Authors: Charlotte Rose
The Shifters of Alligator Bend 3
Sophie Deco is thrilled to be playing at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. She notices Virgil and Gabriel in the audience, and is shocked when they transform into alligators right in the middle of the club. As if things weren't strange enough, Sophie learns she's their mate.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing at an alarming rate. Even a regular thunderstorm has the potential to flood New Orleans. After doing some digging, they realize Ferdinand Villemont's construction company is behind it. As the shifters and Sophie begin to work out plans to stop the destruction, old wounds resurface, creating tensions all around.
Sophie finally allows herself to fall in love with Gabriel and Virgil, but they've barely had the chance to celebrate when they discover the work they've done to protect the city has been sabotaged. They'll need to rely on each other to save New Orleans and heal old betrayals.
Note: There is no sexual relationship or touching for titillation between or among the men.
Ménage a Trois/Quatre, Paranormal, Shape-shifter
The Shifters of Alligator Bend 3
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Ménage Everlasting
Copyright © 2012 by Charlotte Rose
E-book ISBN: 1-61926-274-6
First E-book Publication 2012
Cover design by Les Byerley
All art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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The Shifters of Alligator Bend 3
Copyright © 2011
Virgil Marcon crossed his arms, wondering why he and Gabriel Dejan were in the tiny club. On one level, he had the answer. He’d been walking around enjoying Jazz Fest with Gabriel, as well as a few other gators from the congregation. Saturday was typically a major workday, but Jazz Fest was one of the few times the congregation leaders made an exception. It was one of the biggest local events of the year, and nobody wanted to miss out.
He’d never heard of Sophie Deco before, but as they were walking down the street, Gabriel grabbed him by the shoulder and pointed to the sign in front of a club.
“We need to go see her,” he said.
As he gazed at the name on the sign, Virgil felt an odd pull in his body, as if some unseen force was trying to push him into the club doors. Still, he wasn’t sure he wanted to change their plans for a singer he knew nothing about.
“I thought we were going to check out that jazz
combo a few blocks up.”
“Yeah, I know, I just have this strange feeling that we need to go see her. I can’t explain it.”
Virgil sighed. “Yeah, I feel it, too. It’s so weird. I wish I knew what was going on.”
The rest of their group stopped walking and turned around, as if they only just realized that they were leaving Virgil and Gabriel behind.
“You two coming?” Adele Dupart-Galvez called out.
Virgil glanced at Gabriel then shook his head. “Nah. You all go ahead if you want. We’re gonna check out this act.”
The other six gators walked back to them. “Sophie Deco?” Xavier Dupart asked. “Who’s she?”
Gabriel shrugged. “We’ve never heard of her before. But we walked past the sign, and I just had this weird feelin’ that we needed to go in.”
Xavier exchanged a glance with Adele. “A feelin’, huh?”
Virgil grew apprehensive by the sudden change in Xavier’s tone. “Yeah, a feelin’. Why? Somethin’ wrong with that?”
“Maybe we should stick to the original plan,” Oscar Galvez said.
“Yeah, why?” Narcisse Vitrac-Rey asked.
“Well—I—uh—it just don’t seem like a good idea, is all.”
Virgil raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean, not a good idea?”
“Come on, Oscar,” Narcisse said. “Admit it, you have no good reason.”
Oscar seemed to puff up with pride. “I do have good reasons.”
Virgil rolled his eyes. “Whatever, man. You’re actin’ weird for some reason, but you clearly don’t wanna tell us why. What, did you sleep with her once or somethin’?”
“I most certainly did not, and you know it.”
“Not like that would be any reason
couldn’t go to the show,” Gabriel added.
“You have a good point there. C’mon, let’s go in. We’ll meet up with y’all later,” Virgil said.
“We’re goin’ with you,” Armand Vitrac said. “Who knows? Might be a good show.”
Virgil glanced at Gabriel again, but his friend only shrugged. He didn’t have an explanation for their friends’ odd behavior, either.
Still, as he stood in the crowd and felt his eyes adjust as the house lights dimmed, he wondered what, exactly, had driven him into the club.
But when Sophie Deco walked onstage and started playing, his mind suddenly went completely blank. All questions and thoughts were completely gone. All he could focus on was the image of the gorgeous beauty playing the guitar with such speedy precision that he wouldn’t have been surprised if her fingers had started smoking.
She seemed nervous at first, but as her set continued, she seemed to relax. As she loosened up and began to dance around the stage, Virgil’s attraction for her grew. His eyes were drawn to the way her breasts bounced as she jumped around, and before he knew it, his cock was pressing against the fabric of his jeans. He suddenly wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make it through the set. All he wanted to do was jump on the stage and rip her clothes off.
He wasn’t surprised when his cock got even harder, to the point where it was becoming painful for him. What did shock him was that all of a sudden, his skin started to thicken and turn green. He could feel his nails turn to claws and his teeth grow long and sharp. He could feel his jawbones change shape, and all of a sudden, he was shrinking down to the floor.
What the fuck? This hasn’t happened in over a year. I have to fight it
He took a deep breath and concentrated on what it felt like to be in human form in an attempt to change back. But the screams of the other concertgoers filled the air, breaking his concentration. Not that he blamed them. Not many people expected to find dangerous predators in the middle of a club. Still, their reactions were making it all but impossible for him to shift back.
Come on. Just concentrate. Imagine what your skin is supposed to feel like. Imagine standing up on two legs
But suddenly, his energy changed again. He lost all ability to concentrate on resuming human form, and instead turned toward Gabriel. His mind was suddenly full of jealousy, all directed at his best friend. But Virgil only had a second to be confused before he opened his powerful jaws and let out a bellow.
