Y’all – I wrote a story about a unicorn! And a hellhound! She’s a city girl fashionista. He’s V.P. of the local chapter of his motorcycle club. On the surface, they’re complete opposites, but they quickly learn not to judge a book by its cover. And the chemistry? Oh so HOT!
Savage Salvation, my first novella in the Havenwood Falls Sin & Silk series, releases this Friday. Below is Chapter 1, just for you. But first, the preorder links – you really don’t want to miss this one, if you like a lot of steam in your paranormal romance, that is.
Welcome to the darker, sexier side of Havenwood Falls that many residents never speak of publicly, but most likely enjoy in secret. Venture into the SIN MC, the VIP rooms of Silk nightclub, and behind other closed doors, where you’ll discover passion, unusual penchants, and just how far some will go for love. Hold on to your panties, because it’s time to ride . . .
I never understood the draw of the biker scene. In fact, knowing what I did, I hated it. But Pops swore if anyone could keep me protected, it was the Swords of the Infernal Night in New Orleans. A band of supernatural criminals who think women are possessions, if you ask me. And they haven’t kept us safe. Pops is dead, but his murderers are after me, all because my inner kelpie became the first in generations to grow a horn. My name is Reyna Moreno, and yep, I’m a damn unicorn. Which makes me more valuable than the Hope Diamond.
To keep me protected, my brother hauls me off to some gods-forsaken town in Colorado where another SIN chapter “takes us in.” Takes me prisoner is more like it. It wouldn’t be so bad if my sexy as hell warden wasn’t such an ass. And wasn’t only a biker, but one of the MC’s leaders.
He looks at me like he wants to own me. I’m not one to be owned. He’s not one to be denied.
They call him Savage for a reason. He’s a hellhound and a savage beast. And he would be my undoing . . . but maybe I could be his salvation.
This is a steamy paranormal romance in the Havenwood Falls shared world. A collaborative effort by multiple authors across multiple series all in the paranormal fantasy genre, Havenwood Falls allows readers to discover new authors and stories to fall in love with. Each author brings a stand-alone plotline, so they can be read in any order, but there are many crossovers among the stories.
The service came to a close, and everyone stood, the metal chairs creaking almost as loudly as all the leather in the room. I stared at the focal point of the space—the gleaming wooden box dressed in flowers flowing over its edges—as several pairs of heavy boots thudded toward it. At the direction of some guy I’d spoken with only briefly, the six men gathered around the box and lifted.
I stood, turned, and hurried down the aisle, out the other way, my heels clicking in loud echoes on the tile floor as I crossed the lobby. The door nearly knocked over a group of girls when I threw it open, and they yelped as they jumped out of the way. They bitched and moaned, straightening their skin-tight dresses that barely covered the goods. The skanks had no respect. This was a funeral, for mother’s sake, and they were dressed like they were auditioning for their next role in a porn.
“Rey.” The deep, familiar voice called after me, but I ignored him, heading for my car. I slid into the two-seater Benz, but didn’t quite get the door closed before Niall grabbed it. “Reyna. Don’ be like this.” His Scottish accent came thickly when he was mad.
“Go to hell.”
My jaw clenched. “Don’t call me that. You’re not my brother.”
“For all intents and purposes—”
“What do you want?” I pressed the Start button, and the engine purred to life.
“You’re coming to the cemetery, right?”
“Of course I am,” I muttered.
My gaze stayed forward, but in my periphery, I saw his thick beard bob as he nodded, then he closed the door. I inhaled deeply and blew the air out slowly, refusing to shed a tear. Unable to, if I was honest. I hadn’t yet been able to cry for the man who’d been like an uncle to me, who’d taken a sort of fatherly role when my own had passed. After another deep breath, I followed the procession to the cemetery, also known as the city of the dead. The above-ground tombs and mausoleums lined the pathways like buildings lined the city streets.
Pops didn’t get a traditional New Orleans funeral. No jazz music and parading through the streets. Besides all the other reasons, the club wouldn’t allow it. Like they should have any say. The New Orleans chapter of the Swords of the Infernal Night motorcycle club, SIN or SIN-NO for short, shouldn’t have a say at all in our lives, as far as I was concerned. In fact, if it were up to me, this would be the last time I’d see any of them. Pops trusted them all with our lives, and he lost his for it. I would never trust any of them again.
