Authors: Bianca D'Arc
Tales of the Were
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
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Copyright © 2013
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Tales of the Were
Redstone Clan #1
Griffon Redstone is the eldest of five brothers and the leader of one of the most influential shifter Clans in North America. He seeks solace in the mountains, away from the horrific events of the past months, for both himself and his young sister. The deaths of their older sister and mother have hit them both very hard.
Lindsey Tate is human, but very aware of the werewolf Pack that lives near her grandfather’s old cabin. She’s come to right a wrong her grandfather committed against the Pack and salvage what’s left of her family’s honor—if the wolves will let her. Mostly, they seem intent on running her out of town on a rail.
But the golden haired stranger, Grif, comes to her rescue more than once. He stands up for her against the wolf Pack and then helps her fix the old generator at the cabin, making it habitable for her while she completes her task. He’s friendly and all too attractive, but she has a job to do, regardless of the cost to herself or her budding relationship with the local handyman.
When she performs the ceremony she expects will end in her death, the shifter deity has other ideas and turns the tables on them all. Grif’s dual nature is revealed and Lindsey learns there is much more going on than she thought.
Thrown together by fate, neither of them can deny the deep and true attraction between them. They come together, but in the end will an old enemy rip them apart?
Cats are frisky and they get up to all sorts of naughtiness, including a frenzy-induced multi-partner situation that might be a little intense for some readers. You have been warned.
First, I’d like to thank my friend, Peggy McChesney, for her sage advice and help. You’re a godsend! Thanks for everything!
This book was a long time in the making. I first invented Griffon Redstone in about 2005, then abandoned the story for other projects when I got my first paying writing gig. But Grif and his family were always in my mind and I’d take that old manuscript out from time to time and dust it off, polish it a little, then usually get distracted by another project again.
So Grif is pretty close to my heart. And I “borrowed” some of his brothers, relatives and back-story for other books along the way. The youngest brother, Matt, plays a prominent (and very naughty) role in my book
Sweeter Than Wine,
for example. And Keith, a Redstone cousin, is the hero of the short story,
The Purrfect Stranger
. Keith plays a supporting role in
Tales of the Were: Rocky
, and another brother, Steve, plays a supporting role in
Tales of the Were: Slade
I mention all this to explain how near and dear Grif and his story are to my heart. This book is the foundation of a lot of characters I’ve used in books since this one was started. It is also the culmination of about eight years of on-again/off-again work and lots and lots of thought and daydreaming.
When I started writing this book, my mother was still alive and my life was very different from what it is now. I’m still in a state of transition and who knows where it’s really going? Certainly not me. But for now, I’d like to dedicate this book to the person who most influenced my life to date—my Mom.
She was a pioneer and a role model. A woman who faced adversity bravely and experienced more than most people can even dream. She was a child of WWII, a Prisoner of War and an immigrant to her adopted homeland, the United States. She made this country stronger for her presence and touched the lives of many of her students, colleagues and friends in profound ways. I owe my love of learning to her and try my best to live up to her standard. I wish I could be as brave, strong and willing to take chances as she always was, and I wish more than anything to rediscover the
joie de vivre
that she took with her when she left this earth.
This book is coming out near what would have been my parents’ 59
wedding anniversary. We should all be so blessed to find a marriage like theirs. This book is also dedicated to them, as a couple, and the example they set for all of us of how to be partners, mates and spouses. It is my wish that all of us find that kind of deep, true and lasting love during our short time on earth.
The internal chronology of my paranormal stories probably needs a little explaining. In a perfect world, all these books would have come out in the order in which the events in the books happen. Unfortunately, due to publisher issues all along the way, they are coming out in a slightly different order.
The events in my earlier-published book,
Sweeter Than Wine
, actually happen after the events in both
. The circumstances of this book,
, are referred to in
Sweeter Than Wine
and can be presumed to happen somewhat simultaneously.
His people were hunted. The hunters didn’t always realize the intelligence behind the sparkling feline eyes, but they recognized the challenge. For that reason, his people had always been hunted along with their brethren of the animal kingdom.
But his people were not animals.
Nor were they completely human. They were somehow…both…and neither. They were a people out of legend.
Griffon Redstone was proud of his power and his skill. Proud of his family and protective of his siblings. Growing up, he’d gone off on his own from time to time, as his kind often did, but he always returned to his family, the loving bond between them strong and sure.
So when his family home in Nevada was violated by the stench of evil magic and violent death, something ripped loose in his soul, never to be righted. His beloved mother, the matriarch of their Clan, had been murdered in her own backyard.
She’d not only been killed in the most violent fashion, but her body had been mutilated after death. When threatened, she’d shifted shape to her animal form and the killers had taken part of her pelt as some kind of sick prize.
