Search Results for: "abducted"

New MM Freebie of the Month, Plus How To Trick Your Brain 🐢

Hey, peeps!

Audiobooks

Okay, you know how I keep saying sometimes you need to trick your brain into doing something? Well, I think I found a way to trick my brain into having fun instead of slamming it repeatedly on the desk in absolute boredom when it comes to editing the old books. How? Audiobooks.

I’ve been playing around with the video software I got to record and edit the speed paint thingies, and I realized it had an audio function, and me no audio. Now, I’ve avoided the whole audiobook thing. It’s a shit ton of money to start off in a lot of cases. I’m talking like 1/2 a grand to a thousand dollars to hire a narrator and a studio to get a book recorded. It’s also time consuming, and usually someone else is involved. Someone to sign a contract with because they’re fronting some of the costs to get this audiobook made. The whole thing turned me off because I like simple, easy, no strings. That’s why I liked self publishing. That’s why I get so affronted with censorship bs—I don’t like being held back from doing the things I want to do, when I want to do them. Freedom at the cost of being an outsider, usually.

Anywho, I found myself asking, ‘Just how fucking hard is it to make an audiobook, really?’ I have the content (the text), I have a recorder, and a way to edit audio. All I need is a voice. So I did some research to find the least annoying synthetic voice out there and gave it a shot. And in about 4 hours, I had made this.

It was fun. Lol, it’s still fun, the process is becoming faster as I figure it all out, because I just finished up recording the rest of the Demon Bonded Episodes so far. And I’m all, OMG, I want this for all my books! But all my books aren’t so well edited, and have some annoying writing patterns I don’t use anymore. So there, that’s my motivation. A mix of neurotic completionism of making audiobooks for all the books, and fun with playing with tech. Yay!

I plan to have all my books made into audiobooks in a way where I can sell them for the same price as an ebook. Audiobooks usually cost more, mostly because of all the other people involved, plus the cost of cloud storage—audio files can get freaking huge. Once I get all the components together on the selling front, you should be able to pick up the Demon Bonded episodes for $0.99 each, or audio bundles for $2.99 (same price as the Demon Bonded Collection books.) Plus the freebies will be free on the website.

This is the kind of shit I love. It’s good enough. XD And yeah, that might sound sloppy, or half-assed, or what have you, but I’m sick of watching people break their backs (myself included) reaching for perfection instead of being happy with what’s in front of them. No, the synthetic voice doesn’t read perfectly. But it’s good enough, it’s a fast process, and it’s inexpensive, meaning the end result can also be inexpensive for listeners. If I started self publishing by hiring a cover artists and editor and what have you, would I have ever had gotten anywhere? I’d have been broke—fuck, I was already broke. XD Lol. I’m a total do-it-yourselfer and I love it. It’s fun and there are so many resources these days to get professional results without the price.

Interactive Novel

Speaking of fun and tech, btw… So, you know that interactive novel I want to make? The Demon Virus Sequel? The one I was talking about a few weeks ago where it’s like a choose your own, but instead of hitting dead ends, you discover secret, sexy story paths and scenes? Okay, so my brain is on it again—also outlined more Sorcerer Slayer and the next Demon Bonded—oh, and Hellcat has 2 scenes left. Pretty sure they’ll be done this weekend if I don’t go crazy with the audiobooks. Anyways, interactive novel. I was thinking how to plot it. I have these scenes but I want a visual, I want a way for people to simply select and move forward in the story and not get confused when they want to go back for a different branch. Then I was thinking of old school Mario Brothers. You know when you’d complete a level and they’d shoot you to the map, and a new level would open up? That’s what I want to do, but for a story. Text and a Story Map.

