This excerpt is part of our New Release Excerpt series where authors send us the first chapter of their new release so you- fans of paranormal romance fiction- can sample before you (hopefully) buy!
Release Date: June 4th
Jessica Salone had a one night stand that resulted in twins. Years later, a hereditary issue arises. The only way to help her son is to get in touch with his father, who doesn’t even know the twins exist. Facing her regrets head on, she takes her twins to the resort where it all started.Will Alexander reject them? Will Jessica find the answers she needs? Or will she be thrown into a world of the unknown.
Alexander Jamison is trying to find information as to why unknown shifters have been in the area. When he hears that a woman called asking questions, he is suspicious. Is something in his past catching up to him? Could the timing be a coincidence or is there something more sinister going on?
Jessica was glad the day was coming to an end. She had been at a birthday party all afternoon with her children. Three year old twins, Michael and Madison were in the backseat screaming over a balloon. They started out with two balloons but Michael rolled down the window and his balloon flew out before Jessica could get the window back up. Now Michael is screaming for Madison’s balloon. Thankfully it didn’t take long for Madison to offer to share her balloon with him. Michael had stopped his fit immediately and now the two kids were laughing throwing the balloon back and forth. Jessica hoped the balloon would make it to their house before it popped.
Pulling into the driveway, Jessica felt relieved. It wouldn’t be long now before the kids were in bed and she would be able to take a long hot bath, read a book and hopefully get rid of the headache that always comes when you are surrounded by twenty laughing and screaming children. Jessica didn’t mind though because her twins had a blast at the party but now that it’s over, she is ready for the day to be over.
“Mommy, my tummy hurts.” Madison said tugging on Jessica’s shirt tail.
“You probably had too much cake and ice cream.” Jessica suggested as she unlocked the front door and ushered the children inside.
Michael obviously didn’t feel bad as he grabbed the balloon from his sister and ran towards his room. Madison on the other hand didn’t even care that the balloon was snatched from her hands. Madison put her hand on her stomach and started grunting in pain. Jessica hoped Madison only ate too much because once one of them gets sick they pass it back and forth for a week. So, while Michael is in his room playing Jessica bathed Madison and gave her some medicine for her stomach. She knew Madison really didn’t feel good when she didn’t even ask for a bedtime story. Instead Madison snuggled under the covers and closed her eyes.
“Good night sweetie. I love you.” Jessica kissed Madison’s forehead.
“Love you, mommy.” Madison whispered back.
On the way out of Madison’s room, she turned on the night light and closed the door. Now was Michael’s turn. She is sure that Michael won’t go to bed as easily as Madison. Just as Jessica thought, Michael was wide awake. Even after his bath he didn’t seem to settle down any. Jessica only got him to agree to lay down after promising to read two stories.
Half way through the second story Michael starts laughing and didn’t stop. After reading a few more pages Jessica closed the book and looked curiously at her son. He never laughed before when she read Jack and the Beanstalk.
“What’s so funny, Michael?” She asked when he started to calm down.
“Tickle,” Michael answered.
“No, it’s not time to be tickled. It’s time to go to bed.” Jessica laid the book on the nightstand and tucked Michael in.
“Tickle,” Michael said giggling again.
“Goodnight, Michael. I love you.”
Jessica turned off the light, turned on the night light and closed the door. She wasn’t sure what had gotten into him. Walking down the hall, she can still hear his childish laughter. Going into her room she turned on the two baby monitors that were sitting on her dresser. By the sounds coming from Michael’s room, she knew she was in for a long night.
By the time she got out of the tub, Michael had settled down. She no longer heard any noises other than the sound of her children lightly snoring. Jessica grabbed the monitors from the dresser and a book from the shelf and headed down stairs. Once she was in the living room she leaned back in her overstuffed recliner and pulled a blanket over her. However, she hadn’t even finished the first chapter when she heard Madison crying. Jessica quickly put the book down and ran upstairs. She has heard Madison cry plenty of times but this is a pain stricken cry. She made it to Madison’s room in time to see her get sick. Jessica rushed to Madison’s side.
