Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Colors of Hate – 2

“Dean, please, can’t you make the neckline a bit lower,” Angela pouted. She tucked a finger in the center of it, pulling it much lower to demonstrate, looking innocently at Dean as she did.

“It stays the way it is. Guinevere is not a slut.” He almost added, ‘Unlike you’ but refrained. “She’s Arthur’s queen.”

“But…” she whined. “For me? Please?” She moved closer to him, running a finger down his arm.

“Sorry, but no. It stays like this. Now turn around so I can check something, and then you can go change.”

Petulantly she turned, watching him in the mirror as he worked. “Some of us are going to the Red Moon tonight. Please, please say you’ll come.”

Dean shook his head. “I have to do the finishing touches on the costumes. First dress is tomorrow, in case you’ve forgotten.”

“You’re no fun at all.” She caught his eyes in the mirror and told him, “But I bet you could be if you’d just let go and enjoy life. We could have a great time together and you know it.”

“Ange, I’m not interested. Okay?”

“No.” She turned to face him, putting her hands on his shoulders. “I know you like me or you wouldn’t have me coming in for all these fittings. Admit it.”

“I do not like you,” Dean growled. “The only reason I call you in so often is because you keep gaining weight. Quit eating, quit hitting up the bars with the ‘gang’, and start realizing you’re not the center of the damned universe. Now, go change so I can let out the waist on this…again.”

The slap Angela landed on Dean’s face made his ears ring. He grabbed her wrist to stop her from hitting him again. “Get out of the costume now! And then leave!”

“You damned well asked for it,” she told him angrily, rubbing her wrist when he let it go. “Look at this, I’m going to have a bruise, you beast.”

“Suck it up,” was his terse reply as he touched his cheek and winced.

Angela flounced to the dressing room, swearing under her breath. She returned a few moments later to throw the dress at him, her blouse open almost to her waist. “This,” she said scathingly as she began slowly buttoning it over her full breasts, “could have all been yours for the asking.”

“I only ask for what I want, and for damned sure that’s not you.” He stepped back when she raised her hand again.

“Coward,” she spat out as she walked sullenly to the door, slamming it behind her on her way out. 

With a sigh he sat down at one of the sewing machines to make the needed alterations on the dress, glad that none of his crew had been there to watch what had just happened. Sure, they all knew she was a bitch but still… “Some day, Ange, you’re going to meet someone who’ll take you on, and you might just regret it.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Colors of Hate – 1

Part 1 - Green
“If you value your life keep your hands off,” Dean growled.
Carrie arched an eyebrow as she circled the mannequin. “You’re going to have to let me try it on sometime, so why not now?”
“I’m pissed at you.”
 “Why? Because I wanted you to come to the party with us?”
“She was just trying to help,” Carrie’s boyfriend Jim said, trying to defuse the situation before it turned serious between the brother and sister. It always struck him, when he saw them together, how different they were. Carrie was small, slender and blonde. Dean was just over six foot, muscular without being bulky. He had brown hair which often seemed to be just on the verge of too long, high cheekbones as compared to Carrie’s softer features, and blue eyes while Carrie’s were golden-brown.  
“Well she’s got to stop ‘helping’. I’m not looking for anyone. I don’t have the time or, to be honest, the interest in going to parties so that I can meet someone. Besides, you didn’t just want me to go, you practically dragged me there.”
“Kicking and screaming the whole way.” Carrie patted Dean’s arm. “I’m sorry. I won’t do that again.”
“Promise. Now can I try on the dress?”
“Yes.” Dean took the costume off the mannequin and handed it to her. “You might as well try yours on too, Jim, since you’re here,” Dean added, pointing to the tunic hanging on the rack along one wall of the costume shop.
“You know she’s not really going to stop trying. Sisters are like that.”
Dean nodded. “I know, but maybe she’ll back off some. Honestly I don’t have an interest in hooking up with someone. I’m happily single.”
“Nuh uh,” Carrie called out from the dressing room.
“Uh huh, so back off, brat.”
Jim chuckled as he headed to the other dressing room. “Good luck on that.” 
A few moments later Carrie came back, beaming. “This is absolutely perfect!” she said, twirling around in front of the full-length mirror. “Angela is going to be livid.”
“Speaking of someone I am so not interested in, she’s on the top of the list. I don’t care if she is the star of this show, that doesn’t give her the right to come on to me every damned time she has a fitting.”
“Well,” Carrie said softly after checking to make certain Jim was still in the dressing room, “if you’d just come out and admit you don’t like women that way, she might back off. I mean it’s not like you’re in a business where anyone gives a damn.”
“We’ve had this discussion before and you know why I don’t.”
“Don’t what?” Jim asked as he joined them.
“Whoa,” Carrie exclaimed. “If that was any shorter…” She waggled a finger at Dean. “Is that really legit?”
Dean laughed. “It is, and he’ll be wearing tights and a dance belt so quit worrying. After all Lancelot is supposed to be sexy to contrast with Arthur.”
“Better not be too sexy,” Carrie grumbled. “I don’t want Angela trying to get her hooks into you again.”
“Not likely. She may make a good Guinevere but you, my dear, are a striking Morgan. I’d never look anywhere but at you.”
Carrie smiled and kissed his cheek. “That was terribly romantic.”
“Okay you two, don’t forget I’m standing right here,” Dean muttered.  
“So go…sew something,” Carrie told him with a laugh.
“I will, as soon as you get out of that dress.” Dean paused then laughed too. “In the dressing room, without his helping you.”
“Spoil sport,” Carrie muttered before she kissed Jim quickly and went to change.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hunted – 62

