Bareback [The Huntsmen 3]
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by Amber Green
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Paranormal Erotica
Description: Joe's life is perfect--except his family overflows with identical twins who aren't quite human, the town he protects overflows with serial killers, and his new lover is male. He's also a huntsman who needs sex to stay human... [Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Male/male sexual practices, strong violence.]
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: September 2008
52 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [314 KB]
Reading time: 191-268 min.
After Joe the Viking Warrior cop left, Brian had to tell his story four times to a tape recorder. The talkative one of a pair of uniforms was cajoling him to tell it yet again when a sleepy-eyed woman showed up with one of those sketch-on-screen laptops. She reached between the uniformed cops and hit the recorder's stop button.
"Shit, Nat!" One of the uniforms--his tag said Howell--grabbed the woman's wrist. "We weren't done!"
Brian lunged across the scarred table at them, remembering belatedly to tuck his fists under him and be a shield, not a weapon. He rested the unscraped side of his face on the recorder, beside the woman's white-knuckled fist, and batted his eyelashes at the uniform. "You weren't manhandling a lady, were you, Officer Howell?"
They stared at him. Without even moving all that much, they formed a solid wall of stares. The two uniforms used the same kind of gun oil, thick and sweet. The woman used a different-smelling brand, a lighter kind. He tried to keep his eyes wide despite the swelling. Tried to look harmless. I'm small. I'm next to naked. You don't need to defend yourselves against me.
The force was a family, and he'd just interfered in a family spat. Great going, Jinx. Mom had always warned him not to take sides in any family's internal squabble.
His skin prickled, and with that blanket left behind he had a lot of bare skin prickling here.
But instinct had driven him, the need to protect a threatened woman. Fucking A--that meant the woman had reacted to Howell as to a threat. Recognizing that fact brought another spike of adrenaline. His palms stung and his vision blurred as the hunger raged through him. The hunger didn't care he had to work with these people, or that his position was indefensible.
Divide it up, Jinx, his brothers had said, usually while pinning him ignominiously to the floor. You won't drown if you can identify the components of what's coming at you, and handle each one separately.
The empty stomach he could simply ignore. The eye-blurring, nerve-burning emotional hunger he would outlast, barring any more outbursts. Adrenaline was the top-rank enemy here.
Okay, then. He forced his eyes to focus, his muscles to unknot. No huntsman could survive puberty without being able to survive a spike of adrenaline.
He shrugged back up under his dampish blanket. The only adrenaline taste left in the room was his own. The woman, Nat, had reacted as to a threat--he couldn't have imagined that. She'd been furious. Nearly instantly, though, she'd sucked in all that vibrating anger. Like a matriarch. Was she Mrs. Lupino, the matriarch he was to contact?
The woman broke the tension with a laugh, and shook off Howell's now-loose grip. "What a sweet Galahad! Gentlemen--and sometimes I use that word very loosely--you may leave."
They swore and grumbled, but they left.
The woman wore a crisp button-up pink blouse and khaki shorts with creases ironed in them. She smelled of cucumbers and honeydew and other cool, fresh, green things.
The men had smelled of pizza, a lingering reminder he hadn't eaten since lunch. They probably would have offered him some if they hadn't figured the topic of conversation would kill the appetite of any normal person.
Cool ... green. He set his focus on that image.
The woman regarded him with a thoughtful, ladylike half-frown. She'd said something, and he hadn't reacted properly.
He swallowed. "Pardon?"
"I said I'm Natalie Wentworth." The woman offered him an elegant hand to shake. "I hear you're one of our four baby paramedics?"
He took her hand as briefly as possible, then sat back down, hoping she hadn't noticed his boner, or how he quivered with the need to touch her. Howell had left her a bracelet of red finger marks. Don't look at them! She had pierced ears, but no earrings. She ought to wear peridots, cool green to match her scent.
"Yes," he managed to say. "I'm to report for duty at seven tomorrow. Thank you for stopping the talk marathon." Speech was difficult. Speaking civilly should get him some medal for heroism.
"You're welcome. But to get this job done you'll have to tell me part of the story. How many people are we putting face to?"
