Leitores e Leitoras,
Como presente de Natal para fãs da série New Species, a autora Laurann Dohner disponibilizou em sua página no facebook uma grande trecho de um dos seus próximo livros. Harley e Beth!! Sim, a musa do nova espécie motoqueiro será Beth, melhor amiga de Vanni, esposa de Smiley, nova espécie protagonista do último livro da série. Ufa!
Muito provavelmente Harley e Beth será o casal protagonista do próximo livro, mas nada ainda está definido. Do jeito que Smiley terminou, a autora deixou a porta aberta para desenvolver a história de alguns personagens entre eles: Breeze (com Trey), Beth (com Harley), Jericho (com ?), e Jaded (com Cindy).
Enquanto não temos notícias mais definitivas, podemos apreciar como Beth e Harley se conheceram. Boa leitura!
Beth was frozen, trying to figure out what was going on. A lot of people had withdrawn cameras
and took pictures of her. What the hell?
The sheriff panted a little from the six stairs he’d had to climb to reach her. “Get inside, Miss Goss.”
She didn’t budge, a bit surprised he even knew her name. “What is going on?”
He grabbed her and forced her to spin, almost tripping her in the process. She was shoved forward and back inside the building. He released her and wiped his sweaty forehead, blowing out a frustrated rush of air. “God damn people. Couldn’t they do this when it’s winter? It’s a hundred degrees.”
Beth watched him grip the front of his uniform next, pulling it away from his chest in a sad attempt to get air down to his skin. The flash of white assured her he wore an undershirt. He scowled.
“It hit the news. That’s what is going on. I’m sure those damn reporters will show up soon.”
Beth was still at a loss. “What happened? Was Reservation attacked?” It brought fear to her but she had faith that Vanni would be safe. Her husband would do anything to protect her. Smiley was a badass when he was mad. She’d feel sorry for anyone stupid enough to try to hurt her best friend. She’d spent time in their home and at Reservation. The NSO were prepared for almost anything and could deal with it.
“I called Reservation. They are sending someone to get you.” “Why?”
He shook his head. “They did a story on you.”
“Who did? What are you talking about?”
“Some scandal show did a story on you. That’s all I know. I got the heads up when I started receiving calls from a few of the locals asking if it were true that you worked at the courthouse and they saw it on TV. I booked out of my office and found people already gathering on the lawn. Those rags pay money for photos. I was hoping you’d already left for the day. A lot of the employees do on Fridays. Hang on.” He gripped his mic hooked to his shoulder. “She’s at the courthouse. I have her. Relay that, Mable.”
“On it, Sheriff,” a woman responded.
Beth was confused and reached inside her purse. She found her cell phone, yanking it out. She tried to turn it on but the screen only showed a red line. “Damn. I must have forgotten to charge it.”
“I was told Reservation tried to reach you. The switchboard is overloaded. We only have three lines and they can’t get a call out. Too many are incoming. Everyone is calling the courthouse after hours lines. They want to interview you.”
“For what?” Beth shoved her phone back inside her purse.
“Something to do with the NSO.”
Beth let that information sink in. “They actually ran a story that I’d moved closer to spend time with Vanni? That’s so lame.”
“Vanni?” The sheriff frowned.
“She’s mated to a New Species. It’s why I moved here. We’re really close. I go see her and her husband every few days. I had dinner with them last night.”
His mic keyed and the woman on the other side of it spoke. “Sheriff?”
He gripped it. “What?”
“They have a team about five minutes out and want to know if she’s safe.”
He turned his head, glaring out the glass doors. “More folks are showing up. Tell them to step on it. We don’t have enough deputies to keep them back if they decide to rush the building.”
“I’ll tell them,” the woman promised. The mic went silent.
“Why are they out there?” Beth looked outside too, noticing that more people had gathered. A few of them attempted to get past the deputies.
“Those rags pay a lot of money for pictures. Most of the residents don’t want nothing to do with it but times are tough on everybody. A few hundred bucks for a picture of you would tempt anyone. That buys a lot of groceries. We also have a festival about twenty miles from here. I don’t recognize most of those faces. I guess they thought they’d swing into my town for this bullshit.”