Brice frowned even as he felt his heart leap at Faolán’s words. “What brought that on?”

“My stupidity, mainly. When you asked this morning if I was going to return to the pack, I took it to mean you wanted me out of here, out of your life.”

“No! No, Faolán, that’s the last thing I was trying to say. I just thought… maybe you did want to go and I wanted you to know I wouldn’t stop you if…” Brice’s words faded out when he saw the look of relief in Faolán’s eyes. “I don’t ever want you to leave me,” he said with quiet intensity.

“And I don’t ever plan on it. I’m not like the others, Brice. I’m not going to, trying to, oh hell…”

“To become a kept man?” Brice asked with a soft chuckle.

“Well, yeah. I know that’s what the others were, at least from what you said. I swear I’m not like them.”

Brice squeezed Faolán’s hand. “I never thought you were.” Then without a thought to possible consequences he leaned in, cupped Faolán’s face in his hands and kissed him.

Shocked, but elated, Faolán gave back as good as he got. When they broke apart he whispered, “You know that could make the front pages of the tabloids if anyone was here with a camera.”

Brice grinned. “And? At least this time it would be the truth.” He heard someone cough beside them and looked over to see the waiter standing there with the bottle of wine.

“I hope this meets with your approval,” the waiter said as he opened the bottle and poured a bit into a glass for Faolán to taste. “I know that kiss he gave you met with mine.”

Faolán turned red and tried to hide it by sipping the wine. “It’s perfect,” he sputtered out seconds later.

“It looked like it was,” the waiter said without batting an eye. He poured them each a glass of wine, set the bottle down on the table, and told them he’d be back soon with their meals.

“I feel…”

Brice smiled at him. “Like all eyes are on you at the moment? Welcome to my world, Faolán.”

“Now if I can just get used to it.”

“You will in time. In fact you’re going to have to, because from now on I’m not going anywhere without you. Well,” Brice amended, “except when you’re in school or working.”

Faolán leaned back to look at him. “You’re serious, aren’t you?”

“About you going places with me, or about school and work?”

“Both…I guess.”

“You are definitely going to be my arm candy whenever there’s a party, an opening, or whatever. As for school, you’re smart and clever and you’d be wasting your life if you didn’t capitalize on that. So yes, you are going to get into college.”

“I don’t even know what I want to do yet.”

“We’ve got time, we’ll figure it out. The one thing you are not going to do is hang around street corners while I’m at the studio.”

Faolán snorted. “That is not my idea of a way to kill time.” He stopped when the waiter brought their meals, and then continued. “I do want to get a job. As I told you a few days ago, I don’t mind hard labor if that’s all I can find.”

“Another thing we’ll talk about tomorrow. For now let’s enjoy our dinner. Suddenly I’m very hungry.”

“Then eat, because once we get home…” Faolán waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“I’m working off every calorie?”

“Oh yeah, and then some.”

The End

Friday, March 25, 2016

Hunted – 61

“Where’d you vanish to?” Brice asked when Faolán came into his dressing room late that afternoon, when shooting was over for the day.

“I needed to walk, and think,” Faolán told him, as he leaned his butt on the edge of the dressing table to watch Brice while he removed his make-up.

Brice arched an eyebrow but remained quiet until he was finished. “Ready to leave?” he asked when he had.

“Yes, if you are.”

With a nod and a bit of a smile Brice stood. “Dinner at home?”

“No, I’m taking you out to eat.”

“You’re what?” Brice looked at him in surprise.

