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HUNTINGDAWN 2:

WITCH VAMP WERE?

Anne Douglas

www.loose-id.com

Warning
This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Huntingdawn 2: Witch Vamp Were?


Anne Douglas
This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the authors imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Published by Loose Id LLC 870 Market St, Suite 1201 San Francisco CA 94102-2907 www.loose-id.com

Copyright November 2008 by Anne Douglas All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced or shared in any form, including, but not limited to printing, photocopying, faxing, or emailing without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC.

ISBN 978-1-59632-833-4 Available in Adobe PDF, HTML, MobiPocket, and MS Reader

Printed in the United States of America

Editor: Barbara Marshall Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Dedication
To Barbara. I still havent found the most appropriate ass kissing praise for wonderful, even-when-their-writers-put-them-through-the-wringer, editors to fill this spot. So, instead, the next round of your preferred I-shouldnt-have-another-but-I-will-anyway is on me.

Prologue

Rob Deidrickson cursed the day his friend and Pack Beta had found his mate. Not because he was unhappy that Rex had found love and had a cub on the way, but because much-too-curious-for-her-knee-high-shitkickers Shaun Ingelstead was now his problem. Little gothic riding hood, who right now sat on a gravestone absently knocking the heels of her cherry red Doc Martens together like she was Dorothy wishing to go home, was giving him gray hairs. And being just this side of forty, he didnt need her assistance in that department. He liked his hair just the way it was -- as black as the coat of his inner animal. Rob sneaked a look around the other side of the tree he was hidden behind to see if Jak was in position. Jakov Pieter was a vampire; a real one, not one of the playing at it types with fake teeth hed seen hanging with Shaun and the rest of her goth friends. It hadnt taken much convincing to get his old friend to help him out with his plan to scare his little gothic princess silly. Jak was always up for a good practical joke, and getting to act all Bela Lugosi while scaring the shit out of somebody was right up his alley.

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It wasnt that he was angry with her. Much. After all, if she hadnt sent Pearl to Rex to find out about Pearls strange canine-shaped love bites, they wouldnt have found each other, and the whole chain of wonderful events that led to Rex being mated and about to be a daddy wouldnt have happened. But -- and there was always a but when Shaun Ingelstead was involved -- now that shed been proven right about Weres existing, she was determined to prove vampires were real, too. Wasnt it enough that every time he turned around he tripped over her? She was like a kid with candy, and the Pack was her Pop Rocks. Pack meetings, she was there; a Pack party, yup, you guessed it, she was there. He had a feeling she probably knew more about the minutiae of his pack than he did, and he was the goddamned Alpha! And that was why, on a Friday night, he wasnt tangled up in the sheets with a date, but crouched behind a fucking pine tree waiting to put his scare Shaun shitless and get her to stop poking her nose in plan into action.

Huntingdawn 2: Witch Vamp Were?

Chapter One

Youd think after the last time shed have taken the hint that two a.m. was a damn scary time to hang out in a cemetery. But, no, Shaun hadnt learned her lesson, and unlike the last time she had staked out the area, Pearl wasnt here with her. Shaun shivered. The cemetery was dark and spooky. The trees looked twice their normal size as they loomed over the graves, and the rustling of the leaves that would have been pleasant during the day sounded ominous tonight. Last time she was here, she and Pearl had scared themselves silly over nothing, screaming and running like girls for their car when a large owl had hooted and swooped from a tree. Shaun hadnt been too impressed with herself for getting spooked, and Pearl had sworn never to accompany her on one of her paranormal-seeking missions again. True to her word, no amount of cajoling could convince Pearl to come with Shaun tonight, and her new husband, Rex, had put his foot down when Shaun had tried to convince her otherwise. He had a point, though; Pearl was seven-months pregnant with twins, and if they let the oooh-spooky-scary dark get the better of them again, Shaun and Pearl would likely be taking a hasty jaunt to the hospital.

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Her supposition wasnt total madness -- Weres are real, so why not vampires? All the folk tales had to come from somewhere, right? So here she was, kicking her heels, more than likely wasting her time, feeling like a million eyes peered at her from the undergrowth. Shaun fought the nervous twitch that had settled in over the last fifteen minutes and swallowed down the urge to demand whos there? Probably Rob spying on me again. He seemed to pop up every time she was about to find out something interesting from one of the members of the Pack. The man had become the bane of her existence, kicking her out of

here, demanding that she leave there, and generally making the fact he didnt like her much
well known to everyone. He didnt understand -- she had fifteen years worth of curiosity about the paranormal to satisfy! Shaun hummed to fill the empty air around her as she looked about the final resting place of most of Rockvilles citizens. The lunar cycle was entering a new moon, its darkest phase, so she couldnt see all that far. The white and gray edifices of the headstones looked like apparitions rising from the ground. Quite pretty really. Rockville had been around for a long time -- through the good and the bad -- and many of the epitaphs showed how prosperous the town had been at times. Grand angels, their silhouettes dark against the clear, star-studded sky as they raised the souls of their dead to the heavens on delicate hands and sweeping wings, stood beside solid, dependable wreaths of stone created to stand against the test of time. But her favorites were the less imposing, delicately carved headstones like the one she was sitting on that belonged to her grandmother many times removed. Shaun patted the headstone fondly, brushing away some of the lichen. Someone must have loved you a lot, Grandma. Your headstone is the prettiest of them all. The stone was blinding white even after all these years, carved from what Shaun imagined was some sort of quartz. The beautiful, no doubt hand-carved fretwork and symbols were simple and elegant yet enormously complex. Shaun reached down and dragged the tips of her fingers across the now smooth edges of the upper border that shed first inspected years before. There were

Huntingdawn 2: Witch Vamp Were?

many symbols all worked together, creating a beautiful border around the nameplate -among them a dove and a five-petaled rose. Her ancestor had been dead hundreds of years before Shaun had been even a twinkle in her daddys eye, but for some reason, she felt this weird affinity to the woman shed never get to meet unless she turned up as a ghost. With the way things had been going lately -finding out about shape-shifters and magical prophecies and all -- anything was possible. What do you think of that idea, Gran? There seems to be a lot of magic floating around these days. How about you catch a thread and come talk to me? The headstones border tingled beneath her fingers and a zap went through her hand like shed just touched a power outlet. With a yelp of pain, Shaun jerked her hand away, flapping her fingers to ease the sting. What the She stopped midflap when someone spoke. Well, I thought youd never get around to asking, my dear. The voice had a bodysort of. All the parts were there, but they were opaqueand they glowed. What the fuck? She swore again as she scrambled backward, forgetting she was sitting on the headstone until her butt hit nothing but air. Her arms flailed hopelessly as she tipped off the headstone and landed on her back with a breath-stealing thump. Dazed, Shaun looked up at the starlit sky and wondered if shed really seen a ghost, or if she had fallen asleep sitting up and her tumble from the headstone had been her rude awakening.

She hadnt really just seen the ghost of her great-great-grandmother pop into existence, had she?
Language, my girl. Language. What must surely be a ghost floated through the stone marker like she was wading through water as it tsked at her. You wouldve gotten a mouthful of soap for using those words when I was a girl. Mute from being winded, Shaun could only stare up in fascinated horror as she recognized the same face from an old daguerreotype among her familys historical papers. She only managed to croak out one breathless word. Grandma?

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Chapter Two

Hanging from a tree wasnt Jaks favorite pastime. Reminded him of way too many bad stories about vampires and bats, and a plethora of C-grade black-and-white movies. In truth, only great gymnastic skills, a head for heights, and pure stubbornness held him here, waiting for Robs signal to come flying out of the tree as if turning from bat to man. Theyd lain in wait for Shaun, creeping around behind her, waiting for the perfect place to put Robs plan into action. Jak hadnt yet met the girl, but was heartily amused by the way she niggled at Rob -- she gnawed at him like a determined terrier on an intruders ankle. So when Rob had come up with this plan, hed jumped on board for no other reason than to see what happened when Shaun found out about Robs scheming. From what hed been told -- and hed been told a lot by both an exasperated Rob and an indignant Pearl defending her friend -- Shaun wasnt likely to take Robs little plot lying down. A loud curse rang out from below, and as he watched, Shaun lost her balance and fell backward off the grave marker, her arms windmilling as she attempted to stay upright. She hit the ground with a thump and an oof of breath that made him wince. Ouch. That had to hurt.

Huntingdawn 2: Witch Vamp Were?

A white, human-sized haze hung before the headstone before passing through it to hover over Shaun, and while it didnt look malicious, Jak knew that more than Vamps and Weres existed in the world, some of it not at all benign despite the way it looked. Shaun Ingelstead was in for a big night -- she was about to have all her theories proven correct, because this Vamp was riding to her rescue. Jak relaxed his legs and flipped in midair, settling quietly on his feet with a certain amount of pride at sticking his landing. Take that, Batman, and I dont need no stinking

gadgets!
With the long, black coat hed worn to get into character, and the gray hoodie underneath to cover his dark blond hair, he blended into the night all too easily. Yet the apparition looked up and directly at him despite the shelter the tree still offered him. So

much for stealth.


Not quite close enough to make out the barely opaque features, he didnt recognize the ghost, but something about the style of dress and the ghosts carriage seemed familiar. Jak Pieter, stop skulking about and come out from underneath that tree. That imperious tone was unmistakable. Gertie? Surely not? Gertruda Ingelsdottir? Jak shook his head, attempting to make sense of hearing the voice of a woman who had been dead for roughly three hundred years. Jak closed his eyes as names, faces, and centuries-old memories came crashing in. A groan slipped from him as everything coalesced into a new picture. Oh, Jesus, Gertie. Shauns your granddaughter? And well you should have known it, young man! The ghosts brow rose in a way that made him as uncomfortable as it had three centuries before. How was he to know somewhere along the line Shauns family had anglicized their name, let alone that Ingelsdottir women had convinced their men to take their surname?

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Gerties apparition turned to the left, and Jak caught a slight movement from the corner of his eye as Rob moved away from the tree trunk that had hidden him. And you, young man -- Huntingdawn Pack Alpha, I believe. What do you have to say for yourself? Rob stepped out from the deep, concealing shadows of the tree limbs and moved until he stood shoulder to shoulder with Jak. Is that a ghost? Rob showed not one iota of fear in the face of the unexplained -- he was Alpha for a damn good reason -- and his question was more of a statement that really didnt warrant confirmation. Rob Deidrickson, Id like to introduce you to Gertruda Ingelsdottir. Shauns grandmother a number of times removed and the woman who picked me up off the streets in 1702 and took me into her home. Warmth slipped into his heart at seeing her again. God, Gertie, Id give anything to wrap you up in a big hug right about now. Gerties lips held a small, sad smile, and Jak felt a tingle along his skin as her ghostly fingers passed over his cheek. And I you, Jakov Pieter, and I you. If I could have, I would have come back when you were turned. I felt your pain across the veil, but I could not return. Not until one of my blood asked for me. There was a coughed ahem. Down here, Lion-O and his Thundercat sidekick. I believe that would be me.

As two hunky male faces and one female apparition turned their attentions downward, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment. Trust Rob Deidrickson to be there to witness her klutzy moment, and to bring a friend to the party, too. How dare he! Not sure whether she should be steaming furious at Rob and his wingman, or if she should run away screaming because holy-crap-on-a-stick-shed-just-raised-a-real-ghost, she went with the familiar. Taunting Rob.

Huntingdawn 2: Witch Vamp Were?

Can someone give me a hand? Her shoelace had caught in the fretwork of her grandmas headstone when shed fallen, leaving her strung up with little leverage to free herself. Not, at least, without some very embarrassing maneuvering. You take the lower half, Ill take the top. Robs low drawl betrayed his humor at the situation he found her in and her stubborn gene kicked in at the sound of the subtle laughter. On second thought, I wouldnt want you to break a claw or anything. Ill do it myself. Shaun twisted her free leg around so her foot was on the ground and did her best to make like a pretzel and perform the impossible feat of standing. As she fought against the stupid piece of cord, Rob and his much-too-handsome-for-his-own-good friend stood off to the side with big stupid grins on their faces. Damn them! She paused in her struggles and did her best to glare the pair of them down. You really should wipe that smile off your face, Rob; you look like a big, dumb dog. Rob hissed at the insult, and though it might have just been a figment of her imagination, she was certain the hair on his head had just bristled like it would have in his feline form. She smirked back, happy with how well her hit had landed. She darted a quick glance to the side to see if shed pissed off Robs friend as well, but her gaze caught, trapped on the very sharp and pointy-toothed, superstar-sized smile of the stranger. As Rob hissed and spat like an annoyed cat, the mans eyes flicked back and forth between her and Rob, his smile only growing larger as Robs indignation and frustration increased. The strangers smile did disturbing things to her insides. A warm sensation spread through her belly, and her breasts tingled, peaked, as the man -- Jak, her grandma had called him -- stared at her. When she didnt look away, his smile changed, lost its humor, and became heated and sexy. His eyes narrowed, went hard and soft all at the same time, and he shifted, spreading his legs, planting his feet firmly as if he meant to jump her. Strange thing was, she was all for the idea of being jumped by the sexy stranger who looked like he knew how to show a girl a good time.