Not that I ever did in the first place.
I liked to think Niall, who had been like a brother to me, looked out for us, but the rest of them? To hell with them all. They didn’t do their job.
I went for a drive once I made sure Pops was in his final resting place, two Harleys rumbling loudly behind me the whole time. Supposedly the two members of SIN were there to guard me, but I couldn’t fathom what they thought they could do from back there if I were attacked. It wasn’t like the people after me could be taken down with a bullet. If that were the case, Pops would still be alive.
My phone rang, and I ignored it. It persisted until I finally hit the answer button on the steering wheel.
“Reyna,” Niall’s Scottish lilt came over the car speakers. “Come on home, lass.”
“That’s not my home.” I hadn’t been to my home in months.
“Well then, come to my home.”
“Why? So you can make me a prisoner?”
“We need to talk. Plans have been made.”
“Screw you and your plans, Niall. Look where it got us. Pops is—” I hiccupped before continuing— “dead, and I—”
“You’re goin’ to be okay. It’s been arranged. Just come to the club house. You know I hate talking on these things. Especially about this.”
He had a point there. We were practically screaming “here I am” at all those who wanted to find me.
“Don’t make us force you,” he added.
I blew out a sigh. “Fine. I’m on my way. But one thing, Niall.”
“I’m nobody’s bitch. Not yours. Not anyone’s. And I’m certainly not an old lady or anybody’s property. So stop treating me like I am.”
“I’m not. I’m treating you with concern for your safety, which is my job, my qu—”
“Don’t you fucking say it.” I disconnected the call before he said the word that made me want to hurl every time I heard it. Gah! A shudder ran through me. I’d rather he call me sis or anything else than the word he’d been about to say.
The two bikers followed me like puppy dogs through the streets into an industrial area a few blocks from the French Quarter. As soon as I turned in to the driveway, the gate across it started rolling to the side, and I pulled in. The compound was lit up in more ways than one. The club was obviously having some kind of celebration of life ceremony—just another excuse for everyone to drink until they passed out. I knew this was supposed to be a big honor, since Pops had been a friend of the club but never an actual member, but it felt like salt followed by tequila in my wounds. And not in the good way. Drunk members, friends of the club, hangers-on, and groupies whooped and hollered from inside the brightly lit main building, and the moans and grunts of people fornicating were scattered across the grounds outside. It had only just grown dark. It was going to be a long night.
Niall opened my door for me before I even cut the engine. He stood there in loose jeans, motorcycle boots, a black T-shirt, and his leather vest, called a cut in MC terms, covered in patches. One of them said “Torq,” his road name—what everyone here called him. He angled his dark head toward a smaller building to the right of the main one before turning, the large patch of a skull with its head impaled by a rose-wrapped sword staring back at me.
I followed silently, surprised to be heading toward the small structure. The big house was where some of the members lived and where Pops and I had been staying the last several months. It also housed the party area, with a long bar, a couple of pool tables, and a few threadbare couches stained with substances I didn’t want to think too hard about or I’d need to bleach my brain. It stunk, pun intended, having supernatural senses when you lived where there was practically an orgy every other night. This small building, though, served as the club’s church—where they held their meetings and did their business.
I didn’t like the idea of being a piece of their business, but at least they had the decency to invite me in on the subject this time around. Well, not really invite. It’d still been more like an order, even if it had been delivered by my so-called brother. And I was only assuming that was what was going on—that this was about me. Pops may have been a friend of the club, but I’d never been all that friendly with them. In fact, I’d always made my disdain quite clear. And now Pops was dead, and they needed to figure out what to do with me. Throwing me out would be disrespectful to Pops’s memory. And while I thought of them as no more than criminal scum, I couldn’t deny that the club did have a code, and respect was important to them.
And it wasn’t just about Pops.
They’d have to deal with kelpies worldwide—some of whom were already in town for the funeral—if the club tried anything stupid with me. Considering the number of kelpies in the various chapters of the club, that’d create a lot of extra tension for the SIN president to deal with. Of course, he was known for doing such things when he was bored, and I was pretty sure he’d grown bored of me a long time ago when I refused to screw him.