I’m envisioning something like chapters being levels, and in each chapter you have the ability to unlock certain scenes, or branches to the story. When you unlock something, it pops up on the story map that you can select and read. You would have to unlock a certain amount—the key plot conflict points—to progress to the next level, aka chapter. If you unlock all the special scenes and story branches, I want to make it so you can unlock a totally different story arc, maybe a new character and everything. XD I think it’ll be fun. And it won’t be like a video game where you’re doing repetitive tasks, it’s still just reading. How you unlock things would be by the choices you make in a story scene. You decide if the character goes into the scary dark room (where a sexy monster awaits) or goes back to the party—that sort of thing. <3

Or maybe you need to find a ‘key’ in the text, like clues, that can be used as passwords to unlock other doors! Oh, or I might have ‘items’ you get when you complete certain scenes that can be used to defeat the conflict in other scenes, where, if you didn’t find that item, you wouldn’t be able to beat the scene and unlock a new one. I have so many ideas. XD Puzzles and choices but nothing tedious and grinding–the only grinding should be between the characters. *wink*

I’ll have to learn some basic game programming—but it feels really basic. Switches and branches, nothing complex at all. My biggest issue atm is just learning enough to figure out what software will give me what I want without extra shit I would just find confusing at this stage. I’m not sure if I want people to have to play the game through repeatedly—you know, once you pick a story path, you have to stick to it until you get to the very end, and only once you finish the book/game, will you be able to try a new story path. But have a way to save the data so they can see the choices they made and be able to unlock the other levels—until finally they unlock the bonus ending!

Okay, I might be crazy excited about this idea. XD It’s just so fun. Lol, and this is what I need when writing—fun! I can’t do boring, repetitive shit anymore. I used to RPG, I used to read (all the time,) I used to dedicate hours to television distractions. My brain wants to DO things, make things, and this is the way it has fun. So as long as I can find the fun in it, I can keep creating and getting shit done.

That’s another thing. I’m choosing fun. I’m choosing happy. When I find myself at a crossroads, that’s what I want. Fun and happy. Lol, and no, I don’t feel a single fucking bad thing about it. XD You ever find some people want to just drag you down, they want you to take shit so seriously and have decided life isn’t supposed to be happy? I’m good. Life is what you make of it and I’m choosing happy. Rose-colored glasses all the way. <3

Last Week Catchup

Oh, also, sorry I missed so many emails last week. I know, it’s becoming a ‘thing.’ @[email protected] I do read them all, and have grand expectations to answer—you gals and guys are fucking amazing with such varied lives, and I love hearing about them all—and then life happens and the moment passes as I’m caught up doing something else.

Much love to the people who have had their lives torn apart because of careless doctors, and the wish to trust and have faith in an expert. We want answers that come easily, we want to know it’s all going to be alright, and sometimes it’s that blind hope that leads to more problems. My adoptive dad actually ended up without a working stomach for the rest of his life after a doctor made a really dumb mistake during surgery, and bile backed up and nearly killed him. They tied his esophagus to his intestines to save his life after the mistake, and it took him years to recover. And no, I don’t think it’s these individual doctors, that they’re there to hurt people. If anything, I think they’re working their asses off in a system so stressful, it’s hard to not sink beneath. 300-400 physicians kill themselves annually in the US. The current system of medicine isn’t just hurting patients but also the people in it.

Also, as much as I love my brother, I have to face the fact that he was the idiot who didn’t stand up for himself. He’s an adult who is still refusing to question another adult when it comes to his own mental and emotional health. If he hadn’t asked me for a pill cutter, I never even would have known he was about to take a psych med after going in for a cold.

And that is where I find my peace. It’s not my job to freak out for him. It’s not my job to hold his hand through life and make sure he doesn’t fuck up. I learned my lessons because I fucked up big time—repeatedly—and I’m not about to forget. Ever. XD If he wants to be so blithe, that’s his path. As long as he doesn’t go on a killing spree over the meds prescribed him, I really don’t need to freak out. I can calmly (one day, when I don’t get triggered @[email protected] ) still remind him he’s likely bipolar and should research any med he adds to his system.

But it’s still his choice, still his life, and there is little more I can do without taking it over for him—I’ve got way too much shit I want to do to take on that fucking job, btw. Just sayin. I’m glad I was paying attention, but he should have been taking care of himself and thinking.

Freebie Of The Month

Okay, I’m going to fly. HEAT is free this month, and don’t miss out on the audiobook–I think you can download it from soundcloud. Pretty sure I haven’t had Heat free in a while. I seriously need to make a schedule so I don’t keep forgetting… Ugh. I swear we created computers to have a brain outside our brain that could just hold onto all the shit we really don’t need to know until moments like these.

