Wolf Tales VI
Rated 4 1/2
WOLF TALES VI is sizzling hot! With Kate Douglas bringing together Adam and Eve and introducing Oliver and Mei, we also see the return of past characters, and receive answers to some lingering questions. The sex scenes are off the charts, and new elements of Adams character are revealed. WOLF TALES VI adds another dimension to the WOLF TALES story line. I for one can't wait for the next installment.
"...WOLF TALES VI is by far the most amazing story in this series. I am left completely in awe and dumbstruck by Kate Douglas' ability to draw me in time and time again with each installment...There are some wickedly divine surprises in this book that are going to knock your socks off. I was blown away by the twist Kate added. If you're looking for a strong erotic romance with paranormal elements, great character interaction and a well woven web of intrigue, WOLF TALES VI is definitely the story for you."
"...Powerful and intense, Wolf Tales VI is a fast-moving read keeping the reader on the edge...Kate Douglas...knows how to turn a book into a flaming torch with robust characters that keep the audience practically salivating for more of her great works."
Heat level: Smoking!
"...I have to admit right off the bat that I love the Wolf Tale series! So, I expected to love Wolf Tales VI just as much as the rest of the series. What I didn't expect was to get blown away by this latest installment! I can't reveal secrets but let me tell you there is one heck of a big surprise in this latest story that expands the world of the Chanku well beyond its current boundaries...I love Kate Douglas' characters; she describes them so well that I feel like even new characters are old friends. They are real and lifelike and just burst from the pages... Fans of the series will be happy to see old favorites as secondary characters in the current tale and they add to the richness of the storyline. If you are a fan of Wolf Tales you absolutely have to read VI! If you haven't read any of the previous books, then I recommend you start from the beginning to fully enjoy the world of the Chanku."
© Kate Douglas 2008
“You bitch. You're nothing but a cock-teasing bitch.”
Eve Reynolds twisted to one side and tried to duck, but the big guy kicked the motel room door shut with his foot and slammed her against the bedroom wall. His buddy stood to one side, watching with a salacious smirk on his face.
She aimed a kick in his direction. The smaller guy jumped out of the way before she could connect. Eve twisted in the bigger man's grasp, felt her tee shirt stretch, heard it tear. The shredded top drooped to her waist, a meaty hand surrounded her exposed breast, thick fingers dug into soft flesh. It hurt, damn it, but not as much as when he shoved his thigh between her legs, lifting her feet off the ground while he groped her other breast.
She twisted, but couldn't break free. He was taller and stronger and totally enraged. Adrenaline poured into her system. Eve's vision blurred and she fought the need to shift. It would be so easy-so utterly satisfying. Just be the wolf long enough to take them out, both of them-the big guy assaulting her and his smarmy buddy, too. She could change in the beat of her heart, all slavering teeth and powerful jaws tearing into her attackers. Eve pictured the blood and the rewarding burst of terror. She felt the first frisson of change course through her body.
The man's thigh ground against her sensitive pubes. She tensed, preparing for the wolf. Then Anton Cheval's words of warning leapt into her mind. The leader of the Montana pack had been deadly serious and his warning was branded in her mind.
Our identity as Chanku is a closely guarded secret. Take care no one learns what you are.
They would know, if she let them live. Eve wasn't ready to kill a man, much less two, which she'd have to do if she shifted. Leaving witnesses wasn't acceptable, damn it all, but she really hated to do the girlie thing. Then a hand snaked down the front of her shorts and rough fingers scraped at tender flesh, forcing entrance. She screamed, loud and long, her voice powered by anger, not fear. Then she bit into the man's thick bicep, the only body part within reach of her teeth. Her human jaws lacked wolven strength and sharpness, but the combination of scream and bite, of nearby doors opening and people yelling, was enough to stop the attack.
The big guy shoved her to the floor, yelled for his buddy, and the two of them raced out the door and climbed into their truck. The shiny red Chevy 4X4 fishtailed out of the parking lot, spewing gravel and dust in its wake. Light from the garish streetlamps turned the dust to gold and the gravel twinkled like precious gems.
