First Heat
August 2011
Harlequin Nocturne Bites

Available in e-book.

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Behind the Story

Lena Coble knows there’s something different about her but she tries to fit in. Aged-out of foster care and on her own, she finds herself pursued by eight male Skinwalkers who can change from man to wolf. Each one has come to battle for the right to claim her in her first heat. One man is familiar, Hunter Ortiz, the boy she once loved, the dangerous stranger he has become.

Hunter recognized her, but fears Lena has become like all other females Skinwalkers, excited to have males spill their blood to earn the right to take them. Only after the battle, does he realize that Lena does not know who and what she is. He’s won her by combat, but will she accept him as her mate.


Excerpt from First Heat

Lena Coble scrutinized the man’s angular features and intent eyes, searching for the boy she’d once known. Could it really be him?

His nod was almost imperceptible. She inhaled his scent and found traces of the familiar. For eight months of her life, she’d had someone she cared about and someone who cared for her.

“You,” she breathed, feeling again the knife-blade of pain, reliving the hurt of Hunter abandoning her just like everyone else.

He’d been one of the few people she let get close. She hadn’t expected him to return, just one more promise broken. Her life was littered with them.

She stared up into his eyes, the boy she once knew, the stranger he had become. Before leaving, he’d asked her to join him. Lena almost had, but she’d been too scared. Then he was gone and she was alone again. She’d missed him ever since. Served her right for letting him in. Well, she wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. He couldn’t just pop back into her life and expect her to throw a party.

He captured her upper arm. “Come with me.”

She pulled back, refusing to let him hurt her again. She had her life, he had his. No men until she could take care of herself. That included Hunter Ortiz.


“Lena.” His voice chastened.

She stiffened her spine. “I have a place to sleep.”

His forehead wrinkled and he frowned, looking as if she’d hurt him somehow. Then he rallied, setting his mouth in a stubborn line that she recalled was an indication of his fathomless determination. He stroked her jaw with the backs of his index and middle fingers and then captured her neck in a move so quick she didn’t have time to evade. He leaned in, his warm breath fanning her cheek.

“Choose me,” he said.

“What? Let go.”

He didn’t. His mouth turned grim. “You prefer one of the others?”

“Prefer? What others? Let go, Hunter. I’ve got to get to class.”

His laugh was resonant and made her stomach quiver.

“School’s closed this week. There’s no class. Besides, they can still sense something is wrong with you even without knowing exactly what it is. You belong with your own kind.”

He was freaking her out. This was definitely not the boy she remembered. He had a raw hunger and dangerous sexuality that sent a shiver skittering up her spine. She pulled back and he didn’t move a millimeter. Once she realized she was his prisoner, he let her go.

“You want me to challenge them, is that it?” He moved so fast his action seemed a blur. An eye blink later he clasped the hair on the back of her head, controlling her. He leaned close as if he meant to kiss her. When his lips were a mere breath from hers, he whispered to her. “I’ll win. I always win.”

He released her again and she staggered back.

“The others are near.” He turned his head and glanced about. “Soon.”

With those cryptic words he backed up, leaning against the wide marble banister.

“I’ll be close.”