An Excerpt from Jet Mykles's “Leashed: Two for One Deal” in Howl
“Where are you?”
I heard Gwen stomping toward me and wondered if she stepped heavily on purpose. I mean really, she was all of five feet tall and probably weighed eighty pounds. How did she make such a noise?
She rounded the end of the bookcase, batting aside a dangling paper jack o' lantern to find me kneeling on the floor. I was considerably taller than five foot—I was five foot ten, actually—and kneeling to put books away on the bottom shelf was not a comfortable position for me. I glanced up and groaned. Not because of the fact that my legs from the knees down had gone numb, but because of what she held in her hand.
“You've been going through the trash again.”
She waved the embossed envelope at me. “And it's a damn good thing I did! Do you know who this is from?”
“And you threw it away?”
I met her determined blue-eyed stare with my own brown-eyed one. “Yes.”
She gaped, struck dumb, amazingly enough. It didn't happen often. I took the opportunity to use the sturdy bookcase and the cold floor to push-pull myself to my feet.
Gwen finally found her voice. “You're going to turn down an invitation to Shannon Cavanagh's Halloween party?”
I sighed, reaching up to put my disheveled ponytail back in place. Long strands of my straight black hair had managed to work their way free during the last hour that I'd been working. Or had I pulled them free? “She doesn't really want me there, Gwen.”
She shoved the black-and-gold invitation toward my face. “This proves otherwise.”
I pushed the invitation aside, not even looking at it. “She sent it as a courtesy to a witch in her territory.”
“She didn't send me
I tried not to flinch. There were good reasons Gwen didn't get one, but she never wanted to hear them. “You don't have the pedigree that I do.”
Luckily, that explanation almost always worked, even if it made her grimace. “Yeah, well.” She opened the invitation, eyeing the gold-on-black script. Very high class. Very Shannon. “It says you could bring a guest. You could bring me. Introduce me.”
“No.” I picked up the box I'd emptied of books and turned to walk away.
“Aw, c'mon, Meg.”
“She might be able to help you.”
I froze. “Absolutely not!”
Like one of those little terrier dogs that keeps nipping at your heels, Gwen followed me. “Have you asked her?”
I shoved aside a paper skeleton dangling from the wall near the front counter. “Why would I do a fool thing like that?”
She trailed me past the front counter into the back room before she grabbed my arm to stop me. The look she gave me was less annoyed than worried, a strange look on that round little face that usually showed defiance.
“Meg, I'm serious. Roland's going to come after you. You need help. And the guardian spell hasn't worked. It's been two weeks.”
I took a deep breath, tossing the empty box into a corner. “I know that, Gwen.”
“So—” She waved the invitation at me again. “—maybe it's time to look somewhere else.”
“Not Shannon, Gwen. She wouldn't help me.”
I grumbled. “Just let it go. Trust me. Shannon would be about as helpful as my mother.”
“And I still don't understand why you don't call her. She's your mother
I shook my head and lifted another box of books. “I don't know how to explain it to you any better than I already have, Gwen.” She and I had only known each other two years, but we had one of those solid relationships that just seemed to work. It was refreshing for me, since very few of my relationships ever really worked.
When I turned, she stood in the doorway, another invitation in her hand. That one made my blood run cold. It was white, with tasteful black lettering, elegant and understated. Gwen held it up with a sympathetic grimace.
“I found this one, too.”
I pushed past her with the box, headed toward the front of the shop. “You've got to stay out of the trash.”
“Meg, he'll come for you. You know that.”
“Yes. I know.”
“Halloween is tomorrow night.”
“I know that, too.”
“What are you going to do?”
I stopped at the end of one of the few bookcases in the far front corner of the shop, well away from the computer nooks and the front door. “I don't know,” I whispered, trying to keep despair from resurfacing. I hated
feeling helpless, and this whole situation did nothing but. “I'll call my sister tonight. Maybe Talia can…” I stopped, frowning.
“What is it, Meg?” Gwen stepped toward me, concerned.
I shook my head, propping the box on my left hip to free my right hand. Something like invisible ants marched up under my skin. What was
that? I flexed my hand, but the tingling in my fingers didn't stop. Actually, it wasn't just my hand; it was my entire arm.