“Reyna, come in and have a seat,” Prez said when Niall and I entered the building. I paid him little notice, but I could feel his gaze undressing me as he motioned toward a room with a large conference table surrounded by a dozen or more chairs. The dim lighting from a table lamp in the corner created shadows, the far end of the room doused in obsidian darkness—but I could sense the people there. Or beings, anyway. As I entered, a hint of sulfur burned my nose, but then it was followed by a scent that was musky, warm, and mouth-watering, making my belly tighten and my thighs squeeze together. What the hell? Whoever was back there, they definitely weren’t human and not kelpie, either—not my kind here to protect me.
Not that my people were a huge threat to most of the SIN members in any chapter, including those here. They were all supernaturals, many of whom were a lot more badass than people who shifted into horses. Unless there was a body of water around and the other supe couldn’t swim, kelpies were mostly dangerous only to humans.
I was the first in many generations of our kind to grow a horn. One single horn, right out of the top of my forehead. Yep, I was a damn unicorn. The silver horn had first broken through when I was twelve, only a few months after my first shift. It’d hurt like a bitch, and even in my human form, I still had a scar at my hairline, barely visible under all my curls. I’d only been able to shift a few times in the thirteen years since then, because as soon as word got out, my life was endangered. From my horn to my tears to the hairs in my mane and tail, I had way too many valuable parts. Parts that some would love to harvest.
Hunters came for me almost right away, in my home country of Brazil, and killed my parents. Pops, who wasn’t really related but had been like an uncle to me, escaped with Niall and me, whisking us off to America. Niall had always been like an adopted brother, coming to us as an orphan when I was nine and he was supposedly fifteen. I didn’t learn until we were found again a year ago that he was much, much older—kelpies, like all fae, lived very long lives while retaining youthful appearances, especially when we used glamour—and that he’d been groomed all his life to be a warrior to protect the future queen. He’d been sent to Brazil when a fae Seer prophesized that the next kelpie queen would come from our small South American town. We hadn’t known then, before I’d ever even shifted, that this queen was me. Because for some reason in kelpie law, the one with the horn ruled.
I really did not want to rule.
At least, I didn’t want to rule a smattering of supernaturals that hadn’t been a true herd in generations. The kelpies had escaped to the earthly realm during a devastating war in our Faerie homeland many centuries ago. They stayed together in Scotland for a while, but rifts over time sent more and more away, and after the last unicorn queen died, what remained of the herd scattered. If the need arose, they’d be compelled to come together once again for me, but could they ever be a herd again? Especially since so many had joined a different kind of herd—the SIN MC? Whom would they truly be loyal to if it came down to it? Me and each other or their patch?
Hopefully, the need would never arise.
As I walked farther into the room as though drawn to the far end by that delicious smell, annoyance doused the desire when I noticed my designer luggage piled by the doorway. I turned on Niall, Prez, and Chintz, the VP, while trying to tamper my anger—not because they were kicking me out, but because they’d dared to touch my personal property.
“Not wasting any time, I see.” I gave them a saccharine smile. “No worries, though. I wasn’t planning on staying anyway.”
Niall reached out, cupping my elbow and leading me toward a chair. “Sit, Rey.”
“I’m not a dog.” My patience was waning. Someone at the far end of the room snickered.
Niall sighed. “Sit down and listen. Like I said, we have a plan. It’s all taken care of.”
None of the bikers sat, so neither did I. “I don’t need your plan.”
“Ya do,” Niall insisted.
“He’s right,” Prez said, his voice deep and full of promise of dark, ugly things. His beady eyes were barely visible behind all his dark facial hair, but I felt them on me, the sensation like cold slime. He crossed his log-thick arms over his barrel chest. “The hunters know you’re here this very second. Our guys followed two of them who were following you.”
“They’re dead,” Chintz said flatly. He leaned his thin yet sinewy arms on the back of one of the chairs, also appraising me as I let that sink in. My insides felt sick, but I refused to squirm in their presence.
“You’re willing to go to war over me, yet you’re kicking me out?” I asked.
Chintz shrugged. “We’ve gone to war for lesser reasons.”
“We swore an oath to Pops,” Prez said as a better explanation. “We don’t go back on our word.”
“Yet you’re kicking me out,” I repeated, my hand gesturing toward my suitcases.
“We’re sendin’ you to a safe place,” Niall said.
