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by Rhianne Aile
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Will Northland's brother, Tristan, went to America to break a centuries-old curse and found love in the most unexpected of places: within the heart of a werewolf. When Will goes to visit, he meets not only Tristan's mate, Benjamin, but their friend Raul, who receives a plea for help from his old werepack: his twin brother, Richard, has gone missing and is possibly under the influence of a witch. Raul leaves to find his brother, and Will goes with him, offering to use his magic to both locate Richard and protect them all from the threat of dark magic. But when they find him, a totally unexpected passion explodes between Richard and Will, stunning them both. Suddenly, discovering who betrayed Raul and Richard isn't the only challenge. It's now a struggle to solve the mystery so Will can claim Richard's heart just as the wolf has claimed Will as his mate. Don't miss "Cursed", the story of Will Northland's twin brother, Tristan, and his struggle to free Benjamin Sterling from a centuries-old curse.
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: March 2010
67 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [380 KB]
Reading time: 244-342 min.
While all the characters are strongly written, it is the main characters, Will and Richard, which will leave you turning the pages. 5 of 5 stars, by Critter Nymph @ Literary Nymphs Reviews
The werewolf shifted on the pallet of pillows and furs, the deep, soft nap of the furs stroking his bare skin. The room was warm; the image of an earlier fire danced along the edge of his consciousness. When he concentrated on remembering, everything faded into a fuzzy blur. He relaxed, and snatches of sensation began to get clearer.
Someone was lying next to him, the heart rate and slow, even breathing indicating the depth of sleep. He shifted closer, the tantalizing scent of his mate immediately rousing him. He concentrated on the man next to him. Even without being able to see, he knew with certainty that it was a man. He could feel the heat radiating off his body and could smell a combination of male musk and sex from their earlier lovemaking.
The body beside him shifted as his mate curled into him in search of comfort and warmth. The werewolf's arms closed around his lover, assuring him that he wasn't alone in the dark. A sure hand stroked through the hair on his chest, lingering over the tightening nubs of his nipples, knowing exactly where and how to touch to rouse him into a frenzy of desire. A low growl rumbled from his chest.
Throwing one leg over his mate's hip, the werewolf pressed his erect cock against the firm muscles of the body in his arms. He rocked back and forth, marking his mate with the scent of his desire. Extending his tongue, he tasted the skin down the side of his lover's neck, running just the tip of his tongue in patterns through the soft hair behind his ear.
A pleading whimper caused his nascent wolf to rise up, anxious to lay claim to their mate. The werewolf searched under the furs, his hand finding a hardening cock. Swallowing a howl of delight, he grasped it gently and began to stroke it to full hardness.
His mate burrowed closer, rubbing their bodies together and commingling their scents into a heady aphrodisiac. He entwined their legs, canting his hips to bring their erections into contact. Groaning, the slender man pushed himself forward so that he was lying almost on top of the broader form of the awakening werewolf.
The werewolf cradled his mate's face, straining to make out the features. He'd been denied a mate for so long, his body ached to be able to finally see the face of his beloved. Tunneling his fingers into the silk-soft hair, he pushed it back from the smooth skin, his thumbs outlining the sharp contour of cheekbones, the subtle curve of lips, and the slight rasp on the tip of his chin, but a clear image floated just out of reach. Unable to resist, he leaned forward and ran the tip of his tongue over the small patch of stubbled skin. Tilting the head in his hands, he joined their lips for a deep, slow kiss.
The familiar hands rubbed the werewolf's shoulders in widening circles and moved down his back. When they reached the base of his spine, the fingers splayed open over his ass, pulling him up from the furs and closer, increasing the friction between their cocks.
His wolf was becoming impatient, pacing and watching for a chance to break free. His mate's touch distracted him to the point where the concentration necessary to keep his wolf under control was slipping. He needed to speed things up, but this subtle buildup was so intoxicating.
The man in his arms nuzzled under his ear, nipping sharply. An involuntary shiver ran through the werewolf's body. A wet tongue replaced the warm breath and then the cool sensation of moving air caused another shiver as his lover blew softly on his neck. "I want you inside me," a husky voice whispered.
