Grayson Belle is one in a million. Unlike the government’s manufactured Circs -- the nation's warriors who’ve been mutated by the government into men who can shift form -- Gray was born with the ability to shapeshift and has a heightened sense of telepathy. But lately, his world has gone to hell. He’s prepared to throw in the towel after his current mission. He’s seriously messed up, lusting after his irritating partner, Bas, whom he’s not even sure he likes. And then, Al Ross, the rogue Circ he’s been sent to kill, turns his heart inside out and his resolve to nothing. He’s losing his edge, because he wants to mark both Circs as his own. But if he does, what will that mean to the future he’s mapped out for himself?
He’ll have to gamble on his instincts to ignore what his head is telling him. Sometimes being rational means less than nothing if the heart isn’t happy. And Gray will be damned if he’ll let himself lose at love. Now he and his partner just have to convince one stubborn female to take that same chance.
* * * * *
The following morning, Decker continued to repeat everything Gray told him in the form of a question. "So the file said this Al Ross has been gathering rogues together for months?"
"Didn't I just say that?"
"But I don't get it. How the hell do you remember all the info in the folder? You glanced through it for like thirty seconds, if that." Decker took another sip of hot chocolate. So fitting, and so annoying that the scent merged with the sweet smell of the man.
"It's a gift. Eidetic memory." A skill, like Gray's telepathy, but he'd yet to divulge that tidbit to Decker. Gray had trust issues. And he didn't much care for the Circs outside of the Dawn Endeavor team. His sister and grandmother, he loved. His parents as well. The Dawn Endeavor Circs he tolerated, mainly because one of them had mated his sister. But the others fashioned by science? He couldn't help it. They just weren't right. Inferior creations made by imperfect humans.
Which didn't explain why he couldn't stop himself from constantly thinking about Sebastian Decker.
"You're just full of surprises, aren't you?" Decker grinned, and his eyes brightened like sapphires.
"You have no idea."
"Yeah, about that." Bas leaned forward and gave Gray a nice view of his square jaw that didn't need a shave. Circs didn't grow facial hair, an odd quirk that made Gray and Decker similar. Almost. "Something you said yesterday. What did you mean about being born this way? I thought all Circs were created in a lab."
Gray cursed himself for revealing that much. Though he and Decker had worked together for nearly a year, something about the man constantly nudged him to caution.
"Oh, come on, hero. I'm not gonna tell anyone." Decker leaned back from the kitchen table and grinned. "Don't you trust me?"
When Decker put on a wounded face and opened his mouth to speak, Gray beat him to it. "Shit. Fine. I was born this way. I've been in touch with my beast since I was five. It's a part of me. No idea why, it just is."
"Wow. No wonder you have such tight control." Decker shifted, and a ripple of muscle caught Gray's attention. Though Decker was Circ, he seemed more cut and defined with larger muscle mass than most Circs. And why Gray found that trait so appealing, he couldn't say. He liked large breasts, a rounded ass, and womanly curves. Not the hard body of a man.
"Gray?" Decker's smile faded. "Are we going to finally get this out of the way or what?"
"You give me that look, and I sense a fight brewing. You want to hit me; I can feel it. I've tried to ignore it, but honestly, it freaks me out. Not me, my beast."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"The way you --"
"And I don't want to know. Let's talk about Al Ross."
Bas sighed. "Fine, hero. Have it your way."
Gray gritted his teeth. You should call me hero after all the times I've saved your ass. Your tight, muscular, biteable ass.
The thought was decidedly feral, and Gray took a heavy grip on his beast and shoved the fucker back down. Fine time for the creature to turn sexually aggressive.
"Al Ross," Gray continued, hoping he didn't sound as breathless as he felt. Thank God the table concealed his erection from sight, because for damn sure his sweatpants would only call attention to it. "Seems Ross keeps calling others to him. We're not sure how he's doing it, but he's amassed at least half a dozen rogues who've gone off the grid. A few have been found dead, but we have no idea what happened to the others. We only know about the dead rogues because we'd been tracking the experimental soldiers from the Circ plant down in Ecuador. It's the one we shut down last year."
