Eye of the Storm

Eye of the Storm

The Bloodhaven Series
1. Eye of the Storm | 2. In the Crossfire | 2.5. Only Yours

Eye of the Storm
Eye of the Storm

December 2013
eISBN: 9781310111747
ASIN: B00HDEPJUW
ISBN-10: 1494722348
ISBN-13: 978-1494722340

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About the book

Bloodhaven is a city rife with tensions between humans and shifters, and wolf-shifter Grayson Moran has just made himself a walking target. When a human woman comes forward claiming to have made a disturbing discovery, both suspicion and protective instincts battle for dominance, even as he can’t deny she makes him burn with other feelings he’d long thought dormant and broken.

Extended description

In Bloodhaven, a city rife with tensions between humans and shifters, wolf-shifter Grayson Moran makes himself a target when he takes a public stance against extremist factions attempting to eradicate all human existence. When a human woman comes forward claiming to have made a disturbing discovery, his protective instincts surge to the forefront, even as he can’t deny she makes him burn with other feelings he’d long thought dormant and broken.

Sara Coulson is no fool. Working alongside suspicious shifters in a world where the humans and shifters are only just barely managing to co-exist, she has reason to be wary. Still, her determination to keep her distance wavers in the face of this intriguing alpha male, even as she comes under attack by enemies determined to silence her for good.

Together, Grayson and Sara must learn to trust as they battle . . . the eye of the storm.

Eye of the Storm

Excerpt from Chapter One:

“Mr. Moran, may I have a word?”

Grayson turned, unsurprised to find the young woman standing there before him. His wolf hearing had already alerted him the moment she’d set foot in the parking garage. Her scent had reached him long before she’d approached him at his car.

That scent bore traces of lavender soap and—oddly enough—something faintly antiseptic, as if she’d just emerged from a doctor’s office. She didn’t look like a medic, however, in her dark jacket and jeans with mildly stained tennis shoes. A battered backpack slung over one shoulder. One hand was clenched into a tight fist at her side.

Grayson studied that fist silently before letting his gaze travel upward. The severe fluorescent lights did no favors for her pale face and dark, unsmiling eyes. Her reddish-brown hair was pulled back in a no-nonsense ponytail. She did meet his gaze unflinchingly, however, and Grayson always awarded points for courage.

His eyes instinctively ran down those long legs encased in jeans. Grayson had always been a leg man.

At any other time, he might’ve enjoyed those thighs resting on his shoulders, and if that thought wasn’t startling enough, he didn’t know what was. It’d been a long time since he’d indulged in female companionship. Not to mention that if anyone was able to break his dry spell, he would hardly have expected her to be human.

Disturbed by the unexpected tug in his gut, he glanced around with a casualness he didn’t feel. His enhanced senses confirmed the deserted space around them, telling him that no one else hid behind neighboring cars or was using the woman as a decoy.

How had she gained access to the parking garage?

Grayson had increased the level of security at Moran Industries ever since he’d released that press statement against the extremist shifter factions. Anyone without ID should never have been allowed to enter Moran Towers in the first place.

The security guards should’ve intercepted this woman long before now.

She was human, so Grayson was almost wholly certain she wasn’t aligned with the factions. They would never have stooped to associate with what they regarded as “the lesser species.” Still, her unexplained presence posed a risk.

Grayson returned his attention to the woman. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”

“We haven’t.” Dark eyes remained steady on him. Her words came out careful and measured. “I need to speak with you.”

Grayson wasn’t fooled. Calm as she pretended to be, he could sense her inner tension. It was practically vibrating off her in waves.

“I’m afraid it’s after hours, Miss. . . ?”

“It’s importa—”

“Then call my assistant and make an appointment,” he cut in brusquely. He turned to swipe his thumb over the keypad on his car door, initiating the unlocking mechanism.

He still kept her in the corner of his sight. He was no fool; he wasn’t turning his back on her.

“Mr. Moran, it’s critical that I talk to you. In private.”

He tossed his briefcase onto the backseat. “How did you get in here?”

“Mr. Moran—”

“Leave your name with the guar—”

Please.

Grayson paused. There was something in the way she said it, that please.

He would’ve questioned his reaction further—considering the tense situation of late, he’d be an idiot to let his guard down—but there was a sense of suppressed desperation around this woman that he couldn’t ignore. The fist at her side was clenched so tightly her knuckles had turned white.

Grayson had a feeling she’d run if he said the wrong thing. And for some reason, he didn’t want her to go just yet.

Please.

Just idle curiosity, he told himself. He could indulge in that, at least.

