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updates

September 19

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Blackthorne is being featured on Instafreebie!!! <3

On the 25th! I’m still kind of in shock… Half in shock cuz I have so much stuff I have to do to prepare, aka edit 105,000 words this week and get that new cover made and on there. Something way more genre focused. Best foot forward and all that. Which means I’m definitely pushing the Demon Bonded release back a week to make sure I’m focused. You’re also going to be seeing too much Intangible again as I update easier stuff on the website. But it’s all good!

Normally this would be a blind panic. I think my PTSD brain would like me to turn this into a blind panic because, well, familiar. O_o It’s usually in moments of excitement I’m more likely to find old patterns slip in to dictate behavior. I’m paying attention and keeping stress as low as possible. I’m actually not as up to date as I’d like to be on promotions and stuff; a little less than a year ago I knew everything about Instafreebie, member responses, conversion rates and all that jazz. Things slip away especially when sick; there is so much to keep track of and learn about in this author gig and it all fluxes. Hopefully my moldy brain can keep up–still a fun ride either way. <3

September 17

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#68 and #69 of Sorcerer Slayer is up in the Library!!! #24 Intangible in Free!

Pretty sure I’m going to have some squeeing readers with these two chapters. <3 Also, very likely going to have another Intangible for you in a few hours. I want to go for a walk in the nice night air and then just jump into editing.

Have I mentioned I feel fucking amazing? I feel fucking amazing. It’s not just the new found strength in my body; my mood has been awesome. I’m wondering if it’s the added nitrogen. The L-Glutamine has this huge fucking list of things it does, it’s hard to know what is effecting what to = happy me.

September 16

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Hey, got the first 6 episodes of Demon Bonded on Smashwords! <3

I felt so freaking good today! I got so much writing and editing done (but not anything completed to post just yet–Sorcerer Slayer soon, promise!) plus finally got those republished Demon Bonded episodes up on Smashwords. Payhip is next, and then I’ll finally get cracking on my new discount system on the website.

I love Smashwords, btw. Not only do they pay in a timely fashion, but they don’t cave to censorship on their site. Proven now that Barnes & Noble is cracking down and cutting any erotica that contains taboo themes. As the modern, civilized world continues to tell adults they’re only allowed to fantasize and profit on the topics they find acceptable, Smashwords stands as a refuge for free speech. They also pay their authors the best out of all platforms. If you have to make a choice of where you want to spend your money, I pick them every time.

For real, it’s exhausting being told by every major platform what you write is wrong and doesn’t deserve to exist. Where they can decide what fantasies about sex is ‘right’ and ‘correct’ and ‘acceptable,’ and the writers and readers of everything else should just disappear. There is no other topic where this is readily accepted; the censorship of books to ensure a small group of conservative prudes feel comfortable shopping among the masses. Many still think of the gay genre as pornographic just because it’s same sex; hey, that’s a perversion in their rigid, fucked up little minds. I feel like this is why the lgbtq genre is policed far more heavily than the het stuff.

I just got an email from Smashwords today about the Barnes & Noble bullshit, which is where this rant is coming from. At least Barnes & Noble has the balls to label what they deem offensive unlike Amazon who just bans it without a word (but the straight version of the same manages to last a fuck ton longer than the gay on their site.) What was interesting out of it all for me 1) dubcon is perfectly fine with them and 2) bestiality among shifters or fantasy characters like dinosaurs is not actually considered bestiality. So I’m going to be posting City Howls #1 next because by the rules of these platforms, it’s clean and acceptable. I hated having to break that serial up the way I did and now I don’t have to because someone actually bothered to spell out their censorship guidelines. So… that.

September 15

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Okay… I think I decided on Hell Cat for Halloween…

I know, I’m all over the fucking place and said I’d do the other one. But Hell Cat is so fucking cute! And it’s been waiting for basically a year for me to get the fuck to it–and it’s cute! And, you know, outlined already so I can just dive in and get that shit out. I want a Halloween story, but I also want to get to all my other work.

Do not have a brain like mine, just saying. Perspective can be this life altering, freeing experience. Or it can trap you in your own neurosis. Guess where I am. XD Fucking editing. Seriously, fucking editing and grammar extremists (lets not bring Nazis into everything) who insist there is some semblance in this made up, thrown together English language while ignoring the common tongue every bestselling book in my genre is written in. There are too many ways to say the same thing, and my brain is overly aware of it. There are too many ways, and none of them are actually ‘correct,’ they’re just options.

You all might hate me but I’m looking at this FMM trilogy I outlined a year ago and thinking about fleshing it out. It’s such a good story–and legit, I’m sick of FMM where MM isn’t actually a thing. Fuck that MFM boring stuff where those cocks do not touch; these bad boys and very bad gal share–and I can see all these ways to make it even better now my brain is back. I really want to try this and see what I can do with a strong action oriented plotline. I’d have to put it under a different pen name though–the tough world of self publishing where genres cannot cross. But maybe just under S. Sins or something similar. After Sorcerer Slayer is done, probably side by side as I write up Shifter Safe Haven and get to the other serials.

I feel like I used to get so much more done when I stopped trying to quantify if I could get it done and just did it. That’s really all writing is; writing. This trying to figure out if it’s the right or wrong words just fucks up that writing part. There is no ‘right.’ It’s such a fucking lie perpetrated by the ego to put value into the process of writing instead of the message being shared. Neurosis be gone. <– and this is what my brain spews out after a day of Eckhart Tolle while glaring at plotting tips, referencing bestsellers, and editing #6 of Demon Bonded. What the fuck am I doing to myself creating all this extra work when all I need to do is just write? I want to tell my stories already. I seriously need cash so I can just pay other people to do this editing shit so I can focus on writing. Anyone can do all this neurotic stuff but I need to do the writing.

I feel like a sulking kid trapped inside on a beautiful, sunny day. I love you, Demon Bonded #6, but I’d rather be writing #11. Bastard.

Um, if you read this thinking there was a point in any of it… sorry.

September 14

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Sorcerer Slayer #67 in the Library and Intangible #23 in Free!

I find myself in a new place today. A little bit in my head as I finally rise the fuck above the shit happening around me, and also in a different chair cuz my chromebook has decided charging isn’t on its list of capable functions anymore. I backed up all my stuff and I’m going to be writing from my PC until the time comes where I can shell out the cash for another chromebook with Crouton compatibility (aka not anytime soon.)

So, I guess we’ll see. I like the laptop because when I’m sick, my weak limbs can handle the typing. Not so much with the PC where having to lift my arms can get exhausting pretty damn quick. I might end up rigging something together to make it easier. The allergies have been off and on the last few weeks but currently I feel like things have settled. *fingers crossed* If my body is sound, the allergies don’t touch me, and in that sense, I’ve been feeling more stable health wise. Wish me luck. <3

Sorcerer Slayer is loosely outlined, and I think I’m going to keep it loose and see how things flow instead of obsessing. I want to tear through the next scenes while inspiration is strong. But at the same time, that Halloween fic has an actual deadline and I want to reach it in time. How the fuck is it mid September already? Getting sick always fucks with my sense of time. I might be making the Halloween novella too complicated; currently 3 main characters with very smutty adventures weaved into one little old-school haunted mansion type fic. Another I guess I’ll know when it’s done kinda moment. Definitely having fun finding out. 😀

September 13

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So what if Sorcerer Slayer isn’t 1/2 done but only 1/3? Maybe it’s even 2/3 done already…

I’m used to writing short fiction. It’s very easy to see how a short story flows with very little planning required. I’ve actually created templates around my own short stories for the best times to resolve emotional and action conflicts. Serials too; I can understand stories written in episodes. It’s like tuning into a tv show where the plot progresses a little bit each day. Novels, on the other hand, are a totally different story. They are a complete entity full of huge amounts of information, growth, conflict and plot. All of which must tie together into one finished work.

Over half a year ago I plotted out Sorcerer Slayer. There are always these moments where I know the characters will choose a different path and no planning can account for it. I actually look forward to those moments because if it’s up to me, shit might get boring. It happened in Demon Arms when Wylie got that email, and here it is again 155,000 words into Sorcerer Slayer. I’m very curious where it’s going to go.

I’m rewriting my outline to the second half of Sorcerer Slayer. The tension dropped significantly in the original and I didn’t realize until I got to this point. There’s something wrong about introducing a conflict the size of what happened in that alley and assume life can return to normal once we get back to the Academy. It disregards the weight and tension that should be hanging over every characters as they wonder if they’re safe, if their friends will die, if they should make a move first before those assholes come after them. What does the Academy look like when the adults are all too busy hunting down the attackers to be able to calm the patients? These guys really aren’t the sitting around and waiting for things to get better type.

Have I mentioned how much I love this, btw? I love the things I get to learn, the new things I get to try every time I approach a story. I love using my damn brain and seeing what it can do. I haven’t written a lot of novels, but with each new one, I learn more, discover and adapt, and hopefully can bring my characters to life through that process for readers to enjoy. I thrive on challenge and I don’t know if any job previous every came close to what writing offers on this level of pushing my boundaries to create better. Seriously, this gig is a fucking joy and blessing, and the icing is how there are so many people out there who actually like the end results enough to support me. Sorcerer Slayer is going to kick ass by the time we get to ‘the end.’ <3

September 11

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Shifter Safe Haven #4 is up in the Library!

Ugh, so I’m about to go to bed while the rest of the house is waking up. My roommate just let me know he left his keys in my car ignition last night and drained the battery. Apparently his level of being pissed off for being late for work is supposed to repair the fact that I have to get this shit fixed so I can get an allergy shot today. So sick of people fucking up shit and not taking responsibility for it. I don’t even think the fucker said sorry.

But hey, new Shifter Safe Haven. Yay? I’m so fucking tired right now and pissed this is how I’m going to be trying to sleep. It won’t happen. I have to solve this problem and by the time I do, I’ll be far too exhausted to drive safely to the allergist, and I’ll fall asleep. When I wake up, they’ll be closed because they have normal hours while I sleep like the fucking vamps. Fucker.

Oh, also outlined 1/2 of that Halloween fic; decided on old school throwback to haunted castles and monsters hunting the shadows–werewolves and blood suckers, mostly–and a tentacle here and there. Corruption of the innocent. You know, what those old monster movies were all about. 😀 It’ll be crazy fun. If I could write it in black and white instead of color, that would be wicked.

September 10

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Intangible #22 is up under Free!

Okay, I have a feeling I missed some spots in this particular chapter I just don’t have the time (energy) to clean up. My brain has not been 100% the last half of this week and I have a list of things I want to get to. But to be clear for those new to my fiction, everything on this site was written when I was in the midst of a severe mold reaction while living in a moldy apartment for years. You are looking at my low ability where I wrote on average 20,000-50,000 words a week (shit goes way faster when you don’t slow down to edit. XD) I have only just regained the majority of my cognitive function the last few months from allergy shots which is why I’ve been doing new covers and republishing edited version of the old stuff. I don’t want my illness to define those first books now that I’m better.

I will bitch, I will complain, because that is all I have control over; bitching about the shit I can’t control with my health. But I will also be writing strong and it will be stronger than when I started. There is no going back to that coma like state after all I’ve learned about treating this illness no matter how loud my fears get. And there is still a shit ton of fear every time these allergies hit and knock me on my ass for hours/days at a time. Down is not out, and I have endured worse for far longer. Don’t let my whining get to you; I just need to vent.

Also, random kudos to the awesome Jex Lane who told me about text to speech for editing nearly a year ago and I’m only just now using it as a staple for the final edit before publishing. It is so fucking helpful to hear my mistakes verses having my brain think it’s reading things properly. (It is not.) There is no excuse to give up with the modern tech out there to help anyone and everyone reach their goals. Even when my brain breaks, it will bounce back, and I will be here to make more story happen. No excuses.

Brainstorming what I’m going to write for Halloween. Don’t think I have the time for a 5 story collection like Taken By Beasts, what I did last year, but I do want to play with something in the same theme of classic, campy horror on Halloween. Or, I could do Hell Cat, which is this demonic cat shifter who makes his rescuer/owner’s life miserable in the sexiest ways possible while dodging the pissed off witch who caged him. Not sure yet, but I’m looking forward to it. This is my favorite time of year. I decorate my house for Halloween all year round; yup, that level of awesome nerd, right here. XD

Feeling better, babes and ready to kick ass.

September 6

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Intangible #21 is up under Free!

I was hoping I’d be able to finish the scene tonight and post the chapter, but I’m just too tired. When I wake up; I can’t trust myself to edit properly when I’m like this. I just finished editing #4 of Demon Bonded and Far From Home, the Bonus episode is next. I decided it would be fun to put the bonus episodes up on the site under Free once I get them all edited.

September 4

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Intangible #20 is up under Free!

Demon Bonded episode 1 is now officially perma-free on Amazon! Squee. Still waiting for it to show up on the other venues before I update the website with the new links. A part of me assumed it wouldn’t work–perma free is usually a battle of epic proportions with Amazon. Pronoun seems to get Amazon to do shit it usually refuses, like post in the categories you actually want. The new cover looks so good! <3

You may have noticed the Bargain Books aren’t available atm. They will return, I’m just not sure how quickly and in what form. I need to rethink my strategy, especially since I basically have a format now where subscribers read instead of download. I hate the idea of a subscriber needing to pay full price to keep a book after paying for the subscription; it just seems redundant. Then again, every library book I failed to bring back I did end up paying for… (I was horrible when it came to not losing books and my god, I used to read so much.)

I want the books to be the updated, polished, pretty covered versions available for download, and also updated in the Library (they’ll be switched out without anything pulled down, no worries.) All the redone books will eventually be available on the site including serial episodes–which is another change. I want the serials to push the subscriptions. That means not discounting the fuck out of them so people will want to read them for far cheaper on the site. Hopefully. >_> There is a lot of hope in all of my strategies.

