Friday, February 28, 2014

Friends, Lovers and Mated Seals... Hooyah!

It had been a week since they’d brought Tark into the pleasure club for questioning and Reetha was tired.  No matter what she and Dante tried this ass-packet would not break.  She’d considered going in initially and acting like his friend, warning him of Dante’s wrath, but when it came to this skeeze her skills were no longer that good.

“You ready to try again?”

Reetha stopped trying to hold up the wall and looked back at Dante. “No, but we need too.  Everything okay with Ewan?”

“With Ewan – yes, with this entire situation – no.”

“Has something happened, Dante?”

“A skilled hunter has come to town, with a band of wannabe’s in their cute little mystery machine and my sire is making monsters.  I’d be willing to bet the designer drug, Tranq, is a part of his evil genius as well.  Damn, what I wouldn’t give for some peace.”

“Yeah.”  Reetha sighed, dreaming of one or two nights of peaceful pleasure spent here at the club.  Bound and free from the overwhelming guilt of failing everyone she loved.

“Chin up, love.  This too shall pass.”

She smiled at the wolf who was without a doubt the best friend she’d had since Ziva in her youth. 
“You know we need to read Nick in on this soon.”

“I do, but I hate the thought since Ziva’s now pregnant.  He’s snarly at the best of times when it comes to his mate, but now he’s got a hair trigger.  Time with this guy will not help that.”

“True, but he’s scary and he’d already stumped Tark’s tail before you got to them…”

Dante laughed. “That he did and now that there’s a hunter in town gunning for your dad among others, we need more help”

“Pops is still tough, but giving him a heads up would be a good idea.”

“We will.  Now, did this lowlife take the bait?”

“Sure did.  He grabbed the phone when we tussled couple a days ago.  There would have been just enough battery life for him to make one phone call.”

“Let’s go see who he reached out too.”

##

Rafe Silva had caught his mate’s scent the moment he’d entered the pleasure club and it had taken everything in him to hold his wolf back.  Now she was entering the room and he needed to use all of his seal training to keep some space between them. 

“So Tark are you…”

He knew the exact moment she realized he was here as she turned towards where he stood behind the door.  Agony, so clear in her eyes, beat at him.  Losing Jilly forced her to flee and instead of coming to him, she’d run far away.  Well he’d lost that sweet deer too.  And even though Reetha had been the main thing they’d had in common, he still had tender feelings for the woman who shared a bed with him and his mate.

“You!  He called you!  I should have known one rat bastard would call the King Daddy of rat bastards.”

“Ah Reetha, I prefer Sir, but if you want to give Daddy a try I guess I can be accommodating.”

“What the…” “Hell!” “Gaaa!”

Everything happened at once as goatfucks were wont to do.  Dante led with a confused question, Tark swore and banged his head and Reetha came at him only to be pulled back, by another pissed off alpha, before she made contact.

“Whoa there, love.”

Rafe’s wolf got the better of him at Dante’s term of endearment along with the arms surrounding his mate and he issued a mean growl – a warning to the other man.  Dante in turn growled and shoved Reetha behind him.

“Who is this, Reetha?”

“No one, lover,” she oozed, her arm around the other wolf’s middle – fingers toying with his abs.
“Just another lowlife lawyer.”

Rafe willed himself not to react further as he studied the couple before him.  Dante was good at hiding the emotions in his eyes, but he couldn’t quite contain the flinch as Reetha’s fingers pass over him.  His body language screamed that he belonged to another.

“To right you are Ms. McMahon and as such I am taking my client from this place, which is clearly not a police station.”

“We’re not done with your, client,” Dante sneered.

“Yes, you are.  Anything further can be directed to me…Reetha knows the number.”

Rafe directed Tark from the room, closing the door on his mates raggedly wailed “BASTAR….”

##

Outside the pleasure club, Rafe pushed the beaten up waste of space pusher into his car and told him in no uncertain terms to stay put before stepping away and placing his call.

“What?”

The slap of skin on skin, followed by giggles told him all he needed to know about where is friend currently was.  “Aren’t you supposed to be working?  Not indulging in a round of slap and tickle?  And to that point, if it is a little S & T why the hell answer the phone?”

“One moment…Stooly, get in here and cover for me…okay, okay.”  Rafe listened to mumbled threats about not looking and keeping quiet before the sound of a door shutting and a pissed off penguin filled his ear.  “I blame you, fuckhead.”

“Burge…”

“Don’t Burge me.  This guy is a freak, and not some nice loveable one either.  But you knew that already.  Damn Rafe.”

“You’re the only one I could trust with this.”

“We had a lot of buddies in the teams…”

“But you and I were the only shifters.”

“Shit.”

He knew exactly how Burgess felt.  This op felt never fucking ending and it was getting in the way of their relationships with their mates.  “I need you back here.”

“Tell that to the freak.”

“I intend to.  Be ready.”

“What’s going on?”

“The Tranq worked and I was called to Talbot’s Peak.” Rafe once again looked to the self-satisfied knob contaminating his car.  “To save the douchebag.”

“Shit!”

