Seduced by the Tide

Book Cover: Seduced by the Tide
Part of the Dragon Soul series:

Meet the Beteferoce brothers. Five dragon shifters, each with a strong elemental power. And each with a fierce desire to find his soul mate…

Deke has yet to meet a man who gives him a rush. Coast Guard rescue has kept the dragon shifter busy, but there’s no harder work than finding a mate. Then comes Bryan. Bearded and inked, the personal trainer turned mechanic smells of grease, sweat and red meat. How irresistibly human can you get? And when it comes to hot, slamming sex, they’re the perfect fit. Now all Deke has to do is to tell Bryan what he really is, and what he has planned for them.

Bryan has never met anyone like Deke, a consuming lover with a body so arousing it damn near hurts. And he knows how to use every inch of it. Yet he can’t shake the feeling that Deke is hiding something. Just not this—the stud he’s falling for is a centuries-old dragon who has marked him as a mate.

Bryan has to admit that something inside him is changing. For the first time ever, he’s satisfied, body and soul. If Deke really is telling the truth, this could be his destiny—if he’s ready to face it.

Book two in the Dragon Soul series

Published:
Publisher: Carina Press
Genres:

Scales

Book Cover: Scales
Part of the Shifter Rescue series:

Sometimes life gives you something magical - if Drill can rescue a dragon that is.

The Old Tavern Club is a front for a shifter rescue organization. The BDSM club works well in keeping the owner's true purpose secret, but when Pirou makes an unusual rescue, it might just be beyond the club's purview. So he calls in Drill, the owner's brother.

Drill has never even heard of a dragon shifter before, much less seen one, yet that's exactly what the beast in the club's basement looks like. As he works with the dragon, he finds all his instincts insisting that this is the sub he's been looking for.

Can Drill and the dragon rescue a happy ending for themselves?

Published:
Publisher: Changeling Press
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Excerpt:

Drill headed into the Old Tavern Club, the subtle BDSM club that was the front for his brother Drongo's shifter rescue operation. Having members who needed discretion and wouldn't blab themselves if they saw weird things made the place legit and let them offer safe places for their rescues to stay. Only a handful of people who worked in the club knew what was really going on.

He smiled at the twink working the coat check tonight. He'd had that ass a time or two. Over his knee, around his cock. As a part of his cover as a club member, of course.

READ MORE

Heading for the bar, he smiled at Fargo. "Whiskey, neat. And tell Pirou I'm here, please." Here as requested, summoned almost, although Pirou would never, ever admit to anything so... toppy.

"You got it. How's life treating you, man?"

"Good. I'm building a third golf course on the far side of the city." He made a good living with the golf courses, and the best part was that they practically ran themselves, giving him a lot of time for his true passion -- helping with the shifters that made their way here.

It was Pirou who answered him, Fargo fading away to the other end of the bar. "Excellent. I'm glad to hear it." There were heavy lines of worry on Pirou's face and they looked totally out of place.

The slinky kitty worked hard, but Drill knew he loved his job, was happiest working at it, helping people.

Reaching out, he touched Pirou's cheek. "So why did you call me down here?"

"I need help." Pirou was usually far more loquacious than that.

"I figured that much out, sweet kitty. I'll be needing more details." In the end, though, he imagined he'd help Pirou, just because it was Pirou.

"Come walk with me?"

Oh, it must be bad. He picked up the whiskey Fargo had brought and downed it. "Okay, lead on."

Pirou took his hand, fingers sliding on his, touching and playing.

He brought their hands to his mouth, kissing Pirou's knuckles. "You're buttering me up."

"I'm worried. I'm in big trouble with the boss."

He found that hard to believe, given that Pirou was the soul of the Old Tavern Club. "What did you do?"

"You know how, sometimes, I find an unusual rescue and bring it in even though it's not our usual werewolf or werekitty?"

Something like constantly? Pirou was the softest touch on Earth and had contacts everywhere. Like he was almost scarily connected.

"I have heard you have a hobby, yes." Drill teased gently. His brother often said that he had a theory that Pirou went out of his way looking for the hard cases, for the strange beasts.

"Well, I have one downstairs. He's... special. Like for real. Like oh, my God."

"They aren't all special?" He wasn't teasing anymore -- it was an honest question. He could remember the lion Pirou had taken in, the poor thing so bedraggled and abused no one had thought he'd live. No one except Pirou, who had nursed the beast back to health. Then there'd been the zebra. Talk about high-strung. They weren't really equipped to deal with equine shifters, didn't have anyone qualified to help them. Pirou had made it happen.

"Yeah, but most of them are normal special. Not about-to-get-me-fired special."

"Okay, okay, you did it -- I'm intrigued now." Because Drill couldn't imagine anything that would make Drongo fire his beloved Pirou.

"He's in the basement. He's sedated. I'm scared to let him wake up."

"You're making him sound like a serial killer."

"God, I hope not." Pirou's fervent words made him even more intrigued.

They headed past the kitchen, deep into the basement. It was clean, but... uncomfortable. Underground was far away from the air, from the sky and clouds.

Drill wrinkled his nose. "A vampire?"

"No. No, he's... Here. It's easier to just show you. I won't open the door, in case he's awake."

Drill pressed his nose against the window in the door, but it was dark and he couldn't see anything. Before he could complain, Pirou pressed a button and a light came on highlighting a shape draped over the mattress, which was the only furniture the room boasted.

Long tail, wings like a bat, pointed snout, sapphire-blue scales. Whoa.

"Pirou... That's... he's... a dragon." Drill was stunned.

"Uh-huh."

"Why is he here?" There had to be a reason the dragon was one of Pirou's special projects and sedated. Hell, Drill hadn't even known there was such a thing as a dragon shifter. No, he hadn't even known there was such a thing as a dragon. They were a thing of legends.

"The slavers had him. My contact said that they hadn't managed to get him to wake yet."

"Slavers!" That made him growl. "So you don't know if he's even sane or not, let alone a shifter."

"I don't know anything except that he's a dragon and he needs help," Pirou admitted.

"And you want me to help him and find out as much as I can before you have to tell my brother what you've done."

"Uh-huh. Please."

"You're lucky I like you, Pirou." Drill went to the door. "I'm going in."

COLLAPSE

Royal Line

Book Cover: Royal Line

Where’s the common ground between a tiger shifter foot soldier and his prince?

Grio has one job—find dormant tiger shifters and introduce them to the world of Saffron Tigers. When he finds Professor Phoenix Lamoure, he discovers that Headquarters got a couple of key points wrong. Phoenix isn’t actually a professor but Saffron Tiger royalty…a member of the lost royal line.

