Urban Fantasy Romance at its BEST!

 
 

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order of Andromeda’s Reign by

K. S. Haigwood and Anne Conley

 

Do you like big books? Andromeda’s Reign slides in at just under 170,000 words!

Blurb:

The Moonrising story continues…

The Alpha Lion of Las Vegas, Ace Keller, has luck on his side, at the poker table and with the ladies, calling bluffs and breaking hearts whenever the notion strikes him.

After bonding with the Alpha Wolf of Montgomery, Alabama, fate flips Ace’s simple world upside down when he finds himself desiring only one woman in his life — Andromeda. But not only does he want her, he needs her touch in order to live.

The bond forces them to feel each other’s emotions and hear each other’s thoughts, which wouldn’t be a problem except Andromeda is in love with a Master Vampire, and Ace has dark secrets of his own that could put her in danger.

 
 
 
 
 

Excerpt:

Andromeda’s Reign
Chapter 1
Wednesday, February 4th 2015 5:42 p.m.
PST
Las Vegas, Nevada
Ace
“Do
it again,” I demanded.
I could
feel Andromeda trying to give up emotionally, as well as physically, but I
pushed her harder. I knew what her body and mind were capable of, and we were
nowhere near her breaking point. She was a lot stronger than she thought she
was.
Our
connection, as we both liked to refer to the bond, seemed to be growing stronger,
rather than weaker, like Andromeda had hoped it would. She wanted to find a way
to reverse the ritual.
I
didn’t.
She
could feel my every emotion and hear my every thought—unless I blocked the
telepathy—but it worked both ways, so she could keep me out of her mind, too.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t block the emotions.
I
felt each and every happy memory she’d had with Phoenix and each and every sad
moment she’d had without him. The only time she wasn’t thinking about him was
when we were training. So I planned to make her train. A lot.
This
damn rollercoaster of feelings was literally driving me insane. I had never in
all my life felt as much as I had in the last week, and I hated it. Me… with
one girl… forever… I rolled my eyes at the absurdity that my life had become in
only the blink of an eye. But as crazy as that all sounded, and even though I
had in no way asked or planned for any of it, I couldn’t bring myself to hate
the fact that I was finally ready to settle down.
I
blocked Andromeda’s kick, grabbed her shoe and threw her to her back on the
workout mat. Grinning down at furious, pale-green eyes, I offered her my hand.
She
huffed as she got to her feet on her own, looking down as she limped away from
me. What a terrible actress. Chaos could have done a better job of fooling me.
I
shook my head as my hands came up to rest on my hips. “Don’t give me that
shit. It might work on your wolf cubs or even your boyfriend, but you can’t
fake it with me, Andra. We’re bonded. I know you’re not hurt, so don’t—”
“I’m
tired, Ace—”
“You
shouldn’t be tired,” I sneered. “You slept the whole flight here. But
for the sake of a pointless argument, humor me. What are you going to do when
you’re in battle with an enemy and you get tired? Are you going to limp away?
What if I’m not there to kill the fucker for you next time?”
“I
never asked for this!” she screamed as she whirled around to glare at me,
her beautiful eyes brightened by the tears shimmering in them.
“I
didn’t, either!” I roared back. She flinched as our emotions tangled
together. I knew those tears weren’t there because she was sad, because her
fury washed over me like I had been doused with boiling water. The rush of it
almost hurt. The anger sucked, but I knew anger. I could deal with anger. Anger
was my friend. It was the sadness and the heartbreak and the sappy-frilly-frilly
I couldn’t fucking deal with. Unfortunately for me, Andra seemed to be full to
the brim with all that shit.
With
more effort than I really wanted to put forth with the mood I was in, I waded
through her rage, then through my madness and forced calm over us.
This
bond was new to us both, but getting it through her thick head that it would be
easier on us if she would dump her boyfriend was like trying to breathe under
water. I might have understood her side of the argument a little better if she
had been dating the vampire longer than a month, and never mind the fact that
two of those weeks she was locked in a silver cage as a wolf. They hadn’t even
had time to get to know each other. I knew her. She knew me. We had direct
contact with each other’s thoughts, memories and emotions, yet she wouldn’t
even consider the idea of us being together on an intimate level. I didn’t
understand it at all.
After
a moment, I held out my hand again. “Come here.” I’d be dead and
damned before I went to her, not with how she’d been acting since we left
Montgomery, Alabama.
She
looked down at my hand and set her jaw. I knew she wanted to touch me just as
much as I needed her to, but I also knew by her thoughts that she wouldn’t
without a little more encouragement.
“I
know you promised Phoenix that you would try to be happy here with me in Sin
City. Do I need to make a call to the High Vampire of Montgomery to let him
