Search Results for: "incubus"

So What Goodies This Week? 🐝

Babes, what a week.

I could go over the crap happening in the world, how my chromebook charging port kicked it, stuff I failed to do, blah, blah, or I could tell you about L-Glutamine. This is my third day on the supplement—it’s a simple amino acid in powder form where I take a tsp in the morning and evening. I started it because I heard it did amazing things to heal leaky gut, and considering I have an autoimmune disorder and so many allergies and difficulty digesting or eating in general, it is very likely I have leaky gut. What I didn’t realize was what L-Glutamine does for the immune system and its responses.

Third day and I’m a different person. Yeah, that scares the fuck out of me after 4 years of yo-yoing of am I going to be okay or not. Because the second day, I woke up myself again after so fucking long. It was like waking up into my teenage to early 20 something body but without the mold poisoning I was experiencing during those years. My brain is back, body is back. There is this underlying feeling of stability and sturdiness I cannot even begin to describe but has flipped life upside down. I am calm, energetic, my body is moving again like it should, it’s holding moisture like it should—I’m no longer waking up with dry eyes, flaky skin and pruned fingers. I have picked up my cats repeatedly and not had allergic reactions of wheezing and dry eyes and exhaustion. I feel l so stable I don’t know when to take my adrenal meds.

I ate so much food yesterday! XD I’m also incredibly hungry at this moment. I have been struggling so long to be able to force food down the last 4 years and in a day, I have hunger and digestion again. Pain does not hurt me like the overreactions of before; it’s like my nerves are coated in something soft and protective. I feel warm when it’s cold out—suck it, hypothyroid. I actually sweated and I didn’t go, fuck, do I have a fever? There is something about this L-Glutamine where it not only effects metabolism, immune function, gut permeability, energy levels, brain cognition but also gives an overall feeling of well being and confidence, and I’m fucking loving it.

Example. I learned some shitty news about Barnes & Noble yesterday as they make a sweep to ban books in their erotica section containing taboo subjects; they were the last hold out for certain subjects to be allowed in the mainstream market. Dark erotica is being squeezed out and the policing of people’s fantasies normalized in the name of decency and family values while ignoring consumer demand–this is an anti business move being disguised as the opposite by businesses of books. Not just dark erotica, but gay erotica because these themes are most prevalently explored by the open minded LGBTQ community. This is literally a personal problem for me given what I enjoy writing, and my stance on anti censorship and the freedom of adults to be able to make adult decisions including what they want to read and make money off of writing.

That said, I’m not emotionally devastated; I’m not even taking it personally. Instead, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I need to publish fiction that fits into the norm so I can fund my ability to write the smutty, dirty erotica I love so much. I’m thinking of writing a FMM paranormal trilogy—outlined this gorgeous beast a year ago and maybe now is the time to get it fleshed into creation—so I can ‘legitimize’ myself among the mass market to prove writing sex isn’t a crime and the authors who do it shouldn’t be treated like degenerates with their books banned and profits prevented. I actually had a very wicked thought I doubt I’ll follow through with where I could write a ‘clean’ fiction trilogy metaphoring (oh yeah, I just verbed that) strong Christian values while urging said readers to my very naughty website where we embrace the value of not being repressed as fuck as a culture. I have better things to do, but the irony would be delicious.

Anywho, new Sorcerer Slayer and Shifter Safe Haven in the Library, and new Intangible under Free. I decided on HellCat for my annual Halloween fic this year cuz it’s super fun, a bit easier with it being all plotted out, and I have so much stuff I want to do while I’m feeling well. On Smashwords you can now get Demon Bonded episodes #1-6 republished with new, shiny covers and extra editing. Hoping to get the next three up this week. I was slowed down with allergies last week but hey, this L-Glutamine is making shit happen super fast now. I feel strong and whip sharp mentally. Expect episode #10 of Demon Bonded to be published some time next week as long as my health holds. So excited—so many secrets to share in the series. XD

Oh, and a shout out to the kind souls who took the time to review Demon Bonded! I seriously appreciate it. Every review helps me look like a real author. <3

I know I bitch about my health a lot. There has been so much resistance in my life to where I am. But now I feel like myself *fingers crossed* I really see why I’ve been struggling. I want to get all these stories out of my head and shared with the world. There are these beautiful characters just waiting to be found, understood, and connected with. I think it’s the human condition in so many ways. We are trapped in these bodies, unique and similar, and all we want is to find those who see us and can pull us from these feelings of loneliness and isolation. We are infinite beings living in a finite world made of matter, and every dream and thought we have is an entity we create and grow. How can we not suffer when we all manage to keep getting trapped in one world, one dark thought or restrictive lifestyle? Stories allow us to see the range we have inside and hopefully lead us to stretch into a new life where we are less restricted, less caged in flesh and social norms. We need someone to tell us we’re going to be okay, because fuck, from the perspective of trapped humanity, it’s not even a possibility to see it as real.

My dears, it is going to be okay.

Demon Bonded

First book is Perma-Free. If you haven’t snagged it, don’t miss out. <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Incubus Seduction — $0.99

Lust is life for an incubus

Judging by the desire radiating from the red-faced mortal in his sex shop, there was yet another fast, forgettable meal coming his way. When his intended snack turned him down, even after he’d massaged his prey’s inhibitions, the demon’s interest piqued.

No ordinary human could resist the lure of an incubus for long, and yet Finn was fighting as if his life depended on it. If what Ezra suspected was true, it did. Finn’s lust was not only life for the demon, it was a ticket to fame and fortune beyond his wildest dreams.

It was time to use his full demonic abilities to bring down his prey, to separate him from his mundane life and relationships, even if it was against supernatural law.

Being propositioned by a mouth-watering stranger was flattering, but a fling would ruin Finn’s carefully planned future. So why couldn’t Finn forget what those sinful, dark eyes promised?

A m/m paranormal novella told from the human’s POV. 1st part of the Incubus series. NOT a standalone.

The Second Quarterback — $0.99

They Like To Play The Field But That Might All Change When They Meet

Charity organizer Alex Foster doesn’t give second chances. What can love possibly have to offer that no-strings sex doesn’t cover with a hundred times less risk?

That might be bad luck for NFL star Garrett Argent. These days, he’s all out of second chances. He’s onto the third, the fourth and the fifth – and if he isn’t careful, even his incredible natural talent won’t keep him in professional football for much longer.

When Garrett approaches Alex’s charity to help organize a fundraising gala, sparks begin to fly.

Can Alex overcome his past traumas to let new experiences in? Can Garrett overcome his bad reputation without taking advantage of anybody’s good faith? Or will it be curtains for the second quarterback in Alex Foster’s life…?

Sorcerer Slayer S60

SCENE SIXTY

Fox’s nerves were frayed tight hours after being safe back at the Academy. The pain throbbing through his body might have something to do with it. Dr. Rob was hopeful about his ears but apparently the slashes from Malek’s claws were another story. Poison, of course. Everything about that demon seemed to sink in and destroy even once he was gone. Justin was still unconscious, and the wound on his chest was far more complicated than first thought. Leo was injured so badly he was currently stuck in his lion form. As for Forest, well, although he was physically unharmed, he was an absolute mess on a level Fox didn’t even know how to help him with.

Plus, there was the screaming.

The small hospital side room was warded to keep sound from escaping but it did nothing to stop the vibrations from shaking through the door and wall. If there was anything left on the other side of the door where Vincent was being kept, he doubted it would last for long.

Fox sat on Justin’s bed instead of the one put aside for him. Dr. Rob wanted to spell him to sleep but he refused. It might help him heal faster but he wanted to be awake. He wanted to make sure he didn’t lose any friends the moment his eyes closed.

All the patients were huddled around Justin and Leo’s individual hospital beds. Will and Christopher had brought Dante to the hospital the moment they heard who was injured. Dante was huddle at the foot of Leo’s bed, his eyes downcast as he watched the bandaged lion’s chest rise and fall. Wylie stood next to him offering silent support. Dorian was on a bed next to them all, separated by choice. His head was ducked and breath full of controlled sighs to keep from needing a null-collar for his power.

The atmosphere was unsettling; a heavy storm of worry, fear, agitation and dread flowed through the group of patients while Dr. Rob and the other masters stepped back and forth around them. Mr. McPherson dropped in long enough to see how everyone was before he left to call Leo and Justin’s families. Dr. Rob was currently mixing a potion for Justin in his office now everyone who needed bandaging was wrapped up. The silence stretched without the adults, interrupted only by Fox’s unconscious hisses of pain and the strained breathing of Justin and Leo on their hospital beds. There didn’t seem to be much worth saying; it was either voice the worry and fear, or let it hover above.

“He’s going to be fine,” Forest whispered hollowly to himself. His eyes were fixed unblinking on Justin’s too pale face. Justin looked lost among the colorful poultices. Most were centered on the brutal magical burns on his chest which refused to heal. Fox was sporting a similar mixture of magenta pink smeared down his left arm and side. His thin hospital gown was already stained with the poison absorbing potion.

Fox could scent the guilt rolling off of Forest. It didn’t matter what he said to try and make him feel better, Forest didn’t want to hear him. It was probably going to take Justin being awake and forgiving him personally for Forest to realize it really wasn’t his fault any of this happened.

Another vibration came from Vincent’s room and they all stilled with heads ducked down.

“So, what happened?” Jake asked Dorian quietly. Jake and Antonio arrived only after Master Thane found them hovering at the entrance of the alley. They held back, half afraid to get in trouble for wandering off. They didn’t even know anyone was hurt until they were through the portal into the Academy and realized everyone else was in the hospital.

Dorian continued to glare solemnly at his bent knees so Fox spoke up. “They were hunters. I think for slaving. They caught Raider in some sort of trap and we went looking for him. When we found him, well, shit got real super fast.”

