Reclaiming The Magic

Brooklyn Ann

Brides of Prophecy, Book 7

Vampire society knows him as the Thirteenth Elder first vampire in creation, the mages know him as an immortal high sorcerer and the Keeper of the Prophecy.

Delgarias Dullahan only cares about the woman who knew him simply as "Del." Two thousand years ago, he gambled his soul for the power to marry Nikkita Leonine...and lost. Now he is finally on her trail.

But Del is not the only one searching for the missing luminite princess, and whoever finds her first will have the upper hand in the battle against the greatest evil ever known.


Chapter One


Delgarias Dullahan, faelin high sorcerer, and the first vampire in creation, entered the heart of the motherhouse in Amsterdam, where the Elders convened. As the Thirteenth Elder, he had final say over the rulings of the Council of the Twelve.

Ten of the dozen vampires tasked with governing all the vampires on Earth were seated at the circular table in the meeting chamber. Ian, the Lord Vampire of London, sat perfectly composed, his hands folded on the table, only the furrowing of his brow and an agitated glimmer in his silver eyes revealing his concern with the situation at hand.

Marcus, the Lord of Rome, didn’t bother hiding his agitation, he tapped his pen across the polished marble table in an irritating staccato, garnering glares from the Lords of Tokyo and New York.


After taking his seat at ornately carved chair at the head of the table, Delgarias surveyed the other six Elders. Lord Vampires from Lima, Munich, Perth, and Ulsan regarded him with expectant expressions. The Lords of Bejing and Calgary had already sent their apologies, unable to make it as such notice.

Mixed impatience and worry roiled through Delgarias’s being as he waited to learn why they’d requested his presence this night. The Elders feared him, so they rarely called upon him to participate in their affairs. Del prayed the matter didn’t involve their creator, Mephistopheles, who had once more surfaced and attacked Wurrakia only three months ago. And on Earth, the would-be god was now reaching out to his once-banished creations, luring them to join his infernal army.

Yes, news of Mephistopheles would be very bad. They weren’t ready for him. Pieces of the Prophecy had yet to fall in place.

Delgarias cleared his throat and addressed the Elders. “What need have you of me, my brothers and sisters?”

Jodie, the Lord of Perth scrunched up her nose. “More prisoners were delivered to us from the vigilante rogue.”

Delgarias allowed a sigh of vexation to escape. “Please tell me they didn’t take more cult members.”

The Order of Eternal Night worshipped Mephistopheles and were experiencing a resurgence of the likes none had ever seen, with the Evil One’s recruiting. Delgarias had tasked some of his most trusted vampires to infiltrate the cult and gain knowledge of their enemy’s movements.

If this rogue persisted in arresting cultists, all of Delgarias’s plans could be upended.

“I’m afraid so,” Jodie said.

Ian cut in, “At least they were dangerous criminals, and better off being eliminated from our world.”

Marcus waved a dismissive hand. “They’re always criminals, Ian. But that does not give this rogue the right to take the law into her own hands. The Lord Vampire of El Paso should be the one to handle these things.”

“But he didn’t,” Neko, the Lord of Tokyo said softly.

Carlos, the Lord of Lima curled his knuckles beneath his chin and leaned forward. “Interesting that though the rogue now seems to be targeting the Order of Eternal Night, she still holds to her pattern of apprehending cultists who have violated our most sacred laws. These ones were kidnapping children and selling them to human sex traffickers.”

Delgarias shuddered with revulsion before a realization struck him. “Wait, did you say these cultists were taken from El Paso?”


“How in the hell did the rogue manage to haul three vampires all the way here?”

Ian ran a hand through his long black hair. “I have no idea, but one has to admit that it is an impressive feat.”

“The portals.” Delgarias blurted, feeling foolish that the answer hadn’t come to him immediately. It was the only way the feat could be accomplished. “We need to interview every Lord Vampire about the portals, find out who is not being discreet.”

Earth held many stationary portals that would take one to the world of Aisthanesthai. The world where Delgarias had been born. The world that he’d also been working hard to keep safe. Vampires were slowly being integrated into some of Aisthanesthai’s countries, allies who’d fight Mephistopheles and his dark horde at the sides of sorcerers, Kanuri priestesses, Wurrak knights, and Tolonquan warriors.

The adjustment was precarious, to say the least. And this Annarkie was endangering that fragile integration by bringing evil vampires through Aisthanesthai, using the magical world as a shortcut. If one of them escaped? Alliances that so many had worked so carefully to forge would be undone by a reckless vigilante.

He had to find the rogue vampire who called herself Annarkie before a sorcerer or knight learned there were uninvited intruders.

Damn her.

She’d been plaguing him on and off for centuries. In the early days, he admired her boldness and even appreciated her capturing dangerous vampires, but after countless failed searches to identify her and recruit her in a formal position, her meddling had grown irksome. Back then, Delgarias and his fellow Elders didn’t know anything about the vigilante, not a name, not a sex, only that they must be a vampire to have such knowledge about their kind and their numerous laws.

Eventually, the deliveries of maimed, wicked vampires would stop, and they would assume that the rogue had gotten his or herself killed by their dangerous pursuits. But a few decades later, a bound vampire would be dropped on the Elders’ doorstep, often missing a limb or two. How the rogue kept the prisoners alive long enough to be delivered to their inevitable execution, Delgarias had no idea.

Also fascinating was the question as to why the prisoners were always delivered alive. The vampires had always been guilty of crimes meriting a death sentence, and yet, the rogue never executed them herself. To do so would have kept her under the radar for longer.

He’d long concluded that she wanted the Elders to be aware of her. Perhaps wanted Delgarias in particular to know of her.

Indeed, this desire for attention was how Delgarias had learned that she was a she, and later on, her name. She always sent notes with her catches, albeit tied up with a messenger. Two hundred years ago, she’d slipped and touched one of the missives, allowing him to cast a divination spell to get a name and the shadowy scent and figure of a woman. It was only a matter of time before—

Ian broke through his ponderings. “Do you wish to see these prisoners, Your Eminence?”

“Yes,” Delgarias rose from the table. “And if they are guilty of the crimes they’ve been charged with, I will execute them myself.”

“They are always guilty,” Hans, the Lord of Munich echoed Marcus’s words.

They went down to the dungeons and approached the cell where the three wicked vampires were held. As usual, all three were missing their tongues, the stubs expertly cauterized. One was missing both feet, bandages soaking crimson. One missed an arm, another his eyes. All three had been castrated, as was Annarkie’s usual tradition for any crimes of a sexual nature.

Jodie made a disgusted sound under her breath. “Every time a batch of these arrives, I think I’m prepared for the sight, but no. It never does get easier, even knowing what they’ve done.”

“How does she keep them alive?” Neko wondered aloud.

“A mystery to be solved another time.” Delgarias tried to conceal his impatience to probe the prisoners. “I’m just thankful they do indeed live so I may try to ferret her out.”

Marcus snorted. “Good luck. She is very thorough at wiping their memories of her voice and visage.”

“She’s made mistakes before,” Delgarias said before lunging toward the eyeless prisoner and sinking his fangs into the other vampire’s throat.

Maybe the fates wished to prove Marcus wrong, or perhaps it was the truth-seeking spell Delgarias had recently cast, but at last he got something from the prisoner’s memories.