Phoenix didn’t have things easy growing up. His mother spent most of her life in a mental institution, and he spent his formative years in foster care. When a stranger approaches to learn about his family history, he’s wary. When said stranger actually kidnaps him, all bets are off!

Can he ever believe what Grio says? Or will he be forever convinced that he’s as crazy as his mother was?

Published:
Publisher: Self-Published
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Tags:
Excerpt:

Grio sat in his SUV, splitting his attention between the students walking across the quad and the file in his hand.

Professor Phoenix Lamoure. Actually, the guy was a TA, not a professor.

He was going to have to ride Danny next time he spoke to the man. It wasn’t often that the office sent out incorrect information, and he made the most of it when they did. Of course he’d rib Danny privately. No need to get him in trouble with the boss. Nigel didn’t have much of a sense of humor.

READ MORE

Phoenix Lamoure was a tiger shifter like himself, even if the man didn’t know it yet. A lot of shifters remained dormant and died never knowing what they really were.

The Saffron Tigers, though, they were nearly extinct, so they didn’t have the luxury of letting their kind discover themselves, or not. Headquarters searched out potential weres and Grio—or Janey or Tuplo—were sent to flush them out.

Grio looked at the file again, examining the black-and-white image closely to make sure he’d recognize Phoenix when he saw the man.

There were only one hundred and nineteen Saffron Tigers left and they needed numbers, needed safety. Needed each other.

Phoenix wasn’t your typical Saffron Tiger. Instead of bulk and broadness, he was slender, the little wire-rimmed glasses perched on the end of his nose adding an air of fragility or delicateness that Grio imagined was quite false. Knowing it or not, if Phoenix had tiger blood in him, he would be fierce when he had to be.

A small group of students walked by, a shock of unmistakable bright red hair hitting his eyes. Jesus. This one wasn’t just a Saffron. He was descended from the royal line.

How had he missed that? He checked the file again. Grainy black-and-white photo from some old high school yearbook. No wonder. Not only that, the file made no mention that this one was a royal.

Slipping out of the SUV, Grio closed the door silently, then quietly stalked his prey.

The two girls in the group of six headed off toward the parking lot, and he heard, “Nixie? You want to grab a pizza and a beer?”

I don’t know. I have papers to grade…”

Grio considered his options. He could follow Phoenix to somewhere quiet, or he could “bump into” the man now.

Come on, man. All you do is work,” wheedled the young man.

Phoenix gave a snort. “If you were Dr. Lee’s TA, you’d work, too.”

Dr. Lee. That was more information than Grio’d had a moment ago. He decided to wing it.

Excuse me, did you say you were Dr. Lee’s TA?”

I did, yeah.” Eyes that were pure gold met his, warm behind the wire-rimmed glasses. “Can I help you?”

Yes, I had a few questions for you. Is there somewhere we could go and talk?” Grio gave Phoenix his best and most earnest smile.

Sure. Sure.” Phoenix waved at the others. “I’ll catch up, guys.”

Thank you, I appreciate it.” Grio pushed his hands in his pockets, slouching a little, trying to fit in with all these students. Sometimes his military bearing and size made him stand out.

Sure. Are you in Western Civ or Chaucer?”

Goddess, he wanted to touch that bright hair, see if it felt anything like it looked. It distracted him when he should have been paying attention, building a credible lie in order to get Phoenix to trust him.

I… Uh…” Damn it, he was usually really good at this, what was wrong with him?

If you need information about the exam in the history of the English language class, I can’t help you. He really does change it, every semester.”

Grio pulled himself together. “I’m actually interested in family histories. Your name was suggested as someone I could talk to.”

Family history? Me?” Phoenix looked incredulous. “Are you sure you have the right guy?”

You’re Phoenix Lamoure, yes?” When he received a nod, he beamed. “Yes, I’m sure.”

Oh, well, here’s a bench. Have a seat.”

It wasn’t as private as he would have liked, but honestly, short of kidnapping the man right off the street, he didn’t have a lot of choice. This first meeting was meant to be a reconnaissance mission—find out what Phoenix knew of his background, of his heritage. Decide how best to share the information that the subject was a shapeshifting tiger. It didn’t always go over that well and needed to be shared as privately as possible, during the initial meeting if at all possible.

Phoenix perched easily, smile unwavering. “So what’s your question?”

I’m exploring heritage and was wondering what yours was. You have some very distinctive features.”

Me? Who knows? I’m just a mutt.”

Grio laughed. “A mutt? Oh, I don’t think so. What makes you say that?” A mutt. This man was all cat. Special cat at that.

Oh, I was a foster home kid, you know? I have red hair, so that’s what? Irish? Scottish? Who knows?”

Ah. So you don’t know who your parents were.” That was different and it would explain why a royal was on his own, with no knowledge of who or what he was. Surely the royal family would have already been well known and under protection.

My mother was institutionalized. Have I answered your questions?” The easy smile was beginning to slip, Phoenix looking less pleased about his questions.

You never checked into your background? I ask because you have very distinctive hair and I know a family who all have hair like yours.” Okay, so “know” was a bit of a stretch, but he knew of them.

No. No, I’m not interested. The past is just that.” Phoenix waved his hand dismissively.

Maybe we can have dinner together and talk about your future?” If one tactic didn’t work, he would try another.

My future? Grading papers.” Phoenix really looked at him, those gold eyes fascinating. “Are you a student?”

No, I’m not,” he admitted. Phoenix would need to trust him once he found out the truth about himself, and that would be harder if Grio had lied to him.

Well, I’m sorry, but I have a ton of papers. Have a good weekend.”

COLLAPSE

Reclaiming

Book Cover: Reclaiming
Part of the Immortal Ink series:
  • Reclaiming

Beau thought Aaron was dead to him… Imagine his surprise when his former lover slinks into his tattoo shop.

Eight months ago, vampire Beaudelaire Delacourte had it all. As a tattoo artist, he used his special ink and spells to permanently tattoo other immortals and spent countless hours feeding and indulging in BDSM with his human lover, Aaron. Then he asked to turn Aaron so his lover could join him permanently, but Aaron refused, not willing to give up his humanity. Since then, Beau has kept his head down and stayed in his shop, only interacting with his clients who all come for his special brand of ink.