All You Need Is Love: A Limited Edition Collection – $0.99

Romance Collections is proud to present these fourteen stories of love that know no boundaries. Like rivers flowing through the canvas of earth, these stories will run deep, touch softly and leave you breathless.

No matter who it is with, passion is magnificent, desires are bold, and love is beautiful.

 

Saving the Omega: M/M Paranormal Dystopian Romance – $0.99

M/M Dystopian, Paranormal romance. Standalone story.

In a world where only paranormals survived…

A cruel virus wiped out all humans. Now there’s a war between the supernatural factions…

Life is bleak for Angus. As a wolf shifter, living under vampire rule is intolerable. He hates the rules. He hates their power. He hates not having control over the lives of his pack.

He keeps himself under tight control…until he cracks. A young wolf is being beaten by his mate. Unforgivable. Angus reacts and everything changes. Saving Clayton may just turn the tide for everyone, including the true Alpha in Angus.

This new world for Clayton is hell, and living with an abusive mate makes everything worse. But when Angus saves him from that torture, for once in his life there is an inkling of hope

With jealous pack mates and vindictive rival gangs on their doorstep, danger is around every corner. Can Clayton pull on his Omega strength for his Alpha, and will Angus accept the love only his true Omega can bring.

***short, sexy Dystopian M/M. Guaranteed Happily ever after.***

Omega’s Mate: An MM Mpreg Romance

Everything is possible. Nothing is what it seems…

Ryan: Fate led me to Tristan Whitaker, the infamous alpha hero from Frisky Pines. When a hunter aimed his rifle my way, I thought my life was over. Tristan swooped in and saved my life. As soon as I saw him, I knew I was in over my head.

I wasn’t looking for a mate, but he swept me off my feet, literally. When I woke in his arms, I knew my life was going to change forever. Together, we decided to have a baby. I was the happiest omega in the world. What I didn’t realize was that the fate of the world then depended on us…

 

 

HEAT: Abducted To Be His Mate – free

Ryan Moss is a werewolf long separated from his pack. He has no idea how dangerous his heat is until he finds himself stalking down the closest available bachelor. Unfortunately for Ryan, his wolf finds Shane Cooper, the gay bashing, angry, rich punk that’s been tormenting him for the last ten years.

Even though Ryan hates Shane, his wolf won’t be denied. Against all sanity, he bites the blond and drags him home to mate.

Bound and trapped in Ryan’s basement, Shane plots his escape. He has no interest in being anyone’s mate, especially to his long time rival. If only his body would stop betraying him, seeking out first touch and then pain, things Ryan knows how to gift just right.

Ryan discovers that underneath his lust and resentment, he might just love his angry mate. But after what he’s done, can Shane ever forgive him enough to see him as worthy?

This short story of over 23,000 words contains explicit m/m sexual content, graphic language, violence, and themes of bondage, discipline, and some humiliation. Although featuring mating/breeding with werewolf anatomy that knots and ties, there is no mpreg.

New MM Freebie of the Month 🐾

New Freebie of the Month!

Hey, babes,

Think this is my first time having The Drunk Email free. The book where I decided if Amazon won’t compromise with step-incest (even though they do all the time for the M/F category) then I might as well write full out incest. Huzzah!

Woke up tired. Might actually be sick—like real sick, not just my immune system freaking over allergies. My brother has a cold so I can only assume it’s already too late for me. XD

I’m typing this on a new laptop. My chromebook kicked it this week. I found a laptop that can handle the editing I usually have to do on my PC. I had no working spell checker on the chromebook. @[email protected] It’s so nice to have one now even for something simple like the newsletter. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do the formatting and file creation stuff I thought I could only do in Linux. Not an issue after all, it just took a little bit to figure out the Windows command prompt.

It’s been a very quiet couple of weeks. Cold, still, calm. I’m sure the world is buzzing out there, but except for my laptop change, I’m happy to be bundled up in the house oblivious to the stresses and drama. That said, I’m so excited about Hellcat, you can’t even understand. It’s finally turning into something I hadn’t planned. That might sound weird, but when I plan things, it’s kinda, well, predictable. The characters jump through hoops I set up and it feels forced. Hellcat has finally reached the place where everything is happening through the characters, not me, and they’re reacting perfectly.

