Read Beast in Me (The Divination Falls Trilogy) Online
Authors: Sommer Marsden
They left Scooter scrubbing his patio. Fall was coming and Cameron noticed that Divination Falls had that busy preparation feeling you didn’t get very often in big cities. If he stood still he could hear the buzz of chainsaws, probably prepping wood for winter. He could also see farm trucks rumbling down the road. A man could get used to this place – a magical place tucked away in the woods …
‘How come no one ever comes here?’ he asked. It was the first time it had occurred to him to do so.
‘A spell takes care of that,’ Eliot said.
‘A protection spell?’
‘Basically. More of a diversion spell. If anyone who’s not, let’s say, magically inclined, notices the road to us, their attention sort of drifts off. The interest in where that road goes doesn’t stick.’
‘Hunh. So I got through because …’
‘Because you were pushed through by Spirit.’
‘Spirit,’ he echoed.
‘Those are your beliefs, correct?’ she asked. ‘Great Spirit, everything connected, everything with a soul and a purpose and a link to everything else.’
‘When you tango with lightning on a regular basis, I dare you to think any other way,’ he teased.
‘I hear you.’ Eliot smiled at him.
Slaughter’s face was unreadable but certainly didn’t look happy, that was for sure. He watched the road with dark, intent eyes and Cameron studied his hulking figure, his chiselled chin. He was a good-looking man, a nice man, and he genuinely seemed to care about his town. He could see why people would want Slaughter in charge. He could also quite clearly see one seer named Eliot making cow eyes at the good sheriff as he wrestled with his thoughts. These two needed to hook up quick.
‘Do you really think it has something to do with the falls?’ Slaughter asked, turning up the road to the rectory.
‘Just making an observation,’ Cameron said. ‘How close is the antique store to the falls?’
‘Right near The Den,’ Eliot said. ‘Where that crazy non-shifting lion girl brought her band of loonies and –’
Slaughter grinned and patted her leg. Eliot blew out a puff of air and he said to her, ‘Breathe.’
‘So it was close to the falls and the original breach.’
‘Every place we’ve shown you has been close to the falls,’ Slaughter said. ‘Then again, everything here is close to the falls.’ He shrugged.
‘All those houses back up to the woods that surround the falls,’ Eliot said. ‘So … what does that mean?’
‘I have no idea. Yet. But you guys think about it too. See if you come up with anything.’
They were sitting in front of the rectory and Cam’s skin started to tingle. Not from lightning or approaching energy, but from excitement. Where was Trace? Would he be happy to see him? Would they
He tried to open his door and couldn’t. Slaughter laughed and got out of the cruiser. He opened the door for Cameron and let him out. ‘Sorry. Occupational standard. Can’t have the prisoners running off at one of the town’s two stop lights, now can we?’
They stood there for a moment, alone. Eliot was in the car digging one of her cinnamon sticks out of her jeans pocket. ‘I know you like her,’ Cameron said boldly to the bear.
The sheriff sighed and ran a hand through his thick, dark hair. ‘What is it about you newbies telling me my business?’
‘First the lion shows up and says something, and now you. The lightning rider.’
‘Well, maybe that’s the Universe telling
to shit or get off the pot.’
‘What a lovely sentiment when discussing romance.’ Slaughter smirked.
Cameron couldn’t hold back his laughter. ‘OK, poor choice of words, but accurate analogy. You make moony eyes at her; she makes moony eyes at you. Get on the same page and make moony eyes at each other at the same time!’
‘Go inside,’ the sheriff said, shaking his head.
‘You should listen to me.’ Cameron grinned.
‘Yeah, yeah. Moony eyes, shitting, pots, and a big nose in my business.’
‘Kiss her!’ Cam said, then hurried toward the rectory. Maybe he’d take his own advice. Maybe he’d find a certain lavender-eyed wolf and kiss him.
