Mya - An Unnatural Worth (PDF)

October 2, 2017 | Author: Noemi Jimenez Cueto | Category: Werewolves, E Books
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AN UNNATURAL WORTH

Mya

® www.loose-id.com

Warning This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id® e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

An Unnatural Worth Mya This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Published by Loose Id LLC 1802 N Carson Street, Suite 212-2924 Carson City NV 89701-1215 www.loose-id.com

Copyright © January 2008 by Mya All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced or shared in any form, including, but not limited to printing, photocopying, faxing, or emailing without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC.

ISBN 978-1-59632-622-4 Available in Adobe PDF, HTML, MobiPocket, and MS Reader

Printed in the United States of America

Editor: Jana J. Hanson Cover Artist: Anne Cain

www.loose-id.com

Prologue

Forever in a newborn stage, enveloped in darkness, and cushioned by a firm mattress, I dreamed of fireflies, at least my mind’s remembrance of them. Balls of yellow-white light were the easiest to recollect, much more so than the features of animals, the details of architecture, or scenery. Faces were much too painful for me. I might have occupied my time in hell a bit better with scenarios of past seductions, women with necks like pastries, and men with throats like main courses, but my bravery left me along with my sight. That loss was a hard one, much harder than ending up a prisoner to humans. Prodded, stuck with needles, shocked, and burned -- the humans and their curiosity were far crueler than I had been with any of my contributors. The act of bloodletting was a sensual, orgasmic delight. Often after feeding, I could smell the air, thick with the perfume of blood and come. Mine. The contributor’s… Gone were such smells. They had been replaced by the scents of rubbing alcohol, bleach, bandages, and drugs I couldn’t begin to describe. There would be no seduction or art in the humans’ exploration of a vampire, of me. There was only the cold and cruel methodology of science.

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It was called the Institute for Evolutionary Divergence -- I.E.D. -- and it was where I would live out my final days, of that I was certain. Kept in a stone cell, when I wasn’t strapped to a gurney, my days consisted of testing, my nights of fireflies.

***** I awoke to the sounds of a man screaming for his life, an animalistic roar punctuating the symphony of chaos. I smelled fire, not the sort fueled by wood but from complex chemistry. People screamed, things were broken, and panic, my new best friend, suggested my death would come soon. Clinging to my sheets, I heard a man pleading. “Please. Please don’t kill me! I never did anything to hurt you!” A feral, deep baritone gave its reply. “No, you just watched, just wheeled in that fucking cart and watched. You can watch in hell for all I care.” My mind scrambled for an explanation as I heard the grisly sounds of death. The institute was under attack by nothing human. The gnashing of teeth, the shredding of flesh and screams turned to a sickening gurgle. All of it made me tremble. Surely one of the experiments had gotten loose. Over the months of my imprisonment, I had heard about other supernatural test subjects: a selkie, a young witch, an empath, and a werewolf with unbelievable strength. I assumed that the werewolf was the one slaughtering the lab assistant. “Come on, Bryce. We need to go now! There could be reinforcements, soldiers even.” It was the voice of someone I didn’t recognize. They were close to my cell. I heard a sizzle, a hiss, and a loud clang of metal hitting the ground before the door to my cell whined open.

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Strong hands grasped my arm and pulled me to my feet. “Come on. You’re free, you miserable creature. Whatever you are, you need to escape now. This place is going to burn to the ground. Unless you’re looking to die, you should come with us. Now!” What would I do with freedom? The sudden gift tasted sour in my mouth. The day after I had been blinded, I was captured. A life without walls was not as alluring as it should have been. “What’s going on?” “No time to explain. You’re free.” I pulled my arm back unsure. “No. I…I’m staying here.” “What the fuck’s wrong with you?” The werewolf grabbed both my arms this time. His friend seemed to have a much gentler demeanor. “He’s a vampire. Looks like they did something to his eyes. Maybe he thinks the sun is high. Maybe that’s why he’s afraid, Bryce.” Part of me wanted to beg for help, for them to guide me away, but it was more than I could ask. Pride had once been my downfall. As it swelled in me anew, I could not be their burden. “I’m not afraid of the sun, and I don’t care if it’s pitch black outside. Go. Leave me.” “It’s called trauma,” the nice one spoke. “I don’t give a damn what it’s called. We’ve all been through hell, but for my soul, I wouldn’t want to die in this place,” said the werewolf, Bryce apparently. Yanking me forward, he was set on imposing his will upon me. I was just as determined. “Then go! I don’t need your help. I told you so. They’ll catch you and torture you. They’ll kill you for sure. You have to leave me.” “I don’t have to do a goddamn thing but breathe.” As easily as lifting a child, the werewolf pulled me over his shoulders to freedom.

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Chapter One

I panicked up until the time I was deposited into the first automobile. It felt so good to feel air, real night air, upon my face that it overshadowed the fear of my looming independence. It also helped the pungent smells of destruction and flames. After all of the explosions, the yelling, and the screaming, the quiet motion of the car lulled me to sleep. My two rescuers switched cars after a few hours. Lifted by the werewolf from one car into another, I felt like telling him that him that I could walk, but it really was easier to be carried. Effortlessly, he deposited me into the new car and closed the door. It took a moment before I realized I wasn’t alone. The sound of a heart beating, the thud of a pulse, and the alluring smell of thick blood drew my attention to the human beside me. Slender fingers gripped my arm. “Help! Help me, please. They’re monsters. They’re going to kill me.” It was a young woman’s voice. “Excuse me?” “The men that captured me. They’re monsters. They have these long teeth, and they hijacked my car. I think that they’re going to kill me!”

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Two doors opened, and the car dipped with the added weight of my rescuers. The woman’s heart went from nervous to outright panic, its movement loud to my ears. “Please. Please, don’t hurt me,” she pleaded over the turning over of the engine. “Hurt you,” scoffed the easygoing one. “Do you have any idea the last time I had human for dinner? Before your kind snatched me out of my warm bed and threw me under a microscope. Five years ago, was it?” The werewolf laughed. “You’re full of shit, Cheetah.” “No, I ain’t. I’m bitter. There’s a difference.” Their combined laughter rang out in front of me, while the woman at my side sobbed harder. “Please…please, sir. Help me.” Leather creaked as the one called Cheetah addressed the whispers in the back seat. “What are you talking to him for? He’s one of us.” That convinced the woman to let go of me. “What exactly are you?” Cheetah explained. “Well, we’re not the same species, but the principal still applies. I’m an alchemist. The tall, strapping rogue driving your car is a werewolf, and you’re sitting next to a vampire. I mean, the worst one of us is driving, but after Bryce, that guy you’re sitting next to is the most dangerous being in the truck.”

Dangerous, but utterly harmless, I wanted to add. “You’re lying,” her voice trembled with the realization of truth. “You’re all some sort of goth freaks! Please, let me go. You don’t want me.” “I like you. You’re feisty. May not need the hot sauce for that one.” Cheetah sighed menacingly. “Just some salt, pepper, and oregano, and she’ll be fine.” I couldn’t tell whether he was joking, but I could hear the werewolf’s deep chuckling. “How are you feeling, vampire?” Cheetah asked me. “What does it matter?”

Mya

6

“Whoa. Bryce, there’s a full on pity party in progress back there.” “Leave him be, Cheetah. He’s tired. We all are.” The leather creaked again, and the more jovial voice of Cheetah sighed in relaxation. “Yeah, we’re all tired and hungry. Don’t start munching on her without us, vampire.” His acidic sense of humor was more than I could take. Moody, I was too concerned with my future and too disturbed by my handicap to think as lightly as he. “Vampire isn’t my name.” Bryce, the one I had decided I liked between the two, asked, “What is it then? Lab experiment Omega2075?” “No. It’s Lexis.” “After the car?” If it was supposed to be a joke, I didn’t get it. Between the woman sobbing next to me and the butterflies swirling in my empty belly, my need for his brand of comedy was wearing thin. “Look, can you just tell me where we’re going?” “Is there somewhere you’d like to go, Lexis?” Going back to my coven in New York was out of the question. They would sooner run a stake through my heart than welcome me back. “No. Nowhere in particular.” The woman sniffled. “I’d like to go home.” “And people in hell want ice water.” Unable to fight the grin forming at the corners of my mouth, I allowed myself to laugh at Cheetah’s words. I couldn’t help it. The woman only sobbed louder. Bryce chuckled as well. “Don’t worry, hon. We’ll do right by you. You too, Lexis.” My fears softened in response to Bryce’s words. Lulled by the motion of the car, I arrived at the conclusion that the safety I had become reliant upon in the facility was a false one.

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I wasn’t yet ready to trust my rescuers. For the moment, I would enjoy the ride.

***** We stopped at a rest stop just short of Baltimore, so Cheetah told me. True to his word, Bryce released the woman with her purse and a staunch warning about things that lurk in dark shadows. We kept the car. I didn’t need my sight to know she took him very seriously. Quite the joker, Cheetah made me laugh every time I thought it was safe to slip back into worry. He had endless quips about appreciating freedom, the allure of lunch time back at the I.E.D., and how he would tell human horror stories to children he hadn’t yet conceived to frighten them. It made the time pass quickly. His comments about werewolves were particularly interesting. Curious as to the silent one behind the wheel, the one who had hefted me to my freedom, I began to wish that he would say more. Cheetah talked about how Bryce had destroyed the I.E.D. and freed the supernaturals there solely because the lab assistant caught him on a bad day. “If I had known it was that easy to be free, I would have hit you in the nose with a cattle prod,” Cheetah said. “You have unusual motivations, man.” “My nose is extremely sensitive. And I was trying to sleep. Besides, the lab assistant hadn’t fastened my manacles correctly. But you forget that you played a role, too.” “What can I say? I was inspired when you tore that doctor in half. I mean, no amount of tranquilizers could numb that shit. You were awesome. Off the chain even!” “You and your sense of humor.” Bryce chuckled deeply. “I should have left your ass to run off with the others.” “And I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that. We’re good company, right, Lexis?” Shrugging my shoulders, I wasn’t wholly sure.

Mya

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We made it to a motel just before dawn. While Cheetah assured me the Stardust Motel was a fine place, I was sure that he was lying.

***** It was hard to define myself as a burden stretched across a ratty motel sofa and listening to the latest reports of international wars and local ones on the television. While neither Bryce nor Cheetah went out of their way to attend to me, they didn’t ignore me either. Cheetah asked what I wanted before calling out for food, even though I told him I wasn’t hungry. Bryce demanded he get me something. They ordered from the motel’s diner, lots of meat. Bryce had money and a credit card from one of the doctors in the facility, but Cheetah said it would have to be a one-shot deal. People could trace us if we used the card too much. He went out to get food and cash, leaving me alone with the werewolf. It would have been easier to be alone with Cheetah; I found him somewhat humorous. From the moment I first encountered Bryce, I had felt off. He was the one who had saved me, and I owed him a debt despite my ideas of worth. I had never owed anyone anything or at least I never felt that I did, especially not to a hero. Bryce was quiet. If I didn’t hear his heart beating slow but loud, I wouldn’t have known he was in the room. Calm, steady, and powerful were the words that came to mind, all characteristics I wasn’t used to being around. “The bed is more comfortable than the couch, Lexis.” I knew it was. What I didn’t know was who was on it. “That’s all right. You need it more than I do. You should rest.” “I am resting,” he answered. “Do you need me to guide you to the bed?”

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“No. Thank you.” Having been led already by him from car to car then into the hotel room, I already knew just how strong and barrel-like his forearms were. It would be too easy for me to get used to the security of his hold, too easy for me to crave that. To go from one prison to an even more delectable one was not worth the pain of its loss. I was pathetic, but not a plaything for a werewolf. “Have it your way. We got two beds though, and who knows how long it will be until we see another one. Each bed has two mattresses, none of that spring shit.” He spoke as if that might change my mind. Uncomfortable at an odd angle upon the short couch, I didn’t want to be at ease. I

never wanted to be at ease. Vulnerability had become my world, and I was afraid to abandon it. It was best if I didn’t even dare. “I’m comfortable here,” I lied. “Have it your way then. Just don’t step on me trying to walk around. I’m not sane when I first wake.” It dawned on me that Bryce was on the floor, but before I could muster the resolve to ask for the bed, he was snoring.

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Chapter Two

Cheetah returned, and the pungent smell of cooked flesh arrived with him. Bryce’s snoring ceased as the werewolf woke up and complained of his friend taking his sweet time. Awake, I did not open my eyes. Having told them I wasn’t hungry, I was sure there was nothing for me. I hoped they would assume I was asleep and not pitifully starving. Although my eyes were dead, I had no way of knowing if they could still show emotion. If that were possible, I did not want them to instill pity. My stomach gave me away, growling softly. “I know you’re not asleep, Lexis,” Bryce said. “Come on. We got something for you.” Cheetah chimed in after Bryce. “I told the chef to hook me up with something rare and juicy. Told him I wanted to hear it moo. Well, it’s mooing all right, and dripping. Come and get it.” I opened my eyes but did not move. The loss of my eyesight wasn’t a bad thing at that moment. At least I couldn’t see their disapproval or pity. “Lexis? What’s your problem?” Bryce sounded irritated. “I don’t have a problem.”

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“I know what’s wrong,” Cheetah exclaimed. “He just can’t go on living anymore. After surviving the horrifying shithole of the I.E.D., freedom is a harsh state to which he cannot adjust. He just can’t take it anymore!” Trying to remain serious although Cheetah was far from it, I sat up and coughed. Bryce and Cheetah laughed. Over the rustle of a paper bag, Cheetah harped, “Hey, Lex, maybe some fresh blood might encourage your eyesight to return. Regeneration and all that.” If only. I had once lost a finger. It was sliced clean off. All I’d done was place it back at the stub, and regeneration began. My blood could heal when it flowed, but it did not flow in my eyes, not after days or months. The darkness had still not abated. “It will never return.” “That’s a bitch. Fucking humans.” “Humans did not do this to me,” I snapped at Cheetah, my anger giving me warmth. It was Bryce’s presence at my side, his hand helping me to my feet that brought me back to reality. “They only found me like this. Pathetic, weak, useless. A fucking cripple.” “Who then?” “I was betrayed. Punished for my arrogance and vanity.” “I thought all vampires were vain.” “I was exceptional,” I responded to Cheetah. Bryce sat down to my right. He lifted my hand with his larger one and set a cup against my palm. From the scent alone, I could tell that it was a mixture of blood and au jus, definitely from beef. It would sate me nonetheless. Cheetah replied, “You’re being too hard on yourself. Whatever it was couldn’t have been that bad.” “I thought to challenge the elder of my clan. I believed I had the love and loyalty of his clan and his lieutenants.” Putting the cup to my lips, I took a long sip of the heady liquor of

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life. Shuddering as it progressed through my veins, the elation of nourishment made me giddy. It almost sounded like laughter as I admitted, “I was wrong, and for my treason, I was bound in black cloth from head to toe. They cut holes out for my eyes. Janos said to me, ‘You think that you are great. You are nothing. I will show you greatness, and you will be humbled.’ The next night, I was captured feeding on a beggar. I actually believed blood would give me back my sight.” “That fucking sucks, man.” “Cheetah,” Bryce growled in my defense, but even I found it humorous. We ate in front of the television, listening to the cover-up of our escape on the news. The newswoman declared that an explosion at a Virginia Pharmaceutical Company had resulted in nearly twenty casualties. We all knew it was the I.E.D. There was no mention of the deaths not caused by fire, only that the firemen were having difficulties combating the chemical fires. Bryce gave Cheetah credit for the blazes. Cheetah gave Bryce credit for at least six deaths. They both expressed hopes that the other supernatural prisoners had escaped. I just considered myself lucky. “Fuck this shit. I’m going to Europe.” His voice garbled by the food he was chewing, Cheetah continued, “Transylvania, Serbia, Bulgaria, or some other Second World War zone. America is crap for the supernatural. It always was, and it always will be.” “From one extreme to the next, eh? Everywhere you spit over there you run into a supernatural,” Bryce balked. “That’s not where I want to be.” Nodding my head, I agreed. There were just as many things to fear in Europe as in America. I knew there were worse in Europe who didn’t have to employ science to know what made me tick. They knew everything about vampires, namely how to kill and torture. There were several secret societies sworn to that end alone, I’d heard. Out of curiosity I asked, “Where will you be going, Bryce?”

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“Away.” And where was I supposed to go, I wondered. Freedom was worthless to me. Beginning to think that my salvation would be moot in a short time, I tried to quell the panic of uncertainty stirring within my chest. “How about you?” Cheetah asked. “Got any friends that will take you in, Lex?” I grimaced. “You could go with me. Maybe a different coven and scenery will do you good?” I didn’t think so. “Between Europe, Asia, and Africa, there isn’t a mile of steppe, dune, or forest that isn’t some vampire’s territory, some pack of werewolf’s lands, some gargoyle’s domain… No. I won’t be going back there.” “You can’t stay here though. I mean, it’s cool now, but the humans are on to us. It ain’t safe alone. They won’t touch a clan, but the humans are bold with stragglers and outcasts, man. You gotta --” “He’s coming with me,” Bryce interrupted. Both Cheetah and I gasped. I would have given the world to see the silent gestures between them. “Ah…okay.” Chuckling as if he had stumbled upon a secret, Cheetah opened the cap of a fizzing hop-derived substance. Beer. He took several gulps before speaking again. “It’s like that, is it? I mean, it’s cool…whatever it is, but can vampires even…you know?” “What are you talking about?” I asked. “Being blind is one thing I could live with, but does the plumbing work? That’s the important question.” Taking slow, deep breaths to calm my nerves, I prayed that my skin didn’t show the warmth I felt at Cheetah’s questioning. “You want to know if I can have sex” -- I ventured a guess -- “because you think that I am even considering the werewolf’s offer?”

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Bryce ceased his loud and vigorous chewing before speaking up. “What you going to do? Are you just going to stay here and feed off the rats that run past you in this fucking dump? The I.E.D. will have you back in a heartbeat. I didn’t kill them all. They will regroup and without your sight, you might as well be wearing a fucking sign that says RECAPTURE ME. No, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be alone.” As if he weren’t paying attention to Bryce, Cheetah continued with his line of questioning, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I want to know. Any lead in the pencil?” If there was a stake nearby, I would have put myself out of my misery. Between Cheetah’s blunt questioning and Bryce’s machismo, I felt dizzy. Bryce wanted me to commit to joining him; Cheetah wanted details of my sex life. Answering the easiest request, I admitted, “I can’t procreate but I can fuck.” “Can you enjoy it?” Bryce spoke up. “Hold up, Cheetah. He hasn’t answered my question. I thought you were done with feeling sorry for yourself, Lex?” “That doesn’t mean I’ve resigned myself to you.” I drank the last of the beef blood, savoring it slowly. While the idea of being alone with Bryce was intimidating, it was much better than being strapped down for an EKG. “Look, I’m grateful for the rescue, but I am not going to be a burden or a whore.” Cheetah laughed like he had just realized something. “Werewolves tend to think with their cocks.” “You know what? Both of you are fucking sick.” Emotion really made its presence known in Bryce’s voice, the werewolf’s heart beat loud and strong as if the truth made him nervous. “Maybe I just have a fucking heart,” Bryce suggested. “He’s blind, alone. He can barely get two feet without running into something and --”

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Cheetah cleared his throat. “You’re forgetting to add handsome to that list, Bryce. I suppose you know you’re not bad looking, eh, Lex? I mean, when you had your sight, you knew, right?” Choked up by Bryce’s attempt at nobility, it began to matter to me less whether his motivations were sexual or not. He was offering to help me. I should have been more grateful. Instead I felt hollow and greedy. I wanted more than just help. I wanted security and with my options numbering few, I softened my tone. “I was once beautiful, if that’s what you want to know. I haven’t seen a mirror in a while.” Bryce sighed. “Only a vampire would use the word beautiful.” “And only a werewolf thinks of sex all of the time!” I slammed the empty cup down and felt my way across the carpet to the bed. I pulled myself up and onto the mattress. Somehow, the elevation made me feel better about acting like an immature youth. “It’s not about sex; it’s about seduction, luring your victim into a false sense of security, making them willing to offer themselves up. Blunt crassness gets you nowhere.” Still a prisoner of his own humor, Cheetah harped, “Ah. Yes, ma chère. Come to me, bareth your throateth so that I may --” “It’s not like that at all.” “What are you? A wrist biter?” Turning toward Bryce, I hissed, “You’re just upset that I’m not biting you!” “No. I’m upset because you’re not sucking me.” My personal darkness could not protect me from the heat within, nor from the arousal I felt at his blunt words. My prick pulsed with life as it called all of the newly acquired blood directly to it. The idea of giving myself blindly to the werewolf was more arousing because of its submissive deviancy. Bracing myself between his thighs, peeling back his jeans, maybe his hand upon my head while I took him into my throat…I entertained the idea upon the

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darkness of my surroundings and found that I did not need my sight to be excited by the idea. “You want to be my Seeing Eye dog?” “Would it make you feel better if I wore a collar and gave you the leash to hold?” Feeling around for the top of the covers, I was in no mood to debate who would be getting a bed and who wouldn’t. I took the bed and claimed it as my own. For the sheer embarrassment they’d caused me, they could argue over the other. “It would make me feel better if you gave up on the idea. Go wherever it is you’re going. I’ll be fine. I am supernatural, after all.” “Are you sure?” “I am, Cheetah.” Bryce sighed, determined not to pay me any mind. “Supernatural or no, Lex, you’re coming with me. If you need to be taken somewhere, that’s fine. If you need me to wear a choke chain, that’s fine, but it wouldn’t be right to leave you by yourself.” Not about to argue, I felt around for a pillow to bury my head within. Against its soft fabric, I silently gave in to Bryce as well as to myself. It was more than I could have ever hoped for -- someone to watch over me.

***** Nightfall came, and the well-wishing good-byes flowed around the motel room like stale air. Cheetah was good at hot wiring cars. An alchemist, his body was capable of producing electric charges, fiery fumes, even cold, so he left the car for Bryce and me, despite my claims of independence. He also left the remaining cash. My delusions of self-pity and independence left with Cheetah as he had been a buffer between me and the wolf. With Bryce and his damned nobility, I couldn’t even attempt depression, more less a proper loneliness. He didn’t even make light of the ease with which I got into the front seat of the car.