His wolf leapt forward suddenly, rolling on top of their mate and pinning him to the furs. The werewolf struggled not to relinquish control to his wolf, pinning the man under him to keep him still. Every enticing squirm fueled his wolf's strength and lessened his resolve to fight it. "Still," he ordered in a deep rumble that was a mixture of human voice and lupine growl.
The scent of arousal increased, the body pinned beneath him violently shuddering and then going completely limp. Words fell over the werewolf like a cooling rain. "Shh... easy, baby. Come back and let me love you."
His wolf pulled back with a whimper, unsatisfied at being denied release, but soothed by the calming tone. The werewolf loosened his grip, granting his lover the freedom to move again. Immediately the long, slender legs opened, circling his hips. Deft fingers moved between their bodies, coating his shaft and guiding him to the opening of his mate's body. "You need me, don't you? Come love me, so you'll both be satisfied."
The werewolf matched the head of his shaft to the small opening and pushed inside with one loud, rumbling groan. He began to move, pulling out until the head of his cock caught on the tight ring of muscle and then thrusting back in quickly. Every thrust of his hips caused a stream of whimpers and moans from his mate that spurred him to move faster, deeper, harder.
As his climax built, the connection with his mate began to fade. The werewolf struggled to pull back, desperate not to lose the link with the man he loved, but unable to stop the rush of pleasure building in his body. Clutching the man in his arms tightly to his body, he buried his face against the slender neck. Just as his body exploded with the most intense pleasure he'd ever experienced, his lover disappeared, the body... the scent... the warmth... the room fading into cool, gray mist.
Throwing back his head, he howled his pain into the dark, the gray mist absorbing his call.
* * * *
Will Northland sat curled on a window seat in the library at the Sterling estate, his long, dark hair falling forward around his face as he gazed down unseeing at the book in his lap. His twin brother, Tristan, was officially mated to Benjamin Sterling, so that made Will family, but he still felt like he was intruding on Benjamin's hospitality. It had been six months since Tristan had asked him to cross the ocean from their London home to help him cast the spell that had reunited Benjamin with his wolf and saved his life.
The spell had been a success, and Benjamin had been welcomed into the local werepack: a definite change for the better when it came to his social standing. Tristan and Benjamin had been invited over for dinner tonight with the pack Rajan, Alex Hanover, and Alex's consort, Raul. Over breakfast, they had begged, pleaded, and cajoled Will into accompanying them, but he just wasn't in the mood for being the fifth wheel--something he'd been feeling a lot lately.
All the signs pointed to something major happening in his life soon, but he took that with a grain of salt. Everything happens in its time, Gran used to say. He just needed to let go and not go messing about with things best left to the Goddess.
His cell phone buzzed in his pocket. Glancing at the screen, he flipped it open. "Davie, you wanker, you haven't burned the place down, have you?" Davie Campbell and Scott Glover were his right and left hands at the small occult bookstore in London that he and Tristan had inherited from their grandmother.
"No, not that you'd care, ya wanker. Off gallivanting all over the globe," Davie retorted.
Davie was young, but reliable and efficient, and Will fully realized what a treasure he had. When Tristan had needed him, it was nothing to hand over the bookstore to Davie and Scott. The two men treated it as if it were their own, and would bend over backwards to make it successful. Will could see Davie now, hip propped on the edge of the giant, scarred desk. He'd be wearing jeans. The only time Will had ever seen Davie in anything but jeans had been at his gran's funeral. Both Davie and Scott had shown up in proper charcoal gray suits, causing Will to do a double take. The two stoners actually cleaned up pretty well. He suspected that the suits were bought for the occasion, possibly even rented, but he was touched by the effort.
"So if the store isn't on fire, why are you pestering me?" Will teased, folding his long legs and hugging his knees, the phone propped between his shoulder and ear, anxious to hear about life in the country that he'd left behind.
