#NewRelease – A Shifter Concern by @AuthorDulce @changelingpress #GayRomance #LGBTQ #PNR

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There’s a killer on the loose in New York City, and it’s up to shifter agents Akoni Kekoa and Naoko Gima to solve the case. The body count is rising and the pressure is on as the Bureau of Paranormal Affairs demands resolution.

Now is definitely not the time for personal issues to arise, but when they find their mate living out of a box in an alley, they can’t turn their backs on him. Slater is wary, and they can’t blame him — but with some luck they’ll not only win their human mate’s heart, but stop a rogue shifter before he kills again.

Little do they realize their present and their mate’s past would collide so violently. When they take Slater into their home, they never dream it will lead the killer right to their door.

Available Today from Changeling Press

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Excerpt

“I don’t like this case,” Naoko said. “Something doesn’t feel right about it.”

“Yeah, it’s leaving an icy chill down my spine. We’ve solved plenty of murders, but this time it’s different. I don’t like that it’s a rogue. He could tear apart the country before he’s caught. This asshole is methodical. The way the crime is devoid of any evidence that could give us a lead suggests that he’s either cleaning up after himself or he’s careful not to leave any clues to begin with. You almost have to wonder if he plans the murders before the sex even happens.”

“Think we’ll have any better luck than the previous agents?” Naoko asked.

“At this point, I’m thinking no. Not unless the M.E. finds something new, or another murder happens and he leaves more evidence. Each crime scene is too damn clean except for his smell and DNA, neither of which do us much good. Can you imagine trying to track a scent in this city? Fuck, most days it smells so bad I wish my nose didn’t work.”

Naoko nodded. “Tokyo is much the same. Too many people.”

Akoni pulled into a parking space on the corner a block down from their favorite cafe — a minor miracle. If driving in New York was a nightmare, parking was usually even worse. If the city weren’t so damn big, he’d just walk everywhere. Being a shifter, it wasn’t like he couldn’t handle a bit of walking.

He locked the car and they pushed through the crowd on the sidewalk. It was impossible to walk in the city without being shoulder to shoulder with a stranger. He’d often questioned his sanity in moving to such a place, and sometimes thought about going back home. Then another case would land on his desk and he’d remember his skills were put to better use here.

The cafe was crowded when they stepped inside and they had to wait twenty minutes before a table was ready for them.

Akoni didn’t even look at the menu since he ordered the same thing every time they ate here. Naoko perused the selection before setting his menu aside.

“You’re getting the Reuben, aren’t you?” he asked Naoko.

“Of course.”

“Then why look at the menu?”

“They might have added something new,” Naoko said. “Besides, something else might have looked good today.”

Akoni snorted. “Face it. You’re like me and eat the same damn thing every time we come here. The regular wait staff even knows our order by heart.”

Naoko smiled. “Are you saying we’re getting too predictable? Maybe we should order something else, just to throw them off.”

Akoni chuckled. “No thanks. My stomach is settled on having a club on rye with broccoli cheese soup.”

Their favorite waitress made her way over to their table. “Morning, agents. Same as usual?”

“Morning, Bethany,” Akoni said. “Yeah, we want the usual. Can I get an extra pickle though?”

“You bet.” She smiled. “Just water for both of you, or can I tempt you with some soda or tea?”

“Water for me,” Akoni said.

“I think I’ll actually have a lemonade today,” Naoko said. “Something tart would hit the spot.”

Bethany scribbled down their order and headed for the kitchen.

Akoni yawned and cracked his neck.

“I told you last night to let me take care of that for you,” Naoko said.

“It’s just stress.”

Naoko snorted. “If it was just stress, you would be fine right now. We spent a good hour relieving stress as I recall.”

Akoni smiled.

“No arguments tonight. I’m rubbing your neck and putting some Icy Hot on it before bed. You probably need a chiropractor. I bet you’re out of alignment.”

“That shit stinks.”

Naoko growled softly at him. “You will take care of yourself or allow me to do it. The last thing we need is to have you out of commission because you were too damn stubborn to see a doctor or get a little TLC.”

“I had plenty of TLC last night.”

Naoko’s lips twitched. “I meant of a non-intimate nature. Although, I’m happy to offer that kind any time you’d like. There’s a perfectly good bathroom down the hall right now.”

Akoni’s eyebrows went up. “Are you suggesting that we play while on the job? Shame on you. First time we’re caught fooling around, while we’re on the clock, they’ll assign us different partners. It would be different if one of us was having a heat cycle, but last time I checked, it’s not the right time of year for either of us.”

Naoko sighed. “Fine. Take the fun out of my day.”

Their food arrived and Akoni attacked his with gusto. His stomach was growling so loudly he was surprised they hadn’t thought a bear was loose in the restaurant. Naoko regarded him with some humor as he took small bites of his sandwich in a more leisurely manner. Akoni swore his mate could be starving to death and his manners would still win out. It both fascinated and confounded him.

Naoko wiped his mouth with his napkin, but Akoni didn’t see the point. It wasn’t like food would dare leave his mate’s face a mess. He could even eat spaghetti without a speck of sauce landing on his chin or his clothes. Akoni, on the other hand, practically needed a drop cloth to eat the stuff. His mate had often compared his eating habits to that of a cub still learning to feed himself. Instead of being offended, he’d laughed it off. He was a messy eater and knew it.

They finished their meal and left enough money on the table to cover the bill and a tip. Pushing back from the table, Akoni made his way to the restroom to clean up. He splashed cool water on his face and washed his hands. A noise caught his attention and he pricked his ears. It sounded like shuffling on the other side of the wall, the wall that faced the back alley. Probably just a vagrant or a bunch of rats, but it wouldn’t hurt to check it out.

Naoko was waiting for him by the front door, and as they stepped outside, he motioned for his mate to follow him around the corner. Despite the sun shining brightly, the alley was dim. The narrow strip of concrete between the cafÈ and the building next door smelled like rotten garbage and human refuse. His nose wrinkled as they advanced down the alley.

Movement caught his eye as someone ducked into a large cardboard box. It wasn’t uncommon to find homeless people living in alleys in New York, but there was something about the situation that felt different. The shuffling sound reached his ears again and he realized it was the person in the box. Stopping in front of it, he tapped on the top. “Bureau of Paranormal Affairs. Please step out of the box.”

There was more shuffling and then a head of auburn hair appeared. When the man stood, he was nearly as tall as Akoni, but not quite as broad. Blue eyes stared at him defiantly. The man had dirt smeared on his skin and his unwashed smell filled the air.

“You have no jurisdiction over me,” the man said.

Akoni sniffed at him. “Human.”

The auburn haired man nodded. “I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Akoni’s brow furrowed and he leaned in again, getting a better sniff, trying to go past the smell of unwashed body, trash, and urine. With a soft growl, he felt his wolf rise inside of him. Naoko placed a hand on his arm.