Hell, so yesterday I was a hormonal mess. It’s like regressing into a teenager every time I PMS. Fuckballs. I swear the mold biotoxins stored in my fat cells just flood me around this time. The fever stopped halfway into today; there is definitely a correlation between pms and immune system deregulation. I wonder if this is going to be a monthly thing or I’ll eventually heal to a point where I rise above it and maybe be able to think about having a kid before the clock counts down. Another thing I’ll nerd out as I go. Did you not know I was a nerd about shit? Like, if I wasn’t a creative person (or unstable, crazy, chronically ill one) I would have totally been a scientist? Or something big in numbers–I love patterns and formulas. And people; the human brain–the condition of being human in general–is fucking fascinating.

September 3

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Changes in the availability of Demon Bonded

Alright, I’m finally getting on top of this shit. I had to unpublish the Demon Bonded series from Amazon before publishing through Pronoun. Currently, Episode #1 is the only one actually ready. It will be perma-free, and likely live in a few hours. My stress levels are HIGH, and no, that’s not a drug euphemism, that is a dear fuck, I am so freaking stressed about this.

What if I’m really bad at this? What if no one notices my books on any other platform and I’m just running around in circles messing up my life? Most search algorithms are pretty weak compared to Amazon and it is literally a requirement to go in and promote for each platform–so much work. What if all my reviews disappear and never return again? What if I fail and I don’t even come close to reaching what I was getting when KU worked? What if I fail? I have failed at so much shit in my life and I’m tired of it. Do I get to win, like, ever? Is there just something innately wrong with me where I’m always going to be struggling for the bare minimum while I see everyone else soar by?

It is not a good day to be in my head. @[email protected] Being sick probably doesn’t help. I probably made myself sick with the stress of this. Serious, I swear some days I want to be sick again just so I stop having to notice how I’m wasting my life not going for those dreams I want. Fucker. Ignore my fucked up head.

Guys, I’m rethinking my approach to the serials. Publishing through Pronoun allows for some really nice price adjustments with royalties I couldn’t get with Amazon. I might be pricing each individual book lower, likely $1.99 each for a long serial like Demon Bonded instead of the standard $2.99. I want to do a little more research but I think that’s going to be the price point unless something convinces me otherwise. I’m also holding off on republishing the bundles. 1) I’m going to have to wait until each individual book is edited before I can update them, 2) I want to push the value of the subscription site to new readers. Basically, if I sell the bundles super low, I’m fucking myself for potential sign ups. Bundles in general might be a bad idea because of it but I don’t think I want to go that far. The bundles will still be cheaper than buying each individual book, of course, just not too low.

I hate thinking like this. It goes against this chill, wonderfully hippie inner voice who just wants to give everything away for free and make people happy. She is of course blind to the financial shit storm I live in. I need to come up with a sound financial foundation, and that means totally different strategies now I’m out of KU. I’m not sure how it’s all going to evolve–adaption is a process, not an end. Hope you guys can bear with me and understand the why behind it all, even if it’s inconvenient or just plain disappointing for you. I don’t want to be living off of disability anymore. I don’t. My PTSD might be with me forever, but it doesn’t mean I have to be the same broke fuck up who can’t keep my car on the road. I would like to be able to actually have a savings account. Ha, I want to be able to pay the fucking taxes on the money I made last year cuz I never expected to make a cent doing this shit.

I’m feeling pretty sensitive, atm. I feel like I’m really pushing to do this all the right way and it just digs up every fucking insecurity I have until I’m bleeding out like a mofo. Ah, the humanity. It really sucks. Feeling like this really fucking sucks. If I could just sleep through next week (but still get all the work done I need to do) that would be ideal. Whatev. I think I’m done bitching about shit I have very little control over. I guess we’ll see how it goes. I’ll try not to will myself into some sort of coma for the next week… unless it’s a writing coma. That would probably be useful.

September 2

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Intangible #19 is up under Free!

Eh. I’m sick, or it’s the immune system being a bitch again. Blah. But hey, more Intangible. I don’t know what happened to my wacom tablet pen so I have to wait for a replacement to ship. Gahhhh. I have no patience. I wanted to have the cover for the next Demon Bonded done already.

September 1

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The last scene of Demon Bonded Episode #10 ‘Strays, Links And Demons’ is posted in the Library!

Okay, this episode of Demon Bonded is basically done. I want to do a final edit and get things sorted with the serial so expect some extra Intangible chapters while I’m busy with that shit. I’m looking at City Howls next serial wise, and of course, back to Sorcerer Slayer. I’m dragging on it a bit. I feel scattered and I don’t want to fuck it up (aka, I can fuck up the other stories but not Sorcerer Slayer. XD)

September already! When the fuck did that happen? Starting fresh on the update page. Let’s see how it all goes. <3

Demon Arms 20

CHAPTER TWENTY

In the darkness, Wylie found his dragon. The creature was longer here, with pure sinew muscle and sharp, deadly edges coated in a black rainbow of scales. Its eyes glowed an icy blue with teeth long and sharp as it glared back at him from beneath heavy horns.

It was Wylie’s first glimpse of the beast inside. He could taste blood. Somewhere metal liquid dripped from his lips. He wondered blearily if he was dying.

Do you accept me?

He stared into the glowing eyes. It took long moments for him to understand the creature’s words. “Accept?”

The dragon uncoiled and rose up. It was sleek, shimmery and far larger than Wylie had ever conceived. Its talons were out, scales puffed and dangerous, with limbs tight with restrained force. It towered above. He could see its wings now; they were thin black membrane stretched over hollow bones that the beast flexed.

I asked you once before, human. When I awoke from the darkness, I asked for you to join me. You refused.

Wylie could vaguely remember ten years ago. He fainted moments before attacking the revolting man who hurt his sister. There was something in the darkness behind his eyes. Something with glowing white glare and frightening teeth.

Had he not accepted? Was that his problem all along? Was it why other shifters were taken over by their beasts while he couldn’t fully transform? He didn’t remember refusing the dragon, but still, he remembered his fear.

The dragon was still terrifying even now so many years later, but Wylie was no longer afraid. He had met other shifters who lived with their beasts. Theodore, who housed just as dangerous a dragon inside, helped people every day. He met Dorian, who fought a magic inside him so powerful, it would make him a killer if he ever let it loose.

If he was going to die, Wylie wanted to be whole for the first time.

He reached his hand out to brush razor sharp scales. They smoothed at his touch. “I accept you.”

Wylie awoke to a terrible pain, not in his chest but his head. Black bone pierced through his skin, twisted up and wrapped back. He could feel the dragon claw through him and reform his body from the inside out. His back gave a terrible crack. Wings slick with blood tore free while he screamed. His tail swiftly followed. The new limb thrashed on the ground as Wylie twitched in pain. The darkness loomed and threatened to drag him back down.

“Fuck.” His back twitched again. Fluffy, pure white hair itched as it grew down his spine from his head all the way to the tip of his tail. He stared blankly at his hand; his talons looked more deadly than before and covered in his own blood. Surely now his demon arms were complete and the rest of him was just as terrifying to match.

Warmth slowly teased through him. The pain abated with each stronger breath he took. He raised heavily to his hands and knees, with head bowed to watch the holes in his chest change. Two small, bloodied slugs pushed free from his flesh and scales and glinted as they clattered to the ground.

What the fuck? Wylie tried to remember what Theodore told him about dragons. He must be a self-healer. He wasn’t just capable of healing others with his saliva but could regenerate his own flesh.

He groaned as he pushed himself to his feet. Wylie stumbled sideways for a moment until he found his balance. His tail kept sweeping behind him, determined to distract him with the fact he had a fucking tail. God, that couldn’t be good.

He took a few steadying breaths only to break into coughs as thick smoke filled his lungs. “Holy fuck,” he whispered as he took in his surroundings. The wharf was on fire.

“Dorian!” Every other thought pushed to the back of his mind. Wylie searched frantically for Dorian, terrified of what he might find. The smoke was so thick and everywhere was an orange glow. It would be so easy to get confused and lost. Dorian, for all his power, was still just a human.

Wylie stepped through a wall of fire and barely felt the heat. Through the smoke, he could see a figure. It was the right height and shape, but he was standing there, not looking to run, not looking to escape.

“Dorian?” Wylie whispered. His presence pulled Dorian around the moment he recognized Wylie’s energy.

Dorian looked up and tears welled in his dark eyes. “You… You’re alive?”

“I’m fine!” Wylie shouted to be heard over the roar of the flames. “Dorian, you need to stop. The place is going to burn down.”

“I…” Dorian looked around with strangely blank eyes. “I can’t. I can’t control it. I let out too much and it’s only growing.” He turned back to Wylie and slammed both hands on his chest. “Run. Fucking run before I kill you too!”

Tears flowed freely down Dorian’s face and something inside Wylie wrenched. His dragon responded to his mate’s need. He held the hands trying to push him away, and pulled Dorian hard against his chest. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“You idiot! It’s not safe. Fuck.” Wylie cut him off, surged forward and dragged him into a deep kiss. Dorian tried to struggle, tried to explain he wouldn’t be harmed by his own magic. Wylie’s mouth was hotter than the flames around them and far more destructive to his senses.

“I’ve got you.” Wylie curled talon-free fingers into Dorian’s hair and pulled him closer. “I’m going to help.” His dragon wanted to eat his energy and it wasn’t going to hurt Dorian to do it. No, the damn beast had known all along how to help his mate. Wylie was just too disconnected from the dragon to listen.

He wrapped an arm around Dorian’s waist and walked them to the nearest firm surface. It was a wall of metal crates Dorian was quick to spell cool to the touch. He sealed their lips together again and crushed Dorian back against the wall. He drank as much of his energy as he could. Dorian held him tightly around the neck and kissed back just as hard.

His dragon roared inside. Dorian’s energy burned like an electrical current; wild, destructive and full of power. It was all Wylie could do to hold back. Each new spark grew his dragon until he was full of the beast’s demand.

Mate. His dragon wanted to claim his mate. As much as Wylie tried to hold back, the beast was just too strong.

“Aw, hell.” Wylie ran rough hands down Dorian’s sides. His hissing compelled while he nipped down his neck. The dragon was thundering in his ear and Dorian tasted so good, so perfect. His. Dorian was his and he had every fucking right to have him.

Dorian groaned. He tilted his head back and observed Wylie through half closed lashes. He took in his new horns, wings, and rippling muscles. Ice blue eyes pierced his and Dorian’s breath caught. Wylie looked like he was about to eat him alive.

“You need to run.” Dorian gasped when Wylie found the waistband of his burnt jeans and tore claws through them. Wylie pulled the material off with a sharp tug, and the flat of his palm cupped Dorian’s erection immediately after. “Oh… hell.” His knees went weak and Dorian clutched his broad, scaled shoulders. He cried out when Wylie began to stroke him.

With a hungry growl, Wylie released him. He spun Dorian around and pushed him chest first against the wall. “Spread, beautiful.”

“Fuck! Here?” Wylie had to be out of his mind!

“Yeah, baby, right fucking here.” Wylie fumbled with his jeans. He wrapped around Dorian’s bare back, probed claw free fingers down and pushed demandingly into his entrance.

“Wylie… God… It’s not safe…” Dorian couldn’t find the right words, not with Wylie’s fingers thick and long and stretching into him without restraint. It was all he could do not to fall, and Wylie was the reason he hadn’t yet, his strong arm wrapped around his waist.

“A dragon never abandons his mate.” Wylie groaned and thrust his dick against the smooth flesh of Dorian’s ass. “You’re mine. Beautiful, powerful, smart with a wicked sense of humor… Going to make you mine.”

“Wylie,” Dorian whimpered. A third finger pressed into his hole and his passage clenched before he opened to the long digits. His legs were trembling and all he seemed capable of was pressing his face against the metal wall and gasping. “Don’t… don’t want you to die.”

Wylie slid his fangs slowly over Dorian’s neck. “Baby, you’re not sparking anymore.”

“I’m not?” Dorian attempted to catch his breath, and focused on his magic for the first time. He was distracted by the thick fingers pumping into his entrance in a tormenting rhythm. He wailed as Wylie’s fingers withdrew suddenly, and his hot, blunt cock head pushed against his hole. “Fuck, oh fuck.”

“Relax,” Wylie hissed. The sound made Dorian shudder. “Need to claim you… Can’t stop. Need to be inside you.”

Dorian moaned lowly. He reached behind him and held onto Wylie’s hip when he pushed forward. He closed his eyes and exhaled shakily as Wylie began to breach him, his aching flesh opening to his large length. Wylie’s dick felt slick, sleek and so wet, and was already coated in precum. Dorian remembered just how big he was when he had covered him in cum. Right now, he was sure Wylie was even bigger; the dragon had more height, more muscle, more everything.

Wylie held his mate’s hips in a steel grip, and hissed from the heat of his entrance. “Tight… Fuck, you’re tight,” he groaned. He did everything he could to not surge forward. Dorian was gasping wildly. His perfect body was sweaty and shook as small, choked sobs escaped him. “Hold on, beautiful. Going to go slow.”

“Can’t… Fuck, it’s so much,” Dorian gasped out. “Please… please, Wylie… Need it…but it’s so big,” he babbled uncontrollably. Dorian reached his arms up and back and clawed at Wylie’s hair as he arched. So big inside. It was so big and it was making him crazy. He gasped when another thick inch sank into him. Dorian’s nails bit into Wylie’s neck and held.

“Fuck.” Heat flooded his entire body from the feel of Dorian scratching him. Wylie surged forward and buried himself with one hard thrust.

Dorian sobbed loudly from being filled so completely. His passage was stretched unbearably wide with Wylie deep inside. He came seconds later, with his muscles so tight and face flushed as he struggled with the overwhelming sensations.

“Oh god… Oh, fuck, Wylie,” Dorian mumbled weakly. Cum dripped down the wall in front of him. The fire inside wasn’t subsiding, not with Wylie so thick in his already sore passage. He groaned as Wylie slowly pulled back, and clenched around the hot cock rubbing his inner walls. Wylie wasn’t close to done with him, and he thrust deep once more. Dorian cried out as he was filled again.

