Thursday, October 20, 2016

Random Paranormal Tales 2016 Part 7

Show and Tell by Kate McMurray
One of the few joys in Dan's life is the TV show Junk Shop, a reality show about antiques hosted by the handsome and charismatic Malcolm Tell. Then an old music box turns up, and Dan's sister encourages him to try to get on the show and meet the object of his affection. He does, and his life changes completely.

When Dan and Malcolm first meet, they have a sudden vision of a couple from the past. Is it a glimpse at a past life or something else entirely? They agree to work together to figure out what is going on, and they stumble upon a forgotten Celtic myth that may explain everything. If the myth is true, then Dan and Malcolm could be a pair of lovers who have been reincarnated over and over again over two thousand years. That seems impossible, but it's hard to deny that something very strange is happening.

As Dan and Malcolm work to find the truth, they fall for each other hard. But searching for who they really are puts them both in grave danger, and they find themselves racing against time to keep their happily ever after.

Past lives have always intrigued me, the idea of eternal soulmates is heartwarming.  Kate McMurray does the subject justice with Malcom and Dan's tale, adding in the present day fascination with reality television and love of antiques/history and what you have with Show and Tell is a great blend of romance, paranormal, and history.  Loved it from beginning to end. Another great one for my Halloween/paranormal shelf.


The Ronin and the Fox by Cornelia Grey
In feudal Japan, Kaede Hajime lives as a vagabond ronin, a samurai without a lord. As he spends the night at a village's inn, the innkeeper begs him to help stop a mischievous kitsune, a fox spirit, plaguing their village. But when he captures the spirit—in the form of a hauntingly beautiful man—Hajime learns that the kitsune has troubles of his own. The pearl that contains the fox's soul has been stolen, leaving him a slave to the new owner, who is forcing him to attack the village.

Hajime agrees to help the fox retrieve the jewel, but living with a fox spirit isn't easy, and the budding trust between them is constantly tested. Kitsune are tricksters above all, and Hajime must decide how much of the story the fox tells him is truth. What's worse, an old comrade of Hajime's is in town, bringing with him the sour memories of Hajime's time as a samurai. Hajime must find a way to locate the thief and steal back the jewel before the thief turns the kitsune's considerable power against him.

Pure Folly by Madelynne Ellis
Running scared has never felt so good.

The prospect of a night in a haunted folly terrifies Alastair de Vere almost as much as admitting the depth of his feelings for his cousin's dashing fiancé. Love between men is utterly forbidden, but Jude captivates him in a way no woman ever has. Confessing the attraction could gain or lose him everything.

When a spirit seeking to end a century of torment takes possession of Jude, Alastair must face his deepest fears, for only by surrendering to fate can he hope to win freedom for them both.

Pure Folly is a delicious blend of paranormal, historical, love, and extremely hot sexy time.  Not always easy to pack so much punch into a novella but Madelynne Ellis has done just that.  Alistair and Jude are best friends that would probably have an easier time if they were both completely honest about their feelings for the other but then where would the fun be in that?  A great steamy one for my paranormal shelf.


The Power of the Bite by Lisa Oliver
Dax Portrain has it all - he's the next Alpha of the only pack in town, he owns a successful night club and he has men falling all over him every night of the week. So when he catches sight of a new vampire in town, he tries to shrug off the instant attraction he feels. After all, everyone knows that wolf shifters and vampires do not get along.

Zane Macintosh has lived a long and full life, and while he might have issues trying to pass himself off as human at the Portrain police department, he knows it's only temporary and shrugs off the problems. A night out with friends turns his whole life upside down when he catches sight of Dax with his pack. The gorgeous hunk is his mate, but that doesn't mean that anything has to come of it. In fact, he's determined nothing will.

One explosive meeting sends both men's lives into a spiral. Zane knows the only way things can end well for his mate is to allow himself to die. But Dax has a stubborn streak a mile wide and isn't going to let Zane go that easily.

Warning: This is an M/M book and contains graphic scenes of sexual practices between two men. Some violence and coarse language, no cliffhangers, a definite HEA, and love of course, because I couldn't write any of my books without it.

Nicolas by Dianne Hartsock
Betrayed by a lover, Jamie rents an isolated cabin on Lake Huron, wanting only to be left alone. Instead, he is pulled from his solitary existence as an artist and tumbles headlong into the legend of Saint Nicolas.

As a young man, Nicolas accidentally killed a man intent on murdering three children, only to have the man's malicious spirit rise up against him. Fleeing through the centuries from the Krampus, the evil troll-like creature that dogs his steps, Nico finds refuge with the young artist who takes him into his home and bed. But Jamie has questions. Who is Nicolas, and why does the Krampus want to destroy him?

When the Krampus begins to torment and torture anyone Nico comes in contact with to punish him, Jamie’s life is put in danger. And Jamie isn’t sure whether he can help Nico defeat his nemesis or if he’s merely a pawn in the Krampus’s game.

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Random Paranormal Tales 2016 Parts

Part 1  /  Part 2  /  Part 3  /  Part 4
Part 5  /  Part 6

Show and Tell by Kate McMurray
The name of the shop was Tell Me More, which I thought was cute. It had more security than an airport, which was not so cute.

I had good timing; the show’s Web site had indicated they were about to finish filming a season’s worth of episodes. I’d never had aspirations to be on TV, but I felt like I needed the excuse of trying to get on the show as a reason to go to the store. It seemed like such a good idea until I got on the subway and was on my way downtown. That was when nerves and butterflies colonized my stomach.

