Bethany escapes a crazy doctor’s laboratory, but she’s unable to help Chrissten, the other woman kept captive there. How can she explain to the authorities that during the escape Chrissten shifted into a wolf, and she was kidnapped by the doctor in the first place because she might be part werewolf? Desperate for help and guilt-ridden for leaving Chrissten, her only hope is to find the woman’s twin brother.
Quinn has been searching for his missing sister without a single clue, until a phone call from a stranger rekindles his hope. Something sparks between Quinn and Bethany when they meet, but he doesn’t think he’ll be a good mate for anyone, let alone someone as gentle as Bethany. He’ll help her through the heat cycle she’s going into, but he can’t offer her a future. Of course, fate and biology might have other ideas…
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
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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
Keeping beat with the music, Quinn Lawton drummed his fingers on the dark oak bar. A beer sat in front of him, the bottle damp with condensation. It was still almost full. He stared at the dark stain widening around the base of the bottle. He wasn't in the mood to drink, but he had to do something to pass the time as he waited for tonight's meeting.
He peered around the bar. Haven was hopping tonight. A jazz quartet played on the tiny stage in the far corner. Some couples danced, but most sat around small circular tables or at the bar, talking and laughing with friends.
What would it be like to have a normal life? Did they have any idea how lucky they were? His life had been fucked up for so long he wasn't sure he knew what normal was anymore. Not that it ever could be, considering his mother had been human and his father was a pureblooded werewolf.
"It won't be long now." Meredith Striker, the owner of Haven and the female alpha of the pack that lived here, slipped onto the bar stool beside him. She usually wore long, slinky dresses and high-heeled shoes when she worked. Tonight she was wearing black slacks and a silk blouse, but still managed to look classy and stylish. Her black hair fell over her back like a curtain. She was a pureblooded werewolf, but she'd adopted four half-breeds, whom she treated the same way she did her two sons. She'd also opened her home to him and his brother.
"We'll find her."
Meredith's words did nothing to buoy his confidence. He'd been making that same promise to himself over and over again this past year and a half. He didn't know if he believed it any more. It had been too long without a word or a trace of his sister.
Hell, he'd infiltrated and worked with fucking paranormal bounty hunters for a year in the hopes of finding out some small scrap of information about who might have taken Chrissten. But he'd lost his last link to the hunters when he'd been forced to kill one of them to protect another werewolf. Still, his actions had garnered him the unexpected support from two packs of werewolves. Not to mention he'd found his birth father.
He shoved that thought aside. He didn't want to think about Donovan Brody, the werewolf who'd had a short-lived relationship with his mother before abandoning her. The guy seemed okay, but Quinn didn't feel any real connection with him and had no time to care.
All his thoughts were of his missing sister.
He was sorely afraid Chris was dead. The only thing that gave him any hope at all was the close bond they shared as twins. In his heart, he didn't feel as though she was dead.
He rubbed his chest, feeling the ache growing there with each passing moment his beloved sister was missing.
The hair on the back of his neck stirred. Quinn didn't need to turn around to know who was there. Isaiah Striker, Meredith's husband and the alpha of this small pack. Quinn was here only because Isaiah had agreed to help him.
"I heard from Damek. He'll be here after closing."
Quinn closed his eyes and said a brief prayer of thanks. Until Isaiah confirmed it, he hadn't believed the meeting would truly happen. He didn't know who this Damek guy was or why they all thought he might be able to help, but at this point, Quinn would try anything. Isaiah and the rest of the pack had been strangely silent about Damek, telling Quinn next to nothing about him.
He shrugged. It didn't matter who he was. Not if he could help.
Quinn continued to sit at the bar nursing his beer while Meredith and Isaiah went off to do whatever it was that needed doing. He'd been working at Haven himself for about a week as payment for his room and board. Nothing he could do would ever repay them if they actually helped him find his sister.
"You doing okay?"
Quinn shook his head. "I don't know." His brother took the seat Meredith had vacated and leaned his elbows on the bar. Craig was his brother, but he was totally human, the product of a yearlong affair his mother had with a dockworker. His mother had never been good at picking men and Craig's father had disappeared as soon as he'd known Craig was on the way. Hell, Quinn's father had left before he'd even known Quinn's mom was pregnant with him and his sister.
Never in a million years had Quinn dreamed he and Craig would be temporarily living with a werewolf pack, half of which were half-breeds.
He could sense his brother's excitement. Smell his fear. Craig was only twenty, but he was hell on wheels with a computer. His unassuming, kind face and wire-rimmed glasses hid a deep well of determination. Not that he was weak. Far from it. But he was human and wouldn't be able to physically defeat a werewolf, not in hand-to-hand combat. His intellect was his greatest weapon and he'd used it these long months to aid Quinn in his search.