“God, you sound good like this,” Wylie whispered hoarsely. He held Dorian with an arm around his chest. His other hand gripped his hip. “You’re so fucking tight, baby. So tight and mine.” He pressed his lips to Dorian’s cheek, and tried to keep his thrusts slow. But his dragon was crazed by all the energy it siphoned from the sorcerer and it would only find release in filling his beautiful mate.

His dragon knew even though Wylie had done his damnedest to ignore it. Dorian needed release. A release of all the magic inside him, a release of all his many worries and guilt, a release of the need he showed every time he looked his way. Wylie was more than happy to give Dorian all the release he needed.

“Oh fuck! Fuck!” Dorian wailed as his prostate was rubbed. He clutched Wylie’s arm harder. It was so much. His nerves felt frayed and each sensation was amplified with every slick, hard thrust. He couldn’t understand how he was hard again but it felt like a fire had taken his body, and was growing hotter every second. Wylie kept hissing in his ear. He sounded more dragon than man as he tormented him with his unceasing thrusts.

“W-Wylie… I don’t think I can… God, it’s so much,” Dorian moaned out. He arched as his prostate was hit again.

“You can take it,” Wylie hissed, and tightened his arms around him. “You’re the mate of a dragon. You can fucking take it.”

He moaned weakly to realize Wylie was actually claiming him as his mate, not just fucking the sanity out of him. Dorian curled his fingers and dug his short nails into the dragon’s scales. “Do it, Wy… Fucking claim me. Show me I’m yours… God, please… Fill me.”

“Mine,” Wylie snarled. His thrusts grew more erratic as he got close. “Never going to let you go. You’re mine.” His hand moved over the slick of Dorian’s sweat and Wylie found his mate’s hard cock and stroked it heatedly.

“Oh… Oh, wait,” Dorian gasped. Wylie’s dick swelled inside him. Fuck, he was getting bigger. Dorian sobbed from the sensation. He held himself impossibly still when Wylie slammed into him a final time and buried as deep as he could get. The base of Wylie’s cock still grew, and stretched Dorian’s hole even wider as he felt the scales flex and lock Wylie deep inside him.

Dorian had a moment with Wylie breathing heavily on his neck to understand what was about to happen. Mate. The dragon was actually trying to breed him.

“Oh hell.” Dorian gasped loudly at the first splash of cum. He wasn’t surprised when more hot, wet fluid followed. Wylie held his hips and humped forward shallowly as he filled him with spurt after spurt of his seed.

A cry caught in his throat and Dorian came again. His hips bucked with his release as he clenched around the spasming flesh filling him with cum.

Wylie kept pumping into his tight channel. He supported Dorian when he swayed. “That’s it, Ri. God, you’re mine. My mate.”

Dorian couldn’t stop moaning. His passage was stretched so wide. His hole ached and limbs shook and dripped sweat. “God… Just, god.” He closed his eyes and his head hung down heavily while Wylie continued to pump shallowly into him. He was making sure to fill him with everything he had.

“My mate,” Wylie murmured in his ear then nuzzled against his neck. “My beautiful mate.”

The darkness spun around him. Dorian’s heart hurt too much to comprehend. “Yeah, babe. Yours,” he rasped out.

Wylie groaned at the confirmation and pushed them forward. Dorian ended up flat against the wall with Wylie around his back as he unloaded the last of his seed inside him. He could feel it dripping out as Wylie’s dick began to return to normal proportions. His thighs itched as the thick fluid trickled down and he couldn’t suppress his aching whimpers.

His. Wylie was his.

“Err… sorry to interrupt and all, but we seriously need to get out of here.”

Dorian started at the sound of Beck’s voice. Beck stepped up hesitantly with his shredded and burnt jeans.

Wylie growled half-heartedly. His mouth was on Dorian’s shoulder, and body was still pressed up tight against his. He didn’t want to move. He didn’t want to do anything that involved not being flesh to flesh with his mate at the moment.

“Come on, Wylie,” Beck snapped when he saw he wasn’t going to move. “You know Roth will be back with bigger guns if the fucking cops don’t get here first. We need to leave now.”

Wylie glared. He slowly pulled himself from Dorian’s hot flesh. His eyes were drawn down to where his mate was still wet and dripping with his seed. He couldn’t stop from sliding his hands up Dorian’s inner thigh where his fingers sought out and probed into his slick entrance.

“Wylie,” Dorian groaned. “No more.”

Wylie turned Dorian to face him and was unable to stop staring once he was in full sight. Dorian was flushed. His golden skin nearly glowed and his lips were swollen and parted with each heavy breath he took.

“Get lost, B,” Wylie said distractedly. He stroked down the back of Dorian’s thigh and went to pull the toned limb up around his waist. His mate was beautiful and deserved another proper fuck.

“For fuck sake!” It was Adam, who ran up to them angrily. “Move your fucking ass. We have five dead bodies and I don’t want to be added to them.”

That got Wylie’s attention. Dorian’s eyes widened when he looked behind him. Wylie turned, and took in his surroundings for the first time since his dragon tasted Dorian’s wild energy.

The fire was out. Blue-gray smoke and black char was all that remained. There was a glitter of bullet casings on the ground and as Wylie searched, he found the bodies Adam mentioned. Five armed men were grouped around the magical barrier that had locked Dante and Beck in the crate. Dante was sitting on the ground a few feet away from them. He looked tired but not injured.

“What happened?” Wylie turned to Beck questioningly. “How did you get out of the barrier?”

“Put your damn pants back on and I’ll be happy to tell you,” Beck said with a small scowl. Wylie had never lost it like that over him, had never wanted him so much he’d fuck him out in the open, and he couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. “The fire went out when you two were, well, you know. Most of the gang was gone by then. I tried to keep him with me, but the kid just stepped forward and walked through the barrier.”

“There wasn’t a lot of air in there.” Wylie gruffly zipped his fly. His jeans were ruined but Dorian just waved his hand at him and the material repaired and was clean again. Wylie looked over at him, and regretted it immediately when he caught sight of Dorian’s swollen lips and shirtless form.

“Yeah, well, Diego saw the kid, realized he was what was in the crate, and he told who was left to grab him,” Beck continued, his voice pitched lower. “Cept, it didn’t quite go that way.”

How it went Wylie didn’t get a chance to hear. Dorian caught sight of Adam and glared at him warningly.

Adam took a stumbling step back, with his hands held up. “I’m sorry. I never wanted anyone to get hurt.”

Beck snorted and pulled a crushed cigarette from his back pocket. “Like fuck. You were the one who told Roth about the crate.”

“Yeah, but it was, like, right there! It was just sitting there, giving off huge amounts of magic,” Adam said defensively.

“You were also the asshole that called me down into this,” Wylie pointed out.

“Only because you’re a dragon! You were the only one I knew who’d be able to get through the barrier!”

“Yeah, but did you also know they were going to fucking kill me!” Beck shouted. His anger was free to rage now there wasn’t a gun pointed at his head. “They were going to kill Wylie too. Why? Did you tell them to kill us!”

“Shit, chill. Of course not!” Adam yelped and stepped away from Beck’s angry form. “I found out about Wylie being a dragon when I went online to see if they arrested him. I was just trying to figure out if he gave my name to the cops. I swear, I didn’t know they were going to kill you after,” he promised Wylie. “You saved all our asses. If that guy had died back at the house, we would’ve been picked up for murder.”

Wylie looked at Adam calculatingly. He had no idea if he was being truthful or not. “What about the crate? How did you find out about it?”

“Like I said, I sensed the crate, that’s all. Last Thursday, Roth had us all come down for a shipment and I sensed the magical barrier. It was so strong, I couldn’t not. I didn’t know what was in it. I told Roth about it and he went digging. He called me all excited and wanted me to open the thing.” Adam sighed heavily. “But I wasn’t strong enough. I read about dragons and thought maybe Wylie could get in. Seriously, I didn’t think it would go wrong. Roth said that we were all going to make a fortune on what was inside. I still don’t know what was in the stupid thing.”

“A kid,” Beck growled. “A fucking kid. Some freaks stole him from his home and were trying to sell him to some fucked-up sorcerer who would probably drain him for his power. So, for real, Adam, are you like that too? Do I have to worry about you trying to hunt kids down to drain them of magic? Are you going to go after Wylie?”

“Geez, no. I’m not fucked-up.” He huffed at the suspicious glare Beck was shooting and glared right back. “I was just hanging with the gang cuz I’m tired of being walked on. I can only do a little magic. I’m not some damn monster! I came back to help!”

Wylie didn’t really give a fuck at the moment. He walked around the arguing two and went to Dante. They needed to get the hell out. Dante looked so small and weak where he was hunched on the ground.

“I don’t feel good,” Dante whispered once Wylie reached him.

“Don’t worry about it. I know a guy who’s going to patch you up and get you back to feeling good.” He held out his hand and the small boy clung to it readily. Wylie scooped Dante up and straightened. He tried to dismiss just how frail and light he was. Dr. Rob would know what to do. He really hoped.

“You’re really strong.” With a sigh, Dante rested his head on Wylie’s scaled shoulder. “I wish you had been there when they took me away.”

His heart wrenched. Wylie combed fingers through Dante’s hair. “I’m here now. You’re not going to be alone. I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”

He carried him back to the group. Wylie caught Dorian staring at him with a funny look in his eye. “What?”

When he found Wylie staring right back, Dorian glanced away with a blush. “Fucking cute,” he muttered under his breath. Wylie raised his brow when he heard.

“I want to take Dante to the Academy. McPherson will know how to find his parents.”

“Good thing I’m here then, huh?” Dorian said flippantly. “I only came so you could portal back to the Academy. I didn’t want you walking; you know how dangerous that can be.” He kicked a bullet casing aside and winced when it hit the leg of a corpse only a dozen feet away. “Can we get the fuck out of here already?”

It was Diego. Wylie stared silent at the gangster’s slack features. He wasn’t even scorched. He’d hated Diego from the moment he met him but Wylie took no pleasure in seeing him dead. Instead, all he saw was a path he could’ve easily taken if he hadn’t turned back to try and save McPherson’s life.

Beck saw where Wylie was staring and stepped into his line of sight. “He took them out in under five seconds.”

“What?” Wylie looked at him in confusion.

“The small fry.” Beck tilted his head at the sleepy Dante in his arms. “Diego told him they were going to take him away and they raised their guns at him. The kid’s eyes turned black the same way your boy’s did. All five guys dropped dead. Just like that.”

A shiver ran down his spine. Wylie peered into Dante’s perfectly blank cherub face. He was breathing shallowly even though they were out of the thin air of the crate. Wylie had demon arms but he never hurt anyone he didn’t intend to. He was pretty sure Dante was the same way. All the more reason to bring him to the Academy where he’d be safe from the things that made kill.

Wylie patted Dante’s head and followed Dorian, who had a waiting portal in the auto shop. The walking was precarious. The entire wharf was seared from the fire even though Dorian had only sparked among the metal crates. Wylie stepped carefully around smoking debris and questionable spots in the wood. Dante slept on his shoulder; his breathing was too quiet to be reassuring.

The auto shop was empty. All the occupants had fled when the fire started. Beck and Adam hovered in the doorway while Dorian summoned the mirror to him. The piece of glass floated in midair.

“You wanna come, B?” Wylie asked. “Just to get the heat off of you for a while with Roth and the gang.”

Beck shook his head and grinned. “Seriously? Except for them threatening to kill me, I had things pretty good with Roth.”

“Beck! Are you fucking crazy?” Wylie gaped at him in shock. “You can’t seriously be considering going back to those asses? They were going to kill the fucking both of us!”

“Relax.” Beck rolled his eyes. “I’m just going back home, idiot. You really think Roth is going to give a fuck about me when he has five dead guys and way more wounded? He knows what’ll happen if he fucks with you now.” He shot a smirk Dorian’s way. “It’s sweet to have badass friends.”

Wylie shook his head and sighed in exasperation. “Be careful, B. Email me if you find yourself in trouble.”

“Yeah, yeah…” His expression turned soft and a sad smile twisted Beck’s lips. “At least we can say goodbye properly this time.”

Wylie nodded as he thought back to their last goodbye. Diego had been alive and everything so uncertain. Wylie went to hug Beck but paused when he realized Dante was definitely in the way. He glanced over to a very tightlipped Dorian, who held his arms out so Wylie could pass the sleeping kid over. Given Dorian’s expression, he had a feeling if his hands went anywhere below the belt on Beck he was going to be hexed into next Tuesday.

This time when Beck went to hug him, he stopped and stared worriedly at Wylie’s scales. It was his first time seeing them when Wylie could control the dangerous blades and he was rightfully wary. Wylie pulled his scales back and slowly shifted to his smooth, human form. Beck beamed up at him but Wylie only felt more awkward.

He wasn’t good at goodbyes. Not since the Andersons and trying to say goodbye to Sarah. She cried so much and he did everything to look big and brave even at eight so she wouldn’t worry. Wylie had moved through plenty of foster homes since then but hadn’t bothered to get to know anyone well enough to want to say goodbye. Beck was different and he didn’t know what to do.

“Thanks for saving my life, Wy.” Beck threw his arms around his shoulders. “You came back for me even though it turned out to be a trap. I know you’re happy where you are, I can tell, but that still means a lot to me.”

Wylie hugged him tentatively and pat Beck’s back. “You sure you’re going to be okay?”

Beck snickered and pulled away. He quickly wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. “I may not be as street smart as you but I know enough not to get myself into this kind of gang shit again.” He glanced over at Adam, who looked small and bedraggled in the cold autumn air. “Hell, I might play bodyguard for the nerd. Who knows?”

“You can always email me, you know,” Wylie reminded when Beck’s eyes turned watery.

“Yeah.”

Beck wouldn’t though; Wylie could tell. Maybe it hurt too much. Wylie turned and scooped Dante from Dorian’s arms. He didn’t have time to interpret the return of the funny look Dorian was shooting him.

“Uh, before you go.” Adam waved his hand briefly. “I really am sorry about the email and about dragging you into this, Wylie. And I wanted to thank you for saving that old guy. And, well, the kid. You’re an upstanding guy, and I’m sorry I was so scared of you before.”

