Thursday, 17 June 2010

Excerpt Day - Wolf Town © Joely Skye

Excerpt

Rory pulled in a breath and tried to ignore the unpleasant smell of exhaust mixed with human sweat. The October day had turned unusually warm, and it seemed like everyone and their brother was overdressed. Actually sweat wasn’t much of an annoyance. It was the antiperspirant and perfumes and colognes that came with it, assaulting his nose.

He leaned casually against the bus stand, giving the impression he was gazing vacantly down the road, one of many waiting for the streetcar to arrive. His target walked past, hunched over as usual, staring down at the sidewalk. Rory could have been dressed in neon orange and doing jumping jacks, and the man wouldn’t have noticed him.

Rory straightened from his slouch and detached from the bus stand to follow Scott Lund, twenty-eight years old and apparently entirely alone in the world. Was he headed to his apartment, or would Friday night bring a break from that routine?

Please God a break. Four days on the job and Rory was already dying of boredom.

He didn’t want to be here, bodyguarding some unstable psychic mind-control-type person whose file didn’t make him sound particularly appealing, let alone nice.

Which was why Scott’s rather defeated posture intrigued Rory. Although he recognized that wolves were more aware than others of body posture and considered it an important signal, this guy evidently did not. Quite frankly, if a wolf walked the way Scott did, Rory would have assumed he was a dysfunctional pack’s omega—the unfortunate wolf everyone else abused. But Scott was a Minder who lived by himself, and Rory had to be careful not to make assumptions or perceive him to be weak when he was not.

Even if this Scott was apparently in need of a bodyguard. Not for the first time, Rory wondered if his father and Trey had cooked up this job simply as a make-work project. He glared at Scott’s back, as if he could blame him for Rory’s predicament vis-à-vis pack politics, that is, his being the son of the alpha.

Scott turned left onto Bloor and Rory sighed. The man appeared to be walking home.

But to Rory’s relief, Scott then did something outside his normal routine. He ducked into a side street and into a pub.
Excellent. A much-needed change in protocol. Rory followed, exchanging the pollution of the city for the smells of cooking, alcohol and disinfectants—which meant the place was kept halfway clean.

Scott slid onto a stool near the end of the bar and nodded at the bartender. They traded lackluster greetings, and Scott was passed a beer while he ordered “the usual”. He even mustered a halfhearted smile for that. Scott, generally, was not a smiley guy, at least that Rory had observed.

Before Rory made it too obvious about who he was stalking, he grabbed a stool for himself, three down from Scott, and leaned on the bar.

“What can I get you?” the blond bartender asked, and Rory toyed with the idea of flirting. But his wolf didn’t want to draw attention to himself in this strange city, so he quietly requested the day’s special, with coffee, and left it at that.
Muted music, not quite Muzak, played in the background, and an old clock ticked overhead. Did this Scott not talk to anyone ever? It was getting a little ridiculous. Wolves might be more social than Minders, but Rory couldn’t see a complete lack of friends, or even acquaintances, as being healthy. He’d be reporting this back to Trey, if nothing else.

It occurred to him that if Scott had been a wolf, Trey would never have left him alone for so long. Common wisdom was that wolves needed social contact to stay sane. Minders on the other hand apparently made each other more insane when they got together.

So Rory was here, making sure Scott didn’t get co-opted into a “pod”. God, just their word for a social group was creepy.
Scott wasn’t creepy though. Rory cast a sidelong glance at his target who looked so completely normal if, frankly, a little…sad. Or perhaps that was Rory projecting, because he’d be one unhappy puppy if he spent his life in the city with no friends.

Trey hadn’t banned contact with Scott, had just told Rory to be careful if he went that route. Trey had been talking about acquaintanceship or possibly friendship, Rory knew, but after watching Scott for four days, Rory figured he could sleep with him too—if that worked out. It would pass the time. Might get him more information, might make him more likely to be aware of any danger threatening Scott. Trey, with his FBI background, would never counsel such an approach, but Rory sure as hell wasn’t Trey. The old man called this a job, but it was a favor and they both knew it, and Rory couldn’t stay away from his accounting job forever, pack politics or not.

He waited till the bartender was busy with polishing glasses or whatever it was bartenders did, then turned, angling his body towards Scott. “Excuse me. Do you have the time?”