A perfect example of things not always being as they seemed. Eve held on to the door jamb and gasped for air as she watched them leave. Neighbors on either side of her ground-floor room spilled out into the night. She clutched her torn shirt across her breasts, waved off their concern, and apologized for the disturbance. Then she closed the door to her motel room and leaned her head against the warm wood.
Heat and moisture engulfed her. Heart pounding, breath still rasping in her lungs, she concentrated on the thick, humid air and the silence, now the truck was gone.
The fact she'd managed not to shift.
Eve rubbed her left arm, well aware she'd have the jerk's fingerprints imprinted in her flesh for the next few days. Her crotch hurt where he'd shoved her with his thigh and violated her with his filthy fingers. Both her breasts were bruised.
Moving on unsteady feet, Eve limped into the bathroom. She glanced only briefly in the mirror before looking away. She didn't need to see the tangled blond hair or the bruise along her left cheek to know she looked like a wild-eyed tramp. Hands shaking in the aftermath of violence, head pounding with the onset of a headache, she stripped out of her clothes, stepped into the shower and turned on the water. All she got was a tepid spray, but it was enough to wash the man's stink off her bruised body.
Eve let her mind go blank as water sluiced over her head and shoulders. When she finally got out and dried off, though, her head still ached. She grabbed a wash cloth, rinsed it out, held the damp cloth to her forehead...and thought of Montana.
Clear skies and dark, cool forests. Trails leading into magical places where wild things ran and the water tasted clear and fresh against her tongue. Thick grass beneath her paws, the sound and scent of her packmates beside her. The sense of belonging, of being one with nature and the pack.
She'd known that closeness for such a brief time, but the feeling hadn't left her. The sense of brotherhood, of family. Of belonging. Still, she'd had a good enough reason to leave after a mere taste of what her life could be, hadn't she? Discovering she was a shapeshifting Chanku with the ability to switch instantly from woman to wolf had opened her life to freedoms she'd never imagined but always craved. Freedom she would have given up had she stayed with the man who wanted so badly to claim her.
Adam Wolf. Damn, how she missed him.
She brushed the unwelcome sting of tears from her eyes, took a deep breath, and slowly regained control of her shattered emotions. It had to be the adrenaline from the attack. That's all it was. Adrenaline and nerves. Not Adam. Never Adam.
Talk about sucky timing. She'd wanted independence her entire life. When it was finally handed to her, even beyond the amazing power of the wolf, she was every bit as trapped by love as she'd ever been by circumstances. Recognizing her unhappiness, Anton Cheval, the uncontested leader of the Montana pack, had given her a beautiful, cherried up antique Ford pick-up to drive, credit cards with unlimited funds and a pocketful of cash.
The fact the truck was supposed to go to his packmate, Stefan Aragat, as a birthday gift, hadn't seemed to bother Anton a bit. He seemed certain Eve would have it back in time.
So what had she done with his largesse? Driven clear across the country to the town she'd grown up in, parked her butt in this crappy motel and waited to see what would happen next.
So far, nothing good had come her way, and she had no idea what had drawn her back. No idea what was good enough in Tampa to lure her away from the beauty of Montana and people who loved her.
What kind of fool was she?
Eve freshened the washcloth under the faucet and wrung the excess water out of it. This time she held the cloth against the bruises on her left breast where the flesh had been so cruelly twisted. She had no one to blame but herself for tonight's little episode, but damn, she hurt all over and felt like a fool. A very lonely fool.
She'd had such a short time in Montana with Adam Wolf. The name alone should have warned her, but he'd been everything she'd ever wanted in a man...and more. They'd found a connection unlike anything she'd experienced. When he'd brought Oliver, the quiet young man who worked for Anton Cheval into their bed, the sex had been little short of mind-blowing.
So, what did she do? She ran. Fast and far, afraid of the overwhelming emotions, frightened as much by the changes in her body as she finally embraced her wolven, Chanku heritage, as she'd been by her attraction to Adam.
Unfortunately, she hadn't been able to leave her libido behind. Tonight, she'd lost control, and along with it, what little respect she thought she'd held on to. She'd wanted sex. She'd wanted a repeat of that amazing night with Adam and Oliver. Every night since coming to Tampa, she'd found a quiet place to run as the wolf, to learn more about her new body. The downside of the exhilaration she experienced on four legs was that damned Chanku libido. Desire, hot and potent, streaming like a living entity through her veins, and needs she really couldn't satisfy on her own, no matter how fresh she kept the batteries in her electronic buddy.
