Mondays!

Okay so it has been ages since I started anything on my blog. I’ve decided to make Mondays sort of a revisit of one of my older books. I’m going to post Hellbourne, a book I wrote over 10 years ago. I will post a chapter a week for 12 weeks.

If you haven’t read this before it is a story about Hellbourne, the son of the devil and his search for love.

Originally this first book was actually two books that I ended up putting together into one. There is a second book back to hell which I will put back up for sale sometime in the next few months.

Chapter One

It was amazing that the body could still move while the heart was shattering into millions of microscopic pieces. Luc Hellbourne kicked the empty soda can on the street, idly watching it tumble across the asphalt.

All other sensations dimmed next to the pain in his chest.

A bitter laugh burst past his lips.

Homeless.

Why in his father’s hell did he ever start a relationship with an alpha werewolf? It wasn’t as if he didn’t know the man wanted to have a successor, yearned to have children of his own.

It was for the best. He gave another sad laugh at his new mantra, whispered it to the breeze, stomped it out with each step, desperately trying to believe his own words.

He didn’t know which hurt worse, losing his lover to a woman, or losing the comfort and caring of the pack. Cutting himself away from his pack friends after twenty years of belonging ripped away a huge chunk of his soul.

Remembering the love in Betsy’s eyes when she claimed Bran as her own eased a small portion of Luc’s frozen heart. However, during the mating ceremony Bran had looked away from his new wife and the longing in his expression as he watched Luc, hit him as if he were struck by a body blow.

He knew in that moment that the werewolf would never accept his fate as long as Luc was near. It wasn’t fair to the pack to have a conflicted alpha. One of them had to leave.

The one who wasn’t pack.

“Get it together.” Tears prickling his eyes, Luc continued his determined march to nowhere. His guitar case banged painfully against his side as he walked, all the hard edges finding his most sensitive places. He ignored it with the same indifference he coated over his soul to keep moving. His guitar was the one thing he’d grabbed on the way out. It was custom made by his uncle and one of his most prized possessions

A quick glance around proved he was in unfamiliar territory. An area of town never visited, at least not in recent memory, but then he’d never travelled around the city without companions before. Loneliness formed a hard knot in his stomach.

This was a day for new things.

So far, none of them had been good.

Loud, pounding     music caught his attention. It thrummed through his body like a moving heartbeat. As a half fae, Luc felt the notes deep in his soul. Matching his steps to the beat, he turned the corner seeking the source of the sound. A music club stood before him, pulsing notes sliding through the doors each time the bouncers opened them.

The club’s ridiculously overdone stone façade had grinning gargoyles carved over the corners. Words written in bright red paint to resemble dripping blood proclaimed this building The River Styx.

Luc had visited, played around and once damn near drowned in the River Styx as a child, and this wasn’t it. The river that granted immunity from death never had a line of goth kids wrapped around the block and there wasn’t one creepy ferryman in sight.

Tempted, Luc decided now was the time to slack his thirst. He hadn’t had a drink in hours. His stomach rolled queasily at the memory of the wedding champagne.

Decision made, he walked straight up the stairs towards the bouncers guarding the door.

“Good evening, gentlemen.”

Damn, the men were impossibly big close up. Luc liked a large man. He let his eyes roam up and down them both. There was the off chance he’d get the crap beat out of him, but he knew how to run if things went badly.

“Good evening,” they replied in unison. The man on the left gave him a small smile, while the one on the right looked at him as if he were a chocoholic finding the world’s last chocolate truffle.

He flashed them both his best smile. “I’d like to go into your fine establishment, what’s the cover charge?”

It didn’t occur to him to stand in line. People who looked like him weren’t meant for lines. It wasn’t vanity. It was a fact. He was a perfect creation by the devil himself and blessed by thirty-six gods and goddesses. There was only one creature as perfectly formed as him.

And father was scary as fuck, so he didn’t count.

“No cost for you, sweetheart,” the bouncer on the left announced with a hitch in his voice as the other one nodded mutely.

Flashing another smile, Luc let the man open the door for him.

As he passed, he saw the bouncers sniffing at him.

Weird.

He shrugged before banishing the event out of his mind. Having lived with werewolves, he was used to sniffing, but these couldn’t be weres. Bran would never let another pack in his territory.

* * * *

The music was something wild and electric. Not a band he recognized, but it had a good beat and the gyrating kids convulsing on the dance floor were entertaining.

What really caught his attention was the incredibly ugly picture of the devil painted two stories high behind the stage. It grinned evilly at the dancers below, baring razor-sharp teeth with two large horns bisecting its ridged forehead.