Usually he loved to tell stories. Usually he was the one who couldn’t wait to exaggerate and relive and make everything seem better by being amazing. This time he didn’t have it in him. There were too many consequences and he wasn’t sure if they were going to disappear in a wave of magic like before. Every time Fox thought back, he just wished none of that messed up fight even happened.

“One was a shifter. The fucker was an actual shifter,” Forest snarled in disbelief. The noise sounded half a sob once it was out. “He tried to recruit Leo. You know, like to see if he’d turn on his us like that stupid ox shifter turned on his own.”

“It was probably easier for him,” Fox muttered after a moment. “To know Leo wouldn’t be hurt if he agreed. Those guys were going to kill all of us.”

Forest just hissed. Anger was bright in his eyes, only enhanced by the shine of tears. “Fuck. Fuck them all. Frost should have killed the fuckers.”

Fox silently agreed. He sought out Justin’s hand and twined his fingers with his motionless digits. It would have been a lot easier to deal with his friends being hurt if he knew those evil fuckers weren’t out there hunting down shifters.

The quiet of the hospital room was shattered when Michael pushed through the door that led to the hallway. He was talking loudly into a phone, his face pinched in worry. He quickly pulled the cellphone from his ear and covered it with his hand as he looked at the group. “Guys, any tattoos or uniforms? Is there anything at all that might have distinguished them as part of a group?”

Fox and Forest exchanged glances; Forest’s yellow eyes were haunted and Fox knew he wasn’t going to say anything even if he did remember something. “They were dressed alike, you know, like they had money,” Fox said. “The demon was definitely running the show. And they… well, they offered Leo a job, so someone was actually paying them. But they never gave a name of their master or anything, so…” he shrugged, uncertain. Raider didn’t seem to have anything to add; he was hunched so far into the chair at the edge of the group, Fox was pretty sure he was trying to hide.

Michael’s eyes hardened for a moment when he realized there was no information to be had. He went to sweep out of the room, only to be stopped by Dorian’s voice.

“The demon shifter. The runes used to bind him will reflect the sorcerer’s style.” Dorian raised his head and met Michael’s waiting gaze. “You know how this goes. Demons are damn rare and this one is being bound by ancient means. There won’t be many sorcerers out there with the capability.”

“It’s not something anyone is gong to announce, though,” Antonio added, his expression grim. “I mean, really, anyone who has a demon isn’t going to tell a soul, not even their family. Demon slaving is so dangerous and totally illegal.”

Michael nodded in agreement but his expression lightened slightly. “Yes, but Dorian has a good point. If we can get some spell samples of local magic users, we might find the one who cast those runes.” He turned back to his phone, speaking excitedly to the person on the other end. The glass door to the hallway swung shut as Michael slipped outside again.

“If they’re even local.” Forest’s voice was soft and full of defeat. “It was a city hub. For all we know, they were passing through. They could do it every day; target what they can find and run immediately after.”

“Fuck. Do you think they already caught a shifter today?” Fox sat up on the mattress. Now the idea trickled into his mind, he couldn’t shake it. What if they weren’t the first that day? What if some shifter was captured by those psychos only minutes before they came after them? What if they were out there, terrified and…

“Don’t,” Forest whimpered. He buried his face against Justin’s side. “Don’t make me wonder if there are more. That we failed someone else. God.”

Fox stilled and stared down at Forest’s hunched form. It felt like every word was capable of breaking him right now. He reached out and gently rubbed his slumped shoulder, grateful when Forest didn’t pull away.

Raider, unfortunately, thought it was time to add his perspective on things. “If so, any shifter would have been screwed if Frost killed those guys. For all you know, they could have been tied up and left to starve or some shit. And really, if Frost did kill them, what would have kept him from killing all of us right after?”

Again. Again, right back to this fucked up topic. Fox bristled but tried to breathe out calmly. He was fucked up; he knew Raider was fucked up. Still, he just couldn’t let it slide. This was the same shit said about shifters that got them all tagged and registered, and had people looking to kill them. Just in case the fears were true.

“How did they catch you?” Fox turned his head and met his gaze, only to have Raider look away. “You had something in your hand. Did they come after you or did you just chase after some useless, shiny trinket.” His voice raised by the end, his words full of anger. All Raider did was blame everyone else while he never wondered how he contributed to the fucking messes he ended up in.

“It was made for a dragon,” Raider said defensively. “It was made to capture someone like Doe who’s used to fighting the shiny pull.”

“Yeah, but you’re the one who go caught.” Forest didn’t bother to look up, his voice strangely hollow. “There was no scent, no sign of those guys at the store or on that street. There was nothing to make us suspect they were there. The only clue we had was your scent leading down that alley.”

Raider pursed his lips nervously. “What are you saying? That I intentionally led you into a trap?”

Forest shook his head. “I’m not saying shit. I just want to know how it went down. What were you doing wandering from the pack when you’re so scared of everything? It’s weird.”

Raider huffed and glanced to where Wylie was standing. His hand came up and he ran fingers roughly through his short, dark hair. “I wasn’t wandering, I just, I didn’t want to go into that butcher with all the dead animals. It’s not a fucking crime. The sorcerers left, so why couldn’t I just walk down the street?”

“Were you running again?” Fox asked bluntly, a dark spark in his eyes. “Were you hoping to find some fucking hole to hide in until we all went back to the Academy and left you there?”

Raider stood abruptly from his chair, his teeth and fists clenched tight. “No, I was too fucking scared to run, not that it’s any of your business. I don’t know what happened. The moment I saw the damn shiny thing, everything else blacked out. At least when I lose my shit I don’t have to worry about murdering everyone like your psycho boyfriend!”

“Fucker!” Fox didn’t feel the pain of his wounds as he bounded up with claws and fangs extended aggressively. Raider held his ground, his face red with anger.

“Stop it,” Dorian snapped. Raider and Fox were flung back into their previous seats and an invisible pressure held them in place. He gave them a hard, long stare, then waved his hand. The magic abated but their tempers didn’t.

“All you fucking predators do is kill. You do it so much, you don’t know how to handle a normal situation. You just think everything leads to killing.” Raider gripped the arms of his chair tight, too pissed off to be afraid of the obvious magic used against him. His entire focus was on Fox, who looked moments from leaping across the room again. “So why the fuck would Frost be any different? How many people has he killed where he can walk into that alley and not even fucking hesitate? You know I’m right. You know he’s just as bad as the monsters who were trying to kill you.”

Fox snarled warningly. “If all we do is kill, you fucking moron, then why the hell are you still alive! With a mouth like yours, any predator with a fucking brain would have snapped your neck just to shut you up!”

Wylie sighed heavily and ran his palm down his face. “Guys, if you’re going to do this, do it elsewhere.”

Raider turned his glare Wylie’s way. “Why, so you can hide it all? Pretend you aren’t all killing every day in this place?”

“For fuck—because two of my pack are wounded from saving your damn life,” Wylie snarled back. “And all you want to do is bitch about the guy who saved you.”

Raider’s expression turned furious. “He didn’t!”

“Yes, he fucking did.” Dorian looked far calmer than the rest of them but it was clear this particular topic of conversation was wearing on his nerves. “You see the wounds on your pack? You see the bruises and slashes all over Fox? Do you not realize they’d be dead right now if we hadn’t shown up?

Dorian shook his head and exhaled in frustration when Raider just glared back defiantly. “You want to complain about predator instinct or whatever; what the hell do you think it takes to stop a predator who has no conscience and just kills for the fuck of it? You need warriors who aren’t afraid to get hurt so people like you, people who are afraid, can keep living their naive lives thinking they have a choice. If your pack died, if Vincent failed, if Theo didn’t show and no one was able to stop those sick fucks, you would know exactly how little a choice you have when you’re not willing to fight back for your right to live.”

Dorian tugged at his bangs in agitation, his mouth twisted in a grim frown. Dante was quick to come up beside him and sit on the bed. “You have to fight,” Dante said quietly. “Even if you lose, at least you lost by your terms.”

Raider just scowled, his eyes glued to the floor, hands twisted in his hair. “That doesn’t make it okay.”

Dr. Rob’s office door swung open and the man popped his head into the room for a moment. Everyone immediately fell silent as his calming voice filled the room. “Guys, can we keep things quiet, please? Rest is very important for healing.”

“I’m leaving.” Raider pushed himself up from the chair. “If you want to justify murdering people when you know how fucking much it sucks to die, have at it. I know it’s still wrong.”

“It’s nice to have the privilege to make that choice when you’re alive,” Wylie said flatly. “Will you be calling Justin and Leo murderers if they ever wake up? Or is that just reserved for the sorcerers you obviously hate so much?”

Raider paused mid stride but didn’t say anything. He left in silence, his glare molten.

“Fuck him,” Fox muttered as he grasped his wounded side. “The motherfucking ass is always causing trouble. He’d say the sky is purple just to piss people off. Like anyone gives a fuck about the life of those assholes when for all we know those freaks have a room full of shifters they’re selling for parts?”

“He’s scared,” Will said soothingly. “For someone like Raider, who can’t walk down a street without feeling like a victim, it’s very easy to be angry at everything. Give him time to calm down. Justin and Leo need rest. You do too, Fox,” he added with a worried look.

Fox growled dismissively. He was tired of having to bend all of his emotions to Raider’s bitchy moods. He was tired of having to hear his friends and pack were a bunch of murderers just because they ate meat. Raider literally condemned them for protecting him to the death when the stupid raccoon was terrified of dying. The guy was insane. Raider was so irrational, it was exhausting.