“Exactly.”

~~~
 Have a splendid weekend & keep warm!


Serena

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Guest Blogger - JoAnne Myers




Hey Shapeshifter Seduction fans, happy Thursday, ya'll!  Nice seeing you again.  How about helping me welcome our guest blogger, JoAnne Myers.

Hi JoAnne, welcome!  So, I hear you enjoy writing about ghosts because of real life inspirations?  Do tell...


When it comes to fiction writing, almost anything goes. That is why I love writing paranormal and fantasy stories. The author can go completely over the edge and make something unbelievable seem believable. When it comes to ghost stories, I get a lot of my inspiration from real life experiences. Not necessarily my own either. I watch television programs that partake of the supernatural and paranormal flare. Programs from ordinary people who claim they experienced either an afterlife experience, or a haunting.
Some of my stories from my upcoming release “Wicked Intentions” is based on actual hauntings. Some stories I read about in the newspaper, and others I watched on true life experience programs. So the next time you get “writer’s block” try switching on the television. You might find something to jolt your inspiration.

 
Did you always want to become a writer? 

I have enjoyed art since childhood, and have always been able to write.
 
Which book was the hardest to write and which the easiest? 

The hardest was my biography true crime The Crime of the Century, because of the intense research   involved.  The easiest, was Loves, Myths, and Monsters, a fantasy anthology due out later this month. Each tale seemed to flow through the pages. It only took five months to write the book.
 
How long have you been writing and who are your publishers? 

I have only been seriously writing for about ten years. My publishers are Melange Books and Black Rose Writing.
 
Tell us a bit about your new release. 

I actually have two new releases coming up.   The first is Loves, Myths, and Monsters, and the other is another biography true crime book, Twisted Love. It is a anthology of various homicide cases from Ohio and surrounding states.
 
Which book did you spend the most time researching and why? 

The Crime of the Century, was exhausting. I had to research newspaper articles, courthouse            documents, coroner, police and witness reports.
 
Anything else that you’d like readers to know about you? 

Writing is the only activity that keeps my interest. I also paint, but writing is the berries.

Thanks for being with us today, JoAnne.  Any final words for our readers?

I would like to award two winners each a print copy of my poetry collection, Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between for commenting. I will pay for all shipping, but only US citizens please apply. 

Awesome!  Listen up, fine readers...if you're interested in winning a copy of JoAnne's poetry please make sure to leave your email addy along with your comment.  :)

Author Bio:


I have been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of my life. Besides having several novels under my belt, I canvass paint.
When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, I spend time with relatives, my dogs Jasmine and Scooter, and volunteer my time within the community. I am a member of the Hocking Hill's Arts and Craftsmen Association, The Hocking County Historical Society and Museum, and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. I believe in family values and following your dreams. 
 
My books along with my original canvass paintings, can be found at: http://www.booksandpaintingsbyjoanne.com
 
Other books by JoAnne:
 
Murder Most Foul-a detective/mystery book
The Crime of the Century-a biography true crime novel
Poems About Life, Love, and Everything in Between-a collection of poems written with respect and love for others
 
Upcoming releases:
 
Loves, Myths, and Monsters,- a fantasy anthology starring the Mothman, the Chupracabra, mermaids, reincarnation, an Egyptian love curse, and etc.
Twisted Love-a biography true crime anthology
 
 



 Blurbs for "Wicked Intentions" a paranormal.mystery anthology

 
 
BLOOD TIES- word count 15, 902
After the mysterious disappearance of twenty-six year old wife and mother Lisa Smalley, her twin, Audra Roper, begins having dark and disturbing visions of Lisa’s disappearance. Trying to survive while looking for Lisa, Audra’s life becomes a roller coaster of risks, heartbreak, and intrigue.
 
 
THE HAUNTING OF BARB MARIE- word count 9,845
Even as a child, Barb Marie saw dead people. This took an unhealthy toil on her throughout her childhood and young adulthood.
 
SUMMER WIND-word count 13,039
When twenty-nine year old Ginger discovers the old mansion Summer Wind, she is mysteriously drawn to it. . Immediately, the haunting’s have a negative and profound effect on the family.
 
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LIES-laying the Norfolk ghost to rest-word count-23,623
Solving the brutal murder of American born Ruthie Geil becomes a gauntlet of attacks and more murders for Federal Police Inspector Ian Christian. Between the victims family, ex-lovers, and ghostly occurrences on Norfolk Island, the killer is closer than anyone realizes.
  
THE LEGEND OF LAKE MANOR-word count 8,297
For the young psychic Cassandra Lopez, coming to the infamous and haunted mansion Lake Manor, was more like a mission.
 
THE APARTMENT-word count 5,188
When young newlyweds Bill and Gayle move into their new apartment, their lives are plagued with sightings of evil ghosts that threaten their marriage and lives.
 
DARK VISIONS-word count 5,170
When Carrie Reynold’s starts having nightmares on her twenty-sixth birthday, she believes her “dark visions” can solve the twenty year disappearance of her father.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Not A Drinking Man



Bambie shambled up to the bar in Rattigan's with a soul-weary air hovering over him. Louie had been in the business of running a pub long enough to know a man in need of peace and a long line of cold beers when he saw one. He didn't know the forest ranger well, not being an outdoorsy kind of guy, but he did know that Bambie didn't drink. He wasn't a tee-totaler; he never seemed to care if other people drank around him. He just didn't do it himself.
"Hayah, Bambie," Louie greeted the buck shifter, being careful to subdue his natural Jersey bubbliness. Bambie looked up, sort of raised his eyebrows by way of returning the greeting, and then sat at an empty stool with his eyes down again. Louie didn't ask the buck what he was in the mood for. He just pulled a bottle of Peak's corn Ale, popped the top, and slid it down the bar. Bambie caught it deftly and just looked at it for a long moment before taking a pull on it. He raised his eyes to Louie for the first time since walking through the door. The haunted look in his eyes gave Louie a chill.
"Want to talk about it?" he asked, suspecting the answer would be no, at least not yet. A guy didn't get a look like that lightly and it would probably take several beers for the buck to unwind enough to be able to talk about it. Even then, Bambie may not want to talk about it, but at least he would be able to.
Bambie shook his head once and Louie shrugged. The offer had been made. That was what counted at the moment. He went back to working on his food order and weekly menu after quietly telling the bar tender to start a tab for the buck and to keep the brews coming.
His thoughtfulness paid off about three hours later. Bambie hadn't gotten shit-faced, but had sat there drinking one beer after another steadily throughout the evening. After his seventh beer, he made eye contact with Louie again, signaling that he was ready to talk.
"It's not like you to drink like this, Bam," Louie said quietly.
"Been one hellofa day," Bambie sighed. That Louie could believe. The buck hadn't gotten his nickname just because of his shifter breed. He was genuinely a nice, clean cut, disgustingly honest guy. He didn't drink. He didn't swear, or smoke, or have any other vice that Louie knew of. His whole family was like that. Bambie's step-brother, Tom, was a town cop and his mom and step-dad owned the town hardware store. Nothing but a truly horrible day could have driven a straight shooter like Bambie Deerborne to drink and cuss.
"Some snowmobilers ran down a moose calf today. Broke her front legs so badly that I had to put her down," Bambie said after a long pause. "About an hour later, those assholes came running up, pissed because a cow moose had charged them and wrecked their snowmobiles. They were all, 'you should put that animal down before she kills someone!' Never mind the fact that they had just left her baby mortally wounded. Oh, no! They did nothing wrong!"
"Jesus," Louie said in awed disgust. "Shifters?"
"Naw, they were out of towners here for a little 'communing with nature,' if you can believe that." He shook his head in denial. "The thing is, what if they had hit one of our young?"
Louie knew what Bambie was talking about. What if they had run down a shifter child? Nothing but bad news. The parent would not have just trashed their machines, she would have murdered them. And then the town would be over run with biologists and Feds wanting to know what was going on in this neck of of the woods.
"They still in the area?" Louie asked, a hard edge creeping into his voice.
"Oh, yeah," Bambie said with a bobbing head nod. "They'll be in the area for another week, they said. They want me to keep them abreast of the hunt for the mother of the baby moose they murdered."
And now Louie knew why Bambie had come to Ratigan's. Shifters took care of their own. He was known to the bastards, so he couldn't act. But Louie could.

"Don't worry about it, Bam. I'll take care of this," Louie said grimly.


* * * * *

This bit of flash fiction is based off true events. This more or less did happen here in Colorado. You can find video of a moose chasing snowmobilers on YouTube and a baby moose was hit in the same area that day and had to be put down. Please be careful out there if you enjoy winter sports. We humans aren't the only ones in this world.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Mutant-landia of Damien Hancock


Pic from: ~mammoththunderpower.files.wordpress.com~

Tuesday howls and yowls, shapeshifter lovers.

Now that Damien Hancock's secret 'doctor' is out of the closet but not out of his monster-cloning lab... well... read on.


~~~~~~

The Mutant-landia of Damien Hancock

Damien Hancock, the werewolf pack leader who had first seized Talbot's Peak, growled orders to the four betas following in his wake. "Useless curs," he muttered, as they entered his hidden underground lab located near Pike's Peak.

An unnatural silence enveloped him once the ten-foot thick steel door closed, sealing them inside. His terror campaign to rid Talbot's Peak of humans and cat shapeshifters was yet to be fulfilled, to his everlasting rage.

