The Virgin Shifter
Click on image to enlarge.
by Melanie Thompson
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: What happens when a rugged panther shifter sworn to carry on his bloodline meets the love of his life -- and it's a man? Jax Sequeros is the sole-surviving member of an ancient cult of vampire killers, the Sangue Cacadore. He promised his father to carry on the traditions of the group, a unique band of shape-shifters who change into black panthers, and breed a new generation. Jax had no problem with carrying out his father's wishes until he meets handsome and sexy Michelle Chopiak, a Russian sex slave he saves during a murder investigation. As a single dad, Jax's toughest problem is day care for three-year-old Emily. When he discovers Michelle is now homeless, he takes him home. Michelle reveals he was an elementary school teacher before he was kidnapped by the vampires, and Jax hires him to be Emily's babysitter. When Jax's partner gets kidnapped by the vampires who run back to Russia to escape arrest and the mop-up crew they leave behind goes after Michelle, Jax has to rescue both of them. With the aid of a gay elf named Al Fairfeather, his friend Corey, who is a vampire, and a fairy named Lorelai, Jax takes up his heritage and goes on a vampire hunt. But what he finds is the love of his life - in Michelle. But he can't be gay. He has to fulfill the promise he made to his father?or does he? Warning: Steamy threesomes and hot shifter action ahead!
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance/Ravenous Romance, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: May 2011
12 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [245 KB]
Reading time: 158-221 min.
"How many did you kill, Argento?" Vincent Sequeros asked his brother member of the vampire-killing cult Sangue Cacadore.
"I found twenty in a cave, deep beneath Jerusalem. They were asleep. I dispatched them with great zeal. There were five more under a church in Istanbul. But we are overrun here. I saw at least a hundred in the marketplace at dusk."
Vincent gazed at his surroundings. They stood on a hill overlooking Bethlehem. It was the most holy night to all Christians: Christmas Eve, 1985. "We can take them."
"No, sir, they will overrun us. We have nowhere to go. The city is filled with the evil creatures and we are but three, the last three. When we are gone, there will be no more members of the sacred cult. Vampires will take over the Earth."
High overhead the full moon blazed, lighting the desert around them in eerie blue light. Vincent saw the desert as clear as though it were day, his vision enhanced by his inner beast. The members of the Sangue Cacadore were shifters; they all could move in and out of their black-panther bodies at will. "How many did you kill today, Miguel?"
"I found a secret tunnel leading into the sewers from a wadi outside the city limits. There were twelve sleeping in coffins. I killed them all."
Vincent feared what was coming. They were trapped here. They would shift and race across the desert, but the leader of the vampires was unbelievably old. He would catch them. Vincent had never seen one as old as the one gathering the horde for the kill. "We are not the last three," he said. "There is one more."
Argento, who was sixty-three, tilted his head. "What are you saying? Where is this member we know nothing about?"
Vincent squared his shoulders. "My son shifted during the last full moon."
"But he is only five," Miguel said. "I shifted for the first time when I was ten."
"I shifted when I was twelve for the first time," Argento said.
"And I when I turned eight. The blood is strong in him. He has the green eyes of the true black panther. I showed him my tattoo and I explained our history. Even though he cannot read, he has the journals containing our history. He knows to keep our secrets."
"But how can one small boy carry on against the horde of bloodsuckers invading our world?"
"I imbued in him the need to breed up successors. He will create a new generation of the Sangue Cacadore and continue our traditions."
"They come, Vincent."
The air around the three men shimmered in the moonlight. In seconds, three huge black panthers prowled the hilltop. Vincent stared at the mass of vampires racing toward them, then turned and sped into the darkness.
* * * *
"What've we got?" Jax Sequeros massaged his temples as he stood on the sidewalk examining the club. It was only three in the morning. He'd had to drop Emily off with the neighbor. Mrs. Gorsky had opened her door in a nightgown, wearing spongy-pink curlers and a frown. She'd taken Emmy in without smiling. "I can't keep doing this for you, Jax," she'd told him. "You need to set up some kind of nanny--a live-in, so you can run around the city doing your job."
"We got two dead inside." Jax's partner, Detective Martha Merriweather, read from a report on a clipboard. "Both killed with a crossbow bolt, believe it or not. Both vics bled out. There's some other weird shit, too."
Jax looked up. "What?"
"I said, weird shit. Where's your head at?"
Martha always spoke her mind. Her full mouth, liberally coated with what she called Pink Parfait lipstick, spouted more profanity than any sailor. "Sorry, I had to leave Emmy with Mrs. Gorsky," Jax said. "She's eighty if she's a day. What kind of weird shit?"
Martha waved her hand at the club, then ran slender fingers through her spiked blond hair. "Well, for starters, the club's name is The Black Countess."
"Never heard of it."
