Friday, 24 January 2014

Yielding to the Wolves

"Yielding to the Wolves" (MFM) "Werewolf Brides" book 3

Okapi Cooper and Tedros Cooper know one of the mail-order brides, Keisha Robinson, is the perfect woman for them. But not until things go wrong is she prepared to seriously consider their request. And now she has the terrible fear that it might be too late for all of them to find happiness. Someone is targeting the werewolf shape-shifter community at Cooper’s Farm, but why? And are they really dangerous or is it all just a misunderstanding?

Learning a new job and proving she is worthy of trust and respect so she can rebuild her life is Keisha’s focus right now. Okapi is more interested in securing her as his mate. And Tedros won’t rest until the other two are both his partners. Okapi and Tedros won’t be content until she is mated to them and under their protection, but it’s not Keisha whose life is endangered.

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She’d stocked shelves in a hardware store. She’d been a checkout chick in a grocery store. She’d had a few casual short-term positions in an office as a very junior junior. But she’d never ever had a real job. And for the last two years, ever since she’d turned twenty-one, that had been the most damning thing of all when she sent in job applications.

In her neighborhood girls worked in shops or brothels. There really wasn’t much else to choose from. Which was why she’d left and come here as a mail-order bride. But today she’d proven to herself she could do proper office work. Well, as long as it was relatively simple, anyway.

The sound of a man clearing his throat had her looking up at the door and there stood Okapi and Tedros. Okapi looked exactly the same as he’d looked this morning. Crisp white shirt, dark pants, and shiny black shoes. Tedros looked as if he’d just gotten out of the shower. His dark brown hair appeared to be damp, and his navy jeans and blue T-shirt looked freshly ironed. But likely she was just imagining that.

Keisha wanted to ask, “Why are you here?” She knew what she wanted the answer to be, that they wanted to date her. But she couldn’t imagine that’s why there were here in her brand new workplace on her very first day. So instead she asked as blandly as she could manage, “Can I help you?”

Teddy looked at her with those enormous eyes. It was almost as if he were pleading with her to do something, but she had no idea what that could be. She’d scarcely spoken to him and he’d never even hinted that he wanted her to agree to do something for him. And as for Okapi, he’d been completely businesslike with never a hint of anything personal in any of his requests. She kept her helpful look on her face and waited.

“Do you know anything about chess?” asked Okapi.

“Chess? Like, the board game?” Keisha was confused. She’d heard of it, of course. In fact, she’d even known a couple kids who played the game back in high school, or maybe it was middle school.

“Some people play it on computers, too. These days, the computer often wins, but when computers first started to play people who were very good, they always lost,” added Tedros.

Keisha nodded but she had no idea where the conversation was going.

“On Saturday there’s going to be a huge chess display in Coopersville, including a match played with life-size pieces. The game is going to be a reenactment of a famous contest. A match that’s unusual because it was played very offensively where most players prefer to play defensively. So it should be a lot more exciting to watch than a regular game,” explained Okapi.

“You said life-size pieces. However do they move them then?” asked Keisha.

“Oh, they’re people in costumes who move themselves as directed by the two payers, on a huge board. A chess board has sixty-four squares, eight wide and eight long. The chessboard here is laid out on the ground with different colored squares for the people to stand on so it’s twenty-four feet wide and twenty-four feet long. Spectators sit on bleachers like at a baseball game so they can see everything properly,” explained Okapi.

“That does sound like fun,” she said.

“I have tickets for the chess match and the display hall as well. Would you like to come with us?”

Keisha was surprised at how hesitant Okapi sounded. Almost as if he expected her to say no. But she meant what she’d said. It did sound like fun. “Yes, I would, thank you. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

Tedros smiled hugely and she was glad she’d said yes. He seemed so happy.

“Is eleven all right? That’ll give us time to look at the displays and eat lunch before the chess match begins.”

“Yes, of course. Thanks.”

“Great.” Tedros was still smiling at her and she couldn’t help but smile back at him.

“Right. Well, I’ll see you here tomorrow at nine then. Is everything okay with the data entry?” asked Okapi.

“Yes. I don’t have any questions for you. I hope I’m not going too slowly.”

“Take as long as you need. Call me if you don’t understand something.” Okapi nodded at her and he and Teddy left, Teddy smiling back over his shoulder at her.

A date. Okapi and Tedros had asked her out. She’d better Google chess tonight to make sure she understood what was happening. Oh, and the display, too? What would that be? Like chess sets or something? Perhaps she’d better Google that as well. Keisha shivered with excitement. Finally, finally, finally! A date with Teddy and Okapi. Hell yes!

Friday, 10 January 2014

Tamed by the Wolves

"Tamed by the Wolves" (MFM) "Werewolf Brides" book 2.

