One pack, one coven, a destiny intertwined...
Five hundred years ago, facing extinction, a group of powerful witches united to create a pact with the Were to save witch–kind. The pact expelled an ancient evil, known only as the Darkness, that was blocking the Were from their wolves. With the Darkness destroyed, the Packs and their Covens grew strong as they thrived beside each other in their brand–new world.
But the Darkness was not destroyed.
Skye Collins has been brought up to fear her magic and shy away from witch and Were alike. But when Jason McVale, the Alpha of Pack McVale, comes in search of her, she is intrigued and tempted. Her mistrust of magic and wariness of the intensity of passion she shares with Jason threatens her control–and if she loses control, she just might turn into the weapon the Darkness intended her to become all along.
About the Author
Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious
reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her
BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret
and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).
After starting a family, Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl's
stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the
West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.
Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dogs, Buffy and Skye, and
likes to spend time with family and friends. She is addicted to the Syfy channel, and her shelves are full of fantasy and paranormal
books and scifi DVDs. She sometimes sings in a choir, has worked as a swim teacher, loves to ski, can talk the hind leg off a
donkey and has been President of Romance Writers of Australia from 2014-2017.
To find out more, visit Leisl on her website.
You can also follow Leisl on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Read an Excerpt
Skye stopped at the crest of the ski run and took a moment to appreciate the beauty of the Victorian Alps laid out before her. A breeze, full of the scent of eucalypts and the cool freshness of snow, blew a lock of red hair into her eyes. She swept it back under her ski hat and took in a deep breath.
'What a beautiful day.' She'd skied in Austria and Canada, but even though the ski season was so much shorter in Australia and the snow not nearly as good, there was nothing like the stark beauty of the blue-tinged mountains of the Great Dividing Range. The other ski resorts were breathtaking too, but these mountains were home. They sang to her soul in a way the others couldn't.
Taking another deep breath, she pushed off over the crest and, with a wild 'Yahoo!', flew down the slope, her knees moving like rubber pistons as she attacked the moguls.
She could hear the swish and slide of skiers around her but ignored them, enjoying this moment of freedom on her last day, before she had to go back and face the real world. She sighed, wishing she had an extra few days to gird her loins — as her grandpa used to say — against the responsibilities awaiting her at home.
But she wouldn't think about that now. This was a rare clear day at Mt Buller, and she was going to enjoy it to her fill.
A strange chill crept down her spine — the kind of chill you got when someone was watching you surreptitiously. She'd been having that feeling off and on all day. She slowed, turning to see if she could catch them at it.
'Whoa!' she heard. Then something hard and heavy smashed into her. The sky tipped and an oof of breath exploded out of her as she hit the snow. A large body landed on top of her and then they were sliding, smashing over and through the moguls, until they finally slowed and came to a stop.
Head spinning, she lay with her arms flung out wide, crushed under the hot weight of a man. She moaned.
'Are you okay?' the man's husky voice murmured in Skye's ear.
'Only if I don't breathe,' she managed, surprised she wasn't winded. Snow inched into the collar of her parka. She shivered.
He shifted, pushing up onto his elbows to look down at her.
Despite the pain sparking through her body — damn, she was going to have some impressive bruises for show-and-tell on Monday — she became uncomfortably aware of the way their hips pressed together, legs tangled. She hadn't been this close to a man in way too long. This wasn't the way she'd imagined it happening again, though.
She tried to move. The action made his board — amazingly still attached to his feet — cut into her leg. She winced. 'Well, this is a very charming way to meet and all, but can you get off, please? You're crushing my legs.'
'Sorry.' He scrambled back.
'Oh, fudgy-duck!' She gasped as his board scraped over the bruise.
'Are you hurt?' He ran his hand over her leg, checking for injury.
Shivers chased across her skin that had nothing to do with the snow melting inside her jacket. Skye pulled away. 'No. I'm fine. Just let me stretch it out.'
He shifted back. But instead of getting up and skiing off like most other people would, he stayed, kneeling beside her as she stretched out her leg.
'I'm so sorry. I usually ski, but my brother talked me into trying out a snowboard this year.'