This was a problem I saw in the new Star Wars movie, actually. It felt like the director didn’t know how to tell a story. He found every element the previous movie set up and deconstructed it down to worthless. Every mystery you wanted answered he popped a pin in and deflated until I just didn’t give a fuck. My brain had nothing to solve and my heart had no investment. And yeah, I know nothing means anything, and value is in the beholder, but stories are for the ego. The audience lives and is entertained through the ego. The director didn’t know how to filter through his and it left everything blah.

Art is literally taking what exists around us and insisting there is a meaning. A house becomes a place of safety and years of love. A hand reaching out is the only kindness known is a lifetime of pain. Punching someone is defeating evil and protecting everything you know—or an injustice! A rivalry where the outrage has no outlet and can never be forgiven. It’s the meaning behind an action that gives it power to the viewer, not the action. Everything is an action but that doesn’t make it a story.

When you see the ‘good guy’ punch the ‘bad guy’ after the good guy grins and bears just one too many hits to his pride, the audience cheers because they felt those hits like they were real and they want vengeance in the way of physical pain back. No, that bad guy may have never physically harmed your hero, but to the audience the pain feels real—even though it’s on a screen or it’s just words of text. I know, it’s amazing! XD Good storytelling immerses an audience and makes them feel what the character feels. It reminds them of old pain and lets them see it in a new light. It gets their brain going as they try to solve the ending—will they be led to salvation or doom and how exactly are they going to get there?

This is humanity in life, trapped by emotions that they place on meaningless actions—because people insist things have meaning. It’s fun. It’s entertaining. Take the meaning away, take the motivation out, and there’s nothing to become engaged in. It’s just people doing things.

You know where I saw this done well recently in book form? The Raven Prince. In the final story, the title story.  It has all the characteristics of understanding human motivation and reaction and filtering through the character so the reader can feel and respond. The ego makes for great storytelling—painful living, but great storytelling. XD

Prey by Wendy Rathbone

Captain Mordecai Paronne’s routine is disrupted! When nine rescued slaves board his starship, he is forced to recall an incident when he was 17 where he narrowly escaped being abducted by the same mysterious aliens these men have lived with for many years. Now the nightmare is upon him again.

What these men, and countless others who remain in captivity went through defies all ethics and behavior Mordecai holds under close control.

Add to that, the reports he is receiving from the eldest captive, 25 year old Arcana, are horrifying and devastating, but also darkly erotic. Extremely conflicted, Mordecai begins to feel mired in shameful desires he is determined to resist.

Arcana is the most beautiful human Mordecai has ever laid eyes on. While Arcana should be broken by all he has been through, Mordecai soon learns that Arcana is a survivor who is unashamed by what he went through, and who blatantly talks of his love for his captor, and his own strange desires that gave him a foundation from which he could gain strength to survive seven years in an alien realm.

But though Arcana appears mentally and physically healthy, he is also very troubled. He knows he cannot fit easily back into human society. He does not wish to be reunited with his family, nor does he have skills that can land him a legitimate job.

Adept at getting what he needs to survive, Arcana places all his focus on seducing Mordecai, who represents everything he thinks he needs to live, to be happy, and most of all, to feel safe.

Will Arcana’s tendencies and honesty be enough to win a man with a compulsive need for control of his ship and his own personal life?

Can Mordecai reconcile his darker desires with an insecurity that he is incapable of giving Arcana what he needs?

A gay, fantasy/scifi romance.

Mature content: Contains depictions of torture and sexual assault, but not between the two main characters. Also contains scenes of a psychologically dark nature.

The Drunk Email- A Brothercest Erotica

Nick has had a crush on his older brother for as long as he could remember. Justin is just so perfect; handsome, strong with blond hair and blue eyes. It’s impossible to look anywhere else. Nick never thought he’d ever tell his brother how he felt. That was until Justin went on a school trip out of country and Nick got lonely and really drunk.

