Sunday, July 14, 2013

R.E. Butler

I always wanted to be a homebody and live in one place for my entire life, but fate had other plans. In the past twelve years of my married life, we’ve moved seven times, including from one coast to the other. Southern New Jersey is home now and I love it. I have two young children, a husband who begrudgingly pays for my ebook addiction, and two dogs that think they’re people. After college, I spent eight years as an executive assistant before “retiring” at twenty-seven to become a stay-at-home mom. I have a soft spot for self-published authors, Ghirardelli chocolate, muscle cars, and men with tattoos. Most people who know me don’t know I have a tattoo of a tiger on my hip or that I have an unhealthy obsession with The Simpsons. I love sunsets, several cups of coffee in the morning, and I absolutely cannot live without books. When I’m not busy with my family, you’ll find me sitting at my desk working on any number of projects, including reading, reviewing, and writing. I adore talking to fans and other authors, so please write to me! You can email me at rebutlerauthor@gmail, find me on twitter @rebutlerauthor, or join me on Facebook at R.E.ButlerAuthorPage. You’ll find my best-selling Wolf’s Mate, Wiccan-Were-Bear, Necklace Bride, Ashland Pride, and Hyena Heat series books on sale at Smashwords, B&N, Apple iBookstore, Diesel, Kobo, and Amazon. I’m a proud member of Romance Writers of America.
Links: Goodreads Website Facebook Twitter 

1. What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions of what a stay-at-home mom does all day are?
 I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that I don't actually do anything as a stay-at-home-mom.  As if I spend my days in front of the television with my feet in fuzzy slippers and chocolate in both hands.  I might not work outside of the house, but I work my butt off taking care of the kids, my husband, the house, and our pets.  What kills me when I hear people suggest that staying home is like being on permanent vacation, is that they never seem to understand that being a SAHM is a never-ending job.  Yes, I can do the dishes tonight.  But guess what?  Unlike when my husband takes on a project at work and, when it's over, he can move on to something else, there will be more dishes tomorrow that will need washing.  More dirty clothes and beds to be made and dust bunnies to get rid of.  But I wouldn't trade any of that for being back in the workforce.  Even though most of my conversations during the day revolve around whether SpongeBob could actually cook a burger under the ocean, I don't miss the hustle and bustle of being out in the working world.

2. Which couple in The Wolf's Mate series is your favorite? Why?
 I love all of my Wolf's Mate couples, but my favorite couple is Linus and Karly from the second book, Linus & The Angel.  I like them because she knew from the moment she laid eyes on him that he was it for her.  Linus, coming off a nasty divorce with an ex that couldn't take a hint, was so emotionally wounded that he was afraid to make a move on Karly, even though he realized fairly quickly that they were meant to be together.  I like heroes that are a little broken and need a good woman to help them get back on their feet, and Karly was just that woman for Linus.

3. What book are you looking forward to reading the most this year?
There are several books I'm looking forward to this year.  Masked Cowboy (Men of the White Sandy) by Sarah M. Anderson is out in August.  I really loved the first book in this series about a Lakota tribe.  It's funny and heart wrenching, and everything that I adore in a contemporary romance.  On the paranormal side, I'm really looking forward to the 8th book in Evangeline Anderson's Brides of the Kindred series, Shadowed.  And finally, on the "menage front", I'm looking forward to Jayne Rylon's Super Nova, which is #3 in her Hot Rods series.  I just can't get enough of the way she writes her heroes, and her steamy, steamy scenes!

4.  What's the perfect combination. Peaceful afternoon, good book and  .......? Shih Tzu, Munchkin, on my lap.

5. What fascinates you the most about shifter stories and what got you into writing them? Inspirations?
What appeals to me most about shifter stories is the aspect of finding a perfect mate. It's easier to balance a love-at-first-sight scenario when there is supernatural biology at play.  In a way, it makes it more believable.  In my most recent wiccan-were-bear book, A Twitch of Tail, the heroine knew the moment that she saw the two tiger shifters that she was staring into her mates' eyes.  Although they didn't fall in love right away, there was no doubt with any of them that they belonged together and that kind of instant acceptance is why I enjoy writing about shifters.  Animal attraction is a lot of fun.

I've always been a fan of fantasy stories, but I didn't first read about shifters until I got a Kindle and began to read the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.  Her strange, dark world of sexy vampires, sexier shifters, and crazy supernatural politics whetted my appetite for all things paranormal.  I quickly slipped into the world of centaur shifters with Raven Willow-Wood, werewolves with Shelly Laurenston, and a whole host of different shifters with Bianca D'Arc.  Once I started to read shifter romances, I quickly made that my go-to choice for books, and although I do read contemporary romances (as evidenced in the above list), my heart belongs to all things paranormal, especially ultra-hotties that can shift into animals. 