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I listened as he threw things into the back seat and wondered what I had gotten myself in to. From one cage to another. I doubted I would ever be free. After all, blindness was a stronger cage than bars or an overprotective werewolf. No, I was kidding myself. I wanted to be with Bryce. The only thing that truly boxed me in was my fear of just how much I wanted to be with him. As we started off into the night, I had a million questions I wanted to ask about his past, about his future, and his features. Instead, I listened to the Journey tribute on the radio. Rock ballads did nothing to soothe me, not even a cracked window and air on my face helped when I accidentally touched his hand on the clutch. “Sorry.” “Hey, there. I am not that easy.” Shaking my head, I wondered if Cheetah’s humor had been contagious. I wasn’t even about to entertain his line of thought. “Where are we going?” “Jersey. I have a friend with a place.” “And this friend of yours couldn’t break you out of the I.E.D.?” Bryce turned down the radio and sighed. “I got caught protecting some cubs outside of Miami. They were young and stupid and easy marks for some very determined humans. They were wet behind the ears. They thought of humans as weak and stupid. Wrong. So wrong. Humans outnumber us. They are more righteous and more vicious. “The cubs in Miami were just having some fun. They got it all right. I held the men off while the young ones escaped. It took all six of them, and twelve silver-tipped bullets to bring me down. Fuckers. “Either way, the cubs were long gone. That shit with the I.E.D. was no bother to me but it would have been hell for them. You know for wolves, the many is more important than the one.”

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I could tell he was serious as he spoke and I respected him for sharing. It made the emotions I had for him stronger. Bryce was the sort that only seemed to be careless. There was nobility in him. I had first felt it the night he saved me. “Don’t worry. You’ll be safe with me.” “I never doubted it,” I said. It wasn’t a lie, and it was easy to admit. Strangely enough, that admittance was the icebreaker between us. From then on, we talked mostly about humans, about their misconceived notions concerning garlic and stakes and silver. Most importantly, we didn’t talk about the growing warmth inside of the automobile.

***** Atlantic City was not exactly the hide out I had in mind, but Bryce assured me that the best place to hide was in plain sight. It was a loud and pungent-smelling city. In my memory, Atlantic City was a flashy place with something being advertised, sold or offered by way of neon lights. Without my sight, I took in the location with a different sense. I was overwhelmed by the smells of salt and metal and sugar-heavy humans. Beer, pizzas, ice cream, and liquors were just the beginning. It was a town of excess, but I had been in worse. The sounds of the ocean were faint but calming as we reached our destination. When we arrived at a motel owned by a friend of Bryce’s, or so he claimed, I waited in the car while Bryce made the arrangements. It didn’t take long, but left with just the scent of the werewolf lingering in the car, my mind wandered off. From what I gathered, Bryce was at least six-four. I didn’t know what color his hair was, but I assumed it was dark. One the few things I was certain of was his build. He was muscular, compact yet long waisted. I knew what he smelled like. It was a scent that suggested humidity even when it was cool, a rich meaty musk definitely reminiscent of a beast. How strong would it be when he was fucking? With a deep inhalation, I tried to imagine what sex with a werewolf would be like. Would it he be furry when he

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transformed? Would his claws rake my back and would his teeth prove dangerous against my flesh? I had heard tales of how well endowed werewolves were and truthfully, I couldn’t wait to find out if they were true. While our two species didn’t hate one another, we weren’t close either. Humans were more preferable as day watchers because they were far more abundant, easier to control and bribe, or so I had always been told. I had only ever met one werewolf before, and it hadn’t been the best of circumstances. Told to work for our coven or die, the creature had chosen death. I had the feeling that Bryce would be just as obstinate. The door opened, and Bryce fell into the driver’s seat with a thud. “It’s cool. Freddy says we can hang out here for a few weeks. He owes me so we’re covered. Anyway, there’s a bar in the next building over and an Italian eatery across the street. There’s also a strip club with slots on the street but that’s neither here nor there. We’ll be fine here for a while.” “There’s a strip club.” I sighed. It figured that the wolf would make some note to the hedonistic attractions. “Come on, Lex. I don’t think about sex all of the time.” Feeling around the side panel of the door, I mistook the lock button for the window button before letting the window down a bit. The cool, night air felt good on my face. “You smell like you do.” “And you smell like you like it.” Bryce laughed. His hand came down on my thigh. “Don’t forget that my nose is keener than yours, Lex.” Shaking my head, I cursed werewolves the world over. I pushed his large, firm hand off of my shaking thigh. “Well, why don’t you hunt down a restaurant with a porterhouse then?” Bryce had no witty reply for that.

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Chapter Three

Our room turned out to be marginally better than the first motel. At least it smelled better. The air inside seemed cleaner and less overtaken by mold, and there was a light trace of cleaning solvents in the air. It was in the back of the building, Bryce informed me. It faced away from the strip, so that I wouldn’t be tempted, he joked. After spending hours on the road, curled beneath a spread, I wouldn’t have cared if it were a stable with hay for a bed and a pail of water for a bath. Using the walls and with Bryce’s verbal help, I found my way to the bathroom for a well-needed shower. Bryce went out for food. Back at the I.E.D., I would have been wheeled into a room and hosed down in front of snickering guards, a sprayed mixture of water and mint soap followed by a high-pressured blast of hot water. They didn’t give a damn if I had soap still in my hair or on my skin. When they’d finished, they would throw me a towel and my jumpsuit, and that would be that. Despite being barely able to find the soap and hitting my knee against the tub, I managed the task on my own, cherishing the feel of a true, thorough cleaning and rinse. For the first time in a while, I felt free. I felt happy to be free. I even hummed a bit underneath the heated spray.

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It wasn’t until I turned off the spigots and stepped out of the tub that I realized my plan for refreshment had a flaw in it. My clothes were absolutely filthy, and I had no clean ones. I found a towel against the wall and dried myself while trying to come up with a solution that did not involve walking out of the room half nude. Bryce had a duffle bag. I hoped I could at least find a pair of clean boxers inside. It was a grand hope, considering that my traveling companion was a musky werewolf, but it was a hope nonetheless. Venturing out of the bathroom, holding the towel around my waist, I listened for any indication of Bryce’s return. There was none. Hands outstretched, I tried to find my way to the place that my ears had heard the bag fall. I bumped into a chair and what felt like a dresser before my toe hit the edge of the duffle bag. “Now you’re showing promise, a real get-up-and-go sorta attitude. I like that. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.” I twisted around in surprise, nearly losing my towel. Sure the room smelled of the werewolf, but it was so quiet. I didn’t hear a heartbeat or even his breathing. Fuming, I spoke through clenched teeth, “I’ll assume that you didn’t get anything to eat.” “Just like you assumed I wasn’t in the room, right? With all of that hot, minty steam coming out of the bathroom, you wouldn’t be able to sniff a flushed virgin in this room.” “Did you or didn’t you?” I hissed. “I put the order in. The place is a block down.” “Then why are you here? Why aren’t you waiting for our food?” Bryce hummed before he answered, “Maybe because I was hoping to come back and catch you half naked, laid out on the bed, and ready to be ravished.” His voice grew louder. He was coming toward me. “You’re looking mighty cute there in that towel.”

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Cute? The word felt both degrading and sexy to my ears. More powerful was the voice that spoke the word. Ages ago, when I had my sight, I might have taken Bryce’s innuendoes as promises. I would have dropped the towel and been inside of his arms in an instant. The loss of my sight had dealt a deathblow to my confidence. Sure, it sounded like he wanted me, but there was no way to verify it in his eyes. “Bryce, I need clothes and blood. You said that you would help me, didn’t you?” “I did.” “Well? Do you have any? Of either?” “There’s a clean shirt and a pair of boxers in the bag,” Bryce said with a hint of disappointment in his voice. “Do you want me to get them for you?” I was being an ass. Bryce had been so helpful. Hell, he had saved my life. To hear him offer help almost made me reconsider the towel. My fingers held fast. “Sure. Thank you.” I stepped back and listened to the sound of a zipper being pulled and the rustling of a heavy canvas-like material. A bag? Curious, I waited and waited. It seemed to take him more than a moment to find the clothes. Then I felt the heat and pressure of Bryce’s hand caressing my ankle. “What are you doing?” “You had something on your ankle…” I knew he was lying but I couldn’t prove it. Cock rising, thickening beneath the towel, I turned my back to him and pretended to be furious. Inside, I felt like a blushing mess. “I just need clothes and my food, werewolf!” “All righty then, your highness. Here, you can wear these.” A handful of clothes were thrust against my chest. “They may be a bit big on you, but they’ll keep you warm. I’ll go get dinner and a pair of slippers for you. Anything else I should get?” Heading off in the direction of the bathroom with the clothes in one hand and the other outstretched, I responded that some dignity would be nice.

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***** Dinner consisted of a rare T-bone steak and au jus for me, and some of the most fragrant barbeque ribs I had ever smelled for the wolf. We ate on the floor with only the sound of a cop show in the background. Even without my sight, I found myself drawn into the mystery. A serial killer was on the loose in New York, killing young women and taking memorabilia from their bodies. The main detective, a gruff, jaded man, was on the scent and had a personal vendetta with the killer. The only problem was that his captain was in league with the killer. Riveted to the program, envisioning the mystery in my imagination, I paid little attention to Bryce. I heard him gathering up what sounded like the remains of dinner as I relaxed back against the bed. Detective McCoy had just called his captain a “dirty sonovabitch” and had promised to expose the man and his serial killer girlfriend. It was far too exciting for me to worry about the actions of the wolf. Months and months with only a silent, grim reality to entertain me, I welcomed the television drama for all of its promise to entertain. I could envision what the detective looked like, his beat-up yellow Mustang, the serial killer’s cherry red lipstick. As the film came to a close, Bryce asked me, “Are you going to sit on the floor all night?” “You can go out if you want. I want to listen to more television.” “I wasn’t talking about going out. I just wanted to know if you wanted your half of the bed. You can still listen to the television.” Snatched out of one fantasy to contemplate another, the werewolf in the room seemed much more exhilarating than anything the television had provided. With my veins full of blood, just the sound of his voice was almost enough to propel me from a spectator to a hopeful participant. “Is it the only bed?” “Yup. Don’t worry. I’ll only maul you if you ask.” “I thought maybe you preferred the floor.”

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“Carpet’s fine, but hardwood is hard wood. Anyway, the bed is big enough for both of us. After all that driving, I’m just going to crash anyway.” I shrugged, trying to find a reason to stay on the floor. If he was going to sleep, what harm could he be? He responded to rejection well. I put my hand on the bed and tested its firmness. It felt good. “Come on, Lex. I haven’t done wrong by you, and I won’t.” “You won’t try to touch my ankle or hump me in the middle of the night?” Bryce yawned. “Again, only if you ask me to. I’ll be a good dog tonight, okay?” “Okay.” Acknowledging that he was right, I got up off the floor and onto the bed. I felt the mattress shift but as I made myself comfortable on the bed, I didn’t so much as brush against Bryce. True to his word, the werewolf was still and quiet. On the television, an announcer gave a summary of the next program, a chick flick with an emphasis on comedy and cocktails. It was nothing I wanted to see. My adrenaline was racing too fast to accept anything less than complexity and gunfire. “Bryce?” Bryce sighed exasperatedly. “You want to be mauled…already?” I laughed at the arrogance and assumption of my companion. “I was going to ask you to change the channel to something suspenseful, something with action.” The sound of the clicking remote preceded a swift cacophony of sounds as Bryce sorted through the channels. He fell asleep soon after settling on a program; I needed the distraction to quell my disappointment. He didn’t touch me once.

***** “You can have the television anytime you want it, but, some fresh air and some interaction will be good for you now,” said the werewolf.

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I disagreed, refused to go, and attempted a damn good tantrum, but in the end -- and on Bryce’s arm -- I made it into the cool night air. We didn’t walk far, a little more than five blocks. The nearby scents of the ocean had just begun to call to me when we arrived at the casino door. Bells were going off everywhere. I heard coins spilling from machines, screams and laughter were all around me thickly mixed with the scent of cheap perfumes. It was deception and hedonism at its best. Bryce guided me through the gaming floor, near the machines, and through a maze of bodies. It provided me with another opportunity to hold that barrel of a forearm. He told me that he could hear which machines were ripest, and ready to pop. Although I doubted him, he soon proved how keen his hearing actually was. “Okay, this baby bird is the lucky one.” Sure enough, five quarters and at max play, Bryce hit the jackpot for fifteen thousand dollars. It would be enough for us to have steaks and ribs, fresh, clean clothes, and a room. When the bells went off, I screamed and hugged the big brute. Bryce closed his arms around me and nuzzled my cheek. His beard felt rough but sexy against my chin. I wondered if it looked as sexy. “Easy there,” he whispered in my ear. “You don’t want me getting any ideas, do you?” “No. I don’t.” It was the most transparent lie I had made since meeting him. We waited at the machine because it did not hold the entirety of our winnings. A representative from the casino approached us with congratulations before giving Bryce the money and a tax form. When they asked him for identification, I began to worry. But again, the werewolf had his ways, and apparently someone who was good at making passable IDs. As soon as the transaction was settled, we headed to bar. Bryce ordered scotch and water; I got a vodka tonic. We sat in a booth away from the zings and bells of the coin

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machines, where Bryce could keep an eye out for gold diggers and shady characters as he called them. We had just won a large sum of money, so I didn’t protest being off the gambling floor and out of the crowd. The booth didn’t seem large, and I found myself seated right next to the werewolf, which I didn’t mind at all. Two women came to our table immediately. I knew that they were women not because of their perfumes, but because of their pheromones, their natural musk. Moving even closer to Bryce, I sensed their intentions before they’d even said a word. Gold diggers. “Hi there. My name is Sherri, and this is my friend Donna. You two look like you could use some company.” “Do we really?” Bryce asked. “Why would you think that?” “Because you’re sitting over here by yourselves, nursing those drinks like you’ve got nothing to do. This is Atlantic City, baby!” The woman’s friend whooped in agreement. “Okay. It’s Atlantic City. It’s not Tokyo. It’s not Monte Carlo or even Vegas. Now, that would be the pinnacle of excitement in my book.” Sherri answered back, her voice far higher in pitch than Donna. “You’ve been?” “Several times,” Bryce replied blankly. “So that’s why you look so over this place. What’s your friend’s name?” Drink at my lips, I let the vodka cool my aching fangs, growing at the thought of draining the women dry. Steaks au jus and cow blood could only sate a freed vampire for so long. In the I.E.D., the blood bank had provided warm, human-derived plasma. There was something about the two women, imposing themselves on Bryce and me, which pitched my aggression and hunger more than usual. Lowering the glass, I muttered, “My name is Lexis.” “Oooh, after the car. That’s hot,” purred the woman I associated with the name Donna.

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Bryce laughed, nudged my shoulder. Sherri added, “You’re both hot, kinda punk, kinda rough and kinky looking. What are you two up to tonight?” “Well, I’m kinda hoping to put the moves on my hot friend here. He’s been giving me the cold shoulder for a few days now, but I think it’s just a matter of time. Tonight may be my lucky night.” A wave of heat fell down upon me, from my forehead straight to my groin. Despite the shocked gasps from the women, my shock was more prominent. Donna was the first to recover. “Well, um…would you like a spectator?” The idea didn’t seem to set well with Sherri. “Donna…” “Oh, no, he’s too shy for all of that, but thank you for your offer, ladies. If you wouldn’t mind, I have seduction to get back to.” In complete darkness, I couldn’t know what their expressions were but their departing sighs were ones of irritation. I had the feeling the wolf was smiling. He placed an arm around my shoulder. “I was only kidding, Lex. Relax.” That would be a Herculean task if ever there was one. Despite having had enough blood to quell my thirst, my arousal inspired a different sort of appetite. “It’s not funny, Bryce.” “Fine. Fine,” he said removing his arm. “Want another drink? You’re running low.” I was running low on a lot of things. Restraint was at the top of the list. “Sure.” Four cocktails and an in-depth tirade on the dominant nature of humans, and my composure was ready to fly out of the window. Practically lying on Bryce’s shoulder, I muttered, “You could leave me here, and I couldn’t rightly complain. All that you’ve done for me… I am grateful.” “Is that self-pity I hear?” “No. It’s gratitude and fear actually. I really do appreciate all that. Everything…”

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“Just a few cocktails, and you get all emotional? You’re a cheap date.” I smiled at the notion; something about being on a date reminded me of younger, more carefree days. “Shut up, wolf.” Bryce’s heavy palm came down on my thigh, so close to my semi-hard cock that I nearly squeaked. “Ah, now there’s the Lex I know. Feisty!” The heat in my cheeks was so warm that I knew I had to be blushing. “So, are we going to win enough to buy a boat and sail around the world, or what?” “Not tonight. I’m trying not to draw too much attention.” “Of course not. No attention…” “But what we can buy is new clothes. I’ll have to give our host a cut. But we’ll have a decent amount leftover to keep us.” I wanted to agree to anything and everything he said. He had done right by me at every turn. What would it hurt to allow him my body, I wondered. Maybe I would be devastated if he ever realized how useless I was. Maybe I would meet the sun if he ever abandoned me but then if he didn’t… “Yes, we should lay low,” I agreed. “Laying low is good.” “What we should do though is find that fucker who took your sight.” I shook my head no. Moving away from the strong shoulder, I waved my hand in search of my drink. It was a chivalrous idea but there were dangers Bryce had no idea of. Even with my sight I would never have dared to approach Janos nor his minions, my former colleagues, to seek revenge. “What’s done is done.” Bryce didn’t buy my decision. “He deserves to pay for what he did to you.” He did. Janos deserved to lose his eyes, arms, and limbs. “He does, but I don’t ever want to be near him or the coven again. It’s noble that you want to avenge me, however I am done with the past.” I tried to turn the conversation to something different, to something that

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reflected the hope Bryce had given to me, not the possibility of ending it all so soon. “Now if

you have some unresolved issues you’d like to focus on --” “Nope. I solved all of those back at the I.E.D., so at the moment I’m issue free.” I drained the contents of my glass straight down to the ice cubes. “Good. Well, I’m trying to be issue free myself.” “Can I help?” Giving the empty glass to Bryce, I wondered what I had done, what fluke of luck had found me. Having a werewolf as a guardian angel was more than I had ever hoped to have. Fate had sent me a strong, brave beast of a male whose will I couldn’t sway. One that would not tolerate my self-doubt, who would care for me, and one that showed interest. Janos and the coven, my blindness, and the I.E.D. were so far behind me because of Bryce. For me to continue pretending that I didn’t like to be in his care would be foolish. “Yes. A refill would be nice,” I said.

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Chapter Four

We had had a wonderful time drinking at the bar, and I remembered distinctly his laughter. He had been just as happy as I and perhaps was just as inebriated. For every one mixed drink I had, he had two straight. It was after I had fallen down a small flight of stairs that he had deigned the party over. “Dawn is coming soon. Time to nap, you fucking fish,” Bryce told me. “Your metabolism ain’t worth shit after a four hundred and some dollar tab.” I hissed at him. “Whatever…sure… I could drink more.” “I don’t think so,” Bryce said. “Let me help you out. Get you comfortable, eh?” His hands went to my zipper, which I found oddly humorous. Trying to be so sneaky and gentle, it took him forever to get the button opened and the zipper pulled down. I giggled as his warm knuckles brushed against my stomach. “Why are you trying to take off my clothes? I told you that I wasn’t going to give in to you. I want to,” I had to add. “I really do. You’re so nice to me. You saved me and you fed me and you tried to make sure that I didn’t run into anything. I should pay you with sex.”

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“Lex, I’m just putting you to bed, that’s all.” Bryce grabbed the waistband of my pants and pulled them all the way off my legs, without much disturbance to my boxers. He moved to unfasten my shirt next. “Sure you are.” I placed my hand over his fingers, measuring their width. They would spread perfectly against my skin. The things that I wanted to do with Bryce and to him made me bold. Lifting his hand off of my shirt collar, I kissed the werewolf’s hand and discovered the skin to be slightly leathery. “Mmm. I would say that I don’t trust you but I do. Really, it’s me I don’t trust. I’m too selfish, too demanding, and greedy for you…” Bryce scoffed, but I assured him. “Really. I have no doubt that you would be wonderful in bed, those big arms and thighs of yours wrapped around me.” Running my fingers up his arm, I found it soft with copious down. “It’s all so tempting,” I told him. The bed dipped with the weight of the beast. I smiled as the heat of Bryce’s breath warmed my face. Bryce said, “Tempting, huh? You have no idea of what temptation is. It took all that I had not to transform inside of that casino. With you looking so sexy and drunk…” Thinking I at least had a clue, I turned in the direction of the warmth and brushed my lips against his. The combination of his soft pliant lips and the bristle of his beard was such a wonderful contrast, I couldn’t help rubbing my cheek against it. “You think I’m sexy,” I asked. “It’s you that’s the sexy one.” Seeking another kiss, I rose up on one elbow. Bryce slipped his arm around my back and pulled me against his chest. Forceful and wet, his tongue bullied mine into submission, coiling around mine, squeezed and laved with an intensity I had never had. I had been kissed by males before, by amorous females, but never by such a hungry beast. Even when he set my bruised lips free and laid his attention onto my throat, I was still in limbo and deeply in need of more.

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Bryce lowered me back down to the bed, despite my muttered protests. I grabbed hold of his arm and tried to bring him down on top of him. He lay down at my side. I turned on the bed with a hunger of my own, my suppressed desires growing at the warmth and bulk of Bryce’s body beside me. Putting my leg on top of his, I moved over him. My plan was to turn the tables on him, but that notion went up in smoke the moment my eager erection met up with his. I felt the heat; I sensed it. He was into me, and there was no way for me to deny it, not with such proof. Hunger ruled my cock and my stomach. I wanted to fuck him, to be fucked by him, to feast from him. More importantly, I wanted him out of his clothes. Bryce’s hands found my ass and brought my hips tighter against his. Rubbing the thick whiskers of his stout jaw against my face, his breathing was just as erratic as mine. “You need some help, babe?” Pulling the first button free, I started on the second. “No, I don’t. You just lay there.” The only parts of the werewolf that moved were his chest and that wonderfully large cock. I chose the less intimidating course, burying my face in the thick patch of fur beneath Bryce’s shirt. With every button opened, there was more chest hair to rub my cheeks against. I got down to the last button and used my hands to confirm what my cheeks already knew -- beneath me was a warrior. My warrior. Scooting upward, I found that tree trunk of a throat and pushed my tongue through the coarseness of his beard until it met with flesh. Running my tongue over his pulsing carotid, I closed my lips around the patch of skin over it and sucked. My fangs tingled with the need to puncture the skin. I could almost taste the hot blood beneath the surface. Giving the beast an intense hickey, I barely noticed his hands beneath the hem of my boxers, stroking my ass. As a thick, dangerous digit found its way in between the cheeks of my ass, I warned the wolf. “I’m watching my fangs. You should watch those claws.”