“Wow.” Beth wasn’t sure what else to say. “Who knew anyone would care if I’m friends with a mate?”
“Beats the shit out of me,” the older man huffed. “Assholes. All of them.” His words irritated her. “New Species are pretty great.”
He met her stare and cocked his head. “I mean those assholes out there. I like the NSO. They don’t ruin a perfectly good Friday afternoon.”
Beth relaxed. “Oh.”
“Sheriff?” The woman on the mic spoke. “Get her out front right now. They have a task force member who is closer. He’s wearing all black but not in uniform. He has a helmet and face shield on though. They said we can’t miss him. Hand her over to him.”
“Got it.” The sheriff released his mic and shoved open the door. “Stay close.”
Beth would have protested but the guy gripped her wrist and yanked. She almost tripped in her heels. He was stronger than he looked for his age. She struggled to keep up as he charged down the steps to the side of the building. Voices rose and she turned her head, almost tripping again. A few of the people in the crowd managed to get around the deputies. They ran toward her.
The sound of the deputies yelling at them to get back was drown out by a loud motor drawing closer. The sheriff stopped on the sidewalk and Beth turned her head, staring down the street. A big, black motorcycle came barreling out of a residential street. Whoever drove it took the turn fast, had to cut it so sharp that his knee nearly touched the pavement, but he didn’t wreck. The bike straightened out on main street and it picked up speed.
The driver lifted up so his body wasn’t hugging the bike. He appeared to be a pretty big man. He wore all black from the leather jacket, matching gloves gripping the handlebars, to his helmet. His jeans were black too, along with his biker boots. He hit the brakes and came to a skidding halt just steps away on the street. The smell of burning rubber irritated her nose.
“Get on,” the crazy driver demanded in a harsh voice.
The sheriff released her wrist and cursed, turning away. “Get back! Don’t think I won’t shoot!”
Beth twisted her head and was horrified to see at least ten men running directly at her. The sheriff put his bulky body between her and them. He actually withdrew his gun and pointed it at them. The men scattered, one falling on his ass.
The engine of the bike revved and she remembered it. She turned her head, gawking a little at the massive man. He was covered head to foot so she couldn’t see an inch of skin. The engine died down to an idle.
“Get on the fucking bike,” he ground out. He had a really deep voice and he sounded pissed.
She swallowed and stepped off the curb. The NSO had sent him to pick her up. She reached his side but paused, glancing down. She wore four inch high heels and her skirt fell to mid thigh. It was skin tight. She lifted her chin.
“I can’t unless you want me to flash my ass at everyone with cameras.”
He released the handlebar and struck fast. He hooked his arm around her waist and his hand dug into her hip, forcing her to turn. She landed against his leg propping the bike upright and the arm tightened, lifting her. She found her ass snuggly trapped between big thighs. The arm still gripping the handlebar on the other side kept her from falling off the other side.
“Hold onto me.”
He didn’t wait for her to do it. He released her waist and gripped the handlebar again, leaving her caged between his body, both his arms, and the gas tank. The engine of the bike grew louder and he took off. She clutched at leather, terrified of falling.
He picked up speed and she tucked her face against his jacket as her hair flew into her mouth. It was insane and probably illegal to ride a motorcycle with someone seated sideways across the driver’s lap but he didn’t seem to care. He did it anyway and she was a passenger, even if she hadn’t planned to be.
“Fuck,” she yelled. “Are you crazy?”
“Just relax,” he demanded.
Relax? Are you serious? She’d seen him almost wipe out taking that turn. Her feet were sticking out like two flags from the side of the bike and she imagined him making another sharp turn. Her heels would hit pavement.
He picked up more speed and the wind pushed her tighter against him. One of her shoes flew off her foot. Beth fisted his leather jacket in a death grip. He took a turn and she drew up her knees, trying to make herself smaller on his lap. It was going to hurt if he crashed. She didn’t even have a helmet on. Hurt, hell. He’s going to get me killed.
