Aurora Turner embarks on a post-graduate adventure to find her forever family only to be captured by the Sluagh, soul-sucking Fae exiles. While she is grateful to be rescued by the Strawberry shifters, her Prince Not-So-Charming is a little hasty when he starts picking out their wedding china.
Destiny gives James Martin a second chance at love. Aurora may prove to be more of a hazard to herself than the Sluagh ever were. He has the daunting task of keeping her away from sharp objects, and from ogling his best friend, Nate.
Nate Wagner is shocked when Aurora passes the prophesized shifter smell test identifying her as his mate. The beta male competes against the mature courtship skills of James with his own modern twist.
However, will his devotion to James keep her out of his arms or will they create their perfect family—one they never dreamed of?
“Thank you for the offer,” I say after taking a deep breath, “but I decided to go through with the surgery. I need to own this. I hope you both understand.”
“I have been advising everyone the surgery is what you needed. I knew what was best for you,” James says placing his hand on my shoulder. Something about the gesture makes me feel suffocated. I shrug his hand off and push Nate’s hands away.
“You don’t get to do that,” I say looking James in the eye. “This is my consequence for my actions.”
“Of course, we both will comfort you as you grieve—” Nate starts.
“You don’t get to do that either,” I say acidly. “Who said I needed to grieve? I will have to relearn a lot of tasks, but I want the challenge. I want to live. I want to live as a stronger version of myself. I want to be the girl who survived a month of torment to cut herself from the chains.”
“We are sorry it happened to you,” says Nate.
“Yes, we feel sorry on your behalf,” adds James.
“That’s the problem,” I thunder. “If you were listening, you would know I’m not sorry. You don’t have the right to be more upset, more offended, or more…more…anything, than me! You can’t take this away.”
Blue eyes, dimples, and silky brown hair; Grant Luther has all of Alison’s weaknesses. When he asks for one last chance to save their marriage, she agrees to relocate their family to isolated Strawberry, Kentucky in pursuit of his career dreams.
Grant views Alison’s sensory issues as limitations and protects her from outside threats. When he finds his new job includes changing him into a shifter in a war against the soul-sucking Sluagh he vows to keep the changes a secret.
What he doesn’t know is Alison has been hiding a magical secret of her own. One that makes her a target of the Sluagh. Will Alison emerge from Grant’s shadow to protect her family? And can Grant learn that being different can be a strength not a weakness?
“You look perfect. I mean perfectly healthy. I mean mostly uninjured,” she stammers. She places her tiny hand over her eyes.
Feeling braver than ever, I walk right up to her. I gently remove the hand from her face and hold it to my own. “See, I’m fine,” I whisper as I gently rub my thumb over her tiny knuckles.
Her eyes lift to mine and lock our gazes. I have always found the golden color of her eyes fascinating but never studied them up close. They are light brown with a golden star in the middle. I am literally star gazing as she takes in the injuries to my face. We stand there for about a minute, lost in time.
I wonder if she is thinking about when we first started dating, the hard times that followed, the present, or the future. I search her face for clues but don’t want to break the spell by opening my mouth. I decide to put said mouth to better use by lowering my head toward hers.
Marilyn Barr currently resides in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband, son, and rescue cats. She has a diverse background containing experiences as a child prodigy turned medical school reject, published microbiologist, special education/inclusion science teacher, homeschool mother of a savant, certified spiritual & energy healer, and advocate for the autistic community. This puts her in the position to bring tales containing heroes who are regular people with different ability levels and body types, in a light where they are powerful, lovable, and appreciated. When engaging with the real world, she is collecting characters, empty coffee cups, and unused homeschool curricula. She is a sucker (haha) for cheesy horror movies, Italian food, punk music, black cats, bad puns, and all things witchy. For the latest Strawberry news and witchy tips, join my newsletter at www.marilynbarr.com.