Alexandra Riley’s predictable world is turned upside down when she discovers she’s the half-breed daughter of a legendary alpha werewolf—a sought-after prize to some, an abomination to others. The tall, dark stranger who bursts into her father’s garage shatters any illusion that she can continue with her normal life.
From the second Joshua Striker, enforcer for the Wolf Creek pack, sees Alex, she becomes a distraction he can’t afford. He’s come to the city to bring Alex to the safety of the pack. That’s it. But who is going to keep her safe from him? Because the wolf inside him is demanding he claim her—now.
From city streets to the mountains of North Carolina, the pair must evade bounty hunters out to kill any werewolf they can, wolves who want to claim Alex, and purists bent on eradicating half breeds. And with all this going on, Alex still has learn what it means to be a wolf and deal with the overbearing male determined to keep her safe.
Each book in the Legacy series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Alexandra’s Legacy
Book #2 Isaiah’s Haven
Book #3 Legacy Found
Book #4 Quinn’s Quest
Book #5 Finding Chrissten
Book #6 Damek’s Redemption
Book #7 Craig’s Heart
About the Author
Once upon a time N.J. had the idea that she would like to quit her job at the bookstore, sell everything she owned, leave her hometown, and write romance novels in a place where no one knew her. And she did. Two years later, she went back to the bookstore and her hometown and settled in for another seven years. One day she gave notice at her job on a Friday morning. On Sunday afternoon, she received a tentative acceptance for her first romance novel and life would never be the same.
N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.
Read an Excerpt
She could feel the eyes watching her as she ambled down the sidewalk. The street looked deserted, but Alexandra Riley wasn't fooled by appearances. She'd grown up in Chicago, and although this was a working-class neighborhood, she knew the walls and alleys had eyes and ears.
The night dwellers were beginning to slink back into their daytime hideaways until the sun set again. A new day was just breaking, and the streetlights were beginning to wink out as the dawn brightened the sky. The people of the South Side were just beginning to roll out of bed, getting ready to start another working day.
Juggling two large, hot steaming coffees and a bag of freshly baked blueberry muffins, Alex headed for the large building at the end of the street. Although she was very aware of her surroundings, she wasn't afraid. This was her home and, for better or worse, these were her people. They all knew her, but more than that, they knew her father. And James Riley would cheerfully rip the head off anyone who so much as stared at her the wrong way.
A whisper of movement caught her eye and she tensed only to relax a moment later.
The aging prostitute was on her way home after a hard night's work. Alex didn't know how Divine could do what she did, but she didn't look down on the other woman. Everyone made their own choices and did what they had to in order to survive.
"Morning, Alex." Divine tottered over on her high-heeled, black leather boots. The tops of her boots came to her knees, leaving a large expanse of bare leg between it and the bottom of her skirt. Her voice was raspy, her eyes bloodshot. Too many years of smoking, drinking and whoring had left their mark. Her bleached blonde hair was mussed, her make-up all but disappeared, showing the age of the woman beneath the façade.
"Hard night?" Alex stopped as Divine came alongside her.
"Strange night." She paused, glancing nervously over her shoulder. "There's some weird shit going on."
Alex could feel the hair on the nape of her neck rise. Someone was watching them. "What kind of shit?" For the past couple of days, feelings of unease had been her constant companion.
Divine shrugged, eyeing the coffee in Alex's hand. "Everyone is tense. Jumpy. There seems to be a lot of them prowling around."
Alex shifted her weight from one foot to the other, not quite sure what to say. She knew Divine believed that vampires, werewolves, witches and demons populated the city, living alongside the rest of the population. Personally, Alex thought that Divine had done too much drugs before she'd finally kicked the habit a year ago.
Thankfully, Divine didn't seem to need a reply. She pulled her tattered sweater tighter around her shoulders and shivered. "It's safe enough in the daytime. Those creatures like the night."
The city didn't need vampires or demons to make it unsafe. There were enough weirdoes and criminals for that. But Divine was right about one thing, most of them usually only came out after the sun went down. "You be careful." Alex knew it was no good to tell Divine to stay home. If she didn't work, she didn't eat.
