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Monday, May 2, 2016

One Spirited Woman + Three Coyote Shifters = E-Reader Ecstasy


Sophie’s Shifters, Wolf Clan Shifters #3
By Ann Gimpel

Dream Shadow Press

66K words

 Release Date: 5/2/16
Genre: Shifter Ménage  Romance



One spirited woman + three coyote shifters = e-reader ecstasy.

Book Description:

Late 1930s, California.

The winds of change are blowing hard as shifters gather deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for a war powwow. Tempers run high as they argue their next move. An unexpected attack from more Hunters than they’ve ever seen forces their hand, and Blake, alpha for the coyote clan, fights alongside his brothers. He’s grimly pleased when every single one of their enemies is finally dead, the bodies chucked into glacial crevasses.

Sophie Laughing Wolf tracked her hated brother into the mountains. Gifted with foreseeing, she wants to make certain he ends up just as dead as he was in her vision. When the large group of men he’s with are set upon by shifters, mythical dual-natured beings who can take animal forms, she hides, calling on earth power to shield her.

It doesn’t work. Two shifters, back in their men’s bodies, haul her from her hiding place once the battle ends and drag her before their chief. He spares her life—for now—but she senses the animosity the others have for her. They see her as a threat, a witness to multiple murders.

When the mate bond strikes, she fights its pull. So does Blake. He can’t believe the gods would be so cruel as to bind him and his lieutenants to a woman with blood ties to Hunters—their ancient enemy. She runs from her fate. So does he, but the bond burns bright, transcending everything.

Alice adds Jed to her list of problems when he melts out of the shadowed darkness. At first she declines his offer of help, but he keeps talking until she ends up inside the cozy log cabin in front of a roaring fire. His skilled hands and a shot of whiskey heat her blood to molten, and her carefully tended world explodes into desperate hunger to make love with the man rubbing her weary feet.
As caught up in lust as Alice, Jed takes a chance. A big one. Will mating with her before disclosing everything turn out to be a huge mistake?

Alice adds Jed to her list of problems when he melts out of the shadowed darkness. At first she declines his offer of help, but he keeps talking until she ends up inside the cozy log cabin in front of a roaring fire. His skilled hands and a shot of whiskey heat her blood to molten, and her carefully tended world explodes into desperate hunger to make love with the man rubbing her weary feet.
As caught up in lust as Alice, Jed takes a chance. A big one. Will mating with her before disclosing everything turn out to be a huge
Excerpt from Sophie’s Shifters:

…Jed slipped and slid down the glacier, grateful his mate Alice wasn’t there to read him the riot act. An accomplished mountaineer, she’d have laughed herself sick after the second time he fell on his ass and slid twenty feet.

“Goddammit!” Terin screeched from behind him and went flying past on his stomach. He shifted mid-slide and dug his claws into the icy surface to stop his suicidal descent. Once he’d stopped on the uphill side of a boulder, he shifted back.

Jed drew to a halt next to him. “Good thing you didn’t bother getting dressed. Your clothes would be strewn over the last fifty feet of ice in shreds.”

“Yes and no,” Terin muttered, glancing pointedly at Jed’s shoes. “My boot soles would have helped—a lot. Jesus but I’m glad Alice isn’t here to see this.”

“Keir’s doing okay in bare feet,” Bron noted, catching them up. “And I’m not doing that bad, but the soles of my feet hurt like hell—and I miss my claws.”

Jed eyed the edge of the glacier. Patches of rocks and dirt, interspersed with ice, began a couple hundred feet below them. Walking would get much easier then. He grabbed one of Terin’s arms. Bron seized the other one, and together they lurched over the remaining rock-studded ice.

“We have a problem,” he said without preamble.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” Bron muttered.

“We have to get home and make sure Alice is okay,” Terin added.

Jed winced. He’d wanted to leave someone home with the women, but neither Alice, nor Megan—Les and Karl’s mate—would have any part of that. He reached for Alice through the mate bond, but she was too far away for him to sense anything.

“Which particular problem were you alluding to?” Bron asked. “Somehow it seems like more than getting out of these mountains with our hides intact.”

“It is,” Jed said tersely. “Les and Karl found a woman. They’re holding her back in the cave.”

Terin stopped dead. “What? Is she a climber like Alice, who got stranded up here?”

“Somehow, I don’t think that’s it,” Jed muttered.