know you aren’t playing fair, Andra? My first attempt at getting him to break
things off with you was just that: my first
attempt. You may hate me before this is all over and done with between you and
your bloodsucker, but, in the end, you will still need me and you won’t have
him. I can live with that. Can you?”
Her
lip quivered, and I nearly caved. I couldn’t handle the tears, but I could
counteract with a little rage, just enough to give her a taste of how I felt. “Ace—”
“You’re
mine, Andra. I’m willing to give you some time to let that soak in, but I won’t
wait long.” I hardened my voice to a steely edge, even though she could undoubtedly
tell I was serious. She had bonded with me, damn it! She was mine. She didn’t
belong to some vampire nearly two thousand miles away. And when he got here, he
still wouldn’t have her completely. I had to tamp down the utter rage at Andra’s
memories of the vampire in bed with her, his skin sliding against hers, his
mouth on my mate’s mouth. Fuck. If she wasn’t going to realize it
on her own, I’d have to push the issue. “He can’t have you, Andra. I won’t
let that happen.” I said the last part slowly, maybe for dramatic effect
or maybe it was because, deep in my heart, I knew it to be true—I wouldn’t let
him have her. By the fear in her widening eyes, I could tell she was seeing
things from my perspective now. It was about damn time.
“I
knew you would do this! I knew you would get me here and try to control me—”
“The
only thing I’m trying to do is train you, but you won’t stop thinking of him long enough to concentrate on
keeping your lovesick ass alive if this were a real situation!”
“Why
do I need to learn how to fight so fast? We’ve barely stopped since we got
here. And why haven’t you let me in your mind in two days? You shut me out the
moment I asked about Justice.”
I
huffed. I couldn’t tell her about Justice yet. If this upset her, I could only
imagine how enraged she would be when I told her that I nailed a huge target on
her head with our bonding. The worst part was that I knew it before I even did
it. I didn’t know how to break the news to her without her hating me for it.
Hell, I hated me for it. “I’m not ready to talk about it yet.”
“Well,
I’m not ready to stop missing Phoenix yet,” she bit back. “I’ve only
been away from my home for a little more than half a day, Ace. Cut me a little
slack.”
I
guess I was damned and dead, because I took a step forward, reached out and
took her hand. The relief was immediate. Our rage subsided and our tempers
calmed as if we’d never been angry at all. Our fight seemed so petty now. “I’m
sorry. I am trying, Andra, and I will talk to you about Justice soon. I
promise. I just have to figure out how to go about doing it the right way.”
She
nodded as she wrapped her arms around me, and I looked up to the high ceiling,
thanking the good Lord above us that He had given me enough sense to apologize.
There was no better feeling in the world than when she was in my arms. It felt
like heaven. It was new for me—totally unheard of for me—but I was quickly
getting used to it. That in itself was mystifying.
“I’ll
understand,” she said, and I lowered my head so that I could whisper in
her ear.
“About
what?”
“About
him. Whatever it is, I’ll understand, Ace.”
God, if that were only true! Sighing heavily, I said, “I hope you will.”
“Were
you lovers?”
I
blinked rapidly at that. What the fuck? “No!”
I had to laugh. Of course she would think
something like that!
“I’ve never been intimate with Justice… or any
other guy, for that matter,” I said in disbelief, and then a smile crept
across my face. “I like puss—”
Andra
quickly clamped a hand over my mouth. “I hate that word. Call it something
else.”
I
threw my head back and laughed harder than I had in a long time. After I calmed
down enough to speak clearly, I said, “What do you call it?”
Her
eyes nearly popped out of her head as she blushed, and then those walls swiftly
went up, blocking me out of her mind. Damn
it!
“I’m not telling you what I call my… my…”
“Pussy?”
She
slapped my chest, and I laughed. “Stop! That sounds so gross to me.”
She
did a little shudder-wiggle thing, and I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m serious. It
was freaking hilarious watching her squirm over a word I’d said in everyday
conversation most of my adult life.
“Okay,
we won’t talk about what you call yours. What do you think I should call it in
general? I have to call it something.”
“Why
do you have to call it anything? People don’t go around talking about hoo-has
all day long. You could just leave that particular body part out of your
vocabulary altogether,” she said matter-of-factly.
My
eyebrows rose as I stared at her in fascination. “Hoo-has?”
“Well,
hoo-has is plural, meaning more than one. Hoo-ha is singular, meaning only one.”
Shit! Is she really giving me a grammar
lesson on pussy slang?
“I
know what singular means, Andra. I’m fairly educated.”
“Oh,
then there you go. Hoo-ha and hoo-has.”
Frowning,
I shook my head. “I don’t like that word. Call it something else.”
She
grinned playfully, mimicking my head shake as she turned to walk away, but I
grabbed her wrist and pulled her to me, enclosing her in the iron-like frame of
