Shadowed Radiance

The St. Louis Shadow Wolves Series:
a Why Choose paranormal romance series

Preorder Book 1: Shadowed Radiance from Amazon. Also available in Kindle Unlimited when it releases on May 16, 2023.

They murdered my sister and her husband in front of me, forcing an impossible choice with the lives of my nieces at stake. My family’s enemies thought this would break me and ruin my power-hungry grandmother’s plans for the future.

They only got that half right.

Too bad for them I’m used to being the family outcast. After everything I’ve endured, nothing—and no one—will ever break me.

Now I’m united with three of the world’s strongest (and sexiest) Shadow Wolves, and St. Louis is our city to save. Those enemies are about to learn what I’ve tried to hide from the world, and even myself, for so long.

When it comes to magic, I am my grandmother’s namesake, and now I’ll use this Shadowed Radiance to bring my sister’s killers to justice. Someone’s about to break, all right—but it won’t be me. Or the Shadow Wolves I’m growing to love…


Chapter 1


Few things in life satisfied me as much as a job well done, whether something so exhilarating as crushing an enemy or so mundane as launching a successful marketing campaign. Fortunately enough, my exile from the family headquarters in Boston allowed me to enjoy both. Being 1200 miles away from my power-hungry grandmother and her obsession with me following in her magical footsteps was just a bonus.

All I had to do was pretend that my sister’s habit of lecturing me in Grandmother’s stead didn’t get on my last ever-loving nerve.

A skill I employed yet again when Kayleigh frowned at the laptop currently displaying the success of our recent PR blitz. Numbers didn’t lie, and my campaign was kicking ass in calming the public’s fears after years of turmoil plaguing the city Kayleigh and her Shadow Wolf husband Maddox ruled in all but name.

I couldn’t blame the public for their uneasiness. The past few years had been a shit-show.

Though to be fair, that trouble couldn’t be laid at the feet of my sister or brother-in-law. They’d inherited a terrible situation when Maddox’s mother died defending her status as Packleader to an enemy challenger. Fortunately, she had dealt fatal blows to the other Shadow shifter before succumbing to her own wounds. Unfortunately, that shifter planted the seeds for a War of Succession that claimed the lives of Kayleigh’s male predecessor as St. Louis Beacon as well as Maddox’s sister, whose time as Packleader had been tragically brief.

Leaving only Maddox and his three cousins—brothers with rapier wits and six-pack abs who haunted my dirty dreams more than I cared to confess—with sufficient alpha abilities to lead this city’s Shadow Wolves. There’d been rumblings that Maddox himself had orchestrated the entire affair, ridiculous given how much he’d idolized his mother and sister. And now it was my job to prove that in the court of public opinion.

Oh, and to pretend that drunken orgy with his cousins had never happened.

I managed not to roll my eyes when Kayleigh pursed perfect crimson lips and tapped matching nails against the modern black conference table. Despite what everyone around me assumed, serving in my baby sister’s shadow since I’d been unofficially exiled had never bothered me the way Grandmother hoped. Kayleigh’s incessant perfectionism that rivaled our family matriarch’s, on the other hand?

That was an absolute pain in my ass.

“What’s wrong? You approved all of the images, videos, and content. And the results are clear: People are responding positively to all three.”

Kayleigh pushed back in her chair and made a blandly disapproving face that had her so resembling Grandmother, I did a double-take.

“I’m just not sure how wise it is to focus so much on Maddox’s cousins and not on him. On how hard he’s worked to rebuild this Pack and St. Louis’s economy.”

I forced every ounce of irritation that we’d already been over all this raging through my veins deep beneath the surface. “Which is exactly why we’re focusing on his current successors in this campaign. Your own children are far too young to even think about succeeding just yet. We’re not even sure whether they’ll inherit his magic or yours. You know that it’s critical the public develop faith in the future stability of this Pack.”