Coincidentally, the day after I’d decided to go on the show, Julie found a music box in a crate of tchotchkes someone had put out on the sidewalk. Before I left for the store, I’d wrapped the box up in Bubble Wrap and put it in a cardboard box because I was worried I’d get jostled on the subway and drop it. When I got to Tell Me More, the security guard made me unwrap it, and while he inspected it closely, another guy came over and waved a metal-detecting wand over me and then made me sign a waiver. After that, some producer came over and started quizzing me about the music box. My anxiety rose steadily through the whole ordeal as I kept wondering if I’d even get to meet Malcolm Tell, if I’d be on the show, if I’d choke, if I’d make a fool of myself in front of him, if the music box was actually some crappy made-in-China dealie that someone purchased for five bucks, if nothing would come from this, if everything would come from this.

And then I was in the store. It was smaller inside than it looked on TV. It had a homey vibe, with walls painted a warm gray and dark wood accents everywhere. It was also jam-packed with stuff for sale: furniture, art, knickknacks, toys, jewelry, you name it. The more valuable pieces were in glass display cases near the register, and I recognized that section of the store as being the place where most of the episodes were filmed. The producer told me to wait for his cue and then to walk forward to where an almost invisible bit of black tape was placed on the floor. A man with a camera moved in behind him.

“All right, Mr. Chewy.”

“That’s Cheau,” I said. My last named sounded like show. “It’s French.”

“Whatever. Say your name and why you’re here.”

I’d seen the show enough times that I knew how this part went. I looked right at the camera and said, “I’m Dan. I’m here to get a music box appraised.”

The producer nodded. “That’s fine. Now walk over to the mark near the counter. Malcolm will meet you there.”

I held my breath and looked around.

He appeared at the back of the store. I recognized him, of course, and I saw also that he was even better looking in person, perhaps because he was before me in the flesh instead of an image on a screen. He ran a hand over his messy, curly hair and said something to one of the production assistants. Then he started to walk forward. Toward me. Malcolm Tell was walking toward me. The man of my dreams, the object of my fantasies, that man was walking, and then the producer was nudging me forward and I was going to meet Malcolm Tell.

I put one foot in front of the other, shaking with nerves the whole time. I was aware of everything: of Malcolm, of the cameras, of all the people milling about. But mostly I was aware of Malcolm, who didn’t seem to have noticed me yet, as he was still engaged in conversation with the PA. Then someone--a director maybe--shouted for quiet on the set. Malcolm got to his spot, turned toward the showroom, and grinned. He looked over at me, finally.

Our eyes met.

The world stopped.

I told myself that this was foolish, that the tidal wave of emotion I felt when Malcolm Tell looked into my eyes was nothing more than some crazy manifestation of my long-held crush on this man I’d never actually met before. Looking at him was familiar, but of course it was; I’d watched hours upon hours of his show on TV. And yet this went beyond that. It was like looking at someone I knew well, that kind of easy recognition where you don’t even have to say hello because you can convey what you need to with a glance and a pat on the shoulder. But more than that, my stomach started to churn, and looking at Malcolm made me feel everything: love, pain, longing, hope, fear.

Malcolm frowned. He whispered something that sounded like, “Jesus.”

By some miracle--or perhaps because I was inexorably drawn to him--I made my way forward until I got to the counter, and the two of us looked at each other across it, about two feet of space separating us.

“Do I know you?” he whispered.

“No, we’ve never met.”

“Are you sure?”

“Action!” shouted the director.

Malcolm smiled. “Well, hello. What can I do for you today?”

Somehow, I found the voice to say, “I have a music box I found.” The words tumbled out in a blur of syllables.

He raised an eyebrow at me and leaned forward.

There was just Malcolm. He was all I could see. Everything else--the crew, the assistants, the cameras, even the store--all of it receded to the background of my awareness. What replaced it was Malcolm, his lovely skin--smooth and unblemished--his light brown eyes that looked almost golden under the TV lights, the width of his shoulders, his height, his presence. I was a tall guy, a fraction of an inch over six feet, but he had an inch or two on me. And still he wasn’t a large man as such; he wasn’t especially muscular or imposing. But he just had this presence that filled all the space around me. He was so beautiful I couldn’t stop staring.

He motioned for me to place the music box on the counter. Remembering I had a purpose there beyond staring at Malcolm, I wrapped both hands around the box and placed it on the table. He moved to take it from me before I let go, and then I left my hands there, wondering if he’d touch me, thinking that just the briefest brush of his fingers against mine would be so wonderful.

He placed the tips of his fingers on the box.

Light exploded in front of my eyes. Everything was white, and then I felt suddenly overcome. Pain ripped through my abdomen, maybe the worst pain I’d ever felt. I could hear a woman wailing, and then a man shouting at her, and then there was a crash and everything went silent. Images flashed before me: blonde hair, a blue dress, blood everywhere. Then the pain became overwhelming, and I took a step back and doubled over.

I let go of the music box. The second I did so, I was back in the store.

“What the hell was that?” asked Malcolm.

I started coughing. The pain had stopped just as abruptly as the images had, but I was shaky from the memory of it.

“Wait, wait, stop the cameras,” Malcolm said. He leaned over the counter. “Hey there. Hey. Are you all right?”

I straightened myself back up. “Yeah, I think so.”

“What kind of trick are you pulling? Was this thing rigged with something? How did it get past security?”

One of the security guys rushed forward. He had a broom in his hand, and he used it to poke at the music box. He managed to push it hard enough that it tipped onto its side, and the box fell open. Tinkly bells started to play a Beethoven sonata.

