Friday, 30 May 2014

SENTINELS OF VARNUSE: When The Walls Come Tumbling Down #16.

It had been a week since Brayden had disappeared. Quinlan couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t eat, and most of all he couldn’t think straight without his husband by his side. In fact he couldn’t think at all. Everyone and everything irritated him—everyone that is, except his own children. Quinlan had taken to letting them sleep in his bed at night. He needed the comfort of their closeness just as much as they needed his.

Quinlan leant against the window ledge as he stared out over Panthea. He was trying to work out in his own mind how all of this was worth it if he didn’t have Brayden by his side. His heart ached for the missing peace to be returned to him. There was only one thing left to do. If no one could find Brayden he would just have to do it himself. First he would take up an ancient act—he’d send a message to the gods for guidance on his journey to find his husband. One long ago when kings were in need of guidance they’d use the pool in the meditation room to send messages, questions, and requests to the gods in hopes of getting a response. The longer Quinlan thought about it, the more he thought it was the right thing to do. With his mind made up he turned and faced the occupants of the room.

“Brayden is somewhere out there waiting for me to come and rescue him.” He stared at each of them in turn. From Talon with his battle worn face, to Javier standing right next to him, his hand strayed to Talon’s arm as if seeking is own comfort. Cleric Saskia and Mylo were standing off to the side with sadness all over their faces. Yet, it was the fierce look on Ingrid’s face that gave him the most heart.

“So that’s what I’m going to do. Someone took something of mine… without my permission, and I want it back. If one hair has been harmed on his head I’ll end whoever have laid their hands on him. I’ll show no mercy for the people involved in the taking of Brayden. They lost the right to mercy the moment they took the Kings Consort—my husband.”

“So what’s the plan?” Talon asked.

Ingrid snarled, “We hunt the bastards down, and I say we start with Lord Dalziel and his prick of a son.”

Quinlan’s eyes bugged out, he hadn’t even thought that Brayden's family could be involved. Not that he believed Fane Dalziel was truly involved there was something about the guy that didn’t seem the harmful type. There was more to his story and Quinlan was determined to find out what was going on.

“Bring them in.”
How stupid could have been not to think of the family who had held Brayden prisoner for half his life? Especially since Ormand had given Brayden the ‘Heart of Panthea’. If either man had a part in Brayden's disappearance they would pay.


Quinlan sat on his throne as Fane Dalziel was led into the room by two well armed guards. He momentarily wondered why Lord Dalziel looked so melancholy. He waited as Lord Dalziel sunk to his knees before him.
“Where is my husband?”

Lord Dalziel stared up at him in a somewhat confused expression. Overwhelming sadness seemed to emanate from every pore of the older man. Something was definitely wrong here.

“Where is my husband?” Quinlan repeated menacingly.

Tears formed in Lord Dalziel’s eyes, as he whispered. “I do not know.”

Quinlan glared at Lord Dalziel for a moment before turning his attention to the guards. “Where is Ormand?”

Both guards knelt before their king. “Ormand was nowhere on Lord Dalziel’s estate. We still have sentinels out searching for him throughout the city—he will be found.”

Quinlan returned his attention to Lord Dalziel. “Where is your son? He can’t hide from me forever?”

“Ormand is not my son.” Lord Dalziel dropped his eyes. “I’m not his father, he’s my nephew.”

“What?” Quinlan sat up straighter as he waited for Lord Dalziel to continue. Now the truth was coming out.

“I lost my life partner many years ago. Ormand is his wife’s child.”

Quinlan’s mind raced with the possibilities of had just been said. Ormand looked too much like him to not be a blood relative and Lord Dalziel had already said he was the man’s uncle.

“Then that would mean...” his sentence trailed off as Javier and Talon entered the room. Lord Dalziel seemed oblivious to their approach.

“I only have one son left, and I want to find him as much as you do.” Tears fell from his eyes. “I promised Thayer if anything happened to him, I would care for our sons... and now I’ve lost them all.”

