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Authors: Trista Ann Michaels

Tags: #Romance, #Menage, #Shape-shifter, #Erotic Romance, #Paranormal

Nature of the Beasts

BOOK: Nature of the Beasts
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Spark of Magic:

NATURE OF THE BEASTS

 

 

Trista Ann Michaels

 

 

 

www.loose-id.com

Spark of Magic: Nature of the Beasts

Copyright © February 2013 by Trista Ann Michaels

 

eISBN 9781623001995

Editor: Jana Armstrong

Cover Artist: Mina Carter

 

Published in the United States of America

Loose Id LLC

PO Box 809

San Francisco CA 94104-0809

www.loose-id.com

 

This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Warning

This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id LLC’s e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

* * * *

DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, especially those that might be found in our BDSM/fetish titles without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Neither Loose Id LLC nor its authors will be responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the information contained in any of its titles.

Chapter One

He stood in the shadows, watching the young woman as she angrily climbed the moonlit path. Her scent hung in the air like thick perfume. The light from the full moon highlighted the golden streaks in her short, pixie hair.

He pranced anxiously on all fours, then snorted. The air was so cold his breath turned to white smoke as it floated around his snout. Rocks bit into the pads of his feet, but the pain only intensified the need coursing through him. The monster within him begged for release. It clawed at his insides like a raving animal, desperate to be set free.

It was a monster much worse than his animal side. It was sensation he found harder and harder to control. As the years had passed, the dark side of his soul had shifted—become more morbid. Darker. At first the need had been just to inflict pain. Now he craved the light. He wanted to see the spark leave their eyes. He wanted to feel their last breath on his cheek as he ripped his claws through their flesh. He needed it like he needed the air he breathed.

Death was his drug, his addiction.

Human females were his fix of choice. Their screams the sweetest.

The young woman moved closer to his hiding spot beneath the brush. He lowered his head, keeping her in sight as she turned to admire the view of the valley floor below her. He couldn’t believe his luck, finding this woman here alone. She’d been angry when he first spotted her, stomping along the path and mumbling under her breath. He followed at a safe distance as she hiked and slowly worked the anger out. Eventually, she would become tired, and then he would pounce.

He could feel the monster clawing harder, and he let out a low howl toward the full moon. The young woman stiffened and glanced around her. The fact that she was alone on a dark path finally registered as her eyes filled with trepidation.

It was too late for her now. No one could save her from the monster that resided within him. No one but him would hear her scream.

He moved back and shifted to human form. He came to his full height as he stepped from the shadows. Their gazes met, and his heart raced in excitement at the fear shining in her eyes.

“Who are you?” she asked warily. “Where did you come from?”

He didn’t answer her. He didn’t feel her questions deserved to be answered. Where he came from didn’t matter. All that mattered was in a few minutes, his monster would be sated.

But it never lasted. The blood of one woman was never enough. He would always hunger for more.

He rushed forward and knocked the woman to the ground. She struggled in earnest, scratching at his face and arms as she desperately tried to get free. He straddled her hips, using his weight to keep her against the ground. This was his favorite part: the fight just before the kill.

She was a strong one—determined to stay alive. A fighter made the kill that much sweeter.

He allowed himself to shift to wolf form just enough for his claws to emerge. She screamed loudly as he raised his hand, preparing to strike. With one swipe of his arm, he sliced her throat. Blood poured from the wound to cover the ground. Gurgling sounds replaced screams as her skin lightened to a pasty white.

He smiled as her struggles began to fade and the light in her eyes dimmed. Tears streamed from the corners to slide into her hair, mingling with the blood that soaked the ground. A sated peace similar to a sexual climax washed over him as she finally stilled and stared lifeless up at him. A calm took hold, and he sighed at the pleasure that filled him.

He’d never found this feeling any other place. It was like a drug. He would get his fix and be fine for a while until the hunger would once again emerge. The times between feedings were getting closer. He couldn’t go as long now without killing someone.

Glancing down at her hand, he noticed the sapphire ring. He pulled it from her finger and smiled as the moonlight hit the blue stone. This would remind him of tonight. He could keep this, stare at it, and remember the feelings she’d brought him. They would hold him over for a time, but at some point even that wouldn’t be enough. At some point he would need to kill again.

Chapter Two

Sarah stood on the deck, staring across the ranch. The oddest feeling of dread had come over her when she’d heard the scream. She had no idea where the desperate sound had come from. The sound seemed to have resonated from so far away and had been so soft, she wasn’t sure it had even been real.

Grabbing the edges of her robe, she pulled it around her chest tighter. The cold night air sent a chill down her spine that had more to do with the sensation of danger than the temperature.

She’d always had a sixth sense, even as a child, and right now that sense screamed that something terrible had just happened. But what, she had no idea.

“Sarah?”

The sound of Dastan’s voice made her jump. She spun around quickly and spotted him just outside the patio doors. He still had on his jeans from earlier. His shirt was open, showing off a chest that Sarah could stare at all day and often did when she knew he wasn’t watching. She may hate what Dastan was, but she wasn’t blind to his beauty.

The wind caught his shoulder-length hair, mussing the strands. Moonlight made the platinum streaks stand out even more against the dark blond. Gray wolf eyes rimmed in black watched her with concern but could sometimes darken like storm clouds when he was angry.

