Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: THIRDS Sweets, Treats, and Space Princesses by Charlie Cochet

October 26, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

***

This was going to be so much fun!

Dex was practically bouncing with excitement. Or it could be the five chocolate bars he’d inhaled over the last ten minutes. This was his first year participating in the THIRDS annual Halloween charity funfair.

Every year five squads would be chosen at random to help oversee the activities and manage the crowds. This year Destructive Delta was up, and costumes had been selected for each partnership using the very sophisticated method of scribbled names on a piece of paper thrown into a helmet and chosen at random.

The Princess Leia bra had been more of a challenge to get into than Dex had anticipated, but Letty and Rosa had come through for him, though not before Letty threatened to shoot the thing several times.

Assisting with the funfair was the highlight of Dex’s month, and not just because his boyfriend was dressed as Han Solo, complete with snug pants and a pair of black knee high boots that Dex had every intention of making Sloane keep, but because there were rides, games, and lots of yummy food.  Lots of yummy food with copious amounts of sugar. Real sugar.

Their sergeant walked by wearing his purple MC Hammer parachute pants and Dex erupted into peals of laughter. The costume—which wasn’t a costume at all but actually a part of his dad’s wardrobe at one time—came complete with yellow and black cropped jacket. It couldn’t get any better than that. At least until Ash stomped out of their team’s tent dressed like the Cowardly Lion.

“I just want to go on the record saying this is bullshit and I never agreed to this,” Ash growled.

Dex was laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe, and Sloane was at his side patting his back, telling him to breathe before he ended up passing out.

Tony didn’t bother looking up from his tablet. “Your complaint has been heard and ignored, Keeler.”

“But why couldn’t we pick our own costumes?” The more Ash glowered at Dex, the harder Dex laughed. Seeing Cael dressed up like Dorothy had been hilarious, but his brother just looked as adorable as always. It had taken days for Dex to pick a costume after he’d drawn Ash’s name. The possibilities had been endless, but he had to take Letty into consideration. So he’d cheated a little after Sloane had plucked Cael’s name from the helmet.

Between the two of them, they decided on Cael as Dorothy, Ash as the Cowardly Lion, Rosa as the Scarecrow, and Letty as the Tin Man. Rosa hadn’t been impressed by their choice, but she’d gotten her own back when she’d plucked Dex’s name and decided on his current somewhat drafty costume.

Ash glared at his floppy lion tail so hard Dex thought it might spontaneously combust at any moment. “Come on, Sarge.”

“Suck it up, Keeler.” Tony was having none of it. If he had to suffer, so did the rest of them.

“Guess you’re just too legit to quit,” Ash said with a snort.

Tony glanced up, one eyebrow arched. “You want to be smothered up in these pants, son? Because I will do it.” With no further protest coming from Ash, Tony scrolled through his tablet. “All right. You all have your assignments, now get lost. Dex, get Sloane his first round of candy. Sloane, make sure you get two sealed bags.”

“What genius put Daley in charge of the candy run?” Ash asked, shaking his head in disbelief, making his fake furry mane swish. Dex couldn’t help snicker.

“PR,” Tony grumbled. “When they go over budget it’ll be their own fault.”

Dex spotted Calvin in his red with black stripe shirt, black jeans, and red converse heading toward them. He was holding onto Hobb’s tail, and as soon as Calvin and Hobbs reached them, Calvin flipped Ash off. Ash cackled. He hadn’t been able to resist himself after drawing Calvin’s name.

“You two look so adorable,” Ash said, grinning wickedly.

Hobbs hissed at Ash. Their tabby tiger Therian friend was clearly not as amused as Ash was.

“All right, that’s everyone. Letty and Rosa are actually getting work done, so you six get lost.” With that Tony was off. Dex turned when Sloane took hold of his wrist. He placed a kiss to the top of his head and subtly trailed a finger up Dex’s spine. He could feel the tingle through the skin-tight, skin-colored long sleeved T-shirt under his princess bra.

“Tell me again why you couldn’t wear a jacket or something?”

Dex gasped in mock horror. “And ruin the authenticity of my costume? You know me better than that.” The only reason he was wearing the skin-tight T-shirt underneath was so he wouldn’t get too cold.

“You’re half naked,” Sloane grumbled. “There are a lot of people here.”

“By people you mean….”

“There are a lot of guys checking you out.”

Dex turned with a big smile. “Doesn’t matter. You’re the one I go home to every night.”

“Aw, but seriously. Letty will give you her silver jacket if you want it. Last I heard she was about to strangle Rosa with it.”

“Ha! I’d pay to see that go down. Nice try, sexy-pants.”

With a huff, Sloane pulled Dex in for a kiss. “Fine. But if you change your mind, you tell me. I’ll see you soon?”

“Promise.” With a wink Dex made his way to the tent holding all the candy for the various bowls around the park. PR really didn’t know what they were getting into when they put him in charge of the candy. His assignment was supposed to keep him out of trouble. Those poor souls.

Just as he reached the large tent, he heard sniffling. Pausing, he listened. It was hard to hear anything over the laugher, chatting, and screams coming from the rides and haunted houses, but he heard it. Faint and soft.

Rounding the corner, he found a little cheetah Therian boy in a Star Lord T-shirt, a pink puffy tutu over jeans, and Converse sneakers. Big fat tears rolled down his pink cheeks. His blond hair was sticking up in all directions around his tiara. He was the cutest thing Dex had ever seen, and couldn’t be any more than six years old, maybe seven considering he was a cheetah Therian. Dex waved as he approached so he wouldn’t frighten him. The lanyard around Dex’s neck stated he was a THIRDS agent, and when the little boy saw it, his crying turned into sniffles and hiccups.

“What’s the matter, buddy?” Dex asked, kneeling down in front of his new friend.

“They said… I can’t… fight… the space monsters because… I’m too little.” The boy pointed off behind him at the Space Invasion ride. It was a moving ride with laser guns attached to each “ship”. Aliens popped up all over and the aim was to shoot as many as possible. He and Cael had kicked butt at it when they were kids.

“Then… my brother Ronnie says princesses can’t fight, but… I’m a space princess, I can too fight.”

“Hey, I’m also a space princess,” Dex said cheerfully. “I’m Dex.”

The little boy gazed at Dex with wide blue eyes before a smile stretched from ear to ear. “I’m Alex. I like your dress.”

“Thanks. I like your tutu.” Dex held out his hand, his smile wide. “How about we go in there and kick some alien butt?”

“Yeah!” Alex skipped along beside him, his hand in Dex’s as they made their way over to the Space Invasion ride. At that moment Alex’s brother Ronnie approached with his friends, all laughing, joking, and roughhousing. There was a small group, ranging from maybe ten to twelve years old. Ronnie looked about twelve. When he noticed his little brother, he rolled his big brown eyes.

“Alex, you’re too little. Go back to the kiddie rides with mom and Lenny.”

Alex shook his head, his expression determined. “Princesses do too fight, and we’re going to kick your butt.”

Ronnie and his friends looked Dex over, their eyes wide. They noticed his badge and he received several deep frowns.

“That’s cheating,” one of them whined. “He’s a THIRDS agent.”

“Actually,” Dex corrected, “today I’m a princess. Though technically I’m a princess agent.”

Ronnie rolled his eyes. “Whatever. There’s lots of us and one and a half of you, so we’re still going to get more aliens.”

Dex let out a snort. “Yeah, I don’t think so. I was Duck Hunt champion of my school three years in a row.”

He was met with blank stares.

“Duck Hunt? You know, Nintendo game where you shoot the ducks flying out of the bushes?”

