The Vixen’s Bark by Laura Greenwood

Arabella Reed takes her position on the Shifter Council seriously, using it so that she can make a difference in the world. There’s just one problem; mated shifters can’t hold a Council Seat, and if bear-shifter, Bjorn, gets his way, then that’s exactly what Ari would be…

Bjorn is willing to do anything for Ari, including giving up his Council seat. But the closer he gets to winning her, the more seems to be standing in his way…

Targeted Audience: Adult

Author Bio:
I like to write whichever weird and wonderful tale comes into my head, which makes identifying the genre difficult even for me! My first series, Alventia, are novellas centred around Keira, aka Sleeping Beauty, and her Prince Philip, along with their allies Hansel and Gretel. It's a tale that very much told itself as I started to write it!

While I'm not writing, I work in Catering and am also an Assistant Brownie Guide Leader in the Midlands (UK). I like to bake and I love to read, and like with my writing, I read an eclectic mix of genres, and love every minute of it!

What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Bjorn and Ari were minor characters in the previous book, The Dryad's Pawprint, and as soon as I wrote them, I knew that there was more to their story. Once I'd finished Dryad, the two of them just wouldn't leave me, and so I ended up sitting down and writing their story!

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Sample from Book:

Chapter 3

She watched as the other three left the Council chambers, packing away her own things slowly in the hope that she could snatch a few private moments with Bjorn. If she felt like being sensible, then she knew that the two of them really needed to talk about what they were doing. It was dangerous, and could lead to them both of them losing their positions, as well as risking a false mating. And yet, there was a part of her that wasn’t willing to stop.
A firm but gentle hand gripped her elbow and spun her around, lifting her by the waist so that she was sat on one of the desks. Bjorn stepped so that he as standing between her legs and brought his lips to hers without saying a word. The pent-up desire between them took hold and came through their kiss, causing whimpers to come from Ari as her teeth lengthened. She pulled away from his kiss before she did something stupid like nip his lip and draw blood. Doing that, even without meaning to, would bind them together in a way that she wasn’t ready for. But that didn’t stop Bjorn. He feathered kisses down her neck and she leaned back, allowing him access and arching her back more, causing Bjorn’s bucking hips to press in close to where she wanted him most. Her hands tugged at his shirt and he stepped back, whipping it over his head and throwing it to the floor. His jeans quickly followed suit. Ari took a moment to appreciate the view, before ridding herself of her own clothes and perching back on the desk completely naked; she knew it was wrong, but being in the Council chambers only added to her excitement. Just like it had the other times.
Bjorn stalked towards her, a predatory glint in his eye, sending shivers down Ari’s spine. They’d tried to stop more than once during the six months or so they’d been sleeping together. It hadn’t worked. Their record for staying away was a week, and that was only because Bjorn had been away with his PI work. It was a week that she didn’t want to repeat ever again. She pushed the thought away, not liking what it meant for their relationship, or for her Council seat.
“I want you,” Bjorn growled, stepping back between her legs, the heat he was throwing off warming her. He kissed her again and Ari was too desperate to do anything but guide him into her. Bjorn groaned deeply, and she let out an involuntary moan, revelling in the sensation of being with him. It took mere moments for the tension to begin to mount within her, building more and more as he thrust into her, his muscles flexing under her greedy hands. Bjorn trailed kisses down her throat again and he began to nip gently on her skin, making her blood sing with pleasure. Her nails scraped across his back, but she couldn’t bring herself to worry about whether she was leaving any marks, and from Bjorn’s grunts and moans, he didn’t mind either.
The sensation of lengthening teeth against the sensitive skin of her throat broke through the pleasure surrounding them, and she hastily pushed him away.
“Bjorn! BJORN!” She tried desperately to bring him out of the haze he was in, but nothing seemed to work. His eyes were blazing with lust as he looked over her. Nothing could hide his lengthened teeth as his inner-bear come through.
After a few moments of staring, Bjorn came back to himself and a look of horror crossed his face. Ari shivered, suddenly feeling cold in the empty Council room. Bjorn handed her his shirt, which she hastily put on, buttoning it as he pulled on his jeans.
“I guess we need to talk,” she could see the reluctance in the set of his jaw, but was impressed that he’d admitted it. In her experience, men never wanted to talk about relationship stuff. There was no denying that it wasn’t just sex between them anymore, she had her doubts about whether it ever really had been. But Ari had also been ignoring that thought, hoping that some solution would present itself in time. Or that she’d suddenly stop thinking about the sexy bear shifter in front of her.
“I guess we do,” she admitted. She’d rather be in the courtroom than deal with anything like the feelings swirling around inside her, but it was too late for that now. “You just tried to bite me.”
“I know, I’m sorry.” Her heart sank, as much as she had tried to tell herself that his was the reaction she wanted, she was lying to herself and knew it.
“We can’t risk mating Bjorn,” he looked at her oddly, as if he wanted to contradict her, but she wasn’t about to let him. “We’d both lose our positions on the Council, not to mention our standing in society if we revealed we’d falsely mated. Plus, there’s my family…” she trailed off, looking at the floor and not wanting to elaborate. Ari wasn’t normally afraid of saying what she thought, and considering she was a lawyer, she didn’t have the option to be; yet there was something about this situation that was making her nervous.
“Your family?” He raised an eyebrow, a confused look in his eyes as he waited for her to elaborate.
“Never mind that; our positions, Bjorn. We could lose them.” To her surprise, Bjorn cupped her face in his hands and their eyes met.
“I would give up my position for you, Ari.” There was a sincerity in his dark eyes that scared her. Almost as if he was telling her the truth; and she didn’t know whether the possibility of him lying to her, or that of him telling the truth, scared her more.
“I’m…”
“Not ready for that. I know, but the minute you are, is the moment you’re mine.”
A thrill went through her, even if she wasn’t ready to accept that there was more between them. He kissed her chastely once, and left quickly. Almost as if he was worried about what he’d do if he stayed. He was still shirtless, the marks from her fingernails giving her inner-fox a deep sense of satisfaction, almost like the vixen had marked her territory.
The real problem was that it felt like a part of Ari left with him.

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