"I will." She stared at the coffee, licking her lips.
Alex sighed inwardly even as she handed over one of the steaming beverages. "Here. You look like you could use this." Coffee was one of Alex's weaknesses, and one she indulged on a regular basis. Otto Bykowski, over at the bakery, kept a supply of her favorite roast on hand for her daily visits.
"You sure?" she asked even as she reached for the recycled paper cup, wrapping her red-tipped fingernails around it.
"Yeah. I'm sure."
"Thanks, Alex. Say hi to your dad for me." Divine raised the cup to her lips, gulping the beverage as she stumbled off toward home.
"Sure," Alex mumbled as she watched her coffee disappear. Turning her head slowly, she scanned the buildings that surrounded her. Some were more derelict than others, covered in graffiti, but others were clean and well kept, the gang slogans and racial slurs rigorously scrubbed off the walls each time they appeared.
There was a core of decent, hardworking people in her neighborhood who fought the never-ending battle to keep their homes and businesses from falling into disrepair. Urban renewal was happening all over the city, but it hadn't quite reached every corner of their little section of it. But it was only a matter of time. The large garage at the end of the street was in better repair than most. Sensing all was right, for the moment, Alex strode toward her destination.
This was the only world that Alex had ever known. She smiled as she stepped up onto the sidewalk, ignoring the cracks and crevices that split it. The faded red brick building in front of her might not be everyone's idea of home, but it was hers. She'd grown up in the large apartment above the garage.
As quietly as possible, she twisted the handle on the door and eased it open. It wasn't locked. Her father was always up early and unlocked it for her. Grinning, she slid through the small opening, keeping her back against the wall. Her booted feet made no sound on the concrete floor. The sun was just beginning to break over the city as the door slid silently shut behind her.
"About time you got here." The gruff voice came from down low to the ground. She could see her father's legs sticking out from beneath a vintage Mustang.
Alex shook her head and puffed out a huge sigh as she strode across the room, depositing the lone coffee and the muffins on the long, tool-lined workbench. "What gave me away?" She'd never been able to sneak up on her father, no matter how hard she tried. No one could.
He rolled out from beneath the car and stood, slowly unfolding his large, lithe body. "Coffee."
Alex grinned. Her father was a man of few words. "Oh." She feigned surprise. "Did you want coffee?" He stalked toward her, his gait loose and limber. Reaching out, he snagged the paper cup even as he leaned down to nuzzle the top of her head in a familiar, affectionate caress. "Brat."
Alex laughed as he pried off the lid and downed half the brew in one swallow. Her father did love his coffee. And she was her father's daughter. The smell of the rich coffee blend made her groan.
He lowered the cup and licked his lips. "Who'd you give yours to?" He knew her so well.
"Divine. She looked as if she could use it worse than me. She said to say hi." Alex rubbed her hands over her arms, her fleece sweatshirt doing little to warm her as a chill shot down her spine. "She said that there's some strange shit going on at night, as well as strangers prowling around the neighborhood."
Slowly, he lowered the cup back to the workbench, his golden brown eyes burning with some inner fire. "Did she say who?"
"No. I don't think she knew. You know Divine. She sees vampires, demons and werewolves everywhere." Alex hesitated, wondering if she should tell her father about her unusual feelings the past few days. She immediately decided against it. He was already overprotective enough over her. She'd had to fight with him for a year before he'd agreed to let her move to her own place just down the road. And even then his acceptance had been grudgingly given. She was twenty-two years old for crying out loud. She didn't want to be living with her father, no matter how much she loved him.
"What's wrong?" As always, he'd sensed her disquiet and responded immediately, ready to handle whatever problem was bothering her. He'd been that way since she was a child.
Some kids in the neighborhood might have been neglected or abused, but not Alex. Her earliest memory was of her father caring for her, loving her. She'd even been home-schooled, learning how to read and write in this very room. There had been field trips to the Art Institute of Chicago, the Harold Washington Library and the Lincoln Park Zoo. He'd taken her to the theatre and to hear opera and blues music. And since the ballpark was close by, they'd spent many an afternoon cheering on the White Sox.