More blank stares.

“I weep for your generation.”

Inside the ride, he and Alex climbed into one of the spaceships and each manned their space zapper. The ride was as much for teens and adults as it was for kids, so there were plenty of monsters to shoot at, some moving quicker than others, and all with green dots on them that would turn red when hit. Ronnie and his friends were in the two spaceships in front of them, but even so, Dex put his Duck Hunt skills to use. And his law enforcement training of course.

By the time they reached the end of the ride, Alex and Dex had beaten Ronnie and his crew by twenty three aliens. Dex had missed some on purpose. He hadn’t wanted to make Ronnie and his friends feel too bad about losing. Dex carried Alex out of the ride since Alex had gotten a little scared by the dark tunnel with stars. Outside Dex spotted Sloane waiting for him.

“What happened to the candy?” Sloane asked, his eyes narrowed. “You didn’t eat it, did you?”

“No, I was helping my pal Alex beat some space monsters.” He walked over to Sloane and gave him a wink. “Sloane, this is Alex, fiercest space princess in all the galaxy.” He subtly motioned over to the group of bigger boys.

Sloane blinked in surprise before turning his attention to Alex and smiling warmly. He bowed regally, making Alex giggle. “It’s an honor, your majesty.”

“Princess Alex, this is my space prince Sloane Brodie.”

All the kids looked up at Sloane, mouths hanging open. His sexy boyfriend was big to average sized Therians, Dex could only imagine what Sloane looked like to the tiny ones. Even larger and more imposing. Dex put Alex down and Sloane kneeled. He put his fist over his heart.

“Thank you for keeping my princess safe.”

Alex bowed before patting Sloane’s head. “You’re welcome.”

Dex and Sloane said their goodbyes as Ronnie and all his friends made a fuss over Princess Alex who’d guarded the fierce jaguar Therian’s princess. It was more likely that Ronnie and his friends were impressed at Alex’s association with a THIRDS agent like Sloane. The guy was impressive. Didn’t matter that he was out of uniform. He just had a way of drawing attention.

“Thanks for that,” Dex said, slipping his hand into Sloane’s. His boyfriend was not good with kids. It wasn’t that he didn’t like them, but more that he had no idea what to do with them. He was also slightly terrified by them, but whenever he was needed, he was always there, putting aside his insecurities to help any way he could.

Sloane smiled down at him, his amber eyes sparkling. “Anything for you, princess.” He squeezed Dex’s hand, and Dex couldn’t help himself. He pulled Sloane behind the candy tent for a kiss. It was sweet, warm, and full of love.

“What was that for?” Sloane asked, nuzzling Dex’s temple.

“For you just being you.”

“Are you sure you didn’t eat a whole bag of candy?” Sloane teased.

Dex laughed and threw his arms around Sloane’s neck. “Just kiss me.”

Around them folks were walking around in all kinds of costumes. Kids ran around, squealing with delight as they ate candy and headed for the next ride. Some agents were in their Therians forms, from cheetahs to bears. Despite the music, the squeals, the noise, the somewhat organized chaos, and laughter, there was just him and his space prince. What more could he ask for? Except maybe a chocolate bar, or five.

Charlie Cochet

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Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Feeling You by Santino Hassell

October 22, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

 

 

Stygian opened with their fastest song partially because their set was less than thirty minutes, but mostly because the crowd’s energy was so low that Watts seemed to think they could infuse it by force. You’d think people would be more amped on Halloween, but it wasn’t going to happen.

They were in a nowhere bar between Austin and Houston. A less exciting stop along the route than the gigantic Buc-ee’s gas station sprawled just up the road. It was a sad reality but one Kennedy had accepted since he was the one who’d allowed Watts to book the gigs for this tour while stoned.

But despite the disaster of the sound equipment and a sneery audience in half-assed costumes, they nailed the first couple of songs. Watts, in his Mad Max inspired outfit, crooned into the microphone while hanging on Quince, and Jeremy drummed to perfection. A stranger would think he’d been in the band for years rather than a couple of months, and Kennedy wouldn’t blame them. The kid belonged.

Jeremy was soft in places where the rest of them were hardened from old battle scars, but he was the puzzle piece they’d been missing for months. He played with a passion capable of giving Kennedy the shivers, and during each song his expression was so blissed out it probably resembled his come face. Eyes half shut, platinum blond hair clinging to his sweaty forehead, and lips parted. Jeremy didn’t need a costume—he was a fucking angel. It was hard to look away.

And each time he slammed his sticks against the drum kit and his biceps flexed, Kennedy didn’t look away. A couple of times, Jeremy caught him staring. The third time—when they were both very briefly still right before transitioning into the next song—Kennedy’s eyefuck game was so strong that Jeremy released a little laugh. Unsure. Nervous. Just like him.

Kennedy half-smiled and flashed a thumbs up. That, more than the ogling, sent a flush scorching over Jeremy’s fair skin. It was so easy to get a reaction out of him. Kennedy wondered if that extended to sex.

Jeremy’s eyes widened, and it was almost like he knew what Kennedy had been thinking. It was impossible of course, but—

“Quit flirtin’ and play, ya fuckin’ queers!”

Watts kept singing without missing a beat but he sauntered to the middle of the stage and grabbed his crotch before giving a suggestive hip cant. A collective grumble started in the center of the crowd and intensified after Watts adlibbed a lyric about wondering how many rednecks it takes to fill a Grindr dashboard.

Quince broke into hyena laughter but Kennedy wasn’t amused. The adrenaline burning up his spine felt a lot like the warning sign for an impending brawl, and Jeremy keyed into his tension.

He moved his lips in a silent question: Should we leave?

Kennedy shook his head. Just play.

And that’s when one of the motherfuckers nailed Jeremy in the head with a bottle.

There was barely a thought between the moments when Kennedy dropped his bass and dove into the crowd. He went blank and reemerged from the haze of fury in the middle of a melee. His fist connected with someone’s jaw but there were so many people swarming that he couldn’t tell if he was assaulting the right homophobe.

He knew the rest of the band had thrown themselves into the ruckus because of Watts’ exuberant whoops and Quince’s string of meme-like insults. A quick look confirmed Jeremy was holding his own.

When it was all said and done, the police cleared out the bar and they were kicked out with their instruments half packed. They celebrated surviving the gig, and the fight, by sharing two bottles of Jack Daniels. By midnight, Quince and Watts were screwing in the next room while Jeremy drunkenly crawled atop Kennedy’s prone form and straddled his lap.

“Why’d you get so mad?” Jeremy teetered forward before bearing down harder with his knees. “You went rage-blackout after that guy threw the bottle.”

“He could have hurt you.”

“It was plastic.”

“Doesn’t matter. He shouldn’t have touched you.”

Jeremy bit his lip and nodded seriously. “You’re confusing.”

Kennedy got grabby when he was drunk and then everything was a little bit more dangerous. Which is why he didn’t stop himself from putting his hands on Jeremy’s narrow hips, fingers just grazing the swell of his ass.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because sometimes I can feel how much you’re into me even though you act like you’re not.”

Kennedy peered at Jeremy from beneath his lashes. “What do you mean you can feel it?”

“I just…” Jeremy gestured too wide and nearly lost his balance. “Sometimes when we’re really close. Like this. Or when you’re looking at me, I can… feel what you’re feeling.”

“Could you feel me when we were on stage?” Kennedy’s fingers tightened. “Before that guy threw the bottle?”

“No.”

“But then how—“

“That time I got a flash of what you were imagining. I… saw it.”

