Gin & Wrath

Gin & Wrath Cover

Born of magick, forged in the eternal fires of Helheimr, to become Odin’s weapon of destruction and shield of protection. Wrath is a dedicated Immortal Enforcer at the Twin Ravens MC, he keeps his inner monster at bay with carefully controlled violence, sex, and utter domination…

Until sweet Virginia shows up at the MC to serve drinks and pick up some much needed cash. Even a capable woman needs a bit of help now and then, especially when someone in Tulsa’s secretive supernatural underworld is gunning for her. Her first encounter with the Tawny Viking binds them together in a magickal connection that won’t be denied!

Can a demi-god with savage desires and life-long domination tendencies find common ground with a sweet, young submissive who has an independent streak a mile wide and triumph over deadly preternatural enemies?

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This book contains adult content

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CHAPTER ONE

Gin ~ If Only

I am grinning like a delighted fool as I finish writing a review for the book I had just finished reading.  Not every book I read and review gets a glowing five stars, but this one epitomized the qualities that make me gravitate towards my preferred genre – paranormal romance.  After all, what could be better than a tale of a strong, likeable woman who finds true love with a sexy and powerful Alpha male?  A man who is confident enough to allow his woman to stand on her own, but is also ready to support her when she needs his care and protection.  And the cherry on top of this tantalizing, sexy, and fantastical sundae, it all goes down in a magical universe where the impossible is made possible at the whim of the author.  Yum!  A tiny thrill of excitement shivers down my spine and I grin like a fool.

I’m still smiling as I go to my bedroom to plug the charger into my kindle, and give the reading device an affectionate pat as I whisper, “If only.”

Sadly, those two little words have become my mantra these days, “If only!”  If only I had made wiser choices.  If only Randy was what he portrayed himself to be.  If only I was the type of woman that men truly want.  “Yeah, If only.”  I mutter when my snarky subconscious rolls her figurative eyes at my wistfulness.

As silly as it might seem to others that an independent woman such as myself loves paranormal romance, I just don’t care.  I may not be as prim and proper as my sister, or as effortlessly successful as my best friend, but I do okay.  I am a sensible, capable, and very competent professional woman, with a job I love.  A job that allows me to make a real difference in the lives of others.  I have good friends, who I love dearly, and I find contentment with my life.

So, I give myself permission to like what I like.  Unabashedly, I have a deep and abiding fondness for paranormal romance with dominating Alpha males.  Especially those cast as the anti-hero archetype.  I love the “Bad-A” character who does the right thing, not because he’s wired to do only good, but because he chooses to do it, despite what some might consider serious character flaws.  Combine that with a fast-paced plot, some steamy love scenes, and I can forget about life’s tougher issues for an hour or two and recharge my mental and emotional batteries.  I see it as a win-win.

A smile curls my lips as I recall a particularly enticing scene from the book I just read before reminding myself to stop daydreaming about my fictional friends, so as to not let Kat down.  My best friend and employer, Kat, was the one who helped me get my new temporary job.  Unlike my sister, Kat isn’t critical of my fondness for paranormal romance.  Nope, Kat is playfully amused by my passion for the genre.

Oh well, I am fully aware Shifters, vamps, ghouls, and demigods are not real, but I love reading about them anyway. I love imagining a world filled with strange, terrible, and amazing things, of which most people are totally oblivious. I love imagining what it would be like to meet some gorgeous man and instantly know that person is The One made just for you.

I square my shoulders and give my snarky subconscious a look that has made grown men cower.  So, sue me for being a closet romantic who likes imagining a world filled with sexy preternatural beings!

I double check to make sure my kindle is charging.  I find it very frustrating to pick up my e-reader only to find the battery is dead.  I want to be able to read during any down time I might have. I chuckle at that idea, because there’s precious little of that rare commodity in my life these days. Between being a full-time student working on my Master’s degree in psychology and working full time as a social worker at a private foundation here in Tulsa, I don’t have as much time to indulge my love of paranormal romance as I would like.

A quick glance at the clock makes me groan.  I only have fifty minutes until I need to leave for my second job.  That was stupid, Gin!  I really should not have allowed myself to get so enthralled with that tale of the sexy wolf shifter and his sassy human mate.  But that hunky Alpha male was just so tasty!