“It’s cool, Adam.” Wylie meant it. He didn’t have any anger left for the tech wiz or Beck or even Diego. He had a home to go back to at the Academy and he was just starting to understand the truth of it.

Dorian grabbed his arm and tugged Wylie towards the now glowing mirror. “The kid is wiped. We need to get him to Dr. Rob.”

“You guys better run before the cops show.” Wylie gave a last look to Beck, who was having a terrible time fighting back tears. Fuck. He couldn’t seem to do anything right by anyone.

At Dorian’s insistent pull, he turned back and met his hazel eyes. “You ready?”

“Yeah. Let’s go.” He wasn’t going to miss it. Going back to his old life only pointed out to Wylie just how little he was truly alive back then. When the portal showed the arrival chamber at the Academy, Wylie stepped through with Dante in his arms. He didn’t look back.

Demon Arms 1

CHAPTER ONE

It was Wylie’s first burglary and he already wondered how bad it would go down. It was off to a shit start and his expectations weren’t rising as time ticked by.

They’d been sitting outside the huge gates for a good ten minutes now. The engine of the black van rumbled while the group waited for the little tech-wiz to hack them in. It was a small crew and they were all new to the game except their asshole leader for the night, Diego. He was the driver, his job to point out shit to steal and all around bark orders like an angry motherfucker. Adam was the kid genius who kept humming nervously as he typed on his mini keyboard up front. Wylie was the freak in the back of the van. Muscle would be the preferred term, but Diego had insisted on calling him a freak since meeting an hour ago. Wylie chose to embrace it for the night instead of getting pissed off. The lookout with his hand in Wylie’s pocket and lips wet on his neck was his recent boyfriend, Beck.

Wylie was ready to smash Diego’s face in. The gangster was as mean as a junkyard dog and just as foul. He was surprised the vicious bastard didn’t turn into a wolf or even a badass mangy dog. But Diego smelled all human, just like the rest of the crew, which left Wylie as the only guy who could transform into something else.

What that something might be, he had no freaking idea. It wasn’t a full transformation, just his arms. Wylie’s black scales didn’t look like any shifter animal he knew of. Even so, the shift allowed the blond eighteen-year-old to break through locked doors, metal gates and even safes with a strength no human possessed. Not knowing what he was didn’t make it any less impressive, and Wylie’s demon arms were enough to get him into the initiation with Roth’s gang that night.

He hadn’t actually set out to join a gang when he started hanging with Beck a few months back. Beck was a tight piece of ass who liked to get into trouble to piss his religious nut-job parents off. He was the first person to not freak when Wylie’s arms transformed into scaled, demonically powerful weapons. Actually, it kind of got Beck off. Wylie never thought he’d find someone that fucked. But then again, he had demon arms and liked dick, so he supposed they were even on the freak level.

Diego’s irritated growl from the front of the van made Wylie again think of a mutt. Their timetable was going out the fucking window. Adam’s hands kept shaking and they had no damn clue if the kid was getting the job done. Wylie knew nothing about computers. Still, better to fuck it up while no crime was committed, than fuck it up shit deep in the mansion they were planning on emptying.

Wylie had only met Adam once before. The kid reeked of so much fear, he couldn’t understand what the hell he was doing running with Roth. But maybe Adam was one of those types who didn’t want to be afraid anymore. Wylie sure as fuck didn’t know. He stopped being afraid years ago when he realized no matter how many foster families told him he was no good, he could still survive on his own. Even if he didn’t get into the gang, Wylie knew he’d be fucking fine.

Beck’s hand drifted lower and Wylie grabbed his wrist. He gave him a look his boyfriend couldn’t see in the dark. “Quit being a pervy kink. Focus.”

“Don’t be that way.” Beck pressed his lips to Wylie’s jaw and smirked against his skin. “You’re going to fuck me tonight. We’re going to ace this shit, and you’re going to come over to my place and fuck me with those studly arms of yours out while my parents sleep.”

Beck was fucked and Wylie really had no complaints about it. Well, except the screwing with his scales out. He was always worried he might accidentally hurt him. When you could tear through metal, human flesh was fucking butter in comparison.

Wylie didn’t get a chance to answer. The gate gave a sudden shudder and the wrought iron blocking the driveway opened smoothly on motorized tracks. Hallelujah. Diego muttered a long line of relief-filled curses—apparently he was shit with computers, too—and pulled the van up the long drive. They parked close to the side door, their entry point into the downstairs lounge and bar.

Diego glared at the group as he killed the engine. “Remember, the house will be empty. It’s almost winter and the owner flies south to some fucking island. Beck, you’re lookout, at the door, ear on the scanner for signs of cops. No matter what we’re carrying, you don’t leave that post until it’s time to go. Adam, get your ass out. I want you tagging stuff that needs to be moved.”

All the outside lights were on along with a few internal ones, but that was to be expected with the place empty for months at a time. Looking full of people was as much a deterrent as actually being full of people. They didn’t bother wearing masks. Adam had taken the cameras down along with all the other security, and there was no fear of being spotted.

Wylie left Beck with the van. He gripped his boyfriend’s shoulder in farewell, which earned him a smile. Beck wasn’t fearless but he got off on adrenaline and that was good enough.

Adam practically threw himself backward when Wylie approached. He stared up at his heavily scaled arms like he was some hellspawn demon there to kill him and his entire family. It was a look Wylie had grown used to since the age of eight and was sometimes more comforting than Beck’s unique response.

Diego growled at him and pointed to the door just in case Wylie was too retarded to figure out the reason he was there.

“Alarm dead?”

“Of course it’s fucking dead. Open the shit and shut up,” Diego snapped.

Wylie licked his teeth; his fangs itched to bite the aggressive fucker on the face. He reached across and drew a long, black talon down between the seam of the door and molding. He found the metal bolts, three in all, and with precise slams of his palm, knocked each one through the reinforced door and into the room behind. Satisfied, he wrenched the handle, opened the door with a flourish and waved the scowling Diego in. Adam took longer to enter; he was very busy trembling like a hyperventilating rabbit. Diego snapped at him and he finally scurried past.

Adam’s fear scent was getting to Wylie and made the hair stand up on the back of his neck. Sure, the kid could get past security but he was useless in the house. He was too waif-limbed to carry shit and skittish to trust as a lookout. Beck was a sweet talker and if some nosy neighbor came sneaking her head over the fence, Beck could come up with a lie and a smile on his pretty face in a second flat. Not so much Adam, who managed to trip twice just walking through the empty room.

“Start grabbing anything that looks worthwhile,” Diego ordered the shaking Adam. He pointed to the wall of electronics in the downstairs room to the right. Wylie followed with his eyes, brows furrowed. He really didn’t know shit about computers and tech and stuff, but there was a lot of shiny metal and plastic shit there. If he went by Adam’s expression, it wasn’t the run of the mill stuff you usually found in some rich bitch’s house.

“This is military grade,” Adam whispered. His eyes widened as he reached for something that looked to be solid steel and more than twice his weight.

“Figure out what’s important and we’ll be down to move what you can’t lift,” Diego said impatiently. “Come on, freak. The safe’s upstairs.”

His eyes strayed to where Adam was flicking something on that looked disturbingly like a laser. Wylie followed the muttering gangster through the long hallways. They must’ve gotten the plans to the place in advance or Diego had been there before. He seemed to know exactly where to go and didn’t bother to turn on lights even in the darker hallways. Wylie admitted to a mild appreciation of his skill, glad he wasn’t some bumbling idiot who didn’t know what he was doing. He could put up with the asshole if Diego managed to get them through the night alive and out of jail.

The stairs were a huge, wide expanse, easily able to fit a damn concert on the steps alone. Wylie kept his senses alert. He heard Diego’s breathing as the man muttered under his breath. There was a ticking as they passed a large echoing room housing a tall grandfather clock, along with…

Wylie turned his head as he caught a whiff of the flowers sitting in a vase on a table down the hall. Worry prickled in the back of his mind and without a word, he turned and walked toward the scent.

They were fresh, daffodils and small white daisies. Diego gave a low grunt when he realized Wylie was no longer behind him, and stomped over to his new location. “What the fuck are you doing?”

“Fresh flowers,” Wylie said tightly. He glared when the gangster looked ready to go off on him. “They’re not even wilted. Who puts flowers out in an empty house?”

His eyes narrowed. Diego stepped forward and smelled the flowers briefly to see if they were real. He shrugged. “Look at the fucking place. Do you really think someone this rich does normal shit? Maybe the fucking maid put them out just in case they got robbed and wanted to make things look nice for us. Now hurry the fuck up.”

Not even remotely convinced, Wylie considered getting the fuck out. It was midnight and whoever was there—maid, butler, guest, or owner—would likely be in bed in one of the many rooms in the maze of a place. It was one thing to steal shit; it was another to terrorize people while stealing shit.

Diego turned and waved his hand in an exaggerated movement to tell him to get the fuck over there already. Wylie bit his tongue and followed. Fuck, for all he knew the fucking rich put flowers out every day even when no one was home. Rich people were fucking crazy where money lifted them as far from reality as drugs ever could for a strung out crack whore. Shit, whoever lived there had rooms for their stuff, not for their people. Who was he to say for certain what went on in the minds of the ultra-rich?

Diego led him surefooted down a long corridor. He touched doors and counted as they went. He stopped where dim light greeted through a narrow band of an open door. “The office. Jewels and bonds are in here, some cash.” He pulled something from the inside of his black leather coat, and unfolded a canvas duffle bag. “Safe’s on the far side wall past the windows and desk. Bunch of books opens up like a door. Empty the entire thing and then meet me in the bedroom, five doors that way, left side.” He pointed down the hall.

Wylie took the bag while wondering what the fuck was in the bedroom Diego wanted to go alone for. He kept his mouth shut. He was there for one purpose; to do what he was told so that he could get in with Roth. Wylie stepped into the study and paused on the threshold. He looked around carefully but the dim table lamp revealed no sign of life. Still, he was pretty sure he smelled the distinct scent of human flesh, only mildly stale. Older, male… Cigar smoker…

The butler, he told himself briskly as he walked the length of the room. Whoever left flowers probably checked the rooms on occasion during the day, and did dusting or some shit. He didn’t know; it wasn’t like he’d ever be in a situation where he’d need to keep a mansion looking nice. He found the false wall of books easy enough, and raised a brow at the ridiculousness of it all. The house alone screamed money. Clearly anyone who looked would know money was also inside.

The safe was large and bolted to the floor. A dial and handle revealed the need for a combination. He considered the metal contraption in silence. Wylie punched his hand forward, then his other, and slowly curled and bent the metal door down. He twisted it like a thin tin of spam. He really was just made for this shit.

He swept each shelf into the black duffle and paused as the stacks of money flipped past his view. Fucking rich people. If they put their money in a bank, people wouldn’t walk into their house to steal their shit. But hell, maybe the tens of thousands swiftly sailing into the bag was equivalent to spare change in the couch for normal people? Giant mansion, giant tech, giant amounts of dough; the rich were just too fucking large to comprehend.

The jewelry was harder to ignore, harder to resist the strange urge to grab, touch, hold the gems and stare at them for hours. He wasn’t a materialistic person, not really, but sometimes Wylie had issues, strange ones that came up when his scales were out.

The crazy wealth brimming in the mansion would have been a total orgy for Beck. Probably for the best they left him in the driveway. Thoughts of Beck got Wylie hustling faster; he didn’t want to linger and leave him exposed outside for too long.

The bag was bursting by the time the safe was empty, but he just pushed his scales further up his arms to reinforce his shoulders. Wylie’s demon arms were limited. Where the scales reached, his muscles and bones beneath changed to something beyond human, but only there. The shift also imbued his senses with the creature he couldn’t fully turn into. The scents in the room were vibrant with information when he breathed in again.

Yeah, there was a man in there recently. He could smell the sweat now and found a glass by the stand of alcohol that held the slightest sour hint of clinging saliva and bacteria. If it was the butler, he sure as fuck wasn’t afraid to leave his booze stealing ways out for all to see.

Wylie didn’t bother counting the doors. Instead he followed Diego’s scent down the hallway. The door was closed and he pushed it open only to inhale sharply as scent and sight revealed a shit storm.

“Don’t fucking do it, man.” Wylie stepped into the room.

Diego glanced his way and waved him off with the hand not holding a gun. “I’ll meet you downstairs. Help the twerp with the—” He fell silent when Wylie threw the heavy duffle on the ground defiantly.

“Pick it up and get the fuck downstairs, freak!” Diego yelled. He now pointed the gun at Wylie instead of the bleeding man crumpled on the floor of the bedroom. There was a safe built into the wall, door currently wide open with cash spread out on the hardwood like a paper waterfall.

“Why? So you can kill this guy?” Anger filled Wylie’s voice. “We’re here to rob, not fucking kill. You think Roth is going to pat you on the back for murdering some poor slob in his fucking bed? He’s going to fucking kill you for fucking things up so royally.”

“You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.” Diego sounded tough but doubt crept into his beady eyes.

“We’ve got the money. I cleared out the fucking safe, and the little shit downstairs is rolling in enough tech to give him a woody. Just walk the fuck away, man.”

“I can’t!” Diego shifted from one foot to the other and pointed his gun with two hands back to the man on the floor. The stranger’s eyes were open, hazy from the head-wound. Blood that looked black in the dark room flowed down his forehead and cheek. “The rich fuck saw my face. I’m not going back to prison. I am fucking done with prison!”

Wylie began to feel the first signs of fear trickle past his strong defenses. Diego was going to waste this guy. It didn’t matter what the fuck he said, no matter how much money was at hand; Diego was more afraid of being caged again than of taking a life. Wylie hadn’t realized he still had something left to be afraid of, but apparently seeing an innocent man get shot to death was it.

