Trapped in an abusive relationship for two years, leaving could prove deadly for Becca Kian. But when she’s pushed a step too far, Becca has no choice but to flee. After an accident that leaves her unconscious, Becca wakes to find herself in the cabin of a man who’s as entrancing as he is dangerous. Because this man makes her want to dream — dream of a world where Alex Scar doesn’t exist.
Both Minotaur and human, Aster Tavros is a shifter in hiding. Living in Woodland Creek, he’s made no effort to form relationships, too afraid to allow others to see his true nature. Because when they do, they run. Yet when Becca comes crashing into his life, he ignores every one of his rules. Passion ignites between them, but when secrets and pasts collide, Aster has a choice. He can hide his identity, or reveal his true self to save Becca, all the while, risking losing her forever…
Woodland Creek Series.
30 Authors. 30 Shifter Stories.
Read more on the Book Series Website
An innovative and collaborative collection of Shifter stories set in one town, with a guaranteed Happily Ever After.
Scarlett Dawn, Aria Kane, Lia Davis, K.N. Lee, Calinda B, Kate Corcino, J. Rose Alexander, J.M. Witt, Carina Wilder, Sarah Makela, Tasha Black, Emily Walker, Michele Bardsley, Elle Thorne, Renee George, Nicole Blanchard, Mandy Rosko, J.D. Hollyfield, Mindy Larson, M.C. Cerny, Xandra James, Raci Ames, Isobelle Cate, April Aasheim,
Cherie Marks, Rachel M Raithby, Eden Butler, Ever Coming, Jenni Moen, and K Webster.
She woke in a strange bed, surrounded by unfamiliar smells and in a world of pain. Yet she wasn’t in a hospital, so that meant the man who’d ran her off the road had heard her desperate plea.
Attempting to sit up, Becca gasped as her skin stretched, igniting fire through her nerves. Feet sounded from the other room and a second later, a man appeared at the door. He was huge. Alex had been well built, and covered in sleek muscles, but this guy was on a whole other level. He filled the doorway, to the point where Becca thought he’d have to turn slightly sideways to fit through. His arms bulged with layer upon layer of pure, lethal strength. She was sure she’d be unable to wrap her fingers around them. A tight T-shirt stretched over the chiseled planes of his chest and stomach, and seemed to be painted to his skin. Becca gulped as her eyes traveled up to his face. She’d never met a man like him. Rough, masculine beauty, with skin of bronzed gold and hair of the darkest ink, he made Becca’s skin flush hot, and her mind scramble.
She didn’t answer, her voice lodged in the pit of her stomach.
“Are you okay?”
The same stupid question snapped Becca from her daze. “You ran me over. Of course I’m not okay.”
An unreadable emotion flashed across his gaze, before he said “Hmm, yeah, sorry about that.” He rubbed the back of his neck in an awkward gesture. The movement scattered Becca’s thoughts, her eyes focusing on the flex of muscle and stretch of clothing.
“So, why no hospital?”
Her eyes zeroed in on his face, narrowing; she’d not be telling her secrets to another man again. She’d learned her lesson. “None of your damn business.”
Deciding it was time she was back on the road, running from her demons, Becca forced herself up. She couldn’t stop the noise of pain, even though she’d bitten her lip in hopes of doing so. From encountering years of hurt, physical pain wasn’t anything compared to months of mental torture.
“Wow, what are you doing?” He entered the room, seeming to take up every inch of space. “Get back in bed. You’re in no state to be going anywhere.”
Becca ignored him and glanced around the room. “Where’s my jacket and boots?” Her muscles protested with each miniscule movement.
“Get back in bed before I put you there.”
She would never follow orders from a man again. “Listen to me, asshole, I don’t take orders kindly, and definitely not from men who’ve run me off the road.” Fire filled her words, an old anger awoken.
Forcing herself to take a step, her head swam. A wave of dizziness passed through her like a drug. Her limbs went limp, losing any energy she’d had. Breath rushing out in a startled gasp, Becca’s knees gave way, and she braced for the pain that would follow from hitting the floor.
It never came. He’d moved with such speed, she’d not been aware of him reaching for her. He held her as if she weighed nothing, his strength and heat almost overpowering.
“I said, back in bed.”
Becca narrowed her eyes, mustering as much defiance as possible into her tone. “I want my jacket, boots and bike.”
Ignoring her demand, he carried her toward the bed. Becca struggled, though the effort was painful and pointless. Even fully healed, she’d have had no chance against this man. Mouth set in a hard line and eyes blazing with rage, Becca attempted to hold her ground and masked the fear within.
A part of her wondered if she’d run from one abusive man and straight into the arms of another. Would he hold her captive? For all she knew, this man could be even worse than Alex. Yet even as her pain whispered her fears, her instincts didn’t tell her to run. That was why she fought him when she knew he was right, because her first instinct was to melt. But her instincts had been wrong before. She’d never suspected Alex to be the man he was.
But you were innocent then, the seductive voice whispered. You’re not innocent anymore… Melt!
Shaken by the direction of her thoughts, Becca lost her fight and succumbed to being pressed tightly against his body, her breasts crushed against the heated wall of his chest.
“Bed,” he whispered roughly.
Her mask slipped for a second as she pictured not this stranger’s face, but Alex’s with his lips curled in a cruel smile, and the look in his eyes telling her he intended to hurt her tonight. Cold air replaced what had once been sizzling heat. Loss and loneliness pulsated through her, and she bit her lip to keep the desperate, needy sound inside her contained.
Placing her onto the bed, he retreated immediately. Becca stared at the man who’d been manhandling her a second ago, but now watched with concern from across the room.
“I won’t hurt you.”
“Too late for that,” Becca muttered before she could stop herself.
“Not intentionally. If you would really like to leave, then be my guest, but your bike won’t start and the more you move around, the longer it’s going to take for your back and hands to heal.”
At the mention of her wounds, Becca felt the full extent of her pain. She’d been so determined to escape that she hadn’t felt the stab of agony as she flexed her hands, or moved her back. Looking down, Becca gazed at her torn fingers. Slowly turning her hands over, she inspected the pads of gauze taped to each palm.
“You should have worn gloves,” he murmured softly. Though Becca was certain she heard a thread of anger.
“Didn’t exactly have much time,” Becca whispered, not bothering to look up.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked, taking a step closer.
“Nothing.” Looking up, she met his gaze. “What’s your name?”
“Aster. I’m Becca. I’m gonna take that offer of rest now.”
He smiled and it was completely disarming. Aster had a dominating, lethal presence, but when he smiled with a softness in his eyes, it made her relax and forget the walls she’d built around herself to keep people out. “I’ll see you in the morning then. Shout if you need anything.”
The door closed with a soft click, and a heaviness spread throughout her body. Lying back, she pulled the covers over herself and succumbed to sleep. She should have been frightened; after all, she’d killed a person earlier that day, and Alex would be hunting her down. But even though she was in a stranger’s house, and her only mode of transport was broken, safety wrapped a protective arm around her as she relaxed, preparing for sleep. It was silly, and irrational, but still, she felt safe.
Rachel M. Raithby started her writing career in 2013 and hasn’t looked back. She draws her inspiration from the many places she has lived and traveled, as well as from her love of the paranormal and thriller movies. She can often be found hiding out with a good book or writing more fast-paced and thrilling stories where love always conquers all. A Brit who left the UK in 2008, she resides in a quiet town in Queensland, Australia, with her family.
Her books include, the adult Paranormal Romance novels ‘The Deadwood Hunter Series’ and the Young Adult novel ‘Winter Wolf.’