“We’ll find out soon enough,” Bron broke in. “Shit! If she came with the Hunters, we’ll have to kill her.”

“That already occurred to me.” Jed shot a pointed look at his lieutenant. “Keir said the same. He was standing close enough to hear when Les gave me the bad news.”

“Damned shame.” Terin shook loose from them. “I’m good. I don’t need you two to nursemaid me anymore.”

They covered the remaining half mile to the cave in silence. Terin and Bron went to collect their clothes, and Jed strode briskly to a back corner where he sensed Les and Karl. Crouched behind them in a quivering mass was a woman with her head buried in her crossed arms. Long black hair shot with thick silver streaks spilled around her onto the dirt floor. She was swathed in dark colored wool and flinched away when Jed hunkered next to her.

He probed her mind and found terror so gripping, it obliterated everything else. He started to tell her not to be afraid, but the words died on his tongue. He couldn’t give her any guarantees, and he wouldn’t lie to her.

“Who are you?” he asked, keeping his voice gentle.

“We tried that, boss,” Les said.

“At first, all she did was moan,” Karl added. “She got quieter after a while, but she hasn’t answered any of our questions.”

“Where’d you find her?” Jed asked.

“After we lifted the last of the bodies in our sector out of the moraine, so others could move them up the mountain, Les and I sensed something living. It wasn’t a Hunter, but it was human, so we dug a little.”

“Didn’t have to go far,” Les cut in, “before we found her hiding between a huge piece of deadfall and a big rock.” He shrugged. “Without our wolf senses, we’d never have discovered her.”

A low whimper escaped from the woman, and Jed laid a hand on her arm. “What’s your name?” he repeated.

“Just get it over with.” Her low, musical voice was strained. Hysteria trod near the surface.

“Get what over with?” Jed probed. Maybe if he could get her talking, he could learn something.

The woman lifted her head from her crossed arms and Jed’s eyes widened. She was absolutely stunning with huge midnight blue eyes. Pronounced bone structure and copper skin suggested Native American blood flowed through her veins. Sharp cheekbones, a hawk-bridged nose, and a squared-off chin lent her an exotic cast.

She tilted her chin at a defiant angle. “You have to kill me. I know too much. Get it over with. The others—” she cast a spurious glance Les and Karl’s way “—they were waiting for you to make the decision.” Her mouth worked as if she’d tasted something bitter. “Anyway, get it over with. I took my chances when I tracked my brother today. If he’d known, he’d have forbidden me to come.”

Jed frowned. “One of the Hunters was your brother?”

The woman nodded mutely. “Yeah, that’s what I just said, isn’t it? Get it over with, white man. If you’re going to kill me, do it. If not, let me go.”

Bron and Terin had joined them once they’d dressed. Bron passed a hand over the woman’s head, and Jed felt him probing with shifter magic. “You have white man’s blood too,” Bron murmured.

The woman shot him a scathing look. “Not much. What of it?”

“Where we come from in Canada,” Les said, “Indians are friends to those like us.”

She curled her upper lip in withering scorn. “We have enough problems without associating with shifters. You’re nothing but trouble. Bad enough we got stuffed onto reservations, land no one else wanted.”

Jed tried a different tack. “Why’d you track your brother today?”

She buried her head in her arms again, refusing to look at him.

“Please.” He gentled his voice. “Give us something to work with. Les and Karl, my brothers who found you, didn’t harm you.”

“Only because they were waiting for you, their chief.” Her voice was muffled.

“Goddammit!” Les squatted in front of her and yanked her head upward. “Karl and I could’ve killed you. We didn’t. We were not waiting for Jed to make that call. Tell us why you were tracking your brother.”

Jed heard compulsion flow beneath the other shifter’s words.

The woman drew back. She tried to combat Les’ spell, but the contest was laughable. “To stop him,” she said. The words were clearly dredged from her, but they held the ring of truth.

“Good. He needed to be stopped,” Les said. “Why’d you think he’d listen to you?”

The woman’s face crumpled and she started to cry, big noisy gulping sobs that ripped through her. “It’s not what you think. I didn’t try to make him listen to me,” she managed between ragged breaths. “I have the gift of prophecy—farseeing—and I knew things would go to hell for all of them today.”

“Do your visions always come true?” Jed probed. Despite the problems the woman presented, her story fascinated him.

She nodded, but didn’t say anything further.

“Did your brother know you followed the Hunter group?” Jed asked.

