Sexy Beast V
Chanku Wild is the 12th story in the Wolf Tales saga.
Chanku Wild from Sexy Beast V will soon be available as a single-title ebook novella. Release date to be announced.
Rated 4 1/2
"...SEXY BEAST V has the hottest collection of shape-shifters ever! Kate Douglas brings more insight into the Chanku clan, and there is a surprise element, the readers will love...The story lines are hot, and the sex scenes burn up the pages. Run don't walk to get this book!"
© Kate Douglas 2008
IF YOU HAVE NOT READ WOLF TALES VI AND DON'T WANT A HUGE SURPRISE SPOILED,
DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING EXCERPT!
Tala Quinn buried her face in her hands and cried. Blood streamed down her left forearm from a shallow slash that ran from the base of her thumb to her elbow. The wolf beside her whined and butted her thigh with his nose. The wolf standing beside the body of the man he'd just killed growled, but his tail was tucked tightly between his legs and his ears lay flat against his head.
The coroner ignored the bloody body of the dead man and carefully wrapped a tiny, lifeless bundle for transport. He shook his head in obvious dismay. “You and your team did everything you could, Ms. Quinn. This little one's been dead for hours. He probably killed her right after he snatched her.” The man glanced at the body, then nodded toward the wolf. Blood spatters marred the animal's thick coat and matted the fur on his chest. “Those animals of yours seem amazingly calm, considering what they just did to that bastard.”
Tala shuddered and tangled her fingers in Mik's thick coat. “I'm a professional. We do search and rescue. We don't kill. I shouldn't have lost control of them like that.” She swept her one intact sleeve across her eyes and took a deep, calming breath. “Damn, I hate custody fights. Children should be protected, not used as weapons or pawns. Why...?”
“Because they're selfish scum.”
Tala glanced up as the sheriff stepped out from behind his car with a first aid kit in his meaty fist. He was a huge man, a powerful man, but even he looked shaken. He stared at the bloody gash on Tala's arm. “You okay, Ms. Quinn?”
Tala nodded. “It's very shallow.” She looked at her arm, stared at the blood. She hadn't felt the blade when it sliced into her. He attacked so fast, he'd even caught the wolves off guard. At least her blood was congealing, the wound closing. “That's when AJ, my wolf, killed him. When the guy attacked me. It happened so fast...” She was babbling. She knew it, but she couldn't seem to stop.
The sheriff opened his kit and pulled out some antiseptic cleanser and a roll of gauze. “Paramedic units all got called out on a big wreck over on the highway. Let me clean this up for you. It should be okay until you see a doctor.”
Tala shut her mouth and held out her arm. The wolf near the body snarled. The one beside Tala leaned close to her side, watching intently. The sheriff glanced in his direction, then carefully cleansed Tala's wound and wrapped her arm with the sterile gauze.
He nodded toward a thick clump of trees. “His ex-wife's body's over there. I got a call from one of my deputies a few minutes ago. They found the new husband's body. It appears this prick murdered him one, maybe two days ago. That's when he took the woman and her baby. Killed `em both. They probably died sometime last night. She fought him. Fought him really hard.”
He stared for a long time at the tiny bundle in the coroner's arms, but he spoke to Tala. “Thank you, ma'am. For losing control. For turning these magnificent animals loose the way you did. Theirs was an honest justice. Better than this scum deserved.” He turned and looked at Tala, at the fresh bandage he'd just applied to her wounded arm, and the grief poured off him in waves. Then he shook his head and sighed. “Sometimes I hate my job.”
* * *
There were days when Tala hated her job as well. This was one of them. It was full dark by the time the sheriff got her statement and said she could leave. Numb and exhausted, she loaded her wolves in the SUV. They made it as far as the first decent body of water, a cold, clear river flowing not far from the site of the murders. She wondered what the guys in the back were thinking. Their silence was unusual, the lack of communication unnerving. Neither of them had shifted.
Generally, after a job they'd shift back to their human form as soon as they were away from curious eyes. They'd talk about the job-what went wrong, what they'd done right.
Tonight, not a damned thing had gone right. Tala pulled off the road and found a secluded spot to park the SUV. She sensed the wolves' impatience, their guilt over her injury. Tonight had been a devastating experience for all of them. AJ was not a killer, but he'd ripped out the murderer's throat without hesitation. Mik had no problem with killing, but he'd done his best to protect Tala while AJ brought the bastard down.