"Our first op," Decker said with surprise.
"Yeah. Apparently we missed a few rogues, because they resurfaced in Portland, of all places. One of our contacts spotted them and reported in before losing sight of them. Then more reports came in from an old friend of mine."
"Jack Keiser. He runs a bunch of psychics in Bend, Oregon. The Cascades is near his area, and when he caught wind of a Circ in the mountains, he called the admiral."
"Keiser." Decker frowned. "Why is that name familiar?"
"Jack was a part of the Dawn Endeavor project a while ago. Then some shit went down he had to take care of, and he left. He was also apparently part of the Psychic Warfare Program long before its funding was cut."
Interesting how Decker's scent changed. His expression remained intent, but Gray caught a hint of the man's unease.
"You sure you can trust the guy? I heard some stories about the assholes in that program." Decker snorted. "A bunch of thugs with guns, forcing people to believe in ESP. Gimme a break."
Gray raised a brow. "You've seen a lot of weird shit the past year. Circs aren't normal. We change into creatures that look less than human. You know, claws and fangs and armored skin? Uh, not normal either."
"Yeah, but genetics can be altered. I'm not into the mind freaks. The PWP was a total mess."
Decker knew more about the psychic program than he let on. "What do you know about it?"
"Not much. Just rumors. Now about this Ross."
"What are you hiding, Decker?" Gray had refrained from opening his mind and linking to Decker's because instinct told him it would only bring them closer together. That, and he never trespassed without permission unless dealing with the enemy. But he was dying to know what Decker thought. "There are known psychics in the world today. For all you know, I can read your mind."
Decker blinked, then broke into gales of laughter. Full chuckles that eased the tension in his frame and made him more than handsome but downright beautiful. "That's rich. Reading my mind. If you could, I wouldn't be sitting here right now."
Gray frowned. "What the hell does that mean?"
Before he could blink, Decker stood and rounded the table. He shoved Gray back against the kitchen counter and caged him between strong arms. Holy shit. When the hell had Decker gotten so fast?
"How about I show you what I mean?" Decker kissed him with brutal force, mashing his mouth against Gray's and groaning as he pulled Gray closer. The deep rumble of a purr vibrated through Decker into Gray, and the sensation of finding what he'd been missing for so long struck Gray hard.
Not used to being dominated by anyone, he pushed back. But Decker wouldn't let go. Without thinking about it, Gray took charge of the kiss and changed in the same instant. He ripped through his shirt with claws that sprang out between one heartbeat and the next. Though he didn't need to fully change like the man-made Circs, he'd been pretending to be one of them for so long he just naturally did it.
Gray's body grew larger. Taller and with more muscle mass, his frame suddenly surpassed Decker's for sheer brawn. His skin darkened to his mother's natural brown, a fact that always pleased him, the connection to his African roots one he treasured. But he had no room now to dwell on family, not with his erection pushing him to find ease. When he stepped closer and muscled Decker so that his back hit the counter, he felt Decker's answering hard-on.
He snarled and pulled back, pleased to see his partner's bloodied lips, the hint of fangs and elongating pupils preceding Decker's change. "Don't ever try to push me around."
Decker blinked, and Gray saw his beast, that beautiful animal he was so taken with, staring back at him. "Then stop being such a pussy and take what's yours," Decker growled.
Before Gray could stop him, Decker shoved a hand down Gray's pants and tightly squeezed his cock. The firm grip promised pleasure Gray had only dreamed about. And then the pleasure turned to a hint of pain as long nails scraped the flesh of his belly. Decker eased into his change, growing out of a shirt that split open as he grew taller than Gray.
His skin color darkened but remained a few shades lighter than Gray's. His eyes turned a dazzling light blue, the contrast of such bright eyes against his now nearly black and lengthening hair captivating. Decker continued to pump Gray while he grew, and Gray struggled to remain in control.