Luc felt a reluctant smile grace his lips as he walked towards the horrible caricature of the Lord of the Underworld. The temptation to send a photo of it to his father struck him hard. He whipped out his cell phone, took a picture, and with a wicked grin, beamed it to his father’s phone.

Strange, how his father could receive messages in hell when Luc could barely keep his reception a block away from the cell tower. Maybe giving in to satanic powers gave a person magic cell phone vibes. Shaking his head at his whimsical thoughts, Luc put his phone back in his pocket and headed for the long bar dominating the far side of the room. The pain in his chest eased a bit with his amusement.

Before he could raise his hand, the bartender appeared before him. Luc blinked. He could’ve sworn the man was on the other side of the long counter not two seconds before.

The bartender’s hair matched the shiny bar, both a lustrous brown. Luc received a smile with white, white teeth and sparkling sea blue eyes. He reminded Luc of a selkie he’d known once upon a time.

“What can I get for you, sir? Would you like me to tuck your case behind the bar?” the bartender asked, his smooth baritone cutting through the loud music.

Sir? Wow, his boss must be really strict.

“Yes, thank you.” Luc handed his case over. His guitar was the only thing he’d taken with him from the room he’d shared with Bran. The rest of his things he’d shoved through a portal to his childhood bedroom in hell. He’d retrieve them when he found a place to stay.

“I’ll take the darkest beer you have on tap. Just keep them coming.” It took a lot of beer to get him drunk. Tonight, he felt properly motivated.

He ignored the sympathetic, probing gaze that came with the beer. The bartender obviously knew a heartbroken sap when he saw one.

The cool liquor soothed Luc’s throat. Sipping his drink, he turned to watch the dancers as the yeasty brew hit his tongue.

Poor kids, they really lack rhythm. He had a brief thought of showing them how to dance, but a particularly enthusiastic frenzy made him rethink the idea.

They were beyond help. With a sigh, Luc took another sip of beer.

After a while he decided to go and sit closer to the band, the people on either side of him were getting too close for comfort and he didn’t feel like being squished between hard, sweaty bodies.

How unlike him.

It took little effort to find a table. He just sent mental go away vibes to a group and had them vacate.

He wasn’t in the mood for subtle.

Once seated at the table a cute blond waiter, all blue eyes and wild curls, rushed forward to take his order. His nametag said Jerrod.

“Do you have any food here?”

The waiter swallowed. “You’re fae.”

“Only half,” he said, hoping the short answer would encourage the kid to take his order.

“Wow. I-I’ve never met a fae before.” The waiter stared at him with a kind of wondrous awe as if he’d run across a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Damn, he forgot how his fae vibes affected those who weren’t wolf breed. Werewolves were immune to glamour. One of the many reasons he’d stayed inside the pack for so long. There was only so much fawning a man could take on a day-to-day basis, despite what father said.

“Does that mean you don’t have food?”

“Oh, sorry. Here you go.” The blond blushed brightly as he whipped out a menu from his apron pocket.

Folded accordion style it listed a miniscule amount of bar food, most of it fried.

Luc sighed. “I don’t suppose there’s a chance of getting a salad?”

“Absolutely. I’ll go get you one right now.” The waiter snatched the menu back and scurried through the crowd, making impressive speed considering the number of bodies crammed into the club.

Luc idly wondered if the blond would have to leave the building to get his food. With a shrug, he leant back in his chair to watch the crowds.

Seeing others having fun twisted the pain in Luc’s heart. Years of partying with the pack flashed through his head.

Good memories to pull out in the upcoming lonely nights. The previous years with Bran were wonderful in many ways, but he would mostly miss the daily touches, soft morning kisses and slow just-woke-up fucks.

Bran wasn’t meant to be his permanent mate. His lover wanted a ton of pups and an alpha bitch at his side. It was the suddenness of it all that hurt Luc. One day it was ‘good morning, lover’ the next it was ‘I’m going to start wooing females to find a mate’.

Luc took another sip of his beer.

Bastard.

The worst part was that despite everything, Bran still watched him with those damned needy eyes. Luc was no one’s sidepiece of ass. Besides, he wouldn’t do that to Bran’s new mate.

Staying around would only lead to pack dissention…and big ass fights.

Setting his elbows on the table, he rested his face on his hands, rubbing his damp eyes with the heels of his palms.

Damned watering holes.

“You all right, baby?” A dark, velvety voice spoke beside him. The sound of the other man’s voice rippled down his spine and made him catch his breath. His body hardened in response to the sexy tone.