Bent over his plate, Scott flicked a wary glance Rory’s way, enough for him to catch a flash of gray eyes, before he raised his wrist and spoke softly to it. “Sure. It’s 5:50.”

“Thanks.”
Scott nodded and went back to work on his food.

Hmm, Rory wasn’t sure that exchange had been worth much. Now there was little chance Scott wouldn’t recognize him in the future. Which wouldn’t be such a problem if Scott knew Rory was actually looking out for his interests. Wracking his brain for another way in—Rory didn’t normally have trouble making conversation but this situation had him stumped—he was surprised when out of the corner of his eye he saw Scott straighten his back, pull in a breath and face Rory again.

“Visiting Toronto?” The question was diffident, but Scott’s body language was not. In some way he was counting on Rory’s answer.

Good. He flashed a quick smile. “In a way. I’m here for a couple of weeks for work.”
Scott nodded, then offered a suggestion. “Be sure to see the CN Tower.”

Like hell he’d go up that sky-high elevator. The wolf in him rebelled at the idea of enclosed space, entrapment. But nevertheless Rory asked, “It’s worth the price of admission?”

“The view’s impressive, if you like that sort of thing.” Scott shrugged, picking up Rory’s doubts, which indicated that Scott might be more observant than Rory had guessed. Scott lapsed into silence, seemingly having little to add.
“Have you lived in Toronto long?”

“A few years,” Scott answered vaguely. “I like it.” He fiddled with his knife.
“What’s the nightlife like?” Rory kept his tone close to neutral, just the slightest hint of interest showing, easy to ignore. Don’t frighten him off had been his biggest instruction for the job. Trey would kill him if he put this Minder on the run, especially by showing too much interest.

“It’s all right.” Not exactly a huge affirmation, but Scott turned towards Rory, met his gaze full on and something shifted in his expression. Those gray eyes had a kind of power and Rory wondered if Scott was going to try to push him. He hoped not. He didn’t want to have to report that to Trey.

They gazed, for longer than was comfortable, but Scott remained silent, so it was Rory who spoke next, keeping everything about himself, his voice and his body language relaxed. “You can lead the way, this being your hometown and all.”

Scott cocked his head, considering, before he answered, “Sure.”

And that was that. They had some kind of agreement. They paid off their bills and exited the pub. The now-cool air hit Rory’s face—refreshing. Night had fallen, and with it the worst of the day’s smells lessened.

“So what would you like to see?” asked Scott.

“High Park.”

Scott stumbled, then stopped to face him, disappointment more than dismay on his face. “A park? Uh…”

Rory laughed and held up a hand. He was so not a city person. “For walking, not sex. I thought we’d go back to my hotel. If you were inclined.”

Scott gazed at him doubtfully.

“Really. I’d like a walk in the park. I live in the country. I don’t particularly enjoy the city streets.”

“Then you want to go back to your hotel?”
“Yes.” Rory watched as Scott seemed to debate something within himself.

The Minder’s gaze intensified, and his voice turned harsher as he said, “At High Park we’ll chat only, no sex, no touching. Then back to your hotel.”

And Rory felt it. Scott had tried to manipulate him, and he could even see the appeal of the Minder’s suggestion though otherwise wasn’t much affected. If Rory were human, not wolf, he apparently wouldn’t have realized anything was off, would have simply believed it was a great idea of Scott’s and agreed wholeheartedly.

Scott wasn’t supposed to use his powers on unsuspecting humans, of which he was one, to Scott’s knowledge. Rory wondered what Trey would make of it.

“Okay,” Rory said slowly since Scott was observing him closely.

“You said that’s what you wanted.” Scott spoke with just the slightest strain of defensiveness.
It was insurance, Rory recognized, in case he had other ideas Scott wasn’t prepared to entertain. It seemed almost fair. “How do we get to High Park?”

Scott gestured forward with one open hand, and they walked.

The conversation stuttered and stopped, began again. Scott worked as a mailman, and he liked getting outside for his job. Rory admitted he was an accountant.

“Why are you in Toronto then?” Scott asked.
“Courting a new client.”

It had the ring of truth, and Scott accepted that as they walked through the not-very-well-lit path of High Park. Rory smelled Scott’s increasing nervousness. Perhaps he didn’t like being here at night. Perhaps it was Rory himself. But Rory felt safer. He could hear and smell and see everything he needed to know they were alone, not being followed. It was different on the streets where his level of alert had to remain high.