It hadn't been enough.
Lunging at Tala Quinn with a knife was the last mistake the killer would ever make. As the sheriff said, it was better than he deserved.
Tala took a deep breath and swallowed back her tears. When a victim was killed or badly hurt, she felt as if they'd failed. When an innocent child died, there was no way to ignore the grief. Tala shivered. She couldn't let it go.
She reached for Mik and AJ but their thoughts remained blocked. She stared at them a moment, unnerved when she realized neither set of amber eyes met hers. Did they blame her for the night's devastating conclusion?
Both huge animals jumped out the moment she opened the door, and headed for the water. Moving on autopilot, Tala stripped out of her clothes and, naked and shivering, waded into the icy river.
She held her arm overhead to keep the bandage dry.
The water was so cold it stung, but she needed the numbing pain. Needed to feel clean again after such a terrible day and night. They'd tracked the killer and his kidnapped family from a small town east of Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho where he'd headed into the forest.
When Tala and her Pack Dynamics team were called in, they knew from the beginning it might be a hopeless case, but she'd never been one to give up hope. AJ and Mik were realists, more pragmatic by nature, but they'd learned to trust her instincts.
Trust she obviously hadn't deserved on this job.
Right now, she needed to forget. Needed to cry. She loved her wolves, but she desperately desired the warmth of two strong men. Her men. The ones who loved her no matter what.
AJ Temple shifted first. Tall and lean, with the rangy body of a working man, his chin-length hair tangled wet and dark about his beautiful face, he lunged up out of the river, determination and anger written in his glittering eyes. The night's ugliness still wrapped him in its steel grip and she sensed his need to erase the pain, to expunge his own sense of guilt.
Grabbing Tala in his arms, he lifted her high and held her there for a moment, just above him. “I am so sorry,” he whispered. “So sorry.” Then he plunged his cock into her, parting her sex with the pure force of his thrust. He was big and hard and it hurt-and it was exactly what she wanted. What he needed. Hot and angry at herself, furious with her failure, with the feeling her mistakes had forced this man to kill, she wrapped her legs around his waist and sobbed her regret as he fucked her.
Even as she cried, her body responded. With each powerful thrust of his hips, AJ took her higher into pleasure, farther from the ugliness of the past twenty-four hours.
His thoughts were blocked but his love poured through Tala even as he ravaged her body. His cock plunged deep, banging against her womb hard enough to hurt. She welcomed the pain. Rolled with it, gloried in it. Her body tensed and her legs tightened around AJ's waist and his thoughts flowered in her mind as her climax slammed into her.
She felt his anguish, his utter sense of failure. Not for killing. No, it was for failing to protect Tala. Her bandage was a sharp and ugly flag of dishonor and the deaths of their targets left a stain on his soul. He had failed Tala, failed Mik, failed the young mother and her child. But most of all, he'd failed the team.
She understood. The same inadequacy defiled her own soul. AJ's big body shuddered. He filled her with the hot wash of his seed and Tala's body responded. His guilt swirled around them both, shared and painful, growing instead of waning.
Suddenly the pain of failure was pushed aside. Mik Fuentes stood behind Tala and wrapped his arms around her, around AJ. The cold river swirled about their thighs, the night air had grown cold, but Tala was sandwiched between two fiery bodies, wrapped in heat and love.
Mik's voice soothed them, his steady heartbeat throbbed against her back, the solid length of his cock pressed into the tight cleft between her buttocks. His words held power, carried a message that slowly swept away the guilt.
“AJ, you did more than anyone else. You destroyed a killer who needed to die. Tala, sweetie, you did not fail. We all did the best we could. They called us in too late. The baby and her mother were already dead by the time we got on the trail. You can't right every wrong, but you can learn and move on. Put this behind you.”
Tala nodded and rested her head wearily against AJ's chest. His heart thudded beneath her ear and he shivered, as much from the power of their orgasm as the icy river. He listened intently to Mik's words and Tala knew he took comfort in what their lover had to say.
She wished she could do the same. Even though she knew Mik was right, it didn't make the ugliness go away.
Mik's thoughts poured into her mind. Shift. We need to run. You'll feel better when you're the wolf. This will all make more sense to you then.
