Author name: Christina Lynn Lambert
A few years ago, I read my first romance novel and I was hooked, so much so that I decided to give the idea of writing a story a chance. My style is more gritty than sweet and I look forward to writing many more stories with strong heroines and imperfect but determined characters. Love, courage, hope, and second chances are a few of my favorite themes. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with my family, usually hiking or swimming or finding a new place to explore.
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Lynn-Lambert/e/B01MCYK0K7
Wolf's Challenge (Stranger Creatures 1) published by Loose Id on September 20, 2016
Taking risks, especially risks of the handsome male variety, is currently out of the question for Sydney Reid. She will make no exceptions for tall, gorgeous Derrick Porter. Never date a player-it’s rule number one in Sydney’s book, and the charming lawyer constantly devouring her with his eyes is every inch the reason. Despite her best efforts to keep Derrick in the friend zone, sparks fly between the two of them, and Sydney isn’t entirely sure she wants to throw water on the flames.
Can Derrick convince the shy, sexy Sydney to give him a chance, something more than her elusive “maybe”? More importantly, should he? Derrick has a few secrets, the least shocking secret being that he can transform at will into a powerful wolf. He's still trying to forgive himself for being at the wheel during the accident that killed his son. Losing Sydney when she learns the truth might break him, but he's pretty sure not having her would be just as bad.
And with an obsessed stalker on their tails, more than their hearts are at issue.
CAREFUL. TAKE A step back. Warning lights lit up in Sydney’s head. She shouldn’t have teased him. Derrick looked ready to pounce on her. He had a really nice body, and so she’d sneaked a few more glances of him shirtless, enjoying the sight of his smooth chest and broad shoulders, and then she had looked down… Sydney’s interest did not seem to be one-sided. His running shorts barely hid the problem. How could they? From what she saw, the man looked like he was swinging a pretty big hammer. She was stealing glances because, wow, and he had looked right at her at one point. Like his hard-on was her fault, though he had never said a word about it. Seeing Derrick half naked and hard drove Sydney a little crazy. She tried so hard not to keep looking. She really did.
A for effort?
Derrick was falling hard for Sydney, and there was nothing he could do to stop it, so he made the first step toward putting his heart on the line.
“I’m not a bad guy, Syd,” he whispered in her ear.
“Will you give me a chance?”
“Maybe.” She leaned into him, letting her head rest on his shoulder. Maybe was better than no or no fucking way, but Derrick needed a yes from her. Soon, before he lost his mind.
Sydney sat in the conference room at Brass Cat Advertising, sipping her coffee and wishing the caramel latte could take her to an alternate reality. One where Derrick Porter wasn’t sitting in front of her. His presence had caught her off guard. Sydney took another sip of her coffee as she tried not to stare stupidly, but holy chocolate-covered cherries, the man was hot.
Dark hair and eyebrows made a striking contrast against his strong bone structure and fair skin. His lips, good grief. They looked so soft. Derrick’s long, lean body fit nicely in a suit. The material stretched over his broad shoulders and came in at the waist. He probably had amazing six-pack abs.
When they’d met that Saturday in running group, it hadn’t merely been the fog coupled with Sydney’s exhaustion and two-year streak of celibacy that had made Derrick appear so handsome. Even under the bright lights of the conference room, he was gorgeous. What rotten luck that she couldn’t seem to get away from him.
Great Oaks wasn’t exactly a large city. Eventually, she would have run into Derrick somewhere. Maybe at the store or at some get-together at Carly’s. That wouldn’t have been too bad. She could have dealt with a polite conversation before walking away to catch her breath, pushing Derrick out of her head with every retreating step. On their Saturday-morning runs, Sydney had already planned to wear her earbuds and let her music help her be antisocial.
An ongoing work project was a much worse problem. As it turned out, Derrick knew her boss, Shayla. Only two days after meeting Derrick and trying not to think about the fact that their being partnered at their running group was an obvious setup, Sydney would not have the luxury of ignoring his existence. She ground her teeth.