But Damien was a werewolf man with a devious plan. Several diabolical plans to be scat exact. 

He'd be damned before showing his throat, or bowing to the genius maneuvering of his second son, Dante.  A reluctant respect gripped his innards, and Damien barked a harsh growl at himself.

The cat-licking, human-loving renegade cub -- who favored his dam and had been corrupted by her soft paw -- countered his every move like a master chessboard player but with deadly-attack strategies when required. Dante could fang-rip out the jugular with the best of them.

He'd learned that much from his sire.

Damien smirked, then reminded himself he owned the last fang-ruthless move. Toothy grinning, he sauntered slowly, studying Morloxian's latest army of demon-eyed killer beasts.

Behind a specialized, black-ops grade of plexiglass, on both sides of the ten foot corridor, mutant werewolves occupied huge cubicles. Frozen in a state of stasis, the  hideously formed beasts could be activated, loosed on an unsuspecting enemy -- or any population -- at a moment's notice.

In anticipation, Damien grinned, his lips thinning over his protuding fangs. As he understood the mad scientist's explanation, originally Dire wolf variants had been infected with a dinosaur-ravaging virus discovered in the depths of the Amazon jungle. Of course, Morloxian constantly added his own evil-genius refinements to the gene-bubbling brew.

Recently he'd included the murderous instincts and superior agility of Jackals and Hyenas. Morloxian's gleeful recitation of the process still echoed inside Damien's head, the memory like a B horror movie but without the humorous silliness he enjoyed on occasion. 

As he watched the steel door slide open, Damien girded his loins, preparing himself for the offal stench of the mad-dog scientist. Morloxian remained in a perpetual state of half shift, and no matter his attempt to cleanse himself, the odor stuck to him like fresh tomcat scat.

"Sir." Morloxian glided forward in his strange gait, offering his deformed paw-hand, the one with the unusually long and dextrous fingers.

Random patches and tufts of werewolf fur covered his 'bright as a billiard ball' bald head -- and his body as Damien had been a witness to once. Pained howls to hell, once was enough, as the inane saying went.

To his credit, Morloxian always wore an immaculately clean white lab coat. Damien resisted the urge to howl a laugh as he briefly embraced the lumpy monstrosity within his semi-morphed hand. Whiskers sprouted haphazardly on the scientist's Boris Karloff like features, giving him a cartoon-comical appearance.

"Impressive," Damien growled, referring to the stasis army of mutant werewolves he'd just viewed.

"You ain't seen nothing yet," Morloxian joked in his cracking-odd voice. He waggled his mismatched brows, bushy brows that should only have belonged on a grizzled old mountain man.

"Show me. Are the funds in order?" Damien thought to ask. A happy mad scientist was exceptionally, insanely creative, as he'd learned. 

"More than sufficient, sir. My team has made good progress on those samples you sent of the horse-altered mutants. Although, magick is always a tricky beast to define, and incorporate into the genetic matrix. However," Morloxian stretched his thick, semi-twisted mouth into a smile. "I assure you it can be accomplished."

"I have every faith in your ability. That brings me to one reason for this meeting. I have word from a trusted source... one of your team is an infiltrator." Damien let the rest of his thought hang and blow in the mighty wind of his alpha power, while keenly observing Morloxian's reaction.

"Could you be more specific, sir?" Nothing but respect shone in Morloxian's very human eyes. "You vetted, and have the dossiers on every one of my assistants."

"Yes. So, I do," Damien widened his lips into a smile of acceptance, given the emotional fragility of the werewolf-bitten human. "Why don't you take me on the grand tour? The nose knows. Sniffing out the scat vermin could be quite entertaining for all of us. And," Damien enticed, "give you more useful genetics to play with... perhaps, even a cure."

Morloxian frowned, only enough to demonstrate his point, not as a challenge. "I no longer care about a cure for my... ah... condition, sir. I've come to enjoy my franken-wolf state." He smiled like a jester fool atop a king's hill. "Some females seem to enjoy my 'extra' prowess."

"Yes, I can imagine." Damien clapped his 'ace' against Dante on the shoulder in an intentional human gesture of affection. Such bonding created loyalty, as he'd learned over his lengthy life. "How is your harem?"

A red stain spread over Morloxian's face, then the bald areas of his head.

"No need for words," Damien growled in a friendly manner. "Show me your latest project. Then, we'll sniff out the infiltrator, and have our fun."

"Mammoth genes," Morloxian burst out. "They're all over the black market now. I was able to secure a viable set. You should see the prototype I've created."

Damien wickedly glittered inside with the possibilities of such a formidable creature. "A mammoth mutant werewolf?"

"With tusks that can take out any military tank," Morloxian enthused.

"That does take priority..." Damien envisioned the 'out of the bowels of hell' damage he could wreak on Talbot's Peak proper... on Dante's fortress, the Pleasure Club.

~~~~~~


BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5506268940242484050
Wishing you romance on the wild side… 

Savanna

Savanna Kougar ~ Run on the Wild Side of Romance ~


~~~~~~

Monday, February 24, 2014

Doctor? Who?


Dante’s enemies—and the guardian of Talbot’s Peak had quite a few—often wondered if the seemingly-omniscient wolf ever slept. For instance, he was still awake and dressed at three in the morning when the van pulled up to the bar. Ewan, naked as a jaybird and just as chatty, got out, with a human she in tow. He pounded on the bar’s locked door and demanded to see Dante. “Hate to bust in like this,” he said when finally ushered into Dante’s presence, “but we got a hunter out at the Rocky Top looking to blast all comers. Oh, this is Maureen. One of us kidnapped the other one. We’re still working out who’s who.”

“Are you the Doctor?” the woman asked.

For a long time Dante just stood there, his narrow glare bouncing back and forth between the shifter male and human female. Finally he took Maureen by the hand. “My office,” he ordered Ewan.

Ewan shrugged and left Maureen to Dante. He wouldn’t hurt her, even though she was human and a hunter of sorts. She was probably safer with Dante than she was with her erstwhile partners.

Once in Dante’s office he shifted and curled up on the floor for a wolfnap. This had been one nonstop Saturday night, and only looked to get more interesting as the hours wore on. Best to grab rest when he could.

Sure enough, way too soon Dante woke him with a nudge of his foot. Ewan got up and switched back to human, and accepted the Levis and shirt Dante handed him. “How’s Maureen?” he asked while he pulled on the pants.

“Fine, for the time being. You?”

“Just a might ticked. I mean, getting a bag thrown over your head and dragged into a van can be fun, but only if you plan for it.” He buttoned up the shirt. “Same for being tied to a bed. It’s just not the same when hunters do it. Oh, and that dingo dog just happened to show up at the Rocky Top. Funny how that worked out.”

“Hoover warned me about that bunch as soon as they checked in. I was fishing for information. I needed bait. Dugger rode along in case matters got out of hand. I have confidence in your ability to preserve your own hide.”

“A little warning would have been nice.” So would an apology, but Ewan knew better. As an alpha, Dante had to be ruthless sometimes. Ewan shrugged it off with a coyote’s what-the-hell attitude. He’d chucked a human into Dante’s lap, so he figured they were even. “The Loony Toon Brigade is after those mutts of your dad’s. They think we’re building werewolves out of innocent humans. Cochrane wants Vernon McMahon and Lance Lincoln’s heads on a skewer. Any other shifter dies along the way, he’ll be happy.”