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I see the Ingelsdottir stubbornness didnt skip a generation with you, my dear, no matter how odd your manner of clothing. A close voice startled her, breaking her link with the dark blond stranger. The specter of her grandma floated closer, and Shaun felt a tingle of cold, followed by comforting warmth across her forehead. I would help if I could, but Im afraid Im just a shadow of my former self. There was a dry sigh of amusement in the ghosts voice. Shaun felt the tingle of the spirits touch again as she watched her ancestors hand go right through her foot. When she looked back to the ghosts face, she saw a cheeky smile and figured shed inherited more than just her stubbornness from her grandma. She gasped, then blew the air out in a rush, feeling like shed just been hit by a ton of bricks.

Ohmigodher grandmother! Handsome men, irate jaguar shifters, and odd sexual
attraction to a stranger faded to the background as the truth hit her with enough force to send her back to the ground with a thump. Disbelief blocked her throat and she opened her mouth, only to shut it again with a snap when she couldnt figure out what to say. Yes, dear, Im a ghost, and Im as real as Ill ever be again in this plane of existence. The brightness of the stars twinkled through the old-fashioned pulled-back hairstyle as the pale and not quite opaque face came close to her ear and her grandmother whispered, Hes a handsome young man, isnt he? Who? Shaun whispered back, not quite sure why she was whispering to a ghost. The vampire, of course, and the shape-shifter is nothing to sneeze at, either. Rob and his friend had been quietly arguing off to the side, but she caught their attention again when she squeaked -- okay, screeched, The vampire? Craning her neck to look behind her, she found Rob looking off into the distance, absently scuffing his heel in the dirt. Was he about to whistle? When she swung back the other way, Jak -- who, now that it was pointed out, was quite pale for a blond guy -- colored

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up along the tops of his cheekbones and looked suspiciously sheepish. His quick, abashed smile flashed that toothy grin and those prominent eyeteeth again. Oh. My. God. Hes a

vampire!
Rob? The man looked very tall from her upside-down viewpoint on the ground, but she felt very tall in her resentment. What are you doing with a vampire, in a cemetery, at -- Shaun checked her watch -- two-thirty in the morning? Umm Looking out for you -- although, I dont think he sees it that way, her grandmother commented. I was not looking out for her, Rob blustered. I planned to scare the little witchs red boots right off her feet so shed stop doing stupid shit like hanging out in a graveyard at an ungodly hour of the morning. Even from her position, she saw the sardonic disbelief and raised brow on her grandmothers ghostly visage and its match on Jaks face. Rob stared back at them, and she swore he puffed up, just like a cat on the defensive. I am not looking out for her, all right? His hands, already clenched into fists at his sides were quickly buried against his chest as he locked his arms into position, crossed in front of his chest -- a defensive posture if ever shed seen one. The girl needs a goddamned keeper. Shes always sticking her nose in where she shouldnt, and it sure wouldnt be the Paranormals whod hurt her; itd be the fucking stoned or drunk humans whod take a piece out of her and leave her for dead. He practically roared his indignation at them -- the real, jaguar-in-the-jungle kind of roar -- as he overdramatized the situation to the max. Puzzled, she studied him for a moment. He wasnt just his usual overbearing, imperious self; he lookedworriedand uncomfortable, with a slight shade of embarrassment.

Holy shit, they were right. Big bad Pack Alpha Rob Deidrickson was being all
protectiveand stuff. All for little old her. The little bit of fluffy pink girly-girl she kept

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tucked away inside sighed and swooned at having such a big, strong man keeping her safe, while the cherry-red-Doc-Marten-and-chains-wearing girl in black itched to be on her feet so she could kick some overbearing, thinks-much-too-much-of-himself shape-shifter ass. I

need a keeper? Like hell!


There was a light cough. I cant say this is the way a man would have gone about courting a young lady in my day, but I suppose in this day and age it has a certain type of appeal, her grandmother stated dryly. Her cry of, What? was drowned out by Robs yelled, Courting? Im not courting her! The ghost ignored both of their protests and turned to the vampire. Jak, I thought Id taught you better manners than this. Help my granddaughter off the ground right this instant! This really is no way to be treating your Intended, no matter what the century. Now it was the vampires turn to bluster. Intended? I dont have an Intended, let alone it being her. A long finger pointed offhandedly in her direction. This is the first time Ive even met the girl. The context of the conversation was well over her head, but Shaun listened intently while jiggling her caught foot, her curiosity getting the better of her awkward discomfort. The three of them looked back and forth at one another for a few moments, both men radiating indignant denial until Jak took notice of her covert foot wiggling. He cocked his head toward her, motioning for Rob to come help free her. Jak grabbed her under her arms and lifted her torso with ease, and Rob gently lifted her legs to take the tension off the caught shoelace and release her foot. That Intended crap is just a load of nonsense anyway. Jaks voice hitched on the last word as Rob let go of her feet and she slid, her back going down Jaks front until she stood upright once more.

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Shaun didnt move out of his arms right away. Instead, with his long black coat flapping around them, she allowed him to hold her as she centered herself, letting all the little tingles of electricity that had built between them dissipate.

I wonder if we can do that again? She could seriously go for a little more of that sliding
thing -- especially if she could convince Jak to forgo his clothing beforehand. As she stood in the circle of his arms, she was surprised by the amount of heat he put out. She frowned in contemplation. Youre hot. Stepping out of his embrace, she turned to face him before questioning him. Youre a vampire, and vampires are supposed to be cold. Clammy maybe, but not hot. Nonplussed by her seemingly random declaration, Jaks eyebrows went up, and then his features cleared to settle back into a smile. Hollywood and romance writers have a lot to answer for, love. Im not dead, just Jak made a sexy pout as he thought. Changed. Behind her, Rob snorted. Thats one way of putting it. Jaks attention moved from her as the ghost spoke. Youre wrong about your Intended, Jak. Have you forgotten the prophecy? The Moonstruck Prophecy, you mean? What would he have to do with that? Thats all about Weres. And besides, Pearl and Rex set that prophecy into motion already, Shaun stated. Ah, yes, they are an interesting couple, those two -- more unconventional courting, and very amusing. Her grandmothers smile was punctuated by a twinkling star that was bright enough in the sky behind her to shine through her specter. Shaun could almost hear the chewing gum advertisement style ting from the faux glint off her teeth. But, while they have set part of a prophecy in motion, there is more magic afoot than assuring a future for nearly extinct Were species. Part of a prophecy? Shaun glanced at Rob, who looked as confused as she felt. What does she mean only part of the prophecy?

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The ghost stood tall, regal, as she began to recite. To one struck by the moon shall be born a girl. She will be the first. She, and those like her, will become the rescuers of those who walk on four and stand on two, whose line flickers and wavers like a candle before its snuffed. Magic will lead their way to a new life. It shall burst on them like a flame, blazing blue as it burns brightly, and they shall take into their bodies and from them we shall bloom. Teach your sons and daughters wisely and well; make them sure of their place in the world for time may come to pass where one of the Moonstruck may lead us all. Letting his annoyance show, Rob interrupted Gerties flow with a gruff, We know that part already. Gertie gave him a squinty-eyed stare that shut him up and carried on, As flowers bloom, so shall change. A triad of influence built on blood and power and strength will be born. By eyes of green, depth of shadow, and curious determination you shall know them. In the light of the new moon they will be bound as one -- their union blessed by the spirits of those passed over -- Shaun was surprised when Jak interrupted, waving his hand disrespectfully in Gertie's direction. The magic born from the power of three will be the downfall of those who seek to betray us. Yada yada yada. I still remember, Gertie; you made me say it every morning before youd let me have breakfast. And it makes as little sense to me now as it did back then. Rob interjected again as he scowled at Jak. Waityou knew about this? That the Moonstruck Prophecy was only the first verse and didnt tell anyone? Looking ruffled, Jak shrugged at Rob before turning to Gertie. Tell me how to make sense of it then, if its all so important. Maybe you should take a look around you again, and see if it makes a little more sense, Gertie replied.

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When he made like a dumb post and did nothing, her grandmother floated to where Rob stood, looking a little more relaxed now that the spotlight was off him and his rude behavior and on Jak. Her finger swept across Robs brow, and luminescent blue sparks flashed, making Robs eyes glow an eerie, brilliant green. Gertie cocked her head to the side, the plume in her dainty little hat twitching. Eyes of green, how interesting. Her grandmother moved again, this time to stand in front of her. Shaun felt a phantom touch of cold, followed by a buzzing warmth as a ghostly palm stroked along her cheek. And that quick-tempered, Ingelsdottir stubbornness -- some might call you quite a determinedly curious young lady, my dear. The ghost smiled at her, and as she pulled her hand away, Shaun caught the flicker of more blue sparks. Gertie came to rest in front of Jak, and with a wide sweep of her hand, a trailing tail of blue sparks lit up the night, taking Jak from the shadows to the light. And as for you, Shadowman, have I opened your eyes? Can you now see?

As Gerties magic highlighted what hed been too dense to see, Jaks gaze switched back and forth between Rob and Shaun as he attempted to make sense of what hed thought were just the odd ramblings of a lovely, warm, but slightly misguided woman. He turned his attention fully back to the ghost of the woman whod taken him from the streets, welcomed him into her home and family, civilized him, and taught him how to be a man, not a thug. How do you know about the Shadowman? Hed taken great pains to ensure that his adoptive family never knew that he hunted the night as the Shadowman, removing mad and diseased Paranormals from the world as revenge against those who had taken his family to the other side with their madness. Ive always known about the Shadowman, Jak. It was your destiny. My destiny. He stated the words drolly, although anger boiled inside him as he remembered the pain of losing his family and years later, the life hed known to the viral bite

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of a mad vampire. Then there were all the humans hed loved and lost over the long years of his life because hed been made a Vamp. Hed forced his sorrow into silence, his pain buried, hidden away. But Gerties knowing eyes saw all that he hid. She smiled -- not at all reassuringly -- as she raised her arms and a ball of blue, glimmering magic formed an orb around her hands. The orb stretched as Gertie drew her hands apart, and shattered in a hail of blue sparks as she clapped her palms together. Brilliant, sapphire blue light flared out and haloed around Shaun, Rob, and him; the distinctive draw of magic tugged until the three of them stood side by side, their auras growing until they collided and linked. Jak smelled the scent of the jungle, felt the life force of the jaguar, and tasted the tang of enormous but latent power in the magic that surrounded him. This power was so much more than hed sensed in Gerties shade; her power was clearer, more fine-tuned than when shed been alive. The power he felt now was new, ripe, but untapped.

It was Shaun.
Hed been drawn to Robs little goth princess from the moment hed laid eyes on her. But he figured she was strictly off-limits to him since Rob was in frustrated denial from his unwillingness to admit his violent attraction to the much younger woman. But now? Now, all those years of Gertie drumming that stupid damn prophecy into his head and how important he would be to it made sense. Shaun held great power in her tiny frame -- power that could only be the last hope of mankind. Jesus, Gertie, shes Pandoras Jar?