Bringing her laptop to the table in the meeting room and pretending it was being slow to start had bought her about all the time and silence such distractions could bring. Sydney’s strategy during their first run with Jack’s new team had been to not talk much at all to the handsome, dark-haired man with the stunning grayish-blue eyes. Meeting with him about a graphic-design project didn’t allow for an easy way out.
Polite and professional. Keep it simple. No personal conversation. No X-rated fantasies about lawyers and conference-room tables. Remember he is a player.
Derrick had spoken with everyone at the meet-and-greet of their running group with charm and ease, the same way Jerk-off Jeff had charmed everyone in his presence. Including Sydney, once upon a time. But her former Prince Charming had turned out to be a lying man-whore. Derrick would most likely be no different. Maybe she was being unfair, but after all the shit she’d been through, Sydney wasn’t taking any chances. She was not really ready to date yet, especially not someone like Derrick.
Earlier that afternoon, when Shayla let her know there would be a lawyer representing the Great Oaks Merchants Association coming to meet with her, Sydney was excited and looking forward to the job. Great Oaks was in the process of getting itself back on the map after spending more than a decade nearly deserted. Sydney’s town house was built on the grounds of a former blue-jeans factory. Brass Cat Advertising was located in an abandoned convenience store, though it had been modernized a bit, and Shayla had added on to the back of the building to create more office space.
Things were beginning again in Great Oaks, and Sydney liked the idea of helping the Great Oaks Merchants Association members make their presence known. Using her graphic design to update logos and create designs for the Merchants Association was Sydney’s chance to give something back to the town that had given her such a feeling of peace and security after she had left the violence, fear, and regret of Seattle. The change of scenery had helped her more than she ever thought it would. Meeting Angel and deciding to adopt her had been an unplanned but wonderful decision. Great Oaks would be a good place to raise a child.
After discovering Sydney and Derrick knew each other, Shayla had announced she had some things to do and walked out of the conference room, oblivious to—or maybe just ignoring—Sydney’s please-don’t-leave-me-here-by-myself face.
Sydney put down her coffee cup and smiled what she hoped was a polite, businesslike smile that held no clue how handsome she found Derrick. He returned her smile, though his was warmer. Sydney noticed his bloodshot eyes.
“Allergies?” she asked, thinking of all the pollen blowing through the air. She had done her fair share of sneezing that morning. Cut the crap and move along, she chided herself. No reason to prolong the meeting chatting about the weather.
“That and a little vodka,” he told her with a regretful smile. “Celebrated a birthday Saturday night.”
Sydney wondered why a man would admit to drinking too much at a party if he was embarrassed by it, or perhaps his embarrassment was from the stupid things people did when they drank too much. Whatever. Not her problem. She didn’t even ask him whose birthday it had been.
Derrick handed her a file with several folders tucked inside. Each was full of ideas and sketches from different business owners who belonged to the Great Oaks Merchants Association. He placed one folder on top.
“Brick, Plank, and Stone is a construction company that especially needs help with its branding and logo. Seven hundred thousand acres in western Great Oaks were just sold off at auction and rezoned to allow residential homes and small-scale businesses to be built on the land.”
Sydney thought she caught the slightest edge of a grin from Derrick. Did he have a hand in the rezoning?
“Brick, Plank, and Stone,” he continued in his hypnotizing, mouthwateringly sexy voice, “wants to make sure they can secure a large amount of building contracts from the investment company who purchased the land. This one is the top priority. Then there are several other businesses that need pretty much the same: updated logos, graphics, captions, and different and better print to make their slogans more visible.”
Sydney mentally sighed in relief. The meeting was nearly over, and it didn’t look as if she would have to do much more than give him an occasional update. The sweat she had felt dampening her neck and thighs would soon be gone.
Derrick gave her his business card with his work number and e-mail. She took the card, and her fingers brushed his.