“Why did you bring that woman here?”

“It wasn’t exactly my idea. Anyway, they already know you’re involved, or at least the bar is. They came here hunting a werewolf victim, didn’t they? This bunch has done their homework. Cochrane’s a pro, and the rest of them are just stupid enough to be dangerous.”

“Especially now that they know about the Doctor. That was foolish.”

“What? I dropped a little chum in the water to see if the sharks would bite. It’s not like … scat.” Ewan breathed out a growl. “Don’t tell me there really is a Doctor.”

“My sire’s been secretly working with select humans for longer than he wants anybody to know. I thought the ‘Doctor,’ whatever his real name is, was only a rumor too. Then the mutants appeared. We had a chance to examine them when Marissa’s spell turned that one band into horses. Their wolf and human DNA had been knit together with Hancock shifter. My sire is using his pack to make monsters. He has to be stopped.”

But not killed. Ewan slid away from that topic with practiced finesse. “The Monster Squad will hit here first. They found one wolf here, they’ll figure they might find more.”

“Not for some time. My sources tell me most of them are currently incarcerated. I’ll see what I can do to keep them there. Cochrane’s on the loose. He worries me more. I’m guessing he’ll head for town. He can do the most damage there.”

“Yeah. He wants to kill shifters, all he has to do is stand in the square and start shooting.” Ewan sighed. “I’m up at bat again, aren’t I?”

“You’re on standby. We have others in town watching out for Cochrane. You … ” Dante grinned viciously. “You have a prisoner to guard.”

# # #

Dante had put Maureen in one of his special rooms. This one had been tricked out to look like a harem room, minus all the semi-naked girls. She was awake and curled up on a pile of cushions. She stared at Ewan warily when he came in. Ewan just plain stared.

Wellnow. Hell-oooo, Daphne.

Somebody had got her out of her baggy duds and into a little wraparound thingie that showed off a lot of scrawny arm and leg. He still couldn’t see any boobage, but he had a better idea now of where it might be. That same somebody had applied cosmetics with a master’s hand. Her eyes now dominated her face instead of those clunky glasses, and her lips appeared larger and infinitely kissable. The blush, he figured, was probably natural.

He shut the door and plopped down on a nearby cushion. Not too nearby, because she still looked a might skittish. However, she appeared happy to see him, which he took as encouragement. “They treating you okay?”

“Pretty much,” she said. “Who was that other guy? The mastermind?”

“Nah, just the bar owner. He’s a little ticked you guys picked his business as ground zero for an invasion. Things like that cut into profits. I see he helped you clean up, though.”

“That wasn’t him.” Yep, that blush was the real deal. “This—this chorus girl saw me, and shrieked, and dragged me into the ladies’ room and said I needed a makeover. She did my face and gave me this dress and then she left me here.” She plucked at the hem of the dress. “It doesn’t really fit me. I figured I could use it for a nightie.”

“Chorus girl? A redhead?”

“No, she had pink hair. Tall, with a deep voice.” Suspicion leaped into her mascara’d eyes. “Y’know, I think she might have been a guy.”

“Ah. That’s Lamar. He’s harmless. Just don’t let him hug you. He hates to let go.”

“They’ll come straight here, you know,” she said, switching tracks. “We’ve been studying this place. We ID’d over a dozen werecreatures, not just wolves.”

“We?” Ewan said. “Or you?”

She scooted a little bit away from him. “I don’t know what you mean.”

“I think you do.” Finally he got his finger on why her scent hit him as so homey. “You’re pretty good at spotting wolves, aren’t you? I figure that comes natural to you. Just how much wolf you got in you?”

Sunday, February 23, 2014

SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY: His Claimed Bride, Happy New Year On Another Earth

Sunday greetings, everyone. 

Once upon a time I wrote an entire flash-scene novel, or 200 hundred words each day, as an experimental free read. Sylva and Zeke's love story began on New Year's Eve 2008. Originally, this paranormal erotic romance was titled: Happy Courtship on Another Earth.

I decided to compile my flash-scene novel, about 160,875 words – give it a read-through, then Indie publish it in flash-scene form. The title is now: His Claimed Bride, Happy New Year On Another Earth.

The fabulous 'perfect for the story' cover art was designed by erotic romance author, Serena Shay, one of our SHAPESHIFTER SEDUCTIONS authors.


~~~~~~

 SIX X-Flash Scenes ~

 His Claimed Bride, Happy New Year On Another Earth

A Flash-Scene Erotic Romance Novel


~21~

Sylva jerked her hand back as if she'd touched a hot stove. Only it was the scorch of their passion. Amazed, she watched him skillfully unstrap her high heels, his fingertips brushing a brand through her hose as he slipped them off each foot. "How hot are you, cowboy?" she crooned, utterly unlike herself. *Husband* – it rang through her mind until he looked up, his silvery eyes beaming intensely. "Zeke," he hoarsely prompted. "Hot enough to singe your eyebrows with one kiss." His small grin lit up his eyes, his hand slowly stroking up her leg. "Is that so, Zeke?" 

~~~ 

Zeke circled caresses on her upper thigh, long and beautifully full beneath his palm. Her eyes glittered a dare. He also witnessed her filly-skittishness. Gradually leaning forward, he placed a kiss above her knee. One kiss at a time he moved upwards, fondling the generous curve of her thigh, then her luscious hip. Her soft yielding moan encouraged him, and he slid his palm up her other thigh, pressing kisses until he met the stiff fabric of her skirt. He embraced her haunches, stroked, then grazed his fingertips over the waistband of her strange hose. "Take them off," she murmured. 

~22~ 

Sylva sparkled as if New Year's day fireworks soared inside her. Deciding she would live for today, she lifted her hips a bit as his work-rough hands smoothed down her pantyhose, gliding down her skin in a way that had her ready to swoon. "You didn't answer, Zeke," she provoked, astounded by how sultry her voice sounded. Deliberately he stroked down her shin, his pleasure obvious. "I don't want your eyebrows singed yet, darlin'. That's for later. I want you smoky and silky beneath me." With seductive care, he slipped her feet free of the pantyhose, his hands relishing her arches. 

~~~ 

Zeke caressed her little soft toes, letting his fingertips linger before stroking them away. "Oooh, a man with answers," she crooned, her shoulder rolling forward, teasing his eye. Standing, he unbuckled his gun belt and hung it within easy reach. Not wanting to make her shy away from him, he unbuttoned and slid off his vest, then sat beside her on the lounge. His cock ached a protest, fighting against his pants. Gently capturing the side of her face, he brushed his thumb over her flushed cheek. "What an impudent nose you have, my beautiful Sylva. Should I kiss it?" 

~23~ 

Sylva leaned forward, her breasts throbbing, desperate for his attention. "Please." Breathless and sizzly inside with anticipation, she waited. Bending down to her nose, he kissed the tip tenderly. In what seemed like slow motion, he angled his head, touching her lips with his persuasively. Hope flickered, teasing her. Would being with him cause her agony? Or, maybe ... maybe ... had good fortune finally found her in the romance department? In another world? Answering his kiss, she felt like a seductress as she played her lips over his, tasting the firm shape. God, she loved kissing, even if her nipples begged. 