Kennedy’s heart sped and his skin prickled. “Does this happen a lot?”

“Nuh uh.” Jeremy shook his head, blond hair flying. “Mostly with you. Because you’re so—“

Kennedy silenced the sentence with a hand pressed over that wide mouth, and Jeremy dissolved into giggles. He collapsed on top of Kennedy, burrowed into his side, and was so drunk there was no way he’d remember this in the morning.

But the slim limbs wrapping around Kennedy and the soft mouth grazing his jaw acted as seals imprinting the moment into his brain. He’d always known there was something special about Jeremy—something other than his talent and pretty face. There had seemed to be so much more behind those haunting gray eyes, and now Kennedy knew the truth.

“Maybe don’t tell anyone else about this, okay kid?”

His answer was a low snore. Kennedy laughed quietly and pulled Jeremy closer.

 

Author Bio:

Santino Hassell says that while New York City is his heart, writing is his soul. He writes LGBTQ romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of NYC, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

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Find Santino:

Website

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STYGIAN:

http://www.amazon.com/Stygian-Santino-Hassell-ebook/dp/B016H8X136/

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6830

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Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Necro-Quellers by M.D. Grimm

October 22, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

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Pain spiked through my shoulder and knee as I leaned against the wall to stay standing. My best friend in the entire world stood in front of me, acting like an immovable barrier between me and the ten corpses possessed by the jiangshi shuffling toward us. Maverick told me the jiangshi were evil spirits known to the Chinese, and they infested newly dead corpses and reanimated them. How such monsters showed up in freaking San Francisco, Maverick told me was courtesy of an amateur conjurer named Mr. Chinn. Maverick would know—this was his business. He was a clairvoyant, often communicated with the dead, and every now and then expelled demons from possessed persons. He hated his gift, but used it to help those in need. I loved his strength and courage… of course, I loved everything about him. I was hopelessly, pathetically in love with my best friend who also happened to be supremely straight.

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“Reggie, time to go buddy,” he said.

I cringed. “Right. What with my fucking shoulder and knee, I’m sure I’ll outrun them.”

Maverick grunted. With two machetes in each hand, he succeeded in keeping the Jiangshi at bay, but he couldn’t keep this up forever. Two corpses suddenly pounced, and I flinched even as Maverick sliced and diced them like some badass movie action hero. I guess having a retired, ex-Army sniper for a father helped with stuff like this.

Maverick suddenly took a step backward, closer to me, and crouched.

“On my back,” he said.

“What—?”

“Now.”

Gritting my teeth, I limped forward and climbed on Maverick’s back. A groan of pain escaped me before I stifled it. I wrapped one arm over his shoulder, the other slipped under his arm, and I gripped my hands tightly against his chest. My knee didn’t like me bending it but I didn’t have a choice. I tightened my legs around his waist and he only grunted as my weight settled on his back. I might only be five feet tall compared to his six foot frame, but I was more muscled than him. I wasn’t a lightweight.

“You will hold on to me.” There was steel in his voice. “You will not let go. I will not lose you.”

I tightened my grip and pressed closer to him. “Right.”

I felt Maverick take a breath, then he launched forward, running at full speed. The jiangshi surged forward and hands tried to grab me. I held on tighter and trusted Maverick with my life. Maverick’s arms never stopped, never slowed, and limbs and bodily fluids flew everywhere, drenching us it disgusting crap. But suddenly we burst out of the chaos and Maverick ran faster down the deserted street before turning sharply into an alley. I felt him stagger and as he stumbled forward and fell to one knee, I shoved off his back, falling to the ground beside him. We both gasped for breath, shaking with adrenaline.

A few minutes passed before I gripped his shoulder. He looked at me, and I was always struck by his pale, blue eyes. They were unusual eyes, unique and hypnotizing.

I smirked. “My hero.”

He scowled, his lean face tightening. “Bite me.”

“Anytime, anywhere.” I chuckled at his obvious discomfort. He knew I was gay—he didn’t care—but he hated it when I flirted with him. Which, of course, made me flirt every chance I got.

“Get off,” Maverick said, but he chuckled.

“What now?” I asked.

His expression turned cold, his smile sharp. “Now we find the bastard who caused all this and end him.”

I knew it was my fault, but I couldn’t kick myself right now, I had to focus on survival. Mr. Chinn gripped my shoulder with one hand and the other pointed a gun at my temple. I hated being the damsel in distress.

Maverick stood a few feet from us, his own gun pointed at Mr. Chinn, the look in his eye deadly. Maverick was irrational when it came to protecting those he cared for. I had to hope he’d keep a level head.

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“Put your gun down, now! Or your friend becomes one of my pets!” Mr. Chinn was screaming threats but I don’t think Maverick was listening. His eyes were cold, calculating, and even I was a little scared. He suddenly met my eyes and jerked his head in a nod. I swallowed hard. I knew self-defense, had trained for years, and it looked like it was time to employ some.

I took a deep breath before gripping Mr. Chinn’s wrist and shoving his arm up even as my body dropped to the floor. I obviously caught him off guard and his hand convulsed, firing the gun. A second shot quickly followed, and I yelped as Mr. Chinn jerked backward and collapsed onto the floor. With wide eyes, I looked over to see that a neat bullet hole marred his forehead. I swung my head around to look at Maverick. His expression was frigid, hard, unforgiving.

“You good?” he asked.

I cleared my throat to make sure I could speak. “Yeah. You?”

“Yeah.”

***

I sat on the bumper of the ambulance. The EMT patched me up as much as she could, insisting I go to the hospital. I wasn’t about to argue, but I wanted to see Maverick first. The cops interrogated both of us separately, but we’d had time before they arrived to coordinate our story. It’s not like we could mention zombies and get away clean.

After about an hour, Maverick approached, and the EMT stepped away. He watched me cautiously before easing down beside me on the bumper. He wondered if I was afraid of him. Silly man.

“Hey, ghost boy,” I said, smiling.

Relief relaxed his features. “Hey, gay man.”

We were silent for a long moment as activity went on around us.

“While I don’t condone taking the life of another,” I said softly. “I will thank you for saving my life.”

He rested an arm across my shoulders. “You’re welcome.”

I leaned into him, resting my head against his chest. We got looks, and I know Maverick didn’t care. We’d been through a lot together and I knew he loved me. Just not that way. Oh well, I was damn lucky to know him.

“Wanna grab a beer?” I asked.

“Yeah. After I shower for about fifty years.”

I chuckled.

Website: www.mdgrimmwrites.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=md+grimm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001710645622

 

Picture credits:

Pic 1: Jiang Shi by Anja Millen at DeviantArt

Pic 2: J for Jiang Shi by tohdaryl on DeviantArt

Pic 3: Zombie-art JD Rucker

 

Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Big Bad Wolf by Piper Vaughn

October 21, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

Big Bad Wolf (A Portland Pack Chronicles Flash Fic)

It wasn’t often Avery and Jaden’s schedules allowed them time to shift and play together, but on Halloween, they got a rare opportunity to run and pounce in Forest Park.

As Avery stripped, shivering at the blustery wind, he took a moment to admire Jaden’s animal form. Simply put, Jaden was beautiful. Where Dylan, Avery’s mate, was a powerhouse of a wolf, large and heavily muscled, Jaden was compact, built more for speed than brute strength. Shades of cream and russet accented his shiny auburn coat. He lifted his rear, tail wagging, and yipped encouragingly, his amber eyes gleaming with mischief.