“No, I don’t think I am,” Luc said, taking his hands away from his eyes to look up at the speaker. He almost swallowed his tongue. A huge man dressed in black leather pants and a white silk shirt towered over him.

The man’s black hair, cut brutally short, exposed a strong, harsh profile like a warrior of old. There was nothing pretty or even handsome about the man. His features were too masculine, the scar on the right side of his face too prominent. However, the power oozing from him went straight to Luc’s balls, finishing the job that had started with his voice.

Always a sucker for a big man, a big man with power was like a super aphrodisiac. One more reason he stayed with that asshole alpha for so long.

“Anything I can do to help you?”

Luc gave the man a slow look over from the top of his short dark hair to the bottom of his polished black boots, pausing to admire every gorgeous, muscled point in between. “Want to be my rebound fuck?”

Nikkolai Remondi looked at the man sitting before him. In his five hundred years as a vampire, he had never seen a more beautiful creature.

The man was sleekly built with amazing autumn gold hair that cascaded down to the base of his neck in riotous curls. His features were symmetrically perfect, and his sorrow-filled eyes were like brilliant emeralds shot with silver.

Fae.

In a bar with hundreds of bodies, Nikkolai had scented him from the catwalk above.

His.

The master vampire could almost taste the sadness emanating from the sweet boy. He slid into the chair next to the gorgeous fae.

“I’m Nikkolai Remondi,” he said, holding out his hand, “but my friends call me Nikko.”

“Luc Hellbourne.” The fae gave his hand a shake. The contact felt as if an electric current went directly to his balls. Hot, sizzling and not altogether comfortable.

He took back his hand still trying to decide if he liked the sensation when a soft voice interrupted his thoughts.

“Here’s your salad.” Jerrod, one of the new wait staff, placed an enormous green salad in front of Luc. Nikko could smell the need pouring from the boy.

When did they start serving salad?

“Thank you.” Luc gave the server a smile that transformed him from a sad beauty to an incandescent star.

Jerrod shivered, the smell of spunk filling the air. “L-let me know if you need anything else.”

“I will,” Luc said with a nod, taking a big bite out of the greens.

Nikkolai growled at Jerrod, letting the younger vamp know he was out of his league. The kid wasn’t even one of his tribe, just a loaner from a master who wanted him out of sight for a time.

Mine. He sent a mental message to the kid, making sure to stake his claim.

The waiter fled, but not before sending a pitiful look at the delicious fae.

Luc’s words ran through his head. “What are you rebounding from?”

“My ex dumped me for a girl.”

“That’s tough.” Nikkolai rubbed a hand over Luc’s shoulder. A motion meant to be soothing. Hell, he touched people every day without meaning anything by it, but as soon as he made contact with Luc, he felt that same jolt run down his spine and directly to his balls.

The fae continued to eat his salad as if he didn’t feel anything.

Shit, maybe he didn’t.

“Were you with him very long?”

Luc’s odd green eyes sparkled with tears giving them an eerie shine. “Yeah. I love him, you know, but I want him to be happy. With me around, he’s just going to think ‘what if’.” He was entranced by those sad, sad eyes. “I can’t do that to his m-wife.”

How anyone could give up a man this stunning, he didn’t know, but sometimes relationships didn’t make sense. Even Nikkolai had had his share of bad relationships. Hell, so far they’d all been bad. Maybe this sad-eyed fae could change his luck. After all, one man’s stupid decision was another man’s opportunity.

“Have much fae blood?” The question blurted out before he could stop himself. Fae blood was highly desired by vampire kind. The fae rarely appeared above ground and their blood tasted like concentrated magic. If he could coax this one to his side, he could cement his position as the most powerful vampire in the state.

Luc gave a laugh. “Why don’t I just wear a t-shirt? I haven’t been pegged as a fae so much in years.” He took another bite, distracting Nikkolai who watched the food go into that pretty, pretty mouth.

He had plans for that mouth. So many plans. He shifted in his seat, trying to find a more comfortable position in his suddenly tight pants.

“I’m half fae,” Luc said after he swallowed his food. “What are you?”

“Vampire.” No reason to hide his true nature, the man would know what he was as soon as he sank his teeth into that sexy neck.

He got a smile and a shrug as the beautiful creature ate his food.

“Where’s your mound?” Nikko asked, nerves starting to set in. The fae didn’t live well outside of their mounds. They aged quickly and died even faster. The thought of this stunning man wasting away in front of him sent alarm bells clanging through his body.

Luc shrugged. “I don’t have one.”