"Just checking in. I figured, you're the boss, and you just might like to know what is going on. Sales are up almost fifteen percent."
"You put the damn manga display in anyway, didn't you?" Will asked.
"Well, you said to run it like it was our own," Scott chimed in from the background. The terrible twosome obviously had him on speakerphone.
"And they're flying out of here, just like I told you they would," Davie added.
"Fuckers." Will shook his head, glad that they couldn't see the smile on his face.
Tristan, however, could. His twin walked into the room, spotted the phone at Will's ear, and curled into a wingback leather chair. "Davie and Scott?" he mouthed with a grin that mirrored Will's.
Will nodded, listening to the chatter on the other end of the line as the two men filled him in on sales, customers, and the gossip that ran rampant in a small metaphysical community. He'd long ago gotten used to Davie starting a sentence and Scott finishing it. Before long the two were talking more to each other than him. "Guys. Guys!" he finally broke in. "Tristan needs me for something. I'll talk to you in a few days, okay?"
They exchanged quick good-byes, and Tristan moved to curl up on the opposite side of the window seat from Will, their legs resting against each other in the middle. Tristan had always worn his thick, almost black hair shorter than Will's, but the window reflected two identical faces, framed by cascades of hair well beyond their shoulders. "Gran would say you need a haircut," Will stated, brushing Tristan's hair back from his face.
Tristan mimicked the action. "She'd be very disappointed in both of us."
"No, she wouldn't. She'd just chastise us for looking scruffy." Will chuckled. "She'd turn over in her grave if she knew that neither of us has had a haircut since she died."
Eyes gazing unfocused out the window, Tristan said, "She once told me that she harped on our hair because otherwise we were perfect and it was a grandmother's duty to complain about something."
"Ha! Now there's an expectation that's impossible to live up to."
Tristan looked back at his twin. "Not in her eyes. We could have ended up ax murderers, and she would have found a way to be proud of us. Some days I miss her so much my heart hurts."
Will scooted over to put an arm around his brother. "I didn't think there was room in your heart for anything but love these days. With Benjamin in your life, you practically walk on air." Tristan laid his head on Will's shoulder and Will rested his cheek on his twin's soft curls.
"I've never been happier. I can't describe how it feels to be with Benjamin--"
"Damn!" Will snapped his fingers in mock frustration. "I was so looking forward to some juicy details. My sex life's been a bit lacking lately."
Tristan elbowed his brother in the side, grinning when he buckled over with a sharply exhaled, "Oof."
"Don't bring up feelings if you don't want to talk about them," he scolded. "You sure you won't come to dinner with us? You know you are welcome."
"Yeah, but you guys are just too damn touchy-feely for me, and Alex and Raul are no better. I swear... you'd think werewolves would be more... I don't know... feral."
Tristan's eyes sparkled. "Oh, they're plenty wild...." He drew out the last word and left it hanging, leaving no doubt as to what he was referring to.
"Fuckin' wanker," Will cursed, cuffing Tristan's shoulder. "Not fair gloating over your sex life when I have none and you won't share."
* * * *
The smell of grilled meat drifted in through the open windows of the farmhouse, mingling with the crisp, sweet tang of lilac. Tristan could hear the quiet rumble of his mate's laughter as Benjamin joked with Alex and Raul on the patio. The hair on the back of his neck rose and a tiny shiver traveled down his spine. He reached for the half-empty bottle of wine sitting on the kitchen counter, adding a splash to the salad dressing he was mixing and the remainder to his glass.
Something wasn't right. Tristan had been uneasy all day and had been experiencing unexpected chills since he and his mate had entered packlands. There was no safer place to be than the home of the Rajan, or King, of the local werepack, but that didn't keep the witch from sensing a pall of dread and fear. A new voice entered the mix, and Tristan headed for the open French doors, certain that the cause of his unease was about to be revealed.
Eric, the head of the Guardians--the werewolves who protected and patrolled the borders of the packlands--stood before Alex, explaining something to the Rajan. Raul, the Rajan's consort, stood beside his mate, a frown creasing his brow.
