The Coin Toss: Vampire or Werewolf (Print)

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404 pages | Trade Paperback | 6x9"
Date of publication: 08/21/2015
  • ISBN: 978-1-941984-87-1
  • Model: 93993 words

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Heat Rating: 2 Flames

 

Charlotte and Timber believe love only exists in fairy tales, but they agree to attend a New Year's Eve party as a favor to a friend.

A coin toss saddles Charlotte with a snobbish, immaculate vampire with a big ego, one who makes her grind her teeth. Yet, she can't pass up the golden opportunity to pester him with silly questions. Ethan can't believe he's set up with a human female, one with horrendous taste in interior decorating and a quirky inquisitiveness that pricks at his final nerve. Unfortunately, the cards are stacked against him from the moment they meet. Danger and disaster bring them together, forcing them to lean on one another for survival. Can they move past their vast species differences and find true love?

Timber's blind date for the evening is a werewolf. Rock doesn't need the complication of a human mate, not with the present pack alpha stepping down, a violent struggle to claim the position a few short days away, and a deadly rival set upon taking the throne for himself. Will they pull together as fate deemed in order to save the pack and themselves or will the difference between them prove too large a hurdle to overcome? Can Timber open her heart to a part time fur bearer and recognize love can exist if only given a chance?

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EXCERPT FROM HEADS: VAMPIRE!

 

Charlotte propped a hip on the corner of her desk. "I'm still not sure about this. What if the guy takes one look at me and storms out?"

Ginger, the most outgoing and social person Charlotte knew, stood in the narrow space between their work stations. The petite redhead never met a stranger, recalled names in a flash, flirted constantly, and somehow managed to keep a brilliant smile plastered on her face no matter the day or situation. Put that personality with her trim build and bubbly energy and it was no wonder she drew men like a gaggle of geese to a pond. "Oh, Char, don't be so negative."

"The men you set us up with agreed to this blind date?" Char persisted, hem-hawing with indecision in regards to Ginger's off-the-wall suggestion.

The annual City Works New Year's Eve party was scheduled for the next evening. Pretty much anyone with a remote association with the city's departments, from the police to records, even the mayor's office, had received an open invitation two weeks before and had already lined up dates for the evening. Everyone except her and Timber, her best friend in the office.

Timber could be described as a matching wallflower, content to watch from the sidelines. Sharing a common ideology and outlook, made for great friends. Life happened and you made the best of it. For people such as themselves, love happened in romance novels and storybook tales. Only a few, blessed people found true love and a mate for life. Neither bemoaned the fact they weren't in that select list, instead focusing on the freedom to do whatever they liked, a luxury to those with husbands and children.

"Of course they agreed." Ginger waved a hand dismissively.

Not for the first time, Char envied her friend's bright nature, the ease with which she worked around men, and her flippant attitude toward everything. Whereas Char leaned toward a down to earth and practical nature, plodding through life, determined to enjoy the small stuff with a quirky sense of humor, Ginger took the mirror-opposite path. She worked hard and certainly produced excellent quality work, yet she saw life as an adventure with limited time to fulfill a thousand dreams and wishes.

Timber ambled up, a steaming mug clasped in her hands. "Is she trying to convince you to go to the party?" Her unbound, long blonde hair swayed with each movement, the natural waves lapping at her lower back.

"You guys need to get out and have some fun. Good grief. It's just one night. One party. Heck, if you get technical, it's for four or five hours, tops. What can it hurt to meet a guy, dance a little, and share a kiss to celebrate the New Year?" Ginger's gaze flicked from Timber to Char and back again.

They shared a look before Char sighed. "I'm driving myself to the party and home."

Timber nodded. "Me, too. And I'm not wearing a slinky dress or high heels that some women shove themselves into for such an occasion."

Ginger grinned widely. "Fine. Fine. As long as you're there, that's what counts."

"I don't know how Deacon gets anything past you." Timber shook her head.

"Oh, he tries but I can run circles around him." Ginger's eyes twinkled at the mention of the name.

