Free Reads

The revision and editing process will often result in scenes either getting lost on the cutting room floor or being changed from the writer’s original vision. On this page, you will find either those deleted bits or what I’d like to call the Director’s Cut — the original version of scenes that were later edited.

You will also find some free reads from some other projects that I’ve been working on!

DELETED BITS and New Reads for THE CALLING Vampire Series:

Other DELETED BITS from various novels

Undead Uprising – Chapter 26

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In Chapter 25, the werewolf pack is faced with the murders of two of their members by a group of vampires. The two pack members were out for a date and not on the hunt, signaling to the leaders of the Villalobos clan that the vampires may be declaring war on the pack.

In this chapter, Catalina’s father and the council members leave the morgue to discuss their plan of action, leaving the three half-sisters behind for a sisterly chat (not!).

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:



Chapter 26

As leader of the pack, her father was first to exit the morgue, followed by the council members, leaving the three half-sisters behind with Hemmerich and Ramon.

Hemmerich shot Catalina a knowing look before sneering at Ramon. “I’ll be back in the room if you need me,” he said and dropped a perfunctory kiss on Selena’s cheek before leaving.

Ramon stood by her side, his uneasiness conveyed by the way his hands were locked together in front of him. Catalina knew he wanted to reach out and comfort her. Tell her things would be okay despite the grim happenings of the night.

But touching her in public, announcing their relationship, was impossible as much as she wanted to do the same.

Understanding that while at the same time frustrated by it, Ramon nodded curtly and bowed. “I’ll be in my quarters should you need my services.”

Selena chuckled in disdain and murmured, “I don’t imagine Catalina will be needing you to service her further you tonight.”

Heat crept up Catalina’s cheeks, matching the blush on Ramon’s and yet he could say nothing to her half-sister in deference to her station in the pack. But she could . . .

“Sister. I’d guard my tongue if I were you.”

Selena glared at her, angered by the rebuke as Ramon exited the room. “Really? Do you suppose father would approve – “

“Father is well aware of Catalina’s activities, Selena,” Helene jumped in and then plowed onward. “And considering that you’re sharing a bed with that mongrel Hemmerich, I would not be too quick to condemn.”

Selena quickly defended her lover. “Hemmerich is one of our top wolves.”

“A mere foot soldier,” Catalina challenged and then motioned to the door with her hand. “It’s time we went to chambers, sisters. We need to support father and be certain of the steps to be taken.”

With an irritated huff, Selena whirled and stalked from the room.

Catalina shot a half glance at Helene, who rolled her eyes and said, “Drama queen. Let’s hope she has the sense to wise up to Hemmerich.”

“Let’s hope. We need trust her, but as long as she is with him . . .” Catalina paused, knowing she needed to go no further since Helene agreed with her about the other wolf.

Hemmerich was not to be trusted. Catalina hoped that in time, Selena would see that.

With a quick nod to her half-sister, she strode from the room, Helene following her as they raced to the council chambers for the discussion of war.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 1

CONTEST! Post Comment on this blog until October 31! CONTEST! Post Comment on this blog until October 31!
ww.jpgThis Wicked Wednesday brings something totally new — a work in progress. I’ve been developing an urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING.

I’d like to know what you think about it. Whether you’d like to see more or what you think isn’t working. The main heroine is Catalina de Villalobos whose family owns one of the world’s top security firms. She’s in love with a human, but worse, she’s a werewolf who can’t control her wolf and is the strongest member of the pack in her human form.

So — Love it. Hate it. Indifferent. Let me know how you feel. Thanks in advance for your comments and to encourage to let me have them, I’ll be giving away a copy of SECRET AGENT REUNION to one lucky person. To be eligible, you must post the comment by midnight EST on October 31.

***For Mature Audiences Only — Language, Violence and Some Sexual Content***

Chapter 1
New York City, June 2007

A good kill no longer brought satisfaction, only despair.

Pain lanced through Catalina de Villalobos’s side as she neared her latest victory. She raised her arm and glanced down at the four angry claw marks raked deep into her ribs. The vampire she had confronted that night had been a Wolverine wannabe, sporting a glove with razor sharp claws. Claws with which the vampire had successfully slashed through the protection of the leather jerkin she wore for battle.

Catalina ran a hand over the wound. It came away wet with blood.

Shit. Too much blood.

She nudged the body of her undead foe with the point of her polished black boot. Bent beside him to examine the claws. Picking up the vampire’s gloved hand, the gleam of silver shone bright in the moonlight along with the shock of blood along finely honed talons.

It explained why her wounds weren’t closing yet. The silver was messing with her body’s ability to heal. She couldn’t delay. Weakness slowly crept into her extremities from the loss of blood. She couldn’t afford that. The vamps would be out in force on a night like tonight, thinking they could have a vamp’s version of Mardi Gras before others like her emerged during the three days that were the height of the lunar cycle. When the werewolves came out to hunt, the smarter vampires retreated into their lairs for safety.

Ño, she said, cursing her stupidity at allowing the demon to get close enough to wound her. With that thought came a wave of wooziness, reminding her she couldn’t linger.

Hurrying, she removed the silver throwing knives from the vamp’s heart, wiped them clean on his shirt and then tucked them back into the leather vambrace along her left forearm.

She stood and glanced at the body. The moonlight illuminated the young vampire’s pale face. Barely out of his twenties human-age wise, but also fairly fresh to the undead life. She had sensed his power was not as strong as that of an older bloodsucker. That could explain the clawed glove he had added for protection. Newly turned, he had somehow become aware of the fact that he lacked the strength to defend himself against anything other than a human.

Guilt blossomed within her as she wondered whether the young man had chosen his undead life or been sired against his will. The latter made her hesitate until the vampire’s hand gave a sudden twitch, reminding her she had a job to finish. No matter how he had been turned, the end result was the same — a thirsty bloodsucker. She had stopped this one from draining an NYU coed he had dragged to the rooftop from the street below. The coed had fled, screaming, as soon as Catalina had arrived on the scene.

Funny, but she didn’t know if the coed had been more afraid of her in her human state and battle gear, or the vamp.

Easing her blade from the scabbard where she had sheathed it earlier, Catalina raised the Crusader’s sword high in the air, uttered a small prayer for the young man’s soul and hers, and then brought the blade rushing downward, cleaving the vampire’s head from his shoulders.

The body jumped one final time, confirming that the smaller silver knives had only slowed the demon. Her sword had finished the job. The morning sun would quickly dispose of any evidence of the kill.

She wiped down the sword on the vamp’s shirt. The silver-plated blade was as toxic to vamps as it was to those of her kind. A weakness the vamps had passed on to the werewolves they had inadvertently created.

Once back in its scabbard, she laid her hand on the leather wrapped hilt of the sword and the cross deeply engraved into the silver pommel glittered in the moonlight.

Somehow apropos, she thought. Her father had chosen a Crusader’s sword for her and Catalina formed part of the front lines of such a campaign. The cross a symbol of the righteous battling against immoral demons who no longer recognized any kind of god.

Once more despair rose up strongly within her. This would be the rest of her life, until one of the undead got luckier than the callow youth she had dispatched tonight.

Werewolf versus vampire. Catalina and her brethren against the unholy bloodsuckers.

Life was truly a bitch.

But it was her life, as much as she hated the fighting. Hated the lack of control that arose when the wolf took over her body.

Unlike the others of her kind, she was useless during the full moon which forced her to do her fighting the rest of the month. Every day of the rest of the month.

A wave of dizziness swept over her again, reminding her she would be useless for the remainder of the night. She needed to return home and heal.

She would never make it on foot. Too weak, she thought.

Hurrying down the fire escape, she slipped into an alleyway and rooted through the garbage cans, looking for something she could wrap herself in.

This might be New York City where anything went, but her weapons and the blood dripping down her side might raise an eyebrow on the subway. Finally, deep at the back of the alley, she encountered a homeless man beside a shopping cart brimming with possibilities.

In the dark of the alley, the whites of his eyes glowed with fright as he noted the weapons and the blood. He probably imagined that she had come for him.

“I won’t hurt you, old man,” she said in gentle tones, reached into a small pocket in her jerkin and tossed some money in his lap. “I just need a blanket.”

The man grabbed the money with gnarled fingers and motioned to the cart. “In there.”

Catalina rooted through the filth and debris of his life until she encountered a thin, dark grey blanket. One large enough to hide beneath. It smelled ripe — a good thing. The odor would mask the scent of her blood.

Wrapping the blanket around her, she strode from the alley and continued until she reached her goal — a loose grate above the subway stop. Easily shifting the grate even in her weakened state, she listened and tried to sense any physical signs of the subway. No clang of the tracks. No tremble of the ground beneath. She jumped down, landed at the edge of the tunnel and peered out.

A few humans, lingering as they waited for the train. She slipped unnoticed onto the platform. Huddled into the blanket and mumbling to herself, she walked toward the first pedestrian. As expected, the sharply dressed man’s face screwed up with disgust and he moved away so she could pass.

Good. Her act was working, especially when she wobbled like a drunk from the blood loss. She pressed onward, needing to be at the front of the train. In the tunnel beneath her clan’s building, the entrance to their lair lay beyond the head of the train. At that subway stop, smack in midtown Manhattan in a highly traveled area, she couldn’t risk drawing attention.

Especially when she might not be all that stable.

Weaker by the moment, she thought, as her vision wobbled out of focus. She struggled onward. Thanked whatever god there was when the subway pulled in moments later and she limped onto the train, plopped down at the first seat by the door.

The impact with the hard plastic brought pain. She moaned, covered it by mumbling a little louder, driving yet another few passengers from her side. That and the pungent smell from the blanket.

Each jostle of the train brought renewed pain. The claws must have dug deeper than she realized. The warmth of her blood bathed her side. Her nose twitched involuntarily as that smell began to overwhelm her wolfen senses.

She risked a glance to see if anyone else had noticed, but they were all busy ignoring her. Another typical day in New York City, she thought.

Multiple stops passed until with what seemed like a bone-jarring thud, the subway reached her destination. She rose, stumbled off onto the platform. There were more people here, but luckily, they were all headed in the opposite direction toward the exits that would put them closer to Rockefeller Center and Radio City.

The Villalobos building was directly above, an impressive fifty story building on New York’s Sixth Avenue. The first forty stories housed the vast complex of businesses that made up Villalobos Industries. The top ten floors housed rooms for the clan business and the home of Rafael de Villalobos, her father, and all his children and wives.

She snuck quickly into a tunnel, leaned on the wall heavily as she labored to reach what everyone supposed was a service shaft for the subway.

Only it wasn’t.

It had been put there by her father nearly twenty years earlier as an emergency entrance. At the rusty and banged up metal door, she placed her hand over what looked like a plain old square stone, but was actually a biometric reading device. Bright laser light read her palm and a second later, the decrepit-looking door slid open with a smooth whoosh.

She stumbled in and dropped the blanket, unable to bear its stench for a moment longer.

The clan’s physician, Ramon Santander, waited for her. “The guards told me you were on your way.”

As he finally noticed her condition, he rushed to her side to offer support. “You’re hurt.” He gently raised her left arm to triage her injuries.

Weaker by the second, Catalina laid a hand on his shoulder to steady herself. “It’s not healing. Silver.”

With a nod, he picked her up into his arms and strode with her to the elevator. She nestled her head on Ramon’s chest, snuggling into his warmth since a chill had settled into her body. His strength and calm washed over and she finally relaxed her guard. Being strong all the time wore her down. Only with Ramon could she allow herself some weakness.

The alpha wolves of the clan would try to take advantage of that weakness. Attempt to assume control over her. Ramon would not do the same. First, because he was human. Second, because he cared for her. Or at least, she suspected he cared for her.

Once inside the special infirmary for her family, Ramon laid her on the examining table. Quickly and almost impersonally, he removed her leather jerkin to reveal the four ugly and deep slices along her ribs. Almost to the bone, she realized.

Ramon probed at the wounds gently with his fingers, but she still winced from the pressure. With the danger of the battle over, she could finally allow the pain to bring the unwanted sexual desire that seemed to be part of her unusual legacy.

“Perdoname,” he said in apology and stepped away from the table to assemble the needed tools and medications on a smaller rolling cart.

“No need to apologize,” Catalina said as she shifted to her side, one arm draped across her breasts, suddenly modest despite her growing sexual need. Ramon had seen her naked when he guarded her during the full moon. Touched her, only they weren’t lovers, despite her wishing for that more times than was wise.

Ramon must have sensed her interest since he became distant. As a human saved by the pack from a vamp attack, he had sworn to keep their secrets and heal their wounds in exchange for his life. Due to his position at the bottom of the Villalobos hierarchy, the other wolves would never tolerate him as the mate of their future leader.

But she would risk the censure of the pack. She wanted him that badly. She needed to imagine a normal life was possible for her. That hope was all that kept her going at times.

When Ramon returned to the table, he said, “I’d give you something for the pain, only — ”

“We never know what it’ll do,” she finished for him. A familiar statement when it came to her unique metabolism. Within their number, she was an oddity — a wolf who couldn’t control her altered state; one who couldn’t handle human medicines while in her normal state. Despite that, she could tolerate a greater amount of pain and had incredible strength while in human form, unlike the other werewolves who had to wait until the full moon to be at their strongest.

“It’s okay. I can deal,” she said and shifted her arm to allow him access to the injury.

Ramon cleansed the wound to remove any traces of the silver and then worked on closing up the deeper portions of the gashes. She sucked in a deep breath and focused on driving away any sensation of pain. As he tended to her, Ramon spoke to her in softly, which helped her keep her distress — and passion — in check.

“How did this happen?”

“Young vamp had claws.” She winced at one pull of the needle as he stitched.

“An armed vampire? They seem to be growing bolder.”

She shrugged and he admonished her to stay still. Glancing downward, she could see him working, feel the pinch and tug as he closed her wounds. “They must be tired of being attacked, both during the cycle and off.”

“Rumor has it they’re banding together. Warning the newly turned about you,” he said and reached for something on the table.

His comment made her rise and face him, the stitches in her side pulling with the movement. “Where did you hear that?”

“Hemmerich. He was with your father today in his chambers. He, too, had been hunting earlier. Only he wasn’t as lucky as you,” Ramon replied and returned to working on her side, his gaze uneasy as it darted to her breasts, and then back up to her face.

At least he had noticed her, she thought, sitting before him, her arms at her sides to expose herself.

Let him look, she thought. And touch. With her wounds tended, her strength slowly returned to normal and she finally released the passion that came from a battle well fought and the pain of her injuries.

It occurred to her that maybe some fickle god, knowing that pain would rule her life, had decided that in exchange pleasure should come with it. That the torment of becoming the wolf would bring fulfillment in those final moments before she lost control.

She cared for neither.

“Hemmerich is a fool. He’s not as strong as I am in his human state.”

Ramon tried to avoid looking at her, but it proved impossible to ignore perfection. Especially when it sat before him, inviting his touch. He reined in his desire and calmly said, “You’re right. The vampire who got Hemmerich earlier tonight had a friend with him. They managed to slice up Hemmerich before he dispatched one of them.”

“Only one?” She arched one finely waxed brow arched to emphasize the question.

He nodded, eased her arm away from her side again and finished dressing the gashes although some parts of them were already healed. “The second vampire fled when he realized he would have to fight Hemmerich alone.”

When he finished, he tenderly smoothed his hand over the gauze and tape, angry that she had been hurt. Worried at the discussion he had overheard in her father’s chambers earlier that night. He couldn’t fool her since she must have sensed his disquiet.

“What else is there? I can tell from your face that’s not the only bad news for the night.”

With a tired sigh, he laid his hands on either side of her on the examination table. Raising his face, he met her almost defiant gaze. “Your twenty-fifth birthday is in a few months.”

“And?” she replied with a regal tilt to her auburn-haired head. An appropriate posture considering that as the eldest child of the alpha wolf, she would be the next in line to rule the Villalobos clan unless someone challenged her position. Only no one would be stupid enough to do that. Even in her human state, Catalina was stronger and smarter than the best of the alpha males in the pack. She was the only choice to lead them once her father was gone, which would not be for quite some time. Rafael de Villalobos was only in his early fifties, and amazingly hale and hearty. But that didn’t mean that the rites of ascendancy shouldn’t begin.

“You’re father is talking about holding the Gauntlet to choose your mate.” Although he tried to hide the despair in his voice, he failed miserably, which only served to bring a tender smile to Catalina’s mouth.

She cupped his cheek and ran her thumb across his lips. “You know that there is only one mate I would choose.”

With a harsh sigh, he said, “I am forbidden to you.”

His words tugged painfully at Catalina’s heart since as much as she wished to deny it, he was right. As a mortal, he could not be the consort for someone who would one day head the pack. The rules of the clan made it clear that only the strongest alpha could be her life partner.