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Bryce nipped me on the shoulders with fangs of his own. It wasn’t painful, but it was enough to catch my attention. “You can bite me if you want. You can even have a sip.” “No…wouldn’t want to drain you.” Letting out an almost mocking laugh, Bryce replied, “Have you ever bitten a werewolf?” “No, but I could hurt you. I could drain you.” “I’m brave. Try me.” Bryce’s paws pressed my hips into a full thrust of his own. Our groins met and ground together in a sensation too good to be painful, but too intense to be pleasure. Despite our clothing, the erotic shudder that passed through me was enough to push any thoughts of gentleness or restraint from my mind. Barring my fangs, I used my tongue to guide me to the perfect spot. I didn’t hesitate as I punctured the thick vein and struck red brandy. The werewolf’s blood was much hotter than a human’s, and so much richer. Greed mixed with all of the vodka in my system, creating a hunger fiercer than normal. The hot stream flowed so swiftly down my throat that I couldn’t swallow the torrent fast enough. Liquor, narcotics, or aphrodisiacs held nothing compared to Bryce’s lifeblood. I drank and drank until the fever within me affected the outer surface of my skin. I felt myself spinning and dizzy, strong yet weak and still I drank. “Lex…” Bryce moaned beneath me. “Lexis?” Believing Bryce to be in trouble, I pulled my lips from out of the wound. “I’m sorry. I took too much. I’m sorry, Bryce.” If only I could see if he was all right. His heart hadn’t taken on the death patters, but I felt as if I crossed the line. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean --” Fangs, thicker and sharper than mine, pierced my shoulder blade. I shrieked, not expecting the sudden burst of pain, but his soft lips and tongue calmed me. I hadn’t hurt him in the slightest.

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Just as fast as I had taken from him, Bryce drank from me in an exchange nearly as intimate as sex. When he took his fangs from me, I felt the open wound, wet and cool. It didn’t take long to heal, but already I was weaker than I had been. Bryce fitted his hand around the back of my neck and brought me down to taste my own essence upon his lips. “Fair play, babe. You taste so damn good.” “Not as good as you.” We licked one another’s lips for comparison. Proving his point, Bryce took me by the shoulders and flipped me onto my back. Pinning me to the bed with one hand, he shoved the other under the leg of my boxer shorts. He found my cock easily and squeezed. “I think you’re wrong.” “Whoa,” I gasped, bucking up into Bryce’s hand. “If you insist, you brute.” “You want me to be gentle, eh?” Again the heat of his breath warmed my face, and I arched up to meet him. “I want you to kiss me.” All I got was a peck upon the lips. “Like that?” Bryce asked. He moved down my body, pushed the boxers down my thighs, and kissed the head of my prick. “Or like this…” I reached for the back of werewolf’s head, wove my fingers into his hair, and urged him on. Heat and wetness, the velvet of Bryce’s tongue coiled around my cock. My eyes rolled to the back of my head, even as my hips arched, desperate for more. The werewolf wasted no time, sucking my cock like it belonged to him. “Like that. That’s good,” I gasped. Actually, it was better than good. The back of his throat was mine to plunder. He kept his fangs pulled back, but even when they nicked me, the pressure of his lips caused me to cast it aside. From my hips to my chest, I allowed myself to be lost in the werewolf’s servitude. Willingly, I gave myself over to enjoying every second of his mouth around me. I really had no choice in the matter as his throat closed hotly around my cock. When he abandoned my cock to suck each of my balls into his mouth, to roll them about, and coat them with his

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saliva, there was nothing I could do but tremble. His devilish tongue pushed beneath my perineum, and I lost what little air there was left my lungs. I had no choice as he pressed his tongue inside of my ass and thrust as surely as a small penis might. And when his lips returned to the head of my cock, I filled his throat with my seed.

***** Bryce was not next to me when I woke. My boxers were around my waist, as if nothing had happened. I called his name several times, but got no reply. Abandoned, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my performance would eventually cause the deterioration of our partnership. I had passed out shortly after one hell of a blowjob, denying the wolf any sort of attention for his needs. Sure, I had been drunk, but I had treated humans better. It could have been the alcohol or the blood that made me more susceptible. It could have been that Bryce’s sex appeal was more demanding than I was used to. Either way, I made plans to apologize, to make up for my failing the night before. When Bryce returned, I would be more humble, more pliant, and thankful. I felt around for the remote control and after playing ‘guess the button,’ found a crime drama filled with techno music, shocking revelations, and the occasional sound of gunfire. It was just the distraction I needed from the ball of longing for the werewolf forming in my stomach. He was probably in a casino, drinking and having a good time, enjoying the sun and the beach. While I tended to sleep the day away, Bryce could go out in the light. Surely he could meet men more handsome and virile than me. I tried to focus on the show. Bryce came in shortly after the program ended. Loud and boisterous, he slammed the door. I heard heavy footsteps, before the bed shook with his weight. He grabbed me by the waist and nearly knocked me over.

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“You’re awake!” “Of course I am.” “You were out like a baby most of the day. You were so peaceful after last night, but then, it was pretty intense.” “Really,” I muttered, nervous in his arms. It would have been so easy to turn and embrace him in kind, to let down my defenses and tell him that I needed him more than air but I couldn’t. Whatever liquid courage I had in my veins was nullified by my long sleep. “What happened last night?” Bryce’s arms loosened about me. “You don’t remember?” Using every ounce of acting skill I could muster, I lied. “No.” He let go of me entirely, his voice tinged with disbelief. “You honestly can’t remember last night?” “What should I remember?” There was a long pause, and I knew that I was being scrutinized. I felt hot with shame at playing such a game, but the implications of what might happen if I gave in were more serious than I was ready to deal with. No sooner had I said that I did remember, the phrases “Why did you leave my side?” and “Where were you?” would have soon followed. “If your memory is failing, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for me to leave you alone during the day.” I pushed the covers off and headed to the bathroom, relieved that any waking erection I might have had was depleted by remorse. Using the wall and a dresser as my guides, I felt my way inside the cool, tiled room. “My memory is fine, and as for last night, I was drunk.” “So was I, but my memory is quite vivid. I remember every single detail.” Hearing Bryce’s voice from a distance, gauging the werewolf had not left the bed, I knew enough to know that I could hide in the bathroom. I found the faucet to the sink and

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tested several combinations of hot and cold. “Well, why don’t you just tell me what happened last night?” “Do you really want to know? If it was so forgettable to you, I’m not sure you wouldn’t even want to be reminded.” Shaking my head, I regretted the charade. Part of me wanted to hear how he felt about it. If it was so unforgettable to him, maybe it might have meant that I was unforgettable. I dared to know. “I’m sure if it was that unforgettable then it must have been lewd.” “You let me play with your toes,” Bryce said, his voice noticeably closer and perhaps at the door. Turning off the faucet, I had no doubt that a measure of surprise showed on my features. Bryce had to be joking. I turned my back to the doorway and felt along the bathroom wall for a face towel. “What?” “I said that you let me play with your toes,” he repeated, his voice so flat that I couldn’t detect a hint of humor. “Last night, I told you about my foot fetish, and you allowed me to play with yours. I thought we were making progress, that we were getting closer.” I turned toward the sound of his voice, not bothering to cloak my skepticism. “You thought that because of your foot fetish and my interest in it that we were…” “Oh, yes!” he said with a lascivious tone that made me doubt the events of the night before. “Definitely. You let me caress your feet. You allowed me to lick each and every one of your pale toes, and then what came next was fucking glorious.” Wondering if there was some part of the night before that I had forgotten, the idea of the werewolf pampering my feet wasn’t an altogether disturbing or unrealistic one. “And what came next?” “You really don’t remember!” Bryce laughed out loud, closer to me than the doorframe would have been. “You weren’t into it at first but after a while…umm… You rubbed my cock with your feet…until I came.”

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No. There was no way that Bryce was telling the truth. No matter how drunk I was, I would have remembered something like that. All I remembered was falling asleep in his arms. It was a trap, and I knew that it was. He wanted me to crack and admit to the true events. Moreover, I was determined not to. I sought along the sink for the soap tray and found a mint-smelling bar. “You’re lying.” “You don’t remember. But that’s what you did. You were so drunk. Afterward, you laid in my arms. We talked about witches and sorcery, about dark rituals, and about getting your sight back. We spoke of revenge, and I swore myself to be loyal to you. Argh, but unfortunately you don’t recall a moment of it. It’s a shame,” he lamented. “Perhaps you shouldn’t drink so much.” I lathered up the washcloth, vowing not to drink at all. Ever again. Starting with my face, the heat and the cleanliness from a vigorous scrubbing helped me to keep myself together. “You’re right. Maybe I shouldn’t.” “I was thinking tonight we could do a little shopping. The Megamart just outside of town is open 24 hours.” The very idea of a shopping store with the name ‘mega’ attached brought chills to my spine. Before my fall from grace, before the institutional jumpsuit, I would have had clothes custom-made from fine Italian and French tailors. I slept on linens imported from Asia and wore the finest African gems. Although my pride had been damaged in the past, I balked at the idea. “No. I’m sure whatever you choose will be fine. I’m not ready to stumble around a brightly lit shopping center, thank you.” “Lex? You can’t hide in here. During the day, sure, but not at night.” “I know that and I do plan to go out, but not in oversized clothes. You can shop for the both of us.” All of my clothing was baggy excluding my jumpsuit. “Should I bring you something back other than clothes? A steak, rare veal, raw chicken maybe…”

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I thought about it as I dipped the cloth back into the water. With a clean face, I realized just how filthy my mouth felt. My teeth were rough; my breath stank of all the blood and liquor I had had the night before. Of course the werewolf probably didn’t mind, but I was more civilized. I did not need reminders of how wanton I had been and how much I enjoyed it. “I need a toothbrush, some mouthwash, and a hair brush. I’m not really hungry.” Bryce put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “Of course you’re not hungry, my blood -- werewolf blood -- will keep you for a least a week. I’m just hoping that your cum lasts long enough in my belly for you to admit the truth to yourself. I may try to get you drunk again. Not too drunk though…wouldn’t want you passing out after just one blowjob.” “What truth would that be?” Busted, I braced my hands on the porcelain sink. The werewolf approached me from behind, his chest warming my back. His hand rubbed circles onto my skin. “That you want and need me.” It was said so close to my left ear I swore I felt the heat at my right ear as well. If not for the sink, I doubted that my knees would have held up. “Bryce?” So sure, so cocky, the werewolf asked, “Yeah, babe?” Babe? Patient XV874? I should have been used to submissive monikers, but I wasn’t. I used to have slaves, minions, and lovers I had called ‘Sweetling,’ ‘Pet,’ and ‘Dove.’ While it had been done as an endearment, it seemed awkward for me to have such a pet name. I recalled the night before, how easily I gave in to him, and vowed that the next time we did anything, it would be me calling him the pet name, making him nervous. “I do need something while you’re out.” “Tell me what you need.” I needed more confidence. “A walking stick.”

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Chapter Five

I was able to wash up and enjoy two movies uninterrupted before the werewolf came back with rustling bags. He informed me that he had brought me several long sleeve T-shirts, a couple of pairs of jeans, a pack of T-shirts, and boxer briefs. Handing things to me, so that I could feel them and learn them from touch, Bryce was just as excited as I was. I also got a package of socks, my toiletries, and my walking cane. Having new things had never felt as significant as they did right at that moment. I spent some time using my fingers to gain an idea of how nice the clothes were, and how well they might fit. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust Bryce; I wanted to familiarize myself with my things. Bryce also purchased a duffle bag for me with bells on it to place all of my items in. “I thought it was a nice touch,” Bryce informed me. “That and it’s easily recognizable.” “You should have gotten a belled collar as well, for yourself.” “Oh, no, then I wouldn’t be able to sneak into the bathroom and watch you shower.” I wanted to be upset at that statement, but found my cheeks too warm to do anything but keep silent. It had to be a lie. I always locked the bathroom door to prevent just that. Leaving my collapsible walking cane until last, I tried it out around the room, using it to rediscover objects and the contours of the room.

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Bryce was unusually quiet, flicking through the channels on the television before settling on a program with a horrible, synthesizer-infused soundtrack. I paid it no mind as I tried out my cane with a higher elevation. Discovering a mirror, a light fixture on the wall, and several light switches, I heard a gruff voice demanding of someone, “Strip. Show me that pretty ass of yours.” A male who couldn’t quite catch his breath answered back, “Yes…yes, sir.” The rustling of clothes and more synthesizer music soon followed. “What are you watching?” I dared to ask, hoping that my rhetorical question would influence Bryce to change the channel. “Television.” It was only fair, an elusive answer for an elusive question. “I know you are watching television, but do you have to watch that?” “What? Keep practicing with your cane, and watch out. There’s a shoe on the floor.” “Yeah, you like that, huh? Big piece of man meat…and it’s all for you, stud.” Using the cane, I pushed the shoe out of the way. It hit the wall with a loud thud. “I can’t concentrate with…with that racket.” “It’s called porn, and it happens to be fucking hot. Anyway, I’m not bothering you.” The bed creaked signifying Bryce’s presence upon it. “Why? You want to know what’s going on?” I knew what was going on. I may not have been able to see it, but the slick sounds mixed with deep growls and moans painted a damn clear picture. “No.” “There’s this thin guy, blond, green-eyed. He’s getting sucked off by a big trucker…and he’s kinda turned sideways because the trucker is fingering the blonde’s tight little --” “Enough! Shit.” I didn’t want to hear another word. Dealing with Bryce alone got me hard, but in tandem with the pornography, I was aflame. My shaft was already throbbing at the vulgar sounds. My mouth was moist with envy. Making my way over to the television

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with the cane as my guide, I struck out forcefully in my desperation until I found the contraption. I pressed all of the buttons until it went silent. Bryce exploded with laughter. “Careful, Lex. You just got that walking stick, and you like the television just as much as I do. So don’t break it.” His laughter only made my anger and discomfort grow. “I get the message, Bryce.” “What message?” “You want me to put out. You want me on my knees with my ass in the air, right?” The laughing stopped. “Not if you don’t want it to, Lex. But I know that you do.” “Because of last night…” Bryce snapped back, “Oh? So you remember now, do you?” I wished I hadn’t turned the television off. I heard the bed creak, then the werewolf’s footfalls, heavy even on the carpeted floor. “It’s more complicated than that. What kind of sexual partner can I be?” “You’re blind, not a eunuch.” Standing so close, I felt the heat of his breath upon my right cheek. He was right and denying it was near impossible. My bravado slipped away from me, as I pressed back into his body. “Yeah. Like you’re not mad at me that I fell asleep, leaving you unsatisfied,” I muttered. “No. I’m not mad. To be honest, I was content to hold you, and just look at how peaceful you were as you slept.” Shuddering as if I was in his embrace, Bryce’s words threatened every barrier I wanted to hold against him: the difference in our breeds, the lack of my self-esteem, my suspicion of his motives. If only I could have looked into his eyes.

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I would have been able to see the truth of his motives, the sincerity of his words. I would have had proof. “You know, I’m not as thick as you think I am. I know that you like helping me. It’s noble of you. Really.” Bryce moved closer to me, wrapping his barrel of an arm around my waist. “There’s little I know about being noble, Lex. Especially at the moment.” My legs went limp immediately.

He’ll make you weak and dependent on him said a voice inside my head. Luckily, a louder voice substituted the words needy and demanding instead. “If we were to do anything, I would have to be in control.” Bryce placed his answer wet and hot, close to my throat. “I’d enjoy that actually. You could definitely calm me the fuck down.” My free hand took hold of the nape of his neck. My other hand dropped the cane in order to grasp the evidence of his excitement. The werewolf’s huge cock laid heavy down his right pants leg, but even suppressed by denim, it tented outward. I squeezed the length, and the sound of his pleasure was enough to embolden me. “You’re a closet submissive, Bryce.” Fangs much thicker than mine grazed my throat. “I do have tendencies, but they don’t hide in closets.” The declaration came at me as a challenge. I wanted to know what he could do, would do, and how well. In my past life, I had had humans and vampires alike bend to my will, but controlling Bryce would be a prize. Sight or no, I had made up my mind and cast what little reserve I had left away. I squeezed his prick again, hard enough for him to cry out. “I want you out of your clothes. I want you naked, wolf.” Bryce growled before releasing me. The sound of clothes rustling, a zipper being yanked down, and fabric hitting the floor let me know that my orders were being obeyed.

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When the sounds stopped, he was back in my arms, and his lips had discovered the other side of my throat. Putting my hands on his furry cheeks, I guided his lips to mine. Our fangs met and clashed before I slanted my head and pushed my tongue into his mouth. I sucked the strong muscle into my mouth, pushed, and bullied it around. He allowed it. He moaned and whimpered as I played my lust-grown talons over his hairy, hard pecs. He quivered and shook, so I took him around his waist and brought him next to me, his thick, heavy rod so eager against my own denim-clad cock. It felt good, but it wasn’t enough. I needed to be naked as well. Pulling my lips away from Bryce’s was not something I wanted to do. I could have spent hours playing upon his mouth, if only my body was not so jealous. “The bed. Take me to it,” I commanded. Bryce pulled me by the waist to the edge of the bed. I guided him to sit. Moving between his knees, I lifted my shirt up and over my head. Bryce helped me with it and for that I gave him the reward of kisses. He didn’t even flinch when I bit his lip then used his blood to flavor our kiss. I left him with the chore of taking off my trousers and boxers. My attention was on the dangerous contours of canines and molars, firm lips, and a rough beard. His hands had nearly doubled in size, much rougher and leather-like as they roamed from my thighs to my ass. Play with it all you like, but that’s not what you’ll have, I wanted to tell him. “Behave, Bryce. Just lie back and let me do the work, wolf.” Bryce growled back but did as he was told, scooting up on the bed to lie prone. I climbed up his massive frame, helped by a steadying paw to straddle Bryce’s wide hips. I sat down directly on his cock and felt the python throbbing beneath me. He raised his hips, as if I didn’t already have enough proof of his desire. “Don’t do that again, Bryce. Not until I tell you to.”

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“Oh, so you really want to play the top, huh?” He chuckled. Lying fully upon his fur-covered chest and belly, I tried to remember if I had ever lain with anyone half as hirsute as Bryce. I found my way through a sea of soft, sweat-tinged hair to find his nipple. A sharp brush of my fangs against the tender nub silenced the laughter. “I told you that.” Bryce hissed beneath me, his paws cupping the halves of my ass tightly. Still, I knew it wasn’t fear that motivated him to silence. He liked it, the little pain causing his cock to harden further, if such a feat was possible. I licked at the flesh, thinking I might sooth it, and then changed my mind. Latching onto the nub, I sucked nipple and areola, as much as I could fit into the hot, wet hazard of my mouth. For every lash of my tongue and teeth, Bryce ground our cocks together. I did my best at holding him down, but the effort seemed futile. The wolf was restless. I removed my lips from his skin with a slurp. “Take your hands off of me, and put them above your head.” “Lex, please,” he moaned in a voice three octaves below normal. “Let me keep my hands on you.” “You can hold me later, Bryce. I want what I want. I’m warning you. I’m pushy and I’m extremely possessive and manipulative. I’m jealous too, so if --” The bed shifted as Bryce informed me that he had done as commanded. “You’re so dangerous…so complicated that you want to keep yourself from me still, huh?” That was about as possible as holding off a hurricane. Daylight couldn’t have pulled me from lying in bed with Bryce, but then he didn’t need to know that. Doing a bit of my own hip swiveling, I made my intention clear. “I want to fuck you, actually.” His answer came in the form of a shudder and a long intake of breath that I found utterly inspiring. He wanted it, so much that I could taste it, smell it thick in the air.

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I ran my hands up and along his sides to verify that his arms were still above his head. My lips sought out the roughness of his jaw, finding it very rough and pronounced. “You’re excited by the idea?” Bryce’s reply was curt. “Yes.” “Good. Very good.” Drawing my hands back to Bryce’s hips, I lowered myself along his body, making a path through soft fur along his chest and his belly. I stopped as I reached a particularly dense patch of fur. Bryce gasped above me as I buried my lips and nose into the source of his scent. The heft of his shaft lay tight against his belly. Running my hand over the length and width of his sex, from balls to tip, I marveled at the differences in size and shape. The werewolf’s foreskin was covered in a silken down almost, different from the more copious fur on his balls and thighs. I wished I could see it, but my fingers told me enough details. They gave me plenty to imagine about the thick vein that ran along the underside of his shaft, and the bulbous, mushroom-shaped head that would surely split me in two, albeit deliciously, were I to submit to him. My fingertips played in his moisture, strained to encompass him fully, while I mouthed along his length. The taste of the werewolf was an aphrodisiac. Fitting my lips upon the head of his cock, I took him in as best as I could, greedily, sloppily. My fangs did more damage to me than Bryce. Yet the taste of blood and sweat made me wanton. Bryce went rigid as I drew upon him. Making strained, near barking noises, he did not force himself inside of my throat. He didn’t have to. Mercilessly, I held his shaft and hollowed my cheeks, demanding more of his succulent taste. After minutes of growling, hissing, Bryce finally managed words. “Lex. Lex, please! Gonna fucking cum if you don’t…” His claws brushed shakily over my shoulder, a paltry attempt to get me to stop. Something needed to be done.

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Removing my mouth from his cock, I couldn’t resist another swipe of my tongue into his salty slit before warning him. “Hands back. They shouldn’t be on me yet,” I panted. Bryce growled, but I didn’t pay him any mind. Parting my lips to receive him anew, I guided the tip of his cock back into my mouth, used my lips to push and pull the satiny foreskin. Handling his heavy balls in one hand, I purposefully squeezed and rolled the glands. Drawn up tight and ready to spill, they trembled beneath the bullying of my fingers. Lips pursed tight, I demanded that his cock erupt for me. His reserve proved no match for mine as he snapped, hips trembling. Sucking down and up, I caught the stronger spice of his cum upon my tongue and demanded more. In a great, hot eruption, I got what I wanted. Bryce gave a ragged grunt as his seed flowed into my throat, filling me with nectar more precious, more delicious than virgin’s blood. I drank until there was nothing left for him to give to me. I released his sex, using my tongue to clean off the still thick member. I could hear his labored breathing, and my fingertips verified the extent of his exhaustion. Rising up from between the werewolf’s tree trunk thighs, I sat back on my haunches. “Can…can I take care of you, Lex?” Bryce sounded so exhausted that I nearly took pity on him. My cock was as hard as stone and needed no help. “No. But you can turn over. Get on your hands and knees for me.” “Yeah…on my knees. I can do that,” Bryce murmured. It took him more than a lazy moment to roll over and do as told, but with my encouragement, his ass was high and at the mercy of my palms. His hard, muscular cheeks were mine to caress as I pleased, mine to lean forth and nuzzle at my leisure. “Yes. Perfect.”