Avery smiled and stepped out of his briefs, letting the change overtake him. The trees swirled as he shrank into his hedgehog form, his spines bursting forth with the familiar flash of pain. When it was over, he sneezed at the overwhelming scents of loamy soil, moss, and decaying leaves.

A wet tongue dragged over his snout and then Jaden nuzzled at him gently. Hedgehogs weren’t tactile creatures like wolves, but Avery nuzzled back, drawing in Jaden’s sweet, musky smell.

For a while they romped through the trees, Avery scurrying on his tiny paws, and Jaden loping ahead before circling back to keep pace with him. With a wolf as his companion, any predators that might have eyed Avery for a snack kept their distance.

Eventually they returned to where they’d left their clothing. Avery shifted to his human form and sat to reorient himself until the cold compelled him to start yanking on his clothes.

“That was fun,” Jaden said once they were dressed. “I need a shower before we go out, though.”

Avery nodded. “Me too. I have a surprise for Dylan tonight.”

Jaden arched his eyebrows. “You didn’t mention any surprises.”

“Wait and see.”

“Is he meeting you at Wolfhound?”

“Yeah. He had to go look at Miss Betty’s car. She’s helping me by making him stay for dinner.”

Jaden smiled and shook himself, sending a dried leaf flying from his ginger hair. “Well, I’ll see you there. Eight o’clock?”

“Yep. But I might be fashionably late.”

Jaden snorted. “When aren’t you?”

Avery grinned cheekily. “Just have your camera ready.”

 

****

 

Two hours later, he hesitated in front of Wolfhound. Two men stood smoking to the left of the entrance and they eyed him with open fascination as Avery adjusted his skimpy costume.

Here goes nothing.

Chin raised, he swept into Wolfhound. As usual, hair metal greeted him. Avery ignored the screeching guitars, eager to see Dylan after spending the day apart.

Sensing his mate’s presence on the other side of the bar near the pool tables, Avery hurried his steps. He ignored the side glances and comments from the other patrons. He wasn’t the only one in costume, but he stood out for several reasons.

Jaden and Sawyer saw him first. Quiet, implacable Sawyer choked on his mouthful of beer while Jaden let out a bark of a laugh that drew everyone’s attention.

When Dylan spotted Avery, his eyes bugged. Avery approached him and slowly spun around so Dylan had a view of the back of his costume. He shook his ass, swinging the fake bushy tail suspended from the broad belt above his hips.

“What. The hell. Are you wearing?” Dylan sounded constipated.

Avery shot him a coy look over his shoulder—which Dylan missed, as he was staring at Avery’s tail in horror.

“I’m the big bad wolf.” Avery turned to face his mate. “Sort of.”

The costume was a loose interpretation. It consisted of a skintight gray romper with a low-cut halter top that left most of Avery’s chest bare. Furry leg warmers made up his hind paws and a hood with big ears and tassels completed the outfit. Avery hadn’t bothered tucking, and the material hid nothing. Both his bulge and lower asscheeks were on full display. Any other time, he wouldn’t have been caught dead in something so tacky, but it was Halloween. If there was ever time for a trashy costume, it was now.

“I brought you something too.” Avery dug into his messenger bag and pulled out the sweater, nose, and ears he’d purchased for Dylan. The sweater had fake spines and padding on the back, meant to mimic the look of a rounded hedgehog.

Dylan snapped his jaw shut. “Fuck no.”

Around him, their friends watched with open amusement. Too bad Lucas wasn’t there. He would’ve at least leered at Avery a little.

Avery pouted. “Come on. Don’t be a spoilsport.”

“Nope.” Dylan turned away.

Avery narrowed his eyes at his back. Dylan could play hard to get if he wanted, but Avery would wear him down.

He started his attack with a lot of bending—over the pool table to line up a shot, down to the floor when he “accidentally” dropped his cue stick. He felt eyes on his ass every time, and once or twice, he might have wiggled his hips a little just to set the tail swinging.

Finally, Dylan growled and snatched the bag off the table where Avery had set it.

“Fine,” he snapped. “I’ll wear the damn costume if you stop flashing your ass! I don’t want anyone else seeing what’s mine.”

Avery widened his eyes and amped up his Southern twang. “Me? Flashing? I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean.”

Dylan glared. “Shut it.”

Avery watched as Dylan pulled on the sweater and then set the ears on top of his head. The nose came last, and it made Dylan look absolutely ridiculous. Avery smiled gleefully and pounced on his mate. He kissed Dylan, not caring that Wolfhound wasn’t a gay bar. No one in their group would mind, and Avery didn’t care about anyone else.

Dylan growled again and dragged him close. “Such a brat,” Dylan whispered against his mouth. “I oughta put you over my knee.”

Light flashed and a shutter clicked as someone nearby took a picture.

Avery laughed and nipped at Dylan’s lower lip. “Maybe later. And if you’re a good boy, I’ll keep the tail on.”

 

****

 

Meet Dylan and Avery in Prickly Business, now available from Dreamspinner Press.

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Buy link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6530

And look for the sequel, Prickly By Nature, on November 19th!

 

****

 

Piper Vaughn Bio

Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two-thousand-book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life… even if it’s only in a book.

 

Visit Piper at:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Google+

Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: The Merran Changling by Jaime Samms

October 19, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

 

“’Kay, seriously, Kimmo, this is ridiculous.” Louis tugged his retriever’s leash. “You’re a water dog. You’re supposed to swim. You don’t swim. So fine. Can we go get coffee? I mean dude. Six AM. I need caffeine.”

Kimmo gave a short, displeased yip and plunked his ass down on the well-worn dock planks.

“Kim-mo!” The dog was not moving unless Louis physically hefted him off his ass and carried him. “You’re killin’ me here. You think if you stare out to sea long enough, some pretty girl with a tail will swim up and save you walking another block?” Something splashed and Kimmo yipped again.

“The hell?” Louis stepped closer to the dock’s edge. Wood creaked underfoot. Kimmo backed on his butt toward the grass. Swallowing his own terror, Louis leaned further, like a few more inches could bring the distant…whatever-it-was…into focus.

“What is that?” Whatever it was, it was definitely bigger than the average fish caught off this pier. Just under the mirror surface of the water, it sped toward them.

Beneath Louis, planks groaned and dipped. Louis flailed, dropping Kimmo’s leash as rotten wood gave way. The crack of wood and screech of nails was silenced by water rushing over Louis’s head. Kimmo’s yipps deepened to alarm and then were lost. Something heavy slammed into Louis’ back, pushing him deeper under its weight. Seaweed tangled about his ankles and wound around his arms.

He tried to scream. Rank water flooded into him. The sun’s rays arrowed into the deep, chasing him downward, reaching insubstantial fingers through the golden filigree of rising bubbles.

Darkness crowded in. Cold wheedled through skin into bones, making them heavy. His chest burned. His throat closed and ached. The sun glimmering above became a dream-like promise as water clogged his lungs. His vision darkened to a field of wavering plants, lashed by his frenzy. His feet touched sand and sank. He lost feeling and the battle with whatever anchored him to the harbour floor. In a last pulse, all the air left his body.

He stared up at the unattainable glow above as it slowly glinted toward darkness.

A face, ethereal and haloed in wavering fronds appeared in his fading vision. Cold, hard hands gripped his face. Something chilled covered his mouth. Icy air pushed down his windpipe into his body, freezing him from the inside out.

Kicking, prying at the hands, he tried to push his way to the surface as the weight over his back eased away. The hands didn’t let him go. Something wrapped around both legs, cold and hard, like steel, ridges cutting into his flesh. The warm flow of his blood mingled with the freezing water.