Reality check, my inner snarky cow chimes in.  Don’t you start the new ill-considered J.O.B. tonight?   As much as I hate to admit it, the old cow has a point.  I will be stressed if I must rush to get to work on time.  My inner critic rolls her bovine eyes at me, again.

“Can one actually slap their subconscious?” I ask the empty room as Judge Judy’s theme song blares from my phone, causing me to utter another groan.  Only my parents and sister have that ring tone.

Checking the caller ID, I wonder what I have done now to merit an unscheduled phone call from Tabitha.  I debate on just letting the call go to voice mail, but I know my sister won’t let it go that easily.  She will continue calling all night, or even worse she might put in a surprise visit so that she can impart her unwanted wisdom.  I cringe inwardly at the thought.  I better face the music now rather than later.

“Your timing stinks, Tabs,” I quip by way of answering the call.  I jab the speaker button on my phone before tossing it on my bed.  I’m barely listening to my sister’s latest diatribe, as I gather the clothing I plan to wear for my first night at the new job, responding with hmmm’s and oh’s, as I go about digging my old cowboy boots out from under my bed.

Even though this phone call was unexpected, my sister calling to criticize is nothing new.  I always seem to fall short in my older sister’s estimation, no matter what I do.  So, I just let her have her say and then go about doing whatever I want.  It’s not an efficient or pretty system, but it works for us… sort of.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m fairly certain Tabby cares for me, but we are not what anyone would call close.   It’s difficult to feel close to someone who is always trying to get you to change in one way or another.

My older, and very put together sister, doesn’t seem to value much of anything that interests me, especially not the few men I have dated, my reading preferences, or occupational choices.  At least, she shows some interest in me and my life, unlike our adopted parents.  And she is protective, in her own unique and suffocating way, so I do love her.  Because of my affection for my sister, I endure the frequent phone calls and visits that always leave me feeling a teensy bit incompetent and weak.

I honestly do not think she intends to make me feel that way.  Tabby just has the people skills of a runaway bulldozer.  She simply pushes forward until she accomplishes her goal, without any regard for inconsequential things like manners and the feelings of others.  And, apparently, her goal where I am concerned, is to change everything about me.  Not that I have ever really allowed her opinions to shape my life, but that hasn’t stopped my sister from trying.

A quick glance at the clock reminds me that I have bigger fish to fry tonight than my sister’s never ending list of my shortcomings and suggestions as to how I can improve my life.  “Gotta go, Tabs.  Sorry.”

“What?” she demands, her voice sounding oddly high pitched.  My abrupt insistence that I need to end the call surprises Tabby, because I usually let her wind down naturally.  But I just don’t have the time tonight.

“I said, I gotta go.  Look Tabs, I picked up a temporary second job to make some extra cash, and I am running late.  I will see you for brunch on Sunday.  Hugs, my sista!”

I push the button to end the call and sigh heavily as the weight of my world rests heavily on my shoulders for just a moment.  I know I have only put off the inevitable by ending the call, but tonight is not confession time.  There is no way that I am admitting to my sister that my ex-fiancé ripped me off, and ran up a huge amount of debt in my name after I caught him boinkin’ my best friend.  The same ex-fiancé who is also now stalking me and likely ruining my future after stealing my identity.  And because of the debt, I had to get a temporary second job.  A second job that my sister will certainly not approve of.

Nope.  Not going there with Tabby, at least not tonight.  Tonight, I have enough on my plate, like a job slinging drinks for tips in a strip club filled with horny men.  A strip club that is owned and operated by an outlaw motorcycle club.

I chuckle dryly while applying my deodorant.  “Never let ‘em see you sweat,” I mumble the line from the old TV commercial as I adjust my leopard print push-up bra.  Not that the Double D Twins, Delta and Delilah need the help.  Normally.  Tonight, the girls just can’t shyly languish beneath some demure little top.  Nope, all hands on-deck tonight.

Pulling on the black tank top, and fluffing my wispy shoulder length black hair, I look in the mirror.  “Hmmm, need to sexy things up a bit, I think.”  I toss the jeans I had planned to wear over the closet door and go to get a pair of shorts from the dresser.

