I’d like to welcome Francesca Hawley. Her newest release ALPHA VS ALPHA is available from our publisher, Ellora’s Cave. Take it away Francesca …

Thank you Nina. One of my favorite tropes for paranormal romance is that of “fated mates.” I have heard from other readers that they absolutely hate it because it removes all the conflict from the story because readers then know the two characters have to end up together.

Well, heck…I write romance. In romance it’s a given that your hero and heroine (or protagonists of whatever gender and number) will end up together. So that’s a non-starter. Now, I will grant that an author can skip over some of the relationship conflict because the two main characters have to end up together. But that’s a conflict in, and of, itself because what if one—or both—don’t want to be in the relationship. Such is the case with Serena Goldwolf , the heroine of Alpha vs. Alpha.

In her whole life, Serena has never heard her parents argue. It looks to her as though her mother always kowtows to her father’s edicts. He’s an alpha shapeshifter male. The head of a pack. Therefore, his word is law. Serena has no intention of living her life that way. She loves her mother, but doesn’t want to be her.

Damien Blackwolf has never indicated to Serena that he wants her to turn into a “yes-bitch” who does exactly what he says without a murmur to the contrary. He just wants her to acknowledge their True Mate status. A full out battle of wills ensues over the issue. Serena is afraid acknowledging their connection means that she has to give up herself—and her very soul—in order to be with Damien. Damien wants her just the way she is—a spit and vinegar alpha female.

I initially wrote this story for another publisher back in 2005 and I had a lot of fun reworking this story for Ellora’s Cave. I was able to tighten the story and strengthen the growing connection between Serena and Damien. Damien remains one of my favorite alpha male heroes and Serena gives just as good as she gets.

So what do you think of the “fated mates” storyline that’s often used in paranormal romance? Love it? Hate it? Any recommended reading?

BLURB:
Alpha female Serena Goldwolf has spent a lifetime vowing never to be a submissive mate to any Alpha male. But all it takes is one surprisingly sexual meeting with Damien Blackwolf, a dissatisfied client of her shapeshifter dating site Predator-Match.com, and she is down on all fours, wanting to be mounted by the hottest male on two legs—or four—whom she’s ever met.

Damien Blackwolf doesn’t understand why the voluptuous Serena won’t admit they’re True Mates. To convince her, he decides to bring out her baser desires by dragging her off to someplace private to get to know her…intimately. But how can he convince her of their destiny when she refuses to acknowledge their True Mate connection and runs away from him? Guess he’ll just have to hunt her down and persuade her.

In a passionate battle of wills, there most definitely can be two winners.

Publisher’s Note: Previously published elsewhere but has been revised and expanded for Ellora’s Cave.

EXCERPT:
Chapter One

“What the hell kind of outfit is this?”

Serena Goldwolf’s head shot up at the irate shout coming from the outer office of her shapeshifter matchmaking business, Predator-Match.com. She brushed her bangs off her forehead with a sigh. Damn it, couldn’t anyone in this office take care of stuff without her intervention?

The male voice continued to roar out there, and she knew her secretary wouldn’t be able to handle him because Kara was such an omega even omega males dominated her. Serena sighed again, saved her database update and headed out to confront the wolf male jerk. Serena took in the male outrage with a shake of her head. Asshole. He shook his head as if he’d heard her. Yeah right. She wished.

“I’m sorry, sir. Really.” Kara huddled in her chair, her head dipped and her eyes on her desktop. Submission in her posture and her voice.

“You people set me up with some stalker bitch! I want to talk to one of the owners, now.” A tall black-haired man with dark-brown eyes leaned on the desk, his large hands flat on the wood.

Serena took him in, her body responding immediately. Damn it. She didn’t need this shit, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him. He wore a very expensive, black Italian suit, Italian black leather loafers, a crisp white shirt and red tie. The ultimate in power wear for the busy executive. And he was so good-looking he resembled an escapee from Fashion Week. She shook her head to remind herself that he wasn’t all that…he was just a wolf like any other.

Heads hung out of office doors, watching the confrontation with enjoyment, yet no one came to Kara’s rescue. Probably glad to be out of firing range themselves…that’s what she got for hiring betas. The females all wanted him and the males would jump to follow his orders.

Female musk clogged the air. Especially from Lea Redcat, one of her business partners. Predator-Match.com was damn successful. To the outside world, their site looked like a zoo animal match service. To the shapeshifter community, it was a way to find a lover or a life partner. Since Lea was allowing this thing to escalate, it looked like Serena to the rescue. Again.

“I’m really sorry, sir. We do our best to match our clients up with the best fit for them.” Kara cringed lower behind her desk and wouldn’t meet the man’s eyes. Typical omega posture. The male frowned.