Again, the face loomed. Lips closed over his. Frigid air was forced into him. He quailed. His chest tightened, his body convulsed and he tried to break free.

Arms wrapped around his chest and water rushed over him as he was propelled through it, not upward to safety, but further from shore. He writhed, scratching and struggling but the grip only got harder, the pinch of spines into his flesh deepening. The breath once more forced into him made him scream with the pain of the cold.

He pushed at the solid chest pressing close to his, blinking through salt water at the face so near his own. Slanted silver eyes fixed on him. They didn’t look at all menacing. Curious. Worried, but not evil. Then the creature leaned close again and placed its chill lips over his.

Let me save you.

Louis blinked and shook his face free for another look at the creature. His lungs protested as the air in them grew stale and tried to force its way out to make room for more.

The creature laid it’s forehead against Louis’s temple. The Sea will take you. Alive or dead, it will take you. Let me keep you.

The creature moved back and looked into Louis’ eye. The plea was as readily apparent in that gaze as it had been in Louis’ mind.

He nodded.

The creature took Louis’ face in cold, unyielding hands, closed lips over Louis’, and pushed air into him. His body shuddered under the assault of cold and he quickly went numb. His brain screamed silently for surcease before darkness crowded in.

Heat, glorious and heavy, settled over Louis. He smiled. A dream. The Sea hadn’t claimed anything. A wet tongue lapped at his face and he laughed. “Kimmo. Cut it out.” He pushed the furry face away and opened his eyes.

Bright sunshine hammered down on him. His back was cool, but his chest and face felt like they might fry in the direct glare.

“You’ll have to turn soon.”

The unexpected voice had Louis whipping around to find its source. His body, heavy and clumsy, flopped, disobeying his orders and he looked down.

His legs…tail?

He kicked—flopped—the huge fluke where his feet should be was too heavy to lift.

“You’re weak, still. You need more sun to harden your scales, but your skin will burn easily. You’re paler than most.”

Louis reared back, away from the speaker, helpless to get away.

“Careful. The rocks are sharp. Your scales aren’t hardened yet.”

A young man, eyes slightly slanted and reflecting the silver-blue of the autumn sky, gazed at him. Long, pitch-black hair hung around his shoulders, damp tendrils falling across one high cheekbone. His smooth, pale chest darkened to blueish just under his nipples. The rest of him hid behind a rock.

“The sun has no mercy for our kind.”

“Who—” Louis tried to sit up. “What?”

The man smiled at him, revealing a row of unsettlingly pointed teeth

“What…are you? What did you do to me?” His horrified glare had no effect on the man.

“Gave you to the sea. You consented.”

“I—you’re Merran?”

His companion nodded.

“But you’re a myth.”

The smile softened. He pushed some hair off Louis’ face. “Indeed. And I suppose now so are you.””

2014-02-27 21.55.33

More from Jaime Samms here!

 

Excerpt from Brita Addams’ Beloved Unmasked

October 16, 2015

In this hour, I’m giving you a sneak peek into the world of Beloved Unmasked where my character, Pic, lives. This excerpt also introduces you to Spence, a scampy male prostitute.

 

 Beloved Unmasked jpeg hires

With each stair, Pic’s curiosity built. Spence often boasted a surprise and gave him a piece of filched cake from the kitchen. But there was the time he had Pic hide behind a curtain while the most gorgeous man he’d ever seen wore Spence out. Pic lost count of how many times Spence howled, “Yeah, Daddy.” Not to mention the nights Pic had spent peeking through the crack in the mahogany armoire.

On those nights Pic’s cock stayed hard until Spence relieved him. Spence often promised that when the time was right, he, in all his magnanimity, would personally oversee the popping of Pic’s cherry, and the promise was all Pic had to show for his patience.

After each of those nights, in the darkened attic, Pic pulled out every drawing he’d ever done of men and beat off three times in an hour. Only then did the fear drain from him at the realization that a wife and kids were not in the cards for him.

Halfway up the stairs, Pic’s instinct to go home nearly turned him around. His gritty eyes demanded sleep. He’d gotten up early and would have to again because he had work to do around the house. Sapphire needed her room cleaned and insisted he do it.

Pic took a step back, but Spence opened the door, his prick in hand. “What in hell takes you so long to climb a flight of stairs? Aren’t you interested in your surprise?”

“Sure I am, but you gotta give a workin’ man a break.”

“You’ll get a big, long break when you’re dead. Get up here.”

Pic trudged up the steps, summoned by the call of cock.

The lingering smell of sex and stale cologne drew him into the massive room Spence called home. Lots of space, and he paid one of the younger girls to polish his furniture every day, which left the room with an underlying aroma of lemon oil.

“Tonight you are in for a treat. I’ve arranged your first time, just like I promised.” Spence bounced with excitement.

Pic gave the room the once-over. “Really?” He shook his head. “I don’t know. Here?”

Spence put a hand on his hip, though the other never left his cock. “Perhaps you’d prefer the parlor downstairs, with witnesses. Yes, here, with only me and the man I personally selected for you.”

“I don’t know, Spence. Maybe it’s too soon.”

“You can’t decide if you wanna get laid or not? What kind of red-blooded American man are you?”

Pic shrugged. “Don’t you remember your first time?”

“Sure I do, and I was a damn sight more eager than you are. Listen, take a drink, and you can ease your mind into the idea that I’m not letting you out of here until you become a full-fledged pansy like me.” Spence ran his long slender fingers down Pic’s face. “I want to set you on the right path. Your partner is a perfect candidate, and he’s eager to help the cause.”

“I’ll take the drink.”

Spence clapped and giggled. “Excellent.”

With an exaggerated sway of the hips, he sashayed to a bootleg liquor–laden table he’d set up near the window.

“I always love coming to your room. So much more comfortable than my cot in the attic.”

“I rather like it myself. I do have a flair for décor, don’t I?”

Spence turned his back, so Pic ambled about. The walls held an overabundance of framed pictures, not just pages from magazines taped to the wallpaper. One was of an older Queen Victoria, adorned in black, her face a mask of sadness. Spence had a thing for England and dreamed of one day visiting Kensington Palace, birthplace and once home of his favorite queen.

The heavy green draperies that hid the bed cost someone a pretty penny, as did the fine lace canopy over Spence’s four-poster.

“There you are, a good vintage, from yesterday. It’ll water your eyes when it hits the bloodstream, but guaranteed, it’ll loosen you up.”

Pic took a sip of the clear drink and wrinkled his nose. “Whoo! That shit is potent.”

“Told ya.” Spence cupped Pic’s crotch. “Speaking of potent. Have I got a treat for you.”

After another sip, Pic put his glass on a nearby table. “What kind of treat? Something better than that shit I hope.”

Spence ran his fingers beneath Pic’s lapel. “You, dear boy, will have your cherry popped by an esteemed attorney.”

Pic raised his hand to ward yet another of Spence’s wild notions. “No.” He leaned in closer. “I’m not baring my ass for some grizzled old fart on his last leg.”

“Au contraire, ma petite pomme de terre.” Spence chuckled and pulled back the heavy drapery. “Does this look like a grizzled old fart to you?”

Mens-Black-Leather-2

Giveaway: Stop by my blog between October 16 and 23 for a series of posts on Storyville. Leave a substantive comment (not “I’m in” or the like,) about the posts and on November 1, I’ll select the winner of a New Orleans-themed gift pack. Beloved Unmasked isn’t included in the giveaway.