“We’ll meet soon to discuss progress.” The rich, deep tone of his voice filled the room and surrounded her like a favorite song. He looked straight at her. His bloodshot, blue-gray eyes were unlike any color she had ever mixed with her watercolors or oil paints. While she was listening and trying to think which shades of gray she could mix with the blue, she realized he had finished talking. She’d been in Sydneyland mixing paint colors and listening to the timbre of his voice like it was a background song.
“Uh, what? Sorry.” Sydney felt her cheeks get warm at being caught not paying attention, though he would never need to know why her mind had drifted. He laughed, the sound beautiful and…kind of rusty. Derrick told her they would meet up again soon.
Meet? Soon? The man made her break out into a sweat when she had to talk with him. She liked him, didn’t want to like him, and hated making small talk with people she didn’t know well. She could ignore him when they were running, but a business meeting was different. Sydney chided herself for being so silly. He was just a hot guy with whom she would be meeting about purely professional matters. Why couldn’t she make herself feel like it was no big deal? Why did the universe want to make things difficult? Can’t anything ever be easy? She nodded and politely showed him the door.
“It was nice to see you again, Sydney.” The sound of Derrick’s voice made her knees weak. Obviously, something was wrong with her. They could handle business by e-mail. She could send him files.
Yet, Sydney wanted to hear the sound of his voice again. Soon.
Copyright © Christina Lynn Lambert
Buy Links for Wolf’s Challenge:
Loose Id: https://www.loose-id.com/stranger-creatures-1-wolf-s-challenge.html
Amazon us: http://amzn.to/2xugji0
Amazon uk: https://www.amazon.com/wolfs-challenge-stranger-creatures-book-ebook/dp/b01m0ub5cm
Amazon au: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/Wolfs-Challenge-Stranger-Creatures-Book-ebook/B01M0UB5CM/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1506632619&sr=1-2
Barnes and Noble: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8440498/type/dlg/https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wolfs-challenge-christina-lambert/1124676509?ean=9781682521656
Kobo books: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wolf-s-challenge
Google books: https://books.google.com/books?id=zHYbDQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=wolf%27s+Challenge&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjruJXnj8TWAhVM7iYKHUm5CvgQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=wolf's%20Challenge&f=false
Bear's Edge (Stranger Creatures 2) published by Loose Id on September 26, 2017
Though part of a series, each book features a different couple so can be read as a standalone.
After sexy bear shifter Grant lost his girlfriend and three best friends in a fire, he decided he was done with love, done with people, done with pretty much everything. One woman has him rethinking his whole strategy.
As his boss, Shayla is off-limits, so Grant keeps his feelings for her under wraps until…the attraction doesn’t seem so one-sided. Grant takes a risk and lays a piece of his heart on the line. When things get hotter than he could have imagined, Grant wonders- will some of his darker desires be too much for Shayla or will she embrace the needs he’s kept hidden for so long?
A reporter who covered the bombing Shayla survived three years before is convinced the only reason Shayla survived is because she’s some type of bionic medical experiment or superhuman freak. When the reporter ropes Shayla’s angry ex, Hunter into the mix, Shayla’s business and her life are on the line. Can she and Grant trust in each other and find a way to slay all the obstacles that stand in their way?
What is it about Grant? Looking at the man sitting across the table from her was no hardship; that was for damn sure. He had the tall, broad body of a heavyweight UFC fighter, but he never used his size to intimidate the people around him. She wanted to sweep his wavy, slightly shaggy dark hair out of his gorgeous deep-brown eyes. His dark hair and eyes complemented his bronze skin. He was hot, in a serious, dangerous kind of way. But in the two and a half years Grant had worked for her, Shayla had hardly learned anything about him.
