My, My, My...Once Hunted, Twice Shy!

Full-length Paranormal Romantic Comedy

5 Stars--"Most hilarious, fun loving, gut busting book I have read in a while."

5 Stars--"Mandy Roth is in my opinion the Queen of Paranormal Romance."

Read the series that book lovers can't stop raving about! From NY Times & USA TODAY Bestselling Author Mandy M. Roth!!!!

What Readers Are Saying:

5 Stars--"This is a clean supernatural romance, so not one bit of bad language, but that doesn't mean it's lost Ms Roth's amazing story telling. Her humour can be seen throughout the book right from page one to the very end, and she has the ability to have you sat on the very edge of your seat, unable to put the book down and needing to know what happens next, and I never stopped laughing. Like I said earlier I really hope there will be more to this series.
If I could give more than the allowed five stars I certainly would. It's definitely a must read!"

5 Stars--"Mandy did an amazing job creating well thought out characters that you cannot help but fall in love with. This story has it all suspense, romance and mystery."

5 Stars--"I don't remember laughing so very much while reading a book."

5 Stars--"I read this in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. It was enchanting."

Once Hunted, Twice Shy by NY Times Bestselling Author Mandy M. Roth

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Paranormal Romantic Comedy

Welcome to Everlasting, Maine, where there's no such thing as normal.

Wolf shifter Hugh Lupine simply wants to make it through the month and win the bet he has with his best friend. He’s not looking to date anyone, or to solve a murder, but when a breath taking beauty runs him over (literally) he’s left no choice but to take notice of the quirky, sassy newcomer. She’d be perfect if it wasn’t for the fact she’s the granddaughter of the local supernatural hunter. Even if he can set aside his feelings about her family, Penelope is his complete opposite in all ways.

Penelope Messing wanted to get away from the harsh reminder that her boyfriend of two years dumped her. Several pints of ice cream and one plane ticket to Maine later, she’s ready to forget her troubles. At least for a bit. When she arrives in the sleepy little fishing town of Everlasting, for a surprise visit with her grandfather, she soon learns that outrunning one problem can lead to a whole mess of others. She finds herself the prime suspect in a double homicide. She doesn’t even kill spiders, let alone people, but local law enforcement has their eyes on her.

The secrets of Everlasting come to light and Penelope has to not only accept that things that go bump in the night are real, but apparently, she’s destined for a man who sprouts fur and has a bizarre obsession with fish sticks. Can they clear Penelope’s name and set aside their differences to find true love?

Excerpt from Once Hunted, Twice Shy Copyright (c) 2017, Mandy M. Roth

Chapter One

Penelope Messing tapped her cell phone, wondering what was happening to her GPS. It had suddenly lost its mind. She sat in her rental car, pulled off to the side of a narrow road near a large lighthouse. The navigation system had been fine one second and had tried to route her into the ocean the next. The voice, which was set to a female one, had been rather insistent that she continue onward. The screen with the map displayed had very clearly shown nothing but water, but that didn’t seem to matter.

The darn thing had unrelentingly told her that her destination was ahead. It even had a flag graphic shown on the display with nothing but blue surrounding it. Unless her grandfather had taken to living in a submarine and no longer resided behind his shop, in the center of town, the directions the system was giving her were faulty.

Even worse, the rental car came equipped with navigation in the dash, and it too seemed to think she needed to be in the ocean. Having two different navigation systems want to drown her was unnerving to say the least.

She pulled up the address on her phone that she’d keyed in at the airport to be sure she’d not made an error. She hadn’t. This one-lane road did not look like Main Street to her. If it was, the town of Everlasting had sure downsized since she’d last been there, not that it had been a sprawling metropolis or anything before.

Prior to finding the lighthouse, all that had surrounded Penelope had been trees on both sides of the road, leaving barely any shoulder to the road at all. The dense woods had gone on for what felt like an eternity. She’d been excited when she found a structure at the end of the narrowing road. As she glanced at the huge lighthouse, she wasn’t so sure it was her saving grace after all. With the heavy rains, winds and thunder booming, the lighthouse looked less like a welcoming beacon and more like an ominous warning.

If she thought she’d be able to find her way back to the airport, and to the city, she’d have already turned around and made a go for it. At least there she’d be able to find a hotel room for the night and wait out the weather. As it stood, she was committed and starting to feel as if she’d driven to the town time forgot.