“King Thayer was my father.” Javier tilted his head and stared at Lord Dalziel. “How can you be my father?” His voice seemed to hold more curiosity then anger.

Lord Dalziel cried out when he finally registered Javier was alive. “My son.” He reached out but dropped his hand before making contact. Hanging his head he sobbed into his hands.

“Lord Dalziel... Fane...” Quinlan called to the grieving man. “I need you to explain this to us.”

Javier walked over and knelt beside Lord Dalziel and gently patted his arm. “Talk to us.”

Lord Dalziel’s shoulder’s shook. “Thayer is... was my mate. My sister, his wife betrayed him. I thought I’d lost everything that day. When I found Brayden among the carnage. I took him home and kept him safe, just like I promise Thayer I would do.”

“Why only Brayden?” Javier’s voice dropped to a whisper. “If you’re my father too, then why did you not want me as well?”

Tear stained eyes turned to Javier. “You weren’t there, I searched, but I couldn’t find you or Thayer anywhere. The guards thought wild animals had taken your bodies.” Fane looked beseechingly at his son. “I searched for you for days.”

“I believe you,” Javier wrapped his arm around his father’s shoulders.

Quinlan watched on as he shook his head in disbelief. “I can’t believe what you’re telling us is true. Because I remember all that shyte Ormand spouted the day I named Brayden as my consort. If you love your sons like you say then why did you let him call our union an abomination?”

“Ormand knows Brayden is my child. If I did anything against his wishes, he threatened to harm you both.” Lord Dalziel rubbed a hand over his tired eyes. “Ormand has too much of his mother in him. He was the reason I kept Brayden secluded. The few times they were together Ormand found ways to hurt him.” Lord Dalziel turned to the King. “I love my son... the both of them, just as I loved their father.”

Quinlan nodded. “Then we find what has been taken from us. We find it, and we bring him home.”

“Yes!” Both Fane and Javier shouted in unison.

“So the hunt begins.”

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Beautiful According To Me...

This Picture is just screaming for it's story to be told.

I just really like this one.

I just want to know...everything.

I think we all want to know the story behind this one.

Again I just need to know.

Simply stunning...

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Playing Catch Up

Today I made it to just over half way on Lancaster's Way 2: A Different Way Of Seeing. and I'm kinda at a stumbling block. I need something that happens in the first couple of chapters in this book to bleed over into the next book LW 3: Pre-loved.

Also just received first edits on Toowoomba Boys 3: Dancing With Demons so you all know what I'll be doing tomorrow. Plus I have to do the blurbs and the cover art request for them--somebody forgot to do them--not saying it's me--just someone...LOL.

Okay on that note I'm off to do some gardening--more so that I have replanting to do. Some of me plants have come to the end of their lifespan and it's time for something new.

Monday, 26 May 2014

My HAHAT Blog Hop Winners...

And my winners are...

$25 Gift Voucher

First Book
Experimentals 1: Blessed With A Curse
Caddy Rowland

Second Book
TLOM 1: The Rules Are Meant To Be Broken
Michelle Rae

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Hop Against Homophobia And Transgender...

This hop is meant for a good cause and I believe bringing awareness to the fact that not everyone is out with pitchforks in the medieval style hunt on all things that HAHAT stands for. Yes… people get ticked off that we offer give-aways and prizes, but to me this is just something we hoppers are doing to say thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read our thoughts on the matter.

So yes I am offering up to two people free copies from something from my back list in books. To gain such gifts all you need to do is leave me a comment with your contact details, and the name of the book should you be the lucky winner… you will be in the draw twice if you are in my followers list… so feel free to join my list of followers if you like...Also telling me that your also in my list might help too. Though, my major prize is a $25 Amazon Voucher… or… Bookstrand, as they are the only two places I know how to send out gift vouchers from. I’m old school so my winners will be picked by the never failing pull a name out of the hat method.