Kayleigh sighed and gave a reluctant nod. “I know you’re right, Ava. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

I wanted to roll my eyes and drawl, “Welcome to my world, Baby Sis.”

But someone like her would never understand constant disappointment. As much as I loved her, she enjoyed the power and prestige that came from being a Beacon: magical triple threats who could harness Shadow energy tied to the moon, Solar energy tied to the sun, and the intoxicating Radiant energy that blended both.

But that power did come with a catch.

Multiple catches, actually, but the one that ensured I’d remain the family outcast as long as possible was being forced to live, work, and even marry as the Circle of Dawn and Dusk—guided by the iron fist of our grandmother—chose. A complete loss of freedom to determine our own futures. Something Spellbinders born with only one Affinity, who had to sacrifice their shapeshifting powers to gain access to Radiant energy, always seemed to conveniently overlook.

I’d almost rather die to the magical supernova that devoured all untethered Radiants who defied the Circle too long.

Which was how I’d come to be banished to magical obscurity in St. Louis, serving as my sister’s Understudy and glorified assistant. That the Circle thought this would bend me to their will was laughable. I liked St. Louis. We’d spent every summer here in our father’s hometown, visiting his much less pretentious and more likable relatives.

And I liked the Shadow Wolves tied to this city, especially Maddox, as much as I tried to forget that foolish fling with his infuriatingly sexy cousins.

I even liked the busy work Kayleigh assigned me, since it utilized my Communications degree I’d earned after Grandmother tried to force me to major in Political Science. Kayleigh, on the other hand, had taken to that major like a duck to water. Why Grandmother couldn’t have tapped Kayleigh to inherit the Boston Beaconship was beyond me.

My lips twisted when honesty forced me to admit, at least to myself, You know damned well Grandmother never does anything without a calculated purpose. She had to know the secret I’d fought so hard to keep from everyone. Sometimes even myself. And she was bound and determined to force me to live up to her bloody legacy.

Over my dead body!

No wonder our mother sacrificed her shapeshifting abilities to become a Spellbinder when she’d failed to inherit the family Radiant abilities. She’d also chosen to put as many miles between her mother and herself as possible.

Unfortunately, I was trapped in a way Mom hadn’t been.

Kayleigh misinterpreted the reason for my lip twist. “Well, no use in dwelling on the past. Grandmother wants us to clean up this little mess and restore St. Louis to its former glory. So restore it we shall.”

I somehow managed to keep a neutral expression rather than gag.

My sister glanced at her smartwatch and sighed. “Speaking of Maddox’s cousins, they’re due to arrive at the airport in two hours. I have a few more…things…to prepare before tonight’s reception in their honor.”

I stiffened as her voice took on a wheedling tone.

“Rory and Sorsha are thrilled at the thought of meeting their favorite cousins at the airport. And I obviously can’t send them alone with just their guardians and the driver. Would you pretty please be a dear and…”

Her voice trailed off expectantly, and I fought the urge to scream. We both knew she could make this seeming request an order if I refused it. And she knew I loved my nieces too much to disappoint them even if I were willing to defy her. No matter how much the thought of being stuck in a limo with those three wolves had butterflies stampeding across my stomach.

“Kayleigh…I still need to dress for the reception myself.”

She rolled her eyes. “Please. You’ll throw on a gown with too little fabric to deserve the name, finger-comb that gorgeous blonde mane, and apply a minimal amount of makeup. And you’ll look absolutely stunning. Meanwhile it takes an entire team of stylists to make me look half as good.”

That was the one area where my sister’s insecurities far outweighed my own. She believed I was the family beauty, failing to see her own incandescence that had nothing to do with being a Beacon. Still, she really should have learned by now that flattery didn’t work on me.

She smiled ruefully and went in for the kill. “Besides. Do me this favor and I will simply look the other way when you sneak out of the reception early to go bury your nose in a book.”