6.  Has writing been a positive experience for you? Has there ever been an experience that made you not want to do it anymore?
I've had a positive experience with writing.  I've gotten my share of bad reviews, but they haven't made me want to hang in the towel, they've only strengthened my desire to write more.  One of the best things that happened to me recently was my husband bragged about me to some of his friends and was really proud of how well I was doing.  It was thrilling to know that he thought so highly of what I was doing.  I don't think I stopped grinning for a week.

 The Wolf's Mate Series

For 14 years, alpha wolf Jason has watched his partially marked mate Cadence live her life without him. Circumstances force his hand and he must find a way to get her to uncover her buried memories of their past before someone else steps up to take her from him. For as long as she can remember, hybrid wolf Cadence has loved Jason with every fiber of her being,but he’s consistently shoved her away until the love that’s there is bound tightly in anger and shame. No one can take his place in her heart, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t wolves willing to try. Will Cadence be able to get through Jason’s icy demeanor to the heart of the boy she’s always loved? Can Jason undo the past so they will have a future together? This book contains red-hot werewolf loving, plenty of neck biting, and misuse of a kitchen counter. The Wolf’s Mate is a book for mature audiences only and contains sexually explicit content.
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N 


He thinks he'll be alone forever: Linus Mayfield has a lot of good things in his life: fourth ranked in the Tressel wolf pack, nice house, decent job, and plenty of friends. What he doesn’t have is what he longs for most – a true mate. His first foray into marriage was a disaster and he's certain he'll never be free to love again. She'll prove him wrong: Karly is an Angel, a supernaturally perfect mate for one special werewolf. She's spent the last 15 months looking for her mate, only to nearly die before she ever meets him. One icy winter night changes both of their lives forever. When their past interferes with their future, will all be lost in the darkness, or will he find his perfect angel in time? This book contains plenty of claws and fangs, possessive werewolves willing to move heaven and earth for their mates, red hot werewolf sex, a sweet wolf with a heart of gold and an angel made just for him.
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

  Callie Hunter, best friend to alpha half-wolf Cadence, has had enough of the pack life. Setting her sights on anyplace without wolves, she heads north only to be sidetracked by a devastating car crash that brings her face to face with twin mountain lions. Ethan and Eryx, small town sheriff's deputies, knew the moment they touched Callie that she was the mate they'd always wanted. But mountain lion females don't take kindly to sharing their males with anyone else and will do anything in their power to discourage Callie from sticking around. Will Ethan and Eryx's desire for Callie cost them everything, or will Callie find her inner wolf and the home she's always dreamed of? This novel contains menage-a-trois, hunky cops, handcuffs, an on-the-run she-wolf, sex in every room in the house, and inappropriate use of the phrase "assault with a deadly weapon".
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N 

 Michael Gerrick was beginning to wonder if he would ever find his truemate. Fate seemed to smile on him, when he fell hard for the delectable fitness instructor, Shyne. The only problem: three were-hyenas want her for their clan and are willing to do anything to get him out of the way. Shyne Jackson was smitten with Michael from the moment they met. Swept up by his devastating good looks and sense of humor, she's unaware of the plotting of her were-hyena bosses behind the scenes as they attempt to keep her and Michael apart. When they cross the line, will a showdown of fur and claws destroy everything she holds dear? This book is for mature readers only and contains a wolf looking for his mate, a woman with a dark past, neck biting, plenty of teasing, wisecracks galore, and creative use of a pool table. 
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

  She's on the run for her life ... As a child, she-wolf healer Reika Snow was promised as a mate to three were-lynxes to prevent a war between her pack and the lynx clan. Her freedom is coming to an end as her twenty-third birthday arrives. With her bleak future as the subjugated bride of the three males looms near, she does the only thing she can think of ... she runs. With the lynxes hot on her tail, the only thing she can do is pray she can find safety, somewhere. He's not going to let her get far ... Bo Elliot, highly ranked member of the Tressel wolf pack, rescues a she-wolf from the claws of three were-lynxes as they attempt to capture her. When she awakens, he's surprised to find himself staring into the beautiful blue eyes of his truemate. With his bum leg, Bo doesn't want to tie Reika down to a wounded male like himself by acknowledging that they're mates, but he vows to set her free from the lynxes and give her back her life. It will take every trick in Bo's book to keep Reika from taking off on her own in a misguided attempt to spare him from getting tangled up in the hot mess of her life, but Bo will do anything for his truemate, even if it means walking away once she's free. This book contains a scarred wolf with a heart of gold, a she-wolf healer who wants to protect her truemate at any cost, and a wolf-on-lynx battle that will determine where Reika spends the rest of her life. Readers should expect possessive werewolves, passionate sex, neck biting, and the kind of horniness that only the full moon can bring.
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N 