Tala shook her head and unwrapped her legs from AJ's waist. His cock slid out of her tight channel. She lowered her legs into the icy water and gasped. It might only hit the guys at the middle of their thighs, but Tala was better than waist deep. The shock to her body cleared her mind. She knew what she needed, and for once it had nothing to do with running through the forest or making love with her men. Her teeth chattered, but she refused to shift.
She tilted her head and looked over her shoulder at Mik. His dark amber eyes glowed almost green in the light of the waxing moon. His unusually long hair hung wet and straight, plastered to his chest and belly, blacker than black in the pale light. “I need something more, and for once you two can't give it to me. I need life. I'll feel better when I hold a healthy, living baby. One who is loved by both parents.”
Suddenly it was all too much. Tala felt the tears flow in scalding trails down her cheeks. She wrapped her fingers around Mik's arm. “We're not far from Anton Cheval's home in Montana. Keisha and Xandi should be there. Please Mik? AJ? I need to see their babies. I want to hold Lily and Alex. Please? I have to hold healthy, happy babies.”
* * *
Padding on broad paws along the narrow trail, the snow leopard paused at a small creek, crouched low and drank deeply. Her tail swished in a slow, hypnotic rhythm and her whiskers sparkled with tiny droplets of water. Her pale coat, dappled with dark rosettes, provided perfect camouflage beneath the filtered moonlight.
She gazed skyward at the bulbous disk shimmering between the treetops, and her thoughts were anything but those of a wildcat. She was remembering a conversation held earlier in the evening, when she'd stood on two human legs on the back deck of Anton Cheval's lovely Montana home.
Oliver, the man she loved, had been on her left. Anton, her newest lover, on her right. The three of them had watched the moon rising slowly above the tree line, when Mei commented on its fat, imperfect shape.
Anton had laughed. Then he'd explained that the phase it was in now was called a waxing gibbous moon-almost, but not quite, full. She loved the way the words sounded, and she'd giggled like a silly kid when she repeated the phrase. Waxing gibbous. Even now it made her smile. She loved learning, and Anton was always willing to teach. He amazed her. There was very little Anton Cheval didn't know.
She only hoped he could help her fix what appeared, at this moment in time, totally unfixable.
A rabbit fed alongside the creek, unaware a leopard crouched nearby. Mei raised her head and snarled. The rabbit stopped, nose twitching. Long ears swiveled, searching desperately for the source of the unfamiliar sound.
Mei chuffed and the rabbit scampered into the brush. She'd already fed, or he would not have been so lucky. It was time to go back. The others would want to run. Mei lifted her head, sniffed the night air, turned away from the creek and padded quickly down the trail. Unlike the wolf, a snow leopard did not run for the sake of pleasure.
She'd merely needed to hunt. As always, she hunted alone and her belly was full.
“There she is.” Oliver Cheval spotted the leopard gliding out of the dark forest. Thank the goddess, she was safe, but he'd not been sure. He hated the fact they couldn't communicate when she shifted, but their wolf and leopard brains had proved incapable of linking telepathically. If Oliver remained human, Mei understood his verbal speech when in leopard form, but not his mental words. He worried every time Mei hunted alone. Unfortunately, they'd discovered very quickly the wolf and leopard were not, by nature, compatible hunting partners.
At least they were entirely compatible in their human form...but it wasn't enough. Not nearly enough. Oliver turned to the man next to him-his mentor, the one whose name he had taken with gratitude so many years ago. “Will it work? Will we ever be able to bond?”
“In theory...” Anton shrugged, a somewhat incongruous gesture, considering his patrician bearing and darkly handsome, aristocratic looks. “I've never tried this, transferring consciousness from one body to another. Other than my own, of course. The fact Mei is a leopard and Eve a wolf...the question begs itself. Will their basic nature prevent the switch? I don't know, Oliver. We can only try and hope for the best.”
The big cat paused below them. Her powerful hindquarters bunched and she exploded into the air. A lovely young Asian woman landed gracefully on the deck, her dark hair flowing about her nude body, green eyes sparkling with the joy of the hunt and the sensual need throbbing in her veins.
Oliver responded, his body incapable of ignoring the woman he loved. Mei threw her arms around him. She was ripe with desire and the thick wash of her pheromones was impossible to ignore. Oliver lifted her against his bare chest and glanced over his shoulder at Anton. “Go ahead and run. I'll catch up to you later.”