Though all he saw was darkness, he heard voices.

“Mistress,” a male voice quavered faintly, as if blocked by a wall or door, “the cell in La Grande is larger than any we’ve come across. I think it will be too dangerous.”

A reply came, but it was distorted, as if coming through electric interference.

The male voice replied, muddied, but discernable. “Still, Pendleton is a mere hour away…. ten of them? You cannot be serious.”

All went black as the blood ceased flowing into Delgarias’s mouth. Triumph surging in his chest, he seized the next prisoner and drained them even quicker, then he moved to the next. No information was to be gleaned from those two, aside from flashes of terrified children and whimpers of pain, but he had what he needed.

“I, Delgarias, Thirteenth Elder, sentence you three worms to death,” he growled, disgusted with what they’d done to over thirty innocents.

Even though the vampires were unconscious from losing what little blood they had left, Delgarias didn’t have the patience to drag them to the execution chamber. Instead, he gathered his power and reached towards the prisoners with both hands.

Arcs of lightning shot out from his fingertips, striking the child traffickers. They jolted like puppets on a string, then flopped on the stone floor like fish hauled from the water. Smoke curled out from their mouths, nostrils, and melting eye-sockets. The reek of burning hair permeated the area before Delgarias stopped frying them.

When he turned around, he saw that the other Elders had stepped backward about twelve feet, staring at him in naked horror.

He watched their eyes scan his almost luminescent hair, with its bi-layered strands, his overly long fingers with their extra knuckles, his pointed ears, and lightning-shot eyes, wondering always what he was before he’d become the first blood drinker. Sure, they’d recently learned that he was faelin, but only Ian had visited Aisthanesthai and had just the slightest comprehension as to what the faelin were.

Tonight, the Elders’ fear didn’t bother him. Not when he was flush with victory. Soon, he would close in on the rogue who’d evaded him for the past three hundred years. It took all of his centuries of self-discipline and sense of duty not to immediately begin pursuit.

Because first, he needed to look in on his other people. And perhaps gain news of someone who’d evaded him for far much longer.

He weighed the pros and cons of telling the Elders that he knew where Annarkie was going to be and decided to hold his silence for now. Between desire to maintain his credibility and the matter of her knowledge of the portals, it was best to wait until he had the rogue in his custody before acting. Besides, there were so many questions he had for her that were best asked in private.

Delgarias cleared his throat. “I must leave for Aisthanesthai now and see if Mephistopheles has made any new moves there.”

Marcus sneered. “I wonder at your devotion to a world that views our kind so poorly. And at the wisdom of looking to you when you play for both sides.”

“There is only one side, Marcus. We all stand against the evil one. I was his first creation, the first of many that he’d enslaved. I will not have you or any of my people enslaved again.”

Before Delgarias teleported outside, he saw that rather than his words reassuring Marcus, the hostility on the ancient Roman’s face seemed to increase.

That one would have to be watched.

When he was certain that no witnesses or drones were near, Delgarias took to the air. The closest portal was outside of Haarlem, thankfully in a shielded copse of trees at the edge of a meadow. He hadn’t told the Elders about this portal. Not until he was certain all could be trusted.

Once through the portal, Delgarias approached the castle in Niji, where the King and Queen of Aisthanesthai had moved their seat for as long as the war lasted.

After he was admitted entry into the receiving room, the queen ran to him and exclaimed with delight before throwing her arms around his waist. “Uncle Del!”

Uncle Del. His throat tightened at the name as he returned the embrace. Xochitl had called him that ever since she could form words, never knowing how the double blow those two words impacted his heart.

Before Kerainne Leonine’s daughter came into the world, only one person had called him Del. And he would have given anything for the chance to wed her, which would have made him Xochitl’s uncle in truth.

Nikkita, his mind whispered. He touched the pendant that remained against his chest, concealed beneath his robes.

The rest of the universe knew him by other names. To the mages of Aisthanesthai, he was the Keeper of the Prophecy and addressed as “revered one.” To his faelin kin in Shellandria, he was “the outcast” or “the abomination.” To the vampires of Earth, he was The Thirteenth Elder. In both worlds he was feared and obeyed.

For over two millennia, Delgarias had trekked back and forth between Earth and Aisthanesthai, never fully belonging to either, never living for himself, but for his seemingly endless quest at redemption. His pride had cost him his love and brought undeserved power to his enemy and thus cost his world.

He may have been Mephistopheles’s first vampire, but Delgarias had quickly learned the error of his ways and had since made it his life’s mission to destroy the would-be god.

And to stop anyone who would interfere.

The King cleared his throat, making Xochitl step back. “We are honored with your visit, Revered One.” Delgarias blinked in surprise that Zareth had reverted back to the old title. After discovering that Delgarias was a vampire, the King had begun addressing him by his name only. “What news do you bring us?”

“Very little, I’m afraid. Cells of the Order of Eternal Night are sprouting up like mushrooms after a rain, but the ones we’ve infiltrated thus far haven’t seen any sign of Mephistopheles. Instead, I’ve come to inform you that I will be occupied on Earth with a rogue who is taking the law into her own hands. She’s been plaguing me on and off for centuries, but I’m closing in on her trail at last.”

“She must be very clever to elude you for so long.”

Delgarias shrugged. “Not really. Her mischief has honestly aided the Elders more than hindered, and her meddling has been sporadic enough to make her a low priority. Until now.”

“Oh?” Zareth prodded lightly.

“The rogue is planning another attack on a very large cell of the Order of Eternal Night. A cell who we believe is in direct contact with Mephistopheles. I need that cult alive and infiltrated, but if this Annarkie and her band of rogues has their way, a bevy of mutilated cultists would be dropped on the doorstop of the Motherhouse instead.”

“Badass!” Xochitl grinned up at him. “An assassin named Annarkie?”

“A misguided vigilante.” Delgarias corrected, not admitting that up until recently, he’d assumed said vigilante to be male and the spelling of his alias to be “Anarchy.” To discover that it had been a female tweaking his nose this whole time had been humbling. “And though the vampires she’s killed were all guilty of their crimes, she is still violating our laws by denying those she kills their rights to a fair trial.”

Zareth nodded. “And if you do not stop her, you could risk the stability of law and order amongst your people.”

“It’s a shame.” Delgarias didn’t mention the risk Annarkie also presented to the vampire integration efforts in Aisthanesthai. “Had she presented herself the first time she’d killed a wrongdoer, she could have become one of our most valued assets, earning a high position as a spy or enforcer for the Elders. Hell, maybe even the third time. But it is too late for her. She’s flouted the law long enough.” To his surprise, regret tugged his chest at the thought of the rogue’s impending capture and execution. “Enough about my vigilante, what news have you of Aisthanesthai?”

“Things are too quiet. I don’t like it.”

“Mephistopheles’s attacks have always been sporadic and far apart,” Delgarias reminded him.

“Yes, but now he knows about Xochitl.” Worry shone in Zareth’s eyes. “I’d think that he’ll want to move faster now that the one foretold to defeat him is here.”

“The Prophecy doesn’t say if she defeats him.” Delgarias reminded the king. “Only that she will battle him.”

Zareth’s clenched fists took on a fine tremble.