  Jenna Odile planned to spend the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday partying with her friends before she cast a spell to find her truemate. Before she can, she’s captured by a group of criminally-minded werewolves who want to use her fae-abilities to commit crimes. Poisoned and left for dead, she used the last of her strength to cast the spell for her truemate, hoping that he would find her before it was too late. The last thing Logan Anderson wanted to do with his Saturday evening was watch over the young male wolves in his pack while they attended a dance in hopes of finding their mates. As the night wore on, he began to feel compelled to leave, and his instincts led him to race into the woods at the side of the highway. In the darkness of the woods, he finds a woman near death, who begs him to protect her. Now, nothing is more important than helping her get well. He’ll deal with those who hurt her… later. This story contains a male werewolf with a dark past, a fairy who can’t wait to find her truemate, and the betrayal that brings them together. Features hot werewolf-fairy loving, mythical creatures, full moon madness, and lots of neck biting. 
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N 

Untitled (Wolf's Mate 7)-Expected publication August 2013

Wiccan-Were-Bear Series

  Natural born wicca Elizabeth Xavier likes her life just the way it is. She has a beautiful lake house. Power to rival just about anyone. And seven men that cater to her every desire. What she didn't expect was to be asked to perform a binding ceremony in the local were-bear den and tie herself forever to a were-bear as a permanent guard. She didn't like anyone telling her what to do, and giving a man a supernatural tie to her life meant he'd probably want to boss her around, too. Or tell her she couldn't enjoy her casual relationships with the other men in her life. Guilt is a strong motivator, as is the reminder that she was abducted several months earlier, so she goes into the den with the intention of securing a guard and keeping him at arms' length. Too bad no one told her that were-bears don't like to be kept at arms' length. When Elizabeth realizes that more than just her personal protection is up for grabs from the bear she binds herself to, can she go through with it, even if it means losing everything she enjoyed about her life? Will she go back on her word and destroy the alliance between the two groups, or does happiness lay in the underground den in the arms of a were-bear? When more than just the alliance and her own personal protection is on the line, Elizabeth has to make a decision fast. The decision to take a guard has never been so important. This novella is for mature audiences only and contains a feisty play-girl witch with a sarcastic attitude, some red-hot were-bear loving of the menage variety, jealous lovers, claws and fangs galore, and some roadside nookie hot enough to melt the tires from the truck. This book contains M/F/M interaction. 
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

  A Flash of Fang is the follow up novella to A Curve of Claw and joins Elizabeth, Ash, and Axe several months into their married life. Bad dreams stalk her from the darkness and leave her with a sense of foreboding. When the fall mating heat comes upon her husbands, the only thing she can think of is how dangerous her life is and how unfair it is to bring a child into their world. Ash and Axe reassure her that they will keep her safe at any cost, but her fears are only compounded by their earnestness. When her husbands have had enough of her keeping secrets from them, they become creative in getting her to talk. This book contains M/F/M interaction and is intended for mature audiences only. Warning: this title contains more were-bear and witchy loving, office loving, nipple biting, wandering fingers....and enough ice to cool things down. 
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N 


  Sometimes you have to leave home to find your Destiny Book 3 of the Wiccan-Were-Bear Series Daeton Stalking Horse steps into a realm that is full of unique creatures and danger she never knew existed in the safety of her were-bear den. A wizard, who would sacrifice her to gain incredible power and destroy the realm, could be anywhere along their journey, as her guards vow to keep her safe. In the midst of their travels, she finds love in the most unusual places with the most unexpected of men - the two from her recurring dreams. With their support, can she keep the wizard from sacrificing her and destroying the realm she's come to think of as home, or will all be lost with one dark betrayal? This book contains a feisty were-bear princess who hates walking and secrets, two dream men with unique genetics, and a few battles thrown in for good measure. A Price for a Princess is a book for mature audiences only and contains sexually explicit content.
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

  Shaylee Tannia is a banished fairy with the powers of healing and nature at her disposal. One wintry morning, she stumbles upon an injured and dying were-bear. Saving his life leads to a connection she didn’t expect and the love kindled between them is hot enough to melt the snow. But all is not easy with their newfound love…a brother’s claim threatens everything. Can she bridge the gap between them or will choosing both be the end of it all? When a demon from her past jeopardizes all she holds dear, will the cost of her freedom be the lives of the ones she loves most? This story contains one pissed off fairy, a were-bear that doesn’t want to share, over-protective mates, a sacrifice of blood and flesh that will melt your heart, and m/f/m interaction.
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N 