I think you should all check out for yourselves the website for the International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia they can explain things so much better than I ever could. They have important information if you have the time to take a moment to navigate their site and read what’s on offer. You can eve find them on their facebook page IDAHAT—The Global Page

Also I think it’s a fantastic idea for you to go and check out all the other wonderful people who are taking part in this hop here is the HAHAT blog where you can find links to everyone else…

Now for my actual post: Bear with me as I have a tendency to ramble—a lot. Those of you who visited my site last year will already know this about me.

I’m a big believer in all people are created equal. I also believe we should all have equal rights when it comes to marriage or just the laws in general. I never understood how certain people think it’s okay to make rules and provide judgement on people they don’t even know—seems idiotic to me.

Having said that think we should discuss what phobias against any sort of sexual orientation means. To me love is love and what package the person comes in shouldn’t matter.

I have a couple of friends where after meeting these men they didn’t feel comfortable telling me they were gay—even though I had already guessed the first day I met them. I didn’t push them for confirmation on their sexuality preferring them to come to tell me naturally—more than likely after they had gauged my reaction. Truthfully I didn’t mind at all.

Eventually they told me, but it wasn’t until after they found out what sort of books I write—MM paranormal and romance. I’ve never been one to hide away what I do. Mind you, I can understand why there is that need for some. I’m more the take me as I am and I will return the favour.

I think as individuals the human race is smart but sling s all together and we form mob mentality… and too willingly follow the lead of others even if they are raving bigots. So I’m telling you for the love of Mike—grow a set, and make up your own minds about people. Don’t get your hate on just because some drongo tells you, you should. No one knows you better than you do yourself so why in the hell would you listen to what people who don’t think you fit what they believe is normal… again I have to say, who the hell are they to decide?

One of the things I can’t stand is people who spout bullshit for religious reason against Homosexuals, Lesbians, Transgender, and Queergendered people. Honestly, unless Jesus/Allah/Buddha or any other religious entity turns up on my doorstep to tell me differently, then I’m never going to believe such loving people would never turn against someone all because of who they choose to love. The mere thought to me is inconceivable.

If only one thing comes out of this hop—I hope it’s that you might be able to see people as no better and no worse than you are. Maybe even smile at a person because you never know when a smile or a kind word of understanding could stop a tragedy from occurring. Too many times we have heard of people ending their own existence because of how people look down on them and speak in hatred just because their sexual orientation doesn’t fit the norm. Seriously, what is normal anyway?

Am I normal? Not hardly… but that’s the thing that makes the world so wonderful. If we all were the same then life would become boring—we need the diversity each and every one of us offers… just to make life a tad more interesting.

I’m not gay… nor am I a lesbian… I’m not transgender… or even queergender… what I am is human. I don’t think I’m a better person than anyone else I meet. I’m happy to take you as you are as long as you are honest with me—and yourself. I think what I’m trying to say here is be who you are… more so be proud of who you are. Don’t let anyone get you down because they’re too blind to see what a truly wonderful person you are. When life gets too much always remember that’s somewhere in a little part of Queensland, Australia, there’s a person who has your back. We may never meet face to face or even talk to each other in any way shape or form. Just know that I believe in you… I think you are perfect just the way you are.

You are truly meant to shine—not conform to the wants of others.

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by my blog and reading what I have to say. You may not agree with me, but I think you are all awesome anyway.

Friday, 16 May 2014

My Day Thus Far...

I spent part of yesterday and most of the morning beta reading for a friend of mineVona Logan on her LL story for Goodreads... I loved it. All I can truly tell you is that tissues may be required... seriously, I could have read this storyline forever. So do yourself a favour and make sure you check it out when it becomes available.

Today I'm also itchy as... My stitches are starting to heal and drive me insane... When I get these out I have the joy of getting moretwice more...

I've already written up my post for the HAHAT blog hop for tomorrow. So I just have to cut and pastebusy day ahead of me.