Each night she returned to this room aroused beyond belief, her blood racing, sexual desire taking precedence over all other instincts, all sense of caution. How else could she explain what she'd done tonight? She'd gone trolling for a man.
The two men from the bar had seemed nice enough at first. She'd led them on, invited them back to her room. Eve thought she wanted both men and all they promised, but when it came right down to it, she'd not wanted them at all.
She'd wanted her own kind. Her body still thrummed with the dark cravings, the sexual needs unfulfilled these past three weeks since she'd left Adam. Cravings that intensified each time she shifted, each time she raced through the night on four legs, searching for others of her kind even though she knew there were none here.
Needs she'd thought she might satisfy with the two men she'd brought home with her tonight. Except, once again, it had felt all wrong.
They'd both kissed her, a man on either side in the front seat of the big pickup truck. The larger of the two had been the most aggressive. He'd stroked the warm folds between her legs, rubbing her through the soft cotton of her shorts, and her body had responded. Her breasts tingled, her pussy clenched and creamed and she'd thought it might work. She'd hoped her body would continue to react, but his kisses weren't Adam's. His touch wasn't as loving as Oliver's. He didn't understand the needs of the wolf and his mind was closed to her deepest desires. Would it always be this way? Would she only find satisfaction among other Chanku?
Sighing, Eve stretched out on the bed and held the damp washcloth against her breasts. It didn't do a thing to ease the all-consuming ache between her legs. The constant throbbing, the clenching of muscles too long denied, the desperate need for penetration, for sexual release.
She lay there in the dark, naked and sweating. The little air conditioner hummed and rattled, but it didn't touch the thick Florida heat. She retraced the past month of her life, the three weeks since leaving Montana. So much had happened in those few days after she'd met Keisha Rialto and Alexandria Olanet, when their wonderfully protective mates, Anton and Stefan, had rescued her from an abusive relationship turned deadly.
Why was she always drawn to losers? Probably for the same stupid reason she'd walked away from the finest man she'd ever known. She was an idiot, pure and simple. Too stupid to live...wasn't that how the joke went? TSTL? It fit her perfectly.
Her life was spinning out of control, twisting pointlessly in a maelstrom of need and arousal, of desperate cravings and unfulfilled desires. And she was lonely. So damned lonely. Eve rolled her hips against the bed, imagining Oliver beneath her and Adam between her legs, The memory brought forth a rush of fluids and a hollow, empty feeling deep inside.
She clutched the bedspread with both hands, accepting her needs, her powerful desires. Accepting, yet wondering how it could happen, how she could take this woman's body and become a wolf?
How she could take a man like Adam Wolf into her bed, into her heart, and find real love? The kind of love in fairytales. The kind of love she'd always been denied.
Take that love and then stupidly walk away from it.
Once she'd discovered her heritage as a shapeshifter, a member of an ancient race that somehow appeared on the inhospitable Himalayan steppe so many eons ago, everything had changed. It was hard to say what was the biggest thing that had happened-shifting into a wolf, or meeting Adam, a man so tender and loving he made her ache with wanting. A man who claimed his only desire was to fix things.
Eve wondered if it was too late, if now that she'd left him, would he ever be able to fix her? Would he even want to?
Not if you keep running away, you idiot.
Nothing quite so sensitive as an inner critic. Eve moved the washcloth to her right breast. Her nipple tightened almost painfully when she scraped the sensitive tip with the cotton cloth, so she repeated the motion. Again. And again.
She shifted her hips against the wrinkled bedspread and her body felt all itchy and achy. She wanted to run. Wanted to shift and become the wolf and race through the forest. She hadn't run tonight. She wanted the wild and cool forests of Montana, not the hot and humid parks and gardens around Tampa, Florida.
She wanted to hunt for rabbits and deer, not worry about stepping on a cottonmouth snake, or running full tilt into a hungry alligator.
What the hell was she doing here, anyway?