But Trace was nowhere to be found and the day was weighing heavy on Cameron. He dragged himself through the cool corridor and stumbled into his room. The shower sounded like the perfect place to be.
Someone had retrieved his bag because it sat by his bed. The same someone, he saw – glancing out the window – had retrieved his car from down the road. It was parked in the roundabout on the side of the rectory.
Maybe it should have upset him; instead, it made him feel cared for, secure. He’d take that feeling at any cost, he was starting to understand.
In the shower, he washed his hair, foam licking at his belly and legs as it drifted down his body to puddle at his feet. It smelled like melons, he thought. Which made him hungry. But a yawn proved that he was more tired than hungry, even. It was a fast shower but hot, and he found his favourite clothes in his bag.
The bed beckoned. He dropped onto it without even turning the TV on, and rolled onto his belly. The rectory was silent and outside he could hear the noise of the town. Birds in the trees behind the rectory. The chainsaw from earlier. Someone using a leaf blower. A distant rumble that must have been a work truck or something big.
‘What are you forgetting?’ Cameron asked himself. Something was nagging at him and he couldn’t get a handle on it. It had only been 24 hours since he’d tumbled into town. But it felt like much longer. Like he’d been here for ever and a day. But in a good way.
‘Think,’ he whispered, but his eyes were drifting shut and, instead of picking at the problem, his mind was playing back the taste of Trace on his tongue. The salty, haunting flavour of his skin and his come. The way it had felt to have that man thrusting his cock deep into his mouth, over his tongue. The noise he’d made and the way he’d looked when his peak had hit him – hard. And then, of course, the feel of him moving close up against Cameron’s trembling body and the way his big, working man hands had felt jerking him off.
Cam shivered, but it was on a slow exhalation, and he let himself drift off at the tail end of that shiver. Just a few minutes of sleep would sharpen his mind and help him recall what it was he couldn’t seem to pry out of his head. Something possibly important. Something he needed to remember.
* * *
Someone was in the room. He could feel it. Cameron’s eyes took a moment to adjust as the dark purple air crowded in around his vision. It was clearly past dusk. Soon it would be full dark. The total silence of the rectory basement allowed him to hear the very controlled breathing.
He shifted, trying hard to see who was with him. He was scared – but not. His heart thundering, but not in an entirely bad way. And yet, he was hesitant to sit up.
‘Rise and shine, electric boy,’ the voice said.
‘Trace.’ The word slipped out of Cam’s mouth like a sigh. He did sit up then, now he knew he was safe.
‘Who else would be watching you like a predator as you sleep?’ He chuckled. ‘Well, in this town we have a lot of predators, but they’re good-natured and kind for the most part.’
‘What time is it?’
‘Past seven. It’s starting to get dark earlier now. Fall’s coming.’
Cameron felt him get up and move. The energy in the room shifted and the personal energy given off by Trace rubbed up against him, licked his face, curled close so that his heartbeat stabilised.
‘I slept through … everything.’
‘I came looking for you. Figured you might want my personal tour of the things that have been going bump in the night. But then I found you here sleeping. And …’
‘And I pulled up a chair to watch.’
Cam stood and made his way unsteadily to the small bathroom. He’d not just slept, he’d crashed. His sleep had been all-consuming and nearly violent with its intensity. He brushed his teeth quickly and ran his hands through his hair. What a mess.
‘Why would you watch me sl –?’ He turned toward the other man and almost bumped into him. Trace wasn’t just big and handsome, he was quiet as hell.
‘Because you’re pretty and I like to watch pretty boys sleep,’ Trace growled. They were face to face with barely an inch separating them.
‘Do you?’ Trace’s fingers slid along the middle of Cameron’s belly, making the muscles ripple. ‘Can you explain to me why you’re the first person besides Father Finn I’ve told my story to?’
Cameron swallowed hard – wishing, praying,
the wolf would kiss him. ‘Because you’re lonely,’ he answered honestly.