I whirled to face the door. The box clattered to the floor, forgotten in favor of the spell that I gathered in my palm. To a non–magic-user, it looked like I held nothing. But anyone with even a glimmering of the Gift or any training in the magical arts would see a whirling ball of yellow-white.
The bell over the shop's door jangled as it opened. I was at a bad angle to the front door, so I couldn't immediately see the person. I had to wait until whoever it was stepped in fully before I could see who had set off my metaphysical radar.
He was young. That was my first impression. Probably legal, but just barely. My second impression was that he was gorgeous! Tall and slim and built like a baseball rookie. Lean and muscular. He wore a faded denim jacket and matching jeans with a worn black Aerosmith t-shirt. A mess of light brown hair hung haphazardly almost to his shoulders, and the bluest eyes you ever saw scanned the shop from within the face of a teen idol. It took all of three seconds for that gaze to land on me, and the blue eyes changed. The color remained, but they were no longer human eyes at all. Canine.
Gwen gasped. I grabbed her arm to pull her behind me and held the spell ready. I didn't let loose. He didn't jump at me, just shared a stare. After a breath, he smiled.
Mmm, yummy! This was my protection?
I started to smile back, but he was pushed farther into the shop by the arrival of another. A bit taller than the first, this man barged into the shop with his eyes fixed on me. Like he already knew I was there. I barely got an impression of angry green eyes set into a face capped with silky black hair before he lunged, snarling.
The spell left my hand before my thought to release it happened. It hit his chest square, and I barked the word of power to activate it. He screamed, an entirely feline scream of rage that had our two customers ducking for cover.
I didn't have time to wonder at his appearance. The first man echoed the attack of the second, and because the spell wasn't ready, he actually reached me before I released another into his chest. He howled, tackling me as he fell.
It was done in a space of heartbeats. Both men lay stunned and moaning on the floor of the shop. I half-sat, half-lay beneath the wolfman. The wire rack behind me teetered, then fell, paperbacks toppling to the floor.
“Holy shit!” Have I mentioned Gwen is a wonder with words?
I didn't glance at her, though, too fascinated by my handiwork. The yellow-white energy spread through the auras of both men, alive as it crawled over their twitching bodies. It sank through their skin, their muscles, their bones, and I felt
it. Not like it was happening to me, but like the spell was an extension of the hair on my arms, burrowing into their bodies. Then, as though it were being sucked up, the leashing spell coalesced into bands about their necks.
Unseen to any but me, another band snugged about the base of their cocks.
I groaned as the spell settled.
They were mine.Copyright © Jet Mykles, September 2005
All Rights ReservedAn Excerpt from Raine Weaver's “Wolfe's Gate” in Howl
He'd left her alone for a moment. She was glad of it. It gave her a little time to take in her surroundings and attempt to still her raging heart.
The bedroom was large and quaintly decorated, situated on the third floor of the house that seemed to expand with her awareness. Dusty-rose and white, it boasted its own bathroom, a free-standing floor length mirror, and pale oak furniture that held fragile china ornaments, lending a feminine touch. And even in the dim light of the two candles he'd left on the mother-of-pearl dresser top, every object in this room was also obviously very, very expensive.
Now that the roar of the storm had died down to a whisper, she couldn't resist the urge to explore. Scarlett wandered over to the window. It was oddly made, triangular in shape, and pulled open to showcase the courtyard in the rear. Ringed by a tall wooden fence, it was all velvety grass, azaleas, and large, imposing oaks. In the spring it was probably bursting with blooms. Even on this chilled, misty fall night there was a stark beauty to the old trees, standing sentinel in the perfect landscape.
“I hope the room is comfortable?”
She whirled at the sound of his voice. Not a sound, not even a stirring of the air in the room had betrayed his entrance. The man was some kind of demon. “It's fine. Lovely. Really. Still, I'm sorry to interrupt your…celebration.”
He cocked his head to one side, hands behind his back, his expression unreadable. “Celebration?”
