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Wolf Tales IV
By KATE DOUGLAS
APHRODISIA BOOKSCopyright © 2007 Kate Douglas
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHigh Mountain Wolf Sanctuary, Colorado
If she sat very still, the wolves ignored her, even now in the failing light of dusk. Ignored her, though it was obvious they'd come searching for her. Lisa Quinn heard the zing of mosquitoes near her ear, sensed the encroaching coolness as night settled in, but she focused exclusively on the pack of seven wolves circled around the flat stone where she sat. They waited, sitting just as still as she, watching.
She recognized the alpha male and female, though even after observing this group for more than a week she still couldn't keep their four half-grown pups straight without checking the tags in their ears. An older, grizzled male sat off to one side. He was badly scarred, one ear torn and his muzzle all tinged with gray. Lisa nodded to him, giving the respect his years had earned.
The wolf blinked, almost as if he acknowledged her greeting.
There was something magical about this time of night. Magic in the way their amber eyes glowed as darkness enfolded them, magic in the silence, the sense of other-worldliness, the connection Lisa experienced as the dark bodies faded into shadow until only the shining fire in their eyes remained.
She lived for this moment in time, this sense that the beasts reached out to her, spoke to her. Though their thoughts were merely jumbled images, visualrepresentations without language, the feeling of communication lingered long after each member of the pack finally turned away and glided silently back into the forest.
Lisa sat very still, even after the last wolf had gone. Sat with her legs folded in the standard lotus position, her hands resting lightly on her knees, her body trembling with energy and something deeper, more confusing. Arousal? Yes, she was sexually aroused.
It made no sense. None at all, but there was no denying the sexual energy coursing through her veins, throbbing between her legs, making her breasts ache. She breathed deeply, exhaled, took another breath, and felt the tension slowly begin to ebb.
A symphony of night sounds slowly built around her, but still she held her position, all the while reevaluating the past few minutes, considering how those minutes connected with all the years of her life. As she pondered the details, the sensual feelings faded, but the awareness remained. The sense of self, of connection.
Why now? Why here, in the midst of wolves, when she'd never found a sense of belonging among human society? Questions. Always more questions, when she'd hoped so much for answers. Dreams had led her to this place more than two years ago, dreams that took her through the forest, running with wolves, thinking as a wolf, being a wolf.
Only in her dreams.
For the first time, though, tonight they'd come to her. Come as if they'd expected her, as if they'd needed her. For what? It was more than mere curiosity about her. It was almost as if they needed answers just as she did. So many nights she'd sat here, aware of their presence as they hovered, unseen in the woods. Tonight, they'd shown themselves. Honored her with their powerful, feral presence.
Unsettled her with their disquiet. Lisa felt a small shiver run down her spine and wished it away, unwilling to lose the basic sense of this night.
Truly a magical moment. A time to savor. A memory to hold and, hopefully, to repeat tomorrow and the night after that. Finally, after a lifetime spent searching, Lisa felt as if there might actually be answers to some if not all of her questions.
The corners of her mouth twitched at the thought. There would always be more to wonder about. All was never as it seemed. For despite the sense of serenity about this place, mysteries hovered in the background.
Wolves gone missing. Four now, over the past two years. The shroud of guilt she bent beneath, that the disappearances began the month Lisa was hired, never fully left her. If only the wolves could speak. Tonight, the sense of communion Lisa felt had carried the whisper of answers.
She clung to that possibility, saw it as a destination after so many years spent wandering. Lisa's thoughts drifted from the poverty and anger of her dysfunctional childhood home to years of battling demons she'd not been able to name. The homeless encampment where she'd lived for a time under a Florida bridge was as far removed from this forest haven as she could imagine.
Caught in her unsavory memories, the questions, and her fragile hope for something better, Lisa drifted with her thoughts. She'd felt the suspicion cast her way over the missing wolves and done her best to send it back. She found comfort in the dream she'd had last night and felt her heart speed up as her mind took her on a race through the forest, running with her packmates beside her. She was miles away and years beyond when a bright beam of light cut a swath through the darkness. She blinked and shielded her eyes when it found her.
"Shit. Quinn? Is that you? What the hell are you doing out here in the dark?"
"Hal?" Damn. Mr. Suspicious himself, her supervisor, Hal Anderson. She gritted her teeth in an effort to keep her mouth shut.
Anderson pointed the flashlight directly at her eyes. "No one's allowed inside the pens after hours. Those gates are locked for a reason. The last thing we need is a mangled body come morning. You know the rules."
Shaken rudely out of her meditative state, Lisa slowly unwound her legs and rose to her feet. She made a big point of stepping off the flat rock and moving into Hal's comfort zone. Lisa liked the fact that she was taller than her boss. Enjoyed watching him take that involuntary step backward and duck his head in a typically submissive gesture without realizing what he'd done.