Trace rested his forehead to Cam’s and gazed at him with those amazing eyes. ‘I am lonely. But that’s nothing new.’
Cameron shrugged. ‘I don’t know. I … You …’ He blew out a sigh. ‘I’m doing a piss-poor job of speaking coherently to you.’
‘I think it has to do with this.’ Trace pushed his hand back and forth between their chests. The thumping noise made Cam feel like he was dreaming. It was a drumbeat beating between them – a hypnotising sound.
‘Some sort of …’ Trace cocked his head and grinned. The only light in the room was in the bathroom and it made Cam feel as if they were standing under a spotlight in a darkened theatre. ‘Something.’
Cameron grinned, feeling something tight and anxious in his chest let go and settle down. ‘That sure clears it up.’
‘I know, right?’ Trace said, stepping forward until Cam’s back hit the door jam and he had nowhere left to go. ‘I watched you sleep and kept waiting to get bored. I mean, what’s so special about you, Lightning Boy?’
Cameron swallowed hard again, gave another shrug. ‘I have no idea.’
‘Me either, but it seems to be a lot. At least to the part of me that isn’t too busy being an asshole.’
Cameron laughed so hard it came out like a bark. The sound was cut off when Trace pushed his hands into his hair, gripped it tight, and kissed him until all the air in the room melted away. He pushed his body firmly to Trace’s body and the heat was staggering. It was like being pressed against a hot oven and Cameron felt a flush come over him.
‘Will you – this time? It’s been so long.’
‘I’m afraid,’ Trace said, laughing.
Cam imagined it was the hardest thing for the wolf to say. ‘Of what?’ He pushed his lips to the other man’s before he could answer. Parted his lips when Trace instinctively pushed against his lips to demand entrance. When Trace’s tongue slid over his, Cam sucked it hard – the way he would the wolf’s cock – and he heard the rumble of a pleased growl in the bigger man’s chest.
‘For starters, I’m afraid I’ll kill you.’
‘Have you killed anyone since then?’ Cam asked, holding his breath at the bold question that might break the whole damn mood.
‘No. I’ve wanted to, but no.’
‘I know that feeling. There are a ton of assholes in the world.’
‘Are you flirting with me?’ Trace asked with a rusty chuckle. He ground his cock to Cameron’s and his eyes flashed darker, lit with what looked like flecks of silver.
Cam shook his head, blushing. ‘I didn’t mean it like that. Look, I’m afraid of killing my lovers. Well – once I was. Now I just don’t have any, thanks to the fear.’
He pushed his fingers into the thick hair at Trace’s brow and tugged enough that he felt the wolf’s cock jerk against his leg. Images flashed in Cameron’s mind of that shaft sliding past his lips and over his tongue. He called up the salty wonderful taste of Trace’s skin – his come. Cam sighed as the bigger man kissed his cheekbones in a surprisingly gentle way.
‘I think we cancel each other out, Lightning Boy,’ the wolf said, and swiftly spun him and pinned him to the wall, facing away.
Cam pressed his face to the cool white plaster and managed a gasping, ‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean if I tried anything dangerous you’d just fry me in my boots.’ He kicked Cam’s legs apart and there it was again, the insistent drive of a hard member to the crack of his ass. Cam felt a shiver roll through him. God, how he wanted this to pan out. God, how he’d missed contact – touching and kissing and fucking. Being close to another person.
‘And if I accidentally fried you in your boots –?’ he started, feeling nerves curl around in his gut like oil smoke.
‘I’d wolf out on you. Probably take off before you could do it. See, we tend to know things are coming before they come … Heh. So to speak.’
‘Then …’ Cameron let the word peter off, imagining himself pinned under that intense purple gaze.
‘Then we should just shut the fuck up and fuck.’
He expected it all to happen right there. Against the wall. Like some porno prison movie that, at this point, he’d probably pay to see. But no, the wolf looped an arm around Cam’s waist and hauled him into the nearly monastic room.