She shook her head. “No. He doesn’t share my gift. His magic came mostly from the goddamned white man’s Church.”

“Odd none of the rest of them sensed you behind them,” Karl muttered.

“Not odd at all,” she shot back, choking a little on snot running down her face. “I can blend my energy into the rocks, the dirt.”

“We found you,” Karl pointed out.

“Because you were in your natural form, and wolves sense such things far more acutely than men.”

Jed waved Karl to silence. This was going nowhere fast. Returning his attention to the woman, he said, “So you came along, but didn’t talk with him. Didn’t try to warn him. Help me understand why.” Jed hoped things might get clearer, but so far they were just becoming more confusing.

“Let me get this straight.” Bron hunkered next to Les and caught the woman’s gaze with his dark one. “You saw in a vision that your brother would die, and you came along anyway but didn’t try to warn him. Did you want to make certain he was dead?”

Jed silently offered his lieutenant credit for shrewdness. If the woman knew today would end in a bloodbath because she’d seen it—and she made no attempt to warn her brother—what other reason would she have had for trailing after him.

The woman’s sobbing escalated. She tried to jerk her chin out of Les’ grip, but he held fast. “Yes,” she gasped out. “Yes. I hated that bastard. He…used me, hurt me the way men hurt women, when I was only ten years old and never stopped until I ran away when I was sixteen. No one believed me. No one c-cared.” Her last words were almost obliterated by sobs.

Suddenly her phrase to stop him took on a whole new meaning. Jed just stared at her. “So it’s not that you didn’t say anything today. You never told him anything.”

She did yank her chin away then and spat on the dirt floor. “Hell no. I haven’t spoken to him in ten years, but he’s blood and he shows up in my visions.”

Running on instincts that had rarely failed him, Jed glanced at the four wolf shifters ranged around him. They didn’t need to talk. After hundreds of years of working together, they understood one another.

“Stand up.” Jed told the woman.

“Why?”

“Did you see your own death in your vision?”

An odd look washed over her face before she shook her head and pushed herself upright. Standing she was of a height with Jed, and her hair reached past her ass. She squared slender shoulders. “Is that a backhanded way of saying I can leave?”

Jed shook his head and hurried to add words before she sank into a puddle of terror again. “You’re right that we can’t allow you to return to your life. We have no idea who you are, who you’d tell. We could wipe your memory of us, but you’d still recall the death that happened in this canyon.”

“What are you going to do with me?” Her voice shrilled and she jerked her chin upward. “If you think you’re going to abuse me like my brother, think again, white man. I’d rather be dead.”

“We don’t do that to women.” Terin pushed into her line of vision so she had to look at him.

“Not what I’ve heard,” she retorted. “My brother said he learned it from you.”

“Bull crap!” Jed said succinctly. “I’ve never known a shifter to take a woman against her will. Not on my watch, and not in my clan.”

“You planning to bring her home with us?” Bron quirked a dark brow.

Jed nodded. “The only question—” he focused on the woman “—is whether you come willingly, or we knock you out and carry you down the mountain.”

“Home as in staying under the same roof with five men?” Her face twisted into a grimace. “No. Not happening. Just kill me here and get it over with.”

“We’re mated,” Karl informed her. “Les and I have a mate. Her name is Megan. And Jed, Bron, and Terin are mated to Alice.”

The woman tossed her head. “Fine. Just because you located some sluts who—”

Jed snaked out a hand and slapped her hard across the face. He grabbed her head between his hands and forced her to look at him. “Never say one bad word about my mate. I love her. So do Bron and Terin. Don’t disparage what you don’t understand.”

A shocked look blossomed on her face and she muttered, “Sorry,” before looking at her feet.

“Let go of her, boss.” Bron pulled Jed’s hands away. “She only understands what she’s lived. And it hasn’t been pretty.”…

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bad Boy Alpha Shifters on the Prowl!


Once respected members of society, shifters are running for their lives. In a futuristic world where resources are scarce, Kate uses her human form to work as a sex surrogate. Furious at what looks a lot like genocide for her people, she joins the shifter underground.

Devon’s been a cop for a long time. He has shifter blood, but not enough to change into anything, at least not until the police department insists on a series of infusions to make him better at tracking shifters so they can be imprisoned—or killed.

Devon’s latest assignment is Kate. From the moment he sees her, he can’t get her out of his mind. But she’s the enemy he’s sworn to eradicate. As he tracks her, the line between hunter and hunted explodes.