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Bryce began to shake again as I placed small kisses and tiny nips on his flanks. It was when my attention found the fur-covered nub just above the crease of his ass that he really began to shake. It wasn’t very big. I wasn’t even sure as to how big it could get, but it wiggled separately from Bryce, and it was a fun distraction from my tongue. That was all that was important, until my tongue delved into the warm crease of Bryce’s ass. “Oh, fuck, Lex!” Attempting to shy away from me, Bryce’s voice was peppered with moans. “I don’t think you know what that does to a were.” “I didn’t know you liked to whine so much.” Spreading his cheeks wide, I drew my tongue up and down over his tight opening. For such a big, bad wolf, it seemed some things

weren’t so big. Probing Bryce’s body with my tongue, I had to hold the werewolf’s hips to keep him somewhat still. He wiggled, pushed back, gasped, and panted, all things the old me would have immediately curbed in a human or a vampire. Despite the fact that my confidence had returned in bulk, I was growing much too impatient to deny either of us over such a small detail. I rose up and scooted in close to Bryce, fitting my body against his. To my surprise, the nub had grown longer, thicker, and furrier. My cock, stiff as it was, bumped heavy and wet against Bryce’s thigh as warned him of my intent. Resting my head against his back, I confessed, “I need to fuck you.” “Well, stop teasing and do it, vamp. Don’t get shy on me now. Do you need something slick?” “That would be nice.” To my knowledge there had been no such purchase but sure enough, Bryce pushed a small bottle against my hand. “I like to be prepared.”

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“And you will be,” I promised. Taking the bottle away from him, I opened it and spilled the contents onto my palm. Soothing the cool fluid all along my sex, I believed that my anxiousness couldn’t grow any larger. Then I wedged my lube-coated fingers into his body. The small, narrow opening didn’t surprise me. It was the heat and the silkiness of the hard muscle within that took my breath away. The lube had been a good choice indeed. Bryce was just as anxious as I. Clenching tightly around my fingers, pushing back into my probing fingers, Bryce groaned for me to hurry. I cast the bottle aside, guiding my shaft to the werewolf’s opening. Just the tip of my cock managed to penetrate him on the first push. Even that was enough to have me reeling. “Could you be any tighter?” I hissed. “Like a virgin…” “I don’t bottom much.” Frozen, I didn’t know whether to feel honored or ashamed that I had asked for something that Bryce didn’t usually give. My apprehension vanished however as Bryce pushed back against my hips. Bryce moved again, slamming back hard. “Come on, Lex. You’re the one in charge.” Grinning in the midst of my heavy arousal, I gave a greedy hard shove. Bryce moaned and shuddered. My grip upon his hips tightened as I plunged into him. While I took what I needed to reach euphoria, Bryce said nothing comprehensible. If werewolves couldn’t purr, then he surely made a sound similar to it. It spurred me on to move faster, thrust harder to elicit more of such amorous rumbles. The sound penetrated through me, making my body vibrate melodically as well. Having gone so long without such a pleasure, my stamina was worse than questionable. I trembled as much as he. Thrusting back inside, I could have sworn that some flash of color -- orange perhaps -- sparked within my darkness. It was remarkable, how my body betrayed every ounce of reserve I wanted it to have.

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I wanted to savor the werewolf. Instead, I took him greedily. I wanted to draw out the werewolf’s pleasure. Instead, I drove into him as if I could not have cared less. I wanted to show the werewolf that I was in control. But it was obvious I didn’t know the meaning. Bryce took my feral pleasure with abandon, giving it back as good as I gave. “You…you feel so good inside of me. Don’t stop,” he pleaded. That was not even an option. With one hand on the center of the werewolf’s back and the other on his hip, my body was not under my control. Beneath me, Bryce had gone wild, slamming back into me with all of the force that I gave to him. “Oh, fuck, Lex. Oh --” I wanted to tell Bryce I felt the same. I wanted to tell him how strong he made me feel. I wanted to tell him that had restored my faith in living. And most importantly, I wanted to tell him about my fear -- if ever he left me, I would search the earth a broken, blind being, haunted by my obsession with him. As my orgasm struck me, however, I could only gasp.

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Chapter Six

When Bryce came, his body clamped down on my cock like a vise. Much more vocal, more physical in his rapture, it gave me a sense of pride to have caused it. The vibrations were rough and sweet at the same time, teasing my sated limbs with the temptation of continuing. Paltry and weak, I took but a few more thrusts before exhaustion won out over greed. Bryce collapsed, and I slipped down to lie atop him. Heaving and covered in sweat, it took some time before I even wanted to move. Moving my hips back one last time, I removed my cock from its wonderful sheath. “Can I hold you now?” he asked hoarsely. Reaching out, I searched for his barrel of an arm. I lifted it and placed it over my waist, before scooting in close to him. I placed my hand over his full, swaying tail. “No wonder you didn’t like the idea of putting out. You wanted me to put out.” “Shut up,” I teased. “You’re a bottom if ever I’ve had one.” “And I’m willing to bet you had a lot of fruity, pretty vamps to fuck.” Not bashful in the least, I saw no reason to lie about a life that was done and over with. “I did. Sometimes I had two a night to service me, one male and one female. Sometimes a human or two…”

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Bryce squeezed my side. “Well, thanks for making me feel inadequate.” Bryce? Inadequate? The werewolf was more endowed than anyone I had ever been with. He could definitely fuck like a hurricane, and his body gave me the impression of a muscular, soft teddy bear. If I had have known how phenomenal our union would be, I would have bedded Bryce the first night we spent alone. “Trust me when I tell you there is nothing inadequate about you.” “Really?” “Definitely. I’ve never had such a pushy bottom before. That, and you have a sweet ass.” “Yeah, a sweet ass that you’ve thoroughly plundered,” he purred. “Still feels like you’re inside of me. I mean, I knew you could handle me eventually but” -- he let out a long sigh -“I wasn’t expecting you to handle me so good.” My ego swelled at his words, and I rewarded the big wolf with a long, lazy kiss. “It’ll be better once I build my stamina. It may take a few more trysts, but I won’t be so easily swayed by your hot body.” “You won’t always fuck me like you’re starving for it?” “No, and I won’t always tolerate you misbehaving.” Bryce laughed aloud. “You won’t? What will you do to me? I happen to like a little spank and slap, if you catch my drift.” I filed that information away with plans for later. “Consider it as something you won’t get the next time I tell you to keep your hands above your head and you don’t.” Bryce hugged me tighter and nuzzled my neck. Against my leg, I felt how much the idea excited him. When he sought my mouth, his kiss didn’t contain any hint of submission. He cupped my face, holding me to his sweet plundering. His tongue danced with mine and led, letting me know his power and his desire. When he released me, I sighed with happiness.

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“You feel better?” I felt safe, cared for and content. I felt calm and relaxed, sexual and strong. I felt a great deal thanks to Bryce. “I do.” “Good. That’s so good to hear.” It was even better to feel. Despite accepting the happiness, I dared to ask, “Bryce, what are your plans?” He gave my question back to me with a sudden shift, his leg tightly secured around mine. “What are yours?” “I don’t really have any.” “Would it bother you if I told you that I wanted to take care of you? That I wanted to from the moment I saw you.” I shook my head. “I must have been a pitiful sight.” Even when I had my vision, I had never been a romantic. Everything had equaled lust and gain in my world. Wondering how I must have looked that night, I was certain of how I had felt: useless, weak, helpless. I had been ready to sacrifice myself to fire and destruction, to remain in my cell and perish rather than to escape back into the friendless, pitiless void. “We were all pitiful, caged and experimented on, humiliated…” “Even you?” I scoffed. It took Bryce a while to answer me, and immediately after he opened his mouth, I began to wish I had never asked. “Yes,” he muttered. “When you can take a different shape, humans want to know what makes your bones so malleable. They want to know about our muscle mass, how and why it grows when we change. And they don’t always use X-rays.” I shuddered as the implied horror filled my darkness. How helpless had he felt? His suffering was different from mine, but was no less valid. We were both broken and had more in common than I had thought.

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In my selfishness, I had never thought to ask him about his experience at the I.E.D, and I regretted it. He must have seen a mirror in me. I thought of many reasons for our connection, but they all vanished into nothingness. The only thing of any importance was his body, his heat beside me, and that I never hear that level of sorrow in his voice again. “I want to stay with you for a while.” “I want that too.” Caressing my hip, Bryce’s energy had returned. Mine wasn’t far behind. I began to do some caressing of my own. “Now that that’s established, I won’t feel like I’ve abducted you.” Letting my fingers dip beneath Bryce’s heavy tail, I played in that warm crease that had brought me so much more pleasure. “You can’t abduct the willing.”

***** Two nights and two days later, we hadn’t left the room. Hunger eventually got the best of us and Bryce had to go forging. We needed food, despite Bryce’s insistence that he did not. I had told him I didn’t want to go out, that I planned on staying in the room with the television. Moments after he left, however, my conscience began to trouble me. I encouraged him to get wine and lubricant. When he asked what we needed lube for, I joked that it would be for lovemaking instead of fucking. Of course that statement had resulted in us on the floor with carpet burns on my knees. Ten minutes later, I was shoving him out the door. While I could have just showered and waited for Bryce to return to me, I was restless. It was nice to have a mildly submissive lover who didn’t mind waiting on me, but I wanted to be self-sufficient and independent. More than just relying on Bryce’s help, it mattered to me to that I become more capable. It was that worry that spurned me to use my cane as I dared to go out into the salty night air of Atlantic City on my own.

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There were details I had gathered from Bryce, like our room let out onto an alley. To get to the street, I would have to walk around the building. The street in front of the building wasn’t a major one, but it had its fair share of noise and automobiles. My plan was a bold and noisy one. Using the tip of the cane, I mapped and memorized the length of wall, the trashcans, and one sleeping bum before coming to the front of the building. It was just a little step in the ways of independence. I turned around to head back when I caught the approaching scent of a predator. “Hey there, cutie.” I knew a woman of the night when I encountered one, and I didn’t need to feel her fake nails on my arm, didn’t need to hear the click of her heels, or to smell the musk of recent sex to know her trade. “Hi.” She had me by the arm as if I might fall. “You shouldn’t be out by yourself at night. It’s dangerous. You need some help?” “No. No, thank you. I just wanted a bit of fresh air.” “Fresh air? Around here?” She laughed. “Seriously, the air around here is nothing compared to back home.” “Back home?” “I’m from Denver, Colorado. Where are you from?” “Washington, D.C.” I lied, finding it easier to explain than my immigration from Greece, so many centuries ago. “That’s so cool. Really it is. All of those politicians and, well, there’s so much power there. Not flash and cash like New York or here, but real power, you know?” I had thought that myself only to have it confirmed at the I.E.D. There were things and organizations in Washington that made me humble regardless. “It’s a powerful place all right. I think I like New Jersey better.” “If you say so.”

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I did. “So are you here by yourself? Surely you can’t be.” “I’m not. I have a friend.” “And she let you come out all by yourself?” “No.” I laughed more at her gender assumption than the assumption of carelessness. “He went out for a bit. He’ll be back.” “And he didn’t want to take you?” “I didn’t want to go.” I didn’t tell her about my quest to be more self-sufficient. “Well, you made it out here, didn’t you?” “That’s good for one night though, I think.” “It’s very good,” she exclaimed. “It would have been bad if you walked out into the street, though.” It wouldn’t have been fatal, but again she didn’t need to know that. “Yeah. So why are you out alone tonight?” “I like to walk. Why?” Her voice took on a tone of nervousness. “You want to spend some time with me?” What I wanted was a conversation that was not sexually charged, and that didn’t include double entendres. Already on the path to independence, I felt motivated to at least have one contact outside of Bryce. He seemed to have several associates and generous friends. What would it matter if I had a friend, albeit a prostitute? “How much?” I asked. “Well, it depends on how much conversation you want?” “Sheila! Sheila!” a stern male voice called out. The prostitute let go of my arm. Her heart beat loudly in a panic. Suddenly, it occurred to me what my new friend’s name was. “M-Mike?”

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“You chatting up the handicapped now or what, girl? My money ain’t going to make itself. You don’t have time for charity work.” Her voice was filled with true, shuddering fear. “I…I was just helping him out, Mike.” “Helping him out, how? He’s got a walking stick. What kind of fucking help does he need?” My entire being seethed at the pimp’s presence. His obvious contempt bothered me more than his profession. I understood the mechanics of servitude. One couldn’t have lived through the Dark Ages and not recognized the oldest profession in the world, but for someone as crass as Mike to have power got under my skin. “Is there a problem?” I asked. Mike came up to me and dared to put his hand on me. “No problem at all. It’s just that the lady’s time isn’t free.” Holding my head up, I was not about to show weakness to such a low life. “I wasn’t under the assumption it was.” The predator in me had awoken. “But maybe you have some time for me.” “Hey, hey, now. I don’t do any of that gay shit.” “Oh, no. But maybe you do some drug shit?” I could smell the taint of narcotics in his blood just as surely as if he were wearing cologne made from it. It didn’t take Mike long to consider my proposition. “Now you’re talking, man. That I can do.” I figured as much. “Well, you can start by helping me back to my place.” Leaving Sheila to her work, I led Mike down the alleyway, cane and all.

***** I would have had things under control. I could have bled the pimp dry or snapped his neck had the series of vivid colors not filled my darkness. I had dined off blood infused with the finest grades of opium from the Orient, the sweetest hash from Arabia, and the most

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potent absinthe from the wilds of Europe. Unfortunately, I hadn’t done any of those things in years. “Oh, God! What the fuck are you?” The pimp stammered, as weak as I but from different circumstances. The blood loss was his impediment. “Get off of me. Get away from me, you fucking freak!” Mike tried to push me off of him. With a rough shrug, he managed to dislodge himself from my bite. I latched my claws into his shoulders, trying to steady my spinning world, knowing full well that the problem would only get worse if I didn’t settle it right then and there. “You would want to be still,” I sneered. He didn’t obey me, struggling all the more. “No. Fuck, no!” Loosing my grip on him completely, I tried to shake off my drug-addled state. I heard him stumbling away, probably seeking the exit, and that sobered me up really fast. “Shit.” Springing towards the direction of the door, I heard a thud shortly before running into a bear of an embrace. “Now, Lex, I think you’re getting ahead of yourself,” Bryce commented. “You’re good, but there’s no need to rush things.” Unable to contain my relief, I hugged the big were with all my might. “I could have finished him myself.” Bryce kissed me on the cheek before letting me go. I heard him shut the door. “You were doing a damn good job, almost.” “What did you do to him?” “He’s out cold. Think I broke his nose.” Bryce sighed. “But he’s still alive.” “Give him to me.” Bryce pushed a limp body into my arms. “I don’t want him anyway. When I want my meat seasoned, I’ll do it myself.”

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My elation wore off as the weight of the pimp caused me to sit on the floor. Mike was out cold. “I don’t mind a bit of flavoring with my food. It adds colors to the darkness.” “Whatever. Where did you find your little treat?” “Outside.” I heard the bed creak with Bryce’s weight. “That was risky. Someone might have seen you.” “He’s a pimp. I don’t think anyone will miss him. I waited until I got back into the room before I did anything.” “I’m offended. You couldn’t be satisfied with my blood?” “I know that you don’t think so, but I have to strive for some sort of independence, Bryce.” Sounding a little disappointed, Bryce sighed, “Ah, right…independence. Well, you are on your way, I suppose.” “I’m just lucky you came back when you did.” “I’ve got carryout. I got a messy side of roast beef, but I would guess that you aren’t interested in that anymore.” I shrugged, having no real reply for my impatience. He was disappointed in me. I could hear it in his voice. It almost made me regret stepping foot outside of the room. Almost. “If you don’t drain him completely we can throw him back into the street, you know.” Patting the sleeping body, I decided against going back for another sip. I had been successful enough to find and somewhat capture my own meal. I hadn’t been able to secure the deal, but progress was progress I felt. “I know. He’s not very nutritious anyway. No good drugs in his system.” Bryce chuckled. “I don’t know.” There was doubt in his voice. “They seem to be potent enough to me. You keep doing weird things with your mouth, licking your bloody little fangs, chewing your lip. You’re high already.”

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Pulling my tongue back into my mouth as if I actually realized what I had been doing, I pushed

the

human

off

of

me.

“Okay,

so

maybe

I

need

some

water

and

something…nutritious.” “Perhaps.” Ignoring the sarcasm, I stood up from the floor. The world shifted. My lips tingled, and I felt sure that there was some dried blood on them. Trying to lick it off, I headed for the bathroom. I was in desperate need of a toothbrush. Sure I was becoming more independent, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. “Save me some of that beef. Need some water too,” I muttered. Bryce didn’t even have a quip in reply.

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Chapter Seven

When I emerged from the bathroom, I heard Bryce chewing his share of the beef. I didn’t know whether Bryce had tossed Mike out or not, so I stammered back to the spot where the body had been. My foot hit against the side of Mike’s slumped-over body. “He’s still here. Are you planning on eating him later? I’m done.” “No. But do you wanna know why you almost lost your meal?” Bryce asked with his mouth full of food. “No, I want you to choke on your food. I thought werewolves liked live meat.” “Hey, don’t get mad at me because I won’t devour a druggie.” I made my way over to the bed sitting down. “What do you think that they put in that hamburger you’re eating?” “Werewolves and steroids go hand in hand, lover. You’re missing the point. You have the power of seduction, don’t you?” I laughed, falling back on the mattress. “I had the power of seduction. That’s all past tense. The most important part of seduction is being able to see, to focus on the object of desire.” “I don’t think so. Want a water?”

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I held out my hand for a bottle, curious as to what Bryce thought. “What do you think it is? Smell?” Bryce grunted. “Why not?” “It’s always scent with your kind.” “Maybe. Maybe it’s just a platform.” I heard Bryce twist the cap off of something that was definitely not water. He took several large gulps, and the sound of a loud belch followed soon after. “What were you thinking when you were with dinner there?” “I was thinking about food.” “Right. Well, maybe if you imagined that you actually wanted him, desired him, or something, he might have been enthralled. I mean, you give off a scent when I’m around. It’s not entirely like sex though.” “Not entirely, huh?” I sat up and opened the water, draining half the bottle in on pull. “So you want me to come on to complete strangers using pheromones?” “No. But if you insist on hunting without me, I’d rather you be more confident and that you don’t choose the drug-addled. It can put you at risk. If you want a spicy snack, I can get one for you, you know?” Jokingly, I asked, “On a platter?” “Of course, babe.” “I don’t really need to have humans all the time…and I only enjoy spice every once in a while.” I grinned before draining the last of the water. I had no doubt that my chivalrous companion could get me what I needed but the accomplishment of having gotten a meal on my own was huge. The only problem I had was one of feeling like a reed in a stiff breeze. The chemical additives that I had ingested had me both giddy and aroused. “I proved to myself that I could do it, and it is done. I’ll be safer next time.” “Sure, my hedonistic vamp.” Slapping me on my ankle, Bryce asked. “So would you like to keep the human, or would you like me to hand feed you roast beef?”

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It was an easy question. “Get rid of the human.” “I’ll punch him in the nose and make him think he was in a fight or something. Might just give him a sight that will scare the living shit out of him… He won’t be a problem. ” “Perfect.” It would be a good cover-up, no death would be involved, and the poor human would never know just how lucky he was. “And I always thought that werewolves had low IQs.” “We’re subservient, not ignorant.” I tossed the empty bottle to the floor and flopped back down on the bed. Anxiously, I urged Bryce on. “Hurry up and get back.”

***** In my mind’s eye, the bar that Bryce had chosen for us to “chill” at was the perfect setting for one of my murder/crime dramas. Dank, musty, and filled with the dredges of human society, the bar reeked of spilled liquor, barbequed chicken, and cheap perfume. But then Bryce told me that it wasn’t a bad place. He got us a booth, replete with a sticky, vinyl-like covering that made getting comfortable hard for me. My only task was to figure out how many people were in the bar. Until I accomplished it, I had to sit with the beast while he snacked on hot wings and beer. It was supposed to be an exercise in independence, but I found it futile. Between the rock music coming over the speakers, the laughter, and the clinking of mugs at the bar, I wasn’t confident enough in my assumption to provide Bryce with a number. “Bryce, I don’t see the point of this.” Chewing, Bryce mumbled, “Oh, of course you don’t.” “No need for jokes.” “You want to be self-sufficient. A part of that is knowing your surroundings. How many humans are here?”

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There were at least two in the booth next to us, two seated at a table in front of us. I knew that solely because I could hear their chair legs making noise on the wooden floor. At least four humans were seated at the bar, their voices all distinguishable and all male. Seven females were in the bar, that I could tell, but all together I would have needed pen and paper to solve the equation. It was beyond frustrating. “I have no idea!” “Well then, we’ll sit here until you figure it out, Lex. It’s not like we have anywhere to go.” “I can’t concentrate inside this hellhole.” “Less sulking and more concentration.” “Bastard.” I did not do condescension. I had already made great strides for my independence. I could catch my own meals; I could use my cane. Altogether I felt my progress was good for the short time that we had been out. “Do you think that Cheetah is okay?” “As long as he isn’t impersonating a firestarter, he’ll be fine. Now don’t try to skip the point. Tell me how many humans are in here. You have enhanced hearing, you just don’t know how to use it unless you’re starving and near death. Most vampires don’t. Just imagine you’re hungry.” It was all true. My hearing did become acute when I was weakest. The first few days I spent in the I.E.D., I could hear water droplets from fountains three floors above my cell. That ceased as soon as I was given my first bag of plasma. “How do you know what a vampire should have? Had a lot of experiences with my kind, huh?” “Is that jealousy I hear?” It was about to be. “That depends on whether --” Bryce sighed exasperatedly. “You’re the first and only one that I’ve ever been with. Now concentrate.”

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Silencing my doubts as told, I evoked a period of deep concentration. I filtered through the thrum of a guitar solo to listen for distinct sounds, heartbeats, and smells. Very much like the intersecting circles of a statistical equation, it was the intersecting values that were throwing me for a loop. “Thirty-two.” “Nope. Relax, no need to rush.” His hand found my knee beneath the table and he squeezed. Whether or not it was meant to be consoling was beyond me. “You sure that you don’t want a glass of wine? Maybe if you relaxed a bit --” “I’m fine,” I interrupted. Wine would be my reward after I got the task completed. Focusing anew, I had managed to isolate at least twenty-one distinct sets of attributes, when one of them decided to approach our booth. “Hey, there,” said the man in the heeled boots, one of three men in the bar who smelled of expensive cologne and illegal living. “Mind if I join you two? I noticed you across the room, and I had to introduce myself. I’m Taylor, but you can call me Taye.” “I’m Bryce, and this is my best friend Lex.” I wondered if they shook hands, but didn’t bother to give anything more than a nod. My count and getting out of the dive was more important. The man sat down at our booth, the pleather cushion squeaking with his weight. “Haven’t seen you two around here before. You here visiting?” “You could say that,” Bryce replied. “You could say we’re on a vacation.” “Ahh, yeah…a vacation.” Cynicism coated his words. “You two go on vacation a lot?” “Well, I suppose we will. I mean, Jersey isn’t necessarily a place to relax with all of the flashing lights, gambling, and so on. I was thinking some place up north would be nice for us.” “Some place where you could get a nice cozy, little cabin…” “Definitely,” Bryce chuckled.