Other than that, I've been stocking up on my office supplies before tax time rolls around in July.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sentinels Of Varnuse: When The Walls Come Tumbling Down # 15

Brayden sat against the inner wall of the training facility and watched as Talon put the others through their paces. His hand rubbed absently over his slightly distended stomach. The truth was he was worried his pregnancy was going to make whoever was after him more determined to capture or take out their prize. Worse was that fact he didn’t even know why they wanted to kill him was making him really upset. Yes, he could technically turn into a cat, but it was something he’d never even attempted. Quinlan had forbidden him from trying until after the baby was born—he knew his husband was concerned for the safety of both he and the babe.

A strong part of him wished this wasn’t happening at all. Everything still seemed like a dream. Here he was Consort to the King—and a man at that. He was carrying the child of the king and third in line for the throne of Panthea. This was just the sort of things fairy tales where made up of. Things like this never happened in real life, yet here he was as living proof that it could happen.

Sighing, Brayden stood up and tenderly rubbed his back. The damn thing would ache endlessly if he sat in the same position for too long. Walking around the perimeter of the training yard Brayden stretched out his body. He was tired of being outside, but Quinlan had requested that until the babe was born they shouldn’t be apart—safety in numbers, or something to that effect. Brayden heard Quinlan yelling out instructions as Mylo and Talon sparred. The day was getting hotter by the second. Brayden made his way over to the small communal well to get a drink of water to cool himself down.

“Let us help you highness.” Brayden smiled as one of the servants ran forward and extracted water for Brayden to drink. How sweet, most of the population still didn’t know how to take him—it was nice that these two were willing to try.

“Thank you.” Brayden brought the cup to his lips and grimaced at the bitter taste of the water. For some reason it almost tasted off. Brayden didn’t even have time to call out before he realised what had happened, and he fought like crazy as the darkness came rushing up to claim him. He saw the others were still training. All eyes locked on the two men attacking each other. They didn’t notice other men come in and help carry Brayden away.
This was so not good.


“Where the hell is my husband?” Quinlan stormed furiously around the great hall as yet another search came up empty handed. “How could Brayden have disappeared without one person seeing him being taken away?” Quinlan demanded from everyone present.

Quinlan knew he was just as guilty as any of the others. For crying out loud Brayden was his husband—his to protect, and this had just proven how royally he had screwed up. When he realised Brayden was missing he ordered his children be brought to him, he needed them close by to make sure neither of them were also being targeted. He found it hard now listening to them both sobbing because they missed Brayden terribly. The man they called papa, and come to love just as much as they did Quinlan. He wanted to soothe them, and hold them in his arms until telling them everything was going to be alright. But deep down he didn’t know if he would be telling them the truth. His heart broke as he thought about the many horrific things that could be happening right now to the man who had always owned his heart.


Brayden woke to find someone gently tapping him on the face. His eyes fluttered open, and he confusedly stared into the eyes of a man he’d not seen since his childhood. How was this even possible?

“Father?” Brayden asked in shock as he started at the thin and ragged man who knelt at his side.

“Shhh, my beautiful son,” tears glistened in Thayer Caldwell’s eyes, “I had wished to see my children one last time before I passed on to the great beyond. My wish has been granted.”

“Father, how? You’re supposed to be dead. Quinlan is now King of Panthea.”

“It is a long story, my son. I’ve been kept prisoner here since the day they killed your mother and brother. I was told you had died in the slaughter as well. Are you a dream?”

“Oh, Father,” Brayden slowly rose into a sitting position. He needed his father’s help as the room was still spinning slightly, and that was making him feel nauseous.  “Father, Javier still lives. He was rescued the same as I—except he went to live with Ingrid’s family, and Uncle took me.”

His father nodded as he listened. “How have you been my son?”

“I’m now married to Quinlan. I’m the Consort of Panthea.” Brayden said warily.

Again his father nodded. “That would be correct and as it should be. With our kind we need a male partner, if we are to reproduce. We need the added strength that comes with a male partner.”

“Then you know what I am?” Brayden paled and tried to move away. “You know what Javier is?”

“Yes,” sadness filled his eyes. “You’re as I am—a descendant of the ancient ones.”

“Then what about Mother? If you needed a male partner, then who?”

