Moon Mates (Shameless Shifters)

BOOK: Moon Mates (Shameless Shifters)
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Moon Mates

by

Sable Drake

 

Copyright
© 2013 One Handed Reads, LLC & Sable Drake

 

All
digital rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright
Conventions.

 

Cover art
copyright © 2013 by Roxy Wood

 

This is a
work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents are either the
product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any
resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events, or
locales is entirely coincidental.

 

A
One Handed Reads
Publication

OneHandedReads.com

 

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"Wildlife
photography? You've got to be kidding me. Why on earth would you want to do
that? I can't believe you'd give up your career to take pictures of animals!
You’re a
fashion
photographer! You spend your days in a nice,
air-conditioned, well-lit studio taking pictures of hunks in their
underwear!"

"Are
you done yet?" asked Jaylee when her roommate stopped for breath.

Marion
, red in the face and breathing hard, shook her
head. "In their
underwear
!" she repeated. "Or on a beach
someplace, taking pictures of hunks in swimsuits! Teeny little thongs! Oiled
bodies! Bulging packages! And you get
paid
for it. Good money, too!
Millions of people would kill for a chance at a job like that. You can't really
be planning to throw it all away."

"Except
that I am. It's not all as great as you think."

"Oh,
come on!" Marion picked up a stack of magazines and catalogs from their
coffee table and waved them in Jaylee's face. The pages flapped, fanning her
with a breeze that smelled of cologne samples.

Images
fluttered past. Male models. Posing to display chiseled abs, sculpted chests,
rock-hard buttocks. Strong jaws. Brooding expressions. Smoky come-hither
bedroom eyes. Lots of skin on display. Bronze skin. Mocha skin. Dark chocolate
skin. All of it smooth, hairless, gleaming.

And,
yes… packages. Bulging packages.

"Look
at them," Marion said. "I know women who go out to clubs and fork
over a cover charge and a two-drink minimum for the privilege of stuffing
more
money down the pants of guys who don't look half this good. And you not only
get to take pictures, but you get
paid
to do it! And the perks…"

"What
perks?"

Marion
gave her a lewd grin. "Oh, come on… you can
tell me. Nearly-naked man, exotic location, hot babe like you…"

"You
make it sound like it's just me and the model. There's at least half a dozen
people around whenever I do a shoot. Lighting crews, make-up artists, wardrobe–"

"What
wardrobe?"

"And
I'm not such a hot babe."

"Oh,
sure, right." Marion rolled her eyes and addressed an unseen audience.
"She stands there telling me that, with those big eyes and all that dark
hair, those gorgeous tits, that ass… not to mention a mouth that belongs in the
dictionary illustration for
fellatio
. Lips to die for... and that little
beauty mark–"

"You're
starting to make me nervous. Besides, it's not like I'd get anywhere. Most of
them are gay, anyway."

This
derailed Marion only slightly. "So? You can still dream! That's what a
vibrator is for. How likely is it that I'm ever going to seduce Tom Cruise? Do
I let that stop me from using my imagination?"

Jaylee
laughed despite her exasperation. "But, see, Mare, here's the thing: Tom
Cruise turns you on."

"What
are you telling me?" Marion waved the magazines again. "And these
guys do nothing for you? They don't rev your engine? Maybe
I'm
the one
who should be getting nervous, then."

"It
isn't like that. These guys…" She took a catalog, one that somehow thought
it could sell men's clothes by showing men hardly wearing them. "They
don't do much for me. They're all alike. Pretty boys. Gym whores. They're not… they're
not real men."

Marion
leaned over her shoulder and put her fingertip
directly on a fire-engine red mesh pouch with prominent contents. "You
can't tell me that's not real."

"That
isn't what I mean. I keep telling you."

"And
I keep not understanding."

"I'm
tired of looking through my viewfinder at nothing but waxed, hairless Boy
Wonders who look like they've got a bag of golf balls down their shorts. What
ever happened to guys with chest hair? I love sinking my fingers into a thick
mat of chest hair."

"Ew,"
Marion said, nose wrinkling. "Next, you'll be telling me you like hairy
backs."