Gabriel didn’t seem to be in a good mood, either. The second Virgil finished his bellow, Gabriel slapped his head down on the ground. Virgil was shocked by the territorial gesture, but he couldn’t help but think his friend might have been experiencing the same inexplicable jealousy. Yet no matter how hard he tried to fight it, his body reacted. He opened his mouth again and bellowed even louder this time, snapping at Gabriel’s nose as he closed his jaws.
The crowd, in their fear, dispersed quickly, and suddenly there was plenty of room for Virgil to lash out at his friend. But Gabriel wasn’t taking any of it. Every time Virgil attempted to bite or made a swipe with his tail, Gabriel was ready with a counterattack. They circled each other, attacking and retreating, until Virgil felt something grab his tail. Before he had a chance to attempt to attack, Oscar had seized the moment and clamped his hands around Virgil’s jaws.
* * * *
The guitar string snapped with so much recoil that it whipped across Sophie Deco’s cheek. With just five minutes left until showtime, she hurried to attach a fresh one. She didn’t realize she was bleeding until red spots stained the white finish of her custom Gibson.
“Just what I need,” she muttered. The preshow jitters increased tenfold as she rubbed at the spots.
“Calm down,” her friend Georgina Fucher said. She handed Sophie a damp paper towel. “Here, you wipe down the guitar, and I’ll take care of your cheek.”
“Thanks, Georgina,” Sophie said as her friend applied pressure to the cut. “I don’t know how I managed all this stage fright before I met you.”
Georgina laughed. “You were doing just fine for yourself, and you know it.” She stepped away and assessed Sophie’s face. “Okay, it’s a pretty shallow cut. I stopped the bleeding, but it’s still pretty red. I don’t think it would be a good idea to put makeup over it. Do you want me to get you a couple of Band-Aids or something?”
Sophie shook her head. “It’ll just get all gross and slide out of place when I start sweating. Hey, at least this way I’ll look more like a badass. It wouldn’t hurt to toughen up my image a little bit.”
Georgina giggled. “You don’t need to be tougher. Just go wow them with your skills.”
“Two minutes!” a stagehand called.
Sophie pressed Georgina into a quick hug. “Thanks for being here. Seriously. It really helps.”
“Of course,” Georgina said. “Now go kick some ass out there. I’ll be cheering for you.”
Sophie took one more deep breath and then hurried to the wings. She gave a quick nod to the stage manager to reassure them that she was there, and then she closed her eyes, trying to center herself. She could hear the murmurs of the crowd but resisted peeking around the curtain to check out the size of the audience. Knowing just how big—or small—the crowd was could throw the whole show off.
She opened her eyes just as the house lights went down and the emcee went to the front of the stage.
“Welcome to the show, everyone,” he called into the microphone. “Thank you all for coming out. How are you all enjoying Jazz Fest this year?”
The crowd went wild, and Sophie resisted trying to guess the size of the crowd based on the sound of their shouts.
“Come on, I think you can do better than that. Who’s enjoying Jazz Fest?”
This time, the crowd started screaming, and Sophie felt butterflies in her stomach as she realized that this might have been her most well-attended show yet. She knew that playing for Jazz Fest would draw numbers, but she still viewed herself as a small-time local act. She didn’t imagine many people would have been at her late-afternoon set.
“That’s more like it,” the emcee said. “And now, without further ado, it is my pleasure to introduce one of my favorite local acts. You’ve seen her around the French Quarter, and the
named her the best local artist last year. Please join me in giving a proper Jazz Fest welcome to Sophie Deco!”
Taking one last calming breath, Sophie gripped the neck of her guitar and jogged out onto the stage.
“Hello!” she screamed. The crowd screamed back.
“It’s so great to be playing my first Jazz Fest,” she said. “Thank you all for coming out to see the show.”
Not wanting to carry on with the stage banter, she launched into her first song, one of her faster numbers, to get the crowed energized for the rest of her set. As her fingers and voice eased through the first verse, Sophie finally started to relax and enjoy the performance. By the end of the song, she could even make out a few people bouncing around in the front row. Once she played the last note, she immediately launched into her second number, another fast one, and as she lost all her stage fright, she began cavorting, her fingers never missing a note as she bounced around the floor and whipped her hair around. Even the pain in her cheek disappeared as the endorphins kicked in.
For the third song, Sophie switched to a slow number, in part to shake things up and in part to give herself a chance to catch her breath. As her heart rate slowed and her fingers carried her through the smooth, bluesy tune, Sophie peered out into the darkness, trying to see if she could identify any faces and if any of them were regulars at her local gigs. It was too dark to make out any distinct features, so Sophie turned her attention back to the music. But she found her eye was suddenly drawn to the center of the crowd, where she could start to make out two faces, as though that spot held more illumination than anywhere else in the room. She couldn’t make them out distinctly, but she could identify strong jawlines and dark hair.
Pulling her gaze away to transition to the next song, Sophie found that her eyes were drawn back to the men almost immediately, as though she had no control over what to look at. Then she realized that the men were staring at her as well. She could barely make out their eyes, but she could feel their gazes on her. She never would have believed that a gaze could have physical weight, and yet she had the unmistakable sense of their eyes pressing against her body, as though a firm hand was holding her steady as her heart began to race and her pussy began to throb.
Sophie was at the point in the show where she would usually take a break for stage banter, but she didn’t trust herself to open her mouth. Not with the way she was feeling. She fumbled the transition into the next song but kept playing, certain that if she stopped she’d fall apart. She didn’t understand why she was suddenly engrossed in the two strangers she could barely see, or why her cunt was pulsing along to the beat of her music with such intensity.