When Aaron shows up on his doorstep, half-dead and apologizing, Beau is shocked to learn that his boy was turned at the local vampire club by Stephan, another vampire. Not only was Aaron turned, but his chest was torn open, his fangs were broken and he was left in an alley to die. Spurred by the need to see Beau one last time, Aaron has been hiding in an abandoned building until he found the strength to make it to Beau’s shop.

Beau takes his boy in again, promising that Aaron will earn his place back in Beau’s bed, and vowing that he will take revenge on Stephan. Unbeknownst to Beau, Aaron is only the first in a long line of humans who Stephan has created then turned out to fend for themselves. As Beau discovers that this is only one of the old rules that Stephan has broken, he and Aaron are drawn into a web of intrigue that can only end in someone’s death.

Reader Advisory: This books contains severe biting and bloodplay during sex between vampires. There is also a scene of fisting and some scenes of violence.

Published:
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artists:
Genres:
Excerpt:

Beaudelaire Delacourte zoned in on the buzz of the needle and the pattern he was drawing up on one paler-than-milk inner arm. The vamp had come in looking for a grim reaper with shining eyes. Lucky for him, Beau had luminescent paint that would indeed glow at night.

He was almost done and the piece was going to be stunning.

READ MORE

Of course, he thought his client was a bit of an idiot. Beau had explained that he used specialized ink, permanent on vamps, and given that sun and lasers were a no-no for creatures of the night, it would never fade, never go away and maybe, just maybe, a guy who lived in the shadows didn’t want permanently glowing marks that were in highly visible locations. It kind of messed with one’s ability to lurk.

Johnny Stupid had insisted, though.

Beau could have turned the doofus away, but this kind of stupid got under his skin. So he’d quoted twice his normal rate, and was making a pretty penny on this particular piece of ink.

For a guy who made his reputation by his fangs, Johnny sure was whiny about the needles. Beau rushed the job just to get it done so he could usher the loser out of his shop. He should have said no and turfed the guy when he’d first walked in. Beau was smiling, though, when a nice fat wad of cash was handed over. He waved the guy off and stuffed the money into his safe.

A slow night had turned into a good take, thanks to Mr. Glow In the Dark Vampire.

The bell over the door rang, and Beau shook his head. Sunrise was near and he’d been shutting down the shop, pulling the heavy shutters across the windows and doors. “Sorry, we’re closed.”

Beau?” The voice was a sweet, soft tenor that reminded him of long nights of feeding and fucking. Aaron.

Of course, Aaron had left him, what, eight months ago now? Calling Beau…an abomination and informing him that under no circumstance did Aaron want to become what he was.

He looked up to tell whoever it was who’d shown up that he didn’t want what they were peddling, but what he saw made his jaw drop and the words freeze in his throat.

Aaron was gaunt, milk-white, full blond hair gone limp and dull.

A…Aaron? Is that you?” He wasn’t quite sure he believed it. His Aaron had been robust, tanned, hair like a romance cover model’s. His Aaron had been alive.

I…I came to see you.”

Satan’s balls, I barely recognize you.” He could feel the dawn like a specter breathing down his back. He had to lock up. “The sun will be up soon, you should go home.”

Okay. You’re beautiful, still. I should have told you yes. Forgive me.” Aaron pulled his hoodie up and slipped out of the door, silent as a wraith.

What?

Aaron always did have a flair for the dramatic.

Beau went to the door and called out after the figure fading in amongst the shadows. “Unless home is within a block or two, you’re going to be incinerated. Get back here and help me with the damned shutters.”

I don’t have a home anymore.” Aaron stopped, but didn’t turn around.

Beau pondered his next move quickly. He could let Aaron slip away to whatever hole he was staying out of the sun in, or he could invite the man in and get answers to the questions bouncing around in his head. If he let Aaron go, he had a hunch he’d never see the man again.

He sighed and cleared his throat. “Get back here, A. And help me close the shutters.”

I didn’t come to be a bother.”

Like Aaron wasn’t the biggest bother of his life already.

You’ll help me close the shutters. There we go. Not a bother.”

He rolled his eyes and shut the door as soon as Aaron was through it. After locking it, he pulled down the heavy metal that blocked out the sun. “Get the windows, A.”

“‘Kay.”

God, he was burning with questions. Burning.

They got the shop locked up tight and Beau pointed to the chair. To his credit, Aaron sat.

Beau took the stool. “So what were you looking at getting?” It wasn’t the burning question driving his curiosity, but it was familiar, comfortable. Besides, the ink—it had a way of making a man talkative.

I… I was…I keep… Honeysuckle.”

He’d once fucked Aaron under a honeysuckle bower in the full moon, bound his lover’s hands with the vines.

His eyebrows went up, but he could see it already, the vines wrapped around Aaron’s wrist just like they had been that night, a couple of flowers hiding among the leaves.

Beau began grabbing ink and filling his little pots. “You trust me to do it freehand?”

I can’t pay you.”

Beau looked up, meeting Aaron’s eyes. “You can pay by answering my questions.” It wasn’t like he needed the money. Aaron’s story, however—that, he was pretty sure he needed to hear.

Aaron nodded, eyes burning in his skull.

Beau hooked the machine up and stepped on the pedal, the buzz soothing him immediately. That sound was his blood, ink flowing through his veins. “Hold still.”

Okay.” Aaron’s eyes were nearly clear now, barely any green there.

Beau watched them a moment longer, then turned to his work, touching needle to skin, punching the ink beneath the surface.

Aaron watched him, still and silent as the dead.

It looked like Beau was going to have to draw his former lover—and former live dude—out.

When did it happen?”

Six months ago. I was at the club and… It was stupid. I know I shouldn’t have gone without protection, but I was looking for… It doesn’t matter. Someone decided to claim me.”

Beau’s nostrils flared and his knuckles went white around the machine. He had to bite his lip to keep from snarling that Aaron had already been claimed. “If you weren’t interested in being turned, why were you at the club?”

I was looking for someone.”

Beau took a few deep breaths and applied needle to skin again. “Oh?”

You. I missed you like crazy. I fucked up. I wanted another chance.”

So you went to the club on your own?” Beau nearly snarled the words out. Stupid, stupid move. Aaron knew better. “You know better than that.”

I was hoping you were there. My skin didn’t fit, I couldn’t eat, and it was Monday. You always went on Mondays.”

I stopped going after we…” After Aaron had left him.

He inked in another vine, putting a knot in it at the side of Aaron’s wrist.

Aaron fell silent again, but Beau felt the man’s eyes on him.

So you went looking for me…” And he refused to take blame for this—Aaron knew better than to go to the club without being under someone’s protection. Not unless he wanted to be fed upon, used or worst, turned against his will.

