Feral Longing (Book 3 - Coming Soon)

Book three, Alex and Joseph's story will be the next in the Feral Desires Series. Please check back for the release date or follow Erin Ashley on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/Erin.Ashley.Author Here is their introduction from Book 1

Joseph sat at one of the tables in the back of Howler’s. They had been in the bar yesterday with Ava. Tonight he and two other Guardians were watching the bar for any sign that Salvatore was taking the bait. They were pretty sure Salvatore would have caught wind that she had been spotted here by now. Of course he would know they were using Ava as bait, but Victor was counting on the vampire’s giant ego. A man like Salvatore would never let an insult like this go unpunished. They figured he would be furious they flaunted his own consort beneath his nose.

He was glad Ava and Teagan were not with them tonight though. There had definitely been some tension between the two of them last night, and it didn’t take supernatural senses to pick up on it. Colin had thought it might make Ava feel better if they all pounded on the werewolf again, but Joseph had told him to stay out of it. He might still change his mind though. It was about time Ava came to her senses and started to distance herself from Teagan.

He had no idea what it was that had finally changed her mind. That son of a bitch had better not have hurt her. Ava would never tell them if he had. The girl was just too soft hearted, and he was sure she would protect that damn Lykan even if he had hurt her.

He had watched her closely for any signs of bruises or soreness last night but hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary. Colin had said he had seen Ava in the gym, and although she had definitely appeared pissed off, he hadn’t seen any marks on her either. Apparently, he had been able to see a whole lot of her while she was training, and he had been watching her closely, too closely. Joseph forced himself to relax his grip on his glass before it shattered in his hand. Perhaps he should supervise Ava’s next training session.

Alex put glasses away while she discreetly watched the dark, brooding vampire at the back of the bar. She couldn’t help but admire the flex of his bicep beneath the straining sleeve of his black T-shirt as he lifted his glass to his lips. He was scowling and appeared to be pondering some deep, dark thought.

Alex felt a tiny shiver tingle down her spine. For some reason, she was always very aware of him when he came into the bar. She found him fascinating, scary when he looked the way he did right now, and yet still… fascinating. He was one of the biggest vampires Alex had seen in the bar, besides Liam that was. As a matter of fact, all of the men Joseph came into the bar with seemed larger than the other male vampires she had met. Frankly, they made her nervous. They each had an air of a battle-hardened warrior about them, Joseph especially.

He had surprised her though. The day that the cute little dark-haired girl had started crying, she had seen genuine concern in his eyes. She couldn’t help but stare at the two of them when the dark vampire had very gently held her while she cried all over the front of his shirt. He had been protective of her, but she didn’t think that she belonged to him. It seemed as though the woman belonged to the Lykan that always came in with them.

The huge Lykan snarled and growled at all the other males in the bar as though she was his mate… but that couldn’t be right. When she had asked Liam about it, he had laughed and said a Lykan would never take a vampire for a mate.

The whole situation seemed strange to her, but Liam refused to tell her anything else. He was trying to protect her from something; she was sure of it. Sometimes he treated her like a child. He had said he wanted her to keep her ears open and to let him know immediately if someone came around asking about his friend or the female vampire. So far, no one had.

Joseph caught Alex staring at him and raised his glass to signal for another drink. He chuckled at the embarrassed look she gave him, having been caught staring at him. Reaching under the bar, she quickly filled a glass and then made her way toward him. Joseph’s dark brows rose in surprise since she very rarely came out from behind the bar. Liam seemed to want to keep her close at hand and didn’t like her wandering around the customers... Personally, Joseph didn’t understand why he allowed her in the bar at all.

She seemed a little tired tonight and stressed out... As he had watched her, she kept glancing back toward the poker room with a worried frown on her face. Something was clearly upsetting her. He had been watching her hustling back and forth to Liam’s private room since he had gotten here. Actually, if he was honest with himself, he had been watching her a lot.

Sitting in this dark, smoke-filled bar several nights in a row, watching Alex, had become something he could actually look forward to. Tonight he studied her as she slowly rubbed at the knots that must be forming in her shoulders. For just a moment, Joseph wondered what she would look like leaning over him with all that red hair cascading down around the two of them. Quickly shaking the forbidden image of Liam’s Chosen out of his mind, he smiled at her as she placed his drink on his table.

