We are so excited to tell you that Forbidden Heat is live!
Damien Lowell, future pack leader of the wolf-shifters, has found himself in an impossible situation. Cat-shifters and wolf-shifters aren’t friends, and what she doesn’t know is that his father is behind her attack. He only meant to prevent her from being kidnapped, and he now has the wounded princess of the cat-shifters in his custody.
But when the heat becomes too much to handle, Damien and Payton must choose whether to follow their instincts or question the forbidden.
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When alpha of the Minnesota Pride, Vance Llewelyn, called the emergency meeting at ten o’clock at night, Saxon Einar never thought it would concern something so serious.
“Also, we are one sentinel down because whoever is behind these attacks mistook Sawyer for Vaughn.”
Vance explained how someone had broken into Vaughn and Naya’s new home while they were gone, but Sawyer, one of his fellow sentinels, and Naya’s friend Kenzie had been getting it ready for the new couple to move in. The intruders had mistaken Sawyer and Kenzie for Vaughn and Naya.
Also, Payton had been on the phone with her mother when she was taken. Their distraught alphena had heard her daughter’s abduction through the phone.
The news was sudden and shocking. They had lived in relative peace for many years, and the last thing Saxon had expected
was to hear of attempts on the lives of the alpha’s family.
“Correction,” Vance continued, his blue eyes filled with many emotions, “we are down two. Until we know what is going on, Vaughn has taken Naya to stay with the Guardians, and she refuses to stay there without him.” Vance looked at his mate. “Honestly, it is probably for the best,” he said to Lilith more than anyone else.
He turned back to the group. “Because someone has decided to come after my family, we will go to an undisclosed location. We can’t be sure that Lilith and I won’t be next. However, I am still your alpha, and I am still in charge. Just because you can’t see me doesn’t me I’m not running the show.
“Right now, we know that Sawyer and Kenzie were kidnapped by humans. Before the line went dead, Sawyer managed to tell me he detected a faint trace of wolf odor on them. It’s not much, but it’s a start, and we will get to the bottom of this.
“Tegan, Camden, Reid, and Saxon will be coming with me, and they will be the only ones to know where we are going. First, Saxon and Tegan, check out the scene at the restaurant where Payton had dinner and see if you can find anything. Zane, you will stay here and monitor the bunkhouse, looking for anything unusual. Make sure you have your cell on you at all times. Phoenix, you will join Vaughn.”
There was a distinct huff in the crowd.
“Boss, are you sure that’s necessary?” Phoenix asked.
She was really asking why she had to go babysit. Everyone knew Phoenix liked being close to the action. She punched Zane in the shoulder while her emerald green eyes shot fire. It only made him laugh harder, and Saxon shook his head at the sentinels’ insensitivity to the situation. Phoenix was pretty easy to piss off, and sometimes, it could be fun to rile her up, but this was not the time to joke around. When Vance gave Zane a look, he wiped the smile off his face.
Their alpha turned his attention to Phoenix. “Yes, I’m sure. While I’m certain the Guardians will do an excellent job at protecting Naya, she is carrying my future grandchildren. I want a sentinel there who is not her mate. Understood?” His tone was firm and told Phoenix there should be no further questions on the matter.
Phoenix swallowed. “Yes, sir.”
“Good. Vaughn will call you in half an hour with directions.” He addressed the whole group again, “Also, we will not tell anyone that Sawyer and Kenzie have been abducted in Vaughn and Naya’s place. This is another reason we are sending them to the Guardians. I know Sawyer smelled wolves, but my gut tells me someone closer is behind this. The kidnappers had too much information. Not many knew Vaughn was moving, much less where. So, if anyone asks, say Sawyer is out questioning others. There is a chance the kidnappers will dispose of Sawyer and Kenzie if their real identities are discovered.” Vance glanced around the room. “Any questions?”
A round of, “No, sir,” echoed throughout the room.
“Everyone, go pack. We’ll meet back here in twenty.”
Everybody hurried to the bunkhouse. There were eight sentinels, and now that Vaughn had moved, seven lived in the bunkhouse to be close to the alpha and his family.
Saxon walked into the room he shared with Reid and began packing. Always prepared for anything, Saxon already had a bag ready to go, so he was finished in no time.
Next, he headed to Zane and Camden’s room. Camden was still new, and Saxon wanted to make sure he didn’t need help. When he entered, Zane was leaning back with his elbows on his bed while Camden grabbed a bag from the closet.
Saxon parked next to Zane and watched Camden scrub his hands through his blond hair. His lean build was filled with tension as he stuffed supplies into his bag.
“Can you believe this? Who would hurt Payton? Or Vaughn and Naya?” Because Camden wasn’t from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, he hadn’t grown up with their history.
“Well, it’s been ten years, but the only one I can think of is Dwyer Lowell,” Saxon said.
“It’s possible. But why would he wait all this time?” Zane asked.
“Do you think he’s the one behind this?” Camden asked.
Zane sat up. “I don’t know, but I know the boss isn’t going to give up until he finds out. I’m sure you guys will track him down by the end of the week.” He hit Saxon on the arm. “Right?”
“Without a doubt,” Saxon said. Whoever was behind this was going to regret crossing them.
“Fuck,” Zane said under his breath.
They both knew someone had to stay behind to watch the property, but it didn’t mean Zane was happy about it.