It was times like this—times when she watched him stalk toward her gracefully—that she questioned why she was here. Even though Keegan was now head of the witch’s council, did that really mean she had to do everything Keegan told her? Did it really mean she had to stay here and watch after the shifters?

Of course it did. When the lead councilwoman asked her to do something, she did it, regardless of her own hesitancy. It was what they all did. It was how their world worked. The council was the law. What made the whole thing even harder was the fact that Keegan was her best friend.

And right now she hated her best friend.

“Are you all right?” Dastan asked softly.

Sarah blinked at the question, unsure what he’d asked. She’d been too busy thinking about how good he looked in the moonlight. Why oh why couldn’t he have been ugly? It would be so much easier to ignore the sexual tension growing between them if he were. “I’m fine. I just thought I heard something.”

“A scream?” he asked.

With a nod, she shifted uncomfortably from one foot to another. “I thought that maybe I’d dreamed it.”

“No. I heard it too.”

“What the hell was that?” Dmitry asked in his deep Russian inflection as he moved around Dastan to step onto the deck.

Dmitry walked to the railing and stared out over the ranch as though looking for the source. Sarah noticed his strong, wide back, his round ass, and his shoulder-length black hair. He had the same lighter streaks in his hair that Dastan had, but Dmitry’s were gray.

Dastan and Dmitry were each from a different pack. Most packs ran together, keeping family lines together, but those two were their own pack, never answering to anyone but themselves. They preferred it that way, Dastan in particular.

Dastan’s line was still in existence. Dmitry’s was not. He was the last of his pack. Sarah often wondered if that made him feel lonely, but then she would push that concern aside.

Dmitry turned to look at her with skepticism. “Why are you out here?”

She stiffened and straightened her shoulders just a little.

“Dmitry,” Dastan cautioned softly.

“Quite frankly, the why is none of your business. As long as I’m stuck here, this is my house too, and I can go where I please.” She lifted her chin. “And that includes the deck.”

She turned to go back into the massive log house.

“It also includes my bedroom,” Dmitry purred.

The sultry timbre of Dmitry’s voice sent a wave of shock up Sarah’s spine. Yes, he sounded sexy, but she’d be damned if she’d allow him to get to her.

 

DMITRY WATCHED HER go and was tempted to take back that last remark. That had been a little over the line, and he was sure Dastan would say something about it once she left.

Dastan stepped aside as she angrily brushed past him to go into the house. “Dammit, Dmitry,” he snarled as Sarah rushed across the living room to the stairs.

Dmitry snorted and glanced back out over the ranch. “It’s either I make her hate me, or I seduce her.”

“She already hates you. Are you trying to get her to commit homicide?”

Dmitry tilted his head to the side as a particularly wicked image ran through his mind. “That might be interesting.”

With a low growl of impatience, Dastan walked over and then leaned his hip against the deck railing. He stared toward the house with a frown. “Very funny.”

“Tell me something, Dastan. How did she hear that scream?”

As shifters, he and Dastan could hear things from much farther away than humans. Although Sarah was a witch, that wouldn’t affect her hearing. So how had she heard it?

“I’ve always heard that Sarah has a very fine-tuned sixth sense. Maybe she sensed it as opposed to heard it.”

Dmitry turned his head and sent him a look of amusement. “Try again, Dastan.”

Dastan rolled his eyes. “What do you want from me? I don’t know how she heard it. Does it matter?”

With a shrug, Dmitry turned to face Dastan. He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the man who’d basically been his other half for the better part of a millennium. “Do you not sense anything odd about her?”

An eyebrow rose over Dastan’s right eye. “Odd?”

“Odd’s probably not the right word.”

“I sense a pull,” Dastan said.

“So do I, and I guess what makes it odd is the fact that we feel that pull toward someone other than a shifter.”

“Yeah,” Dastan said.

Dmitry glanced up to the second floor and Sarah’s bedroom window. He could sense her there, feel her presence as she stared down at them. She didn’t think he could see her, and he couldn’t see her body, but he could definitely feel her. He turned away and looked out over the moonlit ranch.

He loved it here. It felt so good to be working land again, to have a purpose other than just protecting council members. When he’d first arrived here, freedom had washed over him for the first time in such a long time.

It was peaceful, but something out there had disturbed the quiet that usually hung over the ranch. Something not of this mortal realm. He could feel it in his gut. Something had his wolf senses tingling with alarm. Humans didn’t have that effect.

“Dmitry.” He looked at Dastan expectantly, waiting for him to continue. “Keep your eyes open. That scream was a woman dying.”

“It’s so isolated out here; her body may not be found for quite some time. We need to locate it.”

Dastan nodded in agreement. “I have a pretty good idea of the direction. Our sense of smell should lead us the rest of the way.”

* * * *

Sarah awoke the next morning with a restless energy she couldn’t seem to shake. It wasn’t the first time, and it seemed to be happening more and more frequently. Most days she just attributed it to being stuck here in this house with two men who were more gorgeous than they had a right to be.

She’d known them since she was a child, but it still didn’t change the fact that she was leery of them. They made her uncomfortable. Keegan believed it was because of her mother, and she was probably right.

BOOK: Nature of the Beasts
12.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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