“It’s a music box,” I said. “It’s not rigged with anything. That’s never happened before. Besides, if I had it rigged with something, why wouldn’t the security guys have noticed when I came in?”

Malcolm furrowed his brow and looked irritated. He took a step back and ran a hand through his hair. “What the fuck is going on?”

“I don’t know, I swear!”

The security guard pulled on a pair of black gloves and then stepped forward and nudged at the music box with his finger. When nothing happened, he picked it up. He turned it over in his hands and examined it closely. “Uh, Boss. It ain’t rigged.”

“Static electricity?” I tried, although I knew that wasn’t true.

Malcolm frowned. “Well, okay. That was fucking weird. Let’s try this again. I’ll pick up the music box, and we’ll start filming.” He turned to me. “Don’t touch me this time.”

I held up my hands.

He took the music box from the security guy as if it were on fire. When he didn’t get burned, he exhaled and held it up. He nodded his head.

“Action!” said the director.

“So what have you brought me?” Malcolm asked.

“It’s a music box that my sister found. I wondered if it was valuable.”

Malcolm looked at it closely. He turned it over. “Well, you can tell by the mark here that it was made in Switzerland, probably in the nineteenth century.” He turned it back over again.

Usually on the show when he did this particular song and dance, his face became a model of concentration--furrowed brows, pursed lips, nose crinkled up. But he kept shooting me looks, seeming to study me as closely as he did the music box, and I found that unnerving. I knew he didn’t trust me. I couldn’t blame him. Even though there was no logic to it, I blamed myself for what happened. I had brought this apparently accursed object to his shop.

He opened the box, and tinny tinkles emanated from it again. “Ah,” he said. “This one has a removable cylinder. That means it must have been manufactured after 1862, when those were invented.” He hummed to himself for a moment. “Based on the artistic style of the box, I’d date it as being made somewhere in the 1880s. There’s some value, but these are so common that it’s hardly like you would make a fortune.”


“I mean, as an artistic piece, it’s nice.” He lifted the lid again. “Oh, hey, there’s an inscription here.” He lifted it to the light. “Did you notice this before?”


“‘For Emmeline. From your Sarah.’ That mean anything to you?”

“No. Like I said, my sister found it.”


I could almost see the gears in Malcolm’s head turning. He worried his lip between his teeth.

He gave an almost imperceptible nod toward the cameraman. “Okay, well, like I said, it’s interesting. It’s certainly a beautiful piece. I think you might be able to get a few hundred dollars if you were to sell it, but this is a family heirloom, isn’t it?”

It wasn’t, obviously, but he seemed to want me to say it was. “I...yes.”

“Great. Keep it. Put it on your mantel. Tell your kids about it.”

“Uh. Thanks.”

He put the music box down on the counter. I moved to pick it up again.

“Cut!” said the director. “Not a great segment, but it’s fine.”

I sighed.

I picked up the box and tucked it under my arm. I turned around and started to make for the door. There was a shuffle behind me, but I plowed forward, hoping to get this whole embarrassing incident behind me. I was so mortified and disappointed. Going in, it had felt like my life was about to change, but now it felt like...nothing.

Then he was next to me. “Hey, wait a second.”

“What?” I asked.

Malcolm looked around and then lowered his voice. “So I’m not mistaken, right? You totally felt that too? Whatever it was?”

“Yeah, I did.”

“And you didn’t do anything to cause it. I believe that. But I’ve never felt anything like that before. I mean, it was really painful. I thought at first I was being electrocuted, but that’s not really right, is it?”

“No. It wasn’t really like being electrocuted at all. I mean, not that I’ve ever been electrocuted, but...”

“It wasn’t just physical pain, either. It was kind of emotional. Like, I was really sad. Did you feel that too?”


“Hmm.” He nodded. “Pretty freaky. I’ve gotten haunted objects in the shop before, but nothing like this.”

“Hey, whoa, you think it’s haunted?” It was a strange, otherworldly thing that had happened, but even though I was mystified, I still assumed there was a logical explanation. I shook my head. “No way. How does that make more sense than an electrical charge?”

“Have you ever gotten a shock that felt like that?”

“Well, no.”

He grimaced. He reached over to me and very lightly let his fingers brush against my arm. It wasn’t a caress, really. He wasn’t doing anything to be sweet or emotional. I thought it was more of a test to see if I was rigged up the same way the box was. But nothing happened. He let his hand slide down my arm, and then he curled it around my wrist. He tugged a little and pulled me into the corner of the store.

The next person with an object was waiting in the wings. That guy was a man who had a big painting that even I could tell was a forgery. For one thing, I’d seen that painting a dozen times, probably, hanging in the European Paintings wing at the Met, right near a Renoir masterpiece.

“I’m kind of curious,” Malcolm said, seemingly oblivious to his next customer. “Something seemed to happen when we were both touching the music box. I wonder what would happen if we did it again.”

“That seems like a terrible idea,” I said. “I mean, probably nothing will happen, but why risk it? That was really awful.”

“But it ended when you let go, right? It’s not permanent or anything.”

I tried to see the logic in what he was saying. “I don’t...not with all these people around.”

He nodded. “All right, tell you what. Let me take you to dinner tomorrow night. Then afterward, bring the music box over to my place. Somewhere safe, right?”

Did I just get an invitation to Malcolm Tell’s apartment? Did that really just happen? I must have stood there with my mouth hanging open for a good minute. This was all surreal and thrilling, except for the part where he didn’t want to have sex with me so much as to play with the music box.