~~~ 

Zeke patiently devoured her lips with kisses he invented just for her. Her mouth inspired them, playing his like a risque tune on a saloon piano. Claiming the back of her sweet neck, he stroked his thumb over the silken flesh of her throat. Knowing their marriage began this night, and would always be influenced by their first time together, he kept his 'cocked' shotgun holstered, for now. Just for her. She was so beautiful, his Sylva, he wondered how he could ever say no to her. Zeke caressed along her shoulder, his thumb grazing the swell of her breast. 

~24~ 

Sylva nipped his lower lip with her lips. Her breath a storm raging inside her, she whispered, "Zeke, please, handle my breasts." Immediately his rough, oh-so masculine hands caressed over her back. His kisses trailed along her jaw as he smoothly unzipped her bodice, freeing her. Daring herself, Sylva reached out sliding her hand along his thighs. She molded magnificent sinew and muscle. "Yes," she murmured. His wonderful kisses followed the length of her neck and he eased the bodice farther away from her swollen needy breasts. The chill of the air rushed over her nipples. "Oh, please," she pleaded. 

~~~ 

Zeke lurched inside like a wild stallion, toward her. Mentally, he lassoed himself, tugging the rope taut. So far, she wanted him. Angels above stop him, he wasn't doing anything to change that. Dang, she tasted sweeter than roses and honey, with her own female spice that tempted him to launch himself on top of her – ravish her until she couldn't move. He already knew she'd be a perfect fit in his bed, beneath him – held in his arms as they slept and dreamed together. Her little hand on his thigh sent another bolt of need straight to his cock. 

~25~ 

Sylva yearned as she never had. His kisses hungrily feasted on the upper curves of her breasts. Reluctant to let go of his thigh, still, she leaned back, arching her nipples toward his mouth. Masterfully shoving her party dress down to her hips, Zeke slid his hand beneath her breasts, their heaviness cradled in his palms. God, she loved the way her softness felt against his roughened hands. She loved the way he kissed her, wooing her body, just as he wooed her emotions, her desire for him. "Zeke, please kiss my nipples." Feeling naughty, Sylva thrust to his mouth. 

~~~ 

Zeke lifted the creamy confection of her breasts beneath his lips. He pressed a full kiss to the tip of her strawberry nipple, lingering before he kissed her other blatant nipple, pleading and growing with ripeness beneath his lips. Already he missed her touch on his thigh, even though he held her passionate femininity in his hands. He'd bet his year's earnings, she was the type of woman who could be sweet, willing as pie – but, if handled with a wrong rein, she'd lash out at him, fierce and untamed. He surely liked that possibility. For now, he'd gentle her. 

~26~ 

Sylva trembled uncontrollably as he strongly pulled her nipple inside the warmth of his mouth. Still fondling the underswell of her breasts, he suckled in a manner that had her sex dripping, and her belly warming, then simmering. "Harder," she encouraged, when he nuzzled her other nipple. Latching on, he tugged with more force while scraping this thumbnail back and forth over her huge wet nipple. Sylva moaned loudly, her loins flooding with molten desperate need. "Yes." Squeezing her shoulder blades together, and dropping her head back, she offered her breasts completely. She heard his primal groan. She felt it. 

~~~ 

Zeke wallowed in the taste and rigid texture of her bud-plump teats. She was perfect for suckling, a pleasure he intended pursuing often in their privacy together. As he handled her, the pillow softness and shape of her breasts drove him crazy – like a bull in a field of loco weed. She was his bride. Even if she didn't have a damn sweet clue what that meant in his world. She'd learn. No matter how many times he had to rope her, or tan her voluptuous ass before he rode between her creamy thighs. Now, heaven was her thrust nipple. 

~27~ 

Sylva was caught on the edge of ecstasy, her entire body ... not merely her sex bits – especially as he fondled her breasts more vigorously. His teeth gently captured her bliss-aching nipple, tugging and releasing, over and over. She moaned, clenched her eyelids tightly. And wanted more. The desire to feel her skin against his exploded inside her. Leaning forward, looping her arms around his neck, she flowed her hands into the springy thickness of his hair. Embracing the back of his head, she whispered, "Please, make me naked." Sylva kissed his forehead, inhaling his outdoors' scent, his raw male smell. 

~~~ 

Zeke sucked her nipple taut into his mouth, caressing downward. Feeling her darling little waist beneath his hands, he paused, stroking. He eased her short sassy dress over her breeding hips, so lovely in the embrace of his hands. He reveled in the shape, then shoved the dress down her thighs. Keeping her teat deep in his mouth, he slid the bunched material down her calves. After molding the curve of her leg, he gripped the stiff skirt material, pulling it from her feet. "Time to mount up, cowboy," she murmured provocatively. Her lips brushed his earlobe several times. "Zeke." 

~~~~~~

For more Sunday Sneak Peaks ~sneak-peek-sunday.blogspot.com~

~~~~~~

HIS CLAIMED BRIDE, HAPPY NEW YEAR ON ANOTHER EARTH ~ A Flash Scene Novel ~ Out of work, Sylva decides to celebrate New Year's Eve in style. Destiny intervenes when an SUV speeds toward her. Splash she's in a mud puddle. Confused, Sylva sees a cowboy, his lasso swinging. ~ On the hunt for a bride, Zeke figures destiny is favoring him once he gets a good look at the woman. She's fallen right in his path. Given there's a shortage of marriageable women, Zeke throws his rope fast and true.


Available ~

Smashwords Premium Catalogue
Amazon Kindle
Coming soon to All Romance Ebooks  


BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5506268940242484050 
Wishing you romance on the wild side… 

Kisses, Savanna Kougar

Saturday, February 22, 2014

TO RUN OR NOT TO RUN---IS THAT THE REAL QUESTION?




Gill looked at the multipaged signed petition laying on top his desk blotter.  He estimated about twenty signatures per page.  He counted roughly ten pages so far.  The petition, thanks to  Rachel who showed up unannounced yesterday morning at her desk, concerned his running for re-election.  If this was an indicator next to the emails, phone calls, and conversations tossed at him recently, quite a few Peakites wanted him to stay in office.

Next to the petition sat the papers he needed to sign to declare his candidacy.  Not that there were any others who appeared to want the job.  Then again, the job wasn't hard.  With the city council in place, more work got done than in most of the prior mayors' terms in office.  It didn't hurt that the older citizens liked having a voice in how things got done.  And the younger folks were taking pride in being active in civic and political functions.

Gill picked up the pen close to the blotter.  Could he take on another term?  He didn't know.  Questions and answers evaded him until now.  With Rachel back, maybe the buried bodies might be less likely to come falling out of anywhere.  There was this dude Tyburn who pushed the mail cart around town delivering mail and newspapers.  He'd shown up around the time Rachel had.  She glared at him and told him to keep his mind on his job.


Gill tossed the pen in his middle desk drawer.  He locked the petition and other papers in there.  Pocketing the key, he strode out of his office whistling.  Rattigan's happy hour was starting.  He had a bar to tend and drinks to dispense.  Running for office could wait.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy Weekend Gang!