That had me perk right up. Escaping the presence of Maddox’s cousins before too many drinks could be had and too many mistakes could be repeated (mostly by me) would be my number one mission tonight.

Hate screw me once? Shame on you. Hate screw me twice? No way was I taking that walk of shame again.

“You promise?”

Kayleigh’s lips curved, and her face lit with true pleasure, proving herself a liar for saying she was any less naturally stunning than me. Grandmother had just convinced her she needed all that pomp and cosmetic-stance to live up to the Sheridan name.

For a moment, I could imagine us back in our parents’ home in a simpler time, before we manifested Radiant abilities and our Grandmother’s machinations began driving a wedge between us. Back when I’d been the big sister she imitated and she the baby sister I adored.

Hopefully life wouldn’t steal that closeness from Rory and Sorsha.

“Fine,” I huffed out. “I’ll go pick up Maddox’s oversized cousins and drop them off at the McMansion.”

She pursed her lips sardonically at my dig on her home, where tonight’s reception would be held, but let the comment slide. “Thank you, Ava.”

Ironically, I had only myself to blame for the evening’s pesky black tie affair. It’d been my own idea as part of the PR blitz. I waved off her thanks and jumped to my feet, surprised when she stood and placed a hand on my arm. My brows arched, but I waited for her to speak.

To my shock, she leaned forward to kiss me on the cheek. Something she hadn’t done in…I couldn’t remember how long. An emotion that suspiciously resembled regret flashed across her face, and she pressed an envelope into my hand. I opened my mouth, but she shook her head and urgently tapped the heavy vellum material. Drawing my attention to the Circle of Dawn and Dusk embossed in both wax and magic.

My eyes widened, and I hissed out a breath. The last time someone had handed me an envelope like this, all hell had broken loose. Maddox’s sister had died, despite our desperate attempts to save her. For Kayleigh to hand this to me now meant trouble must be brewing again.

I flipped the envelope over and stared at the words etched in her ridiculously pretty handwriting, “Open at the airport under a Radiant Seal. Tell no one.”

A buzz of energy pulsed from the envelope as it recognized my magical signature. No one but me would be able to open this sealed order that Beacons only issued to other Radiants in their direct line of command.

I swallowed dryly and covered her hand with my free one. “You’re welcome, Baby Sis.” A name I hadn’t called her out loud in quite some time. “The girls and I will see you before the reception, I assume?”

She gave a shaky smile that held far more gratitude than my agreeing to fulfill a simple favor should inspire. Dread coated my stomach as I wondered what potential disaster would meet my eyes when I opened the envelope in my hand.

“Of course. I’ll tuck them in like always, and then they’ll watch the two of us run off like Cinderella to the Prince’s Ball.”

Gooseflesh crawled across my skin as she referenced the fairy tale that had once been our favorite. For some reason, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was hidden significance to her storybook reference. Before I could puzzle out any meaning, however, she kissed my other cheek and strolled out of the room. The last look my sister sent my way revealed one more emotion that shook me to my core: stark terror.

Because Kayleigh, much like our Iron Dragon grandmother, did not scare easily…



Finn stared at the thick piece of parchment on the table between us with an angry scowl. His fingers jerked violently, claws peeking out for just an instant as he fought the urge to shift. Definitely not a good idea while mid-flight. Always the most temperamental triplet, it was a good thing for Maddox’s obnoxiously handsome face that he hadn’t come along for the ride after sending the St. Louis Pack’s private jet to pick us up in San Francisco. Hell, given the sparks of fury flooding through my own system after the magic that had just swept through us against our will, I might have actually let Finn take a few swings at our cousin before stepping between them.

“This fucked-up order has to be her doing,” Finn snarled.

I barely managed to suppress a sigh that would have only further antagonized him. Finn’s inability to hide his distrust of Maddox’s wife, courtesy of his understandable hatred for her tyrannical grandmother, had caused me far too many headaches. It had also caused him to verbally lash out at Muriel Sheridan’s other granddaughter so severely after that one fantastic night that we might never convince her to give us a second chance.