Just then, lightning slashed the sky behind the lighthouse, causing Penelope to jolt upright in the car. She hit her knee on the steering wheel and winced. “Son of a bumblebee, that hurt.”

On the verge of tears, she rubbed her knee, rethinking her life choices in a big way. Had she just stayed in Chicago, she wouldn’t currently be lost and parked near the spooky lighthouse. Had she just turned Craig down two years ago when he’d insisted they go to dinner together, she wouldn’t have a broken heart.

Frustration gnawed at her, picking away at her inner defenses like a festering wound. Everything had led her to this point, and second-guessing it all was getting her nowhere fast.

She’d wanted to get away from the city, away from her life there, away from her ex and his newly announced bride-to-be, and spend time with her grandfather. It should have been easy.

So far, the flight in had been delayed several hours due to a broken windshield wiper that wouldn’t go down. Once they’d finally gotten on their way, turbulence had rocked the plane nonstop. Upon landing, she’d found out they’d lost her checked luggage, but the airlines were quick to let her know that should they locate her bags, they’d have them delivered to where she was staying. And what should have been an easy drive to Everlasting was proving to be anything but.

“You are not going to die by the creepy-looking lighthouse, surrounded by even creepier woods and an ocean that looks like it wants to swallow you whole.”

Now if she only believed herself, all would be well.

I’m a goner.

As she tapped her phone, she caught the slightest of movements out of the corner of her eye. Looking up, she spotted a man in the window of the lighthouse. Maybe the lighthouse wasn’t so creepy after all. Especially if she could get some help there.

Hope welled, and she considered getting out to ask for directions. If he lived here, he surely knew his way around.

That thought died the moment the man backed up from the window, and she got a good look at what he was wearing, or rather what he wasn’t wearing—pants.

He was in a sports jacket and a pair of plaid boxers.

Nothing else.

“Oh my stars,” she breathed as her eyes widened. She let off the brakes momentarily, and the car crept forward, toward the cliff side. She hit the brakes and put the car in park, needing to get her bearings and then put some distance between herself and the older gentleman wearing boxers. It was that or drive off the cliff to her death because the sight of him there was like a train wreck—something she couldn’t look away from.

A series of sneezes came over her, and she held tight to the wheel, thankful she had pulled the car to a stop. Had she not, the GPS might have very well gotten its way and had her swimming with the fishes. Every bad mafia pun she could think of rolled through her head, causing a nervous laugh to escape her. She sneezed more, so hard that she nearly hit her forehead on the steering wheel.

Penelope snatched her purse from the passenger seat and took out a pack of tissues. She touched her nose with one, wondering what had come over her. Normally, she only sneezed in such a manner when she was around cats. She had a strong allergy to them and therefore did her best to avoid them whenever possible. If she didn’t, she’d end up with puffy eyes and a runny nose that would last for days. Once she’d stayed at a friend’s house who had two cats and her eyes had swollen completely shut. That had lasted for nearly a week and had required a shot to help clear up.

Thankfully, she had no issues with dogs and had a major soft spot for them. She’d have gotten one of her own if her lifestyle permitted it. As it was, she worked so many hours that it would have been unfair to any animal. In the meantime, she donated to animal shelters and rescue groups to help sate her longing for a furry friend. Whenever she could, she also volunteered, being sure to point out she couldn’t help with any cats.

Currently, there were no cats to be seen. She sneezed more, her body begging to differ with her.

She returned the tissue pack to her purse and set her purse back on the passenger seat of the vehicle, near her carry-on bag. Her carry-on held her laptop, charging cords, and a few personal items. Having to travel a great deal for the auction house, Penelope had learned to keep a change of clothes in whatever carry-on bag she took on a flight. She was relieved she’d had the forethought to do so now, or she’d be stuck in what she was wearing indefinitely.

She adjusted her sweater that had a puppy knitted on the front of it. Her sense of fashion had always been quite different from that of other women her age, but she didn’t care. At twenty-six, she wore what made her smile, and the sweater had given her the warm fuzzies when she’d spotted it in a storefront window. The leggings that she wore with it had small fire hydrants on them and paired perfectly with the sweater. At five feet nine inches, she’d had to hunt around the internet for a pair that would fit her long legs, but she’d managed to find some.

