Wolf Tales 12
Reviewer's Choice Award
"...This is an orgasmic journey with mystery, heat, love, and most of all, famikly. Every step made in each book was not for one person but for all who are Chanku and with this last book we are given an explosion of talented writing that brings it all together.
"...The depth of the emotions that everyone feels in this book makes for a wonderful read. I especially enjoyed the love and the bond that Lily has with her father Anton. As always this author does a great job of pulling the reader into the wondrous world of the pack. I hope this is not the last that we see of them. I would love to go back and visit again."
"...The story was very well paced and the action didn’t take away from the plot. In fact, the story was like a cup of cocoa; hot, rich and oh so soothing. It hit the spot. I ended the story craving more but I was very satisfied. Well done Kate Douglas on a book series that has been an utter joy to read and will have a permanent home in my collection."
"...I must say this is the best of the bunch. The way she has written this story paints a clear picture of who and what exactly the Chanku are. It explains so much and leaves you feeling satisfied that you have finally gotten those answers to the questions that began forming in the first novel. At the same time, Wolf Tales 12 wants to make you cry as you realize that you are saying goodbye to an amazing group of characters that have become part of your life. What an amazing book this is as details are revealed, secrets discovered, and a new character emerges. If you were to pick only one book to read this summer, you MUST pick this outstandingly brilliant novel! You will not regret it. Whoever stated “save the best for last” must have been speaking of Kate Douglas’ Wolf Tales 12!"
Reviewed by Danielle for Coffee Time Romance & More
"...The final chapter of Douglas’ series featuring a shapeshifting race is sexy, tense and complex. The novel satisfyingly ties up loose ends for longtime readers..."
Reviewed by M. H. Morrison for Romantic Times Book Reviews
©Kate Douglas 2010
Montana, Early August
He paused, raised his muzzle to the dark sky, and sniffed the subtle currents on the night air. The scent was there-faint, but still calling to him, even as the silent night, the gentle breeze, the resinous scent of pine and fir called.
His eyes narrowed and his ears pricked forward. Using all his senses-those of the wolf, those of the man within and those amazing Chanku senses-he tested the world around him.
This was where he belonged, in this wild, unforgiving place. This was home-the only home he wanted. The only place where he could truly be free.
But, what good was freedom without his mate? What was the point? She didn't run with him tonight. She hadn't run with him for much too long.
A low whine sounded from the thick tangle of willows. Cautiously he sniffed the air again. The scent was stronger. Not his mate. No, but someone every bit as important. Someone he sought here in the forest, in the ripe hours balanced on the knife's edge between darkness and dawning. Those perfect hours, when all about him slept.
Even the skitter of mice in the long grass, the squeak of bats overhead, the soft hoot of owls...even those sounds had faded away as all the woodland creatures went off to sleep, to hide, to mate...to celebrate another night of life before the rising of the sun.
But he was awake, and so was this other, the one who was his friend, his brother, his closest male companion. The one he loved above all other men. The one who called to him now.
Quite literally, in fact.
“Anton? Over here.”
Anton Cheval slowly turned in the direction of the soft call and blinked as Stefan Aragat rose to two feet. Despite the darkness, Anton saw his smile. Thank the goddess for a man who smiled, even when all about them seemed so...what? How could it be, that he felt so dissatisfied?
Life was good. All was well, and yet...
Shifting, standing as a man beside his lover, Anton chuckled. “You couldn't sleep, either?”
Stefan shook his head, ran long fingers through dark hair threaded with silver, and sighed dramatically. “Teething is the bane of parenthood.” His familiar dry sense of humor eased some of the odd tension stringing Anton tight as a bow.
“I did my fatherly duty,” Stef said, placing his right hand over his heart. “I spelled Xandi the first half of the night, but it's her turn. She's on kid duty now, praise the Goddess!”