Which was a damned shame, given the way merely thinking about her was enough to make me one part hot and two parts bothered.

Connor, our self-appointed comedic relief, tapped the Radiant Order with a smirk, “Of course it was Kayleigh’s doing. Maddox certainly can’t spellbind his commands into paper. And then into us.” He shuddered dramatically, a sentiment I very much shared.

Finn snarled at Connor, who simply rolled his eyes. “You know damned well what I mean.”

I broke in before things could escalate. “Let’s channel this frustration in the direction it belongs. Against the foolhardy enemies who think they can start another War of Succession and get away with it.”

“Now that’s something I can get the fuck behind!” Finn gritted his teeth. “Who the hell would be that stupid after how hard Maddox came down on the traitors last time? He almost annihilated that entire line of Shadow Wolves who assassinated his sister.”

A point that had me thoughtfully tapping the now blank parchment between us. “There’s a huge distance between almost and complete annihilation.”

Connor’s breath hissed out. “You think enough of them survived to be stirring up trouble now?”

“I think it’s something we sure as hell need to consider.”

My brothers nodded, a dark scowl on Finn’s face and a more introspective one on Connor’s. What I was about to say would definitely wipe that frown away.

I glanced at my smartwatch and then met each of their gazes directly. “We have approximately two hours to devise our own plan that doesn’t directly contradict this ‘fucked-up order’ Kayleigh and Maddox gave. And I suggest that we get both creative and…aggressive…in using the resources available to us.”

Sure enough, a fierce smile lit Finn’s face. “Are you suggesting we go against the commands they gave?”

Connor let out a guffaw. “No, he’s suggesting we go around it. And I for one am all about that!”

Exasperated amusement had me shaking my head. It felt like half my damn life was spent getting these two near opposites onto something even resembling the same page. Necessary, because as Shadow Wolf triplets (even if fraternal), our paranormal abilities were tied together in some mysterious way few understood. Meaning we pretty much came as a package deal.

Sometimes, as with the delectably stubborn Ava Sheridan, quite literally…

Speaking of the gorgeous Radiant who still featured prominently in most of my midnight fantasies, I remembered how she’d once confided that her Spellbinding parents and closest childhood friend–now a powerful Beacon in her own right–could be trusted in a way her grandmother could not. Hell, I remembered every damn thing she’d ever said. Whether because she was the first woman in a long time to love and leave us or because of something much deeper, I wasn’t yet sure.

But I was bound and determined to find out.

Still, time to focus on other priorities right now. Saving our noble but foolhardy cousin and his Beacon wife from sacrificing themselves and leaving our honorary nieces as orphans.

“So, brothers, how do you feel about calling in some of those favors we’re owed?”



Shivers skittered across my skin as I stared down at the heavy vellum envelope in my lap an hour later. Rory and Sorsha bounced with endless enthusiasm while we waited in the idling limo parked in a special slot at Lambert International Airport. The twins were fortunately so focused on playing a simple game of I Spy with their two guardians—one a female Shadow Wolf named Marie and the other a male Spellbinder named Chester—that they paid me little attention.

I couldn’t shake the intense dread still pooling in my stomach when I pictured that look in Kayleigh’s eyes. Why did I feel like disaster was about to strike?

Stop procrastinating! I chastised myself. Those musclebound meatheads could be here any moment.

An unfair insult, perhaps, given how insanely intelligent all three of Maddox’s cousins were. Not to mention how very much I’d relished kissing and caressing every single one of their muscles…But thinking it still made me feel a smidgen better.

I took a deep, calming breath and shut my eyes briefly, reaching an arm outside the window I’d rolled down—supposedly to enjoy the late spring sunshine. But it was an entirely different brilliance I sought.