Craig, her boyfriend of the last two years, and the man who had broken her heart into a million pieces, had hated the way she dressed when she wasn’t at work. He’d mocked it every chance he’d gotten and had refused more than once to be seen in public with her until she’d changed her clothes. He also greatly disliked her sayings and refusal to say curse words. She’d always found a foul mouth to be a waste of energy. Besides, it was more fun to think of creative alternatives to words that shouldn’t be said in polite company.

Craig had never agreed.

Looking back, she realized they’d never really had much in common. She loved old things, antiques of any kind, and architecture. He liked money and knocking down old buildings to make way for new ones.

They’d met while she was working at the auction house and she’d been in her professional attire. He’d come into the auction house with a friend of his who had items up for bid, and then he’d insisted she have dinner with him. He’d seemed sweet and charming, but it had all been for show. He was on the hunt for the proper wife to drag around to social functions, and she wasn’t it. She wanted nothing to do with high society. She’d given him two years of her life, thinking the entire time that the relationship was going somewhere. That it had a future.

How foolish she’d been.

He’d broken up with her in an expensive restaurant, making quite the scene about how clumsy she was, how her sense of fashion was laughable and how she was book smart but would never be good wife material. He was also stuck on her lack of wanting to advance further in her career. She was content with what she did and didn’t want to push onward. She made good money, more than she needed to live a modest lifestyle, and she liked the people she worked with. There was no reason to want more. Craig had never understood that.

Three days ago, she’d opened the newspaper to find his photo there in the engagement section with a beautiful woman smiling next to him. Within a month of their breakup, he’d not only moved on, he’d also found that cookie-cutter trophy wife he’d been so desperate for. He was living his dream, and she was in the middle of a nightmare. She’d thought she’d been in love with Craig, and that he’d felt the same for her. A small part of her had even hoped their breakup was temporary. Clearly, it wasn’t. The sting of it all was still fresh enough to make her tear up.

She blinked away the pending tears. She’d shed enough of them over the man.

Within minutes of seeing the announcement in the paper, Penelope had finished off an entire apple pie and cried for several hours before getting online and booking a flight to Everlasting. So far, her last-minute trip was proving to be anything but relaxing.

“It can only get better from here, right?”

Glancing back up at the lighthouse, Penelope assumed she’d see the man in the plaid boxers once more. She didn’t. He was gone from the window, and there was no light whatsoever in the lighthouse any longer. As much as she needed a helping hand with directions, she didn’t want to go up to the lighthouse and ask.

She had a great-uncle who liked to walk around in his boxers as well when she was younger, and the image was still seared into her brain. At least the man in the lighthouse had gone with a nice sports jacket rather than a holey white undershirt that her great-uncle had been partial to.

Conjuring a mental image of her great-uncle, she shuddered, did a four-point turn, and drove the rental car back down the narrow road, hoping to spot a landmark or sign that would jog her memory. It had been a long time since she’d been in Everlasting. The sleepy little fishing village had apparently grown in size, at least from what she’d read on the internet.

Truth be told, she’d never thought she’d return. Her last memory of the area was of attending her parents’ funeral. She’d walked silently behind the black vehicles that had held her mother’s and father’s coffins, her hand in her grandpa Wil’s, her heart broken beyond repair. It had all seemed so confusing to her back then, like a whirl, everything happening so fast.

Her entire world had changed on a dime, and nothing had been the same. She’d been six years old then. Twenty years had passed, but it felt like yesterday. The raw emotions of it all were there, just below the surface, wanting to come out. She held tight to them, mentally reminding herself that she was no longer six years old.

She was a grown woman.

Still, the sting of it was there, floating on her memories of the time. Within hours of laying her parents to rest, she’d been whisked away from the town by her mother’s parents to be raised far from Everlasting—far from Wilber Messing, her grandfather. She’d found herself in a small town in Mississippi until she’d gone off to college.

She had fond childhood memories of Grandpa Wil. He’d been attentive and caring when she was a child, always telling her one fantastical tale after another. He never ran out of interesting stories about mythical creatures and monsters that were purportedly real. He’d tell of times of old when he and his ancestors supposedly hunted these made-up creatures. He’d had a way about him that was whimsical, and that made her smile. He’d often taken her hiking in the woods on the edge of town, teaching her to track wild animals and to fish. And he’d always made her feel safe and loved.

