Monday, January 29, 2024

Grimdarke

 


Maw of Mayhem MC, Book 1

Shifter Romance

Date to be Published: February 2, 2024

Publisher: Changeling Press

 

Out of options and on the run after her psychotic father’s released from prison, Kit Parson heads to the only place she might be safe from him, the Maw of Mayhem MC. The unexpected move buys her time, but also puts her at risk. Surrounded by shifters, her inner cat begs to be released, and after witnessing a brutal attack on her mother as a child, she refuses to let the monster out. Totally doable, provided no bodily fluids are ever exchanged.

That takes the MC’s hot-as-hell VP, Grimdarke James, officially off the table. Mourning the recent murder of the club’s alpha and struggling to control his inner cat, the tattooed Viking god is on thin ice. If he goes feral again, he’ll be put down. Which makes his cat’s insistence that Kit belongs to him problematic, upsetting the delicate balance of the MC’s internal politics, and the woman blackmailing Grim.

But when Kit’s father catches up with her, Grim has no choice but to trust his cat, and Kit can’t deny their chemistry. Can they hold on to each other when everything is trying to tear them apart? After a gruesome triple murder propels them deeper into the paranormal world, they find themselves with unlikely allies, even as their enemies threaten to destroy everything they hold dear.


Excerpt

Copyright ©2024 AK Nevermore

 

Upstate New York in the fall was beautiful, and it made Kit want to puke.

She gripped the steering wheel tighter, her sweaty palms slicking the leather, and glanced in her rearview, then at her phone’s GPS. No service -- again. Damn it. This was not where she wanted to be…

Wait. Signs for a trailhead were coming up. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus. She pulled onto the shoulder, staring blankly at the plexi-covered map tacked onto the tiny shelter in front of the car. Woodbine Swamp Trail. Shit. She’d missed the turn-off for the house. Ugh! How could everything in this shit town look the same and so frickin’ different all at once?!

Fifteen years will do that, genius.

Her forehead dropped to the steering wheel, bumping it thrice. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t --

Goddamnit, girl, grow a pair!

Enough. Wasn’t like she had a choice. She pushed back in her seat and slapped the car in reverse, hoping like hell there wasn’t anything behind her. Frickin’ hatchback was stuffed to the gills with the sad remains of her life, and she wasn’t up for losing any more of it.

Kit dashed away a tear. And whose fault was that?

She just had to blow shit up. Couldn’t duck her head and keep punching numbers, because lay low was too big of a fucking ask. Nope, fuck overtime at the accounting firm, had to go out there and twerk her ass at the club, knowing full well that milkshake wasn’t gonna bring anything but trouble to her yard.

Her mind leapt to that tall drink of golden Viking god pissing in a sink, covered in tattoos and oozing temptation. Yup. Case in point, and as much as it shocked the shit out of her, she’d been into him.

So fucking into him, like, wanted him into her.

Not happening.

She bit at a cuticle, trying to ignore the very real possibility she was about to deliver herself to his doorstep, and the fact that her panties had just soaked clean through.

Son of a -- Chanté would quip something about chickens coming home to roost, but they weren’t even Kit’s damned chickens. And why the fuck chickens? Woman was NYC born and raised, you’d think she’d have useless witticisms about pigeons.

Damn, though. He was fiiine…

Stop it.

You’d think she’d be more concerned about the shifter shadowing her for the past two weeks… the one whose face starred in her nightmares. Reaper hadn’t approached her, but his message was clear, and like a fucking cat, he’d been playing with her.

… Run, little mouse…

Kit’s teeth clenched at the memory of her father’s gravelly twang. She put the car in gear and kept driving in the wrong direction. Away from the house, toward the last damned place she wanted to go, and the only place she had left. Two weeks of couch surfing and shitty motels had made that abundantly clear, and her flat fucking broke.

Back to the scene of the crime, the one place she hoped like hell he didn’t have the balls to go back to.

Motorcycles rumbled in the distance and her gut threatened to rebel, cold sweat pebbling her skin. She licked the anxiety from her lips.

The rumble grew, and a moment later a stream of leather and exhaust whipped by her as a convoy of bikes sped past, heading back toward civilization. A manic giggle burbled from her throat, and she took a slow --

Shit! Gas pedal, girl, you gotta keep your shit together…

Focus. Drive to the damned compound. One more mile.

… And keep it together. Hah! Fat fucking chance. She blew out a breath, her temples thudding with the beginnings of a migraine. Goddamn. After all those years of praying to be out from under Claymore James’s thumb… this had not been part of the fantasy.