“You know, food, restaurant, date.”

“Date huh? Sure, why not. We haven’t really done something like that.” He looked at Faolán and suddenly realized he was pretty dressed up, for him, in jeans and a nice button-down shirt. Then he smiled when he realized it was one of his. “This looks good on you,” he told him, fingering the collar.

“Well since I don’t have one of my own… I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not in the least.” Brice put an arm around Faolán’s waist, started towards the door and then paused. “Why?”

“Why what?” Faolán replied, feigning innocence.

“Why a date?”

“I’ll tell you…later.” Faolán kissed him lightly. “For now just go with it. Okay?”


Twenty minutes later Brice glanced over the top of his menu to look at Faolán, who seemed deeply engrossed in deciding what he wanted for dinner. He’s leaving and this is his way of letting me down easily. A frown touched his face. But then it was to be expected I guess. With a sigh he went back to reading the menu, although he really wasn’t hungry now.

As if he’d read Brice’s mind, which he hadn’t, Faolán reached across the table to push his menu down so that he could see his lover. “You could at least try to smile,” he said quietly. “This is a date. It’s supposed to be fun, not torture.”

Brice essayed a small smile. “I know. Sorry. I guess I’m just more tired than I thought.”

“We don’t have to do this. We can go home and…order something fancy to be delivered.”

“No. We’re here now, and I think,” he nodded to the approaching waiter, “it’s time to order.”

Which they did. Faolán also asked for a bottle of wine after consulting with the waiter. When the man left Faolán took a deep breath as he reached for Brice’s hand. “I’m not leaving you.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hunted – 60

Logan stopped in his tracks, then veered of towards a pocket-park between two buildings. “Sit,” he said when they got to a bench. After Faolán had, Logan asked, “Why do you think he wants you gone?”

Faolán told him the gist of his conversation with Brice. “So you see,” he ended, “he wants me to return to the pack, not stay here.”

Logan rolled his eyes. “Faolán, damn. From the sound of it, he was probing to see if that’s what you wanted to do. He’s the kind of man, from what I’ve seen of him at least, who’s afraid to assume that someone might really care about him. He’s probably scared you’re going to up and leave, and has to come up with a reason you’d do so, so that he can justify it to himself. Do you see what I’m saying?”

“That’s stupid. I told him, and showed him, how much I care.”

“Unfortunately, I’ve got a feeling he’s heard that before from other people. Sycophants who want to be around him because…”

“Because he keeps them in the life style they like,” Faolán growled. “Yeah, he told me about that.”

“He did? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Anyway, because of that, he might not be ready to trust that you care about him.” Logan held up a hand when Faolán started to protest. “Look at it this way. The two of you have been through a lot together in the past few days, all of it revolving around staying alive. You were thrown together and, to be quite honest, in circumstances like that the need to really connect as a way to override the fear is natural.”

Faolán glared at Logan. “So you’re saying I don’t care for him? That it was just a physical release—a tension release?”
“No. Not at all. I’ve seen you two together. I know there’s something between you. But Brice might not be quite as certain as you and I are. And Faolán, he might not even consciously realize he isn’t.”

“Oh boy.” Faolán chewed his bottom lip. “I may have really fucked things up.”

“Then un-fuck them.”

Faolán jumped to his feet. “I’m going to try. Logan, thanks.”

“Hey, no problem.” Logan shook his head with a muttered "Kids", as Faolán vanished from sight, glad that no one was in the immediate vicinity at the moment to see him do that.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Hunted – 59

Silently, Faolán joined Brice in the living room a few minutes later. When Brice asked if he was ready to leave, Faolán nodded and followed him as they headed to the car.

It wasn’t until they were almost to the studio that Brice realized Faolán hadn’t said a word. He glanced at him and saw he was staring out the window, his face devoid of emotion. When he reached across to squeeze his thigh, Faolán flinched but didn’t turn to look at him.

“What’s wrong,” Brice asked with concern.

Faolán shrugged one shoulder. “Nothing. Just thinking.”

By then they were at the studio. Brice drove into the garage, parked and  they got out. He looked over the roof of the car at Faolán. “Do we need to talk?”

“Yeah, I think so, but not now.” Faolán headed swiftly to the entrance to the studio.

Half an hour later Faolán watched half-heartedly as a scene from the show was being taped. It was one of Brice’s and he had to admit that his lover, or maybe soon to be ex lover, was good in it. He ran a hand through his thick hair then took out his cell and punched in the number Logan had given him a couple of days ago. When Logan answered Faolán asked, “Is there any chance you’ll be free for a few minutes. I need to ask you something, in person.” Logan said he would be in about an hour and told him where he was. “I’ll see you there,” Faolán replied then snapped his phone closed.