Idly rubbing at her taut nipple, Eve reached between her legs and stroked her clit with her other hand. The tiny nub stood upright, hard and slick with her cream. She bit back a frustrated moan. Her fingers weren't enough. Her needs were too great, her body too desperate for the heat and weight of a man.
She thought of the new vibrator in the table beside the bed. She'd never even used this one. Big and thick and perfectly formed to give her release, according to the advertising. Crap. Who was she trying to kid? It would take a lot more than plastic and batteries to ease the ache building inside.
Why had she even come back? When she was eighteen, she hadn't been able to get out of town fast enough. Away from the foster care system, from abuse and emptiness and a sense she was always searching, always looking for something just out of reach. Keisha had referred to it as quiet desperation, that knowledge buried deep in the heart, always calling to those who shared the Chanku genetics. Hinting at more, at something just out of reach, some visceral knowledge yet to be discovered.
She'd found it in Montana with the pack of Chanku shapeshifters. Once she'd started taking the big, ugly brown capsules Anton gave her, once her body had received the nutrients it needed, completed its changes and she'd finally been able to shift, Eve discovered a side of her life she'd never imagined. Never dreamed existed.
She should have been happy there, finally at home. She could have been happy with Adam and Oliver, if only she'd been able to ignore the tugging sensation deep in her heart. She'd thought it was her need to be her own woman, to succeed entirely on her own. Now that she was here, living alone and feeling lonelier than she ever had in her life, Eve knew that wasn't it at all. There was something more, something still unexplained.
For whatever reason, it had called her back to Tampa. Until she knew what fate held in store for her, Eve knew she couldn't really leave.
She sat up on the edge of the bed, her mind filled with thoughts of Adam. She missed him. Damn, she hardly knew the man, yet the image of his tall, rangy body filled her heart and her mind. Made her body anxious and miserable with wanting.
Did he feel the same? Had he missed her over these three long weeks? Would he come to her? Why should he? Her shoulders slumped and she sighed. He's just found his sister and his mother, and a new family in the Montana pack. Why would he come after me?
She glanced toward the window. Through the slightly parted curtain she saw the cherried up `51 Ford pickup parked outside her room. Black and shiny beneath the parking lot lights, it gleamed with lots of chrome and expensive paint. The truck had been a loan from Anton Cheval, but he wanted it back by July twentieth, in time for his packmate-and lover's-birthday.
Stefan's birthday was just a little over a week away, and Eve still wasn't sure why she was even here. She really didn't want to go back without finding out what had drawn her to Florida in the first place, but she'd promised Anton she'd return the truck.
Unless, of course, she couldn't. Maybe because it wasn't running?
Grinning broadly, Eve grabbed a fresh cotton gown and slipped it over her head. She went outside, lifted the hood on the truck and stared at the myriad bits and parts of whatever made the darned thing run.
She shrugged, looked around to see if anyone was watching her. Then she reached inside and pulled a few wires loose. For added measure, she tugged a couple of unidentifiable things completely free and tossed them inside the cab. Then she went back inside her motel room and placed a call to Montana.
# # #
Adam threw an extra pair of clean jeans into the sports bag and zipped it shut just as Oliver walked into the room. He glanced up. “Are you ready, Ollie? Got your bags packed?”
Oliver shrugged and sat on the edge of the bed. Small and dark, yet always meticulous in both dress and action, he took a moment before answering. “Are you certain you want me to come? I invited myself along when you said you were going after Eve. I did it without thinking, but I don't want to intrude.”
Adam shook his head, but he couldn't hold back the laugh. Damn, he was going to see Eve again whether she wanted him or not. Of course, if she'd called Keisha to say the truck wasn't running, she must have known who would be sent to fix it.
“You're going with me, bud. We're taking the Jeep and someone needs to drive it home. I'll be traveling back with Eve. I'm not letting her out of my sight once I find her.”
“You're certain?” Oliver sat a bit straighter.
“Of course. That is...do you think Anton will let you go?”
Oliver smiled. “Unlike my first master, Anton doesn't own me, but I checked to be sure. He said he and the others will manage without me. However, he didn't sound happy about it.”
“Who's going to cook?” Adam sat next to Oliver and bumped his shoulder companionably. Oliver quirked one perfect eyebrow. Adam grinned, imagining the somewhat pompous magician and his pack dealing with the intricacies of Oliver's household duties. “They're all going to starve.”