“Easy,” his mate said.

“Mate,” Akoni said, his voice a near growl.

Naoko looked at him in surprise, then leaned in to sniff the human. Surprise registered on his face and Akoni knew he smelled it too. Whoever this human was, he belonged with them. He just wasn’t sure how to get the human to come with them. It wasn’t safe for him to remain on the streets, not with a rogue shifter on the loose.

“What do you mean by mate?” the human asked. There was distrust and uncertainty in his eyes.

“What my not so eloquent partner and mate is trying to say is that you belong with us. You’re our mate,” Naoko said.

The human snorted. “Yeah, sure I am. Next thing you’ll tell me is that you’ll take care of me as long as I’m willing to perform sexual favors.”

Akoni rumbled again, his fangs lengthening. “Someone propositioned you?”

“At least once a day,” the human said.

The defiant stance told Akoni that he expected the same of them. The wolf didn’t know how to get the human to trust them, but if they could just get him home, then maybe he would see they only wanted to take care of him.

About the Author

With an overactive imagination and a penchant for making up stories, was it any wonder Dulce Dennison decided to be an author? From cowboys to shapeshifters, she has a story for them all, but her passion lies in writing m/m romances. Dulce believes in love in all shapes and sizes, and that everyone deserves a happily-ever-after.

Married since 2000 to a man she isn’t sure is quite human, her husband and children (which she fondly calls the demon spawn) keep her busy, but never too busy to write. Is there such a thing as too busy to write? Most mornings you can find Dulce set up with her laptop, a cat curled up next to her, and a steaming cup of coffee just an arm’s reach away.

Dulce loves to hear from her readers! You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter or visit her website at dulcedennisonauthor.weebly.com. You can also sign up for her Newsletter for information on sales and new releases!

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Spotlight: Cyclops by @GaleStanley @changelingpress #PNR #romance #werewolves

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Cyclops (Watchdogs 1) by Gale Stanley

Cover art: Bryan Keller

Genres: Paranormal, Werewolves, Gay, Action Adventure & Suspense, New Releases, Romance

Length: Novella

Page Count: 43

Ray Miller finds his calling in the Army, but an explosion in Afghanistan takes his left eye and his career. Set adrift, he turns to alcohol, until an old army buddy shows up and offers Ray a job. Now Ray has a secret identity. He puts his combat skills to use as Cyclops, a paid assassin who rids the government of bad guys.

Then, one day a chance meeting sets off sparks, and Ray falls for a man who could destroy him. Hooking up with a cop is reckless, but the sex rocks Ray’s world. How long can he hide his secrets before the hitman becomes the target?

Excerpt

Mission accomplished. A simple in and out job, take aim at the target and pull the trigger. Now it was time to vanish, lie low and keep my head down. I usually played by the rules, but tonight I didn’t want to be alone. Danger is an aphrodisiac and I was one anxious horndog. I didn’t sniff trouble in the wind, so I went to Jared’s apartment, where I could keep my head down and suck his cock at the same time.

My digital car clock said three am when I pulled into a dark spot behind Jared’s building. He’d be asleep, so I let myself in with the key he’d given me. I shed my clothes in the living room and left them on the floor. I wanted to slip into bed beside Jared and surprise him. Quiet as a church mouse, I opened the bedroom door. A floorboard creaked as I stepped over the threshold. The light came on, blinding me for a few seconds.

Jared sat up and looked daggers at me. “Do you know what time it is, Ray?”

I grinned sheepishly. “Time to get busy?”

“What were you doing until 3 am?”

“Missing you.”

“Right.” Jared threw a pillow at me. “Go home, Ray.”

I picked up the pillow and walked over to the bed. “Don’t be such a sourpuss.” I tucked the pillow behind his back. Yawning, I scrubbed a hand through my regulation cut, two inches of hair on the top of my head, and tapered down the sides and back. I like to leave a little for Jared to pull on. The thought made my dick even harder.

Jared lay down and put an arm over his face. “I have to get up for work in a few hours. Lock the door on your way out.”

I sat on the bed and slid my hand under the sheet. Jared’s limp dick didn’t budge when I made contact. Damn, he really was pissed. “Okay, go to sleep. I’ll just lie next to you.”

“I don’t want you here, Ray.”

My temper rose, but I tamped it down. I have a short fuse but I try to lengthen it around Jared. A few slow deep breaths calmed me down. I pulled Jared’s arm back and stared at his face. His eyes were closed and it was hard to tell if he meant what he said. “Look at me, babe.”

Reluctantly, he opened his eyes. God, he was gorgeous. Honey brown hair framed high cheekbones and emerald green eyes. “Come on, babe, you know you don’t mean it.”

Jared and I had been together for eight months, and I’d gotten used to having a steady fuck, or as steady as it could be in my line of work. I didn’t see Jared as much as he would have liked, and the longer we were together, the harder it was to explain my absences. But, nothing worthwhile came easy and I was determined to keep him. I liked knowing Jared was there when I needed him. And right then, I needed him bad.

Available at

Changeling Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

About the Author

Gale Stanley grew up in Philadelphia PA. She was the kid who always had her nose in a book, her head in the clouds, and her hands on a pad and pencil.

Some things never change.

Website | Blog | Twitter | FaceBook | Instagram | Pinterest

 

 

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

#NewRelease – Abbie and the Alien Official #Aliens #scifi @changelingpress

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Abbie and the Alien Official
Intergalactic Brides #14
Cover Artist: Karen Fox
Publisher: Changeling Press
Length: 120 pages

Abbie prides herself on being a strong, independent woman. Having been on her own since she was seventeen, she’s taken care of herself, doing whatever was necessary to keep a roof over her head and food on the table. But when she loses her job, her car, and her apartment, she begins to think maybe it’s time to admit defeat and ask for a little help. Even if it means becoming the bride of an alien and living on another world.

Councilman Larimar has only wanted one thing since he reached adulthood. A mate. But his duties have kept him from seeking a wife, no matter how many tempting humans enter the bride program. They’re all attractive, and certainly any of them would do. Then he meets Abbie. The moment he sees her, touches her soft skin, he knows he wants her more than his next breath.

Despite Larimar’s reservations when it comes to Abbie, he finds he can’t keep his hands to himself, and the only place he wants her is under his roof and in his bed. When she accidentally ends up pregnant, he knows he has to do whatever is necessary to make her his, and not just because she’s carrying his child. Even if it means studying human mating customs, or inviting her crazy mother to live with them.

One way or another, Abbie will be his.

 

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Pre-Order for Nov. 10th at: Amazon     B&N     iTunes     Kobo

Excerpt

A warm hand at her lower back made her jolt. She gave an apologetic glance at Sentir.