He always seemed to make the little female nervous, even though he tried his best not to scare her when she waited on him. "How is Liam’s poker game going?" He deliberately leaned back in his chair into a more relaxed position, making sure he didn’t look as though he was ready to pounce on her.

Alex looked into his eyes for a moment before ducking her head to avoid making eye contact with him. Pulling out the towel she sometimes kept tucked into the waistband of her jeans, she wiped the crumbs and water marks off his table while she talked. "He seems to be doing well. I think it’s making some of the guys he’s playing with angry though. I don’t want to distract him, so mostly I’ve just been dropping off the drinks and getting out of there as fast as I can."

Having run out of things to do to avoid looking him in the eye, she gave up and peeked at him from under her bangs. She had already been caught staring at him once and didn’t want to embarrass herself by being caught again.

Joseph smiled at her. She had actually stopped to talk to him this time. Maybe she was getting more comfortable around him. He didn’t know why, but it was important to him that she not be afraid of him. He was sure it was just because she was Liam’s Chosen, and Liam was one of very few men he actually considered a friend.

"Liam does love his poker."

Joseph was glad to see her relax with the smile he gave her.

"Why are you not playing with them?"

"Oh, well, I learned a long time ago to never play poker with my good friend Liam." That and I can’t watch for Salvatore’s men from a little room in the back of the bar. Of course he couldn’t tell her that part.

"Oh, I see."

"Yeah, you know that vintage Hardtail Harley Liam’s been riding around on for the past three years?"

Alex began to smile at Joseph. She could already see where this was going.

For a moment, he almost forgot the rest of his story. He had never seen her smile before. He made a quick mental note to make sure she did it more when she was around him.

"Please tell me that wasn’t your bike." She looked at him in amused sympathy.

"Ahem, well, yes, as a matter of fact, it was my bike. Bastard wouldn’t even give me a ride home. Made me call a damn taxi."

Joseph had enjoyed her smile, but the sound of her laughter was even better.

"Alex!" The male who usually worked behind the bar with Alex was signaling he needed her help. Joseph could tell though he just didn’t like that she had lingered a little too long at his table. The man was surely one of Liam’s goons and had been instructed to watch Alex when Liam wasn’t around. Joseph found the whole situation interesting. Who would have thought that Liam would be protective of a female? What the hell had come over the man?

"I’m sorry. I better get back to work. Poker nights are really busy."

"No problem. Thanks for the drink."

Joseph watched her hair sway in rhythm with the roll of her hips as she hurried back to the bar and immediately started putting the next order of drinks together for the backroom. What was Liam thinking anyway, letting her work at his bar like this? If she had been his, this would be the last place he would want her working. Damn it, he hated to bring Ava here too, but she at least was escorted by one werewolf who acted as though she was his property and several vampire bodyguards. An underworld bar was way too rough for a human female. He didn’t like the way several of the bar’s patrons had been watching her. It was even worse tonight than usual since Liam wasn’t around.

Another hour crawled by while Joseph kept watch from his post in the back corner of the bar. It was turning out to be another long, frustrating night with no sign of Salvatore. Out of habit, he found his gaze searching the room for a glimpse of red hair. Where is she anyway? It suddenly dawned on him that it had been a while since she had come back from her last trip to the poker room in back. What was she up to? All night long, Alex had been dropping off drinks and then scurrying back out again.

Focusing on the private room in back, Joseph tried to filter through the other voices in the bar and hear what was being said. Before he could sort through all of the conversation going on around him, he heard several angry male voices coming from the backroom. Suddenly all the other voices were drowned out by a giant roar that shook the mirrored back wall of the bar. It was either a giant angry grizzly bear… or Liam.

Springing to his feet, Joseph had started for the backroom when suddenly a thundering of gunshots rang out in rapid succession. Bullet holes ripped through the thin wall of the poker room, spraying the bar and narrowly missing a group of men sitting closest to the back wall. All around him, the bar erupted into chaos as the bar patrons started moving for the exits. He heard screaming as the few females in the bar were dragged outside by the men they had been sitting with. The customers who were too far away from the exits tried to take cover behind the pool tables they had been playing on.