 Vampire Sabrina Chalice has spent the last few decades righting wrongs within the vampire community as a Hunter. When she stops a vampire-run, illegal were-animal fighting ring, she finds herself head over fangs for a were-bear named Griegs. One hot moment leads to a connection that neither anticipated, and the solitary Hunter finds herself in a bear den, surrounded by love and acceptance. As Griegs makes amends and pulls Sabrina into his furry world, she’s happier than she’s ever been in her long life. Warning: this story contains a sexy vampire that hunts other vampires, a were-bear that needs forgiveness, tent-ruining hot sex, and hatchet-burying apologies that will melt your heart. 
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N


  Book Six in the Wiccan-Were-Bear Series Natural witch Wysteria Brannick has a great life: a job she loves at the new were-animal hospital and a place in the Wiccan coven that resides in Cleveland. But all is not right in her idyllic life, as dreams of two mystery lovers plague her nightly. When she arrives at the were-tiger king’s home to heal a young tiger, she comes face to face with the two men from her dreams. Were-tiger brothers Melo and Tahlon Thorne have spent the last three years in different ambushes. Now that Tahlon is coming to join Melo’s ambush, they both begin to grow unsettled. It’s not until they follow a sweet scent into the tiger king’s home that they realize the unsettled feelings are because they’ve found their mate. But Melo and Tahlon’s past comes back in force and it’s not just Tera’s life that hangs in the balance. Be prepared for plenty of growling, love bites, hot were-tiger loving, and m/f/m interaction. This novella contains scorching hot sex, two possessive were-tigers, and the witch who loves them both.
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

Ashland Pride 

  Elementary school music teacher Samantha Thomas moved to Ashland to start her life over. What she didn’t expect was for her ex-husband to follow her to Ashland to take over the vacant principal job at her school. After some clever plotting by one of her students, she meets the gorgeous Grant Fallon and accepts a date with him. On the way home, her car gets stuck and she finds herself face to face with another gorgeous man asking her for a date – Grant’s brother, Aaron. How will Sam decide between Grant and Aaron, when both men fill her with desire? Mountain lions Grant and Aaron Fallon grew up believing that love was not meant for their kind. When their pride left their former home in Pennsylvania and settled in Ashland, Indiana, they were suddenly able to live their lives however they wanted, without the threat of the female lions holding them back. When they realize that they both want Samantha, they decide to follow their instincts and share her. Can two brothers share a mate? Will Samantha want to be shared?
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

Loving Lochlan (Ashland Pride 2)-Coming Soon

Hyena Heat Series
  After narrowly avoiding a personal disaster, she-wolf Alyssa Morgan can’t wait to leave her wolf pack and start her life over. Trying to rebuild her shattered self-esteem, she swears off relationships. When she accepts a job at Stone’s gym, working for three hunky were-hyena brothers, she discovers the hardest thing she ever had to do wasn’t leaving her pack, but keeping them at arm’s length. Dante, Cairo, and Mason Stone have been unlucky in love. As were-hyenas, they need to share a mate, and they hadn’t found the right woman… until Alyssa walks through the door. But the sweet she-wolf is anything but interested in a relationship with them. Oppressed within her wolf pack, she doesn't see herself as worthy of their affection. When her life is threatened and they almost lose her, they decide it's time to convince her that she is their mate and they are perfect for each other. This story contains one she-wolf trying to find herself, three overprotective were-hyenas with love on their minds, m/f/m/m interaction, neck biting, and symbolic tattoos.
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N


  When Orion and his were-hyena clan rescue a she-wolf hiding in a bus station bathroom, they had no idea that they would be staring into the tear-filled eyes of their mate. They’ll do anything to keep her safe and make her theirs forever, even if it means keeping her at arms’ length. Sydney Nichols never believed she would know what freedom felt like until she found a way to escape her abusive mate. But before she escaped, her mate did something to her, and she’s unable to hide the effects of his tampering when the group is stranded overnight during a storm. When the truth comes out, will they forgive her and embrace their future, or will she lose the only good thing she’s ever had? Contains m/f/m/m interaction. 
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