In fact, she liked the feeling as much as she disliked the man. He'd never come right out and accused Lisa to her face of having any connection to the missing wolves, but his suspicions had long been whispered about among the rest of the staff. Despite her dislike of the man, Lisa stood comfortably with hands on hips. "If no one's allowed, then why are you here, Hal?"
He stepped back another pace, apparently caught off guard by her question. Then he recovered and puffed up his chest. All it did was make him look like an irritated little rooster. "I'm in charge of this sanctuary, and I go where I damned well please." He patted the holster strapped to his side as if the sidearm gave him the authority his size couldn't. "Now get out of here. Don't let me find you on this side of the fence after dark, or your ass is gone. I'm not kidding, Quinn. You know the rules."
"Oh, I know the rules all right." She threw an extra bit of sway into her hips as she brushed by him, knowing exactly how much it would irritate the little tyrant. "I'm just wondering if you do."
She also wondered what Anderson was doing out here after dark. Had he been casting suspicion her way to take it off someone else ... like himself? Lisa felt his gaze on her until a turn in the trail dropped her into a stretch of deep forest and the path back to the main gate. She felt the wolves as well. Felt their presence without hearing or seeing them. Knew they protected her.
Just as she knew, without any doubt at all, that they hated and possibly feared Hal Anderson.
Pack Dynamics headquarters, San Francisco, California
The printer rattled to life, and a boarding pass slowly appeared. He'd forgotten to replace the ink cartridge, so the print wasn't as dark as it should be, but what the hell. Martin McClintock, better known to his packmates as Tinker, sat at his desk wearing nothing but his worn flannel pajama pants. He watched the paper slip into the tray with the full and distinct knowledge that his life was about to change.
Tinker steepled his fingers beneath his chin and stared out the office window. It was barely six in the morning, still way too early to head to the airport. His plane didn't leave until ten. He'd been awake half the night, lying quietly in the big bed next to Tia and Luc, listening to their steady breathing, wondering what lay ahead.
There was just one more thing to do before he left, and that very thing was stalking him even now.
Tinker sensed Tia Mason before he heard her. Sensed the wildness of the forest and knew she'd most likely shifted and gone for a predawn run. The hours before day-break were the safest time to race through Golden Gate Park, a time when discovery was unlikely.
He grinned, knowing exactly why she searched him out.
For all the joy, all the glory of running as the wolf, shifting had its drawbacks, at least if one was alone. Almost unbearable arousal, a physical reaction impossible to ignore-an obsessive compulsion for sex not easily satisfied without a partner.
Among the Chanku, almost any partner would do-of either sex. It wasn't merely a way of life or a social choice. The drives and sensual needs defined who and what they were, how they lived, what they thought.
Who they fucked and why.
A constant itch that needed to be scratched, a desire that had to be filled, a hunger that must be satisfied.
Tinker recognized that need in Tia now, the arousal coursing through her veins, her pheromones a tempting aphrodisiac to any virile male with the sense to read the signs. He grinned as heat pooled in his groin, fully aware he wasn't immune.
Thank goodness. Tinker welcomed the powerful rush of blood and pounding heat. He felt his cock swell and rise within his loose flannel pants and acknowledged the arousal, the slow, throbbing ache in his balls, the tight sense of need centered along the base of his spine. It was all good, this need, this wanting.
Normally Tia would find her mate at a time like this, but Lucien was gone for the day, headed to Sacramento for an early meeting. Of course Tia would come here.
When in need, call Tinker.
He almost laughed aloud.
Tia came to him for many things-friendship, protection, sex. Tinker remembered how much he'd hoped at one time she might come to him for love, but that wasn't going to happen. Not since she'd bonded with Lucien Stone, her mate and partner for life ... and Tinker's boss.
Tinker knew he should feel grateful that both Tia and Luc included him in their bed at night, accepted him as their partner in a thoroughly comfortable ménage. It wasn't enough, though. Not nearly enough. Their loving relationship didn't consciously exclude him, but as usual, Tinker realized he was the outsider.
The odd man out, though not necessarily at this particular moment.
Slim fingers brushed his bare shoulders. Warm lips tickled the edge of his ear. He felt her thick mass of hair brush his neck, trail lightly over the side of his face, and then sweep across his back. More hot blood rushed south as his cock reacted, swelling and tenting the front of his pants.
Tinker reached behind himself and caught the back of Tia's head in his palm, dragged her slowly around to face him, spinning his swivel chair to meet her halfway.
She tumbled gracelessly into Tinker's lap, all naked, giggling, sexy woman, and wrapped her slim arms around his neck. "I forgot Luc was leaving early. I got home and the house seemed so empty. Mik, AJ, and Tala aren't back from Maine yet, and I couldn't find you."
Tinker laughed and kissed her lightly. Tia tried to deepen the kiss, but he pulled back, teasing. "Oh damn. And the batteries in your vibrator are missing."