"You think this guy Damek can help?"
That was the million-dollar question. He turned to his brother and shrugged. "I don't know." He scrubbed a hand over his face as weariness settled over him. He couldn't rid himself of the feeling that time was running out. "I hope so."
"If not, we'll find another way."
That was Craig. He'd never lost hope, his mind always searching for new ways to work on the problem. "I'm glad you're here." And he was. The three of them had been close growing up, but even more so since their mother's death. He and Chris had practically raised Craig. They were a family. Or they had been before disaster had struck.
"Me too." Craig snagged a bowl of mixed nuts from a few feet down the bar and began munching. "You were away too long."
He'd missed his younger brother during the unending months he'd been undercover with the paranormal bounty hunters. His occasional phone call with Craig had been his only connection to his past life, his only link to sanity. He'd missed a year and a half of his brother's life. Craig was different now — harder, independent and more cynical. He'd matured, losing some of that indomitable spark he'd always had. But there was still a touch of it there, for which Quinn was profoundly thankful.
Unspoken was the fact that he'd been living with paranormal bounty hunters all that time. He'd worked with them. He'd killed with them. Granted, he'd only killed pureblooded werewolves who would have killed any half-breed. He'd also helped save a few of the good ones, like Isaiah and the Haven pack.
But he still had blood on his hands. A lot of it. And nothing to show for it. In all that time he'd never heard a whisper about his sister.
Craig sat beside him, a quiet presence. Quinn was grateful for the undemanding company. He didn't want to talk, didn't want to put too much faith in this Damek character. Maybe he could help. Maybe it would be another dead end.
Quinn didn't know if he could take another disappointment.
Suck it up, he ordered himself. His sister was out there somewhere and he'd find her, no matter how long it took.
The night dragged on and his beer went warm. Craig drifted away at some point and Quinn was left alone with his thoughts. He sat at the far corner of the bar and watched all the people enjoying the club and bitterness coated his belly. His life had been like that once. Nothing more to worry about than earning a paycheck and having some fun. Okay, so his life had never been quite that carefree, but it had been his and he wanted it back.
He glanced down at his hands and saw the light from the flashing neon sign reflect against his skin. Red. White. Red. White. It looked like blood. He raised his fingers and studied them. They were strong and callused and capable, yet he still hadn't managed to find his missing sister.
The minutes turned into hours and finally people began to leave. Michael, one of Meredith's sons who was working behind the bar, gave the last call. There were no human members of staff working tonight so once all the patrons were gone only members of the pack, he and Craig remained.
Hank, who was the resident bouncer and a half-breed werewolf, closed and locked the door. "That's it." They all scattered, each taking care of the necessary tasks that came with closing down a bar for the night. Quinn knew he should be helping, but he just couldn't stir himself to care. His gaze was focused on the locked door. How long would they have to wait until Damek arrived?
He finally pushed away from the bar and began stacking chairs on the tables so the floors would be cleared for cleaning. Anything to keep busy. The waiting was beginning to wear on him.
The other members of the pack worked quietly and efficiently. He knew Teague would be in the kitchen, making certain everything was shut down for the night. The tall red-haired male sported tattoos and a trio of gold earrings in his left ear. He was surly with most everyone but he was a hell of a cook and ruled the kitchen.
Teague's mate was his opposite in every way. With her café au lait skin and warm brown eyes she was as gentle as Teague was tough. Neema was clearing glasses from tables and ferrying them into the kitchen. She offered him an encouraging smile and a pat on the arm as she passed him.
Behind the bar, Michael and his brother, Benjamin, were chatting as they put everything in order. They both resembled their mother with their black hair and blue eyes. Quinn turned away from them. He'd often wondered what his life would have been like if his mother had lived. She might not have had the best taste in men but she'd been a hell of a mother, putting her kids first. Always.
Hank glanced at Quinn but said nothing as he and Kevin helped him stack chairs. Quinn watched Meredith and Isaiah chat in low tones as they dealt with the daily paperwork and the cash register receipts.
It was all so damn normal. Fury flooded Quinn and he had the urge to smash the chair he held in his hands against the far wall. It wasn't fair. Chris had never hurt anyone in her life. All they'd wanted was to be left alone to live their own lives.
Wood cracked. Quinn looked down to find the back of the chair splintered where he'd held it too tightly. His knuckles were white with the strain. His arm muscles tense.
He sensed Hank coming up beside him. "Let me take that for you." The other man's expression gave nothing away. There was no sign of pity or judgment. He simply waited patiently, his hand extended.
Slowly, carefully, he released his hold on the chair. Hank took it and set it aside to be disposed of later. Then he went back to work stacking chairs as if nothing had happened. Hell of a steady guy. Quiet. Quinn wasn't quite sure what to think of him. Not that it mattered. He wasn't here to make friends. He was here to find his sister.