The Necklace Chronicles
  When a university job interview goes south, Carrie Wade isn’t certain that she’ll ever find work in her field of ancient Native American Culture. Knowing the only job waiting for her is waitressing at a coffee-house, Carrie indulges in a post-disappointment shopping trip. An old necklace in an antique store window catches her eye and she immediately feels as if she cannot walk away without owning it. The very last thing she needs to do is squander her savings by investing in a necklace that may have, at one time, belonged to one of the tribes she studied…but she can’t help herself. When she tries on the precious necklace at home, she passes out and wakes up in the tent of the necklace’s original owners, three Native American tribesmen from the late 1600s. Will she be able to get back home to the future or will she find out that the one place she was always meant to be was back in time as the tribe’s bride? This novella contains m/f/m/m interaction, three handsome brothers that will do anything for each other and their woman, and a magical necklace that brings them all together.
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N


  Sold into slavery…. Only one person can truly set former sex slave Eden Atarn free: his soul mate. Taken from her planet…. When Ashleigh Turner receives a beautiful necklace as a gift from a secret admirer, she has no idea who it came from. When another delivery shows up at her home, instead of finding out who sent her the necklace, she finds herself transported onto an alien spaceship as it speeds her away from earth. Will she be what he needs or find herself a slave as well…. On a planet where forced prostitution is a punishment and young adults are sold by their families for money, Ashleigh must decide if she can be what Eden needs when she comes face to face with what he once was. Will she always want to go home, or will she find that the place she longs to be most is in Eden’s arms?
Links: Goodreads Amazon B&N

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Welcome to the sixth day of the Bitten blog tour. It will run until July 16th and will feature excerpts and new author interviews each day. But first, here is the obligatory blurb about the novel to settle you into this dark world

A predator stalks a cold northern Minnesotan town. There is talk of wolves walking on two legs and attacking people in the deep woods. Lauren Westlake, resourceful and determined F.B.I Agent, has found a connection between the strange murders in the north and a case file almost a hundred years old. Traveling to the cold north, she begins an investigation that spirals deep into the darkness of mythology and nightmares. Filled with creatures of the night and an ancient romance, the revelation of who hunts beneath the moon is more grisly than anyone could have imagined.

A few questions for the author:

Are you fun to go on vacation with? 

Not in the slightest. I like to go on vacations by myself. My wife puts up with it, even when I am stickler about what time we leave and packing. Usually after the first day I relax and I can enjoy myself. The exception is San Francisco. That city brings out the very best in me. Most people that have seen me there say I am a different person. 

How do you feel about being interviewed? 

I have grown to love it, especially radio interviews. 

Why do you think what you do matters? 

I am not sure it does. I think story-telling and critical thinking matter, and they can both be achieved through the act of reading. So I guess, in some small way, I contribute to that. 

Have you ever found true love? 

Yes, and we have been together for 12 years. Though true love comes in many forms. Writing is a true love. Thinking is a true love. I often find that people mean romantic love, of which I have found the perfect person, but there are plenty of other domains in which you can have true love. 

Here be an excerpt for your enjoyment:

Chapter VI

The man sat in the empty room. His hands were handcuffed to the table through a thick silver ring. The sheriff had pushed back his hood revealing a man in complete disarray. Wild hair, unkempt and looking as if it had been involved in a hurricane, framed haunting gray eyes and a twisted nose. 

Lauren sat in the chair across from him. 

The sheriff stood against the wall. 

Wool cap removed, his hair was wild as well. There was a manila folder; it was a bluff really, as it only contained his booking papers. 

“So we are booking you as John Doe because you cannot remember your name? Is that how you would like to proceed?” The aptly named John Doe simply stared at Lauren with empty gray eyes. “I will take your silence as an affirmation that we understand each other, Mr. Doe. Would you like to explain to us what you were doing at the Leftwich residence?” asked Lauren. 

Her voice was direct. 

The transient looked at the agent with a gaze that seemed to be trapped a thousand miles away. Deep reservoirs of nothingness spiraled into a strange darkness. “Rivers are cold. Great darkness all around us. Fate binds us. Drives us. Have to finish. Have to finish.”

Agent Westlake turned to look toward the sheriff, who simply looked annoyed. He walked over, standing between the agent and the transient. Hands flat against the table, he glared at the dirty wretch of a being. “You ran from police. We found some things on your person that may or may not have been stolen. We suspect you broke into the Leftwich house. If you didn’t do anything, best speak up now. Clear all this up.”

“What do you have to finish?” queried Lauren. 

The transient looked at her then. 

There was something haunting in his gaze, frightening. “There were pieces. Pieces that go together.” He shifted, the heavy coat making his face sweat. “I have to find all the pieces and put them back together. Can’t build the tower until you have all the pieces.”

Montgomery was unconvinced. 

He did not buy into psychosis or therapist-babble. Things were or they weren’t, and the two would never meet. “Give us something or you are spending the night.”

“It’s warm here. No blankets. No snow,” he whispered, rubbing his hands together. 