 

I’m very excited about the pre-release buzz about Beloved Unmasked

 

Beloved Unmasked is a beautifully written historical romance. You can feel the streets of New Orleans, see the sights, and hear the sounds. (Cathy Brockman – MM Good Book Reviews)

 

When you want a historical you can really sink into and feel like you are there, this is the book to pick up. Really amazingly well done. A Recommended Read (Tina Brunelle – Redz World)

 

Beloved Unmasked has a whole lot packed into the pages. Brita Addams has certainly done her research about New Orleans. (Kazza – On the Top Down Under Reviews)

 

Mens-Black-Leather-2

 

Dreamspinner has Beloved Unmasked on sale until October 18, at 25% off. Buy now to get the great discount.

 

About the author:

Born in a small town in upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.

Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.

Tarnished Gold, the first in her gay romance Tarnished series for Dreamspinner Press, was a winner in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, Historical Romance category. The book also received nominations for Best Historical and Best Book of 2013 from the readers of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter.

Find Brita at any of the following places:

Website

Blog 

Facebook 

Twitter 

In the final hour of the Release Party for Beloved Unmasked, I’ll have a “behind the laptop” view of the book and some tidbits of Beloved Unmasked Trivia.

Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Survival by Chris T. Kat

October 15, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

 

Survival

(This story is set between Breeding Stations and Battle Stations)

 

“Berit! Faster!” Tom yelled behind me.

What did he think I was doing? Taking a stroll in the park?

Since I didn’t have enough oxygen left in my lungs to keep breathing and ranting at him, I remained quiet. Well, as quiet as one can be when one is being chased by a group of rams. I hated those creatures. I hated all those fucking war beasts the Tash’Ba, our worst enemy, created. Period.

Rams were particularly nasty because they hunted in packs and their razor-like claws could slice you open before you realized what was happening. Add to that their sickly greenish and yellow scales and the red ridge on their heads and they were a nightmare come true.

“Berit! Run!”

“I am running,” I wheezed out.

“Watch out!” Tom’s warning came too late. A ram, a rather large one, stepped out behind a large tree with white, fern-like leaves. My momentum propelled me right into the beast’s chest where I impacted with a morbid smack.

That was it. I was dead.

I glanced up, forcing my muscles to stop trembling so much. The ram blinked at me from reptilian eyes as it tilted its head. Slowly, I moved my left hand to one of the many pockets of my pants and searched for a bluster. The ram threw its head back and emitted an ear-piercing trill. Other rams answered immediately.

A branch snapped to my left, and the ram and I looked toward the noise’s source. Tom stood there, the sun glinting on his glistening skin. His frill folded out in all his red and orange glory. “Berit.”

“I’m sorry.” My voice broke when one, two, no, three rams hurried through the undergrowth, appearing at Tom’s back. He clutched his gun in both hands and his chest heaved.

“No giving up,” Tom said.

I gave a short, startled laugh. No giving up? What were we supposed to do? We couldn’t survive this. From the corner of my eyes, I caught sight of more and more rams closing in on us. We were dead, so dead.

I opened my mouth to inform Tom of our impending demise—or maybe I was going to tell him that I loved him more than life itself—when shouts and splintering wood attracted our attention.

Carson, my best friend, crashed through the brush, followed by his wildly firing mate, Niyara. She was yelling at him to go faster. What was it with our Nadisc mates today? There was only so much a human body could do.

An elgoth chased my two friends, trampling whatever got in its way. The elgoth swished its tail from side to side, destroying trees left and right.

“Carson!” I shouted.

His head snapped toward me, his eyes widening even more in his pale face when he discovered me. I didn’t even want to imagine how I must look—on my knees in front of a looming ram—the picture of pure defeat.

He faltered in his steps, which gave the elgoth enough time to catch up with them. An overturned tree trunk cut off their escape route. Niyara took a protective stance in front of Carson. Her tail whipped through the air, obviously annoying the elgoth, who roared at them.

This couldn’t be it. We couldn’t end like that. We’d found the watcher’s station but none of us had managed to get inside because of those damn Tash’Ba war beasts. Although… where was Fleur? She’d come in handy right now.

The rams trilled to each other. What were they talking about? Who got the first dip on the tasty meat right in front of them? I shuddered. Rams didn’t kill their prey before they ate it, and I’d seen enough of my comrades mauled by rams that I knew I wouldn’t go without a struggle.

My fingers closed around the bluster when the ram next to me scurried away. Confused, I watched it leave, whistling a sharp, commanding trill. The other rams formed into a triangle-like formation and scuttled after the one who was obviously in charge.

Inhaling deeply, I rose to my feet. Relief flooded my veins when Tom materialized at my side, sliding his tail around my waist to anchor me to him.

“What just happened? I can’t believe they let us go,” I asked.

Tom’s tail tightened and his eyes darkened. Something was wrong, horribly wrong. I glanced in the direction the rams were heading. A shocked gasp tumbled over my lips. The rams took up position around the elgoth and Carson and Niyara.

“No! Carson!”

Tom pulled me against his chest, leaving me absolutely no room to move. Niyara wound her tail around Carson, imitating Tom’s movement. Even from this distance, I could see tear tracks on Carson’s face. Everything in me turned to ice. This was my best friend. I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing.

“Tom,” I groaned. “I gotta help him.”

“If we shoot now, we might hit him or Niyara.”

“But—”

I was cut off by the elgoth’s roar. The rams snarled before they attacked. I screamed, “Carson!”

One second one of the rams closed its muzzle on Carson’s right arm and the next moment it dissolved into a puddle of stinking glob.

Carson stared at me, disbelief and relief written all over his face. Niyara pumped a fist into the air, yelling in triumph before she whirled Carson around to kiss him senseless.

I sagged against Tom, battling the urge to curl into a ball and cry. Tom caressed my face as he folded up his frill. “Fleur. She must’ve gotten inside the watcher’s station and found the decoder.”

A yank on my leg caused me to jump. When I looked down, Fleur climbed up on me in her typical lizard-style gait. She bumped her cold, wet nose against mine, then purred, “Berrrit. Fleur help.”

“You did. Thank you,” I said softly.

For now we’d survived. Again.

***

Thank you for reading!

 

You can learn more about my books on my blog (there are also links to a couple of free stories):  http://christikat.blogspot.com. You can also follow me on Twitter http://twitter.com/christi_kat and on GoodReads http://www.goodreads.com/ChrisTKat.

Erotic Sci-Fi Excerpt from Chris T. Kat

October 15, 2015

Someone else cried out, and I whirled around. Parsol, I think was her name—it had become a challenge to remember all the names because on every mission we lost people, so many people—held up her right arm. A ram stood next to her, gnawing on the part it had just ripped off her.

I choked as I lifted my gun again. The ram trilled before it stared at me from cold, reptilian eyes. Parsol was still staring at her limb, gushing with blood, when her knees buckled and she sprawled on the ground. The ram’s head whipped around, the red ridge on its head flaring. Seconds later we listened to crushing bones and tearing flesh.

Tom grasped my hips in his hands and lifted me up, so I could reach a low hanging branch. On autopilot, I grabbed for it and hauled myself up. I reached for the next one and had to assure myself with a glance at my fingers that I was indeed holding on tight because my fingers felt numb.

Tom patted my ass, probably to encourage me, but to me it felt like a slap, and not of the good kind. Startled, I moved up higher. Not a second too soon.

A ram showed up below us, tilted its head sideways, and inspected the tree trunk. After a snapped whistle, another ram appeared next to the first.

On our way up, Tom had made sure to destroy the low hanging branches, probably to stop the rams from following us. How we were supposed to get down from the tree was his secret. For now, it was more important for the rams to stay on the ground.