He went to Brice’s dressing room to leave him a note, saying he’d be back, and then left the building. He debated taking a bus then decided a cab would be better. It took a few minutes but he finally found one in front of a small hotel in the neighborhood.

When he arrived at the house where Logan worked as part of a renovation crew, Faolán sat down on the stoop to wait. Not long after he felt a tap on his shoulder and looked up to see Logan standing there.

“I’m heading to get something to eat,” Logan said. “Okay with you if we talk while I do?”

“Of course.”  Faolán stood and fell in beside Logan.

“So. What’s going on?” Logan asked. “Is Brice all right? I mean did his shoulder heal okay?”

“Yeah, he’s fine,” Faolán replied tersely.

Logan glanced at him. “You don’t exactly sound ecstatic about that.”

“Oh I’m glad he’s healed, it’s just…”

After a long silence Logan said, “Talk to me. I’m not a mind reader.”

“I think he wants me to leave now,” Faolán spat out in a rush.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hunted – 58

“Fuck,” Brice growled when he looked at the clock on the bedside table and saw what time it was.

“Any time, any place,” Faolán replied with a chuckle, even though he knew that was not what Brice meant.

“I so wish it could be now, but…” Brice swung his legs over the edge of the bed, then suddenly realized that he didn’t hurt. Even his shoulder seemed fine. He looked at Faolán and saw, with great relief, that he had healed as well, even if he was still a mess from the fight. “I guess there are some advantages to being a shifter,” he murmured.

“One of them being that we met, I hope.” Faolán didn’t wait for an answer. He just put his hands on Brice’s shoulders to bring him back down so he could give him a through good-morning kiss. Brice responded the way Faolán had hoped he would, both emotionally and physically. “Do we really have to get up and moving?” Faolán asked rather petulantly moments later when Brice broke the kiss.

“You don’t,” Brice told him, stroking a knuckle along the line of his jaw. “Now that we’re safe you can sleep in until noon if you want.”

“Not without you beside me.” Faolán got up, a lascivious grin on his face as he took Brice’s hand to pull him up. “Shower time, because we both need one to, umm, wash off the blood and dirt. Right?”

Brice snorted in amusement. “I suppose we can do it together.”

“Definitely. It’s faster that way. You wash my back, I’ll wash yours.”

“Somehow I doubt we’ll be saving any time, but”—he steered his un-reluctant lover towards the bathroom—“as you said…”

* * * *

The cooling water finally drove the two lovers out of the shower stall, clean and well sated. As they dried off Faolán asked, “It’s all right if I come with you today isn’t it?”

“Of course it is, if you want to. I’d think you’d find it boring though, just standing around.”

Faolán shrugged. “It’s not like I have anything better to do.” He wrapped his towel around his waist as he headed back to the bedroom.

Brice followed, toweling his hair dry. As he did, what Faolán had said sank in. “What are you going to do now that Maximus is dead and there’s no need for you to be here? Go back to the pack?”

Faolán looked at him in surprise. “Why the hell would I want to do that?”

“It’s safe to go back now. And it’s what you know.”

Rather than answer, because he knew Brice had to get moving if he wasn’t going to be very late, Faolán replied, “We’ll talk about this later,” and left the bedroom to go down to the guest room and get dressed. As he donned his jeans he realized that he’d fled the room not because it was late, but because he didn’t like the way the conversation had been going. Did Brice want him to leave now? Was that why he’d mentioned going back to the pack?

Friday, March 18, 2016

'Uncanny Activity' is out today!

Uncanny Activity

Six months after buying his house, author Scott Drake wonders if he's sharing it with a spirit when, nightly, he hears the sounds of a car crash on the road in front of it. Then he sees the reflection of a man behind him in the windows.
Jack Weaver, Scott's online friend, suggests he research the house's history. Then, intrigued by what Scott discovers, he pays him a visit.
As the two men work to discover who--or what--is sharing the house with Scott, their previously long-distance friendship begins to blossom into more. Can they survive what they discover? And if they do, will the fact that they live hundreds of miles apart destroy any chance of love between them?

This book also includes Ryker Savage, Vampire PI by Scott Drake.
Can Ryker keep Mason Fox safe from a stalker and avoid falling in love in the process?


The squeal of tires then the horrific sound of metal tearing into metal brought Scott upright out of a dead sleep.