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Chapter Three

Prophecy smophecy, Pandoras Jar, my ass, Shaun muttered to herself as she yanked on the old, pitted, sadly lacking in chrome door handle on her car. I know some Greek mythology and I saw Tomb Raider. Pandora had a box, not a jar, and Pandora let all the evil out into the world. Im so not all about the evil. Although There was a certain sort of piquancy to the Pandora myth and how she was the first woman -- a beautiful evil -- sent down by the gods to punish men. She pressed her whole hand down on the button in the handle, and then when it unlatched with a thunk, wrapped both hands around the bar to pull the door open. No swift

getaways in this baby; the damn door weighs a ton, never mind the rest of the car.
The car was new -- well, it was a 58 Edsel Bermuda, so it was new to her -- and since it was definitely a work-in-progress, she had a lot of kinks to work out, or at least learn to work around. Not evil, she mumbled as she tugged. The jar wasnt anyway. Whether Pandora was evil is still open for debate. Having opened with a groaning, metallic creak, the car door reached the point where it moved freely. Taken off guard by the words coming from over her right shoulder, she didnt

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pay attention to the heavy door as it began to fall through the far side of its arc, and as she twisted to face the speaker, she was jerked around and into the door with an oof of stolen breath. Pain shot up her arm from where shed twisted, then fallen on her wrist. She cried out, pulling her wrist up to her chest to cradle it. Hey, are you okay? When she looked up, it was into Jaks concerned face. Yeah, just sort of landed funny. Shaun shook her hand out, trying to relieve the sting in her wrist. Like when you land on your funny bone -- stings a bit like that. Fingers, smooth and slightly cool to the touch, wrapped around her wrist and stilled her movement. Let me feel. Jaks fingers ran over her skin, pressing firmly, yet gently, easing the taut tendons when he came to them. Despite the coolness of his fingertips, they left a trail of sparkling heat in their wake as he moved on. He concentrated on her wrist with intensity. His touch was oddly the most intimate, sensual single thing shed experienced in her life. Nothing broken, I dont think, just a light sprain. Caught up in the sparks flooding her system from Jak's touch, Shaun was embarrassed to realize she was staring up at him, mouth wide open, while he patiently waited for a reply. Jaks lips flirted around a smile as he looked back at her. I-its -- that is, Im sure youre right. She jerked her hand out of his and absently rubbed her fingers over the skin hed touched, not sure if she was trying to rub the tingles in or rub them off. Like little butterfly wings, they danced along in her bloodstream, fluttering in her bellyand lower. She trembled in places even shed not been able to make herself quiver before, let alone one of her loser boyfriends. Well, there had been that one guy that

time in Vegas. But as they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Its late. I better go.

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Shaun turned and moved to slide onto the big bench seat, only to freeze in place when a growly, rough voice yelled out, What the hell is that heap of junk? She straightened, the sweet, fluttering butterfly wings in her belly stuttering to a halt as plain old annoyance took a hold. Trust Rob to ruin a perfectly good moment. Its not a heap of junk; its a classic. People just didnt appreciate the classics these days. No, its not; its a rusted out claptrap -- Sheis an Edsel. Shaun moved down the side of the car and ran her hand tenderly along one of the fins that stretched down to the rear. Then she turned back to Rob with her hands on her hips. Clarabells in the middle of a bad hair decade, but I plan on fixing that. Shaun, its a hearse! Itisnot! The man made her angry enough to spit. Where does he get off, passing

judgment on my car?
And it looks like it should be six feet under, just like the last delivery it made in what1901? Whoever sold you this junker really made out on the deal. Rob brushed past Jak and leaned into the car. Huh, at least the dash isnt all cut up. There was an obvious pause. Shaun, are those blocks of wood on the pedals? Shaun stood her ground as Rob pulled back out of the car with a pair of cushions dangling from his hand and a raised eyebrow asking his question for him. Jak took a step to the side, out of the line of fire. Wise man. I only just picked it up; Ive not had a chance to get things adjusted yet. Shaun shrugged. Im little, and Clarabells like everything back then -- bigger was better -- so I had to make do. You know this is illegal, right? Let alone just plain, downright dangerous -- what if one of the blocks slipped and got caught under the brake? You could end up wrapped around a tree, or worse, wrapped around someone else. Robs usually handsome face frowned down

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at her as he spoke -- she knew he was handsome because he smiled at other people, just never her, and tonight was no exception. Shaun reached out, ripped the pillows out of his hand, and threw them back on the seat. Slipping into the small gap left between Rob and the car's doorframe, she slid onto the big bench seat. Im short in stature, not on brains, Rob. As she wiggled into place on her pillows and put her feet on her raised pedals, Rob leaned in the open doorway. Short and an annoying pain in my ass, maybe, but I never thought you were stupid until I saw this contraption. Shaun looked up from making sure the key was still in the ignition and glared at the man as he leaned in, all James Dean looking with his leather jacket and a lock of dark, silky hair flopping down into his eyes. This contraption will be a beautifully restored vintage car worth ten times what I put in it when Im done. You plan on restoring it? Her -- and, yes, I plan on restoring her. Jacob is going to help me. Rob growled under his breath at the mention of Jacobs name. Now get out of my way. Its late. I want to go home and get some sleep and try to forget that Ive somehow gotten myself caught up in some freaky-deaky, save-the-world prophecy, met both a ghost and a vampire, and gotten covered in that same blue magic stuff that got Pearl knocked up. I better not be miraculously pregnant, or so help me God -- Her tirade came to a stuttering stop, and she bit her bottom lip as the ridiculousness of it all struck home. A girl could only take so much, even if she was the curious sort. She turned away from Rob and looked out the windshield of the old car and saw her image reflected, courtesy of the interior light. Yes, she did a goth-light version of the pale face and heavy on the black eye makeup -- she loved the clothes and the freedom being "different" gave her -- but right at this moment she had more in common with a death warmed over raccoon than anything else. I-I need to go home Im tired.

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Rob stepped away from the door as she tried to close it. He pushed from the outside of the door -- obviously in a hurry to get her on her way -- and the door swung closed with ease. Dumb Were jock and his super strength. Then he moved to lean in the half-open window, but was elbowed away by Jak. Well see you tomorrow night. Early. There are important things we need to discuss. She sighed and dropped her head onto the steering wheel for a moment. She reached for the key that shed left in the ignition -- all the better for a speedy get away from a spooky, late at night cemetery -- and turned it. Not a whirr, not a cough, not even a buzz sounded; just the impotent click of the barrel in the ignition turning but not sparking. Oh, great. As she muttered into the steering wheel, she turned the key again. Nothing, just another click. She removed the key, reinserted it, then turned it again and hoped. Still nothing. Oh, just freaking great. Head meet steering wheel, three times! Ouch! Three wasnt a good number when it came to head banging. Shaun? Jaks face was still at her window. Is there a problem? Yeah. You might say that. A long, dark walk home was unfortunately going to be the solution. Serves me right for driving the damn thing before I got it properly checked out. Her car door opened again and Rob leaned in, looming over her and pressing her back into the seat as he reached for the ignition. The car wasnt any more responsive to him than it had been to her. She wanted to yell nah nah nah nah nah nah! in his face for assuming user error -- aka her -- caused the problem. But with one arm holding the back of the drivers seat while he reached over, Shaun was trapped between the spread of his arms. Robs neck lay exposed before her, so warm and smelling so heavenly masculine with a mix of aftershave, soap, and sweat that made up the smell that was Rob. Her senses paralyzed her as she fought the need to lick along the taut line of the crook of his neck, to bite down and leave a primitive mark.

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Rob rocked his head from side to side as if he expected nothing less of her, and turned his eyes to hers. His mouth looked so warm and inviting, lips lightly damp and only inches from hers -- so close, if she only dared.

What the hell is wrong with me, wondering about kissing and licking Rob all over? Rob. Pack Alpha Rob, who thinks Im a pain in his ass. She needed therapy, stat!
Then all the butterfly wings that had taken up that sweet tingling again in her belly died a cruel, vicious death as he callously declared, Told you this thing was a pile of shit. She closed her lids against the delicious, visible temptation, took a deep, cleansing breath, and counted to ten. It didnt help any. Get the hell out of my car, dog breath! Well, see if I offer to give you a lift home now, missy. Rob jerked his torso out of the car and spun away, stalking to the other end of the parking lot where she caught a flash of silvery man-made light as he opened and shut a car door. He doesnt much like the dog references, does he? There was laughter in Jaks voice. Nah. In a vain attempt to release tension, she rolled her shoulders then slumped back into the worn upholstery of the drivers seat. Gets his goat every time. If you knew the car had problems, why are you driving it? Jak leaned in and offered his hand. Shaun reached for the car keys -- although if she couldnt start it, neither could anyone else -- and slid them into her pocket before she took Jaks offered assistance out of the car. Mainly because I picked it up this morning, after weeks of haggling with this little old farmer up in the hills, and I was so pleased to have finally struck a deal that I wanted to drive it around and show off -- at least to myself. I know most people dont see whats under the rust and flaking paint. I understand. I had a similar model way back whenthey have a certain je ne sais

quoi about them.

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Youre kidding me? You owned one? Really? Despite her tiredness and the late hour, her innate curiosity got the better of her. A Woody? Jak looked at her a little oddly, his smile a bit crooked. Not an Edsel Woody, no. But similar. Ive been around a while, love, chances are if its in the history books for the last three hundred years, Ive seen it, touched it, used it, or owned it. Oh. Of course. Hollywood got the long life bit right, at least, huh? Yeah, that and a few other things. Jak pulled her out of the way of the car door, closed it with noncreaking, non-shoulder-joint-jerking ease, and then pulled her arm through his as if she were a Victorian lady he was promenading with. Time to take you home. Jak looked over to Robs car as it started up with a light, growling purr -- modern precision engineering at its best. You know he wouldnt have let you walk home alone, right? Yeah. Sure. He wouldve left me in his dust. They reached the car and Jak courteously opened the back door and handed her into her seat before cryptically saying, I dont think so, love. I really dont think so.

*****
Rob covertly looked into the rearview mirror and caught a short glimpse of Shauns face as they went under the cemetery's one and only streetlight. She looked tired, drained, a little bit in shock even. He much preferred to see her with all guns blazing and her eyes flashing as she taunted him. Sure, hed planned to scare the bejesus out of her, but this hadnt been at all how hed imagined it going down. Upstaged by a centuries-old ghost and another

damn prophecy. If he were a lesser man, he might find that a little hard on his ego. But hed
learned to roll with the punches -- as Huntingdawn Pack Alpha, he'd had to. But even for a Miss Curiosity Clogs Pain in My Ass like Shaun, it had to have been a bitch of a night -- enough to put anyone off their game. Sure as hell had put him off his.

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He pulled into his driveway, and no sooner had the car stopped than Shaun slid quietly out and across the lawn to her own home. Rex Dixon had lived next to Shaun for a number of years, managing to keep her nose out of everything Were, but since he had moved out to Pearls farmhouse, Rob had taken up the job -- and was failing miserably at it. Shes an odd little duck, that one. Rob frowned at Jak. Shes not odd, just a pain in my ass. If you say so. Jak stared back at him with one of his brows raised expressively and muttered, The Alpha doth protest too much, methinks loud enough that it rang clear to his enhanced hearing. Look, she just got dumped headfirst into a pile of supernatural goo. Im supposed to be worried -- Im the Alpha, remember, Mr. Oooh, Youre Pandoras Jar? And only three hours ago you were chortling with glee at finally being able to get one up on Miss Little Goth Princessgo figure. Theyd been friends many years now, and Rob was well used to Jaks ironic sarcasm, but there was some underlying tension beneath the banter. What? What do you mean by what? What bug crawled up your ass tonight? All of a sudden, you're all passive-aggressive and shit. She wasnt the only one dumped in that pile of goo. I never expected that the prophecy Gertie used to force-feed me before breakfast was actually real. I loved that woman to pieces. She took me in, cared for me, treated me as if I was her own, but I always thought she was a bitummmisguided when it came to all that witchy stuff. Says the vampire known as the Shadowman. Yeah, well, monsters are one thing, no matter what the era -- you never wanted to brand a loved one a witch back then if you wanted them to live a long, healthy life.

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You do have a point. Rob turned back to watch Shauns house, waiting for a light to go on so hed know everything was fine and he wouldnt have to give in to his weird urge to go see that she was okay. Damn her for not being her usual smart-mouthed self and making

him worry, instead of pissing him off.