Against reason and wisdom, Kate and Devon defy the rules. If their passion doesn’t save them, it’ll doom them forever.
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Max leads a double life in a futuristic California that’s almost out of resources. Despite grave risks, he ran for state governor to protect his people. He’s also leader of the shifter underground. Threatened with genocide, many shifters have gone into hiding. Some blame Max and the underground for their plight, rather than the governmental edict that’s meant death for so many.

Audrey works for Max. Unlike most humans with low levels of shifter blood who bless their lucky stars they avoided the purge, she wants to be a shifter. If she could find a way to finesse it, she’d quit her job in a heartbeat and go to work helping the shifter underground. The only sticking point is Max. She’s been half in love with him forever.

Against a dog-eat-dog political backdrop where no one knows who their allies are, Max and Audrey spar with one another. Max fears she’s part of the group trying to kill him. Audrey has no idea about Max’s double identity and worries she won’t be able to walk away from their fiery attraction to help the underground.

After a second attempt on his life, Max faces critical choices. Will he follow his head or his heart?

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Head of the shifter underground’s security force, Johannes has his hands full. When Max, the underground’s leader, is almost killed by sniper fire, Johannes breaks a cardinal rule to save his friend and makes a discovery about himself that changes everything.

Daria’s been a healer in one capacity or another for hundreds of years, but wholesale slaughter aimed at wiping out her kin is something new. Called to the governor’s mansion after Max gets shot, she finds him wallowing in a river of his own blood. By rights he should be dead. She questions Johannes, but he remains stubbornly silent—after telling her an outright lie.

If Johannes wasn’t so knockout gorgeous, and she wasn’t so wiped out, Daria would’ve left after treating Max. Instead, Johannes talks her into staying, then orders her to work for the underground. As head of security, it’s his right to commandeer personnel. Daria is torn. Johannes is the most compelling man she’s ever met, but he’s also arrogant. Compounding the problem, her cat thinks he’s their mate. After he runs roughshod over her, she doesn’t care about anything except getting as far away from him as she can, but escape isn’t possible.

A series of lethal attacks throw Daria into Johannes’s path—and keep her there. He’s desperately attracted to her, but anything beyond sex with any woman isn’t part of his life plan. His cat says she’s their mate, but it doesn’t alter Johannes’s staunch refusal to consider anything that might turn into love. He has his reasons. They’ve served him well, and he sees no reason to change them now.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

One Virgin + Two Wolf Shifters = E-Reader Ecstasy


Megan’s Mates, Wolf Clan Shifters #2
By Ann Gimpel
Dream Shadow Press
55K words

Release Date: 4/18/16


 
 
 
 
 
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Book Description:

Calgary, Alberta 1936

After witnessing what might’ve been a murder, Megan is frantic to escape the Garden of Eden cult, so she catches the night train north out of town. Her lifetime commitment to the cult may well be her death sentence, but she’s not sticking around to let them frame her.

Wolf shifters, Les and Karl, eke out a primitive existence on the flanks of the Canadian Rockies. Between Hunters who want to kill them and a wildfire raging out of control, they’re glad when Jed, their clan leader, shows up. And even more delighted when they see who’s in his car.

Jed’s mate, Alice, spied Megan by the side of the road looking lost and desperate and offered her a ride. Before Jed’s car even stops rolling, Les and Karl know she’s their mate. So skittish she’s barely willing to exit the car, Megan busies herself helping Jed and his pack mates unload supplies. Can Les and Karl convince her to join her life to theirs? If she does, will the risks she faced as a cult member pale in comparison to being mated to shifters?

Alice adds Jed to her list of problems when he melts out of the shadowed darkness. At first she declines his offer of help, but he keeps talking until she ends up inside the cozy log cabin in front of a roaring fire. His skilled hands and a shot of whiskey heat her blood to molten, and her carefully tended world explodes into desperate hunger to make love with the man rubbing her weary feet.
As caught up in lust as Alice, Jed takes a chance. A big one. Will mating with her before disclosing everything turn out to be a huge mistake?