"I
might not go
that
far," Jaylee admitted. "But I can't see
myself with a guy who shaves his underarms and trims his pubic hair down to a
wisp!"

"Hey,
fair's fair. Women have been doing that for centuries. You've had bikini waxes;
I know you have."

"That's
different. Haven't you ever wanted a wild man, Mare?"

"Um…
no."

Jaylee
sighed. "The first guy I slept with, my senior year of high school, he was
a wild man. No matter what time of day it was, he had this scruff, this
five-o'clock shadow. And chest hair, and that line of hair going down the belly…
and this enormous stiff cock sticking up out of a dense curly bush of
pubes."

"I'm
with you on the enormous stiff cock part," Marion said. "But the rest…
I shudder to think what the shower drain must have looked like. Probably a wad
of hair big as a drowned mouse. Blech. Did he have a hairy ass, too?"

"Yeah,"
Jaylee said, her eyes nearly glazing over with nostalgia. "And muscular,
hairy legs, too… from the waist down, he was almost like one of those goat-guys
from Greek mythology. Satyrs."

Marion
's nose was wrinkled more than ever, so that her
entire face was scrunched up in a kind of dubious horror. "I never knew
you went for that. All these years, and I thought you were normal."

"It's
normal
! Quit eyeballing me like I just told you I was into guys who
wanted to be diapered or peed on... or something."

"What
about spanked?" Before Jaylee could answer, Marion held up her hands in a
time-out signal. "Forget it… I just had a vision of you paddling some
guy's hairy ass, and I really don't want to go there."

"Why
are we even talking about this?" Jaylee tossed the catalog aside. "I
was telling you about my new job."

"One
incomprehensible revelation leads to another. And now that I know what turns
you on, I'm kind of worried about you going out and taking pictures of
gorillas."

"Gee,
thanks. Because you know it just must be a short step from liking some chest
hair to bestiality."

"Isn't
it?" Marion grinned.

"So
sue me if I'm one of those women who has a deep-down primal urge to be ravished
by a big, powerful barbarian. Maybe I was captured by Vikings in a past
life."

"Or
cavemen. You want they should club you on the head and drag you around by the
hair? Or, hey, here's a thought… what about that guy down at the pizza place,
the one who wears the bear costume and plays the accordion? Or we could go to Disneyland, and I'll cover for you while you drag B'rer Fox into the briar patch."

"Enough
already!" Jaylee cried. "Give me a break, huh? How many times did you
make me go see
The Last Samurai
? Did I say a word?"

"Right.
Okay. So, tell me about the new job. I still can’t believe it, but tell me
anyway. I thought you hated outdoorsy stuff. Somehow, it's hard to see you
crouching in a duck blind, waiting for a moose to walk by."

* * * *

Ten
days later, Jaylee was on her way to do almost exactly that very thing. Not
moose, but deer… except that she was really hoping to get some good shots of
predators. That was where the money was.

Lynxes
sold better than rabbits. Hawks sold better than swans. Wolves sold better than
elk. Part of it was the challenge–predators, being quick and sly, were harder
to capture on film than their more placid prey. Part of it was the risk.

But
the main thing was the coolness factor. Even kindergartners knew it. Ask a
group of kids to name their favorite dinosaur, most of them would instantly say
T-Rex. Ask people going to the circus what they most hoped to see, and it'd be
the tigers. At the zoo, crowds gathered more around the big cats than the
zebras. Audiences were always more impressed when a magician disappeared a
panther, rather than a sheep.

Her
camera bag was in the passenger seat, strapped in with the seat belt. The last
thing she wanted was some sudden stop to tumble it into the footwell. Her cell
phone sat in its recharging holster, plugged in, and for once, quiet. No
panicked calls from magazine editors to drop everything and rush over to
re-shoot some guy's package. The back seat was taken up with her suitcases and
a cooler. Classic rock throbbed from the speakers.

She
had the windows down and the sunroof open to take full advantage of the clean
green smell of the forest as she followed the winding road. Every now and then,
the trees opened up on stunning meadows and majestic rock-lined river valleys.