Lauren looked at him sadly.

She wasn’t certain what to make of him. 

Montgomery, however, had a much different idea about the transient and he was not attempting to veil it. No-nonsense policing was common in rural areas. Something happened and somebody was responsible. His way was to get it done and out of the way, to return to peace. 

Lauren came from a place where there was always darkness, always more to be done. “Sheriff Montgomery,” spoke Lauren, drawing his attention. The older man looked at her with a hard gaze. “Could I speak to you outside?”

The sheriff did not acknowledge her immediately. 

“Sheriff, could I speak to you outside?”

He met Lauren’s eyes.

Something angry behind his look drew her attention. His manner was sedated, but a fire burned deep. The murders had stirred him, drawn out a much more emotional person. For a moment, his gaze shifted back to the transient. With an angry sigh, he pushed himself to his feet and pulled open the heavy door at the corner of the interrogation room. 

“We will be back in a moment,” spoke Lauren as she stood. 

The transient did not respond. 

His eyes followed her as she left and joined the sheriff in the cold adjoining hallway. Montgomery faced away from her, his arms crossed. She looked back at the closed door and was startled to see his face so close to hers when she turned back. 

“This is my investigation, Agent Westlake. You expressed an interest in assisting me. Interference, making judgments, was not part of the plan.”

“I have no intention of interfering in your investigation.”

He pointed into the room. “That man in there is hiding something. This crazy bullshit is just that. Shit.”

She resisted the urge to yell back, to escalate the argument. Calm prevailed. “That may be. We have nothing to hold him indefinitely. What we have is circumstantial. His presence at the Leftwich property was strange, I will admit that. However, we don’t know if what he had in the bag was stolen. Even if it was, it is worth a small amount. We would be hard-pressed to make something stick.”

Montgomery crossed his arms once more. “He was trespassing. And even without a broken window or door, there is still breaking and entering.”

“His mind isn’t in it. He smells like he lives under a bridge. We should keep him here overnight and turn him over to mental health authorities.”

Montgomery scowled. “We don’t have any mental health facilities this far north. I agree we should keep him here at least the night. I will think about sending him over to one of those Christian, Jesus centers, or whatever the hell they are called.”

Mrs. Meadows, portly and smelling as if she had a date at a brothel, approached. “Agent Westlake?”

Lauren had crossed her arms. Turning, she appeared more fearsome than she would have liked. “Mrs. Meadows, what can I do for you?”

She looked to the sheriff and then to Lauren. 

Throwing his hands in the air, he marched back into the interrogation room. “I’ll release him in the morning. But I don’t think this is over. I think that little son of a bitch in there has something to do with it.”

“He feels wrong for it.” The sheriff grabbed the handle of the door, pausing for a moment, as Lauren continued. “We have a full moon tonight. Maybe we will luck out with him in a cell.”

With a harrumph, the sheriff re-entered the interrogation room. Mrs. Meadows had stood by quietly, watching the exchange with a mute expression. “There is a man asking for you. Dominic McManus. Seen him around town, quite the statuesque biscuit.”

“Mrs. Meadows,” replied Lauren with a little laugh as if to reprimand her. 

“I just call it how I see it, Agent Westlake. If a tall drink of man like that was looking for me, I might not keep him waiting.”

She gave her a look that was to say ha ha. 

Moving ahead of Mrs. Meadows, she walked out into the open room of the police station and suddenly felt as if she had not showered in days. Not the pleasant desirable kind of dirty, but the how-could-he-possibly-look-at-me-when-I-look-like-this type of dirty. 

He wore loose jeans; though the denim fabric did little to hide the perfect sculpt of his powerful muscles. His blue eyes were like candles that lit up the room, drawing all the attention. A shaved face marked him as much younger than Lauren would have guessed. 

And as he spoke, she saw that his perfect lips remained unchanged. “I hope that you will not think me too forward, Ms. Westlake.”


He took a step forward, gesturing with one of his hands. “Of course, Lauren. I wanted to see you. After the other night, I felt like I owed you a proper evening.”

Lauren felt suddenly claustrophobic, as if all eyes in the room were on her. And in some respects, she was not incorrect. The deputy stood next to Mrs. Meadows, bumping her with a free elbow as he took a sip of his coffee. Glancing back, Lauren flashed a playful, dark glare.

“That isn’t necessary, Dominic. It was very kind of you to walk me home…” As she trailed off, she saw Collins and her macabre assistant emerge from a blind corner. She stuttered her words as she tried to speak again. “I mean, it was…”

He stepped forward, taking one of her trembling hands in his own powerful one. “I insist, Lauren,” he spoke slowly, eloquently. 