She tried to turn her head to see where he was taking her but her hair made it impossible. She had to spit some of it out of her mouth. She snuggled her face against his jacket again, preferring to breathe in the smell of leather than her own hair. Her toes curled and air rushed between them, a reminder of the loss of her shoe. She’d loved that pair. They were comfortable. Now she only possessed one.
He took another turn and Beth moaned when it tipped her back. His arm felt solid though and she wasn’t dumped off the bike. Her feet rose into the air, at least not in jeopardy of being scraped along the pavement. The bike straightened and she breathed easier.
The NSO was going to get a piece of her mind. She was furious. They’d sent some crazy bastard to pick her up. None of it was necessary. So what if people wanted to take pictures of her? She would have just smiled and flipped them off. She remembered the media storm when Vanni had been videoed with Smiley at a hotel. Sure, they’d been bombarded with a lot of sleazy creeps camped out in front of their apartment wanting to take pictures of the woman who’d had sex with a New Species but all of them had faded away after two weeks.
“We’re almost to the checkpoint.”
That made her furious. It was normally a ten minute drive to the gates of Reservation. She’d driven it enough times over the past few weeks to know. He had to be doing well over a hundred miles an hour to reach it that fast. It couldn’t have been more than a few minutes since he’d picked her up. Grabbed me, she amended.
She felt helpless. She couldn’t even yell at him. Her hair was plastered to the back of her head. The wind pushed her against him so close she felt glued to his big frame. Her other shoe flew off. Beth grit her teeth. The NSO would really hear it from her once she got there. Those were Jimmy Choo shoes. She’d bought them at an outlet store but they’d still cost her a few hundred bucks. They’d been her birthday present to herself last year.
Her purse trapped between their bodies, putting pressure on her ribs. She hoped it dug into the maniac driving her too. The bike finally slowed and she realized her ears rang a little from the sound of the loud engine. He slowed enough that she felt safe to attempt to turn her head again. She actually released his jacket with one hand and shoved at her hair, trying to see.
The gates loomed ahead but he didn’t have to stop and be searched the way she always did. The metal barriers just opened at his approach and he drove through them. That angered her too. She always had to get out of her car to be patted down. They’d check her identification, call to make sure Vanni expected her, and had to wait for the guards to inspect every inch of her vehicle as if she was trying to smuggle in drugs or something. No Jeep paced them to make sure they drove directly to where they were ordered to go either.
She turned her head and stared up at the reflective glass covering the man’s face. “Whoever gave you a license should be fired.”
“I got you out of there.”
“Without my shoes. You drove so fast it ripped them right off my feet.”
She swore she heard him laugh but couldn’t be certain. The bike was loud and they were probably doing thirty miles an hour. She fisted her hair to keep it out of her eyes and kept a good grip on his jacket.
“We’re almost there.”
She spotted the security building ahead. The hotel rose in the distance. “Take me to Vanni.” “She’s already at Security.”
“Is she okay?” Worry hit Beth.
“I don’t know what the hell is going on. I was out taking a drive and my phone rang. I was asked where I was and told you were in danger.” He had a seriously deep voice, not even having to yell to be heard. “I picked you up.”
“You grabbed me,” she reminded him. “You’re lucky you didn’t just swipe the wrong woman.”
“I was told you were with Sheriff Helport. He’s kind of hard to miss.”
He had a point. She closed her mouth to avoid eating it after hair hit her lips. He slowed the motorcycle and came to a stop in front of the building. His legs shifted under her as he used them to brace the bike, before turning off the engine.
“You can get up now.”
Beth clenched her teeth. “Thanks for the suicide ride.” She released his jacket and tried to gracefully climb off his lap. It didn’t work. Her ass had gotten firmly trapped between his thighs. She had to grip his arm and pull up. Her skirt rose dangerously close to exposing her panties where it snagged against his jeans but she had to keep hold of her purse, rather than grab material to tug it down.
A big gloved hand slid under her left butt cheek and gave her a push. She gasped but then her bare feet touched pavement. She wobbled for a second, released him, and shoved at her skirt to push it back down into place.