Geez, the last thing she wanted to do was offend her host. She'd have a fit if he tossed her back out into the rain. She'd just assumed it was a party, with the abundance of wine, the multitude of candles…that Jacob person copping a feel right in front of her…“I mean—”
“You mean the ceremony
His hoarse voice spoke the word with a kind of reverence that sent a chill through her. She glanced down at her shoes, encapsulated in mud rapidly hardening to the consistency of cement. It'd be tricky, but if she had to run for her life they'd have to do. “Ceremony?”
Wolfe nodded slowly, taking a few tentative steps toward her. “ The
ceremony.” His tone was solemn, his eyes glowing in the near-darkness as they blatantly skimmed her body. “We had the ritual meal. The wine. The candles, the storm. All we needed was the sacrifice.” He stood over her, all powerful, intense masculinity, and she swallowed hard. “And there you were, knocking obligingly on the door.”
That was her cue. She should definitely be on the run by now. Instead, she stared into eyes that had changed from ice to smoky-blue, and found she could not move. “Um…er, don't you need a virgin for that sort of thing?” Her voice was shaking, and she couldn't tell whether it was from fear or excitement. “Because if you do, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed.”
He was staring at her mouth, watching her speak, his irises growing darker as she nervously licked her lips. “I somehow doubt I would be.” He smiled, a wide, sinful smile that softened the hard angles of his face. “You've watched too damn many old movies, lady. A little storm, an old house, and you're ready to run. The power is out from the storm, Ms. Grier. Thus the abundance of candles. Rest assured, we're a simple group of people. There's nothing sinister here.”
She released the breath she'd been holding, hating her warped imagination. The storm had destroyed her nerves. “Still, I'm sorry to intrude on you and your guests this way.”
“Not a problem. My guests have retired to their cottages, so there's just us in the house. Make yourself at home.”
“ She shivered.
“I brought you something to wear to bed. You'll be wanting a hot shower and a good night's sleep.”
Scarlett watched, fascinated, as he placed a satiny white gown on the bed. He was still damp from the storm himself, and his shirt gaped open, revealing the lush trail of black hair that narrowed at his waist, like a marker pointing the way to treasure. With shallow, measured breathing, she moved closer, holding the gown up for inspection. “Very pretty.” Hiding her embarrassment behind lowered lashes, she bit her lip. “And do you make a habit of keeping women's nightgowns handy, Mr. Wolfe?”
“Gray. Call me Gray.” He grinned again, and her heart shifted back into high gear. He was capable of an easy manner that was nearly as hard to resist as his gruffness. “People visit here often. And women have a tendency to leave things behind.”
She didn't believe him for a minute. This man would have women. Lots
of women. They'd be pounding at his door in the middle of the night…
“I would fetch your luggage for you, but—”
“Oh, there isn't any.” She silently cursed herself as soon as the words were spoken. Damn, he knew she was a loose thread, and that nobody knew she was here. If the bastard killed her as she slept, she'd have nobody to blame but herself. Nervously fingering the satin, she noted the spaghetti-nothing straps and how short it was. About one size too small. It would be tight, but dry. “It's beautiful. And like everything else here, very expensive. A set?”
He slipped his huge hands into his pockets, and she shivered again, sure those baggy trousers held a wealth of jewels. “Excuse me?”
“Was it a set? A matching set, with panties? It's so short, I figured…”
“Yes. There are panties.”
Her tired eyes scanned the bed, took in the floor around them. “Did you forget the bottoms?”
“No.” There was no smile, no humor, no trace of discomfort in his tone. His eyes glittered like pale sapphires against his ruddy complexion. “No. I didn't forget them.”
Her breath faded to nothing behind her parted lips.
He knew she wanted him. And he obviously wanted her just as much. A flush of embarrassed desire spread from her breasts to her neck and face. Now it wasn't a question of how they felt—but how they intended to proceed. Had he selected this particular gown with care? Would he take active advantage of the absence of the panties? Or did he intend to lie in his bed alone, thinking about it, wanting it, dreaming about it?
And how was she
supposed to sleep, thinking about him thinking about her?!Copyright © Raine Weaver, June 2005
All Rights ReservedAn Excerpt from Jeigh Lynn's “All Hallow 's Moon” in HowlDamn!