Getting shit-faced, twerking on his grave, and then setting the MC’s compound on fire, yes. Pulling up to the chain-link gate and asking to see Mud Knuckle?

Nope. Can’t say that’d made the list, but here she was.

I mean really, Mud Knuckle? Kit sighed, rubbing a temple. If she needed any further confirmation her life had officially gone to shit: Ta-frickin’-da.

One of the dopey-looking prospects manning the gate eyed her, pursing his lips. The scraggly little pornstache he was rocking made his mouth look like a porcupine’s asshole.

Moron leaned in her window. “Ain’t no muddy knuckles here.” He snickered, shooting his zit-infested buddy a look.

Kit sighed. Great, they were gonna fuck with he

“Nah,” Zits said, ambling closer to leer. “But I ain’t opposed to rectifyin’ that situation.” He grinned, making a lewd gesture.

Whoo. Ten points for originality there, son. She rolled her eyes and unbuckled her seatbelt. It was showtime. The two high school rejects scrambled back, wide-eyed when she threw open the door and got out, leaving the hoodie she’d permanently borrowed from Chanté on the seat. Fuck, it was hypothermia cold.

“What? I thought we was ‘wreck-t-fyin’ that sits-e-ate-shon,’” she finger quoted, mimicking his dipshit twang and cocking a hip.

Pornstache’s throat bobbed, taking in her tight tee and yoga pants. God, men were pigs. Pathetic, predictable pigs. Flash them braless DDs, and their brains shorted out faster than a hairdryer in a bathtub. Add the fact that her nipples were hard enough to cut glass, and the poor boys didn’t stand a chance.

“Uh, yeah.” Pornstache tugged on his cut and cleared the squeak from his throat. Slack-jawed, Zits smacked his shoulder, earning himself a glare. “I mean, hell yeah. We’re down, baby.”

Kit arched her back, stretching. Damn, that felt good after five hours behind the wheel. Pornstache groaned like he was about to wreck-t-fy in his pants. She sauntered over and ran a finger down his sternum.

“Then how ‘bout you boys open the gate so I can move my car out of the way and get down to business.”

Zits moved so fast he just about face-planted rushing to unlatch the big chain-link section on wheels blocking the compound’s access road. He’d pulled it halfway across the pavement by the time Kit got back into her car. Pornstache shook his head like a dog, blinking as the door clunked shut, and he stumbled over to help his buddy.

Suckers.

Kit almost felt bad as she drove past, waggling her fingers.

Okay, no, she didn’t. She wriggled back into the hoodie, one hand on the wheel and shivering. Her stomach churned as she drove around the last bend to the chapter house, half expecting the entire club to be out there waiting for her. The woods opened up --

And the lot was empty.

Of frickin’ course it was empty. The funeral was today. Now. She could still make it. Wasn’t that why she’d blown out of the city so fast? To spit on Claymore’s grave like she’d told Chanté she was going to? Get some kind of fucked-up closure?

Yeah, has nothing to do with the fact you’re being stalked by a psycho.

Kit bit back a sob, coasting the last few hundred feet to a stop in front of the long, two-storied building. It was ugly. A dark, cinderblock gray, squatting against a barren hillside. She bit her lip, eyes flicking to the last window on the left, waiting for the shitty mini blinds to part.

They didn’t. Wouldn’t.

Dead. Everything looked fucking dead. Probably because it was.

Fuck this shit. She jerked up the emergency brake and killed the engine. Slammed the door open, then shut. Stomped across the half-frozen muddy lot, odd bits of gravel and glass crunching beneath her boots. Eyes fixed on the burnt-out jaws scored into the surface of the MC’s chapter house door, she approached the belly of the beast -- and stepped into the Maw of Mayhem.


 

About the Author

AK Nevermore enjoys operating heavy machinery, freebases coffee, and gives up sarcasm for Lent every year. A Jane-of-all-trades, she’s a certified chef, restores antiques, and dabbles in beekeeping when she’s not reading voraciously or running down the dream in her beat-up camo Chucks.

Unable to ignore the voices in her head, and unwilling to become medicated, she writes Science Fiction and Fantasy full time.

She pays the bills editing, wielding a wicked hot pink pen and writing a column on SFF. She also belongs to the Authors Guild, is a chapter treasurer for the RWA, teaches creative writing, and on the rare occasion, sleeps.

 

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