Ginger and Deacon had been a hot item for the past year, which said a lot about their relationship since Ginger normally flitted from one man to the next, moving on at the first hint of boredom. But Deacon was no ordinary man. His vampire powers must include suggestion or super sticky suction cups because she no longer spoke about resuming the search for a replacement. His hard, sexy body and sultry smile probably helped corral and tame the flame-haired socialite of the office.

Tugging off her ponytail holder, Char busily rearranged her shoulder-length hair, wrapping the loose material around it once more. Her brown eyes lifted. "Aren't you going to tell us about the guys? Which one do I get?"

"Of course. And I suck at matchmaking, so I came up with a better idea."

Char and Timber stepped closer. "What idea?"

"We're going to toss a coin to decide who gets which date." Ginger dug into her pants pocket pulling out a quarter and holding it up for inspection.

Char blinked. "Are you insane? Why can't you just tell us about them and let us decide which fits us best?"

Shaking her head, Ginger clicked her tongue. "You two are pretty much peas in the same pod. I think either would do for each of you." She palmed the coin. "Besides, if you don't like one, then you can always trade."

Timber placed her cup on a nearby desk. "I guess it doesn't really matter."

Char shrugged. She truly didn't expect more than spending a few minutes and perhaps a dance with the one chosen for her. Men tended to see right through her, excusing themselves at the earliest possible moment, only to reappear later with a more fashionable lady, complete with high heels, in tow.

"Who's going to call?"

"Go ahead, Timber."

The green-eyed blonde nodded. "Okay. Tails."

Ginger flipped the coin in the air. All watched as it bounced across the top of the desk and rolled a few inches before coming to a stop.

Tails.

"Great." Ginger marched back to her desk, opened the middle drawer, and pulled out a couple of envelopes. Returning, she handed one to Timber and the other to Char. "Meet your men."

The front of her envelope said Heads scribbled in red. Slowly opening the flap, she dug inside then lifted out a sheet of white paper. Scanning over the writing, Char blinked at the written words before her.

My date is a vampire?

She came to work at the city police station special crimes division three years earlier, agreeing with their philosophy of assuring all species--human, shape-shifter, and vampire--lived in peace together. An idealistic wish if there ever was one.

As a human, she appreciated their efforts immensely. While in the majority, that didn't mean the possibility didn't exist for a rogue shifter or vampire to set his sights on a midnight snack, gobbling her up in two bites.

Basically, the office served as a police department, employing people from all species, in order to keep the peace between all three groups. Guardians, as those special police were called, patrolled day and night, watching for signs of increased inter-species tension then moving to nip any in the bud. Regular crimes fell under the authority of beat cops and detectives, freeing up the Guardians to deal with inter-species issues solely.

As a receptionist and assistant, Char ran into a select few Guardians of all DNA varieties on a daily basis and pretty much got along with them all. Most either ignored her presence or remained mute after a quick once-over. A few of the more social ones greeted her briefly before either going about their business or ordering her to a task. None stopped to chit-chat or bother to answer her gazillion questions about their particular species. She relied on hearsay for the basics and wondered often about the specifics.

Still, she'd never once imagined dating a vampire. The thought bounced through her head so quickly she couldn't wrap her mind about the idea. "I'm so wearing a turtleneck," she muttered still staring at the white paper before her.

"Don't you dare! Ethan might take offense." Ginger stepped in front of her, pushing the paper down and out of her face. "Sure, you worry he'll see you as a midnight snack. For all he knows, you could be carrying a stake. You both have to show some faith."

Oh, yeah, right. Like I pack a wooden stick in my purse every morning. Besides, vampires enjoyed more physical strength than the average human. Thus, even if she wanted to punch a hole through his heart, she lacked the speed and power to do so. The scales easily tilted in his favor.

You are what you eat. Maybe I'll gobble down some plain yogurt on the verge of expiration. Surely one sip from her would send him hunting dinner elsewhere.

She met Ginger's gaze and sighed. "I don't know anything about dating a vampire."