“I hope not. Stefan volunteered to cook. I'm hoping he knows what he's getting himself into. They can always shift and feed in the forest. The woods are full of game this time of year.”
Adam flung his arm over Oliver's shoulders and felt the smaller man stiffen, but he didn't pull away as he might have a couple weeks ago. Adam wondered if Ollie would ever grow used to the touching and closeness that was so much a part of the Chanku pack. Having lived as a eunuch most of his life, Oliver had held himself apart from everyone. The adjustment to his new sexuality, to full status within the Chanku Montana pack, couldn't be an easy one, but of all the things Adam had been able to fix in his lifetime, returning Oliver's manhood had been the most fulfilling. “I want you with me, Ollie. I wouldn't think of going after Eve without you beside me.”
Oliver merely nodded. Adam wondered if this wealth of feeling was as hard for Oliver as it was for him. He felt his throat tighten and sucked in a deep breath. A burst of emotion washed over him and he struggled for control. This past few weeks had changed everything Adam had ever known, ever believed, about his life and his own sense of who and what he was.
It had also given him the first true friend he'd ever known. A friend and a lover. Not only had Oliver brought him into the pack, he'd been the one to recognize that Adam was the missing son of one of the newest Chanku, Millie West.
From life on the streets to this beautiful, palatial Montana home, from a solitary existence without family or loved ones, to an emotional reunion with a mother and twin sister he'd never known. A sister whose existence he had sensed for most of his adult life. Sometimes, when he thought of all that had happened over the past few weeks, Adam was overwhelmed by the wealth and complexity of change.
And then there was Eve. A strong, beautiful woman who fulfilled him in ways he'd never imagined. For a few, short days their relationship had been intense and satisfying, almost frightening with the power of their connection. She'd loved him, linked minds with him, but not bonded. Even so, she'd given Oliver his first sexual experience. She'd given Adam even more.
A sense of the future, of possibilities and promises, without ever saying the words. Then she'd moved on to deal with her own inner demons. The wolf was only a small part of Eve Reynolds. She still had to come to terms with the woman.
The very complicated woman.
And so she'd gone. She'd taken Adam's heart with her, but he'd known he would find her again. Still, the connection now seemed almost dreamlike, too amazing to be real. Sometimes it was almost too much to comprehend.
Oliver made it real. For all the pain in his life, Oliver was a survivor. Castrated as a baby, sold into slavery, denied his rights not only as a man, but as Chanku, he'd still maintained an unwavering optimism, a hope for the future that Adam envied. When Adam managed to find a way to help Oliver gain the manhood he'd never known, it had seemed only right the two of them would feel a special bond, but it was even more than the fact Adam had been able to fix what was wrong in Oliver's life.
Oliver, in some inexplicable way, completed him. Adam couldn't explain the feeling, but he needed it. Needed Oliver, almost as much as he needed Eve.
When Oliver turned, almost shyly, and pressed his lips against Adam's throat, there was no hesitation. They weren't planning to leave until morning. There was no reason not to share a bit of passion tonight, especially after running.
Shifting definitely had an amazing affect on a man's libido. Arousal thrummed in Adam's veins. It was always this way after racing through the forest, two wolves on the hunt, sharing a kill. A connection unlike anything else, that sharing of warm meat and fresh blood.
It would be so much more powerful with Eve, once they bonded. He was sure of it, though they'd never even run together as wolves. She'd made the change a day ahead of Adam, shifted and run with the others, and then she'd packed her bags and run away. He thought he understood. He'd certainly wanted to believe Anton when the wizard said it wasn't Adam Eve was running from.
It was her own life she was running to.
Whatever it was that left Eve incomplete would have to be fixed before she could give herself over to another. Anton had cautioned patience. He'd given Eve the vehicle, the money and the blessing to figure out what she needed, and he'd given her a reason to return.
There had been no doubt in Anton's mind that Eve would come back to Montana. Until she did, until she was able to bond freely to him, Adam wouldn't experience the mind and body connection of two wolves as one, their every move and thought in sync. He wanted that feeling, that connection. He wanted it with Eve. Sighing, thinking longingly of the woman he already thought of as his, Adam kissed Oliver and lowered him gently to the bed.