Fox lay back on the bed with his arms raised about his head so he wouldn’t jostle Justin. He tried to calm his racing heart, anger still hot in his veins. With a shake of his head, he turned only to find Forest trying to hide his tears as he clutched to Justin. Fuck, another casualty Raider would never see because he was too fucking busy judging everyone. Fox reached his hand out and took Forest’s shaking one. He sighed when Forest whimpered and buried his face tighter to Justin’s shoulder.

Minutes passed, first awkward because no one knew what to say and Forest was definitely crying. Eventually the silence filled with softly spoken words. A door handle clicked and Fox jolted upright when Vincent’s door swung open. He met Master Theodore’s gaze, who deliberately shut the door behind him and used his body to block everyone’s view.

“He’s resting. Something I would hope all of you will do soon,” Theodore added with a pointed look to the group. “Dinner is ready in the lounge.”

“There’s no way I can eat,” Forest mumbled.

“Possibly, but I want you to try. Even if it’s just water.” Theodore looked to them all and his gaze lingered on Leo and Justin. His expression grew tired. “They’re going to take some time to heal. The demon shifter used magic in his physical attacks and it’s making the would healing difficult.”

“But they’re going to be okay, right?” Wylie asked.

Theodore nodded sharply. “We believe so. But they need rest.”

Fox, Forest, and Wylie exchanged glances; the determination in Theodore’s voice wasn’t lost on them.

“They’re pack,” Wylie finally said as he faced the master sorcerer. “They didn’t abandon anyone and we’re not going to abandon them.”

Theodore seemed understanding but also unwilling to budge. “I hardly think they’re going to feel abandoned if you go get some fresh air and put some food in your stomachs. You can always come back tonight and sleep on the cots if you insist.” His gaze turned to Fox and his violet eyes hardened. “Has Dr. Rob stressed how you shouldn’t be doing anything strenuous until your wounds fully heal? Being on your feet doesn’t mean you’re not moments from dropping.”

“Got it.” Fox brushed off his concern with a shrug. Knowing Theodore, the guy knew he was up and fighting with Raider minutes ago. “How is he?” he asked as he nodded toward Vincent’s door.

“Emotionally overwhelmed,” Theodore said simply. He walked toward the exit but paused as he opened the door out into the hallway. His expression was unreadable as he looked at Fox. “I think he might be open to company a little later. I’ll speak to Rob about it.”

Fox watched him leave. Did Vincent want to see him? Or did Theodore just think it might be good for him? He didn’t really care; he wanted to see Vincent. It was bullshit he was locked in a room all on his own when he was clearly suffering. Fox leaned back on the bed and Forest’s hand immediately sought his out again.

Vincent did everything right and he was tortured for it. There were no more vibrations of screaming but Vincent was rarely one for emotional displays. No, he ate his emotions, drowned in them like an internal wound that refused to heal. And still, Vincent tried. No matter how hard things got, Vincent never blamed, never diverted, he just kept pushing and trying. Fox wanted to be strong like that. He needed to ignore the shit Raider said and be strong the way Vincent was so he could help the people who needed him.

You know, just not go crazy at the same fucking time.

Fox’s heart twisted every time he remembered how Vincent’s eyes looked; they went from being full of determination and fire to have it all snuffed out in an instant. Before that, it was like he could finally see into the real Vincent. Someone who knew who he was, who wielded power just as easily as he did breath. Vince was a warrior, a protector. He came to life to save those who needed him. When he failed… like the way he failed that shifter in the past. When he failed, it was like Vincent disappeared inside himself and left only an echo of his real fire.

Fox sighed softly and covered his eyes with his free arm. Even now Vincent was locked away. No pack, no one to thank him or help him. At least Master Theodore was allowed to be there for him. Fox kinda assumed Dr. Rob or even Michael would be the one to go to Vincent, but no. When they first heard those crashes of desperation from the other side of the door, Master Theodore went to him readily with a null-collar wrapped around his neck.

It was a reminder how the masters at the Academy didn’t care if someone was a shifter or sorcerer or anything in between. They just cared. Every time Raider said shit, Fox needed to remember that. Raider’s perspective wasn’t reality. The masters cared. Everyone in this room cared that Justin and Leo were hurt.

“Are you sure he was a demon?” Wylie sat with Dorian on the hospital cot. Dante was curled up next to him so he could see Leo and Justin from his perch. “I didn’t think demons could shift. Well, at least, McPherson told me there was no such thing as a shifter who turned into a demon.”

Dorian, usually prone to sparks, was sullen as Wylie waited patiently for an answer. “He was a demon. One able to shapeshift… well, he should have been able to. Shifters can’t turn into demons but some demons can turn into animals.” Dorian’s expression grew stormy. “The thing is, I don’t think he could even do that. Vincent had him between spikes and if he could have gone small, he would have to escape. Fuck.”

Wylie sat back as Dorian suddenly stood. Dorian’s eyes were haunted and he started to pace the length of the bed. “If you had seen his face. When those runes went down from Theo’s spell… Fuck, I can’t stop thinking about it.”

Wylie gently grabbed Dorian’s arm and pulled him close. “Ri, it’s okay.”

“It’s not,” Dorian whispered harshly. “There is nothing okay about any of it. It could have been Dante.” He looked away as he fought tears. “I saw that trapped fucker and all I could think about was what might have happened if you hadn’t rescued D. No one would have known he was in that crate. No one even cared he was gone from his home. No one would have saved him if not for you, Wylie. He could have been used to kill, or steal, or anything terrible until one day someone stronger would finally fight back and kill him. Fuck, and they would be justified for it. He could have been a slave until he died and… fuck. It’s fucking shit to even think about.”

Fox huffed from his spot on Justin’s bed. He leaned on his arm to look over to where Wylie was holding Dorian’s hands. “What, so now you feel sorry for the guy who was trying to kill us?”

“I can give a fuck about another living being and still want us all to live,” Dorian snapped, but his voice was far from biting. “Didn’t you see his expression when Theo cast that spell? That demon was terrified. He begged when he realized the runes were going to turn back on. It was completely fucked up.”

It was, but Fox didn’t want to think about it. Out of all the people who could have died in that alley, he knew his choice.

“I don’t understand why he didn’t just kill you,” Forest muttered, his eyes downcast. “He was a demon. He probably could have killed us all easily. But he didn’t.”

“It’s because he was bound,” Christopher spoke up. The incubus was sitting away from the group to make sure his powers didn’t effect anyone’s healing. “When a sorcerer binds a demon’s power to him, he cripples many of the demon’s abilities.”

“Sorry, Chris.” Forest raised his head to look his way. “We didn’t mean to upset you.”

“It’s what happens.” Christopher’s expression was calm and his red eyes steady. “I’m not offended. Pretending these things don’t happen only allows them to continue.

Fox slowly sat up and sighed. He liked Chris and he didn’t want to be an asshole about demons just because one tried to kill them all. “Okay then. Why would a sorcerer cripple the power of a demon if he wanted to use that power?

Christopher raised a blue-tinted eyebrow. “It’s an unintended side effect. It’s very difficult to keep someone under another’s power without breaking him on some level.”

“Many masters use collars to keep a captured demon’s power from reducing, but the collars are much easier to break free from.” Dorian looked back at Fox to explain. “The runes are an older magic used on the most strong-willed of demons. That cat demon has been fighting from the beginning and was still fighting when Theodore set him free for that minute. You could tell every time the runes pulsed red. He doesn’t want to be trapped doing those things and when things got bad, he fought it even harder.”

Forest pushed up on his arms, his hands buried in his hair. “You’re telling me he’s enslaved? Like someone is literally taking over his body and mind? Fuck, this is all so crazy.”

“Yeah. Killing him would have harmed the sorcerer who controlled him,” Dorian added quietly. “Vincent knew. It might have even killed the master given the way he bonded to the demon. If Master Theo had been able to get a lock on the sorcerer while the demon was momentarily free, he might have been able to save him.”

Forest couldn’t seem to find the words. Fox watched, eyes narrowed, when his friend teased his hand behind him for a moment. He knew he still had Malek’s feather. It wasn’t good. Whatever hold the demon had on Forest should have left the moment he was out of sight and scent.

Dorian turned back to Wylie, their foreheads pressed together. “It’s hard to know if another chance like that can happen. Sorcerers who don’t want to be found rarely are. Not when they can control a being as powerful as a demon shifter.”

Agitation was brimming through Fox, a feeling he recognized all too well in Forest’s eyes. They were so busy thinking about stolen shifters, they failed to see the ones kidnapping them were just as victimized. Malek told him to run. Repeatedly. Instead of attacking, he told them to run away. It was hard to know how to feel. Hard to know who to be angry at.

No, that wasn’t fully true.

Fox was angry at the sorcerer who was pulling the strings. The one none of them saw but was the reason demons, shifters, and sorcerers were out there determined to capture a dragon and any other type of shifter who could be sold. There was a magic user out there who enslaved a demon and then used it to slave others. Who convinced an ox shifter to join his ranks of his own free will because it was better than being an unwilling slave.

It was very easy to want to hunt and destroy a monster like that. Given the glares around the room, he wasn’t the only one who thought so.

Last Day For 18 Hot Gay BDSM Ebooks Giveaway! ☀

Hello darlings, the world is conspiring to give you hot books to read.

I know it’s tough. So many options, so little time.

Woke up, realized it was nearly 5pm—don’t even get me started with the sleeping till dusk thing again. I swear, my body just gets bored and goes ‘fuck it’ to normal sleep patterns. Anyways, opened my bedroom door and my air purifier was right outside! The one that was supposed to be delivered on Monday! Huzzah. So excuse me if I’m brief, but I wanna go play with the lifesaving toy. XD

Sorry for the delay getting back to you all, allergies have consistently kicked my butt this week (hence the air purifier.) I was not expecting so many encouraging comments about last week’s topic. One voice of criticism does not a norm set because you guys were all, fuck that, give us our hot gay smut and we don’t care who writes it! XD Speaking of which, Alina is having another giveaway! This time 18 gay BDSM themed books from 18 different authors.