A tear slowly tracked its way down his father's cheek. “Your uncle... Fane was my fated mate.”

“Lord Dalziel?” Brayden spat. “He kept me a prisoner from the time I was ten.”

His father shook his head. “He would have been protecting you. Fane knew what you were. He would have been protecting you because you’re also his son.”

“What?” Brayden all but screamed.

“He sired you. Your mother is his sister. She always knew what Fane meant to me—that we needed to be together. Lillus married me so I could love Fane with my whole heart, and not worry if others would try and take him away from me. And then in the end she was the one who betrayed us. She and her lover decided they wanted to rule in my stead. They sent Fane away and then tried to wipe out our family.”

“What of Ormand?” Brayden asked as he moved close to his father to offer comfort. “Please tell me he’s not my brother.”

“Ormand is the child of Lillus and Orran.” He had been sent away with Fane. “She must have thought she was protecting him by doing so.”

“Father, what are we going to do? How do we get out of here? I need to be with Quinlan when the babe is born.”

His father stared down at his stomach. “How far along are you?”

“I have four more months until the child is birthed. I can’t do this without Quinlan. I’m not strong enough to go through this alone.”

A thoughtful look settled on his father’s face. “Then we’ll have to escape. I’ll make sure to get you back to your husband if it the last thing in this life that I accomplish.”

“Uncle…Fane is still there. He lives just outside the city limits on the family estate. They both do—he lives there with Ormand.”

“I will get you home.” His father repeated.

“Both of us, Father. You must get us both home. Promise me.”

“I promise.”

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Okay, so I may have been listening to a little too much David Bowie today, but shit happens. Today I've been trying to work out just what I want to happen in Lancaster's Way 2: A Different Way Of Seeing. I have just over 2k done and I don't want to get too far ahead of myself only to have to go back through and change stuff. I need for the story to conclude so that book three: Pre-loved already has you wanting to find out what happens... I promise not to let it go so long between books again.

Also my kindle died... it has been fricken frozen for three days now so I have to decide whether to buy a new one or just hope that this one eventually resets itself and starts working again. I have spent a good couple of hours researching new ones and I'm just not sure which way to go... I know a kindle fire would be a waste of money seeing as I already have a couple of tablets. So what do you guys think? I miss my books being so easy to access... and my kindle was so easy to use and takes up way less space then my tablets do.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


Have you ever heard two more beautiful words when you're an author than **THE END** that's what I've just written in Toowoomba Boys 3: Dancing With Demons. I've only seconds ago sent it off to the beta reader to get his take on the story line.

Tomorrow a lot sooner than I thought I'll be starting on Lancaster's Way 2: A Different Way Of Seeing. So the picture of the two shirtless cowboys is to get me in the mood to write Chase's story.

On other news I never heard back from the doctors so I'm assuming all is well and they removed enough of area around the Basal Cell Carcinoma so that it's all gone.

I've also sent the wonderful Christie N and updated version of the stories heading her way as I catch up on all my series with MLRpress. I know they won't all be released at once but I should have a nice selection between now and the end of the year.

Monday, 12 May 2014

What's Up...

Today I've been working on Toowoomba Boys 3: Dancing With Demons. I'm hoping to have it finished tomorrow or by Wednesday at the latest. I just need to end off the bad shit that happens to come to it's conclusion. then it's off to the beta reader and I hope to have it at least subbed by next week.

Another section of the house renovations got done today. I will be glad when we at least have the front section completed. I need a front entrance again.

Talked with Lily V from Wayward Ink Press again today. I still have all my fingers crossed that I'm offered a contract, as they have some brilliant ideas about my story The Gaean Prophecies 1: Admetus Gaea that I subbed with them. I'll let you know more as soon as I know more.

Talked to my awesome editor Christie N at MLRPress about what's next on my agenda for her. I feel like I'm finally starting to get back into the groove of writing. There are many stories on my next in line list heading her way.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Happy Mother's Day...