Anton saluted Oliver with his glass of wine. “We'll wait. Keisha's trying to get Lily to sleep and Xandi's feeding Alex. Mei offered to babysit both the kids.”
Oliver kissed Mei, a quick teasing taste of her lips. “We won't be long.”
She pouted and rolled her eyes. “There are some things you rush, others you don't. This is one of those others.”
Laughing, Oliver carried her into the house. “Yes, dear. As you say, dear.” It was fun to tease her, but his heart was heavy even as desire raged through his body. One more week before Anton attempted the impossible-temporarily switching Mei's consciousness into Eve's wolven body.
Until then, they couldn't mate. Could not experience the truly deep bond that occurred only when Chanku mated as wolves. He'd already accepted the fact they could never have children. Once a woman became Chanku, she could only be impregnated in her animal form. Not a problem, most of the time. Not when they were both wolves.
But Mei Chen was unique among them. Perfect in every way. Beautiful, powerful, a shapeshifter. An unusual shapeshifter whose basic nature was far removed from the rest of the pack.
Far removed from Oliver, the man who loved her in spite of their differences.
When he and the others shifted, they became wolves. She alone became the cat, a snow leopard, descendant of those born in the same inhospitable slice of the world at the base of the Himalayas as the other Chanku ancestors.
One a wolf, the other a leopard.
Oliver carried Mei through the house, out the front door and across the driveway to his private cottage. Once inside, he headed straight to their room. He gazed into Mei's eyes, and recognized the feverish light in them, the overwhelming need for sexual release that was so much a part of their kind.
In that respect, they were entirely similar. Creatures ruled by a powerful libido, made even more demanding after running in their animal form. After shifting, desire pulsed hot and deep through Mei's veins. Oliver smelled her arousal. His cock lengthened and swelled, pressing fiercely against his denim jeans. He needed her, every bit as desperately as Mei needed him.
In this, they were the perfect match.
His skin was dark chocolate to her creamy caramel, a perfect blend when Oliver lowered her to the bed. She arched into his touch and he caught the small, breathy mewling deep in her throat. He kicked off his shoes, stripped off his pants and knelt beside her on the bed.
She reached for him, but he moved quickly and settled himself between her legs. When he leaned close and touched his tongue to her swollen sex, she lifted her hips to his mouth and cried out.
This was how they connected, where their souls touched and minds linked. He felt her in his thoughts, her voice an incoherent plea for his lips and tongue, for the hard length of his cock. Wet and swollen after her shift, she needed no foreplay, nor did she want it.
Take me. Fill me. Please, Oliver! I need you.
You said there were some things I shouldn't rush. He lapped at her sleek folds and valleys, moving at a slow and leisurely pace that made his balls ache and his cock weep, but it was worth the pain to watch the myriad emotions flitting across her face.
Damn you! She cursed him with laughter in her mind, lifted her hips higher and thrust herself against his mouth. He speared her with his tongue, suckled her hard little clit between his lips and rubbed his fingers back and forth along the valley between her perfectly shaped buttocks.
She shivered beneath his touch. He licked with greedy abandon, lapping up her thick wash of sweet fluids. Nuzzling at her clit with the tip of his nose, Oliver settled in for a long, slow feast.
Mei's heart pounded in her chest. She fought for each breath of air as Oliver slowly but surely destroyed her self control. His fingers traced the sensitive crease between her cheeks and lingered over her anus. She felt the muscle there flutter when he rubbed. She didn't know whether to press down against his finger or lift her hips higher to his mouth.
Moaning, gasping with the swirling sensations, Mei shivered. She knew he loved this, torturing her on the edge of climax, making her wait for what felt like eons while he licked and teased, nibbled and stroked. Even now, Oliver kept her from coming, his thick middle finger pressing and retreating, his tongue lapping with long slow strokes that merely hinted at what he could do, what he would do...in his own, sweet, time.
Suddenly his finger breached her tight opening just as his lips wrapped tightly around her clit. Shocks coursed over Mei's nerves, pulsing bursts of power flowing throughout her body as he buried his finger deep inside her tight passage and compressed her clit with lips and tongue. Screaming, Mei arched off the bed as her first orgasm slammed into her.