Anton flashed him an understanding grin as he stepped over the low-growing willows. “Lucia was fussing, too. I waited until she fell asleep. Unfortunately, Keisha was nursing her when they both drifted off. There wasn't much room left in the bed.”
“There was always plenty of room for four adults.” Stefan laughed and hooked his arm around Anton's neck. “How is it a single woman and a three month old can take up the entire bed?”
Silence stretched between them for a long count as Anton thought about the statement Stefan had made in jest. “So much has changed,” he said, unsure if it was a good or bad thing. He leaned into Stef's casual embrace and stared toward the east, searching for the coming dawn. Was that a faint glow between the trees? No. Not yet. He glanced at Stef. “It's all good, I think. All these changes, but...”
Stefan's amber eyes twinkled. “But you're dissatisfied. I can feel it. What's wrong, my friend? Everything is as it should be. The pack is growing. Our children are strong and healthy. We've gone a full five years without an attack, a kidnapping, an assault of any kind against any one of us...”
“Not since the assassination attempt.” Anton shoved his tangled hair back from his eyes, remembering. Those hectic months following the attempt on the president's life had ended with lengthy prison sentences meted out to their worst enemies. There were still plenty of bad guys out there, but at least none were focused on controlling or destroying Chanku.
Their secret was still safe. With Nick and Beth Barden continuing as private security for the First Family-at least until the president's second term ended-they certainly had powerful friends in high places.
“So, what's the problem? It's not like you to go searching for trouble.” Stefan planted both hands on Anton's shoulders and stared solemnly at him. There was no teasing now, no sense of humor. Merely concern. Loving concern.
Feeling a little foolish, Anton slowly shook his head. “I don't know.” He shrugged. “Maybe things are too good, too settled. I have a strong sense of change in the air, as if something is going to happen. No reason for it. We're all healthy, our children are growing.” He smiled. “Our numbers are growing, that's for sure. I never once imagined myself as a husband, much less a father of four.”
“You're not the only one. I never thought of myself as a father. At least Xandi's content with our three. I hope.”
Anton raised an eyebrow. “I believe Ariel counts as two.”
“That's sort of what Xandi and I think. Ariel's made Alex look like the world's easiest baby.” Stefan chuckled. “So why the dissatisfaction? Our once cozy foursome of known Chanku now numbers fifty-six, a number that will be growing quickly with Liana, Jazzy, Tala and Daci expecting. No one's tried to kill us in the past five years.” He raised one expressive eyebrow. “In case you're wondering, that's a good thing. You've completed purchase of over half a million acres adjoining this property, the economy's strong and our business ventures are all showing a profit. Anton, my friend, only you could find something wrong with so much that's good.”
Again Anton shrugged. He wished the sense of foreboding would leave him, but he'd learned to listen to his premonitions. Still, he hated to worry Stefan. He wasn't about to let Keisha in on his fears, either, not until or unless they actually proved valid.
“You know me,” he said, feeling just a little bit foolish. “I'm never happy unless I'm worried about something.” He laughed. “I imagine it has to do with control issues. If I can't identify it, I can't be in charge.”
Stefan chuckled, but he kept his comments to himself. That alone got him a raised eyebrow from Anton. Damn. He hated a sense of something waiting when he didn't know what to expect. “It's odd. Nothing I can put a finger on, but I have the strangest sense that things are about to change. I can't explain it, but I'm afraid to ignore it.”
Stefan leaned his forehead against Anton's. “Aren't you the one who told me change is good?”
“I may have said something stupid like that at some point. I don't know, Stef...” Anton took a deep breath, inhaling Stefan's scent, feeling the warmth from his body, sensing as much as hearing the rush of blood in his veins, the steady beat of his heart. He tangled his fingers in the thick fall of hair at Stefan's nape, angled his head just right, and kissed him.
This at least he understood. This he could control.
There was no hesitation in Stefan's response. His lips were firm. Cool at first from the night air, and then warming as they pressed close to Anton's, as they parted beneath the gentle probing of his tongue.