"Not again, damn it," he cursed, rushing to his bedroom window to look out, just as he had every night for the last week. As always, there was nothing to see but the moonlit road at the edge of his property.

"Scotty, what's wrong?"

For a moment, Scott ignored the sleepy, querulous voice of the man occupying the other half of his bed. Then he turned back from the window to look at the guy whose name he couldn't remember for the life of him and said, "Nothing, just a nightmare. Sorry. Go back to sleep."

"Maybe I don't want to sleep now," the man pouted.

Scott shrugged. "Then get dressed and go home. Makes me no nevermind."

"Well, I never," the man huffed. "I guess I might as well. Looks like nothing more's going to be happening here."

With a shrug, Scott grabbed his robe then put it on as he strode out of the bedroom. When he was downstairs in the kitchen, he started a pot of coffee, sighing in relief a few minutes later when he heard the front door close.

Coffee in hand, he went into his office to boot up the computer. Once he was online, even though it was late--close to midnight--he opened his IM program with the hope that the friend he only knew as "JackSmith" was around. They had connected on the Facebook group run by Scott's publisher--Scott as an author, JackSmith as a fan--and discovered they had some mutual interests. After that, they continued to talk periodically via IM, discussing books, movies, and the occasional events in their lives.

If JackSmith was there, he was under the radar, so Scott sent him an off-line--It happened again. Then he leaned back in his chair and waited.

Sure enough, a couple of minutes later, JackSmith's familiar avatar appeared as he went visible.

JackSmith: Same time?
Scott: Yes. Twelve twenty-five on the dot. Everything was exactly the same--the screech of tires, the crash, and nothing out there when I looked.
JackSmith: Do you know yet if anyone else in the neighborhood has heard it?
Scott: I asked the woman who lives the next house down. She just looked at me like I'd lost my mind. And I had company tonight who didn't hear it either. But I'm not imagining it, damn it.
JackSmith: Ghosts, boyo *laughing*
Scott: Never believed in them, Jack. Besides. A ghost car crash? Come on.
JackSmith: Well, something's going on. You said you've never been in an accident, to say the least of a bad one, so it's not your mind playing that over and over.
Scott: And it never happened until I moved here.
JackSmith: So it must have to do with your new place. Do you know the history behind it?
Scott: The house? Not really. It's older, built in the fifties.
JackSmith: *chuckling* 1850's, 1950's?
Scott: Nineteen. I'm not into antiques and upkeep. *rolling eyes*
JackSmith: So just for yucks and grins, do some research. See how the previous owner died…or if there really was an accident on that road in front of your place.
Scott: Yeah, I will *yawning* Back to bed for me. I don't know how you can stay up so late.
JackSmith: Practice, boyo, practice. *laughing* Night.
Scott: Night
"May I help you?" a grandmotherly appearing woman at the library's help desk asked.

"I hope so. I'm looking for the history of the house I just bought." Scott gave her the address, wondering as he did if libraries actually had that kind of information. His Realtor hadn't--or at least not that he'd admit to.

"The old Constantin house," she said, without missing a beat.

"You know that off the top of your head?" he asked in surprise.

She smiled. "It's a small town, and I've lived here all my life. There isn't much I don't know about the residents, past and present. Let me see." She tapped her chin then stood up, beckoning him to follow her.

They ended up in a small room at the back of the library. Shelves of books lined three walls. A table holding a microfilm reader sat in the center of the room. The librarian went to a cabinet on the fourth wall, opening the drawer she needed.

"These should help," she said, handing him several rolls of microfilm. "I'm afraid you'll have to scroll through them to find what you want. They're copies of the local newspaper from the early nineteen fifties, when Mr Constantin built the house. Quite a tragic story, as you'll find out. Once you're finished, if you have any questions, I'll try to answer them. Do you know how to use this?" She tapped the reader.

Scott nodded. "Actually, yes." Putting the rolls down, he pulled over a chair, thanking her for her help before sitting and inserting the first film.

Four hours later he was bleary-eyed and yawning, but he had the information he'd been seeking. Putting the last roll of film back into its container, he left them stacked on the desk, closed his notebook, then returned to the Help desk.

"Did you have any questions?" the librarian asked.

"Not yet. Not until I process what I found out. Thank you for all your help."

"I'm here Tuesday through Saturday, so feel free to come back and pick my brain," she told him with a smile.

"Trust me. I will." After thanking her again, he left, heading back home.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hunted – 57

As Maximus died, Brice and Faolán shifted and collapsed, their chests heaving as they tried to regain both breath and composure.

Eventually Brice sat up, looked down at Faolán, and growled softly.