"It's a bondage club. S & M, whips and chains."
Jax's eyes widened. "In Mill Creek?" He took the clipboard and scanned the report. "Hard to believe."
Martha lifted one sculpted eyebrow, pierced with a dainty gold ring. Her chocolate-brown eyes sparkled. "Ready to go in?"
Jax tossed the clipboard to a uniformed officer. "As ready as I'll ever be."
The door to the club was black. It opened into a long hallway. Red light issuing from the sconces revealed scarlet wallpaper with gold stripes. It was like walking through blood. "Who owns the place?"
"Some Russian weirdo named Vladimir Tsarov. A real creep show."
"Did he scare you, darling?"
She smacked his shoulder hard. "Nothing scares me, you fuck. You know that."
He stopped at the end of the hall in front of another black door. "Yes, you are the original bitch, Martha. Next to my mother, you're the meanest woman I know."
"Did she call you again?"
"Every day. She loves to rub it in that my brother's running for the city council and my sister is a nurse practitioner. She thinks police work is beneath me. The fact I'm a detective on one of the best police forces in the country means nothing to her."
Martha snorted. "Well, it must have been tough on her, losing your father in an airplane crash. It was in Istanbul, wasn't it?"
Jax nodded. "She told me he worked for the CIA. Maybe that's why she thinks a regular job in law enforcement is so lame."
His mother had remarried. Both his siblings were the product of that second marriage. His stepfather had always treated him the same as his blood children. Harold was a nice guy, but the memories of his father haunted Jax. The things his father had shown him, the secrets he'd been asked to keep, made him feel different.
Well, he was different. He was a shifter.
The door at the end of the hall opened to an office. The walls were red and the carpet was thick black shag. The desk was an antique monstrosity and the winged chairs crimson and gold brocade. Prints of what looked like illustrations from Dante's Inferno hung on the walls. Demons cavorted through flames while flogging the poor residents of hell. Jax stopped in front of one depicting a black panther and stared at it for a minute before he moved to the desk.
So, they had panthers in hell.
The door behind the massive piece of furniture opened and a tall bald man stepped through. "May I be of assistance? I am Vladimir Tsarov."
He was as tall as Jax, over six-three, and he spoke thickly accented English. His eyes were icy gray and his skin hard and white like ivory. Alarms went off inside Jax's head. He smelled the faintest aroma of death on Tsarov. A strange odor like rotting meat lingered around the Russian, overlaid by the man's cologne which was a musky blend of spices and citrus. The hair on the back of Jax's neck slowly rose. He closed his eyes and concentrated on silencing his inner demons. He recognized the smell. His father had trained him at an early age to know and hate it.
Jax held out his hand for Tsarov to shake and the tall Russian just stared. "All righty, then," Jax said. "We're here to set up a crime scene. In a few minutes the techs will arrive to take it apart. We want to get a quick look-see before they get here. Could you take us to the bodies ... please?"
Tsarov had a tattoo running up the back of his neck and onto his head. Jax examined it as he and Martha followed him through a maze of corridors. A vividly colored snake coiled out of the stiff white collar of his shirt, and the head, with mouth open and fangs dripping venom, spread across Tsarov's naked skull. Every room they passed held restraints, tables with restraints, and walls filled with whips, crops, paddles, and chains.
Tsarov opened a door and ducked under the yellow crime scene tape. A uniformed cop sat on a folding chair paring his nails with a pocket knife. He stood up when he saw Jax.
"Sequeros, ain't seen you around for a while." Officer Ray Connors tipped his hat to Martha and leered. "Madam."
She snorted. "Fuck you."
Connors's leer widened into a grin. "I'd love to."
Martha made a gagging noise. "I'd rather put out a fire with my face."
Martha's way of dealing with being hit on by every man she met was to put them down. Hard. Jax was used to it and Martha's short, compact, eighty-five-pound body and large, artificially enhanced boobs had never appealed to him. He liked women tall and lean, with a tiny waist and big ass.
Jax slipped latex gloves on as he examined the scene: a room filled with trunks, three chairs, a large armoire, two padded tables, and two dead men close together. One man was face down, the other spread-eagle on his back. Chains hung from the ceiling with leather straps attached. A brazier filled with hot coals sat smoldering in the corner. Two branding irons lay among the coals, their handles sticking out over the edge. The bright red letter on one was a Z; the other was a D.
The smell of burning flesh lingered in the room. Jax looked down. No carpet here, just tiles and a drain. A thin trickle of blood ran from one of the bodies into the drain. Jax's nostrils flared as his heightened senses picked up the coppery odor. It seemed fitting the vics were killed by a medieval weapon. The entire place was medieval.
Martha made a face as she examined the room. "Hard to believe this is in Mill Creek."
"Hard to believe this is anywhere."
