Publisher:Dirty Little Love, LLC
Thirteen Clans. Thirteen Males. One prize.
Winter Jarl is the most notorious female warrior of her species. Her father is chief, and he’s dying, so he’s cashed in on a promise she made long ago: he’s setting her up with an alpha from each of the thirteen clans before she takes over his position.
Sentenced to a year of isolation, she will spend twenty-eight-days alone with each man. By the end of it, Winter must choose one to stand beside her.
The challenge? She must be in love to produce an heir.
Cycle One: Chasing Winter
When Winter's oath comes due, she isn't ready to give up her freedom, her body, or her future. Too bad her nature won't be doing her any favors.
Thunder is young and inexperienced and the first to encounter Winter Jarl’s deadly sexuality. But he's got a bucket list of positions he wants to take her in, and he's willing to face her wrath just to check each one off.
paced the length of her floor-to-ceiling windows, the soft carpet weaving
between her toes as she let the air resistance dry her body. The slivered moon
made her promises that it could no longer keep as it crept into the sky.
was the last night in her room for the next year, and she didn’t want to leave
it for the mansion her father, the chief, lived in. Winter preferred the edge
forced her to keep her word, made in adolescence but bound by blood and magic.
father was dying, and she was the rightful heir—the only other alpha in their
light flicked on in one of the front windows of his house. Winter retreated to
dress in her robe before opening the balcony door to let the cold air nip at
more night to herself. One more night to be the barrier against danger. One
more night to guard her home and her people from within their woods.
more night to be Winter.
robe constrained her already, and she shed it across her camping chair before
swinging over the railing. She shifted into her wolf form and hit the forest
floor. Leaves crunched as she crashed between the trees.
father’s guests were arriving, and she refused to take part in their
negotiations over who had the privilege of antagonizing her first. And since
she had no say about the details of her circumstances, she wanted to spy on the
men as they entered her pack’s grounds.
each wolf with his people told her more about the man than anything he could
say to her. She’d been studying them from afar for long enough.
few of them, she’d gotten to experiment with up close.
it served her well.
winding road up to the manse meant each traveler had to slow his horse—Father
didn’t allow cars up on the sacred grounds—and take parts of the trail on foot.
Once it reached their little community, the road opened up. One safety
precaution amongst many.
found her perch on the crest of the highest hill overlooking the tight curve
and waited, nuzzling the ground, nosing twigs and leaves, until their smell
reached up into the canopy. A group of five with two horses, three riding and
two walking. They smelled of sap and wildfires. Their chatter carried, buoyant
and happy. A good sign.
next was boisterous, and the lead barked orders the entire way. Either his crew
didn’t take him seriously, or they were quite chummy. The one after traveled
with less noise, and they moved with more purpose, like trained soldiers.
grew bored and restless as the tenth reacted brusquely toward his men. They
smelled of gingerbread—dark molasses and nutmeg.
cataloged each of their scents to memory since their faces blurred in the
man walked the path alone with a bag over his shoulder and his hands in his
pockets. He smelled of eucalyptus.
teetered off her perch, the agitation forcing her between the trees, up an
incline full of sweet, minty brush.
brought a new scent, honeysuckle and musk. A tattered brown and white wolf
leapt playfully beside her, sending adrenaline through Winter’s legs and
pushing her faster. He bounded after her, nipping at her heels and dancing
dove after him when he passed, tumbling him down a shallow hill. Teeth at each
other’s throats, they rolled and snipped and nuzzled and darted. When he
hunkered low, she recognized his multi-colored eyes. Newt. The only male that
hadn’t gone running from her when they were pups. The one who didn’t shy away from
her muted friendship as she grew into her alpha genes and trained to be one of
the few female warriors of the tribe.
growled low and barked, beckoning her for another chase back toward their
village. She obliged, leaping at him and thundering down the hills. Mountains
rose like protective parents around their home, and Newt weaved his way through
the trails around their town, avoiding breaking into public space.
tumbled through a missed step and sprang into her when he regained it. They
rolled together. Newt pinned her to the brush he’d fallen into with his teeth
at her throat, along the line where the fur split to her scar. The one she had
because of him and the armor he’d fastened for her.
been the only thing to keep the sword that slit her throat from lopping off her
head. He’d been the one to cut the vampire down and bandage her up after.
Carried her back to safety.
have been able to fight again within minutes if that blood-sucking bastard
hadn’t tipped his sword with vampire blood. It ate at her throat and vocal
cords before they stopped the spreading poison. Winter’s voice grew husky from
the damage, which made others more wary of her.
wriggled under Newt now, squirreling away.
looped the valley once before settling close to their start by the lone road
into their home, panting and catching their breath. Most wolves would cuddle
up, but Newt knew better, collapsing a few feet away, head down in submission,
chewing on a sweet maple stick.
twelve males had long assembled in the mansion on the far incline of the
mountain, so she had nothing to watch except for the scurrying animals. No
other noises or scents or signs lead to anything dangerous lurking in their
woods, thick with extra layers of magic to limit any surprises from the
parallel paranormal worlds while the thirteen clans gathered.
arose without the potential peril, making Winter huff at Newt. A low whine
gurgled up her throat, and she rolled in the cold needles and evergreen
foliage. The new moon would come in one week.
had to isolate herself in her father’s home for that week. Cleansing herself
with the rituals for a mating ceremony, Winter wouldn’t come in contact with
anyone for seven days.
wanting to submit to the self-isolation before she had to, she didn’t want to
spend the night out here with Newt, either. If she was honest with herself, the
thought of running through the mountain and swampland tempted her. Winter
wanted to leave her home, their island, their world for the human one where she
it wasn’t possible. A fantasy.
duty was not something she could run away from.
back home it was.
another hot bath, although she’d have plenty of those over the next week.
said goodbye to Newt, who trailed behind her until the minute path altered for
him to split off and return to town. She had to shift back to human to climb
the ladder to the latched door under her floor. One of her favorite features of
the apartment she’d built in a sturdy tree.
If you enjoyed Audrey Carlan’s Calendar Girl series, you’ll love Autumn Lishky’s Wooing the Alpha series.
Jump into this intense paranormal erotica now and see who you want to win Winter’s heart.
About the Author