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Dystopian Fantasy Romance where the Fae Protectors meet their match with strong, sassy human women.

The Solace of Sharp Claws (Audiobook)

The Solace of Sharp Claws (Audiobook)

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Sharp claws keep you safe.

That’s the brutal lesson Thorne learned as a young wolf-shifter. Abandoned as a child, singled out by an evil uncle, and then forced to work for the ruthless Order of the Well, Thorne’s anger was a weapon as much as his claws. Now a vicious Fae Guardian, he hunts monsters, the human enemy, and anything that gets in his way. On a mission to find his missing mentor, Thorne finds himself suddenly mated to Laurel, a beautiful, driven, but damaged human awoken from a time long since past. 

A forced marriage is something neither of them want. 

But everything they need.

Spending time with her teaches him that arm’s length might not be a good thing. Learning to love will mean scratching the surface of both their souls, revealing truths more painful than any wound. If he can get past the hurt, the pain, and the pride, Thorne will find a new use for his claws... to bury deep and never let her go. 

But when a dark figure from Laurel's past catches up with her, it's not Thorne's claws in question. It's hers. If he can't stop her from exacting bitter revenge, she'll cost him the safety of his mentor and perhaps trigger a war. If he can learn to put his angry past behind him, open his heart and trust new friends, he just might be rewarded with more than an advantage in their ongoing war. He'll find love.

Reading order:
Each trilogy features a different breed of fae and a different villain.
Each book features a different couple with a satisfying HEA.
Start at the beginning for the best reading experience, or start at your favorite trilogy.

  1. Season of the Wolf Trilogy (Fae Guardians books 1-3)

  2. Season of the Vampire Trilogy (Fae Guardians books 4-6)

  3. Season of the Elf (Fae Guardians books 7-9)

  4. Season of the Crow (Fae Guardians books 10-12)

Laurel burst from the dark tunnel system into the light of day. She squinted to protect the ache in her eyes. Fresh air gusted into her face. Snow everywhere. Trees. She blinked as her eyes adjusted and hugged herself.

Goddamn. This wasn’t Vegas. 

“Laurel?”

She turned. Cried. Her good friend Clarke was sitting on a rocky outcrop beneath a fir tree and next to a fledgling campfire. Laurel dropped her package and ran. The two collided and hugged. God, it was good to feel something familiar in her arms. The same red hair she’d known for years. The same freckle-faced bastion of fun who’d always made it her business to keep Laurel from working too hard.

Sobs wracked her body. 

Laurel never cried. 

Not when her twin had been diagnosed with his auto immune disease. Not when he died. Not when her fingernails were ripped from her fingers. And not when the sky had rained ash. Tears weren’t useful unless they were the tears of your enemies. Well, that’s what her father used to say. The military general had been a driving force in her life. 

A new kind of choking took hold of Laurel when she realized she had no clue what had happened to her family. Were they safe? Maybe her father had her mother holed up in some government bunker somewhere. Surely a general had access to something like that. 

Swallowing, she drew back and hastily wiped her eyes. She took in Clarke’s worried face. The same, but different. Something shrewd existed in her blue-eyed stare that hadn’t been there before. Clarke looked... grown up.

And what the hell was she wearing?

Laurel gingerly fingered the fur-lined cape, the carved wooden sundial on a leather cord around her neck, and the scrap of fabric around her hair. Clarke captured Laurel’s roving hand. 

“There’s a lot to tell you,” Clarke said. “Come and sit down. The boys will be finished playing soon.”

“Boys?”

Clarke bit her lip, eyes assessing. “I’m taking it you’ve met Thorne?”

Yeah, she’d met that dangerous fae… or wolf. The one who’d been half-naked and hugging her when she’d woken. Intense. That was the only word she had to describe the man. Instead of answering, she looked around at the snow-capped trees. “Where are we?”

“I think the better word is when. When are we.”

“Come again?”

“We’re two thousand years into the future—give or take a few years.”

Laurel’s head swam. “What?”

Clarke sighed. “You really should sit down. And look”—she opened her rucksack to pull out some clothes—“I brought clean clothes for you to change into. Something I wish someone had done for me.” She mumbled something about a stubborn wolf and then tossed the clothes to Laurel with a fresh smile. “You’ll feel better. Trust me. The praxis wool is warmer too.”

“Praxis?”

“A new kind of goat thing. The animals have mutated in this time. Some are the same, but, never-mind. You’ll find out one day.”

Goat thing? Mutated?

The ground moved beneath Laurel’s feet. The horizon shifted. Her head lolled, and she landed hard on her butt. Clarke ran over to her, but she pushed her away. “I’m fine.”

Laurel tried to stand. Her eyes rolled. Okay, maybe she wasn’t fine. She sat and rested her head between her knees, ignoring the cold snow seeping into her already sodden pants.

“Take it easy, Laurel,” Clarke cooed. “Deep breaths.”

The cold air was exactly what she needed on her hot and prickly skin. A wave of nausea rolled through her and she retched until more black goo came out. Clarke went to her rucksack and pulled out a waterskin. A waterskin!