Joseph pressed the button on his comm unit as he dodged tables and pushed people out of his way, rushing toward the backroom. "We have shots fired at Howler’s. No visual on Salvatore yet. Shooter is in the backroom. I’m going in."

"On our way," Ethan’s voice responded on the radio.

He had just about made it to the backroom when the wall in front of him suddenly seemed to explode with a splintering of wood and drywall. Liam’s enormous body crashed through the wall, dragging a snarling vampire with him. Together they slammed onto the floor of the bar, rattling the very foundation of the old building. With one last roar, the fight was brought to an abrupt end as the cracking of bones was heard, and Liam tossed the now lifeless body of his attacker aside.

The poker players who had been trapped in the room began to flee through the broken wall. Liam was struggling to get to his feet when two more vampires came through the hole his body had made and headed straight for him. With a snarl of rage, Joseph leapt the distance to Liam’s attackers, slamming his shoulder into the baldheaded vampire and knocking him away from his intended target. With a violent twist of his wrist, Joseph quickly took control of the gun in his hand before he could take another shot at Liam. The man screamed in surprise as he suddenly found the arm that had been holding the gun broken and now bending in the wrong direction.

Still dealing with the baldheaded vampire, Joseph was relieved to hear Colin growl beside him. Finally making it through the chaos of the bar, Colin had taken care of the other man still charging toward Liam.

Joseph felt a satisfying crunch as he drove his knee into the baldheaded vampire’s chest, breaking several of his ribs. Then, the moment he bent over, gasping for breath and holding his damaged ribs, Joseph slammed his elbow into the back of his skull and dumped his limp body on the floor of the bar. Hurrying to check on Liam, Joseph turned just in time to see Colin finishing off the last of Liam’s attackers.

To Joseph’s surprise, Liam had made it to his feet, but as his unfocused eyes looked at Joseph, he began to sway. Joseph reached for him to try to break his fall, but the giant vampire was just too big, and both men went to the ground with a crash. Pulling himself free of Liam’s weight, Joseph leaned over him, accessing his friend’s injuries. With a jerk, Joseph tore Liam’s blood-soaked shirt down the center to better see his wounds.

"Damn it! We need Doc Randall! We’re gonna need some more guys to help us move him too."

Colin knelt down next to Joseph. "Yeah, a lot more. Shit, man, how many shots did he take? We have to stop the bleeding, and he is going to need to feed."

Joseph counted six bullet holes in Liam’s broad chest. With a growl of frustration, he realized two of the bullets were damn close to going straight through his heart. Blood leaked from the many wounds in the massive vampire’s chest, leaving a dark pool beneath him. Liam groaned, and his eyes rolled back in his head for a moment as he began to lose consciousness.

"Damn it, Liam! Stay with me!" Joseph gave Liam’s granite jaw a smack.

"Alex." The name left Liam’s lips in a gurgle as blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.

"I’ll get her for you in a minute. Are you sure you want her to see you like this?" Joseph shook his head and was surprised when Liam fisted his shirt in desperation.

"He shot Alex."


Joseph moved to get up, but Liam’s grip on his shirt didn’t relax.

"Give me your oath, brother." Liam’s words slurred as his eyes began to roll back in his head again.

"Liam, you have to let go so I can check on her."

Liam’s eyes managed to focus on Joseph for just another moment, but he was going down fast. "Your oath to protect her… Electos mieos I dare vobis." Joseph gaped at his friend. He was officially speaking the words that would transfer the ownership of his Chosen to him. He was behaving as though he didn’t expect to survive this one.

"Shit, Liam…" Damn it. He did not want this, but there was no time to argue. Had those two shots actually gone through his heart? What if he really didn’tsurvive this? Alex would need to be protected. With a low growl, he gave Liam the words he needed to hear. "Concede mihi ut tua elegi. I accept your chosen as my own."