As she'd grown older, he'd taught her how to fix cars and how to survive. She knew how to defend herself, how to handle a knife and how to shoot a gun. It was the two of them against the world.
And now he was waiting for a response from her. He'd wait all day if he had to. He was nothing if not patient. Not to mention stubborn. She knew because she was just like him. She shrugged. "Nothing."
His eyes narrowed and his lips pursed into a thin line. She sighed and shook her head. She was a grown woman, but she still couldn't manage to hide anything from her father. "Okay, it's just a feeling."
"What kind of feeling?" He picked up his coffee and handed it to her when she shivered again.
Taking it gratefully, she gulped down the warm brew, needing the heat as well as the caffeine kick. "Just uneasiness." She hesitated briefly, but in the end, told him the truth. "This morning, I felt like someone was watching me."
"You'll move back in with me for a few weeks." It was a pronouncement, not a suggestion.
As much as Alex loved her small apartment and her privacy, she wasn't stupid. The feeling of apprehension, coupled with the sense of being watched this morning, had really creeped her out. If there were strangers skulking around the neighborhood like Divine said, then maybe it wouldn't hurt to stay with her dad for a while. Gang violence didn't often spill over into their neighborhood, but it did happen.
"Okay, I'll stay tonight. Just until things settle down again." If she weren't careful, her father would have her moved back in with him permanently. She loved him dearly, but she needed her own space, and he tended to be overprotective.
Taking the empty cup from her hand, he chucked it in the garbage bin and drew her into his strong arms. She snuggled close, breathing in his familiar smell of engine oil and sandalwood soap. That smell meant home to her. His lips brushed the top of her hair. "I won't let anyone hurt you."
"I know," she whispered. And she did know. Her father would protect her with his life. "I'm sure it's nothing."
"Maybe." He released her and stepped back. "But I'm not taking any chances. I've been feeling a bit uneasy myself the past few days. I'll go back to your place with you after work so that you can pick up a few things."
If her father was on edge she needed to pay attention, even if it meant curtailing her independence for a short while. James Riley had an uncanny way of being able to read the vibes of the city, knowing when violence was about to erupt. Illegal drugs and liquor often mixed with anger and despair, and sometimes the combination was lethal.
Her father jerked his head toward the back room. "I've got a small bag of coffee out back if you want some."
"Do I ever. You're a lifesaver." Alex licked her lips. The taste she'd had was just enough to make her crave more. She watched as her father opened the brown paper bag and withdrew the muffins she'd picked up. "I'd better start a pot of coffee. Those few mouthfuls won't hold either one of us for long."
Leaving his watchful eyes behind, she hurried into the office area and grabbed the empty carafe. Stepping into the small bathroom, she thrust it beneath the water tap, allowing her thoughts to wander as it filled.
Alex was still no closer to knowing exactly why she was so edgy. The hair on the back of her neck seemed to be standing permanently on end, and on occasion she experienced a rippling beneath her skin that raised goose bumps on her flesh.
She hadn't felt like herself for a few weeks now. The changes had been so gradual she hadn't really noticed them at first. It was as if her senses were heightened. Her skin felt too tight and at night it itched, not enough to make her scratch, but just enough to make her squirm.
The worst of it was the heat.
Lying alone in her single bed at night, a warm tingling would start between her thighs, little more than a flutter at first. Gradually the tingle became a deep, pulsing throb that made her writhe on top of her sheets, unable to bear even the light touch of the fabric against her skin.
The warmth grew within her, building rapidly until her skin felt as if it was on fire. Like a living creature, the heat slid over her belly, climbing up her ribs one at a time, until it enveloped her breasts. Her nipples puckered and tightened painfully. The only way to relieve the ache was for her to touch herself.
Only it never really helped, instead it drove the heat and need to higher levels. After the first few times it had happened, she'd learned to hold on tight to the sheets and ride out the painful desires that splintered through her, finally ending her nights sweat-soaked and completely exhausted.
The familiar heat washed over her now. Her nipples stiffened, pressing against the fabric of her cheap cotton bra. Low in her belly, her inner muscles spasmed and her panties grew damp. She jerked her hand back as the water spilled over the side of the carafe. Swearing, she hauled it back and gave the tap a twist, stopping the water flow.