Youre worried about her, arent you? Nah. Yet he still sat there, waiting until he saw that light go on. Light flashed briefly in the kitchen -- about long enough for someone to get a glass of water, then went black. From this angle, and mainly because of his excellent night vision, he caught the glow of the lamp she flicked on in her hallway around the edges of the drapes in her spare bedroom, before moving through the house, leaving the lamp burning as she did every night. Not that he knew anything about her nighttime habits. Not really. It was just part of knowing his prey so he could keep her nose out of Pack business. You just keep deluding

yourself, pal.
I like her. Jak sounded quite satisfied with himself as he said it, like it was earthshattering news. But whats with the goth thing? Rob shrugged. That was one thing he hadnt quite been able to figure out about Shaun. Hed asked Pearl about it, and her reply of she likes it had been pretty simple, yet damn confusing. He hadnt bothered asking Pearl to explain further. Shed had that hormonal pregnant woman game face on at the time, and Alpha or not, he was no idiot. He wasnt about to demand a temporarily psychotic Were-bear expand on what shed obviously thought was a cut-and-dried answer. Just a front, if you ask me. She dresses the part and hangs out with the crowd, but shes much too loud and nosy, and nowhere near depressed enough to be truly into the whole life sucks emo schtick. You know thats not what all goths are about, dont you? Its not just bad music, makeup, woe-is-me, and cutting yourself. Theres this whole homage to the Georgian gothic

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romance thing going on -- think Frankenstein and Dracula -- perfect, really, if Shaun is as interested in proving the paranormal is real as what you say. Yeah, I guess. Rob shrugged again as he reached for the door handle and climbed out of the car. Still think its a cover, though. The last light had flicked on in the corner master bedroom with the large windows that looked out over the backyard. Heavy, dark-colored lace draperies obscured the view, but he saw a shadow of movement as the rosettes of light that shined through the lace dulled when she moved back and forth. Shaun didnt know hed seen the inside of that master bedroom. And she definitely didnt need to know it haunted his fantasies. The room was a study in romantic black. The old canopy bed was high off the ground, clothed in black satin or silk bedding, and draped with a bloodred silk canopy. Leather chairs and wrought iron warred with lace curtains. Shed gone the whole way, dressing the walls with dark, flocked wallpaper that Pearl had told him was Victorian inspired and a bitch to put up. Pearl had let that little fact slip the weekend hed helped Rex wallpaper and paint the room in Pearls big old farmhouse that would be the nursery in a short amount of weeks. Rex had blown a gasket when hed found his seven-month pregnant wife at the top of a ladder attempting to hang wallpaper. At the butt crack of dawn the next morning, Rob had reported for duty as forcefully requested and had been worked into the ground as they prepped, papered, and painted until he swore hed never again be able to lift his arms high enough to even give himself a handjob. It had been strange to see his usually laidback best friend with shoulders stiff with constrained anger. The color hadnt come back into his face until late Sunday evening when the final sweep of the vacuum passed over the new flooring theyd laid and the room had been deemed fit for occupation. In a private moment, Pearl had told him Rex had scared her;

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he had gone so white when hed seen her on the ladder she thought he might have been having a heart attack. She made him swear never to tell Rex that she and Shaun had wallpapered Shauns bedroom only two months earlier. As he watched the rosettes of light on the lace curtains die a swift death when the light behind them was extinguished, he warred within himself -- stupid really -- over the remembrance of a dumb sheet of wallpaper. While one part secretly thought Rex had become a henpecked husband, another part of him wanted what Rex had found with Pearl, and yet another part -- the beast half of himself -- just wanted into Shauns extravagant, tactile bedroom. Wanted to rub its fur along the rough, flocked velvet of the wallpaper and have the silk and satin of the bedcovers slide over his body as he lolled among the sheets and lay in the sun. And sex. Hot, throw-Shaun-onto-that-sensual-bed-and-have-at-her-until-his-dick-fell-off sex. His jaguar rolled and stretched beneath his human consciousness just like the big cat he was, eager to do just that. Rob jerked out of his reverie when Jaks shoulder brushed his as the vampire moved toward his vehicle. The vampire wore a smirk. Damn, might have as well been caught with

his pants down and his dick in his hands as he perved through her window.
Ive got some research to do before I come back here tonight. Im heading home. Youre welcome to the basement. When Rex had moved into the house, back when Shaun was a teen living with her now retired and roaming parents, hed had the basement excavated for the exact purpose of providing shelter when needed for nocturnal paranormals such as their friend Jak. Nah, the Internets only good so far. I need some ancient texts Ive had squirreled away -- just in case.

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Rob nodded in understanding, knowing even in the dark Jak would see the movement clearly. E-mail me what youve got on file, will ya? I dont like having a prophecy I cant at this point even remember hanging over my head, waiting to slap me upside the face. I was wondering when you were going to bring that up. Jak pointed his remote and the car locks clicked open. Not like you to play the ignore-it-and-it-never-happened game. Just chewing it over. Rob nodded his head toward the SUV. You really need to get a compact and give it the Im-a-rich-recluse treatment, man. That hulk must be costing you an arm and a leg in gas these days. The bulky SUV was almost a black hole in the night. All the silver trim had been replaced with black and the windows were the darkest UV-blocking tint possible -- all so Jak could make his way around if he was forced to in the daylight. Vampirism was a disease, a virus transferred via a considerable exchange of blood; a virus that reacted badly to sunlight by turning its host mad -- or rabid as they were known. Jak could handle low-grade exposure for short amounts of time, but continual and prolonged exposure would send the virus into a tailspin that would not be pretty in the slightest. Jak threw a pointed look back his way as he climbed in. Ill let you get away with changing the subject this time because I think its actually her youre worried about. Rob scowled at Jaks declaration, and the fool Vamp just gave him a goofy grin back. Its my job, Jak. Nah, its your job to be concerned, not to make sure shes tucked up in bed with her nightlight on.

Bastard.
Rob growled at the retreating SUV and wondered just how sick a Vamp would get if he was staked out spread-eagle fashion in the midday sun.

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Chapter Four

Being Saturday, Shaun had spent her morning in the blissful arms of Hypnos and two of his three sons, Morpheus and Phantasos -- quite a fitting correlation, she thought, Pandoras Jar being Greek and all. Her dreams, while pleasant, had twisted into a lurid fantasy where a certain Alpha jaguar Were and a dark and mysterious vampire were so enamored of her they were about to fight to the death -- gladiator style -- for her favor. Of course, not being one to waste good man-flesh, her dream self had stepped in before either one had gotten a real hold over the other, yet late enough in the battle that there was no impingement to their manly sensibilities. Then shed taken both of them to her bed and had them fight another kind of duel altogether. Her dream was lush with colors and sounds. Dark flesh on light, groans and whimpers of pleasure all tied up in knots with the smell of sex. Her dreams were much too vivid for a girl whose current boyfriend was of the battery-operated kind. Yay for the Energizer Bunny -- he just keeps going and going. Thank God! The telephone had screamed only seconds before the big finale -- being woken by a wrong number phone call had been a bitch. But sitting at her computer for the next four

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hours after her aborted wet dream, determined to find out something about the prophecy and the real Pandoras Jar, versus the one of Tomb Raider fame, had been just plain torturous. Shed tried to ignore the certain parts of her body that felt swollen and excited and unfulfilled. What a waste of effort that was. She figuratively itched all over in ways that were most unladylike. Not that ladylike was really her top concern, but it just felt wrong to be thinking about having her hand down her pants at four in the afternoon -- no matter that it would have eased her burning loins no end. Shed laughed out loud at herself when shed caught herself thinking that: burning loins. Talk about purple prose worthy, and an indication of how hot and bothered she was -- all because of two bigheaded, overcompensating men. Blech. Shaun pushed away from her computer desk with a sound of disgust. Im feeling lucky, my ass. Google, you suck! Her rolling computer chair came to a halt a little more than a foot from where it started, giving her enough room to straighten her legs out in front of her. She leaned back, arching her body over the chair as she stretched her arms up. Nothing but Greek mythology and bad moviessurely there must be something out there more recent? Shed called and called, but thered been no help from her mysterious ghost either. Fingers pointed toward the ceiling, she held her stretch as she tried to figure out a new search string, one that would hopefully net her the information she really needed. Some geek into Greek mythology had to have put something online, somewhere. A loud and obnoxious rap and thud on her front door made her jerk in surprise, and the chair shed had carefully balanced began to tilt. Her arms windmilled and her feet lost their purchase on the floor. Then, almost in slow motion, she felt gravity take its toll on the chair. As the chair passed the point of no return, the rolling feet did their job and rolled -- only in the wrong direction -- hastening her descent to the ground. With a peculiar sense of dj vu, Shaun landed with a teeth-clicking thump -- albeit a less painful one than the night before as the chair had protected her from being truly winded.

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Shaun? The wooden door and the banging of what she assumed was a fist muffled the male voice that called out her name. She had been so zoned in on her thoughts rather than her surroundings she figured she must have missed the first, more polite knock, because the brutal assault on her door was really unwarranted. Then she heard the click of the lock turning and she watched, horrified and scared out of her wits, as the door burst open and two tall, dark, looming shadow figures exploded through it. Shaun? The first shadow stepped into the weak light from her lamp. Stunned, the oddest thing popped into her head: Wow, when had it gotten dark out? She lay there paralyzed by shock, fear, and a good whack on the back of the head from landing on the floor, none the wiser to the invaders identity until a hand came up and pushed back the cowl of the voluminous cape that covered the man from head to toe. Jak?

What the hell?


The vampire was elbowed out of the way as the second shadow stepped into the circle of light. Rob, looking worried before he caught himself and his usual mask of condescension slipped over his face. Perfect. Just what she needed -- to get caught flat on her back with her legs in the air by Rob for the second time in twenty-four hours. And even worse, her position still had nothing whatsoever to do with sex, only her loss of dignity. Dont think about sex. Mmmm,

sex with a big, yummy man whod know just how to do it righ -- damn it! No. Sex. Thoughts.
Robs gaze flicked over the room, taking in the large, renovated eat-in kitchen and the home office shed created in the expanded dining area, and she waited for the inevitable pithy remark. She didnt have to wait long. Most people usually find it easier to use their computer with their hands, not their feet. His head tilted to the side. Unless theres something youre not telling us, and youre really a monkey shifter who prefers to use her toes instead of her fingers?

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Recovered enough now that she knew she wasnt in the middle of a hostile home invasion -- just an overpresumptuous Alpha male invasion instead -- Shaun finally managed to find her tongue. If one of you doesnt help me up, so help me -- Jak hunkered down beside her. Whats the magic word? Shaun smiled with lots of teeth. Fuck you? Jaks brows went up at the profanity, but she saw his lips twitch as he fought down a smile. If thats an invitation, I wont say no. Now the vampire did smile. If we keep meeting while youre flat on your back, I might just take you up on the offer. Struck dumb by the suggestion, Shaun just blinked, until she realized the growling noise in the background wasnt the roar of too-hot-to-handle sexual attraction but Rob with his teeth bared. Jaks eyes flicked over his shoulder, and he moved faster than shed ever seen a person move to avoid the heavy fist flying toward his head. Unfortunately, all their preternatural grace seemed to desert both men, and with another lung-collapsing thump, Shaun found herself at the bottom of a pile of manly arms and legs. When she took a great, gasping gulp of air, trying to fill her lungs, she sucked in the luscious, musky scent of sexy men. So what she didnt need when she was feeling this horny to start with. Both the dark scent of the jungle and spicy, dry scent of the desert hit her nose, and a frisson of energy shot straight down through her belly and to her pussy. Her thighs and butt clenched as she tried to control herself, but a small, needy moan slipped out. In an instant, the two bodies on top of her stopped their struggle with one another. Both men turned to her; she caught a flash of fang and the flare of nostrils as they no doubt scented her arousal. How freaking embarrassing -- and eww gross -- was that? Stupid

preternaturals.
Two pairs of narrowly focused eyes stared at her, their intent obvious -- she was the next meal, and boy, oh, boy, were they hungry!

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Oh, crap!