‘The good father had me bring you food, by the way. So when we’re done, you need to eat. You’re light as a feather.’
‘Hush,’ said Trace. ‘It wasn’t an insult.’
Cameron pressed his lips together as he was dropped and rolled to the bed. Then the man was covering him with his body, the heat of him a blanket, and kissing him. Kissing him! Energy tickled at Cameron’s toes and he felt that stab of anxiety.
‘Don’t worry. It’s fine,’ Trace said, teeth on his earlobe. ‘You can’t hurt me.’
He crushed his mouth down on Cameron’s mouth and their tongues tangled for a minute. A long and blissful minute that made Cam’s blood leap and his stomach swirl with desire. He was totally consumed by his attraction and it was so, so good.
‘Electricity can hurt anyone,’ he mumbled, shoving his hand between them to find Trace’s belt buckle. He tugged until the leather and the metal obeyed his fervent wishes and came undone. His fingers stumbled over the button, the zipper, but finally he was touching hot skin. A peppering of hair under his palm as he slid his hand down further to grip the large, willing cock that awaited him.
‘I can sense it coming.’ The wolf laughed. ‘And if you keep doing that, it won’t be the only thing coming. Come on now, Cameron. Let’s get your clothes off.’
Cameron thought the moment would never pass. The clutch and wrestle with pants and clothes. But, finally, they were bare. Belly to belly, chest to chest, cock to cock – which was the part that might make him lose consciousness before anything happened.
‘Have you changed your mind?’ Trace almost leered in the meagre light still shining from the bathroom. His eyes were wild and hungry and Cameron felt his dick jerk in response to the lust he saw there. His body was heavy with lust but his heart felt light as dandelion fluff.
‘Then why do you smell so nervous?’
Cameron shifted and watched the wolf blink slow and lazy – the friction had done him in for a heartbeat.
‘Because I am nervous. It’s been … for ever.’
Trace grinned. His hands began a seeking slide along Cam’s skin. His fingertips travelled: knees and thighs, belly and hipbones, ass and flanks, and finally – finally – he gripped Cameron’s cock in his big, hot hand. ‘You’re vibrating,’ the wolf said.
‘You just touched me everywhere. I’m dying over here. Of course I’m vibrating.’
‘Yeah?’ Trace chuckled, his hand working up and down the length of Cameron’s cock.
‘Yeah.’ The word was a puff of breath – a secret prayer.
Trace kissed down his belly, briefly flicking his tongue into the shallow divot of Cameron’s navel. The heat of Trace’s mouth made the heat of his body seem tepid.
Trace flicked his tongue over each uprising of hip bone, kissed right above Cam’s cock but didn’t touch it. Cameron thought his breath would freeze in his chest and he’d simply stop breathing. Just the barest hint of wet tongue at the top of his shaft before Trace laughed softly and kissed all along one thigh down to the knee.
‘Not even close,’ Trace whispered. His big fingers curled against Cam’s skin to hold him.
Cam fought the urge to thrust up and beg with his body. Finally, he sighed mightily. ‘Please don’t make me expire before we can actually fuck.’
‘Who knew we’d be here when you rolled into town yesterday? Right. Here …’ A single finger pushed against Cam’s hole and he hummed softly. The finger worked inside him and flexed even as that tongue dragged along the very top of his cock again.
‘You’re driving me insane.’
‘No. I’m getting ready to fuck you.’ Trace’s breath slid along the fragile skin on Cam’s groin. His thighs erupted in pebbled skin and the fine hairs on his body tingled. This was electricity that had nothing to do with Brother Lightning. This was connection, physical and otherwise.
Cameron surrendered then, letting his body absorb every touch and every nuzzle. When Trace’s mouth slid down his cock and he felt that tugging rush of a mouth sucking on him, Cam curled his fingers into the cool, plain sheets. Outside rain tapped the window. Not a brutal storm, a gentle drizzle.