Heads tilting for easier access, tongues tangling, they stood perfectly still as they kissed-longtime lovers and friends, as familiar to one another as the face in the mirror, as emotionally linked as if they were bonded mates.
As they explored the intimate recesses of one another's mouths, their hearts found their perfect rhythm and fell into a synchronicity never explained, yet never doubted or questioned.
Some things, my friend, are better because they don't change. Because they're familiar and beloved. Anton ended the kiss and leaned back enough to peer into Stef's dark amber eyes.
Stef nodded. This is true. C'mon. Follow me. He took Anton's hand and tugged lightly.
Smiling, Anton allowed himself to be led, following the narrow trail through the tangled willows until there was nothing but soft, dry grass beneath his bare feet, and the musical notes of water dancing in the shadows.
He tilted his head, listening to the soothing sound of the small waterfall. “I'm surprised the water's still falling this late in the season. Most years it's barely a trickle by now.”
Stef's low chuckle sent a wave of gooseflesh down his arms, across his chest. “Why are you whispering, oh exalted leader?”
Anton laughed out loud. “Not sure. Habit, I guess. Afraid of waking the babies?”
“They can't hear us here, and personally, I fully intend to make a lot of noise.” Stef plopped down on a blanket he'd obviously laid out in advance. Again, he tugged Anton's hand. “You coming?”
“I certainly hope to.” He'd grown hard from the first touch of Stefan's lips against his, but now, knowing what his friend had planned, Anton's heart raced and the breath strained his lungs. He stretched out on the soft blanket beside Stefan, trying to look calmer than he actually felt. It had been a long time since they'd done this. Too damned long. He ran his fingers across the sharp ridge of Stef's collarbone. “How did you know I'd follow you?”
“When have you not?” Stefan's voice sounded hoarse, as if it were an effort to form the words, but it was obvious he had other things on his mind. He ran his hand over Anton's shoulder, followed the muscular curve of his arm, trailed across the sharp jut of hipbone and then cupped the rounded curve of his butt.
Anton's buttocks clenched involuntarily, tightening around Stefan's fingers as they slipped along the clenched valley between his cheeks and paused over his puckered sphincter. He groaned and forced his muscles to relax. Stefan never said a word. With his eyes focused on Anton's, he stroked intimately and probed lightly-not enough pressure to penetrate, but more than enough to tease.
Damn, but he'd missed this. What had once occurred nightly was now too rare-this intimate time alone. Time to explore one another's bodies, to wallow in the pure sensuality of taste and scent and touch, of fucking until their legs trembled and their overwhelming Chanku sex drives were-for the moment, at least-sated.
When had their lives grown so complicated that their time together had almost disappeared? Was this what was missing? These private moments? Did this alone explain Anton's absurd dissatisfaction with what should otherwise be a perfect life?
Stefan leaned close and caught Anton's left nipple between the sharp edges of his teeth and bit down. Hard.
Holy hell! Anton groaned a soft expletive. “Oh, shit. Stef.” The curse felt like a prayer, escaping on a hiss of pleasure. He'd worry about all his dissatisfaction crap later. For now there were better things to occupy his mind-and his body. At this moment, in this place, Stefan Aragat was quickly becoming the center of his world. Stefan and the soft breezes and seductive scents of man and sweat and arousal, of forest and night and the two of them.
Just the two of them.
Anton sat up and countered Stefan's painful nip, running his fingers through dark hair laced with silver on Stef's chest, trailing slowly down and down farther, through the silky strands. Stefan stretched out on his side and propped himself up on one elbow, moving slowly while Anton paused to twirl a fingertip in the dip of his navel. He moaned softly when Anton spread his fingers wide to push through the thick hair covering Stef's groin.