I want to be clear, lovely peeps, I don’t enter these giveaways just to make sure it’s one more chance in your favor. But fuck, I really wish I did cuz 18 books? That would be my summer reading. XD Bullying Teacher is on the list if you haven’t snagged that yet. It’s the last day to enter!!! Go get it!

Jex Lane has Captive out for FREE. If you haven’t started this series (you poor, poor soul) lol, now would be a great time. And hey, Matthew is bisexual *eyebrow waggle* so this boy burns both ways.

For a quick update on the website, Sorcerer Slayer is now up to #58, Awakening #15 and Intangible #12 which I’ll be updating again this weekend. And expect to see the first few scenes of a little Fox x Vince fic thrown up later today… tonight? It’s not really canon but… well… Okay, you know how Wylie goes dragon every time he wants Dorian? He just loses control and can’t help himself? That was perfectly fine since he can’t turn into a full dragon. Err… It’s a bit different for type 1 shifters and I realized this the hard way when going to write some smut in Sorcerer Slayer. Whoops. @[email protected];;;

So, to keep Sorcerer Slayer out of whatever book dungeon they have for too much taboo (naughty, naughty book!) I thought I’d just explore some of that in little side fics instead and for the ‘canon’ story, make it so type 1s deal with mating differently than type 2s. Ah, my dirty, fluff filled mind.

Captive – Free

Matthew Callahan has spent seven years struggling against the insatiable hunger for blood consuming him. Unable to stop the vampire inside from preying on humans, he keeps himself confined to a lonely existence.

Everything changes the night he is lured into a trap and taken prisoner by High Lord General Tarrick—a seductive incubus who feeds off sexual energy. Forced into the middle of a war between vampires and incubi, Matthew is used as a weapon against his own kind. Although he’s desperate for freedom, he is unable to deny the burning desire drawing him to the incubus general he now calls Master.

This book contains dark themes, a captured bisexual vampire, and high heat. It is intended for mature audiences.

The Dragon’s Little Secret – $0.99

What Would You Do If You Had A Baby With Your Boss?

River Marsh is a young adult set to bring his family business into the next generation. However, that isn’t easy when his biggest secret isn’t accepted in his small hometown.

His father relocates his son to Chicago, to work under an aloof boss who shares a similar secret.

Storm Woods, is his new boss. However, amid his work, he has lost touch with the dragon shifting crowd.

Their relationship becomes complicated when River and Storm, together, find that they will rock the cradle as well as the boat.

 

Demon Arms 15

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Dorian sat in the back during his Magical Arts class. Unlike Body Magic, this course was gratefully free of shifters. It focused on sorcery as a business. No shifter would be caught dead pursuing magic in such a way and today he was absolutely grateful.

After the reflection room incident he managed to avoid Wylie for over a week. Seeing him hurt too much. It made him feel too much of everything. It was misery. Not seeing Wylie was also driving him crazy, and catching small sights of him during the day was even worse. God, he hated this so much.

Master Thane was droning on about something concerning the properties of crystals. Dorian had heard it all before and didn’t feel like hearing it again. Even though he had avoided Wylie, he couldn’t stop thinking of him.

Wylie softened for him. He flattened his scales and retracted his claws just for him. What could he do for Wylie? Explode him if he ever kissed him without a null-collar. It was hardly a fair fucking trade-off. His only way to be with Wylie was to live his life in a collar as a null. Also a shitty trade-off.

God, why? He was doing so damn well. He should have listened to that annoying but brilliant inner voice. The one that told him to walk the fuck away the day he smacked into Wylie Doe and started sparking. But no, he was an idiot and apparently he hated himself on top of it.

Dorian did his best not to groan as he recalled the most recent incident of doom which occurred right before class. He hadn’t been paying attention. He just assumed the shifters were out in the yard running their afternoon sprint of animal survival they always did. He nearly walked smack into Wylie again. The dragon’s hiss his was only warning. Wylie was with Fox and Forest, the two shorter shifters following him around like riffraff puppies.

Wylie didn’t say anything to him. Nothing about how Dorian was dodging him the last week, nothing about being pissed or hurt or fucking anything. He just stood there staring at him with such damn feeling in his eyes like he fucking understood what he was going through.

Fuck, maybe he did. Even though Wylie had a dragon in his ear, he never pressured him, never tried to force the damn mating thing on him. Wylie was able to see he was dealing with his own shit and gave him all the space he needed.

Fuck.

Self-loathing was not a new feeling for him, but it was damn near overwhelming as of late. Dorian tried to focus on the teacher, and when that didn’t work, on the other sorcerers talking quietly in front of him.

There weren’t many pure sorcerers at the Academy. Not that magic users were super rare. Those with enough power to end up in need of the Academy, usually had family or a master to guide them and keep them out of trouble. That Vincent was there suggested he didn’t have anyone back home. The other two magic users, Jake and Antonio, were pretty much at the end of their stay.

Sorcerers didn’t talk a lot about what brought them to the Academy. Hell, they barely talked at all. Sorcerers mostly viewed each other as competition. Even though Antonio and Jake shared a dorm for over six months, once they went back out into the real world, they’d make a point to stay in separate territories for fear of angering the other. It was stupid shit which made Dorian wish for a life without the trappings of magical powers.

It didn’t mean he was willing to actually live without magic, though.

“I was thinking a bonfire. You know, all of us.”

“With the shifters?” Jake’s head was ducked as he peered up at Vincent with a slight scowl. “Seriously?”

“What? You can’t spend a damn hour at a party with shifters?” Vincent gave him a challenging look. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were frightened.”

Scoffing at the very notion, Jake and Antonio exchanged glances and considered. Dorian got up from his seat. His anger was barely contained.

Fucking Vincent. He was just looking for another way at Wylie. Like the guy really wanted sorcerers and shifters to be best fucking friends all of a sudden? It was all just too fucking much. Dorian dismissed Master Thane’s questioning look. He headed for the nearest door while he pulled his cigarettes free.

Dorian groaned internally when he got outside into the Academy yard. Michael was sitting by a large potted tree. He scowled and lit a cigarette and made his way over to the instructor. “Master Whiteheart.”

Michael raised a brow at Dorian’s tone and insistence on using his formal name, but didn’t say anything. He let Dorian smoke in peace for a few minutes.

It didn’t feel like peace, though. Dorian twitched under his scrutiny. “What?” he finally snapped. He kicked at a small rock and listened as it clattered down the walk.

“You’ve been different.”

“So?”

“Moody,” Michael elaborated.

Dorian huffed and rolled his eyes. He exhaled smoke through his nose.

“Your magic has been all over the place,” Michael continued. “Erratic spikes at all hours of the day. I’m growing concerned.”

He didn’t have to say just what he was concerned about. Dorian took out another cigarette in silence. That was the way of the Academy. They let you work at your own shit until they saw you were totally going to fail. Then they swooped in to keep you from fucking it all up. The thing was, Michael was jumping the gun. He didn’t need help. He was dealing on his own.

Dorian looked up and froze when Michael pulled a letter from his back pocket and held it out in offering. Once he saw the return address, Dorian continued to stare until Michael took his hand and placed the letter in it. “Do you want a collar?”

He shook his head slowly. “No… Just, stay until I’m done. Just in case.” Dorian stared expressionlessly at the envelope. He forced his fingers to move and he stiffly tore open the back. He felt very cold all of a sudden as the sun failed to reach him.

His father was well. Business was good, and he was considering retirement so he could spend more time at home. He was thinking of taking an apprentice. His mother had started a small non-profit to help raise funds to screen children for sorcery abilities. Janette was practicing for the school play but his parents were concerned she was neglecting her studies. The Winter Ball was fast approaching. Would he be stable enough to attend this year? Alastor’s parents were asking about him. They were planning a memorial and wouldn’t Dorian be honored to speak?

Each word was a knot in his gut. The tone was cold, even and familiar.

Of course, if he wished to bring his friends, he could. Just, shifters were so very different. It would be unfair to have them taken away from their peers where they were best understood.

His mother. She was always so concerned with how other people felt when she was trying to avoid social embarrassment. It wasn’t her fault. His father was probably muttering in the study as she wrote. He probably warned, again and again, to make sure he didn’t bring any of those horrible animals with him.

It was the world he was from. His parents’ world. The world of sorcery and rich, coldblooded, cutting assholes who all thought they were better than everyone else.

Michael watched silently as fire spread from Dorian’s fingers. The paper curled and turned black until ash floated away on a breeze teasing by. Dorian let the pieces disintegrate, and finally lit the cigarette he neglected and took a long hit.

“You have to talk about this stuff, kid. You can’t just keep it all inside.”

“Wanna fucking bet?” Dorian glanced his way with his expression blank. “I’m fine. You can sense my magic; it’s perfectly smooth.”

Michael wasn’t convinced and he sighed as he straightened. “You’re hiding from your own shit and if this keeps up you’re headed for an explosion. It doesn’t go away. It just sneaks up and hits you when you least expect it.” He gave Dorian a pointed look. “That means different things with your power.”

Dorian shrugged unconcernedly. “Well, guess we all better hope I have a collar at the time.”

It was the shittiest, most intense wake-up call he needed. If his father didn’t tear Wylie apart verbally, his grandfather would just tear the scales from his beautiful flesh. He could lie to himself about his power not harming Wylie, but Dorian knew he’d never be able to protect him from his family.

Wylie was having a difficult week. Extremely difficult. Oh, the Academy was fine enough. Leo had backed the fuck off after he kicked his ass. He was hardly pleasant, but Wylie wasn’t expecting miracles from an alpha type. Fox and Forest were cool enough and taught him more than a few ways to pass the time. He even had his first run-in with Justin when his inner werewolf made an appearance right before the full moon.