“What the fuck, you don’t have one. Did they throw you out?” Panic tore through him. An emotion he wasn’t certain he’d ever felt before. Was his last lover a powerful fae who dumped him and tossed him out of the mound?

As if reading his mind, the pretty fae laughed. “I’m not going to die on you. I don’t need a mound. I’ve never had a mound. Don’t worry.” The gorgeous man’s voice settled something deep inside Nikko, melting away the panic and concern.

“Huh. So ex-lover isn’t fae?”

Luc snorted. Even disdain was beautiful on this guy. “Not hardly.”

With quick delicate motions, the huge salad was polished off. “So, are you interested in being my rebound guy?”

Nikko leant over, slid one large hand through the smaller man’s hair and covered Luc’s mouth with his own. Lightning sizzled between them until Nikko’s entire body felt tuned to the slim man pressed against him. With reluctance, he forced his hands and lips to release the fae. “Honey, I’m interested in being your anything.”

If his voice was rougher than before he hoped the slim beauty didn’t notice. The vampire was pretty damned sure it would take little effort for Luc to wrap him around one of his slim, elegant fingers.

Nikko had to take care of a few things before he was free to explore the gorgeous creature before him and maybe get a bite to eat so he didn’t scare his little fae. “Meet me upstairs in ten minutes.”

Those brilliant eyes gazed at him for a long moment. “All right.”

Happy Mother’s Day & Party

Thank you to all my fans who are mother’s or are celebrating with their mothers today. My sons made me waffles. They were a little charred but it was the thought that counted. When hubby offered to buy and pick something out they chose to make it themselves so that made me feel pretty good this morning.

Today I’ll be taking it easy and this evening I’ll be stopping by RJ’s Facebook sight to celebrate her 10 years of writing. You can chat with me at 7pm Pacific at RJ’s FB group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Rjscott/

She is doing it all month so you can visit with a lot of authors. I will be online for an hour and willing to answer any question (within reason) 🙂

What I’m working on!

I know it has been far too long. I thought I’d give an update as to what I’m working on now.

I’m halfway through Quentin Heart 2

I’m 2/3 of the way through Gears

and I’m 1/3 of the way through writing my next cozy mystery!

I haven’t abandoned you all and I’m thinking of rewriting an old book and using it for my blog story. That way you have something to read that at least already has an ending 🙂

Winner!

Sorry this got delayed with everything going on. The winner of the contest is….

Karen Dubois

Napoleon Was Once Attacked By a Horde of Bunnies

Once upon a time, the famous conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte was attacked by…bunnies. The emperor had requested that a rabbit hunt be arranged for himself and his men. His chief of staff set it up and had men round up reportedly 3,000 rabbits for the occasion. When the rabbits were released from their cages, the hunt was ready to go. At least that was the plan! But the bunnies charged toward Bonaparte and his men in a viscous and unstoppable onslaught. And we were taught that Waterloo was the conqueror’s greatest defeat…

Email me with you info at amberkellwrites@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to send you your prize 🙂

Today is Hubby’s 50th birthday (contest)!

Today is my beloved hubby’s 50th birthday. In honor of that event I am holding a contest. (Yes I am getting back to writing, just hang on 🙂

One of the things my hubby loves besides engineering, is history. So to enter the contest today through Friday you need to list one historical fact. It can be of any kind of history you want, and hubby will pick the winner. Only one entry per person please. The winner will be chosen this weekend by the hubster and will win a $50 amazon gift card or any other store of your choice. I usually do amazon because of their good selection but if you are anti amazon I have no problem buying one at a different site (as long as I can buy it online). Have a great day!

Happy New Years…and contest!

I have to admit I love New Years. Not the parties or the noise of fireworks, but the symbolism behind starting a brand new year. I always think of it as a way to refocus my goals and really concentrate on what is really important.

Of course each year I hope to keep the feeling all the way through but I rarely accomplish it. LOL! This year I’m not going to plan any long term goals I’m only going to make one. To enjoy each day as it comes. Between hubby’s health and the kids growing older with more complex issues, life can be stressful. For Christmas, hubby got me a folding bike so I can ride alongside the water. I am going to use it to relax and get some exercise. Not letting stress build up will be both good for my health and my writing.

What is it that you want to accomplish in 2020? We will run a contest until Sunday. The winner will get a copy of all of my books published this year. Good luck!

Birthday Closing!

A great thank you to fans and authors who participated in my birthday month. Sheri will be posting winners tomorrow for the various contests. I’ll have to come up with something amazing to do next year since I will be turning 50. If you have any ideas please post them below. 2020 is around the corner and I have lots of ideas to get down and share with my fans. I can’t wait to write them all!!!