She snorted. "All men are animals."
Jax looked away from her piercing gaze. Little did she know how accurate her statement was, at least in his case.
Martha bent over to examine the body closest to the door. The man lying on his back was naked. A short arrow stuck out of his forehead, right between his eyes. Martha touched the arrow. It was metal with three feathers. "What kind of bow shoots arrows like this?"
Jax squatted next to Martha doing his best to refrain from any contact with the body. When the dead man's penis accidentally brushed his hand, he snatched it back and wiped it on his pants. "Shit!"
"It doesn't bite." Martha laughed.
"Look at this place. You never know where that thing's been."
"So true, so true."
He stared at the dead man's forehead. "It's not an arrow. It's a bolt." He glanced at the other dead man. He lay on his belly, his head turned to the side. An identical bolt protruded from the center of his forehead. "It looks like they were shot from a pistol crossbow."
"This guy's got a red ass," she said as she stood up and searched the room. She pulled a wooden paddle out from under a table. "It's not red from lividity. He's on his face. I bet this is the culprit."
Tsarov glanced at his watch. "If you don't mind, I have work to finish."
"Are any clients left in the club?"
He shook his head. "I had them all leave when we discovered the incident."
"Did any of them see or hear anything?"
"We'll need a list."
"My clients prefer to remain anonymous."
Jax laughed. "I can just imagine. However, the murder kinda kicks that in the ass. Like I said, we need a list." He glanced at the ceiling and spotted holes with shiny lenses--cameras. "You got tapes for this evening?"
"We have cameras in every room. We run a very clean and cautious operation. One cannot be too careful when dealing with sadomasochists. Everything is digital."
"Then you got digital?"
"Of course. All will be made available to your agency."
"Make sure you include the list of clients in attendance when the murders occurred." Jax checked his watch. It was almost five. Dawn was around six fifteen on an average summer day in Washington State. He stared at the Russian hard, checking every detail of his posture, his body, and his face. "I think you should hang out for a while to, you know, answer any questions we might have." He grinned. "Got a problem with that?"
Tsarov frowned. "I must go. I will send my partner down to take care of your needs."
Jax grabbed Tsarov's arm as he moved toward the room's exit and pushed him through the door. In the hall, he leaned over and whispered in a voice that would not be audible to any human ears. "I know what you are, vampire. Did you have anything to do with these deaths? I haven't checked for bite marks or cuts, but believe me, I will."
Tsarov jerked his arm away. "Never touch me again, beast-man. I also recognize you for what you are. This is my business. I would never shit where I eat, understand?"
Jax growled and closed his fists to hide emerging claws. "Then send us your human rep so we can access those digital files. And make sure we get that list."
The crime scene techs arrived, pushing past Jax and Tsarov as they carried their gear into the room and began unloading equipment so they could process the scene. Jax went back in and started wandering around. He discovered the walls were padded and covered with fake leather. He opened a cabinet and backed away, whistling. He had no idea what half of the strange devices hanging in the cupboard and lying on the shelves were for. He reached in and picked up a small leather collar with studs.
"That's a cock ring," a low husky voice said from somewhere behind him. "I could show you how it works if you like."
Startled, he turned around. A tall, starkly beautiful blonde dressed in skintight black leather, her breasts barely concealed beneath a vest, the folds of her crotch clearly outlined by the leather pants, stared at him through narrowed pale-blue eyes. Jax jumped and dropped the ring as Connors stood up and stared.
"My, aren't you the handsome one?" She circled him and began a slow verbal inventory. "Tall, huge shoulders, flat stomach, coffee-colored skin that looks like it's perpetually tan, shaved skull, sculpted jaw line, great eyebrows and those eyes--like emeralds. You a model?"
"I'm a cop. And you are?"
She circled him, examining every inch of his body through icy eyes. "I am Lady Daphne."
"You the mistress of this dungeon?" She looked like she'd love to whip and torture someone. She was certainly dressed for it.
"You could say that, though this is no dungeon. I am here to render you any assistance you may require."
"Well, Lady, my name's Detective Sequeros. What's this room used for?"
"This is Play Room Number Two. It is used for whatever the clients desire. We but provide the equipment."
"You don't participate?"
"I can if the client wishes."
Jax wandered around the room. He noticed a huge trunk against one wall. It was latched. "What's in here?"
She shrugged, an eloquent gesture that involved her eyebrows. "I have no clue."
He kicked it and with his enhanced hearing picked up the subtlest moan. "There's someone in there."
He ripped the latch free and threw the lid up. A figure crouched inside, completely covered from head to toe in a black-latex-rubber suit.
Jax lifted the man up by his arm. When he was out of the trunk, Jax shook his head. "Who put him in there?"
Daphne performed another shrug and rolled her expressive eyes. "I have no idea. Why don't you ask him?"