But that didn’t stop her need or the attraction she felt for him. Lowering her hand to his shoulder, she urged him closer until the tips of her breasts brushed his chest. They hardened immediately, accompanied by a surge in the passion that had been simmering within from her injuries. He would have pulled away, but she exerted pressure on his shoulder.

“I want you.”

“This can bring nothing but pain,” he urged and once again made a motion to leave her, but she increased the strength of her hold.

“I want to make love with you,” she beseeched, but his face was harsh as he answered.

“Is that a command or can I refuse?” he said, raising the differences in their ranks as a last resort. They both knew he couldn’t refuse her if it was a command since he had sworn his obedience in exchange for his life. Normally she wasn’t one to take advantage of that vow, but if a command was what it would take for him to make love with her tonight, Catalina wouldn’t be honorable.

She moved closer and nuzzled his face with hers, trailing her lips along the straight line of his jaw. “Can you refuse me?” she asked as she hovered near the edge of his lips until he turned his face that fraction of an inch to meet her gaze.

“What do you think?” Ramon said, but knew that no answer was needed as he met her lips with his and gripped the back of her head.

She might be forbidden and get furry a few nights each month, but that wasn’t enough to keep him from wanting her like he had never wanted any other woman. Catalina knew it and took advantage of his weakness.

And he didn’t care, he thought as he slipped his arms around her body and pressed her close.

The power of her rippled beneath his hands, her lithe muscles strong. The heat of her animal side warmed his palms as her passion rose and his own, almost puny human desire answered.

Over and over he kissed her lips. Slipped his tongue into her mouth and tasted the sweetness of her breath. The smoothness of her perfect teeth which soon would become fangs sharp enough to tear him to bits. Again it came to him that this was insanity.

Destiny demanded that she be the next pack leader and giving into this would only cause problems for her. Hurt her.

He cared for her too much to be the source of such anguish and gently eased her away.

A knock came at the door.

Catalina made a face of annoyance. “Ignore it. Maybe they’ll go away,” she said, wishing to continue with their encounter.

“Catalina, this can’t — ”

The knock came again, more insistent this time and followed by her mother’s hushed, but concerned voice.

“Mi’ja. You’re father has requested that you come to his study.”

Catalina was tempted to defy her father, only she had no doubt that he wanted to talk about the Gauntlet and Hemmerich’s failure that night, both topics she eagerly wanted to learn more about.

“I have to go.”

She dropped a quick kiss on his lips and wrapping the sheet from the examining table around her, she hurried to the door and opened it. Her mother waited there, anxiously wringing her hands together at Catalina’s delay.

“Mami.” She acknowledged her mother’s presence with a bow of her head.

Her mother didn’t look her in the eye as she lowered her head. Even between mother and child, rank in the pack still demanded certain actions. “Mi’ja. Your father is waiting for you.”

“Let him wait, mami. I need to dress.”

Her mother’s gaze darted uneasily to Ramon and maternal instinct overrode the pack’s rules about challenging a superior wolf. “This,” her mother began, finally raising her head and motioning with her hand in Ramon’s direction, “is unwise, mi’ja.”

“I should go,” Ramon said and started to walk away.

“Don’t,” she commanded and he obeyed, inclining his head in acknowledgement. His body posture confirming her authority over him.

She stood before her mother, who looked back down and almost cowered. She hated seeing her mother this way. Even more, she hated her role in causing her mother’s fall from her alpha position.

“Mami,” she said and laid a gentle hand on her mother’s shoulder. Her mother didn’t pick up her head, but shot her a shrouded half glance.

“You are my mother. My equal. I appreciate your concern for me, but Ramon . . .”

She glanced back at the man she wished to be her lover as he stood waiting. A grim smile marred his face, for he knew that many of the pack’s rules troubled her. “I care for him.”

“Your father is calling — ”

“For the Gauntlet. I know,” she jumped in and at her words, her mother’s head shot up in surprise. “Let’s go see papi,” she said and strode from the infirmary to her bedroom, just a few doors down.

“He will not change his mind about the human,” her mother warned as she chased after her.

Her father occasionally indulged her in different ways, but she knew, much as her mother cautioned, that he would not be dissuaded. But then again, neither would she.

She had already given her heart to Ramon. Nothing her father said or did would change what she felt.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 10

ww.jpgBefore we get into this week’s Wicked Wednesday, just a BIG REMINDER that next week’s Wicked Wednesday is a special excerpt from bestseller Lisa Jackson and a SPECIAL CONTEST!! Two lucky winners will receive copies of one of Lisa’s books, a T-shirt from Lisa and notepad. In addition, I’m going to toss in a CALLING T-shirt and box of books to the two lucky winners, so please drop by and leave a comment on the blog by midnight EST on August 26th for a chance to win these wickedly good prizes!

This week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

This chapter is a flashback to Catalina’s birth and what caused the split between her mother, Marina, and her father, Rafael. It’s a bit bloody for those of you who might be squeamish, but it does explain why Rafael had to set aside Marina, his own true love.

For those of you who may have missed the first nine chapters, you can read them here:

warning.jpg

CHAPTER 10

New York City, 1982

Rafael gripped her hand tightly and said, “That’s it, querida. Hee-hee-haaaa.” He mimicked the breathing pattern they had practiced at Lamaze class.

Marina shot him a grateful smile and copied his actions.

“That’s it,” he urged, but then shot a worried look to the doctor.

The physician, an older wolf who had served the pack for a generation or more, calmly said, “Do not worry, Rafael. The baby’s almost here.”

Something clawed at the edge of Rafael’s consciousness. A preternatural sense that things weren’t quite right. It was strong enough that he felt compelled to go and see if anything unusual was happening beyond the birthing room. Bending close to Marina’s ear, he whispered, “I’ll be right back.”

With a kiss to her sweat-drenched brow, he rose and headed to the door when the first scream exploded from her. A blood-curdling howl. One he had only heard before when an animal struggled in the throes of death. Racing back to her side, he grabbed hold of Marina’s shoulders as her body vaulted off the operating room table. “Marina, what’s wrong?”

He shot another look at the older wolf, only the man was urgently calling out for help.

As a few nurses and another doctor came rushing into the room, the monitors and assorted pieces of equipment beeped and sent out all kinds of warning signals, but not enough to drown out the sounds of Marina’s screams.

He struggled to hold his wife down while the doctor prepped her and one of the nurses set up an I.V. Within moments, Marina finally calmed, but soon moaned fitfully as the doctor urgently sliced open her belly. Guts and the baby soon filled the physician’s hands.

Rafael didn’t even have a second to see the child as a river of blood suddenly poured from within Marina. It ran down her hip. Pooled on the edge of the operating table before overflowing to the floor. So much of it. Too much.

The older wolf called out for help and the other physician immediately joined the battle to save Marina’s life.

The two men frantically yelled out instructions to the nurses and technicians around them. At one point, someone moved him back from the table, as if to keep him from seeing what was happening to his wife.

It seemed like hours during which all he could hear were the warning sounds of the medical equipment and the anxious words of the doctors who were laboring over Marina’s inert body.

If the baby had cried during that time, he didn’t know. But it was crying when one of the nurses finally placed the squirming bundle in his arms.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse said as she stepped away and for the first time, Rafael stared down into the face of his child and
saw . . .

Not a werewolf or a human, but a mix of both. The nose and mouth were too flat for a wolf’s muzzle, but too long to be human. The ears were pointy, but more wolf than human. Soft reddish fur covered what parts of its body were visible and small paw-like hands had visibly sharp nails. Nails that tore at the blanket, shredding it when they made contact. Like they must have shredded Marina’s insides as the beast child struggled to leave the womb.

After he tightened the blanket around it, the baby howled and struggled against its bonds. Unsure of what else to do, he cradled it close and murmured calming words, all the time trying to also keep an ear on what was happening on the operating room table where things had finally gotten calmer.

But maybe not for a good reason, he thought as he noted the grim faces of the doctors as they stepped away from Marina.

Fear gripped him. He grasped the baby securely. It struggled against him, but he didn’t relax his hold as he moved to his wife’s side.

She was pale, her face ghost-like. Barely breathing. But she was breathing and at that, he finally relaxed his grip on their newborn child.

A beast child, he thought yet again before turning his attention to his wife.

Gently he stroked Marina’s cheek. Her eyes fluttered open. Her beautiful cocoa-brown eyes were consumed with pain. “Amorcito. You’ll be okay,” he said.

When she spoke, her voice was so weak that he almost didn’t hear the one word she uttered. “Baby?”

Fear unlike any he had ever experienced twisted his insides. He couldn’t show her the child. He didn’t think she could deal with seeing what they had created. But then Marina gripped his arm with surprising strength and once again asked, “The baby?”

He nodded and took a deep breath, preparing himself for her reaction once he pulled back the blanket to expose the child. Then he slowly eased the edges of the shredded cloth from the beast baby’s misshapen face, only . . .

Within the blanket nestled a thoroughly human looking child. One with a head of auburn hair the same rich color as the fur that had earlier covered its half-wolfen body. Bringing the child to Marina, he eased his arm behind her back to prop her up slightly so she could see their baby.

Marina smiled and passed a trembling hand over the baby’s head. “She’s beautiful,” she said and for the first time, he realized it was a daughter. He had been too frantic before to notice.

They had a daughter, he thought, but whatever happiness that brought was torn away as Marina went limp in his arms and all the monitors started their anxious warnings once again.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 11

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

This chapter continues the scene where Catalina’s father, Rafael, has relived Catalina’s nightmarish birth. It offers some additional insight into how Rafael feels about having had to turn away Catalina’s mother, Marina, for the good of the pack he leads. Look for the next chapter shortly which brings us back to Catalina and her human lover, Ramon.

For those of you who may have missed the first ten chapters, you can read them here:

The beep of his wristwatch dragged him from his half slumber. From the nightmarish recollection of the day Catalina had been delivered to them and Marina had died, but been reborn.

Reborn, but not whole and unscathed. The damage that Catalina had done to Marina’s insides during birth had been so extreme that not even the regenerative powers of the werewolf had been able to repair the injury.

Marina had become barren. Unable to have any more children despite their repeated attempts over the next few years to have another child. A boy who would be strong enough to assume his position as leader of the pack.

He hadn’t wanted to put Marina aside, he thought as he finished his bath since the water had grown tepid.

But he’d had no other choice. His responsibility was to insure the continuance of the pack’s hierarchy. To provide the Villalobos clan with a leader strong enough to keep them safe.

It hadn’t occurred to him that none of his other wives would be able to give him the son he had thought so necessary. Or that Catalina’s birth had been an omen that she was different in a way never seen before. That she would be the strongest of any, whether male or female.

Possibly even stronger than him, he thought as he toweled down and after, headed to his bed for a short rest before the day began. A normal human day of a nine to five existence,
only . . .

He wasn’t human. He was a werewolf. The head of one of the most prosperous packs in the werewolf world. Respected and admired in both spheres for his leadership.

But as he slipped into his cold and empty bed, that brought little consolation.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 12

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

This is the morning after Catalina has become the wolf she hates. Ramon has been resting at her side, armed and ready to protect her if necessary. Tortured by his love for her because he knows that what they both want can never be since Catalina is destined to lead the Villalobos pack.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:


Chapter 12

His gentle touch woke her as he undid the leather straps confining her to the bed.

“Buenos dias,” she said, her voice husky. Her throat sore, as it almost always was the day after. Most of her body ached from the transformation of the night before.

Ramon stood beside the bed, fully clothed in battle gear. “Buenos dias,” he replied and soothed a hand over her hair.

She reached up, which made her wince from the stiffness in her arms, and ran a hand across her dishevelled hair. “I must look a fright.”

He smiled tenderly. “Not so bad.”

“I imagine you’ve seen me looking worse,” she replied, thinking about how she must appear during the change. Gazing back up at him, she motioned to his clothes and asked, “Why are you ready to fight?”

Ramon shrugged. “I felt . . . uneasy with what’s happening. I wanted to be prepared.”

To protect her, she realized and worried about his safety if they were attacked. But she wouldn’t let him know her fear. Fear brought hesitation. Hesitation brought death.

She stood and touched his cheek. “Gracias.”

Turning his head, he placed a kiss in the middle of her palm. “For you, I would . . .” He stopped, almost uncertain, but when he met her gaze, she knew they had both been thinking the same thing.

He’d die for her just as she would die for him.

Trying to lighten the mood since she was tired of always being gloomy lately, she slipped her hand around his neck and said, “For me you would run my bath. Scrub my back. Massage fragrant oils into my skin.”

Ramon smiled as she had intended, leaned close and cradled her face. He dropped a quick kiss on her lips before placing his hands on her shoulders where he slowly kneaded the sore muscles there.

Her skin was soft, but beneath it were faint bruises attesting to the trauma her body had suffered the night before. Ramon had seen them before and yet, he didn’t think he could ever get accustomed to them. To seeing her hurt as she had been the other night and before. On those nights when her patrol had not gone smoothly.

But physical hurt would mend quickly unlike the pain in her heart which would take longer to heal. “It’s late. I need to be at the hospital shortly.”

When he moved away, she laid a hand on his arm to stop him. “I don’t want to lose you.”

He shook his head and grabbed hold of her hands. “You won’t. Ever.”

“I won’t allow the Gauntlet,” she said and embraced him.

He wrapped his arms around her tightly, buried his face in the crook between her neck and shoulder and kissed the lingering remnants of his bite from the night before. “You can’t avoid your destiny. As much as we may want to be — ”

“My destiny, Ramon?”

Catalina suddenly couldn’t bear being with him any longer. She shoved him away and strode to where her sword rested against the wall. In one smooth move, she grabbed it and brought it to his throat.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 13

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

This is the morning after Catalina has become the wolf she hates. Ramon has been resting at her side and now they are arguing about Catalina’s fate. After, Catalina goes to office only to have a surprise visit from one of her half-sisters.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:


Chapter 13

The cold of the metal made him jerk back in surprise, but she pressed forward and held it there, forcing him back step by step until she trapped him against the wall.

“This is my destiny.” She pressed a bit more and the blade pricked his skin. She continued. “Death and destruction. Hatred and violence.”

Ramon wouldn’t be cowed by her actions. Hands outstretched, he pleaded with her. “Your destiny is to lead your people. To keep them safe. To keep the humans they protect safe.”

“My father’s words, not yours.” She dropped the sword to her side, all fight and desire gone from her.

He cupped her cheek as he pressed his point home in a more tender way. “What do you want me to say?”

“I . . .”

Catalina shook her head, because she didn’t really know what she wanted other than for him take her into his arms and promise her . . .

She dropped the sword, closed the small distance between them and wrapped her arms around him. “Tell me your destiny.”

He tightened his hold on her, almost to the point of pain, bent his head and whispered against the side of her face, “To be with you until the day I die.”

She wanted the same thing, only she feared that death would touch their lives much too soon.

#

The deep burgundy Armani suit hugged the curves of her body and accented the darker highlights in her auburn hair. Her power suit. The one she always wore when they had either an important or difficult client visiting.

She grabbed the stack of messages from her assistant who chased her down the hall. Slowing her pace as she realized the young woman had trouble keeping up with her, she shot her assistant a grateful smile. “Sorry. I’m on a Starbucks rush,” she teased and the young woman smiled.

“Then maybe I should have the venti mocha latte waiting on your desk for you.”

She chuckled. “Actually, it was a rough night so I could use the extra jolt. Thanks.”

“Rough, huh?” said her half-sister, Helena, as she walked toward her and after, followed Catalina into her office. Uninvited.

Catalina closed the door behind them, but before she could sit down, Helena wagged a finger at her neck. “You may want to button up.”

“Huh?” she said out loud, walked to the full-length mirror behind her door and took a look. At her neck, barely visible as it finished healing, was Ramon’s love bite. “Oh.”

Helena came to stand beside her, sniffed and then wrinkled her nose. “Human? Papi’s still putting up with that with so many wolves eager to — ”

“Why are you here?” she asked as she moved away from the door and to behind her desk, where she sat down and crossed her legs.

Helena smiled — her Big Bad Wolf smile — before plopping onto a black leather chair before Catalina’s desk. “Are those Jimmy Choo? Very nice, hermanita.”

“Helena. You and I are — ”

“Barely social, I know. But rumor has it that Papi’s decided you will lead and unless you fuck it up somehow — ”

Her sister emphasized the point with her carefully manicured hands. Nails artfully done, just like the rest of her. Her blonde hair perfectly styled. Brows waxed to emphasize the sharp arch that framed stunning crystal blue eyes.

Cold eyes, she thought. “So you’re here — ”

“To offer my allegiance. To warn you that Hemmerich is making trouble.”