To all the wonderful mother's in the world for putting up with all our crap throughout the years.
Love you all
from the children

Saturday, 10 May 2014

New Release ~ At MLRPress

When war calls the Sons of Evenmore answer...who else will stand at their side?

Attacks are becoming more frequent. The Sons of Evenmore soon realise all isn't what it appears. The people fighting them seem to be confused about just whose side they're on.

The war continues as Jhex, Mercer, and Dom find out the path to being mates can be as rough as any battle they've ever fought.

Outside help is called in and Alpha Scott Creely answers. It would seem they have the same enemy, and need to share information if they want to survive what's coming for them.

So much had happened in the Evenmore Coven since Mannix had found his mate--especially since his mate had turned out to be the Crimson Grimoire, the keeper of all the truest histories for every known species, and now the most wanted man in the known world. Everyone wanted to get their hands on Jynx and the powers he possessed. Little did they know Jynx didn't have complete control over his gift. At the moment he just blurted out random shit at odd times and then couldn't remember what he had said as soon as he'd finished speaking. As weird as the guy was, Jynx was still one of Jhex's best friends.

Jhex watched the people who were sitting in the cafeteria with him. Once upon a time there was only his family living in the Evenmore Compound, and now there were so many different people it made Jhex's head spin. Lately all he wanted to do was make use of his powers and freeze them all just so he could get five minutes of peace and quiet.

They never had to go out and find the war because the damn thing was coming to them. A lot of people grumbled and placed the blame firmly on the shoulders of the Ring of Olluns, yet it didn't stop them from coming and seeking shelter and protection from them. Since it was now known the Evenmore Coven had taken in the Olluns and joined forces with the Cervola wolf pack, every damn day it seemed like someone new was knocking at the door seeking asylum. Luckily, after a few near assassinations and kidnapping attempts on Jynx's life, there were now measures put in place to weed out those who weren't truly seeking sanctuary.

His gaze locked onto his friend and he smiled. In the past few months Jynx had let his hair grow out. Strangely it seemed to grow a lot faster than a normal person's, and was already brushing against the tops of his shoulders. His midnight dark hair stood out in contrast to the snow white colour of his mate's hair. They appeared deep in conversation and by the frown on Mannix's face Jhex could only assume they were once again discussing Phoenix, the younger brother of Mannix, and Braxx. The poor guy still hadn't woken up from his ordeal with the humans who had captured and tortured him. In fact, Phoenix's ongoing coma was a worry to all. They needed him awake so he could fill them in on who had betrayed him. So many questions left unanswered. Every time they contacted the Challus Coven their answers were always evasive. It seemed almost as if the members were too scared to tell them what was going on. If Phoenix didn't wake up soon, Knox was going to send someone into the Challus Coven's territory to find out what the hell was going on.

Mercer had already volunteered to go--and didn't that just feel like a kick in the arse!

As things now stood, Mercer was still refusing to claim him--the fucker. Each time a full moon was headed their way Mercer was always off on some mission, and then argued how until he was certain there would be no claiming. The problem was without him being around during the full moon there was never going to be a chance for Mercer to be certain. The way things were going it was looking more and more like the man just didn't want to have anything to do with him. Most people thought it was hilarious, but the teasing among his coven was starting to get to him. Now all he did was try and avoid everyone, which was getting harder to do. Hence the reason he was now sitting by himself sipping on a cup of AB negative. At least alone he didn't have to listen to anyone's taunts.

Jhex was really starting to believe there was something wrong with him. You'd think with everyone now living together I'd find it easier to make friends. Why the hell is everyone avoiding me? Even his best friend Jynx always appeared to be busy.

The sound of someone speaking so close made him jump, making him feel foolish. Quickly looking up, he smiled at Dominic Cervola. He wondered how long the man had been standing there.

"Jhex, are you even listening to me?" Dom demanded as he slid into the chair opposite him.

With a shake of his head, he asked, "Could you repeat the question?"

"I asked if I could sit here with you."

"Sure." Jhex smiled. Dominic--or Dom as he preferred to be called--had a way of making everyone around him feel comfortable.