Trace cupped his balls and squeezed just hard enough to keep him on the edge of breaking. He arched up to push himself deeper into the wolf’s mouth. He let out a growl and moved a bit lower so his lips brushed Cam’s pubic hair. Then he growled again and moved up Cam’s body, shoving his legs high and leaning his full weight on Cam’s body. One rough and rushed kiss and Trace pushed a few fingers deep in Cam’s ass. Judging him ready, he ran his cock along that tight hole. Inch by inch he forced himself into Cameron, and when he was fully seated deep inside, he stilled, kissing Cam full on the lips.
‘Here we are,’ he said, his voice caught somewhere between man and beast. The roughness of that sound seemed to scrape against Cam’s skin.
‘Here we are,’ Cam gasped, wishing beyond all wishes that the man would simply fucking move. His cock was trapped against his belly and the friction and heat of Trace hovering over him was maddening. Cameron’s body had become one big pulse. One big, needy, thumping pulse.
‘No more talk. Shut up and kiss me.’
So Cam did, craning his neck to get at those soft, full lips. Tongue clashed with tongue and Trace was moving. Slow and sure and with great deliberation. Cameron’s hands plucked and pulled, hovering around Trace’s body and feeling every inch of skin he could reach.
‘Behave now.’ Trace laughed and caught his hands, pinning his wrists above his head. His free hand moved between them, stroking up and down Cam’s erection. He moved restlessly, trying to reach out for more friction but flee from it. It was all too good, this moving together, and he wanted more but didn’t want it to end. Ever, if he had his way.
‘I am doing my best.’ Cam dragged his teeth along Trace’s jaw before licking at the salt on his neck. He’d use whatever he could reach to get his contact. He’d cheat if he had to. Moving his wrists just enough to fight against the wolf’s grip, he arched up to get Trace deeper, to create more pressure on his blissfully tortured erection.
‘You’re not behaving very well at all,’ Trace said, capturing Cam’s lower lip with his sharp teeth. The spiky, insistent bit of pain had Cam’s cock rock hard. He was so on edge he was making nonsense noises but Trace didn’t seem to mind; he licked along Cam’s lips and ate up every crazy noise he made.
‘I don’t want it to end,’ Cameron confessed as he thrust his body up. Trace’s hand gripped harder on his cock and Cam felt the reward of not just being full but being touched.
‘It’s going to end. Pretty soon, I bet. But – if you can …’ Trace shook his head.
‘Nothing. Later. Just shut up and let me fuck you, electric boy.’
Somehow when Trace smiled it was all OK and the questions bled away, though something in his gut told Cam he might not like what the wolf had been about to say. Instead of fighting it, he gave in and arched up hard. With every driving thrust and every squeeze on his cock, Cam got closer to coming, until he seemed to exist in some surreal space caught on the verge of orgasm.
When Trace’s teeth pressed against his skin, hard enough for Cameron to see small white stars in the nearly dark room, he came. His body jolted up under the bigger man’s in a nearly mortifying need for contact. His belly warm and sticky with come, he moved up hard and fast and felt the wolf’s body go rigid. Cameron kissed him roughly – his jaw, his neck, his collar bone and finally his lips – anywhere he could reach. Trace hissed and then slid into him deeply once more, in a surprisingly tender thrust, and he was coming. Clutching at Cam’s wrists with his hand, his cheek pressed to Cam’s cheek.
‘Jesus,’ Cam said again.
He went to kiss Trace and the wolf moved his head. It was a subtle movement, but Cam caught the dodge and his heart broke a bit. But there had to be a reason; he’d try to let it go.
‘You OK?’ he couldn’t help himself from asking.
‘Fine,’ Trace said. ‘But you – you need to eat. And then I’ll take you to the mystery spot.’ The wolf tried on a laugh at his comment but it sounded taut and rough.