“I’m going to take the women to their apartments, but I think someone wishes to speak with you,” Sentir said.

“Who?” she asked, scanning the crowd.

A Terran who easily stood over six feet began making his way toward them. His long hair flowed down his back, and the black leather hugging his body showcased an impressive set of muscles. There was a flutter in her stomach and this time it wasn’t from nerves. He was handsome, by far the best-looking Terran she’d seen so far, and none of them were ugly.

The alien stopped in front of her. “Miss Abbie Carson?”

She nodded.

“I’m Councilman Larimar. I wanted to meet with you in person to apologize for what happened. Zlyer is looking into the matter. So far, it seems your letter was the only one that didn’t go out. Whoever is responsible will be punished.”

“Oh, I… I don’t think it’s necessary to punish anyone. I mean, I made it here, right?” she said.

He smiled at her kindly. “You’re not furious?”

“No. I’m just grateful I was able to come now.”

Sentir moved away. “I’ll have your belongings sent to your apartment. Councilman, will you escort her? I need to get the other ladies settled.”

“Of course,” Larimar said.

Abbie looked up at him, feeling dainty and delicate in his presence. “I’m staying in an apartment?”

“A small one, but yes. It’s our hope you won’t be there long. The sooner each bride finds a mate, the sooner we can bring more to our world. We try not to have more than six here at a time. In the early days, we brought more here, and even had some humans working here. But it didn’t work out as planned.”

He reached for her, placing his hand gently at her lower back and guiding her along. She fell into step beside him and tried not to gawk at everyone and everything along the way. There was a large pool area that looked promising, except she didn’t have a swimsuit. She’d always loved to swim but hadn’t had much opportunity for it.

When they approached a large building, easily fifteen stories high, she paused. “I’m staying there?”

“Yes. Is there a problem?”

“No, I just didn’t know what to expect. The building is quite large.”

“The top two floors are suites that are occupied by Terrans. Some of the apartments on the lower floors are also occupied by Terrans, but none will bother you. If anyone approaches you, it will be to ask you to join them for an outing or a meal. There’s no cheating on this world so if anyone asks you out, they’re single and looking for a mate.”

She bit her lip. “How exactly does everything work? The program wasn’t explained to me in detail, except for how to apply and the general idea of what happens afterward.”

“I can see we may have to make some more adjustments to the program. Not only was your letter lost, but no one explained anything to you. It was brave of you to come all this way without knowing what to expect.”

Abbie shrugged.

“The implant in your wrist will let you in and out of your apartment and the building. We encourage you to share meals with prospective mates, but should you dine alone, your implant will cover the cost of your meal. If there’s any shopping you’d like to do or need to do, please do not hesitate to use the implant to pay for them. Your mate would want you to be taken care of.”

“What happens if I don’t find one?” she asked softly. “What if no one wants me?”

He stopped and reached out to tip her chin up so that she looked him in the eye. “Someone is going to want you, Abbie. I have a feeling you won’t be single for long…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#NewRelease – Haven and the Alien Mechanic @changelingpress #scifi #Aliens #romance

Alien Mechanic Banner 1

Available Now from Changeling Press

Pre=-Order for October 13th from Amazon, B&N, iTunes, or Kobo

When the IRS claimed her parents’ home and all of their possessions, Haven lost everything and was plunged into an unforgiving world she’d never been prepared for. Pregnant and alone, she’s not sure how much more she can handle, when her car breaks down in a parking lot. Good thing for her it’s a car repair shop.

Dryden has always wanted one thing. A mate. When the brides being sent to his world barely spared him a glance, he moved to Earth to see if he could find a mate on his own. Little did he realize that the perfect woman would fall into his lap. Her rotten luck was the best thing that ever happened to him.

When certain things come to light about the baby Haven is carrying, her world is turned upside down once more. But with Dryden by her side, she knows anything is possible… even true love and a happily-ever-after.

Excerpt

Haven bashed her hands on the steering wheel as her car coasted to a stop just inside the nearest parking lot. While she was definitely having some rotten luck lately, it seemed angels were watching out for her tonight. Her car might have broken down on a busy street, but the parking lot she’d pulled into belonged to a car repair place. Dryden’s. She’d never heard of it, but it wasn’t like they could break the damn thing since it was already broken.

She pulled herself out of her car, shivering a bit when the winter air hit her. Not that her car was toasty, since the heat was broken, but at least the chilly breeze hadn’t been cutting right through her. She left the keys in the ignition as she headed toward the shop to see what, if anything, could be done for her poor car. Truthfully, she just needed a new one, but she couldn’t afford it. Once upon a time, she’d had everything. A nice house. A fancy car. She could have shopped until she dropped every day of her life. Then the IRS came along and said her parents hadn’t paid taxes in ten years. They’d taken nearly everything.

Pulling open the glass door, she stepped inside the empty reception area. There was a beat-up couch, a scarred counter, and three doors. One was clearly marked as a restroom. The large glass window next to the second door showed it went to the shop area. And the third she was guessing was an office. There wasn’t a bell on the counter and there hadn’t been one over the door.

Haven walked over to the large window and banged on the glass. A gasp slipped past her lips when a tall, hunky Terran slid out from under a car, shirtless with smears of grease here and there. And damn, but wasn’t he sexy? She’d seen several Terrans around town before, but this one had shoulder-length hair, shorter than what seemed to be the norm for his race. And was that an earring in his left ear? Her stomach fluttered, and she wasn’t sure if it was attraction or the little being she’d found out about a few months ago. If nothing else, her predicament served as an icy cold shower, reminding her where wayward hormones would get her.

On the other hand, it wasn’t like she could get knocked up again.

The door opened and Mr. Sexy stepped inside, an easy grin on his face.

“May I help you?” he asked, his gaze skimming over her.

“My car broke down in your parking lot. I wondered if you could take a look at it?”

He nodded. “Just let me grab a shirt.”

Pity.

He stepped through the third door and returned a moment later, wearing a long-sleeved tee. Haven went outside to her poor car and waited for the alien to follow her. When he came outside, she’d have sworn the temperature rose a few degrees. Or maybe it was her overactive sex drive making her warmer than usual.

“It was driving fine and then just started shimmying and shaking. Right when I neared your shop, it sputtered and died. I managed to coast to this spot.”

“It’s hard for me to say what’s wrong with it just off a description. Mind if I push it inside and take a better look?” he asked.

“No, I don’t mind. How much does it cost to diagnose the car?” she asked, thinking of her dwindling bank account.

His gaze skimmed over her again, a half-smile on his face. “Why don’t I take you to dinner and we call it even? I was close to finishing up for the night.”