The park calmed Rory too, so that by the time they exited, he felt confident about what he was doing. Trey hadn’t told him to stay hands-off, but he wouldn’t approve. However, Rory didn’t see a better way to insert himself into Scott’s life and the surveillance from afar had its own problems.

Besides, the man appealed to Rory, despite everything he knew. It was partially the body language Scott used, which roused Rory’s too-strong protective instincts. Also Scott plain smelled good to his wolf. And though Scott’s face was not remarkable, his eyes were quite something, a vividness there that intrigued Rory.

Even if Scott used his eyes and voice to manipulate others, he couldn’t manipulate Rory.

Scott stopped, rubbed his forehead and said with a mix of weariness and sadness, “I’m more tired than I realized.”
Interesting. He was trying to back out. Even if Scott had thought he’d pushed Rory, he wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to do it again, wasn’t thriving to be a master manipulator as the government informationals on Minders sometimes suggested.

Rory stepped closer and watched Scott tense even if he didn’t move away. “Maybe the park wasn’t such a good idea.”
“Well, it was if you liked it.”

“Come back to my room with me,” he murmured.
Scott stared, pupils large and dark with the night, and Rory caught the scent of his arousal. Good. Scott was attracted. Rory placed a hand on Scott’s hip, felt him jerk slightly under his palm, but still Scott didn’t retreat. Instead he asked, of all things, “How old are you?”

He leaned towards Scott’s ear. “Twenty-six.”

“You look younger.”
“So I’ve been told. I can show you ID if you’d like.”

Scott simply shook his head, and Rory lifted his other hand, wrapped it around the nape of Scott’s neck, felt and watched as Scott jerked against his touch then settled into it again.

This reaction of Scott’s had Rory both turned on and worried. Protective instincts worked in odd ways on him. If Scott were a wolf, Rory would be wondering who had hurt him, but humans were different and Minders were different again.

“No force, no penetration.” Scott’s eyes had gone intense, and for the second time in an hour, Rory felt his words. In other circumstances, he might have been angry or at least irritated that Scott was trying to manipulate him. But these pushes were all about self-protection, and Scott had tried to cry off.

“Agreed.” Rory was tempted to kiss him but something told him to wait for the hotel room. So he stepped back. Scott was surprised to be released.

“You’re still interested?” That was a question, no push behind it, and Scott seemed puzzled by Rory’s continued attraction.

Rory smiled, slow and easy. “Absolutely.”

Wolf Town © Joely Skye

Wolf Town

Author: Joely Skye
Genre: Gay-Lesbian, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publisher

Buylink

Poised to run. Aching to stay. What lies between is sweet torture.

For nine years, Scott Lund has been erasing himself. Making sure his own kind—those who can control people’s minds—can’t track him down. It has been a lonely existence. So lonely, that when he makes a real connection with a stranger, he breaks his own cardinal rule and falls asleep in the man’s arms.

Rory McIntyre has been sent by his pack alpha to keep a protective eye on Scott. Seduction wasn’t part of the plan, but once he lays eyes on the Minder, Rory isn’t satisfied to keep his distance.

The moment Scott opens his eyes, he panics and flees—straight into a Minder trap. The handsome stranger from the night before turns out to be his rescuer, who whisks him away to a safe place. Wolf Town.

Overwhelmed by Rory’s family, Scott knows only two things for sure. His attraction to Rory is growing by the minute. And to keep his lover safe, he must put as much distance between them as possible…

6 Speak To Me:

Lily on 17 June 2010 at 19:02 said...

This one sounds good. Thanks for the info.

Smokinhotbooks on 17 June 2010 at 19:48 said...

This is what happens when KC reads excerpts over at Erotic Horizon's blog --> *clicks buy*

This one looks good ;)

Fiction Vixen on 18 June 2010 at 02:09 said...

Damn. Another impulse buy. I did it! Thanks EH. :)

Erotic Horizon on 20 June 2010 at 13:43 said...

@Lily..

you are welcome hon..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 20 June 2010 at 13:43 said...

@K.C.

It's called payback hon - and I am loving it...

Enjoy..

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 20 June 2010 at 13:44 said...

@FV.

Well done you - I look forward to your thoughts...

I do like this authors wolves..

E.H>