‘OK,’ Cam said, playing along. He didn’t want to be hurt or shocked, so he pushed both feelings aside and let Trace go when he sat up. ‘I am hungry.’
The wolf smiled. It was a forced smile, and Cam felt a knot in his throat. A knot of stupid emotion he should not be feeling. It was just fucking. Nothing more, nothing less. ‘Great. Let’s get you some food. Father Finn makes a hell of a turkey club.’
Father Finn did make one hell of a turkey club, and after hours of unexpected nap and then the first fuck he’d had in what felt like ages, it was just what Cameron needed.
‘Let’s take that walk. No one’s out there now. It’s not far.’
Outside, the first bites of fall were in the air. The breeze stirred, kissing cool lines along Cam’s skin. He almost shivered from the brisk air, but it faded. ‘So you saw one of these things?’ His flashlight beam bounced along the dark path. He assumed Trace didn’t really need one.
‘I did,’ Trace said, clomping along the path. He was big and noisy and Cameron smiled, trying very hard to imagine the shifter being quiet and stealthy like his animal spirit.
‘And was it just a glimpse or was it … more tactile?’
‘What’s that mean? More tactile?’
‘Did you touch it? Did it touch you? Did it … eat your chicken?’ Cam sighed, not knowing what else to say.
Trace snorted. ‘Eat my chicken? Is that a sex joke?’
Cameron almost choked on his own spit. ‘God, no! Sorry. It’s just the second lady I met today, she had a chicken in her aviary –’
‘Ah, poor Molly,’ Trace said, nodding. ‘Yeah. It ate Mathilda.’
‘So you all know each other?’ Cam asked. A spark of jealousy ignited in his belly. They all had a place to call home. They all knew each other. It was a community, a family of sorts. He could barely remember the feeling of community.
‘Of course.’ The wolf stilled. For a brief and shining moment, he took Cam’s hand. He helped him over a fallen log but then – almost hesitantly – let Cam’s hand go. He cleared his throat. ‘We live in a small, secret town designed to draw in shifters and special types. We’re cloaked magically to be forgotten. We have to take care of each other. Know each other.’
Cam wished for his hand to be back in Trace’s bigger one. Had it really only been a day since he’d rolled downhill into town? It seemed like much longer when he thought about it.
They finally arrived at a small gazebo. Cam could hear the falls rushing, and if he shut his eyes he could feel a mist on his face. This had to be the place.
‘Here it is. I was out here a few weeks ago and heard something in the woods. Right there over the railing, in the wood. I assumed that it was an animal.’
‘Assumed?’ Cam asked. ‘Wouldn’t you – you know –
Trace laughed. ‘Well, for one thing I was in human form, so not really. I have a heightened sense of smell and sight and, yes, hearing, but not like that. Not like I can hear a noise and go “oh, that’s a raccoon”. Secondly, I wasn’t really paying attention, to be honest.’
‘Ah, I see. OK, so you hear a noise and … what?’
‘And I looked up. Didn’t see anything, so I went to the edge and looked over. There’s really no drop at all from the gazebo to the ground. What? Two feet? Father Finn said this was out here when he arrived. We assume it was someone’s favourite place to sit at some point.’
‘I’d imagine so.’
The wolf curled his fingers to the rail and leant over just a bit. Cam caught the change in his expression in the torchlight.
‘I almost let it take me,’ Trace said, so softly Cam questioned if he’d heard it. ‘It reached out and I could feel it. The moisture of its skin and the heaviness of its presence. The
of it. And I almost let it take me. I almost just gave in.’
It dawned on Cam that what he’d taken for coldness, for standoffishness, was in fact grief. He had been Trace’s first, to hear him talk, since the man he’d loved and killed. There was a lot of pain tucked inside the large, powerful man before him.
‘But you didn’t,’ he said.
‘Because you’re not ready to give up?’
‘Because I’m a coward.’ Trace’s eyes turned to Cam and there was that brief flash of animal shine. ‘Nothing more, nothing less.’