# # #
The second day after her assault, she was still every bit as sore as she'd expected, but at least the bruises were fading, thanks to her Chanku genetics. Eve crawled out of bed before seven and showered once again before throwing on shorts and a tank top. She stepped out of her motel room into the suffocating heat, and stared at the truck. Then she walked across the parking lot and headed to the closest store. She couldn't take the truck. No way was it going to work after she'd stripped so many wires out from under the hood.
There was a little convenience store half a block from her motel and the coffee was good. She'd even grown accustomed to the egg and sausage sandwiches she could stick in the small microwave she'd bought for her motel room.
The clerk behind the counter waved and smiled, proof Eve had been staying in the same place much too long. She grabbed a newspaper and poured a cup of coffee, then studied the various sandwiches wrapped in plastic.
Staring at the selection of croissants and bagels and rolls, she let her mind wander west to Montana and the sun-dappled forest she never realized she'd miss so terribly. What she wouldn't give for a nice, juicy rabbit!
A frisson of awareness skittered across her neck and down her spine. Little goosebumps prickled over her arms and Eve blinked herself back to the present. She glanced toward the cold case where the beer, soft drinks and lunchmeats were kept. A young woman stood in front of the frosted doors. Her long, coal black hair swung past her hips like a curtain of silk. She was tall and slender, her jeans torn and dirty. They hung low on her slim hips and her skin-tight, pale blue cropped tank was badly faded and stained.
Something about her caught Eve's attention. Maybe it was the cocky tilt to one hip, the way she glanced toward the clerk then quickly looked away. Maybe it was the sensual sway of her hair or something deeper, more profound. At the moment Eve couldn't put her finger on whatever it was that made her watch. Made her concentrate on the woman while pretending to check over the choices on the morning take-out menu.
Otherwise, she might not have noticed when the girl slipped a package of sliced turkey into her purse. Might have missed the two candy bars that followed, and the small carton of orange juice.
If the girl had just left it at that, she might have made it out the door with no one but Eve the wiser, but she got greedy. Or maybe she was just so hungry she forgot about caution. About survival. She fingered a perfect orange on top of a stack of fruit on a table near the door, rolled it into her palm and quickly headed for the door.
“Hey you! Lady! Stop now. Ya gotta pay for that orange!” The clerk vaulted over the counter and reached for her arm. The girl spun around and grabbed the door handle, but the clerk, a young man with a long reach, barred the way.
Eve stood unmoving, watching to see what would happen next. The girl twisted and tried to pull free of the young man's grasp, but he held on tight and pulled her back toward the counter, cursing her each step of the way. The girl struggled, obviously panic-stricken, but so far she hadn't said a word. Then she curled her lip and snarled.
That was the only way Eve could describe the sound. It startled her into action. “Wait,” she said, reaching out to touch the young man's shoulder. “I'll pay for whatever she took.”
The clerk stopped and stared at Eve. “Why? You with her?”
Eve shook her head. “No, but I've been hungry enough to steal.” She looked at the girl, who held herself as far from the clerk as she could with him still hanging on to her arm. “Is that okay with you? I'll pay for the things you took.”
The girl didn't speak, but she jerked her head, a short, sharp nod of agreement. The clerk turned her loose and stepped around behind the counter.
“That orange'll be a buck fifty.”
Twice what the sign said. Eve bit back a grin and set her own items on the counter, a couple of breakfast sandwiches and a cup of coffee. Without looking at the thief, she asked, “Okay, now what about the things in your purse?” She turned and stared at the young woman who at least had the grace to blush. The girl pulled the other packages out of her bag and lined them up on the counter. The clerk glared at her while he rang them up. Eve pulled some bills out of her pocket and peeled off twice the amount of the total. “Keep the change. I appreciate your not calling the cops.”
“Thanks, lady.” He stared at the young woman. “Don't ever come back here again, okay?”
She nodded. Eve took the bag from the clerk and turned to the girl. “You got anywhere to go?”
“Ah. So you can talk. Come with me. I'm not staying all that far from here.” She held the door open and the young woman stepped out ahead of her. For whatever reason, Eve felt relaxed for the first time in weeks. She wasn't sure how or why, but the little thief with the silky black hair seemed to hold answers.