He only missed having his head punched into tomorrow by inches. Had Rob given him the time, Jak would have cursed aloud. Instead, he saved his breath and ducked again. In a surprise twist, one he knew Rob wouldnt be in the least happy about, Rob had been flooded with the mating magic that Gertie had so gleefully showered down on them. Instinct had turned him vicious and ready to defend what he felt was his. As Rob managed to land a fist in his stomach, Jak wished hed been able to tell them what hed found out about the prophecy. If he had, maybe Rob wouldnt have gotten caught in the frantic, irrational need to protect his matefrom her other mate. There was no skill involved in avoiding the elbow Rob thrust up into his jaw; he retaliated with a knee to the groin that Rob fended off with his thigh and a grunt of pain. His satisfaction at landing his hit was fleeting as he tried to avoid Robs forehead. So, were

playing rough, huh? Not moving fast enough, he caught Robs forehead on his shoulder. Fuck, that hurts. His arm tingled but didnt go numb.
Damn it all, his luck was running true to form -- not only was the hocus pocus prophecy Gertie had made him memorize all those years ago true, but he also had an Intended, one he had to share. Rob had shared his toys easily enough in the past -- Jak had a very fond memory of one time back when Rob and Rex had been at college and they'd brought some very uninhibited twin sisters home for a weekend of anything-goes sex -- but he had a feeling he wasnt going to play well with others when it came to his mate. Hell, Jak didnt know how well he was going to react to having to share his Intended, and the Were mating bond was even more intense. The foreseeable future was looking like a rough ride indeed.

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A small moan, bitten off before it could really form, echoed among the slaps and grunts as his and Robs fists made contact on each other. A waft of gentle musk, the sign of an aroused female, hit his nose, sliding into his senses and wrapping around his dick. He pulled his next jab just as Rob stopped midpunch, his ultrasensitive nose picking up the same scent as Jak -- only Jaks increased sense of smell was a not usually pleasant side effect of the virus, unlike Robs natural animal trait. Unlike the sickly, rancid brew of a rabid vampire, his Intendeds scent was almost sweet; sweet and musky in the way only a woman can be. All his spidey senses went into overload as his attention switched to new prey. A glance Robs way told him the big cat felt the same -- his mouth had frozen in a snarl and every atom of his being was on alert. Umm, guys? Shaun looked up from the bottom of the heap with the big, wide eyes of a rabbit cornered by a big, bad cat. She was half right; the big, bad cat came with a side of

wicked vampire.
Rob beat him to the punch as he leaned in and ran his nose, followed by his tongue, along the bared skin of Shauns shoulder and neck. He growled low and possessive in Shauns ear, and Jak felt Shauns body quiver as she reacted to the primitive rumble. Not to be outdone, especially since he had as much claim to Shaun as Rob, Jak took his own taste of Shauns skin. The tang of her magic burst over his senses, his tongue tingling as he nipped at her neck with his lengthened fangs. He wouldnt take her blood until she offered it, but the staccato beat of her heart called to him. The predator the virus had made him strained against propriety -- he just managed to hide it better than Rob, the truer animal of the two of them. Their fight had dragged them all away from the chair. Jak and Rob twisted in uncanny sync to press Shaun to the floor between them. They each held a wrist, trapping Shauns

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arms above her head as she began to struggle, but they held her in place, her hips caught between their pelvises and her legs trapped as he and Rob wound themselves around her. She wore a pair of black leggings with a tight top that was screen printed with some lacy grunge motif. Even looking like she was ready for a workoutor bed, she still had the trappings of the goth girl hed met at the cemetery. He ground against her hip, relishing the ache in his cock as his free hand reached for the thin strap of Shauns cami. He tugged, exposing the small handful of breast. With many years under his belt to learn the female form -- and to appreciate it with vigor -- the creamy flesh crowned with a dusky pink nipple that was getting tighter and redder each second he watched was exquisite. He palmed Shauns breast, and his lust leaped higher. Hed worshipped breasts large and small, enjoyed the tactile sensation of holding them, plumping them in his hands, plucking, pinching, twisting, and tonguing the nipples that crowned them. But hed never felt the rightness of being, the instant click of this is the one when hed touched a woman before, not before this moment with Shaun. Her breast was small enough to cup in his hand but full enough to fill his palm. Perfect. But the lovely handful hed been about to make a mouthful was torn away; Shaun had gotten loose. She scooted backward and away from them in a flurry of action. What the fuck are you two doing? She frantically pulled herself up, her legs bent in front of her as she held them at bay with a single outstretched arm and upright hand. Jak felt a visceral stab of pleasure to see her arm shake and her chest heave in reaction to them, her breast still exposed. I think its pretty obvious. Obvious? Shauns voice was strained and higher than her normal register. Yeah. Robs reply was more guttural, more of a jaguar cough, his lust clearly affecting his ability to speak. Rob knelt beside Jak in a matching pose, muscles straining as they gathered to leap.

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Obvious, my ass. Fuck! You burst in here, then start fighting, then hold me down while you lick me, and Im supposed to see the obvious? Shaun tucked her knees in tighter, then looked down as the fabric of her pants touched her skin and she finally realized her breast was exposed. She pulled her top back into place with a jagged shake of her head and quietly murmured fuck. A low mewl sounded from beside Jak, and when he glanced at Rob it was to see a strange uncertain and confused look on his friends face. It wasnt often you could expect to see an Alpha Were left as confused as a kitten, and Jak had a feeling this was the first time Rob had ever experienced the sensation. As the blood slowly returned to Jaks big brain -- the one that was logical and rational, not the little one that was only out for one thing -- he looked back at Shaun and realized her arms werent shaking from restrained desire but because theyd scared her. Disgust at his behavior flooded his chest. Shit. Youre frightened -- Panic hammered at him, and his gut twisted as it sank in that theyd just been about to take Shaun by force. He fell back onto his ass, not feeling the pain in his tailbone. Frustration warred with revulsion as he raked his hands back through his hair, fisting a hunk and tugging until it hurt. Hell!

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Chapter Five

Hell was right. Hell was coming to the same conclusion as Jak -- that theyd scared
Shaun -- even as his body readied itself to pounce on her, take her to the ground, and fuck her until she was too satiated to cry out for more. But that was the beast talking, not the man who knew this was bad. Real bad. Rob shook his head, trying to rattle loose what good sense he had left so he could use it. Shaun -- Dont Shaun me in that tone of voice, Rob Deidrickson. What the hell do you think you were doing? Shaun had scootched away so that her back was against the rungs of one of the chairs that matched her kitchen table. She took a very visible deep breath, and in front of his eyes she pulled herself back together like some sort of Transformer before dragging herself up onto the chair. You had to admire someone with that amount of fortitude.

She was a brave girl, his Shaun.


Rob shook his head again, then rubbed his hand over his eyes for good measure. What

the fuck? When had he started thinking of her as his? Way before Gertie the ghost, with her freaky blue sparkles and her damn prophecy. Rob cursed his subconscious for deciding now
was a good time to make itself heard.

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Christ. He took a calming breath and sat back on his ass beside Jak. He was starting to feel like hed landed in an episode of Charmed with all this ghost, prophecy, and power of three crap. The truth, Shaun? He scrubbed his hand back over his face again. I dont know what the hell I was doing. And didnt it kill him to admit it. What? Like most Weres, he had top-notch hearing, and Shauns screech made him wince. I -- he started, but Jak broke in. Wait. Jak moved into a crouch; one in advance of standing, not one in preparation to pounce. I can explain some of what happened. Jak winced slightly, his mouth tilted wryly to the side. Well, at least I think I can. You think you can explain? How nice. Sarcasm. Her trademark -- Shaun was pulling it together, her usual flippancy nearly back. Shaun looked at Jak in a way that said she had doubts, and as he glanced between them Rob had a flash of understanding as to why the man hadnt gotten to his feet. He was giving Shaun the position of strength; sending the signal that he meant no harm. Quite a canny man was the vampire, but then he had a good two hundred and sixty odd years on him to figure this stuff out. It rankled, but Rob stayed on his ass, taking the position of least power. By his reckoning, of either of them, Shaun would know exactly how powerful he could be, so he would give her the most room. He has been around a while, love. He probably does have some good reasons why. Shauns doubting gaze turned to him but with both eyebrows raised this time. It took a second to grasp why. Damn it, he hadnt called her Shaun; hed used an endearment. Well,

wasnt today a day for surprises. He never, ever did that with anyone over the age of ten. Not
unless shithead and asshole counted as an adult endearment these days.

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Hey! Jak pushed at his shoulder and Rob played along, falling back onto his elbows. Ageist prick! Rob snarled back at his friend with a good-natured sneer, happy Jak had managed to break the moment, where Rob had only shown his sappy side. Why, Grandpa, what a strong arm you have. All the better to pummel you with, dickhead. He felt an unusual sense of relief as he watched Shaun regain her calm from the corner of his eye, the tautness of her body dissipating as they bantered. Or what at least counted as calm in Shauns world. He felt like an ass for frightening her -- but her reaction also gave him some hope that there was something softer under that prickly exterior of hers. He liked the idea of Shaun having a softer side to balance out her claws, even if she only showed it in private. To be more particular, in private with him. He had a feeling, though, that Jak was going to tell them that he wasnt going to get Shaun all to himself, and he was going to have to share her with the Vamp. The whole blue sparkly lights deal that Rex and Pearl had told him happened during their accidental mating uncannily matched what had happened the night before when the ghost had been sprinkling her eye opening truths around. Hed always been the love em and leave em type, not unlike his purebred jaguar cousins. But right now, he was bitterly digesting the very human, very irrational emotions of possessiveness and jealousy. For the first time in his life, he didnt know if he could share, but he wasnt about to walk away, either. He really hoped he was wrong about what Jak had found out. If the last few minutes were anything to go by, he wasnt sure how he would react. Things could get messy indeed if his Jaguar went nuts. Being a shape-shifter was intrinsically a magical process, not a molecular one. There was no Hulk-like transformation as they burst from their clothes, shredding them as their bodies changed shape. The thought to change forms was like a

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spell -- poof! -- and clothes and all, he became something else. But even with that being the case, a person was born to be a shifter, either born with that spell, or at least the ability to read it in their genetic code. Were bites werent a guaranteed method of transference, although it seemed Rockville was a gathering area for those humans who could be turned. Hence the Pack-wide ban on biting that had been broken by the young Were whod bitten Pearl and started her transformation. He was a mix of human and beast when shifted; in theory, he was more human than anything else, but his outside was a different shape. But as any Were knew, some animal instincts were easily as strong as their human counterparts, and in his case the beast could easily make its wants known, magical being or not. Finding your mate was one of the things that could quickly wear the shine off your humanity at a fast rate.

Shaun wasnt quite sure how she could be so turned on yet so apprehensive about the men whod made her that way. The shakes had calmed on the outside, but on the insideher heart was still racing a mile a minute. Only she wasnt sure if her heart was dancing the rumba from lust or plain old fear.

And I wanted to know all about the paranormal why?


Damn Rob and Jak for making her lose her cool. She hadnt done that since the day her parents decided the vagrant life was for them, taking off in their RV the week after she turned nineteen. Her parents had decided to have an early midlife crisis -- well, maybe it was a late one, considering shed been a late thirties baby -- and that taking up life as a pair of aging hippies touring the backwoods and hollers of their fair country was the way to fix their ennui with city life.

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She loved her parents to death, and knew they felt the same about her, but it had stung to be the one left behind now that she was an adult and able to look after herself. If forced, she might admit shed stuck with the goth thing after high school in a pathetic retaliation to their new found happy-happy, joy-joy, peace, love, and harmony shtick. Now she just liked it. Liked being not quite normal. It wasnt as though theyd orphaned her. Theyd signed the house over to her before they left, and set her up with a tidy little trust fund for living expenses -- although shed only ever used it for house repairs. She earned her money honestly, even when her father insisted she use the cash to have fun, choosing instead to keep their money in trust for when theyd need it. She still didnt believe him that there was oodles to go around courtesy of a mysterious Uncle Bill insisting her dad buy shares in his computer company. That guy in that fuzzy

christening photo is so not Bill Gates.


That had been the last time shed felt quite soverklempt. Until now. Jak stood before her, reaching out a hand to Rob to pull him to his feet. It was almost worth laughing about to see the two men slowly and quietly take a seat at her kitchen table. After watching them fight, their remorse was endearing, and she let go of her need to run away from the big bad wolfjaguarvampire. Whatever. She skimmed her hands along her thighs as if to brush away nonexistent crumbs of awkwardness and looked up from under her bangs to offer a shaky, So Sooo Even though he looked at ease, Robs big fingers tapped out his agitation on the tabletop as he, too, looked at Jak. Oh look, an echo. I said that already, Rob. Erryeah. I guess you did. A cute -- although shed never tell him that -- blush colored his cheekbones, and even more of her tension shifted.