Xochitl took her husband’s hand and gazed up at him. “But I will destroy him. I vow it. That fucker raped my mom and destroyed millions of lives.”

Delgarias winced at the blunt reminder of the desecration of a woman who he’d regarded as a sister. But since he could not change the past, he returned the topic to the present. “Zareth is right in that Mephistopheles will likely move faster now that he has seen his daughter.”

“But we’re not ready.” Xochitl echoed Delgarias’s earlier worries. “We haven’t even found all seven nightwalkers with their brides. As far as I’ve counted, there’s Silas and Akasha, Jayden and Razvan, Radu and Lillian, and Aurora and Tony. That’s only four. Three more need to join us. Have you determined any special names for the next Bride?”

Delgarias shook his head. “They come to me when I see them, or soon after.”

Akasha was the general, Jayden, the seeress, Lillian the engineer, Aurora the directrix, who would lead the war march to the beat of her war drum, both literally and metaphorically. What special talent would the next Bride contribute?

“Well, maybe it’s good that you’re going back to Earth and dealing with vampire business,” Xochitl gave him an encouraging smile. Never had she looked upon him with fear, and not only because she was half luminite. “Then you can find the next Bride.”

Although that was the most important person he had to locate, Delgarias was more concerned with finding the rogue and finding Nikkita.

Speaking of…

“If you’ll excuse me, my queen, I’d like to talk to your mother before I take my leave.”

Xochitl’s amber eyes glittered with smug knowledge. “She’s out back.”

He found Kerainne in the rear garden, her waist-length blonde hair covering her in a cloak that gleamed gold in the light of the two moons. Instead of tending to the flowers or reading a book, the luminite princess—no, queen, as she’d recently claimed the title—stared out past the gates at a large vacant lot behind the castle.

The site where Zareth’s half-brother, Stefan, had built a tower wrought of human sacrifice and dark blood magic during his attempt to take the throne and Xochitl. If Stefan had won the throne, Mephistopheles would have triumphed by now. In fact, Stefan would have probably delivered the entire world of Aisthanesthai to the evil one on a silver platter.

“Have you found any clues as to where my sister is?” Kerainne asked without turning around.

“No.” He’d been about to ask her the same question. “But that seeking spell you helped me with led me to the vigilante rogue vampire I’ve been pursuing for centuries.”

“I am happy I was able to help with something.” Kerainne said. “And I do hope that your capture of the vigilante is quick and your dealings with her are and humane.”

“They’ll be as humane as she’ll allow them to be.” Delgarias told her plainly. “But she has knowledge of the portals and has knowledge of the portals and has been using them to deliver the vampires she arrests. And who knows for what else. This is dangerous and—”

Kerainne turned around, making him fall silent as the sight of her beauty and resemblance to her sister made his heart constrict with agony. “You don’t have to justify your decisions to me, Del. Although it is in my nature to guide others to the path of mercy, I’m selfishly concerned with the expediency of this mission. I want my sister found. You’re not the only one hurting from her absence.”

Only last year had he learned that Nikkita had been missing from Medicia for over a thousand years. And a few months ago, Kerainne had told him part of the reason why. She was hiding from an arranged betrothal.

A small, petty part of him rejoiced at the fact that Nik didn’t want to marry another man, but the possessive glee was subdued since she clearly didn’t want to marry him either.

But… a voice whispered.

No, he silenced that usual reminder before it could resurface. That didn’t count.

As it was, Delgarias was still reeling from the revelation that Nikkita had been closer to his reach than he’d believed all this time.

And still she hadn’t sought him out.

Maybe it would be better to give her up again, as he had before. His chest tightened at the thought.

No. He needed answers. At first, he’d thought she avoided him because she was repulsed at what he’d become. But Kerainne had forgiven him and understood what had driven him down his dark path.

Surely Nik could forgive him too? And even if she couldn’t, surely, he could convince her to at least allow him to explain himself.

But now that Kerainne had confessed to giving Nik a blood vow to keep some secret, Delgarias knew the betrothal wasn’t Nik’s only reason for spending centuries in hiding. The secret had to be catastrophic as well, for Nik wouldn’t be the type to subject her own sister to risk of becoming cursed if the truth were forced from her lips.

Curiosity burned almost as deeply as his worry. Whatever it was that kept Nik in hiding, even from her own family, for over a millennium, Delgarias would do what he could to help her.

He just needed to persuade her to let him.

If only he didn’t have to waste valuable time chasing down Annarkie. Then he could focus more of his taxed time to finding the woman who still held his heart in her palm.


Heart Throb

Brooklyn Ann

Hearts of Metal, book 7

ISBN: 978-1729566817

Irascible, grumpy, rude, tetchy, remote - scared. Viciöus's bassist, Brand Kife is hiding a secret, and it takes everything he has to ignore Lexi, until he can't.



Bassist for heavy metal band, Viciöus, Brand Kife is known for his scowl and inability to form meaningful attachments. When he meets Lexi Adams, the director of the documentary being filmed about Viciöus, Brand wants the smart, sexy woman, but knows he's not worth having. Staying away from the alluring beauty becomes impossible, but he has secrets he'll never share, not even with Lexi.

Lexi Adams isn’t ready to settle down and may never be. Every time she’d tried to date, the man wanted to put his needs first. Her first boyfriend had forced her to choose between him and film school. Her second had wanted her to support his film career. And now that Lexi’s career has finally taken off, she doesn't have time to look for a third. Until Brand Kife, who seems more than happy to keep his distance, until he can't, and evermore becomes a reality she embraces with her whole heart and soul.

Chapter One


Brand glared at Viciöus’s lead singer in furious disbelief. Quinn had done it again. The arrogant, autocratic son of a bitch had made a decision without consulting the rest of the band. Like so many others, this pre-tour band meeting was nothing but an empty formality where Quinn told them, rather than asking them, what would be going down. And this particular detail was a big fucking deal.

“No.” Brand leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.

One of Quinn’s black eyebrows shot up. “Excuse me?”

Brand fixed the singer with a glare. “You can’t drop a huge disruption like this and expect us to be fine with it.”

“Disruption?” Quinn laughed and shook his head at Brand like he was a child. “I thought you’d all be happy to learn that an established filmmaker is going to do a documentary about Viciöus.”


Tony, the drummer, nodded with his usual cheerful grin. “I’m happy about it. That means more money and more exposure. What’s your deal this time, Brand?”

Brand’s frown deepened at the patronizing undertone in the drummer’s voice. “My deal is that first off, we weren’t consulted, and second off, having some jackoffs follow us around with cameras, asking stupid questions, is going to be disruptive as hell.”

Quinn held up his hands in mock surrender. “Okay, you’re right. I should have told you and Tony about it, and yes, having the director and camera guys along will cause some distraction and crowding. But Brand, can you think about the long-term? Our reputation took a hit with our rift with Bleeding Vengeance—”

Your rift,” Brand reminded him. Quinn’s wife and lead guitarist, Kinley, nodded in agreement and nudged Quinn with a stern frown.

Quinn had the decency to look ashamed. “You’re right. My rift.”