The waitress at the popular nature-themed restaurant, the Greenhouse Effect, showed them to their table. The plants growing around all the walls and columns made the place look like a wild garden, and the smell of lavender and jasmine mixed with the delicious scents drifting from the kitchen. She tried not to drool, but breakfast seemed like eons ago. Shayla sat next to Sydney and across from Grant. A too-tall centerpiece of yellow-and-purple flowers blocked most of her view of him. Grant moved the centerpiece to the side and gave her a shy smile. His smile made her want answers, among other things.
She knew he was from New Jersey and had gone to school in Wisconsin before moving to Richmond, Virginia, to work with Brook’s Comprehensive, a huge company that did everything from urban development projects to financial management for celebrities and politicians.
“Why do you want to make such a big change from a large corporation to a simple start-up company?” she’d asked him in the interview.
“Honestly?” Grant had paused then, the question hanging.
Shayla had nodded. She’d take honesty over smooth-faced, calculated interview answers any day.
“I want to live somewhere I can have a house and some land. Maybe spend more time outside. Also, I want a job where I can do more than just run numbers for projects where I never see the outcome.”
The last part had seemed to come as a surprise to Grant. Maybe he hadn’t really known he wanted something more than a change of scenery until he had said it out loud.
His answer had been simple and honest instead of a long, drawn-out elaboration about the projected success of new companies in the area or an extensive list of projects he had helped to fruition. She could look at his résumé for all that stuff. Grant had wanted to be there, so she’d hired him. Simple as that—after a clean background check and drug screening, of course.
Grant the mystery man—a delicious mystery Shayla would like to unravel, piece by piece, layer by layer. Ah, but I can’t. I’m his boss. In a different lifetime, if we didn’t have the whole boss-employee obstacle going on… No harm in looking, though, just a little, since he sat so close. She promised herself to keep her thoughts G-rated—okay, maybe PG-13. Grant had a talent with numbers and paid attention to detail. Also, he was a little shy and standoffish to a lot of people when it came to anything other than work. Shayla wondered where he sometimes went in his head, because, every now and then, his smile wiped from his face, just for a second, before being replaced with one a little harder. None of my business, she reminded herself.
Shayla had really wanted to hug Grant that morning after seeing him look so frustrated but decided that it might be wiser and more appropriate to show him that there were a few people on his side. Watching him break things and try to be all strong and humorous about it made Shayla want to unravel the Grant mystery even more. It kind of hurt to watch Grant pretending to be fine, but all Shayla could offer him was lunch and good conversation. Hopefully Mr. Strong and Silent—Sydney called him that sometimes, although never to his face—knew Shayla and Sydney cared. Shayla cared. Because he’s a friend. Just a friend.
Grant raised his soda in a toast. “To things not being worse,” he announced with a rueful half smile. “And, uh”—he cleared his throat—“to good company.” He nodded at Sydney, and when he met Shayla’s gaze, he held it. In Grant’s dark eyes she saw hunger, wide-open desire, and about a million other things she couldn’t puzzle out. They both looked away. Grant looked at her that way sometimes, and Shayla did her best to ignore it. Grant might have a small crush on her, or he could have a thing for petite, small-breasted girls possessing a great fashion sense.
Sydney broke the silence. “To good food and even better friends.” She clinked Grant’s glass, and Shayla came back to reality and smiled, pretending she wasn’t experiencing several different kinds of inappropriate thoughts and feelings for a sexy, complicated man who was her employee and also her friend. She needed to remember that things could never go any further than a panty-melting look, and behave.
Her phone buzzed. Grateful for the distraction, she dug it out of her purse to see a text message and call-back number from that pest of a reporter back in Maryland. That pain in the ass wanted another interview with Shayla. Like once in the hospital and once for a “where are the survivors now” follow-up a few months later hadn’t been enough. May as well take care of this before it becomes twenty voice mails piled in my in-box.
“I’ll just be a moment,” she promised Sydney and Grant. If that harpy journalist wanted an interview, it would be her last one with Shayla, and it would cost the reporter. Big-time. She walked outside into the cold and wind.
