Authors: Tamara Rose Blodgett,Marata Eros
LYCAN ALPHA CLAIM
A Brief-Bites Novelette
New York Times
TAMARA ROSE BLODGETT
All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2015 Marata Eros
Copyright © 2015 Tamara Rose Blodgett
No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Cover art by:
Who can Talyn trust? Certainly not those she thought.
As the evidence mounts that something is seriously wrong, Talyn gains strength from the sameness of her life. Only to have it shattered when a seemingly innocent come-on turns out to be the beginning of the end of the life she knows.
When the local police disregard the facts, Talyn receives unconventional assistance in the form of Enforcer Narah Adrienne.
Until she finds that there is no assisting what plagues her, and that she's more sought after than she could have ever imagined....
A Terrible Love
New York Times
I open my eyes in the middle of world war three.
Two huge men crash through my already broken french doors, and immediately separate, staking their claim to the perimeter of my living room on opposing sides.
I try to sit up and heat sears through me. I groan.
“Stay down,” Enforcer Adrienne commands in a low voice of authority. A hand flashes above me like a flesh lightning strike and she flies backward, her foot connecting with a strong jaw on the way down.
But he's got more than blue eyes happening now—he's not all human.
Sharp teeth are barely contained in his mouth, a snub snout has wide nostrils that flare with his obvious emotion. He's seven feet tall of solid muscle. Forget six packs—he's got a keyboard of muscle on his stomach.
And he just attacked Enforcer Adrienne.
She gives back as good as she gets, his face rocking from the impact of her well-placed kick.
He stumbles backward.
The two men who came in through my back door open their mouths and hiss.
Oh my God
it's supernatural week
. Hysteria begins to have its way with me.
I roll over, crawling through the bodies and try to reach the kitchen.
My gaze frantically rolls around the space as grappling begins behind me. Where the hell is Pooky—where is Arden?
“Tal!” I hear a geeky squeak from my left. I fling my hand out without thinking. Our hands touch. I hang on for dear life as Arden drags me to him. I look up in surprise, realizing Arden's stronger than he looks.
A lamp crashes and an electrical surge sparks from my archaic electrical connection.
Adrienne leaps to her feet, moving her jaw back and forth and comes to crouch in front of me and Arden protectively.
She and Blue Eyes square off. The two males look ready to pounce.
“Stand down, Lycan.”
The huge creature backs toward the door as the two vampires charge forward.
“No!” Adrienne says and they hesitate. “He's in Changing mode, guys. He's all hot to transition Dr. Phisher.”
The two huge men look like they'd like to transition
I note Adrienne calls me by my official title.
“Aeslin—Matthews, it's okay,” she says, clearly trying to talk them down.
The one with the bald head growls, “The hell it is, this mutt just struck our female.”
Adrienne nods as if she wasn't the one who was just hit. “I get it. But
is part of the job. You guys can't just burst in here every time some supe gets a bee buzzing around in their bonnet about bringing it.”
The other male, still giving Blue Eyes the stink eye, straightens slightly. “Nor can we stand back and watch another male beat on our female.”
Blue Eyes stands in the periphery, chest heaving, eyes darting surreptitiously between the trio.
Narah slaps her hands on her hips and gives a harsh exhale. “Males,” she mutters. She swivels her head, whipping all those small braids over her shoulders.
She turns her attention to Blue Eyes. “Name,” Adrienne barks.
“Merck,” he says with a voice that hovers between human and
To my ears his voice sounds like gravel falling.
“Okay,” she spreads her hands. “Don't make me kick your Lycan ass.” The two males by her side protest. “Shh, Aeslin,” she turns to look at the slightly taller vampire of the two. His dark hair is in sharp contrast to the other guy—Matthewsʼ—nearly bald head. Her hand reaches up and cups his jaw. His face softens at her touch. If a face that hard can be called
His own hand covers hers but he never takes his eyes off Merck.
I'm hoping I can just become invisible.
“Stay out of this, vampire,” Merck says.
I can't take my eyes off the strange half-form of Merck. He looks like a huge human man, with a superimposed image of a wolf over everything. Short talons grace his fingertips in molted colors of beige, ivory and tan. A light coating of reddish-brown hair runs over his exposed skin.
And there's a lot of skin flashing.
Lust strikes me like fiery pain and I can't stifle the groan.
Merck's gaze finds me in the corner, huddling against Arden.
Fear scorches me. It mixes with my lust in an intoxicating rush of
I want him
His eyes remain the same. I'd know them anywhere. He's the one that protected me from Jamie Duncan.
He's also the one who was staring at me through my office window.
Adrienne steps between us, blocking my view of this luscious wolf-man. Werewolf.
“I can't have you taking out a client, wolf.”
I can see the corners of his elbows around her body as he folds his arms in a very human-like gesture. “I have no intention of harming Talyn Phisher. You, of all people, should understand my intent.” He sounds like he has a speech impediment, of the growling variety.
Adrienne's men stay close but don't try for Merck again.
“The humans are just getting used to us being in the picture, we don't need the complication of introducing the entire supernatural underworld in all its stunning variety to them.”
“I don't give a damn about political correctness or the humansʼ sensibilities. I have a change, and by moon, I'm
to transition her.”
I frown, bristling.
“Adrienne said you need to sex her,” Arden says unhelpfully, and I elbow him.
—Tal, he's not going to beat on us.”
“And you're sure because this is
?” I swing my palm at the four dangerous supernaturals, a busted up house filled with estrogen, testosterone and everyone on edge. Odds are high for more violence. “I'd like to say something.”