We stopped our climb halfway up the tree. Not because we couldn’t go up farther, rather due to the gusting wind that threatened to blow us off. When I peered down through the pouring raindrops, my heart stopped for a beat. Seriously, it did.

With a trembling finger, I pointed at the scene below. “Tom? Are they doing what I think they’re doing?”

Tom’s eyes narrowed and his nostrils flared. He wrapped his tail around the trunk and me, anchoring me. I had no time to process whether I should give him a piece of my mind or not because the first ram had finished climbing on the shoulders of the second one and now vaulted up on the first branch within reach. After its landing, it threw its head back and screeched.

Even through the thundering rain, the scream sliced through my body. Tom lifted his gun and fired right at the ram’s head.

He missed.

The ram had ducked aside and was now steadily climbing the tree, winding around it like a slithering snake. No matter how hard we tried, our shots always missed the target.

I glanced down again, only to see another ram ready himself for the climb. I fumbled with the pocket on my right thigh, grabbed a bluster and lobbed it at the two rams on the ground. As they tumbled down, the bluster went off, destroying both of them. Two less to worry about.

In the distance, I heard more gun shots and another bluster going off. Maybe we would survive this attack after all.

Right at that moment, claws appeared an inch below my boot. I reversed my gun and slammed the butt of it onto the claw. The ram screeched in pain but didn’t let go. Instead, it hauled itself up on a branch opposite Tom and me. Why the fuck didn’t the bough snap under the ram’s weight?

I swiveled the gun around to aim, but the ram’s claw closed around the muzzle. Even though I pulled the trigger, the ram pulled and flung my gun to the ground.

Tom withdrew his tail from the trunk—not a second too soon, because the ram tried to snatch it with its claws—but kept it around my waist. We moved farther away from the trunk, carefully balancing on the narrowing branch. Another blast of wind almost chucked us off.

The ram’s head peeked out from behind the trunk for a moment, then withdrew. Was it pondering its options?

“I’ll throw you to that tree in the back. Do you think you’ll be able to get a hold on a branch?” Tom whispered.

I froze. “Excuse me? What do you mean by ‘you’ll throw me’? We’re like… like high above the ground, and I don’t have wings or anything.”

Tom jerked his thumb over his shoulder, pointing at a tree close to us. “You can’t jump this kind of distance, but I can throw you. Will you be able to hold on?”

“I have no idea!” I burst out. “I’ve never tried before!”

“Berit,” Tom said, his voice so soft it hurt. “I know you haven’t done that before, but if I can’t trust you to find a handhold, I can’t risk the move.”

“I can’t promise,” I said in sheer desperation. What would be worse—getting killed by a ram, or falling to one’s own death? “Can’t you just shoot the damn thing?”

“It always ducks behind the trunk, so, no, I can’t. Ready?”

“No!”

“Berit!” he snapped. With his free hand, he grabbed for one of my hands and gave it a squeeze. “I’ll follow right away.”

“If you can follow, maybe that beast can too,” I protested.

“It has to come out of its hiding place, and that’s when I’ll kill it,” Tom replied.

“Oh. Well, that sounds reasonable.”

Tom squeezed again, and this time I reciprocated.

“Ready?” he asked.

“Now is probably not a good time to confess that I’m not the adventurous type, huh?”

Tom chuckled. “I’d beg to differ anyway. On three.”

_______________

Chris T. Kat loves to write and to read. She writes whatever floats her boat, which means her stories vary from contemporary to paranormal, fantasy, bittersweet dreams or sci-fi. All of her books have a strong romantic element and she’s happiest if she can write about shapeshifters. In real life, Chris is a teacher and couldn’t have hoped for a better job. She’s blessed with a wonderful and supportive family.

Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Choosing to Live by Caitlin Ricci

October 14, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

The wind was blistering cold on the high snow blown ledge. It whipped around him, lashing his long brown hair against his cheeks. Through the murky white sky he could just barely see the sun begin to caress the horizon. This was going to be a long night.

Adrian groaned and tried to rise up to escape the blanket of snow that covered him where he lay sprawled out on a stony ledge. He rose unsteadily to his feet, dizziness and nausea washing over his in churning waves. Standing on his left foot though was instantly rewarded with white hot pain that shot up his leg until it stopped in his thigh. He collapsed gracelessly to his knees in the snow. Hot tears stung his eyes as the pain continued to surge through him. He gasped for air in the frigid climate, each breath causing him to cry out as it stung his lungs. He rolled over onto his side, adopting the fetal position as his best bet for the time being. He pulled his thin windbreaker tighter around his body, snuggling as far down into the thin material as he could manage until only the tips of his ears were visible around the wave of his hair. At least it was a little warmer.

How he ended up in this mess he couldn’t begin to understand. He remembered being in the small charter plane. That much he was certain of. But how he managed to get from his comfortable spot on the plane to this bit of snow covered earth was beyond him. He looked around wearily, trying desperately to find any hint of a landmark to tell him of where he was. But there was nothing. The snow was too thick to see through and what little he could see only resembled more mountains. This made no sense. They weren’t even supposed to fly through mountains today. Had the pilot gotten confused in the storm? Was he somewhere out here too?

Adrian spent close to the next hour yelling for the pilot or anyone else to no avail. Wherever he was, he knew that he was alone.

Running through a quick list in his head he soon concluded that everything he had ever been taught about wilderness survival was useless besides the obvious of try to stay warm and don’t fall asleep which were both quite unhelpful in the situation he had found himself in. He would make sure to do those amongst finding firewood to build a signal fire while also splinting his broken ankle. And of course he would hate to forget to do those while making tools out of stone and wood for catching something to eat. He really would hate to starve before he froze to death.

Adrian grumbled to himself and shrunk into a tighter ball. Like his father always said; sarcasm and a bad attitude will help no one. He had to stay awake. He knew this just as much as he knew that he had to keep breathing and that shivering was a good thing. But cold weather had always made him sleepy and it certainly was cold now. Adrian recited the laws of physics a few times to stay awake before his eyes finally closed and he succumbed to exhaustion.

Waking up when one hasn’t had nearly enough sleep is never a pleasant experience. Neither is waking up like that compounded with surely broken bones and an aching body screaming against even the smallest movement as Adrian soon realized. He shivered involuntarily before realizing that he was no longer cold.

Adrian opened his eyes fully and blinked against the brightness of the sun reflecting at him from the snow. The one dark spot near him was a fluffy bit of fur lying along his left side. He froze and tried not to even breathe as he waited for whatever kind of animal it was to leave him alone. But the beast only turned its big head and looked over at him with impossibly bright amber eyes. Then, because of course Adrian had to add hallucinations on top of all the pain he was in, the animal rose up on its four paws, then slowly shed his fur until a man crouched next to him. He was naked, save for the snow blowing against his tanned skin.

“I have a concussion,” Adrian said aloud. Pain plus hallucinations meant concussion. He was sure of it.

The man, the wolf, laughed. “Probably. You are pretty banged up. I’m Frost, by the way. Named for the winter night I was born on. I was scouting when I found you. When you’re ready to go get warm I’ll take you back to my pack. They’re expecting us but I was told to wait until you woke up to bring you to them, in case you refused our help.”

“Your… pack?” Adrian’s head was swimming wildly. If he hadn’t thrown up already he was surely going to soon.

Frost nodded enthusiastically. “My family. My brothers, my parents, my cousins. Everyone. Are you going to come with me?”

Did he really have a choice? “And if I don’t? Then what?”