“Your apartment is safe?” I asked.

He winked at me. “Well, you are pretty cute. You might not be that safe. But let’s see how dinner goes first, huh? I don’t even know your name.”

“Dan. My name is Dan.”

“And I’m Malcolm, but you already knew that.” He chuckled. “Okay, Dan, it’s a date. I want to know what’s up with this music box. Meet me at the Puccini Trattoria on Seventeenth. You know it? It’s kinda near Sixth Ave.”

I knew it. I nodded.

“Great. Tomorrow. Seven. Be there. Okay?”


He turned and went back behind the counter. I just stood there like an idiot while the director ordered everyone to be quiet. Malcolm quickly went back to business as if nothing had happened, as if his life hadn’t changed just as surely as mine had.

The Ronin and the Fox by Cornelia Grey
Hajime flexed his fingers, trying to warm them up, before resting them on his katana. The night air was cool. Gravel crunched too loudly under his boots as he walked across the village's alleys.

He'd been patrolling the town for three nights, and still nothing. During the daytime, he'd explored the bamboo forest surrounding the village, setting a number of traps between the tall bamboo stalks where the ground appeared recently trampled. He'd spoken to several villagers, alerting them of his intentions and giving them instructions on how to behave at night. He was sure they would obey. No one would dare disobey the orders of a samurai, and even though he wasn't exactly... any longer... Damn. They would listen to him, and that was enough.

Hajime had never before met a fox spirit. The trickster spirits haunted houses and villages, stealing food and whatever tickled their fancies from the inhabitants. They could shift shape as they pleased, possess people, and ensnare a man's mind with their charms and illusions. Hajime had heard that they could change a field into a kingdom or a cave into a sumptuous palace. They could create pockets in reality and trap a man there for years if they so chose. Hajime fingered the deep red silk ribbon securely fastened around his right wrist. He'd received it from Tanaka-san. The man claimed a priest had blessed it years before, and that it would grant Hajime protection against the fox's enchantments. Hajime hoped he was right. He was not keen on losing his mind and spending the next decade frolicking in a cave at the mercy of some horrific spirit.

The sharp sound of a bell broke the quiet. Hajime stilled, every muscle tense, and listened. It came again, a single silvery sound somewhere in the alleys to his right, and then a loud, jingling noise cascaded through the night, dozens of bells tumbling to the ground. In an instant Hajime was running, the thrill of the chase sizzling and burning in his veins. He'd tied strings of bells up all around the village, in the hidden passages he'd pinpointed between roofs and back alleys, and summoned his powers of intimidation to order the citizens to keep indoors at night. The fox must have stumbled across one of the strings and snapped it. It was incredibly careless of a spirit, but Hajime had been counting on the fox feeling so assured in its supremacy over the village that it lowered its guard.

He'd been lucky. He knew he wouldn't have a second chance.

A small vulpine shape caught his eye, shifting quickly from shadow to shadow. As he watched, it hopped onto a cart and then jumped to a roof and set out running, betrayed by the moonlight.

Hajime was fast. He jumped, grasping the copper rain chain hanging from the nearest house and reaching up to grasp the edge of the slanted roof. He hauled himself up, the chain clinking wildly below him, and sprinted. The village's roofs were nearly level, but still slanted enough to make running on them dangerous—Hajime nearly lost his footing twice and cursed. He might survive the fall, but he'd surely break bones, and his chase would be in vain. He leapt between the close houses, struggling to retain his balance. The fox was some ten yards ahead, small and fast, taking impossible leaps and all but flying across the roofs, its balance perfect and a fan of tails fluttering behind it. Hajime abandoned all caution, leaping across a wide road, suspended in the air for a long, exhilarating instant where he wondered whether he'd make it to the other side or plummet to the ground. He landed heavily on the very edge of the roof, wobbling backward for a dreadful moment, but was quick to regain his balance and sprint again.

For all his prowess, Hajime was losing ground. The little fox had reached the last houses of the village, and it jumped easily off the buildings, diving for the forest. Hajime ran, the chase making him careless and only luck preventing him from falling when he dared jumps too broad for him. He followed the fox down, bending his knees to absorb as he landed on the ground the impact, and scanned the bamboo frantically, trying to guess which direction his prey had gone.

A loud, pained yelp tore the night, and Hajime sprang up, unable to contain a wild grin. The fox must have fallen into one of his traps. He launched himself between the clumps of bamboo, following the whimpers and yelps, and only slowed down when he saw the small shape of the creature twisting fruitlessly, one of its hind legs caught in the jaws of a trap.

As he approached, the figure shifted and blurred, stretching and growing, making Hajime's eyes ache until he had to look away. When he glanced back, Hajime could see a human where the fox had been, bending to pry the trap open with frantic hands.

"Not so fast," Hajime growled, his hand shooting out to grasp the man's arm. Before the fox spirit could react, Hajime tied a red ribbon like the one he was wearing around the man's wrist, knotting it maybe too tight. The man cried out as the fabric touched his skin, trying to tear his arm out of Hajime's hold. When the fox spirit turned around to face him, Hajime gasped.

The man had wild red hair and two furry fox ears flattened over his head like those of an angry cat. His face was contorted in agony and anger, covered in scratches and with a large bruise marring his cheekbone, but there was no mistaking his delicate features or the unusual, rust-brown eyes that fixed on Hajime with fury, and which had been full of pleasure the last time he'd seen them.

