touch with their parents as much as they could. They had been out tracking the rogues for several months. Kaden-Scott had been able to return home for some rest. Hayleigh was still out in the field. Her team was searching an area where a recent victim had been found.
Hayleigh glanced down at the bottom of a tree and saw an item that looked familiar. She could have sworn it belonged to Konner. It was a torn-up shirt with blood on it. She bagged it before anyone else could find it.
The team lead came up to her and was frowning. He pulled her aside and informed her she was going home for a few days. She wouldn’t have to wait to get Kaden-Scott’s help with the shirt.
She drove into the compound and parked in front of the meeting hall. Hayleigh got out of the car and noticed the deafening silence. Where was everyone? Her parents and siblings must have informed she was arriving.
Hayleigh walked into the meeting hall to check in with the coordinator and let them know her information from the search area(s). The few people who were in the hall stopped talking when she walked in.
“What’s going on? Why did everyone shut up?” Hayleigh asked.
“Go let Kaden-Scott know she’s here,” Sean said.
Tony took off out the door to find her brother. Hayleigh glanced around the room. She had the feeling something was wrong. She paced back and forth waiting for Kaden-Scott.
A few minutes later her brother walked in with Tony behind him. She rushed over to him demanding to know what was going on.
“Stacy was attacked. She’s going to be okay. She fought off the attacker and scratched him,” Kaden-Scott said.
“Thank God, she’s going to be okay. Does it mean we might have some DNA from the attacker?” Hayleigh asked.
“It does. It’s being tested now. We should know the results soon,” he said.
“Well, I have something that might be considered a clue in the trunk of the car. I found it in the last area were searching when I was told to return home,” Hayleigh said.
She spent most of her time waiting taking care of her sister to give their mom some time to rest. Although after a few days Stacy had healed enough that she didn’t need as much attention from her sister or mom.
The results of the testing on the blood had come back. No one was shocked when the attacker was revealed to be one of Konner’s troublemaking friends. What was worse and made Konner look guilty as well was he had disappeared around the time of the attack.
Kaden-Scott sat down beside Hayleigh on the porch swing their mom insisted she had to have.
“You know Konner’s innocent until proven guilty. I know how it looks though. He disappeared at the same time Stacy was attacked,” he said glancing at her.
“I know. I want to believe he’s innocent but part of me can’t. Given how he’s been acting since he got back from the mission dad had sent him on,” Hayleigh said.
“We’ll find him and clear his name,” Kaden-Scott said as he patted her on the leg.
“I’m going to search for him myself,” Hayleigh said.
“You can’t do that. He’s dangerous,” he said.
“I know but someone has to bring him in,” she said.
“It won’t be you. I already have one sick and don’t need the other one getting hurt as well.
Hayleigh didn’t say anything else. She went to her house to pack another pack of clothes. She needed to pack some extra weapons. After packing she went back to her parents’ house to say goodbye.
She got in her car and drove off the compound property. Her search would take her all over the place. Hayleigh’s mind wondered to a time when her family was happy, healthy and whole. She would find out what happened to her brother on his mission.
Several months after starting the search Hayleigh was returning home feeling defeated. She had found no more clues. At home she would regroup and begin the search again. Hayleigh smiled as she drove through the compound gates. It was good to be home even if it was a short period of time.
She had to applaud his efforts to stay hidden.
You won’t be able to hide for much longer little brother. I will find you and bring you home to get the help you need before facing the council and the possible charges of crime against a pack member. Until then keep playing your little hide and seek game. I know you are one of the rogue wolves. I just have to prove it. Goodbye for now little brother see you soon.
About the Author
Diane and her family live in the south with their two dogs and three cats. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English. When she’s not writing, she can be found spending time with her family and friends, reading, playing video games, or watching some of her favorite movies and television shows. She is currently working on a Young Adult series set in a Witch Academy and writing the Junior and Senior Year stories for the Ytherynia: Gifted Blood Academy Set among other projects. More of Hayleigh’s story coming soon.
Werecreatures or shapeshifters are humans with the ability to turn into a type of animal. The most common is the werewolf, but they can be any animal including - cougars, bears, panthers, coyotes and more.
Often they have other abilities too like superior strength and healing abilities. They may have heightened senses like their animal such as a powerful sense of smell. They are not immortal however and can be killed with extreme force or catastrophic injuries.
Tales of werecreatures have been told for centuries and one of the earliest books to feature a werewolf was The Man Wolf by Leitch Richie in 1831.
Werewolf and other werecreature stories continue to be popular with recent shows such as Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries and Wolf Like Me.
Who is your favorite Werecreature?
Q&A With Lore Nicole
1) Tell us about your Alpha book.
When she was young, Jacqueline’s parents died when a rival wolf pack decided they wanted to rule their pack’s land. The rivals left the destruction to go pack before starting to move in. An Omega male from a different neighboring pack happened upon the battle grounds and heard Jackie’s cries. The Omega sensed she was an Alpha and could eventually take over his pack, if allowed. He went to his Alpha and they got a locket spelled by a witch to hide Jackie’s wolf. It would restrain her powers so that she could be raised an Omega and pose no threat.
Omega’s are known for being caretakers and Jackie was raised no differently. As an orphan, she felt herself wanting to help all the other wolf orphans in the area. She turned her home into a foster home and the orphans were nicknamed Red’s Wolves. The future pack Alpha is sent around the pack to learn about each business and citizen so that he can lead them properly. He can’t help but feel a connection with Jackie.
What would happen if he learns of her secret? What will happen if SHE learns the secret?
2) What do you love about Alphas?
I love their confidence, which is something that I have always lacked. I also love their leadership skills and charisma.
3) Is this a series or a standalone?
It is meant to be a standalone.
4) If you could shape-shift into an animal, what would it be and why?
I would love to turn into a falcon. To be able to fly anytime I wanted and to be a fierce bird of prey? For someone that was raised in a family of alcoholics and domestic violence, those abilities would have been greatly appreciated as a child. Even now I would love the freedom flight could bring at times.
5) What is next for you?
Way too many projects. More short stories for anthologies including a time travel YA, and a spin on the damsel in distress trope PNR. There’s also a novelette “Queen Maribelle” (the second part to my fae YA set), a Christmas wolf shifter PNR with a secret baby trope novel, and a novel about a son of Krampus. That’s just for this year under this author name…
Lore Nicole lives on a family dairy farm with her husband and three children in Wisconsin. Books were always her escape in childhood and she hopes to provide that escape for others through her writing, besides spreading awareness. She is an advocate for endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and childhood brain tumor awareness. She addresses these issues, and others, in her writing. She normally writes young adult fantasy and adult paranormal romance.
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About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”