Rubbing her aching leg, she felt her temper spike at his words. Glaring at him, she snapped, 'Are you kidding me? What the hell are you doing on Federation? It's a black run — or didn't you notice all the signs up the top, you irresponsible arse?' His eyebrows rose above his sunglasses. 'Wow. That thing about redheads and tempers is true.'
She bristled. 'You could have killed yourself, or someone else. Namely me!' He brushed snow from his hair. 'For your information, I was doing okay until I hit that goddamned icy patch. I don't know why I agreed to try a board,' he grumbled.
He sounded so much like her twin, River, when he was pouting, that her flare of anger disappeared and she had to hide her grin.
'So why did you go over to the dark side?'
'My trickster of a brother said it would be a rush, but I think he just wanted to see me fall on my arse.'
Her lips twitched. 'That would be okay, except for the fact that you fell on mine.'
'It looked softer than mine.'
She choked on a laugh. 'Are you saying I have a fat arse?'
Rather than trying to back-pedal, his mouth curled into a lopsided smile — such a lovely mouth. 'No. In fact, I was thinking how nice it looked before I smacked into you.'
Skye dragged her eyes from his mouth. 'Is that why you took me for a toboggan ride, with me as the toboggan? To meet me and my nice arse?' 'That, and the fact you stopped so suddenly.'
She snorted. 'I thought you said there was an icy patch.'
'Yeah.' He laughed. 'I did. Didn't I?' He pushed his sunglasses off his face to look down at her.
He had the most startling eyes. They were deeply blue on the edge, almost black, but lightened to an icy blue at their centre. Lightning-bolt striations crazed through the iris, making it seem as if his eyes glowed. They reminded her of a picture of a wolf River had put on his bedroom wall when they were young. She'd asked him to take it down. He'd thought it was because she was frightened of big dogs, but it hadn't just been that. The wolf's eyes had haunted her in a way that confused her ten-year-old soul.
This man's eyes were even more dangerous to her equilibrium. They pulled her in. Her chest ached like she'd been winded.
He broke eye contact and pushed to his feet, allowing her to catch her breath.
'Here, let me help you up.' He put out his hand.
Don't touch him!
Skye hesitated as her inner voice barked at her; it was part of a spell her grandpa had woven to stop her from using her magic and to warn of any other magic users around. It usually sounded like her grandpa, calm and kind and supportive, but now her grandpa's voice held a tone like that of her grandmother, Morrigan Cantrae, at her commanding best.
Her first instinct was to do the opposite of anything that sounded like what Morrigan would say. But she was no longer a child and she wondered why the inner voice had changed. It never had before and was only supposed to react so forcefully if she tried to use her magic — something that could never be allowed — or if an equally powerful witch or warlock was around or she was in danger.
Well, she hadn't used her magic and there was nothing about this man that suggested he was a warlock; no tingling under her skin that warned her a true magic user stood before her. No sense of impending disaster.
And the chance of him being an axe murderer was pretty well zip.
So, if he wasn't a warlock or an axe murderer, there was no reason not to accept his offer of help.
She put her hand in his. His fingers were strong as they wrapped around hers, and so warm she could feel the heat of him through her gloves.
'Thanks,' she choked out as his warmth slid through her. Overwhelmed, she pulled her hand from his grip.
He stepped back. But perversely, now that he'd moved away, she wanted to get closer, beg him to touch her again. What the hell?
'Are you sure I can't do anything for you?'
Looking up into his face and those remarkable eyes, his voice a melting tenor in her ears, she forgot all about the pain in her leg and ankle. 'I'm pretty certain there are many and various things you could do for me.'
Oh God! Had she said that out loud? She slapped her hand over her mouth, eyes wide. The look on his face told her she had. 'I'm sorry,' she muttered through her fingers. 'I don't know why I said that.'
He moved closer. 'I don't mind that you did.'
She swallowed hard, forced herself to answer. 'But I do. I don't know what's wrong with me.'
His brow furrowed again. 'Maybe you knocked your head.'
'I don't think so.' She tried to look away but couldn't. It was those eyes. And his voice. That was why she was behaving like such a weirdo. There was one room in the house where eyes and a voice like that really came into their own — and it wasn't the kitchen.
He was so gorgeous, with sinfully long dark lashes, the chiselled features of a male model and a dimple in his left cheek. The only thing that marred his perfect good looks was the scar that ran through his top lip — but that just made him look rugged and tough rather than pretty.
