Snow covered everything in a thick, white blanket as the citizens of Stone Haven stood under the canopy of trees for the celebration. Lights were strung from the snow-laden branches, giving the space a cheery, festive appearance. Too bad it wasn’t working.
Today, Stone Haven was celebrating the three-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the paranormal races. Tables were straining under the weight of the food. There was even lively music playing, which was odd, since not too many had ever heard music before.
Even though Seth, the Alpha’s mate, and Ian, the enforcer’s mate, had done everything to make this a good party, no one was having a good time. The mood was somber, the air thick with fear. It had only been a few months since Stone Haven, the capital of the Northern Territory, had been attacked. A bomb had been set, killing nine.
The Alpha Primus, Alek Rykov, had done everything in his power to find the culprit, but even with all the resources at his fingertips, the person responsible was still out there. So what should have been a day of fun and relaxation was filled with tension that today, with everyone gathered in the same place, the same thing might happen.
In the three months since the bomb went off in Stone Haven, two more attacks in other towns in the Northern Territory had been carried out. No one had been caught in any of the attacks, putting the citizens of Stone Haven on edge.
Strafe Winchester stood on the edge of the gathering, watching. He knew the potential for danger was always with them, but a party where the Alpha Primus and his entire inner circle were gathered made those chances increase tenfold.
Alek stood on a small podium announcing that he was ready to make his speech for the Creation Day festivities. People stopped talking as they turned to listen to their Alpha, a man they loved and trusted to keep them safe.
“Today, we celebrate the Gods for our very existence. In the three hundred years since the first paranormals were born, we have suffered many hardships.”
Strafe rolled his eyes. Hardships? More like torture with a side of suffering.
“First at the hands of the humans, who didn’t understand the Gods’ plans for the planet. Then, after the Great War, we had to struggle to put our lives together, to find a way for the paranormal races to coexist.”
Whoever had helped Alek with his speech should be shot, in Strafe’s opinion. Talk about understatements. After the birth of the first paranormals on December 12, 2012, humans had freaked the hell out. Those paranormals that weren’t killed outright were taken by their governments to be held for “observation,” which was code for being experimented on in the most heinous ways possible.
The horror that was inflicted on those held by the humans went way beyond inhumane, straight to evil. When it was noticed that shifters and mystics healed faster than humans, limbs were cut off to see if they’d re-grow. Even organs were harvested to be placed in humans to see if those organs altered humans’ healing times.
Every type of physical torture was visited upon the paranormals in order to see just how strong they were before they broke. Thousands died in the hundred years the humans ran their experiments. Only the strongest survived.
When Alek Rykov freed them from their hell, it was more than just a “struggle” to coexist. So many were alpha types who had been treated like animals their whole lives, making playing nice more than just difficult.
“And now we are at war with the psy. A race who were to be our brothers in the Gods’ plan to save the planet are bent on destroying us in an effort to gain our abilities.”
That was something Strafe had never understood. Why create three separate races and not make them equal? The shifters shared their bodies and spirits with an animal. They could shift into their animal at will, but in their human forms they were also stronger, faster, and they healed much quicker than a human.
The mystics shared an affinity with one of the four elements, wind, fire, water or earth. They also could alter their form into their element, although the effort usually drained them quickly of energy. Mystics also were stronger, faster, and healed quicker than humans although, truth be told, no one beat shifters for those three attributes.
The psy had the ability to manipulate a human’s brain. Their abilities ranged from changing emotions, to altering thoughts, to downright controlling every move a human made. In matters of strength, speed and healing, they were better than a human, but nowhere near that of a shifter or a mystic.
But the biggest difference, the one the psy were willing to start a war over, was that after three hundred years, shifters and mystics had never died a natural death. The psy’s lifespan was longer than humans but appeared to be around a hundred and twenty-five years.
Why the Gods, in their infinite wisdom, decided to make it that way was unknown, but the psy intended to change that. The human labs the Paranormal Alliance worked so hard to destroy during the Great War with the humans were being built once more. The psy were capturing humans, shifters and mystics in an effort to find a way to lengthen their own lifespan.
