Excerpt (18+): Chapter One Sunday was family dinner night. For most people this would mean a loving gathering of close relatives around the supper table, exchanging news and exciting gossip over home-cooked food. But his was no ordinary family. With the exception of one new addition, all present were shapeshifters; large cats, wolves, and even one big-ass bear. As for Stu, one of the lupine diners, he was related, in an unfortunate twist of fate, to all of them. To one side of him sat Chris, younger brother, pain in his ass, and newly married chump to the lovely and delicate Jiao. On his right, he had the entertaining Alejandro, his other brother Mitchell—whom he lived to tease—and feisty Francine, their mate as well as his sister’s best friend. Across the table sat his loud-mouthed, bratty sister Naomi with her mates Ethan and Javier, accompanied by his adorable baby niece and nephew—who currently took turns spitting out food and chortling. Then there was his other brother Kendrick, his best bud Joel, and their human mate, Ruth, a plump and juicy morsel. Not that he said that aloud—he preferred to not bleed all over his favorite Despicable Me minion T-shirt. His oldest brother, Derrick, was the only one of his siblings missing because he was off on some mission to save the world—he always had been an overachiever and champion ass-kisser. Toss in his mom and dad at the heads of the table, and the noise level currently underway probably exceeded local bylaw levels. Not that anyone would dare complain. Their neighbors were shapeshifters too and would more likely pee on the leg of a ticketing bylaw agent than complain about one of their own. Seeing as how the whole family was pretty much accounted for, it made the ringing of the doorbell surprising. What insane person would show up at dinnertime on a Sunday at his house? Then again, the table still had one empty seat, a seat his mother enjoyed glancing toward at least once a day before shooting him a pointed stare, a look that plainly said, “And when will you be settling down with a mate of your own?” As if he’d be filling it anytime soon. He still intended to sow many more oats before settling down. Of course, the whole sowing thing required him leaving the house and going to places where he could meet girls. Stu wasn’t the social type. At least not in person. While comfortable around close friends and family, Stu lacked a suave tongue when it came to conversing with women. Tongue-tied, shy, and awkward tended to strike whenever he tried to flirt. So he mostly stuck to online dating personals, which would work a lot better if most of the profiles didn’t belong to lonely old men getting their jollies. Stu still woke in a cold sweat every so often when he remembered the video of the last so-called woman he’d virtually dated. Needless to say, she turned out to be a very hairy he who enjoyed masturbating for an audience while wearing a bunny rabbit suit. It took a week for the blindness to wear off. Before the chimes could ding a second time, his father excused himself to answer, not that anyone paid much attention. The various conversation threads flowed fast and furious as everyone caught up on the week’s events. Naomi and Francine gushed over the newest thing the wonder twins had accomplished while the guys all discussed the most recent roster changes on the Ottawa Senators line-up. Stu paid little of it any mind. He just came down from his room to scarf down a plateful, inhale some of mom’s pie, and store some energy for the World of Warcraft attack he’d planned with a group of other online gamers for the evening. His level seventy-six mage had acquired some new spells and armor that he was dying to test out. But, judging by his stirring wolf, those plans might get cancelled. Something smelled good, and for once it wasn’t Ma’s homemade peach cobbler pie. Leaning back in his seat and ignoring the noise around him, Stu inhaled deep, sifting the various scents. No doubt about it. A shifter had entered their home. Someone he’d never met, in person at least. A female. Sniff. Sniff. Feline. And coming this way. Stu opened his eyes and saw her as she stepped into the dining room, a trim, thirty-something blonde with bobbed hair and vivid blue eyes. Damn, talk about hot! She looked like a man’s stripper fantasy in her perfectly pressed RCMP uniform, which, while stern, did nothing to hide her athletic build, softened by very womanly curves. But it wasn’t just her looks that caught his attention, more the fact that judging by the way his inner beast sat up and took notice, along with a certain body part, he’d just found his mate. What an unexpected surprise. Not that she was older than him or a cat, but the fact he even had a mate. Still in his twenties—and, yes, twenty-nine counted—his track record with women wasn’t great. While at ease among friends and family, he turned into a bumbling idiot around women he found appealing. Even when he did manage to speak, his appearance often played against him. Stu was into comfort. Well-worn jeans, T-shirts with cartoons and humorous sayings, oh and hair he let his mother trim, usually while licking the mixing bowl for the brownies, her bribe to get him to sit still while she hacked at his uneven locks. Don’t get him wrong. While he wasn’t movie star handsome, he also wasn’t butt ugly. Just ask his momma. Sitting ramrod straight in his seat, he plastered a smile on his face, wished he’d combed his hair, and hoped nothing was stuck between his teeth. Alas, despite his certainty that the woman who’d entered was his mate, his luck with women held true. Her eyes tracked over him and didn’t linger. So much for instant attraction. On the upside, at least she didn’t scream, gag, or run away. “Patricia, grab a seat,” his mom yelled from the kitchen, not at all perturbed by the addition of another person at their rollicking, mismatched dining table. His mind automatically began to hum Patricia Delicia. Great stripper song, but not the time for it. He shoved aside the naughty ditty sung by that crooner Chris De Burgh as he tried to concentrate on placing the woman. Why did her name sound so familiar? Surely if they’d met before he would remember. With a husky voice that would have done well on a late-night radio show, she replied, “I can’t. I’m here on business. I’m looking for Stu Grayson.” Business involving him? Given her attire and the seriousness of her tone, that couldn’t bode well. Had his illegal pirating of movies and MP3s finally caught up to him because, as far as he knew, surfing porn—and whacking off to it—wasn’t illegal. What were the chances he could slink off his chair, hide under the table, and sneak out the back door? Given the fact a Chihuahua wouldn’t make it through the maze of legs and feet, not good. Only one thing to do. Man up and hope for the best. Stu pushed back from the table, his chair screeching on the battered hardwood floor, and stood. “That’s me. What can I do for you?” “Stu Grayson, I’m placing you under arrest.” Patricia dangled a set of metal cuffs, and jaws all over the place dropped.
"Hello, my name is Eve, a Canadian mom who works full time as an author. In between juggling my three kids, hubby, and housework, I pen steamy romance--usually with werewolves, cyborgs or aliens lol. I love to write, and while I don't always know what my mind is going to come up with next, I can promise it will be fun, probably humorous and most of all romantic, because I love a HEA. Thanks so much for coming by and checking me out. If you'd like to know more, read some excerpts or find out what's coming next, then please visit me at http://www.EveLanglais.com Or sign up for my new release email list at http://www.evelanglais.com/newrelease Happy reading! Eve Langlais "