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    FOREWORD

    Throughout the ages man has struck against man with merciless strength through prejudice, ignorance or fear.

    Humanity, in all its often courageous, intuitive and compassionate acts, is still capable of great evil against one another.

    Blood has been spilled.

    Power has been sought, fought for, betrayed for, and souls destroyed in the quest for.

    And those who spilled the blood; started the wars; betrayed their countries, their friends and their children for power; sold their souls for it, have still had their moments of kindness, their moments of compassion.

    But have we really learned from the past?

    Have we taken to heart the mistakes our forefathers made and begun the quest to ensure they’re never made again?

    This is the “What If . . .” behind the Breeds.

    Have we learned from our past?

    Have we learned from the prejudices, the acts of mercilessness, and the unthinking search for power our forefathers sought?

    Or is man, in all his, or her, humanity, only waiting for the chance . . .

    PROLOGUE

    He fascinated her.

    Tall. Male power was an intricate part of his perfectly proportioned frame, which only increased the appeal of height, muscle and lean deadly grace. He would be perfectly suited for the cover of GQ, in a boardroom or standing, weapon drawn, teeth bared and facing any enemy.

    Or better yet, naked, aroused and more than ready to possess and conquer a lover too inexperienced to see beneath the surface to the male animal that awaited.

    He made her only too aware that she was a woman. He made her fantasize about being that lover, of finding the experience to tease and to satisfy a man in his arms.

    She was walking on dangerous ground, and Mica Toler knew it, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t seem to resist the intense draw the Wolf Breed Navarro Blaine had on her.

    Her father would have a coronary if he knew. Her mother would probably attempt to ground her. It had been years since Serena Toler had attempted to threaten her daughter with anything, let alone a grounding. But Mica could see it happening this time. Her mother definitely wouldn’t be pleased to know her daughter had taken one of the most dangerous, most indanger, men that she could choose.

    The truth was, even if her mother had had such power, Mica admitted it wouldn’t have mattered. She couldn’t seem to keep her mind, or her hormones, off of the elegantly arrogant Wolf Breed, no matter how hard she tried.

    And she knew well exactly how dangerous that could be.

    Mica wasn’t best friends with Cassandra Sinclair for nothing. There were few people, human or Breed, that the younger woman trusted, and Mica was one of those that Cassie did trust. And Cassie talked to her. Mica had information that she knew was considered highly confidential. Information that could get Cassie and her parents into a hell of a lot of trouble with both the Breed Ruling Cabinet and the individual Wolf/Coyote Breed Ruling Cabinet.

    Mica was perhaps the one of the very few people, human or Breed, that Cassie confided in. Like Mica, she had issues with trust, and those issues kept her more isolated than being a part of the Breed community did.

    More to the point, now that Styx, the only other friend Cassie had allowed herself, had found his mate, Storme Montague, Cassie had no one else she confided in period, except Mica.

    Mica knew about mating. It was a secret that wasn’t nearly as closely guarded as the Breeds would like it to be. It was a secret that she knew they feared would destroy the Breed communities.

    The thought of that was almost amusing. The world was so fascinated with Breeds that it was insane.

    Those who loved them defended and protected them fanatically. Those who hated them hated them with a passion usually reserved for the greatest evil. It seemed there was no in-between when it came to either the dedication or the hatred aimed at the Breeds.

    The truth of mating heat would only make those who loved them love them more. And it really wasn’t possible for those who hated them to hate them more, but it would definitely intensify the fear from that group, as well as the violence.

    It could cause the Breeds problems, she admitted, but she didn’t believe it had the power to destroy them.

    “Have the files come in from the EU yet?” Cassie Sinclair’s slightly distracted tone drew Mica from her scrutiny of the Breed in question and had her turning away from the window of the office of Haven public relations.

    “Not yet, but my sources assure me there’s nothing in them that could harm the Breeds.” Mica forced her attention back to the electronic news spread that scrolled across the holographic display on the far wall.

    From all over the world, news stories concerning Breeds were streamed into the holo-spread, many well in advance of the hard-copy papers and website uploads they would later appear on.

    The United World Internet Laws allowed the Central News Monitoring organization time to review what could be the most seditious posts before they were uploaded. Those laws allowed the Breeds to monitor any inflammatory or potentially dangerous stories that could possibly cause violence against Haven or Sanctuary. They had little prep time, though, between the stories coming in and the actual live feeds as they posted to the Internet. Less than twelve hours in some cases.

    “I see Tanner is once again wowing the crowds,” Mica drawled as the Bengal Breed appeared briefly on the spread, his infamous smile charming the world.

    And damn if he wasn’t fine-looking. All that rich, midnight black hair tipped with the finest gold and that deep, sun-darkened skin. A body worth panting for. He was almost as fine-looking as Navarro.

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