Her cheeks warmed. It had been a while since someone had asked her out. Haven hadn’t exactly been popular at college, and then she’d dropped out and her social circle had shrunk even more. Especially since she hadn’t told her friends why she was leaving. She’d been too embarrassed. And then everyone else had abandoned her when the money went away.

“You really want to go to dinner with me?”

His smile grew a little. “You seem surprised. If you tell me you’ve never been asked out before, I won’t believe you.”

“I’ve been on dates before,” she said. “Just not in a while.”

“So, you’re not seeing anyone?”

“No. And I’d love to have dinner with you.”

“Why don’t you go back inside where it’s warm? I’ll push your car into the nearest bay and take a look at it.”

Haven followed his instructions and went back into the shop. She sank onto the beat-up leather couch. She shivered a little, still cold from being outside. Her coat wasn’t that warm, but she hadn’t been allowed to keep the expensive one her parents had bought her. All of their designer clothes, jewelry, shoes… all of it was gone. Everything had been auctioned or sold. There were times she missed it, but mostly she missed the comfort of having a roof over her head, knowing where her next meal would come from, and not having to worry about things like money.

She’d been allowed to keep her iPhone, but now she had to pay the monthly fees herself. Pulling it out of her pocket, she played a game and checked her social media accounts while she waited on the hunky mechanic to finish looking at her car. She hoped it wasn’t anything serious, or she wouldn’t be able to get it fixed right now, and if she didn’t have a car, she couldn’t look for work. Not that anyone seemed to want to hire a spoiled ex-socialite.

The minutes ticked by on her phone and finally the mechanic appeared again, shirtless once more to her delight. But the grim set of his mouth told her it wasn’t good news. He wiped his hands on a rag and tossed it onto the counter before crossing his arms over his chest.

“How much do you love that car?” he asked.

“Is it bad?”

“You’d be better off buying a new one. It’s probably going to cost about four thousand to fix everything wrong with it. When’s the last time maintenance was done on it?” He held up a hand. “Let me rephrase. Has maintenance ever been done on it?”

“I bought it used, so I don’t know.”

“I think you were sold a lemon. Any chance the dealership would take it back and refund your money?” he asked.

“I bought it from an individual off Craigslist.”

He winced.

“I needed something cheap,” she said. “He assured me the car was in great running condition.”

“You were lied to. Your engine needs to be rebuilt. Your transmission is leaking. The fuel pump looks like it’s about to go. And your fan is cracked. There’s more, but those are the big things.”

“All of that only costs four thousand?” she asked skeptically.

“I may have discounted the price a bit.”

Haven sighed. “I appreciate you taking a look at the car, but I can’t afford to have all that taken care of right now. I’ll just have to figure something out.”

He moved closer and sank onto the couch next to her. “I’m going to get cleaned up and take you to dinner, then you’re going to tell me exactly how much trouble you’re in. I can’t promise to have a solution, but I’d like to help, if you’ll let me.”

“Why are you being so nice to me?” she asked. No one ever did anything out of the kindness of their heart, not anymore. The alien had to want something from her, but she couldn’t figure out what.

“Maybe I’m a sucker for a damsel in distress.”

#CoverReveal – Fae Bound @AuthorDulce @changelingpress #fantasy #GayRomance #elves #shifters

DD_Fae Bound

PRE-ORDER AT AMAZON

Captured by the Dark Fae Dirian and kept in a spelled cage, wolf shifter Navarro wonders if he’ll ever see freedom again. Being imprisoned takes an interesting turn when his mate steps through the door at Dirian’s side, his torso and back scarred from years of abuse. Navarro wants nothing more than to save the both of them, but he doesn’t know how.

When the Wood Elf Tabor first touches the red wolf in the cage, he knows the two of them share a special connection. Dirian gives Navarro to him as a pet, but the shifter is so much more. For the first time in three hundred years, Tabor wants to bind someone to him with Fae magick, a commitment not taken lightly by his kind.

The two make the best of their captivity, but when an opportunity to escape presents itself, Navarro knows they must take it — and in doing so, free everyone Dirian has enslaved.

COMING OCTOBER 13th from CHANGELING PRESS

Available at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and Kobo October 20th

Spotlight: A Slave’s Price by Shelby Morgan #DarkFantasy #kindleunlimited @changelingpress

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$3.99 or FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Purchase at Amazon

The shape-shifting women of clan Wolf make the best lovers on earth – if they don’t kill you.

The Way Of The Wolf… In a world befraught with racial prejudices and dangerous lovers, Humans, Barbarians, Dwarfs, Elves, Fey, Orcs, Ogres, and Trolls vie for the same territories. Lady Evalayna buried her past and sacrificed her personal desires to raise House Lochinvar to High House over all the Wolf Clan. Will her own children find love? Or will Evalayna rule their lives as her mother sought to control hers?

Politics… Cassadara, youngest daughter of House Lochinvar, is to travel across the wastelands to the northernmost outpost of the Humans. Her mission: negotiate a truce with the House of Yarishet. Just the sort of assignment the young Shaman expects — pointless and boring. Until her party is attacked by marauding Orcs — Orcs? In the wastelands? — and she’s left without an escort. To make matters worse, now she must negotiate with the Dwarven Slave Trader Argolyn for a Warrior guide.

Legend… The shape-shifting women of Clan Wolf make the best lovers on Earth — if they don’t kill you. Mâkakao has dreamed of a Wolf woman for his own since he came of age. Yet as he’s soon to discover, every fantasy has its price!

Excerpt

The noise of the marketplace rose like the shrill whine of wildfire. The press of bodies around her became oppressive, sucking the air out of her lungs. Cassadara shifted her armor, automatically standing taller, straighter, as if her imperious stance could somehow remove her from the filth and squalor. Her nose wrinkled in distaste, but she refused to acknowledge the underling who groveled before her. The Dwarf was not worthy of her attention.

The trader’s voice droned on, extolling the virtues of yet another chunk of Human waste. The slaves all looked the same. The Dwarf dragged them out of their pen in a string, chained together like so many goats on a tether. Warriors, indeed. None of them would even raise their eyes to look at her. She terrified them. To a man, they would rather die here than travel with her.

Something inside her turned cold as the arctic spring. These Humans were nothing. Spineless bundles of flesh huddled together, trying to hang on to their miserable existence. They meant nothing to her. Let them stay here and earn their freedom in the pit if they could.

Cassadara crushed the courier’s message and tossed the paper into the fire. Unfortunately, she couldn’t rest until she had fulfilled Lady Evalayna’s directive. Irritated, perhaps unreasonably so, she thumped the small bag of gold coins against her leg. Even with the words burned to a crisp, Cassadara could hear Mother’s voice as if the Lady had just spoken aloud.