“Whatever you’re thinking, I don’t have the energy.”

“I’m thinking we need to get you to a hospital,” Brice replied tersely.

“Says the man who looks like he’s been run through a meat grinder.”

“You both do,” Logan told them as he appeared beside them. “Damn, I missed the party.”

Brice smiled tightly without taking his eyes off of Faolán. “Trust me it was no party.” He gently stroked Faolán’s cheek while he tried to ascertain just how badly his lover had been hurt. There were puncture wounds in his throat, although none had hit the arteries. His shoulder looked mangled, blood still seeping from it, as it was from all the other damaged places.  

“He’ll heal, Brice, you both will. You just need to sleep and your bodies will restore themselves to perfect health,” Logan said.

“I know, but…” Brice seemed unconvinced that it would really happen.

“Did you get lost?” Faolán asked Logan in an attempt to derail Brice’s worries.

“Let’s just say, when I got to Brice’s new house and realized none of you was there, I was stymied for a while. Then it sank into my somewhat slow mind that Brice might have decided to abort the plan and try something else. Once I accepted he was just stupid enough to think the two of you could take on Maximus, I figured he might have come here.”

“It wasn’t stupid,” Brice protested. “It worked didn’t it?”

“Yeah it did, through pure, dumb luck I suspect,.” Logan glanced over at the massive body of the dead shifter with a shudder. “He was twice the size of the two of you combined and probably three times older and more experienced. So yeah, dumb luck.”

“Skill,” Faolán retorted as he tried to sit up. Brice’s hand planted firmly on his chest stopped him. “Hey now, if you can, I can,” he protested.

“I’m not as badly wounded.”

“Yeah, you are,” Logan told him. “Less places but that shoulder… If you were human, not dual natured, I’d have taken you to a hospital and you’d be under the knife by now.”

“I’m fine,” Brice protested. “It was just a bite.” Then he looked down at the damage and paled. “Well…maybe somewhat more than that.”

Logan rolled his eyes. “Somewhat,” he mimicked as he took hold of Brice’s other arm and then Faolán’s.

Seconds later they were in the living room of the condo. Logan quickly went into Brice’s bedroom, pulled back the bed covers then helped both of his friends to the room and onto the bed. “You’ll need new sheets come tomorrow,” he declared with a small grimace. “For now, sleep.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hunted – 56

“Are you out of your frigging mind?” Faolán growled as he and Brice landed.

“Probably. But for all our plans, we still would have been faced with the same problem in the end. Even with him was caged in the panic room, he'd still be alive. What would we do with him then? Keep him there until he starved to death?”

Unable to deny his logic Faolán shifted, as did Brice, and paced the clearing. "Where is he?"

His question was quickly answered when Maximus appeared. The alpha immediately shifted as well, his lips pulled back in a terrifying snarl.

Brice’s primal instinct was to cower in submission, and he started to before his need to end this once and for all took over. His ears stood erect, his fur bristled, and his lips curled up to display his incisors. He stood his ground and snarled back.

Instantly Faolán did the same while he stalked several yards away from Brice, his eyes never leaving Maximus. He was terrified, but knew if he showed even the least bit of fear the alpha would use it against him.

Maximus swung his head slowly from side to side as he watched them. Then he leap. His massive jaws closed on Brice’s shoulder and he shook him as if he were a rag doll. Brice howled when pain worse than he ever remembered feeling flooded him. It took all his self-control, but he managed to steel himself against it before he snapped his jaws in a futile attempt to bite into the alpha’s leg.

From the side Faolán launched himself at Maximus, his claws tearing through the flesh of the alpha’s hindquarters. The sharp scent and the taste of blood emboldened him, but before he could attack again Maximus had released Brice. He whirled, and slammed one huge paw against Faolán’s head. The young shifter flew back, dazed, then instinctively dropped into a submissive posture, his body lowered, tail between his legs.

Maximus stalked to him, growled threateningly while he pinned Faolán to the ground with his forepaws and cinched his jaws around his throat. "Submit to me, Brice, and I will not kill him."

"I submit." Brice’s whole body shook in fear for his lover as he rolled onto his back, his throat and belly fully exposed, and whimpered.

"As well you should." Maximus released Faolán only long enough to grip his shoulder in his jaws and then dragged him to where Brice lay. "Did the two of you really think you could best me?"  He looked between them, at the blood that poured from the wounds he’d inflicted, and howled in triumph. "A good fucking is in order, Brice. I so enjoyed your unwillingness to allow that after the first time.” When Brice didn’t instantly turn to present himself Maximus straddled Faolán, his enormous phallus springing free. "If not you, Brice, then him."