Kendall Baron, obnoxious reporter, answered her phone rather quickly. No polite niceties, no how have you been?, no what’s new?, blah-blah-blah, for Baron—she cut to the chase.
“Listen, Ms. Patrick, I know you’ve done two interviews with me for SCA news in Maryland, but I’ve joined an entertainment news show, and I have a human-interest story on survivors of disasters that I’m trying to put together. You’d be a perfect fit for the story.”
“Can you tell me a little more about the piece? Because last time your questions went a little off on a tangent, what with you being way too convinced I must have had some type of top-secret life-saving surgery or—no, what was it?—that I survived the bombs because I’m a little more than just human?” Jeez. Shayla had some talents, for sure, but being indestructible wasn’t one of them.
“We’ll do the basics about the accident and how you’re adjusting to life afterward. Plus, there’s the shock-and-awe factor of how amazing it is to survive such a destructive act, so we’ll put together a computer reconstruction of the accident for the viewers. So a few questions, maybe thirty minutes of your time, is all I’m asking,” Baron assured her. “I want you for this story, Ms. Patrick. What’s your price?”
“Ten thousand dollars.”
“I don’t want the money. I want the check donated directly to Hope and Healing, a charity that helps fund plastic surgery, prosthetic limbs, and burn treatments for disaster survivors around the world.”
“Fine. I’ll send proof of payment of two thousand dollars to Hope and Healing after the interview’s over.”
“My other condition is that this is the last time you contact me for an interview. Or for any reason in general.”
“You have my word. I’ll text you a couple of dates I have available in a minute, and you can just send me back which one works for you. I’ll even come to Brass Cat so you don’t have to travel.”
Baron didn’t seem like the most honorable woman, but Hope and Healing would get two grand, and Shayla wouldn’t be harassed to do any more interviews.
WHEN SHAYLA STEPPED outside to deal with a text that had her looking all kinds of irritated, Grant found himself under Sydney’s microscope. She asked him the same question she always asked him. “When are you gonna make a move?” Only this time, the girl wasn’t joking. “Next Saturday at the Saint Patrick’s Day Festival would be a good opportunity.”
He’d forgotten about agreeing to go to the festival with Sydney and her husband, Derrick. Sydney always invited Grant to different events, and like an idiot, he usually agreed.
“She’s my boss.” Didn’t Sydney and the bear get that? “That’s a pretty big obstacle. For Shayla and for me.”
Sydney sighed. “I know. I just think you guys would be good together is all. Well, not just good, amazing. Awesome. Phenomenal—”
“Shut up. I get it.”
More likely is that he would lose his shit for Shayla, and then, because life wasn’t warm and fuzzy with a guaranteed happy ending for all, she’d be gone, and Grant would be in a world of hurt and misery, so much worse than simply going all Hulk and breaking a door handle. The bear made a rude comment about Grant’s lack of balls. The bear would get over it. Grant wasn’t ready to fall down a rabbit hole and find himself crazy in love with an adorable, clever, gorgeous, smart, sweet woman who would probably get bored with his silent, antisocial behavior in about five minutes. She was his boss, and that made it all impossible anyway. The bear muttered something about Grant being dumb for a math geek.
I’d be an idiot to think I have a chance with her. We’re too different. Plus, she’s my fucking boss! He hoped the bear was listening. Copyright © Christina Lynn Lambert
Bear’s Edge purchase/book links
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2g8mK3b
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bears-Edge-Stranger-Creatures-Book-ebook/dp/B075RT8GML/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1506476546&sr=8-5&keywords=Bear%27s+Edge
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/Bears-Edge-Stranger-Creatures-Book-ebook/B075RT8GML/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506631970&sr=8-1&keywords=Christina+Lynn+Lambert
Barnes and Noble: http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8440498/type/dlg/https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bears-edge-christina-lynn-lambert/1127154505?ean=9781682523919