I'm celebrating with my friend Francesca Hawley with the release of her new book Alpha vs Alpha this week at Ellora's Cave.
Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match…
How does a lonely shapeshifter find love? That was the “what if” question that helped me create the concept for my current release, Alpha vs. Alpha. I reasoned that it isn't as if your average shapeshifter could advertise on eHarmony or Match.com. After all, explaining “and oh by the way I can change into a wolf sometimes,” would not be great icebreaker material on a date with one of the typical subscribers.So, I came up with the concept of an online dating service which is supplemented by an office staff that could also provide personalized service if someone was willing to pay the price to be personally matched. Now this idea for a matchmaker entered my head in 2004 when I originally wrote the story and long before Patti Stanger began her entertaining Millionaire Matchmaker’s program on Bravo TV in 2008. I'd like to think I was a bit ahead of the reality TV curve there.
The heroine of Alpha vs. Alpha is Serena Goldwolf is a bit abrasive and volatile but in her defense, this is only because she's on the verge of going into heat. A heat cycle she wasn’t expecting because it’s brought on by meeting her True Mate, Damien Blackwolf.
What’s a True Mate? It’s a shapeshifter’s destined mate—a life partner and lover from whom there is no escape because they are fated to be together. A True Mate is the very last thing Serena wants in her life. Her parents are True Mates, and her perception is that her mother gave up everything to support her father.
Her mother put off college and had a pup as soon as they met. Serena can’t remember ever hearing her parents argue. Her mother would smile and nod when her father made decisions regarding how the Goldwolf pack will be run. Serena can’t and won’t live that way, so meeting Damien Blackwolf is a nightmare. She doesn’t want to find herself saying “Yes, dear” like a Stepford bitch no matter what half-assed pronouncement comes from her True Mate’s mouth, but she fears that’s her destiny because her True Mate is an Alpha male. The conflict raging through her is, “do I have to give up me to be with you?” She fears the answer is yes, so she fights her attraction to Damien.
Damien is at the age where he wants to settle down. He has approached Predator-Match.com (Serena’s matchmaking service) to find a Chosen Mate, never expecting that he’d meet his True Mate. All he hoped for was a compatible female with whom he could share his life and have pups together. A female he could fall in love with and with whom he could share the rest of his life. Instead, the first female Predator-Match.com found for him was a scary stalker type female and he’s pissed. When Serena realizes that he’d been matched with a female she’d thrown out of the service, she’s pissed too because it means she has to apologize and she hates it. And she especially hates apologizing to Damien.
All it takes is one deep breath, and Damien is sold on Serena. She’s his True Mate and he wants her in his life now and for always. When she runs, he gives chase…because that’s what True Mates do. Is he able to convince her that he wants her just the way she is? Pick up Alpha vs. Alpha to find out.
Alpha female Serena Goldwolf has spent a lifetime vowing never to be a submissive mate to any Alpha male. But all it takes is one surprisingly sexual meeting with Damien Blackwolf, a dissatisfied client of her shapeshifter dating site Predator-Match.com, and she is down on all fours, wanting to be mounted by the hottest male on two legs—or four—whom she’s ever met.
Damien Blackwolf doesn’t understand why the voluptuous Serena won’t admit they’re True Mates. To convince her, he decides to bring out her baser desires by dragging her off to someplace private to get to know her…intimately. But how can he convince her of their destiny when she refuses to acknowledge their True Mate connection and runs away from him? Guess he’ll just have to hunt her down and persuade her.
In a passionate battle of wills, there most definitely can be two winners.
Publisher’s Note: Previously published elsewhere but has been revised and expanded for Ellora’s Cave.
“What the hell kind of outfit is this?”
Serena Goldwolf’s head shot up at the irate shout coming from the outer office of her shapeshifter matchmaking business, Predator-Match.com. She brushed her bangs off her forehead with a sigh. Damn it, couldn’t anyone in this office take care of stuff without her intervention?
The male voice continued to roar out there, and she knew her secretary wouldn’t be able to handle him because Kara was such an omega even omega males dominated her. Serena sighed again, saved her database update and headed out to confront the wolf male jerk. Serena took in the male outrage with a shake of her head. Asshole. He shook his head as if he’d heard her. Yeah right. She wished.
“I’m sorry, sir. Really.” Kara huddled in her chair, her head dipped and her eyes on her desktop. Submission in her posture and her voice.
“You people set me up with some stalker bitch! I want to talk to one of the owners, now.” A tall black-haired man with dark-brown eyes leaned on the desk, his large hands flat on the wood.
Serena took him in, her body responding immediately. Damn it. She didn’t need this shit, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him. He wore a very expensive, black Italian suit, Italian black leather loafers, a crisp white shirt and red tie. The ultimate in power wear for the busy executive. And he was so good-looking he resembled an escapee from Fashion Week. She shook her head to remind herself that he wasn’t all that…he was just a wolf like any other.
Heads hung out of office doors, watching the confrontation with enjoyment, yet no one came to Kara’s rescue. Probably glad to be out of firing range themselves…that’s what she got for hiring betas. The females all wanted him and the males would jump to follow his orders.
Female musk clogged the air. Especially from Lea Redcat, one of her business partners. Predator-Match.com was damn successful. To the outside world, their site looked like a zoo animal match service. To the shapeshifter community, it was a way to find a lover or a life partner. Since Lea was allowing this thing to escalate, it looked like Serena to the rescue. Again.