Only with this man did he lose himself to his beast. And the creature wanted more. It wanted a fight, a playful interlude he considered foreplay. As much as Gray didn't want to see Decker as a sexual, attractive partner, he could no longer deny he'd been avoiding the truth for too long.
"Who are you calling a pussy?" Gray taunted. "You're so big and clumsy, you trip over your own feet. In the time it takes you to change, I'm normally protecting you from getting your ass handed to you by the enemy."
Instead of growling back, Decker grinned. "Where's the enemy now, hero?" He tugged Gray's cock. "'Cause you seem pretty happy to see me."
Hearing the hated hero on Decker's lips pushed him past reason. Gray roared and yanked Decker's hand from his pants. Then he shoved Decker to the floor and landed hard on top of him. They grappled and fought, not doing any more damage than a scrape here, a bruise there. Until they lay on top of one another, chest to chest, groin to groin.
"Fuck." Decker panted, his eyes wild, his body steel hard and hot. "Let me suck you off. Let me lick you down and swallow you whole." Then the bastard added, "Please."
Gray kissed him and dueled with his tongue while he shoved a hand between them. He found the wet front of Decker's sweats and groaned, aroused anew that his partner desired him. Male Circs, when aroused, secreted a lubricant to ease penetration. By the amount saturating Decker's pants, the Circ wanted Gray. Badly.
As much as Gray wanted him.
To Gray's shock, his cock was slick as well. He'd never before reacted the way other Circs did. He didn't have mating heats, and he didn't grow hard and wet for his sexual partner. Packaged lube and condoms all the way with women when he went back door. Until this morning, with a man. With Decker.
His partner ripped his mouth away and growled, "Do it." Then he bucked into Gray's hand when Gray nicked his cock with a claw. "Oh fuck. Yeah, more. Make it hurt, Gray."
Gray instinctively knew what Decker needed. He bit the man's shoulder and scraped his chest with his freed hand, clawing rows of possession down Decker's hard chest. With his other hand, he jerked him off with fierce tugs, making sure to graze his balls as well.
The scent of chocolate, need, and all-consuming lust saturated the area until Gray breathed Decker in and out.
"Yes. Yes." Decker came hard, flooding Gray's hand. "All of it. Oh shit, take it. For you," came out in a raspy plea, the beast purring once more. "Rub it in."
Gray took his partner's cum and rubbed it over his own belly, liking the mingled smell of Decker over him. Circs didn't worry about infection or disease, and with no risk of pregnancy with Decker, he had no need of a condom, making it pure pleasure to feel his partner's seed over his skin. The scent permeated the air, drawing him closer, and increased his own need. He literally hurt, ablaze with the need to fuck Sebastian Decker. A mating heat he finally experienced for this one impossible male.
Decker lay passive beneath him. Then he turned his head to the right, a subtle surrender Gray accepted without hesitation. He let go of Decker and jumped to his feet. "Up on your knees."
Hastily obeying, Decker didn't ask questions. He wrenched Gray's pants down and took his thick cock to the back of his throat.
"Motherfucker. Oh yeah. That's it." Gray couldn't help thrusting as he stared down at Decker's lips wrapped around his shaft. Large hands fondled his inner thighs and sac, and he nearly lost it. But he didn't want it to be over so soon and forced himself to hold on.
"You're good at this. So good." He sighed and ran the tip of a claw over Decker's cheek. Watching his mate -- the man, he corrected his beast's thoughts in a hurry -- hollow his cheeks as he blew him was a sight he'd never forget. A carnal memory he'd take to his grave. And then Decker blew his mind. Literally.
He sucked harder and shoved one slick, human finger inside Gray's virgin ass.
Gray roared and clenched Decker's shoulders as he came down his partner's throat. The orgasm blinded him, the rushing climax obliterating all thought from Gray, the man, until only affection and need remained behind in the beast.
Decker swallowed him down and licked his cock clean. Then he stood on shaky legs, still changed, and still Gray's. Without thinking about the wrongness of it all, Gray heeded his beast.
"Go lie on my bed, facedown. I want that ass in the air. It's time I showed you who's really in charge."
Copyright © Marie Harte