It was awkward as fuck having the kid go from sweet to crazy bitch in two seconds flat. But they settled it once Justin came to his senses. The werewolf was territorial about random things, food one of them. Wylie would not be reaching over his tray again anytime soon.

No, Wylie’s problem was Dorian. He wasn’t sure if he freaked the guy the fuck out with the whole dragon marking his mate thing, or if Dorian was freaking over the sparking thing or what. All he knew was Dorian wanted nothing to do with him. His inner dragon was heartbroken.

He might have been a little heartbroken too, except he still wasn’t sure what the fuck he was even doing with Dorian. He hadn’t come to the Academy expecting any of this. Not the magic, not friends, not his dragon changing and becoming more prominent in his life. He sure as fuck hadn’t been expecting to find a guy a part of him loudly demanded he spend the rest of his life with.

Just a taste of blood and Dorian fixed his dragon problem in an instant. Wylie never dreamed his demon arms would one day be nonlethal. Dorian made it happen without him having to kill anyone.

Wylie looked around at his surroundings. Theodore had shown him the current room, located not too far from his classroom. Theodore had decorated it as a home away from home for his inner dragon. Visually, it left a lot to be desired. It was dimly lit with rocky outcrops he could only assume were magical in origin. It was like being in a cave, one with crystal formations and scratchy floors. His dragon liked the room even as Wylie twitched at the sorcery used to create it. Although he was capable of doing a lot of magic, he wasn’t used to it at all.

With a sigh, he pushed his scales further over his body and called the dragon forth. His shirt was ruined, now shreds on the floor. Even though he could get his scales to lie flat, he still transformed with them out and sharp. He was working on it. He was working on a lot of stuff. Ever since Theodore showed him the dragon room two days ago a switch had flipped in his inner beast. It wanted to be strong for its mate. It saw how Theodore looked—powerful, beautiful and full of regality—and he wanted to be that way for Dorian. Surely his mate would relent and stop their game of chase if they could do a full transformation.

Wylie gave up trying to explain to the creature that Dorian had damn good reasons for resisting. Dorian’s magic was out of control and well, fuck, Wylie was a total fuck-up.

He hadn’t shared with Dorian just how much he was destroying his life before the Academy. It was self-sabotage if he ever saw it. Just, while he could point out to a stranger how she was fucking up her life and needed to fix it, Wylie couldn’t do the same for himself. He could see his patterns but couldn’t break the cycle.

Ending up at the Academy was a twist of fate. He should have ended up in Roth’s gang. You know, robbing people, maybe hurting people, maybe in Daiker already or even dead. He told himself he was going in for all the right reasons, but time to think just revealed the same old patterns again. Roth’s gang was just another very familiar dead end. A way to finally fuck-up his life permanently. And for real, he just didn’t know how to be any other way.

Dorian deserved better than him.

Wylie turned when the door to the hallway opened without warning.

“Oh, shit… sorry.” It was Vincent. He stared wide-eyed at Wylie like he was shocked he existed. Which reminded him he was almost completely covered head to toe with black dragon scales now.

Wylie had noticed Vincent following him around a lot. He wasn’t sure just what Vincent wanted from him, but he could guess given the intense look that went along with his dogged steps. “Lost?” Wylie asked even though he knew it wasn’t the case.

Vincent stepped into the room. He was blind to the crystal formations and rocky floor as he stared at Wylie intently. Wylie was starting to feel self-conscious. No one had seen his new dragon form yet, including Theodore. The damn near hungry look in Vincent’s eyes as he stalked forward was unsettling.

“Did you want something?” Wylie’s frown grew when Vincent walked right up, and circled around him. He looked at him from head to toe.

“Never seen one transformed,” Vincent mused under his breath as he took in Wylie’s mirror black form. Besides his face and a trail of transparent scales leading down his chest, Wylie was covered in the shiny, black, iridescent scales. “I heard—but I never could have imagined. Too rare… too beautiful to be destroyed…”

“What?” Wylie’s fingers twitched at his sides as he held himself still. Vincent was standing too close for comfort. Vincent, like many of the sorcerers, was absolutely beautiful. Just shy of Wylie’s height, his aristocratic features were nearly ethereal. His beautiful silver eyes were wide and flecked with sparks of light and shadow. Those eyes were currently fixed on his. His flushed lips parted as he wet his lips silently.

Vincent didn’t seem interested in talking. Wylie took a step back when a minute ticked by with him still staring. He considered walking out the door to see he would continue to stare when Vincent finally spoke.

“I’m trying to get the shifters together for a thing tonight. You know, because we’re all so divided.” Vincent combed his fingers through his long, blue-black hair. His gaze still took in Wylie’s shirtless form. “I’d really like you to come. The shifters like you and, well, you’re new. You’re not stuck in the idea of one group or the other. It’s weird, right? That the sorcerers never spend time with the shifters?”

“Uh… I guess.” Wylie had nothing against sorcerers. Theodore warned him about sorcerers because he was a dragon shifter. No one at the Academy treated him badly, though. Besides Vincent constantly fighting with Fox, he’d yet to see a sorcerer act rude to a shifter. “No one’s bothered me here,” he said truthfully.

“You look really different,” Vincent blurted out. His pale skin was slightly flushed. “Are you… Are you safe to touch?”

Wylie nodded and watched as Vincent edged closer with fingers extended towards his chest. His gray eyes had a daze to them and Vincent looked ready to sway against him. With a meaningful look, Wylie quickly grabbed his wrist to keep Vincent from touching. “I like someone. A lot.”

“Oh.” Vincent peered up into his white-blue eyes. “I won’t tell.” He went to press up against him but Wylie stepped back and kept him at arm’s length.

“I really like him. My dragon would never let me hurt Dorian like that,” he said determinedly. He really hoped Vincent would get a clue already.

Vincent glanced away with his expression closed off. “You know he can’t be with you, right? It’s a total lost cause with his magical affliction.”

“That’s my problem.” It wasn’t something Wylie wanted to get into with Vincent of all people. “What time is this thing?”

“Eight. We’re going to have a bonfire out back.” Vincent looked mildly nervous and asked after a pause, “Can I get your email? It’s, uh, easier to contact that way. I’m hoping we can do one of these nights twice a month, you know? To help us get along.”

Wylie didn’t see any harm in it. He gave him his email and Vincent conjured up a small notebook to write it down. Vincent shut the door when he left, but not before sending a final hungry glance his way.

Wylie stared at his hand sleek with black scales and free of claws. Even Vincent thought being with Dorian was impossible.

The dragon hadn’t turned aggressive the entire time Vincent was there. His dragon was really getting better. He hadn’t expected it to happen so soon—at all, honestly—but it seemed Vincent was the proof. His dragon didn’t trust him but also knew it didn’t need to slice Vincent up unless real danger showed. It was a huge improvement, one he wasn’t sure how to get used to just yet.

It wouldn’t matter, would it? The dragon was working so hard for someone he couldn’t have. Wylie had grown very good at shutting down hope for things he couldn’t have. His dragon, though… It was a part of him but also separate. It didn’t want to give up no matter what Wylie said.

Somehow Vincent convinced all the shifters to show up to the bonfire. Dorian wasn’t sure how, nor how he got the other sorcerers to attend. He wasn’t surprised to see Will. As an elf halfling, Will didn’t care about the history of bad blood between sorcerers and shifters. Even Christopher was there; the incubus was hunched over by the fire where his strange red eyes glinted in the flame. Vincent had gotten all the patients to show. Amazing considering he had the personality of a psycho.

Dorian was there for one reason—one he willingly admitted to himself—to keep Vincent away from Wylie. He was there to play cockblock and nothing else. No talking to Wylie, no looking at him, no trying to get into his pants. No matter how tight they were.

Dorian currently had the bonfire between them. He was strategically next to Vincent but made a point not to talk to the obnoxious sorcerer. And if he happened to find himself moving closer to where Wylie was standing with the other shifters, he could blame it on Vincent’s movements.

“There is no way in fuck I’m going over there,” Jake muttered when Vincent tried to pull him over to the side with the shifters. Dorian could hear Fox howling something enthusiastically on the other side of the fire pit. The group of shifters had claimed the spot since the event began and were sitting upwind of the smoke. Yeah, Vincent might have gotten them all there but he couldn’t make anyone talk to each other. Even in the dark, the boundaries between the two groups were clear.

“Did you see that fucked-up email Vincent sent?” Fox gave another hoot of laughter.

Wylie did his best to pay attention to his lively friend. “Was it bad?”

“Fucking hilarious. Sexy but terrifying, that guy.” Fox’s grin split his face. “Seriously, read it when you get a chance. In his attempt to invite us he called shifters—”

“Dimwitted but well-intentioned animals,” Forest chimed in. He was much less enthusiastic than Fox. “Laugh all you like but that guy is messed up.”

Fox shrugged. His gaze drifted to where Vincent was trying and failing to get the sorcerers to come over and say hello. “He’s harmless enough.”

Forest didn’t bother to keep the disdain from his snort. “You’re so begging at his feet. You know he’s never going to give you the time of day, man.”

Fox grinned again. He gave another howl and sprawled back on the grass surrounding the pit. “Vince gives me the time whenever I ask. He just happens to be threatening to hex me while calling me a moron at the same time.” He uncapped a water and chugged it down while ignoring Forest’s eye roll.

Wylie was sitting beside the two. He burned a stick in the fire and did his best to bite his tongue. Fox didn’t seem to give a fuck that Vincent was staring at him since he got there. If shifters recognized one thing, it was attraction. Still, he didn’t want to upset Fox by mentioning it. He liked Fox. He had no interest in Vincent and, if Fox enjoyed being yelled at by the gorgeous psycho, he wasn’t going to interfere.