It’s My Birthday!!!!

I’ve always enjoyed my birthday. Of course now that I’m 1 year away from celebrating my 50th I’m enjoying them a smidgen less. Now it’s more a celebration that I survived another year then another step toward any milestone like my 21st or 30th or whatever. Though I’m shooting to live to 100 so I’m almost at the halfway point.

I’ve started a policy of reflection on my birthdays. Thinking of what I like about myself and what I’d like to do better for the next year. Sort of a new year’s resolution but instead of abstaining from eating badly or vowing to go to the gym I look into personal growth. This year I’m going to focus more on things like taking time for a little meditation every year.

If I start to really get in touch with my thoughts and internal issues I will be more focused on my writing. By taking the time to let my thoughts float around I will be able to tap into my creativity better and put out more words. At least that’s the idea behind it all.

Now let’s start off my official birthday with a contest!

For the chance to win a $25 GC. Tell me what is the one thing you do that makes you feel good about yourself. If you don’t have one start one today and then share!!

Happy Birthday Contest!

I missed yesterday so I’m running a contest to cover yesterday and today! Sheri is going to announce winners of all the contests on December 1st.

This contest will give the winner a copy of any ebook in my backlist. (If you have them all you can choose a future release)

To enter the contest answer the following question. If you could either be a shifter, a vampire or a wizard which would you be and why?

Birthday Bash Day #4


I’m finding as I get older I’ve spent less time doing things for myself. Today I decided to take a walk to get some exercise and relax. I’d forgotten how spending a little time outside lifts the spirits. There are still flowers blooming in Seattle and I watched a seal swim around. Take some time this week and carve out a few hours for yourself for relaxation. A walk or a bubble bath can make all the difference.

Some of my favorite story ideas have come during walks. One such story was my very first story based in Seattle. The Croc actually lives in an area not that far from my house.

You can buy here! https://books2read.com/u/mYoL2W

Chapter One

Carey Gale finished his guitar riff with a quick flick of his fingers, sending the crowd screaming. He loved feeding off the energy of a live audience.

The acoustics in Club Feathers were better than most of the small bars they’d played in, and the owner gave them free drinks.

“Thank you, everyone, for coming out tonight. We’re Banded Brothers, and we look forward to seeing you again in two weeks.”

Carey bowed to the crowd and waved a hand to indicate his bandmates. In his peripheral vision, his friends were bowing.

Thunderous applause filled the bar and a chant of “Next week, next week” went through the crowd. Carey waved again, then went to the side of the stage to kneel by his guitar case and place his instrument inside.

“I think they liked your new song.” His bandmate Eaton Franks crouched beside him, his bare chest soaked with sweat. Eaton’s golden brown hair gleamed under the lights, the same color as his feathers when he was in his eagle form.

Carey nodded. “Yeah, but I think I was playing different tracks from Denton.”

“That’s because you’re a show-off,” Denton teased.

Carey looked up to see Denton’s eyes shift to reptilian for a second, and he froze, wondering what his friend sensed. “You smell something?” Ducking his head, Carey cast a quick glance around the club, hoping to spot any danger before it found them.

“Mostly cat shifters,” Denton said in a low tone. “I thought I scented a wolf for a bit, but it’s faint.”

Even in his human shape, Denton’s crocodile nature gave him a better sense of smell than either Eaton or Carey possessed.

“I didn’t see any wolves.” Carey always kept an eye out for wolves since they tended to be unstable.

“I don’t want to alarm you guys, but there’s at least three cat shifters here, and a wolf just left,” Harris Bender said. He crouched down beside them, cradling his bass guitar like a baby.

Bear shifters had a sense of smell seven times that of the average bloodhound, and Carey had never known Harris to be wrong. He and Denton had always been the first level of alert for their group.

Carey nodded. “Denton already said.”

His friends were leery of other shifters since none of them was affiliated with an official shifter family. The four of them had formed an unofficial pack with Carey as the leader, despite his human status.

“If no wolves are going to attack, I need a drink!” Carey declared. He snapped his instrument case closed and left it behind for Denton to put in the van. Carey and Eaton set things up; Denton and Harris were in charge of tearing them down.

As he headed for the bar, Carey spotted Eaton flirting with a fan. Eaton was always the personable one with the audience.

Carey had the knack of recognizing shifters even when they were in human form. It came from a childhood of hanging around with nonhuman friends. Shifters always moved a little too smoothly, a little more gracefully than everyone else.

