- Polar Night
The Heart Points North.
Tamsin Norwood just wanted to study the eagles on Kodiak. Now, her life depends on her getting far, far away from the island and the madman who took her captive. Fate conspires, leading her to a magically concealed safe haven in Arctic Alaska.
The denizens of Polar Point are as complicated as they are fierce. From the wise old witch to the playful wolf and the snarky tiger, the secret community both baffles and intrigues Tamsin. But one resident in particular makes her question her very human instincts.
Polar bear shifter Fisher Frost never wanted another sleuth. Not after the tragedy that befell his family. Wild polar bears have it right: it's better to hunt alone. Alone means safe. Alone means steady. Alone means never losing another piece of himself. Fisher's resolve wavers when the dawn of polar night brings his true mate.
During the longest, coldest Alaskan nights, Fisher and Tamsin warm to one another. But can she melt this frozen bear? Will they survive the twists and turns fate has prepared for them?
This full-length novel is intended for mature audiences.
The Cessna’s propellers whirred, filling the cramped cabin with a noxious buzz. To Tamsin Norwood, the sound represented freedom.
As the plane took flight, she gripped her seat until her knuckles paled. Rigid, she sat with her fleece hoodie pulled over her unkempt hair and a stolen coat draped like a blanket over her torso. From the side window, she watched as her hometown of Larsen Bay grew small. Soon, even the mass that made up the Kodiak archipelago was out of sight.
Relief flooded her system.
It wasn’t that she was happy to leave her entire life behind. But preserving that life—whatever remained of it—meant she had to get the hell off the island.
If she stayed, she’d die. Landon Poe would see to that.READ MORE
“Sky feels good.” The pilot’s gritty voice crackled in the headset he’d shoved at her before takeoff. “Not as icy as I’d expect for November.”
Tamsin didn’t reply. When she’d first spotted him on the dock, she’d nearly cried. With his ruffled blond hair and dimpled chin, he’d looked like salvation. He’d been such a dick, though, that she couldn’t find it in herself to make conversation.
She didn’t entirely blame him, of course. Begging for secret passage with only a handful of cash and no ID didn’t exactly make her Client of the Year. He’d taken pity, though, finally seeming to register her genuine distress.
Tamsin would deal with the port authorities. They could arrest her if they needed. At this point, she’d welcome a normal jail cell. Steel bars would be a step up from that makeshift prison back on Kodiak.
Ten minutes into the flight, she relaxed. When they were closer to Anchorage, she’d return to her taut state of red-fucking-alert. Poe would guess she’d taken a plane.
Like most predators, Poe was smart. He prided himself on anticipating his opponent’s every move. He considered every outcome, weighed every risk. He was narcissistic with an otherworldly confidence, but he was also paranoid beyond belief.
In the three months she’d known him, she’d studied him. What else was she supposed to do while he’d kept her handcuffed to rusty machinery in the abandoned cannery?
He’d sniff her out. He was a hunter, after all. Complete with sets of claws and fangs that had made her scream and cry the first time she’d witnessed him change.
No, shift. He’d called it shifting. Because apparently supernatural creatures not only existed, just like all the stories her grandma Tilly used to tell while gutting deer or de-scaling pike, they also boasted their own lexicon featuring words like mate and claim.
Growing up on Kodiak, Tamsin had lived alongside the local bear population for as long as she could remember. For all the bears she’d ever observed from the safety of the red-roofed fishing lodge she’d called home—a home he’d doused with gasoline and lit aflame—she’d never seen any creature as monstrous as Landon Poe, fully shifted.
Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Because Poe’s human form was almost as terrifying as his towering bear’s. It wasn’t that there was anything especially wrong with how he looked, even with that jagged scar running down his left cheek. But his eyes. There was something about his eyes.
He looked at you as if he were peeling away your skin with his every narrowed gaze. She’d been his prisoner for so long, he’d flayed her to the bone.
She was his, he’d asserted. Repeatedly. Usually while leering at her as if she were a side of buck he intended to devour.
Yes, Poe would sniff her out. In all likelihood, he’d probably be waiting for her when she tottered off the plane in Anchorage. With his resources, he could reach the city far sooner than the bush pilot with his rickety ride.
