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Werescape III: Beauty and the Brute
by Skhye Moncrief

Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica
Description: In a world where ride or die becomes your only hope for a future, sometimes you find you never really lived until you're running for your life.
eBook Publisher: New Concepts Publishing, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: January 2012

eBookeBook

10 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [291 KB]
Words: 63347
Reading time: 180-253 min.


Chapter One

Thirteen years living the lofty life of a warlord's adopted daughter should have been enough time to wipe away the memory of a painful moment in my childhood. But I could still hear my mother's screams. Something terrible happened to her. Something that some higher force had spared me from experiencing by hiding me in a crawl space. But Lord Yale had done everything in his power to make me feel at home afterward. To help me forget all but those screams. So, I'd help him keep his daughter's behavior in check tonight. I yanked the shimmering copper-colored silk strapless bodice into place, shifted the fabric until the majority of my breasts were covered, and fumbled with the zipper's pull at my back.

What would mother think of me in this evening gown? She'd worn many similar dresses as a warlord's wife. But she'd never seen me dress like her. Never known I'd grown into the spitting image of her with my almost-blonde light brown hair twisted up onto the top of my head. I looked wealthy like Lord Yale's daughter. But two years older. Two years wiser.

So much wiser.

Maybe it was the loss of my parents that opened my eyes to the world? But the extraterrestrials should have done that with everyone since the invasion.

The door creaked open and clicked shut.

Now what? Who was bothering me during my last peaceful moments before the dance?

"Lady Lorelei, forgive me for barging in," my step-sister's personal servant Ms. Taylor begged. "But Lady June is quite anxious to descend to the festivities."

My gut did a somersault.

Not good when June was involved. My intuition had a special knack for warning me of fun in my future. Not to mention, June's impatience was going to drive the middle-aged servants into an early grave. I turned to the graying woman's black hair, to her timid stance where her hands were humbly clutched before her long brown skirt beneath her pleading mask. "It's alright, Ms. Taylor. I'm almost ready."

She nodded a relieved smile.

But didn't budge. Why?

"You can't reach that zipper, Lady Lorelei." Ms. Taylor glanced at the door as if contemplating departure but turned back to me. "Allow me to assist you."

Strange. Thoughtful. Edgy. The servant flinched into a trot on silent tiptoes with two fistfuls of brown skirt and halted at my side.

Always brave. Somewhat loyal in an odd way. I'd be a fool not to let her pass on the conspiratorial tidbit she was certain to cough up. Hinting at what she'd learned? Or meant for me to encounter on my own. As always. "Yes?" I whispered.

"Lorelei," she barely spoke and fingered a turn-around motion.

My Shifter Guardian obviously stood outside the door. Listening. I turned, never relinquishing her insistent brown gaze.

"When you descend, make certain to watch who visits the library," she barely mouthed.

A chill feathered down my spine.

A premonition? I'd learned long ago not to ignore one. I nodded.

The door creaked.

Titus, my life-long Guardian during my stay here with Yale. Probably checking on what delayed June's assistant. I threw my arms up to supposedly block the view of my potentially-exposed breasts as Ms. Taylor jerked at my zipper's pull.

Titus' brown gaze landed on the servant. "Lady June is calling," the Shifter boomed the loud voice of a Shifter that amplified his overall indomitable package of shaved head and muscled body packaged in a combination of old military camouflage and leather.

Probably annoyed with Ms. Taylor's delay in that he had to nag her to leave in order to get the spoiled warlord's daughter out of his business.

Ms. Taylor patted the end of the closed zipper and smiled at me. "There now. You're ready for the festivities. Take care not to spill any food on your gown, milady."

Titus swung the door wide with a grip on the doorknob and waited with his back against the open door.

The Shifter's sheer strength in his broad chest and combat boots planted wide apart is probably what drove Ms. Taylor from the room in a bustle of brown cloth. Or his unflinching brown stare lit the fire under her brown shoes. Nobody crossed him for any reason. Or crossed me because of my Guardian.

He watched the older woman disappear through the doorframe and slid his stoic gaze back to mine. "Shall we go?"

"Of course." I stepped toward the hallway.

He never commented on my appearance. But his eyes always softened for a fraction of a second. Long enough to compliment my clothing or hairstyle. Like an approving older brother. Today proved no different. I just ignored his acknowledgement as he ignored everything about me that said he noted I was an attractive female, in his brotherly opinion. This little game we played spared our lives. Gave him a job. Saved his wife and children. After all, what kind of warlord would choose a foolish Guardian for an adopted daughter he treated like his princess of a child? Especially a Shifter when Normal women proved repeatedly to choose Shifter males over Normal males for mates. The choice was every bit one made by women choosing strong healthy mates who could protect their families. Albeit, every personality type from passive to aggressive existed among Shifters like with the Normal population. Shifters attempted to rear their children with some sort of standard code of conduct. Something my tutors drilled into me. A thing that the priests couldn't eradicate when Normals depended on Shifter strength to perpetuate what the aliens left of earth's human population. Thank goodness Shifter code revolved around humans and humanity. END EXCERPT


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