I did. Stephan decided that I’d treated you poorly and he turned me on stage so that I could pay for my mistakes.” Aaron wouldn’t meet his eyes. “I came to apologize. I mean, I’d come to apologize before, but now, too.”

Beau snarled, foot leaving the pedal, and the sudden quiet felt loud. “Stephan turned you? He had no right. He knew you were mine.”

Stephan was fucking lucky there was nothing but daylight out there right now, or Beau would go rip him to shreds this very moment.

Aaron unzipped his jacket, the scars where Stephan had drained his blood brutal and ragged. This had been no loving thing, or even a sexual one. Aaron had been subjected to the most pain possible.

Fuck. Fuck, Aaron. Nobody tried to stop him?”

Stephan was a dead man. As brutal and painful a death as Beau could devise. Payback was a bitch.

I deserved it. I was scared and stupid.” Aaron zipped back up, hiding in the heavy fabric. “The honeysuckle is beautiful.”

I take it Stephan didn’t take you under his wing?” It wasn’t really a question. If Aaron had belonged to someone, he’d be thriving now instead of looking like the walking dead.

Aaron shook his head. “At least I knew to get out of the sun. They took my wallet, my clothes, broke my teeth and wished me luck. I found an attic in a little office building. I stay there. Insurance agents.”

Beau got up and began to pace. “I’m going to kill him. I’m going to take his fangs and throw him in a pit and then I’m going to let the sun take him, piece by piece.”

I didn’t come to make trouble. I came to see you, literally. I just wanted to look.”

So you still don’t want me?” Beau was stung, he really was.

He’d thought the big reason why Aaron had dumped him was because the man hadn’t wanted to give up his humanity, and that wasn’t an issue anymore.

I want you more than anything, but I’m broken, Beau. Ruined.”

I’m kind of a collector of broken things, Aaron.”

He went back to his stool and picked up his machine again, stepping on the pedal to fill the room with the buzzing. He let it encompass him, let it soothe him and bent back to his task.

Aaron sat beautifully, and Beau inked the life back into the milky skin. He wrapped the honeysuckle vines around Aaron’s wrist, then filled in a few light-colored flowers.

He sat back when he was done and grinned. “That’s my mark on you now.”

It’s beautiful.” Aaron stared into him, so intense. “I was wrong, Beau. I went to the club to say I was wrong.”

He reached for Aaron’s cheek, cupping it. “You’re so skinny. How have you been surviving?” Had Aaron’s fangs grown in at all? Was it even possible with his teeth knocked out when he’d been made? Stephan had some nasty payback coming his way and Beau would make sure he paid it.

Rats. The building has a rat problem.”

Six months. His lover had been living on rats for six months.

And your fangs?” Because having to squeeze out the blood would make it even worse.

Aaron exposed his teeth. The human teeth were there and whole, clearly grown back in thanks to the regenerative abilities of vampires, but the fangs were barely long enough to push past them. Feeding would be possible, but a bitch until they finished growing back out. “It took time to be strong enough to come see you.”

Beau touched the baby fangs. “You need a protector. You need a teacher.” Aaron needed him.

I think. I think he should have killed me. It would have been kinder than this.” A single bloody tear slipped down Aaron’s razor-sharp cheekbone. “I’ve been so frightened.”

If Aaron had shown up at his doorstep the day after Stephan had done this, Beau would likely have hesitated, still hurt from Aaron’s rejection. But eight months had passed and he could feel the pain Aaron had suffered, could see it.

He wrapped Aaron in an embrace. “You don’t need to be scared anymore—you’re mine now.”

I’m not worth saving.”

He would have spanked Aaron if he’d thought it wouldn’t have knocked him over. “You made a mistake. I’d say you’ve paid for it.” He stood. “You can be the shop apprentice for now. Cleaning up, running errands. I’ll show you how to clean the machines.” He wasn’t ready to offer more at the moment.

If only Aaron had accepted his offer in the first place. Of course what ifs could drive you crazy, he’d lived long enough he knew that.

Aaron nodded. “I can clean.” The too-big hoodie went up, Aaron hiding his lean face again.

There’s living quarters in the back. You can sleep at the foot of my bed.”

He got a silent nod. They tidied up, then he led Aaron back to the room where they’d made love so many times. Aaron sat on the floor at the foot of the bed, looking like a pile of discarded clothes.

Beau tugged a box out from under the bed and pulled a thick comforter from it, handing it over.

Then he took a pillow off his bed and gave that to Aaron, too.

Thank you.” Aaron disappeared in the blanket, hiding from the world.

What a waste. Aaron had been a lovely, vibrant boy, eager to know everything.

Beau went to the fridge and grabbed a bag of blood. “Heads up.” He tossed it over.

Aaron looked at him, confused. “I’ve never…”

You’ve never what? Fed from a bag?” That was hardly a shock, if Aaron had been living off rats.

Aaron shook his head and handed the bag back. “I’m okay.”

He crouched next to Aaron and handed the blood over again. “You clearly haven’t looked at yourself recently, because you look like shit and you need to feed.”

I haven’t been out of the building until today.” Aaron reached for him.

Beau let Aaron hold onto him, snaking an arm around the too-skinny body. “You can’t live on rats. You need this.” Aaron didn’t even need to use his fangs on the bag, it had an easy drip line.

He brushed his fingers over Aaron’s eyelids, closing them. Then he brought the drip line to Aaron’s lips. “Suck.”

When Aaron didn’t immediately do as he’d been told, Beau squeezed the bag, forcing the blood down the tube and into Aaron’s mouth.

Aaron’s eyes went wide, the green flaring back in them. That was better already. Beau leaned in and said it again, “Suck.”

Aaron keened, pulling hard, the dying body trying to come back to life.

Beau bet he’d need to go on a blood run soon, and Aaron was going to be surprised by how much better he’d feel when he woke up.

Aaron began to sink into the covers, clearly fed and safe enough to feel the weight of the sun urging him to sleep. Beau nodded and went to climb into bed. He stopped himself, though, going to the door and bolting it closed. Then he went to bed.

It never hurt to take extra precautions.

COLLAPSE

Rapunzel

Book Cover: Rapunzel
Part of the Fairytale Shifters series:

    When Guerilla Contracting is called out after hours to deal with electrical problems at the circus, gorilla shifter Joe expects to encounter animals in cages. He doesn’t like it, but knows it’s part of the territory when it comes to circuses. What he doesn’t expect to find is a naked man in the giraffe cage.

