ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: Sharing of this story is suggested, encouraged and applauded, but the author’s name IS NOT to be removed from it for any reason whatsoever. Please do not offer it for sale; it is a free read story for CJ England’s fans and designed only for those who are 18 and OLDER.
All characters in this story have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention.
“Now, he’s more like an Ethereal than he is a human. It’s frustrating to him because he doesn’t know what to do. Going through walls and talking to shades might seem like a party trick, but it’s hard being different.”
All the women nodded. Being different was something they were all very familiar with.
“What I want to know is who the really attractive guy is standing next to Aidan,” Amy whispered. “The one with the long silver hair. He looks like a movie star or something.”
Dawn chuckled. “Close. That’s Orlan. He’s an author. He writes all those scary books that you don’t want to read just before you go to bed.”
Lara narrowed her eyes. “I’ve heard of him. Didn’t he write The Blood Tells? That book kept me awake for a week.”
“He’ll be glad to hear it.”
“Is he a supernatural?” Amy asked. “It would make sense if he writes about them.”
Aithne waved at someone across the room then nodded. “He is a vampire. Very old and very powerful. He and Aidan have known each other for over a century now. I think you’ll be hearing more about Orlan, too, in the future.”
“Who is that you’re waving to?” Lara asked. “Wow. Yet one more gorgeous guy.”
“Another of the brethren. That’s what vampires call themselves,” Aithne explained. “His name is Sebastian. He is also very old. Much older than Aidan.”
“And the woman with him?” Amy gazed curiously at the tall dark man with the deep brown eyes and neatly trimmed goatee. He had an air of sadness and mystery about him. As did the small, black-haired woman he held protectively. They were both speaking to a second couple, another equally attractive man with long white hair and his partner, a tiny woman with fierce black eyes and long, curling ebony locks.
“That is his mate, Teran. They aren’t as sociable as Aidan and Orlan are. They used to live away from people in a European forest somewhere—that’s where they met. Sebastian rescued Teran from some rapists and then fell in love with her. She was the one woman who could sustain him, but when Sebastian killed a man protecting Teran, they were driven away from their home.” Aithne shook her head and sighed. “But as long as they are together, they don’t seem to care where they live.”
“They stop by for a visit whenever they are near California,” Dawn added. “Teran had never seen the ocean until she came to Monterey. She was very sheltered before meeting Sebastian.”
“Who are they talking to?” Lara asked. “Those two came in after Justin and I started making our rounds.”
“Another shapeshifter and his mate,” Aithne answered. “From the Canadian northwest. He’s Kolt Masatche. Leader of the Silverwolf Clan. She’s Amarie Bandeau. Now theirs is an interesting story.”
“Oh, I like interesting stories.” A new voice was heard behind them. “Don’t start without me.”
They all turned to see two couples who had just come into the salon. “Here we go again,” Amy muttered under her breath. “Two more gorgeous specimens. Does CJ write anything else but hunky heroes?”
“This is a great place,” enthused Sierra Rawlings as she gazed around the brightly lit room. “You must have worked overtime to get it ready for the party. And I haven’t seen this much food since the last Lake Tahoe Summer Rodeo Hoedown. When do we eat?”
“Sierra!” The other woman shook her head chidingly. “At least wait until we’ve all been introduced.”
“No need.” Lara looked properly impressed. “You’re Gabrielle Rousseau. I have your documentary on Sensual Massage. Justin…well…both of us love it.”
“Glad to hear it,” Gabrielle’s lover, Clint Braddock, shook Lara’s hand. “For awhile there we weren’t sure it was going to be made.”
“Now, that’s not true.” Gabrielle’s eyes flashed mischievously. “I always knew I’d get it done. It was just you who were unsure.”
The tall man in the cowboy hat next to Sierra chuckled. “Well, hell. I’d be leery too of a woman who sent me a pizza with flies, cockroaches and a dead rat on it.”
In unison, both Gabrielle and Clint said, “They were out of dead rats.”
“You’re Dalton Grant, right?” Dawn gazed up at the man holding Sierra’s hand. “You have that big ranch in Tahoe, The Double Down.”
The tall cowboy nodded. “Yes ma’am. How do you know about it?”
Dawn blushed. “Before Aidan and I got together, I went to Lake Tahoe once for vacation. I did some quick sketches of prize winning animals there. So I could do their sculptures when I got home. I did one of your bull, Jack Pot.”
Dalton’s hazel eyes darkened. “I see.”