She rolled her eyes as she heard the snicker of the deputy, ruining her moment. Flashing another angry glare, he caught the drift and stalked away, hiding his face behind the coffee mug. “I would love to, Dominic. I have some things to do just now.”

He smiled. His teeth were perfect as well. 

“Of course, I understand.”

She felt quite girly in that moment; legs twisting and shoulders were bobbing like she was quite uncomfortable. Heat rushed to her face and other places she would not have cared to share. And the smile that came to her face was one that felt like it would be permanent. 

“Could you meet me at my room?” Another snicker and some whispering. She cleared her throat to continue. “Around 8 to pick me up.”

He bowed. It was a strangely endearing motion and was gone as quickly as it came. He kissed her lightly on the cheek and brushed her arms with his hands as he left. For a moment, it felt like the world had gone silent. The suddenness and brashness of the medical examiner’s voice was sufficient to jar her free from nirvana. 

“He is grade A sweetness there, honey. I’ve seen him around town,” lusted Collins, lowering her thick-rimmed glasses and placing a heavy hand on her hip. She turned to Lauren with a wink. “Saw him last summer out at the lake. Someone was quite generous with that one.”

Collins’ assistant limped toward Lauren. Perhaps it was her suspicious nature, or that they had as a unit nearly ruined a wonderful moment, but she was suddenly quite interested in why a medical examiner’s assistant would be limping. 

“How did you get the limp, Mr…?” She paused for his name as they had never been introduced. “Or would you prefer assistant? Mr. Coroner’s assistant? Or Collins’ assistant?”

“Brian, ma’am. Brian Erham.”

“How did you get that limp you have there, Brian Erham?” 

Collins looked at the agent with a sarcastic grin. “Looking for suspects everywhere, Agent Westlake?”

Lauren’s smile disappeared, her eyes sparkling. 

“My apologies. Must be the moon.”

“His limp is part of the problem, or rather the reason we are paying you this late-afternoon visit. There was a break-in at the morgue.”

Agent Westlake could not hide her surprise. The image of bodies flooded her mind: broken glass and blood pooling made her uncomfortable. “What was taken?”

Collins blanched and Brian, the assistant, turned away. “That is where it gets weird. Nothing was touched really. The front door was destroyed, hinges snapped and splintered. There was nothing disturbed, except for the Jane Doe.”

“The Jane Doe?”

Collins scrunched her nose, pulling free a folder rife with paper clips and binders. “I guess Jane Doe is not really appropriate anymore. Her name is Evelyn Marshall. Not local, she was from the Twin Cities down south. We don’t know why she was here. I suppose that is your job, Agent Westlake.”

She extended the folder to Lauren who took it. 

Thumbing through the pages, she scowled. She read the pages silently in a scattered barrage of alternating fonts and gruesome pictures, ageless renditions of the person Evelyn Marshall used to be. “What was done to the Jane Doe? I mean to the body of the late Ms. Marshall?”

“Mrs. Marshall from the records. She is still married to some businessman. I don’t think that will be a pleasant conversation, hey.”

Lauren felt irritation creep in. She wished to get to the point. Dominic was removed for a moment, replaced instead with death and sadness. “What happened to the body of Mrs. Marshall?”

Collins, her vaudevillian beehive brightly colored, gestured to Brian. “He was there. Saw the whole damn thing. Scared the holy hell out him. It is quite a story.”

Lauren closed the file and crossed her hands in front of her body. “Mr. Erham, what happened?”

He was frightened. He already had a strange manner, which was only confounded by shifting eyes and a penchant for rubbing his arms roughly. “I was cleaning up. Ms. Collins had gone home for the day. I do the closing stuff, make sure everything is stocked. Locked up and all that, ya know?”

Lauren nodded.

He looked back to the creaking door of the interrogation room and saw Montgomery appear. “Anyways, I was closing up. I locked the door because––because sometimes I worry something will get me when I’m down there.”

Montgomery sauntered close, arms crossed. It was his trademark. He looked to Westlake, who nodded knowingly. “We have some trouble?” he asked. 

Lauren ignored him. 

“Continue, Mr. Erham. What happened next?”

He seemed to grow more frightened by the moment. “I heard some glass break upstairs. I started up the stairs to check it out and then I saw it.”

“Saw what?” asked the deputy with wide eyes. 

Clearly, he was taken in by the ambiance. 

Lauren shook her head. 

“What did you see, Mr. Erham?”

“It was big, like human-sized. But, it didn’t move like a man. It sort of ducked and crawled on all fours, but then stood up again.” He gestured to his arms. “There was fur or hair all over it. Slicked back in some places, standing up on ends in others. Then the sound….”