Alex had stolen his parking spot while he and Marisa had been at the ice cream parlor. He pulled into his dad's spot with a chuckle.
Marisa giggled next to him. “Um! You're in Daddy's spot. He's gonna gripe about that, you know.”
“Yup, I know.”
“You are so bad, Dash!”
He nodded. “Yup, I know that, too.” Turning the car off, he opened the door and got out, then walked around to her side of the car and opened the door for her.
Marisa grinned and handed him her ice cream cone. She undid her seatbelt and slid out. “Shame on you.”
He returned her mischievous grin. “I know, but what can ya do?”
She shrugged. Then with one last smile, she grabbed her ice cream and took off for the house. At the front door, she turned. “Thanks for the ice cream, Dash.” Jerking the door open, she ran inside and almost plowed right into Alex, who was on his way out.
“Watch it, squirt!” Alex shook his head and smiled at Dash. “Hey, bro! How was the drive up?”
Alex laughed. “Yeah, I bet. That's why I decided to go to school here.”
“Yeah, well, if there had been a vet school here, I would have stayed, too.” As Alex drew near, an intriguing scent wafted across his nose. Dash leaned toward his brother as he stepped closer. Alex obviously intended to give him a hug, but Dash stopped him by leaning forward and putting his nose to Alex's shirt. His cock stirred. What the hell?
“What is that smell?”
Alex stepped back, his eyebrows raised. “What smell? What are you doing? Get your nose off me.”
Dash couldn't help it; he leaned further in, inhaling deeply, taking the wonderful aroma into his lungs. Again his cock paid attention. Damn! He was getting hard from sniffing his brother's shirt. What the hell had Alex been doing while wearing that thing? “Man, what did you do? You smell freakin' wonderful.”
Alex backed up further, holding his hand out. “Back off. You're freaking me out. I come to welcome you home, and you sniff me.” He dipped his head down and took in a breath near his shoulder, then shrugged. “I don't smell anything unusual. What the fuck?”
“Dude! You smell different. What is it?” He took another step toward Alex.
Alex frowned and retreated. “I don't know. I didn't do anything that I don't normally do. I went to classes. I met Jill for a late lunch. Is it pizza? Do you smell pizza?” Alex bent his head and sniffed himself again.
No, it wasn't pizza. Dash shook his head.
“I went to my last class; then afterward I walked Jill to her car. I made sure she was coming to the party tonight. Gave her directions to the cabin and hugged her bye. Then I got in my car and came home. That's it, so stop with the sniffing, wolf boy!”
“Wolf boy?” Dash grinned. “I'm no boy, but I guess the wolf part fits. Who's Jill?” He moved closer to Alex.
“Come on, you know Jill. She's probably my best friend…well, my best friend that isn't related, anyway. We double date occasionally. You've heard me talk about her.” Alex stepped back again. “Would you stop stalking me, damn it?”
Dash hadn't realized that that was what he was doing until Alex mentioned it. He stopped walking. “Jill? Your buddy Jill? The one whose apartment you crash at before finals? The one you don't want to do?
Alex nodded. “Yes, that Jill.”
“Okay, I've never understood how you can have female friends you don't want to bang, but I've dismissed that as a defect in your personality. Still, how in the hell could you not want to do her, if she smells that good?”
Alex threw his hands up and groaned. Turning away, he stepped up on the porch and opened the front door.
Dash followed him. He couldn't resist the temptation. He leaned forward and put his nose to the shirt again, inhaling deeply.
Alex groaned and stepped out of reach. “Stop it!” he hissed.
“I can't help it! Tell me about Jill.”
They walked into the kitchen, where their mom was taking a batch of cookies out of the oven. She looked up and smiled. “Hi, babies!”
“Hi, Mom,” they answered in unison.
Dash reached over and snagged a cookie off the cookie sheet. “Oh, oh, ah, hot!” He tossed the cookie back and forth from hand to hand, then looked up at Alex. “Well? Tell me about Jill.” He had a hard-on from her scent alone; the least Alex could do was give him a mental picture of her.
Their mom looked up and frowned. “Stay out of the cookies, Dash. Alex's friend? Why do you want to know about Jill? She's a sweetheart. And smart, too.”
