Oliver Bleu looked up from the bench seat he was measuring. He took few commissions these days, usually just enough to make his monthly bills and keep the rent paid. His work was declining in quantity, but the quality was still top of the line, as long as he didn’t push himself. He released the tape and noted the measurements on a pad, hiding the feral interest that rose at the presence of his neighbor. He took a moment, willing his fangs to recede.
“Hey, Blacque. What’s happening?”
He did his best to appear casual, but after the last conversation he’d eavesdropped on, Bleu was itching to know more about the big werewolf who was darkening his doorway. He could understand why Blacque’s sister might be reluctant to give in to the alpha’s demands to make babies. After all, she had a career on the line. She couldn’t just drop a pup and walk away.
But Blacque was a different story. He’d never met a shifter who didn’t think with his dick. Speaking of which, it was looking nice and snug there inside those faded denims. And it looked happy to see Bleu. He quickly looked away, wondering if maybe his suspicions about the wolf were correct. Blacque had showered and changed out of his work clothes. He smelled like steam and Lava soap.
“Just gettin’ ready to head on out for the night. Wanted to check, though. I’ve got an old Studebaker I’m working on. Wanted to see if you might be available to do the interior.”
He looked slightly uncomfortable, but they’d never really talked much before. Their hours didn’t exactly mesh, and the mechanic had always avoided Bleu. He watched Blacque’s face as the wolf scented the air slightly. He wouldn’t catch the smell of illness on Bleu, and hopefully not weakness either. But shifters’ senses were even more acute than those of vamps. Maybe he could smell fatigue and hunger. Maybe he could smell lust.
Bleu certainly scented something on the shifter. Hot, rich blood flowing inside his veins. The musk of a male, the sweat of a hardworking man. It was all like perfume to his libido. He was suddenly very glad the wolf had interrupted his work. His fangs ached to drop even as his cock began to rise. He took another breath and let the cool control of the hunter wash over him.
“Studebaker, eh? Let’s go look.” He followed Blacque from his little workshop to the garage next door, taking time to appreciate the ripped, muscular build of the were. His ass was tight, and his legs were sleek with muscle. Bleu’s mouth watered a bit in spite of the mug of lukewarm pig’s blood he’d downed earlier. All that shit did was ease the hunger pangs gnawing at his belly. It did nothing to nourish his flesh. A full-blooded werewolf was like nectar to a hungry vamp.
Blacque paused to unlock the shop door, and he entered, flipping on the overheads in the big auto bay once he did. In the cold fluorescent light, tattoos on his bare arms stood out in stark contrast to his lightly tanned skin. They twisted and climbed like vines on a trellis. His scalp gleamed through the thick black stubble that was growing in. He certainly wasn’t trying to hide any shortcomings by shaving his head. Bleu’s fingers itched to rub the wolf’s bristly scalp.
God, he was butch enough to make Bleu want to grapple him to the floor right then and there! Thing was, the big guy might not appreciate it. Deep down, he might crave it, but he didn’t want
to want it.
After dragging his hungry gaze from the wolf, he looked critically at the old car in the bay. She was a dirty gem, all right.
“Nineteen fifty-five Speedster. Nice.” He slowly walked around the car, peering into the windows to look at the tattered seats and headliner. “It’ll need everything. Panels, seats, headliner. You want it authentic or custom?”
“As close to stock as we can get. I’d like the seats done in leather, though.”
“Original colors?” He opened the door and ran a hand over the dark red steering wheel. Man, where’d the quality go in cars these days?
“I’ll keep the paint stock, so let’s keep the interior the same as well.”
He could picture the Speedster with a gleaming black-and-white paintjob, its chrome polished to a high sheen. He straightened up and gazed at Blacque, taking a moment to appreciate the artistry of his rugged face. As he looked, the wolf colored up slightly.
“Call when you’re ready for me.” Their gazes held for a breathless moment. Bleu finally exhaled. “I’ll work up an estimate. Damn nice vehicle. Can’t beat the fifties when it comes to cars. Especially Studebakers.” He gave the door a push, and it closed with a satisfying thump
. He might have more fun with pimped-out cars and customized limos, but restoring a classic brought out the best in Bleu. He followed Blacque to the back door and paused, watching him lock up.
Blacque turned to face him. Excitement fluttered in Bleu’s belly. “Thanks, Bleu. I appreciate it.” Again the big man hovered, looking ill at ease. He reminded Bleu of a kid angling for his first kiss after a date. Well, that could be wishful thinking on his part. Clearly the mechanic had something to say.
“Well, good night.”
“Good night, Lukas. You have a good evening.”
“You too.” The wolf started out to the parking lot, where his big pickup truck waited. Blacque paused and then turned back to Bleu.
“See you around.”
He waited for a moment, gazing at Bleu, and then started back out to his truck, moving with swift, graceful strides.
Beautiful. From the top of his bristly head to the soles of his steel-toed feet, the wolf was beautiful. Bleu shifted, letting his cock find a more comfortable position in his work pants. Dickies. What a name for a pair of pants. When he threw back his head and laughed, the tips of his fangs glinted in the moonlight.