I envisioned my arm swirling inside the nearest pool of Radiant energy, beckoning it to my body so I could bend it to my will. Only decades of experience in Spellbinding—not to mention Grandmother’s harsh discipline—allowed me to shape that writhing, incandescent light without surrendering myself to its chaos. Even so, Enthrallment was inevitable for every untethered Radiant. Some of us managed to fight it off longer than others, but all of us eventually gave in to the Circle’s will. Or we died.

My eyes flashed open, and I began shaping the Radiant Seal that would prevent anyone from spying on me by magical or mundane methods. A quick glance at my nieces and their guardians ensured they were still preoccupied.

I ripped open the thick envelope with impatient fingers and shivered as my sister’s familiar magical signature swept over me. Once her spell recognized that I was the message’s intended recipient, elegant black handwriting began etching itself across the vellum stationery. My eyes scanned the words with trepidation that slowly grew into outright fear.

“Big Sis: No matter what happens tonight, your primary order is this: Stay close to Maddox’s three cousins and my daughters until I summon you home.

“Do not bring the girls back to the McMansion as originally planned. Tell no one where you end up taking them. Simply keep them safe.

“If I do not magically summon you back here by tomorrow morning, then our ruse to draw out our assassins at tonight’s reception has failed. Give the girls all our love and do what you do best: Kick ass, take names, and continue keeping them safe. Raise my girls to be just as powerful and fiercely independent as their aunt has always been. Even if you need to ask Grandmother for help to secure their safety in the coming months.

“One more thing: I love you, too. And you deserve just as much happiness as I’ve found with Maddox. Do not let stubborn pride keep you from finding your own Cinderella-story happy ending. Perhaps with one or three Shadow Wolves who shall remain nameless? Hope to see you tomorrow when all the smoke has cleared. If not…you have your orders.”

My breath sucked out as the next phase of her spell kicked in. The words peeled themselves from her Spellbound order, writhing in the air momentarily as if painting the space around me before etching themselves into my flesh. Radiant energy flared as the words glimmered with incandescent light before fading away. Out of sight but certainly not out of mind. Not for me, anyway. Thanks to my baby sister’s spell and her position above me in the Radiant hierarchy…I now had literally no choice but to follow the letter of her law.

And I never reacted well to having other people’s choices forced upon me.

“Son of a bitch!” I shouted angrily, pounding on the car door next to me. Knowing that nobody else would hear or see thanks to the Radiant Seal still surrounding me. “I can’t believe you’re trying to manipulate me just like Grandmother, Kayleigh Sheridan Donnelly!”

Except…that wasn’t strictly speaking true. Honesty forced me to admit that Kayleigh was acting in what she saw as the best interests of her daughters. A mother’s love meant she’d take whatever steps necessary to protect them. Even if that meant willingly becoming a target herself.

And she knew nothing—and no one—would be able to get past a Sheridan Radiant when paired with three of the world’s most powerful Shadow Wolves.

That thought had me frowning. Obviously Kayleigh hadn’t thought that one through well enough. If she and Maddox died trying to flush out their traitor, then my role as her Understudy would leave me no choice but to immediately Spellbind myself as Beacon to the St. Louis Pack. Otherwise any of the members close to losing themselves to their inner beasts would immediately go feral when their magical tether to Kayleigh snapped.

My eyes widened. Unless…she was counting on that. Knowing that it would put me beyond the reach of our grandmother’s political schemes forever.

It would be just like Kayleigh to be one part protective like our mother and one part manipulative like our grandmother.

Dammit, Kayleigh. Why the hell didn’t you even hint that you suspected someone was trying to stir up another War of Succession?

As her Understudy, that vital information should have definitely fallen within my paygrade. The fact she hadn’t shared it with me didn’t sit well in my stomach.