Leo gave a grunt while glaring at Justin. He was behind them all, aloof as he refused to join the party. He also refused to leave. Justin held up a singed marshmallow on a stick to the towering Leo and smiled beckoningly. Justin was so short and slender in contrast, and Wylie watched the exchange warily. Leo was grumpy as hell since their fight, and was full of snarls and defiant glares. When Leo finally responded to the werewolf, it was another wordless grunt. He took the offered stick and ate the marshmallow in a sharp bite.

“So, not to state the obvious here, but he keeps looking at you.”

First glancing over at Fox, Wylie followed to where he indicated. Dorian was standing with the other sorcerers. Wylie caught a flash of Dorian’s eyes before he looked away. The small group looked awkward as hell as they stood stiffly like they were at some middle school dance or some shit.

Wylie still wasn’t sure just why the sorcerers felt the need to be separate from the shifters. Leo was the surliest out of all of them and he never spoke negatively about sorcerers. Well, unless it was personal. Antonio cast a spell too close when Leo was eating and he was vocal about it. But still, not violent. It wasn’t a reason to act like the shifters were going to beat them.

“Hey, Dorian!” Fox jumped up and Wylie grabbed for his shirt. It was no use. Fox ducked around him with a wicked grin. Fuck. Whatever. It didn’t matter how persuasive or annoying Fox was, Dorian wouldn’t talk to him anytime soon.

“He’s got skills,” Forest muttered with a begrudging smile. Not only did Fox herd the sorcerers their way, he also managed to get Vincent to yell at him at the same time. “Shit, I have this really strong feeling one of us is going to be thrown into that fire by the time this night is through.”

Probably Fox, Wylie silently agreed. He moved over so Justin could crouch next to him and roast another marshmallow. Shifters avoided sugar but the little werewolf seemed ready to rot all his teeth out. It was a special occasion so they stayed quiet, but Forest was keeping a sharp eye on Justin just in case he started going crazy wolf while full of sugar.

“Aren’t the masters worried we’re going to burn the place down?” Wylie asked Forest.

“Nah. We can magic it out really quick.” Forest waved his arm around the area. “Besides, there are so many wards in place. Theodore or Michael would be out here in a second if something bad went down. They pretty much let us do what we want.”

Wylie involuntarily scowled in jealousy. Bitterness was an ugly taste in his mouth. The freedom these guys had just to live was so different from the group homes. Kids might have been allowed to do stuff like this where he was from, but they wouldn’t have. They were too afraid to break an unspoken rule and be sent off to somewhere even worse. Thrown away. The patients at the Academy never had to worry about that. Someone loved each of them enough to bring them to McPherson and get them help.

“Whoa, watch it there.” Wylie was up in an instant to catch Fox before he stumbled backward into the flame. Fox gave him a roguish grin. He unashamedly loved the fact Vincent shoved him. He might have some damn issues. He looked half ready to go fox and start running circles around the angry sorcerer.

“Alright?” Dorian came over to help Fox straighten up. “You must have a death wish.”

“We all gotta go someday. If I happen to be staring into angry silver eyes at the time…” Fox’s grin was lazy as he looked over to where Vincent was bitching to Jake about him.

“I keep thinking you’re the smart one, then you do shit like this.” Dorian shared a concerned look with Wylie. “Some things are just really bad for you, Alvarez.”

Fox clearly didn’t care. He twisted his bandana back in place and swaggered over to his angry-eyed crush. It left Wylie and Dorian staring at each other awkwardly.

“I should, um…” Dorian tilted his head towards the three other sorcerers but made no move to join them.

Wylie remained silent. He was fairly certain whatever came out of his mouth would be the wrong thing. He was still confused when it came to Dorian although his dragon wasn’t. The creature was well aware Dorian was collarless and looked particularly sexy in the warm fire glow. The last time they’d been this close was their day together in the reflection room. It was difficult not to think about it, even harder not to see Dorian the way he was that day; nude, gasping, dripping in his seed. He let Wylie scent him as his and then hadn’t talked to him since.

“Did you want a…?” Dorian held up his cigarette case. Except for the slight tremor of his hand, he seemed completely at ease. But Wylie could smell his turmoil.

“Sure.” He didn’t realize just how well-behaved his dragon was being until Dorian’s fingers brushed his when he handed him a cigarette. Wylie’s form gave a ripple, and he stepped back when scales sprouted over his body. His t-shirt was slashed by the longer scales on his shoulders. “Crap,” he muttered. He quickly flexed his scales down and retracted his claws. It was too late; his cigarette was sliced in half. “Damn it.”

He looked imploringly to Dorian. He hoped he might take pity since he was the reason his dragon reacted. Dorian was staring at him in wide-eyed awe. Small sparks jumped off his skin and were lost in the fire. Wylie dared a glance around and found everyone staring at him with similar expressions. It was the first time he revealed his improved transformation to all of them. Apparently Vincent’s reaction wasn’t unique.

“Is it complete?” Dorian finally asked. He sounded breathless.

“No, not yet.” Wylie tried to ignore the uncomfortable sensation of being stared at. He indicated his forehead. “Guess I’m missing some horns. Wings too, and a tail.” He was a walking, glittering waterfall of black rainbow scales and not much else, but it seemed to be eye catching. His dragon purred from the attention Dorian was giving them.

“And you’re safe?”

He fought a sudden, overwhelming urge to grab Dorian by the arm, pull him against his chest, and kiss him soundly. Dorian was staring at him hungrily now his sparking was under some control. A fucking week he ignored him. It was mind-boggling Wylie managed to stay away so long.

Exhaling heavily, Wylie held his arm up and revealed his scales were completely flat.

Dorian’s fingers unconsciously reached for him. His power was chained the last time he touched his scales. Now that it wasn’t, Wylie’s dragon was reacting to his magic. The creature wanted to claim his mate properly and taste the crackling power and the body it belonged to. As if Dorian could tell, his fingers sparked the instant he touched Wylie’s arm.

“Shit, sorry.”

Wylie grabbed his hand and held him still. “Didn’t hurt. My scales are resistant to magic,” he reminded quietly.

Dorian stared at where his hand was captured. He carefully extracted it from Wylie’s grasp. “Resistant isn’t the same as withstanding a magical explosion.”

Wylie read the sober message in his hazel eyes. “No, probably not. Your magic is powerful. It would be unrealistic to expect that.”

If he could get the sexy sorcerer into a null-collar, it wouldn’t be something to worry about for the moment. All Wylie could think about was having him again, to taste him and hear him cry out. Given the hazy look in his eyes and the fresh scent of arousal, Dorian was thinking something similar. “Did you want—”

Dorian cut him off swiftly. “Can’t.” He pulled away. His gaze was suddenly cold and shuttered. Dorian nodded towards the shifters and sorcerers. They were in a loose group now but still divided. The sorcerers were hunched up like they were afraid to so much as brush against the shifters. “Where I’m from, shifters are animals. Less than human. Beneath us.”

Silent, Wylie glanced to where his pack watched. Their expressions were closed off. “Oh? That’s pretty shit.”

Dorian wasn’t done. “Things to be used; that’s what shifters are. Slave labor at best, parts for the rest.” He smiled cruelly. “My grandfather would have taken you apart. He would have skinned you and thrown your scales on the wall like a trophy. Then he would have used your magic to hunt down the rest of your family and do the same to them.”

“Dorian?” It was Justin. The sweet werewolf looked up at him with wide brown eyes full of pain. Wylie wasn’t sure what the hell had gotten into Dorian but he seemed in a rush to have every damn shifter in the Academy hate him.

“You’re not your grandfather.” Wylie hoped to remind Dorian as well as the shocked shifters. “I never once worried you’d do something like that.”

Dorian just shrugged and his expression grew colder. “Just because I play nice doesn’t mean I see you as an equal.”

His jaw tensed and Wylie stood taller. He glared back this time. “You want to hurt me, Dorian?” The question was unnecessary; he could see the truth in his body language.

“Wanting to fuck doesn’t mean I’d ever see you as worthy of being my boyfriend.” Dorian spoke quietly but the words were crisp and clear. “You’re a shifter. A failed one who can’t even transform fully. Even your own parents knew you were a lost cause, which is why they gave you away.”

“Son of a—Dorian!” Fox crouched and threw himself at Dorian. He was stopped frozen by a spell sent by the sorcerer’s raised hand. Without saying another word, Dorian turned from Wylie. He walked back to the Academy with hands in pockets and cigarette smoking between his lips.

“What the fuck is his problem!” Fox growled. The spell released once Dorian was out of sight. “Wylie, he’s full of shit. Don’t listen to that—”

“Chill.” Wylie held his hand up. The wry grin on his face did nothing to hide the bitterness he felt. “Just drop it.”

“He has no right!” Fox was red faced, Justin looked ready to burst into tears and Forest wore a scowl. Even Leo was standing stiffly with his chin raised defiantly.

“He has every right,” Wylie muttered under his breath. Everyone who touched Dorian Black was destined to be burned. The sparks hadn’t done the trick because of his scales, but Dorian was not to be denied. When magic failed he used words to push others away.

“None of that was directed at you guys, okay?” Wylie said to the pack. “That was all for me, and I don’t need anyone fighting my battles.” Sighing, he drew his scales in and pulled at his shredded shirt.

“He shouldn’t have said that.” Antonio stepped up to Wylie and Fox. “We don’t think that way. Yeah, we all have a relative or two that still talks shit, but it’s antiquated and backwards, and it’s just talk. No one goes around hunting down shifters anymore.”