This was a bad idea all the way around. Such a bad idea. The were community here in Arcada had been tolerant of him so far. Vamps and wolves never got along particularly well, and he valued the uneasy peace that existed in this quaint little town. Blacque had been a temptation he’d long denied himself, and one that Bleu should continue to ignore.
He laughed again. Hell. What was life without a bit of risky self-indulgence now and then?
Fuck. What was he thinking? Blacque started the truck, catching a glimpse of the vampire before he returned to his shop. He was facing enough shit with the alpha, and now he was hungering for a vampire...a male
vampire, no less.
He scrubbed at his scalp and then brought his fist down, banging it on the steering wheel. He took a deep breath, gathering his control. He reached between his legs and grasped his cock hard, willing it into submission. Had the vampire’s gaze lingered there, even for a moment? Had he mistaken something else for the scent of arousal? He squeezed at the base of his swollen shaft, grunting when his arousal began to wane.
It had been bad enough when his wants had been vague and amorphous. He’d craved another male, but it’d been years since a name or face was attached to his need. These past few years, a pale, tall vampire occupied his lust. How old was Oliver Bleu anyway? He seemed pretty modern, but you never knew. In fact, Bleu probably passed for human to most of Arcada’s residents. Other than his scent, the only telltale sign was the slight accent in his voice. He’d originated in Europe somewhere but had been in North America long enough for the accent to have faded.
Shit. He was getting as moony as a teenage girl. His heart raced in his chest, and heat prickled along his skin. He wasn’t one to talk a lot, but the damn vamp had him flat-out tongue-tied. In fact, he couldn’t clearly remember what they’d talked about.
The air grew crisp and cold, and Blacque steered through town with his window down, barely seeing the town square with its fairy lights and the couples strolling arm in arm. He rolled through a stop sign and headed north, away from the orchards and out toward where the real wilderness started.
The official city limits of Arcada extended much farther than the actual town itself, and within its borders, paranormals like him found a measure of safety. That safety came with a price, though. The town didn’t like bad behavior. Not the townspeople, but the town
. It had a way of punishing those who tried to violate its code of sanctuary. There was no hunting within the unmarked limits. No stalking, no pack wars of any kind. He wondered if the vamp had to leave town to hunt. He and Dru had come here as kids when their mother died, but many of Arcada’s residents were outsiders who were drawn to the sense of safety here.
Of course, everyone in Arcada had their secrets, and conversely, everyone knew everyone else’s secrets. The place was so rife with oddity that someone had jokingly nicknamed the city “Normalville, USA.” That’s how the sign greeted visitors as they coasted into town on the two-lane approach strip. Hell, even the most mundane humans in town were far from normal. There were witches and psychics and even the occasional oracle, all busily living their day-to-day lives.
He turned off the highway and took a narrow road out to the little house he’d purchased the year before. It was humble, but sound and private. He could shift, go for a run deep into the surrounding forest, and be back without ever encountering his neighbors.
His father, the alpha, lived in a sprawling two-story farmhouse that was buried in acres of orchards. The old house was always filled with his visiting children. Sometimes he took in strays -- shifters who were without pack ties elsewhere. If one of Dane’s families was down on their luck, the alpha fed them, and when possible, paid their bills. The vast orchards and pack-owned businesses helped with that, as did his day job as the county sheriff. The pack also paid a tithe to help out.
Damn socialist werewolves, always taking care of each other. The thought made him grin.
Blacque pulled up in front of his house and shut down the truck. The silence out here was complete, broken only by the wind in the trees and the occasional flutter of wings as bats and night birds hunted. He took a deep breath, scenting the wind, and deemed it safe to go inside. Arcada might be a safe haven, but the outside world wasn’t. Dane continually preached caution to his pack.
Like most residents of Arcada, he didn’t bother locking up when he left. Locks on the doors wouldn’t stop anyone here. He skipped the stairs, jumping smoothly to the raised porch, and entered, pausing before turning on the lights. Like the outside, the interior of his house was small and neat. It was old, maybe dating to the 1930s or earlier. At night he loved to lie in bed and listen to its old bones settle.
He headed straight for the fridge, grabbed a beer and popped it, then took a long drink. He drained it, opened a second, and then leaned back against the counter. His cock was hard again, aching and swollen. He reached down and cupped himself, indulging in the brief fantasy of Bleu’s swollen, dripping cock sliding into his mouth. He licked his lips, imagining the salty taste of his seed as it melted over his tongue. He took the imagery just a bit further...still on his knees, but leaning forward or maybe bent over the kitchen table...Bleu covering him from behind.
What the hell was his problem?
Blacque rolled the cold can over his sweaty forehead and swallowed hard. It wasn’t going to happen. Not if he wanted to keep all his limbs. He might get away with occasionally fucking another guy, but not a male vampire. He took a second to readjust his cock and then headed into the living room.
“Son of a...!” He nearly dropped the can on the polished wooden floor. “Fuck! What the hell
are you doing here?”