“Hemmerich who couldn’t handle two vamps — ”

“He killed three last night. Or so I heard. Three less undead while you were chained with your pet.” Helena motioned to the Starbucks cup on the desk and before Catalina could refuse her, grabbed the coffee and took a sip. Then she grimaced.

“Too sweet.”

Sweet being anethma to her hard-edged and bitter sister. As the third born and a woman, her path to leadership of the pack was even harder than Catalina’s. “So, you want to be — ”

“On the winning side.”

Annoyance flared through her at the interruption, but she tamped it down. To give into it would give Helena too much satisfaction. Leaning her elbows on the arms of her chair, she steepled her fingers before her, conveying her position of power. “And if I don’t win?”

“Don’t win?” Helena asked with a harsh laugh. Leaning forward, she said, “That isn’t an option and you know it. Papi will never turn over control of the pack to anyone else.”

“There’s you. Selena. Hembra.”

“Hembra is just a child. A helpless unwanted child.” Bitterness flavored her tones and she could understand it well. All of Rafael Villalobos’s daughters were unwanted — second best to the son he had never had.

“There’s something else you’re not telling me.”

“Hemmerich has been courting Selena in the hopes she will choose him.” Helena flounced back on the chair as she said it, her annoyance all too obvious.

“Selena should be wise enough — ”

“She isn’t. She can’t see past his attentions — his sheep’s clothing as it were.”

One of her best traits was her ability to get a read on people. To gauge what they weren’t saying by their body language. Her half-sister was clearly angry. But she was
also . . . hurt. Worried. Jealous and not in a good way, she realized.

“Selena’s your sister,” she blurted out, unwilling to believe she was right with her observation.

Helena jumped out of her seat, obviously unnerved and uncomfortable. “Watch your back, hermana. Watch Hemmerich — ”

“And Selena? What do I do about her?” Her half-sister had to be well aware that if Selena acted against her . . .

Helena braced her hands on the edge of the desk and leaned forward until she was directly in Catalina’s face. “She is our sister. If you hurt her — ”

“Then help me keep her safe. If you’re so sure Hemmerich is behind something — ”

“I will keep on eye on him. On them,” she promised and as she hurried from Catalina’s office, she had little doubt Helena would do as she said.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 14

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

This chapter is after Helena and Catalina have had a not-so-sisterly discussion about their father’s wishes for the pack and Catalina’s romantic involvement with Ramon. Now Helena and Catalina must meet with their father, their half-sister Selena as well as one of their clients and tempers will flare during their meeting.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:


Chapter 14

The meeting with the annoying A-List asshole client began much like she had expected. He groused, he complained, he preened. Then he ranted that he wasn’t getting the kind of security he warranted. Not that anything had happened, it was just that his ego almost wished it would since that would confirm that he rated.

“Mr. Black — ”

“Frank, please, Catalina. After all these years, you and
I . . . We can be on a first name basis, can’t we?” He punctuated that comment with a leer.

“Mr. Black,” her father repeated, thankfully jumping into the conversation. She didn’t think she could maintain her tone of forced pleasantry much longer.

“We have our top people guarding you — ” her father began, but Frank Black would have none of it.

He pointed to Catalina. “I want her. She’s the best. I want her watching me.”

“Mr. Black.” She didn’t get to finish as her father covered her hand as it rested on the table.

“Catalina isn’t one of our field operatives, Frank,” her father explained.

“I want her or your employment is over,” Frank said, his handsome face marred by an arrogant sneer.

She looked across the table to where Selena and Helena sat. A cat that ate the canary smile sat on Selena’s face and concern etched lines into Helena’s.

Catalina suspected that she knew why — Hemmerich was part of the detail responsible for guarding Frank Black. A few discreet words dropped here and there to the prima donna movie star had been sure to elicit just this response. Hemmerich had played him and the human was too stupid to realize it.

She couldn’t have guessed her father’s reaction, however. He rose and extended his hand to the actor, who was inches shorter and not as well built despite his claim to action hero fame. “It’s been a pleasure having you as a client, Mr. Black. My assistant can recommend some other security companies on your way out.”

Shock crossed the actor’s face as well as Selena’s. “What? No one says no to Frank Black.”

The arrogance of the puny mortal, she thought and stood beside her father. “We do.”

“What?” he nearly screamed and took an angry step toward them, but Helena was already there, holding his arm.

He tried to shake her off, but couldn’t. As she tightened her grip, he actually winced and weakened at the knees.

“I believe we’ve made ourselves quite clear, Mr. Black,” Helena said, her tone brooking no argument.

“Let go.” His tone was almost pleading and Helena being Helena, held him just a little longer and a bit harder until the man cringed and began to sag.

When Helena finally released him, he said, “You’ll be sorry. I’ll tell all my friends about how lousy your services are.”

“Do that and you’ll be hearing from our lawyers. Or maybe from me, personally,” she said and took a step toward him, but the actor rushed out the door, mumbling about suing as he went.

“I think he wet himself,” Helena said as she glanced at her father and sister. With a sniff, she confirmed it. “Definitely. So what do we do now?”

Rafael sat back down and shrugged nonchalantly. “I think it’s time Hemmerich and the rest of Mr. Black’s detail did some desk duty.”

Selena immediately piped up. “Hemmerich’s too important to be jockeying a desk.”

“Really, mi’ja?” Rafael faced his second-born. “So I guess all of us aren’t. Important, that is.”

Selena blanched. Her hands fluttered in the air nervously as she backpedalled on her statement. “I didn’t mean . . . I’m sorry, papi. That’s not what I meant.”

“What did you mean?” Catalina sat beside her father as was her right as the first born and heir to leadership. She wanted Selena to be reminded of it given her earlier conversation with Helena.

“I meant . . . He’s better in the field. He’s a warrior.”

With each word Selena seemed to be digging a bigger hole for herself, unusual for her. She was usually the most diplomatic of all the sisters.

“So are we, hermanita.”

“I’m sorry, Catalina. You’re right. We’re all warriors, it’s just that . . . ” She fumbled, obviously trying to avoid yet another faux pas.

“Whatever you think is best, papi,” she said demurely and cast her gaze downward.

Catalina glanced at her father from the corner of her eye while he considered his three daughters, looking from one to the other before he finally said, “I think my daughters should decide what to do about Hemmerich and his detail. There’s a waiting list of clients who need our services. Put your sisterly skills together and find the right fit.”

With that, he walked out of the conference room, leaving the three of them staring at one another uneasily. They might be his daughters, but as for sisterly skills . . .

They were sorely lacking in those. They were pack members first and after that — their allegiances had generally been toward the respective mothers that their father had forsaken.

Except for her and Hembra, who had been raised almost like flesh and blood siblings. As for her two half-sisters, Catalina didn’t quite know what to think of that combo yet. She wasn’t sure she could trust Helena. And Selena . . .

Selena was an unknown commodity. One on which she had to get a handle. Reaching for the speaker phone before her, Catalina buzzed her assistant. When the young woman answered, she asked for the client waiting list and after, turned to her two half-sisters. “There’s four men we’ll have to reassign, including Hemmerich.”

Selena’s mouth tightened at his mention and she asked, “Do you have an issue with Hemmerich? Is there something we should know?”

Selena shot an uneasy look in Helena’s direction, as if expecting her half-sister to answer for her, but Helena kept her silence. Selena finally said, “Hemmerich and I are . . . involved. I’d rather his assignment be one that’s close.”

That Selena could be so forthcoming about her relationship with the other wolf was a good start. It meant she had nothing to hide . . . yet. And if there was one true adage in life, it was the one about keeping your enemies close. “I understand, Selena. We will certainly take that into consideration.”

A knock came at the door then, and she called out for Mary, her assistant, to enter. The young woman did, handed her the folder, and then quickly stepped out once more.

Catalina reviewed the first few names on the list and their requirements. She motioned to the papers. “Why don’t you both come over and take a look at this. After, we can make our decisions.”

And with that, they got to work on their sisterly skills and the reassignments as their father had ordered.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 15

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

This chapter is after Helena and Catalina have met with their father, their half-sister Selena as well as one of their clients and tempers have flared during their meeting. Now Catalina and her father will discuss what needs to be done for both their company and the wolf pack.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:

Also, don’t forget this week’s b’day bash. Just visit any of the blogs listed below this week and leave a comment and you’ll be eligible to win a prize from me! At Barbara Vey’s blog, there are tons of other prizes as well!

I’ll be visiting all of these blogs and if you’ve left a comment at any of them, you’ll also be eligible to win a $25 Godiva gift card! The more times I see your name at the different blogs, the more your chances improve to win the gift card. So take a moment and stop by one or all to improve your chances of winning a prize.

The contest ends on Friday, March 13th at midnight EST, so be sure to get your comments in there on time!

Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book Blog for lots of fun and giveaways!
http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/880000288/post/1240041524.html

Fresh Fiction: http://freshfiction.com/page.php?id=1602

Harlequin Paranormal Romance blog: http://paranormalromanceblog.wordpress.com/

Liberty States Fiction Writers (leave a comment on any of the blog posts): http://www.libertystatesfictionwriters.com/blog-read-around-the-world/

Long and Short Reviews: http://longandshortarchives.blogspot.com/search/label/Caridad%20Pineiro


Chapter 15

Catalina’s father examined the recommendations they had made about reassigning Frank Black’s detail. He rubbed his forefinger back and forth across his lips as he considered them. He tossed the papers onto the desk before him. “You’re sure about this?”

“Do you have some doubt about all our decisions or just one in particular?” Catalina asked, arching an eyebrow to emphasize her point.

“You have Hemmerich assigned internally. To the research section?” Her father grabbed the papers, looked at them once more and shook his head. “Seems like a waste of prime wolf.”

“So you do feel us desk jockeys are lesser warriors?” Her reiteration of his earlier words had a teasing tone since she’d had enough fighting for the day.

He grinned then, a devilish grin that lit up his eyes with amusement. “Hemmerich will feel that way. I love it.”

She chuckled and shook her head. “Papi, you never cease to amaze me.”

“Nor do you. I wasn’t sure you’d do the right thing — ”

“And you think putting Hemmerich at a desk is the right thing?” she questioned, interested in hearing her father’s rationale.

“Keep your friends close — ”

“But your enemies closer. It’s exactly what I thought,” she admitted out loud and crossed her legs, adopting a casual stance, but her father saw right through it.

“You’re worried about him?”

She shrugged. “I had an interesting visitor this morning.”

When he didn’t ask who, she continued. “Helena came to warn me about Selena and Hemmerich.”

“Selena isn’t someone you need to worry about. But I don’t like that she’s being used.”

“You knew?” She leaned forward onto the edge of her seat, confused by her father’s inaction.

He brought two fingers to his mouth, rubbed his lips thoughtfully before replying. “Selena is a great deal like her mother. Needy of affection. Honorable, but gullible because of that need.”

“Helena — ”

“Helena,” he said forcefully and pointed at her. “Helena is one you need to watch. There’s something . . . off about her. I don’t know what it is, but you need to keep an eye on her.”

She suspected what was off — that Helena was in love with her half-sister. Her father could never understand and if Helena’s offer of allegiance was true, she would keep her Helena’s secrets for now.

A first — she had never intentionally kept something from her father.

It was odd to have so many people warning her about so many other people. But she had no doubt which people she could trust. Helena and Selena were possibly not on that list. “Is there anything else I should know, papi?”

“Hemmerich won’t take kindly to this move. His pride — ”

“Is a dangerous thing. I’ve known that for some time.” Standing, she grabbed the papers off his desk. “Will you support me on these decisions? Hemmerich is sure to come to you to complain.”

He laughed and his teeth were a bright white against the blackness of his beard. “Mi’ja. Hemmerich has done nothing but complain for years.” After a chuckle, he added, “I will support you in all things. Except one.”

She had no doubt about what he referred to, but she wouldn’t be his daughter if she gave up so easily. “On that, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.”

He inclined his head, the gesture one of affection and admiration. “For the moment. I will leave it up to you and your sisters to communicate the assignments.”

“And I will leave it up to you to deal with Hemmerich.” She left his study to head to the public wings of the building where their corporation conducted its daily business.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 16

ww.jpgI just realized that it’s been a few weeks since you had a chance to follow the adventures of Catalina in UNDEAD UPRISING. So this week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In the prior chapter, Catalina and her half-sister Helena have met with their father, their other half-sister Selena as well as one of their clients. Tempers have flared during their meeting and the family is less one client. Catalina’s father has given her instructions on what to do about Hemmerich, one of the pack’s alpha wolves and a prospective suitor for Catalina. In this chapter, Catalina follows her father’s commands, but is surprised by the outcome.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:

Chapter 16

She wasn’t sure what annoyed her more — that Hemmerich hadn’t complained or her half-sister Selena’s smug smile as she had led him out of her office to show him where he would now be working.

“What do you make of that?” Helena asked from the sofa where she sat.

“I don’t. How about you?”

Helena shrugged. “It’s almost like he’s glad about it.”

She recalled the look on Hemmerich’s face as she had made the announcement about his reassignment. Helena’s comment wasn’t so wrong. There had been a glimmer of . . . satisfaction before he had controlled his features. “We’ve been played. He wanted to be here all along and we gave him exactly what he wanted.”

Sliding forward on the sofa and then rising, Helena smoothed the front of her jacket. “More reason to keep an eye on him.”

She examined her sister, recollecting her father’s words of the day before: Helena is one you need to watch. With a nod, Catalina said, “I’ll be sure to watch my back.”

Her half-sister’s head shot up at her words, obviously aware that she wasn’t referring just to Hemmerich. “As I will when I hunt tonight, hermana.”

Guilt came as it always did at the mention of the hunt since Catalina would not be there to safeguard the pack. She followed her Helena as she walked to the door.

“Helena,” Catalina said and laid a hand on her sister’s shoulder.

Helena half turned, a puzzled look on her face.

“I know we haven’t been close — ”

“You are a master of understatement,” Helena said and looked away. After she did so, she added in soft tones, “I know you don’t trust me. In your shoes, I probably wouldn’t either only . . . ”

Helena faced her then, her crystal blue eyes glistening with tears no alpha would shed. “We have to start believing in each other sometime, don’t we?”

Did they? Catalina wondered, but didn’t say, knowing that it best not to reveal too much when you hadn’t yet decided if someone was friend or foe. With a nod, she repeated her half-sister’s words. “We have to start sometime. Be safe tonight, hermana.”

“You, too. Have an easy change,” Helena replied and after, walked out.

Catalina closed the door and then leaned back against it, confused by the emotions swirling within her. For too long she had been at odds with Helena and Selena and now . . .

She wanted to trust Helena. She needed reliable people around her if she was to lead with any level of comfort. And she wanted to believe that Selena was just misguided rather than actively plotting with Hemmerich. Having both her sisters on her side, along with Hembra and her father, would cement the Villalobos’s leadership of the pack.

Without their support . . .

It would only make a hard job she didn’t want to do all that much more difficult.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 19

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In the prior chapter, Catalina is out on the hunt and has encountered a vampire elder. She battles the elder and triumphs, but suddenly senses the fight is not yet over. The battle continues in this chapter.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:



Chapter 19


She rose slowly, not wanting to give away the element of surprise.

Immediately behind her came the sound of a footfall, but only one. She whirled to avoid him, but the vamp flying through the air still managed to get a jab into her side with the silver-tipped pike he held in one hand. The leather and then the chain mail kept the pike from breaking through her skin, but the blow was strong enough that a rib cracked with a sickening snap.

Shit. She tucked her left arm tight against her to blunt the pain and immobilize her injured side. The last thing she needed was for the broken bone to puncture her lung.

The vampire landed before her. Older than the newly turned vamp, but not an elder. Infinitely bigger than the first two, with the build of a WWE wrestler. All big overblown hard as rock muscle. Plus, a cocky air wafted about him that said he planned on doing some damage before he killed her. That was clear as well — he had no doubt he would defeat her.

He held the pike like a gladiator, jabbing at her and keeping her too far away to use her sword. As for the crossbow, it rested in the middle of her back, useless for now. To reach it, she risked puncturing her lung and if that happened . . .

They circled around each other, the vampire prodding and jabbing at her. Catalina blocked the thrusts with her sword. Their little dance took her closer and closer to the body of the dead younger vampire. The one with the quarterstaff.

When she was almost upon the young vamp, she switched the sword to her left hand and bending, picked up the shaft of the staff in her right. Pain lanced through her side with the motion, but she bit it back and concentrated on the fight.

They were equals now distance-wise. With the staff she thrust out as well as deflected the pike. She landed a few blows to his body, which angered him. That was good. Anger clouded judgment.

