Moon Mates (Shameless Shifters) (2 page)

BOOK: Moon Mates (Shameless Shifters)
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Rommie
showed her which cabin was hers and insisted on helping carry her luggage. He
handled the suitcases with an easy strength that made Jaylee weak in the knees.

The
cabin was a single room with a pot-bellied woodstove on a brick hearth and a
bed with a frame made from rough-hewn logs. It was covered with a homey quilt.
Jaylee was supposed to be here for two weeks and, as Rommie set her suitcases
on the bed, was already calculating how many of those fourteen nights she'd
have to stay here alone.

By
the way he was looking at her, not very damn many. And, looking at him, it was
all she could do not to wrap her legs around him and just climb him like a
tree.

"Ice
house is behind the main lodge," he said. "Blocks of ice in sawdust.
Outhouse is around the back of the cabin."

"Outhouse?"
she echoed with some dismay. "Any chance of a shower?"

His
green eyes seemed to glow with amusement, and strong white teeth showed in a
grin. "There's the creek."

"Oh.
Great."

The
prospect of two weeks without hot water didn't exactly leave her giddy with
delight, but there were other compensations. After all, Rommie had to bathe,
too… and if she could sneak a single shot of him, naked and wet, with her
telephoto lens, it'd make the whole trip worthwhile. Not that she could really
sell such a picture to
National Geographic
.

"You
want to get settled in, or do you want the tour?"

"I
can unpack later."

He
showed her around, and she could have listened all day to his husky growl of a
voice. The wildlife preserve, he told her, wasn't fenced. There were signs
posted to warn off intruders and hunters, but it was essentially just a
sprawling tract of undeveloped woods and wilderness where indigenous animals
were allowed to roam free, though tagged with tracking devices. The land had
been in his family for generations. It wasn't usually open to tour groups or
school field trips or anything of the sort. Occasionally, they'd welcome in a
few independent researchers... or photographers, like herself.

"Will
I be safe out there?" she asked.

"The
animals aren't tame," he said. "And I was told you were interested in
snapshots of predators. Cougar, maybe, or wolf."

She
didn't care for the word
snapshots
, but let it go. "That's right.
Are there many?"

"A
few," he said. "But for the most part, they'll be interested in their
natural prey, not a person. It's the bugs you'll want to watch out for."

Jaylee
nodded. She had bug spray, but was resigned to a few mosquito bites all the
same.

They
came to Black River itself, and she grabbed for her camera. The river got its
name not from the color of the water, but from the way it reflected the
towering black cliffs on either side. The sun dazzle made it look like a spill
of diamonds on black velvet.

"You
should see it in the moonlight," Rommie said. "Moon's full tomorrow
night."

* * * *

Jaylee
spent the next day out in the woods, shooting roll after roll of film and arguing
with herself.

One
side of her was disappointed. Rommie hadn't made a move on her the previous
evening. He hadn't even invited her to share dinner with him. She was also
disappointed in herself for not making a move of her own.

The
other side of her felt guilty, felt slutty, for being so ready to leap into bed
with a man she'd only just met. Never mind that he was everything she'd been
describing to Marion only a few days before.

But,
damn, did she want him! She'd gotten into bed nude–solely because it was more
comfortable, she told herself. Not because she expected her door to open at any
moment and there he'd be, large and powerful and ready to crush her into the
mattress with a fuck of truly epic proportions.

And,
nude, she had rolled this way and that, unable to sleep. A low-grade fever of
unfulfilled arousal wouldn't let her drift off. She'd finally had to masturbate
just to relieve the tension. And even then, even after bringing herself to a
most satisfying orgasm, she had erotic dreams.

Rommie,
of course, was the star. In the one that she remembered the most clearly upon
waking, she had been out in the meadow by the stream, crouched down to cup the
cold water into her hand and drink. Some sound made her turn, and he was there,
naked and hairy and monstrously erect.