So perfect, that smooth, sleek feel of hair that had, at one time, been coarse and curly. Shifting had changed that. Years of shifting from human to wolf and back again, until the coarse curls had eventually relaxed and now lay sleek and smooth like the fine undercoat of a wolf. Even his beloved Keisha's once tightly kinked hair-long the bane of her existence-now fell past her shoulders in shimmering waves of midnight silk.
So many changes over the years to both bodies and lives, but the best change of all was this-this amazing sexual need that always culminated in such exquisite pleasure, such absolute fulfillment. When Anton clasped the thick root of Stefan's erection, both of them groaned. The sensation of that hot length of hard flesh sliding across his palm made a connection like nothing else. He squeezed tighter. Stef groaned again and arched into his grasp.
Anton nudged Stef's shoulder with his forehead, toppling him from his side to his back. He sat there for a long moment, studying the perfect body, the powerful stretch and pull of taut muscle and sleek flesh. Anton's breath caught in his throat and his entire body thrummed with arousal.
Straddling Stef's legs, he leaned over and, cupping Stef's heavy sac in one hand and the thick length of his cock in the other, drew damp circles around the crown of his erection with the tip of his tongue.
He spent long minutes exploring. Licking, tasting, nipping at the silky skin covering such hard, quivering muscle. He sucked the rounded glans between his lips and found the narrow slit, sucking first, and then dipping his tongue into it, tasting the first salty, bittersweet drops of semen that appeared as Stef's arousal grew. He circled Stef's growing erection, using his tongue and lips, nibbling with the sharp edges of his teeth as he worked his way up and then down the thick shaft.
Opening his thoughts to Stefan's swirling impressions, he felt the hot press of his own tongue, the sharp nips, the exquisite pressure when he locked his lips around the broad crown and sucked hard, when he stretched the small opening with the tip of his tongue, forcing entry to the point of pain.
But not beyond. Sharing the sensations, reacting to Stefan's internal barometer of what worked, what didn't, he knew exactly how to please his lover. Anton's own erection felt hot and heavy, rising slowly to press against his taut belly, and he shared that with Stefan, that sense of hot blood throbbing along his length, accompanied by the perfect ache of arousal. His balls tightened up close between his legs, muscles hardened in response to taste and touch, blood rushed into his cock until he was fully engorged.
And ready. He was so ready to take it further, but delaying satisfaction, teasing...the slow build of sensation was a luxury neither of them had indulged in for much too long.
Scent rich with pheromones drifted with the gentle air currents, teasing.
Stef bucked his hips, raising Anton slightly. His breath was choppy and fast, his lips parted on a tight, feral grin. “You gonna play all night, my friend? Or do you know where you're going with this?”
“Oh, I know all right.” Anton swept his tongue over Stefan's leaking crown and once again caught a tiny bubble of cream. The sharp taste stirred his senses. He inhaled, filling his lungs with Stef's musky scent. His breath hitched in his throat as he wrapped his fist around his lover's erection and gave him a few hard, fast strokes. “I merely wanted to make sure we're in agreement. No argument. You're mine tonight, Stef. All mine, in all ways.”
Stefan's amber eyes blazed in the pale light of dawn as he nodded his head. Short, sharp-almost frantic-jerks of his chin. When had the day begun to grow light? How long had they lain here, the two of them touching and tasting?
Keisha might be wondering where he'd gone. Anton pulled his mind out of the moment and sent a brief thought her way, finding only the resting mind of his beloved mate. His wife slept, her body wrapped close around their slumbering three month old daughter. He searched wider and found the twins, Gabe and Mac. Almost four now, they sprawled loose-limbed and dreaming in their bunk beds. Then on to the next room where Lily slept peacefully, practically lost among stuffed toys and dolls. He paused a moment, curious about her dreams, but her powerful mind was closed to him. Moving on, he left her dreaming alone in her princess bed with the pink canopy draped all about.
Someday he'd have to ask Lily what she dreamed. He'd loved the way her mind would take him on amazing journeys when she was tiny. Now, though, as she grew older, she wrapped her privacy about her like a warm cloak.
