Romancing the Dragon
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by Penelope Rivers
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica
Description: When private investigator Mark Jacobs gets a call to investigate a bunch of stolen necklaces, he thinks it's a cut-and-dry case. His client, Sylvia Brown, was dropped off at her house by her escort, Alec. The next day, the necklaces were gone. Easy money, Mark thinks. It's anything but that. Alec didn't steal the necklaces. In fact, Alec isn't even human. He is a shape-shifting creature called a Zodiac. On top of that, there is a blue-eyed stalker who is hunting him down. Unfortunately, that blue-eyed stalker is also a Zodiac, one that claims that he will do anything to make Mark his.
eBook Publisher: Amira Press, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: April 2012
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [108 KB]
Reading time: 67-95 min.
"I'm sure that you've read stories about our kind before, or at least a version of our kind. Vicious? Changes into animals?" Alec looked amused when Mark's eyes bulged from his skull. "Most of them aren't true, but that's what they say."
"You sound like a werewolf or something!"
He has to be messing with me, he thought. There is no way that this is happening. He went to turn away. He didn't care if there was supposedly a man following him. He wasn't going to dignify Alec's heckling with a response. He was a grown man, not a third grader.
As he turned around, though, he was startled to see that Alec was not behind him on the ground anymore. He was five feet in front of him instead. Mark blinked, defiant, and thought, It's just a trick of the light. Nobody can move that fast. He spun around and went in the other direction. Alec was there again. He swore and ground his teeth.
"I'm not a werewolf," Alec said. "I'm a Zodiac. We're different."
Alec leaped forward.
"Stop that, you son of a bitch," he said. "I don't know what you're doing, but, but . . ."
Alec was now so close that his breath was on Mark's cheek. It had all happened in the blink of an eye. Alec wrapped his arms around Mark and held him in place. Though Mark swore and started to squirm, Alec did not let him go.
"Listen to me. You go now and you'll be killed." Alec's hot breath was in his ear. "It's my job to protect you right now."
"No, you are fooling with me. You're a necklace thief and a scam artist."
"That old woman worked for us. She's a go-between. She gave you something that you would believe. The EAU knew that you were in trouble."
"First off, I've worked for the government for years and have never heard of the EAU." Mark squirmed, and Alec squeezed his chest. "And secondly, I don't believe in Zodiacs. You hear me? I. Do. Not. Believe. You."
Alec growled under his breath and pushed him to the ground with enough force that his arm popped painfully. He stared up at Alec with wide eyes and shuddered. Mark had never seen anyone that strong before, but he refused, as a grown man, to believe what Alec was saying. It was ridiculous.
Alec said, "I was trying to get you to listen to me gradually, so that way we wouldn't have this fight. Looks like it didn't work."
Mark opened his mouth, but Alec shot him a look that earned even his obedience. It would have done his mother, had she still been alive, justice. She had been able to give him looks like that, too.
"The EAU stands for the Extra Abilities Unit. We are a group of people with special gifts, aka Zodiacs, that work for the government. Our abilities are hidden from regular people for multiple reasons. The main one is that when somebody turns for the first time, at thirty or so, they have to be stabilized because the hormones from the change drive them into madness. They kill people. We can live forever as long as nobody kills us, but we don't pass it along through a bite. We can change into animals according to the year of our Chinese Zodiac. It's a disease that passes down from generation to generation. The original strain began with Empress Wu Zetian. She had a lesser version of the disease that drove her to insanity. She gave birth to an unclaimed bastard child and made an attempt to throw the baby away. Thus, our strain began."
"We have passed strains of the virus through the centuries. Along with being stronger, faster, and smarter than normal humans, most of us have an extreme sense of justice and unity. It's a genetic personality code. In short, we are a superhuman police force that works at extremes that normal humans can't. Unfortunately, while we are powerful, so are some of our adversaries. Not all of us wanted to be so helpful."
Mark's thoughts swirled. He still didn't believe Alec. If there was really an EAU, wouldn't he have heard of it as a police officer? On top of that, there was no way that Zodiacs could stay hidden from people for so long. Mark believed that Alec had sold the necklaces and had taken to sniffing cocaine that scrambled his thoughts.
Alec grinned. "I haven't sniffed cocaine. Trust me, I feel bad for you--I really do. This is all incredibly hard to digest."
Once again, it appeared as though Alec had delved into his mind. Mark's blood ran cold, and he stared at Alec. He wasn't sure what to do. Alec was much stronger, so fighting was futile, and he figured that it probably wasn't wise to run away either. He shivered.
Alec placed a hand on his cheek, and he flinched. A hurt look crossed Alec's face. Though Mark tried to stop himself, he felt guilty. He shook his head. This man is fucking with you, he thought. Don't feel bad for him.
"I'm really not," Alec said as he leaned close to him. "How else could I get into your mind, Mark? How else would I know what haunts you that you tell no one about? Like your mother's death and the explosion and the hands that grabbed you--the ones that saved your life."
He shook his head. "I don't know. I just don't know. Maybe you've been following me around."
Alec touched his head, and this time he did not move away. "What can I do to convince you to believe me? I know it's impossible, but I need to have your full cooperation with this. The man that's after you, he's dangerous."
There was nothing that Alec could do to convince him. Even if he guessed every thought in his head and broke a tree in half with his bare hands, it would not convince him. He ground his teeth some more.
"I can, you know. Break a tree in half."
I don't believe you. He kept his thoughts to himself on purpose. If Alec could truly get into his mind, then he would read his thoughts.
To his horror, Alec proved himself yet again. He leaped over to some nearby trees, grabbed one of them by the roots, and then ripped it out. He held up the tree, which was twice as wide as he was and ten times as tall, and broke it over his knee as if it were a twig. Alec hurled the two pieces into the duck pond, and birds flew into the air. Some quacked defiantly at the splash. Mark stared.
"Believe me now?" Alec called to him. Mark shook his head and felt dizzy.
Alec walked closer to him. His features began to change--his face became longer, his hair began to grow, and his body started to extend. With a small cry, Alec grasped his head and held it in his hands. In a blink of an eye, Alec was there no more. Instead there stood a large black horse with two white socks and a lightning bolt on its forehead. The horse reared up on its hind legs and let out a powerful neigh that sounded more like a shriek.