"Three. Male. The guy closest to me had a strong Irish profile."
She settled in a chair beside him and powered on the laptop. "Facing left or right?"
She pulled up a string of outlined profiles. "Pick the best."
"Third from the right."
She touched it, and filled the screen with an outline of a man's face. "What's not right with this picture?"
"Older--in his fifties, maybe." Two keystrokes enlarged the nose just a touch. Another gave the tip of the nose a slight bulb. Two more thickened the eyebrow. Softening the jawline took three.
She had nice nails. Not too long or too short. Polished but not colored. The face, doofus! The face! "Yeah, that's what I meant. Short hair. Thick neck. Shoulders like a fullback. Also, the bottom lip was swollen, bulging out. Maybe an abscess."
She pulled up a variety of kissers, but none was just right, so she drew in a heavier bottom lip with a few strokes of her gleaming sapphire stylus. "Skin tones?"
"The light sucked. Caucasian. Didn't see any huge scars. Some degree of baldness--the light reflected off his head. Could be a comb-over."
"That's him." It had better be. His pulse beat in his aching cock and the screen was a fuzzy, glowing rectangle with marks on it.
He blinked, forcing a focus. He had to feed, soon. Jerking off would purge the darkening energies that snarled and tangled inside him now, but he also had to refill himself to meet the next challenge.
At this hour, what are my chances of finding a streetwalker who's still human enough to come at a man's touch? Not knowing the streets, the people, his chances were vanishing small. Which narrowed his options to just one: he had to contact the local matriarch, throw himself on her mercy.
At least he'd had the sense to drill that number into his head, into his muscle memory. He'd punched her number into a dead phone a hundred times, just to make sure he could do it at need. He'd also looked through the phone listings for a strip club, where he could passively feed under the right circumstances, but he hadn't found one.
"Sorry ... I just barely caught glimpses of the others. How soon will you let me go home?" His stomach growled.
Please don't offer me any pizza. Taking food would just extend the time he was trapped here. He had to get out before the rest of the second-shift cops came back from dealing with what was left of Tina and the hanging man. He wouldn't be able to stop himself from feeding on their emotions. And unless every one of them was a complete burnout, their horror and fury would push him right to the edge of his humanity. If not over.
"Sometime before the next hurricane, I hope." She smiled with just the right rueful touch. "The lieutenant will probably want to talk to you again before you go tonight. How many other people were on the scene?"
I already said two! He took another breath of her cool green scent, and let it out slowly. "I caught glimpses of two other perps"--no, she'd said, "bad guys"--"bad guys, although there might have been more. The lieutenant is Joe?"
"Yes, that's Joe. Tell me about the person you got the strongest details of."
He saw them in silhouette, with the naked, diamond-sliced man dangling between them. "Two men about Tina's height, in her heels. Younger than the Irishman, one lean and one top-heavy on the muscle. You know the guy who'll bulk out so much that his arms don't hang straight? Make a cartoon bulldog and give him a flattop crew cut. Skinny wore a doo rag, but I'm pretty sure he was white. They all had plain dark clothes. That's all I know!"
"Brian, hon, you're doing great. Mister crew cut: did you see his face full-on or in profile, or what?"
"Hey, I have a buddy who can maybe put me up for the night, but his mom wouldn't like me coming in too late. Plus I do have to show up combed and coherent at seven in the morning. Any chance we can finish this tomorrow?"
She smiled, drenching her face with sympathy like a stage actress projecting to the back-row seats, but she spoke firmly. "Look, Brian. I know you're tired--let's just make a stab at the other faces and--are you ill?"
"Bathroom!" He could jerk off there. Rid himself of some of this sickening darkness.
She skidded her chair back. "You're having a delayed adrenaline reaction. This way. You need help?"
Not the kind you'd be willing to give. He shouldered past her, only to find she had to key in a code to open the door.
Her other hand pressed against the small of his back.
Lady, you don't want to touch me just now! But he gritted his teeth and let her guide him to the first right, to an unmarked door with the unmistakable reek of a men's room.