He also had to get a grip on himself or he wouldn't be any good to anyone, especially not his sister.
Isaiah stirred, headed out from behind the bar and walked toward the door. Tension flooded Quinn and he set down the chair he was holding. This was it. Damek was here. He was about to meet the person who might be able to help him find his sister.
Quinn didn't care if Damek was the devil himself. Not if he could help him find Chris.
The locks on the door began to open before Isaiah reached it. Quinn watched in amazement as the handle slowly turned. A dark shadow filled the doorway and flowed inside, bringing a tsunami of power with him. The heavy panel door shut with a thud.
Oh shit. Quinn knew this guy. Had seen him once before, back about six months ago when Quinn had still been working with the bounty hunters. Damek was a powerful and elusive creature. A vampire. Traditionally, a natural foe of the werewolf, at least until the bounty hunters had started stalking them all and their populations had started dying out. Then all the rules had changed.
How did the saying go? The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Quinn had watched from the shadows that fateful night as the vampire had taken control of another hunter's mind as easily as a mortal might pick up a cup of coffee.
This creature was beyond dangerous. He was also Quinn's only hope.
"Good evening, my friend." Damek inclined his head slightly in Isaiah's direction. The vampire was wearing a dark suit that had obviously been tailored to fit his lithe build. His shirt was silk and he had a Rolex on his left wrist. Shoulder-length black hair was pulled away from his face and tied neatly at his nape with a leather thong. His features were strong, his skin pale. Power seemed to leak from his pores, filling the air around him.
"Ah, you look as beautiful as ever, my dear." Damek flowed toward Meredith, his stride fluid. Isaiah growled and pulled his mate closer to him. Quinn tensed, ready in case a battle broke out between the two alpha males.
The corner of Damek's mouth turned up slightly. Quinn couldn't quite call it a grin, but he sensed the vampire's amusement.
Damek cocked an eyebrow at Isaiah. "Really, you Striker brothers are very possessive. It's rather annoying. But you do have exquisite taste in women."
"We need your help." Isaiah's voice was low and guttural.
"So you said."
Quinn decided it was time for him to make his presence known. "I need your help."
Damek turned toward him and Quinn felt pinned by the vampire's black stare, felt dark tentacles of power reaching inside him to his very thoughts and memories. He slammed the door on his mind, desperately trying to shut out the invasion. A cold sweat broke out on his skin and his heart began to pound. His wolf stirred inside him and with it the primitive urges of fight or flight. He did neither. By strength of will alone, he fought his very basic nature, straightened his shoulders and met Damek's penetrating gaze.
The creature casually strolled toward him, a wave of menace rolling before him. "I know you." He tapped his finger against his chin. "You were involved in that debacle last fall."
"You knew I was there." His voice was steady and sure.
"Hmm." The humming sound was Damek's only reply.
Quinn took that as a yes. At the time he'd felt as though the vampire had sensed his presence but had let Quinn go for reasons only he understood. It had never once occurred to him that the person he was going to meet tonight might be the powerful vampire he'd encountered last fall.
He honestly didn't know all that much about the species. All his efforts while he'd been growing up had been focused on understanding what was happening to himself and his sister. After Chris had disappeared, he'd been hell-bent on finding her. If he was going to be working with a vampire he wanted to know everything there was to know about the species. He'd set Craig to work on unearthing details as soon as Damek was done. Knowledge was power and Quinn needed every edge he could get with the powerful male. If there was anything to find online about Damek and others like him, his brother would unearth it.
"Tell me," Damek demanded.
Quinn ignored the arrogance of the command, knowing he needed Damek's help. He swallowed his pride and gave a quick recounting of his childhood, of growing up knowing he and his sister were different and how they'd tried to live a normal life.
"I don't know why they took her. Or who. How they knew she was different." That question frustrated him most of all. They'd always been careful, keeping to themselves as much as possible. They'd gone to regular school until they'd hit puberty and then they'd been homeschooled, basically doing it themselves while their mother worked.
Craig had been the only other person to know what they were. And Quinn trusted Craig without question. "At first we thought she might have been taken by some crazy human, some sick psychopath. But she's strong and smart. She would have escaped if that was the case. I know she would have."
"How old was Chris when she was kidnapped?" Damek's question made Quinn frown. What did that have to do with anything?
"Twenty-three, almost twenty-four. Why?"
"Fuck." Quinn glanced over at Isaiah who spat out the oath. "Ah, I'm not sure how much you know about females of the species, but Chrissten was at the age where she'd go into heat for the first time. If that happened, any male wolf getting within twenty feet of her would have smelled her and gone right for her. You wouldn't have been affected by it because you're her sibling."
Excerpted from "Quinn's Quest"
Copyright © 2012 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.
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