“Although I am pleased to ken ye survived the Orcs’ assault on thy escort, I fear for thy safety. I wouldna’ have ye travel alone. Go ye to the Dwarf called Argolyn in the City of Stone. This vile creature claims to have one of our own amongst his slaves. Such a thing canna’ be allowed. In freeing this Warrior, ye shall also secure a second sword arm to stand at thy back. May the gods be with ye.”

A second sword arm. A slave. Cassadara felt her frustration mount as she surveyed the expanse of Human degradation. She would find no Warriors here. She had sent to Mother asking for a company of Northland Soldiers — her own men, who would gladly follow her into battle if need be rather than cower in fear of her while the enemy hacked them to pieces. Instead Mother sent the Mage Shammall and a small bag of gold. Cassadara would rather have traveled alone than take on the added burden of another responsibility. But there was no defying Mother.

At least the errand boy had spirited himself away after delivering Mother’s instructions. She’d rather deal with the Dwarf than that damnable Mage.

“This one is a true Warrior, Lady. He is strong and well-endowed.”

Cassadara looked down, trying to focus on the matter at hand. Argolyn was attempting to call her attention to yet another of the objects huddled in the mud. His sales pitch, delivered in Dwarven, sounded like he was trying to clear phlegm from his throat.

“Stand up!” the flesh-monger hissed. The slave made no move to obey. The trader kicked the battered body at his feet. The Dwarf received as his reward a glare of defiance from deep green eyes glinting like ivy-etched steel. Her attention secured, Cassadara watched the scene unfold like a play. The trader yanked ferociously on the chain by which his property was bound, cutting off the slave’s air supply. Cassadara wondered why blood didn’t spurt from the Human’s neck.

The Dwarf kicked the slave yet again, ignoring the choking wheeze of the Human’s strangled breath. The lack of oxygen had the desired effect. Almost insolently, the man at Argolyn’s feet rose. Grabbing hold of the chain threaded through the torc around his neck, he hauled himself up hand over hand, using the sturdy Dwarf as anchorage. Up and up and up the Human rose, until he towered over the Dwarf, who reached barely to his crotch.

Undaunted, the trader fisted his hand in the fabric of the man’s tunic, yanking the thin covering from the battered body with one swift jerk. A grubby paw poked at the slave’s testicles, as if to make sure Cassadara had an unobstructed view. “You see, Mistress, there is enough here to satisfy even a member of the Wolf Clan!”

To his credit, the Human barely flinched as the Dwarf displayed him.

Cassadara’s focus lingered for a moment on a cock that hinted, even flaccid, at enough size and girth to be worth a second look, before she let her gaze wander back to the slave’s face. His attention still centered on the Dwarf, his eyes blazed with cold, bare defiance. This one could not have been a slave for long. Although his body had been damaged, his spirit had yet to be broken. Still, he had obviously learned better than to actually attempt to attack the Dwarf. One move of the slave’s hands, chained though they were, and the guards would beat the man to a bloody pulp.

What did his spirit matter? She wasn’t here to secure a personal slave for the night’s usage. She didn’t want a man who would fight her, and the Human would never travel willingly at her side. Besides, without the guards around, the Human might be hard to control. He was not the Clansman Mother had sent her to free. Cassadara didn’t bother to look back at Argolyn. She answered in the common tongue of merchants, refusing to expend the energy necessary to spit out the words in the Dwarf’s own language. “Thy merchandise is unacceptable.” She turned away, as if to move on.

“You need not fear me, Mistress. You would be safe with me.” The words were spoken in High Elven, a language that managed to capture the essence of poetry in its most common vocabulary. The voice caressed her, sliding over her skin like silk in the darkness, little more than a low rumble that might have come from Earth herself.

Who

Cassadara raised an eyebrow in surprise as she turned back, surveying the man again. The Human had dared to address her — and in a language almost unknown in these parts. He had taken great risk to speak to her privately. Why? ‘Twas a foolish risk that might well earn him yet another beating.

Cassadara’s curiosity trapped her. Did he not know who she was? Did he not know what she was?

Deep green eyes clashed with hers, anything but subservient. Surprisingly, she saw no trace of fear. Instead she saw wariness mixed with desperation. The Human knew his fate. Unless she purchased his contract, the man would undoubtedly die here.

So. This slave was willing to cross the lines of race and class to save his own life. Yet somewhere within his battered body the man retained enough pride to keep him from begging.

Intriguing.

She stepped closer — close enough to smell the foul odor coming from the pen where the men were kept. By the gods, this one was tall. He was almost as tall as her brother Tyrell — the slave was certainly the tallest Human she had ever seen. Taller by far than her own six-foot-four. At this distance she would actually have to tilt her head to meet the man’s eyes, so she didn’t. Instead she trailed her gaze over his body, surveying every inch of him, looking beneath the filth to see the long, lean muscles on a powerful frame, capable of grueling days of marching and hard hours of fighting.

The Human was too large and well built to have escaped the arena. The spectators would love to see this one fight. She let her gaze wander the length of him again, frankly curious about those other attributes the Dwarf had mentioned. This time his cock responded, jumping to life as if she had stroked him with her fingers instead of her eyes.

Fascinating.

He was indeed well endowed — far better equipped than she would have expected for a Human. As she watched, his cock grew harder, bobbing its deep crimson head as if straining to reach her.

She hadn’t even touched him yet and he was already hard for her?

Despite the chill of the arctic spring, a fine sheen of sweat stood out on the Human’s body now, trickling down his smooth, naked chest. She found herself imagining licking the sweat from his bronzed skin. Her nipples hardened at the thought of what he might be able to do with that equipment.

Did he want her? Or merely the freedom her money could purchase for him?

She’d heard tales of Human lovers. The Humans might not be good for aught else, but they were said to make incredible mates. She followed the line of sweat back up, gradually returning her attention to the man’s face. He let her look her fill without comment, though his cock jumped again as if she’d caressed him rather than merely admired from a few feet away. A single drop of moisture leaked from its tip. She wondered briefly what he might taste like. Just how different were Humans?

Cassadara hid her smile. She was fairly certain he was not what Mother had had in mind.

She answered in the common tongue, wanting to be sure the Dwarf understood every word she said. “Why should I trust ye, Human? I know what thy people think of my kind. Ye call my race Barbarians. Yet ye condone this.”

The sweep of her hand indicated not just the squalid pens huddled at the base of the cliffs, but the amphitheatre-like arena at the far edge of the camp, and indeed the whole system by which men were bought and sold like sled dogs.

“Why would I pay this Dwarf for thy services? As soon as we are away from this place, ye shall try to kill me. Then ye shall die, and I shall be out a great deal of gold. I have no time to worry over the likes of ye.”

“Then do not hold me as a slave,” he answered, once again in Elven. “Let the price of my freedom be my indenture. I will pledge myself to your service. Allow me to earn my freedom and I will prove my loyalty beyond the boundaries of race and class.”