Joseph sank his own fangs into the palm of his hand and gripped Liam’s blood covered palm in his own, completing the blood oath.

Releasing a deep breath, Liam’s body went lax as he lost his battle with consciousness. Colin knelt by Liam’s side, already biting his own wrist and putting it to the fallen vampire’s mouth. "Go, Joseph. We have him."

Pulling free of Liam’s grip, Joseph sprang to his feet, leaving Liam in the care of the Guardians who had just entered the building. Moving faster than any mortal eye could have seen, he ran into the backroom, searching for a glimpse of her red curls. Fear tightened its icy grip on his heart when he realized he could smell more than just Liam’s blood in the room. He also scented a much sweeter blood, one that suddenly had his fangs aching and hunger sweeping through his veins. With a roar, Joseph tossed overturned chairs out of his way as he spotted a bit of her bright tresses, trapped beneath a fallen chair.

Carefully lifting the abandoned chair off her small body, he found Alex lying on her side against the wall. Kneeling over her, he carefully rolled her onto her back, afraid of the worst. Joseph let out the breath he had unknowingly been holding when he saw the slight rise and fall of her chest and heard the sound of her heart beating.

"Thank the Gods, Alex." He cupped her chin in the palm of his hand and tried to get her to wake up.

"Alex, look at me, baby." Joseph gave her chin a little shake and was rewarded with a soft groan.

"Easy now, I’ve got you." Very carefully Joseph gathered her into his arms and growled at the pool of blood that lay beneath her. "Let’s get you out of here."

Holding her carefully cradled against his chest, Joseph made his way through the debris in the room and headed for Liam’s personal office. Kicking in the door, he headed over to the leather sofa and carefully laid her down.

The front of her Howler’s T-shirt was stained with blood. Tearing the blood-stained shirt free of her body, he stripped her down to her lacy black bra. Focusing on her injuries, he ignored the creamy skin rising above the lace. He found one bullet wound in her shoulder and one in her side. He was relieved to see that the bullet in her shoulder had cleanly exited her body and her side had just been grazed.

A strange hunger suddenly rolled through his system, surprising him. Inhaling deeply, he found himself surrounded by the scent of strawberries, and his fangs lengthened in response. What the hell? The scent of Alex’s blood was doing strange things to him. It didn’t make sense. Chosen or not, he shouldn’t be responding to her like this. Fiercely shaking the feeling away, he concentrated on the wounds in her tender flesh.

Her wounds were not fatal, but she could still die if he didn’t get the bleeding to stop. Now that she was bonded to him, he knew of only one way to do that quickly. He would need to complete the bonding ritual and fast. As his Chosen, his blood would heal her, not as fast as if she were a vampire, but much faster than a human normally would. Perhaps it had been wise that Liam had given her to him after all.

Damn it, this was all happening too fast, but what choice did he have? Both Liam’s and Alex’s lives were at stake. Taking a deep breath, he tilted her head, exposing her neck and gently pushed her hair to the side. She had already lost too much blood; he would have to make sure he only took a very small amount. "Possidebunt te meum electrum. I possess you as my chosen."

Lowering his lips to the soft skin of her neck, he could see that Liam’s mark no longer graced her skin. Now she would have his... No human had ever carried his mark before. Alex would be the first.

For a moment he hesitated and then sank his teeth deeply into her tender skin, branding her as his property and binding her as his Chosen... With one soft pull, he swallowed quickly and immediately withdrew from her neck.

As he straightened, he suddenly froze in shock as her sweet blood danced across his senses... He gasped as, his vision blurred and then sharpened as his eyes dilated, fully silver, and his body jerked with awareness. Never in his long life had he ever tasted anything like this. Hunger slammed through his system, demanding that he take more than the small amount he had allowed himself...

What the hell? Running a shaky hand through his hair, he looked down at her limp form in confusion. Damn it! What was Liam doing with this female?.. This was no ordinary human. What was Liam thinking? Shit, and now she was hischosen... What the hell had Liam gotten him involved in?..

"Alex. Alex, wake up." Joseph could see she was struggling to surface. He saw her eyes moving behind her eyelids, and she turned her head toward the sound of his voice.