Tamsin had to be smart. At the first sign of trouble, she could always hop a bus to Fairbanks. She still had university friends in Fairbanks. She wasn’t sure how she’d pay for a ticket, of course. She’d plonked down most of her stolen cash—stolen from the pocket of Poe’s seldom-used coat—to bribe the pilot, but she’d figure out the details when she arrived.
Anything was better than those handcuffs. Than Poe’s flashing yellow eyes. Than the endless loop of Tilly’s anguished screams.
With her forehead propped against the window, Tamsin let her eyes fall shut. She had forty minutes before she needed to be ready to move. To find the first badge-and-gun to cross her line of sight. To tell them she was Tamsin Norwood, researcher with the Fish and Wildlife Service, grieving granddaughter of Tilly Chernoff, and she was alive.
For the first time in months, Tamsin drifted knowing Poe wasn’t there to watch her sleep.
A mile to the east, a modest herd of caribou thundered across the frozen beach. Fisher Frost sat perfectly still. Even as thick swirls of snow choked the crisp air, he could scent his prey. The surrounding flurry of white combined with the dim light of dawn ensured he would remain cloaked.
Growling, he waited. Polar bears were founts of patience.
Fisher was the first to admit his human tolerance was far less than his bear’s. He’d nearly slashed Hunter’s head off. Again. The goddamn wolf never knew when to keep his maw shut.
Life in Polar Point grated Fisher’s nerves. More often than not, he entertained the idea of setting off on his own again. He’d never wanted to be a part of this community. He certainly never wanted another sleuth. But Jo had been convincing.
Not for the first time, Fisher found himself wondering if the old witch had cast a spell on him. He couldn’t explain his continued presence otherwise.
Well, he could. But he didn’t like to think about the year leading up to his entry into Johanna Ashfield’s enchanted community for misfit shifters. Enchanted in so far as it appeared on no maps, boasted boundary spells for concealment, and generally served as an out-of-the-way camp meant to keep self-destructing supernaturals from implosion.
Fisher had certainly been ready to implode two years ago.
Jo did her best. And despite her petite frame, she somehow managed to keep a group of unruly, too-fucked-up-for-their-own-good male shifters under a modicum of control.
They were all wayward. From Fisher with his broken bear to Hunter with his wily wolf. Jaeger was as aloof as his tiger, but he was a powder keg with whiskers and a swishy tail. And then there was Alaric.
Even Jo had secrets.
Arctic Alaska was the ideal hideaway from the rest of the world. Its snow was so white, it almost fooled you into thinking you could be as clean and untouched, too. But Fisher knew he’d never clean his hands—or paws—of his sleuth’s blood.
The witch maintained they all needed each other. Fisher still thought that was bullshit.
Wild polar bears had the right idea: it’s better to hunt alone. Alone, there was no one snarking or snapping at your every move. No one complaining you’re a brooding mess. No one yapping like a scorned puppy.
Polar Point wasn’t perfect, but Jo had yanked Fisher from his breaking point just when he’d needed it the most. If he’d kept going down his former path, he’d have garnered more stains on his translucent fur. That trajectory also led to an inevitable finality. Fisher would have ended up with a bullet in his brain, whether by his own hand or someone else’s.
It wasn’t becoming of an alpha polar bear—even a former alpha like Fisher—to admit that an itty bitty witch with white hair had saved his life, but Jo had saved his. He wasn’t sure it was a life worth saving, but she’d saved it, anyway.
Out of respect for her and the tenuous community she was trying to build in Polar Point, he’d retreat for a while. He’d cool his nerves. Calm his temper. Soothe the rage that bubbled beneath his human skin and bruin fur.
The caribou were close. Their dark shapes moved through the flurry, emerging like ghosts from the haze of white. Fisher rumbled. With his head lowered and his ears folded against his head, he stalked forward, his icy gaze fixed on a target.
The bull screamed in alarm, but it was already too late. Crimson stained the snow.
Fisher could retreat. He could cool down. But he’d never deny that it still felt damn good to sink his animal’s teeth into something.