Reaching out to touch his arm, Dawn sighed. “I realized it was your ranch and the bull I’d sketched when I heard on the news about your brother being killed by Jack Pot. I’m so sorry.”
Sierra put her arms around Dalton as he struggled to speak. “It was a bad time. We still miss Keeley so much.”
“Almost cost me more than my brother,” Dalton managed to say. “Could have lost you over a bull, too.”
“I don’t understand.” Dawn’s gaze moved between the couple.
“After Keeley died, Dalton had problems with anyone he loved riding a bull. And since I’m a tiny bit stubborn—”
Dalton snorted. “A tiny bit?”
Sierra gave him a withering glare. “Ahem. Since I’m a lot stubborn, when he put on his overbearing-I’m-in-charge attitude and told me I couldn’t ride a bull in the rodeo, let’s just say I didn’t take it well.”
“So I tried to talk her into not riding the bull.”
“Talk her into it?” Gabrielle frowned. “I thought she told me you tied her up and left her in the feed room.”
At that statement all the women glared at him. Dalton’s neck turned red. “I was just doing what I thought best at the time. I was wrong.”
“Brother,” Clint commiserated. “You sure were. You’re lucky you didn’t get two pizzas with extra dead rats.”
“But we made up right there in the arena, I rode the bull, and—” Sierra slid a sexy look at Dalton from under her eyelashes, “—I been riding my cowboy ever since.”
Dalton turned even redder. “Jesus, Sierra.”
“You were saying that couple across the room had an interesting story?” Gabrielle mercifully rescued Dalton from further teasing. “What is it?”
“Before you start,” Clint protested, “just hearing about that dusty rodeo made me thirsty. I want a beer.”
“Why don’t you both go find Justin and Givré,” Lara suggested. “They’re having a drink and watching the game in the lounge.”
“And tell my snowman—” Amy nodded her head decisively, “—his thirty minutes are almost up.”
What’s gonna happen?” Dalton snickered. “He gonna melt away?”
“Ha, ha.” Sierra pushed him towards the bar. “You’re killing me here. Go have a beer with your new friends while we dish about all these handsome heroes CJ has written.”
“Hey, I’m a handsome hero,” Clint protested, but he let Gabrielle scoot him along as well.
“The handsomest,” she agreed. “Now go have a whiskey, watch the game and talk manly things.” Dusting her hands off, she watched the two men argue as they went through the bar door. “Now. About that story. Is it documentary worthy?”
Aithne giggled. “I don’t think this can be made into a movie even though it is an interesting tale.”
“So spill,” Sierra urged.
“What happened was a tragedy.” Aithne turned to look at the couple, one so dark, the other so fair. “Amarie was with her parents and brother camping in the forest. Her folks were some kind of anthropologists studying the local tribes.”
“Oh God,” murmured Amy. “I think I know where this is going.”
“It was horrible.” Aithne shuddered. “One night they were set upon by a rouge werewolf. Amarie got up into the trees and was safe, but her family was torn apart in front of her.”
“Lord. What did she do?” Sierra whispered.
“No one believed it when she told them about the werewolf, so Amarie took things into her own hands.” Aithne took a deep breath. “She became a beast huntress.”
“A werewolf hunter?” Dawn shook her head. “But not all weres are bad. Look at Jarrod.”
“True. And it was for that reason she and Kolt first met. He had to stop her from killing those who weren’t rouges. She’d already destroyed twelve werewolves when he finally was able to get through to her. And that was only because they’d fallen in love with each other. But like someone else I know—” Aithne glanced at Dawn and grinned, “—Kolt didn’t tell her who or what he was until too late. And then all hell really did break loose.”
“What happened?” Gabrielle asked. “It’s obvious they are together and in love, so how did he convince her?”
“He didn’t. She convinced herself. She realized there was more to the werewolf story than she’d known. And once she’d learned what the truth was, she knew they could work together for the good of all the weres in the area. No one wants a rouge around.”
The women all nodded. It didn’t matter if it was a vampire, a werewolf, a bull or a crazy porno producers, those who went rogue needed to be dealt with.
“Oh, will you both excuse us?” Lara said as she glanced at the roulette table. “I see someone I want to introduce Amy to.”
The two left the other four women comparing stories about the rogues in their lives. Lara pulled Amy through the throng. “I really want you to meet these two. You and your Givré sorta have something in common with them.”
Amy blinked. “We do? Is she a longsuffering sports widow as well?”
Lara giggled. “No. But let’s just say you aren’t the only one whose hero isn’t to be believed. In fact, I think this one is the most fantastical of them all.”
See you next week!
Follow Your Dreams