"Alex. Come on, baby, open your eyes and look at me."

From a great distance, Alex could hear someone calling her name. She moved her lips to answer, but nothing came out. She was so tired. All she really wanted was to sleep, but some memory from the back of her mind was telling her something important was happening, and she needed to wake up.

"That’s right, open your eyes for me." Joseph’s voice came someplace far away from her, and she struggled to bring him closer. Her eyelids felt as though they had weights holding them down, but she finally managed to force them open.

Joseph’s face blurred above her as she struggled to bring him into focus. She heard him breathe a deep sigh of relief as she looked up at him. Why did the fierce vampire look so worried?

"Joseph?" Her voice sounded strange to her. God, she felt terrible. Had she been sick? What was Joseph doing in her bedroom?

"Everything’s going to be okay. I’ve got you. Do you remember what happened?"

Alex managed to shake her head. She had no idea what he was talking about.

"Hurts." All she knew was that her chest and side felt as though someone were sticking a red hot poker in her. Alex closed her eyes tightly against the pain as one single tear escaped down her cheek.

When she opened her eyes again, Joseph was looking at her with a fierce scowl on his face. Fear washed over her as she looked into his silver eyes. He looked as though he was ready to tear somebody apart. She cringed as he lifted his hand to her face, only to gently wipe the tear off her cheek.

Seeing her pull away from him, he clenched his fist and looked away from her for a moment as though struggling for control. When he looked back, he seemed calmer, and his voice was surprisingly soft and soothing.

"I know it hurts. Alex, you were shot, and you’re going to be okay, but you have lost a lot of blood." With Joseph’s words, her memories began to resurface. Alex’s heart skipped with her fear, and her body began to shiver.

"You’re safe now. No one is going to hurt you," Joseph tried to reassure her.

"Liam! They shot Liam!" Alex struggled uselessly to sit up, and Joseph easily restrained her.

"Don’t move. Your wounds are still bleeding, and you will only make them worse. Don’t worry about Liam. He’s going to be fine."

Having used what little bit of energy she had left, she began to slip back into unconsciousness.

"Alex, listen to me." Joseph spoke to her firmly, and she fought to keep her eyes open. She was so tired; all she wanted to do was sleep.

"Alex, you need blood." Alex looked at him, but she didn’t really understand.

"Liam, I take from Liam." Her voice was little more than a whisper now.

"Alex, Liam is hurt. You’re going to have to feed from me."

"Can’t. Liam said… "

Joseph growled in frustration and cupped her face between his large palms. "Alex, there is no time. You’re too small for this amount of blood loss."

Alex’s resolve was beginning to weaken with his insistence. She was too tired to argue with him.

"Alex, Liam told me to take care of you. You must feed if you want to be well enough to help him."

Alex wanted to deny him. Joseph didn’t understand she couldn’t take blood from him. She was Liam’s Chosen.

She needed to get to Liam; he had done so much for her. She owed him her life. He needed her now, and she would do anything for him. It would probably make her sick, but maybe if she gave in and fed from Joseph, he would finally take her to Liam.

With a soft nod, Alex finally gave in to Joseph’s demands.She still believed she was Liam’s chosen and unable to take blood from him. Little did she know all that had changed while she had lain bleeding in that backroom.

Before she could change her mind, he quickly sank his fangs into his wrist and pressed it to her lips. Although she hesitated, after just a moment or two, Joseph finally felt her pulling gently at his wrist. The bond was now complete.

He watched her full lips pressed against his skin, clenching his teeth as he ignored the pleasure he instinctively felt from watching her take his blood. Fully aware of the feeling of her soft lips on his skin, he watched her throat moving as she drank weakly from his wrist.

As she fed, she once again slipped into unconsciousness. Ignoring the blood that still seeped from his wrist, he focused on checking her injuries. He had hoped to get more blood into her system than he had, but it was better than nothing.

He was relieved to see the blood seeping from her wounds beginning to slow. As he watched, her breathing began to even out. His vampire blood would heal her now that she was his Chosen, but it would take some time. He just hoped Liam would be as lucky because, damn it, he had some explaining to do.