The crowd slowed Carey’s progress toward that desired drink. He pushed through, nodding and smiling to fans as they came to congratulate him on his performance. For Carey, the best part of playing to a live audience was meeting people afterward and getting feedback.

Finally free of the bulk of people, he slid onto the closest barstool.

“I hear they have a great selection of imported beer,” a deep voice said behind him.

Carey turned to see six foot–plus of lush shifter goodness. The man’s dark eyes scanned Carey as if he were a favorite treat and the stranger wanted a bite. His midnight hair, cut short, yet long enough for a good grip, sent several hot scenarios rushing through Carey’s brain.

Work was over—time to play.

Carey let his gaze slide all over the delicious man. Cat shifter would be his guess. “Can I buy you a drink?” He nodded toward the bartender.

“I’d rather just take you home and fuck your brains out.” The man didn’t even blink while he uttered the outrageous pronouncement.

“Hmm, a direct kind of guy,” Carey said. “I like that. But I never go home with anyone if I haven’t tasted the goods first, not to mention I don’t even know your name,” he added pointedly.

The guy’s laughter looked good on him. Big, tall, and intense, he probably didn’t laugh half as much as he should.

“Forgive me, I got sidetracked by your half-naked body. I’m Broden Lyall.”

“Carey Gale. And I object to the half-naked thing. My shirt is still on.” Unbuttoned all the way to expose his body, but still on. Eaton was the exhibitionist in the band.

“Barely.” Broden slid one long finger down Carey’s six-pack abs. “I hope you don’t think I was objecting.” His trail ended at the top of Carey’s jeans, where he hooked a finger through the front belt loop and yanked Carey closer until their groins touched.

An embarrassing whimper left Carey’s throat. Broden smelled like something wild and delicious, and Carey could feel his heat through his thin shirt.

“I’m a bit sweaty,” Carey protested weakly as he locked his knees to keep from tumbling into an inelegant heap at Broden’s feet.

“I like sweaty,” Broden growled. “It makes me want to lick you all over.”

Carey’s cock hardened. He had never been so turned on by someone so quickly before. He didn’t generally pick men up at bars, but Broden was going to be an exception.

Broden’s nose twitched before he pinned Carey with a predatory expression. “I see you like that idea too.”

Carey groaned as Broden pressed his crotch against him.

“Do you know what I am?” Broden whispered in his ear.

“I’m guessing a feline shifter of some kind,” Carey replied, rubbing his cheek against Broden, marking him like a cat. He couldn’t hold back a laugh when Broden jerked back.

“And you’re not scared?” Broden searched Carey’s face as if trying to catch him in a lie.

“Nope. Kiss me,” Carey demanded.

Broden captured Carey’s lips without hesitation—tasting, licking, conquering Carey’s mouth. Heat flashed through him as if a flamethrower had scorched his insides. It took all his resolve not to climb the man like a tree and hump against him in front of the entire bar.

When they broke apart, panting replaced words for a minute.

“How’s that for a sample?” Broden asked.

His wet lips distracted Carey, who yearned for another kiss. “Um… it’ll do,” he managed to say once he realized Broden was waiting for an answer. Carey licked his lips to belie his words. Damn, the man tasted good!

“Go tell your friends you’re leaving.”

Broden turned Carey and shoved him toward his bandmates, who were all watching him with great interest. Carey didn’t live like a monk, but he rarely went home with strangers—his father had taught him better than that. This time, though, he couldn’t resist the urge to follow Broden like a lost puppy looking for a new home.

Carey made eye contact with Harris, who raised his eyebrows at him. A shrug and a bashful grin conveyed all that he needed to. Carey made the motion that he’d call later, and Harris nodded.

Carey turned back around to find Broden watching him with amusement.

“All done?” Broden asked.

Carey nodded. “If I don’t call my friend Harris in a few hours, he’ll get worried.”

Harris wouldn’t really, but it was never a good idea to tell a stranger that no one would notice if you vanished for a few days. It wasn’t that his friend didn’t care; Harris just knew Carey could take care of himself.

Even without weapons, Carey had lethal skills. His father had made sure that Carey could handle any situation with or without a gun to back him up. Or, as his father liked to say, “A pretty boy like you needs to know how to take a big man down, because everyone is going to want into your pants.”

His father might not be the most diplomatic person, but he’d taught his son everything he knew and had saved Carey’s ass more than once.

Broden placed a hand on Carey’s back to guide him through the crowd, but he didn’t try to speak until they left the noisy club behind. “Your band is really good. I especially liked that last song.”

“Thanks!” Carey smiled. “We’re getting better. We’ll never hit it big, but we enjoy playing in the clubs. There’s cheap liquor and a friendly audience.”