“Are you saying you think I deserve a psycho bitch as my Mate?” His quiet voice seemed to scare Kara more than his shouting had because she backed up. It wouldn’t be long before she crawled under her desk.

“No s-s-sir,” Kara stammered.

Damn that bastard. He was done scaring Kara. Unable to suppress her temper, Serena growled. His gaze flashed to her and she felt it all the way to her womb. Damn but he was hot. Life was just not fair.

She challenged him—head up, shoulders back—inspecting him from top to bottom and allowing her gaze to linger, as if she were checking for fleas. His shoulders were broad and filled his Italian suit to perfection. His broad chest narrowed to athletic hips, and she would bet money that his belly sported a six-pack, and not of the beer variety. He had the kind of face that artists wanted to sculpt and women wanted to sit on. His eyes were the piece de resistance—large, dark brown and thick-lashed beneath perfectly arched brows.

In short, he was a god—or a male model. This was the kind of male who never looked twice at Serena because she wasn’t tall and thin, or tiny and doll-like. She had yet to meet a male wolf who wanted a woman with curves, but this kind of wolf was the worst. These wolves wanted trophy bitches.

“Who are you?” His voice cut the air like a knife.

She lifted her chin when the bastard stared her down. How dare he try to intimidate her? She was an alpha female, damn it!

Serena Goldwolf’s head shot up at the irate shout coming from the outer office of her shapeshifter matchmaking business, Predator-Match.com. She brushed her bangs off her forehead with a sigh. Damn it, couldn’t anyone in this office take care of stuff without her intervention?

The male voice continued to roar out there, and she knew her secretary wouldn’t be able to handle him because Kara was such an omega even omega males dominated her. Serena sighed again, saved her database update and headed out to confront the wolf male jerk. Serena took in the male outrage with a shake of her head. Asshole. He shook his head as if he’d heard her. Yeah right. She wished.

“I’m sorry, sir. Really.” Kara huddled in her chair, her head dipped and her eyes on her desktop. Submission in her posture and her voice.

“You people set me up with some stalker bitch! I want to talk to one of the owners, now.” A tall black-haired man with dark-brown eyes leaned on the desk, his large hands flat on the wood.

Serena took him in, her body responding immediately. Damn it. She didn’t need this shit, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him. He wore a very expensive, black Italian suit, Italian black leather loafers, a crisp white shirt and red tie. The ultimate in power wear for the busy executive. And he was so good-looking he resembled an escapee from Fashion Week. She shook her head to remind herself that he wasn’t all that…he was just a wolf like any other.

Heads hung out of office doors, watching the confrontation with enjoyment, yet no one came to Kara’s rescue. Probably glad to be out of firing range themselves…that’s what she got for hiring betas. The females all wanted him and the males would jump to follow his orders.

Female musk clogged the air. Especially from Lea Redcat, one of her business partners. Predator-Match.com was damn successful. To the outside world, their site looked like a zoo animal match service. To the shapeshifter community, it was a way to find a lover or a life partner. Since Lea was allowing this thing to escalate, it looked like Serena to the rescue. Again.

“I’m really sorry, sir. We do our best to match our clients up with the best fit for them.” Kara cringed lower behind her desk and wouldn’t meet the man’s eyes. Typical omega posture. The male frowned.

“Are you saying you think I deserve a psycho bitch as my Mate?” His quiet voice seemed to scare Kara more than his shouting had because she backed up. It wouldn’t be long before she crawled under her desk.

“No s-s-sir,” Kara stammered.

Damn that bastard. He was done scaring Kara. Unable to suppress her temper, Serena growled. His gaze flashed to her and she felt it all the way to her womb. Damn but he was hot. Life was just not fair.

She challenged him—head up, shoulders back—inspecting him from top to bottom and allowing her gaze to linger, as if she were checking for fleas. His shoulders were broad and filled his Italian suit to perfection. His broad chest narrowed to athletic hips, and she would bet money that his belly sported a six-pack, and not of the beer variety. He had the kind of face that artists wanted to sculpt and women wanted to sit on. His eyes were the piece de resistance—large, dark brown and thick-lashed beneath perfectly arched brows.

In short, he was a god—or a male model. This was the kind of male who never looked twice at Serena because she wasn’t tall and thin, or tiny and doll-like. She had yet to meet a male wolf who wanted a woman with curves, but this kind of wolf was the worst. These wolves wanted trophy bitches.

“Who are you?” His voice cut the air like a knife.

She lifted her chin when the bastard stared her down. How dare he try to intimidate her? She was an alpha female, damn it!

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