“Thanks.” She hoped he understood the sarcastic tone.
He climbed off the bike after putting down the kickstand. She turned, gaping a little since he seemed even bigger on his feet. He had to be a hair over six foot two and his unfolded body held a lot of bulk. He reached up and tore off his helmet.
Beth was stunned when she took in his features. She’d been around enough New Species to identify them. He was a canine with shaggy brown hair that was in need of a cut. Intense brown eyes fixed on her. He had some seriously long, thick eyelashes. She sucked in a breath, impressed a little by how handsome he was. His full lips twisted into a frown though, making him appear a little mean.
He stepped into her personal space and lowered his head. She held her breath, wondering if he was going to kiss her. Her heart sped up. She wouldn’t have minded. His gaze seemed to search her eyes as he kept inches from her.
“You thought I was human. You look surprised. Aren’t you afraid of me?”
The softer tone he used was kind of sexy. “No. Your driving is another story though. I still stand by what I said. Whoever gave you a license should be fired.”
The corners of his mouth lifted into a smile. “Who says I have one?”
She hadn’t expected that response.
He straightened and stepped back. “They are waiting for us inside. I’m Harley.” He didn’t offer his hand. She clutched her purse. “Beth.”
“Do you know why the humans were after you?”
“My best friend is mated to Smiley. He’s a primate. Do you know him?”
“Of course. It makes sense now why you were so important to protect. You’re Vanni’s best friend who moved to the local town to be closer.” He lifted his gloved hand and pointed. “Let’s go.” He reached up and yanked a small device from his ear. She saw the black cord trailing under the collar of his leather jacket. “They are waiting.”
She turned and walked. Her bare feet on the pavement reminded her of the loss of her beloved shoes. Harley passed her with his longer legged stride. She took each careful step to avoid hurting her feet. The last thing she wanted was a cut or bruise. He reached the doors and yanked one side open, waiting for her to reach him.
“I think they want you in there faster.”
Beth resisted flipping him off as she passed him. “Those were expensive shoes.”
“They were ankle breakers.”
He followed her in and gripped her arm, giving her a tug to the right. He let go as quickly as he’d touched her. “This way. First door on your left.”
She didn’t have to open the door. He hurried ahead and did it. She had to give New Species credit for having some manners. It was their communication skills and the way they just did things without asking that she had a problem with. Beth came to a halt just inside the door. Vanni stood with Smiley. They weren’t alone. At least six other New Species men she’d never met before waited in what appeared to be a conference room.
Vanni rushed forward, looking relieved. “Thank goodness you’re okay!”
Beth hugged her and dropped her purse on the nearby table as soon as she was let loose. She reached up and tried to brush her hair down some with her fingers. “What in the hell is going on?”
Smiley came forward to stand next to his mate. He sighed. “It seems a few paparazzi have been hiding along the route to the gates from town. They have been watching you come and go.”
“So what?” Beth adjusted her clothing a little. Her skirt lines along her hips had shifted thanks to her wild ride.
The tall primate Species put his arm around Vanni, holding her best friend close. “They identified you, Beth.”
She really liked Smiley and once more warmed to him as he touched her best friend. It showed how much he loved her. “Okay. So they know I moved into town to live close to my best friend. Who gives a damn?”
A man stepped forward. He had gorgeous bright green cat shaped eyes and jet black hair. His tan skin and strong facial features hinted at American Indian heritage, along with him being a feline New Species. He was knock down handsome.
“The humans do. They ran a tabloid story about you that hit the stands today and there were a few televised shows that ran with it too. We learned of what they said and tried to immediately reach you.”
Beth stopped messing with her clothes and held out her hand. “You know my name but who are you?”
He gently took her hand and gave it a shake. “I’m councilman Jaded Wild.” He let go and backed away. “The NSO would like to apologize for the disruption to your life but I was assured you knew the risks being associated with one of our residents.” He glanced at Smiley and Vanni, then back at her. “It puts a target on you.”
“It’s okay.” She shrugged. “So they are going to hound me for a week or two. Been there and done that already. No biggy.” It didn’t bother her. “I can handle it.”