Dera Williams is very happy when Gowan and Maitho Cooper finally invite her out on a date. But the day turns to disaster when there’s a downpour and they’re far from shelter. And that’s before Dera notices strangers watching Cooper’s Farm. Who are they and what is happening?

Gowan is determined their second date will be a success and he and Maitho put in an enormous amount of effort into cooking up the perfect scene. The evening is a great success and their romance is progressing really well. The men are certain she’ll soon agree to a much closer relationship with them.

Then Dera accepts an interview at a dodgy recruitment firm and the men are determined to protect her no matter what she wants or what anyone else says. Is someone targeting the women on the farm? And how can they keep such an independent woman safe?


“We’re really excited about spending time with you today,” added Maitho.

I am, too. I really like you both, but I don’t know much about you. Today I’ll find out if I still like you after spending the day alone with you. I really, really hope you’re both as nice as you appear to be.

Maitho came and stood beside her. “You said you’d ridden a quad bike before. I expect you remember that you rest your feet on the little step here, and hold on to the padded area of the bar here,” he said pointing to a higher step on the main step of the bike, then to a metal bar that ran along both sides of the back of the passenger’s seat.

Dera nodded and climbed on the back of his bike, then said, “So where are we going first?”

Maitho easily swung his body onto the quad bike in front of her, while Gowan said, “We’ll show you along the main roads of the community first. The first settlers were very logical. They camped in the center of the village and laid out their houses along four roads, north, south, east, and west. Later, cross streets were added connecting them in a sort of squarish ring about a quarter mile from the heart of the community.”

The quad bikes had a top speed of only about fifteen miles an hour, but driving through the center of the farm community, that was a suitable speed which allowed her to see everything without taking so long to travel it would seem like she was staring at people or their homes. From there, they drove down to the river and followed it for quite a long time before heading up to Lookout Hill. Esther had taken her here because it provided an excellent view out over the farm and its fields of cabbages, onions, and rich green grass.

On the top of the hill, Dera shivered, wishing she’d thought to bring a sweater or even a jacket. When they’d left, the sun had been shining brightly, and she’d expected today to be another warm sunny summer’s day. But the sky was gray and cloudy now and the wind had freshened and gotten colder.

Gowan pulled his own sweater off and handed it to her. “Here, it’ll be too big, but it should keep you warm.”

“Thanks, but what about you?”

“Wolves are physically tougher than humans. I’m less likely to catch a cold than you are.”

Hmm. That didn’t sound nearly as romantic as his actions were. Nevertheless, she pulled his sweater down over her head, sniffing the man-smell and enjoying his body warmth as well as the heat from the woolen fabric.

“We’d planned to have a picnic lunch up here, but it’s a bit windy. We were going to take you to the wild area where the wolves like to run and play next. That’s more sheltered and would be a better place for our picnic, I think,” said Gowan.

“That’s fine by me.”

Dera was happy to leave all the arrangements in their hands. They knew the area and she didn’t. Esther had taken her around a bit, but really she only knew the small area near the community hall where the women were staying. There was a general store opposite, and the office building where all the work of the farm was organized. Truly, the management of the farm had provided almost everything the women needed in their own building. Apart from taking a blanket out to the central grassed area and sitting in the sun with some of the other human women sometimes, , Dera had felt no urge to wander. Although she knew if this was to be her home she had to learn to find her own way around.

She climbed back on the quad bike, and said, “Will you teach me how to drive it, later?”

“Of course.” Maitho pointed out various knobs to her, but then his voice was swallowed up by a loud clap of thunder, followed immediately by a torrential downpour. It was almost like standing in a shower. Rain just poured out of the sky as if someone up there had opened a floodgate.

The two men yelled at each other but the only words she could understand were “Hold on tight!”

Her hands were so wet and slippery she didn’t feel safe holding the bar, so she leaned forward, tucked her body against Maitho’s and grabbed his belt with both hands. Even huddled against his back, spray was getting in her face, so she shut her eyes and used his burly body as shelter. The bike was moving faster now as they raced downhill and back toward the community. That was fine by her. The expedition was at an end and her plan for the immediate future was a hot shower and dry clothes. She opened her eyes when the tires hit the paved road again, but they weren’t near the community hall so she shut them again, only to be surprised as the bike bounced under shelter and the rain was drumming on a roof instead of pounding against her body.

Dera opened her mouth to demand to be taken home, instead of waiting the rain out under shelter and getting even colder, but then she realized perhaps the men were struggling to drive the bikes in the bad weather. It wasn’t safe if they couldn’t see properly and after all, no one had bought swimming goggles with them!

But no. Gowan was racing up half a dozen steps onto a porch and Maitho was pulling her sleeve. “Let’s go.”

“Is this your house?” she asked as he hustled her onto the stoop.