She continued her attack, prodding at his midsection, even managing to catch him between the legs, but he had prepared for that with some kind of padding. The blow to his groin did little to slow him. If anything, attacking his manhood only enraged him more. He finally did what she wanted.

He came at her, the pike close to his body and seemingly forgotten in his rage to get his hands on her and make the fight more personal.

She seized the opportunity, bringing the quarterstaff up under his chin and delivering a punishing blow to his trachea. He dropped the pike and fell back, grabbing at his throat. A weak wheezing sound erupted from him. He frantically clawed at his neck, fighting for air. Vampires didn’t need much, but he obviously wasn’t getting enough.

Dropping the staff and kicking the pike out of his reach, she stood before him, cradling her injured side. His death would be the slow one he had envisioned for her. Already his eyes were bulging from the lack of air. His milk pale skin gained a bluish tinge as he continued working at his throat. Given that he was a vamp, he might linger that way for awhile. Might even recover if he could free his passageway and heal.

Catalina freed his throat for him, thrusting her sword forward, clear through his neck and spine.

He looked up at her, still alive since her blow had not totally decapitated him. It couldn’t since she lacked the mobility to make it a clean move thanks to the injury to her rib. He had sealed the mode of his death with his one blow.

She ripped out her sword, plunged forward again and again until the head finally dropped off his shoulders to land at her feet.

A sloppy kill, only she didn’t have time to think about it. Her body had begun to heal, but with the rib bone out of place. If it did that, she would have to have it rebroken into its proper position.

Slipping her sword into its scabbard, she stepped over the vamp’s body and headed to edge of the building where she leaned against the ledge and slid down. She couldn’t lift the jerkin over her head, so she settled for slipping her one hand up beneath it. Also not as easy due to the tighter fit of the garment thanks to the chain mail beneath. But if it hadn’t been for that protection . . .

She hadn’t been as lucky in these past two outings as she had in the past. How much longer would it be before her luck totally ran out? Before some vampire had a better night than she did, exacting their own brand of vampire vengeance for centuries of being hunted?

When would it ever end? she wondered and ran her hand over her ribs. She located the broken one and the tip of it, bending inward dangerously toward her lung. She managed to shift the broken tip back, toward its mate.

A chill sweat broke out over her body as she did so and waves of pain nauseated her. She pressed on, a warmth inside her body warning that the wolf’s powers of healing were already at work. Knitting bone back together with bone.

Stars and blackness swirled before her eyes as she maintained her hold. Just a little bit longer, she thought and as she waited for the healing to finish, recollected why she was caught in this war.

How it had all begun.

Copyright 2009 Caridad Pineiro Scordato

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Undead Uprising Chapter 2 & Sex in the City

sexinthecity.jpg
Bryant Park has been transformed again for the winter! They’ve set up the Citibank Ice Skating Pond over the great lawn. Luckily it’s gotten cold enough to freeze whatever the surface is so people can skate.

They also had something going up yesterday and my sis caught the activity on her way home and sent this picture — snowmaking at Bryant Park so they could film a scene for the upcoming Sex and the City movie. How cool is that?
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Well, you all know that I know about sex in New York City! LOL! Whether it’s the vamps or Catalina and her werewolves, New York City is the place to be for these paranormal passions.

Since so many of you liked the urban fantasy work-in-progress, here’s another little snippet of it on this Wicked Wednesday.

Chapter 2

Dressed, and with her mother meekly following behind her, Catalina made the short walk up the stairs to her father’s study. Once at the door, she knocked, but didn’t wait for his assent to enter.

Striding in confidently, she stood before the massive desk where her father sat, shuffling papers and in general, ignoring her. Her mother entered more hesitantly, head bowed. Her Geisha-like steps timid until she stood just behind her, hovering reluctantly.

She waited only a second before she called for her father’s attention. “Papi. You asked that I come.”

Without looking at her, her father continued to peruse the papers before him. “As you can see, I am busy at the moment.”

She gritted her teeth to keep from unleashing her full anger and instead said in soft but commanding tones, “Since you pulled me from rest, I assumed the matter was important. More important than those papers.”

Her father picked his head up slowly, finally gracing her with his attention. He was a devastatingly handsome man, even in his early fifties. His thick, nearly black hair was only just beginning to show signs of a regal silver at his temples. A few strands of silver shot through the full beard he favored.

When his gaze met hers, she was once again struck by the gold-green color of his eyes, so similar to her own. So wolfen. His gaze was almost level with hers, despite the fact that she stood, a testament to his immense size.

“You are insolent,” he said, although his words were followed by a chuckle and a broad grin that displayed just a bit of fang. “Spirit is good, daughter, but at the right time.”

She finally inclined her head in a show of deference, but remained standing in defiance. Again, it just brought a smile to his lips before he could contain it. Immediately after, however, his look turned serious. When he glanced back at her mother, a wealth of sadness spilled across his features. “Marina, you may go.”

Her mother quickly departed, leaving father and daughter alone in an awkward silence before Catalina broke it. “I know why you’ve called for me.”

“Really? Then tell me,” he said and leaned back, elbows braced on the arm of the chair while his hands hung loosely before him. His posture totally relaxed, which surprised her.

“You wish to call for the Gauntlet, only — ”

“You’re in love with the human. Still, we both know the pack will never allow it.” As he said those words, he shot forward in his chair and slammed his hands on the desk with a resounding thud. “He is not one of us, Catalina. I’ve allowed you many indulgences, but not this one.”

Another wolf in the pack might have cowered from the command in his voice or the way he slowly rose to his full height, asserting his dominance. But not Catalina.

She picked up her head and met his gaze, unflinching. “You have no say in this.”

“The pack will not accept a leader — ”

“Who cannot accept the ways of the pack? Becoming their leader is not my choice,” she replied and took another step toward his desk, unafraid of her father as others might be. Even her half-sisters, next-in-line to lead by birthright, would not dare as she dared.

He bowed his head then — that magnificently regal head — and shook it sadly. “No one else is strong enough. Or cunning enough, but — ”

“How can I control the pack when I can’t even control myself?”

She didn’t wait for his answer and strode from his desk to the area in his office she liked to call his trophy wall. In olden days it would have likely been covered with the heads of animals taken during the hunt and enemies defeated in battle. But this was a modern wolf pack. Prosperity measured success and enemies — other than the vampires — were vanquished in different ways.

The wall carefully chronicled her family’s many achievements. Pictures of her grandfather in the early days, standing proudly before the small locksmith’s store he had opened when the family had first arrived from Cuba. Photos of her father now: sitting before the Board of Directors of what had become one of the world’s premier security companies; standing beside one politician or another; on the set of a Hollywood movie that had encountered difficulties from a native population that had turned out to be more vamp than anything else.

While she stood at the display, her father placed himself behind her. The strength of his presence called to her. The smell of the wolf’s blood coursing through his veins, so unlike a mortal’s. She almost jumped when he laid a hand on her shoulder, but his touch was tender, confusing her. He wasn’t one prone to shows of affection, not even in private.

As leader, displaying his emotions created risks for those he cared about. Presented possible cracks in his armor.

“This is your calling, Catalina. You cannot run from it.”

She stared at the pictures again, but they were just flat lifeless scenes, devoid of what she considered the real substance of life. Without facing him, she said, “Tell me, papi. After you turned my mother aside for another, did this wall bring you comfort?”

XXXXXXNext for wattpad – chapter 3

An angry growl greeted her and he roughly turned her around to face him. His anger was such that he started to morph before her eyes. The pupils of his eyes glowed more brightly with the wolf emerging. His fangs lengthened, sharp and white against the fullness of his lips. Not that he could completely transform. None of them could until the full moon.

“Do not bring that up again.” The rumble of the animal was strong in his throat.

“Why not, papi?” she pressed, uncaring of the hurt she might be causing.

“You know why. After you, your mother was barren.”

“And so you forgot your love for her and chose another to bear you a son? But for nothing. All you got were daughters. Worthless females to — ”

“Silence,” he snarled. The hairs of his beard bristled and his muzzle elongated with his outrage.

“I see I’m not the only one who cannot control myself,” she shot back and walked out of the reach of his grasp. If it came to blows between them, she needed the space to fight.

Her words, however, seemed to drain the energy out of him, for he almost deflated before her eyes. He stood there, large graceful hands hanging downward at his sides impotently. “Your words are as sharp as your sword.”

The longing and defeat in his voice humbled her. Did he, too, wish for things to be different between them? That he could think about her needs first rather than those of the pack, the way a normal father would?

“Papi?” She approached him and laid a hand on his chest in a gesture meant to comfort.

“You are all that we have, even though there are those who doubt you can lead us.” He placed his hand over hers. A father’s hand accepting a daughter’s solace.

“As do you. I’ve seen it in your eyes that you doubt me.”

A heavy sigh, filled with sorrow, came from him. “You wish to be other than what you are. You wish to ignore the rules of the pack. But I cannot allow that. You’ll soon turn twenty-five and we face too many challenges to not have our hierarchy in order.”

“Please do not do this, papi,” she pleaded, but he walked away from her and back to his desk, placing that imposing piece of wood and leather between the two of them as if he needed the distance to maintain his determination.

She walked to the edge of the desk and leaned on it, repeating her plea. “Do not do this. Por favor.”

He surprised her then, moving with a wolf’s speed and certainty for weakness. He whipped out with his hand and caught her injured side. The blow strong enough to weaken her knees and draw an anguished gasp. Now her hold on the desk kept her upright as a sickening wave of pain washed over her, followed by an equally debilitating throb between her legs.

“Did you think I wouldn’t know what happened tonight?” He eased back into his chair and trained his gold-green gaze on her.

She sucked in a few rough breaths before she answered. “A minor injury. The vampire who did it is good and dead. Unlike Hemmerich’s luck tonight.”

“Hemmerich is a fool to go out alone when he is not at his strongest,” her father replied, but worry marred his handsome face.

“He is one of our top wolves. If he were to win the
Gauntlet — ”

“Hemmerich will not win. There are others who want you more than he does,” her father jumped in, his words curt.

Catalina considered her father’s statement carefully and finally sat down before him. “They want me even though I can’t control the wolf? Despite the fact that I yearn for a more human life?”

Her father shrugged carelessly. “You are a desirable woman. And the most alpha of all . . . except for me.”

She would allow her father his prideful comment, although if it came to a fight for control, she suspected she could best him despite his much greater size and strength. She could win because unlike her father, she hadn’t yet lost her heart. Giving up her mother had cost him. She had sensed that he had never been the same after that day. Still, it was dangerous to underestimate anyone. Especially an alpha like Hemmerich.

“He may not want me as much as the others, but he wants to lead the pack. I think he would do anything for that.”

“Like challenge the vampires in his human state?” her father posed, obviously puzzled by that.

She shrugged. “The cycle of the full moon begins tomorrow. He is at his strongest now as a mortal, only . . .” Something was not quite right. The same sensation of wrongness had shadowed her during the fight with the vampire earlier that night.

“The newbie vamp I faced was armed — silver claws that took a bite out of me. They’ve never armed themselves before.” She waited, inviting her father to appraise her comment.

“Nor travelled in pairs. There’s talk amongst the pack that the vampires are organizing into larger groups.” As he spoke, he leaned forward and clasped his hands together on the desk.

He was worried as well as he should be. The vampires had mostly been rogue creatures before, with little binding them together beside their lust for blood. Their groups were generally small in size and the members tended to hunt alone. It was part of the reason why the Villalobos clan had always been so successful in eliminating vamps who chose to hunt humans. If they were uniting into a larger band . . .

“It will make it harder to punish those who kill — ”

“They all kill,” he said, his words harsh. “Don’t ever forget that.”

“Do all wolves kill, papi?” she challenged, since there were others like them that were not quite as noble and pursued humans as either sport or prey.

“Do you so quickly forget our family’s vow? The reason why we are what we are?” His voice rose with every word, until there was that ominous rumble once more that said he barely mastered his animal. Not a common occurrence, but with the full moon almost upon them, sometimes an unwanted bit of the wolf emerged when least expected.

“I have not forgotten, but I cannot blindly follow.” Tired of their discussion, she rose and strode to the door of the room, but with a burst of speed, he met her there and slammed his hand on the thick wood to keep her from leaving.

“You will not disobey me.”

She picked up her chin defiantly and faced him. “I follow my heart, papi. Would you punish me for that?”

“You must never follow, but always lead.” His tone was a little more tender, almost reconciliatory.

She would have none of it. “Then you may be better off choosing one of my half-sisters.”

“Your half-sisters,” he began, but stopped and released a harsh sigh. “They are half of you in every way. Only you can uphold the Villalobos legacy.”

“You mean the Villalobos vengeance, don’t you?” she said, yanked the door open and strode out, but knew she could not forget the events that had forged her destiny.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 20

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In the prior chapter, Catalina has battled two vampires, including a vampire elder. She has killed them both and survived the battle, but not without injury. As she stares at the bodies of the two dead vampires, she pauses to consider how it is that her family came to bear the burden of hunting the undead. This chapter provides you a glimpse of the actions that will lead to the birth of the Villalobos werewolf clan.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:



Chapter 20

Galicia, Spain, 1348


Even a vampire could only stomach so much death and decay.

Pedro de Aragon had hoped that the verdant hills in the north of Spain and the nearby villages would provide him more fertile feeding grounds than the crowded cities filled with pestilence.

As he stood at the edge of the woods, waiting until full night before entering the village below, the sights in his native city and the others through which he had passed in his quest for sustenance haunted him. Bodies piled high outside city walls. Sick stragglers dead in their tracks along the roads leading from one town to the next.

In one city they had tossed dozens of bodies into the river when the graveyards and fields could no longer hold more. Grimly the bodies bobbed along, carried downward by the current to the next unfortunate town.

Pedro wished that here, far away from the crowded and rat-infested cities, it might be different. The air was certainly an improvement, he thought, breathing in deeply of the forest — pine with the refreshing touch of eucalyptus.

Sí, definitely better, he thought and padded down the hillside toward the modest seaside village, eager for a meal. A few hungry weeks had passed since he had last fed. It showed. His body was gaunt with bird-like bones visible; skin pale as milk. Every day he grew weaker. If he couldn’t dine soon . . .

To one nearly immortal, the prospect of death was even scarier.

A nice plump villager, he thought and smacked his lips. One of the healthy ones to sustain him.

The closer he got to the village, the fresh scent of the forest disappeared to be replaced by the tang of the ocean as a breeze blew inward from the shore. But occasionally, there came the smell of something else — death.

Pedro had barely gotten to the edge of the town when he passed his first body. That of a shepherd in a meadow between the forest and a row of buildings marking the furthest edge of the town. Beside the grizzled old shepherd lay his small herd of lifeless sheep, their bodies bloated and stiff.

He had seen it before, faithful animals dead alongside their masters. It didn’t bode well for what awaited him in the village below.

At the first lane of buildings — strong stone warehouses constructed by the Romans who had conquered this small Galician aldea — were piles of corpses, rotting beneath the revealing light of a full moon.

Pedro held his breath against the putrid smell and moved onward quickly, rushing through the town’s streets to confirm what he already knew — the pestilence had reached here as well. Those not infected were barricaded tightly in their homes, out of his reach.

As he rounded one corner, a man staggered into him and grabbed hold. “Ayudame,” the man pleaded in a weak voice, his eyes glazed with fever. A bright flush marked the sick man’s cheeks.

Pedro wanted to weep with frustration and tossed the plague-ravaged human away.

He would not feed here anytime soon. He couldn’t risk slaking his thirst on one of the dying. He’d already seen some of his kind, their armpits and groins swollen, oozing blood and pus as the disease ravaged them slowly. Vampires were difficult to kill, but the plague seemed to delight in wreaking vengeance on his fellow undead before finally taking them.

Eyes wild as he searched for a meal, he realized there would be none tonight in this village. He ran as fast as he could, eager to return to the forest with its fresh air and clean scents.

At the edge of the woods, he paused to look down at the city once more and ponder what to do. He leaned his hand on a tree as he sought to catch his breath from his sprint up the hillside. Taking a deep inhale, the scent of something else teased his nostrils. Fur, wet with a mist that had started on his rush back to the woods.

From nearby came a growl, low and menacing. Movements cautious, Pedro peered toward the sound. Bright red eyes met his. A wolf. Fur the color of chestnuts glistened in the bright light of a full moon from the drops of moisture clinging to it. A warm regular breath marked the night air. A chill had swept down the hillside with the coming of night.

This was no sick animal, he thought. Allowing himself to transform, the strong steady beat of the wolf’s heart sang with life. He knew then what he had to do.

Long fangs erupted from his mouth. He issued his own growling challenge to the wolf before he flew at it.

Sensing danger, the wolf turned and raced into the forest, but even weak from his lack of feeding, he was able to keep up and the thrill of the hunt energized him.