Pouring out the excess, she strode back into the office. She dumped the water into the coffeemaker and slammed the carafe down onto the burner, wincing at the loud crack. She was damned lucky she hadn't broken it. Grabbing the small bag of coffee, she opened it. The rich smell of coffee wafted up and she breathed deeply, inhaling the fragrant aroma. She found a spoon and loaded ground coffee into the filter. Flicking on the machine, she prayed it would be quick.
Stepping back to the doorway separating the garage from the office, she leaned against the doorframe and studied her father. He was about six-foot-two. She'd gotten her height from him. At five-foot-ten, she was tall for a woman. She'd also inherited his strong, lithe build. Her father was deceptively strong. Many larger men had made the mistake of challenging him to a fight, assuming he'd be an easy mark. They quickly figured out their mistake.
They had the same colored hair too — brown, but with just about every shade or variation of that color from amber to mahogany. Her father's shoulder-length hair was tied back in a thong, but it was tinged with silver at the temples, making his appearance even fiercer. Alex kept her hair cut short on the back and sides, longer on the top. Made it easier to take care of. She wasn't the type of woman to waste money on expensive beauty products or to primp in front of a mirror. Strictly a wash-and-go girl, the style suited her just fine.
Their eyes were very different. Her father's eyes were a piercing golden brown while hers were a pale, silvery gray. James Riley's eyes were always searching, always aware of his surroundings, but when they settled on you it was as if he could see into your very soul.
For about the thousandth time, she wondered why he'd never married. Heck, he'd never even had a steady girlfriend. She wasn't stupid. She knew that he went out prowling some nights and enjoyed female company, but he never brought any of them home. Did he ever get lonely?
Her mother had been a prostitute who'd tried to go straight and had gotten pregnant. When James Riley had discovered he was the father, he'd taken her into his home and looked after her until she'd had the baby. She'd run off just two days after Alex was born, unable to cope with motherhood. She'd never met the woman, didn't know if she was even still alive and, truthfully, didn't care. Having a kid to raise certainly hadn't helped her father find a woman. Yet, he never once made her feel as though he'd have it any other way.
Raising her hand, she rubbed it over her breastbone. Maybe it was loneliness she was feeling at night as she lay in her bed. God only knows, she'd felt like a freak growing up. While other girls her age had been boy crazy, all she'd wanted to do was tinker in the garage with her father. She plain just wasn't interested. She'd been kissed more than once, even engaged in some heavy petting in her teens, but she'd never had sex with a guy. It just hadn't seemed worth the effort. Now, she wondered.
"You want to bring me a cup of that coffee?" Her father's voice yanked her from her thoughts. What was wrong with her? She was never this distracted, at least not in front of her father. He was much too astute and attuned to her moods.
Yanking down two large black ceramic mugs from the shelf above the coffeemaker, she filled them with the thick, potent brew. Black for her father, two sugars for her. Wiping her moist palms on her jeans, she took a deep breath and picked up the mugs. She had to get a grip on herself. It was time to go to work.
Excerpted from "Alexandra's Legacy"
Copyright © 2009 N.J. Walters.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
“N. J. Walters offers heat, passion, and intrigue with Alexandra's Legacy...”
~ TwoLips Reviews
“This book, from the beginning, is intense. It has what every top notch paranormal should have: action, passion, and wolfies, to die for. I, for one, cannot wait to see what the next book in the Legacy series holds.”
~ Dark Diva Reviews
“The action-packed plot kept me hanging on the edge of my seat with exciting anticipation eager to discover just how the breathtaking story would unfold. I can't wait to get my hands on the next thrilling novel in this series!”
~ Fallen Angel Reviews
“N. J. Walters writes with such passion and gives so much to all of these characters. This is one to read more than once and enjoy every time. But don’t be surprised if your fingers blister just a bit; I promise it is worth it in the end.”
~ Long and Short Reviews
“I highly recommend this to paranormal romance lovers. You might want to get a fan - this story isn't just good - it's HOT!”
~ Paranormal Romance Reviews