Alice adds Jed to her list of problems when he melts out of the shadowed darkness. At first she declines his offer of help, but he keeps talking until she ends up inside the cozy log cabin in front of a roaring fire. His skilled hands and a shot of whiskey heat her blood to molten, and her carefully tended world explodes into desperate hunger to make love with the man rubbing her weary feet.
As caught up in lust as Alice, Jed takes a chance. A big one. Will mating with her before disclosing everything turn out to be a huge m
Excerpt from Megan’s Mates:

…The phone jangled again. Loud and strident, it made Les’ sensitive lupine hearing ache. It took him a moment to realize he needed his human form to make the noise go away. He’d tried to ignore the damned thing, but whoever was calling wouldn’t give up. Every time he ventured near the house, it was ringing. With an aggravated growl, he commanded his body to shift.

As soon as he had feet rather than paws, he strode through the door of his cabin deep in the woods, jaw tight with annoyance. The remote location a few miles outside Rocky Mountain House often lost phone service for long periods of time.

“Yes and too bad this isn’t one of them,” he muttered, snatched up the receiver, and barked, “Yes, I’m here.”

“It’s about damned time. I’ve been trying to get hold of you for days.”

Les’ eyes widened. “Jed?”

“Who the hell else?”

Les brayed laughter. “Good point. It’s not as if very many people have this number. What’s up, boss? I thought you were coming my way months ago. The boys and I wondered what happened.”

“Now that I have your attention, hang up.” Jed’s voice held a sharp edge that Les remembered all too well. “We’ll do this a more private way.”

“You got it.” Les dropped the black receiver back into place. He kicked the door shut to keep the cold breeze out. It didn’t bother him as a wolf, but he was naked, and the air had a chill edge to it. He trotted into the bedroom and had begun to dress when Jed’s voice sounded in his mind.

“Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you for a week.”

Les sank onto the bed and pulled a quilt over his still-bare legs as he considered where to start. Jed was clan leader for wolf shifters. He needed all the information Les could provide. “First off, we’re all still okay.”

“That’s a relief. When I couldn’t raise you, I was afraid Hunters had killed everyone. Made me half-crazy not to know anything. Anyway, we pulled into Calgary last night, so I’m finally close enough to use telepathy.”

“Is your new mate with you?”

“Affirmative. Bron, Terin, and Alice are with me.” Jed blew out a breath. “You may have heard through the grapevine, we’d originally decided to come north as part of our wedding trip, but Hunters nabbed half a dozen of us in northern California. It took a major offensive to free our people. Even so, we lost a couple.”

Les nodded, and then realized Jed couldn’t see him. “Yes, I know. We’ve had problems of our own. Hunters almost got your cousins, Ron and Chris. We killed them, and I’m still waiting for the fallout on that one since we also killed the whole posse that came afterward, hunting for their fallen companions. All five of them.”

“How many total? Was there any choice?” Jed’s voice was stern as he peppered Les with questions.

“Seven. No, no choice.” Anger tightened Les’ muscles. He’d like to kill every goddamned Hunter in the universe, but he wasn’t about to tell Jed that. And there hadn’t been any choice, not really. They’d been surrounded. The only thing that saved them was taking a firm offensive position.

Jed broke into Les’ thoughts. “What’d you do with the bodies?”

“Don’t worry, boss. No one will ever find them. We dragged them to the very bottom of a cave system where there’s a vent to an upper cave and burned them.”

“How long ago?”

Les thought about it. He’d spent much of the last month as a wolf, which skewed his time sense. “Maybe a week.”

“You still haven’t told me why you weren’t answering your phone.”

“We’ve all been in our wolf forms. There’s a fire burning out of control between our pack and the crest of the Rockies. A couple of the cabins farther west incinerated—”

“Humph,” Jed interrupted, obviously not concerned about an out-of-control wildfire. “Any of you find mates yet?”

“What do you think? It’s not as if the odds are in our favor.”

“Maybe Alice can change that. Women trust her. She’s actually scared up three mates since she joined Bron, Terin, and me.” A hesitation. “How close did you say that fire was?”

“My cabin’s not in any immediate danger. It’s fall and I’m expecting it to rain soon.” Les scratched at month-old beard growth on his chin. “It’s pretty primitive here, boss. Nothing like your digs in Hollywood.”

A different voice sounded in his head, rich, vibrant, and definitely female. “I’ve been listening in. Shameless of me not to have said something earlier. Don’t worry about me. My life was a whole lot simpler before I met up with Jed and my other two mates. Besides, I’m looking forward to meeting the clan members here in Alberta.”

Les’ mouth twitched into half a smile. “You must be Alice. We’ve heard a lot about you. Are you really six feet tall?”