He dodged low-lying branches. Jumped over the underbrush in the forest. Slowly he gained ground on the fast moving animal. The wolf’s haunches bunched and moved with strength as it tried to escape, but Pedro was too desperate to allow that to happen.

With one final lunge, he had the beast within his grasp. The lush fur soft in his hands as he wrestled the wolf to the ground. The wolf fought him, pawing at his undead flesh with its sharp nails. Tearing through the fine cloth of his pants, raking deep into his leg.

He managed to avoid the wolf’s powerful jaws as it snapped at him, trying to break free, but Pedro’s hold was too strong. With a quick twist, he bared the wolf’s neck. A sound, almost like a pleading whimper, escaped the animal, but his hunger was too strong for compassion. He needed fulfillment after weeks without sustenance.

Pedro bent his head, sank his teeth into the wolf’s neck and fed. Wolf’s blood, richly luxuriant, filled his mouth and ran over onto his lips as some of it escaped his fangs. He sucked greedily, a reckless glutton, forgetting a wolf was unlike a human and would not give up the fight so easily.

As he gorged on its blood, the wolf renewed its struggles and reared up. It sank its teeth deep into Pedro’s thigh. Just one final futile attempt to free itself before he drained the last of its life and the wolf’s jaws gave up their hold.

He lay down beside his prey, giddy with the strength flowing through his veins from the kill and took a long moment to enjoy the rush. Smiling, fangs and lips crimson from the blood of his prey, he realized he’d discovered how he could survive the pestilence decimating the cities and towns of Spain. The forests were full of wolves. He had seen them roaming the edges of many a city on his journey to escape the sickness. More than once he’d wondered why they had seemed unaffected by the death sweeping across the country and killing almost everything else in sight.

Whatever the reason, he didn’t care. He had found a way to survive.

Rising, still in his demon state, he used those heightened senses to search the night air for yet another source of food. A howl pierced the night, as if to challenge him. He raced off, emboldened with the wolf’s blood in his veins. Eager for another meal.

He didn’t stop to look back at the body of the wolf he had ravaged. Didn’t notice, as he raced away, the slight hint of breath that came from the wolf’s muzzle or the quiver of muscles reanimating.

Pedro’s blood lust was unstoppable.

As the wolf slowly awakened and lumbered to its feet, its body heated as it changed, the moisture clinging to the wolf’s fur steaming in the night air. The wolf’s eyes glowed, but with an unnatural light. With a low growl, razor-edged fangs erupted from its upper lip. The wolf shook its head, as if fighting the transformation, but it was inevitable.

Altered strength energized the wolf’s body as it headed down toward the village. A new carnal lust as the vampire’s blood now running through its veins drove it onward, eager for slaughter. Needing to feed to drive the heat of the ongoing vampire transformation consuming its body.

Its first hunting ground — the unsuspecting town below.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 21

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In the prior chapters, Catalina had battled two vampires, including a vampire elder. She had killed them both and survived the battle, but not without injury. As she stared at the bodies of the two dead vampires, she paused to consider how it is that her family came to bear the burden of hunting the undead. In the last chapter, you learn about how a vampire comes to Catalina’s ancestral home and how his actions at feeding from some nearby wolves begin the transformations of those wolves. Those transformations will ultimately lead to the birth of the Villalobos werewolf clan.

In this chapter, Caterina finishes recollecting about the burden of being a Villalobos and heads home to the man whom she loves, but who refuses to love her . . . until this night.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:



Chapter 21
**For those over 13 years of age only**

The healing heat in Catalina’s body brought a sickly sweat much as it had her ancestor before her. Miguel Losada had been bitten by one of those tainted wolves as had many of the villagers when the wolves had grown bold with their attacks.

Those that had not succumbed to the plague or the wolf’s onslaughts had soon found themselves turning into werewolves when the full moon rose above their small Spanish village. A village they had renamed Villalobos as a way to warn of their affliction.

The Villalobos legacy that had been passed down over many generations and now ran in her veins. Which now healed her broken body.

She released the bone and it held. Barely knit, but in a few hours time her recovery would be complete.

Sagging back against the wall, she sucked in a deeper breath, maintained her position for long minutes until some of the pain and nausea had passed. Weakness still wobbled her knees when she finally stood, but she had to get home.

Only there would she be safe. Only there would she find any comfort.

*****

After Ramon had tended to her, she took the coward’s way out and phoned her father to let him know she had returned.

“Are you okay?” he asked, paternal concern coloring his voice.

“I’m fine, papi, only . . . There were three of them tonight. An elder with two younger undead. Another newly turned vampire,” she advised and eased into Ramon’s side, seeking the solace of his arms.

“I had similar reports from others after the hunt. They encountered at least two groups where the vampires were not alone. Where there were new vampires, as if they’ve increased the pace at which they are turning humans.”

“This is so not good. We need to discuss it with the pack,” she said and glanced at Ramon uneasily.

Ramon slipped his arm around her and cradled her close as her father replied, “In the morning. Rest. Let your wounds heal. Although you haven’t said it, I know you were hurt.”

“I’m fine. Buenas noches.” She hung up the phone.

Easing fully into Ramon’s embrace, she laid her hand over his chest, needing the reassurance that came from being close to his solid presence. “There’s no fooling him.”

“It’s why he’s the leader.” Ramon covered her hand with his and scooted them down in the bed until they were lying side by side, she on her uninjured right side. “How do you feel?”

“Better.” She ran her hand back and forth against the planes of his chest.

He bent his head, kissed her forehead. “I worry so,” he admitted and stroked her back.

Catalina ran her hands across his bare shoulders, brought herself near, needing the warmth of his body even if that was all that they would share tonight. “I’ll be fine.”

Ramon knew she believed that and yet in the past week, she had been injured twice. What would happen the next time she went on patrol? Or the time after that? How many more times would she be hurt now that the undead seemed to be gathering together?

How would he handle seeing her hurt again or something even worse?

His stomach knotted at the thought. At the possibility that she would be gone long before her time should come. He couldn’t let it end between them in this thoroughly unfulfilled way.

“Catalina?” He tipped her chin up with one free hand.

When she met his gaze, she clearly understood. She would risk what would happen with the pack in order to share this. To share what they were feeling for one another. Dare he risk it? Was he strong enough to deal with the pack’s displeasure?

“You will always be the only one for me. The other two . . . they never had a piece of my heart.”

“Daniel — ” he began, recalling the young wolf who had been her first guard during her monthly change.

“Was my best friend. Like a brother. But he knew how I hated it. Hated not being myself once the wolf took over. That was why he did it. The other one . . .”

Ramon understood and stopped pressing. Easing his hand between their bodies, he cupped her breast and touched her. Not to keep away the beast but to love the woman.

She sighed with pleasure as he caressed her, as they kissed again and again.

Catalina strained toward him. Toward his touch. Between her legs, the throb of desire reared up. Mortal desire. Needing appeasement.

She pressed on his shoulders, rolled him to his back and straddled his body.

His erection pressed up into her and she dragged herself along the length of it, seeking fulfillment. Wanting more and yet uncertain that he would dare until . . .

She looked down at him. Determination filled his gaze and realization awoke that this time, he would not stop. That he would bring them together as they were meant to be.

He flexed his body and rolled her beneath him, slipped between her legs and trailed a line of kisses down her body. Stopping between her legs for only a second before kissing her intimately.

She arched her hips upward and thought, Finally.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 23

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In Chapter 21, Catalina and Ramon finally allow themselves to explore the feelings they share, but their interlude is not yet complete.

In Chapter 22, Hemmerich – the villian of the piece — is spying on Ramon and Caterina, watching as they make love. His passion grows as he imagines himself with Caterina, until Selina- Caterina’s half-sister, enters the room. Mistaking Hemmerich’s passion, Selina offers herself and Hemmerich commands her to service him.

In this chapter we see the continuation of Ramon and Caterina’s love scene. WARNING: This is intended for mature audiences – over 17 only please.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:



Chapter 23
**For those over 17 years of age only**

Ramon paused at the indentation of her thigh and hip, nuzzling his nose against that tender skin. Inhaling deeply and imagining that if he were one of the wolves he might memorize that scent and forever be able to track down his beloved.

“Ramon, please,” she keened, raising her hips to urge him to move those last few inches.

“I do not want to rush, Caterina. I’ve waited too long not to savor this moment,” he said and in fact, it seemed like centuries when it had only been a few years since he had first laid eyes on her.

Caterina had been twenty-one and gorgeous in a deep emerald gown as she walked down the stairs on the arm of her father. All the wolves had known that night she was his Chosen. The One who would lead the pack.

At the time Ramon had only known that she was the most beautiful woman in the room and way out of his league. He was just a lowly physician attending the fabulously upscale Villalobos charity gala on someone else’s dime.

Little had he suspected that night would change everything.

“Ramon, please rush,” Caterina said, a slightly regal tone of command in her voice as she cupped the back of his head and applied gentle pressure.

“Amorcito, I’m almost there,” he teased, dropping a kiss above the nearly black curls at the juncture of her legs before slipping downward.

He parted her with his fingers and found the swollen pearl. Licked it and she surged up off the bed, inviting him to do more. As he continued licking around the nub, he eased first one finger then another into her. She was warm, her entrance slick from their earlier foreplay.

Caterina moaned at his caress and stroked her hand through his hair, imprisoning him against her, not that she needed to. She was his life and he was worshipping at the font of his existence. She had become everything to him in the last few years and he understood the severity of what would follow. Of the rules they would break and the punishment he might face and yet that did not dissuade him.

Ramon continued to pleasure her with his mouth and fingers until the trembling in her body and her soft cries warned him she was close to the edge. And as much as he wanted to give her that release, Caterina had been alone for far too long in her life.

He would not let her be alone in this.

Withdrawing from between her legs and ignoring her protest, he trailed a line of kisses up the center of her body, pausing to tenderly swipe his lips across one of the bruise’s from this night’s battle. Wishing he could heal her and protect her from future hurt. But he knew all he could do was be by her side and offer her comfort.

He continued upward, until he brushed his lips across hers and met her welcoming gaze. Her brows furrowed at his delay, but then he cupped her breast and slipped his thumb over the hard tip.

“I love you, Caterina. You are all I could ever want,” he said, keeping to himself that she was also all that he should never have.

Caterina heard the capitulation in his voice. The doubt that somehow lingered despite the love, but she would no longer deny herself . . . or him.

She pressed on his shoulders and urged him to his back. Swiftly she covered his body with hers, his erection tucked against the softness of her belly. Rotating her hips, she said, “I love you, Ramon. And I want this. I’m bold enough to take what I want. Do you dare accept it?”

He groaned and closed his eyes, rocked his hips upward as his answer escaped him.

“Yes, my love. I dare.”

He placed his hands on her hips and she lifted them, reached down and guided him to her center, hesitating as the tip of him just breached her center.

Their gazes locked and in that one moment, everything faded away except for one thing — their love.

She thrust down, joining him with her. Rocking her hips to caress him, the movement stroking him in and out of her moist depths.

Ramon reached up and cradled her breasts, strumming his thumbs across the deep caramel of her nipples. Watching her expressive face as she strove to bring them pleasure.

With each roll of her hips she brought them closer and closer to the edge. He aided her, thrusting upward to deepen his penetration. Releasing a strangled groan as the feel of her nearly overwhelmed him.

She whispered his name, her tone urgent. Pleading.

He rose up and wrapped his arm around her waist. Kissed her and whispered against her lips, “This is amazing, mi amor.”

It was, Caterina thought. Being in his arms, having him buried deep filled her not just physically, but emotionally, soothing the emptiness in her heart.

She bent her head and rained kisses along his temple and mouth. Joined her mouth to his, although their rough breaths broke the kiss time and time again until finally something coalesced in her. Formed a tight ball that knotted her insides and stole her breath.

“Come with me,” Ramon whispered against the side of her face before he dropped his head down to the juncture of her neck and shoulder. Bit her gently and then sucked the spot.

The feel of his tongue and the warmth of his lips there broke her reserve.

The knot came loose, sending strands of heat and pleasure racing over through her body. Spilling over onto his as with one final intense thrust upward, he called her name and shuddered beside her.

She yanked in a breath and somehow muttered his name again. Wrapped her arms around his head to keep him close.

Ramon smiled and kissed the side of her neck. Shifted to trail kisses all along the slopes of her breasts before moving upward to take her mouth again.

The kiss this time was one of tenderness and satisfaction. It continued leisurely as he remained buried deep within her, surrounded by her. Her legs around his waist. Arms around his head and shoulders. Her body milking him, accepting his release.

A release that sadly could never bear fruit. Werewolf-human mixes were virtually non-existent.

Virtually sending a sharp stab of fear through him that he had not thought to protect her.

“Ramon? Is something wrong?” she said, gazing down at him with so much love and happiness in her eyes that he could not shatter the moment with his concern.

“Nothing, querida,” he lied, but Caterina was no one’s fool and quickly detected it. Despite that, she said nothing, maybe as loathe as he to endanger the moment.

Entwined they fell down onto the mattress, clearly reticent to release one another. Never ceasing to touch and caress, almost as if to confirm that it had really happened. That after so long they were really there together, making love.

But soon those caresses grew more demanding and in no time, he was hard within her once again.

“Ramon?” she questioned, one eyebrow arched in emphasis.

“The night is almost over, but . . . I want you again, Caterina. Do you dare?” he said and teasingly plopped a kiss on the end of her nose.

“I dare,” she said and gave herself over to his loving.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 24

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In Chapter 23, Catalina and Ramon finally make love, putting aside all the prohibitions against a human becoming involved with a member of the pack, especially one who is slated to be the next leader.

In this chapter we see the morning after and what happens to shatter the peace of Caterina and Ramon’s time together.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:



Chapter 24
***If you are not over 17, please read no further***

Catalina woke to the feel of him spooning against her, the heat of his body bathing her back. As she stirred, pressing into him, he woke as well.

“G’morning,” Ramon said against the side of her face, a tired grumble in his voice.

She understood the reason for his fatigue. They had spent the night, short as it was, making love. Glorious, satisfying love, she thought and turned in his arms, dropped a playful kiss on the side of his mouth.

“Again?” he said, barely opening one eye, but a smile played along the corners of his lips.

“You dare to complain?” she teased, unused to beginning the morning with levity. Actually, unused to beginning the morning wrapped in the arms of a lover.

With a swiftness she had not anticipated, he rolled and trapped her beneath him, fully alert, his dark eyes gleaming with purpose. “Since last night, I dare many things, mi amor,” he said, bent his head and kissed the tip of her breast before suckling it.

“Ay, Ramon, what a nice way to wake,” she almost purred, holding his head to her as he switched from breast to breast, awakening desire. His erection growing as it rested against the softness of her belly.

A knock came at her door. Insistent.

Ramon picked up his head and glanced at her bedroom door and the knock came again, more determined. Followed by her sister’s command.

“Catalina. Open up. Father has called for us,” Helena said, clear distress in her tones.

Catalina shot a quick look at her alarm clock. Barely four in the morning. Her father would not be dragging from her bed at this hour unless it was urgent, especially knowing that she had been on patrol the night before.

“I must go,” she said, but Ramon was already in action, rolling off her and onto his feet.

The knock came again and Catalina bolted from the bed, grabbing a robe and jerking it on as she walked to the door. She only half-opened it, not wanting Helena to see that she’d had company for the night.

Her sister darted her gaze past Catalina and toward the bed, and Catalina stepped outside and closed the door behind her.

“What is it, sister?” Catalina questioned.

“Father called up from the morgue. He says it’s urgent and we need to convene the council.” As her sister spoke, she narrowed her gaze, as if examining Catalina for signs that something was amiss.

“In the morgue? One of the pack has been killed?” Catalina asked, tying the robe more tightly around her as if that would somehow guard her secrets from her sharp-eyed half-sister.

“Two wolves. Ambushed from the looks of it. By vampires.” After she finished her report, Helena leaned close and drew in a deep inhale.

“You should scrub, hermana, before you come down. His human scent clings to you,” Helena warned.

Catalina rubbed her hands up and down her arms as she considered all that Helena had said. The vampires had been growing bolder every day, but an ambush . . .

“This is so not good,” she said.

Helena nodded and seemed about to say something else, but hesitated.

“Is there more I should know?” Catalina pressed.

“Hemmerich was with Selina when I went to her room. He was rather smug, as if he knew more than he should,” Helena advised.

So not good, Catalina thought. She trusted Hemmerich as much as she trusted the vampires.

“Tell father I’ll be down shortly,” she advised and then ducked back into the room.

Ramon was dressed and pacing beside the edge of the bed, clearly aware that something serious had occurred. He stopped as she approached and faced her, tension evident in all the lines of his body.