Short flash this week.  I'm working on edits and revisions for my newest book, Tina's Treasures.  When I've got a solid release date I'll post the cover and share an excerpt.

Keep well and warm with this crazy change in weather.  The Spice Homestead is battling our share of colds and flu.  We're getting well one day at time.  Remember to read a good book or two and share them with your loves and spice.

Until next week,

Solara

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friendship at its Finest

One week after Valentine’s, or hell day as she was going to think of it from now on, Day and she was once again persona non grata with her family.  Not that she was really surprised by the turn of events.  Ziva was right to hate her, but not for the reasons she thought.

“What room is he in?”

“He’s in six, but Reetha, I think you should let me talk to him.  Alone.”

“Hell no, Dante.”

“Yes …”

“No way, and hear me out.  This ass-packet has caused me nothing but grief for years.  He hacked my computer, my computer Dante, he’s not bright enough to do that alone.  He tossed me to the dogs, literally, tossed my full blown heated ass into a pack of horny dogs.  My wolf was missing tufts of fur for weeks after that …”

Reetha stopped moving when she felt Dante’s hand on her arm and looked back at him.

“Jilly told me about that one, she was impressed … Reetha, shite, come here, love.”  Warm arms surrounded her as the tears she always tried to hold back, soaked his shirt.  “I know what it’s like to lose a partner, the hopelessness and frustration, but … “

Reetha pushed away and swiped at her eyes.  “She wasn’t just my partner, Dante.  She was my partner, my love … and this guy,” she huffed, pointing down the hall.  “This guy injected her with Tranq one time and the withdrawal killed her.  One time, Dante!”

“Reetha, I didn’t know.  I’m so sorry. Tranq is a designer drug that acts like several hits of heroin all at once and is the only drug that works on shifters.  It’s fast and it’s destructive.  Let me deal with this guy, Ree.”

“No.”  Reetha turned and headed toward room six.  “I want to take this guy apart.  Get the name of his supplier and then watch while Nick tears him apart.”

“You’d let Nick finish the job?”

“He’s my packs alpha and even though they don’t want me right now I respect his right to lead and provide protection to all in our pack.”

Reetha reached for the handle and took a deep breath.  “I can do this, Dante.”

“Yes, you can, but not alone.  I’m with you, my friend, and we will break this guy.  I promise.”

###

Nick held the trench coat closed with one hand and quieted the rulers in the pocket with the other.  He could do nothing about the big wings flopping around on his back as headed towards Ziva’s office.  He was completely nude beneath the coat and looking for a way to make up for the aborted Valentine’s Day dinner.

“Come in.”

Nick pushed the door open and stuck his head in and with his voice low murmured, “I’m here to give you my grace, human.” And he slid into the room.

