They say a mother will do anything for her child . . . I’m living proof
Nothing Good Happens After Midnight
A Midnight Madness Nightcreature Novel Book 1
by Lori Handeland
Genre: Paranormal Women’s Fiction
I’m living proof This nightmare began when I got the call every parent dreads. My daughter, Jenna, was missing from her college campus. Of course, my mind went to the worst place. After all, my late husband was a powerful senator. Was this some political payback?
I call in a favor and soon I’m partnered with an FBI sex trafficking agent. He tells me local girls have been disappearing for some time now, and he finally has a lead. But what we find at that abandoned warehouse is something out of a horror movie.
Werewolves! Two rival packs, their alphas fighting, winner take all––the pack and the trafficked girls. The werewolves must replenish their breeders, recently decimated by a virus that killed only the females.
But Jenna’s been keeping a secret, which only makes two of us. Though I should be angry, I know the lies I’ve told play a huge role in why we’re here. I’ll do anything to make it right. No way is my girl going to become a sacrificial mate for the greater good––even if she is the ‘chosen one.’ So, I do what any mother would do, I take her place, offering myself to Gideon, the winning alpha, as his mate.
Gideon’s goal is to live in harmony with the human world, but there are others who exist for the power, for the violence, and they don’t plan to let peace prevail.
There’s a civil werewolf war brewing and I am right in the middle of it.
From the voice of New York Times bestselling author Lori Handeland, a new volume in her Nightcreature world, complete with the humor, depth of characterization and fast-paced plot lines she is known for while showcasing the author’s incredible range.
When the phone rings in the middle of the night, everything changes.
Mother always said: Nothing good happens after midnight. I’d found in my forty-one years on this earth, in that at least, Mom had been right.
I sat up so fast I jiggled the mattress. I froze, my gaze shifting to, then away from the empty side of the bed. I still hadn’t gotten used to Patrick not being there. Would I ever?
The shrill slice of sound continued to cut through the oh so silent night. I only had one ringtone left on my allowed calls after that indelible hour of midnight, and this was it. My heart rate increased from WTF? to OMG!
“Sorry, Mrs. Sullivan. It’s Cammy.”
I searched my memory for the identity of Cammy, feeling slow, stupid despite the far too rapid rate of my heart.
Spring, same time two years ago, my OB had diagnosed the reason for my newly sluggish brain and sudden ability to fry eggs atop my head as premature menopause.
Look at it this way, you won’t have to worry about getting pregnant for very much longer.
Not that I had for decades. However, having my body betray me like that—basically saying I was old, when I never really got to be young—had stung. It still did.
Cammy’s tentative voice brought me back to the right now. “I’m Jenna’s roommate.”
My skin prickled with heat and a fine sheen of sweat started up at my hairline. “What’s wrong?”
“Jenna hasn’t been here since Tuesday.”
Here being the University of Wisconsin. I’d been so proud when Jenna had decided to go to UW like me. Or like the me I could have been, would have been if not for her.
“Tuesday,” I repeated. “But it’s . . .”
Come on, brain, don’t fail me now!
Thursday! I thought at the same time Cammy said, “Thursday.”
For an instant, I was near ecstatic to have concluded something at the same speed as a millennial. Then I did the math, never my strong suit even before all the brain-fart BS. “That’s two days, and you’re just calling me now?”
“Sometimes she pulls an all-nighter. Stays at the library or goes to a study group. But she lets me know. I didn’t really worry until I called her phone, and it was . . .”
My skin did that prickle again. Jenna’s phone was in Cammy’s hand, obviously, since she was talking to me on it. That I hadn’t asked why earlier put another notch in my losin’ it belt.
“Her phone was in her backpack,” Cammy continued. “In her room, along with her laptop and her books.”
Cammy paused, waiting for me to fill in the blanks. Jenna probably wouldn’t be studying without her backpack, and the notes and books and computer within. But even if she’d grabbed a few things and left the rest, she never would have left her cell phone. I didn’t think it had been out of her sight—more accurately, out of her hand—since I’d handed it to her when she was ten.
“In Lunar Lake, anywhere can be reached from anywhere in a handful of minutes,” Patrick had argued. “Even if she falls off her bike and breaks her leg, someone’s gonna be at her side quicker than she can make a call. She’s safer than safe, like every other kid in town. What are you worried about?”
When I lifted my eyebrows, he’d blinked, said, “Oh,” and that had been the last Patrick had said about that. He knew why I was the way I was better than anyone. It was one of the reasons I’d married him.
I’d devoted my life to raising Jenna. She was everything. The only thing. When she’d gone to college, I’d been proud but also terrified. This exact scenario—a midnight phone call, a missing child—played through my mind far too often. Sadly, what I should do about it had never played through as well.
“Hello?” Cammy’s worried voice broke into my thoughts. She probably thought I’d fainted. Or stroked out. I was tempted.
But all Jenna had was me now, and all I had was her. If that meant facing my greatest fear again, I’d face it. What choice did I have?
She was my baby.
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Lori Handeland is a five-time nominee and two-time winner of the prestigious RITA™ Award from Romance Writers of America, as well as the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over sixty novels spanning the genres of paranormal romance, urban fantasy, contemporary romance, historical romance, historical fantasy and women’s fiction. Her novel Just Once received a coveted, starred review from Library Journal and was optioned as a feature film by Catalyst Global Media.
Lori set her sight on being an author at the age of ten. She remembers sitting at a typewriter before she knew how to type, pecking out a story about a family who went into space. As an only child her summers were spent with that typewriter, television, and, above all, books. As a young adult, she got sidetracked by the need to make a living. She worked as a waitress and later enrolled in college to become a teacher.
Lori lives in Southern Wisconsin with her husband of over thirty-five years. In between writing and reading, she enjoys long walks with their rescue mutt, Arnold, and visits from her two grown sons, awesome daughter-in-law and perfectly adorable grandchildren.
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