Tia cuffed the side of his head. "How'd you know?"
"Because I needed some for my flashlight and yours were the only ones I could find."
"Oaf." Tia nuzzled the side of Tinker's neck, nipping and licking a trail across his collarbone. "Then you owe me. Big time."
He chuckled. "I've got big. How big do you want it?"
"Big as you've got. Big as it'll get." She slipped her hand down between their bodies, tugged at the elastic waistband of his pants, and wriggled her fingers inside. Tinker sucked in a breath when she found his cock, wrapped her fingers tightly around the base and squeezed.
He tried to bite back a groan and failed. Damn, they'd fucked half the night away and he still wanted her-or at least wanted what Tia offered.
He leaned back in his chair and threw his arms up over his head. "Take me, woman. I'm all yours."
Tia snorted. "Well of course you are. You're male and I'm damned good."
As if to prove her point, Tia twisted out of Tinker's lap and slipped down between his legs. She managed to free his cock through the fly of his pants and had her lips around the crown before her knees hit the floor.
Tinker reached out to slow her down at the same time Tia swallowed him, her tongue already doing amazing things to the underside of his cock while her cheeks hollowed with each pull of her lips. Instead of stopping her, he tangled his fingers in Tia's thick waves of hair and held her close. The sight of her pink lips stretched, moist and pliable, around the dark chocolate erection sprouting from his groin took him to the edge. The visual was as sexy as the suction, like his own private porn flick starring Tia and his cock.
Tinker bit down on his lip and tilted his head back. No way in hell could he watch Tia Mason suck his cock and maintain control.
He was big and hard and filled her mouth so that the scrape of her teeth ran the length of his cock each time she pulled him in and then slowly turned him loose. Her tongue flattened against the underside, but as he withdrew, Tinker felt the tip of it curl around the crown of his penis, then dip quickly into the eye at the tip.
He wondered if she tasted the first drops of his seed, if she thought at all about Tinker or merely her search for release. Tinker opened his mind to Tia's thoughts, but for now there was merely a haze of lust without any form or feature.
Tia as woman barely existed, so trapped was she in the lush arousal following her shift, still a mindless creature of sensations, needs, and desires. Until Tia's conscious mind returned, Tinker accepted that he was nothing more to her than a means to an end, a very amenable pleasure toy to help ease the creature's needs.
He understood. He'd been that same creature so many times before.
Tia'd found a rhythm now that took Tinker closer and closer to climax. First the tightening in his groin, the tension between his legs as his balls drew up high and tight. He turned himself free, let the sensations take him. Close, so much closer to the edge, when Tia slowly withdrew until only the smooth crown of his cock was clasped between her lips.
She sucked down hard, laved him again with her tongue, and then dropped him entirely and pulled away. The cold morning air kissing his wet flesh wasn't nearly enough to cool the heat. Tia leaned close once more, swirled her tongue around the small eye at the tip, and then gave him a saucy wink. "That's all. I just wanted to make sure you were really interested."
Tinker took a moment to catch his breath and then he laughed. "Witch." He stood up quickly, grabbed Tia under her shoulders and knees, and lifted her against his chest before she had time to squawk. With his erect cock banging her butt, he carried her across the office, down the hall, and into their bedroom. Holding Tia at least two feet above the big bed, Tinker dumped her amid the tangled sheets and then rolled her to her belly.
"Oomph." She tried to wriggle free.
He held her down with one hand and slipped out of his loose pants with the other.
"What are you doing, you big oaf?" Twisting and turning under his palm, giggling uncontrollably, Tia swung a fake punch in Tinker's direction.
He dodged her flailing fist. "Finishing what you started, sweetie."
Somehow, in spite of, or because of, her struggles, Tia's legs spread apart and her hips rose up, and she was wet and ready when Tinker knelt behind her. He ran his fingers over her smoothly shaved mound, parted her swollen lips with his fingers, grabbed his cock in his fist, and found her wet and ready sex with the broad crown. One thrust took him deep; the second actually shoved Tia forward.
She practically purred.
"This is what you're looking for, isn't it?" Deeper this time, until his balls slapped against her mound.
"Maybe ..." Her answer was muffled in her pillow, but it was obvious Tia wanted anything he offered.
Tinker's cock connected with the hard mouth of her womb on the next, hard thrust. She arched her back, cried out. Her pussy clamped down on his cock in a rippling, clenching spasm, squeezing him tighter, holding him deep inside as her entire body arched against him.
He opened his thoughts and caught her incoherent mental cries of pleasure. When he linked his mind with Tia's, Tinker felt the thickness of his cock as if it pierced his own spasming sex, felt each ripple and contraction as if his body were climaxing.
Excerpted from Wolf Tales IV by KATE DOUGLAS Copyright © 2007 by Kate Douglas. Excerpted by permission.
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