“Why don’t you think you’ll ever go big?”

Carey shrugged. “I’m not saying that we’d be topping the charts otherwise, but we’re not really committed to our musical careers. I like computers, Harris is a painter, Eaton is getting his degree in quantum physics or something, and Denton is into landscape design. Music is our passion, but it isn’t our life. In order to make it big, you need it to be both.”

They walked along the quiet street, away from the club. Only a few cars passed, indicating the lateness of the night. The cool air made Carey shiver. He’d left his jacket on the stage when he’d stripped it off during their performance.

“Here.” Broden settled his own large jacket across Carey’s smaller shoulders, engulfing him in the shifter’s residual body heat. “I always forget how cold humans can get.”

A snide comment danced on the tip of Carey’s tongue, but the chance of a hot night with Broden had him keeping the words inside. Maybe Broden didn’t mean to sound prejudiced, so no reason to jump to conclusions.

“It is cold out,” Carey agreed, snuggling into Broden’s jacket.

“What do you do with computers? Programming?”

“Something like that.” More like deprogramming.

That was a world of discussion Carey didn’t want to have with a stranger. His hacking skills weren’t something he told other people about. He used them for the benefit of organizations, to check out firewalls and verify security, but most people heard the word hacking and immediately thought Carey was into espionage or willing to break into bank accounts and funnel money. Neither was a discussion he intended to get into with his fuck of the night, no matter how nice the guy seemed. The less information he shared, the fewer the things that could go wrong. “Let’s not talk about me. Let’s discuss where we’re going so that you can fuck me.”

They’d been walking for a while and had passed most of the vehicles parked on the street.

“I live right over there.”

Broden pointed to a tall modern building across the street. Carey had watched them construct the luxury condos a few years ago. They appeared to be well-built, if a bit soulless.

“Nice.” Looked like he was getting lucky in style.

They crossed the street, and Broden used his access card to open the main door.

Carey approved of the security. He could crack the code himself in a few seconds, but it would keep most people out. As they crossed the lobby, he automatically checked for exits. Carey kept his hands to himself in the elevator as Broden pushed the 10 button. You never knew what people might do with elevator video recordings. Carey never put himself in a questionable position where he’d have to access and erase security footage for something so minor.

Once the elevator stopped, Broden led him down a hallway with doors spaced a good distance apart, so the units must be quite large. Stopping halfway down the corridor, Broden then unlocked the door and pushed it open. He motioned Carey forward. “Here we are!”

Broden’s apartment surprised Carey. The place had an unused feel to it, as if Broden never stayed there. High-grade leather furniture, polished wooden floors, and pieces of art glass filled the condo. Carey wanted to take the gorgeous shifter to his house and show him what a real home looked like. The Victorian mansion his grandmother had left him held all the character and warmth that Broden’s beautiful but empty living space lacked.

“I don’t spend a lot of time at home,” Broden said, as if reading Carey’s mind.

Carey shrugged it off. It wasn’t like they were picking out china patterns. If the man wanted to live in a sterile, personality-free abode, Carey wouldn’t point out the flaw. For their purposes, they only needed a nice bed and some lube. Luckily shifters didn’t spread disease, so a condom was optional.

Deciding actions were better than words, Carey stripped off his shirt.

“Not much of a talker?” Broden asked, his gaze followed Carey’s motions.

“No, I’m more of a doer. What about you? Want to do me?” Carey stepped closer until they were almost chest-to-chest.

“Oh definitely, honey,” Broden purred.

Bingo—he had the big kitty’s attention. “Don’t be shy. Let me see what you’ve got.” It was possibly the worst line Carey had ever used, but when Broden removed his shirt and exposed miles of sexy muscles, he had to admit it worked. Carey’s erection hardened against the fly of his extremely tight jeans until he worried about his circulation.

Broden’s nose twitched and a wide smile crossed his handsome face. “Oh honey, I want you too.”

Carey let out an unmanly yelp as Broden picked him up then slung him over his left shoulder like a sack of flour. “Hey!” he protested.

Broden slapped his ass. “Hush.”

Hush?” Carey wished he’d brought his knife—Broden’s broad back would make an excellent target. He didn’t have long to anticipate the shifter’s death, though, because Broden rushed down the hall and dropped him onto a large bed with a big fluffy mattress.

Broden’s eyes glinted with satisfaction. “Hmm, just as I suspected.”

“What?”

“You look amazing in my bed.”

Before Carey had the chance to share the smartass comment hovering on his lips, Broden had yanked off Carey’s shoes and tossed them over his shoulder.