    Giraffe has lived his entire life as an attraction at the zoo, moving from his home-cage to the work-cage and back. He’s not allowed to let anyone know he’s a shifter, and doesn’t mean to get caught as a man when Joe comes by his cage. Joe is nice, though, and when he asks Giraffe to come away with him, Giraffe does.

    Joe’s interest in Giraffe shifts as he secrets Giraffe away to his home in the country, becoming about more than just saving Giraffe from his cage.

    Could it be possible that Giraffe feels the same way Joe does, or will he want to return to the only home he’s ever known?

    Published:
    Publisher: Self-Published
    Genres:
    Excerpt:

    Joe pulled up at the circus on the fairgrounds just out of town and parked the truck near the front entrance. The place looked abandoned without the music and the lights and all the people. Like a ghost town, almost. He climbed out and headed for the front gate, a figure peeling itself off the wall as he approached.

    Guerilla Contracting,” he called out. The name of his business always made him smile, the double entendre entirely private—his own little secret. “I’m Joe. You guys have an electrical problem?”

    READ MORE

    The guy nodded. “Wooster. Boss said to bring you out to the junction box. None of the lights in the big tent are working. We had to refund tonight’s box office.”

    Joe guessed that was not something anyone was happy about. It would be bad publicity, too, the circus not being able to put on a show.

    Let me just grab my toolbox.” He did so, then followed Wooster through the gates and among the tents to the caravans out the back, a huge mess of electrical junctions and wires promising him a long night. Oh well, that was what they paid him the big bucks for, and it wasn’t like he had anyone waiting for him at home.

    Wooster showed him the trail of wires that ran to the big tent, then pointed to an old silver Airstream with a big W painted on the front. “My supper’s going cold. Come and get me if you need me.”

    You got it.” He tipped his head and watched Wooster head toward the trailer, leaving him alone with the smells and small noises that kept the night from being quiet. Okay, so the circus was a little creepy all dark and shut down like this, with the hint of life hiding away.

    Joe shook it off and went to work, beginning with testing wires and connections. Still, he swore he could feel eyes on him, a constant curious gaze. He put it down to the horror-book setting and kept working. His searching along the wires brought him to where the animal cages were and he had to bite back his growls as he saw lions and tigers and monkeys in cages. He hated seeing animals in cages. He could smell elephants, too, and… a giraffe?

    He put down his tools and moved among the cages, looking in on all the beasts. The mother elephant was sad, quiet, but well cared for. The monkeys were playing, happy in their family, and the…

    Wait. Wait, there was a man in the giraffe’s cage. A tall, lean man with a mass of coppery hair and precious little else. The cage reeked of giraffe, which meant this stunner was like him, both man and beast. Joe knew other shifters existed, but he’d never met another one before.

    He met the warm brown eyes. “Hello there.”

    The man smiled, nodded to him, and blinked slowly.

    Joe couldn’t believe there was a shifter here, and that he was caged. It made him angry enough to see animals caged, whether they were happy and cared for or not. But for there to be a shifter in the same boat brought him rage. That just wasn’t right.

    Are you okay? Are they treating you right?”

    The man nodded, smiled again, and offered him a stalk of celery. Joe took the celery and looked at it, took a bite. It was celery.

    Can you speak?” Was this guy so mistreated that he couldn’t?

    It’s not allowed.” The whisper was barely audible.

    Joe didn’t like the sound of that at all. “Why not? You’re a man, aren’t you?”

    The giraffe-man shook his head, eyes wide.

    COLLAPSE

    Playing with Fire

    Book Cover: Playing with Fire

    What happens when an uppity fire mage takes the son of a neighboring kingdom prisoner to teach him a lesson? Sparks, of course. Only in this case, where there’s smoke, there’s more than just fire. The Prince and the Mage both have their secrets to hide, leading the reader through an intricate dance of war, deception, and smoldering sexuality.

    Incendiary.

    Published:
    Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
    Cover Artists:
    Genres:
    Tags:
    Excerpt:

    King Blethin was announced. King Blethin. The man had a nerve. This was what happened with the outlying lands, they put on airs and got uppity. Blethin was an older man, with a round wife and an heir in tow. A young, strapping son who was entirely not his type. Tall. Muscled. Golden skin. Long hair the color of wheat with shots of flame. And eyes like a midnight sky.

    Luscious. Zujan needed another princeling. Honestly.

    He purred, the sound familiar enough to make Rall tense.

    READ MORE

    My Lord,” murmured the king, bowing. His wife curtseyed, but the prince just stood there, watching him, defiant, head held high.

    We have brought you the finest furs of our lands as a very small token of our friendship.” A cloak was handed to him, black and soft, warm. “The rest of the furs were left with your staff.”

    The fur was lovely and Zujan nodded happily. “You are a generous man. How kind of you to attend.”

    And to bring your prince to me.

    We are neighbors, my Lord. It was an honor to be invited.” The king all but tripped over his own tongue to lick Zujan’s boots. The prince however stood behind his father, still straight and proud, those blue eyes almost looking through him.

    This was a proud one. A strong one.

    And will your companion introduce himself?” Come, lovely one. Speak to me.

    This is my son, Wintras.” The king made a hand gesture to his son, head jerking. “Bow to his Lordship,” the man hissed.

    Wintras stood for a long time and then gave a half bow, eyes never leaving Zujan.

    Zujan heard the shock ripple through his audience as one of his eyebrows arched and he tilted his head. “Wintras.”

    That’s what my father said.”

    Blethin’s gasp was audible, the man going red at his son’s words.

    Attractive and observant. How very lucky you are, Blethin.” His voice cool and clipped. This one would need to be taught a lesson, lest anyone else think this was acceptable behavior. “Perhaps he is simply overtaken by my beauty.”

    Maybe I just don’t like having to give up our best furs to you on top of everything else you’ve stolen.”

    The room went silent and Zujan hid his smile as he stood, the bar’cha appearing all around him, drawn to his anger and his need to punish. Poor stupid little fool. “You misspeak, boy. All I have is mine to take.”

    The prince stood his ground, cocky and confident, arrogant. “I stand by my words.”

    Indeed?”

    An older man, an Earl hurried over. “Please, your majesty, my lord. The boy is young...”

    I am the Prince of the Western Lands. When I take my father’s place I will end your terror of my people.”

    Zujan held out one hand, a flame appearing, the air in the ballroom going cold. “You have not yet learned terror, young one.”

    Heavens and skies, he was having fun.