Alice snorted, making Les wish he’d kept his mouth shut. After all, Alice was mated to his clan leader. “How about if we leave the details open, and you can see for yourself when we get there? Jed says it’s a four or five hour drive, and we should arrive sometime tomorrow. Is there anything we need to bring from the big city?”

Les gazed around his one-bedroom cabin as if he expected a grocery list to materialize. He cleared his throat before remembering he didn’t need his actual voice. “Um, we’ve been pretty much living off the land this past month, so anything you bring would be welcome.”

“I get the picture.” Jed broke in with a laugh. “We’ll fill up the trunk and the rest of the back seat.”

Les couldn’t help himself. “Who gets to sit next to Alice?”

Female chuckling made his heart lighter than it had been in a long time.

“Oh, they fuss and snarl a bit, but they sort of take turns. It’s nice actually, to have three doting mates.”

“I’m sure it is.” Les brushed a wave of sadness aside. He’d love to have a woman to fuss over, alongside Karl, his pack mate. They’d hunted for years for a female to grace their lives without success after their first mate died in childbirth in the 1600s. A few promising candidates crossed their path when they’d lived in Edmonton, but Hunters had driven them out of the city fifty years before.

“We’ll be there by tomorrow afternoon.” Jed’s voice was gruff, and Les figured his clan leader could read his mind.

“I’ll alert the troops, boss. Everyone will be really glad to see all of you. And to meet your mate.”

Les waited, but a certain emptiness told him Jed had signed off. He shoved the quilt aside, finished dressing, and called Karl through their telepathic link. It didn’t take long before paws scrabbled against the door, and Les remembered he’d shut it. By the time he crossed the small space and pulled the door open, Karl had found his human form and stood shivering, arms wrapped around his tall, spare frame. Black hair hung to his waist in tangles.

“Thanks. Damned cold out here.” The wolf shifter bounded into the room, giving the door a shove as he passed through it. “What’s up?”

“Jed’s here.” Les spread his arms wide and rolled his eyes. “Along with his lieutenants and their new mate. We’ve got to clean this place up.”

“Why? It’s always been good enough for us.”

Les slugged him in the arm. “You weren’t listening. Jed’s mate will be here.”

“Oh, I get it.” Karl chortled, his dark eyes gleaming with glee. “Maybe if we didn’t do anything, she’d take pity on us and—”

“Right. Find some clothes, and we’ll get to work. I don’t think Jed, Terin, or Bron will want their new mate waiting on the likes of us.”

Karl sprinted for his sleeping alcove toward the rear of the log cabin’s main room. Drawers banged open. “Fire’s getting closer,” he called over one shoulder. “Maybe it would be better for all of us to get together in Red Deer.”

Les considered it. “Nope. Too soon since we axed those Hunters. That’s where they were from—there and Edmonton. I don’t want any friendly sheriff asking questions if they discover we live out here. Are you sure the fire’s closer? Maybe the wind just shifted direction.”

“It’s definitely closer. The smoke’s thicker, and I can actually hear it burning from the rise a couple miles west of here. At least my wolf can.” Karl slid his legs into trousers and pulled a sweater over his head before shoving his feet into an ancient pair of sheepskin slippers. He turned to Les. “Where do you think we should start? Come to think of it, when do you want to alert the rest of the clan, or should I do that?”

“We can take care of that later tonight. How about if you work on the dishes? I’ll sweep and get the kettle going for laundry.”

Karl strode to the sink and pumped the handle for water. “Eww.” He wrinkled his nose. “How long have these plates been here?”

“Does it matter?” Les lugged a large, cast iron kettle in through the back door and hefted it onto a wood-burning stove. He opened the firebox door, levered a pocket knife out of his pants, and started shaving tinder. “Let’s warm some water. That should help.” As he worked, Les dialed in his lupine senses and scented fresh air coming through the back door. It was indeed tinged with smoke. What bad timing for a major fire. If it drove them into one of the nearby towns, they’d risk discovery because Hunters could scent them.

“Les?”

He looked up from his half-built fire. “Um-hum.”

“Maybe it’s time to move on.”

“No!” Les banged a fist down on his thigh. “I’m sick of running. If the fire gets this far, we’ll come back when it’s over and rebuild.”

“But we’ll never find a mate out here.”

“Just do the damned dishes. We’ve got enough problems without adding to them.”…