She
had fled–it was a dream; it didn't have to make sense–and he'd given chase,
through the high grass, warmed and fragrant from the sun. Her stride had
lengthened into leaps, until she suddenly became aware that she was no longer
Jaylee Dawson, but a deer, a fleet doe bounding toward the safety of the wood.
And Rommie, hot on her heels, was now a slavering wolf, black-pelted with feral
green eyes.

When
he sprang upon her, bringing her down, all at once they had been human again.
His mouth had been all over her throat and breasts, not biting but covering her
with hard, fierce kisses. In the course of their squirming struggle, her legs
had gone around his waist, and when he rolled onto his back, Jaylee rolled with
him and impaled herself eagerly on his cock.

Her
travel alarm had gone off before her dream-self had, much to her annoyance.
She'd wakened to find her hand between her legs. Her other hand made frantic
slaps at the clock until she hit the snooze. Then, she kicked off the covers
and brought herself to climax, as pale morning light streamed through the
window.

An
hour later, having breakfasted on an orange and a power bar, she was on her
way. Dressed in khaki shorts, a forest-green shirt tied Daisy-Mae style below
her breasts, and her hiking boots, she had her long hair in a ponytail and her
eyes shaded by the brim of an Australian leather hat. The bug spray was the
scent-free kind, to avoid alerting the animals to her presence. She had a water
bottle, a compass, a sandwich and some trail mix in a small backpack, and her
camera bag over her shoulder.

The
woods around Black River teemed with life. She caught blue jays and cardinals,
bright flashes of blue and red against the trees. A squirrel, fat and sassy,
scolding her from a stump. A doe–reminding her of her dream–stepping daintily
through the underbrush. Later, a proud stag with a harem of three does, the
lucky buck.

No
predators, though. Not so much as a fox, let alone a bobcat or lynx or mountain
lion.

She
was no Davey Crockett and wouldn't have known how to read animal tracks if her
life had depended on it. Still, it was only the first day and she had gotten
many pictures that she hoped would be good.

The
shade of the woods had protected her from much of the heat of the day, but she
was sweaty and ready for a swim. She came to the banks of Black River and saw a
large flat rock poking from the water a few yards out.

The
water looked too inviting to resist, so Jaylee hung her camera bag and backpack
over a limb, cast a quick look around, and undressed. If Rommie was watching
from the shadows, she wanted to tantalize him a little. She took her time
removing her bra, and massaged the red lines its straps and underwires left on
her flesh. Then, after another glance, she slid down her panties and stood
naked on the riverbank.

The
sun caressed her skin, but when she put a foot into the water, it was cold
enough to make her break out in goosebumps and tighten her nipples into hard
little buds. She waded deeper in gradual increments, getting used to the
temperature as the water level climbed higher.

When
it was up to her waist, she slid forward and swam in long strokes against the
tug of the current until she was well upstream of the rock. Then she floated on
her back and let herself drift downstream. A bird soared over her, and she
wondered what she must look like from above. A pale star-shape of a woman
against the black water, breasts rising like soft islands, a dark thatch at the
juncture of the thighs.

She
had joked with Marion about pubic grooming, and what she liked in a man wasn't
quite what she liked in herself. Hers was trimmed into a tidy triangle, and she
liked to think that the silky texture of it was like mink.

Refreshed,
rejuvenated, and horny all over again, she crawled onto the rock and spread
herself out to bask on the sun-heated stone.

The
sun dipped behind one of the ridges, casting a long shadow over Black River. The western sky had gone rosy-gold, though the rest was still blue and there
was more than enough light to see by. Jaylee slipped back into the water and
swam to shore. She used her shirt for a towel, thinking that she could stroll
back to the cabin in her bra and the only one who might see her would be
Rommie.

Maybe
he'd come back down with her once night fell and show her the moonlight on the
water. She would stay, but she hadn't thought to bring a flashlight and didn't
know about finding her way, full moon or no full moon.