 

* * * *

 

"I don't know anything about dating a human. Dining on them? Yes. Dating them? No." Ethan sucked in a breath before pushing the bar loaded with weights upward.

"They're not that different than vampires." Deacon flipped a towel over his shoulder and replaced a large black dumbbell back in the rack. "You just refrain from calling them prey or dinner and you're good."

Ethan snorted, settled the bar in its stand, and sat up. "Yeah, right." Despite the fifty years between their births and each being over two hundred years old, both men appeared to be in their late twenties or early thirties.

As a vampire, Ethan technically didn't need to perform a physical workout; his genetics provided him with superior speed and strength over any human. However, he found that not only did the time spent in the gym give him a sharper edge and increased stamina, he actually enjoyed the workouts. Sweating and pushing his body's abilities increased his energy levels, provided stress relief, and made him feel good: endorphin release, according to medical experts. Whatever the reason, it helped propel him from one day to the next, minus a nearly overwhelming urge to toss people off the planet. With the possible exception of his brother, for the moment.

"Come on. This is important to Ginger. She wants her friends to have a good time at the party. Besides, it's just a few hours then you can excuse yourself to go find greener pastures." Grabbing a bottle of water, Deacon unscrewed the lid, tilted, and swallowed deeply.

"You are so whipped," Ethan grumbled under his breath, well aware his brother heard due to his advanced senses.

Deacon grinned. "Trust me, bro. You make the love of your life happy, she repays you in spades. You may call it whipped, but I call it smart and an investment in my own happiness."

Oh, yeah. The fiery redhead had Deacon wrapped around her little finger. Ethan had never pictured his brother bowing to a woman, giving up his near obsessive control over life to someone half his size and centuries younger. Guess that went to show what love could do.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

 

EXCERPT FROM TAILS: WEREWOLF!

 

"Come on, Timber. You have to go. It's the big event."

Timber glanced up from her computer to find the social diva of the office staring down at her with a look of desperation mixed with determination. The petite redhead knew anyone and everyone even remotely attached to the various city departments and then some, especially the police special crimes division, the area they both worked in.

Though Ginger meant well, Timber had no inclination to attend the upcoming New Year's Eve party. "I don't think so." Her attention returned to the legal letter one of the city's lawyers had handed her earlier to be typed, signed, and mailed out.

"Please."

Releasing a long sigh, Timber abandoned her work for the moment. "It's nothing personal. I just don't have any interest in dressing up for a big social event where I'll end up snacking from the buffet table all night in between sessions of wallflower-hood. As interesting as people watching can be, I prefer to do it at a more reasonable hour with more comfortable clothing on."

Ginger shook her head. "It won't be like that. I've lined up dates for you and Charlotte already."

Blinking, Timber stared dumbly at Ginger.

After years of flitting from one man to another, Ginger had recently latched onto one single man, surprising everyone that knew her with the several-month longevity of her relationship with a noted local vampire. Overflowing with bubbly energy, Ginger now made it a mission to share her happiness with those she cared for. Timber and her best friend Charlotte fell into that category. Unfortunately, the level of enjoyment Ginger demanded they reach revolved around finding the perfect male partner for a lifetime of adventure.

Timber applauded her friend for finding love, an elusive and rare event in her opinion and experience. Those who found it were gifted with a special blessing. The rest of the population admired from a distance, trying to mimic the event, only to fall time and again. Much like learning to ride a bicycle, they skinned their knees, wiped their tears, and hopped back on the seat once more. A few found a perfect fit. Some managed to navigate well enough to stay upright. Others, like her, never seemed to make it past the need for training wheels.

"Timber. I promise. This year will be different. Just say you will. Do it for me?"

She squinted against the brightness of Ginger's orange outfit that somehow managed to avoid clashing with her crimson locks. If anyone could pull off fashion, it was Ginger.

"I'll consider it while I go for coffee." Standing, she walked toward the small employee kitchen, her mind whirling along the way.

