Tate Locklear has worked as a vampire enforcer at his coven for almost two centuries. He’s ready for a change of pace. When his master calls for volunteers to protect shifters in the forest, he thinks it’s the something new that he needs. Tate discovers it’s so much more when the scent of a reclusive leopard shifter’s blood calls to him. Somehow, he must convince the pretty kitty known as Psion, that staying in human form longer than it takes to open and close a door can be extremely pleasurable and beneficial to both of them. Unfortunately, that also reveals a new problem. Can Tate get Psion past his fear of blood so he can claim him?
One of the scents that Psion had never smelled before tickled his senses. Well, he noted two masculine smells really, but only one actually drew his attention. The other one he catalogued and dismissed.
Finding his curiosity roused for the first time in decades, Psion tipped his nose in the air and sniffed deeply. The smell was heady, a little sweet, with an undertone of iron that Psion thought distinctive. He followed his nose, wanting to find the source.
Instead of going into the front room, Psion discovered it grew stronger on the stairs. He trotted up to the second floor, and followed the scent to a door. It was closed and he thought maybe he heard soft snores coming from inside the room.
Psion pressed his nose to the crack at the floor, sniffing. A shiver of something he hadn’t felt since before being caught by the witches slid through him. His fur stood on end and for the first time in decades, he fought an urge to shift.
Need. Desire. Want.
Putting his paw on the door, Psion intended to rise up on his back feet and press his ear against the wood. He just wanted to get a better sense of who could be inside…and if they were really sleeping. He nearly yowled in surprise when the door opened, falling away from his paws.
Psion landed on all fours and froze. His wide-eyed gaze sweeping around the room wildly was his only movement. When the breathing coming from whoever lay on the bed hitched, then resumed their steady exhalations, his tension eased. Glancing at the door-jam, Psion saw plenty of scrapes on the brass, making him realize the door must not normally shut properly.
I’ll have to mention that to Beta Luc.
After that thought passed absently through Psion’s mind, the stranger’s scent once again drew him. He slowly crept deeper into the room, taking a moment to use a paw to swing the door mostly shut again. If someone walked by, he didn’t really want to be questioned.
The room was the standard that everyone had—with a bed, dresser, and a couple of shelves. The only other door led to a closet. Only the room that had been shared by the dingo brothers at the end of the hallway had an attached bathroom.
Psion knew that one of the brothers, Lucius, had recently mated with a vampire named Gypsum. Lucius and his brothers had left just the day before for Gypsum’s home out of state. It was why these new vampires were there…to help protect them.
When Psion rounded the bed, he paused, taking in the vampire’s form where he lay on the bed. It was the Native American—Tate. He lay on his left side, his left arm pushed up under the pillow his head rested on. His right arm disappeared under the blanket.
However, the thick braid in the photo was what really caught Psion’s attention. It lay under Tate’s neck, then hung off the side of the bed. It almost reached the floor, the black tip stopping maybe an inch from the wood.
Psion’s paws practically itched to bat at it.
Prowling forward, Psion split his attention between Tate’s closed lids and the thick braid. He knew it was a bad idea, really, he did, but he just couldn’t help himself. Psion needed to rub his cheek against the hair at least…and maybe run his paw over it.
Just a couple of touches, then I’m gone.
With that thought in mind, Psion reached the length of hair. He sniffed it, taking in the scents of some kind of melon combined with what was probably the vampire’s natural musk. Next, he rubbed his cheek against it, finding the hair wonderfully smooth.
Psion flopped onto his side, lifted a paw and gently pushed the rope of hair. It swung like a pendulum, back and forth, transfixing his attention. Reaching out, he pushed at it again, wanting to see it swing wider.
Seeing the braid smack the side of the bed, Psion realized he might have gotten carried away. Still, he found himself fascinated by the thick, black hair. It swung so very nicely.
Hypnotized by the swing of the pretty braid, Psion barely registered it when the vampire rolled off the bed. The man’s big body landing on him startled him out of his enjoyment. Psion yowled as he attempted to scramble away. Tate’s much larger form weighed him down, making it difficult to move.
The vampire somehow managed to plaster himself to Psion’s back, wrap his arms around him, and grab his forelegs. His grip didn’t hurt, but it was definitely firm. He couldn’t seem to wrench free no matter how he twisted.
“Hush, pretty kitty. I won’t hurt you. Just settle down.”
Tate’s soothing croon finally broke into the panic clouding Psion’s mind. He froze, his ear twitching as he listened to the vampire holding him down. Taking in Tate’s scent, he felt his muscles relaxing.
“That’s the way,” Tate murmured. “You’re okay. I won’t hurt you. I’m new here. I’m here to protect you and your pack.” He pressed his nose against the base of Psion’s skull and inhaled deeply. “Damn, cat,” he whispered. “Did you come in here because I smell good to you?”