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True Mates: Tameka's Smile

Deputy Chadleigh Wilson, former lone wolf and new to the Raven pack, was raised among humans in foster care. He doesn’t know anything about true mates, but one smile from Tameka Jones and he knows he has to have her. He’ll do anything to claim her. Once she’s his, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

Tameka Jones is baffled by her response to the handsome deputy. She came to Refuge to simplify her life. Instead, she finds herself surrounded by people who think they’re werewolves, of all things, and now her dead grandmother is talking to her. But Chad’s not the only person interested in Tameka. Someone wants her land and is willing to do anything—even kill—to get it.


Tameka's Smile Excerpt

Chad was in the midst of a three-on-one fight when a surge of metaphysical power forced him to his belly. Two of the shifters he’d been fighting with shifted back to their human form and laid there panting. The third one was paralyzed in place like him.

“What the hell is going on here? Fighting in the street like animals, in broad daylight where anyone can see. Have you lost your minds?” The last was said in a roar.

Chad had only been a part of the Raven pack for two years, but he’d never seen the Alpha this pissed. Alex Wolfe looked close to changing himself. His short black hair stood up on end and his normally black eyes glowed gold with power.

He looked around and noticed he wasn’t the only one watching the Alpha closely. In addition to his own, there were at least three other groups that must have been fighting as well.

“Woman…mate,” one of the shifters gasped out.

Chad’s wolf growled, hackles raised. If he could have moved, he would have attacked, in spite of Alex.

“Chad.” That’s all Alex said and the power in the one word had Chad shifting back to human, his wolf subdued but not cowed.

“Mine,” he growled.

“Have you marked her?” Alex asked, his expression intent.

“Yes.” It came out guttural. His wolf was still close to the surface.

“She hasn’t accepted,” a male shifter protested. “He’s not marked. That means we still have a chance.”

Chad snarled, pushed up on his forearms, and felt his eyes change and jaw elongate.

Alex looked at him sharply. “Stand down.”

Chad subsided, but it was extremely difficult. His wolf fought him all the way. It knew what it wanted and wasn’t going to let anyone take her away.

Lulu came to the door. “Alpha,” she greeted him.

“Ms. Lulu,” Alpha said, nodding his head respectfully.

“The woman they’re fighting over is human,” she continued.

Alex closed his eyes and swore under his breath. Then he pinned Chad with a stare. “You marked her, knowing she was human?”

“Mate,” was all Chad could say.

Alex’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully. “A true mate?”

Chad didn’t know what he was talking about, but it didn’t matter what he didn’t know. He said what he did. “Mine.”

Alex studied him for a minute, then sighed and shook his head. “You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?”

Chad rose to his knees, but kept his head lowered. “She belongs to me. That’s the only thing here that really matters.”

Alex pulled out his cell phone and punched a button. Lifting the phone to his ear, he said, “Kiesha, I need you to come to the salon. We have a situation…human female…newly mated…she doesn’t know.” He rolled his eyes. “The barbershop. Come now. Fuss later.” He flipped the phone closed.

“You and I need to have a talk,” he told Chad. “The rest of you,” he looked around, “go home. This one’s off limits.”

The shifters grumbled as they put their clothes back on, some of them casting angry looks at him before leaving. Chad dressed as well, wondering what happened now. The alpha was supporting his claim, which surprised him. But even if he hadn’t, Chad wasn’t giving Tameka up. They’d have to kill him.




A tentative knock sounded at the door before it slowly opened. “Tameka?”

Having passed ticked minutes ago and now seriously pissed off, Tameka stayed where she was, arms crossed, seated on a box at the back of the storeroom, non-responsive.

A beautiful, plus-sized, bi-racial woman with golden streaks in her dark brown hair and a protruding stomach entered the room, stopping when she got a good look at Tameka’s expression. “Damn, I told them you’d be pissed. What the hell were they thinking?”

The unexpected empathy loosened her tongue. “That’s what I’d like to know,” she growled.

The woman came further into the room. “I know you’re angry—with good reason, might I add—but they meant no harm. If you give me a chance, I’d like to explain. My name’s Kiesha, by the way.”

Tameka’s temper began to calm in the face of the understanding Kiesha offered. “By all means, explain away,” she said with a wave of her hand.

Kiesha sighed. “There’s no way to do this but to just blurt it out. You’ll think I’m crazy as hell but believe me, I’m not. The reason they hustled you in here away from everyone and locked you in was to get you away from the fight brewing outside.”

She sat up straight. “What fight? The men?”

Kiesha snorted. “Those men, as you called them, are werewolves, and they were preparing to tear each other limb from limb for the right to claim you.”

Tameka’s eyes narrowed. She was nobody’s fool. “Werewolves. Right.”

The other woman just smiled. “I know just how you feel. I didn’t believe it either, at first. Having one change before your very eyes tends to make a believer out of even me. You’ll see.”

The confidence in Kiesha’s voice shook some of Tameka’s certainty that she was being toyed with. Werewolves? She’d heard and seen some strange things in her former line of work. Could she be…? Tameka shook her head. No, absolutely not. She squared her shoulders. “That’s the best you’ve got?”

Kiesha laughed. “Oh, I like you. You’re strong. You’ll need every bit of that strength to deal with these men, especially the one that’s claiming you. That one’s an alpha, through and through, if I don’t miss my guess.”

Tameka’s forehead scrunched in puzzled confusion. “Who? Chad?”

“I don’t know all of their names yet. Tall, blond-haired, green eyes, looks like a serial killer?”

Tameka nodded. “That’s Chad.”