The Dwarf looked perturbed by the banter, but if he did not understand, Cassadara surely would not translate. This time she answered the Human in Elven as well. “Ye would never live to see thy freedom, Human. No’ where I go.”

The man didn’t deny the truth of her words. Instead he stared back at her, holding her attention with the intensity of his gaze, his eyes asking for her faith. “I know where you are bound, M’Lady. I will gladly die beside you if that is the will of the gods.” He swayed unsteadily on his feet, righting himself before he toppled back into the mud. “Better to die in battle at your side than here in the pits for the entertainment of the Lords and Ladies. Death in the arena robs a Warrior of his honor.”

Cassadara examined the Human again, using her gift this time. A long half-healed gash ran the length of his shield arm from shoulder to elbow. Heat radiated from the wound, a sure sign the cut was infected. She looked deeper. Beneath the bruises his ribs were cracked, and his knuckles were swollen and bloody. He had undoubtedly survived several rounds in the arena already. His face, half-hidden under untrimmed fur, looked hollow and gaunt.

He’d take a great deal of healing to be of any use. If she bought this one she would be spending days in this hellhole of a town before the man was ready to travel. Worse yet, healing him would leave her exhausted and vulnerable — and at his mercy.

Cassadara let her gaze drift down to that thick, weeping cock again. “If I buy thy indenture, what will ye do for me?”

“Whatever you wish, M’Lady.” Deep green eyes warmed slightly, lending character to the face where she’d seen only anger and despair. “In my homeland, I am known as a man of my word. I pledge to serve you loyally.”

Cassadara touched the tip of her tongue to suddenly dry lips. At her frank perusal, the Human’s cock bobbed stiffly against his belly, looking painfully hard. Dampness stained the inside of her thighs. Yes. If he knew how to properly entertain a woman, he might be worth the time and trouble he would undoubtedly cause.

When her gaze traveled back up the length of him, his eyes met hers with a trace of something that might have been a grin. “I can cook.”

The man knew he had her attention. Cassadara fought to keep her expression distant as she turned back to the Dwarf, addressing him once more in the common tongue. “How much?”

Argolyn answered in his own tongue, disdaining the common vernacular. “For you, fifty gold pieces, Mistress.”

“He paid but fifteen,” the Human offered in that same guttural language.

The powerful Dwarf snapped the chain in a move that dumped the man back on his knees in the mud. “Silence! Your upkeep alone has near bankrupted me!”

“I have earned you ten times my purchase price,” the Human argued. “If your word meant anything, I would own my freedom by now!”

If she left the man here, the Dwarf would surely beat him for such audacity. Cassadara stepped between them, distracting the Dwarf. She moved her shoulders in a studied show of disinterest. “This Human is indeed well-endowed, but he is insolent. He is no’ worth the fifteen ye paid for him. Where is the Northland Warrior ye promised?”

The Dwarf allowed himself to be distracted. “This is the Warrior we spoke of, M’Lady. Truly he has done well in the pit, though he has not yet won the Grande Mêlée. That event does not come here until after the thaw.”

Cassadara tapped her foot impatiently. “Warrior or no’, he is no’ one of my people. Ye have lied to Mother. Lady Lochinvar will be much angered with ye.”

Argolyn spread his hands wide, his face a mask of innocence. “He is big. He is strong. He is well equipped. I sent word to Lady Lochinvar only that I had an acceptable candidate. Come back tomorrow. I will have broken him for you.”

Broken. Aye. That he would be. Cassadara felt a surge of pity well up. She suppressed her weaker emotions with the harshness of reality. “I have no time to waste with ye. If he is the best ye have, he will have to suffice. I will give ye thirty and leave with him now.”

“M’Lady, surely you jest. A big strong fighter like this will bring near to one hundred after the Mêlée.”

“Then wait for the Mêlée. Away with ye.” From down below in the mud, eyes flavored with desolation searched for hers. Did he understand nothing of trading? Cassadara intentionally looked away. She spun on her heel and headed toward the gates.

A filthy little hand tugged at her sleeve. “Please, Mistress, let us not haggle over money. I can see you desire this slave. Enjoy him. My gift to you at only forty gold pieces.”

A slight metallic ping sounded as her short sword leaped into her hand. Her voice hissed out low and flat. “Remove thy hand from my person while ye still possess a hand to remove.”

The Dwarf drew back stiffly, but swallowed his pride in the face of the threat in her eyes. “You drive a hard bargain, M’Lady. Thirty it is.”

Her upper lip curled in a sneer. “Twenty-five.”

Argolyn stared up at her for the space of two long, deeply drawn breaths. “Twenty-five.”

The sword slipped soundlessly back into its sheath. Cassadara withdrew the coins from her leather pouch and dropped them. Argolyn picked the coins deftly out of the air as they fell. Short stubby fingers extended a large iron ring toward her. “Your keys, M’Lady.”

She stepped back, refusing to touch the tainted metal. “Ye may keep thy chains.”

“M’Lady! Think what you say! Surely you cannot mean to –”

Her hand still rested on the pommel of her sword. “The purchase is made. The Human belongs to me. I do no’ wish him to serve me in bondage. Remove thy chains.”

The protest died on the Dwarf’s lips. Wordlessly he unlocked the wrist cuffs, yanking the chain through the rings on the torc that shackled the man’s neck. Ignoring both the Dwarf and the pain of the twisted torc, the Human kept his gaze fastened on Cassadara. He still clutched his tattered tunic. Cassadara watched in fascination as he tied the remains about his waist, concealing that rigid cock. Despite his privation, he retained some degree of modesty.

“You were not told to dress!” Argolyn barked, snaking out a grubby paw to yank the shredded tunic away from the man.

Cassadara caught the Dwarf’s wrist in a grip as strong as his own. “Ye shall no’ touch what is mine. No’ now. No’ ever. Neither ye nor any of thy men.”

Rage colored the trader’s face. With his free hand he grasped a talisman hung about his neck on an ancient leather cord. “Take him and be gone.”

Something sharp brushed against her mind. Cassadara dropped the Slaver’s arm, suddenly finding him far too filthy to touch.

“You shall regret your treatment of me,” the Dwarf hissed as he turned and stalked away, rubbing his injured wrist.

“Harm what is mine, and ye shall no’ live to ponder my fate,” Cassadara promised his retreating backside.

Truth be told, she already regretted having dealt with the little Slaver at all. She had no wish to own another, nor be responsible for anyone other than herself. Yet here she was.

She turned back to the Human. Eyes fixed on her feet in a traditional show of subservience, the man knelt before her in the mud, his ripped tunic clutched around him. Ice crystals were already forming in the man’s beard. Pity swayed Cassadara yet again. She unbuckled her cloak and settled the heavy wool over his shoulders. Green eyes raised up to meet hers, still wary, but there was something in them she hadn’t seen there before.