    You think a few party tricks are going to teach me of it?” Those amazing blue eyes were steady, watching him, challenging him.

    No.” He was hoping they wouldn’t – this was the most entertainment he’d had in years. Zujan turned to the Queen, smiling into her tear-filled eyes. “I will offer you the choice, Lady. Give your son to me or I will roast him where he stands.”

    She fell to her knees, her husband joining her. “Please, your lordship, please spare his life!”

    Get up,” growled the prince. “Stop debasing yourselves.”

    Zujan ignored the boy’s words, instead accepting the mother’s. “Excellent.” He snapped his fingers, his guards appearing immediately. “Take the prince down to the dungeons and get him well-settled.”

    You can’t just take me prisoner!”

    Of course not. Your family just offered you to me, in front of all my company.” He waved his hand idly. “Take him away.”

    You intimidated them!” The prince didn’t fight his captors, glaring at him instead.

    Blethin had joined his wife in mewling. They were getting boring.

    Zujan watched the bar’cha do as they wanted, watching as they moved in and around his guests, swirling and heating. The play continued until worried nobles began to swat at his bar’cha, at which point they attacked, stroking with their burning touch. Sitting again, Zujan relished the chaos, fingers returning to Rall’s hair. “Are you enjoying yourself, pet?”

    Y...yes, my Lord.”

    Excellent. I am as well.”

    Stop this! You are a madman!” Wintras shouted at him from across the room as the guards dragged him away. “Rush him! There are many of you and only one of him! He’s insane!”

    They’re so entertaining those first few days, don’t you agree?” He smiled coldly at the king and his wife. “It is by his own lack of self-control that he goes. He will not be permanently harmed — assuming he learns, of course.”

    Thank you for sparing him, your majesty,” whimpered the queen.

    You are merciful,” added the king, jeweled fingers shaking.

    Zujan nodded in total agreement. Indeed. Most merciful.

    Amused and merciful.

    And the owner of some lovely furs.

    COLLAPSE

    Pack Mates

    Book Cover: Pack Mates

    Newly bitten werewolf Keith can't figure out what's happening to him, and he's freaking out. When he meets Seamus, he gets both a lover and a teacher. Seamus has a lot to deal with when his remote wolf packs sends him to the big city to raise some pups as an experiment. He can't just leave Keith to die, though, so he takes on teaching him to be a wolf.

    Between fighting off gay bashers, dealing with some very active puppies and trying to learn to love each other, Keith and Seamus have a lot to overcome, but ultimately, it might be the pack that tears them apart...

    This book was previously published in an anthology Shifting Vol 3.

    Published:
    Publisher: Self-Published
    Cover Artists:
    Genres:
    Tags:

    Pack and Mate

    Book Cover: Pack and Mate
    Part of the Kennel Klub series:

    New to the city, Finn never dreamed he’d have a mate of his own, especially not one found at the Kennel Klub, where spankings are optional.

    Sweet beta werewolf Finn is at a party for his cousin’s collaring when he first meets Cort. It’s just too bad Finn has to leave with his twin brother and packmates before the two can really connect.

    Cort, Alpha male all the way, is immediately drawn to Finn and knows the sweet pup is his mate and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to find Finn again. Once he does, is he going to be able to convince Finn that they belong together? Or will Finn’s family commitments keep them apart?

    Previously released by another publisher.

    Published:
    Publisher: Self-Published
    Cover Artists:
    Genres:
    Excerpt:

    Finn got off the bus with his packmates Nathan, Louis, Little Red and Cillian, eyes searching for his twin as he herded everyone into a group. Pat had gone ahead of them, leaving their heavily forested home to find a job and a place to live then had sent word that it was safe for the rest of them to come to the city.

    READ MORE

    Thank God, because Dorian, their Alpha, was making it more and more clear every day that they weren’t welcome in the pack any longer. Too many bachelor males were a threat to pack stability, especially Pat who wasn’t a beta wolf like him and his pack brothers. Hell, Little Red and Cillian were omega wolves and therefore just extra mouths to feed. According to Dorian, they had nothing to contribute at all. Scary as leaving home seemed, Finn was more concerned about Dorian and the worsening circumstances at home. Well, at what used to be their home.

    So here they were, in the city. The big city. They’d chosen this one because they had a cousin here. Jim had said there were places that were good, safe. That they would find a home here. Still, it was nothing like the forests where they’d run together, them and the other pups living and playing together. It felt like they hadn’t had a care in the world and now they were on their own this strange place. It made him feel very little and insignificant.

    The others pressed close to him and Finn supressed his shiver. He needed Pat, they all did. His twin would be the Alpha of their new little city pack. Everything here was so close, buildings on top of buildings, the high rises making the sky seem so far way, and there were so many people. He’d seen the buildings as they’d come into the city, his eyes as big as Little Red’s as they went by things they’d only ever just heard of—high rises and houses placed one right next to the other. Grass inside gates and tiny beds of flowers. So few trees—and their numbers had dwindled the further into the city they got.

    For one sheer panic-inducing moment, he was sure he couldn’t do this. He couldn’t live here, he couldn’t be Pat’s second in command. It was too much for a young beta wolf and he was totally unprepared for it.

    Then he heard his name and there was Pat, rushing over to greet them with hugs and smiles and oh thank God. It was going to be all right. Finn got his hug last, his arms wrapping tightly around Pat, his twin holding on just as hard.

    They’d made it through the worst part—leaving the pack and coming to the city. Now all Finn and the others had to do was survive it.

    COLLAPSE

    Cereus: Opening

    Book Cover: Cereus: Opening
    Part of the Cereus series:

    Now that his paranormal resort is built, owner Jonny and manager Duke are ready to open Cereus’ doors to their exclusive clientele. Unfortunately, in these three stories, not everything runs as smoothly as Duke would like, and he’s a werewolf on the verge of tearing his hair out.

    In Pack Rules, by Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga, security experts Mik and Van have to learn to work together, even though they have a past, and one that didn’t end well. Werewolf Van wants his vampire back, but Mik is unwilling to be hurt again. Can they trust each other enough to solve their problems, and those of the club? In Downward Dog, Talbot and Tortuga tell the story of yoga instructor werewolf Rian, a city wolf with no way to cope with being courted by the native wildlife.

    Finally, in The Bear Facts by Sean Michael, one of the first clients at Cereus, polar bear Nuk has special needs. He thinks IT guy Al is just the man to fulfill them, but will that leave Cereus, and Al, in the lurch? Find out in this second installment of the Cereus series. The Cereus series started off with book one, Cereus: Building.