Long ago, she gave up the dream of being plucked from a field of daisies and placed in a vase for a master painter to admire and replicate on canvas. In all honesty, she had never qualified as a beauty. Brains, yes. Knock out body, no. In her estimation, men appreciated the physical side of a woman much more than her intellect. The fact didn't speak for the power of thought on their behalf, unless you counted their ego and libido. She didn't.

Flipping a long blonde lock back over her shoulder, she grabbed her coffee mug from the cupboard and filled it with the steaming beverage. Taking a sip, she considered a way to wiggle out of the party without hurting Ginger's feelings.

Ginger nailed the importance of the event on the head. Everyone attended the annual party hosted by the city administrators, glamoured out in their finest clothes, the latest fashion fads, and prepared to make the best impression with a beauty attached to their arm. Other species attended as well. Humans, vampires, and shape shifters all came together for a night of celebration.

Her area, the special crimes department of the police department, came about when the other species decided to step into the spotlight, proclaiming centuries of myths to be true, and, in turn, sending the human population into a fit of panic. Massive splits erupted with people forced to take sides. Either you loved those with fangs or you hated them, wishing them gone forever from the earth. Violence broke out with all three groups, vampires, shifters, and humans, at war.

Leaders from all DNA-bearing groups gathered to hammer out new legislation and regulations, searching frantically for ways to ensure peace once and for all. Thus, they created the special crimes unit, whose Guardians accepted the task to curb interspecies violence and hatred, nipping it in the bud if able, eliminating the source permanently if avoidance wasn't possible. Regular crime remained under the jurisdiction of the police; only issues dealing with more than one species acting out against one another caught the attention of the highly trained, well paid, and lethal Guardians.

All those connected with protecting and ensuring quiet across the region would attend tomorrow night's gala.

Timber leaned back against the cabinet while taking another sip of the strong brew.

Her immediate family line all fell short when it came to relationships with the opposite sex. Both her mother and grandmother became pregnant by fly-by-night men who vanished once they found out about impending fatherhood. Considering the lack of men in their lives, Timber counted herself pretty darn lucky. Childhood friends suffered through dysfunctional family issues and divorces, while she lived and learned from a single parent. Her mother, Lisa, boasted that she didn't need a man around the house to only create more work for her while tossing out orders from a recliner as he drank beer and watched television. She bashed men now and again, but proved her point. Rarely did Lisa call for handyman assistance when she could simply pull out a book or owners' manual, purchase her own replacement parts, and save the repair cost on most appliances. She prided herself on independence, passing the same motto to her only daughter.

Living in a small one bedroom apartment, Timber could easily rely on her pokey landlord to fix all the minor inconveniences of modern living, but preferred to take care of most problems herself. After all, why live with cold showers for a week when she could break out her tool kit and remedy the issue before most of the people in her wing of the building even realized there was a problem? For the small monthly rent, she could grease a few pipes on the side and call it a fair exchange.

She could have gone into the plumbing business or even taken a position as a factory worker building an assortment of appliances, but she had gravitated toward the special crimes unit when she'd moved to the area to attend college five years earlier. The pay disappointed, but a healthy benefits package soothed the income sting. Timber agreed with their philosophy and goals, enjoyed her co-workers, along with the entire workplace atmosphere, and eagerly caught glimpses of the infamous Guardians as they went through the motions of each day.

The ticking clock caught her attention. Time to get back to work.

Without a reasonable excuse to skip the party, Timber strode back to the work area, coffee mug in hand.

Ginger sat at a desk while Charlotte stood with a hip propped up on the corner. By the sounds of the conversation and the frown on the brunette's face, Timber quickly caught the gist of the situation.

"Is she trying to convince you to go to the party?" She aimed her question to Charlotte, her best friend at work and in life.

"You guys need to get out and have some fun. Good grief. It's just one night. One party. Heck, if you get technical, it's for four or five hours, tops. What can it hurt to meet a guy, dance a little, share a kiss to celebrate the New Year?" Ginger threw up her hands in frustration while staring them both down.