Jhex had always believed the man would have been more suited as the omega rather than the pack beta. He supposed being the alpha's brother determined his destiny since he was young. Dom wasn't exactly pretty, yet in Jhex's opinion he did have the most amazing tawny coloured eyes which appeared almost molten when you looked into their depths. Dom usually had well-trimmed, dark if somewhat scraggly chic, long hair. The way it was now had Jhex believing the guy had lost a bet and had let someone cut it blindfolded. For being a pack beta the guy was all right; not uptight like other pack betas he'd met in his life time, mainly because he was one of the few people who didn't mind sitting and having a conversation with Jhex.

"Where's Mercer? Haven't seen him around lately."

"How would I know?" Jhex shrugged. "The man hardly ever talks to me--it's like I have the black plague or something. In case you haven't noticed, most people act like I don't exist anymore." He couldn't help the bitterness which saturated his voice.

Dom grinned at him. "I don't know why people treat you that way. I think you're a hoot to be around."

At least someone didn't mind being in his presence. Lately his own coven hadn't been ignoring him exactly, but since the fiasco at the pack mall they had kept him under a watchful eye, and just like Jynx, he'd been banned from leaving the coven compound. You get kidnapped by the enemy once and no one lets you live it down--he was dubbed a screw-up for life. His attention came back to the here and now when Dom spoke.

"Do you want to go to the movies with me? I hear Thor: The Dark World is supposed to be pretty good."

The question threw Jhex for a moment and his brain had to do a double take for the words to sink in. "Are you asking me out on a date? A real date?"

"Yeah, yeah I am. I've been cooped up in this place for way too long and I feel the need to get out before I go bat-shit-crazy."

"I'm in." Jhex wanted to fist pump the air. This one small invitation had lightened his mood considerably. "What time do you want to sneak out of here? Because I can guarantee you the coven won't want me going out into the populace on my own. Three months since I was taken and they are still watching me like a hawk."

A deep chuckle resonated from Dom. "Have you ever thought they worry about you so much because they care what happens to you?"

"More like they don't want me to screw-up again. Mercer is still blaming me for getting kidnapped from the mall all those months ago when we went to rescue Jynx. Was it my fault someone knocked me out and carried my arse away?" Jhex snorted in disgust.

Again Dom chuckled before he spoke. "That day was pretty crazy." Leaning in, he added, "If you want to know the truth I'm a touch freaked out by Mannix's mate."

"Jynx? Why? He's one of the sweetest and most trustworthy guys I've ever met." Jhex was quick to jump in and defend his friend.

A blush made its way across Dom's skin; weirdly Jhex thought it made the man more appealing, if that was possible. Dom took a deep breath and Jhex wondered if he was trying to work out what to say. "He says stuff which has a way of coming true. I know he's the Grimoire, but he seems to know the future as well as the past."

Jhex had to wonder. "Did he say something about you?"

Dom's blush deepened. "He said some things--I'm not sure whether I quite believe them or not."

"Like what?" He then smacked himself on the forehead for his bluntness. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but know I'm here if you ever need to talk. Jynx tells me I'm a good listener," Jhex offered. He wanted to make sure Dom knew he was serious. "I promise anything you tell me will just remain between us."

"Thanks. Actually, he was the one who suggested I should ask you out."

Jhex sat there and sipped at his cup of blood, studying Dom as he ate his lunch. He wanted to know what his friend had said to Dom, but knew Dom wouldn't tell him until he was ready to. Instead of asking, he changed the subject. "So, what time are we going on our date?"

Swallowing the food in his mouth, Dom replied, "If we catch an earlier viewing, maybe we could go out for dinner afterward, what do you think?"

"Oooh, dinner and a movie. I'd like that, but sadly, I doubt there is anywhere that caters to my dietary needs."

The flush on Dom's cheeks deepened further. "Yeah, I guess I didn't really think about those needs. Pretty stupid, huh?"

