Welcome to Traitor’s Den. I hope you like it here, because there’s no leaving the small western town that’s more theme park than authentic. Once you walk through the portal, you’re stuck as a boot heel in a half foot of mud.
I’ve never seen the outside world and I don’t care. The cannon-toting, trigger-happy residents here are like family, even if most of them are a few spoons short of a full set. Eventually, everyone grows on you, kinda like nail fungus. But the booze flows freely, and Tiger keeps me company. He’s as much a prisoner as I am.
I don’t figure there’s much point in wanting what you can never have. I’ll eventually accept one of my boyfriend’s marriage proposals and then keep policing the one-way town while I pop out the babies he wants. I was born knowing how to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.
At least I won’t be bored. Denners aren’t fans of following the rules, and the longer they’re in town, the worse they behave, thanks to the spell that keeps us all trapped here.
Just when I think I’ve made my peace with my lot, the portal pops open and two men shoot through, throwing punches before their feet even finish landing in my town. When they finally look at me, all I see is problems. Big, ginormous, entirely-too-handsome problems. And that’s before I even take into account the little “surprise” they brought through with them.
No one’s ever looked at me the way they do.
They aren’t the kind of men who back down after claiming something.
Did I say I had my life in Traitor’s Den all figured out? Hell, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
* A sexy fantasy western with growly shifters, sketchy vamps, peculiar mages and creatures, and one badass cowgirl sheriff. Within this small town, magic and gossip flow as freely as whiskey, and work and pleasure are nearly the same thing. Weird things happen on the regular in Traitor’s Den. Come and join the quirky family, where everyone’s packing. Oh, and don’t mind the tiger.
Rhett snorted. “Got a little cheering section, don’t you? Do you make them say that stuff? Part of your little welcome speech?”
At that, the crowd went eerily still and silent. All but Tiger and Jolene. Jolene whinnied her protest outside, but Tiger was my immediate concern. As he rose to his large, heavy paws, I placed a calming hand on his head and kept it there.
“It’s okay, Tiger. I got this.”
A low rumble rolled deep in his chest.
Rhett had the good sense to appear intimidated, though he hid it well. The tension in his jaw and the mild tic in one eye gave him away.
Zeke didn’t bother to hide his apprehension, sliding his chair back from the table to more clearly distance himself from the jackass with a stupid retort on the tip of his tongue for just about everything.
Keeping one hand on Tiger, I slid my drink to the side with the other, and leaned on the table, closing the distance between Rhett and me.
Up close, it was easier to make out that his eyes weren’t a flat forest green; flecks of yellow, blue, and brown made them so much more interesting. His face was beautiful and yet still masculine, his square jaw reinforcing the manly aspect of his features.
Too bad he was one of the biggest jerkwads to ever come through the portal.
Dropping my voice so it vibrated with all the danger I was purposefully injecting into it, with a cold smile, I said, “Here in Traitor’s Den, we’re all judged on our actions. Not where we came from, not what we did before, not who we used to know. Connections from the outside world won’t help you here. In here, you earn your reputation, fair and square. If I have a cheering squad, it’s because I put the needs of others first as much as I should. I give respect when it’s earned and treat everyone fairly. You treat others like shit, you’ll have me to deal with, and trust me, so far you’ve only seen my nice side. Mess with me or my Denners and I’ll come after you and make sure you never make that same mistake again.”
Lucía Ashta is the Amazon top 20 bestselling author of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and paranormal women’s fiction filled with wild magic, spicy romance, and quirky characters that make you snort-laugh.
A former attorney and architect, she’s an Argentinian-American who lives in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains with her husband and daughters.