Char glanced at Timber and sighed. "I'm driving myself to the party and home."

Timber crumbled beneath the pressure. If both their dates bombed, at least Charlotte and she could console one another over a fruit plate.

With a nod, she agreed with her friend. "Me, too. But, I'm not wearing one of those slinky dresses and high heels that some women shove themselves into for the occasion," she hastily added, making it known she had no intention of dashing out the door and to the nearest shopping mall to procure something fancy to wear for a single night. Her tight budget couldn't withstand impulsive purchases.

For the first time Ginger beamed. "Fine. Fine. As long as you're there, that's what counts."

Shaking her head, Timber watched Ginger with amusement. "I don't know how Deacon gets anything past you."

At the name, Ginger's smile showed teeth. "Oh, he tries, but I run circles around him."

Timber didn't doubt it for a second.

Charlotte fretted with her hair. "Aren't you going to tell us about the guys? Which one do I get?"

Ginger waved her hand. "Of course. And I suck at matchmaking, so I came up with a better idea."

Intrigued, Timber stepped closer. "What idea?" It was one thing to agree to a probable disaster of a blind date, but an altogether other thing when it involved one of Ginger's schemes.

"We're going to toss a coin to decide who gets which date." Pulling a quarter from her pants pocket, Ginger showed it to them both.

"Are you insane? Why can't you just tell us about them and let us decide which fits us best?" Char protested.

Ginger shook her head. "You two are pretty much peas in the same pod. I think either would do for each of you. Besides, if you don't like one, then you can always trade."

Setting her cup aside, Timber absently shrugged. "I guess it really doesn't matter." It's not like they were flipping to find their soul mates. Those didn't exist in her world. More than likely, the guy assigned to her would show up, treat her politely for a bit, then wander off and never return. When she considered that possibility, the "who" really didn't matter.

"Who's going to call?"

"Go ahead, Timber." Char gestured toward the coin Ginger palmed.

"Okay. Tails."

The coin flipped through the air and bounced across the desk, before rolling to a stop with the tails side up.

"Great." Ginger pulled two envelopes out of her top desk drawer and handed them over. "Meet your men."

Timber sucked in a breath before opening the top flap. Pulling out a sheet of paper, she read quickly, her mouth falling open at the words printed neatly on the white page.

Rockwell Hunter, prominent member of the Bay City wolf pack.

"My date is a werewolf?"

About the series: Two human women. Two paranormal men. A toss of the coin will decide who escorts whom on New Year's Eve.

Authors:

For more information, please visit the author's webpage.
About Cheyenne Meadows:
Fireborn Publishing Main Page

Growing up in the Midwest, I began reading romance novels in high school, immediately falling in love with the genre, to the point where I decided to write professionally for a career. However, that dream splattered against a brick wall, resulting in a quick death in my first writing class in college when my professor told me bluntly that I wasn't any good at it. I shifted gears quickly, and left my writing dreams behind, eventually settling on becoming a nurse.

A few years back, I stumbled across a fan-fiction writing site on a favorite author's webpage. I began to read stories others wrote, not only making some wonderful close friends from the experience, but also, really learning to write for the very first time. Here I was able to share short stories, practice my writing skills, and truly develop into a writer. More than that, the experience allowed me to revitalize my dream, as I rediscovered joy in writing. Now, I spend my days off with my alpha male characters, quick witted heroines, and see how much trouble everyone can get into.

When I'm not working or writing, I enjoy working in the garden, canning, and seeing my backyard as a living canvas for my whimsical landscaping, and, of course, reading romance novels.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cheyenne.meadows.10

Email Cheyenne1.meadows@yahoo.com

For more information, please visit the author's webpage.
For more information, please visit the author's webpage.

Other books by Kathy Kozakewich- EDITOR:

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Light Me Up (eBook)
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Lily (eBook)
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The White Cat (eBook)
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Werewolf U (eBook)
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This book was added to our catalog on Friday 10 April, 2015.

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