"You," he gasped, his grip on the stranger's arm faltering.

The fox snatched his wrist out of Hajime's hold and snarled, his head held high. "Surprise," he said, sharp teeth gleaming in the moonlight.

Pure Folly by Madelynne Ellis
Alastair bit his lip. His fantasies were foolish, but they were also damned hard to dislodge.

He couldn’t share a bed with Jude. Absolutely could not. No good would come of such close contact.

Alastair kept his expression rigidly neutral as he watched Jude caper upon what remained of the bed in the second tower room. The frame had collapsed the moment Jude sat upon it, and now the mattress had split, so that clouds of speckled feathers filled the air. Part of him wanted to whoop and caper too, the remainder feared the consequences.

“Too bad there aren’t any pillows to fight with,” Jude hollered.

Thank God, there weren’t any pillows, more like. A hot, sweaty, intimate fight would have left him completely undone. Already, his cock hugged his stomach, just from giving his fantasies free rein as he watched Jude bound about. Any closer contact would make his arousal obvious. Assuming it wasn’t already.

He surreptitiously covered his loins with his hand.

“Come up,” Jude extended him a hand, but Alastair shook his head, seeing the inevitable turn of events. Battered and breathing hard, Jude would topple him, driving him down onto the mattress. He’d straddle his loins– lean in so close their breaths would mingle. He dreamed of their lips meeting, of Jude tearing open his waistcoat, and stripping him of his shirt in order to find the crinkled peaks of his nipples. The rough wet caress of his tongue would drag across them, causing him to arch up off the mattress, sending him soaring halfway to heaven. Jude would examine his prick and find it perfect. He’d lick the red-hued tip like he was taking syllabub from a spoon, curling his tongue lovingly around it.

Of course, the reality made him nauseous just to think of it. He couldn’t face seeing the soft lines of Jude’s face becoming rigid, his stare fixed, betrayal flashing in his eyes. Jude, wiry sportsman, man’s man, would be appalled by Alastair’s unnaturalness. he wouldn’t need to raise his voice, wouldn’t need to speak a word because his abhorrence would be clear in his eyes. And he, Alastair Romilly de Vere, coward that he was, couldn’t face that outcome. Better he kept his perverse desire, to squeeze his friend’s firm arse, to himself.

“I’m going to make use of the privy,” he announced.

What he was actually going to do was wrap his palm tight around his shaft and soothe away some of the strain. It was the only way he was going to make it through the night with his mind intact.

It was the way he’d ended most of their recent evenings together.

Jude bounced to a halt near the foot of the decrepit bed. The front of his golden locks fluffed upward from his brow. The sheen of moisture peppered the skin below. He smiled warmly, one hand clasped around the bedpost. “You won’t get spooked going alone, will you? I can come and hold your hand.” His grin stretched impossibly huge and infectious.

Alastair swallowed hard at the crystal image of Jude’s palm clasped tight within his own as he tugged upon his cock with the other. “I’ll be fine alone.” He swung on his heels, and stiffly hurried away.

The Power of the Bite by Lisa Oliver
Their coming together was becoming an addictive habit. This time it was in the bathroom of Dax’s club. There was that split second where Zane’s entire senses were overwhelmed with the smell of heaven and the blood he craved, before strong arms crunched around his chest and a solid, cloth covered cock was rammed up against his ass as firmly as his chest and torso was forced up against the nearest wall. Big teeth grazed his neck and a thick hot tongue ran up Zane’s long neck as though the wolf couldn’t get enough of Zane’s taste. Pleasurable definitely, but every time this happened Zane primed himself to say no, to fight his way out of the clumsy, frantic embrace. Yes, he was as desperate for the sex as Dax was, but in his heart he knew it didn’t mean anything to his wolf. And what Zane wanted more than anything in life was for their connection to mean something. So he readied himself to say no - to refuse the blatant need in Dax’s approach. He’d rehearsed what he’d say in front of his mirror a million times. But like every time before, it was Dax’s words that stole his resolve. Garbled by want, desperately growled, Dax’s need was evident in every breath he took.

“Need. Fucking need in you. Please Zane, fucking please.”

And just like every other time, Zane gave in. How could he not? How could he refuse when the evidence of the man’s ardor was pressing against his pants even as he tried to get his zip undone and those same pants down past his knees? Even the thought of what would be a painful coupling wasn’t enough to force the word “No” from his lips. He knew that Dax would force his cock, which was as wide as a beer can and definitely longer, deep inside of him with precious little preparation. And yet he frantically shoved his own pants aside letting the wolf shifter have his way.

Zane was always stunned by the way Dax possessed his body after that initial surge, where Zane bit hard on his own lips to stop the scream as he felt himself being split in two. But after, when the pain had morphed into pleasure, when Dax settled into his pounding rhythm, seemingly calmed by their connection, by Zane’s scent and the feel of his body, then the man was a sex machine. A machine that moaned and growled, and groped and petted everywhere the demented wolf could reach. Harsh words of possession, need, want and desire. The words that Zane longed to hear, wished he could return. Words that would be forgotten by the wolf as soon as he climaxed.

But in that moment, as Dax pounded his ass, Zane reveled in being wanted. In providing for this man’s need. He gladly gave up his ass and thought nothing of his own pleasure. All he could think, in those frenzied moments, was that Dax was doing his level best to get right under his skin. To actually get so close it was impossible for them to be separated. Zane, desperate for the same connection, submitted perfectly as he knew the wolf shifter needed. Hands hot and fevered ran over his body. Strong fingers tweaked his nipples, running down his abs and sides, gripping onto his hips so sharply there would be bruises in the morning. Zane took it all, forcing himself to be silent, knowing that if they were caught, it would mean nothing but trouble for the pair of them.