She’d been skinned. It was the crudest form of desecration in the shifter community.
He would never forgive himself for not being there when the devil came to visit. For only pure evil could have committed such a brutal act. His baby sister, twelve-year-old Belinda, whimpered in one corner of the lush garden their mother had been so proud of. Poor Belinda had found their mother’s mutilated body and Grif feared she would carry that emotional scar for the rest of her life.
It was up to him to take her away from the heartbreak, to help her heal as best he could. She was his responsibility now. Griffon Redstone was now the eldest of the Redstone Clan. He was the caretaker who had failed in his duty to protect his mother. He would not let little Belinda suffer alone.
The woman’s divine scent teased his senses, but she was all too human. Grif watched the pretty waitress traipse across the worn linoleum, alternately mothering and flirting with the somewhat questionable, mostly male clientele of Ed’s Diner. The men’s eyes followed her, but she treated all equally, her very elusiveness part of her charm. She had a great smile too, and killer legs, long and muscular beneath the rather blah uniform skirt.
She was neat and tidy, and if the middle button of her cotton uniform seemed to strain from time to time as she leaned forward to place a plate before a customer, it had everything to do with the superior quality of her breasts and the inferior quality of the one-size-fits-most uniforms Ed’s waitresses were made to wear. Grif appreciated the view though, realizing she was pretty much unaware of the covetous looks aimed at her from all over the room.
She appeared naturally outgoing and friendly to all, and he could scent no sexual interest coming off her as she talked with and sometimes teased the other male patrons who watched her with desire in their eyes. Grif had spotted the other werefolk in the diner as soon as he’d walked in. Mostly they were wolves from the local Pack. He’d seen some of them in one form or another as he ranged over his territory.
The wolves had given him a wide berth, aside from their Alpha male coming to his cabin shortly after he moved in to
him to the neighborhood. The welcome consisted of a half-hour grilling about his intentions and a reading of the riot act about the rules this Pack adhered to, and expected any werecreature in their territory to live with as well.
Grif had taken it all in stride, knowing that the dominant number of werewolves in the Wind River mountain range of Wyoming allowed them to call the shots, even if Grif ran one of the most influential Clans in the country. He was on vacation. Roaming with his little sister in tow. Seeking space to run and forget their shared troubles for a little while. A place to heal, away—for the most part—from humans.
The Wind River wolf Pack’s rules were pretty straight forward. No hunting owned animals, no stalking humans for kicks, and that sort of thing. It was easy to just agree with the Alpha male and get him out of Grif’s cabin so he could enjoy his solitude. If enjoyment was something he could still feel.
He spent most of his time now in his fur, letting the aggressive nature of his
side help him forget the tragedy in his life. He and his little sister roamed over their new territory for days on end, only stopping at the cabin once in a while. But they had to be human sometimes and as humans, they needed supplies from town every now and again. When he came to town, Grif stopped in Ed’s Diner more often than not, nodding to the other shapeshifters that would acknowledge him and enjoying human food he didn’t have to cook himself.
This pretty waitress was new, or at least he had never seen her here before on one of his infrequent trips into town. He watched her deal efficiently with the last of the lunch crowd as he settled at the counter. She placed a cup and saucer before him with one hand while holding up a carafe of coffee with the other. A raised eyebrow and questioning expression asked if he wanted some of the caffeinated brew. When he nodded, she filled his cup without a word and sashayed down the narrow space behind the counter to the pickup window, filling another customer’s order as he perused the menu.
He already knew what he wanted, but he took his time looking at the plastic covered menu, studying her covertly. What was it about the woman? She was undeniably human, which normally wasn’t a big turn-on for him. He’d never had a bed partner that wasn’t a shapeshifter of some kind, not for lack of opportunity, but for lack of desire on his part.
But this woman was different. She moved fluidly and her scent called to him. She was strongly built, not some delicate hothouse flower. He liked that. And he found himself admiring her shapely, muscled calves and short-nailed fingers. She had working hands, but they weren’t rough. They looked pretty and capable, and he wondered what they’d feel like stroking over his skin. He wondered vividly what she would feel like under him.
Cursing himself for a fool as his libido stirred to uncomfortable life, Grif turned back to the menu, pulling his eyes from the disturbing human female. Her alluring scent wafted nearer as she moved toward him.
Damn it all.
She was coming over to take his order and he had no choice but to look up from the menu and meet her gaze. She stood only feet away behind the counter watching him. Her eyes flashed, her smile somehow innocent and so lovely, she stole his breath.
“The chili’s fresh today.” Her voice washed over his senses like warm rain in the jungle. “And we have a great pecan pie.”
the sound of her melodic voice drift over his senses. He looked down in momentary confusion, staring hard at the menu, trying to get a grip.