“Oh, God,” Laurel mumbled. “What the hell?”

“Don’t worry. I vomited that stuff too. It will pass.”

Fight for control. Laurel forced the breath in and out of her lungs. She focused hard on a single twig poking out of the snow. She used the resolve her father taught her. Tough situations build strong people. She’d used the same mantra in all her gym centers. Queens don’t whine. They work. And then they are fine.

Laurel unbuttoned the jacket and peeled it off. She went to add the woolen sweater, but Clarke stopped her. “Bra too. Anything with plastic and metal in it has to go, which, to be honest, is all the clothing you’re wearing. Probably why it lasted so many years without completely deteriorating. My clothes practically fell from my body when I woke. Oh. And you’ll have to give me your shoes. And your watch.”

Laurel gingerly covered her watch. Without it, how would she know what day it was, or when her next appointment was, or how many steps she’d done? She needed it. “Why?” 

Clarke’s grave expression gave Laurel chills. “Because those bombs that went off destroyed the world. What grew out of the ashes isn’t the same. Magic is a part of this world now, but it only flows where no metals or plastics are present. So...” She gestured at Laurel’s bra. “The sooner you get it all off, the sooner you can access your full powers.”

That took a moment to settle in. Powers. Magic.

Wolf shifter.

Flying fairy thing.

Hungry, giant slug-thing. 

Great. Just great. Laurel looked around again as if she could orient herself by sight. The sky was blue, not the dusky haze she remembered from… yesterday? Last week? Thousands of years ago? Good lord. Thousands of years ago!

She shivered and rubbed her arms. It certainly looked like a new world. What other explanation could there be?

“What happened exactly?” she asked Clarke. “I don’t remember how I came to be in that cave.”

“We were all at my place. Do you remember that?”

Laurel frowned, squinting to try to recollect, but shook her head. 

Clarke continued, “We were in the living room watching the news. Vegas had pretty much shut down at that point. Then it started snowing, and we all went outside to look. Then... I guess the temperature dropped so fast that we froze.” She clicked her fingers. “Snap-frozen. Just like that. Rush said the land has shifted since our time. Some ruins remain, but nothing looks the same.” Clarke took a breath. “My working theory is that the cosmic Well chose us to survive and somehow worked to keep us frozen and preserved all these years.”

“Cosmic Well?”

“Yeah, it’s like the life-force that all magic draws from. These fae worship it like a deity. Only, it’s not a real person. It’s just... life. All powerful. All consuming. All nourishing.”

There were so many more questions Laurel wanted to ask but settled on one. “Who’s Rush?”

“My husband. I suppose you could call him that.” Her lips stretched into a wide-mouthed grin. “He’s so awesome. Hot. Sexy. The best. God, I love him. And our daughter, Willow. I can’t wait until you meet her.”

Daughter? Laurel’s brow lifted. Clarke had zero sign of a baby belly. “Goddamn. How—?”

“I thawed about three years ago and had Willow two years ago.” Her expression darkened. “There’s more I need to tell you, but... Come on. Get dressed and warm first.”

Laurel unhooked her bra and quickly slipped the sweater on. Her smartwatch joined the pile. It was dead, anyway. She replaced her yoga pants and sneakers with tight leather pants that fit her like a second skin, and then she tugged on the waterproofed fur-lined boots. The glow from her arm markings glanced off her surroundings every time she moved. 

“What is this?” She held her palm out. “You have them too.”

“Thorne didn’t tell you?” Clarke frowned and then muttered under her breath. “Of course he didn’t.” 

Clarke shook out the cape and wrapped it around Laurel’s shoulders. The warmth immediately settled her nerves. Laurel hugged it tightly while Clarke avoided her gaze. 

I know that look.

It was the look of secrets. 

“Clarke, what are the markings? And why did he ask me if I could conjure fire? And, come to think of it... I saw him turn into a wolf. Right before my eyes. And then there was the glowing little firefly that—”

“It’s fine. Don’t panic. Remember I said some animals had mutated? Thorne is fae—evolved from both human and animal and with the capacity for using magic—mana—which you now have too. Apparently, fae existed once before, like in the fairytales of old, but as humans industrialized the world, covering it with metal and plastic, magic disappeared.” Clarke paused. “And your markings are that of a Well-blessed mating. It means”—she winced—“that... um... your souls are bound. I guess to put it in a way you might understand, you’re married to Thorne.”

Laurel’s heart gave palpitations. 

“Uh-uh. No.” Nope. Nopety, nope. She shook her head. Married. Never. She was not the marrying type. Let alone to that big, over-muscled warrior that turned into a mother-fricking-wolf? “No fucking way! In no version of life will I ever be married to a feral animal! What the hell, Clarke? You better start bringing out the prank cameras or something, because I’m starting to lose my patience. You know I’m not the marrying type.”

Clarke’s eyes flashed and caught something over Laurel’s shoulder. Laurel stiffened. She turned. Two giant white wolves stood before the cave, holding the tail of the large wyrm between them like a rope, red blood dripping down their maws. One wolf was golden-eyed. The other blue-eyed—Thorne.

more books in the fae guardians series