“Listen to me, really closely here.” Wylie took another step into the room. He was about seven feet from Diego. It definitely wasn’t close enough to do a flying leap faster than a bullet. But if he could just inch a bit closer…

“Let’s say he manages to describe you even though the lighting is total shit in here and he’s got an egg on the side of his head the size of my fist. Let’s just say he doesn’t have brain damage or memory loss and he can describe you.” He stole another step closer. Diego was still staring at the old dude and not at him.

“What’s he going to say? It’s just a face. There are a fucking million people who look like you. You’re not pretty, you’re not ugly. It’s just a damn face, man.”

“I’m not going back!” Diego snarled and snapped his gaze back to Wylie. “You don’t fucking understand what it’s like in there, freak. What they fucking do to you! Hands like yours, they might leave you the fuck alone. But me? You think they care if I’m pretty or not? You think they care if I run with anyone? They—”

“Stop. Chill the fuck out.” Wylie could just pick up the sounds of Adam calling softly down the hall; he was probably wondering what was taking them so long. “If it all goes to shit, you’re either in for robbery—which is a fucking cakewalk—or it’s murder. They’ll never let you out if you kill this guy. You fucking hearing me? They will lock you away with the animals forever!”

“Shit… shit!” Diego shook with indecision and his expression twisted in fear. “I have priors… It’s not robbery, it’s fucking armed robbery.”

Wylie’s patience was done. “This isn’t just about you, you selfish fuck!”

“What, I’m supposed to give a fuck about the rich asshole who wasn’t supposed to be here!” Diego shouted back, his face red.

“The lookout, you dick! The fucking nerd! Me! You’re setting us all up for life if you—”

Adam pushed into the bedroom and Wylie felt the trigger squeeze before it happened. His muscles screamed as he lunged forward and knocked into Diego’s tall form.

The gunshot was an explosion of sound in his ear. Wylie’s hypersensitive senses reeled from the sudden light and noise. Diego went down heavily. He fired off another shot before Wylie wrestled the gun from his hands.

Wylie lurched to his feet, and he hauled the whimpering gangster up. Diego’s flesh was torn and bloodied from where Wylie’s inhuman claws and sharp scales had sliced and scraped. He turned to the door. Adam smelled of piss and fear. His eyes were wide and fixed unblinking on the man huddled on the floor. Wylie didn’t dare look; he could scent the blood quickly pooling and heard the man’s shattered breaths gasping for air.

“Get to the van, kid.”

“What about… W-What about the stuff?” Adam choked out. Tears began to stream down his small face and with an effort, Adam turned from the view of the dying man. He looked green. Wylie really hoped he wasn’t going to hurl.

“Now!” Wylie shouted.

Adam quickly backpedaled away when Wylie stormed to the door. He dragged the now-screaming Diego, who couldn’t escape the clawed hand that gripped his arm and carelessly sliced deep into the muscle of his bicep. Wylie followed the scent of their trail and strode through the mansion. They left far faster and much less cautiously than when they arrived. Wylie held Diego’s slumped form under one of his monstrous arms as they descended the wide staircase. Each step of pain wrenched more blood and weaker sounds from the flailing gangster. Adam scurried behind and bit his fingernails. He was silent as he watched Diego’s clothes and flesh shred in Wylie’s merciless hold.

They found Beck at the outer door. His dark eyes revealed he heard the gunshots.

“You’re driving, B.” Wylie moved to the back of the van and threw Diego’s barely conscious form in with the pile of electronics Adam had salvaged. As an afterthought, he reached in and grabbed Diego’s cell, then slammed the door.

“What, are you getting in front—Wylie!” Beck chased after him when he headed back to the house. “What the fuck are you doing, man?”

“Making sure that guy doesn’t fucking die!” Wylie turned and jerked away when Beck reached for him, his scaled arms too dangerous to touch. “Get them the hell out of here, B. Diego might need a hospital. I fucked him up bad trying to get the gun from him.”

“Don’t! Just come with us—baby, fuck, don’t do this!” Beck pleaded frantically with tears glowing in his eyes. “No one will know it was us. No one will fucking know and we can just… just…”

“Hurry up, B. That asshole is going to need you to help him after his huge fuck up.” Wylie’s smile was grim when he leaned down and pressed a swift kiss to Beck’s cheek. “Don’t let him pin this on you with Roth. I gotta call an ambulance so I need you safe and out of here first, okay?”

“Shit… Shit, you’re such a fucking idiot,” Beck whispered. His eyes still pleaded for him to come with. Hesitantly, he stepped backward. His gaze never left Wylie until he reached the open driver’s door. He disappeared in the van and the headlights glared to life. Beck’s voice was rough when he snapped something at the hysterical Adam and turned the van around in the driveway.

Yeah, definitely. He was as fucking stupid as they came.

Intangible 8

Chapter Seven

Colin Jaz McVicar was the highest authority on dimensional planes and the creatures who exist and crossed between those planes. Unsurprising, the strange man was one of said beings. He existed in another realm simultaneously to the one everyone was currently inhabiting. He appeared to be in his late thirties. His white wavy hair was cut shoulder length and was stark contrast against his golden skin. He wore dark framed, narrow glasses, black lipstick and had the odd habit of nerding out in rants of information while humming obscure muggle music.

Severus, who just spent the last forty-five minutes with Jaz in his office explaining the situation, looked ready to throw him through a window. Preferably one connected to a tall tower. They were all currently standing around Snape’s desk. Harry watched from a corner while Jaz tried to explain what they needed to do next.

Harry didn’t exist with Jaz on any of the planes he was on but he didn’t doubt the man was within more than one. He could see a golden glow coming off Jaz, especially when viewed through the fifth plane where magic and Malfoy were easily recognized. Considering where the light flowed, Jaz probably had a tail and was much taller than his average height seen.

Although Harry was certain Jaz couldn’t see him, at the same time, he seemed to have Draco’s odd ability to know when he was near. His stare would point in Harry’s direction whenever he stood close enough. Harry had walked through Jaz a few times and startled the both of them from the odd sensation. Eventually Jaz insisted he stop and started babbling about energy switching while flipping through his never ending notebook.

“Now, Mr. Malfoy, you claim you have actual physical contact with Mr. Potter through the sharing of one plane. And this has been demonstrated, along with Mr. Potter’s interaction with a phoenix. Now, given that there are at least ten, and not the previously thought seven planes phoenixes dwell in, I feel focusing on Mr. Malfoy’s plane would be the fastest way to connect with Mr. Potter and then pull him back.”

“Is it that simple?” Draco asked, doubtful. “He said he ended up scattered from a huge explosion of magic and strewn across dimensions.”

Jaz nodded and riffled through his notes again. “Yes. Yes, but I have a suspicion Mr. Potter has always dwelt in at least one other plane besides ours. I know for a fact Tom Riddle, the fallen Dark Lord, did. I saw the spell first hand he used to cross the dimensions. Considering how Riddle fell and Potter didn’t suggests to me Potter may have always been in these five planes. Deeply embedded like yourself and I in our own, just never viewed from his current location… Which suggests he may be something a bit different than what we first thought… But what that could be, who is to say as long as…” Jaz looked up and met the confused expressions with his own confusion.

“You are rambling,” Severus snapped, his eyebrows knitted darkly. “Again. What must we do?”

Jaz pushed his glasses up his nose with a practiced move and tossed his notes aside on Snape’s desk. “Right. We must locate the dimension he’s in. First thing’s first. If you’re correct and he’s unraveling, specifically on the plane he shares with Mr. Malfoy, then that is the most important dimension to find. Again, it is just speculation at this point, but I believe his loss of connection with our world has ungrounded him. He’s in a limbo of sorts and although likely quite belonging where he is, without an anchor here he cannot sustain for too long. I’ve seen this actually with…”

Severus raised his hand to cut him off. “How do we find the dimension?”

Jaz waved his hand at Draco, his black talons glinting in the light. It was if he already explained it and was waiting for everyone to catch up. Confusion again flashed across his face when no one seemed to understand and Jaz went again for his notes.

Severus reached over and firmly took the book from his hands. “Mr. McVicar.”

“Jaz,” he corrected. He pushed his glasses again into place and stared up bemusedly at Severus’s stern expression.

Severus sighed in annoyance and his frown grew. “Mr. McVicar, what must we do with Draco’s help to find the dimension?”

“I will need his blood. A lot.” Jaz smiled and revealed sharp, pointed teeth. Draco shivered in response. “Also, a complete intake of his genetic history might alleviate a bit of that, depending if the dimension is already known. They’re like fingerprints, dimensions. Very similar, side by side and infinite in amount. It takes a lot to actually pin point exact ones, and even more difficult to entrench yourself once you do find it. But with the right spells, the right anchors…”

Harry stepped up to Draco while Jaz started another tangent. He placed a hand on his shoulder in show of support. Draco, naturally, threw him off. Malfoy was far less accommodating when other people were around, Harry was figuring out. He suspected it had to do with all the teasing tickling he inflicted in McGonagall’s class. Harry couldn’t feel the least bit sorry for it considering the results of said teasing afterwards.

He considered a moment and held Draco’s hand instead. Draco stiffened for a moment and then relaxed when Harry did nothing else. Maybe Ron and Hermione had something to it by not being so aggressive. It seemed stupid they didn’t think he was treating Draco like a person… but then, he couldn’t really remember how people were around each other.

Touching Draco because he could actually touch him seemed totally natural, if not obvious. That he hadn’t cared much if Draco wanted to be touched probably was a problem. Probably. He wasn’t certain Draco didn’t want to be touched no matter all his loud complaints. Actually, he was pretty certain he did and Harry was a lot of difficulty discerning the difference.

Jaz was saying something again after he finally and calmly wrested his notebook back from an irate Severus. “I understand your beast inheritance has not been awoken, Mr. Malfoy. Was that something you were considering to help in this process?”

“No,” Severus spoke up before Draco could answer. “Let him stay human.”

“Severus, I do believe you do not like what I am,” Jaz mused, looking him over as he peered up from his notes. Severus just raised an eyebrow brow, not denying or confirming. “Mr. Malfoy is no more human than myself; he just looks it. I look it, when I choose to. I’m sure Mr. Potter could be quite descriptive in just how non-human our glowing friend here is,” he said as he waved at Draco again.

“I can see some, such as the glow because my eyes and other senses are connected to my other dimension. Magic is a very visual experience there. From what I can gather, Mr. Malfoy’s sense of physical self through touch is in his dimension, along with his sense of smell and taste. Sight and hearing seem to be missing but that could change if he’s woken up. Having someone actually able to see Mr. Potter might be useful, wouldn’t you agree?”

“No,” Severus repeated. His was voice flat and left little room for discussion. “We will do without seeing Mr. Potter. Draco is not an experiment; he is someone caught up in all this. As his Head of House, it is my responsibility to make sure he is not exploited.”

“Exploited? You really don’t like me.” Jaz started flipping through his notes. He idly hummed to himself and completely ignored the glower sent his way. “Mr. Potter, do you have anything to add to our discussion, seeing as Mr. Malfoy has been spoken for?”

Harry raised his brows. No one bothered to get a quill and paper for him. “Er. You can’t hear me, can you?” he asked hesitantly. Given the silence, that was a no. He pulled at Draco’s hand when no one seemed willing to actually assist in him talking.

Draco blinked in his general direction, his brows furrowed for a moment. Harry rolled his eyes. He placed Draco’s hand to his head and nodded emphatically until he understood he wanted to talk.

“Ah, I need a quill.” Draco looked at his professor expectantly. Severus seemed relieved for something to do besides glare at the man infringing in his office. Odd to Harry, considering although a bit talkative, Jaz was fairly fun, not to mention helpful.

Draco sat at Harry’s urging and picked up a quill. Staring a moment at Draco’s bowed head, Harry bent down and wrapped an arm around his chest. He was getting used to the way Draco gasped and grew warm in response. Because Draco wanted him to touch him. Harry reached out his hand, grasped Draco’s, and stole a moment to stare at him from the side while Draco’s eyes fixed on the paper before him. Except silver quickly turned his way when Draco felt his breath so close. He really needed to stop breathing so much.

You mentioned waking Malfoy’s genetics up could help him sense more. What about me? If I’m in multiple dimensions like you think, would waking up my genetics help the situation?

Jaz hummed and notes again flipped. He sat on the side of Severus’s desk and missed the glare sent his way. “I was considering something like that, Mr. Potter, but the reality is, I can’t reach you to wake you up. Mr. Malfoy could through appropriate spells, but it would certainly require him to be woken for it, which is not an option.”

“Would it fix him?” Draco asked quietly. “I’d be willing, if it saved him.” Harry peered around so he could see his expression but Draco ducked his head.

This time Jaz held his hand up to interrupt Severus’s oncoming rant. “There is no guarantee. It’s never been done before, to my knowledge. Mr. Potter’s situation is unique because usually one does not cross dimensions unless one is made for it to begin with. Most in his situation ended up there from their own neglect in spellwork and…”

Severus cleared his throat, his long fingers tapping to keep the man from rambling again. “What would the likelihood be, Mr. McVicar, of Potter being saved by transforming?”

“Ah. I don’t honestly know.” Jaz turned and casually leaned his hip on the desk. He placed his notebook flat on the surface to page through and stopped to read a line. “We don’t know what Potter is, do we? No… Really, do we?” he asked as he blinked up at Severus.

“No. He said he is dark to see, with light cracking through his skin.”

“And that could just be signs of his poor condition, not even his actual form,” Jaz hummed. “Waking him up while still in limbo could possibly do harm. Or good. Like I said, it’s a unique case. It would be best to approach in the most known way and find the dimension.”

“So, how much blood are we talking about here?” Draco asked nervously.

“Oh, a few pints or so. Maybe more. No more than half of what you have.”

“Mr. McVicar!” Snape snarled as his hands slammed on his desk. “That would kill him!”

Still riffling through notes, Jaz didn’t bother to look up. “Severus, I have been clear. I prefer to be called Jaz.”

Harry was fairly certain Snape reached his hexing point. He’d never seen Snape attempt to bodily harm someone, but apparently Jaz was just too much for his quiet sensibilities of potions and solitude.