    Published:
    Publisher: Self-Published
    Genres:
    Excerpt:

    The song Maneater started playing on Donovan’s phone for the third time in thirty minutes, and he sighed, rolling his eyes. He’d tried to get a meeting with Mik this morning, but the moody bastard was just not cooperating.

    From start to almost finished, Mik had made this whole opening Cereus gig miserable. Donovan wished to hell someone had asked him who they should hire to do their electronic security. He could have recommended about ten guys who were not his fucking vindictive ex.

    What now?”

    READ MORE

    Someone’s tampered with the cameras on the west side. You need to check them out.”

    Didn’t I just hire two guards? Radio Gene.” He was so not a lackey.

    I want someone I trust to do it.”

    He stopped dead in his tracks, blinking. Donovan figured he was doing a good job not to stammer, stutter, or sputter. “You think it’s serious, then?” Donovan started toward the west side of the main resort compound.

    I don’t know. I don’t like it. Someone moved them on purpose.”

    Okay. What camera?” They’d agreed, after much arguing, on a system of letters and numbers. They had hundreds of cameras and they needed to be able to pinpoint them.

    W109, 110, and 113.” He could hear Mik chewing on his lips.

    Okay. I’ll check in when I see what’s going on.” He hit the end call button and started jogging. It would take ten minutes to get there since he hadn’t been smart enough to get a golf cart.

    Soon one of his pack mates — a sweet little boy with an eager smile and a tight ass — was jogging alongside him. “Van. Where we going?”

    He glanced over at… Raine? Rhys? Something. The kid was going to teach yoga to guests. He did a great downward dog. “West wall. Camera is out of whack.”

    Yeah? I’ll help.” Poor baby was bored to death and so eager to please. There wasn’t much call for yoga among the staff.

    Sure.” He was a good dog; he didn’t roll his eyes. He needed to talk to Duke about hiring a few more young guys like this. The kid was all of eighteen, maybe?

    Thanks. So. The cameras are broken? Do you think it’s going to snow?”

    The cameras have been moved. I think it will snow tonight, yeah.” Lord.

    Cool. Do you want to go for a run, maybe? In the snow? Tonight?”

    He stopped, scenting the wind. There was something familiar there, but Rian, that was it, was kind of obscuring it.

    Van?” Rian stopped, vibrating next to him. For a yoga guy, the kid was shivery.

    Something… I thought someone might be out here with us, but I was wrong.” He took off again, needing to get back to Mik on those cameras.

    Rian kept up with him, jogging quickly, not breathless at all. Little shit.

    When he got to W109 there was no one there, but the camera was turned literally backward, its range of motion completely skewed.

    Weird. Why would someone do that? There’s nothing over here but staff cabins.”

    Hell if I know. I bet the other ones are just the same.” He rejected the fleeting idea that Mik was testing him. Mik had said he trusted Donovan, and Mik rarely said anything he didn’t mean. Shit, the man rarely said dick at all.

    He growled softly, resisting the urge to shift and smell. Rian had never seen how fast Donovan could change, and he wanted to keep it that way. It was kind of his secret weapon.

    Let me look at the others.”

    Okay. Do you want me to do something?”

    Nope.” He knew he should give Rian something to do; that would be the pack way. This was his job, though, not his social life.

    “‘kay.” Rian headed to the edge of the tree line, nostrils flaring.

    He had to scale the fence to check the last of the cameras. This one was more… covered. He swore it looked like someone had thrown a big old spitball at it. Something gross clung to the lens.

    Nasty.”

    He’d grabbed a low-hanging branch and started wiping it free when his phone rang again. He teetered, but caught himself, sitting high on the fence and pulling out his phone. “Yeah?”

    What on earth are you doing with the camera? It’s a weird visual in here.”

    I’m in a tree, man. The camera had this weird white film on it.”

    White film? Strange.” He could hear Mik chewing on his lips again. Those big old chomper fangs and all…

    Like someone sprayed something on it.”

    Okay. Okay, I’ll start going back. Damn it, I don’t need this shit right as the first guests are coming.”

    I’ll put a couple of the pack on patrol.” He was still hiring specialty staff, but there were plenty of guys who could pull double duty.

    Good. Good idea.” The line went dead.

    Argh. Asshat. He put his phone away and shimmied down. “Looks like we’re done, kiddo.”

    Cool. Did you figure out what was the deal?” Rian’s eyes just gleamed.

    Someone was dinking with the cameras. It looks more malicious than criminal.” He sure hoped that was the case.

    That’s mean. Does that mean it’s one of us?”

    Probably, yeah.” It occurred to him that Rian had been right there, waiting to run with him. “Is there something you want to tell me, man? Did you see something?”

    No. No, it just felt a little…”

    His phone rang again, Mik’s song blaring out. He sighed, answering. “Yes, Master?”

    Someone’s by 113, Van. Right now.”

    He tossed his phone to Rian. “Stay out of my way.” Then he wolfed out and ran for 113.

    The smell of fresh blood hit his nose, the carcass of a deer splayed out there below the camera. It was not shredded, like someone had gone berserker on them, and it was laid out in a way that he could only assume was a message.

    He had no idea what.

    COLLAPSE

    Once You Go Demon

    Book Cover: Once You Go Demon

    There's a shift of power happening in Hell, and nothing will ever be the same.

    Kerr has been with High Demon Horatio's household since his age of majority. A natural submissive pleasure demon, for the last seven years he has been untouched by his master Horatio and his job has morphed into a more managerial role. Still, it's a shock when goons from Master Belial's house arrive at his doorstep to inform him he's been sold and his new master expects him to come immediately.

    Lost by Horatio in a card game, Kerr finds himself in the Belial household, where Ceris, Master of the Harem, takes Kerr under his wing. Kerr is not only honored and used as he was made to be, but he is given a newly acquired demon, Harmony, as his own to train. The three pleasure demons have a rocky start, but they have all the time in Hell to figure out how to work together, and it isn't long before they begin to care for one another.

    Meanwhile, Belial has waited for thousands of years for Horatio to admit he's actually a submissive. When it appears that's never going to happen, Belial arranges for his best friend to lose a card game in which he's offered himself as the prize. Horatio can't believe Belial would do this for him, but the council puts their seal of approval on the bet, and he has no choice but to offer himself to Belial, who immediately gets to work convincing Horatio that he'll be so much happier as Belial's sub.

    Will Kerr and Horatio find joy in their places in the Belial household? Only time will tell.