I fought to control my emotions as I banished the Radiant Seal. Frustration had me run an angry hand through my hair as I glanced impatiently at my smartwatch. Where was that damnable airplane and those even more damnable Shadow Wolves? Only after they arrived could I begin trying to make sense of this mess. And Kayleigh was insane if she thought I would just stay away from the reception I’d helped plan when her life was in mortal danger.

My eyes were drawn to Sorsha as she let out an excited shriek when she won the latest round of I Spy. Rory sighed in disappointment, but then she pointed at something outside the window and both girls broke into even louder squeals.

They channeled their innate twin connection to sing out in unison, “Uncle Shea! Uncle Finn! Uncle Connor!”

My body stiffened and I glanced out the window to see three Adonises with sun-bronzed skin waving at their honorary nieces, wolfish smiles spread ear-to-ear making it obvious they were just as excited to see the girls as vice versa. Which was the single reason I managed to shove down the negative emotions urging me to lock the limo doors and leave their asses stranded at the airport. Well, that and the fact Kayleigh had spellbound me so that I physically couldn’t abandon their asses.

That thought had concern for my sister flooding my veins. I forced myself to take a deep breath and watch the chauffeur help the Big Bad Wolves load their luggage into the trunk. He then opened the door a few feet away from where I sat. My pulse thundered in my ears as I glanced at the seat that had seemed ridiculously long when I first sank down upon it but now seemed much too small for my own good…

My throat went dry when I met the glittering emerald eyes of the first brother to lower his long, muscular form onto the seat and slide over until his delicious thigh pressed against my own.

No! They’re not delicious. Bad brain!

Shea Donnelly, eldest brother and the one who loved pushing my buttons the hardest in every damned way, looked me up and down as if he’d heard my traitorous thoughts. As if he’d enjoy playing Big Bad Wolf to my Little Red Riding Hood…in the X-rated version of that tale. I couldn’t stop my gaze from metaphorically devouring him in turn. When standing, he towered over my 5’8” frame by at least ten inches, by far the tallest Donnelly. All three of Maddox’s cousins spent considerable time training for battle in both human and wolf form, something advertised by every inch of their chiseled physiques, steely strength, and deadly grace.

My eyes settled momentarily on Shea’s large, calloused hands, and images swept through my brain. Those hands feathering gentle caresses across the planes and curves of my bare skin, becoming increasingly more aggressive as I begged him to touch me harder, faster, deeper. His brothers echoed with alternating soft and frenzied touches of their own as they played my body as expertly as any musician. They moved in tandem at the instructions of some invisible conductor only they could hear and damn! How it had made me burn.

Heat cascaded through my body, and I felt my cheeks grow red. My fingers itched to fan myself, but I fought back that urge. I would not show the slightest sign of weakness. Not to them.

Yeah. Look where that got me last time!

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t our favorite cousin-in-law here to fetch us from the airport herself. I’m surprised you deigned to get so close to us after…” His voice trailed off as his gaze flashed onto the twins before moving back to me. “After that last wild party you threw.”

Rory and Sorsha briefly caught my attention by throwing themselves onto the laps of his two brothers as they settled on the other side of Shea. I was fortunately spared the combined killer chemistry of all three Shadow Wolves since Finn and Connor had no choice but to contend with their honorary nieces. Hell, I’d have my hands full enough talking to just one of them.

And I’d throw myself into the fires of Hell before admitting that out loud.

It was a relief not to have to directly face Finn in front of my impressionable nieces. That blistering accusation he’d thrown at me after our one-night-stand that I must be a spy for Grandmother had fucking hurt. I didn’t trust myself not to verbally eviscerate him just yet.

I arched a sardonic brow and twisted my lips, unflinchingly meeting Shea’s gaze. “I seem to recall it was you who invited me to that private party.”

A grin flashed across Shea’s generous, pouty lips that had me inwardly salivating when I focused on them. “Touché, Blondie.”

I kept my expression serene, knowing he only called me that because it annoyed me.