my arms. Her skin—coated in a thin sheen of sweat—slid against mine, bringing
to mind all sorts of erotic delights, but I only held her tighter. She
stiffened, but she was too distracted to keep her walls intact. We were too
close and she wasn’t as experienced with blocking as I was. I felt her desire
for me the exact moment I smelled it.
Not
only did the lion in me wake up, but the bonded male in me did, too. I wanted
her. Bad. But it was too soon. She still had that vampire on a leash and I hadn’t
told her my secret. My wants could wait for the perfect time. And there would
be a perfect time. I was damn sure of that.
I
had her right where I wanted her, though. Her walls were down and she was fully
aware of how much she wanted me. The bonding did that to us. The attraction we
felt for each other was unavoidable when we were this close. It may have been
mean of me to use it to my advantage, but I had to know; she could not leave
this room without me knowing. I did exactly what I intended to do from the
start and no more. I bent until my lips almost touched hers, and then I dove
into her mind. She hadn’t even tried to hide it from me. It was right there,
for the taking, what she called her Golden Grotto, her Holy Grail or, in her
words, hoo-ha.
I
smiled as I whispered, “Kitty-cat.”
Desire
left her eyes as she pushed against me. I let her go with a light chuckle.
“You’re
an ass, Ace,” Andra said as she avoided looking at me. I could feel her
embarrassment and guilt. Yes, guilt was there, too. The fucking vampire was
cock-blocking me from seventeen-hundred miles away.
There
was no need to bring up the fact that she would have willingly let me pet her
kitty-cat if I had only kissed her. There was no vampire here for her to run to
now. She wouldn’t have stopped me, but she would have regretted it. I didn’t
want her to regret being with me. Ever. I had to play my cards right. There was
no folding or losing in this game. I would win.
The
gym doors opened, and Slade walked in with Kai, Rogan and Chaos. Chaos ran
straight to Andra, and she knelt down to ruffle his ears and baby-talk to him.
She was spoiling him, and he was eating it up. I frowned, my mood turning a bit
sour at admitting to myself that I was envious of my Rhodesian Ridgeback.
“Great
timing, assholes,” I grumbled.
Slade’s
grin was a mile wide as he watched Andra pet my dog, and then his green eyes
cut up to mine, his black eyebrows rising in amusement. He thought it was funny
as hell that I’d finally met a woman I liked and she wouldn’t put out. His
words, not mine. And what made it worse, I hadn’t even told him. My Beta knew
me better than I knew myself most of the time. I guess he could tell by the
sexually frustrated look on my mug that I hadn’t gotten any—or any worth
bragging about—in a while. I was never, ever telling him what Andra called the cockpit.
Hoo-ha… What kind of word is that for something so awesome? The fucker would
never let me live down how vanilla she was.
Slade
nodded to Andra. “Has Ace been a good host? Are you getting settled in
okay?”
She
smiled shyly as she gave him a curt nod, but her face was still a little pink
from the embarrassment I had caused only a few moments earlier, so I closed the
distance between us and took her hand. She squeezed my fingers in response, and
I winked at Slade.
“I’ve
got it taken care of. She’s staying in my room.”
All
three men did a double-take. My dog even looked at me funny. It didn’t surprise
me. No female of mine had ever been allowed in my room—not that I kept one for
more than a night, but that was beside the point. I took care of my women away
from the lion’s den. None of the other pride members who lived here were
allowed to bring anyone back here with them for some kinky play, either. It was
best for everyone if humans didn’t know shifters existed. Every Tom, Dick and
Harry would grab their pitchforks and hunt us. That’s all we needed, a bunch of
simple-minded rednecks who didn’t understand a damn thing about us, trying to
become slayers. That wouldn’t do anything except get a bunch of humans killed.
Rogan’s
whiskey-colored eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. “Huh?”
“Your
room?” Kai said as he swept his shaggy blond mop out of his eyes so he
could see me with both of his deep blue eyes. “But you—”
“How
did I miss that?” Slade said, interrupting Kai. “I thought Olivia had
an extra bed in her room that Andra was supposed to sleep in while she stayed
here.”
Narrowing
my eyes at him, I released Andra’s fingers so I could drape my arm over her shoulder
and pull her closer to me. I already knew she had access to everything about my
past, since she’d received all my memories the moment we bonded, but I didn’t
want these dickweeds making her think she was like those other chicks. “Andra
is special, guys. Shut up, will ya?”
The
guys just stared at me in disbelief. I wasn’t joking, but they were obviously
waiting for me to tell them I was. Did they expect me to be a bachelor forever?
Of course they did. Four days ago I would have expected that of myself.
Andra
snickered, I was guessing at the nervous feeling I was sending her through our
connection. “I got settled in just fine, thank you. Though I haven’t had