Faolán whined, terrified. He could recall in terrible detail what it felt like when Maximus entered him. The agony, as he was reamed until he passed out from the assault, and the earlier injuries the alpha would inflict to subjugate him. 

"No!" Brice stood slowly, ignoring the pain in his shoulder now, as he faced Maximus. "Enough. I’m over being afraid of you, you bastard." And he was, he discovered to his amazement. Rage at what Maximus threatened overcame all else. He rose up on his hind legs and attacked. His weight, though less than Maximus’s, forced the larger shifter off Faolán. Brice bared his teeth, snarled and lashed out with fangs and claws.

Maximus, shocked that he would be attacked instead of submitted to, took a moment to recover. That was all Brice needed. He clamped his jaws on the alpha’s foreleg—tearing flesh from bone—released his hold and bit deeply into his side. Maximus’s howl of agony tore through the night. Brice reveled in the sound of it.

Faolán joined the fray, his claws ripping through the alpha’s hindquarters. Maximus whirled, jaws snapping as he tried to fight back, but the smaller shifters now used their size to their advantage, darting in to inflict more wounds and then dancing out of reach of his jaws and claws. The aroma of blood filled the small clearing.

Slowly Maximus began to weaken, wounds and blood loss taking their toll. He crouched low as he tried to protect his vulnerable throat and belly, snarling impotently.

Brice swung his head to look at Faolán. "We have to..?" Even in the moment of victory—when he knew Maximus had to die—he was uncertain that he had what it took to kill. He’d been human too long; his wolf had been buried too long.

"We do." Faolán replied firmly. "Can you? If not then I will, gladly, and without remorse."

Without replying, Brice closed in on Maximus. The alpha tried to crawl away. Brice snarled, leapt to land on Maximus and bit deeply into the back of his neck. When Maximus arched his head in pain, Faolán moved in for the kill. Blood poured from the alpha’s torn out throat.

The two lovers threw back their heads and howled in triumph.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hunted – 55

What was left of the evening was spent with the four friends eating and then watching a movie, all of them trying to maintain some sense of normalcy in spite of what hung over them. When the movie was over, Logan took Skye back home then returned to find Brice and Faolán curled up together on the sofa more than half asleep.

Faolán cocked one eye open. “She all tucked in?”

“Indeed, and dead to the world.” Logan dropped down in the chair across from them with a tired smile.

“To bring us back to reality, which I hate to do, but…” Faolán said, “We should take turns keeping guard. Maximus is no fool. He just might try to come back when he thinks we’re all asleep, to grab one or both of us.”

Brice nodded in agreement. “And since he probably checked the whole place out while he was here, he’d have no problem landing in my room as well as the guest room.”

“We could put a spanner in that plan,” Logan replied thoughtfully.

“How?” the two other shifters asked as one.

“Use my place. It’s small but safe, because he’s never been there.”

Brice cocked an eyebrow. “How small is ‘small’?”

“Umm, about the size of your kitchen?”

“You’re kidding me.”

“Well you do have a large kitchen.”

Brice glanced at Faolán. “What do you think?”

“I think if we do that, we’re just prolonging the agony. Let him come here if that’s what he has in mind, so we can get this over with.”

“A very wise decision, cub.” The words echoed malevolently through the room as the male who spoke them appeared. “Brice, it has been a while. You are looking good.” The male licked his lips. “Very good.”

Logan backed slowly away from the huge shifter, inching to one side. Maximus glanced at him then back at Faolán and Brice who were now on their feet.

“Are you going to try to fight me?” Maximus asked, his lips curling back.

“No, we were thinking of dancing with you,” Brice sneered, drawing on his character in the show to give him the façade of courage he needed. “But not here. I hate the thought of blood on the furniture.” He grabbed Faolán’s hand and vanished.

Maximus growled, whirling around in search of Logan, who was no longer there. “So be it. We play on your field, Brice,” he roared as he too vanished from the room.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Hunted – 54

“She’s got a point, Brice,” Faolán said in agreement. “Either one of us actually could, because he knows I’m here too and might go after me to get to you, or vise versa.”

Skye looked at the three shifters. “I have a question, because something’s been bothering me. This whole plan hinges on his being able to follow you when you teleport. How?”

“How can he? Easily enough,” Faolán replied. “We have to visualize where we’re going. He can pick that out of our mind when we do. But before you worry that he could have done that already—that he knows what we’re planning. He can only do it if he’s very close by, like within a few yards of us. We’re not mind readers per se. We can mind-speak to each other, and if emotions are running high we can sometimes pick up on what someone else is thinking. But only in very vague terms.”