Camden finished and swung his bag over his shoulder. “Who knows? Maybe they’ll show up here, and you can take them out, Zane.”
As Saxon stood, Zane grunted and replied, “Maybe,” but they all knew he didn’t mean it.
Whoever was behind this had to know their alpha was smart enough to go to a secondary location, considering everything that had happened.
“Sorry,” Camden said with sincerity before he left the room.
Zane shot him the finger behind his back. He hated being pitied.
Saxon followed but paused in the doorway. “You never know. Maybe you’ll get lucky, and something exciting will happen,” he offered Zane.
He snorted in response and flopped back on the bed. “Yeah, right, and maybe an angel will fall from heaven and screw my brains out.”
Dante Leonidas looked around at each of the Guardians—the protectors of the Vampire species—from his position in front of his desk. The nine of them—himself, Ram, Hunter, Tempest, Declan, Sterling, Morgan, and the siblings, Lennox and Lexine—sat in his office at the manor where they lived and worked. With a group their size and news this big, a lot of strong feelings were in the room.
“To reiterate, Princess Anaya will arrive here soon with her shifter mate along with one of his sentinels.”
Dante had called the meeting right after he’d gotten the phone call, and they had spent the last ten minutes discussing the princess and how they would help.
“We will accommodate them and do whatever we can to assist them.” Dante pointed around the room. “And everyone will keep their opinions to themselves.” He dropped his hand and asked, “Does anyone have any questions?”
“So, we’re allies with them now?” Lexine asked.
Her twin brother, Lennox, snorted. Even though they were fraternal twins, they both had the same blond hair and green eyes. They were an uncommon sight as one didn’t see twins often among vampires.
“Yes,” Dante answered. “They have threatened the princess’s life and her future offspring. If they need our help at taking down whoever is behind this, we are going to help them.”
There were murmurs all around.
Dante held up his hands, and everyone quieted. “Have any of you personally had problems with the shifters?”
Ram scoffed. “They seem to have more problems among themselves.”
“They are half animal,” Tempest said with a raised brow.
Dante slammed his palm on the desk. “This is going to stop.” His patience was wearing thin as these weren’t the first comments made toward the shifters. “Even the king and queen are trying to get along with them. Most of what you believe is what your parents told you. Now, I’ll ask again, have any of you personally had a problem with a shifter?” Dante didn’t wait for their answers because he already knew what they would say. “No. You are judging them on biased information and stereotypes.”
He paused and took a calming breath. “Look. We are going to work together whether you want it to happen or not. Princess Anaya is mated to a shifter. She is having his children. An alliance is inevitable, and you’re all going to have to accept it—the sooner, the better.”
Grumbles sounded throughout the room.
Dante grunted. “I thought we were more cultured than this.” He ran his hand down his face. “I’m older than every one of you. I should be the most unwilling to change.”
Morgan spoke up, “You’re right. If the princess can mate with a shifter, we should try to get along with them, especially if the king and queen are trying.”
Everyone knew they were the most prejudiced vampires.
Dante breathed a sigh of relief but didn’t let it show. He was truly trying to keep an open mind, but centuries of prejudice didn’t disappear in a week. He had plenty to work on with himself. He didn’t need to babysit eight others. “Thank you.”
The first thing Sawyer Lennar noticed upon waking was the movement underneath him. Next were the pungent odors of oil and grease saturating the area, followed by the pounding in his head. The last and most alarming thing was that he was tied up and gagged.
He struggled to orient himself, and steadily, bits and pieces of what had happened came to him. He had been upstairs at Vaughn and Naya’s house, helping to get the place ready for them to move in. Kenzie, Naya’s best friend, had been downstairs, painting the bathroom, when he heard her scream. He’d run to help, but two humans had met him.
His last memories before now were the smell of wolf-shifters, a loud bang, and a pain in his chest.
Have I been shot?
He concentrated on his upper body, and nothing more than a small ache remained. Also, the clothes against his skin were dry, which meant he’d been shot with a dart, not a bullet. It was no wonder that he was still groggy.
He peeked under his eyelids, not wanting to alert anyone that he was awake in case he was being watched. He assessed his surroundings. He was in a van, empty of any backseats, with an unconscious Kenzie lying across from him, but no one else was in the rear. He slowly turned his head toward the front and saw two men.
Sawyer tuned in to their conversation. After a few seconds, he realized they were talking about Kenzie and him.
Correction—they were talking about Vaughn and Naya.
He closed his eyes. Shit.
They thought they had kidnapped Vaughn and Naya. They didn’t know they had snatched the wrong people.
Sawyer needed to get Kenzie’s attention and somehow let her know they had to pretend to be people they weren’t. He also needed to get rid of whatever drug they had put in his system. Until the effects wore off, he would only have the strength and reflexes of a human, probably less. Their captors had known what they were doing, and they had come prepared.
“Kenzie,” he said. At least, that was what he’d tried to say anyway. With the gag in his mouth, it’d come out as a muffled groan.
He grunted, and the sound of the engine drowned most of it out, but she gradually started to come around. When he was sure she was conscious, he grunted once more. Her lids shot up, and her brown eyes filled with fear.
She looked toward the front of the van. Her eyes went wide when she heard the two men mention Naya and Vaughn as the intended victims.
When she looked back at him, Sawyer tried to show her with his eyes that he was going to get them out of this mess and that everything would be okay. Most importantly, he wanted her to know that he’d die before he let anyone hurt her—ever.