Heat Giveaway

GET YOUR FREE COPY OF HEAT: ABDUCTED TO BE HIS MATE

Bestselling Author Sadie Sins

invites you into an erotic MM world of werewolves, insatiable lust and BDSM.

Enter your name and email and claim your free download of Heat!

If having to go through his first heat wasn’t bad enough for werewolf Ryan Moss, kidnapping and tying up his rival of forever, Shane Cooper, guarantees to make it eventful. Too bad Ryan’s wolf thinks the boy is perfect for mating no matter how straight Shane says he is.

XXX 23,000+ wrds, paranormal, werewolf, straight to gay, noncon, bdsm. Published: June 3, 2016

*** signing up for this free ebook automatically enrolls you in Sadie Sins’s weekly newsletter, which contains free and marked down books in the MM genre. You’re free to opt out at any time.

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT HEAT

on July 2, 2016
Best! Abduction! Ever!
Reader beware, this is downright dirty and oh so hot. The writer puts you smack in the middle of that basement and holds you down until the very end.
on May 16, 2017
For a long time I have been searching for a book like this one and almost gave up hope, thinking it too taboo of a subject. I’m beyond ecstatic to have found this book and will probably read again before the year is out!
on June 26, 2016
That was steam. I love the dirty talk. This was a great domain book. You get to understand how freeing the sub feels and know his mental issues. Take out that and still hot read. I will definitely b looking at more books from this author.
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Shifter Safe Haven S3

SCENE THREE

This was not the first time Clive and Edward walked out unimpeded with a kidnapped shifter in tow. It was usually the norm since they started taking precautions to make sure the owners of the shifters and property alike were away. On the rare occasion they couldn’t wait for such an opportunity and conflict was imminent, they made a point to restrain the owners before removing the shifter from the premises. After a close call where a shifter was almost killed by the ashamed owner, they learned to take no needless risks.

Clive had Caleb meet them at the hotel. The hulking bear shifter shielded any curious gazes from Zander’s sleeping form as he carried him inside. Once they had Zander safely tucked away in the hotel room, they were methodical. Clive and Edward stripped and sponged him down, healed when needed, and checked for parasites and any crawlies Zander might have collected. Caleb called the haven to make sure everything was still up to par under their part-time therapist and current house-sitter’s critical eye. Roy wasn’t the most reliable with his busy schedule, but he made time when he could to ensure someone supervised the troubled shifters when the owner was out saving lives.

Clive furrowed his brow and took the phone from Caleb when it was handed to him. “Problem, Roy?”

“Possibly. Dale went cat again and is hiding under the couch. I wouldn’t think much of it, but it was after a brawl with Mika. You know how cutting he can be when he’s in a mood.”

Clive did. Mika turned bitchy into an art form. It didn’t help he was extra edgy while waiting to see if Zander was alive. “Did you ask Dave to check on Dale? He’s usually good with him.”

Roy cleared his throat and pitched his voice lower. “Dave and Dane are both under the couch with him. Did I fail to mention that?”

Clive exhaled heavily. “As cats, I imagine.” It was not that large a couch.

The triplets were house-cats and at twenty, the youngest residents currently living at the haven. Dale was the only one of the three abducted but the other two brothers insisted on helping him recover at the haven. Which was fine, their support helped Dale immensely. The problem was how the two teamed up to get revenge every time Dale felt victimized over simple arguments. Super glue and fur were involved the last time. Clive was not looking forward to discovering how far they’d go when he wasn’t around.

“Roy, would you inform Mika that Zander is safe, healing, and looking forward to seeing him again? Maybe mention it while in the TV room, so our three hellions can hear and understand just why Mika is in such a foul mood. You could even invite them to all get the room ready for him.”

“You’ll be back tonight, then?” Surprise was clear in Roy’s voice. “Do you think he’s ready?”

Clive glanced over to where Zander had been scrubbed pink and dressed in clean clothes. The panther shifter was still out cold and there was no way to judge how well he’d adjust to life at the haven. There was also no place suitable to transition someone with Zander’s level of abuse. Very few institutions were capable or willing to handle the extra equipment and training needed for treating shifters.