much time for rest. Ace has had me training since we arrived.”
Slade
grinned at her mischievously. “He’s easily bribed. Give him something he
wants. He’ll do whatever you want him to do.”
“You
can go now,” I said, letting the lack of amusement that I felt seep into
the tone of my voice.
Andra
laughed softly. “I’ll have to try that. What would he want?”
Kai
snorted. “What does every man want from a woman?”
I
looked up to the ceiling and huffed in annoyance when her embarrassment crept
over my skin. “Get the hell out of here, guys. We’re about to turn in for
the night. The rest of the Pride will be here early in the morning to meet
Andra.”
“Turning
in for the night?” Rogan said, and then looked at the other guys, like he
was missing something. “We came to tell you it was time to leave for work.
None of us are as good as you are, Ace.”
A
muffled curse passed through my lips as I ran my free hand down my face. “Uh…”
I stammered, and Andra turned to look at me, confusion pouring out of her and
into me in waves. She was on the verge of freaking out that I might leave her
here alone. I forced a smile as I pried my wide eyes away from the guys to look
at her. “It is, uh… tonight is poker night, and kind of a tradition I
started a few decades ago. I’m pretty good at it, hence why I named my lion
Ace. Most of us don’t really work
around here. We gamble. It’s how the bills get paid. And I guess it’s my night
to make sure we have a place to live next month.”
She
glanced around the huge gym that was only a small fraction of the house. “You
gamble and win enough money to pay for this place?”
“Yeah…
and then some. Look, I won’t go if you don’t want to go, but I’m better than
anyone here. We’ll lose everything pretty quick if I depend on some of these
losers to cover the bills. A few of them lose more than I win sometimes.”
“Wait…
the chick is coming with us?” Rogan said on a chuckle, and then his
expression turned serious. “You’re fuckin’ joking, right?”
I
saw red, but managed to shove Andra out of the way before I shifted—the welcome
feel of bones stretching and changing, the fur sprouting, the muscles morphing—and
pounced on Rogan. My teeth not-so-tenderly brushed the skin above his jugular where
his pulse was pounding hard enough I could hear it. Kai and Slade backed away,
but I could sense Slade wanted to interfere, and I suppose that was the only
thing that stopped me from biting Rogan’s head off.
“Rogan
doesn’t know about the bond, Ace!” Slade shouted. “Nobody but me and
the crew that went with you knows that you’re a bonded male now! Don’t kill
him! Christ! He didn’t know any better!” I didn’t glance up, but I knew
him well enough to know that he was running his fingers through that stark
black hair and gripping it hard enough to pull it out by the roots.
“Ace,”
Andra’s startled voice said. “Don’t kill him.”
I
moved my head back enough to close my mouth, and then just stared down into Rogan’s
eyes as a low growl rumbled up my throat.
“I
would advise against ever calling her a chick again if you value your life,
Rogan,” Slade said on a relieved exhale. “Ace bonded with Andromeda
in Alabama. She’s your Alpha now, too.”
There
was cold fear in Rogan’s confused eyes. He knew he’d screwed up, but I could tell
that he wasn’t sure how he’d managed it. The truth was that none of us knew how
strong this bonding thing was—well, aside from me and Andra; we knew exactly
how tough this bitch was, but I wasn’t in the mood to give lessons or talk
about it unless bloodshed was involved. I’d let Slade explain it to Rogan. Instead
of backing away, I stepped forward, placing one of my back paws on Rogan’s
groin as I made my way back to Andra.
Howls
of agonizing pain issued from behind me as I shifted back to my human form.
Ignoring
the scene behind me, I chuckled when Andra held out my shredded gym clothes,
her head turned in the opposite direction from my immodesty.
I
took the threads and covered myself enough to make her comfortable. “So,
how are you at poker?” I said as we walked toward the doors to leave.
She
laughed. “I’m better at Blackjack.”
“Let’s
go Double Down then, my dear,” I said with a flirtatious grin, and she
beamed at me. God, I loved that smile.
“I
need to take a shower first,” Andra said.
I
grinned playfully. “Good. You can shower with me. There’s a spot on my
back I can never quite reach.” She gaped at me, and I nearly busted a gut
laughing. “I’m kidding… unless, of course, you want to shower with me. I wouldn’t tell you no. I’m nice like that,”
I said with a wink.
Catching
me off guard, she shoved me into the corridor wall, and then laughed when I hit
my funny bone and let out a loud curse. “You are not showering with me,
Ace.”
I
scowled as I rubbed my elbow, until I glanced up to see her walking away from
me. That high ponytail and the look of her ass in those workout shorts had me
forgetting all about the sharp pain shooting from my elbow to my wrist. I bit
my lip as I watched her hips sway, and then I ran to catch up with her before she
noticed I had started panting.
She might not shower with me tonight, but she
would soon. She would soon.
©Copyright 2016 by Kristie Haigwood
 
 

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