Tortured Heart

Denying the Alpha:Manlove is Evernight’s latest shifter anthology.

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My story in Denying the Alpha is “Tortured Heart”

Aza, a crow shifter, has fought hard to rise to steward of a large household and to prove himself worthy to the kindly witch who raised him. But when he finds himself trapped and tortured by a rival witch, he struggles to even remember what manner of shifter he is. He had few clues to his identity and they seem inextricably tied to Thariff, a wolf is clearly his enemy and lover.

Selection from “Tortured Heart”

Didn’t he have the decency to leave me alone?
Thariff took my shoulder, more forcefully this time. The strength in his hand, the power of his arm, radiated through me. If he didn’t want to let me go, I wouldn’t be able to go. He’d tear me apart.
Instead, he pressed me back against the bricks and leaned closer. He smiled, smoldering. “I want to kiss you.”
I met his softness with bitter cold. “I want to attend to my errand.”
“You want me to do more than kiss you.”
I did. I really, really did.
I scoffed at him, disdainful of what I didn’t deserve out of habit. “How charmed your life must be that you’ve reached this advanced age without ever being told no.”
Thariff looked at me, silent and patient. Waiting. For what? His silence caused a great shout to rise in me, a guttering screech, but I swallowed it and kept my face placid. Unimpressed.
He squeezed my shoulder, inhaled deeply, and listened to my heart pounding. Because a wolf could sense those things, as certainly as I felt a thunderstorm building in my bones. Then, with dusty tartness—the trace of lemons—his mouth covered mine.
That kind of kiss could break the weak. That kind of knee-buckling passion could sweep an innocent off balance and into chaos. That kind of desire defeated good sense, good instinct, and good intention, and instructed smart men to throw away everything on the off chance they might get another kiss like it.
I was only saved from utter collapse by the basket in my hand and the bricks at my back. The basket belonged to Madame Lamrow, good and kind and deserving of my loyalty. The bricks belonged to a dirty city and only an act of violence could make me touch them.
As soon as I resisted—which was less immediate than my pride cared to admit—the wolf abandoned the kiss. He kept me pinned and stared liked parting from me would be poison. “You don’t like kissing?”
I loved kissing. I didn’t get to kiss enough. Kissing was weak and foolish and…
He bowed close, bringing his lips back to mine.
I’d be lost forever if I let him kiss me.
I turned my head only at the last moment. He paused, kissed my cheek, and then plucked a soft path toward my ear.
“You want more than kisses…” he whispered.
My face was hot against his cool lips. My body radiated desire as if every inch of my skin wept for his touch. I wanted him so much that getting what I wanted might kill me. He rubbed his face into my neck and shoulder. What cruel tenderness…
I didn’t deserve it.

Reviews from Goodreads:

“Wow. This first story is a doozy and had me completely captivated. It’s filled with magic, both light and dark, and two men who seem so disparate but in the end they both want the same thing – to be safe, to be free, and to be loved. This was a fascinating story of fantasy and love, and I was hooked.”

“I’m totally in love with Tortured Heart by LJ Longo. That’s probably my favorite of the bunch. We’re instantly in the middle of it but the author does a fantastic job of explain what’s going on so the reader isn’t lost. There are lovers betraying, twists, torture, shifters, magic, yummy sex and a really interesting plot. I would have totally given this story 5 stars by itself. (5/5)”

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