He visibly shuddered, his eyes closing. 

Lauren grasped a chair and set it down in front of the shivering assistant. “Have a seat, Mr. Erham.”

Obliging, he continued. “There was this growl, but it wasn’t human. It sounded like something was dying and wanting to kill all in one. It came at me when I was at the top of the stairs. I tried to shut the door, but it was too fast.”

Everyone in the room was hooked. They leaned forward, eyes wide, waiting for what came next. “It brushed past me, knocking me down the stairs.” He gestured to his leg. “When I hit the ground, I knew something was hurt. I crawled into the corner, trying to get away from it. I didn’t know…”

“That must have been very frightening, Brian.”

He gulped. “Yeah,” he replied with a stammer. 

“And then what happened?”

He shifted in his seat uncomfortably. 

“It looked back at me. I couldn’t see its face, but its chest just heaved. Then its head lifted in the air and I heard it breathe, like it smelled the air. It walked over to the drawers. The one with Mrs. Marshall in it and opened it. Opened it hard. He pulled the damn runner all the way out. It was loud when it clattered on the floor.”

Meadows brought him a cup of coffee with a weak smile. He graciously accepted it, cradling it in two hands. “Then it––then it reached out with one of its claws.”

“Claws?” asked Montgomery incredulously, and much louder than he would have wished. He was not the only one wound up by the young assistant’s story. The police station had grown deathly quiet as he conveyed the tale. 

Brian made a gesture with his hands, the cruelest manner in which he could twist his fingers and hand. “It was tough to see, but they looked like long, slender fingers with sharp tips. It dug into the body, pulling free skin and organs.”

Lauren inched closer, having taken a seat on another of the chairs. It was turned so that she could lay her arms over the top of it. “Did you get a good look at it? Male or female?”

He swallowed hard again, his hands shaking. “It was tall. Real big. Strong. I don’t think it was female.”

“Male?” she volunteered with a half-hearted smile. He shook his head. “Not male? But not female? What exactly are we talking about?”

“It was a creature. Some thing,” he answered with a hoarse voice.

Montgomery flashed Lauren a look that she had come to understand in their brief time working together. He did not believe the intern. 

“Have you had anything to drink today, Mr. Erham? Any drugs? Took a long, slow whiff of some chemicals in the morgue?” queried the sheriff, his tone shifting from mystified to disbelief. 

Brian looked at the sheriff. 

“No, sir. You don’t believe me?”

Agent Westlake placed a reassuring hand on his leg. “We believe that something happened, Mr. Erham. What we are not certain of is whether your story accurately reflects what did happen.” 

He looked hopeless as he lowered his eyes and placed his hands on his knees. Lauren leaned back and stood from her chair, pacing past him. Collins seemed uncomfortable by the entire situation. 

It was the deputy, however, who broke the tense silence. “You think it was some kind of monster? Like a werewolf, hey?”

Montgomery and Lauren flashed him a dark glare. 

He did not shrink away. Brian Erham, frightened medical examiner’s assistant, was suddenly quite elated that someone had joined his bandwagon. “Something supernatural, hey. I’ve heard stories about wolves in the woods, walking on two legs like men.”

Montgomery uncrossed his arms and grunted. “What about witches then? Maybe zombies running about attacking folks?”

The deputy and the examiner’s assistant clammed up good and quick. Lauren picked up the folder with Marshall’s wayward identity. 

She felt exhausted, worn thin. “I think we have reached the end of rational discussion here. I think I will retire for the night. I have other plans to attend to. We can pick this up again in the morning.”

Mrs. Meadows, heady from the tales of things crawling about in the dark and handsome strangers spinning yarns of great affection, snickered. “With a certain tall drink of brooding and handsome.”

Lauren blushed and Montgomery cast a comical grin.

“Seems I missed a bit while I was walking our John Doe to his night-time accommodations. I take it Agent Westlake has an interesting night ahead of her?”

The deputy was quick to chime in. “McManus came by. Taking the agent for a proper evening.”

“Sounds fancy.”

Lauren thought to comment. But whatever she said would simply fuel the joking she was receiving. With a wave behind her, she departed. Pushing out into the cold late afternoon of the small Minnesotan town, she realized it was already quite dark.

Bio: A psychologist, author, editor, philosopher, martial artist, and skeptic, he has published several novels and currently has many in print, including: The End of the World Playlist, Bitten, The Journey, The Ocean and the Hourglass, The Path of the Fallen, The Portent, and Cerulean Dreams. Follow him on Twitter (@AuthorDanOBrien) or visit his blog He recently started a consultation business. You can find more information about it here:

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