She shifted her attention to her best friend. “What?”
Vanni blushed. “They think you’re um…” She looked up at her husband. “You tell her. I can’t.”
“I’m what?” Beth stared at Smiley too.
He held her gaze. “The story they ran said you’re a paid escort to Species.”
Beth blinked, letting that information sink in. It took a few seconds. “As in a prostitute?”
Smiley gave a sharp nod. “They said you are paid to share sex with our males here.”
Beth laughed. It was ridiculous and had to be a joke. No one else laughed. She sobered. “Are you serious?” Anger came next.
Councilman Jaded clasped his hands in front of his waist. “Unfortunately, that what they printed. We have officially denied it. We wanted your permission to tell them the truth. It might help convince them of your real purpose for visiting Reservation if they are made aware of your association to Vanni. It could put you in more danger although. Some might come after you to harm her. We have humans who work for us in this area and they are left alone. It might be better if we just say you work for us part time to explain your visits. We have made it clear it isn’t as a sex provider for our males.”
Beth moved to the table and pulled out a chair. She sat hard, glad it was padded. “Son of a bitch.”
“We understand how this could upset you.” Jaded had a nice deep voice. “We apologize.”
She looked up, staring into his pretty eyes. “It’s not your fault people are dumbasses. I just can’t believe this. I haven’t been laid in forever and they think I’m getting paid for it? I’d laugh again if it wasn’t so wrong.”
“Beth.” Vanni took a seat across the table. “They interviewed Mickey. He was their source.” Anger notched higher inside Beth. “Are you sure?”
Vanni nodded. “I saw it myself.”
“That rat bastard!”
“He’s the one that said you…” Vanni blushed again.
“That I what? Dumped him? Pissed him off because I decided to move to Northern California?” Smiley took a seat next to his wife. “He confirmed that you had sex with him for money.”
Beth knew her mouth fell open. She was speechless. It took her seconds to recover. “Someone give me a phone. Mine is dead. Kind of like my ex is about to be.”
“Calm down,” Vanni urged.
“That bastard couldn’t afford me if I was really willing to do him for money. I want to call him right now. I’ll shut him up fast. I just have to remind him how he can’t even get it up and how I’m willing to share that tidbit.”
Vanni paled. “What?”
“He can’t get it up,” Beth repeated. “His mister happy is broken. That’s why I haven’t had sex. You know when I was staying with him? I got pretty suspicious when I climbed into bed with him and he just wanted to cuddle. What man does that? He finally admitted he’s been passing kidney stones and yeah, he can’t get it up. It’s too painful. By the time he was feeling better, we weren’t together anymore. I’d decided to move up here and he was pitching a bitch fit over it.”
Vanni looked stunned.
Beth fisted her hands on the table. “I knew he was upset that I decided to follow you here but to make up that stuff? Do these rags even try to verify facts? He couldn’t afford a hooker. He can barely pay his rent. He plays Elvis for charity events because no one would pay him. He’s not that good.” She cleared her throat. “What a prick.” She looked at Smiley. “You’re like my brother in law. How about you hold him while I beat the shit out of him? Sound like plan?”
“I can’t attack a human.” Smiley smiled. “It would be bad press, even if he deserves it.”
“Damn.” That depressed Beth. “Who do I have to fuck around here to get someone to put the hurt on him?”
“Me,” a gruff voice rasped.
Beth startled and turned her head to stare at a big feline man standing in the corner. He had blue eyes and they were fixed on her. “I’ll kill him for you if you go home with me.”
Her mouth parted, shocked. She’d just been blowing off steam.
Harley stepped forward and grabbed the male, yanking him back. “That was a human saying. She doesn’t really mean it.” He scowled at her. “Tell him.”
She saw the hilarity of the situation. “I don’t know. I’m really pissed and it has been a long time since I had sex.”
“Beth!” Vanni sounded outraged. “They don’t know you’re kidding. Stop it.”
“Fine. It was sarcasm. Let’s go with that.” Beth sighed. “I’m going to maim that rat bastard though.” She winked at the feline. “Thanks though. That was sweet.”
