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IDA finalist 2020

For Witch or For Poorer – Book 5 in the Paranormal Wedding Planner Series!

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When magic isn’t so magical.

A lonely wolf. Maeve Callahan has never had a true family to call her own. Recently adopted into the    West Coast pack, she will do anything to stop her past from destroying her newly found brothers. Unfortunately, the evil wolf who raised her and a vengeful coven have other plans. When a warlock is called in to help, Maeve’s instant attraction to him couldn’t be worse timing.

A power-shy warlock. Giz Kelly does not cast spells. Period. His father taught him the hard way that magic can destroy the people you love. But when the supernatural team he works for gets called in to help the pack, he finds himself breaking his vow in order to protect Maeve.

When the coven attacks and lives are at stake, can Maeve and Giz embrace their powers to save the pack and each other? And in doing so realize that love can be the greatest magic of all?


Excerpt

A wolf is magic wrapped in a furry package.

Chapter 1

Maeve ran at a steady pace as she breathed in the wondrous smells of the woods—pine, damp earth, and hints of decaying leaves and vegetation readying itself for the mild winter. Hard to believe she could be outside like this on the first day of December. She’d grown up on the frigid East Coast, but here in California, close to San Diego, she could be outdoors year-round.

Her morning runs were the perfect time to clear her head and escape the walls closing in on her…and the ever-present guilt plaguing her. She couldn’t outrun the guilt, but she could dodge it, much like the trees she avoided as her tennis shoes pounded over the spongy ground.

She ran up a small hill toward her favorite part of the trail—and jerked to a stop when she caught sight of the wolf. Large, with mottled gray and brown fur, the wolf stood overlooking the scrub brush and trees.

Her heart thumped, and she worried it was loud enough to give her away. If she backed away quietly, he might not sense her. But before she could move, he turned his head and stared at her with glowing greenish-brown eyes. Eyes that narrowed on her. He growled and took a step toward her.

Maeve stood her ground. No sense running from a wolf. Especially this wolf. She sighed. “Please do not use your big-brother tone with me, Sullivan.”

He cocked his head before taking another step closer. He didn’t growl again, but his wolf eyes censored her. Her inner wolf’s hackles rose in response, but she quickly suppressed them.

She wanted to tell him she’d be fine on her own, to stop worrying about her. They were on pack lands. No one would dare do anything to her here—except the minute she thought it, she knew it wasn’t true. Hadn’t her father—or rather, the man who’d raised her—attacked Sullivan and others on this very land?

Not wanting to hear any more of Sullivan’s growly tone, she took off running again. Moments later rustling leaves told her he was right behind and keeping pace. So much for escaping her cage today. And with those selfish thoughts, her guilt resurfaced.

Sullivan had offered her sanctuary with the West Coast pack even before he realized they were brother and sister. She would never forget his kindness and would always be grateful, but that didn’t mean she wanted him and her other two newfound older brothers breathing down her neck every minute of every day.

But she really couldn’t blame them for being overprotective, could she? She’d been a mess when they met her, and was still a mess to some degree. Which was what the counselors—plural—were for. And who had two counselors? Even if one worked with her human side and one her wolf, it still smacked of fragility. And Maeve was sick of being fragile.

It exhausted her and kept her from living her life.

Sullivan ran up to lope alongside her and yipped before circling her. She grinned at his antics but maintained her pace on the return trip to his lodge, which was also the pack clan headquarters. As the pack alpha, Sullivan needed a place where he could both live and run the pack, since there were times when he needed to be available at all hours.

The lodge’s large stone patio came into view, and she slowed her pace. When they reached the patio, she stopped and turned away from the chair holding Sullivan’s clothes.

Werewolves weren’t shy about nudity, but it didn’t mean Maeve wanted to see her brother in all his alpha glory after he transitioned, so she kept her back to him while she did a cooldown stretching routine to lengthen and ease her tight muscles.

“I’m decent,” he said.

His tone told her he was grinning even before she turned to face him. And he was. The smile reached his eyes, and he padded over in his bare feet to stand in front of her. “I didn’t know you’d become so serious about running.”

“It helps me clear my head.” She cursed herself for her choice of words, especially when his cheerful expression faded. He worried about her too much. And she wasn’t used to having anyone worry about her.

“Since I let my wolf out most mornings, next time why don’t you let your wolf out and we can run together?”

Something pinched in the middle of Maeve’s chest. She hoped her face didn’t give her away. “Thanks for the invite, but I like to run with two legs instead of four. More challenging.”

Sullivan gazed at her for a moment like he was thinking about calling her on her lie.

“If you ever change your mind, let me know.”

“Absolutely,” she said a little too quickly, and his eyes narrowed on her. Time to distract him. “If I didn’t know better, I would say you’ve found a way to keep an eye on me while I run.”

“Maeve,” he answered in the low, growly tone that made her think his wolf was surfacing. “I will always watch over you, but I asked you to run because I want to spend some time with you.”

Again with the pinch in her chest. “Thank you.”

Sullivan grabbed her hand and squeezed it. “You don’t have to thank me. I’m your brother.”

“I know.” But did she? She’d never had a real family before. Never had someone love her for her.

In a familiar gesture he shoved his hair off his forehead, blond hair very different from her own dark brown mane. In fact, they didn’t look much alike except for their hazel eyes.

“I’ve got to get ready for a meeting in a few minutes,” he said.

“And I should get cleaned up.” Although really she didn’t need to rush since she didn’t have anything to do until Olivia arrived for Maeve’s therapy session. When Olivia would attempt to peel away Maeve’s layers of protection.

She entered the house with Sullivan, and they separated at the bottom of the stairs, Maeve to her bedroom for a quick shower. But she was still emotionally exhausted. It wasn’t even eight a.m. yet, and she already wished she could skip today’s session.

And Sullivan’s innocent suggestion for them to run together as wolves had felt like barbs piercing her skin. Luckily he didn’t pressure her about it, because she couldn’t admit to him that she hadn’t let her wolf out in months. How could she let it out when she didn’t trust it or the destructive power it might wield? The kind of destructive power it had wielded during the recent meeting of the East and West packs.

She would never forgive herself if her wolf caused her brothers and her new pack any more of that kind of trouble.