She sighed, wanting to touch his dimple, run her fingers across the stubborn jut of his jaw and linger on that scar. She wanted to flirt and have some fun. This was her holiday, after all. But she was vastly out of practice with flirting. She hadn't been on a date for years. There was no point when she could never get serious with anyone. Instead, she'd concentrated on building her business and spending time with River. Not that she minded: it was her fault her twin was housebound. She owed it to him to always be there.
The man stepped closer. 'Are you sure you're okay?' The more he spoke, the more she thought of a good bottle of red, low seductive music and a plush fur rug before a fire. It was difficult not to reach forward, push her fingers through his silky brown hair and bring her lips up to his.
But the way he looked at her indicated he didn't have the same inclination, regardless of his comments about her nice arse. He looked more confused than interested.
Disappointed when she knew she shouldn't be, she said, 'I'm fine, really.' She put weight on her sore foot, and took a few hobbling steps. 'Almost as good as new.'
He didn't look convinced. 'Perhaps you should call it a day though. You're limping.'
She shook her head. 'Are you kidding? It's not often you get days like this at Buller.' She gestured at the blue sky, the snow-laden trees lining the run, the mountains of the Victorian Alps marching into the distance, covered in the blue haze of thousands of eucalypts. 'You would have to chop my leg off with your snowboard to stop me from skiing on such a beautiful day.' She cocked her head to the side, considering. 'Nah. Maybe not even then.'
He laughed, the sound washing over her like warm water lapping at her skin.
'Let me see you down to the bottom at least, make sure you get to the lift.'
Skye blinked at him. The way he looked at her reminded her of something ... someone.
'Hello!' He waved his hand in front of her face. 'Don't tell me I gave you a concussion.'
She squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. 'No. I'm fine. Just a bit of snow blindness.' Pathetic excuse, but with him standing so close, she couldn't seem to do better. Opening her eyes, she squinted. 'It's a bit bright with the sun. I should have worn my goggles.'
'Are you sure?'
His voice was hypnotic. She leaned forward, breathed in his scent. The need to give in to the temptation to touch, to kiss, to lick, was overwhelming. It was like she'd been bewitched.
That thought had her snapping back. Panic clawed at her throat. Could she be?
No. Bron had said she had stronger shields than anyone she'd ever met, thanks to her grandpa's spell, and there was no reason not to trust her best friend in this matter. She was Wiccan after all. Not a true magic user, but she did know about this stuff.
It was just that Mr Too-Gorgeous-For-Sanity was a fantasy come to life. This was simply about lust. She had to ignore the sensations shooting through her body. Force herself to be sensible. He was just being friendly because he'd knocked her over. And she'd made enough of a fool of herself for one day.
Biting her lip, trying to shelve her disappointment, she nodded. 'I'm sure. Go and kill your brother for making you snowboard and then enjoy the day.'
He chuckled. 'I might just do that. Adam needs a good killing.'
'Excellent. So, off you go. I'll be fine by myself.' Before he could say anything else, she hobbled down the hill to her skis. She clicked into the bindings, swallowing a gasp as pain sliced up from her ankle. She refused to give in to it. She'd put up with worse pain.
There was the slide of board on snow behind her and she looked up to see the Adonis making his way down the slope towards her.
'How about I shout you a hot chocolate at Koflers just to make sure you're fine?' Surprisingly pleased by his perseverance, Skye opened her mouth to say yes.
Don't say it! her inner voice snapped.
Taken aback, she blinked and asked it, Why?
He may not stink of magic, but there's something about him that's affecting you. Think about River. Think about what your magic did to him.
Even though the voice still didn't sound like it usually did, Skye knew it was right. This man might not have the magic to bewitch her, but he was making her behave strangely, almost to the point of acting without thinking — which she never did. She could never afford to lose control — her magic had only ever brought pain. She swallowed hard, knowing that despite the fact this was a holiday and she should be able to flirt and have fun, she couldn't do it with this man.
Taking herself in hand, she said, 'Thanks, but no thanks. I still want to get a few runs in before I call it a day.'
'What about a drink after? I feel I need to say sorry in some way.'
The wish to say yes was almost a pain inside her; but that in itself was reason to say no. 'I can't. I've got a prior engagement with friends.'