Not that they had told anyone that. It wasn’t until Seth, a psy, sought asylum with Alek, that they learned the truth behind the psy’s war with them. But as with the humans before them, once the experiments started, the psy didn’t seem to have a problem with doing whatever the hell they wanted in the name of science.
Since Seth’s arrival, the Alliance had discovered some of the psy’s sick and twisted experiments that would turn the stomach of the heartiest of men. Horrified at what the psy were willing to do, it became the Alliance’s mission to shut those labs down. As with everything, the effort came with a heavy price.
Needing to feel skin, Strafe yanked E.J.’s shirt up. The only way to get the shirt off was for E.J. to take his mouth off Strafe’s nipples, which his mate seemed unwilling to do. Praying his mate didn’t like this shirt, Strafe ripped off.
The moment his hands felt all that silky skin, Strafe knew he’d gone to heaven. Muscles jerked and twitched under his touch, telling him just how much E.J. enjoyed his touch. One hand reached up to tweak his mate’s nipple.
“Ungh,” E.J cried out as his head suddenly arched back, while his chest pushed into the touch. Every reaction his mate gave was breathtaking. But he wanted more. His nail scraped across the tip.
He smiled when E.J. went to his tiptoes, stretching his body closer to Strafe’s hands. Not wanting to deny his mate’s silent request, he let his finger scrape across the nub once more before bending down and engulfing it within his mouth.
Hands speared through his hair, tugging the strands causing his scalp to sting. His teeth bit down on E.J.’s nipple, gently tugging the flesh away from his mate’s body. Noises spilled from his mate’s mouth, telling Strafe just how much the man was enjoying what he was doing.
A whimper of dismay was heard when Strafe’s mouth left the nipple. One day, he would spend all day laving those beautiful nipples, but today, he needed too much. His hands went to E.J.’s pants. The button opened easily before he tugged the zipper down.
Pushing the material down to the floor, Strafe nearly lost his ability to breathe as he looked down at all that pale, silky skin on display. His mouth started to water as he thought about tasting every inch of that delectable body.
His eyes made their way back up E.J.’s body to find his mate’s cheeks red in embarrassment. It was a look Strafe found enchanting. He would have to find ways to keep his mate embarrassed in the future. “You’re stunning,” he murmured before capturing those full, soft lips with his own.
He wrapped his arms around his mate, capturing the muscled globes in his hands. Lifting E.J. up, Strafe strode to the bed before laying his mate gently on the mattress. Quickly, he stripped his pants off before climbing on next the man who had wormed his way into Strafe’s heart.
Until he’d met this amazing man, Strafe didn’t even know he still had a heart. Too much pain and loss had hardened him until he was a shell of a man. All that had changed the moment he met E.J.
His lips captured E.J.’s in a searing kiss, one that conveyed how much he wanted his mate. Nipping that full bottom lip, Strafe took advantage when E.J.’s mouth opened on a gasp. His tongue dove deep inside stoking the heat between them.
E.J.’s body moved restlessly beneath him. Their cocks brushed against each other, and deep moans of pleasure came out of both of them. The both moved as if they’d been doing this for years instead of the first. Rods of steel covered in satiny, smooth skin rubbed together in a dance as old as time.
Strafe nuzzled his mate’s neck, nipping and licking the spot where his mating mark would appear. The feel of E.J.’s shivers at the move had him continuing a path down his body. He wanted to know what other spots made his mate do that.
He played with E.J.’s swollen nipples for several minutes before moving one. He already knew those were hot spots for his mate. Now he wanted to find more.
His hands caressed, his tongue licked, his teeth nipped and mouth kissed every inch of skin he reached on his way down his mate’s body. Each moan, whimper and shiver was catalogued for another time.
His mouth watered at the sight of his mate’s hard prick. When a bead of fluid leaked from the tip he couldn’t stop himself from getting a taste. With the flat of his tongue, Strafe licked across the opening.
“Oh my Gods, Strafe, please. I...just...please.” His mate babbling spurred him on.
Opening his mouth, he sucked his mate’s thin cock deep.