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I paid no attention to the lascivious nature of their conversation and held to my count. While Bryce’s conversation with Taye dissolved into flirtatious innuendo, I scanned the bar with sightless eyes. “I think you’re both hot,” Taye confessed. “The kind of hot I would love to know better.” “Really? The type you want to know better…” “Maybe.” “Maybe?” Bryce balked. “Maybe won’t do. I don’t do anyone or anything on a maybe, Taye. If you’re going to be split in two, I’d rather you said it with purpose.” Mr. Taye had no answer for my bold, yet honest werewolf, but I did. “Twenty-four. Bryce. There’s twenty-four distinct heart rhythms.” Immediately, I found myself ambushed by Bryce’s strong arms. His beard came against my cheek with the intensity of sandpaper before his lips made it all better. “I’m so proud. You deserve a kiss for that.” I got several kisses. While they weren’t completely unwelcome, I would have preferred to be in a less than public place. Trying to get Bryce off of me turned out to be a futile effort, but I found one way to get the cur to obey. “Get off me. You fucking cur!” Bryce released me and yelled out. “You bit me? You bit me, you cheeky, fanged… I would bite you back, but we have a guest.” “We don’t have to have a guest,” I suggested, my hand on the werewolf’s thigh. The seat creaked loudly, and Taye’s scent became less potent. I felt Bryce’s lips against my ear as he confirmed my opinion. “No, we don’t need a guest at all,” he said.

*****

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I didn’t think Bryce ate meat truly raw. Even though the roast beef had been juicy, Bryce was always ordering meat: broiled; baked; fried; covered in thick, sugary sauces; smothered in au jus and onions. When he procured warm livers for us to eat, I discovered that it was due mainly to the amount of Italian and Americana eateries around our building. By chance, he had discovered a Chinese restaurant more than willing to cater to unique tastes. Sharing a large platter of chicken giblets, livers, and a bottle of merlot, he and I were both content and decadent with our appetites. Sitting on his lap, I enjoyed the newfound ease with which he and I got along. At night, we would work together to improve my sense of hearing, little exercises like how many cars were on the street, which way they were going, and how fast. He taught me how to use my cane to create echoes, which helped me with the space dimensions and construction. It wasn’t that I gained a stronger ability; Bryce just taught me to focus my already supernatural hearing for something other than food. I was thankful for that and the days we spent in bed. Things weren’t perfect but they were damn close. Bryce placed a plump, warm, chicken heart against my lips. Licking the juices from his fingertips first, I took the morsel and devoured it. “How long are we going to stay here?” “What? You don’t like Atlantic City?” “I don’t care much for cities. It’s not just Atlantic City.” Speaking with his mouth full, Bryce asked, “Where do you want to go?” I wanted to go somewhere I didn’t have to worry about traffic. I had been thinking on the topic for several nights, and while it was easy to find food, there was too much going on for me to be fully aware and fully safe. Sure, I could tell how many people were in a room but I couldn’t tell if they were looking at me, if they were I.E.D., or something more sinister. I didn’t want to take that chance. “I was thinking maybe somewhere quiet…somewhere spacious. You mentioned going up north and getting a cabin.”

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“We could do that.” I heard a measure of disappointment in his voice. “What? You mentioned it. I thought werewolves liked to be out in nature.” “Lex, I have seen vampires that were not whole. Some were missing limbs, arms, and legs. I have seen vampires that were burned to near skeletons.” I had a notion as to where Bryce’s sober-spoken words would lead, and I didn’t like it. I fanned my fingers out until I found the bottle of wine then lifted it to my lips. “Yes, and still they live. It’s tragic, I know.” “It’s more tragic when they are left that way. But you aren’t. The blood of an elder vampire, a strong one could give you your sight back.” “Yeah, elder vampire…” It was not new information. The blood of an elder vampire, one who had lived for five or more centuries, was rich enough to restore great wounds. A young vampire could heal themselves of punctures, taints of disease, but not dismemberment or sun damage. At nearly two hundred, I was not strong enough on my own. An elder vampire might have been inclined to give his blood, but only for a member of his own coven and only to someone he could trust. My bridge to Janos and his coven had been irreparably severed; I was no one that he could trust. He would be more prone to kill me rather than aid me. “Do you know any that would be so generous?” I muttered sarcastically. “Because I don’t.” Bryce fed me another chicken heart. “Yes, I do know of one, the one who should pay for this crime in the first place.” I sucked the heart dry before chewing and swallowing. All the while, my mind filled with bad scenarios. Janos would have no mercy. His coven was too strong and vengeful for me to take on, even with my sight. If anything, my preconceptions told me that the old warlord would steal Bryce away from me. Even if he couldn’t, Janos would surely enslave the werewolf. “No…no…just no.”

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“What if I brought you his heart? If I hunted him down…” Another bad idea, I thought. “Forget it! It’s nonsense, Bryce. It’s also none of your concern.” Bryce closed his hands on my hips, keeping me in his lap. Detecting my nervous compulsion wasn’t difficult for him at all. “What is wrong with you? You don’t want revenge?” “No. I don’t need it.” All I needed was Bryce, food, and peace. The darkness I could withstand. I placed my hands on the werewolf’s chest, coveting his strength and warmth. “I just need you, Bryce.” “And I need you.” “You have me,” I assured him. “I am yours until you tire of me.” Bryce growled low and rumbling. His grip on me tightened as if in warning. “If it can make you whole, I will see it done.” Determined myself, I pushed on his chest, trying to get off of him. Nobility aside, my fear of losing him fueled my anger. He could not jeopardize our happiness for something I could do without. He couldn’t, and I would not allow it. The bottle in my hand fell to the floor as Bryce lost his hold on me. Before he could imprison me again, I scrambled away until my back hit the television. “You won’t! You won’t dare, Bryce. If you ever want me to lay with you again, you will not. I swear if you ever try, I will walk out into the fucking sun and be done with it! It’s none of your business. Hell, it’s the fucking past --” “Lex? Lex, please.” His voice expressed concern as Bryce seized me in his powerful embrace, bringing me back to his chest. I hadn’t the strength or will to break his hold again. His face flush against mine, Bryce tried to calm me. “Hey, hey. Easy, Lex.”

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My heart beat wildly, disturbed by thoughts of what could go wrong. Bryce’s hold, while reminding me of what I dared not chance, calmed me eventually. I wrapped my arms around him, truly dependent. “Bryce, I won’t jeopardize this.” He eased up his hold, using one of his hands to stroke my scalp. It helped. “I understand,” he said. “I’m not as thick as I seem.” I smiled at the familiar statement. “I know, but…” “I’m not going to leave you, Lex. Even if the day comes when I can’t scent how much you want me. You’re going to have a hard time getting rid of me. Hear me?” I shook my head yes. “I hear you, but I am serious.” “I know. You want me safe because you care so much about me.” Bryce pressed his lips against my cheeks and jostled me. I couldn’t deny his lighthearted assurances, nor could I remain upset. In his arms so close to his warmth, it was a difficult task not to bend to his charm. I gave a sad attempt however. “You’re pushing it, werewolf.” “No, I’m not. You like me.” Obstinate and full of machismo, Bryce teased me further. “You think I’m hot and sexy, and you like how I do what I’m told.” He had to be kidding. The night before, I had given him permission to lick me. That permission did not extend to him sucking my balls, humming around them, rimming or finger-fucking me. “You barely behave for me.” “I try. It’s just sometimes I get a bit unruly. I do have the blood of the moon within me,” he added as if that would be a sufficient excuse. “It causes me to be a bit wild.” My cheeks warmed with fond remembrance. I raised my arms and placed them around Bryce’s shoulders. “A bit wild? That’s one way you could put it.” “I just want to have my way with you. I try to behave, but sometimes it’s very hard.” Pulling me close, Bryce proved behaving wasn’t the only thing hard. “You have no idea what I really want to do with you.”

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I would have to have been a fool not to know what the werewolf wanted. Sexually, he had allowed me to control our unions, to ride, abuse, and bite him as I chose. I was always aware, however, that beneath his restraint laid strength far beyond mine, ferocity that made me nervous. “I’m not a weakling, Bryce.” My voice betrayed only a hint of apprehension, while my hips signified bolder things. “If you want me under you, just say so.” “I want you next to me, with me. Telling me what to do is fine too, but I’m not about to put you through anything that might make you feel weak. My needs can sometimes be…excessive.” “I can take whatever you give.” “It’s not about that. It’s about us being equal. If I have to be more tame then I will be, but I want you to always feel secure around me.” He sounded nervous but utterly truthful. I couldn’t help but smile at my noble were. “I’m serious, Lex.” Pushing my hips against his, I added, “So am I.” Giving me a peck on the cheek, Bryce released me. He took my hand and tried to guide me forward. “I know. Come on, let’s finish dinner.” I jerked my hand out of his and fell back on my ass. Crossing my arms, I was stern. “Let’s not try to change the subject.” “Lex?” “What? What do you want to do to me?” I prodded. Pulling my shirt up over my head, I threw it aside and started on the fastening of my jeans. I had both denim and boxers down around my hips. “Come on, show me.” Bryce sighed loudly, but he did not say no.

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Chapter Eight

Pinning me to the bed with his hands and his body, Bryce easily proved that my supernatural strength was nothing more than a human’s to him, limited and hardly a hindrance. Whereas I had told him not to move, Bryce prevented me from doing anything other than accepting his desire. His kisses found my throat with a hunger I had only guessed at, latching onto me with lips, tongue, and fangs, his free hand mapping my body as if he were the blind one seeking a mental portrait. Running his tongue from one side of my neck to the other, Bryce seemed fascinated and determined to bring what blood I had to the surface in great patches of hickeys. I tried to get to his lips and kiss him, get his attention away from my neck and onto my hungry mouth, but Bryce would not be swayed. I had asked for it. Straddling me fully under the weight of his body, he covered my parted lips with his own. I got the kiss I had so wanted as he seized my mouth, pushed it wide, and bullied my tongue into submission. Every sound I made was rewarded, leaving no question in my dizzy mind that he planned to devour me.

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Dueling with his tongue only served to arouse him further. He growled into my mouth, the guttural sound echoing in my throat. When he broke away, I tasted the sulfur of blood against my lips. He was swift to lick it away. “Mine,” he rumbled, and I could no sooner deny that I belonged to him than I could ignore the brute of his cock pressed against my thigh. Bryce moved, seizing one of my legs between his two vises, fucking my thigh as he transferred his fascination with my skin to my chest. “All mine, Lex. You said so.” It was submission enforced -- not given -- and while the two were as different as night and day, I could not pretend his aggression didn’t make me crackle like a bonfire in summer. Quivering as his tongue and teeth found the tiny nub of my nipple, I stretched my arms out and agreed. “I said that.” “Good.” His fangs made punctures all along my abdomen and sides, each one receiving the loving balm of his tongue. He made his way down to the hairs of my sex, then shielded his fangs away. I thought it might mean my racing heart would be able to calm down somewhat, but his tongue had a wickedness all its own. What separated his form of control from mine was that I could only tell the beast to restrain himself and rely upon him to do it. Bryce was much different in dominance. He could make me be still. I could cry out, flinch, and squirm but I could not get respite from his hunger. He took to my cock with none of the leisure I’d previously shown him. Bryce was greedy and relentless, swallowing me down to the root in one motion. Even if I hadn’t been achingly hard, the muscles of his throat would have made me so. He pursed his lips around the base of my prick and pulled up, dragging his rough tongue along the underside of my sex, coercing blood flow and summoning seed. With a

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hoarse cry, I seized his shoulders and pushed. I only wanted him to slow down a bit, but the gesture proved useless. He drew on me as he pleased -- rough suction that made my stomach cramp, and broad, punishing licks that had me bucking up off the bed. I released my useless hold on his shoulders and wound my fingers into the bed sheets. I needed some kind of support to bear the onslaught that I was sure would splinter me into a thousand shimmering pieces. Fisting the sheets however proved to be a useless gesture, as blood rich veins pounded and thrummed down to my lower extremities in accouterment to the music of his gruff sounds. “Bry --” I sputtered weakly, all of my strength pulled to sate his animalistic hunger. His hands seized my thighs, holding them apart and down against the mattress. His lips formed a vise around the head of my cock; his tongue pushed into the sensitive slit and drew. He wanted more than just the precursory nectar of my arousal. With no sound at all, I went taut with the first lightning strike of my orgasm and gave up my essence in a series of glorious tremors. Bryce pushed his paw-like hands beneath my thighs and raised my hips and legs into the air. It must have been better for him to swallow my seed that way, but the only thing I could focus on was a pale blue spark that pierced my darkness. Not weak in the slightest, Bryce swallowed around me until I could give no more. He released my cock and moved lower seeking the pouch of my balls, nuzzling them not with his nose and mouth, but with his muzzle. Flinching in surprise, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Bryce had either transformed, or was in the process of. His cool nose felt awkward, and for a second I entertained a measure of fear. How much of a beast had he allowed himself to become? I got my answer as his longer, rougher tongue laved my balls in wet heat.

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Thrashing against his hold, the ticklish sensation was too much of a tease for me to bear. I unwound my fingers from the shredded sheets and sought him again, finding the muscular shoulders covered in fur, his neck, nearly three times as massive as I remembered it to be. I mapped his face with my fingertips and discovered his face was elongated, his maw massive and his tongue… I grasped my wolf by his long, pointed ears. Despite my descent into further weakness, I gave him sighs of praise, words of false bravery. “It’s good, Bryce. Give me more. More!” His grunts of desire were the only response I received. As easy as manipulating a sack of feathers, Bryce turned me over onto my stomach. Again he fit his massive paws underneath my thighs, pressing them open to allow his canine tongue to cover me with rough texture and hot wetness. Burying my face into the sheets, I smothered my own cries and gurgles. Like a master masseuse from some oriental land, my wolf lavished his attention on my thighs and ass. He took a detour down to my calves, the backs of my legs, even to the bottoms of my feet. Before my relaxed body got used to his form of a calm pace, Bryce covered my back with his massive, furred bulk. That wicked tongue found my ear, lapping and probing in a way that surpassed sexual and neared ethereal. It made me shiver, shake and pray all at once from the wet tickling. So wild and winded, I began to squeak. It was the only noise I was capable of until he took some pity and moved his tongue to my shoulder. Against my ass, Bryce’s cock was nearly double in size. The skin of his cock was much softer, almost downy yet extremely firm. It was like steel incased in the softest velvet as it pressed eagerly into the crease of my ass. When I pressed back, the beast upon me, my lover, roared. He closed his dangerous jaws around my shoulder and bit down with a pressure that would have snapped human bones.

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I gasped, but not out of fear. The shock of pain was nothing compared to the rush of endorphins and the primal stammering of my heart that the bite caused. Vampires bit one another as a sign of affection, so, I assumed , did werewolves. It was a sign of possession and desire among my kind and sure enough, Bryce tended to the stinging pain as if he were trying to convey both to me. It was the last respite I was to have as he returned his attention to my ear. “Up. It’ll be easier…” Lifting his weight off me, Bryce’s voice was nearly incomprehensible, more animalistic than human. His paws, tipped with dangerous talons, moved beneath my belly and gently encouraged me onto my hands and knees. His hips flush against mine, Bryce hissed my name in a sound that was purely covetous and yet cautiously gentle, all at once. “Lexis,” he said as if he wanted to give me a warning or an out. I didn’t need one. “Show me, Bryce. Come on. Show me how wolves do it.” Even as I spoke, I doubted my own courage. The werewolf’s laugh was sinister. It sent chills up and down my body. The flat of Bryce’s tongue trailed along my spine, his leathery palms along my hips making it hard for me to maintain my position. As his tongue worked his way down to the crease of my ass his palms moved there as well, spreading my ass cheeks apart. I had myself firmly on hands and knees, resisting the urge to collapse upon the bed. Bryce curled his tongue and pushed it past the puckered opening. I couldn’t call his technique rimming, yet he left no question as to his intent to prepare me. Wet, powerful thrusts, despite my involuntary shudders and clenching, compelled me to relax just as easily as a trusting virgin. The attention felt so good that I begged him to give me more. I relaxed down upon my elbows and thrust my bottom up for more of my own leisurely stimulation. Decadence finally had a perfect definition as I lost myself within every push and swipe of his tongue.

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Bryce was thorough, bathing my sac and perineum, down to my cock before rising up anew to trace my opening. He spread my ass wide, lubricating my channel with his tongue and spit, easing my clenching muscles with his probing. It was the greatest massage I had ever received, so much so that when Bryce moved away from me, I remained within the labyrinth of lazy pleasure. So relaxed, I barely noticed when Bryce gripped my hips, fitted his hips to mine. I was still lax in my euphoria as he brought me back onto the spear of his cock and flush into the cradle of his hips. I opened my mouth to scream; no sound came out. If I hadn’t been so calm, the pain would have been more than I could take. My body would have never accepted the full heft of his organ. Throbbing, stretched beyond my limit, I slouched against the chest of the great beast. Bryce’s shaft pulsed within me; the heat and width was unlike anything I had ever encountered. He closed his great arms around me and didn’t move. Both of us were shaking, myself from trying to get accustomed to cohabitation. Seconds passed into minutes as Bryce gave me time to adjust. He kissed and nipped at my shoulders, while his claws ran lightly along my sides. His patience and care saw me through the strain until the pain subsided into a mild discomfort. The stretch became a near pleasurable accommodation. With what little humor I could muster amidst such an intimate experience, I chided him. “Is this--is this the way werewolves do it?” I asked. “Yes. Wolves love,” he breathed in rough English at my ear. “Love hard…” Shaking beneath him, I heard the words both spoken and unspoken. They told me to look through the pain and the fullness in order to see the power of his desire for me. His words let me know that I would have to be strong to bear his true desires. Determined to prove myself worthy for his appetite, I lifted my chest from the bed and braced myself on all fours. Slamming back against his hips more, I winced as his cock pressed deep and blunt within me. Bryce did not move. He held me firm, but he stayed motionless as

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I moved back and forth on his shaft, testing my limits as well as his. I knew that he would want to move eventually, that he would want to take control and I feared that moment. With every backward push, Bryce’s cock went from a weapon of intensity to a hammer of ecstasy. My thighs trembled, my arms shook and my cock hardened to the point of agony yet still I pressed back. Bryce’s throaty voice sounded. “More…” I didn’t know if it was a question or a statement, but pressed back again. Bryce met my thrust, and I gave my reply in the form of garbled cry. White lights flashed in my darkness. While there was a second of pain, it was worth it for tsunami-like ripples of pleasure that overtook me. Bryce moved again. He lifted me, guided me back to my hands and knees where his thrust reached deep and true. His cock devastated me with every shove. The combination of his velvety prick, his slick fluid and the heft of his hips coerced my body toward insanity. On fire, my arousal reached a peak unknown. My prostate craved his rough stimulation. “More, Bryce. More, please!” I grew too weak to hold myself up, shaking from my toes upward. He held me up to the hard bulk of him as he took what he wanted. Bryce’s furry digits moved between my thighs and found my stiff prick. Pumping my cock within his firm, hot grasp, he gave no mercy for my rough grunts and stuttering gasps. From base to tip his hand moved, leaving little room for my swollen prick, save for the layer of my precum that guided his ministrations. It proved to be more than I could bear. Behind me, Bryce panted wildly. He seemed to spare me nothing. It wasn’t as if I had much of anything left, namely control. What little I did have was yanked from my balls, snatched from my cock to be released hot and furious into the wolf’s palm. I gave a broken cry, my body snapping taut and forcing me back into Bryce’s chest. Spasming hard, the darkness was flooded with false blood lights.

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Bryce pushed four times -- the hardest thrusts of all -- before the full heat of his seed filled my core, accompanied by a long series of stuttered gasps. It was his turn to weaken. Falling over, he took my boneless form with him. Held tight, exhausted and panting, we laid until we could find some sort of normalcy in breathing. I tried to turn over, wanting to put my arms around him, but could barely roll onto my side. Bryce laughed. “Satisfied now, vamp-wolf?” “Oh, you just went easy on me.” The bed shifted, and I felt Bryce’s body, smoother and considerably less furry side by side with mine. He slung an arm over my hips, bringing our slick cocks together. “I did not. I am not a berserker wolf, Lexis. Please don’t assume that because you’re not beaten and bruised that I went easy on you.” Managing to get my arm over his hip, I patted his strong flank. “I know. You’re my wolf, and I don’t want to have to remind you again.” Bryce chuckled. “Remind me? It was you that needed proof.” Yawning uncontrollably, I complained, “You don’t have to be so arrogant, you know.” Bryce kissed my sweaty forehead. “I do. Now that we’ve done it as wolves in love do it, we are almost mated.” “See? That’s why I was rooting for something more animalistic.” “Sorry, but you’re fucked.” I yawned again. My eyelids were heavy, and despite not needing a shade for slumber, I closed them. “Mated, you mean.” “There is one more thing to do for my mate.” “What?” I doubted I could do anything other than become part of the mattress. “I have to clean you.”

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Clean me? I didn’t know whether to be offended or not by his odd request. “I told you that I wasn’t an invalid Bryce. I can wash myself. Do I smell that bad?” “No, you smell wonderful actually. I just want to wash you.” “You’re fucking with my afterglow, Bryce. Give me about ten minutes, and we can hit the showers.” “No, silly. Let me show you what I mean.” I felt the flat swath of Bryce’s tongue move across my nose, cheeks, and lips, taking away the salt of sweat. It was all a rather leisurely, mesmerizing experience. He licked my arms and chest. Cleaning me as methodically as he might a cub, the werewolf was just as gentle. It did nothing to keep me from the biggest brute of all: sleep.

***** Vibrations awoke me. Short bursts of movement accompanied a buzzing sound. It was near dark, and I heard Bryce inside the shower. The whirring sound was in the main room with me. Pushing off the bedspread, I got up from a bed in need of a good soak. Despite the vigorous tongue bath Bryce had given me, my nostrils filled with the scent of sex, sweat, and males, most of it within the pillows and sheets. I made a mental note to send Bryce out for clean linens. Whatever it was that was generating the noise was on Bryce’s side of the bed. I made my way over and dropped to the floor where the sound was strongest. Using my hands to search for the source, I brushed up against a duffle bag. I put my hand inside and wove it through heavy fabric before coming up with a hard, rectangular piece of metal. I ran my thumb along the side and discovered the separate partitions. Pushing my finger between them, I flipped the bar open. The buzzing stopped as I realized what I held.