“Not a neatnik, I see.”

“Not when I’ve got better things to do than lining up your sneakers.”

Broden took off his own shoes before removing the rest of his clothes without fanfare. Carey would’ve commented on the lack of romance if a surge of lust hadn’t choked him.

“I must’ve been a really good boy in another life,” Carey said, his gaze focused on Broden’s erection.

“Come take your reward, then,” Broden coaxed.

“Mm-hmm.” Carey made gimme motions with his hands, his mouth already watering at the thought of tasting the liquid beading on the tip of the large mushroom-shaped cock head. He’d never considered himself a size queen before, but he might have to revisit that notion. After Broden, he might be ruined forever.

Broden stalked toward to the bed. Traces of the animal inside rose to the surface as his eyes glowed with a feline light and his steps became predatory. When he got close enough, Carey went to his knees and crawled to the edge of the bed. Without waiting for permission, he wrapped a hand around Broden’s thick cock. Peeking up through his long lashes, Carey swallowed him down to the root.

“Oh Jesus!” Broden exclaimed. “I’ve never had anyone take all of me before. Yes, suck me!” Despite his rough tone, Broden placed a gentle hand on the back of Carey’s head and slid careful fingers through his hair.

Carey increased his suction until Broden tightened his grip to hold him still. “Stop. I want to come inside you.”

Carey made a noise of protest before he pulled off. “But I want to taste you,” he complained.

Broden groaned. “As much as I’d like to have you swallow me down, I want to fuck you even more.”

With quick, efficient motions, Broden divested Carey of the rest of his clothing. It took a little effort to peel off his pants, but Broden applied himself to the job. When he’d finished, he paused to admire his handiwork. “Nice. You’re pretty all over, aren’t you?”

“I’m glad you think so.” Carey got his fair amount of attention, but since his three best friends were drop-dead gorgeous, he’d never really thought much about his own looks. From the expression on Broden’s face, the man didn’t find any faults.

“There’s lube in my nightstand.” Broden pointed at the small cabinet next to his bed.

“I’m on it.” Carey leaned over to reach the drawer and yanked it open. He gave a shout of success. “Found it!”

Broden snatched the bottle from Carey’s hand.

“Hey!”

“Your ass is mine tonight,” Broden insisted. “Roll over, beauty.”

Carey snorted. “I think I preferred honey.”

“And I think I prefer you on your knees and offering me your ass,” Broden countered.

Carey made a big production of sighing before he rolled over.

Broden slapped Carey’s butt. The sound echoed in the bedroom.

“Hey!” Carey objected.

“Sorry, I can’t resist smacking something that fine.” Broden grinned.

“Less smacking, more fucking.”

“Patience, sweet.” Broden rubbed the red spot he’d caused.

Carey almost said something sarcastic, but the happy sound of the lube top popping open stilled his words. He didn’t want to discourage Broden—he had the uneasy feeling that the man had enough control to withhold sex just to teach him a lesson.

“Easy.” Broden circled Carey’s hole until Carey pushed back against the finger taunting him.

“In me, now!” Carey insisted.

Broden didn’t answer. Instead he slid one finger completely inside and crooked it until Carey bucked beneath the attention.

“More!” A second finger joined the first, then quickly a third, and Carey moaned, “I need your cock.”

“I’ll give you what you need, don’t you worry.”

Carey relaxed as Broden’s erection pressed against his hole. “Now.”

Broden sighed as he slid inside. “You feel so good. Better than anyone, ever.”

“Flatterer.” Carey groaned.

Laughter puffed air against Carey’s skin as Broden rubbed his face against Carey’s bare shoulder. “Are you scenting me?”

“Damn straight. When you leave here, you’re going to reek of me for days.” Broden gave a growl of satisfaction. He pumped in and out of Carey as if his life depended on Carey coming without a touch.

“Keep that up and I’m not going to last,” Carey protested.

“Good. Come!” Broden bit Carey’s shoulder, sending him over the edge.

“Oh crap!” Carey cursed as cum spurted from his cock. Broden groaned, and Carey felt wetness flood his channel.

Finally, with a sigh, Broden pulled out and fell onto the mattress beside Carey. “I knew you’d be a sweet fuck.”

“Glad I could prove you right,” Carey gasped. His heart hammered in his chest as he came down from his orgasm. His shoulder hurt from Broden’s bite, but his body ached deliciously.

“Give me some time and we’ll do it all over again,” Broden said.

Two hours later, Carey felt only a little guilty for sneaking out while Broden still slept the sleep of the well fucked.