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Unfortunately, it shifted to the other side of the coin, the one that suggested that shed like to eat the cute little kitty up with a spoon. Ack. Gag me with that spoon. So Jak started off with a smile. I went home and did some research -- Hes got this really huge library in the Burrow. Its kinda cool. Waitwhat? There was only one place around Rockville that anyone would name the Burrow. Youre the mysterious recluse that lives in the house under the hill? The one thats supposed to be a replica of Bilbos house in the Shire? Now it was Jaks turn to color up. Ummyeah. Is there a problem with that? Hell, no! She had wanted in that house so bad from the moment it had only been a rumor. It wasnt just the paranormal she was interested in; she was a fantasy fan, too. When are we going? She wasnt leaving getting her foot in the door up to chance, and neither was she taking no for an answer -- the vampire owed her, and she was calling in her marker. Jak got a stupid grin on his face, one that showed a lot of teeth in a way that said he would give her the full tour -- one that ended in his bedroom. Youre welcome anytime, Shaun. I have some marvelous etchings Id love to show you. Robs laughter came out as a snort of mirth, Seriously? Dude! You really just didnt say that, did you? Jaks grin fell somewhat at Robs comments and her barely stifled laugh. That pickup line is so two centuries ago. The flush of pink at the tips of Jaks ears was adorable. Now she wanted to eat up the little kitty, and lick up the delectable little Vamp. Double ack! Someone needed to take that spoon and use it to dig out the mush that was her brain so she could get a shiny, new, immune-to-attractive-men one. Well, as I said, youre welcome anytime. But for now, I need to tell you some stuff. Jaks tone caught her midgiggle, and all the stuff shed managed to put aside came flooding back. Cool houses had to wait; they had a prophecy and an ancient wonder to figure out.

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Ill start with Pandoras Jar rather than Gertie and her prophecy because I think we three will need to figure that out together. Shaun nodded back at him in silent agreement. Ive always thought the idea of Pandoras Jar was -- A whole lot of crap? Yeah. Jak frowned at Robs interruption. A paranormal urban legend of the ages, if you will. The story goes that there existed a second woman who held the transplanted power of hope -- the yin to Pandoras evil yang -- who is supposed to save the world from an end of days type of event. But I always thought it was just a myth -- with some paranormal embellishment to the usual story. Shaun shifted uneasily in her chair, and Jak sensed that Shaun was over her fright and heading right back into busybody mode. Considering there was a whole heap of conjecture about everything to do with the prophecy and Pandoras Jar, that wasnt a bad thing. Shaun tilted her head to the side, curiosity getting the better of her. Go on. The way the known story goes, Pandora was created by Zeus and Hephaestus as punishment for mankind because the Titan, Prometheus, stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mankind. Obviously, were talking wa-ay back to Greece and the whole gods on Mount Olympus, River Styx, and the underworld deal, right, not the Tomb Raider version? Rob asked. Jak had never thought Rob a dumb man by any means, but he was pleasantly surprised to learn he was no slouch in the mythology department -- even if he did couch his question in absurdity. I read about that this afternoon. Shaun leaned forward, putting her elbows on the table as she started to get hooked into the story. Pandora was supposed to be the first woman among men, and she was supposed to be a beautiful evil, meant to torment men for

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the rest of their days. Shaun frowned at him. They didnt like women much back then by the sound of things, did they? Rob coughed out a short laugh. A tormenting, beautiful evilthey nailed that one to a tee. Shauns gaze narrowed, and she gave Rob a hard, nastyevil stare that told him his observation wasnt appreciated. Jak knew better than to add to that comment, no matter how much he might like to agree. Women, in his opinion, were not easily manageable. Downright difficult, in fact. He cleared his throat to get their attention. Anyway, to get back on track, one of the things Pandora did was to bring a jar that was full of the gifts shed been given by the gods. Zeus was a mean son of a bitch by all accounts -- although its always possible Hesiod was a major misogynist. Jak tugged a piece of paper from his back pocket. Here, I printed a piece out from a translation of Hesiods Works and Days. He already knew what was in the text, so he passed it over to Shaun. Rob stood and circled the table to read over Shauns shoulder.

For ere this the tribes of men lived on earth remote and free from ills and hard toil and heavy sickness which bring the Fates upon men; for in misery men grow old quickly. But the woman took off the great lid of the jar with her hands and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Hope remained there in an unbreakable home within under the rim of the great jar, and did not fly out at the door; for ere that, the lid of the jar stopped her, by the will of Aegis-holding Zeus who gathers the clouds. But the rest, countless plagues, wander amongst men; for earth is full of evils and the sea is full. Of themselves diseases come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently; for wise Zeus took away speech from them. So is there no way to escape the will of Zeus.
He watched their faces as their eyebrows rose at the evils that were let out of that jar.

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I found some of this with modern phrasing, but when read in the original context Shaun mused. Damn. Zeus really had it out for humans, didnt he? Plagues, continual disease, an earth and sea full of evils; sheesh, overkill much? Anyone else notice the similarities between Eve and the story of Pandora? Rob questioned. Jak had to agree; it would be hard not to make a correlation. Not hard to miss the whole woman is evil vibe thats going on. Hey! We have our good points, you know. And didnt Jak -- and his cock -- know it. His dick, which really hadnt given up on noticing Shaun to begin with, refused to settle down and get with the seriousness of the occasion. It was impossible not to take note of her as the color was back in her cheeks and she was animated again, her fear gone. Her flippancy and offhand comments were flying again, just like when theyd met in the cemetery the evening before. Which begs the

question, wheres Gertie?


Has anyone seen Gertie today? I found an obscure text that suggests that one of the Olympians felt bad about what theyd helped do to man, and had hidden the jar from Zeus. If I understand it correctly, the Olympian had a foretelling of the future and knew that the time would come that Hope would be the only thing to save mankind from Zeuss ultimate vengeance. But I wanted to ask if I was right in my assumption that the jar had been disguised as a human. Ive been waiting for her to pop upor in, maybe? Ive no clue whats the right way to say that. Shaun frowned. Maybe it was a one-shot deal? She did her stuff, waved around the blue sparkles, and poof, shes done? Well, that would make last nights see you later a bit of an anticlimactic exit. Didnt she say it was about time someone asked to talk to her? Rob shrugged. Maybe if you ask again, shell turn up.

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Jak hoped so. Long reconciled with having lost Gertie and the men and women hed called family back before he was infected, it still would have been nice to have her around for a little longer. She had a brand of personality all her own that hed never found in another person -- well, maybe until Shaun. Shaun had more than her fair share of Gerties chutzpah. Shaun shrugged. Not going to hurt to try, although I did ask a few times this afternoon. Okay, here goes nothing. Gertie, are you here?

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Chapter Six

Shaun felt a little ridiculous, looking skyward and asking questions to thin air. That she actually got a reply took her off guard. Of course I am, dear. Why wouldnt I be? Three chairs screeched as she, Rob, and Jak simultaneously pushed back from the table when the ghost appeared. Submerged half in and half out of the table, Gertie looked down toward where her stomach should be and frowned when she saw an expanse of wood, not her abdomen. Oh, dear. You really must take more care of your surroundings when you summon me, Granddaughter. Shaun felt a nearly uncontrollable urge to giggle. Im sorry. I will indeed next time. Unfortunately, Im not as up on my ghostly etiquette as I could be. Obviously, she hadnt stifled her amusement as much as shed hoped, as Gertie turned to her with one of those looks -- the ones an elder gives a child when they should know better than to misbehave. Well. Could a ghost sniff disdainfully? It sure sounded like it. Did ghosts even

breathe? I should probably make allowances. After all, you didnt know ghosts and vampires
existed until last night. Gerties lips were now pursed in what seemed like frustration, or

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possibly consternation. Although, I never thought Id see the day when a member of my family was so blind to all the magic around her. Gert -- Jak started, but Shaun cut him off. Hey! Ive always said I was sure shape-shifters and vampires existed -- I just couldnt prove it -- and everyone thought I was a little light in the head for doing so. She didnt mean to, but she slumped back into her chair with a pout, offended at being called blind to magic. Gertie -- Exactly! You couldnt see the forest for the trees. Gertie raised a finger to her bottom lip and tapped as she looked toward the roof, contemplating. Or maybe that should be Were for the wolves? Her grandmothers ghost shrugged and then reached for Shaun to pat her consolingly on the hand. As Gerties hand went right through then back out the other side, Shaun felt the same tingle that she had the night before. Anyway, its been there all along, just waiting for you to take notice of it, sweetie. Gertie. Shaun tried to interrupt Jak again, but he shot her a dirty look. Things are different now. Look around you; most humans dont see the magic, and why should they? Theyve got microwaves, planes, telephones, machines that do this, computers that do that -is it any wonder that magic seems ridiculous? I havent just been sitting on my bottom, tapping my fingers, waiting for someone to call me on the hotline, young Padawan. The ghost looked a little smug as a wide-eyed Jak made a choking noise at being thrown a Star Wars tagline. Rob chuckled while Shaun struggled to make some sense of it all. Did ghosts just hang around in this dimension then? Or was Gertie not jesting, and there was some hotline towherever that filled ghosts -- or heaven -- or whatever was on the other side of death, in on what was happening on Earth? So many questions filled her head that they drowned each other out, and she couldnt voice any of them. She just watched

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mutely as the ghost drifted out of the table and over to the microwave, pushing her hand through the glass front before turning to Rob. Rob, be a dear, will you, and press the On button. Rob turned on his chair until he could reach the microwave on the counter behind him, and pressed the Auto Start button. As the empty turntable began to move, Gerties hand began to shimmer with little twinkles of light not dissimilar to the sparking of a lighter flint. Oh, yes! Gertie shoved her other hand into the appliance and rubbed both together as she giggled like a little girl. What a wonderful sensation, just like when I used to make paraffin candles back in the day -- just like the paraffin manicures you girls get now. Oh, how I envy you girls today -- working with paraffin wax was just another chore with some unexpected benefits, not for getting pampered like you can at the salon these days. Gertie had such a euphoric look on her face that Shaun felt kind of dirty watching her enjoyment. She shook her head to shunt the question of whether ghosts had sex and if microwaves were considered ghostly foreplay out of her brain. Hey, I called you earlier today, why didnt you come then? With a sigh of reluctance, Gertie pulled her hands from the microwave and turned toward her, another of those parental looks on her face. This time it was the eye rolling, well, duh! face. Of course I couldnt show up earlier. It was light out. Gertie stared at her as if it was self-explanatory, but then when she realized Shaun didnt understand, she sighed and explained further. Im see-throughyou can only see me at night. Id just be this floating voice during the day. Besides, its tradition: Ghosts only haunt when its dark. Oh. Makes sense, I guess. But the suns been down for ages. I wasnt about to pop in when you were rolling around on the floor with these two, now, was I? Gertie exclaimed with indignant horror. While I realize times have changed,

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Ive never quite understood modern courting techniques. Too much promiscuity in my book. Shaun goggled at the ghost of her grandmother a number of times removed and gagged in unison with Jak and Rob. You were watching? I didnt intend to -- and it was only a glimpse. I zipped right back out again when I saw what you three were up to. As Gertie tapped her lip thoughtfully again, Shaun wondered if she could take another of the ghosts revelations. Although it makes sense, with the mating bonds and all. What? The word came out in screeching chorus -- although Robs was more of a big cat version of a housecats surprised mrow? Gertie looked surprised and then turned one of her frowns on Jak. Jakov Pieter! Have you not told your Intended shes yourwell, Intended? Gerties now steely gaze turned on Rob, and Shaun couldnt help but feel relief that the pressure was off her. And as for you, Alpha, you should know the mating bond when you feel it. Are you talking about me? Shaun asked. Ohmigod, this is so not happening. Being friends with Pearl and knowing the drama her friend had gone through when shed found herself magically mated to Shauns neighbor, she was more than a little concerned when people threw around the words mated and mating bond. Intended, oldfashioned term though it might be, ranked right up there with the whole mated-for-life crap. She so didnt need the whole ber-protective boyfriendshe eyed Jak and Rob-- make that boyfriends -- hanging around and telling her what to do. She enjoyed her single life just fine, thank you very much. Twenty-five was way too young to settle down. Besides, Rob was old -- he was like, forty -- and Jak must be positively ancient if hed known Gertie when shed actually been alive. But then again, for old guys they were pretty

hot.
Who else would we be talking about? Gertie asked.