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I lifted the phone to my ear, but was rewarded with nothing more than silence. The caller was gone. My curiosity took hold. I didn’t recall Bryce having the thing before. I didn’t even remember him using a phone. It disturbed me. Why did he need a phone, and where had he gotten it? Had he been trying to hide it from me? As soon as I heard the bathroom door open, I held up the slim phone and asked. “What’s this?” “It’s a --” “It’s a phone. I know that.” Bryce moved across the room, and I heard the bed creak next to me. “Yeah, it’s my cell phone. It’s a sleek little number too.” “Why do you need a cell phone?” Bryce exhaled slowly. It was a telltale sign of his discomfort. I could tell he was hiding something. “Well. I do have relatives and friends who worry about me occasionally.” “Really? Relatives and friends…” It wasn’t that I didn’t believe him. Surely he had had a life before he met me. However the sudden mention of their existence caused me to wonder about the sudden revelation. Perhaps I was being paranoid, but Bryce hadn’t even mentioned purchasing the phone. He had mentioned buying dental floss. He had even confessed that the boxers he had bought for me had raunchy patterns of lips over them, but a cell phone…apparently that was too insignificant to comprehend. “Yes. I have pack mates and friends. Some you’ve met. One in particular owns this room, Lex. What gives? Why the suspicion all of a sudden?” “I’m not suspicious. I’m curious. There’s a difference.” Correcting the were, I added, “It may be small but it does exist. When did you get it?” “A while ago. When we first got here.” His voice peppered with irritation, Bryce continued. “It’s no big deal. You’re welcome to use it.”

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Bryce’s generosity took the edge off of my inquisition. Despite the fact that I didn’t have anyone to call, the offer was a generous one. “Well, it was vibrating while you were in the bathroom.” I felt the warm pressure of Bryce’s hand over mine. He took the phone away from me, and guided me up onto the bed. Pulling me close, next to his still damp, nude body, he guided my hand to his thigh. My senses told me that a diversion was afoot. His arm captured my waist in a tight hold. “What’s with the suspicious look? It’s just a phone. I’m not using it to call a secret lover. I’m not using it to stay in contact with the I.E.D. I’m not even using it to call out a hit on that ass you refuse to let me kill. Come on, Lex. It’s just a phone.” I hadn’t even thought about Bryce using the phone to find Janos, but the revelation of that purpose caused me to go stone stiff. It was something more frightening than suspecting Bryce of contact with others. Nobility was one thing, but there was no way that he knew what he would be up against in Janos. No measure of revenge was worth jeopardizing the new life that I had. None. Lips grazed my jaw, doing their best to kiss away the tenseness. “You want one, too, huh?” “No.” Bryce brushed off my lie with humorous scoff. “I’ll get you one tomorrow night, but you have to promise I’ll be your number one on speed dial, okay?” I couldn’t help smiling. “Who else would I call?” “You can use it to keep me on a leash, to check on me, to tell me what you want from the store…” All were good reasons, I thought. The idea of having my own phone seemed more and more appealing by the moment. “You’re full of it, were.” “I know, but you like it,” he growled, nipping at my ear.

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I did. I couldn’t help it, nor could I help caressing the muscular thigh beneath my palm. I leaned forward and found a damp, hot patch of pectoral muscle. Rubbing my lips against fur and a firm nipple, I reveled in the tickling sensation. “You’re trying to sway me with your body, but I’m not that shallow.” Bryce took me by my shoulders and guided me away from him. “No?” Disappointed at the separation, I gave a strong front. “It’ll take much more than your delicious body, a fancy phone, and some smooth words to soothe me.” “Really?” “Really.” “How about something…romantic?” he asked. “Romantic?” Curiosity proved to be an adequate distraction at that tempting offer. Pushing my worries aside, I wondered if it included the bed, the floor, or the shower…again. “Okay,” I agreed.

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Chapter Nine

I found myself in a shop that sold phones, jewelry, and offered check cashing and payday loans. The place smelled stale with a trace of pine air freshener. Bryce had informed me we were just stopping in, that there was something he wanted to get for me. Bracing myself against a glass display case with merchandise I could not see, I wondered aloud, “And how exactly is this romantic?” “Well, you will always be able to contact me, and since we can’t blood bond and all that, having your own phone is the second best thing.” “It’s not.” The blood connection between a vampire and his progeny was almost a psychic bond. Through it, a vampire could read surface thoughts, sense locations, and inspire sensations without a touch. While Bryce could arouse me with a crass, baritone suggestion, I could not read his thoughts. The werewolf had a penchant for stealth. If he hadn’t been in the same room as me, I would have had no idea where he was. I highly doubted that werewolves and vampires could bond. Having given Bryce some of my blood and drank from Bryce’s veins several times, I wasn’t hopeful that a psychic bond would ever grow. It hadn’t yet. Still, I would not have traded the bonds of intimacy, security,

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and strength that I shared with him. They were concepts of freedom, not slavery, and purer than anything magical. “Well,” Bryce sighed. “I ain’t going to settle for you taking any human blood dolls, vampire lovers, or slaves, so the phone will serve as a means for contact.” More out of a fear of technology than a refusal of a phone, I gave Bryce no enthusiasm. I didn’t tell him flat out no either. It would be a way for me to reach him. “So, this is monogamy?” “Yup. Sure is.” Bryce wrapped an arm around my waist before calling to a salesperson. “Excuse me, ma’am. I’d like to look at a phone.” “All right,” said the woman with a thick, nasal accent I could not place. “Any one that interests you in particular?” “Do you have anything for someone who’s blind?” “Nothing specific. Nothing with Braille or anything like that, but we do have the Messenger LR416. This is a business model with hands-free technology.” Groaning inwardly, I held my tongue. I knew nothing of Braille or hands-free technology. The more I listened to her expounding the features of the phone, the more nervous I became. What if I couldn’t figure out how to use the damned thing? Bryce released me from the waist, probably to handle the phone. “It looks nice. Not too light but sleek still.” Pushing the smooth, metal phone into my hand, Bryce said, “Here, Lex, check it out.” “It’s a bit more expensive than other phones, but it’s worth it. Are you completely blind, sir?” My thumb found the crease, and I flipped the phone open. My fingers drifted over a flat screen, soft square buttons. I recalled the pattern of three from the days when I had used phones and found the pattern familiar. My enthusiasm began to return when I heard the sales woman’s question. “Yes. I’m blind as a bat, if the term actually applied.”

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“Well then, this would be the perfect phone for you! It gives you the option of dialing manually, or if you wanted you could program phone numbers into the phone and recall them by verbal command. Have you ever had a phone before? A cell?” Who needed cell phones when you had lackeys, messengers, and progeny? Vampires didn’t use phones; they held meetings. “No. I’ve never had a cell phone.” “This will be a treat for you then. Your…um…friend,” the woman stammered, unsure of what to call my love, “he can help you to set it up.” Holding on to the phone, I closed it and set it down on the glass case. “He sure can. We’ll take it.” Bryce chuckled beside me. The sales woman went on about the features. She helped to program Bryce’s number into the phone and demonstrated how easily it was to recall the number by just saying his name. We went over battery life, contract terms, and options. It was a bit much for me to retain, but by the time we left the store I wasn’t so disagreeable. “You’re holding onto that bag mighty tight there. Guess having a phone isn’t such a bad idea after all.” I did have a death grip on the bag. I had a phone, a charger, a belt clip, an ear clip, and several brochures. Still, it was like I held a treasure. I didn’t need to feed into Bryce’s ego. “Maybe not,” I muttered. Bryce chuckled. “So, are you ready for the romance?” “Romance? What are we going to get next, a ball and chain maybe?” “Not exactly. I’m going to get you wet.” Coming to a halt, I tried to figure out just what Bryce meant by that statement. He had probably meant it to be sexy, but for how I didn’t know. “That’s just wrong. I am not some sort of female. Get me hard might be more appropriate. I am a male, for heaven’s sake. I mean, I do leak for you, but that didn’t sound like what you said. I let you screw me once,

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and you speak about me like I’m a female. You must have lost your mind. What exactly do you mean by --” “Lex,” Bryce snapped, bringing my rant to a halt. “Just trust me. It’ll be romantic.”

***** I lay back, letting the waters of the Atlantic Ocean hold me up. Fanning my hands up and down and giving the occasional push with my thighs, the backstroke carried me along the waves. The night air added to the chill of the water, but I was in heaven. The sounds of waves, birds, and the boardwalk far away were like beautiful, background music. It was romantic. It had been Bryce’s idea to go skinny-dipping. While he sounded as if he were joking, I was not. Tilting my head back in the water, I sighed. “This feels so good. Floating.” “I didn’t know you were such a good swimmer. Most vampires aren’t.” I heard Bryce pushing the water harshly, as if he did not know that swimming was a gentle exercise. I thought it best not to question his exertions however. “Well, I’m not most. Anyway, I am the son of a sailor. Of course I can swim.” Turning over onto my side, I swam over to the direction of his voice. He splashed salt water onto my shoulders. “The son of a sailor, huh?” “Yes. He taught me to fish and to sail, to swear and tie knots and to swim. I was good upon the sea, and I loved feeling weightless in the water. I loved fishing and seafood. We had the best seafood,” I mused, remembering the sardines, mussels, calamari, and soups made of thick, white cod meat. “My father’s favorite was smoked herring with black olives and feta cheese. “Where? Where did you have your seafood?” Bryce asked, seizing me by the foot. He pulled me back through the water flush against his chest. “Where are you from, Lexis?”

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Unsettled by the seizure of my limb, I struggled to find Bryce’s shoulders to stay afloat. Luckily the wolf was a master at that. “Greece. Paros Island to be exact.” “You’re Greek?” Despite having green eyes, I’d always believed my dark hair and facial features were enough of a telltale sign. “What? Don’t I look Greek?” “No.” He chuckled. “But that does say a lot. I mean, you know what they said about the Greeks…” Not willing to buy into clichés, I turned Bryce’s joke back upon him. “Is it anything like what they say about werewolves? Something about their attraction to anything with a tight ass? I don’t suspect it has anything to do with a love of philosophy and the arts.” “Weres are great philosophers, natural philosophers.” “And hedonists,” I added. “Yeah. Both. You can’t truly enjoy one without the other, right?” “Right,” I hummed as his lips brushed against my ear, causing me to shudder even more than the cold. I folded my arms around his shoulders. The chill proved less stark against Bryce’s warmth. “I think I’ve changed my mind. Let’s go somewhere warm, to the beaches of the pirates, perhaps.” “The Caribbean?” “Sure.” “Make up your mind, Lex.” My mind was made up. I wanted to be where the water wasn’t so cold at night, a place that the ocean floor wasn’t as gravel and rock-filled as the Atlantic could be. “So the decision is all mine, huh? Where would you like to go?” Bryce burst out in laughter. “Heh, I’m good with the Caribbean. If I can watch you swim in the buff, Hell itself wouldn’t be so bad.”

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I laughed at the notion but soon ceased suddenly as his lips found mine. One breathless, glorious kiss that tasted of salt stole my concentration. The waters rose up around my jaw before covering my head. We kissed beneath the waves until a need for air brought us huffing to the surface. “Yeah,” he panted. “Anywhere you want to go is fine by me.” Flattered but worried about having too much influence, I wanted Bryce to have some say. Slipping free of his hold, I pushed myself backward. “Remember you told me about those family and friends of yours? Surely you might want to visit them.” “We can do that later.” “Later?” “Yes. When there’s less to hide from, when you are stronger --” “Ah, yes,” I intervened, knowing full well where Bryce was headed with his statement. “Once I have devoured a master and regained my sight.” “I didn’t say that.” “And you weren’t thinking it either,” I quipped. Bryce grunted, but did not reply. I didn’t want to argue with him, but I wasn’t about to cave in with false hopes and plans for the impossible. Although I had always suspected that he might harbor some disappointment about my blindness, I had never had proof and I didn’t want any. Entertaining the thought was painful enough. I dove beneath the surface and swam in the pressurized void, letting the water cool my nerves. At first, I thought Bryce would follow me, grab me under the waves. He didn’t, and for a moment worry overtook me. Breaking the surface after a few long minutes underwater, I shook the water from my face. “You’re still not thinking of it, right?”

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Bryce’s voice carried a labored humor about it when he finally spoke up. “No. Of course not. Actually, I was thinking how sexy your ass looks when you submerge into the water.” I didn’t buy it. “Really? You’re not upset with me for being a coward?” “You are anything but a coward.” “Okay, so you don’t like me being blind and dependent on you.” My voice betrayed my unease. “No, Lex,” he began. “That is not what I said. If anything, you and that sweet ass of yours might leave me. I just don’t want you to regret anything.” Swimming to him, I found his arms around me in an instant, hugging me tight and firm. One of his hands dropped to my ass, and Bryce reaffirmed his sexual interests with a firm squeeze. “How can I regret anything? I’m alive, I’m happy, and I have a randy werewolf who thinks that he won’t be bottoming tonight.” Bryce’s laughter rang out around me and it was indeed a genuine sound, one that made the doubt in my mind seem paltry and weak. Perhaps in the future he and I might seek out a powerful vampire, whose power could return my sight but for the moment, all I cared about was his body next to mine, his cock hard for me and his kiss upon my wet throat.

***** I chose to stay in the room while Bryce went out for a little last minute shopping. With no physical distraction from my lover, I was free to listen to a crime drama on television while he traipsed through merchandise for our trip to Miami. Bryce, of course, had a friend there who supposedly had a house on the water with a measure of privacy. I couldn’t wait to go. While it was warm in New Jersey, I knew it would be warmer and cleaner in Florida.

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Before my capture, I couldn’t claim I was into technology. I had minions who served as meals, brought me clothing, arranged meetings, and some who even made my phone calls. Yet that was a time when I would have sworn I was independent. As a low buzz sounded within the room, I found my cell phone on the dresser next to the bed. I unplugged it from the charger and pressed the button that Bryce had instructed was the one to answer a call. “Hello?” “Fourth ring,” came Bryce’s voice. “Not bad at all.” “I’m a quick learner. I told you.” “Yeah, you did. Hey. I got you some nice flip-flops. They’re really stylish.” Flip-flops? I did not need those. I hadn’t even asked for them. Curious about what he did get, I wondered over the phone, “Did you get my swim trunks? I don’t want to have to worry about you jumping my naked bones even if I am irresistible.” “And you think that swim trunks will stop that?” Laughing at his seriousness, I demanded that he purchase them anyway. “Okay, I’ll be sure to buy the smallest pair of Speedos that I can find.” “You’ll be wearing them instead of me then. I’m serious, Bryce.” “You kinky beast you…tell me more.” “I’m not engaging in phone sex with you. Finish shopping and get here,” I commanded. Bryce tried to deny me, mentioning a number of sexual positions he wanted to try with me. He seemed content to fill my head with all sorts of wicked and sensual ideas that had me contemplating a handjob. As I realized that my fingers were tapping against my thighs, I drew the line. “Get off the phone. Finish shopping, and let me get in the shower. I’ll be nice and clean for you.” “Okay. Okay,” he conceded. “I’ll be there in a few. And I want you naked and spreadeagled on the bed.”

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“Consider it done.” About to move the phone away from my ear, I heard him ask, “So, do you like your new phone?” “It’s okay. I’m getting the hang of it.” “Yeah, I’m going to have to watch you, make sure you’re not calling anyone other than me for any steamy chats.” Laughing, I reminded him, “I’m not into that.” “You sure? Sure that you don’t want to touch yourself and tell me what you want me to do to you while I’m walking down the aisles?” While the offer was inviting, I replied, “Nope, I prefer the real thing; now hurry up.” I hung up the phone to the sound of the werewolf making kissing noises. Warm and excited, my thoughts strayed to the moment of Bryce’s return and plans for his seduction. There was simply no denying I was smitten with the wolf; my skin tingled when I thought of him. I missed him when he wasn’t near. The sound of his voice set my supernatural heart to staggering. I decided that after my shower, I would not dry off. Instead, I would stretch a towel across the bed and greet my were nude. He wouldn’t be able to get the shopping bags into the room fast enough. It was a wicked idea, but then Bryce had put me in a wicked mood. Satisfied with my plan for seduction, I made my way off the bed and headed toward the bathroom. There was a soft, discreet knock at the door. I inhaled trying to catch the scent on the other side. Whoever it was had tried to cloak a smell of onions and fried foods with cheap cologne. Cautiously, I moved toward the door. “Yes?”

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“Hello. I’m here to see the…wolf.” There was apprehension in the male voice and his heartbeat. It wasn’t the sound of one heart, but at least four.

The wolf? Growing more nervous by the second, I knew something was wrong. “There’s no wolf here,” I snapped back. “What do you want?” “Just looking for the wolf,” he repeated. Backing away from the door, I sought out my cane. It was the closest thing I had to a weapon, and I clutched it with a death grip. “I said that there’s no wolf here. You’ve got the wrong place.” “No, this is the right fucking place. Open up.” The man’s voice took on a totally different tone as if he couldn’t restrain his impatience for one second more. Banging on the door with a heavy, insistent fist, the man rattled the wooden doorknob but did not break it. Heart hammering inside of my chest, I thought about going to the door and bracing my back against it for reinforcement. Before I was able to move in that direction, I heard a loud, metallic snap and the jostling of something heavy. More disturbing than any noise was the sound of two slowly beating hearts;it was the soft rhythm indicative of vampires. “Lexis. Long time no see.” I recognized the voice. It belonged to Lazuri. She was Janos’s second in command, the one who had betrayed my arrogance to the overlord. Her contempt of me was just as obvious as it had been the day that I was damned to sightlessness. Listening to every sound in the room, I heard the click of her stilettos. Two gusts of wind moved toward me, the sound of vampires moving at hyper speeds. I swung my cane but hit nothing. Instead, something crashed into me. The cane was knocked from my hand. The blunt force of a fist smashed into my jaw, sending me to the floor. “Careful, Terell,” Lazuri warned. “You’ll damage his handsome face, and Janos will have your hide. He did say that he wanted the vamp unharmed. Take him.”

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Lazuri’s goons, barely turned vampires, seized me by the arms and lifted me off the floor. Despite my best attempts to pull free, they held me solid. While inwardly I prayed for Bryce’s swift return, I was not ready to consign defeat just yet. “Come on now, you pretty, pitiful thing. Keep still,” one of the goons hissed at me. I turned to the sound and spat. “Fuck you.” “No. Fuck you!” A blow to the gut took the wind out of me. “He’s not bad looking at all. Blind, huh?” Fingers combed through my scalp. I yanked my head away. “Get your fucking hands off me! Control your slaves, Lazuri.” The bitch laughed. I heard a few short clicks of her heels before the sound of the bed creaking indicated that she had sat down. “Always one to give orders, eh, Lex? I thought we already established that you weren’t meant to give orders. Yet still you persist. It’s amusing still.” There were no words foul enough for what I wanted to tell the spiteful witch, namely that I wanted her off of my fucking bed. It had been years since I had been in the coven. Then I had been Janos’s favorite, and her jealousy was still evident. She had always wanted to destroy me, I knew. “How did Janos find me? What does he want?” “Janos likes to consider himself a preemptive man. You know that, Lexis. When our benevolent leader heard you had been freed from your prison, he decided to offer you a bit of amnesty. You’ve suffered enough, he feels. He’s willing to forgive you.” I didn’t have to sniff to smell the lie coming from her lips. “Forgive me? He left me for fucking dead.” “That was meant to be a time of reflection.” “There was nothing to reflect on. I’m done with him, you, and the entire coven. Now, how the hell did you even find me?”

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Lazuri tutted. “Okay, okay. You got me. It wasn’t you we were looking into. There was a werewolf who was asking about a certain vampire. It turns out that werewolf was also an escapee of the same human science camp that held you. Imagine our surprise when we realized he was with you.” Listening to her, I didn’t know whether to be furious or betrayed. I had told Bryce not to bother where my past was concerned. I had warned him not to inquire about Janos, and yet he had gone behind my back. He had jeopardized everything that we had for what? Noble, stupid wolf… Lazuri’s human lackey balked. “A real werewolf, huh? Fangs and fur and all?” “Oh, yes. They exist,” Lazuri squealed with sarcasm. “I’ve got to hand it to you, Lex. You get thrown into the sun, then a human lab prison, and still you come out on top. You have the best damn luck.” Bryce. My Bryce. As much as I faulted my stupid lover, his attempt to exact revenge, his deception… I couldn’t deny that he meant the world to me. I couldn’t say that he didn’t bring me to life again, if only for a short while. An itch, a bit of moisture irritated the corner of my eye as I thought about how the werewolf would respond when he discovered me missing. My thoughts ran toward the foulest path imaginable. There was no reason for me to fight.

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Chapter Ten

They taunted me for the entirety of the ride, laughing at the sightless freak. It was as different as night and day from the car ride with Bryce and Cheetah. They gave me no hint where we were headed, and I didn’t ask. For the first hour, it didn’t matter. My thoughts were only of Bryce. What would he do when he discovered me gone? Would he put himself in danger trying to find me? Could he find me? I knew he would try and that was the only reason why I wished for life. As much as I wanted to blame him and his inquisitiveness for my predicament, I found blame useless. What Bryce had done for me was needed to make me strong. What happened next needed to be my concern. I was surely going to meet the sun. Maybe it would have been inevitable; maybe I was saving myself from future heartbreak with Bryce. Either way, I relaxed back on the squeaky leather seat with my wrists bound together and was patient. A particular series of staggered speed trips, the precursor to a tollbooth, jarred me as the weight against my hip made itself known. I could have burst out in laughter as I realized I had my cell phone with me.

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There had been no ring, no vibration from the thing, and I was sure that Bryce would have returned to the room. Surely he had to know I was gone. While my hands were tied, I could have reached the phone. There was no one in the back seat with me but still, those in the front seat would surely notice it. The cell phone was no help to me. The second they knew I had it, they would take it from me by force. Angling my hands to my pants pocket, I found the phone. It had been longer than an hour, and surely with the door to our room knocked in, Bryce would have known something was wrong. My thumb found the last button on the left side of the keypad and pushed. The phone shook a little but made no sound. Smiling as the vibrations reminded me of bickering with Bryce, I closed my eyes and laid my head back upon the seat. The phone was still on but it wouldn’t make any noise. I would know if it rang, even it I couldn’t answer it. A piece of comfort, metal and circuitry though it was, was all I needed to remind me that I was not completely helpless in life, nor would I be on the path to death. For that, Bryce’s small folly couldn’t put a dent in his accomplishment. If I was going to die, it wouldn’t be the death of a coward or a cripple.