“Damn, girl. You sure can pick ‘em. I wouldn’t trade my Alex for anyone in the world, but damn, your man is hot, and deadly. The best kind.” Kiesha gave a mock shiver of fear that was spoiled by the lascivious grin on her face.

She couldn’t help but laugh at her antics. “I know what you mean, but he’s not mine. We’re just friends.”

Kiesha shuffled her feet. “Yeah, about that ‘just friends’ thing. We need to have a talk. There’s something you should know.”

Tameka immediately sobered. “I thought we were talking.”

“Oh, honey, you have no idea. I need to sit down. This may take a while,” Kiesha said and sat on a nearby box to begin her tale.




“We haven’t spent much time together since you joined the pack. I knew you needed space and time to adjust to us all, so I didn’t push. Maybe that was a mistake.” Alex crossed over and leaned his back against the patrol car. “What I’m about to tell you now is something every shifter knows, or should know.” Alex stopped again and rubbed his hand over his face, as though trying to decide where to begin.

Chad stood at attention—shoulders squared, back ramrod straight, arms at his side—watching Alex’s every move. He might not be used to pack hierarchy, but he knew how to treat a superior officer.

Alex must have noticed how he was standing. “At ease, soldier. You’re not in the service anymore.” He waited until Chad relaxed his stance before continuing.

“This woman—your mate—when you first met, the sexual attraction was overwhelming? Her scent, everything about her spoke to you and your wolf?”

Chad went from alert to confused, to wary as Alex described their first meeting exactly. “How did you—?”

Alex held out a hand, stopping him. “And when you got your first taste of her, it went straight to your head. You could think of nothing but marking and claiming her, right? Whenever you’re around her for more than two seconds, your only thought is to mount her, and the feeling is getting stronger, not weaker.”

Chad nodded slowly. “How—?”

“Do I know?” Alex interrupted. “If you’d been raised among us, you’d know, too. That woman—”

“Tameka,” Lulu supplied.

Chad forgot she was present until she spoke.

“Tameka,” Alex continued, “is your true mate, the one woman in all of creation made to complete you. The humans call them soul mates. Vamps call them Chosen. The things I just described are the signs of a true mate. First comes the mating fever. That’s the part where you two can’t keep your hands off each other. More than just lust, it serves a deeper purpose. Each time the two of you mate, or exchange body fluids, she becomes more like you.”

“What does that mean?” Chad couldn’t help but ask.

“She’s becoming a shifter like you,” Lulu explained.

The information floored Chad and he staggered over to the car, bracing his palms on it, head hanging down.

“The mating fever does more than change Tameka’s DNA. It ensures the two of you stay together long enough for the mate bond to take effect. That’s the part where she accepts you as her mate,” Alex said.

“I am her mate,” he snarled.

“That’s true, but—” Alex was interrupted by a scream of pure rage, followed by the slamming of a door.

Tameka stormed outside, murder in her eyes. Alex quickly got out of her way. “What the hell have you been telling these people?” She walked up and jabbed Chad in the shoulder with her index finger.

“I am not your woman, or mate,” Tameka made quotation marks with her fingers around the word ‘mate’ before jabbing a thumb over her shoulder in Kiesha’s direction, “as she calls it. I belong to me. That’s it. No one else.” She paced back and forth in front of him, hands gesturing wildly. “Damn it, I moved here for peace and quiet, not to get mixed up with a bunch of crazy mountain folks, and believe me, I know crazy. I have a Ph.D. in it.”

“She doesn’t believe me,” Kiesha murmured in an aside to Lulu.

“Her grandmother said she wouldn’t,” Lulu commented.

Tameka spun around and pinned them with a glare. “All of you, get this through your head. Keep your little delusions about being werewolves, shifters, et cetera. Hell, you can be leprechauns for all I care, and have tea daily with imaginary friends while wearing tinfoil helmets that let you communicate with the little green men orbiting the planet. Just leave me out of it.” She surveyed them all with her hands on her hips, then shook her head and threw up her hands in disgust. “I’ve got work to do.

She stalked toward the shop.

“Uh, Tameka?” Kiesha said as she drew even with her, casting worried glances in his direction. “Challenging werewolves…not smart.”

Tameka rolled her eyes. “Yeah. Whatever.”

He’d heard enough. She was his and it was high time the woman realized it. With one leap, Chad was instantly behind her. He had her hands handcuffed behind her back in the blink of an eye.


He flipped her over his shoulder and carried his mate’s kicking, wriggling body to the back of his squad car.

“She tried to warn you,” Lulu said with a laugh.

Opening the door, he tossed her gently inside and shut the door.

“Alex, can he do that?” Kiesha asked.

“Apparently so,” Alex replied with an amused look on his face.

From the back of the car, Tameka hollered, “Let me out of here, Chad. Swear to God, I’m reporting you this time.”

“This time?” Lulu asked, eyebrow arched.

“Long story,” Chad muttered as he walked around to the driver’s side.

“Bet it’s a good one, too.” Lulu chuckled. “You tell Tameka not to worry about the shop. Tomorrow’s soon enough to start. You go handle business.”

Another muffled shriek sounded from the car, then thumps as she kicked the door.

Chad slid his mirrored shades onto his grim looking face, opened the door and got inside.

As he backed out of the parking space, Lulu remarked, “It’s a good thing that cage is between them. Meka would tear him apart if she could reach him.”

Kiesha crossed her arms over her chest and nibbled her lip. “Are you sure she’ll be okay, Alex? Maybe we should stop him. He’s such a loner. What do we really know about him?”

“Kiesha, you know we can’t interfere with the bonding process. Besides, Chad Wilson is a good man who’s been alone for far too long. That woman is the best thing that could have happened to him. She’s his One. He’d die before letting anyone, including himself, hurt her.”

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