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Shaun wondered if ghosts were supposed to huff and puff the way Gertie did. What is it with you people? What of the whole triad of blood, power, and strength thing did you not get? As she spoke, Gertie poked each of them in the chest with a transparent finger, which left them all rubbing their chests as if shed nailed them with her fist. Shaun absently rubbed the spot and wondered if it would leave a bruise. But being linked doesnt mean mated, for goodness sake! Gertie gave an unladylike snort of frustration at her reply. Is the prophecy that hard to interpret? It wasnt like it was in a foreign language. She cocked her hip as she floated off the kitchen floor, and began pointing to her fingers as she listed parts of the prophecy. Triad -- check. Green eyes, Shadowman, determined -- check. New moon to unite the three coming up soon? All four, dead and alive alike, leaned toward the window and took note of the waning moon. Check. Magic born of the power of threewell, from what I saw earlier, theres going to be no problems with you three getting frisky whatsoever. Gertie looked at her remaining finger with a scowl as she muttered, What was that last pointI know there was one. Shaun hoped to God that last point wasnt what she thought it was. Oh, yes, of course! The bit that comes after the frisky business -- the baby! Shaun felt her eyes bulge as she gaped in shock. No doubt about it, she was sure they were about to pop out of her head.

No. Freaking. Way.


Shaun bounced up like a rocket out of a bottle, her chair rocking as she pushed back from the table. Out, all of you. I want you out. Now. That includes you, Gertie. Hands waving frantically, she hustled them toward the door.

But I havent told you why I think Pandoras Jar and the prophecy are linked --

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But Shaun cut Jak off again. The girl was much too good at doing that. This time she waved her arms in counterpoint, making a shooing motion as she herded them out of her kitchen. I dont care, Jak. I've had about as much as I can stand tonight. I sincerely doubt the big, bad evil is going to come knocking tonight. It can wait until tomorrow. Shaun reached for the door and tugged with enough force that it made a loud, crashing slam as it hit the frame. Once outside, both he and Rob looked at one another then back at the door. What the hell just happened there? I -- But yet again he was cut off by one of the Ingelstead women, this time Gertie, as she emerged ghoulishly through the middle of the door, backside first. Fine! If youre going to be that way about it, young lady! There was more muted yelling on the far side of the door, and Gertie came through the door with a pop, actually managing to stagger, even as she hovered above the ground. She was muttering as she righted her clothing, pulling her fitted jacket down with a snap before primping her hair. Well, I never! Fine time for her to figure out she can refuse me entrance to her house. She can? I thought ghosts could go anywhere. If only. Shaun might not know it, but under all that makeup shes actually a witch. Latent though she might be, when she puts power behind her words, its no different than saying a spell. Shes a witch? Robs eyes were closed, and his fingers rubbed at the grooves pressed into his forehead. The man had an impressive frown. I mean, Ive always called her a little witch, mainly because it rhymes with -- Jak looked on, not sure if he should laugh or run for the hills as Rob jerked. His eyes opened with a snap as he yowled then jumped around like a mouse -- make that a porcupine -- had just run up his leg. Blue sparks followed him as he whacked at his ass as if it were on fire. Maybe it was?

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You really werent going to call my great-great-grandbaby what I think you were going to call her, were you? Gerties ghostly form hovered menacingly, the thumb and middle finger of her left hand clicking in time to the bursts of blue from Robs backside. No! Never! Of course I wouldnt! Rob hopped and skipped and jumped some more, managing to run right through the middle of the ghost. Id never say such a thing. Shauns lovely, a real peach. One of the curtains beside the kitchen door twitched, and Jak caught sight of Shaun looking out at the kerfuffle. Rob was still trying to dig himself out of the spectral hole hed stepped into, and Shaun's left eyebrow went higher and higher, her lips thinning as Rob insulted her with compliments. A total lady, as delicate as a flower. Shaun rolled her eyes at the last comment, and the curtain dropped as she no doubt gave up in disgust. Perfect, in fact! Gertie stopped her clicking fingers with a humph of her own. Thats the first real thing youve said -- she is perfectfor you two, at least. With her hands on her hips, Gerties gaze bored into Jak again, making his discomfort return. You both -- there was a dramatic pursing of Gerties lips -- just need to find that out for yourselves. He could see right through Gertie to where Rob stood, his head in his hand, moving his hand side to side again in despair, or maybe it was disgust. Or maybe it was the same sense of resignation that was making Jaks belly churn with a sense of fait accompli. God. I need a beer. Robs voice was rough, a mix of frustration, anger, and confusion as he sidestepped around Gertie. You coming? Jak nodded as Rob walked past him and into his own backyard. Be there in a sec. Gertie was studying him with her head cocked to the side when he turned back to take his leave. Hes a pretty confirmed bachelor, isnt he? Should be interesting to see how he copes with your Intended being his mate as well.

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How he copes? Hell, Im having enough trouble getting my head around the fact that I have an Intended myself. Not that he should be, having been prepped ahead of time that this moment would come -- even if it had been hundreds of years ago. But this was pretty big stuff; not many vampires found an Intended. Hed only met a handful in all his vampire life. Apparently, there was some enzyme in the blood of an Intended that lessened the virus to a point that a Vamp with an Intended would never turn rabid. And considering it was, and always had been, his raison d'tre to rid the world of rabid Vamps, that he would no longer have to fear becoming what he despised was a heady notion. Ahhh, but you dont have a magical beast to convince that sharing your Intended is acceptable. Jak sighed resignedly, knowing what Gertie said was true. Getting his rocks off by sharing a girl with Rob and Rex as a bit of fun when they were younger was one thing; making it a lifestyle was going to be a different ball game altogether. And then theres Shaun. Gertie snorted slightly as she tried not to laugh. Yes, indeed. And then there is my beautiful granddaughter. Jak wanted to snarl like Rob would have as Gertie fought her smile. Shes going to be the bane of your existence, I think, and also the making of it. He sighed again, knowing even from such short association with Shaun that Gertie was right. He made his good-byes and turned to follow Rob, acquiescence to his fate settling on his shoulders. Stuff the beer; I need some real alcohol. Bring on the liquor.

*****
Shaun stalked through her kitchen, and just for good measure kicked the computer chair as she went past. But her neatness gene got the best of her and she went back and

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righted the chair before sliding it under her computer desk and out of the way. Would be

just my luck to take a midnight trip if I didnt.


Leaning on the back of the chair for a moment, she attempted to collect herself, but her deep, centering breath only got her a giant whiff of leather, and that reminded her of just what had been started in that chair. The memory of how Rob and Jaks tongues had lapped over her skin sent a shiver down her spine. Heat shot into her core and her wrists tingled from the remembrance of the broad hands that had held her down to the floor as the two men had caressed her intimately. Shaun slapped at the chair with an agonized groan as she felt her traitorous lady bits become aroused and slick. Damn them. I so do not want to be the meat in their paranormal sandwich. Even as she said it, Shaun knew she was lying. But a girls got to at least try to convince herself shes not a kinky slut lusting after two men -- one of whom was at least ten times her age. It was kind of funny when Pearl and Rex got the blue sparks and babies magicked at them, but come on, whatre the chances of the same thing happening twice? Shaun muttered as she stomped down the hallway and into her room, turning the hall lamp on as she went. Doesnt feel quite so funny now that Ive got my own little secret destiny to fulfill. She kept muttering to herself about arrogant shifters and smarmy vampires as she opened her bedside table drawer. Reaching in, she withdrew her Rabbit. She held the vibrator up and studied it for a moment. Just you and me again tonight, Bob. I have an itch -- two of them, actually -- and youre going to help me scratch them. Plastic fantastic to

the rescueagain! How depressing.


She didnt bother with the lights since the glow of the lamp in the hallway spilled through the open doorway and into the room. She pulled back the covers, exposing the red satin of her sheets.

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Bob bounced when Shaun threw him to the far side of the bed, and she giggled as a vision of hundreds of bright pink penises jumping on her bed popped into her head. She frowned again when the pink jelly penises morphed into two familiar men who knocked all the vibrators to the floor and climbed up onto the bed in their place. Shaun strangled back her shriek of hair-tearing frustration. Damn it! Just freaking leave me alone! Rob, Jak, ghosts, and definitely magical babies could go crawl back into the prophecy they came from and leave her alone. She stripped off all her clothing bar her panties and dumped them haphazardly on the floor. With intense purpose, she slid into the middle of her bed, the satin of her sheets cool on her skin, and grabbed the vibrator. She flicked it on, and the whining hum as she moved the switch to full blast drowned out her subconscious. Shaun lay back, letting the toy rest on her stomach. The vibrations sank in and worked their magic to relax as well as arouse. Not

that I need that much arousing.


Between the pair of them, Rob and Jak had near enough frightened her out of her skin with their earlier antics. She didnt believe Rob would intentionally hurt her, nor allow Jak to either -- but, hello! The man turns into a jaguar! Claws and jaws were dangerous. What on earth had set the two men to fighting over her? Then that flick of a switch from fight to fuck? For more than a few moments, shed enjoyed it. The rush, both good and bad, of being fought over, then the pulsing heat of desire flooding her system -- thats what had skeeved her the hell out and sent her running even as arousal had simmered in her belly. Two days ago, Rob had been calling her a little witch and slamming doors in her face. As for Jak, she hadnt known he even existed. Now, they were looking at her like she was prime beef, while she looked right back at them like they were Godiva chocolate. She slammed her eyes shut against the ridiculousness of it all, squeezing her lids together until she saw stars. Stupid magical shit. If those blue sparkles hadnt shown up,

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everything would be situation normal -- shed be sniping at Rob while he glowered back just like every other day of the week since hed moved in next door. Wound up again, her body stiff, she willed her limbs to relax, and let the vibrations from the Rabbit do their job. Unclenching her eyelids, she allowed her favorite fantasy to play out behind her closed eyes.

Two hot and sweaty naked men writhed against one another, roughly teasing and taunting each other as they fought for domination; for who would take and who would be taken?
Her Hugh Jackman/Wolverine making out with Christian Bale/Batman fantasy never failed to get her off

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Chapter Seven

Whats that noise? That high-pitched hum was driving Rob insane. What noise? Sort of like a whining motor -- just a little one, though, like maybe a kids toy-sized one. A kids remote control car maybe? Or not, considering there werent homes with kids that close by. Nope, dont hear it. Jak was spread out in an outdoor recliner, absorbing the nighttime atmosphereand his beer. Its like a fucking mosquito buzzing -- you sure you cant hear it? Rob poked his finger in his ear and wiggled, just in case hed picked up a flea. Just the concept of a flea made his scalp crawl, and he scratched at his head irrationally. Nope. Some nightwalker you are. Rob leaped to his feet and let the magic overtake him. In only seconds, he was no longer human but padding about on four feet. In this form, his hearing was even more acute, easily pinpointing the sound as coming from Shauns property. He resisted the urge to scratch at his ruff for nonexistent fleas.

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It didnt take much to leap up on the timber railing that surrounded his back deck, then up onto the lower limb of the tall oak tree that was rooted in his backyard. The large limbs stretched over the hedge and provided shade in Shauns yard as well. As a cat, it was simple to leap from branch to branch until he was high enough to see over the whole yard. Jaguars had particularly good low-light vision, so it was easy to scan over the section. Other than a few frogs, a tiny grass snake, and a lizard or two thousand, there wasnt a damn thing moving. He panned along the grassed area beside Shauns house and saw nothing. His gaze went up, and had it been possible to choke on the lolling length of a cats tongue, he would have. Shock brought him to his paws, and he scrabbled for purchase to maintain his hold on the branch. It was Shaun. Shaun was making that noise, or more exactly, Shaun and her vibrator.

Holy mother of

Jak needed to sit down face-to-face with Shaun and Rob and tell them his thoughts about the prophecy. But since Shaun had already kicked them out, there wasnt much more to do than kick back and relax, killing time until he could knock on her door and tease her out with the bait of getting to see the Burrow. Once he had them both in his lair, he was sure hed be able to sit them down and get their opinions on his reasoning. Well, that was his plan. That neither Rob nor Shaun could be in the same room together for more than fifteen minutes without baiting the other to madness might put a crimp in his plans. If his theory was right -- and it was highly speculative, so he could well be wrong -- he, Shaun, and Rob were merely the conduit to create a being that would be part of the solution to defeating an evil betrayer. And considering that Pandoras Jar was apparently hidden to help prevent an end of days type of event, or at least an event that would tip the scale in favor of the forces of evil, the betrayal would be something with immense consequences.