When Cliff Tracey, lead singer of Bleeding Vengeance, had begun dating Quinn’s little sister, Quinn went nuclear and declared Bleeding Vengeance, a band that had been their best friends in the industry, to be enemies for life. Quinn eventually pulled his head out of his ass and now treated Cliff like a long-lost brother, but the damage was already done. The media had had a field day amplifying the hostilities, and some fans turned against Viciöus because of Quinn’s behavior. Even worse, a planned collaboration album and joint tour was put on hold, costing both bands God knew how much money.

Quinn ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “Look, I fucked up, I know that. But this documentary will go a long way in humanizing us, making us look friendlier to our fans.” At Brand’s scowl, Quinn smirked. “Okay, maybe not all of us, but hey, your ‘man who never smiles’ thing can be a good gimmick too.”

“Gimmick?” Brand growled. “Fuck you, Quinn.”

“I don’t think Kinley would approve,” Quinn retorted. “Anyway, your grump ass doesn’t change the fact that this documentary will be awesome good for us. Thing Productions won best documentary at the Emerald City Film Festival for Headbangers Abound, and the Audience Choice Award at the Seattle International Film Festival for their film on the history of the metal scene. That one’s on some streaming services and they told me the film they want to do on us is practically guaranteed to get the same. That means some good subsidiary income on top of a cut of the royalties from physical copies, which we can also sell with the rest of our merch.”

Okay. Quinn had a point. Brand’s shoulders slumped. Quinn usually did. That was why he was in charge of the band, for the most part. But the rest of them still should have a say in matters. Brand narrowed his eyes at Kinley. Why wasn’t she speaking up?

Kinley’s gaze flicked to meet Brand’s then darted away evasively, uncharacteristic of the direct woman he knew her to be.

Oblivious to the odd exchange, Quinn resumed his spiel on why having a film crew on the road with them was such a wonderful idea.

Brand only half listened. Justified as his irritation with the situation was, the documentary would be good for them. Fans bought those videos like hotcakes and a streaming deal could bring them new fans. Hell, Quinn even had a point about the documentary possibly redeeming them to those who viewed them sourly after the thing with Bleeding Vengeance. Maybe the director would stick around long enough to catch them when they started writing songs with the other band, show the world on screen that they were friends again.

Even if they didn’t, the collaboration album was back on. The contract had been signed and they would be getting together as soon as Viciöus’s tour wrapped up. They’d even have a preliminary meet-up during the tour, when Viciöus would play at Bleeding Vengeance’s Denver gig.

Brand suddenly found himself looking forward more to writing songs with Bleeding Vengeance than touring. Even though he’d never been the best at making friends, he had to admit that he liked Bleeding Vengeance. The Quinn thing had bothered him more than Brand had expected. And then when it healed, he even found himself befriending Cliff when the guy had moved to Seattle to be closer to Christine, Quinn’s sister. The guy was a chatterbox, but not nearly as vapid as Brand had thought him to be. Reluctantly, Brand admired the guy for having the balls to pursue the forbidden princess. When Cliff and Christine moved to Denver with the rest of Bleeding Vengeance, Brand was surprised that he missed him.

That said, if it weren’t for this upcoming disruptive documentary, Brand would choose touring over song writing any other day.

Quinn could list all the financial benefits to the project that he wanted. That still didn’t make Brand comfortable with having a camera breathing down his neck day and night for the next several months. He was a bass guitarist. Not a fuckin’ movie star.

Also, something felt off about this whole thing. Brand glanced back at Kinley. It wasn’t like her to let Quinn do all the talking. He knew that now, but in the beginning of Kinley’s days with Viciöus, Brand had assumed that she would go along with whatever her husband said. She’d long since proven that she had her own opinions and often sided with Brand or Tony on decisions about what happened on the road and in the studio.

Brand’s eyes narrowed further. “Who did Thing Productions approach?”

Kinley finally spoke. “Me. The director and I have been friends online for a couple years.”

“Ah.” A mirthless laugh escaped his lips. Although Quinn was a bossy bastard, he’d submit to Kinley’s wishes almost every time. In fact, he’d eventually listened to her and made things right with Bleeding Vengeance, although it took Brand’s and Tony’s efforts, combined with Kinley’s, to talk sense into Quinn on that issue.

Brand turned back to Quinn, “So since the two of you were on board, you figured it was a done deal. This is why it’s bad to have a couple in a group. Totally destroys the democracy dynamic.”

Tony shook his head and laughed. “Oh, come on, Brand. We were never a democracy and you know it. In fact, we were more of a dictatorship before Kinley. She softened Quinn up.” He smiled at the singer. “Sorry, Quinn, but it’s true.”

Softened. Brand suppressed a sneer. Tony would know. Brand had to listen to the guy getting all sappy with his wife over the phone every night they were touring. And although Quinn hadn’t turned into a pile of mush with Kinley—that woman was too tough for that stuff—he had definitely changed since falling in love. And while the melting of Quinn’s brisk exterior was probably good in the long run, something about the change unnerved Brand in an unvoiced, yet primal way.

Turning his mind back to the situation at hand, he attempted another feeble protest to the documentary. “Is there even room for a film crew on the bus?”

Quinn sighed. “They’re bringing only four people. The director, who is also the producer, the co-producer, and two camera guys. The director and co-producer will be on the bus with us. The camera guys will be in the equipment truck with our merch crew. It’ll be a tight squeeze, but it’ll work.”

Finally, Tony had a complaint. “I knew we should have gotten around to getting a bigger bus.”

“With the money this documentary will bring us, we’ll be able to finally upgrade.” Quinn nuzzled Kinley’s neck. “We’ll get one with bigger bunks.”

Brand rolled his eyes at the happy couple. He hoped he never fell in love. He couldn’t go soft. Soft meant vulnerable.

And he’d long ago vowed never to be vulnerable again.


Lexi clutched her camera on her lap as Ramon, her head camera operator at Thing Productions, and her co-producer, wove through the back streets of Seattle. Unlike her, he’d grown up here and knew how to avoid traffic better than Susan, the name Lexi had given the voice on her phone’s map.

The closer they got to the record studio, the more her excitement grew. Viciöus had agreed to meet with her. And although Kinley Black-Mayne, the lead guitarist, had acted like it was a done deal, Lexi still needed to get past this initial meeting with the whole band and make a good enough impression for them to agree to sign the contract.

“Tony should be cool,” Kinley had told her over the phone, “but Brand can be a grump-ass sometimes.”

Not only that, but after talking with Quinn Mayne, the lead singer, Lexi got the impression that if the contract wasn’t worded exactly to his liking, the deal would be off. Thankfully, she’d had a solid contract attorney draft it.

If everything went well at the studio, Lexi would be embarking on her first dream: creating a documentary on her favorite heavy metal band. And Kinley and Quinn both assured her that she would be able to start right away. First, they would give her a tour of the studio where they had recorded four of their five albums while Ramon filmed.

Then she’d spend the next week observing them hanging out, coaxing them into forgetting the camera and being themselves. That would need several takes. It was against human nature to ignore a camera, but Lexi had a talent for direction. That’s what her first teacher in film school said, anyway.

And Viciöus wouldn’t be the first band she’d filmed. Though they were the first major one. But at the end of the day, they were people who were living life and doing a job like all the others she’d filmed. Lexi needed to keep that in mind so she didn’t get star struck. It helped when she remembered that the lead guitarist, Kinley Black-Mayne, had gushed over her Thing Production’s documentary, Headbangers Abound, like Lexi was the big celebrity.