'I'm sorry to hear that.' He flashed a grin so charming it made her breath catch. 'I'll just have to hope we'll meet another time and your answer will be different.' He leaned forward so she could feel his astonishing warmth radiating towards her and took a deep breath, as if trying to breathe her in.
'Okay,' she squeaked. Unable to stand his closeness for another moment and not give in to his invitation, she pushed off with her good leg and took off down the slope. Her ankle ached. She shoved aside the pain and took a deep breath of clean clear air, hoping to get rid of the warm male scent of him.
It didn't help. His scent seemed to have been imprinted on her senses: earthy and yet clear and fresh, like the mountain air.
A tingle started down her spine. Was he watching her? Were his eyes caressing her arse the way he said they had been before he crashed into her? She almost groaned at the memory of the way they'd come to a stop, his body spread on top of hers, chest to chest, legs tangled. Skye bit her lip as muscles well below her abdomen clenched and quivered.
It was a sensation she'd not felt for a long time — too long. Hell, she'd almost become a nun with the length of time she'd been celibate, and she'd been content with that. But coming face to face with that Adonis would make even a nun change her habits. It wasn't so unusual that he'd had such an impact on her. She chuckled at her pun.
Not that it mattered what she felt. Lifting her face to the sun, she decided to luxuriate in the rare spring day and not worry about could-have-beens.
The sapphire blue sky was glorious. She was so thankful Shelley and Bron had agreed to change their plans to go to Noosa and had come with her to Mt Buller for the last of the season. When she was a child there'd often been good snow until the end of September. Now spring snow was a rarity, so she hadn't expected to get any good skiing done, but she'd been looking forward to it regardless. It brought back good memories of times with her grandpa.
None of them could believe it when the day after they arrived there was a massive dump of snow, and instead of slush and only a few runs being open, they were skiing on fresh powder on over half the runs.
Swishing down the slope, with the deep, downy white snow squeaking beneath her freshly waxed skis, the fresh air a chill puff on her face, she tried to recapture the feeling she'd had before Adonis had crashed into her. But no matter how lovely the day still was or how soft and powdery the snow, she just couldn't regain that sense of freedom being in the mountains always gave her; that feeling as if she could fly.
Her spine tingled again. Just in case Mr Too-Gorgeous-For-Sanity was watching her, she decided to show off. She jumped over a snow-encrusted boulder, catching some air. The thrill of flying ended the moment she landed and pain shot up her leg. She groaned.
'Are you okay?' he yelled.
She didn't look back, only waved, hiding her red face. She hadn't groaned that loudly. How had he known? The landing was perfect.
So much for showing off.
And why was she trying to impress him when he'd knocked her down, ruining her perfect run record?
That thought brought her up short as she joined the queue at the lift. She wasn't a massive hothead, but being mown down by a beginner on a run they shouldn't have been on was just the kind of thing that would normally have had her firing up and letting loose.
Excerpted from "Pack Bound"
Copyright © 2018 Leisl Leighton.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty Ltd..
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My Thoughts - 4 out of 5 Unicorns - I really liked it!!! ***I choose what I read and review based on what intrigues me!! Yes, I got a review copy of this book, but no one tells me what to think, feel, or write about any book! I did buy this book, and I hope to buy the rest of the series too when I can. This is my first time reading this author’s work, and it is also the first book in the series. This is definitely an adult book with violence and steamy content. A thing of note that you may want to know, I did have to look up some words because this author is from Australia, so at least for me, I didn’t know some of the words until I looked them up. I don’t have a problem with this because learning is lifelong, and I love it. This world is exciting for me because it is set in Australia, and it is interesting that Witches and Weres are bound together to survive. I found the premise very cool. This book has a lot of mystery and intrigue, and things I just didn’t see coming with all the twists and turns. I love when I can’t predict what is happening. I really like Skye because she goes through a lot, and she could quit or give up, but she doesn’t. Jason, Adam, and Tom are awesome, and I loved their characters. I’m hoping to see more of them all in the next book. Of course, there are evil bad guys, but can you figure out who they are. I recommend to all shifter and witch fans because this is an intriguing story with tons going on and a new spin that you will love! I can’t wait for the next book! I think the series will get better and better!