“I’m really sorry, sir. We do our best to match our clients up with the best fit for them.” Kara cringed lower behind her desk and wouldn’t meet the man’s eyes. Typical omega posture. The male frowned.
“Are you saying you think I deserve a psycho bitch as my Mate?” His quiet voice seemed to scare Kara more than his shouting had because she backed up. It wouldn’t be long before she crawled under her desk.
“No s-s-sir,” Kara stammered.
Damn that bastard. He was done scaring Kara. Unable to suppress her temper, Serena growled. His gaze flashed to her and she felt it all the way to her womb. Damn but he was hot. Life was just not fair.
She challenged him—head up, shoulders back—inspecting him from top to bottom and allowing her gaze to linger, as if she were checking for fleas. His shoulders were broad and filled his Italian suit to perfection. His broad chest narrowed to athletic hips, and she would bet money that his belly sported a six-pack, and not of the beer variety. He had the kind of face that artists wanted to sculpt and women wanted to sit on. His eyes were the piece de resistance—large, dark brown and thick-lashed beneath perfectly arched brows.
In short, he was a god—or a male model. This was the kind of male who never looked twice at Serena because she wasn’t tall and thin, or tiny and doll-like. She had yet to meet a male wolf who wanted a woman with curves, but this kind of wolf was the worst. These wolves wanted trophy bitches.
“Who are you?” His voice cut the air like a knife.
She lifted her chin when the bastard stared her down. How dare he try to intimidate her? She was an alpha female, damn it!
“I’m Serena Goldwolf and one of the co-owners of Predator-Match.com. Who are you?” No way would she back down from this one. The man needed to be taken down a peg.
He scowled at her and his eyes narrowed at her temerity in confronting him. The bastard was an Alpha from the tips of his perfect black hair to the bottom of his highly polished Italian loafers.
“Damien Blackwolf. A fucking unhappy customer.”
He straightened to face off against her, obviously waiting for his pronouncement to have some effect. He said it as if she were supposed to curtsey to him. Not only was he an alpha, but a Blackwolf Alpha. An alpha was a dominant male, but an Alpha was the heir of a clan, or the leader of one. This male had or definitely would found his own clan group one day.
“What seems to be your problem?”
On the whole, Serena was not fond of Blackwolf males—they were too arrogant by half, and this one seemed to think he was God’s gift. She had to admit he was a beautiful specimen who made her wet just to look at him, but she wasn’t about to admit that to him.
He smiled the smile of the male who knew a female was reacting to him. Shit. Her scent must be broadcasting. He licked his perfect full lips. Males were not supposed to have lips like that. Double shit.
“Your much-acclaimed psychology matching service paired me with the psycho bitch from hell!”
“Well, considering your obnoxious attitude with my secretary, it would seem our ‘much-acclaimed psychological matching service’ did just dandy,” Serena countered with a smile.
He growled and took a step toward her. She tensed but stayed where she was. The worst thing to do when a predator challenged was cringe or run, and this man was definitely a predator. If the bastard thought she was that easily intimated, he was in for a rude awakening.
She raised her brow and crossed her arms over her chest. He paused, dumbfounded, looking as perplexed as a pup trying to figure out why he tripped over his tail. Damn it, that made him adorable. Serena shook her head in disgust at herself. Alpha males were not adorable. They were royal pains, emphasis on both royal and pain.
She might be an alpha female, but she was damned if she was going to take an Alpha male like him as her Mate. When she did date, she dated betas because they were easier to manage. Serena blinked. Why was she using the permanent possessive with this one? A Mate was a partner for life, and a mate was good for a tumble. This male didn’t come close to fulfilling her needs for either role.
“Ms. Goldwolf. I’m not some untried adolescent, Mr. Blackwolf, and I would appreciate if you would acknowledge it.”
“Ms. Goldwolf…” His sarcastic voice was deep and made her nipples harden. She pretended it didn’t affect her, but she knew he realized it did. Why did he show up here today? She didn’t need the aggravation.
He glared down at her. “This is a business, Ms. Goldwolf, and I am a very dissatisfied customer. I have friends who I’ve told about this company who could very easily withdraw their business at my request. I suggest you moderate your tone.”
That was it. Serena saw red. She stalked over to him and poked him in the chest with her finger while she scowled up into his black eyes.
“Listen to me, you arrogant wolf! You come in here, guns blazing, and abuse my secretary then threaten me. Pull your business if you want. Tell your friends to take a hike too. I don’t give a flying fuck! I will not be treated this way by you or anyone!”
Serena felt as if she were outside herself, and she watched herself in horror. She was never like this, even when she was fully in heat. Oh, she snarled and clawed at males, but she’d never attacked anyone before. She sure wanted to attack this one though. He smiled grimly, and only then did Serena realize his last speech had been a deliberate taunt. Damn it to hell. Damn him to hell…
He grabbed her waist and lifted her easily. He took two strides to the nearest wall, pushing her against it while wrapping her thighs around his hips. He pressed his erection against her wet pussy. She moaned and her head dropped back. She heard him snarl and realized she’d closed her eyes—when she opened them she saw triumph in his.
Do you like wolf shifters? What are your favorite shape shifters???
Visit Francesca at http://www.francescahawley.com/