Dax was close to his climax. Zane could feel the tension in the man’s body, could tell when Dax’s punishing rhythm became erratic and uncontrolled. Seconds later Zane felt a sharp set of teeth in his neck and he arched his back and bit his lip as his own orgasm raced through his untouched cock. Zane was allowed just two seconds more of solid body on body connection before he felt Dax pull out and strong hands turning him from the wall, shoving him to his knees.

Dax quickly pushed his pants down his thighs, his cock still semi-hard and glistening with the remnants of his own come. Cupping Zane’s head, Dax pulled the man’s face to his groin. “Feed, blood sucker. I have what you need.” Suppressing a groan, Zane quickly sought out Dax’s femoral artery. His fangs descended and he bit quickly, careful not to bring Dax any pain or discomfort.

Muffling his groan at the wolf shifter’s amazing taste, Zane controlled himself with an iron will, to take just a few mouthfuls before pulling back from Dax’s hold and licking the bite area closed.

“You haven’t had enough,” Dax growled down at him, a picture of debauchery with his long dark hair wild down his back, and his chest still heaving from his exertions.

“That was plenty. Thank you,” Zane whispered although the man was right. He hadn’t taken nearly enough. Dax looked at him as though he was going to argue, but then he stepped back, pulling up his pants and straightening his clothes.

“I’ll find you in a week,” the wolf shifter said curtly before striding out of the bathroom without a backward glance. Still kneeling on the hard tiles of the bathroom floor, Zane bowed his head and kept his eyes averted so he wouldn’t see the man leave, refusing to move until he heard the definitive slam of the door closing. Scrunching his eyes and lips closed, Zane fought not to cry, but even he couldn’t stop one solitary sob escaping his mouth.

Nicolas by Dianne Hartsock
JAMIE STARTLED awake. “What?”

He had trouble breathing, the crushing weight on his chest seeming to have followed him up from his dreams. But that couldn’t be right. He’d rented the cabin for its isolation. No one should be there. Did he still dream?

A warm breath brushed against his cheek, sending a shiver of dread and strange anticipation through him. “Easy, baby,” a silky voice whispered in the darkness. Sharp teeth nipped his earlobe and pleasure and pain sparked along his nerves. His eyes adjusted to the moonlight filtering through the sheer curtains, and he stared in amazement at the man gazing at him with wild green eyes, long pale hair, high cheekbones and a slender neck he craved to run his tongue along.

The stranger laid his weight on him, driving the air from his lungs and making Jamie struggle for every breath. Shifting position, the man sealed his full lips over Jamie’s, drawing a long groan from Jamie when an impossibly large cock slid against his. In sudden panic he reached to shove his unknown visitor away and touched hot skin and lean muscles. Of their own volition his hands roamed lower, following the curve of the stranger’s back to the rounded swell of his ass. He drew a quick breath and the man laughed into his mouth, pushed his tongue deep, thrusting inside to match the movement of his hips as he ground against Jamie’s aching dick.

Heat pooled in Jamie’s stomach. God, what was happening? The thing in his bed looked like a man, but his every instinct shouted otherwise. His skin was warm when it should have been cold from being outside. And how had he gotten in? All the windows and doors were locked tight against the winter storm. It was as if he’d just materialized in Jamie’s bed. “Who—”

He cried out when a hand pushed between them and grabbed their cocks, stroking them together until he lost the ability to think. So close! He grabbed the man’s firm ass and yanked him tighter against him, rising up to shove into his strong grip.

The triumphant hiss in his ear shot ice through his veins. “So naughty.”

“No!” Jamie struggled to sit up, scrambling back against the headboard. He blinked, finding himself alone in the room, only his ragged breaths disturbing the silence of the cabin. A forgotten anxiety knotted his stomach. Naughty. He hated that word, tossed about by the boys he once knew in school. The ones he’d suck off behind the gym, desperate for a gentle hand in his hair, balm against his loneliness. He’d been terrified his parents would find out he was different, that he liked girl things and found boys much more exciting than he should. They would know he was gay and there would be hell to pay for their freak of a son.

He scrubbed a hand over his face. God, that had been ages ago. The last shreds of the dream dissipated, and he reached for the bedside light, fumbling in the darkness for the switch. Low light stung his eyes and he blinked at the empty bedroom, unable to believe the attack hadn’t been real.

He flung off the heavy quilts and slid to his feet, clinging to the post at the foot of the bed as a wave of dizziness struck him. Laughter from the other room jolted him. Heart pounding, he bolted for the door and it crashed into the wall as he flung it open. The reddish glow from the banked fire on the hearth lit the main room of the cabin, though the kitchen area remained in shadows.

Jamie’s gaze swept the rooms, focusing on the dark corners. No one jumped out at him. Nobody sat on the couch. His coffee cup remained undisturbed where he’d left it on the hearth. Of course. The cabin was isolated, miles from the nearest neighbor. Who would bother to come way out there, especially with the threat of another snowstorm on the way?

He ran a trembling hand through his hair, pushing the sweat-drenched bangs from his forehead. Christ, the dream had seemed so real. The cold of the great room finally registered, creeping up from the hardwood flooring. Shaking, he crossed to the fireplace and stirred up the coals, adding another log.