Maybe
Marion was right to be worried. Her new job didn't pay as well, and was a lot
chancier. She couldn't do all of her shoots in zoos and other controlled
environments. Wild animals weren't going to pose for the camera. She could well
walk away from this assignment empty-handed. She could well get fired.

But
she had enough in savings to keep up on her half of the rent, groceries, and
bills for a long time. And once she'd gotten a few photo credits in
National
Geographic
and other leading nature magazines, she might be able to put
together calendars, prints, postcards…

A
small brown sign appeared ahead, informing Jaylee that the turnoff to Black River was coming up. She slowed, and even watching for it, almost overshot the narrow
gravel lane. There weren't any telephone poles or electrical lines, and she
threw a quick glance at the map and brochure resting on the center console.
Rustic cabins, she'd been told. Now she wondered just how rustic they meant.

She
found out fifteen miles later, when she crested a hill. Whoever had designed
the place must have been a Lincoln Log enthusiast as a kid. The largest building
was long and low, with smoke rising from chimneys at either end. A cluster of
tiny cabins surrounded it.

The
setting was pastoral, a lush green field dotted with wildflowers spreading out
to meet the trees. A spring-fed creek sparkled through the grass, and she
spotted six deer by the time she reached the gravel parking lot. The deer
turned bland, docile brown eyes toward the car and seemed unperturbed by its
presence.

When
she turned off the engine, cutting the blast-and-thump of the stereo, a
near-total silence descended. As her ears adjusted, Jaylee realized she could
hear the twitter of birds, the whisper of the breeze through the leaves, and
the chuckling sound of the creek.

She
got out and stretched, glad to be out of the car after so many hours of sitting.
She arched her back, arms behind her, breasts straining at the buttons of her
soft blue-and-white plaid flannel shirt. One top button wasn't up to the task
and sprang free, causing the shirt to gap open to the lace-trimmed top of her
bra.

That
was when she heard a throat clear, and whirled around. In the stillness of the
day, she was amazed she hadn't heard him approach. The man was only a few yards
away, and the initial sight of him looming there sent a pang of fear through
her. She was suddenly very much aware of being alone out here. No other cars in
the lot except a mud-caked SUV. No other signs of human life. Just her... and
him.

But
then, as she got a better look, Jaylee's fear gave way to interest.

He
was a big man, broad through the shoulders and chest, with arms like a
lumberjack's. His hair was so black that the sun struck indigo highlights from
it, and it was worn long, almost to his shoulders. A dusky bristle of
beard-shadow covered his cheeks, chin, and upper lip. He had darkly tanned skin,
and startling, vivid green eyes.

The
collar of his T-shirt–it was grey, with "Black River Wildlife
Preserve" printed on the front above a logo of a wavery black line meant
to indicate a river, and the silhouette of a howling wolf–was loose enough to
show a lusty crop of chest hair rising to the base of his neck. He also wore
navy-blue sweats, and his muscular thighs would have done credit to a marathon
runner.

She
noticed, as well, the distinctly loose sway at his groin, which suggested that
he wasn't wearing anything underneath. Here she was, former men's underwear
photographer extraordinaire, faced with a man who was clearly going commando.
She guessed, therefore, that he wouldn't be familiar with her work.

As
she studied him, feeling a pleasant warm tingle in her belly, she saw that he
was in turn studying her. His gaze roved with arrogant frankness from her
low-topped hiking boots, up her bare legs to the hem of her cutoff denim
shorts, lingered on the generous show of bra and cleavage afforded by the
sprung button, and finally reached her face.

There,
he seemed fascinated by her mouth, and Jaylee fought down an urge to slide her
tongue over the fullness of her lips.

"You're
the photographer," he said in a husky voice that sent shivers through her
and twanged her libido like guitar strings.

"Jaylee
Dawson," she said, hoping she could refrain from drooling. "I was
told to ask for Rommie."

"That's
me."

When
she'd first heard the name, she'd been expecting some sort of grizzled old
coot, a caricature of a shotgun-totin', moonshine-drinkin' grey-bearded
mountain man, with an aged bloodhound by his side. She couldn't have asked for
a better surprise.

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