Hope.

The hope was tempered by uncertainty, but it was there.

The torc still marked the man as a slave. Cassadara saw no smith about whose forge she might use. She hated to touch iron. Still, she would have to touch the man if she was to heal him, probably more than once. Better to deal with the cursed iron now than endure its taint.

Sliding one hand under the twisted band to protect his neck, she closed her eyes and focused on the welded lock. She pictured the metal heating under her fingers until it was soft and malleable. Using all of the strength of her race and her magic, she twisted the welded hasp until the metal crumbled beneath her fingers. The lock sprung, allowing another few inches of space between the ends of the band. As gently as she could, she spread the worn collar apart and removed the hideous thing from about his bloodied neck. Venting her anger on the metal, she flung the filthy piece of iron out across the tundra.

The Human said nothing, only continued to stare up at her as he rubbed dirt stained fingers against the raw wound at his throat.

She extended her hand to him, but he made no move to accept her help. Her temper leapt to the surface again as she let her hand drop back to her side. This was a poor start to things.

No. She would not judge him on the basis of race alone. Perhaps he had simply misread her intent. She tried again, choosing her words with care as she addressed him in his own language. “Are ye fit enough to travel?”

Understanding flickered across his face. Still watching her intently, he rose cautiously to his feet. “Aye, M’Lady.” Even as he spoke, he swayed like a drunkard.

She sighed, knowing he was not fit to go anywhere but to bed. “Have ye a name?”

He blinked in surprise. “To my friends I am known as Mâkakao.”

Cassadara twisted her tongue around the foreign name. “Makâ…”

“Mâkakao,” he repeated.

She laughed at her own clumsiness with the name. “Mâk?”

His lips turned up slightly at one corner. “Mâk.”

“As much as I admire thy body, I would no’ have ye travel with me naked, Mâk. Ye will attract the wrong sort of attention. Get ye to yon merchants and see to thy clothing. Something sturdy, but light enough to travel in. Get ye outfitted. A warm tunic and light armor and a traveling cape. Whatever else ye shall have need of. And get ye a good sword.”

He stared at the bag of coins she pressed into his hand. His voice sounded odd when he finally spoke. “You would trust me in this, M’Lady?”

Cassadara looked up and down the one mud path that ran between the stone huts of the merchants. “Would ye rather remain here?”

A smile, a real one at last, stole through his reserve. The smile touched his face with the promise of beauty. “No. No, M’Lady, I would not.”

“Mâk?” She spoke softly as he started to turn away.

“M’Lady?” On his lips the word sounded like a caress.

“Find ye a bath and a barber.”

Green eyes turned stormy gray. A flush stole over his cheeks. “As you wish, M’Lady.”

He thought she meant him to prepare himself for her bed? The idea was not unpleasant, but he was in no condition to enjoy such exercise at the moment, and she had no wish to kill him. Cassadara smothered her laughter. “Have the barber see to thy arm. I would no’ have thy wound heal badly.”

He flinched as if she had hit him. “‘Tis nothing, M’Lady. A scratch of no importance.”

“Have the wound seen to,” she insisted. “And get ye something to eat. A good dinner may cure what ails ye.”

The Human inclined his head in a show of respect. “M’Lady.”

She liked the way the title sounded when he spoke. Almost as if his words caressed her. Still…”Cassadara. If we are to share this journey, ye might as well know my name.”

One corner of his mouth lifted up. “I know your name, M’Lady. In the language of the Fey, your name means Daughter of the Wind. I think all in these parts know your name by now.”

“Then ye shall have no trouble finding me when ye are outfitted and ready to depart. I shall be at yon tavern at the edge of what passes here for a town. I have paid for a room there for the night, but I would rather leave this place behind us.” She let her attention flick briefly toward the Slaver’s hut. “Have caution. I do no’ trust the Dwarf.”

His eyes warmed slightly. “I will return to you, M’Lady.”

If he did not, she would be out nothing but a small bag of Mother’s coin. She watched the tall Human turn and walk away, admiring the hard angles of his shoulders beneath the cape. Somehow she trusted he would be good to his word. Cassadara thought briefly of the Human’s other attributes and smiled to herself. Perhaps she would not regret this bargain after all.

Even as the thought occurred to her, the Human stumbled up the steps to the nearest merchant’s hut, clutching at the doorframe as he tried to right himself. Cassadara sighed. With a movement as swift as her name implied, she reached his side. Although she was shorter by a hand’s breadth than any of her clansmen, she had at least inherited the strength of her race. She gathered the man into her arms as she would have an injured child. Even through the wool of the cape, she could tell he was burning up with a fever that had not been there a few minutes ago.

Eyes the color of wintergreen sought hers as thick ebony lashes parted. “The Dwarf…”

She too remembered the Dwarf laying his hand on the talisman.

His voice trailed off and his eyes slipped closed, only to jerk suddenly open again. “Please, do not let me die in this place, M’Lady,” he implored. “Not here. The tundra…”

“Ye shall no’ die. No’ here. No’ today. I give ye my word.”

His eyes slid closed again. “Clan of the Wolf is known for keeping its word,” he whispered. As if the effort of speaking had been too much, his head lolled loosely to one side.

The door before her gave way at a kick from her fine steel-clad boot. A tiny merchant woman looked up at them in terror, reaching for a pitiful excuse for a knife.

“I have need of thy assistance,” Cassadara explained calmly. “I shall pay thee well.”

About Shelby

Shelby Morgen loves writing offbeat tales that defy as many rules as possible. She likes chocolate with her peanut butter, suspense with her romance, and kink with her sex. She’s always had a hard time keeping science fiction, fantasy and paranormal from mixing with her kink. Shelby shares her belief in electronic publishing with her longtime friend and partner, Bill, her husband of 35 plus years. Find more of Shelby’s titles at Changeling Press — http://www.changelingpress.com/author.php?uid=21.

SPOTLIGHT: Unknown Desires by Jax L. Kramer #BDSM @changelingpress #newrelease #LGBT

UnknownDesires_largecoverpic

The instant attraction Michael feels toward his new Dominant, Mr. Johns only grows stronger each day. Spending time together in the dungeon is always a fun, unique, and unpredictable experience. Only Mr. Johns can take him to places he’s never known existed. The pleasures of pain and the highs of sub-space were once unimaginable, but now Mr. Johns truly owns him body and soul.

For Michael the most startling emotion is the fear he feels when he’s earned a punishment. Although punishment is meant to be feared, Michael is more afraid of being dismissed. He’s certain each mistake is a step closer to being sent away. No punishment could ever hurt as much as Mr. Johns giving up on him.