“Mommy it hurts.” Madison croaked out.
The pained look on her daughter’s face broke her heart. She would give anything to take the hurt away. If Madison is still sick in the morning they will go to the doctor’s office to get her checked out. They just need to get through tonight.
“I know baby. Let’s get you cleaned up and in fresh pajamas.” Jessica picked Madison up and carried her to the bathroom. “Maybe a warm bath will help, then I’ll get you some medicine.”
Once Madison was out of the tub and dressed Jessica carried her to the couch to sleep for the night. She placed a small trash can near the couch in case Madison gets sick again. After covering Madison up, Jessica went upstairs to clean up the mess. She had just gotten everything into the washer when she heard Michael scream. Startled she ran to Michael’s room, calling out for him as she ran. She no longer heard his scream by the time she came to his door, all she heard was a popping noise.
“Michael?” She called out as she turned on the light.
Not seeing Michael, she called out again. The window is still closed so he must be here. Jessica bent down to check under the bed. Nothing is under there. When she started to get up she noticed something moved on the other side of the bed. She jumped up and ran to the other side of the bed. Just as she rounded the corner though she stopped abruptly.
A brown wolf pup is hiding in the corner. Jessica backs up slowly so she doesn’t scare the pup. How in the world did a wolf pup get up here? More importantly where is Michael? Jessica called out for Michael again and checked the closet. She continued calling out but all she heard in return is the whining from the little pup. Jessica is on the edge of panic. She ran down the hall and checked the bathroom. She didn’t think he would be in there. She was right; the bathroom was empty. Jessica went back to Michael’s room. The wolf pup had made it out of the corner and had come around the bed, now sitting in the middle of the floor staring at her. Slowly she stepped a little closer not taking her eyes from the pup.
Jessica could swear its Michael staring back at her. The wolf pup had the same cobalt blue eyes as her son. She must be going crazy. She knelt in front of the pup and he laid down and stared at her.
“Michael?” Jessica whispered in disbelief with tears stinging her eyes.
The pup jumped up with a happy look and climbed into her lap. After licking her face, the little brown wolf laid his head on her arm. She wanted to go in full panic mode. If it wasn’t for the fact that the twins were here she would, but she couldn’t risk the wolf pup or Michael flipping out too. She wasn’t sure what would happen if he did.
Jessica made herself calm down. How can her son be a shifter? There isn’t a shifter in her family. Her heart skipped a beat when she realized the only other possible way for her son to be in this condition. The twins’ biological father must be a wolf shifter, Jessica admitted to herself. Suddenly Madison popped into Jessica’s mind. Scooping Michael up in her arms, Jessica ran down the stairs to the living room to check on Madison. She is still human and laying on the couch. Jessica closed her eyes and said a silent prayer of thanks that there weren’t two little wolves running around.
Madison shifted her position on the couch and Michael noticed. He let out a whine then struggled to get free from Jessica’s arms. Before he could fall, Jessica put him on the floor. The second his paws touched the floor, he ran for the couch and tried to jump up. It took him three tries but he finally got his hind legs up. He slowly crawled up to Madison’s side and rested his head on her stomach.
“Michael is pretty.” Madison said placing her hand on the pup’s neck.
“How do you know that’s Michael?” Jessica asked curiously.
“I feel it.” She replied as if it were obvious.
Jessica may not know anything about shifters but she does know about twins. There’s a strong bond between twins. So, if Madison says that the wolf pup is Michael then that confirms what Jessica already knew. Now what is she going to do? The only thing Jessica knows about shifters is that they exist. She doesn’t know how to raise a shifter child. Are they any different than humans? Since Michael is a shifter, then does that mean Madison is a shifter? If so, then why didn’t Madison shift also? How long will Michael be like this?