He nodded at his car. “Get in.”

She rounded over to the passenger side and slid in. Grayson didn’t follow at once, but instead made another quick survey of their surroundings. He studied the shadows, satisfied only when he confirmed no other presence lurking.

Still, he wasn’t pleased that she’d managed to infiltrate the building. He’d have a harsh word with security in the morning.

Just then, he spotted Arthur coming around the corner, presumably doing his rounds. The leopard-shifter was one of three security guards assigned to this shift. Grayson could only assume the other two were patrolling the other side of the parking level, but that didn’t excuse this unacceptable lapse.

Arthur, still strolling from a distance away, saw Grayson as he crossed over to enter the windowed security booth. He gave a small, cheerful salute before settling into the chair by the window.

Grayson eyed the fifty feet separating him from the windowed booth. Several vehicles were also parked between his car and the booth, and the angle meant that part of his car—and Grayson’s new companion—were hidden from Arthur’s sight. Still, Grayson knew he could easily alert the guard at any time should this turn out to be a trap after all.

He slid in behind the wheel and closed the door.

“Before we go any further, sweetheart, I should tell you I make it a habit to know the name of any woman requesting a private moment with me.”

Her cheeks flushed. In close quarters, away from the harsh lighting, her profile looked less stoic, more vulnerable.

“Start the car,” she said quietly.

Grayson raised an eyebrow. “I wasn’t aware we were going anywhere.”

“Start the car,” she repeated. If anything, her voice went even softer. “I’ll tell you everything, just start. The. Car.”

Then she unobtrusively rubbed her earlobe between thumb and finger, and he understood.

He pressed his thumb to the ignition, rumbling the car to life. Music immediately started playing over the sound system. He adjusted the volume so that it was loud enough to mask their conversation, preventing any nearby shifters from overhearing their words.

It was a precaution he wouldn’t have expected an ordinary human to take into account. He narrowed his eyes at her, considering.

Grayson felt her studying him in turn. He felt it the moment it hit her—the awareness of his superior size and speed, the realization that he could easily hurt her if he so chose. Her breath hitched. A ripple went through her tense shoulders, her lips pressing together tightly in an effort to remain steady.

He suppressed the instinctive need to soothe her fears. Never mind that anyone who knew him knew that the last thing he’d do was harm an unprotected female. Right now, he’d happily take advantage of her misgivings to obtain some answers.

She was aware that he was predator and she was prey. That should deter her from doing anything foolish.

“Your name,” he reminded silkily.

She drew in a deep breath. The action pressed the softness of her breasts against the T-shirt she wore underneath her jacket.

Please.

The single clenched fist lay on her lap. He resisted the urge to reach over and open that fist to gently stroke her palm.

She finally spoke.

“My name is Sara Coulson.” She sent him a veiled look. “I want your word that you won’t reveal my name to anyone else.”

Grayson frowned. “I make no promises until I know what this is about.”

“If anybody finds out I was the one to come forward. . . .” She bit her lip, glancing away, but not before he saw her suppress a shudder.

Something had spooked her. Spooked her enough to come to him, although why she’d chosen to approach him in the first place he didn’t know.

But her fear was real enough. His earlier suspicions eased. That inexplicable, indelible need to reassure her surged to the surface once more, and this time he didn’t try to quell it.

He’d seen this before. The guarded expression, the tense posture, the constant looking over the shoulder. . . . He’d seen it in the fearful eyes of children in the foster homes he’d lived in. He’d seen it in the nervously clasped hands of little girls looking for shelter, and in the young boys menaced by adults bent on imposing their will against those incapable of striking back.

He’d seen it in himself, before he’d clawed and scraped his way to the top of the heap so that nobody could ever wield such power over him again.

Anyone attempting to inflict harm on this woman would have hell to pay.

He reached over and enfolded her fist with his much larger hand. She froze.

“Tell me,” he said quietly. “Tell me what’s wrong, and I’ll help you.”

She swallowed and ran a quick tongue over her lips.

“What,” she ventured hesitantly, “do you know of the Delilah Project?”

With that, all thoughts of Sara Coulson being helpless and in need vanished. Grayson’s head jerked up. He pulled back at once, regarding her with a mixture of anger and disgust.

Before she could react, his hand whipped out to seize her wrist. Ignoring her startled cry, he yanked her forward, his hold firm and unyielding as she unsuccessfully tried to pull away. His breath came furious and fast as he glared into her stunned eyes.

Who sent you?” he snarled.

End excerpt

Eye of the Storm is part of the Bloodhaven series.