Much as Anton had learned to do. Still, she amazed him, this perfect daughter he and Keisha had created. Already she showed signs of holding more magical power than Anton had ever imagined, even for himself, but that was a worry for another time. For now, all of them were where they belonged.
All of them were safe.
Relieved, Anton crawled off Stef's legs, shoved them apart and knelt between them. He sat there a moment, feeling the warmth of Stef's thighs against his own calves, admiring the perfect body lying before him. Goddess, how he loved this man!
So many years now, so much history between them. They'd wasted some, and they'd put each other through hell. But they'd not only survived, they'd come through all of it stronger than ever. Strong enough to withstand anything the fates might throw at them.
At least Stefan appeared to have given up on arguing that point-he no longer insisted all that had happened was mere coincidence. Happenstance had nothing to do with a love as powerful as theirs-one born of so very many mixed emotions, so many terrible mistakes.
Anton sighed. He really had to quit worrying, but he bit back a grin as his mind whirled with the myriad changes he'd gone through since discovering he wasn't just a man at all-he was, instead, a powerful shapeshifter who'd barely tapped his magical powers.
Stefan watched him with a small grin on his face. “I'm in your mind, my friend. Stop thinking. We don't have a lot of time. I insist on being the focus of your attention. You can worry about how we got to this point later.”
Anton laughed. Then he palmed Stef's knees and pressed them back. Stefan's amber eyes drifted closed and he sighed his pleasure as Anton slowly bent his legs until they folded tightly against his chest. He ran his palm over Stef's muscular flank, trailed across his taut buttock and found the crease between his cheeks. Sliding his fingers slowly along the warm valley, he stroked and circled the tight ring guarding entrance. Using his fingertips and saliva, Anton rubbed lightly over the puckered muscle.
Stefan groaned and raised his hips to Anton's slight pressure. One finger. Just one, pressing harder until he forced entry. Then two, and it was easier now as he sawed in and out with total concentration. He added a third, drawing a soft curse from Stefan, stretching the tight muscle, preparing him. Stef's groans turned to sighs as Anton pushed his middle finger deep inside to rub gently over Stef's small, hard prostate. This time Anton forced a whimper of pleasure from his lover's lips.
“Shit.” Stefan groaned and reached for Anton's wrist, grabbing him. Stopping him. “I'm too close for that.”
Anton laughed. “I told you, you're mine. Let go.” He slipped his finger in and then out again. “I'll just have to make you come more than once. It's good for you, old man.”
“Cut the old man crap. Just fuck me.” Stefan clutched his knees and flashed a grin at Anton. “I was wondering what you were planning. Thought maybe you were the one getting too old for this.”
“Never.” Grinning ferociously, Anton clasped his cock in his fist and rubbed the broad crown over Stefan's anus. Stef groaned and held his knees closer to his chest as Anton eased forward, breaching the taut entrance, filling him, slowly pushing deep inside, and deeper still until Stef's tight hole clasped the base of Anton's thick erection, flexing and squeezing him almost painfully.
They held there a long, silent moment, both of them panting, straining for control. Anton's mind drifted to their teasing. They'd hassled each other about age for years. Hell, he was fifty-eight and Stef eight years younger. They'd just celebrated his fiftieth birthday.
Yet both of them could easily pass for men in their early thirties. In fact, Stefan, with silver lacing his thick, dark hair, actually looked a bit older than Anton, though both of them appeared younger now than they had when they'd first met over fifteen years ago.
One more miracle of embracing their Chanku heritage. In the beginning, they'd all wondered if they aged like normal humans. Liana, Adam's mate-and once their goddess-had explained that Chanku, while not immortal, were almost ageless. Their bodies, if they were born into their heritage and always lived as Chanku, reached their prime age and stayed there for untold years.