“It’s something bad, isn’t it?” he said and opened his arms, always ready to offer comfort.

She stepped into his arms and embraced him, his comfort surrounding her. Peace suffusing her in a way that did not come with any other person. But even as she held him, she knew that her peace would be shortlived.

If the vampires were on the offense, it could mean only one thing. . .

War.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 25

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In Chapter 24, Catalina and Ramon’s peace after making love is shattered by news of a vampire attack.

In this chapter we find out more about the attack and what it might mean to the Villalobas pack.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:



Chapter 25

The scene in the morgue was grim.

The council stood behind her father while Hemmerich and her half-sister Selena stood off to one side. On the gleaming stainless steel tables in front of them lay the naked bodies of two of their younger adult pack members.

Catalina paused before the bodies, Helene on her left and Ramon on her right. It staggered her to see the young wolves there, side-by-side in death much as they had been together in life. Had it only been a few years since she had attended their wedding? Less than a year since she and the other wolves had welcomed their new son into the pack.

“The child?” she asked, her gut tightening into an ever more malicious knot as it occurred to her that the child might have been with them.

“Left at home with the grandparents. Kate and Edward had decided to go out for a long awaited night alone,” her father replied and Catalina strode up to the tables for a closer inspection.

The two wolves bore dozens of defensive wounds, a testament to how bravely they had fought for their lives. Numerous bites also marred their bodies. The vampires had feasted on them, but more troubling was the possibility that Kate and Edward had been turned during the feeding. Although it was rare for vamp-were hybrids to occur, it was possible and there was only one way to prevent that.

“Incineration — ”

“Already scheduled,” her father replied, but then quickly added, “They were not on the hunt.” He motioned to the pile of bloodied and shredded street clothes lying on another table beside the bodies.

Catalina nodded and asked, “Who found them?”

“Kate managed to shoot off a distress signal after they were attacked. Victor and the pack members on guard tonight tracked the signal on her cell phone, but arrived too late,” her father advised, prompting a series of distressed murmurs from the council members behind him.

She glanced at the council, who were wringing their hands and moaning like a bunch of old ladies at a funeral. She expected more from them and as her father turned and shot them a condemning look, she realized he did as well. When her father returned his gaze to her, she said, “Have you secured the compound and sent out a warning to the other pack members?”

“It’s been done, daughter,” her father answered. He lifted his hand and with a wave to the bodies, he instructed the two wolves manning the morgue to take them away. Then with another annoyed glare at his council, he said, “We need to retire to the chambers and discuss what to do next.”

“Do you think they mean war, father?” Helene asked and beside her, Catalina sensed Ramon’s uneasiness. As the physician to the pack, he would be the one responsible for tending to the injuries of the wolves, as well as her own because she had no doubt who her father would appoint to lead them into battle.

Turning to face her half-sister, she said, “It’s always been war, Helene. Only now it’s our turn to be on the defensive.”

Sadly, not one person in the room disagreed.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 27

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In Chapter 26, Catalina, her father, sisters and council members leave the morgue to discuss their plan of action after the three sisters have a not-so-sisterly chat. In this chapter — the next to last chapter in Book 1 of the series which I am titling REBELLION — the leaders of the Villalobos clan decide what to do about the seeming vampire rebellion which is taking root.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:


After I post Chapter 28 shortly, I will be rolling all the chapters into the first book in the series – UNDEAD UPRISING: REBELLION – which will be available for a free download until October 1. I am deciding what to do about its availability after October 1 and would appreciate your comments on whether to charge, pricing, etc. Here’s your chance to decide what I should do with this first book in the series so please leave your comments!

So you’re probably wondering what’s the next book in the series? THE GAUNTLET. What follows for Catalina in the next book is a number of difficult choices as she must decide whether to honor her duty or love Ramon. She will also have to deal with the traitor in their midst as well as the loss of someone dear to her (I am so not spilling the beans!) as the war comes to the clan in a way in which they had not imagined.


Chapter 27

The mood in the council chambers was somber. Two in the clan were dead, but any decision that the Villalobos council made that night would likely result in more deaths.

If the council opted to do nothing, Catalina had no doubt that more lives would be lost to attacks such as the one that had happened earlier. If they went to war…

She didn’t want to think about that option for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the possible loss of life to the clan. On a more personal level, her father had already warned her that he would call for the Gauntlet to choose a mate for her soon. With war on the horizon, that time had just arrived. She understood as he did that without someone by her side, someone who the council could trust to control her when she was in her wolf-state, it would be a battle for her to assume leadership of the clan if something should happen to her father. If the council skipped her and went to her sisters…

Catalina glanced over at Helene and Selena as they stood to the left side of the dais where the council had gathered. Her father was at the center as was his right as the leader and as was her duty as the next-in-line, she sat at his right hand.

“There is no doubt this is an act of war,” said Francis, the eldest wolf amongst the council members. He was her father’s older first cousin, but childless, ending any possibility of that side of the family assuming leadership.

“No doubt, but fighting the vampires will not be easy. Urban warfare is difficult and we risk collateral damage to the humans. We must fight in a civilized manner to avoid such complications,” advised another council member which earned murmurs of agreement from several of the other elders.

Silence reigned as all eyes turned to her father. He reclined in his chair and shot her a sidewise glance. “A civilized war? An oxymoron, don’t you think, mi’ja?”

With a curt nod, she agreed as much as it pained her to do so for it would set in motion the cogs of death. “We not only risk wolves, we risk being revealed if we cannot contain this threat quickly and efficiently.”

“Are you suggesting we launch a first strike?” Francis asked, raising one bushy eyebrow that was liberally peppered with salt.

After another quick glance at her father, she inclined her head respectfully, aware that as a council member Francis currently outranked her. “I’m suggesting that we first make provisions for moving the clan members to locations where we can defend them, lessening the possibility that they will be attacked.”

That earned agreement from most of the council members and at her father’s motion that she continue, she said, “Then we should capture some of these vampires and get what information we can from them. Once we know more, we can map out a war plan that will limit our casualties and maintain our cover from the humans.”

Her father shifted forward in his chair and glanced at all the council members. As he noted their seeming accord with what she had proposed, his gaze swung over to her sisters before finally coming to rest on her.

As she met his keen-eyed gaze she had no doubt about what was coming. She wanted to plead with him, beg him not to proceed, but could not. Her entire life her father had raised her to take responsibility for herself and for the members of her clan. She could not fail them now as much as it pained her to accept her father’s orders.

Her father understood that as he turned from her shimmering gaze to face the council members once more. “If there will be war, we will need our heirarchy in order. I am therefore calling for the Gauntlet to be run to chose a mate for Catalina as she will take my place should I fall during this conflict.”

A stunned gasp escaped from Selena, but she quickly restored calm to her features. Helene remained stoicly beside her half-sister, but as she met Catalina’s gaze, she realized that Helene realized the sacrifice Catalina was making. Knew how it pained her. She also understood her sister would be there for her which made her feel not so alone.

Francis spoke first. “Let us set a date then, Rafael, so that your daughter’s place will not be challenged.”

***

Hemmerich smiled and shut off the video feed from the council chambers.

The Gauntlet, he thought with delight. He had sensed that Rafael de Villalobas was close to naming his successor and had hoped the father would show some sense and bypass Catalina. Imposing her as his heir had seemed like too great a challenge what with her inability to control her wolf. It was why he had skipped Helene-who had no interest in men-and become involved with Selena.

Hemmerich was suprised the council had rolled onto their bellies so quickly, but then again, maybe they were hoping that whoever won the Gauntlet would be able to handle Catalina.

With a smile, he imagined doing just that-handling Catalina. It was what he had wanted all along and if we could win the Gauntlet…

No, not if. When he won the Guantlet, because Hemmerich would do whatever it took to win control of Catalina and the clan.

Whatever it took, including aligning himself with the clan’s enemies.

He intended to rule and no one, not even the high and might Villalobos family, was going to get in his way.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 28

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. I hope you like this free chapter — the last in this first book of the series – that I’m offering you.

In Chapter 27, Catalina, her father, sisters and council members retire to the council chambers to discuss their plan for war. In addition, Catalina’s father decides to call for the Gauntlet in order to pick a spouse for Catalina so that their Villalobos pack heirarchy will be in order should he fall during the battle to come.

In this chapter, Catalina returns to Ramon’s room, heavy of heart, because she knows that her time with him will be over soon for once one of the wolves wins the Gauntlet, she must honor her responsibility and take them as a mate for the good of the pack.

For those of you who may have missed the first chapters, you can read them here:


As I mentioned earlier, this ends the first book in the UNDEAD UPRISING series. UNDEAD UPRISING: REBELLION will be available on the website until October 1. After that, all the chapters will be rolled into one e-book and I’ve got a very special plan for that, but I’let you know on October 15th how you can obtain a copy of the complete version of UNDEAD UPRISING: REBELLION.

What’s going to be the next book in the UNDEAD UPRISING series? THE GAUNTLET. What follows for Catalina in the next book is a number of difficult choices as she is torn between honoring her duty to the pack and her love for Ramon. There will be lots of action, a traitor and a loss that will wrench your heart, but for now, I leave you with the conclusion to UNDEAD UPRISING: REBELLION.

This free read is intended for mature audiences only. NO ONE UNDER 17 should continue to read this excerpt.


Chapter 28

There was an ache in Catalina’s heart that had no cure. It hurt so much she staggered and had to reach for the wall to brace herself.

Hermana, are you okay?” Helene asked, placing a comforting hand on Catalina’s shoulder.

She nodded curtly. Her throat was too thick with emotion for her to speak, but Helene understood.

Awkwardly Helene hugged her. Such sisterly actions were not common to them, but clearly Helene intended to grow the camaraderie that had sprung up between them. “Rest well, sister,” she whispered before heading to her quarters on the family floor.

Catalina forced herself to continue down the hall to Ramon’s area. She bypassed the infirmary where she had unfortunately spent too much time lately and went to his door. Her arm was leaden as she raised it and then knocked on the door.

Ramon tore the door open, as if had been waiting for her. With one look at her face, he understood.

She fell into his arms, more weary than ever before. The years of tears which she had dammed behind the warrior’s facade breaking past her restraint.

Mi amor. We will work it out,” he pleaded, kicking the door closed and urging her in the direction of the bed.

She sat on the edge of the bed and he kneeled before her, examining her tear-streaked face. Reaching up and wiping away the wet trails on her cheeks lovingly as he repeated, “It will all work out.”

“How?” she asked on a heaving breath. “How can it when I will be forced to mate with another?”

“Trust me,” he pleaded, straightening a bit until he was eye level with her and the warmth of his breath bathed her lips.

She wanted to trust him. Wanted to believe and yet what possibility could there be for them? Her father had called for the Gauntlet to be run in one month’s time to allow for wolves from neighboring packs to compete for her hand.

“One month, Ramon. In one month we will hold the Gauntlet,” she lamented, digging her hands into his hair to keep him close.

“Then it will be a memorable month,” he said before bringing his lips to hers in a deep scorching kiss that rocked her senses.

There was no holding back any longer. No reason to worry about being discovered or its consequences. Time was too short for such fears.

Catalina gently pulled him upwards and then fell back against the bed, dragging him with her. The weight of his body pleasantly heavy along her length. His erection pressing into the softness of her belly.

“Love me, Ramon,” she said as she rained kisses across his face and ripped at his clothes, not wanting to waste a nano-second of the limited time they had left.

Fabric tore and buttons flew, punctuated by their moans and soft sighs as they explored each bit of flesh that was revealed in their frenzied undressing.

As Ramon yanked aside what remained of her bra and shirt, he bent and took her nipple into his mouth, sucking it deep into his mouth which ripped a strangled groan from her before he gentled his actions. Rolling his tongue around the stiff peak, he brought his hand to her other breast and caressed it, but she needed more.

She needed him buried deep inside her. Needed the length of him driving into her. The weight of him above her, his arms surrounding her.

She kicked off her pants and tugged at his, freeing him and with little finesse, shifted her hips so that he could enter.

He seemed to sense her urgency. He plunged into her, yanking sharp gasps of pleasure/pain from both of them before he stilled.

Ramon glanced down at her. The warrior was there, battling for these last stolen moments. Fierce in her determination that nothing ruin the short time they had left.

His warrior. His woman. An enigma like none he had ever encountered. Like no other woman he would ever know and he would not waste a second of that miracle.

Bending his head, he whispered against her lips, “I will love you forever.”

Dios, Ramon. You are my forever,” she replied, tears thick in her voice again, but he did not want for this to be a time of sorrow.

He wanted to embrace the joy of their love.

He kissed her deeply once more, pouring his heart out to her as he slowly tempered the kiss and began to move his hips. He met her mouth again and again, then dipped his head to adore her breasts, wanting to bring her pleasure. Wanting for her to remember every caress, every second of their loving to fill the empty days when they could no longer be together.

As her passion grew, he answered it, stroking and caressing until they were both at the edge and still he somehow held on, letting her fall into her climax before he raised her up again. Higher. More intensely until they were wrapped around one another, so tightly it was almost impossible to know where he began and she ended.

Which was as it should be, he thought. It was what would be right, he thought as he finally lost control and tumbled down with her.

In the aftermath they lay entwined, silent. Both lost in their thoughts. Similar thoughts. She that she could not live without him. He that he would find a way to keep her.

Ramon knew that then without, as their heartbeats were almost as one and skin kissed skin in their tight embrace.

He would find a way to stay with Catalina.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 3

ww.jpgThis Wicked Wednesday brings a little something more of a story you’ve seen before — an urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free read that I’m offering you.

For me, the power struggle in this work, which is in large part about women in a male dominated society, resonates with what many women face in the real world. The heroine, Catalina, is torn between accepting the leadership role and the restrictions and demands it will bring to her. She does not wear the cloak of leadership easily, but is willing to make the sacrifice to ensure the continuance of her pack.

The scene which follows is the backstory which explains how Catalina’s pack was created. I hope you enjoy it!

For those of you may have missed the first two chapters, you can read them here:

warning.jpg

UNDEAD UPRISING, Chapter 3
Puentebueno, Galicia, Spain, 1348

The smell and taste of blood filled Miguel’s mouth as he slowly woke. His hands were covered with it.

Sitting up, pain lanced through his left arm and leg. With the pain came remembrance. The wolf that had attacked his family had come at him as he ran to their defense. When the wolf had launched itself at him, he had managed to get his arm up to stop the wolf’s attack. He had fought it bravely, striking it over and over with his shepherd’s staff. The wolf had bitten him several more times before finally giving up the battle and running away.

He had watched it go, racing into the dusk, he recalled, but was too weak to either chase after it, or go see to his family. He remembered dropping to the ground by the garden his mother tended so carefully. The smell of tomato plants trampled during the fight spiced the air.

His mother, he thought and found the strength to rise and limp downward to the small thatched home where his family lived. He leaned heavily on his staff, his leg badly injured from the wolf’s mauling. As he neared his home, the first signs of destruction were visible even with the approaching night — the two fat hogs his family had been raising were dead in their pen. Bodies torn apart, the pieces strewn across the dirt dark with blood.

Yards away at the door to their home, his father sat against the rough stone wall, his throat ripped out. Scarlet blood drying to brown stained the clean white shirt he wore. Marked the somber grey stones of the wall behind him where the blood had spattered from the wound in his neck.

Miguel hurried to his father in an injured hop-skip. Sightless eyes stared up at him. Was it his imagination that they seemed to condemn him for not arriving quickly enough after he had heard his family’s screams?

He reached down, closed that accusatory stare, and cautiously entered his home. His mother had been baking. The aroma of bread lingered over the smell of gore and blood.

He could see only a part of his mother behind the large oak trestle table in the kitchen. As he stepped around the table, he wished he hadn’t as he spied what remained. Like his father, her throat had been torn out, but she had also been gutted. The tangled remains of her entrails marred the floor she had always labored to keep spotlessly clean.

She still had flour on her hands, he realized, and hoped that the beast’s attack had been so swift that she hadn’t suffered.

Her eyes were closed. Miguel was thankful for that. He didn’t think he could have handled her condemnation as well.

Bracing himself, he slowly limped to the one large room at the back of the house. The room he shared with his younger brother and sister. He stopped at the door, but couldn’t contain his reaction. Turning, he retched up the remains of the lunch his younger sister had so carefully prepared for him.

His sister and brother who looked as if they had been tossed around like rag dolls and torn apart limb by limb. Pieces of them lay scattered across the room.

He couldn’t bear to look anymore. To be within the walls of the home desecrated by the beast.

Moving as fast as he could, he left the house tucked high up into the edge of the woods and went for help down in the village. At its edge sat his uncle’s blacksmith shop. The bang and clang of metal striking metal greeted him as he neared the building.