“I was wondering when it was going to come to this,” Jaz mused lightly. His eyes raised from his notes as Severus grabbed him by his collar. “Is it my glasses? Too hipster for you? No, you wouldn’t know that term.”

It wasn’t helping. Severus dragged him up and pulled Jaz towards the door. “You will not drain my student of his blood.”

“The lipstick, I think. You know, I get a lot of crap for the lipstick, but it’s really just the natural color of my lips.” Severus opened the door and Jaz stared out into the hallway. He raised his white eyebrows, and his blue eyes meeting very black, very angry eyes. “Well? Think you have it in you?”

Harry burst out laughing. Draco sighed in dismay when Snape gave a ferocious growl and shoved Jaz toward the hall. It didn’t work. Jaz planted in place and was suddenly very tall as the potions master leaned over in attempt to push him out.

In what could only be described as graceful, Jaz fluidly spun Severus, set him in his chair, and shut the door to the classroom where he leaned against it. Transformed, he was tall and narrow with a long, cat like tail that flicked languidly against the door. Jaz studied his claws and let Snape calm down. “Mr. Malfoy, the blood would not be all at once, of course. Ideally, we would find Mr. Potter before reaching such a volume, but I do not like to mince words when it comes to the things needed to sacrifice.”

Draco didn’t reply. He was too busy staring at Severus’s confused, dazed face. Severus was holding his head in both hands while hunched forward in his chair like he was going to be sick.

“Don’t mind him. It happens from time to time. He should be okay in about fifteen minutes.” Jaz reached for his notebook once again. “The energy creatures like us give off just rattles some people. It makes them a bit irrational at times. Volatile. Likely why your Mr. Potter was always getting into so many fights.”

Harry raised his brows at that. How he remembered thing, most of those fights were with Malfoy, who was apparently another creature.

Do unwoken creatures tend to react to each other?

“Oh my, yes. It’s usually how they wake up. Bit too much energy… mix some bloodlust in there. We’re all just animals at the end of the day.”

Draco slid his gaze toward Harry, his silver eyes a bit hazy. “Always violent, or maybe sometimes just, um, lust?”

Jaz grinned wickedly, his sharp teeth again making an appearance as he flipped through pages. “I would avoid sex with another creature, if that is your concern. Many wake up that way.”

“So there might be a drive, then?” Draco gnawed on his lip and looked determinedly away from Harry’s direction.

“Mmm, most assuredly. Usually initiated by scent, sometimes blood, too.” As if he just heard himself, Jaz glanced up and met Draco’s gaze. “You may not want to be so close that you can smell him. Scent can be a rather dangerous game.”

Draco swallowed and shifted forward from Harry’s embrace. The back of his neck turned red. “But, they’re not all the same. Not everyone is going to, uh, respond, right? He might not even be anything like me.”

“Oh, he’s something. Same dimension, with intense power and strength. Tell me, would you say he’s possessive at all?”

I’m right bloody here, you know. Harry scrawled. Jaz and Draco’s eyes drifted to the page but neither bothered to address him.

“Definitely relentless,” Draco said with lashes lowered. “Entitled, like he just expects agreement. Bold, with no sense of personal boundaries at all.”

“That does sound like the type. Jealous?”

“Yes. He seems to be intent to make sure other’s know just how bloody close he can get to me.”

It’s the only way to show I’m here.

“Bullshit. You grabbed me in the Great Hall just to show them you could,” Draco snapped. “Licked me right up my neck. Who the hell does that?”

Harry glared and then shrugged. He nuzzled into Draco’s neck and fanned hot breath on his skin. “Yeah, so who the fuck cares? Not like you don’t like it.” He was fairly certain Draco fucking loved it, given the way his pulse increased and body tightened and then relaxed into him.

“It sounds like he’s chasing you,” Jaz spoke slowly, his eyes tight to where Draco’s hair was shifting. “Might be, he even thinks he’s caught you, which would explain his lack of the more competitive, aggressive behaviors. There’s no competition on his particular plane.”

“Oh, we used to fight all the goddamn time when he was visible,” Draco said shakily. He tried to throw Harry off his shoulder and failed. “Competed in quidditch to the point of a lot of bloody fist fights—Potter, I am fucking warning you,” Draco growled.

Harry just smirked and kissed his neck again. He let his teeth slide over the sensitive flesh. “Hey, you’re the one ignoring me.”

Jaz raised a brow, his notes discarded on the table. “Has he ever fought over you, not just with you?”

Draco went to shake his head and then stopped. “Once, I think.”

“Mr. Potter? Have you?” Jaz asked as he looked in Harry’s general direction.

“Oh, so now everyone cares what I think.” Anthony Holt called him a death eater in training and I beat his face in. Harry wrote out.

“I was thinking about Boyle, actually,” Draco muttered.

Ah. I could see how you might think that.

“Because he tried to kiss me…”

Shouldn’t have done it in front of me.

“It was just a fucking game,” Draco snapped.

So is quidditch and I fucking own in that too.

“You arrogant, bullheaded piece of shit…”

Jaz snorted loudly. “Well it doesn’t get much clearer than that. I would recommend some space if you’re serious about staying human. You two are a damn powder keg.”

“I’ve been trying to get space but the bloody bastard won’t give it!” Draco snarled and attempted to pull himself from Harry’s arms when both suddenly wrapped around him tight.

Harry pushed forward and trapped Draco against his chest instead of the chair back. “Maybe if you would stop moaning every time I breathe on you, I’d be more willing to give you space.” Although, even then he probably wouldn’t. He’d try pull said noises from Draco in other ways.

“I think the first thing we need to do is make you a proper pen. This,” Jaz indicated Draco’s flustered form as he tried to free himself, “Is not helping matters.”

Draco nodded quickly, then yelped as Harry nipped his neck. “He can touch things that hold enough magic.”

“Maybe we could wrap you in some sort of barrier? So that he can’t… He does not seem happy about that idea, does he?” Jaz hummed as Harry began to scrawl furiously with Draco’s hand.

Are you fucking serious? I haven’t had physical contact with another human being in nearly a year and you want to

“Malfoy!” Harry growled when Draco slammed his free hand down on the quill.

“Potter, you will compromise and acknowledge some fucking boundaries, or I’m putting a barrier up and keeping it up.”

Glaring at the very determined look in Draco’s eyes, Harry slowly relaxed his hold around his torso.

“More,” Draco insisted.

I won’t be able to write if I let go.

“Do I look like I give a fuck?”

You look like you want to be fucked, you sexy prat.

“Son of a—You are so fucking dead!” Harry realized very quickly although Draco couldn’t punch through the chair to get at him, he was more than willing to grab him by the hair and shove him to the ground.

Jaz waited patiently. He seemed unperturbed Draco was fighting an invisible force and kicking the ground ferociously. “Careful, Mr. Malfoy. He won’t fight you back and he’s already damaged.”

“It’s Potter; of course he’ll fight back,” Draco snarled.

“Not anymore. Considering your description, he’s going to be clingy, aggressive, and absolutely yielding to anything you want. Except space, because he likely can’t help himself.”

Draco stopped his vindictive kicking when he realized although Harry was blocking his feet very well, he wasn’t actually lashing back. “I thought you didn’t know what he was?” He asked, his face flushed as he sat back down.

“Still don’t. This is more identifying common behavioral traits in beasts. The same way you’re showing the common signs of pursuit through hot and cold behavior, luring attention and then pushing away…”

“Bloody am not!”

Jaz tilted his head. “And likely making things very interesting, if not confusing for our invisible friend here.”

Harry sat up and licked his bloodied hand. “Fucking knew it, Malfoy. You’re a bloody fucking tease.”

“Ridiculous. Luring… I didn’t even know he was here until yesterday!”

Harry grabbed Draco’s hand and waited for him to grudgingly pick up the quill.

Scent, remember?

Draco scowled and refused to speak.

You Want Me.

“Potter, I will wake up Snape so fucking fast, you won’t even understand how strong his protection spell will be!”

Jaz looked over at Severus, who had slipped from dazed into sleep at some point during the commotion. “That can’t be good. He must be particularly sensitive. Troubling, considering all the help I’m going to need from his potion work.” He pushed his glasses back from their slipped location and went to his bag across the room. “Alright gentlemen, I think it’s time we wrap this up. Mr. Potter, I will be taking some of Mr. Malfoy’s blood and I ask you be calm about it.”

Harry glanced up from where he was watching Draco’s emotions swiftly shift across his face while he kept reading the last line left on the page. He seriously doubted he was going to flip out over Draco getting a damn needle in the arm… Harry saw the wicked blade in Jaz’s hand and without any thought, pulled Draco up over the chair backward and across the room.

“It only looks gruesome, I promise,” Jaz said lightly. “The spell does the slicing and collecting. I just enchanted a weapon so no one would confuse it for something else.”

“Potter, you’re being ridiculous,” Draco muttered but Harry could see his was pale in fear.

“If you want, you can hold him steady. But it’s not going to hurt.” With a swift, fluid motion, Jaz crossed the room and pressed the blade to Draco’s inner arm.

Harry and Draco both stared. Draco went stiff in fear but not in pain. A container in Jaz’s hand swiftly filled with dark, deoxygenated blood and the blade was removed. Draco was left to stare blankly at the small drops of red left on his arm. Harry ran his finger over the fluid as he sought the wound, only to have the blood stick to his fingertips.

“Look at that.” Jaz hummed when he could see some shape to one of Harry’s fingers as the blood wrapped around his flesh. “Hardly a longterm solution, but you could just cover him in some of your blood.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so.” Draco wasn’t about to split his veins open just so he could see Harry.

“Alright, off with you. I need to fix your grumpy professor here and get this potion going. We should have some answers within the week. Hopefully.” Jaz waved them away and his eyes again strayed to his notebook. He left blood and blade on Snape’s desk as he looked something up. Harry had to wonder how long the strange man was going to let Severus sleep before he remembered to wake him.

Alone with Harry back in his bedroom, Draco found himself uncomfortable. Although Harry didn’t attempt to touch him beyond his hand to show he made it in the door, Draco felt edgy and flustered. He was expecting him to at any moment.

Partly, Draco wanted to ask Harry a million damn questions, many of them concerning just what the fuck he wanted from him. But that would involve the quill and the extreme closeness. Draco didn’t think he could handle that in his current state while alone with no other people to interrupt.

He missed lunch, barely ate breakfast and was not really in the mood for dinner even though it was the right time for it. Draco decided to catch up on some homework since he was extremely behind in most of his classes. He tried for as long as he could as his eyelids grew heavy and revealed just how difficult it was for him to concentrate. He kept trying to feel Harry’s presence but he was tucked away somewhere and wasn’t making himself known.

He dozed. Draco nodded awake to a dimly lit room and a full bladder. There was a spell in place to lower the lights during sleeping hours. He stumbled around his desk, careful not to knock his books from the surface as he made his way to the bathroom. Blearily he stripped and swayed in the tiled room after he dried his hands. He couldn’t decide if he wanted to shower or just go straight to bed. He’d have to wake up early to shower in the morning and that sounded miserable.

Hands touched his shoulders in the dim light, warm compared to the chill dungeon air. With a shiver, Draco didn’t resist when Harry pressed his hot body up against his back and held him lightly. “Thought I told you to stay out of my loo,” he murmured sleepily. Harry’s hands moved around his waist and with palms flat, pushed up his sides. “Oh.”

Harry bent his head against Draco’s neck, and spoke something he couldn’t make out beside it being ticklish. Draco’s gaze drifted down with nothing to focus on. He could feel Harry tremble behind him; his chest heaved as if he just ran and his pulse fluttered in the fingers digging in to his sides. “Potter, are you…? Oh, hell.” Draco’s eyes fluttered shut. He shifted so Harry had better access to his neck as hot, open mouthed kisses rained down.

This was very much a bad idea. Draco remembered the words Harry wrote while in Snape’s office. They were very true words, which made them extra dangerous. He wanted Harry. He wanted Harry to want him, take him, fill him. Right now, half asleep with Harry rubbing strong, unsteady hands over him, he couldn’t remember why it was a bad idea.

Draco arched back with a loud gasp when Harry’s hands moved up his flat stomach and chest. His hands slid down and fingers dragged wonderful friction with every inch. Harry stopped right above his boxers, his fingertips brushing to prove if he went lower, there would be no fabric to stop him. His fingers splayed wider and Harry hands moved slightly to the sides before he palmed up his body again. His touch was slow and so heated, Draco could only moan. Fingers teased around his nipples and squeezed, and fire tingled all the way down to his toes.

It was quiet. Draco’s uneven pants were broken by soft, aching cries that echoed in the dim bathroom. There was the light scrape of flesh on flesh as Harry rubbed his palms down and dared lower. Draco watched unseeing as fingers ran over the front of his hips and caressed his soft flesh stretched over hard bone. Harry moved lower to the tops of his trembling thighs. His large hands wrapped possessively as he stopped and again bit fingers in to indent Draco’s flesh.

“Harry.” Draco exhaled as the world spun. He could feel the unmistakable press of Harry’s erection against his ass. His eyes closed and Draco’s head fell back to land on the wide shoulder behind him. Soft hair tickled against his ear. Harry turned his face and kissed him slowly, deeply, until Draco knees grew weak. Harry’s hands moved to his hips again and held him up. He rubbed small circles on his flesh while Draco quaked.

“Oh, god… hell. Potter, please stop. I-I can’t stop.” Harry pressed up against him and ground his hard length between his ass cheeks. Draco was certain if he just moved a small inch or so, it would be up against his hole, stretch into him, claim him. It would be, god, so good. It would be so, so fucking good. “Please… have to stop,” he moaned even as he pressed back into the delicious sensation.

A low rumble tore through Harry’s chest. Cold suddenly hit his back when Harry stepped away, his large hands holding Draco’s shoulders hard to keep him from falling. Draco swayed with head bowed forward and gasps shaking him.