Frost shrugged. “Ever hear of those people that get lost in the mountains and their bodies are never recovered? Well, that’s generally because they chose to join a pack. Or there are those people who their bodies are found months later. They likely refused our help. Or tried to go back to their families after we did help them. We’re all over the world and you’re not really in a position to refuse and still live so…”

In short, come with him and he got to live. Refuse and he would likely die a horrible, snow covered death where he froze and someone still would probably never find his body. Those were both such wonderful options. This was so freaking fantastic. Adrian sighed and made the decision to live. “Fine. Fine. Only one problem though, my ankle’s broken.”

“You’d give up your family to be able to come live with me and mine?” Frost seemed so surprised.

Adrian tried not to shiver as the thought of the quickest, and simplest, way to explain things to him. “Family isn’t something I exactly have a lot of. The only people that might miss me are my co-workers in the travel magazine I write for. Plus, my options aren’t exactly promising out here. How are you getting me to your pack with my broken leg?”

“You’re going to ride me.”

He grinned at Adrian, who instantly got the wrong idea with a good looking naked man crouched in front of him. “Sure. Let’s go with that plan.” But even as he said it Frost began to shift back into the form of the wolf, only this time he was twice the size he’d been before and now was much closer to the height of a small pony.

“Nifty trick.” Adrian got to his feet, with a lot of difficulty and hanging onto Frost’s shoulder for support. Frost bent down and Adrian managed to slide himself onto the wolf’s narrow back. He didn’t even spare a thought for the life he was saying goodbye to as Frost began trotting into the snow. This was a choice of survival, and when it came down to it he would rather live with a bunch of naked wolf shifters than die on some mountain he didn’t even know the name of. Being surrounded by men who looked as good as Frost did wasn’t even going to be a hardship.

Caitlin Ricci

Website: http://www.CaitlinRicci.com

Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Coffee Boys, Cops, and Werewolves, Oh My! with Ki Brightly

October 11, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.

Moonphoto

Steven, Mark, and Thomas are from The Shape of Honey

Steven Wright

I twitch the thick gray curtain back from the dark window. The bright face of the moon streams down onto me. The stars glitter crisply on this frigid night. “I wish Thomas wasn’t out.” I shiver, feeling ridiculous, and roll my shoulders. I’m a cop, for god’s sake. I’m comfortable in my own home on the edge of town. I want my gun, but I’m out of uniform and it’s locked away in its case. I let the curtain drop back. With a smile I go to Mark where he’s busy digging around in his backpack and wrap my arms around him, pull him close. My chin rests on the top of his blond head while he ignores me. The smell of coffee and a bright cologne he prefers wraps around me. “There’s just something about a full moon this close to Halloween that gives me the heebie jeebies.” With a shiver I drop a kiss onto his temple. His elbow smacks sharp pain into my hip as he digs deeper into his bag.

“Mark, what are you doing?” I step back and rub the spot. He grins apologetically over his shoulder, a quick tilt of his magnificent lips. I lean forward, grab them with mine for a few seconds. He chuckles and stumbles away from me, his arm still fumbling in his bag. With a triumphant yell he brings out a small mason jar of clear liquid.

“Checking to make sure I have my holy water.” He cradles it close and drops the bag. I smack my hand to my face and massage the bridge of my nose.

“What?”

“Thomas is a werewolf, no joke, right?” He bounces from foot to foot, jittery as usual. “So, game on man. And he’s not here tonight…so…” He shakes the jar around.

“What are you talking about?” With a smile I drop my hand and shake my head at him. “I’ll keep you safe,” I promise with a smirk as I go after him again. Bed is starting to sound pretty good. He’s fast though, and sidesteps me.

“Vampires. There have to be vamps. And mermen.” He shakes the jar around while he rambles.

“Mermen?” I try hard to hold back my snicker, but snort it out anyway.

“Yep. Watcha think, that he’s the only weird thing out there? Our wolf ain’t the only strange shit, guaranteed.” He’s so serious as he stalks to my front door and shoves the jar into his sneakers.

“There’s no such thing as vampires…he would have told us.” But now I’m not so sure. The werewolves sure are into their secrecy. Maybe they wouldn’t tell us something like that. I glance nervously at the front door before I smack myself mentally. Even if there are vampires, it’s not like they’re going to burst in here right now.  A loud thump from my front porch has Mark throwing himself at me. I’ll never mind having an armful of my boyfriend, but damn it I want my gun. I sit him on his own feet and go to the coat closet to get my gun out of its box. I’m a fucking idiot for letting Mark shake me up, but the smooth, cool metal is a better shot of confidence than anything else I’ve got. I go to the door and put my ear against it. Mark, wielding his holy water like it’s a moltov cocktail, snuggles up to my back.

“Did you hear that?” he mutters.

“No.” I lie. He nips the back of my arm with blunt teeth and I grunt. Thud. Thud. Thud. Thud. I tense. Feet across my front porch.

“Vampires!” Mark whispers. I glare at him and he smiles brightly. I snag another warm, sugar sweetened kiss from him, push him back and throw open the front door with more confidence than I’m actually feeling.

“They don’t exist. Stay behind me.”

We sneak outside, gun in advance. Mark hides behind me. I groan and drop my gun when a piece of white thin paper clings to my face. It’s a mess. A big, fucking, vampireless mess. The entire front porch is drenched in waving white toilet paper. There are giggles from the bushes. I step toward them. There’s a stampede of feet. A herd of kids scatter in all directions. Some take off down the sidewalk, some through my neighbor’s yard.

“Hey! You kids almost got shot. Get back here!” I yell, but I only get laughter in return.

“Fuck you!” one kid with a Nixon mask actually stops to yell at me. When I start down the front steps he runs for it.

“Gonna go get ‘em, Officer?” Mark snickers and I sigh. They got both the trees on the front lawn too. Son of a bitch. Better than vampires though. I join Mark and we both laugh.

“Be good or you’ll have to help clean up.”

“Make me.” I lunge for him and catch him in one arm. With a yelp he struggles, half-heartedly, but in the end I have him pressed to my chest, and I’ve caught those pretty lips with mine. We lose some pleasant time together while all the warm air leaks out the front door. A wet nose on my hand startles me so badly I almost drop my gun. The wolf is huge, and seems like he’s laughing with his tongue lolling out. I relax and my eyes almost cross for a second as I try to watch Thomas transform from an animal into our other loyal, loving boyfriend. Water smacks Thomas on the face and he sputters, wiping it out of his blue eyes, scraping it off his short beard.

“What?” he laughs. Mark scowls.

“Jesus, you scared the shit out of me,” he yelps.

“I missed you two.” With a quick grin he leans forward and presses a kiss to my cheek, then Mark’s.

“Don’t you need to…Ow…Ow…Owoo.”

Tom rolls his eyes at the attempted howl. I stop for a second to check for my neighbors, but I don’t have the porch light on, and the toilet paper mess is making a nice bit of camouflage for us. “I need something.” He says with a leer. My eyes flash downward and my entire body warms at what I see. Oh, man. Naked werewolf on my front porch. I steer my boyfriends inside and Thomas laughs loudly.

“Hey, are there vampires?” Mark asks as I shove them both inside and shut out the darkness.

“Um…Not really…” Thomas starts. “Let’s go to bed,” he says too brightly. Glee sparkles in Mark’s eyes.

Oh, no.

***

Website: www.brightlybooks.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kibrightly

Twitter: @KiBrightly

G-mail: kibrightly@gmail.com

 

Buy Links:

Threefold Love

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6278

The Shape of Honey

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6972