Answers to questions Eve hadn't even thought to ask. Smiling, clutching the bag of groceries against her chest, she headed back to the motel with her young charge in tow.
The microwave dinged. Eve pulled out the little round table from the corner of the room and set out napkins as place mats, put a warmed breakfast croissant filled with ham, cheese and eggs on each one, then set the orange juice in front of the girl and the steaming coffee by her own. “Go ahead,” Eve said, when the young woman hesitated.
That was all it took. She practically inhaled her food, shoving big bites into her mouth and swallowing huge gulps. Eve ate at a much slower pace and studied her guest. Something about the young woman intrigued her. She wasn't sure of her age-the girl could be anywhere from twelve to thirty-but for some strange reason, Eve felt as if she knew her. Could she be Chanku? That growl certainly hadn't sounded human.
“What's your name? I'm Eve Reynolds.”
The girl swallowed. “I know. I remember you.”
“What?” Eve sat back in her chair, shocked. “How?”
“The Bostick place. You lived there when I was real little.” She took another big bite and washed it down with a swallow of juice. “You kept the big kids from picking on me. By the time you left, I was big enough to take care of myself.”
Eve blinked, remembering. “Mei? You're little Mei?”
The girl nodded, smiling. “Mei Chen. Yes. That's me. I was about four, you must have been eight or nine. Sheesh, that's over twenty years ago! I missed you so much when you left.” She took another bite of her meal, chewed and swallowed. “Why did you go?”
Eve shook her head, remembering things she'd tried so hard to forget. “I don't know. It always seemed as soon as I got comfortable in a home, I'd get moved to a new one, have to prove myself all over again.” She rolled her shoulders, put the memories back where they belonged. “Mei. Wow...I can't believe this. It's good to see you. How have you been?”
Mei looked down at her paper plate. “I wish I could say I was great, but...not good. Homeless for the past few months. I got my GED for high school, but no college. I really wanted to go to college, but...” She shook her head. “No training for anything. It's tough, ya know?” She raised her chin defiantly and stared at Eve for a moment. “I worked in a couple of fast food places.” She smiled crookedly. “Jobs were okay, managers had too many ideas and too many hands.”
Eve could understand that. Mei practically pulsed with sensuality. Her clothing might be torn and ragged, but her hair was shiny and clean, her skin clear, her tall, lean body absolutely gorgeous. She moved with a sinuous grace, an innate passion that spilled over onto Eve. Aroused her even beyond the frustrated desire she'd felt last night.
Eve squeezed her legs together and felt an answering shiver race along her spine before it arrowed directly to her clit. She took a deep breath. For the first time, Eve noticed Mei's eyes. Dark lashes surrounded perfect, almond-shaped, green eyes. Eyes the color of summer grass with specks of amber scattered throughout. Eyes almost like the other Chanku shapeshifters Eve knew.
Almost, but not exactly. She took another bite of her sandwich and concentrated on Mei. Concentrated on her thoughts and tried to find an answer to her sense of the “almost familiar.”
The frisson of awareness intensified. It was there, just beyond reach. Alien, unfamiliar, suffused with sensual needs almost completely overwhelmed by fear and loneliness. Still, she felt the connection to another mind, to another's desire. Mei raised her head. Looked long and hard into Eve's eyes. Brushed her hand across her forehead and blinked.
“What are you doing?” Mei's whisper radiated confusion and desire. “I feel you.” She tapped her temple lightly with her forefinger. “Here. I feel you here. And here, as well.” She swept her hand along her torso, paused at her small breasts, then roughly grabbed herself between the legs. “Here, most of all. What the fuck are you doing in my head?”
NOTICE: This novel is protected under Copyright Registration with the
United States of America. No part or portion of this work may be used
for re-sell or re-print either digitally or in print format by ANY entity other
than the legal publisher of this work listed above. Re- sell or re-print of
this work may not be used without the written permission of the author
AND the publisher or without full monetary compensation of the work
to both the author and legal publisher. Any infringement upon this
copyright will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If you have
purchased this novel in a `re-sell packet', please inform the author and/or