“We don’t see shifters as animals,” Vincent said as he looked at Fox meaningfully. “Even if you’re annoying as fuck at times.”

“Dorian’s always so nice,” Justin whispered. He wrapped his hands around his arms as if cold. Will put his arm around his shoulders comfortingly and Justin leaned against him. Internally, Wylie sighed and wondered just what the fuck was going on in Dorian’s head. Did it really matter? Dorian sure as fuck didn’t want him and he was going to respect it.

It helped that on the inside, Wylie felt like he was bleeding out.

He crouched down in front of the bonfire and stared blindly into the flames. In a weird twist, Dorian’s hate speech broke the ice between the sorcerers and shifters. The two groups talked in hushed tones around him. Wylie blocked it out. His mind was unwillingly fixed on the unknown parents who gave him away so long ago. Loneliness felt like a weight crushing his heart.

Demon Arms 9

CHAPTER NINE

He should have kept his fucking mouth shut. Wylie stood the moment the door to the Academy slammed shut.

Dorian’s spell caught him off guard, and his dragon readily submitted to the beautiful sorcerer. It hadn’t lasted. The spell wasn’t potent enough to keep him down if he chose otherwise. Dorian looked so upset he thought it better just to stay. Wylie didn’t fully understand what Dorian was going through but he could see it was hurting him.

His eyes closed, he waited. The dragon within finally relented now Dorian was gone. His scales slid back into his body and disappeared smoothly. The dragon was thinking and made a crooning full of worry. Dorian responded to them; he was interested and that was a reason to be happy. But he also rejected them with eyes full of such sorrow. The dragon wanted to find him and soothe him, heal Dorian in a way it couldn’t. The creature was starting to realize the problem of its ever-sharp scales where it couldn’t even touch the one he chose as mate, and didn’t know how to fix it.

It was his first time dealing with the dragon when it was being, well, so different from him. While Wylie tried to convince himself to leave Dorian alone before he made him miserable, the dragon demanded they figure out just why their scales wouldn’t behave. Because they could. He had never scratched himself unless on purpose. He should be able to do the same for his mate.

The thing was, Wylie wasn’t even sure he wanted a mate. Yeah, he was attracted to Dorian, and there was definitely a part of him that wanted to know everything about him beyond just how sexy he was. Just, Wylie wasn’t great with relationships. After years shipped from foster home to foster home, he never bothered to lay down roots. When Beck showed an interest—practically jumped him when he’d saw Wylie beating up some punk who was giving him shit—he sort of fell into it. It wasn’t his conscious decision to make B his boyfriend. If Beck hadn’t pursued him, Wylie wasn’t sure he’d have bothered.

People complicated things. The proof of this was in Diego and Adam; that job would have gone smoothly if Diego hadn’t freaked and Adam was more reliable. If he went on his own, maybe selected a less impressive and well-secured house, there would be fewer possible fuck-ups to account for. Maybe that was a terrible way to look at people. He spent a lifetime wondering when the next bought of drama was going to come and how it was going to ruin his life. If not for the drama bullshit of one punk foster kid who took a knife to him over an MP3 player, Wylie wouldn’t have even been in that shit detention center in the center of Roth’s gang territory.

He wasn’t sure what sort of drama a guy like Dorian might bring into his life. After seeing the shit his roommate Vincent stirred up, it could be a lot. Dorian hadn’t said anything to suggest he uses dragons for parts—very sane compared to Vincent—but who was to say just how honest that was? Wylie knew plenty of people who seemed perfectly normal until they did something to stab him in the back. That his dragon was obsessed just made it more likely he’d fall into something he wasn’t prepared for. He didn’t know a lot about magic. Theodore thought Dorian was the most dangerous person there, and that probably meant something.

Still, Dorian responded to him. He was playing it cool, but Wylie was damn sure he was into him. It was impossible to hide those fucking sparks, not to mention his hard on. Drama or not, he actually had a shot at Dorian Black and that was definitely worth considering. Just… What the fuck would he do with a mate?

His mind ran in circles over Dorian and his own stupid ass dragon. Wylie finished his cigarette and turned to the door. He stopped short when a wall of muscle stepped in front of him and blocked his path. Wylie looked up and sighed internally as he met Leo Princer’s golden glare head on.

“Excuse me.”

Leo didn’t move. He stood straighter, his shoulders and arms flexed until he looked near mountain size. Wylie wasn’t sure what Leo was thinking, but he might be about to find out how hard a lion shifter punched.

This was the perfect reminder of how he hated drama. Wylie considered backing off and finding a different way into the building. He quickly dismissed the thought when Leo’s nostrils flared and his heavy brow creased until his expression was twisted in a ferocious snarl. He was a fucking alpha lion; backing down would only get him more bullshit from an aggressive type like him.

Resigned, Wylie squared his jaw, tilted his head up and stood taller. “Either say what you’re here to say, or get the fuck out of my way.”

Leo growled low in his chest. His expression grew grimmer. “Dorian Black is mine.”

For fuck—Wylie’s dragon was out and growling before he could even comprehend. “Damn it. Fuck!” He defied the dragon’s demand to stay and fight and Wylie took two large steps away from the snarling shifter. He looked anywhere but at Leo while he fought to get the dragon under control.

All he seemed to do lately was fight the damn scaled beast. The moment he realized he housed a dragon, his life became a battle to stop it from being so weird over blood, mating and now territory.

Unable to stop his growl, Wylie settled in a low crouch on the ground and didn’t lunge across the small distance at Leo.

“Are you listening to me, Doe?” Leo demanded. He took a hulking step forward and stopped inches away to tower over him. “Dorian is mine. Mine! Stay the fuck away from him.”

He gritted his teeth when his dragon rose up to try to get him to fight. Wylie steadily met Leo’s angry scowl. “Dorian’s the only one who gets to pick who he wants to be with. Stop letting your lion control you. My dragon might want the guy but that doesn’t mean I have any right to him. Do you even get how fucking crazy you sound right now?”

Something in Leo changed for a moment. There was a softening of features and a flash of surprise. It was gone before Wylie fully perceived it. Leo snarled and puffed up even larger. “You better smarten the fuck up. Dorian is mine because I’m willing to use everything I have to get him. He’s the only one safe around me. And he’s fucking hot. Getting you out of the way is worth it for a guy like him.”

His dragon wasn’t listening to Wylie and it was difficult to understand Leo. He made himself stand only because his muscles were tensed and ready to crash forward and tackle him. With his scales out, Leo would be shredded.

“Did you just say, like, kill me?” Wylie got out as he looked at Leo in disbelief. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, I’m fucking serious.” His glare grew and Leo huffed in disgust when Wylie straightened fully. “You’re not even willing to fight for him. You’re a fucking joke. Dorian is worth killing for.”

Leo turned and stalked away before Wylie had a chance to respond. What that response would be, he had no idea. His dragon growled and clawed inside while he stood still in shock.

Fucked-up. It was totally fucked-up.

Kill him?

The dragon wouldn’t settle, and Leo was completely to blame. Kill him. A fight would have been one thing. By claiming to want to kill him, Leo put the dragon in a state of absolute aggression. The bigger problem was he wasn’t sure if Leo was joking.

Michael said accidents happened. Actually, he said he could do whatever he wanted and hoped killing was not on the list. Had something similar been said to Leo when he first arrived?

Did he seriously have to worry about Leo trying to kill him?

It was bedtime before Wylie could get Fox alone and ask a million brimming questions, one far more important than the rest. Thankfully he didn’t run into Leo before then. The lion shifter was out in the yard while the others sat down to eat in the lounge. There was a cafeteria, the room full of long tables and plastic chairs, but it was rarely used except for when they had visitors over. Most everyone took their food to their rooms, or to the lounge where there was a microwave and sink.

Ease of access to food was new to Wylie. He was used to being watched like a hawk, just in case his appetite put his guardian into poverty. Hunger was normal, almost as much as not being trusted. The Academy instructors breezed through with friendly greetings and kept about their own nightly routine. No one stopped to glare suspiciously at Wylie for existing. It was really weird and he was still struggling with the newness of it all.

His dorm room was huge; there was no other way to describe it. It was set up for two people but he was pretty sure four could have slept in there and still had plenty of room. Posters littered two walls. Fox’s, given the odd array of noble looking animals, colorful muscle cars, and a Brazilian singer with long, dark hair dripping with water as he sang in a downpour.

On the undecorated side of the room, there was a bureau with Wylie’s clothes already folded away inside. He found his few possessions, mostly CD’s and a beaten up CD player, on top of a nightstand next to the bed he could only assume was his. He sat down. A small smile twisted his lips as he breathed in slowly. The bed actually fit his tall frame, the mattress bouncy, sheets fresh. It was a far, far cry from what he was used to.

Wylie grew up sleeping on worn-out mattresses flat on the floor packed in with a bunch of foster kids just as unwanted as him. Most of the people willing to take someone in like him did it for the money they got from the State, not because they gave a fuck about a shifter kid without parents. In some ways the detention house was better in that regard. State employees ran the building and not the demented individuals who saw abandoned children as an income source. Still, the druggies and mean fuck-ups he lived with at the detention house ruined any good in the place for him.

Fox bounded in from their adjoining bathroom. His silver hair was slicked back, wet from his shower and free from a bandana for a change. Each dorm had a separate bathroom; it was beyond anything expected and he really didn’t know what to think of it all. He was supposed to be in prison. Somehow he was in the nicest place he’d ever seen, and that included McPherson’s house, which was too cold and empty for his taste.

“Have you seen Will’s room yet?” Fox bent forward to scrub his head with a towel roughly. His hair flew up all different ends and rained water all around. “He’s got a whole fucking tree in there. He’s growing a garden, pretty sure. He can’t help it because of his power. I think one of those little maple seeds whirled in and just took root in the carpet one night.” He tilted his head when he caught Wylie’s expression and Fox paused his chatter. “Alright, man? First days can be shit.”