"Do you wish me to send him away?" Alex asked his mate, strong fingers reaching out to brush through his consort's thick, blond hair.
Raul shook his head, leaning into the touch, seeking comfort and reassurance. "No, it was inevitable that I'd have to face my family at some point. Grant him safe passage and we'll hear what he has to say. My father wouldn't have sent Nicolai unless it was extremely important."
Alex turned to the tall dark warrior, dressed in the silver torque of his position. "Allow him to enter, but escort him directly here. Double the normal guard on the borders and the house."
"It will be done," the Guardian replied, bowing formally before turning to leave.
"Maybe we should go," Benjamin suggested, rising from the deck chair.
Raul placed a hand on his friend's shoulder, squeezing slightly as he pressed him back into his seat. "No. You know my past. There is no reason for you and Tristan not to be present for this discussion. In fact, I'd like you here. I should like Tristan's opinion."
The slender witch walked over to the small group, perching on the arm of his mate's chair. "On what?"
"The man who is coming is one of my father's most trusted advisors, and fairly elderly. It would not be easy for him to travel. If he is here, he brings no good news. I have no idea what has transpired in my absence, but based on what was happening before I left and the circumstances surrounding my arrival here--"
"You mean the attempt to murder you?" Benjamin tossed in sarcastically. "Or rather, trick Alex into killing you legally."
Raul nodded, a slight grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Yeah, that...."
"You know, I still have never heard the complete version of that story--only pieces as they appear in conversation, like now," Tristan reminded the group.
"Later, I promise," Raul said, pulling a long curling lock of the witch's dark hair straight with a sharp tug.
Tristan swatted the blond man's hand away from his hair as if he were shooing away flies. "Fine, fine. What do you want my opinion on?"
"I guess the veracity of what Nicolai is coming to say. I can judge the words; I want you to judge the feeling, the intent... read between the lines for me," Raul answered.
"I can do that," Tristan agreed, taking a sip of his wine before offering the glass to his mate.
Benjamin's blue eyes glowed up at him, his hand reaching up to curve around Tristan's neck and pull him down for a kiss. His low voice rumbled against his mate's lips. "Tastes much better from you... and far more intoxicating."
Alex cleared his throat to warm them of Eric's return. All four men stood, watching as the small party made its way across the yard from the tree line.
Coming to a halt directly in front of Alex and Raul, the elderly man in the center of the approaching group struggled to kneel. Alex reached out instinctively, catching his arm. "Your neck is enough, Adel, ancient one."
Nicolai's eyes darted up gratefully as he bared his neck, lowering his eyes as he offered his life to the Rajan in the ritualistic show of submission. Alex lowered his mouth to the vulnerable juncture, breathing in deeply as his teeth touched the skin. He could feel the steady beat of Nicolai's heart and smell the worry wafting off the elder. Worry. Not fear.
"Be welcome, Nicolai Thunderstruck, chief advisor to Randolf Carlisle, King of the Cayuga Pack. Join us in sustenance and unburden yourself by sharing your missive," Alex replied formally, straightening to his full six-foot-three-inch height.
"May blessings and peace reign in your pack," Nicolai answered, bowing to the Rajan. Turning to Raul, he offered his neck again.
Raul grasped the slender shoulders of the man he'd known since birth, lowering his face to the offered neck, but pulling the smaller man into a fierce embrace at the same time. "Nicolai."
Nicolai's hands came up to rest on Raul's back. "Fearsome times, lowell. I'm happy you are well and safe, young one."
"Tell me," Raul replied, pulling back and leading the advisor to a chair.
Nicolai settled into the wicker chair, the other men taking seats around him in a circle. The Guardians stepped back to the perimeter of the deck, but stayed intensely alert.
"Your father is not well. He has not left his bed this past month."
Raul frowned, feeling a stab to his heart at the thought of losing his father. "I thank you for coming to tell me, but--"
"That is not why I'm here," Nicolai continued. "Your brother, Richard, has disappeared. In his absence, the witch, Sienna, is ruling from the throne."