With a sigh, he sank into the cushions of the worn couch and pulled the woolen afghan up around his bare shoulders. The log caught and the fire crackled, sparks dancing up the flue. Recalling his dream and the hard body against his, he shrugged when his cock perked up.

“It’s been a while,” he acknowledged, watching the flames lick at the oak log. He’d signed a year’s lease on the cabin, right after catching his boyfriend in the stairwell of their apartment building, making out with their neighbor. It hadn’t been the first time, either, though again Patrick had his apologies ready. That had been over six months ago, and since the cabin stood miles over rough terrain from the nearest town, he’d rarely seen another human being in all that time.

“Just the way I like it,” he told the indifferent fire burning its way through the wood. But the stranger’s lips in his dream had been soft, his thrusting tongue sweet in Jamie’s mouth. He hadn’t liked the violent aspect of the dream, but if that had been a lover in his bed? His dick pressed against his thigh, and Jamie reached under the heavy blanket, moaning when he took its heavy weight in his hand. Drawing lazy circles on his balls, he let the pleasure build slowly, lifting his cock while in his mind the stranger licked the glistening head, his pale gold hair a curtain of silk against Jamie’s sensitive skin. He moaned as the man slid his tongue down the thick vein on the underside of his cock.

His mind flitted over the question of whether the guy would fuck him or want it the other way around. Didn’t matter to him. He liked it both ways. Rolling to his back, Jamie continued to stroke himself while he tugged his tight balls, then pressed a finger against his hole. He remembered the lube in the nightstand drawer by the bed, but he wasn’t about to stop, and hissed when he pushed the finger inside. The man’s cock had been huge in his dream. What would it feel like as it stretched him open? Would it be enough to fill all the empty spaces inside him?

It was a moment before the tolling of a bell outside the cabin registered. What the fuck? Jamie sat up, trying to hear past the pounding of his pulse in his ears. His cock throbbed and he groaned in frustration, knowing he couldn’t chase his pleasure until he found out what was going on at the dock. The only one to boat in was the man who dropped off his monthly supplies, and he’d been and gone two days ago. Who else would be using the dock? Jamie had been isolated for months without anything disturbing his peace. But this night he’d had a wildly erotic dream and now this. What made tonight so special?

With a deep sigh, he got up and returned to his chilly room to dress. Thermal underwear was a must, along with snow pants and a wool sweater. Nights in Alpena, Michigan, averaged around twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit in early winter but could drop to the teens when sleet swept off Lake Huron. Stomping into his boots and sliding his arms into a heavy coat, he pulled on gloves and a hat and opened the front door. Freezing air struck his face, catching at his breath, and he almost returned to the warmth of the great room behind him.

“Dammit.” He pulled the door closed and maneuvered over the icy porch and steps. The bell tolled again, and he hurried through the pristine snow blanketing the yard and surrounding forest. Even if it was only an animal that had ventured onto the dock, if it had slipped on the icy surface into the lake, he had to try to save the poor creature. It could take only moments to freeze to death in the subzero temperatures of the water. The lake shimmered in the moonlight as he approached the bank, a wide expanse of silver stretching in all directions.

His heart stumbled when he spotted a form sprawled on the dock jutting from the snow-covered bank. A canoe lazily bumped into the wood planking, sending the bell chiming into the night. Forgetting the danger of the slick wood, he hurried to the man’s side, praying it wasn’t already too late. He knelt and peeled off a glove, letting out a held breath when the man’s clothing proved dry. Biting his lips at a surge of anxiety, he rolled him onto his back.

The man’s features hardly registered as he hastily loosened the stiff scarf and searched for a pulse. He leaned closer and relief washed through him when a faint breath warmed his cheek. “Thank God.” His gaze ran over the man’s large frame. “But I can’t carry you. Can I wake you up?”

A melancholy smile flittered across his face. “Talking to yourself again, Jamieson,” he muttered. Maybe he’d been spending too much time alone after all. “Well, let’s try to get you up.”

He slid an arm under the broad shoulders and lifted the man into a sitting position, resting the heavy body against his chest. He patted a white cheek and worry creased his brow. The man felt ice cold.

A shudder ran through the long frame and the stranger began to shiver in earnest. Thick lashes fluttered, and Jamie lowered his head to catch the words that whispered past blue-tinged lips.

“What? I can’t understand you.” The foreign language sounded familiar. Spanish? No. With the man’s olive complexion and the dark waves of curls brushing his shoulders, there was a chance he might be Italian. He sounded like the foreign exchange student from Italy Jamie had known in high school. “Can you stand up?” he asked, hoping the guy knew English.


Jamie helped him to his knees and heard the man’s deep breath before he struggled up, leaning a heavy hand on Jamie’s shoulder. “Grazie. Thank you,” he said. The slightly accented voice sounded sexy even in the frigid air, and Jamie looked at him with sudden interest. Incredible hazel eyes met his gaze, dark with exhaustion and pain but also curious, stirring a small ache of pleasure inside Jamie. It had been a while since anyone took notice of him.

“Let’s get you inside,” he said, self-conscious as the man continued to stare as if intrigued with his face. Feeling the heat of a blush in his cheeks, he glanced aside. Sure, he was attractive enough. Freckles dotted his nose and cheeks, and at times his mop of red hair could be unmanageable. Previous lovers had called his lips deliciously full, kissable. Too bad that hadn’t kept any of them in his bed. But he had nothing to gain this man’s attention.