His first day had been insane. “Anyone ever die here?” He asked as he watched the scrawny shifter dressed in thin shorts and a tee jump onto his bed.

Fox barked a laugh, snagged a magazine from under his pillow and unfolded it. Wylie learned he couldn’t focus for shit; Fox was more coherent when he did more than one thing at a time. “We have no ghosts, no terrible murders and just because Bear is as big as one when human, it doesn’t mean he’s buried anyone in the backyard. Don’t fall for all that rumor shit.”

Wylie sighed in exasperation. “I’m not talking about rumors. Has anyone gone totally berserk and killed another patient?”

“Dude.” Fox licked his teeth thoughtfully and eventually shook his head. “I’ve been here ‘bout a year now and no one has killed no one. The masters stop any crazy shit before it gets out of hand. Like, if crazy ass Vince tried to spell me dead, Theodore would toast him. He doesn’t want to have to listen to my mama bitch about how her baby boy got incinerated at their place.”

He absorbed the information and ducked his head while Fox continued to talk and flip through his magazine. Maybe the instructors only cared if they had really important parents. Was Michael trying to set him up? He hadn’t considered it before but now he couldn’t let the idea go. If he fought Leo, they’d probably send him straight to Daiker…

“Dude, come on!”

“What?” Wylie started when he found Fox in front of him in mid-laugh.

“Come on,” Fox repeated. He grabbed Wylie by the arm and heaved him up. He was strong even though he was toothpick thin. “You should meet Will. He rooms with Chris. They’re both, like, half shifters. I don’t know how to explain it, just that they’re not human and they’re not sorcerers. Oh, and if you happen to see Chris in your dreams trying to get with you, don’t freak out about it. He’s an incubus or some shit. He does it to everyone. I’m not even sure if it’s sexual for him or just dinner.”

Wylie stared slack-jawed and let himself be pulled from the room and into the lounge. Forest was sitting on a couch watching a video game on the large television screen. The moment he spotted Fox and Wylie, he leaped up and slid across the lounge in sleek movements. His skin was almost completely black with his leopard pattern. “You guys going hunting?”

Fox took the question in stride while Wylie silently hoped they weren’t going to be killing anything. “Nah, just showing Wylie Will’s tree. I think Leo’s out there if you’re restless.”

Forest sniffed unhappily. With a sharp shake to his head, he fell into step beside them. “Rather hang with you guys. Wylie, I don’t know what it is exactly, but I like your dragon. He’s cool shit.”

“Umm, thanks?” Wylie wasn’t sure just what the compliment was but Fox was quick to agree.

“It’s your presence, man. Very calming, very protective—hah, you’re kinda like Big Bear!”

Forest knocked into Fox’s shoulder and laughed in agreement. “That’s totally it! He’s like a pretty boy dragon version of Bear. You just know nothing bad is going to happen as long as he’s around.”

Wylie scratched the back of his head. He avoided Forest when the leopard shifter tumbled sideways from Fox’s returning hip check. Pretty boy? He was tall, had demon arms, and could scare the fuck out of grown men; he wasn’t fucking pretty.

Will and Chris’s room was five doors down. Wylie peeked through each open door as he passed. He didn’t catch sight of Dorian but he had a feeling his room was on the opposite side of the shifters, probably to stay as far from the noise as possible. It seemed a lot of the shifters were nocturnal. Even though they did most of their class stuff during the day, at night they were wild and wide awake.

“Whoa.” Wylie stopped short in the doorway Fox stepped through. There was an actual tree growing in the middle of the room. Okay, not right in the center, but damn near close. Branches wrapped vine-like around the bureau and bed nearest the window. The bed was currently occupied, and Fox jumped next to the stranger almost the same height as the short shifter.

“Wylie, this would be our resident forest sprite, Will.”

Will snorted good-naturedly and rolled luminous sky-blue eyes. He gently shoved Fox away so he could stand and shake Wylie’s hand. “I’m an elf, actually. Halfling.” Will was slender, darkly tanned with shiny bouncy brown hair that curved down to his chin. His smile was brilliant. Will was pure magic in a way Wylie hadn’t seen before.

“Halfling?” Wylie’s attention was drawn to Will’s feet. Was he floating? He walked like he was floating. It was really weird.

“Yup. Half human, half elf. While you shifters get to change from two different forms, I just glamour my elf parts away.” Will turned his head and swept his hair back. Long, sharp ears flickered into view for a moment before he spelled them to appear normal. “So you’re the dragon. Cool. I thought you’d be taller.”

Not sure what to say to that, Wylie let his gaze move to the tree in the room. He slipped closer and touched the bark. It was real. There was seriously a tree in the damn room, along with vines and flowers all over the place by the window. “I like your, um, garden.”

Will beamed as if he grew the tree on purpose instead of lost control of his magic while sleeping. “Thanks. I was worried the masters would make me get rid of it, but Theodore said as long as I don’t ruin the walls I can keep it. He even helped me guide the roots out the window.”

Wylie noticed then that, although the ceiling was overrun with leaves, the tree didn’t actually sprout through the floorboards. It arced through the window where magic kept the late autumn air back. “Doesn’t your roommate mind?”

Fox, who was across the room with Forest, gave a sharp laugh. “Chris was made to be outdoors. The both of them. All of us shifters are jealous of their awesome room.”

Wylie turned and found Justin with an MP3 player in hand sitting on the other bed. Besides Leo, all the shifters were there. They were hanging out so casually Wylie had a feeling it was something they did every night.

Red eyes peered up at him curiously from the bed behind Fox’s shoulder. He walked over to greet the final occupant but Wylie’s steps faltered when Christopher came into view. He was blue. Sort of. His pale skin was tinted an unnatural bluish gray and his long hair only a slightly brighter version of the color. Chris was about the most alien person he’d ever seen. His blood red eyes assessed Wylie as they stared at each other in silence.

“Oh, sorry.” Fox straightened from where he was leaning over to look at Justin’s MP3 player. “Wylie, this is Chris.”

“Um, hi.” He shrugged off the fact he was very much blue. Wylie crossed the space and shook Christopher’s hand, only to gasp as heat flooded him. His eyes widened from the simple touch and the predatory smile fixed on him. “What?”

Forest carefully pulled Wylie’s hand away from the incubus’s grasp. “Yeah, you probably don’t want to touch Chris much unless you feel like spending the rest of the night unbearably hard. He says he can’t help it, but I’m pretty sure it’s on purpose.”

Fox snorted. “It’s totally on purpose. Chris, come on, say something. You’re freaking him out.”

Christopher continued to sit silently. It took the incubus a moment as he tore his eyes from Wylie’s to look questioningly at the fox shifter.

“We don’t read minds, man,” Fox urged and pointed to Wylie, who was beyond confused. “Chris talks to people in their heads. Well, to people like Will, who can do that sort of thing. We can all hear him when we’re asleep, but we’re not sleeping now.”

“It’s a pleasure.” Christopher’s voice was a low purr when he finally spoke.

Wylie snapped his gaze back to the incubus. “Do you… Do you really talk to people in their dreams?”

Christopher nodded with the same dangerous smile curled on his lips. “Normal humans are limited. Fragile.” He turned to Justin, who was holding up an ear bud where music flowed out. “I don’t have to fear for the sorcerers if I feed on them. And shifters, well, they’re perfect. You’re a dragon. I like dragons. Their energy tastes exquisite.”

“Uh… Okay.” Those red eyes again burned into his and Wylie didn’t know what to say. The others didn’t seem disturbed. Justin was practically in Christopher’s lap as he shared his headphones with the incubus.

Forest caught his discomfort and smacked Wylie on the back of his shoulder. “It doesn’t hurt. Most don’t even remember their dreams. Chris would have to either starve or drain a human population dry to get enough energy to sustain himself. Here with our magic, he’s safe and well-fed.”

Wylie stepped to the side so Christopher’s unnerving stare wasn’t on him anymore. He turned to the leopard shifter. “No one minds they’re being drained in their sleep?”

“Nope. Not the way Chris does it,” Forest said with a wicked grin.

That gave Wylie pause. He followed up curiously, “Even though he’s a guy?”

“Duh, we’re shifters,” Fox chimed like it was supposed to explain everything. At Wylie’s blank look he laughed. “Fuck, I forgot you’re, like, totally clueless about your own kind. Let’s just say, you’re never going to find a totally straight shifter. Sorcerer too, for that matter. Magic basically makes mating possible with any gender. So if you’re a magical being or full of magic, your attraction adjusts to compensate for the new possibilities.”

His eyes narrowed suspiciously on Fox’s ever-smirking grin, Wylie turned to Forest for confirmation.

“Haven’t met a shifter yet that wasn’t bi, and I’m from a large family.” Forest shrugged. “Some might have a preference but when they get horny, they get over it quick enough. Chris has that making people horny thing down so no one complains when he comes around. It’s not like we have much to choose from around here. And his feeding is just the equivalent of a wet dream.”

Wylie bit his lip and glanced over at the incubus, who Justin was chatting with. Was he like the resident booty call for the Academy? The instructors must know since Chris had the power to drain normal humans dry. Or did they feed the incubus too?

Weird. Really weird.

Wylie decided he really didn’t want to know. He took a seat when offered and listened to the others laugh about things which happened recently and not so recently. They were excited to fill him in on life at the Academy. He rarely hung out with others in the group homes. Hell, people were usually so afraid of him, most wouldn’t look him in the eye. Wylie didn’t have a lot to say, but he enjoyed feeling part of the group of shifters and not fully human paranormals. It was the first time he wasn’t hyperaware of how strange he was compared to everyone else. He liked it.