“Tio,” he called out at the entrance to the shop.

When his uncle turned and noted his condition, he laid down his tools and the project on which he’d been working and hurried over. “Mi’jo. Que paso?”

Miguel’s knees went weak as he thought about what he had left behind up on the hill. His uncle, realizing that he was in no condition to talk, eased himself under Miguel’s arm and helped him out of the shop and into his home. Once inside, he eased him onto his small bed and tended to his wounds.

Miguel grew sleepy as he rested there. The room seemed too warm. Grew warmer with each passing second. As hard as he battled to stay awake, he soon drifted off, images of his family chasing him in the nightmares that soon came.

#

Miguel didn’t know how long he had slept, but it had to have been a long time. His body felt stiff as he slipped his legs over the edge of the bed. He noticed then that the horrible wounds inflicted on him by the wolf had healed over. So well that not a mark remained on him. It was almost as if he’d never been attacked. Glancing at his arm, he realized it was in the same pristine condition.

A sound caught his attention. A loud whistle that grated against his ears. He covered them with his hands and sought out the source of the noise. Only the fire burning in the hearth where the sap from a still green log whistled as it steamed from the wood. A loud pop followed. Louder than any he had heard, but then again, everything seemed extreme. The everyday sounds of life were thunderous. The bed beneath him harder. Sheets coarser than usual.

Glancing around his uncle’s simple one room home, he noted the details all around him. Saw into every little nook and corner even though the room was dark.

Dark because the sun had yet to rise, but would shortly. Miguel didn’t know how he knew it, but he did, almost as if he had tapped into the forces of the universe and become aware of the very fabric of life. He sniffed the air, wet with the damp of the night which would become morning dew. Heard the clang of metal and the smell of the coal smoke from the smithy. His uncle had risen early.

Standing, the slight stiffness fled, quickly replaced by a new sense of strength. Looking at himself, it seemed as if his seventeen year-old body had suddenly sprouted more muscled. More like a man’s. He flexed his arms, pleased with the change.

He peered around the chamber, searching for his clothes, but they were gone. They had been torn and dirtied with the blood of his family. Beyond repair. He wondered why his uncle hadn’t left him new garments so that he could dress after he woke?

Walking to the small dresser beside the cot, he opened a drawer and took out some clothes, hoping his uncle wouldn’t mind that he borrowed them. As he dressed, he once again noticed the feel of the coarse wool and linen as he slipped it on his body.

Once clothed, he stepped out to his uncle’s workshop where his tio busily labored over something. He worked quickly, swinging his large hammer with one heavily muscled arm while with his other hand, he held the brightly glowing piece of metal being shaped. Sparks flew, bright in the dark morning, as metal struck metal. The noise of it reverberated loudly inside his skull.

As Miguel approached, he finally noticed what his uncle was fashioning — a large shackle. At his uncle’s feet its companion was already finished and attached to a goodly length of chain.

“Tio. Why are you making that?” he asked, but when his uncle looked at him fearfully, Miguel suspected he wouldn’t be prepared for the answer.

Copyright 2008, Caridad Pineiro Scordato, www.caridad.com

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Undead Uprising Chapter 4

ww.jpgThis Wicked Wednesday brings a little more of a story you’ve seen before — my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

The scene follows an eariler chapter where the backstory which explains how Catalina’s pack was created. In this chapter, you’ll meet one of Catalina’s half sisters and learn a little more about werewolf puberty and the rules of the pack. I hope you enjoy it!

For those of you who may have missed the first three chapters, you can read them here:

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A good workout in the gym followed by an even more vigorous one in bed kept the werewolf at bay. The mental discipline she exerted during both allowed her to control her inner wolf because once that animal emerged . . .

She disappeared and the uncontrollable animal asserted itself. An animal with no reason that had to be chained to a bed to avoid hurting either herself or someone else.

Like she had hurt her mother, she thought with a pang of guilt as she opened the door to the gym and spotted Hembra, her youngest half-sister. Hembra had slipped on Catalina’s leather jerkin and tried to practice her sword play with Catalina’s blade. The too big jerkin hung on the young fourteen-year-old’s slender body. As Hembra tried to heft the heavy sword up over her head, it nearly came back down on her.

Catalina rushed over and grabbed the blade to keep Hembra from hurting herself. “Easy, hermanita. This one is a little too much for you to handle.”

Her young half-sister whirled to face her. “Catalina! I didn’t think you’d be home yet.” Surprise and a trace of guilt tinged her voice.

She chuckled at the sight Hembra made with the oversized clothing and sword. “I can see that. Why are you here instead of in school?”

Hembra looked down, clearly embarrassed, and held out one
hand — one delicate semi-furry hand.

She had finally hit puberty and with it came not only the typical human periods, but the monthly transformation, she thought, took hold of her sister’s hand and gave it a playful shake. “It’s not so bad. Trust me.”

Her sister’s head popped up at that, her young eyes wide and questioning. “Really?”

“Really,” she lied since she viewed the emergence of the wolf as a curse. Her change had first occurred at the age of nine, years before what was the norm. She hadn’t really been ready for it, either physically or emotionally. Come to think of it, she didn’t deal with her transformation well now.

Trying to change the subject before her sister could pick up on her true feelings, she said, “Would you like to train together?”

“Really?” her sister repeated, once again dragging a chuckle from her. Had she ever been both so adoring and yet scared? It made her embrace her sister and wish that things were different for the young child.

Hembra was a little stiff in her arms at first. A subconscious reaction since the youngster had to always be on guard, her position within the pack uncertain. Eventually she relaxed and returned the embrace. Lingering for but a moment more, Catalina pulled away.

“Let’s find something comfortable for you.”

As she walked to the weapons closet at one end of her gym, Hembra followed behind her like a lost puppy. Catalina opened the door to the closet, rifled through a section that held some of her older clothes until she found something that would fit Hembra’s smaller frame. Turning, she raised the garment up to the girl to eyeball the fit and satisfied, passed it to her. “This should be perfect. It’s yours.”

Once again that look of adoration came to Hembra’s eyes, stabbing her with guilt. She might be her father’s pride and joy, but Hembra embodied his failure. Because of that, her youngest sister was shunned by him and many within the pack.

Even her name branded her with his shame — Hembra.

“Es otra hembra,” the doctor had advised at her birth. “Another girl” and with those words, her father had turned away from his newly born daughter, not even bothering to name her. Hembra’s mother, humiliated by his actions, had fled the pack that night, never to be seen again.

But she would not ignore her half-sister. Nor could her mother. She had taken the child to be her own — one outcast fostering another — rather than see the child sent to another pack or left in the forest to die if no pack would have her.

“Put it on while I choose a sword for you.” From the corner of her eye, she watched as her sister carefully positioned Catalina’s jerkin and sword back in their place, and slipped on the leather and mail shirt Catalina had selected.

From the closet, she removed two wooden practice swords and a smaller silver blade. Her father had used these to teach her and then her two other half-sisters — Helena and Selena. As for Hembra . . .

As she held out the practice swords to her sister, she realized that her sister’s training would be up to her, much as her sister’s existence within the pack depended upon her and her mother.

Throwing an arm around Hembra’s thin shoulders, she walked with her to the middle of the room and the large exercise mat there. She was about to begin their session when Ramon entered the gym and stopped in surprise. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize anyone was with you.”

“It’s time to train my little sister,” she said with some affection and a tone in her voice which she hoped would explain to him what had happened.

Ramon looked from one to the other and immediately understood what Catalina hadn’t said outright. Hembra was about to experience her first change. As a full wolf, she would be expected to eventually hunt with the pack and to do that, she needed to be ready. With a nod, he walked to the edge of the mat and sat down to watch as Catalina patiently tutored her half-sister and then ran through some preliminary exercises. At first they worked with just the wooden swords, but after some basic instruction, Catalina let her sister practice with the metal weapon.

Hembra proved a quick study and picked up the moves handily. Catalina appeared pleased and encouraged her sister with praise, affection and pride. The young girl seemed to grow with it, her stance becoming straighter and filled with self-esteem.

As the two stood beside each other and then began another round of training, the similarity of the two women struck him. Something about the way they both moved and their general body type marked them as sisters. And although Hembra’s coloring was lighter, she resembled Catalina more than her other half-sisters.

Which made him worry whether Hembra would be like the rest of the pack or resemble Catalina when the wolf emerged. And who would take care of her this night — her first as both a woman and wolf?

As if in answer to his question, a knock came at the door followed by Marina’s entry.

“Mi’jita, I’ve been looking all over for you,” Marina said and hurried to Hembra’s side.

“She was with me, mami.” Catalina slipped an arm around her half-sister’s shoulders.

A broad smile eased over Marina’s face. Her beauty and contentment shone there as she gazed at her two daughters — one by birth and the other by adoption. She tenderly laid a hand on each of their heads. “I know, mis niñas. I know my girls will take care of each other.”

Catalina embraced her mother first, and then Hembra. After, her mother wrapped an arm around Hembra’s shoulders and was guiding her away when she finally noticed him sitting there. A pained look crossed Marina’s face. He recognized it well. It was the look of someone who understood what it was to love someone they could not have.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 5

ww.jpgThis Wicked Wednesday brings a little more of a story you’ve seen before — my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In this scene, Ramon has found Catalina training her younger sister on the cusp of the full moon. As is the norm, Ramon has come to help Catalina deal with the emergence of her wolf since this is not something she handles well. Unlike the other werewolves, Catalina is stronger as a human and loses control when the uber-powerful wolf emerges.

For those of you who may have missed the first three chapters, you can read them here:

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CHAPTER 5

Ramon had no doubt that despite Rafael’s abandonment of her, Marina had never stopped loving Catalina’s father.

He stiffly nodded his goodbye and once they were gone, rose and approached Catalina where she stood in the center of the mat.

“How was work today?” she questioned, as if it was just another day and they were just a regular human couple.

“Nothing new at the hospital. No calls for the pack either. How was your day?” he said, playing along with her. Sensing she needed the touch of normalcy.

“Just another boring day of protecting the rich, famous and assorted suits from the evils of the world,” she teased.

“So I guess that means you’re ready for a good workout?” he said with a smile.

“What do you think?” she replied, tossing him a devilish grin and raising her sword.

Ramon took a step toward her, but the look on his face went from one of humor to a mix of confusion and longing. When he stood before her, he cupped her cheek. “I think, suddenly, that this time together isn’t wise.”

Catalina covered his hand with hers, perplexed by his sudden change of mood. “I know the full moon is near –”

“It’s not that, Cat,” he said and rubbed his thumb across her lips.

The Gauntlet, she thought. Throughout the day, those who were aware of her father’s intentions had avoided facing her directly. When they did, their looks had alternated between interest and pity.

Pity because they knew that whoever won would not be her choice. She had already made that selection. He stood before her now, ready to leave her. She wanted to understand, but couldn’t. She would fight for him while he was ready to desert her.

Unwilling to make it easy for him, she stalked to the far wall and the alcove where she spent so many nights during the lunar cycle. On the wall were an assortment of cuffs and shackles along with her weapons. As she reached for the leather cuffs and shackles that would restrain her during the change, she noticed the whip.

If Ramon wouldn’t give her passion that night to keep the wolf at bay, then let him give her pain, she thought, ripped the whip from the wall and walked back across the room toward Ramon.

A puzzled look flashed across his features before she held up the whip. Then the look on his face turned to one of dread. “You can’t expect me — ”

“I can. And you will.” She pressed the whip into his hand and he gripped it uneasily, but that didn’t dissuade her.

She ripped open the practice jerkin she wore and tossed it aside. The rest of her clothes followed quickly until she stood naked before him.

Tilting her chin up at a rebellious angle, she instructed, “Strike me.”

He raised the whip, but stopped mid-way. “I can’t.”

In a tone that brooked no disobedience she said, “I command you.”

“I — ”

“You know the penalty for refusing me.”

Ramon knew the penalty — death. And yet, death might be easier to bear than whipping her. “Por favor, Catalina.”

“You beg? What if I beg, Ramon? Would you do it then?” she said and as if relenting a bit, turned and presented her back to him. In a softer, almost pacifying tone, she said, “If you cannot give me love to keep the beast away, then give me pain.”

It was almost like someone else moved his hand. Raised the whip and brought it slashing down across her back, yanking a surprised gasp from her and causing her to jerk from the blow.

But he had put little strength behind the lash, unable to truly hurt her. As he raised his arm for the second blow, he tightened his fingers on the thick handle of the whip. Imagined how the strands of hard leather at the other end would rake across her back again and hesitated.

Looking over her shoulder, she said, “Again. Harder.”

He lowered his arm to his side, battling with himself. His life or causing her injury? He would rather die, he realized, until his gaze locked with hers and he noted her anguish. The despair that came each month as the wolf emerged.

With a rush of speed, he raised his hand and brought the whip slashing down against her back a second time and then a third, his body jumping in sympathy with each stroke of the whip. But he couldn’t find the strength to raise his arm a fourth time. Walking to her, he laid a hand on her shoulder and the welts left behind by the whip were hard beneath his palm. The blows had left bright trails of pink against her creamy skin.

“Catalina,” he said and encircled her in his arms, unable to continue the punishment. Ready to give her the passion she demanded instead, even though it might bring greater torment.

He picked up one hand and cupped her breast. Bent and kissed the welts on her shoulder while he caressed her. Her gasp this time was one of pleasure and her hands came up to urge both his hands to her breasts.

“As you command,” he whispered as he nuzzled the side of her face and she leaned her head back against him.

He held the weight of her full breasts in her hands, brought his fingers to tweak the tight peaks of her nipples, her hands covering his. But then he reversed the position of their hands at one breast, softly said, “Touch yourself.”

She protested, but he instructed her more firmly. “Touch yourself, querida.” When she did, he moved his now free hand down her body and slipped between her legs, found the center of her. He parted the silky nest of curls and stroked the swollen nub there, drawing a moan from her.

He continued fondling her and kissing the marks he had placed on her with the whip. Her knees weakened and he scooped her up, brought her to the edge of the alcove, let her slip down.

Catalina faced him and noted the mixture of emotions on his face. The pain and passion that were irrevocably entwined in her life.

She kissed him, opening her mouth on him as she moved her hand to his erection, stroking him through the denim of his jeans. He grabbed her hand and eased it away.

“You can command me only so far, mi amor.”

Both admiring and resenting his show of strength, she knew nevertheless that she would not force him further. When he motioned for her to slip onto the oversized pallet that served as her wolfen bed, she did, settling herself in the center and raising her arms upright so that Ramon could shackle her to the wall. She lay there, waiting for him. When he hesitated, she met his gaze.

“Finish it, amor. Before the wolf steals me away.”

***

Copyright 2008 Caridad Pineiro Scordato www.caridad.com

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Undead Uprising Chapter 6

Easter Sunday SnowSpring is here and as you know, I was complaining about the chill in NYC/NJ. My Blog Buddy Karen T. sent me this picture of how her Easter Sunday looked — CHECK OUT ALL THE SNOW! Brrr….

Way cold and so to help Karen and others still suffering from the effects of winter, this Wicked Wednesday brings a little heat from a story you’ve seen before — my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

In this scene, Ramon is aware that Catalina’s father wants her to soon choose a wolf as a mate and is therefore denying Catalina’s demand that he help keep her wolf at bay by making love to her. Since pain will also restrain her transformation, Catalina has challenged him to bring her pain and Ramon is struggling with that request. For the rest of the scene, check out the free excerpt below.

For those of you who may have missed the first five chapters, you can read them here:

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CHAPTER 6

Catalina’s words, ripe with her suffering, scourged his soul because he knew he could end her pain . . . for now. But despite knowing that she welcomed more from him, he could not give into her or to himself. Beginning something even for only the next few months would only make it harder on both of them after the Gauntlet.

She would be bound to another. No alpha wolf would tolerate his touching her. Only at the thought of someone else beside her, inside her . . .

Cold settled within him. Dead kind of cold.

But he would not love her this night or any other. He slipped the first restraint around her wrist, fastened it and said, “You know I cannot.”

“Tighter,” she commanded.

He yanked the fur-lined leather cuff just a bit more securely. Repeated the procedure with her other arm, giving one last tug to make sure the bindings were snug and then firmly chained her to the wall. The metal chain clanked noisily as she tested its strength with a pull.

“That’s it.” Her words were followed by a little mew of sheer pleasure.

He examined her face and after, her marvelous body. She was responding to the pain from the earlier whipping and from being shackled. Her nipples had remained stiff peaks and her legs shifted restlessly on the bed.

How many times had he seen her like this? How many times had he touched her? Wanted to make love with her before the moon rose and he lost her to the werewolf? Before he lost her forever?