“Got it. And if he comes after Faolán or Brice, their emotional response—to get away and fast and their picturing the destination—he’ll be able to see too. That makes sense.”

“Exactly. The other thing is, he’s going to have to know where to find them to start with, and here is the most obvious place.”

“Or at the studio,” Brice pointed out. “I’m...we’re there all day.”  

Skye frowned. “What if he decides to try to take you both on at the same time? He sounds like that sort of ass who would think he could, and might savor the idea of making one of you watch while he hurt the other one.”

“He would probably have no trouble in a fight with both of them,” Logan said. “But he’d be hard-pressed to keep one of them restrained while he dealt with the other one-on-one. If he has Brice in his clutches, Faolán could just teleport away, even if Maximus had him bound to something solid.”

“But he wouldn’t,” Skye said positively. “Any more than Brice would desert Faolán in the same situation. Not now.”

Brice wrapped his arms around Faolán protectively as he replied, “Very true.”

“It hadn’t better be,” Logan stated adamantly. “Worst case scenario, and he does capture the two of you before you can get him into the panic room, the other one should come get me.”

“Like we’d know where to find you,” Faolán told him.

Logan scrubbed his hands through his hair then smiled a bit. “Guess I’m moving in here for the duration.”

“But your job…” Skye said.

He shrugged. “When it comes down to it, friends are more important.”

Faolán turned his head to look up at Brice with a grin. “Guess that means I get to stay in your room.”

Everyone broke out laughing. At the same moment, the buzzer sounded to let Brice know someone was downstairs. “Dinner’s here, though I’m afraid not enough for all four of us.” He buzzed the delivery boy in, once he’d ascertained that’s who it really was.

“Easily remedied,” Logan told him before he asked what Skye felt like.

She looked him over, grinned, then told him, “In lieu of you, ribs with all the fixings.”

Logan kissed her quickly and vanished with a muttered, “Your wish is…”

“Is your command,” Skye finished with a chuckle.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hunted – 53

Faolán was back seconds later. “Well, he’s able to get in here,” he told Brice tersely.

Brice felt a chill run through him and fought his fear as he said, “That was the plan.”

“I know, I know. But somehow planning and having it really happen…It makes the whole thing…real.”

“Really real,” Brice said with a small smile, though smiling was the last thing he felt like doing at the moment. But he didn’t want either of them to panic…yet. “How do you know he was here?”

Faolán handed him a small box and a note. Brice opened the box first and winced, sucking in a deep breath. “Well at least now we know where…”

“Yeah, tell me about it. I knew the minute I saw it. It has to belong to the body we found at your house.”

Brice then read the note. “And apparently he’s planning on adding to his collection.” He frowned and sniffed the air. “Why didn’t we know the moment we came in that he’d been here?”

“Because he’s much older than us and knows how to mask his scent. Especially when he’s in his human form.”

“Oh, that makes me feel really confident. Particularly when the whole idea is to make him chase me from here to the house. He could get to me, to us, with no problem at all if that’s the case.”

“No. If he was here when we were, we’d know it. It’s just the fact he came and left while we weren’t around that made it possible for him to cover his tracks.” Faolán paused momentarily then said, “It might be time to have Logan join us.”

Brice already had his phone open. “I was thinking the same thing.” After a brief conversation with Logan he closed it again. “He’ll be here in ten or less.”

“Less I’d say,” Faolán commented as Logan appeared, Skye by his side.

When Brice cocked an eyebrow, Logan told him, “She was already in jeans and whatever, and wasn’t about to take no for an answer—stubborn woman.”

“No way you all are keeping me out of this. I told you that already. And before you get pissy, I said I was the brains, not the brawn in this outfit.”

“Yes, dear,” Logan said, dropping a kiss on the tip of her nose. Then he looked at the other shifters and grinned. “I take it the two of you have come to some sort of truce.”    

“You could say that, yeah,” Brice admitted. “However…”

Logan nodded. “It won’t do any good if we don’t stop Maximus.”   

Brice said guiltily, “And since he’s announced that he can get in here, which is my fault for not double-checking that there was no where he could see into the place, I guess that means we have to rethink things.”

“Why?” Skye asked. “I mean, okay, maybe he won’t attack you here, or maybe he will, but the basics still hold true. Wherever he tries to get to you, you can still go to the…” she looked around, as if afraid Maximus might be listening, “to where we planned.”