“Think bold and sexy!” I quip while wriggling my big, round behind and wide hips into a scanty pair of cut offs before slipping on my boots.  I look in the mirror at the outfit and shrug. The tight, low cut black tank and the cutoffs, paired with my old cowboy boots, will ride the fine line between sexy and slutty. Certainly, not my typical work attire, but entirely appropriate for my new second job. “It will have to do,” I mutter and then huff at myself for being so picky.

With Halloween approaching, I was informed I need to wear a costume to work this weekend.  I snicker at the idea of dressing up for trick or treat at my age, but what the hay?  When in Rome, right?  That’s why I stopped at the local dollar store on the way home to purchase a kid’s cowboy hat and a pair of toy six-shooters in plastic holsters.

The cheap red felt hat, replete with blocky white stitching around the brim, truly looks rather fetching when I wear it jauntily cocked off to one side, and the draw-string secured snugly under my chin.  The tiny pistols and the ornate but patently cheap holsters look nine kinds of cute hanging from my belt to flop against my round hips every time I move.  All in all, it’s a cute and sort of sexy get up.  And hopefully, showing all this cleavage and leg will help me earn some good tips.

I pat my gently rounded belly ruefully, as I try to suck it up a bit. I can’t help but snort at my foolishness. Yeah right! There’s no way you will keep this gut sucked in all night!  I can’t help but chuckle at myself because I am not even sure why I am worried. I may not be model thin but I am not exactly obese either. Wearing a size 16 with these boobs and my fanny doesn’t make me a porker…

Oh that wasn’t very PC, my snarky inner cow of a subconscious chides sternly.

I look at my reflection again, trying to be objective.  Most days, I honestly like what I see.  I am a big girl with a big backside and one heckuva rack topping a comparatively small waist.  I am not out of shape by any stretch of the imagination because I work out almost every day in one form or another.  I love martial arts, cross-country running, and rowing.  And I always find the time to do one of these activities at least five times a week.

“I am not fat.” I voice this assertion in a clear, strong voice to remind myself of this salient fact.  “This is the body of a 1950’s style bombshell,” I affirm to my reflection, striving to boost my flagging confidence.  “Back in the day, this body paired with this face, would have made me a famous pin-up girl.”

Too bad this is 2016, my snarky inner-cow speaks up.

Knowing in my head that I am not technically obese doesn’t always translate well with my heart and my self-image.  If I were a character in one of those romance novels I adore reading, I would be dubbed a curvy gal or a BBW – Big Beautiful Woman. I chuckle at the thought. In reality, most people see me as the tall, fat chick with the pretty face. I am 5’10″ and 210 pounds. I have big feet, wear a size 10 shoe and have what I think of as man-sized hands. Which was great in high school and college. These big hands and feet, as well as my long, powerful legs, made me a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court. And that was a very good thing because it got me a scholarship for my undergraduate degree. “Yay me!” I mutter.

But my big build, low-maintenance layered shoulder length haircut I have always favored, and my take-no-crap attitude rarely made me all that desirable to the opposite sex. Men frequently are very attracted to my big boobs and round behind, and are willing, for a time, to overlook the extra bulges while they are trying to get into my panties. But they are soon put off by what has been called my “Butch Attitude”, because I refuse to sleep with any Tom, Dick, or Harry who decides to do the fat chick a favor by deigning to dip his wick my way.  No thanks!

At one time, I had thought my fiancé, Randy, was different.  I scoff and shake my head.  “Yeah, he was different, alright.”  Randy didn’t notice me as a woman, he only noticed me as a potential mark.  A bank account with easy access.  A sucker ripe for the pickin’. Sadly, he was right.  I was dumb enough to believe he loved me just the way I am and respected me enough to wait until we were married to have sex.

“Stupid! Stupid!” I chide myself softly. “Men don’t wait till marriage these days. That should have tipped you off even if all of the other warning signs went right over your head.”

I give my head a shake and glare at my reflection.  “Drop it!” I growl. I don’t have time for the “Big-Dumb Gin Hour” tonight.

“Big-Dumb Gin Hour” is what I call it when I start recapping the highlights of the biggest mistakes in life.  Nope! No time for that. New job in the friendly neighborhood outlaw biker bar. Gotta get my game face on, I remind myself.