***** I had an idea of where we were headed. Janos had two properties, both of which could be reachable before dawn: one in Manhattan, and a much larger mansion in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Manhattan was for pleasure, parties, and entertainment. It was a place for the youth. Scranton was a place for business. It was also where I had lost my sight. The lack of outside noise combined with the high speed of the automobile led me to believe that we were headed to the rural Scranton compound. My thoughts were confirmed when the car swerved suddenly, probably to avoid hitting a deer. As the driver’s curses filled the car, I laid my head against the seat exhausted by the melancholy I felt within me. I had

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never really liked Scranton myself. I had always considered myself more of a modern, party boy, rather than some Victorian, past-dwelling aristocrat and as Scranton contained nothing but pomp and cobwebs, it was no place that I wanted to be. After several hours, the car’s tires slowed on a gravel-covered path. When our automobile came to a stop, my captors wasted no time in pulling me from the vehicle. Roughly, one took me by the elbow and guided me forward into Janos’s mansion. Even without my sight, I recognized the hallways and spaces they lead me through. My ears picked up the tones of feet upon marble floors, the sound of an antique grandfather clock ticking loudly in the main hall, the echoes of narrow hallways as we descended stone stairs in to the bowels of the mansion. The room smelled of roses, hyssops, and sage-scented smoke. From memory I knew that the room was circular, and that Janos’s throne chair was in the back, framed on both sides by his lieutenants. I sought my memory for details, not out of hope of some grand escape but to assuage my feeling of helplessness. Fear for my life didn’t hold a candle to the fear of being considered weak. I heard the whispers of his court, older and more powerful vampires than myself, when they threw me to the floor. By scent I counted twelve vampires; by ear I sensed four humans. It was by ear also that I recognized the gravely, east European lilt of Janos Kofaljk. “Lexis. My beautiful Lexis,” he purred. “When will I learn? You are not one to be underestimated. I take away your beautiful green eyes, practically hand you over to the humans, and yet still you thrive. Hell, you’ve even managed to get a bit of muscle under your control. Tsk, tsk. I really do need to learn your secrets.” I knew that he was talking about Bryce and I resented him all the more for his knowledge of my lover. Whatever he knew was one thing, but I would not give him anything new. “There aren’t any secrets,” I said, pushing myself up off the marble floor.

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“Surely there must be,” came Janos’s voice, close enough that I could just feel the warmth of his breath. Chilly fingers seized my chin and squeezed. “You look so well.” I jerked out of his hold, not masking in the least how much I loathed his touch. “I am.” “Well enough to declare revenge on us? The idea was as humorous as it was wrong. “Janos. Honestly, I couldn’t give a damn about you or the coven. Regardless of what you might think, I didn’t lift a finger to inquire about you.” Janos’s voice was much nearer, his breath warm on my ear when he spoke again. “You expect me to believe that inquires into my business matters and whereabouts from your wolf lover have no merit?” Bryce had made inquires…undoubtedly that had been the true purpose of his phone.

Goddamnit, Bryce. “You can believe what you want,” I spat at Janos. “I told him I held no animosity to you about taking my sight or leaving me for dead. After all, I would have been just a lowly bloodsucking fisherman in Greece had you not shown me the world. You had every right to take back what you gave.” “Still insolent, I see.” Janos growled -- a sign of irritation from the elder vampire. “Tell me, how many werewolves should I expect at my door? Five? Ten? Their type isn’t the kind to take initiative outside of a pack. They need orders to do anything other than blunder about.” Laughter rang out in the hallway as if they knew it was true. They knew nothing about

werewolves, I thought, and especially nothing about my wolf. “So, Lexis, how many curs should I expect at my door?” I couldn’t dignify him with an answer I didn’t have. “I asked you a question!” At the same time, I felt a hammering blow to my stomach. Doubling over, I barely had the air to reply. “I don’t know.”

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“You know, you snide conniving, little --” He sighed loudly, steadied his breathing. “Perhaps I didn’t make it clear you were to suffer before, but that little misfortune will not happen again. I don’t like killing my own kind. For you, I will make an exception.” “Do what you have to do.” My head snapped to the right as Janos struck my jaw with his fist. Before I could right myself, a flurry of blows rained down on me. I took jabs to my ribs, kicks to the back of my head, my nose was smashed, my lip was broken. Despite my healing ability, my precious blood was spilled. “Right, brave, huh? You’re so fucking brave. How many?” Janos yelled. I shook my head as he attempted to penetrate my mind. Despite his power, he was not my maker and could only cause a mild headache. “I have no idea…” “You want your revenge. I can understand that --” “You understand nothing. You’re beating a blind man with his hands tied,” I spat. “You’re a fucking brute. I told him not to seek you. It’s not my fault he didn’t listen. He seems to think you did me wrong but I couldn’t have cared less. I simply wanted to be away from you.” Janos laughed, his voice filling the hall with its mocking timbre. “How noble. He didn’t fucking listen to you, but then you’ve had that problem for so long. And you wanted to lead my coven?” Grabbing my hair, he yanked my head back. “How? No one listens to you. Poor Lexis…you’re not ruthless or smart enough to learn your fucking place. I am so disappointed.” “You needn’t be.” “Oh. You’re right about that. You are so right about that. Now, I’m only going to ask you one more fucking time. How many friends does your werewolf have?” It was useless to tell Janos what I didn’t know. Whatever course of revenge Bryce had planned was done behind my back and against my wishes. Despite the pain his preemptive actions had caused, I found myself hoping that even my capture was part of his plan. I began

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hoping that any moment I would hear him roar amongst hundreds of his friends and pack members. It occurred to me that Janos might have suspected such a feat as well. Wondering how well he would take a lie as opposed to the truth, I answered, “Hundreds.” “Hundreds,” he balked with a measure of uneasiness in his voice. “Hundreds won’t save you, you lying piece of shit. Werewolves don’t even run in packs that large. More than likely they’ll be four, six at most.” He didn’t know anything and I could hear the uncertainty in his voice. “Hope you’re prepared.” “Me? I’m always prepared, my boy.” Releasing my scalp, he shoved me to the floor. “I’ve got a little surprise for him and his friends. As for you --” “You’re going to put me in the sun again?” “Exactly! Seems like you do know something after all.” He snickered and I could have sworn that every creature within the room laughed at me. Was I so humorous? Was my fate such a jovial event? My spirit shuddered to think that those who laughed at me had once been friends and associates of mine. “You know that. So know this; your wolf will get one hell of a surprise if he dares to come here.” “What? Bells and confetti,” I muttered. Janos roared with laughter as the first lash struck me. “Well, you are right about the confetti part.” I only knew that there was more than one whip because they bit into separate parts of my body, one struck my leg at the same time another opened a gash into my chest. Relentless and cruel, I heard the whoosh of every coming blow but could not see where the leather would land.

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Throwing curses along with every scream, there was nothing I could do to defend myself. I tried grabbing for the whips; the only thing I caught was air. On the floor or on my feet, I could not hide. True to his word, Janos beat me until my clothes were shredded, and my body throbbed with the wounds. I had always heard that a person needed to reach rock-bottom before they could rise to the surface. With the laughter of vampires surrounding me, I knew that there was nothing but gravel beneath my feet. My hatred for Janos, for the entire coven, raged within me. More than my own pitiful state, I despised them and wished for their destruction. Bryce had been right all along. They should have been made to pay, by me. Instead of focusing on how sad my state was, I should have been plotting their demise. Janos didn’t need to worry whether or not my wolf would make an appearance.

***** I listened to their plans, very well laid indeed. They had humans armed with guns and silver bullets walking the grounds. Floodlights and surveillance cameras watched the perimeter. Vampiric guards patrolled the hallways. From the sound of it, radios were used for communication, as not everyone shared psychic links. Bloody, yet healing still, I waited patiently on the floor. I wasn’t waiting for my demise; I was waiting for my opportunity. They had tied me up as if I were dangerous and left me alone. The ties that held me were made of the strongest rope, and while I could not break them, there was enough room for me to wiggle free. That they underestimated me was to my advantage. Waiting until dawn was also in my favor. I knew Janos would invite only those in his closest circle to drink from me but only until I was near death. He would drink from me first as all Alpha predators had a right to while the others waited for their turn.

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It was when he fed from me that I would give him my parting gifts -- my fangs and nails, teeth and feet. I would break my bonds and lash out at him with every ounce of energy that remained within me. He would pay with my dying breath. Janos wondered aloud, “There’s been no word from the guards?” “None, sire.” It was the voice of some underling I didn’t recognize. “They haven’t had so much as a peep. It seems as if his furry boyfriend isn’t looking for him at all.” “Perhaps you weren’t lying to me before, Lexis.” Shrugging a shoulder recently reset back into the socket, I couldn’t contain my distaste. “I told you so, but then you wouldn’t have had a good excuse to ruin my life.” “Oh, the tragedy. I ruined your affair with a mutt.” He laughed. “While it is likely that he hasn’t completely abandoned you, perhaps he sought you in New York. James, get Elena on the line and see if there’s been any noise in Manhattan, would you?” The lackey answered back. “Yes, boss.” “If he does decide to show his furry head, I will have the humans sweep up your remains. We’ll place them in a lovely jar for him to keep…at least for the hour that I allow him to live.” “Fuck you,” I hissed, jostling my wrists in their bonds. Like the lick-boot leech she was, Lazuri chirped to Janos, “Not to worry, sire. A little less than an hour, that’s how long he has to live. Hmph, what a waste. You should have known not to cross us. How stupid could you be?” I wouldn’t dignify her with an answer, but I did contemplate whether I could take a chunk out of her before I died. Wrath filled me like an empty stream. Instead of spilling it forth, I contained it, let it rise. My fury would be for Janos alone, I promised myself, running my tongue over my fangs.

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“Maybe we could turn the werewolf on our side? Offer him something other than damaged goods.” “No. Werewolves can be oddly noble when they choose to be.” Janos’s reply to Lazuri seemed indicative of a past frustration. “They’re noble or unruly, obstinate rogues.” Bryce was both -- unruly and an obstinate rogue. A sense of happiness descended on me as I thought about the times we spent together and how I should have given in to him so much earlier. If wishes imbued any sort of luck, I did my best to imagine for him a long and lucky life. I hoped that he would find someone who loved him and would take as good care of him as he had me. My chest tightened. I demanded my emotions be calm. With the intricacies of my plot, I would need to be focused and not weak. Bryce wouldn’t have wanted me to be weak. “Boss! Telephone!” “What is it? Have the wolf and his friends found themselves in a trap, perhaps?” Alarmed, I didn’t like the casual way that Janos gloated. My thoughts of Bryce went from calm to frenzied in an instant. Listening to the shaken voice of the errand boy, I awaited his words just as surely as Janos must have. “Sire…t-he p-penthouse in Manhattan…” Janos was too impatient for pauses. “Speak, man!” “I-it’s on fire.” Fire? The penthouse was located on the top level of a business tower and I could only imagine how magnificent the sight of it on fire would be against the New York City skyline. Janos roared at the unexpected news, swearing vehemently. While he sought more information from a source that had none, I was awash with the most bizarre sensation of hope. Some measure of revenge was being enacted and even if Bryce were not the cause, I was still eminently pleased.

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“The flames…they said they came out of nowhere. No one knows how it started even. I asked if it was the wolf but…” “But what?” “B-but…” I heard a whoosh, the sound of a body moving at great speed. There was a gasp and a gurgle, which I took to be the sound of the errand boy. “Nothing,” the man coughed. “They said nothing. They were screaming, sire. I --” A sickening snap, and one less human heart beat in the room. I could almost feel the heat of Janos’s anger as he swore aloud. The first thing that came to my mind was Cheetah, the firestarter. I didn’t know how Bryce had sought his help and I wasn’t even sure he had, but I smiled nonetheless. From what I knew of the penthouse, its security measures, and artillery, burning the place down would be the most unexpected yet efficient way of flushing out the vampires. Depending on how near dawn was, there would be utter panic. There would be no sanctuary from the sun, and they would scramble desperately to hide. If any of them survived. It was a brilliant plan and I couldn’t resist telling Janos so. “Well,” I laughed sarcastically. “He may have picked the wrong place, but it’s the thought that counts.” I felt wind then the force of a hammer slammed against the side of my face. “You fiend! You ungrateful, spiteful creature,” Janos sneered, his breath hot and putrid, close to my face. “I will lay you out in the sun, cover your limbs, revealing them one at a time to its harsh rays. I will start with your left leg, then your right, then your groin…you will see cruelty which no hellspawn has ever known!” His threats felt hollow to me. I didn’t care if any of them came to pass, because Janos was already suffering. It would take him a great deal of time to replace property, antiques that had been held in New York, and loyal associates.

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In the I.E.D. cell that I had spent so much time within, I had worried that I would die a lonely and meaningless death. If I die tonight, I thought, at least it will be on a night when Janos was already suffering. He didn’t seem so in control, or so menacing. In fact, I could swear that there was a measure of fear within his voice and that gave me strength.

***** The world was in chaos, and I was in love with it! Janos’s followers were muttering their speculations about the events in Manhattan. Janos himself was conferring with guards, issuing orders. Someone else came in with a message from Manhattan, which was far more ominous than the first. There had been several deaths, vampires burned to ash. Whoever it was that had made the call was in the process of fleeing when the phone went dead, Janos had been told. Hysteria built up around the abrupt end of communication with the penthouse, and Janos was not immune from the tragedy. One brave vampire dared to draw the attention of the elder fiend. “Sire?” he began. “Elena, the young ones, without our help they --” “There is nothing we can do for them. They will either survive or perish.” “But --” “But,” Janos interrupted, “our concern is here. You need to prepare the transport should anything suspicious occur here. Tell Reese I want the men alert to even the slightest snap of a twig. Keep calling Manhattan. Alert me at the first contact. Otherwise, I have one distraction to be rid of tonight, and I aim to see it done. Lift him.” Despite the whirlwind of panic, Janos’s focus was still on me. Two strong forms lifted me from off of the floor. Still grinning despite the attempts by Janos then his lackeys to change my mood, I said nothing as they directed me to move.

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Janos would regret my kidnapping and death. Loosening the bonds around my wrists somewhat, I couldn’t wait to be his pinnacle of disaster. We headed from the main hall towards the Icarus chamber. I couldn’t see it, but I knew the stone floor by the sound that my shoes made upon them. I remembered the cool draft wafting through the long, damp corridor. The smells of moss and stone within the tunnel grew stronger as we neared the outlet into open air and as we walked I breathed deep of the natural smells. Their likeness to the earthen smells of Bryce gave me courage as I imagined that he was with me, at my side in spirit if nothing more. Besides my two escorts, Janos had an entourage of only four vampires, old but not elders. My blood would be a gift to them for their loyalty and respect after Janos had his fill. If he survived the damage I’d planned. The loud, swift steps of someone running down the hall stood out against the steadier footfalls of Janos’s entourage and a panting voice sounded within the corridor. “Sire! Sire, wait!” Our party stopped, and I hoped for some other tragedy. I was not disappointed. The new messenger was just as frightened as the old, now-dead one had been. I heard his vampiric heart staggering inside his chest. “It’s the werewolf,” he said. “He says if you don’t release Lexis, he will slaughter us all. He said he will hunt us down.” “He’s on the phone,” someone gasped in surprise. “My God, one werewolf can do all of this,” another one said. Another said something that made me grin. “It’s Lexis. He and his friends. He’s dangerous.” For a long time, Janos said nothing. “Tell him he has that right. Lexis will die. ” “Sire?”

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“Go tell him! Tell him now,” Janos commanded loudly, sending the panicked messenger off with what sounded like a blow. “Bring that conniving Judas, and let’s be done with this.” The procession began anew at a brisk pace, the guards holding tight to my arms. I felt the breeze on my cheeks as we entered the courtyard where I had lost my sight years before. The early morning announcers, birds of all sorts, were chirping and there was certain warmth in the air. I remembered that there were two statues of angels in the courtyard and how the moonlight made them glow at night. I could recall how the bushes were so carefully tended and how the moss wound up the walls. Then there was the altar. Even before I had been placed upon the stone slab, with everything covered except my eyes, I had always thought of the courtyard as a place too beautiful for horrors. Still, as I steeled myself against my approaching doom, I was relieved that I couldn’t see. The bodyguards dragged me until my back met up with the stone altar. One shoved me down upon the slab, but a swift kick to the thigh was all that he got from me. I smashed the one still holding me in the nose with a harsh elbow. It wasn’t an attempt at escape, as the guard quickly seized me anew. I heard Janos swear just under his breath, and laughed. “You simply don’t know when to quit, do you, Janos? You could let me go now, and I swear to you I would keep him from causing further harm, but I know that’s not your intent.” “My intent is nothing more than to see your death. I will deal with your friend later. Strip him, and lay him down.” One of the guards went for my collar, his claws jarring me as they ripped my shirt and pulled it from me. The other guard went for my pants with the same brutish manner. It was just the fuel I needed to ignite.

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I pushed my knee forward into what felt like a shoulder. Breaking the ropes around my wrists, I grabbed the guard by his shirt and swung my fist at where I estimated his head to be. As soon as my hand connected, I knew that I had been right and struck again, swiftly and with much more force. I knew the reaction it would elicit from Janos even before he moved. Lightning fast, he was at my side, the force of his supernatural speed and anger sending me back against the stone altar. Striking out with fist and nails, I found the slender column of his throat and dug my nails deep into the sides. It was the only thing that could distract him enough from having his talons in my throat. I couldn’t be bothered with whether or not I had stunned him, whether or not he was attempting to staunch his wound. Putting all of my might into choking the fiend, clawing open the wounds I had already made, my adrenaline ran wild. He struck out at me with the giant-strength of his fist, his sharp fingernails opening the skin of my cheek and dislocating the jawbone beneath, but I refused to feel the pain. I had a dead man’s strength. Janos had taken so much away from me that I could bear each and every one of his blows with the slightest of ease. I had been beaten, tested, prodded, and electrocuted. I had endured shame that he would never know, and I could endure every brutality that he rained upon me as I spread his skin wide. It was a wonder to me why no one came to his aid. I felt no one’s hands upon me. There was no heart beating close to me but his and as hot blood spilled over upon my fingers, my hunger flared. Janos’s hand grabbed my throat and squeezed. It was pressure like I had never known. He could kill with his grasp but that didn’t concern me. I didn’t want his filthy hands against my skin. That right was for Bryce and Bryce alone. Focusing my fury upon his wound, I opened it further.

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That got Janos’s attention. More than choking me, he valued his life too much to prevent his throat from being spread open any further. He grabbed my arms, trying to yank them down. I held fast for a few seconds giving him the impression that I wanted only to choke him. As he tugged harder, I gave him what he wanted. I dropped my arms completely, and moved toward his throat. Before he could stop me, I had replaced my hands with my mouth upon the wound. As his blows didn’t bother me before, they certainly were no more than pitiful caresses as Janos struggled against me. The fuel of his blood made me impervious to what should have been damaging blows. Life-threatening cuts, even jarred bones healed too fast for me to care. I heard his gasps of shock and horror, but only for a moment. The roar inside my head as the centuries-old blood flowed into my mouth quickly dwarfed them. Every swift, greedy gulp rejuvenated me as flashes of colored lights formed in front of my eyes. Each second seemed like an eternity; each ounce I swallowed gave me power and sight. Dots of peach became flesh, crimson became blood and smudges of dark blue became Janos’s shirt. A brutal blow much harder than any before it cracked one of my ribs. The pain was enough to get my attention. Janos slipped free of my hold, and I lost touch with him immediately. In a daze and intoxicated, I looked at my attacker, a tall Yugoslavian vampire lord with thick gray-black hair. He tried to staunch the flowing crimson. The look of hatred couldn’t have been any more blatant and grotesque upon his face. I looked to Janos’s guards, to the other vampires, any one of them who could have come to his aid and put me down. Standing stock-still, they had a look of abject terror about them. Their focus was on something behind me, something that kept them from daring to move. I turned around, expecting something terrifying. I was not disappointed.

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Standing on the other side of the courtyard was a hulk of a beast with golden brown fur, bright hazel eyes, and canines accented by ruby-colored blood. In the large grasp of his right hand was the head of Lazuri, still alive and sentient despite the lack of a body. He cast a dark, menacing stare at the vampires in the courtyard before tossing the head aside. “Hurry up and finish him off, Lex. We still have traveling arrangements, remember?” I had never laid eyes on a werewolf transformed. The sight of Bryce in man-wolf form was one I swore to never forget. He had a thick bushy tail. His cock was covered in a shorter, darker swath of fur, and his muzzle… Bryce snorted impatiently. “The sun, Lex…” Forcing myself to look away from the love of my life, I looked at my enemy. Janos pleaded with his subjects. “Help me, you cowards. Destroy the wolf. Destroy the traitor.” The vampires did nothing. Their gazes were fixed on the wolf and the corridor behind him. Only one vampire stared at the lilac infusion of the sky. Bryce stepped aside, exposing the only path of escape and gave a curt nod to the vampires. They wasted no time in fleeing, to Janos’s dismay. “No!” he screamed loud and long, but none of his followers were there to listen. He turned toward me and when I looked in his eyes, I saw only defeat. Just as I had known abandonment, Janos now knew what it felt like to be alone, to discover the failings of so-called allies. Like a feral beast, he lunged at me with both fangs and claws bared. It was a fearsome sight for my renewed eyes, but I was unafraid. I had handled him without my sight and sure enough, with my wolf at my back I could face him again. As Janos came toward me, I used his force against him and swept him off of his feet.

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On him in an instant, I scrambled up his body and found his throat once more. Before he could even turn his head, I latched on. With both hands around his head, I kept him steady. It didn’t matter to me that my back had wide gashes and cuts, that Janos was doing his best to get to my spine. The only thing that mattered to me was the vintage of his blood as it poured down my gullet. With every pull and swallow, I grew stronger, intoxicated by his strength. Janos bucked beneath me, giving me the last vestiges of his strength. His skin became as pale as stone with the loss of his vital blood. As the flow into my throat began to run thin, the flailing beneath me grew weaker. Time slowed for me. My heartbeat slowed as it synched with Janos’s death throes. The overload of power and energy was so euphoric that it could have compelled me into a near death state had I not heard Bryce’s voice. “Hurry, Lex,” he said. “The sun’s coming.” There had to be more, I thought. Even though the flow had slowed, I was driven by my thirst and paid more attention to it. A hard slap to my ass caught my attention. Wild and furious at the disturbance, I released Janos and moved off of him with every intention of punishing the boldness of whoever had touched me. When I set eyes on Bryce, he was smiling. My werewolf moved to the weakened body of my former lord. Getting down on his haunches, Bryce grasped Janos’s head between his malicious paws. He twisted hard before a pop sounded. The ease with which the head detached from the body was the only evidence of the werewolf’s strength. Bryce stood up and cast the head directly into the middle of the courtyard. I watched it bounce, still alive and aware, and felt no remorse for the horror he would face in mere minutes. I had better things on my mind, like the magnificent beast with the beautiful eyes and the bloody maw, beckoning me to his side.