    Publisher's Note: The novel Once You Go Demon by Sean Michael was available briefly from another house.

    Published:
    Publisher: Changeling Press
    Cover Artists:
    Genres:
    Tags:
    Excerpt:

    Kerr stared at the paper the incredibly well dressed goons at the door handed him.

    Sold?

    Him?

    He'd been sold into Horatio Liverage's house to act as the man's submissive since he was of maturity, and now, after so long, Horatio had sold him without a word? Without a note?

    Nonsense.

    Utter nonsense.

    READ MORE

    "There must be a mistake."

    The goon pointed one clawed finger at the insignia at the bottom of the page. "What does that signify?"

    "Horatio Liverage." He couldn't deny it was his master's seal.

    "Then there isn't a mistake. Bring us Kerr, and we'll be on our way." The teeth on the guy doing the talking brooked no argument. Neither did the tufts of smoke coming out of Silent and Scary's ears.

    "I'm Kerr. I have to gather my things, make arrangements..." Right? Didn't he get that much at least?

    The lower demon looked at the contract again. "It doesn't say anything about belongings here. Let's go."

    "I have precious things that hold my family name, and it doesn't say that I can't bring them. I am not resisting, simply gathering my stuff." He could bargain with the best of them. He knew he had to convince them, though, as either one of them could pick him up and toss him over a shoulder without even trying.

    Henchman One turned to Henchman Two, who shrugged.

    "Is your master here? He can decide."

    "He is not. He's away. As such, I am second in charge of the household." He held no illusions that he was beloved or even a lover, but he was well trusted with finances and with all aspects of Horatio's life. "I shall return in moments."

    He began to pack -- the stash of jewels he had been collecting for years, his few precious books, his favorite clothes, and the music and computer that were his. He grabbed his toiletries, the hologram of his sire and dam, and the fragile glass orb that throbbed with a sweet, gentle light.

    Both goons were frowning when he came back, pushing the pallet of his things.

    "We won't be party to you stealing from your master."

    "I haven't stolen a thing. These things are my own and now go with me to my new master." Fuckers. Horatio might be able to sell him on a whim, but these were his possessions and they were going with him.

    They looked at each other again, shrugged, and turned, heading down the walk toward the truck at the end of it. "We're not toting anything," the talker called back over his shoulder.

    "Not yet," Kerr muttered.

    He wasn't some pointless goon. He was a highly trained, highly useful sexual submissive and house servant. Soon he would find a place with whomever the fuck the asshole prick that never made love to him anyway, dickhead, had sold his papers to, and then this mouth breather would do what Kerr said.

    The goon opened the back door and just stood there, watching him putting his things in. "You're riding back there, too."

    "Thank you so much." He rolled his eyes, pushed his hair behind his ears, and climbed in, telling himself that he wasn't hurt, that he was nothing but property, that he shouldn't cry. One day, that might even work.

    The door closed with a loud clang, leaving him in the dark, the engine starting up moments later. The truck lurched forward, sending him falling onto his ass.

    He did cry then, silently, heartbroken. He'd lost his home, his job, his master, and no one had so much as warned him. Someone had written up that paperwork, someone had made the arrangements, and someone had thrown him away.

    He couldn't believe Horatio had done this to him, and without any warning at all, not a word to him.

    The truck stopped abruptly, the brakes squeaking loudly. The door opened again, the dull grey sky seeming bright after the darkness of the truck.

    Two little slaves popped up into the back and began grabbing his stuff.

    He lifted his chin and firmed his lips. He was well trained, valuable. Special in his own right. Men begged to be wealthy enough to own him.

    "Come, come," murmured one boy, motioning for him to get down from the truck and follow. He couldn't see the two goons. "You're going to be in the salle, honored one. Your groom is Ceris, and he is the Salle Master."

    Finally, someone realized how important he was, what his stature was, even if he was a slave. He followed the lad through a side door and along a winding hall of stone. This place was much brighter than his mast -- than his former master's, more marble than rock on the columns and floors, white and light blue shot through with silver and gold.

    When they arrived at the harem, the whole place still felt luxurious and gilded, as if the master lived back here as well as the front of the house. Well, his new master was very rich, there was no denying that.

    A huge bald man stood as he walked in, bowing to him solemnly. "Honored one. I am Ceris, your groom. Boy, put the things in the gold room, then call for tea."

    The lad who'd guided him here bowed and went running with Kerr's things, deeper into the harem.

    "Welcome to Lord Belial's harem. We were very excited to learn he won you and that you would be joining us."

    Lord Belial? Bel? Horatio had sold him to his best friend? Seriously?

    "Thank you for your welcome." He bowed automatically, his training taking over immediately.

    "Tea is coming. After that, I imagine you'd like a bath. Perhaps something light to eat."

    Ceris was a handsome demon. The bald head exposed the little horns completely, and they glowed in the light. His bare chest was beautifully muscled, the gauzy pants exposing strong legs and hinting at a heavy cock. There was a heavy spiky gold tattoo covering Ceris' ridged belly, marking him as Master Bel's, Kerr was sure. Marked, but lovely.

    "I... Yes, of course." He was developing the world's worst headache.

    A lad, different than the first two, he thought, came in with a tray holding a teapot and two teacups. He left them on a low table, bowed deeply.

    "Thank you, Totz. You can go."

    The boy did, hurrying off like he had somewhere to be.

    "Please. Sit." Ceris waved toward the benches that surrounded the table.

    "Thank you, Ceris." He and Ceris were equals, and he refused to treat the man with less respect than he deserved. "I was not aware I was to be transferred. Not until the papers arrived at the door."

    Transferred. Traded. Discarded.

    "That's unfortunate. Were you able to collect all your things?" Ceris asked, pouring out the tea.

    "I brought the things that were special that I could carry. What will my duties be here? In my former home, I acted as valet and head of household -- finances, staff management, that sort of thing."

    Ceris shot him a confused look. "I was led to believe you were a trained submissive, honored one."

    "Yes, I was. My former master chose not to use me in that regard." Not for many years and not often when he had.

    "Perhaps that's why he wagered you in the game of chance he played with our master last night." Ceris leaned forward and spoke quietly, confidentially. "He's still here, sleeping it off. It got very loud and much was imbibed. I'm very sorry for the way it happened, but maybe it's for the better. There is no where else in all of Hell that I would rather be."

    "I will thrive wherever they wish me to be." He hoped. He had no choice.

    Ceris looked him up and down, gaze almost like a physical touch. "I'm sure you will."

    COLLAPSE