If, like Anton and Stefan and the others, they didn't find out about their heritage, didn't get the nutrients to enable their Chanku abilities until they were older, their bodies slowly but surely returned to that perfect age. It seemed to take longer for men than for women-Millie West had been close to sixty before she had started taking the nutrients that brought her shapeshifting abilities to life. Within a couple of years she'd looked like a young woman in her twenties with a body once again able to bear children-which would only happen when hell froze over, according to Millie.
With four grandchildren and one on the way, she preferred being a grandmother. It had something to do with being able to spoil the kids rotten and then give them back to their parents.
On occasion, when the baby fussed or the boys were making them crazy, Anton figured she definitely had the right idea. It was all a mystery, though. No one really knew just how long their lives might be.
Already it was growing difficult to explain his ageless appearance to business associates. One more thing they'd have to address at some point, but not now.
No, now he intended to fuck Stefan Aragat until his eyes crossed. Anton slowly withdrew from the clasping heat of Stefan's tight passage, absorbing each sensation, each ripple and clench of powerful muscles. He paused with the head of his cock almost pulling free of the dark, damp clasp that held it. He grabbed Stef's flanks with both hands while the thick crown of his cock stretched Stefan's taut sphincter. Felt the throb of blood, whether his pulse or Stefan's he couldn't tell, but it pulsed in time with his breathing, with Stefan's deep breaths, with the thundering rhythm of both their hearts.
He held there for one heartbeat after the next. Until his body trembled. Until Stefan's legs quivered and his skin rippled beneath Anton's palms.
Then he tilted his hips forward and drove deep.
Stef groaned. The sharply defined muscles across his belly rippled. He tilted his head back and arched into Anton's powerful thrust. Again Anton speared him hard and deep, and again, harder and faster, until the forest seemed to spin around them and Anton's heart raced to keep up with the demands of his muscles, with the growing coil of desire spiraling from his spine to his belly to his balls.
He wrapped his fingers around Stef's cock, clasping tightly, stroking him in time with his powerful thrusts. Creamy trails of pre-cum covered the back of his hand, spread over his fingers and filled the early morning meadow with the rich scent of sex and arousal.
With his left hand, Anton palmed Stef's heavy sac, holding Stefan's testicles down against the length of his own cock as he thrust in and out of that hot, wet channel. Anton opened his thoughts again and linked with Stefan in time to feel the tight clenching of muscles at Stef's spine, the hot rush of semen from balls to cock to freedom.
Stefan cried out. His body went rigid, his cock jerked in Anton's grasp as his climax exploded, splashing both of them with thick streams of ejaculate. The sight of the creamy fluid erupting from Stefan's cock, the rich scent and the hot flow as it covered his hand and spilled between his fingers took Anton over the edge.
He hammered hard and deep, emptying his balls in a series of hard, fast jerks, of clenching muscles and mind-blowing images. His mind linked tightly to Stefan's and threw the emotions and physical sensations of two orgasms shared into a loop, so that each man felt what the other experienced, each of them knew the love and the need and the overwhelming sense of family that held them forever linked, forever bonded as packmates.
Over and over and over again. Climax shared. Need shared. And love. Always that deep abiding love.
As the involuntary pulsing of his orgasm slowed, Anton leaned forward, supporting himself over Stefan's chest, but Stef wrapped his arms around Anton and pulled him close. Still tightly locked within his lover's body, Anton hugged him close, kissed the beard-roughened cheek, and sighed with the sense of completion that always followed lovemaking with this man.
It was good. So damned good, but the sun was rising and the day moving forward, and so must they. It took Anton a moment before he had the energy to separate from Stef, but finally he slipped his softening penis free and practically crawled the few short steps to the woodland pool and the gently falling water.
Stefan was right behind them. Together, laughing like a couple of kids, they tumbled into the cold water and played like children while the sun rose over the forest.
Wolf Tales 12, the final story in the Wolf Tales/Sexy Beast series,
is out now.
This is an unedited excerpt.
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