“I’m going to port him in within the next few hours. I think driving him up would be too much of a risk.” Zander waking up in the middle of the highway and having a freak out was his biggest concern. “I’ll come back and deal with the rental and make a final sweep. You’ll have Edward and Caleb to help with things by then, but if you could stay until I get back, I’d appreciate it.”

“Not a problem, Clive. I was planning on a few days, just to be on the safe side. You never know how your rescues are going to go. Is the kid okay?”

Clive glanced again to where Zander was stretched out on the bed, frowned and turned away. “He’s fucked up, no question.” Clive didn’t bother to censor himself. “We won’t know until at least a month if he’s going to be in a null-collar for the rest of his life or if his cat is savable. They hurt him bad. Maybe even as bad as Jasper ten years back.”

Roy whistled a low note and fell silent. Jasper was one of their hardest patients, abducted and trained not only for sex but also to kill when in his cat form. The lion shifter had a full pride to search for him when he was abducted. When they finally discovered Jasper they called the haven, to help convince him to leave his pit of a prison. Jasper returned to the haven three different times over the course of five years. He owned his own null-collar and was known to wear it even now when things got too stressed for him. Jasper was living a good, steady life but it only because of the patience, therapy, and manpower divided by those at the haven and the loving pride that cared enough to get him there.

Clive’s research revealed Zander didn’t have any relatives to help keep him steady out in the world. If he was feral, the panther shifter would be completely vulnerable to any law enforcement who discovered his state. He risked being thrown in jail, or more likely ‘accidentally’ killed in the process of his capture. It was still too early to tell, but the magnitude of the many potential problems weighed heavily on Clive as he said his farewell to Roy with a promise to call before porting in.

“Are you seriously comparing him to Jasper?” Edward carefully untangled Zander’s damp locks with a brush. “He’s shown no signs of violence, no aggression at all. Jasper was practically foaming when we pulled him from those psychos.”

Clive met his gaze with a grim frown. They’d been rescuing shifters for fifteen years now, starting when Clive returned from his first year of college to find his father trying to ‘train’ Edward into a servant for a rich client. After cutting all ties to his fucked up family, Clive and Edward started looking for other shifters in need. They raised money through grants and charities to create the Shifter Safe Haven, and networked with shifters and doctors who were sympathetic to the animal shape shifters. They even created the only known amber alert system for stolen shifters.

He might not have known ten years ago what sort of work Jasper would need when the haven took in the lion shifter. Clive sure had enough experience now to suspect what it was going to take to get Zander living life again.

“He’s fucked, Ed. Mika was a failed mercy killing in his eyes, and he injured himself to commit it.” There was a festering wound on Zander’s neck where he snapped his first leather enchanted collar on his skin. The infected flesh was resistant to healing even after all this time. Clive sighed and ran fingers through his hair in agitation. Mika was living at the haven and in an essential stage of his recovery; it was only more worry to add.

“The question is if his cat is gone too, or just the human,” Clive continued. “If the cat is intact, things will be easier. He’s younger than Jasper, and the brain is still in its elastic stage, but he won’t be an overnight fix. Whatever the fuck they did to him, they broke him. Two years of starvation, rape, and dependency on a fucking leash for a sense of security. Don’t let his tears fool you. He’s going to be a monster until he gets his shit straightened out. Best prepare for it now.”

Shifters usually recovered two different ways. They isolated and curled inward until they could handle the world again, or they sought out comfort and surrounded themselves with love until they could face life on their own. Through it all, they had natural defenses and tools that allowed them to numb and deal with things in bearable amounts. Then there were the rare ones, guys like Jasper that went bat-shit crazy at the drop of a hat, reacted with claws and fangs to everything, then came back to sanity to sob for the world to be different and him not to be in it.

Jasper spent days seeking comfort, only to suddenly lash out. He would alienate everyone only to come back whimpering forgiveness. He required so much attention, disrupted so many lives… And damn, it was so worth it.

As if reading his mind, Edward spoke up. “Maybe we should give Jasper a call. I bet he’d be more than happy to come down and play big brother every now and then for the poor kitten. Zander should be able to see that it can be done. That the hard work and pain pays off.”