Harry’s hands felt like steel and his breath scalded as it hit the back of his neck in harsh pants. Harry pushed him forward, step after step. Draco raised his hands to catch the cool tile before his head touched against it. “Stop,” he whispered. He closed his eyes and rested his face on the wall. His hard cock jolted from the cold feel of the tile through his fabric barrier.

Rough, forceful hands pressed to Draco’s back, moved over his shoulders and shoulder blades, grasped and massaged and rubbed into him as if trying to ingrain his touch into his muscles. Down, over his back and lower, the curve of his spine and up his sides again, fingers dragged, and short nails scratched. “Oh, fuck… fuck, Harry.” Lower still, they grabbed Draco’s hips, fingers splayed over his ass, thumbs dug in and pressed firm as Harry cupped his cheeks and pushed him forward. “Oh, god. Please.”

The hands found his thighs, grabbed the thick, tense muscles and spread them wide. Harry kicked Draco’s feet as the side of a hand pressed against his crack and pushed in and brushed his hole. Draco jerked forward into the cool tile and cried out. His entire body tensed as Harry turned his hand and touched fingertips ever so lightly against his tight entrance. Draco sobbed from the soft touch. Sweat dripped down his face and he spread his legs wider in anticipation.

Harry roughly turned him, pushed him back against the tile and kissed him hard and demanding. Draco did everything he could not beg for more, to not turn and bend and beg Harry to finish what he started. Instead he threw his arms around his neck and clung the best he could while Harry kissed and nipped down his throat, his hot breath exploding in fast bursts. Harry’s hands moved over his sides possessively and his hips rubbed his hard burning cock into Draco’s. Draco spread again and lifted his knee up the side of Harry’s strong thigh. Harry grabbed his leg, pulled it up higher with a wrench and ground against Draco’s tight body. Just as abruptly, he shakily pushed away.

Harry was gone. His body heat and presence disappeared to leave Draco cold and confused. Trembling, Draco moaned. His knees gave out and he slipped down the wall onto the floor in a heap.

“Damn it… fucking damn it.” His head bowed down as Draco gasped. Sweat dripped down his face and his body was so fucking tight and aching he didn’t know how he wasn’t on fire. He felt like char left on the floor. He buried his face in his hands and felt the saliva drip down his chin. He followed with his hands, over his jaw, down his throat with hard, dragging fingers as he groaned. “Fuck!”

Fucking Potter. God, how the fuck was he supposed to ever touch that mean bitch after this? Bear a child with her? Fuck. A turkey baster had a better fucking chance.

Draco’s hands were on his thighs and through his boxers before he even realized it. One moved down to grasp his painfully hard dick and the other pushed fingers and roughly probed into the heat inside his aching hole. He didn’t care he was loud. His moans echoed as he bucked on the floor and wished it could be Harry fucking him instead of his narrow fingers.

He came with something near a scream. His head slammed back against the tile, body tingled, blood roared in his ears as red flashed behind his eyes.

He was so fucked. So impossibly begging for it, on his knees, fucked. God damn fucking Potter for ruining his fucking life.

My Secret Bronicorn 3

CHAPTER THREE

Skylar was silent all through dinner, his mind spinning on everything that had happened that day. His first time talking to a human that wasn’t one of the Coldbrooks had resulted in him having a date. He still wasn’t sure how it had all happened. Like, really, Josh was a human—a human. He wasn’t even really supposed to be talking to them. Humans were just so different, not to mention extremely complicated.

Josh was also really gay. A fact that was probably going to bite him on the ass.

Skylar’s backside gave a throb as he remembered how Josh had pulled him by his tail. Fuck. He ducked his head and pushed more of his food around on his plate. He probably shouldn’t have done that. Probably shouldn’t have let him kiss him. Really shouldn’t have kissed him back. It was just leading the weirdo on, really. Probably shouldn’t have agreed to go out with him either…

Come on, the guy liked fucking sparkling ponies. Sure, Skylar might happen to shift into one but it didn’t mean Josh wasn’t totally weird for liking him. Really weird.

The guy could kiss though…

“Hey.”

Skylar jolted, his hand coming up to block the roll of bread that was sailing towards his face. Carter flashed him a wicked grin from his side of the table. Blinking back to reality, he realized that Carter’s dad, Allen, had already left at some point, the room empty except for the two of them.

Oh, this was bad. Was he seriously losing time over this weird Josh guy? Crap.

“So, are you going?”

“What?” Skylar focused back on Carter, his eyes narrowed suspiciously. “How do you even know about that?”

Carter shrugged cryptically, his smirk only growing. “Josh is a nice guy. He never gets into trouble, always stands up for his friends. He might not look it, but he’s got three little sisters, and he’s always taking care of them with their mother working all the time. He’s a cool guy, Stormcloud.”

His glare turning assessing, Skylar finally nodded. “He wants me to meet some of his friends. He said… said if I told them I was a shifter, they wouldn’t freak or anything,” he added, his unspoken question hanging between them.

“Then they won’t,” Carter assured him. “Josh wouldn’t hang with guys that discriminate. He’s honorable.”

More confused, Skylar shot back, “If you know so much about him, why aren’t you friends?”

Carter gave a weak smile. “Dude, I spend my days hanging out with a fucking magical sparkling horse shifter. I get enough shit from the other sorcerer kids as it is. Humans are going to think I’m a total loser.”

Huffing, Skylar went back to not eating. It was difficult to figure Carter out. He was a powerful sorcerer, respected enough that he had started to accompany his father to Skylar’s realm to help find stallion shifters that were open to talking to humans. But Carter didn’t act like any sorcerer he’d ever heard of. Sorcerers were usually arrogant punks, or far above worldly problems depending on the individual. Carter was, well, really weird.

He was pretty sure the guy was indifferent to most things. Even though he liked to tease the fuck out of him—something Skylar had started to wonder might be some weird repressed flirting thing. He really knew nothing about humans and their mating habits. At least, he had thought he knew nothing. Josh had kind of clued him into the reality that if Carter was flirting with him, he was doing a totally shit job. The sorcerer was a hard read on the best of days and not knowing much about humans had only made him an interesting puzzle to figure out. Well, when he wasn’t ready to beat him bloody.

“He’s not bad,” Skylar offered, meeting Carter’s eye. “Don’t get me wrong, Josh is totally weird as fuck, but he’s not bad. It’s okay to make some friends even if they’re just human.”

Grinning wide, Carter stood, his hands braced on the table as he leaned forward. “Yeah, well prove it, Stormcloud. Go make yourself some friends and show me what it’s all about.”

Skylar rolled his eyes but couldn’t stop his grin. “You’re such a douche. Seriously.”

“Whatever, man. I’m not the one that was letting some guy suck on my horn.”

His face heated up uncomfortably and Skylar glared. “It’s not like that.”

“It’s totally like that. He’s crushing on you hardcore.”

“He’s a guy,” Skylar stressed. “Guy.”

Carter was completely unfazed. “Yeah, a gay guy and a nice one at that, so don’t fuck around with his heart. I’m pretty sure he fell for you the second you moved here.”

“Oh.” Stilling, Skylar thought back to the first day he had attended Carter’s school. He had been really nervous that day. But Josh had come right up to him. He had introduced himself and had even complimented him on his nail polish. “Oh.”

Done pretending he could eat while his stomach was swirling so much, Skylar stood, swaying as he stared down at the tabletop. He wasn’t really sure what he was going to say to Josh. He had wanted to have a chance to get to know some humans but never had it occurred to him that one might like him romantically. It complicated things. A lot. If he were smart, he’d call the whole thing off now before Josh got the wrong idea.

It would be the wrong idea. He really couldn’t be with a human. It just wasn’t possible. Especially with a guy.

“So, you going to need a lift or is he picking you up?”

“Uh, he’s driving me.” Licking suddenly dry lips, Skylar glanced at the clock on the wall. “Like, in fifteen minutes.” He caught Carter grinning at him, this time with a knowing look in his eyes that was determined to piss him off. “What?”

“You’re not going like that.”

Skylar glanced down at his clothes, his brow furrowed in confusion. “I’m not?”

Carter shook his head. “Not for a date.”

“It’s just to meet his friends.”

“It’s a fucking date, idiot. You totally have to change.”

Rolling his eyes, Skylar huffed as Carter dragged him to his room. “You humans are so stupid. You make everything so complicated.”

Carter looked at him curiously from where he was rummaging through his closet. Most of the clothes had been purchased by either Carter or Allen. Carter, for whatever reason, seemed to take glee in dressing him up in human garb. “Oh, and just what does a shifter do for a date?”

“We don’t date,” Skylar said matter of factly, catching a shirt when it was thrown to him. “But if we’re interested in someone, we take clothes off. Who cares what you’re wearing when it all comes off minutes later?”

Carter snorted and turned back to the closet. “I’ll keep that in mind. All pony shifters are total sluts.”

Biting nervously on his lower lip, Skylar glanced from the shirt in his hand to the human he considered a friend. There was a lot Carter didn’t know about the horse shifters, a lot he wasn’t sure if he was comfortable fully disclosing with him. “Actually, just the stallions. The girls only get horny once a year when they go into heat. It’s freaking hell.”

Carter paused from what he was doing. “What, even in human form?” He stopped himself and turned to meet Skylar’s hesitant gaze. “Right, I forgot. Your girls are always in horse form. You know, there’s a reason you need to learn to get along with humans. Otherwise, your village could be taken over or some shit.”

Skylar sighed at the tangent. He wasn’t sure if he was relieved to avoid the conversation or annoyed that Carter had once again missed the fucking point. “I’m not worried. Getting along with humans or not, my village has enough magic to hide us away for a thousand years easy.”

Carter threw a pair of jeans on the bed while nodding to himself. “So… What exactly do you stallions do when you’re all human and the girls aren’t?”

His stomach tightened uncomfortably when the topic of conversation abruptly ended right back to what he had yet to decide if he wanted to disclose. Skylar tried to shrug nonchalantly. “There aren’t that many guys. Like, a handful to each village if we’re lucky.”

“Still. I mean, if your mares have mating cycles and you stallions are always horny.” Carter turned back to him with arms folded. A wicked grin was plastered on his face as his gaze fixed on Skylar’s currently smooth forehead. “Do you guys, like, help polish each other’s horns?”

His cheeks flushing, Skylar grabbed for the jeans to hide his fluster. “It’s not something we talk about.”

“But you do, right?” Carter pressed. “It’s a year long fucking sparkling gay orgy until your girls go into heat?”

Gnawing on his sore bottom lip, Skylar nodded once. “It’s not a gay thing. It’s not,” he insisted when Carter snorted in disbelief. “It’s just to, uh, help relieve tensions—Don’t fucking tell people.” He turned away abruptly. “They think we’re weird enough as it is.”

Carter exhaled heavily. He studied Skylar with something new shining in his eyes. “Fuck, I thought I was teasing you again. My dad won’t tell me shit about that kind of stuff. I should probably warn you that meeting Josh’s friends doesn’t mean it’s going to turn into a, um, pile of sex.”

Skylar fought back a grin and failed. “No shit. You humans are more repressed than our fucking mares. It’s gay this and gay that and everyone wants sex but rarely anyone is having any—and when they are, it’s with themselves. Complicated,” he stated.

“And since Josh likes you, he might not like the idea of you, um, sleeping with other people while you’re dating,” Carter added after a pause.

Skylar nodded, his eyes downcast. That was the big problem. Horse shifters didn’t grow attached to anyone the way humans did. Relationships were fluid, selfless. And Josh, well, he was the kind of guy that would fall for another guy and want to stay with him forever. Like some sort of life mate.

It was impossible.

Sighing, Skylar kicked off his sneakers and slipped out of his current jeans. “Josh is alright. I mean, he has a nice smile. And I really think he likes my sparkles even if they’re girly as fuck. Even my own get annoyed when we get too sparkly. He really is kind of weird.”

Josh would be an interesting friend. That’s all. That’s all it could be and he really shouldn’t think anything more of it. So what if he was horny? He was always horny. Just because Josh was the first human that had actually caught his eye didn’t mean anything.

Zipping his fresh pair of jeans up, Skylar looked at the other shirt Carter was trying to hand him. “You layer them,” Carter explained. When Skylar raised his brows skeptically, he added cheekily, “Hey, you can’t make it too easy for him. Guys like a chase. Well, human guys do.”

“It’s a fucking rainbow. You’re dressing me in a blue and purple rainbow,” Skylar said with a growl.

“Josh will like it. He’ll love it, for real.”

Glaring at him warningly, Skylar took the shirt. “Stop looking at me like that.”

Carter’s annoying grin only grew. “Like what?”

“Like I’m going to suck your dick if you stand here long enough.”

Carter didn’t laugh. He gave a tug to the shirt Skylar was holding and pulled him closer. “Would you? You’ve been here a month after living a lifestyle of orgies, right? You must be feeling really desperate.”

Skylar slowly looked Carter up and down, allowing himself to notice his broad shoulder, handsome face, and shining blond hair trimmed short. The guy was hot, and if he had been a shifter, it wouldn’t have even been a question. “I’m not that desperate, jackass. You should have been nicer to me and stopped making those stupid ass pony toys.”

“Damn it.” Carter huffed good-naturedly and stepped away. “Guess I’m stuck with my hand.” He watched Skylar shrug into the second shirt. “Bet Josh is going to be happy.”

Combing his hair in place with his fingers, Skylar paused as he stared blankly at the bed. “Don’t assume. We have these strict rules about not messing around with humans.”

“What, like you’re not allowed at all?”

Skylar pushed his sleeves up agitatedly. “It’s not in writing or anything—no one actually says it. But we do think it’s kind of, like, unfair to be with humans.”

“Why?” Carter none to subtly looked down at his crotch. “Just how big are you?”

Blushing, Skylar shoved his hands into his pockets with a scowl. “Not that, idiot. Humans are non-magical. Ignorant. And that sexual freedom thing? That tends to freak them the fuck out. Most humans can’t handle that kind of stuff and—”

“Wait, so what, he needs to pass a test?” Carter broke in. “Like, trial by orgy? Do you have to bring him home and have all the stallions fuck your boyfriend before you’re allowed to date?”