Every muscle in my body tensed up. “You’re sending me to a safe place? What does that mean? You’re not sending me anywhere! Who do you think you are?”
“Reyna!” Niall barked, and I’d never heard him say my name so sharply. “You need to listen. It’s for your own god damn safety.”
My ample chest heaved as I tried to regain control of my anger. My inner beast had awakened. I’d learned long ago how to contain her, but she always showed interest when my emotions rose, hoping I’d finally let her break free. This would be the absolute worst time to indulge her, especially with strangers in the room, so I forced her to settle down and go back to sleep. Crossing my arms over my breasts, I cocked my head, my only indication that I was listening.
“A SIN chapter in Colorado has agreed to provide you protection,” Prez said.
My jaw dropped. “Colorado? No way in hell!”
“They’ll take you in, under the wards of their town,” Prez continued gruffly, ignoring my outburst.
“It’s a small town in the mountains,” Niall added. “I bet you’ll love it.”
I’ll bet I won’t.
Someone on the far end emerged from the darkness—over six feet tall, sandy brown hair, wearing sunglasses—at night, inside, in the dark—and a leather cut with a small patch that said Pirate and another under it that said President. That vague hint of sulfur wafted to my nose. Demon, perhaps?
“Our town isn’t like anyplace else,” he said, his voice deep and raspy. “There’s no safer place.”
“No offense, Mr. . . .”
“Pirate,” he said.
“Just. Pirate,” the stranger growled.
I blinked, suppressing the urge to roll my eyes. “Okay, no offense, Pirate, but these assholes here couldn’t protect us, so what makes you think you can?”
That snicker sounded again from the dark end of the room.
“And I can’t go all the way to Colorado,” I hurried on, because my question had been rhetorical and I didn’t want them thinking they needed to answer it. “I have a business to run, which these dumb shits seem to have forgotten.”
I turned back to Niall and Prez with a raised brow.
No, I didn’t want to rule a kingdom. But I did want to rule an empire.
And I’d already been on my way to building it with my plus-size fashion and lifestyle blog and specialty lingerie designs when the hunters discovered our location and we had to go into hiding a year ago. That made running a business a little difficult, and I knew my clients were almost out of patience. Good thing for me that they loved my designs too much to completely give up on me.
But disappearing to a small mountain town in Colorado where they probably didn’t even have indoor plumbing, let alone internet service? That would be a career killer.
“Your laptop’s packed,” Niall said. “All your business stuff is. You’ve already been running it remotely for a year. You haven’t lost any business yet, have you?”
“I haven’t gained any, either,” I sniped back. My brain knew it wasn’t Niall’s or anyone else’s fault that the hunters were after me. Somewhere deep down I also knew it wasn’t his or the MC’s fault that I’d been found. But damn it, it was their fault that Pops was dead and we were even having this discussion.
All I wanted was to be in my own bed in my own home, preparing for tomorrow’s work day like any normal person. Just like I had been before the hunters had discovered my general location, and now they’d come way too close. If Niall and the MC had done their jobs properly, I could have at least had some semblance of my old life. We definitely wouldn’t be discussing some trip to Colorado or the future of my business that wasn’t looking so promising anymore. So repressing my anger wasn’t easy.
Besides, if I didn’t stay angry, the grief would kick in.
“Don’ be difficult, Rey,” Niall practically begged, his accent thicker than usual. He knew I had a soft spot for it. “Yeh know yeh can’t stay here, love. Yeh can’t leave this compound and expect to live. And how many people here are you goin’ to let die for yeh?”
I scowled. He knew exactly what buttons to push.
“Yer life, yer people’s lives, these people’s lives—no matter how much yeh don’t like ’em—they’re more importan’ than anythin’, aren’t they?” he continued, tilting his head as he stared me down with piercing sapphire eyes, challenging me to argue further.
I opened my mouth to do just that, because I was stubborn like that. There had to be another way. No, I wouldn’t let anyone here die while protecting me. Niall was the only one who had any kind of place in my heart, but just because I didn’t like the MC and their crowd didn’t mean I wanted them dead. Especially not for me.
But Colorado couldn’t possibly be our only choice.
Those words were on the tip of my tongue when the other figure stepped out of the shadows at the far end of the room, that delicious scent wafting toward me again.
And if my body’s reaction meant anything, any other options had just been wiped off the table.