“Oh my, come on in, angel-boy and let’s see what’s under that trench.”
~~~
Have a safe and warm weekend!


Serena

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Witch's Moon, first chapter sneak peek



Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today is a very blah day for me. It’s my birthday and I’m down with a cold. (How typical, right?) So anyway.


Last week’s winner of the comment contest was Mary Preston. Congrats, Mary! Check your e-mail for the Amazon.com gift card!

Next order of business is… a preview of “Witch’s Moon,” the Mooney and Marissa story I’ve been trying to get polished up to release. As I said, I feel like warmed over goose turds, so this is the easy post. Also, I’d really like everyone’s input on what they think about it. I’m writing in in first person, which is fairly new for me.

Any who, have a great day. I’m going back to bed to moan in abject misery now.

~ Rebecca





Guts & Butts Gazette

Competitive Sports Around Town By Mooney McMahon

It’s been a tough week out there for high school sports enthusiasts as they get ready to break for the winter holidays. The County High Timber Wolves lost to the Naperville Jack Rabbits 7-0 in the first playoff game. What self-respecting carnivore is going to lose to food, I ask you? Next week they are playing the Columbus Waves. Hopefully the pups won’t get washed out by a pond.

Next week is try-outs for the Jr High wrestling team. All you panty-waists will be happy to hear that Coach Barton bowed to pressure and they will be allowing girls to try for a spot on the squad. At this rate, I’ll be announcing dudes trying out for the cheerleading squad next year.

As per an official request from the Naperville drama teacher, I am also mentioning that the results from last week’s debate team exhibition are in. I am not reporting the results, though, because arguing is not a sport. Maybe if you had an actual mascot and not food, all those nice young gentleman would be out doing manly things!

The city council did not approve the request to allow roller derby tournaments at the city’s recreational facilities, so next week’s bone crusher will be held at the Roller Rama again, assuming we can get old Mrs. Fuddy-Duddy to drop the cease and desist charges. There may or may not be a TP party planned for Mrs. Fuddy-Duddy’s house tomorrow night to encourage her to play nice.

And on a positive note, the adults-only dodge ball league did get the funding needed to buy Kevlar volleyballs. As you know, that tournament had to be suspended when the Pack popped every stinking one of the normal volleyballs. The new shipment is due in by Wednesday, so the All City Meat and Gravy Dodgeball Tournament should be back on next Saturday.

This is Mooney McMahon signing off for now. And don’t bother sending anymore hate mail my way. I just drop it in the circular file.



**********



“All rise!”

The deep voice of the bailiff woke me from my daydreaming, and I tore my eyes away from the hunky werewolf at the front of the packed courtroom. I was supposed to be checking out the crowd attending this hearing, not ogling the guy being reprimanded. It was hard, though. Mooney McMahon was six and a half feet of black haired, blue eyed, well-muscled werewolf. He may be trouble, but he was also serious eye-candy. All the bad ones were, it seemed. It was the only excuse I could come up with for why otherwise intelligent women fell for them over and over.

My name is Marissa Cooper, by the way, and I'm a witch. Some would say both literally and figuratively, and I have to admit that I could be both under the right circumstances, but mostly I stick to actual witchcraft. My formal employment is manning the counter at an internet cafĂ© called Java Joe's down on Main Street. Its owner is more than my boss; he actually owns me, as well, and he wanted me here, spying on McMahon. Or rather, checking to see if anyone else was spying on him. I have no idea why Lex is interested in the town’s ne'er-do-well sports columnist and I really don't want to know. Lex's schemes always get me into trouble. I’m not a big fan of trouble, even the tall sexy kind. Lex’s schemes are never sexy.

“Mr. McMahon, care to tell the court why we are here today?” Judge Foxsmith asked dryly. McMahon, who had been busy making angry-eyes at a heckler, jerked his attention back to the judge's bench.

“Um, wasn’t there supposed to be some stuff said before you ask me questions?” he asked. He scowled when the room filled with snickering and I shook my head. I'd like to think I was dumbfounded by the idea that a defendant could be this clueless, but I wasn't. This was Mooney McMahon, after all. He should have been a blonde so the rest of the world would have some warning about his true nature.

“We did that part already,” Judge Foxsmith said slowly, like he was talking to a backward child.

“Oh,” Mooney said, looking like he was almost having to physically stop himself from snapping at the judge. “Um, so I was walking back from the Walmart last night—”

“Walmart, Mr. McMahon?" the judge interrupted. “At one ‘o clock in the morning with,” he paused while he ruffled some pages on his podium, “with four cases of toilet paper?”

“That’s right, Your Honor. The parking lot was full, so I had to walk a bit—”

“You were found three miles from Walmart, Mr. McMahon,” the judge interrupted again.

“Right,” Mooney agreed with a cheesy win-over-a-tough-crowd smile. “I do have the receipt, if you want it. Anyway, I had almost got to my car when Officer Tom shined his flash light in my face.”

“Mr. McMahon, Walmart closes at eleven. Are you saying it took you two hours to walk to your car?”

“Yes, Your Honor,” Mooney said earnestly. “Remember, I was carrying four cases of toilet paper.”

“And you did all of this while drunk? I see here that you spent the night in the drunk tank.”

“Well, I wasn’t drunk, Your Honor. I did stop at a bar to take a little break, but I didn’t get drunk.”

“And your car was three miles away because you couldn't find any place closer to park?"

"That's right, Your Honor," Mooney agreed, nodding. The judge eyed him with disbelief before looking down at whatever papers were in his hand.

"The arresting officer reports that your car was found parked in front of the bar you visited, which just happens to be down the street from the house of a woman you made threats against."

“I didn’t make threats against no one, Your Honor. I was just buying toilet paper,” Mooney said, still trying to look charismatic and trustworthy despite the sweat starting to bead his forehead.

“Four cases of it.”

“Yep. Never know when you’re going to have diarrhea,” Mooney confirmed. He scowled again when sounds of snickering began to compete with sounds of disgust. I’m pretty sure I heard someone say "especially of the mouth." I had to agree. This half-hearted defence was silly even by werewolf standards. Most wolves were arrogant enough to think they could get away with anything. To be fair, they usually could. But most wolves also realized that they had to at least offer a plausible excuse for their actions.

“All right, Mr. McMahon. I think I’ve heard enough of this farce," Judge Foxsmith said, sounding disgusted. "I’m going to sentence you to twenty hours community service and a $500 fine-”

“$500?!?” Mooney exploded. “For carrying toilet paper?”

“No, Mr. Mooney, for wasting my time. The community service is for attempting to carry out a threat you made.”

“Now maybe we can talk about this, Your Honor,” Mooney chuckled, sounding desperate. “You know how these things go,” Mooney continued. “I mean, there was that account of that grey fox hair on that lad—”

“Are you trying to bribe your way out of trouble from threats you made by extorting me over the town gossip column?” the judge asked incredulously.

“Um,” Mooney hedged. “Well, no, your honor. Of course not!”

“Good,” the judge said with a sinister smile. “As I was saying, forty hours of community service and a $1,000 fine-”

“But you just said—”

“And you should refrain from using the newspaper as either a platform for bullying or a source of legal defense. I do not want to see you in my courtroom again. Are we clear?”

“As mud,” Mooney snarled, then spun around and stomped toward the door.

I rolled my eyes and resumed scanning the court room. If anyone here was spying on Mooney the Goof, they’d be showing signs of it now since the hearing was wrapping up. I doubted McMahon had the money to pay his fine and there was no way Nick, his older brother and pack alpha, would give him an advance on his pay from the newspaper. It was a small pack business, after all, and Mooney was always getting into scrapes like this. It also told me why Lex was interested in hiring Mooney—the wolf would need the money. Lex wanted me to make sure no one else seemed overly interested in Mooney’s financial or legal situation before moving forward with his plans.

The room emptied quickly once the star entertainment left but no one seemed to be in an actual hurry to leave. They wanted to get out of the courtroom quickly so they could gossip without incurring Judge Foxsmith’s wrath. I didn’t wait until the end because that would have marked me as being unusually interested, but I did let the bulk of the looky-loos clear out first. I snuck one last look around to check out who was left—mostly people that had actual business being in the court room that morning—and then left on the heels of bored housewives.

“Oh, look! It’s the blue-haired coffee monkey!”

I glanced at the speaker, Maggie Novak, and rolled my eyes again but otherwise ignored her. Maggie is the gossip columnist for the Guts & Butts Gazette. She’s also a coyote shifter and the leader of the ‘Maggie Novak, Cruel Girl’ fan club. The best way to describe Maggie was to say that she never matured much past junior high bullying and she spent an vast amount of time trying to convince everyone that it was cool to be shallow and mean. She had an assistant named Lamar who was almost always slithering around her ankles. I’d seen him slip out of the court room just ahead of his boss earlier, probably so he could fetch the cup of vending machine bilge he was handing her.

“Hey, monkey,” Maggie said as she cut me off. “I was talking to you.”

I sighed and looked the taller woman over with a sarcastic eye. Maggie had big dreams of gaining syndication and a daytime talk show of her own and dressed as if she already had it. Today, she wore Gucci head to toe in shades of white and bright red. It almost made me as nauseous as the smell of instant latte coming from the paper cup she held in her $200-manicured hand. To say her L.A. look clashed horribly with my own Goth style was an understatement. Your personal look should be an indication to others of what they could expect from you. In my opinion, that meant Maggie should be dressed like hillbilly trailer trash.