She
donned her panties and shorts then socks and hiking boots and, lastly. the bra.
The damp shirt went into her backpack and she started back through the woods.
The deepening twilight shadows, while the sky was still bright above, lent the
forest a quality that fell somewhere between mystical and eerie.

The
growl brought her up short. It came from a stand of bushes and, as she turned
her head in that direction, she saw the glint of animal eyes.

Jaylee
didn't move except to edge her hand to her camera bag. She could just make out
a hulking shadow concealed by the leafy boughs. It was breathing in low rasps.
The eyes, as lambent green as those snap-and-shake glow sticks kids used at
Halloween, never wavered as she slowly raised the camera and sighted through
it.

The
animal emerged, shouldering through the bushes, huge paws silent on the earth.
It was a wolf. But when Jaylee thought
wolf
, she thought brindle-grey
and about the size of a Siberian Husky. This wolf was jet-black and stood
nearly as tall as a pony. It released a menacing snarl.

Her
heart stuttered. She lowered the camera, hoping that the sheer size of the
beast had been some trick of the viewfinder, some zoom of the lens. To her
dismay, she saw that if anything, the wolf looked bigger when seen with her own
eyes.

Rommie
hadn't warned her about anything like
this
.

But
Rommie had said that the predators here were more interested in their natural
prey. Keeping that in mind, Jaylee tried to bolster her courage. Rommie
wouldn't have let her go out alone if he thought that she'd be in any real
danger.

She
took a sideways step, toward the trail that led back to the cabins.

The
wolf moved faster than she could believe. A single bound, and its long, shaggy
body sailed past her. Paws skidded, kicking up loose dirt. The wolf slued
around, twisting to face her. Blocking the trail.

Jaylee's
pulse raced. She took air in quick little sips.

Another
growl. Low. Menacing. The jaws opening enough to let her glimpse sharp white
teeth.

She
retreated a pace, readying her camera bag. The expensive equipment was the last
thing in her mind. What she cared about was heft and swing. If she could hit
the wolf in the head, she might stun it long enough to escape …

It
advanced on her, green eyes wary. She grasped the camera bag by its strap and
stood her ground. She could feel the humid gust of its hot breath on her legs.

As
she swung with all her might, the wolf attacked. It charged her, ducking as if
it had anticipated her move. Its jaws gaped. Saliva flew from its mouth,
splattering her arms. Its teeth closed on the strap and with a single wrenching
jerk of its neck, it tore the bag from her hands and hurled it away into the
shadows.

Jaylee
cried out and turned to run. If she could reach the river, she might be able to
outswim the wolf... and there would be stones to throw.

She
got three strides before the heavy, furry body collided with the backs of her
legs and knocked her down. The heels of her hands plowed through dirt and dead
leaves. She skinned both knees and the air burst from her lungs, leaving her
winded.

Rolling
onto her back, she crossed her arms in front of her head to protect her face
and neck from the terrible teeth and to jab her thumbs into the uncanny green
eyes, if she got the opportunity.

But
the wolf did not fall on her in a fury, rending and biting. It edged closer,
sniffing at her legs. Sniffed the blood on her abraded knees.

Jaylee
kicked. The wolf avoided the blow and, with a savage snarl, nipped her. Not
hard, not breaking the skin, but pinching enough to hurt. She froze, waiting
for the agony of its jaws ripping away the meat of her calf.

The
agony didn't come. Instead, the wolf licked the blood and dirt from her knee
with wet swipes of its tongue. Jaylee didn't dare move. She wasn't sure if she
could. The wolf stood between her legs, so that she was unable to bring them
together.

The
wolf shifted to her other knee. Its tongue was supple, smooth, not rough like
that of a cat. It left moist trails that cooled as they dried in the evening
breeze. Jaylee shivered. The sensation was a mix of pain and pleasure, a
stinging relief, reminding her of the way her mother used to tend to her wounds
when she'd taken a fall while roller skating.

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