“Because Alex smells like her.”
She scrunched up her face. “What?”
Alex sighed. “He keeps sniffing my shirt. He says I smell different, and the only thing I can come up with is that Jill hugged me before I left this afternoon.”
Dash walked over to the table where Alex had taken a seat, unable to fight the allure of that scent. He sat down next to Alex and took a deep breath. His gums began to sting. Shit!
His teeth were lengthening, just like his cock had. He stuffed the cookie in his mouth, hoping no one would notice. He had to meet this Jill. “Did you say she was coming to the party?” he asked with a mouth full of cookie.
“Yeah, why?” Alex turned to look at him. “Holy shit! Your eyes changed.”
Dash blinked. Well, son of a gun, so they had—everything was monochrome. “What's she look like?” Drawn to her essence, he leaned over and rubbed his face on Alex's shoulder.
Alex shot out of the chair. “That's it! You are totally weirding me out!” He pulled his shirt over his head and threw it at Dash.
Dash caught it and pulled it to his face, taking a big whiff. He looked up as Alex stormed out of the room. Claire was standing there with a puzzled look on her face, studying him. “What's she like, Mom?”
She grinned, turned back, and grabbed a cookie off the plate. Taking a seat across the table, she slid the cookie to him. “She tall, about five-nine, I'd say. Slender, with long, light brown hair that goes to the top of her butt. She's pretty, but in an understated way. She isn't one to fuss with a bunch of makeup, but then, she doesn't need it. The few times we've met her, she's been very polite and soft-spoken. Jill seems very bright, and she appears to have a good head on her shoulders. Your father and I like her very much.”
At six-three, Dash was tall, too, so the first thought that popped into his head was that he wouldn't have to stoop over to kiss her. The image of a tall, willowy brunette with natural beauty crept into his mind. His stomach tightened and his cock jumped. He loved long hair on a woman—loved the way it felt against his skin. Damn! If he didn't quit, he'd embarrass himself in front of his mother! His overactive imagination and Jill's fragrance were going to do him in.
He stood up, dropping Alex's shirt to hang in front of him to conceal his now straining erection. “Thanks, Mom.” He started to walk out of the kitchen, then remembered the cookie. He snatched it off the table. “Thanks for the cookie, too.”
“Dash, wait. Do you think she could be—”
“I'm going to take a nap. See you in a few hours, Mom!” With that, he bounded out of the kitchen and up the stairs to his room, cramming the cookie in his mouth as he went. Eating with lengthened canines in human form was no easy feat, but he was never one to turn down sweets…especially during a crisis.
He stepped into his room, closing and locking the door behind him. Crossing to the bathroom door that joined his room to his brother's, he locked that door, too. He was in no mood to answer questions regarding his behavior. Heck, he
couldn't figure out what was going on, much less explain it.
He adjusted his engorged cock and sat down on the edge of the bed. He should have gotten another cookie; to his way of thinking, this certainly qualified as an emergency. Why did her scent affect him
this way? Alex seemed to be oblivious to her sweet aroma.
Flopping backward onto the bed, he closed his eyes and dropped the shirt over his face. Inhaling Jill's lingering scent, he tried to decipher what made it different from other women. Why was it special? If it had this big an effect on him now, how would he react when he met her in person? His stomach clenched at the thought of seeing her face to face, and an ache began in his balls. He reached down and unfastened his pants, trying to relieve the pressure.
What would Jill be like? Would she be as attracted to him as he already was to her? He freed his cock from his pants. Ah, yeah! Much better.
Did she have long legs? Mom had said she was tall. There was nothing like having long, sexy legs wrapped around you when you fucked. Dash groaned as the ache in his balls intensified. This line of thinking wasn't helping the situation any. He was no closer to figuring out what was going on, and he was well on the way to a case of blue balls.
Good Lord, how long had it been since he'd last had sex? Two weeks? Three? Too damned long! And it had been with Cindy, who had long hair and had loved it when he'd wrapped it in his fist and pulled it while he was taking her from behind. Would Jill like her hair tugged? Copyright © Jeigh Lynn, October 2005
All Rights Reserved