Oliver backed away, leaving her empty and still wanting. He knelt between her legs and rubbed the broad crown of his cock against her sex. Pulsing with the rhythmic spasms of her first release, Mei's body shuddered. Slowly, he entered.
She felt the throbbing tissues part and drew her knees up to give him better access. Stretching her sensitive channel to the point of pain, he moved forward, pushed deeper, filling her completely, not stopping until his balls pressed against her ass and the head of his cock was planted firmly against her cervix.
Opening her eyes, Mei watched Oliver's face. His eyes were closed. His arms trembled and he held perfectly still. She opened her thoughts to his, called to him with the soft voice in her mind.
He was there, his thoughts open to Mei, a beautiful sharing they were denied in their animal forms. Tears filled her eyes. It hurt, knowing she was incapable of truly bonding with the man she loved. In answer to her bittersweet thoughts, Oliver shared the sense of her, the soft undulations of feminine muscles clasping his shaft, the slick moisture spilling out of her, covering his cock and balls so that each movement he made followed a smooth, wet slide of warm, giving flesh.
Her flesh, his...for this moment they were one creature, irrevocably linked. One single mind, one heart beating. Now, when they loved as man and woman, connected in the only way they could. Even so, the sense of isolation each felt when they roamed in their bestial counterpart waited in the shadows.
Oliver slowly withdrew, thrust forward again. Mei cried out and clasped him tightly with arms and legs, clinging to him. Unlike the other men in the pack, Oliver was slightly built, almost exactly her size. They fit perfectly. Mouths together, her breasts to his muscled chest, his powerful cock to her warm and willing sex. His slim hips pumped slowly back and forth as he rocked her to his rhythm.
She felt her climax building once again, sensed Oliver's struggle to maintain the slow, steady torture. Mei ran her hands along his smooth flanks, squeezed the taut muscles and trailed one finger along the damp crease between his buttocks. She rubbed gently over the puckered muscle, circling the sensitive flesh until she felt his muscles shuddering, sensed the desperation in his mind.
Smiling against his mouth, she teased his sensitive anus, pressing and then releasing in time with each deep thrust as he filled her. His balls had drawn up tight, the sac hard and wrinkled between his legs and she took a moment to stroke that as well.
Oliver moaned and plowed into her harder, faster. Heat spiraled through Mei. Shocks of sensation raced from breasts to womb to clit, growing more powerful with each thrust. She speared him with her finger, driving deep inside his tight, moist passage, her long finger heading unerringly for the small, round gland he probably wished she'd never discovered.
Oliver cried out when she found it, cursed her, laughing, as he arched his back with the depth of powerful penetration. The hot spurts of his seed bathed her sensitive tissues, the final sensation that took Mei tumbling into the abyss with the one she loved.
Panting, almost sobbing in relief, she cradled Oliver as he slumped across her chest. Her hands stroked his sweat-slick back, her thighs held him close and the muscles in her pulsing channel milked him even harder, squeezing every last drop they could ring from him.
Mei's thoughts spun with the combined sensation. His climax, hers. The blending of their bodies, the pounding of their hearts, even now beating almost frantically in sync. But it wasn't enough. Not nearly enough.
There was a sharp rap on the door. Stefan Aragat's voice slipped into both their minds.
Ten minute warning, he said, and it was obvious he was laughing. The babies are almost asleep and we don't want to miss our window of opportunity.
Oliver pushed himself up and over until he flopped on his back beside Mei. We'll be there. Mei's going to take a quick shower.
Oliver leaned over and kissed her. “We'll know next week at this time if it's going to work. There's no reason to worry. Anton knows what he's doing.”
Mei nodded, but she turned away and sat up without looking at Oliver. Even Anton wondered if the switch would work. She felt it in him whenever he glanced her way. He didn't realize how she read him, now. Didn't know that the one time they'd made love, the one time they'd linked so closely when he tried to learn more about her true nature, she'd learned more about Anton than even she had first realized.
He might project a sense of confidence, a self-assurance that was hard to deny, but he was every bit as nervous as any one of them. Mei turned around and smiled at Oliver. He grinned back at her and winked.
She would keep her fears to herself. If it didn't work and she didn't survive, it didn't really matter. Without the full bond, the ability to love this man completely, life really meant nothing to her at all.
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