She allowed a brief sunburst of pride to swell in her chest. That had been the project that got her established. Her sixth film had won both local and national awards. The sight of the Emerald City and Seattle International Film Festival Audience Choice trophies still brought a lump to her throat every time she looked at them, even though the engraved pieces of glass had sat on her desk for six months. Even her mother, who’d done everything she could to discourage Lexi from pursuing filmmaking, had been bursting with praise.

Triumph poisoned with bitterness surged through Lexi’s being at the memory. After subjecting her to torture by forcing her to compete in child beauty pageants, and then engaged in teen torment with constant pressure to chase a modeling career, Marcia Adams had finally surrendered, allowing Lexi to pursue her dreams without further discouragement.

In cynical moments Lexi wondered if it really was the awards that made her mom stop telling her she’d chosen the wrong career, or if it was the fact that Lexi was pushing thirty.

Probably both.

And now Mom had latched on to a new mission to disrupt Lexi’s life. It had started subtly two years ago, with her throwing a dinner party every time Lexi came to visit. Dinner parties that happened to have a guest list that was disproportionately male. Then last year, Mom blatantly tried to set Lexi up on dates with the intention of her finding one to marry. Now she couldn’t have a single conversation with Mom without being asked when she’d be ready to settle down and give her some grandchildren.

Lexi wasn’t ready to settle down and might never be ready. Every time she’d tried to date, the man would want to put his needs first. Her first boyfriend had even forced her to choose between him and film school. Her second had wanted her to support his film career. And now that Lexi’s own career was finally taking off, she didn’t have time to look for a third.

That was for the best. Falling in love was the worst thing she could do at this stage. After having her mother try to hold her back her whole life, she wasn’t about to let a man do the same.

Ramon interrupted her reverie as he parked his Jeep. “We’re here.”

Lexi took a deep breath through her nose and nodded. “Here’s hoping for the start of another successful film.”

As they headed toward the studio entrance, Ramon turned to her with a sideways smile. “Here’s hoping we don’t make asses of ourselves. The guys in Viciöus are hot as hell.”

“They’re all straight and married,” Lexi reminded him.

Ramon wiggled his brows. “The bassist isn’t married.”

That’s right. Brand Kife was single. And he was indeed hot as hell. However, he wasn’t known as “the man who never smiles” for nothing. Lexi shrugged and smoothed her hair. “Brand’s the incarnation of Oscar the Grouch. I’ll be fine.”

But the moment she and Ramon entered the studio to greet the four heavy metal icons, Lexi met Brand’s hazel eyes and felt a jolt of potent heat.

Suddenly, she didn’t think things would go as smoothly as she’d hoped.


Tempting Beat

Brooklyn Ann

Hearts of Metal Book 6

ISBN: 978-1720667803


Bleeding Vengeance’s drummer, Roderick Powell knows he’s a sod for feeling glum, especially after moving into a beautiful new home in a smart Denver suburb. But all his mates are partnered or married, and dreadfully happy. It’s enough to make a rockstar rethink his options. And even though his sexy neighbor has given him the brush-off, he’s decided to have another go – at this point he has nothing left to lose, apart from his heart.


Gwen Mason’s romantic past has been bumpier than most – twice divorced by thirty, she’s had enough of broken promises. An ER nurse who keeps a brutal schedule, she’s happy to become known as the neighborhood crazy cat lady. But…the most delicious man has moved next door. He’s British, he’s famous, he’s a rockstar. And, hard as she tries, Gwen can't keep Rod Powell from breaking all her rules, and suddenly she sees a future she never believed possible.


Chapter One

Gwen bit back a cry of despair and closed her eyes against the hideous sight before her. Maybe she’d imagined it.

Nope. When she opened her eyes, the abomination gleamed in the soft, white light above her bathroom mirror. Still, Gwen reached up with tentative fingers, hoping the hideous thing would vanish.

It was long and crooked and had a stiff and unyielding texture. Her first gray hair; a blight among the blonde.

“Happy birthday,” she muttered to her reflection.


The desolation in her voice made Gwen roll her eyes. The gray hair wasn’t a herald of doom. Turning thirty-five wasn’t the end of the world. She’d been through worse things, and other people endured far more terrible fates every day. Besides, she had two days off for the first time in months and had a relaxing day planned before a night out with her friends. All in all, a much better birthday than previous years. Like the first time her second ex-husband forgot her birthday and she’d sat at home, dressed to the nines, suffering in silence as he’d spent the afternoon in his office and then went out for a late meeting without even a kiss goodbye. It wasn’t long after that Gwen had learned he was having an affair. He never did remember her birthday after.

Gwen shook her head and stormed out of the bathroom before she started looking for wrinkles. More gloomy thoughts. She resolved to shrug them off as she tied the belt of her fuzzy bathrobe and went to the kitchen to make tea.

Once she was settled in her favorite chair with Alfredo, one of her four cats, on her lap, Gwen brought her favorite mug to her lips and sighed with bliss at the relaxing purring and the sweet taste of Earl Grey. Maybe staying single and being a crazy cat lady wouldn’t be so bad. After all, there were benefits to life without a man. She didn’t have to clean up after him. The TV wasn’t constantly blaring; she didn’t have to waste long hours wondering who he was with and when he’d come home. There was no one to criticize her body, or guilt trip her into catering to his whims, no one to squander her savings.

But there was also no one to talk to. No one to hold at night.

The screech of a semi-truck outside made Alfredo jump off her lap, stabbing her legs with his little claws. Tortellini and Ravioli scampered to the window while Linguine fled from Alfredo. Gwen tightened her grip on her mug as her tea sloshed in the cup and rose from her chair to investigate this disruption of her peace. Big trucks rarely came through her nice neighborhood in Lilac Grove, a secluded suburb outside of Denver.

When Gwen stepped out onto her porch, it seemed her neighbor, Mrs. Kersh, had the same idea. Gwen saw her striding across the street before Gwen looked over and saw the moving truck next door.

“Our new neighbor has finally arrived,” Mrs. Kersh said in a somewhat scolding tone, as if the new homeowner was tardy in taking up residence. “I do wish I’d been home to see more of the prospective buyers touring the property.”

Gwen nodded. As an ER nurse, she worked twelve-hour shifts alternating between three and four days a week and almost always on the weekends, when most people perused houses for sale. She’d been working during the open house, and also missed the people who came after to look at the home. “I hope whoever bought the place is a nice person.”

Mrs. Kersh huffed. “I hope they’re quiet and don’t have a dog. The last people were atrocious, leaving that mutt in the yard to yap all the time.”

The last people were also major jerks, Gwen thought as she watched the movers pile out of the truck and begin unloading furniture. Their barking dog and loud children had cost her precious hours of sleep. Still, she couldn’t help but give Mrs. Kersh a sideways smile and glance down at Molly, the little terrier that was ever at Mrs. Kersh’s side.

Mrs. Kersh’s eyes widened with blatant terror. “Oh no.”

An older silver Honda CR-V pulled behind the moving truck and a man got out with a happy smile and a proprietary gleam in his eyes as he met the moving truck with a fob of jingling keys.