Shea’s smile faded and he leaned in closer, sending goosebumps dancing across my skin. “I assume you also received a mysterious message to avoid our own damned party?”

I hesitated before nodding and gesturing meaningfully toward the girls. “Best to have this conversation away from little ears.”

His expression grew fiercely protective as he glanced at Rory and Sorsha. Something that tugged at my heartstrings—and nether regions—far too much for my comfort. He lowered his voice even further. “Tell me exactly how Kayleigh worded her order to you.”

Excitement thrummed through my veins. I ignored the fact he’d made that more a command than a request. He’d only be interested in that info if he and his brothers had no intentions of leaving their cousin and my sister to fend for themselves. A thought with which I was very much now struggling. While I of course wanted to keep my nieces safe, Kayleigh deserved the same consideration. She was my baby sister, not to mention the Beacon to whom I had sworn loyalty.

It was child’s play to quote back the words now magically etched into my flesh and bones. “Stay close to Maddox’s three cousins and my daughters until I summon you home. Do not bring the girls back to the McMansion as originally planned. Tell no one where you end up taking them. Simply keep them safe.”

That was the relevant heart of Kayleigh’s directive. He certainly didn’t need to hear her little dig that I might be able to find happiness with “one or three” Shadow Wolves…

Shea’s lips twisted with wolfish satisfaction. “Although I admire Maddox and Kayleigh for putting the girls’ well-being ahead of their own, I am not willing to sit idly by while they offer themselves as bait for whoever seems intent on starting another War of Succession. Safe to assume you feel the same?”

I gave a fierce smile of my own. “It is.”

He nodded without a hint of surprise. “I believe that any reasonable person would interpret your parents’ home as being close to Donnelly Manor. And they would certainly be as invested in keeping the girls safe as we are.”

And were wealthy and powerful enough Spellbinders to do a damned good job of it.

Admiration for Shea’s cleverness in finding a way to navigate the literal meaning of my sister’s order without sacrificing our integrity or the girls’ safety flared. “I agree on both counts.” Uneasiness had my skin crawling as another thought struck. “But Kayleigh clearly feared the danger to the girls would be great enough to require a Radiant and three Shadow Wolves, in addition to their usual bodyguards.”

We glanced at where the Shadow Shifter and Spellbinder guardians—Marie born into the Pack and Chester adopted into it for his magical abilities—sat a few feet away, watchful gazes split between their charges and any potential threats outside the idling limousine.

Shea’s eyes glinted. “Agreed. Which is why we called in a personal favor with the San Francisco Beacon and your mother called in one with the Kansas City Beacon. I remember how much you trust her. Uncle Alexander was already in St. Louis meeting with the Spellbinder’s Guild before our reception. He’s agreed to skip that to pick up Regina when her own flight lands in a few minutes. They’ll meet Finn, Connor, and the girls at your parents’ estate. We’ve also arranged for several Shadow Wolf friends to head straight there now.”

Regina was more than a match for any Sheridan Beacon, and she’d also spent summers with relatives in St. Louis the way Kayleigh, our siblings, and I had. Regina and I became the best of friends when we first met right around my nieces’ age. There were few others I trusted as much as her.

My eyes widened as my pulse picked up speed. “And…where exactly will you and I be?”

He pressed uncomfortably close, deep voice lowering to a suggestive drawl that made me involuntarily shudder. “You and I will be at your place changing for the ball.” Liquid heat flashed in his expressive emerald eyes. “It’s been far too long since I’ve seen you all dressed up, Blondie.”

A soft moan escaped my lips as memories of the last time he’d seen me dressed up exploded across my mind—followed by the one where he’d participated in undressing me in a tangle of overheated bodies and raging hormones.

Irritation quickly replaced the animalistic passion he’d purposely inspired. And I had never been one to back down from a fight. “Sounds like you have everything all worked out, Wolfie. I think there will be just enough room for you to change—in the laundry room next to all the other wet blankets.”