“What do you want, flee bag?” I asked in my surliest tone of voice. See? My outside matched my inside. My short, funky blue hair, black skinny jeans and sloppy off the shoulders sweater and tank top said, ‘Stay away from me because I bite,’ and it didn’t lie. That might be part of the reason so many carnivorous shape shifters felt the need to try to brow beat me, but that was their problem, not mine. As a witch, I don’t use my teeth to intimidate but there’s lots of ways to bite that don’t involve slobber.

"I was wondering what a lowly doulos was doing so far away from her master's heal,” Maggie replied with a toss of her bottle blonde hair.

I flushed at the lycan slur for an owned person. Lycan culture was rooted in Ancient Greek zoology, not mythology. Ancient Greeks had known that shape shifters were a real and natural part of the world, so most of their nastier slurs were archaic leftovers from their ancient roots. I'd been called just about every slur for an owned person from every culture over the years, so Maggie's insult was unpleasant but hardly crippling.

I wasn't a slave, per se. I had rights and liberties. I owned Java Joe's, even if I'd had to ask to open it and had to give Lex 70% of the profits, so I wasn't a slave. But magic didn't care about laws. Parents own their children, magically speaking, until they come of age. When Lex took my life in exchange for dismissing my mother's debt, it was binding magically speaking if not legally. I could now, as an adult, walk away from him, but I'd forfeit my magic and lose my protector. But not my knowledge of the darker side of the word. I'd lose the ability to protect myself while gaining a giant bulls-eye on my forehead. So I stayed and tried not to react when asshats like Maggie Novak called me names.

I smiled coldly at her as inspiration hit.

"I'm here gathering ideas for a new Talbot's Peak themed menu idea," I said, responding to her snub as if it had been an honest inquiry. I cocked an eye brow and looked her over with derision. "What are you doing here? Trying to get on your boss's good side by smearing his brother in your column?"

Direct hit, I thought with dark glee as Maggie flushed. She sneered at me and turned away without another word. Giving me her back was the ultimate carnivore insult and I knew it. It meant I wasn't worthy of watching her back around me. I was very tempted to show her how wrong she was but decided against it. Instead, I pulled on my jumbo-sized winter parka and trudged out into the frigid late morning air and chewed on what I'd learned as I trudged through ankle deep snow on the walk back to the coffee shop.

The McMahon pack, one of three wolf packs in and around Talbot’s Peak, tended to provide the most entertainment. It wasn’t just Mooney, though he was bad enough. The pack alpha and editor-in-chief of the only paper in town was well known for his hair trigger temper and his tumultuous relationship with Zeva Wilk, alpha of the other smallish pack in town. They were a feast for a gossip columnist like Maggie. A feast she could not partake of because Nick paid her salary.

The biggest pack, the Hancocks, were not nearly as much fun to gossip about. Damien Hancock ruled his wolves with an iron fist, parading his perfect golden son Devon around like the champion Thoroughbred he was and damaging anyone who put ink to the stories that tarnished Devon's image. Damien's black sheep--black wolf?--son, Dante, would have made good gossip fodder except that he was three times more dangerous than his sire. Damien talked big and left behind bloody corpses. Dante smiled to your face while orchestrating ways to make hang yourself.

That left only the Wilk pack to gossip about. While making literary fun of the New Age hippy wolves who ran a spiritual retreat that never seemed to have any actual guests was fun, one could only write about Rose Wilk making lavender water flavored jerky and venison flavored granola so many times before it started sounding stale. Especially since a wise gossip columnist didn't mention the fact the these we're werewolves she was making fun of. Hippies acting like hippies wasn't nearly as amusing as werewolves acting like hippies.

That might make Maggie take another look at Mooney for gossip fodder. Everyone knew Nick was getting tired of cleaning up after his little brother's messes. An alpha would never actually throw a member of his family to the wolves, so to speak, but he might look the other way if the gossip columnist for the pack's paper started in on him. In twisted wolf logic, Mooney could be a bigger asset to the pack as a subject of a column rather than as a writer of columns.

That may or may not affect Lex's plans for the scatter-brained beta. Other than Maggie, I hadn't noticed anyone paying more attention to the proceedings than normal. Unfortunately, just as I had noticed Maggie's extra interest, she had noticed mine. That was why I'd told her been there looking for inspiration for menus.

A while back, I'd started making up names for drink specials that made fun of pop culture icons. I had the Kavorkian Jackknife which was guaranteed to wake the dead. I'd christened a frothy orange juice and ginseng tea smoothy the Kardashian Kooler. They had been so popular that several patrons had begun asking for drinks named after local folks.

And thanks to Mooney McMahon, I had my cover: a new drink I would christen the Wolf's Tale. Now all I had to do was come up with a palatable recipe that managed to evoke Walmart, toilet paper, the drunk tank, and sports. That could be tricky, but I figured if I could make Belieber Juice taste a good enough to keep the tween scene coming back for more, I could make the Wolf's Tale a hit, too. I kicked around ingredients in my head as I pulled off my many layers of warm clothing in the back room of Java Joe's.

"It is about time you returned," a deep, cool voice said from behind me. I closed my eyes and groaned before turning around to face my boss/owner, Lexor Naifeh. That wasn't his real name, of course. Or not the one he was given at birth, anyway. Lex was an ancient Egyptian demigod, the grandson of the lion god Nefertem. That was about all I knew for certain of his history. Lex was extremely stingy about personal information. Actually, he was stingy with any information. He'd acted like every iota of training he'd given me over the years was a piece of his soul which he parted with only under duress.

Lex was sardonic and timeless. He was 5'6", trim and utterly hairless. As in not even eyebrows. His copper skin was smooth but without the plasticky look that usually accompanied the very old who tried to look young and his dark brown eyes were like deep pits that bored into you like he could see inside your soul. He looked like he could be anywhere from thirty years old to seventy. This, I eventually learned, was the one way you could always tell a true god from a mere immortal. It was also creepy as hell.

"I'm back before the lunch rush, just as I said I would be," I harrumph as I flung my parka, scarf, mittens, and snow boots into the little mud room I'd added to the coffee shop's back office. Yes, I did really need all those outdoor clothes. It was a week til Christmas and therefor cold enough to freeze nose hairs. The locals may not consider 15 degrees Fahrenheit to be all that cold but I had been raised by a hairless Egyptian who shapeshifted into a sphinx cat, which meant I'd grown up in locals close to the equator. I didn't like the cold, even if Talbot's Peak was starting to grow on me. Not that it mattered. As soon as whatever plot drew Lex to south western Montana was done, he'd leave and I'd be leaving with him.

"And?" Lex asked archly, drawing me out of my internal grumping. So I treated him with some external grumping instead.

"Mooney McMahon is an imbecile. Really. I have no idea why you wanted me to snoop on him. The court room was packed to the rafters with nosy people waiting to see what cockamamy comment was going to come flying out of his mouth next. They were not disappointed, trust me. He said he'd carried four cases of toilet paper three miles because he might get diarrhea. A five-year-old could have come up with a better lie." I brushed past a scowling Lex, ignoring the thunder in his expression because a, I knew he wasn't actually angry with my smart comeback and b, because he wouldn't hurt me even if he had been truly angry. Not once in the fifteen years he'd owned me had he ever caused me actual harm. It was pretty sad that he'd taken better care of me than my parents ever had.

"Anyway, the only person who showed More than idle interest in him other than me was the gossip queen on Talbot's Peak."

"Did she notice your interest, monkey-child?" Lex asked. He'd used my least favorite nick name, so I knew not to be flippant in my response this time.

"Yeah, but I covered it well. Told her I was looking for something to base a new coffee recipe from, and I said it loud enough that several people overheard. I'll debut a new drink called Wolf's Tale just as soon as I figure out how to express drunken TP excursions to Walmart in coffee form and no one will think anything of it," I finished as I tied my apron on. I peeked at him out of the corner of my eye to gauge his reaction to my words. He looked thoughtful, no longer thunderous. Life with a demigod was like that. One minute, he was short tempered, the next he was angry, and before you blinked again, he was calmed down.

"Very good, child," Lex murmured with approval. "I would suggest a bitter chicory blend brewed extra strong with a shot of Kahlua syrup. Leave off the whipped cream. Male wolves don't usually go for fru-fru drinks that might question their masculinity."

I nodded once with relief. Lex was very good with brewing concoctions. He had once told me he'd learned brewing at his grandfather's feet. Nefertem was a god of perfuming, healing and beer, all of which involved brewing things. All the drama aside, I'd been lucky to have been taught potion making by Lex.

"I can change it up a bit for a few other people. White chocolate syrup for a Joker's Wild drink in honor of Bran Fliddermous's little brother, Joker, and rose water, pachouli and lavender tea to honor the Wilk pack."

"Call that one Green Peace," Lex agreed nodding. "And add a bit of St. john's wart. That mix, brewed at a low temp, actually will offer peace and lower blood pressure."

"Should we add a cinnamon coffee to the menu? Call it Dante's inferno?" I asked. "Or would that piss off the rogue wolf?" I didn't want to annoy Dante Hancock. Unlike the other three, Rose, Joker, and Mooney, Dante was no joke. He'd split off from his father and started his own little pack right under his sire's nose. Any wolf with balls that big was not a wolf you went out of your way to annoy.

"No, he would probably be amused by it," Lex replied.