Holy hotness. Gwen almost breathed the words aloud as her belly tilted at the sight of the man striding up the walkway of the house next door. Shoulder-length chocolate-brown hair framed a face that was worthy of a magazine cover. Gray eyes danced with a touch of mischief. His lips were arched and full, making it impossible not to think of kissing.

Which was something Gwen could never do, because aside from that not being neighborly, he was clearly too young for her. If he was older than twenty-five, Gwen would eat her scrubs.

“Oh no.” Gwen echoed Mrs. Kersh, though for a different reason. Was Gwen turning into a cougar?

As her eyes traced the tight curve of her new neighbor’s ass while he unlocked the front door, Mrs. Kersh harrumphed. “I hope he’s not a bachelor. Young men like that are always noisy. Throwing parties, having visitors at odd hours. He probably smokes marijuana.”

“It’s been legal here since twenty-twelve,” Gwen said in his defense. However, she agreed with her neighbor’s concern about loud parties. She’d lived next to bachelors before. But she’d never been tempted to pull their shirts over one of their heads and run her tongue down the length of their bodies. With shaking knees, she sat on the little bench swing and patted the cushion beside her in invitation for Mrs. Kersh to join her.

“Maybe he has family moving in as well.” Gwen struggled to maintain common sense. Surely a man that luscious wouldn’t be single.

“Maybe.” Mrs. Kersh latched onto Gwen’s words and pointed as a second car pulled up behind the man’s. “That could be them.”

Gwen’s gut instinct was almost certain that Mr. Hotness was the sole owner. Still, she watched the newcomers exit the vehicle with rapt curiosity.

Oh wow. Another good-looking man strode across the lawn toward the house. And this one was more what Gwen should be going for, even if he wasn’t as gorgeous as the first guy. The second man was super tall and thin, with long blond hair streaked with a few strands of silver. His blue-green eyes radiated a kindness that made up for the subdued handsomeness. Just as Gwen began to consider going over to introduce herself, a petite woman in her early twenties came up behind the tall man and threaded her arm around his waist, peering up at him with adoration. An engagement ring large enough to be seen from Gwen’s porch glittered on the adoring fiancée’s finger.

Of course. Gwen swallowed the bitter reminder that the dating market was shrinking for her every day due to so many men going for women half their ages. Who says she even needed a man anyway? They’d brought her nothing but frustration and heartache.

Another couple got out of the back of the newly arrived car and headed over to the moving truck. Gwen blinked at the third man’s calendar-worthy beauty and mane of dark curls. What was up with all these longhaired stud-muffins?

She got her answer as the men and women unloaded a drum kit from the back of the first man’s van. They were musicians.

“Oh dear,” Mrs. Kersh’s voice warbled as she clutched the handle of her teacup. “Drums?”

Gwen hid a sardonic smile with a sip from her own mug. It was doubtful that the older woman would hear them from across the street, but Gwen certainly would. “It could be worse.”

“I think it just got worse,” Mrs. Kersh whispered dramatically. “Look.”

After the movers wheeled the couches, chairs, and bed into the house, they began to unload enormous speaker cabinets.

The tall man approached the movers, and from his stern expression and firm gestures, he was clearly demanding caution and care.

Gwen’s eyes widened. “Do you think all five of them are moving into the place?”

“Lord, I hope not.” Mrs. Kersh’s lips thinned like a junior high schoolteacher’s. Suddenly she gasped. “The first one is coming this way.”

Sure enough, Mr. Hotness was striding up Gwen’s lawn with a smile that made her breath hitch. “Cheers, new neighbors. I’m Roderick Powell. I thought I’d introduce myself to you lovely ladies and get the rundown of the neighborhood.”

He had a British accent. Gwen nearly melted in her seat. It wasn’t fair. Her belly fluttered like an infatuated teenager’s as she rose on shaking legs and shook his hand.

“I’m Gwenda Mason.” Oh God, his grip was so warm and strong, and some delicious scent radiated from him. She fought to keep her head straight and not stammer. “I’m your next-door neighbor.” She cringed as his brow lifted with amusement at her stating the obvious. “I mean, ah…” She pointed at her other neighbor to clarify. “This is Mrs. Kersh. She lives across the street from me.”

Mrs. Kersh stiffened on the bench swing and gave him a stiff nod instead of a handshake. “Where are you from, Mr. Powell?”

“Los Angeles.” At her suspicious frown he added, “But I was born in Lancashire, England.”

“And what do you do?” she demanded, casting a baleful glare at one of his speaker cabinets being hauled up his walkway.

“I’m a drummer.” He confirmed their suspicions. “But don’t worry, I’m installing sound-proofing panels in my music room, which will be in the basement.” Roderick tossed the question back. “And what do you do, Mrs. Kersh?”

“I’m retired.” Mrs. Kersh said primly. “Are those others going to be living here as well?” She pointed at the other gorgeous men and the beautiful women beside them.

Roderick shook his head. “No, they’re only helping me move.” At Mrs. Kersh’s loud sigh of relief, he chuckled and turned to Gwen. “And what do you do, Gwenda?”

Her skin flushed under his gaze. “I’m a nurse.”

His grin broadened, revealing gleaming white teeth. “Hellooo, nurse!”

A startled laugh escaped her lips. “Did you just make an Animaniacs reference at me?” She’d grown up with that cartoon. For a moment she wondered how he knew about that old show, but then realized that it was probably streaming online somewhere.

He nodded, still grinning. “Sorry, luv. That was cheeky. Couldn’t help it.”

Mrs. Kersh sniffed in disapproval while heat flooded to Gwen’s face at the casual endearment. She should disapprove as well. Her young neighbor shouldn’t address her with flirtatious terms. That would get them off to a bad start. Yet she didn’t have the heart to reprimand him. Besides, it could be a Brit thing. It probably didn’t mean anything more than other English terms she’d heard like “ducky.”

Gwen changed the subject. “So you’re going to be living in that big house all alone?” At first it seemed like an odd thing, but then she remembered that she’d done the same. Yes, she’d been awarded the house in the divorce, but she could have sold the place and had a much smaller mortgage. For her, keeping the house was a matter of pride, comfort, storage, and the unspoken hope to maybe have room for someone else.

“I’ve had bigger,” he answered with a wink, though for a moment there was a flicker of pain in his gray eyes. “But yes, it will be only me, though my mates will probably come visit often since Kat and Klement,” he inclined his head toward the tall man and his fiancée, “are getting married when we’re done writing and recording our next album. Think it would be best to give the married couple a bit more privacy.”

Ah, so Klement’s place had probably been the party house for the band before he decided to settle down, and now the party would move to Roderick’s place. Right next door to Gwen. Dread weighted down her shoulders at the prospect of the noise and people vomiting in the lawn. Yet there was something else, a strange curiosity mingled with regret. The first time she’d married, she’d been only nineteen; the second time, she’d been twenty-seven. Between those failed ventures and the years it took to get her nursing degree, Gwen had never had the time to enjoy her twenties. They’d gone to waste.

Before the melancholy could recapture her, the rest of what Roderick said sank in. “You’re recording an album? I take it your band is successful.” She cursed herself for the idiotic words. For a career musician to be able to afford a four-bedroom house with a two-car garage in this neighborhood he would have to be successful.