The sincerity in Dom's voice had Jhex fighting not to laugh at the man. "We can still go out and watch the movie though. I'd really like to go out with you--as a friend, I mean."

"Really?" The smiled aimed at Jhex lit up Dom's face like a Christmas tree, making Jhex feel all warm inside.

"Yeah, really. So what time is good for you?" Jhex asked.

Dom pulled out his phone and Jhex assumed he was looking up session times. "They have the movie playing at four-thirty, seven, or nine-thirty p.m. Which would you prefer?"

"If we go to the one at seven maybe we can get back before anyone realises we aren't here."

A frown formed on Dom's face. "Don't you want anyone knowing we're going on a date?"

"I swear it's not like that. I told you; since I got kidnapped the coven has basically kept me in lockdown. I'm the youngest person in our coven and everyone thinks it gives them the right to boss me around and run my life." And seriously I'm getting sick to fucking death of it.

"If you tell them you're going to be with me they shouldn't worry. Would they be more lenient if we take some of the pack enforcers with us as guards?"

"No!" Jhex blurted out a little more forcefully than he intended. This time it was his turn to blush as more than a few people focused on him and Dom. Taking a deep breath, he tried again. "What I meant was I want to go out on a date with you. I don't want a chaperone to follow us around."

Dom nodded and Jhex felt himself relax when his companion spoke, "So how's your day been? Anything exciting happen while I was out on patrol?"

Nervous laughter bubbled out of him. "Same ol'--same ol'. Me doing my job and everyone ignoring me, or making--" Jhex bit his words off, not wanting to let all his insecurities show before their date. No need to scare off a potential friendship before it even really started.

The fire in Dom's eyes flared for a moment. "Finish the sentence, Jhex. I want to hear the rest of what you were going to say."

"It's nothing. No use complaining because no one wants to hear about all my problems," he answered with a shrug. Why can't I keep my mouth shut and stop every little thought from falling out of my head?

"I wouldn't have asked if I truly didn't want to know." The honesty in Dom's voice was compelling. "Now finish your sentence."

His internal argument slowed to a whisper as he got the nerve to reply. "Mercer's still refusing to claim me like the rest of the Olluns did with my coven. It's not like I want the big galute to mate with me anyway--good riddance I say." It was a lie, but Jhex was trying to hold onto his pride. He didn't need everyone else knowing how much it pissed him off to be shunned by the Ollun. He honestly understood Mercer's reasoning--but still...

"But it smarts," Dom stated as if he saw right through Jhex's lie, "because everyone else agreed to the connection, except Mercer."

How Dom hit the nail on the top of the head simply amazed Jhex. The longer he knew Dom the more he realised how much the man understood him. He wished his own coven knew him half as well as Dom did. Maybe then they would pull their heads out of their arses and see how much their actions hurt and pissed him off by the way they were treating him. So far he'd kept his temper in check. How much longer he was able to do so was anyone's guess.

"You're right. I can't work out what's so wrong with me--why he keeps rejecting me." And that right there was the whole crux of the situation, wasn't it?

Mercer didn't want him.

Dom snorted as he pushed his now empty plate to the side of the table. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with you. For what it's worth--I think you're perfect the way you are."

Heat suffused Jhex's whole body at the compliment. He wanted to believe Dom's words, but he knew real life wasn't always happily ever-after--that rarely happened. Take what happened to Mannix and Jynx when they first met. As much as they loved each other, even their relationship hadn't run smoothly. Jynx had almost killed himself when he thought Mannix didn't want him. Jynx's body had begun the ending process to shut down and free Mannix of their bond, it'd taken tracking him down and one hell of a battle with the enemy before Jynx worked out he wasn't going to die, and then it took some convincing on top of it.

Now didn't that scenario sound familiar?

"Thank you," Jhex mumbled when he finally found his voice. "You're a really good friend. I appreciate you trying to cheer me up, and for asking me on a date. It feels like I haven't done anything fun in ages." The way Dom smiled at him in return was a mixture of emotions and Jhex couldn't quite put his finger on what was happening.