Too many and yet, not enough. No matter how many, it could never be enough.

“Finish the job. That’s what you want since all I am to you is a duty,” she challenged, almost as if she perceived his weakness. The animal inside would recognize it. Play on it, knowing what he desired more than anything — to have her.

It wasn’t what he had wanted at first, in the days after the other wolves had saved him from a vampire attack and he had become indebted to them. It had happened slowly over the years as he had seen Catalina’s strength, goodness, and finally, her vulnerability. The last had stolen his heart despite the fact that he was human and she was wolf. Regardless of the nearly decade difference in their ages.

“What I want, amor, can never be,” he said and cradled her breast as he did as she had commanded. She gasped as he passed his thumb across her erect nipple.

“Don’t leave, Ramon. Por favor.” Catalina raised her hips in invitation.

He couldn’t refuse her plea any more than he could her command. Not when times like this were finite in number.

Slowly he inched his hand downward over her smooth skin and muscles which quivered as he got closer and closer to his destination. He met her gaze as he finally passed his hand over the dark auburn curls at the juncture of her thighs. The heat in her gold-green eyes confirmed she wanted him to touch her there again.

Catalina spread her legs and he slipped his hand down, parted her lips and sought out the center of her. She was damp and oh so hot that he groaned at the thought of what it would be like to be inside of her. His erection swelled painfully against the denim of his jeans. Somehow he controlled himself. He couldn’t take her that way.

The way others might have it occurred to him, recalling the two guards who had been there before him. He knew they had been her lovers. But he wouldn’t take her while she was chained. While she lay defenseless.

Taking a deep breath, he bent and suckled one of her nipples, teethed it gently and then just a tad harder as she raised her hips, giving him access to the swollen bud of her clitoris. As he loved her with his mouth, he scissored her clit between his fingers, massaged it until she writhed against the pallet. She dug her heels into the thick padding to urge her hips up to his hand.

Catalina sucked in a breath as he gently bit her nipple again. She pulled at the shackles at her wrists. Even with the soft fur lining, the edges of the leather chafed her skin painfully. As her back rubbed against the sheets, the welts on her flesh protested the contact. The slight sting as his teeth caught the tip of her breast combined with all the other sensations swamped her senses.

She cried out his name as he increased the pressure at the nub between her legs and after, trailed his mouth down her body until he rested between her legs. He paused but a moment to look up at her, as if asking permission, not that she had much choice.

He could do as he wished with her shackled to a wall, and yet honorable as he was, he wouldn’t do what she didn’t desire. His integrity being the reason why he was the one she wanted the most.

In answer to his unspoken query, she parted her legs in invitation.

Copyright 2008 Caridad Pineiro Scordato www.caridad.com

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Undead Uprising Chapter 7

ww.jpgBefore we get to this Wednesday’s Wicked Excerpt, a big WOO HOO to the women of THE BIGGEST LOSER who finished 1 and 2 and may actually become the FIRST female Biggest Loser winner! Now, you can help make that happen since for the first time ever, THE BIGGEST LOSER is allowing the audience to chose who will be the third finalist!

So how can you help the women win? Vote for Mark to be the third finalist! Why Mark? He has less weight to lose and may not post as big a weight loss as Roger. Also, Mark has really shown that he’s a changed man in many ways. Give him a break since he would have likely been the women’s choice for the third finalist as well. To vote for Mark, please click here!

So now, here’s this week’s Wicked Wednesday which brings you yet a little heat from a story you’ve seen before — my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

This is the continuation of the love scene between Ramon and Catalina as Ramon tries to help Catalina maintain her human form for as long as she can before her transformation to the wolf she hates.

For those of you who may have missed the first six chapters, you can read them here:

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CHAPTER 7

He slipped his body between her thighs and brought his mouth to the center of her. As he nibbled and sucked at her clitoris, he slipped his fingers inside her vagina, his strokes sure and increasing in strength and penetration when she responded more eagerly to his caresses.

She pushed her hips up into his mouth and hands, pulled at the shackles keeping her prisoner. Every movement of her body, of Ramon’s tongue and lips and fingers, brought her closer and closer to the edge until finally, something inside of her — maybe the wolf that was so close to being released — took hold and sent her senses tumbling on a wild ride.

She gasped. Her head fell back as she called out her completion.

Ramon experienced her climax beneath his fingers as it crashed through her body. He heard her wild call. Not a gentle, satisfying release that would leave her sated, but a savage hunger that still wanted more because the wolf waited to emerge.

He sensed it in her body, although he didn’t know how, but he did. It brought both fascination and fear. Shooting but a quick glance at his watch to check the time, he confirmed that the moon would be rising shortly.

Catalina knew that the beast threatened as well, for she whispered to him, “Keep me with you for just a little longer, amor.”

He knew what she needed. Sex and pain helped her to keep control, if only for a few minutes more. That was important to her. But he couldn’t relent and make love to her. Doing so would lead them on a road to much greater agony.

Catalina watched as he stood and stepped away from her. For a moment he hesitated, standing beside the edge of the bed and looking down at her. She hoped he would undo his pants and release the magnificent erection beneath the denim. She ached to feel him inside her. To hold him. She yanked at her restraints, aching to hold him, but he had done too good a job. She could not get free.

“Easy, love,” he said, sat on the edge of the bed, and caressed her breast. “I’m not going anywhere.”

His hand trembled at her breast for a moment and his tender gaze met hers. “We both know we can’t.”

“I’m sorry. I know this hurts you.”

He grasped her nipple between his thumb and forefinger and tweaked it harshly, dragging a gasp of pleasure from her. With a tight smile, he wondered aloud, “Maybe I like the pain as much as you do? Maybe that’s why I linger here when I should leave.”

Even as he said that, the first stirring of the wolf crept into the edges of her consciousness. The wolf who devoured the scents of her musk, ripe in the air. The rapid beat of his heart and his unfulfilled passion. Saliva dampened her mouth at the thought of feeding on that passion. On his flesh. She shook her head, forcing such feral thoughts away.

“Por favor. It’s coming.” As her gaze met his, he recognized her plea for what it was.

“Stay with me, amor,” he said and slipped his hand down between her legs once more, found her with his fingers.

Sensitized from her barely completed climax, his touch immediately brought a response.

He stroked her roughly, rousing the desire she wrapped around herself like a protective cloak. She concentrated on the movement of his fingers. The slip and slide and pull of them. On the sensitive skin on her back, awakened with each restless shift of her body.

She howled, but the combination of pain and passion helped her drive the beast away. After the howl, she quickly met his gaze. His troubled eyes, dark with emotion, asked what he could not.

“I’m . . . here,” she confirmed and yanked at the chains on the wall in frustration at the rumble of the wolf in her voice. She closed her eyes, focused on his fingers caressing her nether lips and clitoris. Imagined that it was something else, stroking, bringing the heat of sexual release. A heat that felt almost cold now compared to the fire building within her body as it prepared to transform.

Ramon must have felt it also since he plunged his fingers inside her with more force, trying to satisfy her in the only way his honor allowed. A way far removed from what she wanted, but that she would accept . . . for now.

She called out at the pleasure of his fingers filling her and opened her eyes, kept them trained on his face as he pleasured her, his movements sure and strong, growing more forceful as her body responded yet again to his caresses.

Her breath rasped raggedly in her throat. Her body shook with not only the pleasure he brought to her, but with the awakening wolf as her muscles clenched and quivered, battling for dominance. She tugged at the chains and kept her mind centered solely on her lover as he moved his hand between her legs. As he dipped his head and suckled at her nipples and then, with a rough bite, brought a pleasure strong enough to let her hold onto herself. To keep the wolf in check.

He picked up his head at her human cry of satisfaction and knew that what was she needed. What she wanted. Pain. Human pain. Passion. A woman’s passion.

Replacing his lips with his fingers, he tweaked her nipples more forcefully. Buried his head in the crook of her neck and sucked until her skin bruised from the force of it.

“Dios, that’s . . . good. Harder, mi amor. Harder,” she urged him on.

When he tightened his fingers on the sensitive tips of her breasts and bit down on her neck, she cried out her need and raised her hips. He returned his hand to her center, increasing his penetration until it, too, reached the point of pleasure-pain. All that was within her consciousness now was his presence. His love keeping her with him until finally, regretfully, another climax ripped through her.

Ramon’s breath was rough with his own need as Catalina’s release rocked his senses. As she screamed his name in her human voice and struggled against the shackles to be able to hold him, he sucked in a breath and imprisoned the desire raging in him. One that wanted to tear off his clothes and plunge into her, howl like the wolf she would become as he imagined how she would feel surrounding him.

Somehow he drove that vision away and ran his hands up her arms, laced his fingers with hers to keep her human self with him.

She gripped his fingers tightly, but as her body relaxed, she softly said his name one last time.

She had lost the battle for the control she treasured so greatly.

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Undead Uprising Chapter 8

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

Ramon has made love to Catalina to help her maintain her human form for as long as she can, but now the transformation begins and Ramon must watch helplessly as Catalina becomes the wolf she hates.

For those of you who may have missed the first seven chapters, you can read them here:

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CHAPTER 8

He quickly slipped from her side and stood to view her transformation. It began slowly at first, with the thickening of her muscles and the shift of them as they rearranged themselves. As the change gathered speed, Catalina writhed on the bed, yanked at the chains. Moaned as bones, sinew and muscle moved and morphed. Parts of her body popped and cracked as they slipped in and out of place.

He could only wonder at the agony it brought her. As a doctor, he knew just how a human reacted to such trauma. Did Catalina feel it as well?

Combined with the violence attacking her muscles and bones, fur quickly sprouted. A thick rich fur obliterated her alabaster skin. Finally, her beautiful face elongated, her mouth and lips losing most semblance of the human as her wolf’s muzzle erupted. She uttered something. It sounded like his name, but was lost in the growing cavity of her wolf’s mouth. In the strong jaws that could take life with just one snap.

Razor sharp fangs emerged. Glistened brightly. He imagined her slashing and killing with them. The wolf totally assumed control now. A wolf like no other within the pack.

Despite the many months they had shared together, the change still fascinated him. Maybe even repulsed as well.

Catalina’s wolf pulled at the shackles, trying to free itself. Bayed loudly at the frustration of imprisonment. When long minutes passed and the transformation finished, the animal’s attempts for freedom lessened, as if it sensed that to struggle against the restraints would be useless.

Ramon laid a hand on the wolf’s side and brushed the silky fur, a reddish brown color unique amongst all the wolves. A color so much like Catalina’s hair that he wanted to weep for the woman trapped within the beast. The werewolf didn’t shift beneath his caress, but whimpered, like a dog in pain and maybe it was. Maybe this was still Catalina responding to him. To his anguish on her behalf.

He met the werewolf’s gaze and as always, Catalina’s green-gold eyes stared back. The look there screamed human, which made him risk it all to reach up and rub his hand gently over her head. At that, the large animal closed its eyes and finally stopped struggling against its bonds.

He was mesmerized by the differences between Catalina’s wolf and a real one. Hands which while not human, could still grasp a weapon. The wolf-like body that could walk and fight upright, but on all fours, loped along elegantly. Quickly. A body stronger and larger than a real wolf and therefore, more dangerous.

Ramon gave Catalina’s head one final stroke, and then rushed over to secure the door to the room. Striding back across the large space, he armed himself from the weapons closet. He eased on the specially made armor — a gift from Catalina. Buckled on not one but two swords and for good measure, grabbed a loaded shotgun. The shells in the gun were packed with silver pellets laced with silver nitrate. Equally as effective against a vampire or werewolf.

Remembering what had happened in the last few days, uneasiness grabbed him more completely now that Catalina lay defenseless. He snatched a few extra shells and tucked them into his pocket. After, he returned to the pallet in which Catalina’s wolf rested and sat on the floor beside it, the shotgun across his lap; the swords within easy reach.

If anything decided to try and take advantage, they would have to get through him first. He only hoped he would be strong enough. With one last look back at Catalina, he considered what would happen if he had to set her free to protect herself.

He prayed the wolf might remember who he was and spare his life.

Copyright 2008 Caridad Pineiro Scordato www.caridad.com

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Undead Uprising Chapter 9

ww.jpgThis week’s Wicked Wednesday brings you another installment of my urban fantasy involving a twist to the werewolf mythology, battles with vampires and a struggle for control in a werewolf pack. The tentative title is UNDEAD UPRISING and I hope you like this next free chapter that I’m offering you.

While Ramon is dealing with Catalina’s transformation and his tortured feelings for her, Catalina’s father is dealing with his own guilt and loss.

For those of you who may have missed the first eight chapters, you can read them here:

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CHAPTER 9

In the early dawn hours after the night’s hunt was over, Rafael de Villalobos normally returned to his room for a few hours of rest. When he had been married to Marina, she would be at his side and the two of them would fall into bed together, as playful as young puppies before passion overtook them. Rest generally had waited awhile during those glorious days.

Marina, Rafael thought and rubbed at a spot over his heart that still ached with her absence.

Thoughts of his first wife drove him to the floor she shared with Catalina instead of his own bedroom. Quietly, holding his sword tight to his side to avoid any sound that might rouse them, he paused at Marina’s door and listened. No noise came from within and a niggling sense of concern drove him to open the door and peer inside.

Her chambers were as spotless as always, with not an item out of place. Marina had always been the Felix to his Oscar, he thought with a smile. The room was empty, however, and her bed looked as if it hadn’t been slept in.

Had she gone out this night? he wondered and experienced a pang of jealousy that in the moments after the hunt, she might be sharing another wolf’s bed.

Marina had always been an adept warrior, but he couldn’t remember the last time she had joined them during their pursuit of the vampires. Plus, no one had mentioned that she had paired off with anyone to track the demons or do anything else for that matter.

Which meant she might have gone out alone.

With that thought, his earlier concern blossomed into full blown fear. Only the strongest wolves in the pack hunted alone. Only a few could.

He exited back into the hallway and strode quickly down the hall to the door of Catalina’s gym. Once again he listened and from within came the rustle of sheets and a soft moan of pain.

Grabbing the doorknob, he was about to enter when from behind him Marina said, “She’s not alone and she’s fine.”

He whirled, surprised that she had managed to sneak up on him. But then again, he had let his fear blind him to anything but finding her. “Marina.”

His former wife, mother of his most beloved daughter, bowed her head low and adopted the subservient position expected when the leader of the pack spoke to one such as her. “Rafael.”

A mix of pain and passion washed over him at the sound of his name coming from her lips. “Look at me, Marina. For God’s sake, stand up straight and look me in the eye.”

She rose to her full height and met him head on, her gaze trained on his face. Despite the fact that she did as he commanded, a defiant spirit glittered in her eyes. “Is this what you want, Rafael? Does this make you feel better?”

Marina needed no answer to her query. Nothing could ever make him feel better about what he had done to her, no matter how many times he told himself he did it for the good of the pack. “Where were you this night?” he asked, almost fearful of her answer.

The needy note in his voice told Marina she could hurt him now, as much as he had hurt her. But she couldn’t find it in herself to lie and say she had been with another wolf. “I was with Hembra. It was time for her first change.”

Rafael glanced down the hall to the room of his youngest daughter. “Is she . . . Did she handle it well?”

“Better than most. She’s a strong girl. Smart. And she adores Catalina,” Marina said and laid a hand on his arm to emphasize her point.

A mistake. Beneath her fingers, his hard muscles jumped. His skin was warm. The soft hairs on his arm tickled. How she remembered what all of that felt like against her own skin, just as he remembered, she realized as she met his gaze again. It was hot with yearning.

“Marina,” he said and lowered his head toward her, but she ripped her hand from his arm and took a step back.

“I need to check on Hembra.” She hurried away before she would make a mistake as big as the one she had made the first time she had trusted her heart to him.

Rafael wanted to chase after her. Command her to come with him. Satisfy him. He could after all. He was the leader of the pack and she was just . . .

Marina.

Turning on his heel, he raced from their floor up to his own. At the door to his bedroom, his human manservant waited to help him take off his armor and stow his weapons. The man couldn’t do it quickly enough and Rafael growled a warning for him to leave. Alone within his room, he finished pulling off his protective clothing and tossed it to the floor. His sword soon landed atop the armor with an angry clatter.

The sound of running water snared his attention.

He walked to his bathroom where a warm bath awaited him. It might be just the thing to loosen his sore and tired muscles. To loosen any thoughts of Marina from his mind and wash them away along with the filth from his night of battle.

He eased within the sandalwood-scented waters and stretched out his big body in the oversized tub. Heat enveloped him as he moved lower until the waters spilled over his shoulders. He closed his eyes then, intending to rest for just a bit, but instead, visions of Marina came to him.

He gave up any hope of peace.

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