“You should stay here for a few days.” Smiley didn’t look pleased. “At our home.”
“Exactly,” Vanni agreed. “I won’t let you face this alone.”
Beth bit back a curse. Her best friend had that look she knew too well. “I’ll be fine,” she protested.
Vanni shook her head. “It will be fun. We’ll have an extended sleepover.”
“Great.” Beth managed not to roll her eyes. “You know I have a job, right?”
Jaded Wild cleared his throat. “We’ll give you a job here at Homeland if you’re fired by the humans for missing work. It’s the least we could do.”
“I am going home tomorrow,” Beth muttered. “I’ll stay one night.” She stared at Vanni. “That’s it. On Monday I’m going back to work, come hell or high water. Or a sea of morons with cameras. I work in a basement. They can’t get to me.”
Harley drew her attention. “Anyone who is motivated can get close to you. Nothing could keep me away if I were so inclined. You’re not safe outside our walls.” He stepped closer, his dark gaze locked on her. “You’re better off staying at Reservation.”
“I don’t feel very safe with you around. You’re a menace on two wheels.”
He actually had the nerve to smile. “I’d be more worried what I can do on two legs.”
Beth opened her mouth but didn’t know how to take his words. It almost sounded like a threat. She narrowed her eyes, staring back at him. She sealed her lips. Sometimes it was just better not to say anything.
Vanni spoke, interrupting the intense moment. “You are safer here.”
Beth glanced at her, then back to Harley. He was still studying her and she wondered what he was thinking about. She broke eye contact first to shoot a determined look at her best friend. “I’m not going to hide out like some criminal. I can take anything they dish out. Let them take their pictures. I hope they can print them with my middle finger sticking up at them.”
“Beth.” Vanni shook her head. “Your mother won’t like that.”
“I think she’ll be more upset reading that I’ve become a prostitute.” Beth suddenly laughed, seeing the humor in the situation. “I really need to get laid if I’m going to be accused of that crap. It’s just too sad otherwise.”
A vicious snarl startled her and she twisted her head. The feline had advanced toward her but Harley had stepped between them. His hands were fisting the big cat’s shirt and he shoved him back.
“That wasn’t an invitation,” his deep voice stated.
“No one has a claim to her,” the feline growled.
“You’re going to have to go through me to get to her,” Harley snarled. “Mine.” “Excuse me?” Beth must have heard him wrong.
Harley looked over his shoulder at her. “Your safety is my responsibility until I’m told otherwise. You were assigned to me. Shut up, Beth. Otherwise this male will toss you over his shoulder and take you home. You’re provoking him every time you mention you want to share sex with someone.”
“I’m just stating facts. You’d think I’d be having sex if I were really getting paid to sleep with men. It wasn’t a call out to be hit on.”
“One more word and I’ll put you over my shoulder and take you out of here.” He spun on his biker boots and approached her. He looked dangerous and not friendly when he halted just inches away. He leaned down a little and put his lips close to her ear. “Stop making things worse. You’re upsetting Smiley’s pregnant mate and don’t mention you need sex again in a room full of males. You’ll end up getting fucked, if you mean it or not. Understand?”
She turned her head, holding his gaze. Their mouths were really close to each other and she glanced down at his, then back into his eyes. She was tempted to brush her lips against his just to see how he’d react. He deserved to be startled after that ride from hell she’d survived on his bike and she wasn’t forgetting about the loss of her beloved shoes. He softly growled, almost as if he’d guessed where her thoughts had gone.
“You’re going to get burned if you want to play with me. Behave, Beth.”
“You are kind of hot,” she teased. “You don’t scare me.” She smiled to show him he couldn’t intimidate her. New Species weren’t bullies or the types to hit women. He could threaten her all he wanted but she didn’t feel an ounce of fear.
He straightened and backed away. “You’re trouble.”
“You have no idea. I’ve been hearing that since I could walk. You should compare notes with my family.” She forced a smile at Vanni. “A sleep over, huh? Fantastic. I hope there’s food involved. I haven’t had dinner.”