Roderick shrugged. “We’re still composing the last few songs before we go into the studio, but yeah, we do all right for a metal band. We’ve had two gold albums and the last one went platinum.”

Gwen’s jaw dropped. She’d have a rock star living next door? “What’s your band’s name?” Maybe she’d heard of them.

“Bleeding Vengeance.” He looked amused as he answered. “Have you heard of us?”

Her mouth went dry as she recognized the name. “I’ve seen the T-shirts and heard ads on the radio.”

Roderick smirked. “Not a metalhead, I take it?”

Mrs. Kersh spoke first. “Certainly not.” She rose from the bench seat. “It is time I took my dog for a walk. I will bring you a copy of Lilac Grove’s city charter and the city council schedule. We have a noise ordinance.”

Roderick laughed under his breath as the old woman marched back across the street, her spine straight as an ironing board. Gwen tried not to melt under the rich sound of his deep chuckle. She shouldn’t approve of his mocking their neighbor, but to be honest, Mrs. Kersh’s prim matron act could be a little much sometimes. And Gwen was almost a hundred percent certain that it was an act. Especially after the time when they’d gotten drunk together on her porch.

But act or not, that wouldn’t help Rod if he annoyed Mrs. Kersh. Gwen was compelled to warn him. “Mrs. Kersh is the head of our city council. Although our neighborhood doesn’t have a homeowner’s association, there are some ordinances and such that she will leap on. Especially the noise ordinance.”

“Don’t worry, luv,” Rod said. “I won’t practice my drums or jam with my band at late hours. And I said, I’m installing soundproofing. Which I better get working on now before the movers put the furniture in the way.” He leaned forward, his eyes pure temptation. “We’re going to celebrate my move with beer and pizza once we have the place habitable. A pretty nurse would liven up the party. Would you like to join us?”

Pretty nurse? Gwen’s heart pounded against her ribs. Party with famous rock stars? Her? In addition to the overwhelming concept, another pulse of lust flared through her body at the sound of his sexy accent, and the delicious scent emanating from him. “That sounds like fun, but I already have plans with my friends tonight.” The effect he had on her compelled her to flee. “Maybe another time.”

Gwen turned and went back into her house, closing the door behind her with a sigh.

Damn, Rod’s offer had been tempting as hell. But she was too old to be drinking beer and eating pizza with a famous heavy metal band.

She was too old for him.


Forbidden Song

Brooklyn Ann

Hearts of Metal Book 5

ISBN: 978-1983818530

Womanizing rock star, Cliff Tracey represents everything that has been forbidden to Christine Mayne, which only makes him a greater temptation, especially since she discovers he’s so much more than he pretends to be.


After having one of the worst experiences a young teenager could endure at the hands of cruel musicians, Christine Mayne's rock star brother Quinn tried to lock her away from the world. She had to fight to live her life, go to college, get her master's and enter her PhD program. Now, she's determined to complete her research on group dynamics by touring with Bleeding Vengeance, even it means deceiving her brother and lying to the band's fabulous lead singer, Cliff Tracey.

Cliff Tracey hates being manipulated, lied to and deceived. He'd know, having gone through a string of exes who had done just that. When he thinks he's found a kindred spirit, and a beautiful babe to boot, imagine his surprise - and disappointment - when he learns she played him so she can tour with his band to complete her PhD. When he finds out why, he knows he's in double trouble because Quinn Mayne will kill anyone who touches his sister, and Cliff Tracey has all sorts of plans for Christine Mayne that involves more than either of them ever expected.


Cliff fought not to glance back at the closed partition door as Klement talked to the roadies about the show’s sound and lights. Christine was being quiet as a mouse, but it was only a matter of time before the others discovered her. A twinge of worry gnawed at his gut. He hoped Klement wouldn’t be too pissed about his stowaway.


His jaw clenched at the childish sentiment. Fuck Klement if he was. The guy was too controlling with how the band worked as it was. Klement wasn’t his father and had no say on his social life. If Klement could have his chick on the bus, Cliff should be able to have one too. Okay, so far Christine didn’t seem interested in being “his chick,” but he hoped that after a time he could persuade her to change her mind. She was like a gift dropped in his lap: beautiful, smart, sympathetic to the trials he had to face in his work. And most of all, she was a challenge, since she wasn’t in his lap.

Not yet.

Of course, maybe that’s where he’d fucked up with Kat. He’d just assumed she’d tumble into his bed like the last ones. Cliff had enjoyed the chase with his first few girlfriends, but as his fame grew, all prospect of pursuit faded. Women lined up to be with him on any terms.

Well, Christine had terms; that was clear. He just needed to find out what they were.

He had a feeling he would enjoy meeting them.

Roderick started to head towards the back of the bus. Shit. They’d only gone about twelve miles. He’d hoped to hold off the big reveal until at least thirty, or until they were out of cell service.

“Hey, Rod,” Cliff said, frantic to distract him. “What did you think of Deity’s set?”

“It was pretty cool,” the drummer said, eyebrows knitting at the abrupt question. “I liked the new song, though I haven’t made my mind up on the percussion.”

Kat elbowed him. “Oh, it was great and you know it. And so romantic of him to write a song based on one of Shana’s books.”

“I suppose.” Rod snickered. “I still can’t believe he ended up with a lady who writes bodice rippers.”

“They are not bodice rippers!” Kat shouted, poking Rod in the chest as the roadies laughed. Cliff took a step back. He’d learned really fast that you did not flip Kat shit for her choice of reading material. She may be tiny, but she was fierce.

Kat continued her tirade. “They are historically accurate stories that have a happily-ever-after and depict strong women who get what they want and men who encourage their empowerment. Dante’s smart enough to see that.”

Klement chuckled. “All right, you two. Break it up.”

Kat sighed. “Fine. But he really should read a romance novel before knocking them. In fact, I have one in the back that he’d—”

Cliff intervened. “Give it up, Kat. Rod doesn’t read books period.”

“I do too. I just don’t read fiction,” Rod retorted, rubbing his wrist. “Anyway, my hand is killing me. I wanna grab my compression sleeve.”

Cliff stepped in front of the door. “Why don’t we smoke a bowl first?”

“Yeah,” chimed in Steve, the light tech.

Rod paused. “Do you have any this time, or are you intending on begging from Klem’s stash again?”

“I have my own,” Cliff said, trying not to sound defensive, knowing Christine could hear. He didn’t want her to think he was a mooch. “And I don’t beg off of him. He’s just generous.”

“I have my own too,” said Greg, the sound engineer. “Got some sticky chronic from the weed store. God, I love Washington.”

Cliff gave Rod a pointed look and silently blessed the roadie.

They all settled on the bench seats and around the little kitchen table, but as Cliff loaded a bowl, taking as much time as possible, he forgot a vital fact: Kat didn’t smoke weed.

He froze with the lighter in his hand as she got up from the bench seat and headed to the partition door. “Kat, wait.”

She stopped and turned with a quizzical look. “What? I’m just grabbing my laptop.”

“I…um…” He scrambled for a distraction to keep her up front, but nothing came.

She shook her head and opened the door. Then gasped.

Cliff flinched.

“What are you doing back here?” Kat demanded.

“Cliff said I could tag along.” Christine’s voice was shaky and defensive. “You know, for my research paper.”