She’d been devastated when her parents had died and even more distraught when she’d been taken far from Grandpa Wil. Her mother’s parents had felt he was a bad influence and unfit to raise a small child on his own. They’d forbid her from visiting him or contacting him while she was growing up. Once she was away from their clutches, she’d reached out to him, hoping he’d want to see her once more.

He’d come right away to visit her at her university and had made trips across the country to spend time with her every year since, even after she’d gotten her master’s degree and started her job in marketing. But not this year.

That was part of the reason why she’d decided to fly in and surprise him. The other part had been because of her ex-boyfriend and the rather harsh reminder she wasn’t wife material in the morning paper. She’d cashed in all her unused vacation time, and she’d left the hustle and bustle of Chicago for the sleepy seaside fishing town of Everlasting.

The more she struggled to find anything that looked familiar, the more she thought she should have called first and given him a heads-up. She came to a spot in the road where she had to make a choice, left or right. She went with right and soon found herself driving down a narrow road, on a cliff side that overlooked the ocean. The storm was still going strong, so Penelope went slow, wanting to arrive in Everlasting safe, not be fished out of the bottom of the ocean by a search-and-rescue dive team.

She clutched the wheel tighter, white-knuckling her drive, as she wondered if Everlasting even had a search-and-rescue team at all. They weren’t exactly a large town.

When the rain reached a rate that made it impossible for the rental car’s wipers to keep up, she pulled the car to the side of the road once more, put the hazard lights on, and parked. She’d wait it out before she tried to push onward. There was no sense in risking life and limb to get there sooner. Check-in at the bed-and-breakfast she was staying at wasn’t until later in the day, so she had plenty of time yet.

She wasn’t sure how long she sat there before a set of yellow flashing lights came up from behind her. The lights were too bright to see what type of vehicle was there, but it was evident it was a sizeable one. Vaguely, Penelope made out a shadowy figure making its way toward her car.

She tensed, having seen one too many horror movies in her lifetime. As the figure drew closer, fear raced up Penelope’s spine. The person was wearing rain gear from head to toe and walking slowly, dragging one leg slightly. Lightning rent the sky behind the figure, making them look even more ominous.

Oh boy, she thought.

Paralyzed by fear, she sat perfectly still, positive the newcomer would succeed where the GPS had failed and actually kill her. She’d end up a statistic. A footnote in a local paper.

Coming to her senses, Penelope made sure the car locks were engaged and then looked around for anything that could be used as a weapon. Much to her dismay, the only object that might work was a ballpoint pen. Still, she clutched it for dear life, her heart pounding madly.

There was a hard rap on the window, and Penelope yelped, suddenly wishing she’d taken her chances with the man in boxers. She turned her head, unsure what she’d find, but positive it would be something horror-film worthy.

Much to her surprise, she found a woman who looked to be in her mid-sixties there, tapping lightly on the driver-side window, a huge, nonthreatening smile on her face.

Penelope sighed with relief, rolling down the window.

The woman beamed. “Lost?”

“And then some,” replied Penelope, releasing her death grip on the ballpoint pen.

“Where you headed?” asked the woman, a Maine accent evident.

“Everlasting,” replied Penelope, ignoring the rain that was coming in at her from the open window.

The woman laughed. “Well, child, you’re in luck. You’re in Everlasting. There was a sign down the road there. Couldn’t have missed it.”

Penelope’s face reddened. She’d more than missed the sign. “Really? My GPS told me I had another twenty minutes. Right before it tried to drive me off a cliff into the ocean.”

The woman waved a hand flippantly. “Those don’t work so well around these parts. Follow my truck, and I’ll get you off this stretch of road and closer to the heart of town. Tonight isn’t a night for wandering.”

“Thank you.” Penelope barely got the words out before the woman was headed back to her truck.

They couldn’t drive fast with the rain, but it didn’t take long before they encountered something that looked like civilization. A small roadside fuel and service station was there, along with a hotel and tiny restaurant. Every parking space in the hotel lot was filled. Penelope wouldn’t have thought of Everlasting as a tourist destination, but she was starting to wonder.