“Fucker—why the fuck do I talk to you again?” Skylar exclaimed. “You’re such an asshole.” Scowling, he turned towards the mirror and busied himself making sure all the glitter was free from his hair. That Carter was partially right only made it more embarrassing. There was no way he could date a human that wasn’t open to his herd lifestyle.

“Hey, I don’t think he’d mind.” Carter leaned against the wall, his smug grin back in place. “You shifters are all super hot, even with the glitter.”

Skylar glared at him through the mirror. “We don’t leave our village, like, ever. This training thing with your dad is new and a big freaking deal, which is why after a year of Allen searching, I’m the only dumbass that was willing to try this thing. If I fell for some human, he or she would have to live with me in my village. He’d be isolated, the only one of his kind, lonely and different. And he might start getting stupid ideas, like I’m not supposed to do the same shit I did before I met him. Like breed the mares once a year,” he stressed.

Nodding silently, Carter’s smile slowly faded and the joking twinkle left his eye.

“The future of my entire village depends on me not being selfish and falling in love and leaving them,” Skylar muttered. He fixed on his reflection, afraid he was going to see something worse in Carter’s eyes if he kept looking. Like pity. Humans didn’t know shit. Sure, things were routine back home, boring, but at least he had a purpose. He protected his herd and made sure they continued on. It was important. So what if his life was forfeit when he had an entire village that needed him? He wasn’t the first stallion to be disregarded for the greater good.

“Can we just let this drop?” He turned to Carter. “Dating humans is just too complicated.”

“Sorry,” Carter said quietly. “That sounds like shit.”

“It is. It’s part of why I haven’t really been trying to make friends.” Skylar crossed his arms over his chest. “This place is cool and all, but it’s temporary. There’s no point getting caught up in stupid romance shit.”

He had thought that would be the end of it, but then again, Carter was very good at annoying the hell out of him. “Then why Josh?”

Skylar gave him a long side glance, then shrugged and returned to studying his shoes. “He’s interesting.”

“You like him!”

“Fuck off,” Skylar snapped.

Carter grinned winningly. “You totally like him. Pull that stick out of your ass, Stormcloud. It’s not the end of the fucking world if you have some fun while you’re here. Go make some damn friends and stop acting like everything is life and death.”

Skylar rolled his eyes and huffed. He would try to make some friends but nothing more. “Still not sucking your dick, dumbass.”

Josh’s friends weren’t anything like Skylar had feared. They were on the level of nerd reaching towards gamers and anime spazes, but they were good-natured enough and none of them said shit about his rainbow of hair and clothes. They were hanging out at Riley’s—Skylar was learning that humans had a lot of things to do that wasn’t actually considered doing much at all. Just hanging. Riley apparently was very good at this occupation and had a basement full of games and space for doing a lot of nothing.

It was his first time outside without either Carter or Allen, and Skylar really hadn’t known what to expect. He was still surprised by an entire world designed to accommodate his human form. Door handles, beds, chairs—they were things most humans took for granted. Many things he didn’t have at all back home. And now this. Video games.

If there had ever been anything made more specifically for hands than a game controller, Skylar didn’t know it.

Josh was currently trying to teach him how to play a racing game much to the combined cheering of his friends every time Skylar’s character fell of the edge of the track.

“Shit, you suck at this.” Josh quickly pointed left but it was too late.

“I know—Damn it!” Staring wide-eyed as his car crashed into a cliff face and promptly exploded, Skylar broke into a wide grin. “Wow. Did you see all those flames?”

Josh snickered. “Yeah, it has great graphics… But maybe you shouldn’t try to drive too soon in real life.” He leaned down from where he was hovering behind on the couch to whisper in his ear. “I don’t think your hooves could handle it.”

Biting his lip, Skylar blushed as he glanced back, taking in Josh’s bright blue eyes and dark, messy hair for a frozen moment. Fine, maybe he did like Josh. He was sweet, funny, and whenever they touched, it felt like a spark of magic.

His mouth felt particularly dry. Skylar held his hand up, the controller loose in his grasp. “Did anyone else want to play?”

“Hey, don’t worry about it, man. It just takes some practice.” Riley was quick to snag the controller and sit down next to him, corn chips scattering when the couch sank from the extra weight. “Besides, it’s not like it’s easy to focus with Josh all over you.” He flashed them a knowing look. Glancing back where Josh was still leaning over the couch, Skylar found him blushing this time. He couldn’t help but grin at the sight.

Okay, maybe he liked him a lot. Damn it.

“Wyatt has this really cool v-device thing if you want to try,” Dylan prompted from his seat on the floor. Dylan, the smallest out of all the guys there, had been giving Skylar quiet side glances the entire night and seemed very interested in the iridescent nail polish he was wearing. Skylar was doing his best to ignore it seeing as he had yet to meet any human males with nail polish. Where he was from, painting hooves was an everyday kind of thing. Painting fingernails passed the boredom okay when in human form but not quite as well as driving cars off of cliffs.

“It’s not actually virtual reality,” Josh explained. “But it is really cool.”

Wyatt, who had previously been fighting for the spot to race Riley, immediately dropped the controller and pulled out a device from his back pocket. “Oh, it’s a fucking trip. Like, it might make you really dizzy, actually. But they have five different full immersion worlds already and they started making it so people can create their own towns and upload it to one huge world—Oh, and the soundtracks! Dude, you have never heard music like this.”

While Skylar nodded politely at the very enthusiastic Wyatt who was determined to explain everything about the game that seemed to consist of just walking around looking at things, a phone buzzed behind him. Moments later, Josh stepped away, standing in the downstairs doorway with his cell to his ear, his expression growing darker as the minutes ticked by.

“Yeah, but can’t Marla…?”

Skylar strained to hear what Josh was saying but Wyatt suddenly pushed a viewscreen in front of his face, his gaze consumed with an overly bright, hyper-realistic view of what he could only assume was the ocean. A very purple ocean with green sky.

“Okay, so you can adjust the colors here—I mean, you can really make it look alien if you want, you know?”

Blinking rapidly, Skylar raised his hands and gently pushed so the screen wasn’t the only thing he could see. “Sorry, it’s just a lot. It’s so bright.”

“Huh? Oh.” Wyatt pulled the device back and began fiddling with the contrast controls. “I really like how you can make things look more real than real, you know? Like crazy colors. Like your hair,” he added offhandedly. “Beyond real.”

Surprised, Skylar patted down his hair, carefully checking to make sure his ears and horn weren’t showing again. “What, you don’t have hair color like I do here?”

“Dude, I don’t know how long it took to dye it, but no one around here has hair like yours.” Wyatt paused from what he was doing, studying Skylar carefully over the rim of his narrow glasses. “You do dye your hair, don’t you?”

Realizing his mistake, Skylar jumped up from his spot on the couch. “Yeah, I dye it. Duh. Like, that would just be crazy otherwise.” Stupid—what a fucking stupid slip to make. He could feel Dylan watching him again, and now he had to wonder if he had put something together.

This had been a bad idea. He had already slipped once that day and that had been with Carter feet away. Now he didn’t even have Carter there to save him if things went bad. Sure, Josh had handled things well, but he was, well, really weird.

Ducking his head so that no one would be able to see the lie written all over his face, Skylar sought an escape, only to run right into Josh’s chest.

“Careful.” Hands wrapped securely around his biceps and Skylar exhaled roughly as the world tilted for a moment. “Alright?”

Not sure what he was anymore, Skylar just nodded silently. He was hot all over and having Josh so close reminded him all too well of just how nice he kissed. How just having him stand close to him had gotten him hard, and when he had touched him, pressed against him, he had felt like he was going to lose his mind.

Horny. He was just horny. It didn’t have to mean anything. Skylar glanced up, finding Josh’s deep blue eyes studying him, concern clear in his gaze. The urge to kiss away that worried look hit him hard and he had to look away.

Damn it. He liked the guy. He had assumed he just wouldn’t ever be into a human—they were just so different, so difficult. But fuck this day; he was totally into Josh.

“Sorry about this, Sky. My mom called.” Josh indicated his phone with a sigh. “She has to stay late for work and the lady that lives in the apartment below who sometimes babysits can’t tonight. I’ve got to get back and make sure my sisters don’t get into trouble.”

“What… you’re leaving?” It took him a moment. Thinking was decidedly difficult with Josh standing so close.

“I have to. Jenny’s fifteen and she’ll probably be fine, but Carrie is only seven and her and Jackie will destroy the house if given a chance. Whoever said girls are well-behaved never had sisters.” As if realizing for the first time that he was still holding him steady, Josh dropped his hands. “Uh, I can drive you to Carter’s, if you want. I mean, did you want to stay and hang for longer? We could call Carter and see if he’ll pick you up if you do and…” Josh sighed again, clearly disappointed with how the night was going.

“Can I, uh, go with you?” Skylar asked, his face immediately heating up once the question was out. “I mean, I know you’ll probably be busy with your sisters and all—”

“No, busy is not the word,” Josh said quickly as he grabbed Skylar’s hand. “Just, I dunno, would you be bored? I don’t have much for video games and stuff. But, you know, I’d really like to, well, spend more time with you. I could drop you off at Carter’s after my mom gets home.”

Josh’s cheeks had gained a new flush and a sparkle lit his eyes. Skylar was having a hard time looking away. The prospect of spending more time with Josh, alone, thrummed through his entire body like a hot flame. “Yeah, that, uh, sounds good. Really good.”

Someone snickered, the noise breaking into an overly loud cough. Glancing around, Skylar realized they had at some point become the center of the room’s attention. “Um…”

“Ignore them,” Josh said. “Guys, we’re going to head out.”

“Have fun studying anatomy,” Riley called cheerfully, the others erupting into laughter.

“Go fuck yourselves.” Beaming, Josh gripped Skylar’s hand and pulled him towards the door.

“It was nice to meet you, Sky,” Dylan called, sounding like he meant it.

Pausing, Skylar turned and gave a flustered wave before disappearing through the door to the warm night air outside. “What did they mean by—oh.” His question was cut off by Josh’s kiss. His back hit the closed door and he sighed as arms wrapped around him and pulled him into a dizzying tangle of lips and heat.

“I really do have to make sure my sisters are okay,” Josh whispered breathlessly when he finally pulled away. “But I’ve been dying to do that since I saw you again.” His gaze moved down Skylar’s form, taking in his colorful shirts and tight jeans that betrayed just how turned on he was. “You look really good, Sky.”

Dazed, Skylar met his hungry gaze. His tongue flitted out to wet his lips. “You do too.” He did; Josh had changed into fresh clothes and smelled amazing. It was really hard to remember why he wasn’t supposed to get close to humans when his gaze burned over him the way it did.

Leaning down, Josh kissed him again, their lips brushing when he whispered. “We should probably go. Before we get distracted.”

Skylar nodded dumbly. It was difficult to focus on anything but the heat from their combined bodies. He was so hard it hurt. Before Josh could pull away, Skylar grabbed his ass and ground forward, his erection rubbing along his length.

He knew he shouldn’t but he had to know. He had to know if Josh actually wanted him the same. That was where it always went to hell with humans. The few that stumbled into the villages just didn’t understand them, couldn’t communicate even though they were speaking the same language. This though—how could you not understand this?

“Sky.” Breathing his name out, Josh rocked his hips against his. Skylar’s head tipped back a moment, his eyes fluttering shut as pleasure shot through him. Josh was so hard, and could feel that he was hard. This was when a stallion would make a move. If he wanted it just as much, they’d help each other get off. But as hard as Josh was, as strained as he was breathing, he was only softly kissing his jaw and Skylar had no idea how to respond. If Josh wanted him, they’d already be in each other’s pants. That was just normal.

Unfortunately, Josh was human and his normal wasn’t remotely the same.

“Come on. Before it gets too late.” Josh pulled away reluctantly and brushed his hair from his eyes. Skylar watched him from where he was resting on the door, beyond bewildered at what to do next. Was he supposed to make a move? What if he was reading it wrong and Josh got extra human and freaked out?

Damn it, why were humans so difficult about sex?

Skylar followed slowly to the car. Silently he wondered if maybe once they were hidden from view, Josh would stop being so shy. Except once in the car, Josh, who was trying to calm himself, seemed more interested in the mp3 player and what kind of music Skylar liked. He spent the entire drive asking him questions about himself when it would have been a perfectly good time to touch, or pull to the side of the road and fuck the crazy heat out of them.

It was maddening, as was the sudden kiss Josh surprised him with once they pulled into the parking lot of his apartment.

“Josh—fuck.” His eyes closing, Skylar opened to his driving tongue, his hands scrabbling to find purchase as Josh leaned across the seat and pushed him back against the door. Lips crushed his, wet heat stealing all sensible thought from his mind, and quickly his breath.

“Sorry… sorry, I shouldn’t…” Josh kissed heatedly down Skylar’s neck, nipping his flesh lightly. “You’re driving me crazy.”

Sky fought to find his breath enough to explain if anyone was going crazy, it was him. Josh’s lips sealed over his again, tongue stroking his in intoxicating touches. Pulling blindly at his shirt, Skylar sought out the bare skin beneath, only to have Josh slip away before he could get under the hem.

“Sorry, we should… yeah.”

Confused, Skylar forced his eyes open at the sound of the car door shutting.

What?

Groaning into the empty car, Skylar silently counted to himself as he tried to get his body under control.

Would humans find it rude to demand to fuck on the first date? Did he care if he was rude if he could just get some relief?

Wait, hadn’t he told himself that he was going to make friends and not give in to his stupid dick?

This was a bad idea. Fighting with Carter was way less annoying than the sexual frustration of just being in the same room as Josh. Licking his lips, Skylar slowly got from the car, his eyes glued on the disheveled human who was waiting for him. His cheeks were flushed, lips swollen, and given the bulge in his jeans, at least Josh was just as frustrated as he was.

Was this normal for him? Some cruel tease of a mating ritual? Was this what humans did when they wanted sex? Not have it?

A month in their world and Skylar was certain humans were about the stupidest creatures he’d ever met.