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Epilogue

The tinted windows of the stolen van we drove were made for a vampire’s safety. It had belonged to one of Janos’s unfortunate associates. And while I was under no threat from the sun, I still wore the blanket that Bryce had found for me, a protective measure that I had needed to make it to the van. We were somewhere in southern Maryland, and he was driving like he knew where he was headed. I didn’t question our destination because I didn’t care. The farther we got away from Scranton, the better. Bryce had the air-conditioning going full blast just to make me comfortable in my blood fever. I had slept for many hours as the strength of Janos’s blood stabilized within me, yet once I had managed to quell the rush and keep my eyes wide, I did not wish to close them again. My only desire was to watch my werewolf at the wheel of the van. Once again he had saved me, driving us on the highway to somewhere safe and far away. My hero. For a while, I said nothing. Peeking out from beneath the curtain, I chose to focus on something much more important than gratitude or accusations. Without my sight, I knew that he was a husky, hirsute man. I would have never guessed his eyes would look like

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amber. I would have never guessed that his long hair was blond while his beard and mustache were brown. Even though I had stroked his face and his body so many times before, I felt as if I was seeing him for the first time. “You are handsome,” I muttered. Bryce looked at me out of the side of eyes and blushed. “And you are brave.” “You’re really handsome. I thought that you would be. You look Scandinavian or Germanic, I think.” “I’m of Danish descent.” I nodded. “A Dane…it figures. Warrior-like, rash, and impulsive.” Even with growing up on the docks, in nineteenth-century Greece, there had been no shortage of tall tales regarding the great northern seafarers. I could easily believe that he came from that fierce race. “You do know that you jeopardized our safety and I could have been killed, right?” Shaking his head, Bryce looked at me and smiled, flashing beautiful white teeth. “I knew you’d be fine.” “You could have told me. You could have let me in on the plan.” While his faith in me had always been stronger than I had ever had in myself, I surely knew that it wasn’t enough to have based a plan upon. He shrugged without the slightest hint of remorse. “You wouldn’t have wanted to do it, and it needed to be done.” I laughed ironically to myself. For someone who enjoyed giving up control, Bryce had apparently been directing me all along. I knew I would never have agreed to such a plan and while I had to give him credit for initiative, I wasn’t going to inflate his ego. “So all of that time we were together, you kept in touch with Cheetah?” “What? Are you jealous?” “You did do it behind my back. It’s a trust issue.”

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“A trust issue, huh?” Pausing as if to mull over my words, when Bryce finally spoke it was with a stern voice. “I will apologize, but I won’t say I regret it or that I’m not happy it’s done. I don’t think you’re unhappy about it either.” I was not. “Just tell me how? Tell me about the plan. Cheetah took Manhattan and you took the mansion, right? But how did you find out about Janos?” “There are only three vampire covens in New York, Lex, and all of them employ fearful, superstitious humans. One of them employs a werewolf who happens to be good at bullying humans and who owes me several favors. It was simple.” I shook my head, not getting the simplicity of it. Altogether the plan seemed quite complex, from my capture, to the burning of the Manhattan coven right down to the courtyard, there were too many variables for me to call it simple. Bryce took pity on me. “Okay, so Cheetah took down the coven in New York and since Janos’s security knew nothing about the power of alchemy, it wasn’t a hard thing for him to do. With the hysteria caused in New York, all I had to do was to light a match in the garage to scare the vamps at the mansion. While your former lord was powerful, he wasn’t the brightest I’ve ever met. Neither were his followers.” “But if your plan didn’t work?” “Then they would have paid for it. All of them.” Bryce growled as if the thought of his plan failing upset him. “But it did work, and you did beat Janos. You fought just as well as I knew that you could. Problem solved.” Despite the havoc he had already caused, the lives that had already been taken, it made me smile to think my werewolf was right. He had been right all along. “Okay, but can we agree now to have no more secrets?” The stormy cast upon Bryce’s features lifted, and he nodded. “We can.” “Good. Let me see your phone.” “Wh-what?”

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Lifting the fabric up just enough to hold out my hand, I repeated myself although I knew he had understood me the first time. “Your phone, Bryce. Give it to me.” Taking a hand off the wheel, the werewolf dug in his pants pocket. He placed the black cell phone into my hand. Bringing the phone into my shroud, I flipped it open. I pressed the button for contacts and received quite a surprise. “You have at least fifty numbers in here.” “So? I’m popular,” he muttered. “They’re not my lovers or anything.” As handsome as Bryce was, I had every right to wonder. “No?” “No.” Reaching over, Bryce put his hand on my thigh and squeezed. “You are the only one I want, Mr. I-don’t-care-if-I-ever-see-again.” It became warmer inside of the vehicle for me. “Maybe I was happy just depending on your pity. You know as long as I couldn’t see you, you were sure to stick by me. You’re noble like that.” “Maybe I want to be sure that you’re sticking by me for all of the right reasons. Besides you wouldn’t have always been so dependent. You were making great strides without sight. You killed an elder vampire on your own.” While I couldn’t deny Bryce’s words, I knew for certain that desperation was more of the impetus than skill. “Okay, but now that I have my sight back, who’s to say that I’m not still dependent?” “You could have anyone you want, you incubus.” I shook my head. While Bryce’s comment was flattering, it was nowhere near the truth. It wasn’t that simple. It never would be. “Why would I want anyone other than the one who would have me when none would? No, it’s me that’s beginning to worry. As handsome as you are, you could do much better than me. Huge chest, strong arms, those beautiful hazel eyes…” Becoming aroused at the thought of making love to my werewolf, of seeing and savoring every second, I dragged his hand further into the folds of my covering. I

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moved it over my swiftly swelling cock. “And the way you blush… I was a fool to think I didn’t need my sight.” Bryce’s already tanned features glowed like a delicious apple. Silent and tense, he said nothing. He turned to look at me with lips parted, perhaps for a comment. Beautiful, full, coral lips became my focus, the temptation of his pink tongue doing evil things to my endorphins. I licked my lips and felt the truck swerve. “You could pull over,” I suggested. “We could get in the back.” Bryce swallowed hard. He withdrew his hand from the warmth of my body, from beneath the covering, and placed it back on the steering wheel. Before I could even feign offense, Bryce replied. “We don’t need a quickie. We need a hotel.” “I don’t know if I want to wait that long. I’ve got all this power coursing through me, and I’m curious as to how beautiful your eyes are when you come.” Bryce lowered his head. His hands tightened on the wheel. I could see the effect that my suggestion had on him. He was considering it. “Lex?” “What? We’re in a van, and you’ve already seen me. There are a few things I want to see.” I knew his willpower was fading and that it wouldn’t be difficult to sway him. One look at his crotch and the generous bulge it presented told me that much. “I want to see if your cock gets all downy when you get hard. I mean, I know it feels like velvet, but --” “Hold that thought,” Bryce interrupted. Pulling the van onto the shoulder of the road, he placed the vehicle in park and shut off the ignition. With cars roaring past, he turned to me. He leaned across the seat and took hold of the blanket that covered me. Pulling me hard against him, he covered my mouth with his in a fierce show of hunger. I overcame the shock of his claim swiftly, pushing my tongue into his mouth. Letting him know that I would not be his prize, I sought to make him mine. His gorgeous lips were mine to nip, his tongue was mine to suck upon, and his teeth were mine to lick.

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Bryce had his hand back within the folds of my blanket, stroking my thigh before moving to my cock. He folded his palm around my shaft in another attempt at possession, but that too I dealt with. I moved my hand between his thighs and squeezed him tight. He growled into my mouth, the vibrations moving through me in waves. While it would have been easy to fold beneath his dominance, I was intent. I broke away from his lips and found his throat, staking my claim on the thick, golden brown copse of hair. Soft skin was beneath the fur, waiting for my tongue to explore. Heat and salt, his glorious musk, it all seemed so real because I could see it. I could see the hickeys that I made on his collarbone, but still I wanted to see more. The shirt he wore was something he had stolen at the mansion. I felt no remorse at pulling it open and spilling buttons all over the place. Bryce protested but my interest in his chest was worth his irritation. I saw what I had only felt before, a chest that would be the envy of body builders, an extreme amount of gold-brown hairs covering rippling muscles. Delving into the forest, I worshiped his pecs with my tongue, kissed and worshiped every inch of flesh beneath the hairs. His nipples plumped beneath my fangs, hardened beneath my tongue and despite his attention to my cock, I remained focused. My pleasure took a back seat to my greed as pushed him back and took control. I took my time and memorized everything that made him flinch, growl, and hiss. Movements that I might have missed before, reactions of his flesh and body, I noted, from the growth of more hair upon chest and abdomen to the subtle elongating of his waist. I moved lower, fastening my hands on his waistband of his jeans when Bryce grabbed my wrists in his massive, paw-like hands and stopped me. Thick furry digits ending in sharp claws lifted me up to gaze upon him. My eyes took in a male deeply in lust. I wouldn’t have been too presumptuous and called it love, because it was definitely something more possessive than that. Panting heavily, Bryce’s features were a sight to behold. If I thought he was sexy before, he was twice as

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handsome with the signs of the beast showing in his features. His nose was slightly longer, and his teeth were definitely longer and sharper. Bryce’s eyebrows were much darker and thicker and his beard had doubled, connecting with rather feathery sideburns. Most notable for me were his eyes, so dilated they were onyxes framed in gold; they stared back at me with silent pleas. “Backseat,” he suggested. I wasted no time. With the blanket around me, I moved up and between the seats. Falling into the back with ease, I had little time to admire the kitschy accommodations that some vampire had thought necessary before Bryce climbed back and joined me. I laid the blanket down over the crimson plush carpet, before I got rid of my tattered clothing. His attention was fixed on me as I revealed nothing but skin to him. His eyes upon me, he crouched down within the back of the van waiting. What he was waiting for, I wasn’t certain. “What? Is this too kinky for you?” Bryce took one look around the back of the van. Not as impressed as I was by the blacked-out windows, the coffin or the cooler, he shook his head and attempted to move toward me. “No. Hush,” he said, practically salivating over my nakedness.

Ah, the sights I had been missing, I told myself before grasping Bryce’s shoulders. I stopped him before he could steal a kiss; I wanted him naked as well. “No, you hush and get naked.” Bryce did as was told, shucking his shirt and jeans in a matter of moments. It was my turn to stare intently as before me a sight that would have made any living soul shudder appeared before my eyes. While I had known that he was not a small male, there was something impressive and threatening in seeing the girth of his arms and thighs, in viewing the breadth of his chest. There was nearly no place on his body that he wasn’t covered with golden brown hair, save his face. His cock was another thing entirely, covered in a chestnut down. The look of velvet didn’t make it any less intimidating.

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Bryce must have noticed the object of my obsession because he reached down and took hold of his shaft. He stroked it slowly from base to tip. Already hard and arching upwards, it bobbed when he released it and smacked against his palm as he took hold of it anew. In a voice that radiated nothing but lust, he asked, “In the coffin or no?” I had to catch myself. The urge to allow him to do whatever he wanted was as fierce as my erratic heartbeat. It was a short inner debate -- to watch my cock trapped within his tight, furry bottom, or to see nothing but stars while he plowed me senseless. The darkness could wait, I decided. Making room for him on my blanket, I beckoned him. “Come down…” Bryce knelt, looking every bit the predatory beast that he was. Crawling up to my side, he stared at me as if I were his appetizer. It looked as if it would pain him to do any more than breathe. It was a good look, one that demanded I challenge it. Moving my body over his, I moved onto his warmth and made no mistake in staking my claim. Raking my nails over his rippling arms, I leaned down and nipped his chin. “I’ve killed this day,” I said. “And you are my prize. You know that, right?” “Yeah,” he breathed heavily. “Yours…” Since that was clear, I didn’t waste another second in proving it. I rose up on him and ran my tongue along his lips. Teasing him, I pressed my cock into his stomach, letting him feel my hardness and taking joy from the hard surface I fucked against. As I slipped my tongue past his lips and against the wetness of his tongue, I felt him lurch upward. The head of his cock pressed against my ass, sticky and wet, but Bryce quickly stilled himself again for me. Knowing that he could be shaken, I tempted fate anew. Daring his tongue with my own, I caught it as it darted out to meet mine and sucked up it hard. His fangs bruised my mouth, but I didn’t give a damn. The effect of having Bryce shaking like a leaf in a strong gale was more than worth it for me.

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He was mine. All mine. His neck was mine to bruise with kisses; his nipples were mine to pinch and twist. When I dipped down to bite them, Bryce growled, hissed, and swore but he did not move. I raised his arms above his head to bury my nose and tongue into his heated armpits, and while Bryce tossed his head back and forth, he allowed me to continue with my claim. It wasn’t until my interest slipped along his side, back over his stomach and into his navel that I began to think he would snap. As I lowered my body down on his, straddling one of his big legs, I could feel the tension within his muscles. It got worse as I rested my chin on the head of his cock. His trembling became much more apparent and from the corner of my eye I could see his hands clenching and unclenching. Eager to grasp something,

perhaps, I thought. Well, so was I. Pushing his thigh outward, I looked down on cock and the ruby head protruding from the velvety sheath. Clear liquid spilled from the slit, inviting and glistening. Seizing it in my grasp, I had no intention of teasing it. Descending upon Bryce’s cock with no measure of ceremony, I took as much of its girth down into my throat as I could. “Oh, fuck!” Bryce cried out, hips moving upward to thrust more of that long shaft into my depths. I nearly gagged, overwhelmed by his sudden movement. Using an elbow to hold down one thigh and my body to hold down the other, I changed my tactics. Rather than attempting to deep throat him, I took the head of Bryce’s dick between my lips and sucked hard. I put all of my concentration into torturing the slit of his cock with my tongue, all of my suction into the upper half of his shaft. I set the depth and the rhythm holding the base of his cock with my fist. He lurched and thrust, but he could get no more than I gave. It was uneasy and unfair, but the generosity of my saliva lubricating his cock added to the vise grip of my other hand sliding up and down had him begging for release.

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I couldn’t get enough of his taste, sucking on his heavy shaft, greedy for the nectar I knew was ready to come forth. Bryce fought against it, I could tell, but as my slick hand dropped to cup and rolled the weighty pouch of his balls, it was his turn to choke and sputter. Mercilessly, I played with his scrotum, squeezing and rolling the globes within their furry sac, while pumping my lips down over his shaft. His precum began to flow faster and more abundantly. I heard Bryce mutter my name, over and over again, practically chanting it. In my desperation to see him in such a state, I pulled off of his cock and rose up. My eyes met his, and I was stunned. No former lover had ever looked at me the way he did. Bryce’s lips were crimson where he had bitten them, his brow was furrowed, and his cheeks were flushed. He had a look of hopeless vulnerability to him. Smiling back at him, I tried to convey to him silently how gorgeous he was to me, how much I needed him and desired him. I licked my lips, wanting him to see me savoring his essence. Then Bryce fell apart. With a hoarse cry, his first splash of cum caught me my surprise, splashing across my cheek. I was quick to catch the next burst, closing my lips back over his cock head. His seed coated my tongue, its strong taste like wicked liquor as I savored it. I took all that he could give before I released his cock and sought other delights. “Oh shit, Lex…” Panting heavily, Bryce could barely speak for the heaving of his chest. “I couldn’t wait. I --” Needing no apology, I transferred my attention to the area beneath his balls. Probing my tongue down along the thick muscle that separated balls from ass, I took it between my lips, and sucked upon it. My hand was fanned out over Bryce’s spent cock, yet despite just coming, he was as hard as before.

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His prick twitched as I sought more of him. While Bryce was able to do little more than moan at first, he quickly regained composure when I spread his legs even farther. My tongue touched his puckered opening and immediately, Bryce jerked beneath me. Urging him to turn over onto his hands and knees, I was greeted by firm, tight buttocks…and a tail. Before my eyes a nub grew outward becoming a thick, waving appendage. Fuck, but I loved my werewolf. Every part of him. Taking his tail between my hands, I tested both its fluffy softness as well as the firmness within it. I ran my hands all over his downy flanks and all the while, Bryce wiggled for more attention. I knew what he wanted without him having to ask for it. It was the same thing he had given me -- a tongue inside of his ass. Knowing how good it had felt for me, I leaned down and placed kisses over each cheek. I took my time at first, nervous from inexperience. Sucking and nipping at his flesh, I was swiftly rewarded with deep moans of satisfaction. Lifting his tail up, I teased my way from cheek to cheek, deliberately skipping over the center to tease him. Bryce pushed back, his hot flesh meeting my lips, yet when my kisses delved into his crease, he went still. I wondered if it were possible to make him come again. Parting his ass with one hand, I pushed my tongue into his furry crack and ran it down over his anus. The skin there was so silken and intimate to me, that I couldn’t resist pushing my tongue inside of him. Bryce swore aloud, slamming his fist on the van floor. I could hear his breathing loud and hoarse, needy almost. I needed to hear more of it. Using both of my hands to spread him wide, I let his tail rest upon my cheek. I pushed my tongue in and out of his body, as far as I could reach. Enticed by the heat, by his sweaty, musky taste, I grew wanton.

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Bryce tried flinching away from me, but his cries revealed his arousal. As I flicked my tongue inside, then out, then inside again, he called on deities of earth and sky. I didn’t know what they could give him, but I knew what I could. Giving him my wet, pointed tongue, I laved him so that he would be ready for my cock. I probed as deep as I could, preparing him with my own brand of lubrication for another thrust of my tongue. Bryce was burning up, begging me to fuck him. His words only served to stoke the fires already raging within me. Leaving his beautiful ass, I took him by the waist and forced him over, back onto his back. Bryce’s cock was glistening with fresh precum, hard and red where it peaked out from its sheath. His furry stomach was taut, and he had drawn his legs apart, anxious for me. “I’m ready to be fucked.” So hot and aching, I was sure that I was past ready. Wrapping my hands underneath his furry thighs, I lifted them up and pressed them back toward his chest. “You sure, wolf?” Bryce took hold of his own thighs, pulling them further back to expose the puckered flesh of his hole, shimmering with my saliva. “You know I am, Lexis. You can see how much I need you. Now, hurry,” he commanded. “Fuck your wolf.” That command alone caused a deep body shudder in me. Taking hold of my cock felt like touching a hot iron. It ached at the slightest squeeze, yet I was aiming directly towards a place where tight didn’t even come close to describing the fit. Pushing forward into his viselike channel, I took my time so I wouldn’t explode. I had held back for so long, had needed him for so long that as his body clamped down around my cock, I had to beg my orgasm to wait. Leaning my head back, I pressed all the way home. Skin to skin. Perhaps it was because I had tortured him so that Bryce rocked his hips, beginning our rhythm and my demise. Determined not to go down easily, I took his legs from him and set

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them upon my shoulders. Fitting my hands beneath his ass, I lifted him into my next thrust, pulled back and slammed into him anew. I didn’t care that my balls were as hard as stones. Watching Bryce take my cock was like something divine. Every time I pounded into him, he quivered, staring at me through half-slit eyes, looking so vulnerable and open. Within him I felt mad, crazed with something too strong to call love. I was inside of the male that struck fear in the hearts of immortals and mortals alike. My sweat and skin were upon the beast that had demanded my salvation. Even more, I was so close to coming inside of the male that had gave me a reason to be strong again. “Thank you.” I exhaled, full of wild emotion. Kissing one furred leg, it was all I could do besides moving my hips, the intensity of being within him too much for me to be able to focus on anything else. Pushing up and into his body, my hips moved on their own accord. Bryce reeled beneath me, doing his best to match the growing frenzy of my thrusts. He tried to speak. “Y-you don’t…you don’t have to --” I gasped as he clenched my prick with his body, the pressure of which was a serious threat to my restraint. While he tried to tell me I didn’t have to thank him, he didn’t understand my bliss. “Thank you…thank you,” I stammered. “…for believing in me.” Responding more to my cock than to my words, Bryce answered back. “Oh, yes, Lexis. Yes…” I wanted it clear, my message, but my body wanted release. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I repeated shakily. My hands gripping Bryce’s ankles for dear life, I was right next to the inevitable. Bryce was even closer. Suddenly he arched upward with only his upper back on the floor. White pearly jets splashed across his furry chest, onto his pecs and throat. Barely audible, hardly clear, he tried to speak through the aftershocks of his orgasm. “W-w…wel --” he stammered.

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“Thank you!” If I could have breathed, I would have thanked him for a climax that took me out of my body before slamming me back to a wet, boneless existence, but it was all I could do to release his legs. Collapsing upon Bryce’s chest, my cock slid from his body to mingle the last of its fluid with his. Panting and cooling down quickly, I was grateful when his big arms closed around me. I lifted my head from his chest and found him smiling back at me. Still looking like a feral beast, he lifted me up and took my mouth roughly. He seemed interested in making sure that I could not breathe or think. In moments, he had dominated my tongue and bruised my lips, proving that his submissiveness had been a gift. My body trembled fitfully in his grasp, and with the way my heart staggered to beat, I feared that he might want more. What that said about my stamina to withstand compared to Bryce’s stamina I didn’t dare guess, but as he released me and settled back down, I knew that he was just as sated as I. It took me a while to begin breathing normally, but Bryce’s nails raking softly against my back were soothing enough. “We were supposed to be doing this on a beach,” I said once strong enough to speak. Bryce shifted slightly beneath me. “Are you in a hurry? Because I was thinking we should get to a hotel, something to eat…a firm mattress.” Going anywhere really was moot when compared to such luxuries. With no predators to worry about, fleeing really wasn’t at the top of my list. “No. No rush. A hotel would be nice.” “Maybe, then, we should get back on the road and find one, before a cop comes by.” Bryce kissed me on my forehead. Putting his hands on my waist, he attempted to move from beneath me. Fastening my arms around him, I refused to be moved. “You can lie back down. Just a while longer okay?”

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“Okay then, victor,” he chuckled. “All right then, prize.” Tightening my hold around Bryce’s waist, I wasn’t in a hurry to be anywhere. As the traffic zoomed by outside of the van, I marveled at why anyone would want to be in a rush. I could have spent an eternity gazing at his passion-flushed features, and for a long time, I did.

Mya Heeding her own muses rather than those that belonged to other writers and filmmakers, Mya enjoys crafting erotica and welcomes the opportunity to use her English degree for something other than covering a hole in the wall. She is an avid fan of Godzilla, werewolves and dragons. Mya also enjoys watching the Sci Fi channel while she writes about naughty things, paints, crafts, and plays video games. Visit Mya on the Web at http://www.myaserotica.com/ or send an email to her at [email protected]

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