All eyes turn to me, reflecting in the gloom of my place. The undercabinet lighting seeping from the kitchen is just enough to make out their shapes as the sun sinks for the day.
I push myself up on my butt, and lean against the underside of my kitchen peninsula, shoving a bar stool out of the way. The hard wood behind my back feels good. Solid. “Enforcer Adrienne just told me I'm,” I feel utterly ridiculous articulating the whole thing but what the hell, I have three vampires and a were-something in my house—it can't get much stranger, “a hybrid-Lycan woman.” I suck in a cleansing inhale. “I haven't asked to
one. I have a normal life and was happily living it.”
Adrienne's lips twitch.
I narrow my eyes on her. This
is a lot of things but funny it's not. “What?”
“It's just the same song and dance I gave the guys.” She jerks her thumb behind her at the huge vampires.
I ignore that. “We are different women with divergent life circumstances.”
It's Adrienne's turn to shoot me a glare. “Not
different. I bet you look at this as a robbery of your independence.”
“Of course,” I bite back.
still working.” She lifts an eyebrow.
I snort. “Look at you.”
Merck steps forward, and the vampires turn to him, hissing—talons tearing out of their fingertips.
I might make a tiny mewling sound.
The image triples in my vision and I start sucking deep breaths again. Heat climbs from my feet and I smack the surface behind me before I pass out.
He holds up his long-fingered hands, talons clicking with the movement. “Hang on.”
I choke back bile.
“Nice right hook, Lycan,” Adrienne says without rancor.
He nods as though she's an opponent on a Judo mat, his eyes steady on her face, while his body holds the tension of a possible fight. “Excellent reaction time, Enforcer.”
They stare at each other after their mutual admiration moment.
She steps back.
Her retreat leaves Merck wide open to our mutual perusal. Cold sweat beads on my forehead and I mark each breath. In. Out. In. Out.
The silence stretches between us seemingly without end as we check each other out.
Finally, his nostrils give a hard flare and he stretches out his hand in my direction. “You're degrading. My job is to transition you, female.”
My face jerks back like I've been hit, the warmth of my lust cools. The panic.
Merck just absolutely dismissed what I've just explained.
I've been clear about me owning
My jaw slackens, and I shake my head. “Right. But this is
how I see things happening.” I squeeze closer to Arden, and God love him—he wraps his arms around me.
The gesture is not lost on Merck, whose blue eyes become slits of sapphire flames in his face.
Arden's presence clears my head and I stare defiantly back at Merck.
His nostrils flare and his head cocks to the left. It's the strangest sight I've ever seen. A human emotion etched on a face that is half-animal.
Merck's eyes fall on Arden and narrow with suspicion.
“Reveal yourself,” his voice grates, his mouth and nose taking shallow puffs of air to try to gather scent.
Adrienne and the two vampires turn to study Arden.
“What?” I ask, indignant. “This is
. My friend from forever. He has nothing to do with this.” I don't want any attention on the only friend who's truly got my back. Who has been there for me since before I was an adult.
I know—trust. And I'll protect him.
Arden didn't ask to be in the middle of some supernatural war.
Suddenly I'm hauled up on my feet. Strong arms gently grip me from behind.
No one is looking at me. They're looking behind me
I hear flesh moving like wet sand sliding into the waves come to shore, bones relenting to shifting—tendons binding a new form together like rubberbands snapping.
I begin to tremble. But I manage to rotate to face Arden, not the smartest thing, giving Merck the Lycan my back.
It's not Arden who stands inches from me, but someone who looks like an echo of Arden.
My vision swims and I realize I'm getting close to passing out for a second time. I bite the inside of my cheek, the pain allows me to gradually come to myself.
Arden's six and a half-feet tall now. Gone is the geeky body with the mild-mannered persona. Eyes that don't look remotely like an owl's gaze steadily back at me.
This new man is hard. Every bit of him.
“Arden?” I croak.
He smiles suddenly and he's Arden in that brief sliver of time. When it fades, so does the resemblance. “Yeah—it's me.”
“Where?” I ask, my eyes roving his form.
He sighs, a finger stroking my face. His hand drops and he glances over my shoulder. “You've ruined it, Lycan.”
I look between the two of them, adrenaline spiking through my system. “Ruined what? Arden—you're scaring me.”
“You should be,” Merck says. “Because he's not who you thought he was.”
I whip my face to Arden. “Is he—is that Lycan,” I say with reluctance, “is he right? Are you something other than my best friend and biology geek?”
He shoots a glare at Merck.
“Yes,” he answers in a terse word. Honest. Raw.
This can't be my life.
“What are you?” I ask in a whisper, and the othersʼ silence is deafening.
“Fuck me,” Merck says, folding his arms. His penetrating stare incinerates Arden.
“Makes sense,” one of the vampires says with a sage nod, and Adrienne groans a soft curse.
“Tell me what that is right
,” I say, palms on his now-muscular chest, ready to push off.
Adrienne doesn't look happy. “It's a shapeshifter who can scent-mask. He can live among anything—anyone, without them ever being aware of what he is.”
I back away a little, cupping my elbows.
Arden's face morphs to pained. “No—Talyn. Don't.”
“What. Are. You?” I shriek, backing away from them all. My eyes ping-pong around. No place is safe. My home is no longer a sanctuary. Arden isn't him, and I've got a half-werewolf in my house who's talking about
My teeth begin to throb and a wave of heat presses in from all sides, igniting a fire at my core.