Jessica knew she wasn’t going to get any answers unless she asked the right person. The only person she knows or could possibly trust even though she didn’t really know him is Alexander, the twins’ father. The problem with that is that he doesn’t even know about the twins. During her last year of college, her and a group of friends went to Mountainside Resort for a bachelorette party on spring break. She had a one-night stand and the twins are the outcome of it. She didn’t tell him when she found out she was pregnant. Hell, they were states apart and she thought they would never see each other again. Why burden him with children he probably didn’t want to begin with? Jessica is going to have to call the resort in the morning and make reservations. This wasn’t a trip she was looking forward to.
Jessica laid back in the recliner and watched her children sleep. Michael, still in wolf form, snuggled up against Madison as she laid there with her arms wrapped around him. Jessica drifted off in a light slumber hoping she will hear if Michael gets up and tries to wonder off.
Before light was even shining in the windows, Jessica is awoken by the sound of popping. She jerked up in the recliner to see what’s going on. Michael was still on the couch but he wasn’t a little pup anymore. Instead Michael is on the couch in his birthday suit with a shocked look on his face. He grabbed a pillow to cover himself. Jessica held back a laugh.
“Let’s go get you some clothes.” Jessica said lightly so she didn’t wake up Madison.
“Momma, did you see me?” Michael asked jumping off the couch and trying to keep the pillow in front of him. “I was a wolf!”
“I saw that, baby. Did you know you could do that?”
Michael shook his head and continued up the stairs to his room. Once Michael put clothes on, he started jumping, dancing and singing a wolf song that only he knew the words to. He followed Jessica downstairs for some breakfast. Madison is still sleeping but that isn’t stopping him from singing, he just lowered his voice a little, which was surprising since he is usually loud no matter who is sleeping. He must know Madison still doesn’t feel good.
Madison woke up just as the oatmeal was cooling. After breakfast Jessica sent Madison upstairs to change clothes. She needed to find the number to the resort that she had stayed at years ago. Pulling out her laptop she looked up the number while the kids were playing upstairs in their rooms. Finally finding the number, Jessica called the resort. It must be too early because there wasn’t an answer. She hung up, she would call back later. Besides she still needed to pack everything they would need and call to get a few days off work.
It didn’t take much to arrange a few days off. She called in and told them she had a family emergency. A new veterinarian had just started two weeks ago, and he offered to take her shifts for the next four days. With her four days off, and already having Friday off, she has a week to learn all she can about shifters.
Once her schedule was arranged, Jessica loaded the car with the luggage and snacks for the twins. Then came back inside to call the resort one more time. She had no clue as to what she will do if Alexander no longer works there. He had mentioned owning some of the property so hopefully he hasn’t gone anywhere. She needs to call the resort before they head out. While the twins were playing quietly on the floor with their cars, Jessica dialed the resort.
“Mountainside Resort,” a young man answered.
“Yes, I need to make a reservation for a two-bedroom cabin, preferably away from the water.” Jessica requested.
“We can handle that. When would you like to visit?”
“I will need it for tonight until Sunday.” She told him.
“We have that available. Our office closes at 7 p.m.”
“I won’t be able to get there until 11:00 at the earliest.”
“That’s fine. If you give me your information and credit card number I can leave a key along with a map with your cabin marked on it.” He offered.
“That will be great. Quick question does Alexander still work there?” She asked hoping he would answer. There was a short pause and Jessica thought he may not.
“He does, would you like me to give him a message?” Jessica could hear the curiosity in his voice.
“No, I will catch up with him while I’m there.” Jessica wishes she had never asked. Maybe he won’t mention anything about it.
Jessica gave him all the necessary information and her credit card number. She must stop by the resort office before heading out to the cabin. It’s almost lunch time, if they leave now they may get there before midnight. When you travel with children nothing goes as planned. By promising to get the kids a happy meal, they started moving a little quicker.