Klement bolted up from his seat looking furious. He met Kat in the doorway and glared in Christine’s direction. “God damn it, Chrissy!”

Chrissy? Cliff frowned. Did Klement know her already?

Klement rounded on Cliff, his eyes narrowed to slits. “Quinn is going to fucking kill you.” He closed his eyes and brushed his hand over his face as if the world were ending. “He’s going to kill all of us.”

Cliff blinked, confused. He’d only had two beers and no hit off the pipe yet. “What does Quinn have to do with Christine being on the road with us?”

Klement’s words came like a punch in the stomach. “She’s his baby sister.”


Metal and Mistletoe

Brooklyn Ann

Hearts of Metal, Book 4

ISBN: 978-1541155169

Fighting the darkness of their pasts, talented heavy metal musicians Curtis Scrimm and Dezra Hopkins seek holiday solitude but find each other.


Curtis Scrimm and Dezra Hopkins have lived both the highs and the lows of life—literally. They’ve both known the joy of performing to hordes of screaming fans and the horror of betraying all that they love and admire. They’ve both just gotten out of rehab.

But things are always darkest before the dawn, and with this Christmas comes redemption. It arrives in an unlikely place, in the solitary and deadly beauty of Yellowstone Park. It comes in the form of desperation and unquenchable desire, though things are never so black and white. The spark is a good bass line, the hottest lick from an electric guitar, and a primalistic roar like a furious lioness, and it will ignite an inferno of inspiration that both had been seeking. But that flame needs to be fanned. Curt and Dezra can nurture it with each other. Then they’ll need to find enough trust to make it burn forever.

Rock God

Brooklyn Ann

Hearts of Metal, Book 3

ISBN: 978-1539113737


Fleeing tragedy and infidelity, twenty-five-year-old Shayna Jones takes the longest walk of her life—which ends with her in the protective and possessive arms ofheavy metal music’s hottest commodity, Dante Deity.


Dante Deity is revered by everyone who knows anything about heavy metal music, and he’s respected by everyone else. Rich, handsome, and successful, he has a voice like velvet-wrapped lightning and an ability to juggle numerous philanthropic ventures and still crank out hits. When he’s on tour, music is his life. When he’s taking a break, he’s thinking about his next tour—or working on a project that helps him forget he’s alone. In front of him lies his next endeavor.


Shayna Jones is fleeing her past. Tragedy, infidelity, heartbreak: the twenty-five year old has suffered it all. She was strong enough to run, however, like a spunky heroine from one of her novels, and soon she’ll be flying...just as soon as she can walk again. But this time she has help. Unlike her abusive ex-husband or her bullying mother, the man standing before her is determined she succeed. In fact, Dante commands it. But while his intensity and generosity can easily win her heart, to gain her trust a man must first prove she’s something worth worshipping. Even—or especially—a rock god.


Shayna continued walking, focusing every cell of her being into placing one foot in front of the other. Her feet had been numb for the last few miles, but now the pain returned with unbearable virulence. When it rained, her hair slapped against her cheeks like soaked whips, and the remains of her socks squelched in her shoes. Then the sun would come out and the asphalt would scorch her feet through the holes in her soles.

She didn’t know how many miles she’d covered, or how long she’d been walking. Had it been two weeks, or three? Time had blurred since she set out on that first day, when the last thread of her life had been lopped off.


As her shambling steps carried her forward, her torn shoes resembled toothless mouths. They made dull fwapping sounds as she walked. People moved out of her way on the sidewalk, the streetlights reflecting their hostile stares. Shayna knew she looked like hell, but she didn’t care. Her only focus was finding a place to lie down before she fell. Every blister pierced her feet like hot irons. Even walking on the sides of her arches no longer helped.

The blisters broke. A weak whimper escaped her lips, but she continued walking. The pain in her feet was preferable to the agony of her memories; in fact, she welcomed it. Unfortunately, her body’s ability to cooperate dwindled with every throbbing step. She needed to rest and maybe decide what to do.

As if the skies mocked her predicament, it began to rain again. So much for sunny California.

The ground suddenly pulsed under her feet, sending fresh jolts of pain from her toes to her skull. At first Shayna thought it was an earthquake, but then her head cleared and she heard faint music. There must be a concert going on in the stadium up ahead. As she drew nearer, the music was more audible, calling her like the Pied Piper’s flute. Shayna avoided the parking lot and headed toward the rear of the building, keeping an eye out for security guards who would no doubt run her off if she got too close.

She found a dark alcove shielded from the rain. There she sat down, her feet screaming as she rested her head against the concrete wall. She could hear the crowd cheering as a new song began, and the music was enticingly familiar. She’d heard the song before, a long time ago. In another lifetime. And the singer… God, his voice was beautiful. Shayna closed her eyes and gave herself over to aching nostalgia and bittersweet dreams.

When she woke, the music had stopped. Shayna thought it was the silence that roused her, but then a pair of dark shadows fell over her.

“Want some company, lady?” a drunken voice slurred.

Shayna’s eyes snapped open, and her soon-to-be attackers vanished into the light of the hospital room.


A nurse leaned over her and smiled, speaking words that Shayna only partially understood. Fatigue, dehydration, something about her feet… Confusion, a side effect. But a side effect of what?

Hoping she sounded coherent, Shayna struggled to ask how she’d gotten here. The nurse beamed and explained that a man had rescued her. Slowly, Shayna understood more of what was being said. Did Shayna want to thank the man?

Reflexively, she nodded. Shayna’s mother always said to express gratitude.

A shadowy figure filled the doorway, and a tremor of trepidation shimmied down Shayna’s spine. Suddenly, the idea of thanking her rescuer didn’t seem like a good one. The world still blurred in and out of focus. Who was he? What did he want? What if she made a fool of herself?

“Hello, Shayna,” the man said. “How are you feeling?”

His voice warmed her more than the thin hospital blanket. Shayna struggled to sit up, wincing as an IV dug into her arm. It took all of her willpower to get her eyes to focus on her visitor, but she managed. With his long black hair and chain-bedecked leather outfit, he should look dangerous, but he didn’t. If anything, he was handsome. Too damn handsome. Dark curls framed a chiseled face that reminded her of a movie star’s. Bright, friendly blue eyes with only a trace of laugh lines glimmered in harmony with a smile that made her belly flutter.

He was of medium height and slim, yet his presence felt larger. There was also something familiar about him, but that was probably her memory of his rescue trying to surface.

“I’m alright, considering.” Her voice came out groggy and cracked, but at least it was intelligible. “They said you paid my copay and offered to cover everything that the insurance won’t. I can’t thank you enough. I’ll pay you back.”

“Don’t worry about it,” the man said, obviously not believing she was capable of handling her debt.

The amusement in his eyes gave her a twinge of annoyance. She was half tempted to explain that she had a few thousand dollars of book royalties put away, but it seemed ridiculous to claim she was an author when she didn’t know if she could ever bring herself to write again.

“Really,” she protested, desperate to assert she wasn’t completely helpless. “When I get out of here—”

“About that,” the man interrupted, plopping down in the chair by the bed. “I’ve decided that you’re coming home with me.”


Bonus Content:

Teaser Graphic:


This is the song Dante sings to Shayna.

Brooklyn Ann