Putting aside the bitter thought, he left the man a moment to secure his canoe to the dock. The stranger leaned against the railing, head down as he waited, and Jamie swung an arm around his waist and nudged him toward the cabin, walking gingerly on the icy wood planking of the dock. He’d broken a path through the snow to the structure, but it was still a steep climb, the man seeming to grow heavier with each step. They reached the halfway mark before the stranger stumbled and dropped to a knee, breathing hard. Tremors ran through the large frame under Jamie’s hand.

“Please, it’s not much further,” he begged. No way could he carry him, and staying out here in the snow was unthinkable. The temperature had dropped lower and his face was growing numb. The man must be frozen through.

Muscles bunched under Jamie’s fingers, and the stranger heaved to his feet, a moan torn from deep inside his chest. The walk became a nightmare after that, each step forward a small triumph over pain and exhaustion. Jamie lost all sense of time. There was only whiteness and cold and the porch light promising heat and safety if they could reach it. At long last they stumbled up the steps and Jamie shoved open the door, coming close to dropping the man as they crossed the threshold into the stifling warmth of the cabin.

Slamming the door shut behind them, Jamie somehow managed to keep the dead weight in his arms from sliding to the floor.

“Couch,” he barked through frozen lips, and they staggered across the room, the man crumpling onto the cushions as soon as Jamie eased him down. Jamie looked at him, not sure what to do, then shook off the panic skittering along his nerves. He had to warm the guy up. He knelt, cupping the man’s cold face. “Can you sit up?”

A small grunt escaped the blue-tinged lips and Jamie helped him into a seated position. He removed the man’s heavy coat, then got to work on the snow-encased boots. The laces were impossible, and he tugged off his gloves to work on the knots, his fingers stiff with cold.

“Fuck,” he muttered, reaching over and grabbing scissors from the coffee table drawer and cutting the strings. He slid the boots off, then very carefully rolled down the socks, holding his breath while he removed them. The toes were white with cold but—thank God—no sign of frostbite.

He looked up, his heart clenching when he saw that his guest had fallen asleep. Pain lined the man’s face, and Jamie set his lips, knowing he still might be too late. He had to warm the chilled body and hope his heart was strong enough to survive the shock. And there was also the threat of pneumonia…. Shoving that fear aside, he began to undress the man, lifting the bulky sweater over his head. He tried not to notice the defined muscles of his chest and arms and strong thighs as he removed his jeans and thermals. The dark cotton briefs were dry, and Jamie left them on in relief, embarrassed by his body’s reaction when the man was plainly suffering.

After a brief hesitation, he searched the pockets for a wallet or anything to identify him. Not even a phone. Who was he? Didn’t matter. Jamie had to get him warm. He stripped down to his blue panties. Shivering, he stirred up the coals in the fireplace and added one of the thicker logs. That should keep burning for the rest of the night. He almost hated to disturb the sleeping man, but with some tugging and pushing, he was able to pull the blanket from under him. Stretching the long frame out on the couch, he lay down beside him and covered them both with the thick afghan. The man felt wonderful in his arms. It had been too long since he’d had someone in his bed, even if this man still shivered with cold. He should begin to warm up soon enough.

Jamie yawned as exhaustion caught up to him. He blinked sleepily, then fell into a heavy doze with the man’s warm breath on his neck.

Author Bios:
Kate McMurray
Kate McMurray is a nonfiction editor. Also, she is crafty (mostly knitting and sewing, but she also wields power tools), she plays the violin, and she dabbles in various other pursuits. She’s maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with a presumptuous cat.

Cornelia Grey
Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, she is now based in London, and she is thoroughly enjoying the cultural melting pot that is the City.

Her interests vary from painting to photography, from sewing to acting; when writing, she favors curious, surreal poems and short stories involving handsome young men seducing each other.

After graduating with top grades, she is now busy with internships - literary agencies, publishing houses, and creative departments handling book series, among others. She also works as a freelance translator.

Madelynne Ellis
Madelynne Ellis is a multi-published British author of erotic romance. Her novels and short stories have been published by a variety of houses both in the UK and US, and have been translated into German, Spanish and Norwegian. She is best known for her Regency set novels for pioneering British erotica publisher Black Lace, but also enjoys writing contemporary and paranormal settings. Her aim is to deliver scorching, character-driven stories that enchant, torment and don't shy from darker aspects of life.

Madelynne lives in the UK with her partner of 20+ years and their two adorable children. 

Lisa Oliver
Lisa Oliver had been writing non-fiction books for years when visions of half dressed, buff men started invading her dreams. Unable to resist the lure of her stories, Lisa decided to switch to fiction books, and now stories about her men clamor to get out from under her fingertips.

When Lisa is not writing, she is usually reading with a cup of tea always at hand. Her grown children and grandchildren sometimes try and pry her away from the computer and have found that the best way to do it, is to promise her chocolate. Lisa will do anything for chocolate.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers and other writers. You can friend her on Facebook, or email her directly at If you want to chat with her on Skype, then email for contact details.

Dianne Hartsock
After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, I now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours I spend hunched over the keyboard letting my characters play.

I have to say, Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms my hands, which kindles my imagination.

The intricate and fragile nature of the mind is always fascinating. Having worked with the public through various careers I’ve come to respect the resilience and strength of the human spirit. I’m always trying to capture that spirit in my writing.

Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Kate McMurray

Cornelia Grey

Madelynne Ellis
iTUNES  /  AUDIBLE  /  ARe  

Lisa Oliver

Dianne Hartsock

Show and Tell

The Ronin and the Fox

Pure Folly

Power of the Bite


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for adding my NICOLAS to your Random Paranormal Tales list!