Clive nodded in agreement. He took a heavy seat on the foot of the bed while Caleb went to get them an early dinner. Seeing Jasper again would be good. Clive hadn’t realized how seeing Zander in that condition had hit until now. All he wanted to do was sit under a hot shower and wash the day away. There was just too much to do, too many loose ends to tie up.

They were still trying to discover who stole Zander and if it was the same magic user who abducted Mika. Had the two shifters ended up in the Rothton lair by the means of two separate culprits? It seemed unusual the Rothtons would seek out another connection in such a dangerous market as slaving. Mika was grabbed out of a college in Michigan. Clive wasn’t sure if it was a coincidence or a calling card. All he knew for certain was cat shifters were being targeted more frequently and their clients were getting more monstrous in their treatment of the young men.

Edward fixed him with a sympathetic look. He reached down and pulled a small box from his boot. “Happy birthday, man.”

Clive blinked in surprise, stared at the box, then met Edward’s amused smirk. “Is it?”

“Yup. Had a feeling you forgot again. Thirty-seven and I don’t think you’ve remembered more than five now.”

Clive shrugged sheepishly. “Well, if I’m going for the record and all.” He opened the box and beamed when the smell of magic rose up. “Wards?”

“The best. Cost a pretty penny, too, but I knew you were looking for something to fix the gate after those dickheads came by and tried to blow a hole through it.” They actually tried to blow a hole through the house. The bomb detonated when it came in contact with the magical energy of the previous wards, leaving a very frightened postman alive to tell the tale.

“Thanks, Ed. This is about the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received.” He got up and hugged Edward, who rolled his eyes good-naturedly and hugged him back fiercely.

“Like hell. It’s as meaningful as buying you a fucking lock on the gate,” Edward said with a growl. “But you’re an idiot and you have no life outside of what we’re doing, so I figured it was as good as it was going to get to make someone like you happy.”

Clive’s smile didn’t dim in the slightest. He flipped the top rectangle of fabric over and read the symbols inscribed. “They even have a clause so shifters in mortal danger can warp through. Ed, this is fucking amazing.”

Edward shook his head. He hid his pleased blush with a flurry of movement as he picked up Zander’s stained clothes and threw them in a bag. “You need a lover, idiot, not a fucking door. Romance. Love. Sex, for fuck sake. Do you even remember what sex is anymore?”

Clive shrugged disinterestedly. He shut the box and dispelled it to his room in Vermont. He’d install the wards that night if there was enough time. The sooner they had stronger defenses, the better he’d feel about leaving on missions like this. “I’m not a horny animal like you, Ed. I can manage to live my life and not chase the tail of every sexy guy that walks past the door.”

“That’s total bullshit.” Edward stalked over, leaned down, and went so far as to flip Clive’s glasses up so he could see him unobstructed. “You need a vacation. You need to get away from the victims and remember that sex can be enjoyable. You need to stop saving everyone else and give yourself five fucking minutes of attention. Your last relationship lasted less than two weeks, three years ago. You forgot your damn birthday. Again. Come on, Clive; it time to get a fucking life already.”

“I have a life. A very nice life,” Clive said sweetly as he put his tinted glasses back into place. He combed his hair back into its normal, shaggy mess. “Let’s face it, Ed. It’s hard enough to get a professional to come into this situation and be willing to stay. A boyfriend? I might as well start the conversation by saying I have between five to fifteen kids in my life, they switch constantly, and they’re all emotionally disturbed. I’m not holding my breath.”

Clive was happy. He might not always be aware of things like birthdays and the state of his hair, but happiness definitely trumped the superficialities.

Sure, Edward could complain all he liked he had no life outside of his shifter work but really, the haven was his life. It was trying some days, exhausting others, and he hadn’t ever planned on dedicating his life to rescuing and protecting a bunch of riffraff shifters, but he wouldn’t change a moment of it. Not the scars, not the random death threats from dumbass bigots. Not even the shivers of fear when he gazed into the eyes of a wounded, frightened animal and wondered if they were too far gone to come back from the brink.

It was worth it. Every time. He didn’t need anything else.