Yay! Bonded Souls is the prequel in the “Shifting Bonds” series. It was original released as Blue Moon Rising from Liquid Silver books and was part of an anthology. But I’ve made some tweaks to the story and added some hawt monkey sex and now it gets to take the stage solo from Ellora’s Cave …
Could a woman’s past decide a man’s future?
After discovering her boyfriend is married, veterinarian Jayda Kynslan decides to give up on men. She has every intention of planting her feet firmly on the path of celibacy—right after one more night of shameless sex with a stranger. A vacation in Montana would certainly ease the pain of betrayal and offer her anonymity.
Police chief and wolf shifter council leader, Cole Takoda, needs a break from investigating the murders of shifters plaguing his town. When a beautiful stranger seduces him at the local tavern it’s more than a tryst…it’s uncontrollable desire. And Cole can’t stand it. To top it off, their quickie becomes a revelation of shifter secrets and unfulfilled prophecies.
The discovery of a dead man in the forest behind Jayda’s rented cabin thrusts her into a foreign world of animal shifters and murder and the man she thought was only a casual diversion seems to be the only one willing to hear her side of the story. Jayda’s just not sure if Cole’s going to take her to jail—or his bed.
And here’s an excerpt for your enjoyment:
Thirty minutes later, after she’d shared nearly all the activities of the last twenty hours of her life, leaving out the details of her shower and the sexy dreams, Jayda fell back against the couch. Reliving the scene in the forest had really shaken her up.
“You’re sure that’s it?” Cole asked.
Jayda couldn’t keep the confusion from contorting her face. “What else would there be?”
“You don’t remember seeing the kid at the Bull?”
“I already told you I didn’t.” She’d gone over the details of her visit to the tavern-twice. Jayda had no idea what Cole was searching for. “There were lots of people at the tavern, Cole. I’m not going to remember one stranger from another.”
His features softened as he tucked away his professionalism with his notepad. “I believe you, Jayda.”
“I was beginning to wonder.”
“Word’s going to get out that we were together last night and I didn’t want to be accused of showing any favoritism toward a witness.” He leaned forward and brushed his knuckles over the back of her hand still wrapped around the coffee mug like a life preserver. “You got more of that? I think we could both use something to ward off this chill.”
“In the kitchen.”
“I’ll get it.” He stood and offered to take the cup from her, but she waved him off. Somehow having Cole in her kitchen, pouring himself a mug of coffee, would feel too much like a morning-after scenario and she just couldn’t deal with that.
On autopilot, Jayda stood, walked around the couch and down the tiny hall to the kitchen nook. The ticking of Lady’s nails on the wood floor was the only sound filling the awkward silence. The police officer following her certainly didn’t seem to be the same passionate man who had held her last night, and she really needed that man right now. Being in a strange town and apparently the sole connection to a murder was taking its toll. A little compassion would certainly go a long way.
The smell of burned coffee assaulted her nose. “It’s old. Let me make some more.” With shaky hands, she reached for the pot, the decanter bumping several times against the machine.
“Don’t.” Cole came up behind her, his hand covering hers, solid and warm. He guided the coffeepot back into place and snapped off the machine. The hard planes of his chest pressed solidly against her back. With a sigh, Jayda’s head fell back as she leaned against him, seeking comfort she so desperately needed. There was no one else to share this horror with. Not here. Not back in Blackfish Springs where she’d given up all her friends for a man who loved someone else. Cole was all she had, and as temporary as their connection might be, Jayda would take all he had to offer.
He turned her to face him and she looked up into the compassion filling his eyes.
She touched the bruise on his cheek.
“Gift from the kids’ brawling last night. I forgot to duck.” Cole took her hand and kissed her fingertips. “It’s going to be all right,” he said.
“Is it?” she asked softly. “Is a person ever the same after finding a human being slaughtered?” The tears she’d held at bay all afternoon finally released.
Cole sandwiched her face in his hands and wiped the tears with his thumbs. When he bent close, she closed her eyes, anticipating the softness of his lips on hers. He didn’t disappoint. The heat of his mouth seared through her, and she opened to him, inviting his tongue to delve in to taste and explore. He tasted of fresh mountain air, hot male lust and something uniquely his. And before she could assimilate their connection, it was there again, flowing over her with the power of a tidal wave, the feeling of being swaddled by the quintessence of Cole. It wasn’t just the heat of his arms around her or the solid wall of him pressing against her from breastbone to knee, but the complete meshing of her life force with his.
But that thought was insane.
She wanted him only because he was here and familiar. Lust and need had simply been forged in the heat of adversity, making her believe it was something more pulling her toward him. This was about the sex and feeling blood searing hot through her veins and the touch of another human being. Not about intimate connections or bonds. What Cole felt for her didn’t matter. Right here, right now, she simply needed him.
He pulled from her mouth, his gaze raking her face. “This is wrong to want you so badly, but I can’t help myself. Tell me to stop now and I will.” His needy pants feathered across her lips. “I’ll die a slow, agonizing death but I’ll stop.”