Is it possible for Mr. Johns to have any real feelings for Michael, or has Michael set himself up to be hurt worse than ever before?

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Desires-Jax-L-Kramer-ebook/dp/B075KM1P1T

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/unknown-desiresjaxlkramer/1127091295?ean=2940159005007

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/unknown-desires

Excerpt

“Michael, come to me.”

Her voice has that silky tone that always sets my heart to pounding. Today is the day and I have no idea what to expect. I rise gracefully to my feet in one smooth motion as I’ve been taught. Standing straight with my shoulders back, my chest out and chin up, I walk directly to her, my eyes remaining straight ahead.

The man standing with her is taller than I am, about 6’3”. He’s built bigger than I am and I suspect he’s older than me though I’m nineteen so that isn’t a surprise. I can feel his eyes inspecting me.

My nerves are getting the best of me but I don’t move. I control my breathing and wait for my next command. Domme Shannon told me that she had found a male Dominate she believes I’m compatible to serve. I had been stunned and I’m not entirely comfortable with belonging to a man. My family wouldn’t ever accept it. But I’d requested that she find a Dominant she believes will be best for me, regardless of gender.

“Come, Michael,” Domme Shannon says, leading me from the small, sparsely decorated bedroom. She and the man walk casually in front of me, letting me get small glimpses of him. He’s muscular with dark brown hair the same shade as mine. He’s wearing an expensive suit but I can’t spend much time looking him over. I’m led into the office. They sit and I’m instructed to kneel on the floor beside the man.

“Michael Edwards, this is Mr. William Johns. He is looking for a long-term partner and I know that he can give you the guidance you need. Look him in the eyes and answer his questions,” she commands before turning the interview over to him.

Most Doms do not want eye contact. He’s different.

He is nice looking with a strong jaw line. His cologne is pleasant, smelling of some kind of spice. He looks over a folder in his hand, taking his time, letting me wait.

“Michael, most of your hard limits are things that I don’t do.” He pauses as he continues to read. “There are some things that you haven’t tried yet, you marked them as things you would be willing to have demanded of you. Is that correct?” He watches me closely.

“Yes, Sir,” I answer.

“If I demand something and you decide that you can’t tolerate it again, we can discuss changing it to a hard limit.”

This statement requires no reply but my stomach twists as I wonder what he’d like to demand from me. The room falls silent as he looks through the rest of my paperwork and places it back into my folder.

“You are looking for a full time placement and you are employed full time?” His voice is deep and gravelly. It has a sexy quality to it.

“Yes, Sir.”

“What type of work do you do?”

“I work for a construction company, Sir,” I reply. My nerves are increasing as this interview continues and I center myself again.

“If we decide to make this a long term partnership, will you be willing to quit your job?” he asks.

“Yes, Sir,” I answer, but I feel conflicted about it. It’s a great job for someone without an education.

“You’re nineteen?”

“Yes, Sir,” I reply.

“Would you be willing to attend college?”

“Yes, Sir.” This is a surprise. I’d given up the idea of going to college.

“Good,” he says.

“If I take you on as my submissive, my rules are not up for debate. I am very strict and trouble will not be tolerated. Punishments will be as severe as required and you knowingly agree to that?”

“Yes, Sir,” I answer. I need this from him and hope fills me unexpectedly. Until now I hadn’t realized how much I needed this. Why do I like the idea of being punished by this man? The idea that something might be wrong with me grows spontaneously.

He looks to Domme Shannon and nods.

“Michael, go wait in the hallway,” she commands.

“Yes, Ma’am,” I answer.

I take a place far enough from the door to allow private conversation. I stand at parade rest with my feet at shoulder width apart, my arms behind my back. They come out of the office half an hour later.

“Michael, gather your belongings. You’ve been accepted into the service of Mr. Johns. Do not disgrace me. You will not be accepted back here if you mess up this opportunity. Understand?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” I answer quickly. “Thank you.”

“You’ve done well and you deserve this. Don’t keep your Dominant waiting.”

I walk briskly to my room and grab my bags. I’ve had them packed since I was told I had an interview today. I hadn’t known what to expect. Another trainee stated that most males are taken by women. I don’t know if that was at their choosing or not. I hadn’t set any such parameters on mine. I wasn’t told until today that a man had been found for me. My feelings, though conflicted, are happy if I’m honest about it.

Carrying my bags, I find Mr. Johns waiting by the door.

“Come,” he says simply.

I follow him to a black SUV. Another man waits by the car and he opens the door for Mr. Johns before taking my bags. I wait as he opens the trunk and puts them inside. He then opens the other door for me.

Once in the back seat beside Mr. Johns I sit straight as I’ve been taught. The silence stretches and I begin to inspect my fingernails. It’s an old nervous habit. Mr. Johns’ hand covers mine, stopping my fidgeting. Electricity shoots through me and my breath catches.

“Look at me, boy,” he says and there is a subtle difference in his tone now, strong and demanding. “I expect eye contact unless I tell you otherwise, and no fidgeting or I’ll punish you.”

I meet his eyes for the second time. They are a deep blue and his dark brown hair has a slight curl to it. At a guess he’s in his early thirties. He looks a little like Liam Hemsworth, only more muscular. He is a handsome man.

“You will call me Sir or Mr. Johns. I will not repeat an order. You are to obey any command given immediately. I will give you a copy of the household rules when we get home. Failure to follow them will result in punishment whether you are aware of the rule or not. I suggest learning them quickly. I will add rules specific to you as I get to know you better. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Good,” he replies. “Do you have any questions?”

“Yes, Sir,” I answer. My voice sounds nervous even to me as I concentrate on not picking at my fingers. “I was wondering how I’m to pay for college if you want me to quit working?”

“I will pay for you to go to college,” he answers. “I want you to be well educated and you’re still a young man.”

“I’m not sure I would be comfortable with that, Sir,” I answer.

He nods. “You don’t need to be.”

My head is swimming. “I feel like a prostitute.”

“No, you’re not being paid for sex. I want you at home and I want you educated. It’s a win-win for us both. Don’t over think it. I’ll go over the classes with you and decide what will benefit my schedule.” He watches me silently for a few minutes. “I will not waste my time or yours if I feel this isn’t going to work out. Is that clear?”\

“Yes, Sir.” I wonder what else this arrangement will entail…

About the Author

Jax L. Kramer grew up listening to tales told around the campfire under the stars with the hooting of owls piercing the night. Those stories and the books she loved to read, inspired her to become a writer. She wrote, screen plays, short stories, poems, songs, and novels while still attending school. Jax now an adult lives in Oklahoma and has a family who are supportive of the stories crafted by her.  Now Kramer is the Storyteller. You’re invited to join the campfire circle. Hurry…it’s not polite to make the Storyteller wait!

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