First of all - thank you to everyone for your kind messages following my last message, it was lovely to receive them all. You're all awesome!
Secondly, all the holiday themed SEA stories are now available to buy from Amazon in one collection called Holiday Mates. All the stories are still available to read here, but if you want it for your device, you can purchase it too.
Thirdly, below is a small peak at the start of The Bear and the Unicorn - upcoming book 5 of the SEA series. It's about a character called Zane - a bear shifter (I do love bears!)
Zane scowled at his lawyer as his inner bear grumbled. “Is that the best you could do?”
Harry mopped his brow. “We won.”
“Hardly! I lost my fucking job. I’ve got community service, and I have to pay damages.”
“But no jail time…”
“Community. Service,” ground out the irate bear shifter.
Harry looked flummoxed. With all due respect to Harry ‘bloodhound’ Heckler, he was hardly what anyone could call a decent litigator. Harry was an ambulance chaser. He was a good ambulance chaser – once he got the scent of a potential settlement, he didn’t let up - hence the nickname. But at the end of the day, he was an ambulance chaser.
The majority of his other clients were trying to sue for damages for any multitude of reasons – his last client had slipped on a banana at a Speed-E-Mart. The rest filed suits for sexual harassment – one based on the telling of a joke and the female sexual organ and something to do with apple pie. The point being that Harry’s cases rarely made it to court. Most just settled out of court for a decent but generally low amount of money - because neither his clients nor the companies or individuals they were suing wanted it to get that far. But Zane’s case really had called for some real arguing.
Stalking. Assault. Dangerous inability to control the inner bear.
The bear in question snarled.
None of this was Zane’s fault. Okay, some of it was his fault. Most of it. Maybe all of it.
His bear – damn perfidious beast – had no sympathy. He had been against getting involved from the start. But then, if it weren’t for the animal’s horrific temper, things might not be so bad. Zane threw that back in his hairy snout, and yeah, the bear had the grace to hide behind his paws.
Zane’s high school girlfriend called him for help. Her asshole lawyer ex was stiffing her on alimony, and she wanted Zane to do something about it. Melissa was just as pretty as the day in freshman year when she batted her eyelashes at him and got him to pull the fire alarm to get her out of detention. Smoky brown eyes, red, sensual lips, and dimples. She was his kryptonite. He’d left their small town at eighteen, joined the army, trying to make a name for himself. Plus the local judge – his own father! – had kind of pushed the army on him after he stole one or two or six cars. This will straighten you out boy he boomed before banging his gavel.
Melissa in a tearful goodbye said she’d wait for Zane forever. Forever didn’t last long. A month later she sent a letter saying she’d moved to Los Lobos and was engaged to a law student called Roger – a bighorn sheep shifter of all things. That was the last he saw or heard from her until she turned up on his doorstep crying her eyes out a few months back. Asshole Roger had fooled around on her, dumped her with two kids and was refusing to pay her the money she needed to live.
Zane saw red.
He didn’t think it through. He should have gone the legal route, but he rarely thought anything through. Poor impulse control? Nah, he was just a hothead. Especially when it came to Melissa. When she told him their high school music teacher hit on her - aggressively, he didn’t even think. Mr. Lazlow was in traction for nine months, and Zane got kicked out of school. Strangely, he’d always thought Mr. Lazlow was gay – given that he was married to a guy and all.
As for Roger, Zane tried talking to him nicely, but no, Roger had been remorseless. Wouldn’t listen. Insisted Melissa communicate only through her lawyer. Wouldn’t even give Zane the time of day. So Zane took it upon himself to be wherever Roger the dick was – his home, his work, his dates with his new girlfriend, his parents’ home… Yeah, so maybe it was technically stalking.
Finally, Roger cracked and told Zane to leave him the fuck alone and then the rest was a little hazy after the sheep called Melissa a cold-hearted bitch.
Zane hit him. Then he shifted. His bear tried to maul him. He wasn’t proud of that… He was a little proud of it. Damn fluffy sheep didn’t even see it coming. He’d enjoyed reliving that moment over and over. What happened after, less so.
He was brought up before a tribunal at work – a panel made up of Supernatural Council members as well as his boss’ boss, Juliet – head of the branch of the Supernatural Enforcers Agency where he worked as an investigator. Not many friendly faces there. None, in fact.
On a lucky note, Roger wasn’t exactly keen to press charges. He wanted the matter to go away quietly. He was a divorce lawyer – the last thing he wanted was everyone knowing his own divorce had created such a shit storm. Might put people off using him for their divorces. He was happy to settle for money to pay his hospital bills and a restraining order for Zane.
Plus, added to Zane’s interactions with Roger, there might have been one or two or twelve complaints about his conduct and behavior during investigations. Something about being belligerent, intimidating, threatening… and so on and so forth and what have you.
The tribunal concluded that he was too dangerous to keep in their employ, and he was being terminated, effective immediately.
Harry was pleased with the overall result. Zane, less so.
Although Harry was just pleased to get out a room filled with such a large bunch of terrifying and dominant supernatural creatures. They didn’t get on the Council by being kind and considerate. Harry’s voice barely reached more than a squeak in their presence.
Zane caught sight of Juliet gliding out of the meeting room.
“Hey, fangs,” he called. It wasn’t in him to be deferential to anyone. Something he and his barbaric bear agreed on.
She turned, rolling her dark eyes at him. To look at Juliet, no one would guess she was a centuries-old vampire. She looked twenty-one at the most. She was a tiny woman with long, inky black hair, full lips painted red and smoky eyes. Perhaps the only thing that gave her away was her unusually pale skin. Although Juliet could manage brief periods in the sunlight, obviously she didn’t tan. She looked like a small, china doll – especially as she no longer felt the need to breathe.
A faint smile ghosted her full lips. “Mr. Matthews.”
“Can I appeal this decision?” he demanded.
Juliet met his angry stare, not even acknowledging the furious beast bubbling below the surface, readying to be let out. She could out dominate any alpha shifter if she wanted.
“No,” she said snippily. “There is no one to appeal to. As far as you are concerned, the Council members are gods, and there is no one higher.”
Zane ran his hands through his hair. “This is ridiculous.”
Juliet’s stance softened slightly. “In spite of what many people think, I’m not heartless.” She flashed her fangs. “My heart just doesn’t beat anymore. Try taking some anger management classes. If you can prove that you have your temper under control and that you will once again be an asset to the SEA, then I will ask that the decision be reviewed. But I don’t want to see you in this building again until that day. Is that clear?”
“Is that clear?” Her eyes flashed dangerously.
Ice-cold tingles shot down his back, reminding him that as sweet as Juliet looked, she was still a blood sucking fiend. His shoulders sagged a little, and he mumbled in agreement. Pussy rumbled his bear.
“Why don’t you find work as a security guard or something similar? Prove you can be a good employee – it will certainly help your future case.”
He grunted, and she left, gliding away with unnatural speed before he could add anything to the conversation.
Security guard – bah. Not his kind of thing. And he doubted the LLPD would take him. They took some shifters, but they were a bit choosy. Plus he might have threatened one or two or fifteen LLPD police officers with bodily harm over the years. Nah, he didn’t want them breathing down his neck. He loved his job. He loved being an investigator. And if the SEA wouldn’t let him, he’d do it on his own.