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But his whole theory came with one major issue -- how on earth could the three of them have one child? Besides the scientific impossibility of one child having the genetic makeup of two fathers, there was the simple fact that even Vamps with an Intended were sterile. Raising the beer bottle to his mouth again, Jak stared up at the night sky and watched the stars as they twinkled merrily, pondering on how to solve the impossible. Mouth open, waiting for the next swig of beer to make its way down the longneck, a shower of leaves and bark rained down from the tree and onto his head, landing with unerring accuracy in his mouth. He spluttered and spat out the greenery and looked up to see the hind end of a jaguar staring him in the face -- not his most preferred view of anyone, really. What the fuck? He lunged sideways out of his chair with a vain prayer that he was fast enough not to be squashed by hundreds of pounds of falling jaguar. Rob, what the hell are you doing up there? Robs haunches lifted back up and into the dark covering of the tree as the cat gained control of his body. The reply to Jaks question was a grunted cough that sounded suspiciously like the word up. Jak came to his knees from his inelegant sprawl on the deck, moved across to the tree, and peered up into the mishmash of limbs and leaves. You want me to come up? Reflective green cats eyes moved up and down in the affirmative. Do you realize Ive not had to climb a tree for decades, centuries even, yet this week, just for you Ive had to climb two? His reply was a sniggering hiss he took for Robs cat form version of a laugh. Do you have any idea how much I hate climbing trees? Obviously Rob didnt give a shit. This time his coughed up held an edge. All right, damn it, Jak muttered as he looked around for somewhere to put his beer. He hadnt saved the beer at the expense of life and limb just to risk tipping it over now. He

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took the few steps over to the table and left his bottle of beer safe and sound, smack bang in the middle. Keep beer safe at all costscheck! Back at the decks rail, he took the same route up that Rob had, albeit with much less grace. It took him a bit of wiggling, but he managed to make his way around the feline to take a seat on the branch beside him. So what was so important I had to drag my ass up this tree? Robs long black tail thrashed from side to side, and his head jerked as if telling him to look toward Shauns house. So he did. And damn near fell out of the tree himself.

Her fantasy had gotten to the point where Wolverine, facedown on the bed, lost his cool and the knives in his hands broke free to shred the bedcovers and impale themselves into the mattress before Shaun moved the vibrator down over her belly and across the front of her panties. The toy slid easily across the satin until it hit the damp spot that had spread up from between her legs. Oh, yes. Right. There! She nudged the speed setting down with her thumb and let the dull buzz settle around her clit. Not quite direct enough to hurry along her orgasm too quickly, but close enough that her clit and labia got a nice little electric hum going that trickled down into her pussy. She needed one hand to hold the vibrator in just the right spot, but her other strayed up to her breasts. She tugged at her nipples, gently at first, but then harder with a little bit of a biting twist as the fantasy in her head progressed.

With eager frustration, Wolverines knives clawed at the mattress, shredding the pillowtop as he fought to brace himself, eager to feel the first thrust as Batman drove his delicious, thick cock into his hole. Every time they fought for domination, he fell a little

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more for the Bat Man, although Wolverine would deny it until he was blue in the face and say their coming together was little more than the pure lust of men who love to fuck. The way their muscles flexed against one another's bodies as they battled in the most primal fight of all, their skin slick with sweat as they strained to hold the other down and make that first violent thrust that would pin the other man and ensure his supplication to the victor -- there was nothing like men fucking. Wolverines muscles gave against that first brutal invasion. Although he savored the momentary pain Batmans cock inflicted, he struggled still, not making the Bat Mans win an easy one. As the Dark Knight pinned him to the bed with his cock, the gentle caress of lips fluttered over Wolverines shoulder; then the sting of the Bat Mans bite shot right to Wolverines straining cock.
Shaun sought out her pillow and groaned into it as a wave of pleasure rolled through her body. Her free hand slipped her panties out from under the vibrator and down her thighs. She drew her knees up to push her panties over them, and her groan became a series of gasps as her thighs trapped the vibrator against her cleft, pressing up against her clit. The direct contact was the most deliciously pleasurable type of pain, but it was too hard, too fast, when she wanted long, rolling, and deep. An orgasm to satisfy the craving Rob and Jak had left her with. She raked her panties off, then drew her feet up, pulling her heels into her butt and letting her knees gape open, making it easy to direct the vibrator down to tease her vagina with little dips of the fake cock's crown into her body. Her body was eager, knowing that the best sensation still waited for her when she thrust the vibrator deep enough that the rotating beads at the base would stimulate her pussy, while the little rabbit ears the vibrator was named for would buzz away happily against her clit.

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In apology, Batman soothed the tooth marks hed left on his lover's shoulder with his tongue, even though the mark would be gone in near moments with Wolverines amazing healing ability. Batman cursed himself for succumbing to the pleasure of causing his lover the slight, teasing pain. Regretted that he let his desire get the best of his legendary control. They had wrestled until, finally, Batman had come out on top with Wolverine caught beneath him, trapped as his cock and teeth forced the other man's submission. There was no gentleness in their encounter, despite Batman's tender soothing. This would be no slow, walk-in-the-park, pretty fuck. He would give Wolverine all his lust, knowing the man craved it every bit as much as he; the angrier the fuck, the more Wolverine loved it. Loved it because he knew he could take the pain with as much ease as he would later make slow, lazy love to Batman in return. They knew just how to defeat each others barriers. Wolverine didnt make a sound as Batman thrust hard, driving his cock so deep into Wolverines ass that his balls slapped against Wolverines body. But his stoic Wolverine gave himself away with the rasp of knife against knife as he enjoyed the penetration. Batmans vision blurred, and his hips thrust over and over. He pummeled the man beneath him until his lover finally made a sound, and then he fucked him even harder.
Her hips rose, meeting the thrusts she made with her vibrator that matched the bump and grind of the lovers in her sex dream. Each steel ball in the vibrator's shaft twisted and massaged the entrance to her vagina, and the touch and go flutter of the bunny ears on her clit was just right. Yet she knew even as good as this orgasm was going to be, it would have been better with the force of a mans hips behind the thrusts and the weight of a mans body over hers as she fell over the edge.

Jak couldnt believe his eyes. Hed had some three hundred years to cat around, but hed never seen anything in his multiple lifetimes that came close to the sight of Shaun pleasuring herself with a bright pink vibrator. Dmo arigat, Mr. Japanese Dildo Designer.

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He was already pleasantly warm in his nether regions from their aborted foray earlier, so it didnt take long for his pants to be fit to burstand embarrassingly enough, so was his cock. Jak pushed the heel of his hand against his zipper, telling himself he was using the pressure to ease his agony. Keep telling yourself that, dude. No one else believes it. He wrapped his fist around the outline of his cock and squeezed, hoping the pain would help. Seriously, who am I kidding? Feels too good! Robs tail whacked him upside the head, and Jak was forced to both look away from the show and let go of his cock to steady himself. The cats tail thrashed restlessly from side to side, and now that his fixation with the view was broken, he noticed the branches swaying with the rhythmic movement of the cats hips. You arent doing what I think youre doing, are you? he snapped out, knowing no matter how he might like to yell he couldnt. Robs ears went back and he hissed in reply, only Robs hiss was a whole lot more fierce than Jak's since he was a jaguar. They locked eyes for a few moments and somehow, wordlessly, they came to a conclusion. If I see you so much as even think about what we are going to do, let alone tell someone, I will hunt you down, skin you, and turn your pelt into a coat that Ill wear even on the hottest days of summer. Was he seriously contemplating whacking off in a tree while

sitting beside his best friend? Do you get that? I dont look, you dont look; we just look at
her. And once were done, it never happened. It. Never. Happened. Robs head bobbed, and his tail set to thrashing again as he replied with what Jak took as an affirmative cough of sound. Jak turned back to their real life skinemax show and did something he never thought hed ever do -- he unzipped his pants, reached into his boxers for his cock, and stroked. The branch began to bounce again as Rob did whatever it was cats did to get themselves off.

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Shauns eyes were closed. She was obviously in her own little fantasy world, but while her mind was somewhere else, her hands were just where he wanted them to be. She had a nice firm hold on the fake dick, and Jak could only pray his dick would get the same treatment at some point. Shed pulled and tugged at her pointy, raspberry-pink nipples before sliding her hand down over her belly and into her cunt. Her fingers stroked around her clit with increasing speed, and Jaks tempo grew along with hers. He really wanted to work his hips. To match the rhythm of the vibrator Shaun plunged into her cunt, but he couldnt gain any leverage -- he needed his other hand for balance.

Jerking off up a tree has its limitations -- go figure. His self-abusing sarcasm went by the
wayside when Shauns body flexed and her hips punched into the air as she yelled loud enough to be heard up the tree, Oh God! Ohgodohgodohgod, before slowly, and so elegantly collapsing into a gasping heap on the bed. Oh, yes, baby, just like that. Oh, Jesus, what a fucking beautiful sight. Jaks balls felt like they were about to crawl up into his belly he was so primed. He was moments away from coming so hard hed probably go blind and fall out of the tree. His hand involuntarily tightened around his cock as he stroked. After a little ripple of residual pleasure ran through her body, Shaun opened her eyes. For a hesitant moment, her gaze collided with his, and with every particle of his being he wished they had made a real connection. As he rubbed his dick and wished, Shauns sleepy, postorgasm smile slipped from her face, her eyes flicking to his right. Those pretty eyes narrowed, and her mouth formed into a snarl as she flew up from the bed, all her languor gone. She glared pointedly out the window before wrapping herself in a robe and storming out her bedroom door. Oh, oh. Careful what

you wish for, boy-o.


Ah, Robis it just meor do you get the feeling she saw us?

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Rob didnt get a chance to make any sort of reply as Shaun's back door slammed open in advance of her flying through it. Her silky robe flapped behind her with vicious slaps of sound as she ran toward them, cursing and swearing like a sailor. Motherfucking perverts. How dare you sit in a fucking tree spying on me! Abstractedly, Jak wondered if Shaun had any idea how damned sexy she looked right at that moment. Her robe gaped at the front, and her skin was all pink from her orgasmanger, whatever. If it had been possible, sparks would have flown from her eyes and burned him and Rob to a crisp. From this particular vantage point, she looked like an angry pixie ready to serve someone a smackdown. I think Im in love. Oh, my fucking God! And you! Youre getting your jollies watching me while youre a cat? Get down from that tree right now so I can kick your dog-faced ass, Deidrickson. You and your batboy sidekick both. Jak caved and gave his cock another tight squeeze. He was a perverted son of a bitch -her well-deserved anger was turning him on even more. Shaun had gotten close enough to see that they werent only sitting in the tree watching but actually doing at the same time. Her gasp of horror cut her tirade off midharangue, and her hand flew to cover her eyes. Ohmigawd. Youre up a damn tree, having a circle jerk while watching me? Her voice had gone up another octave. Not good. This probably wasnt the best time to explain the differences between a circle jerk and a group jerk, and there was no way to deny they had been doing something, so Jak decided silence was his best option. Motherfucking perverts! You said that one already. Damn it, what happened to being quiet? Shaun took her hand from her eyes and looked back up into the tree. There was such fire in her eyes he and Rob shouldve been charcoaled, not just crispy. Rob moved restlessly beside him, not a big movement, but enough to send the branch bobbing again.

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Get. Out. Of. The. Tree. Only Shauns lips moved as she spoke through her tightly gritted teeth. Something about the way she said it pinged his memory. What was it that Gertie had said? When she puts power behind her words, its no different than saying a spell. Oh, shit. Jak jerked his hand from his pants and scrabbled, trying to get to his feet. We need to get down, Rob. Now! The tree creaked, and then there was a loud crack. Suddenly, Jak, along with Rob, who had for some reason shifted back into human form, and a very large tree branch were flying through the air. They hit the ground once, then again, and when the earth stopped shaking Jak saw theyd landed on the table, causing it to collapse. Theyd landed one on top of the other face-to-face, like lovers -- one clothed and one very, very naked because hed lost control of his magic when hed changed -- and both still heavily aroused. Jak smelled beer and swore silently as wetness spread down the back of his shirt.

So much for keeping my beer safe.

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Chapter Eight

Whats with the Murphys Law grimaces this morning? Dave, owner of the Greasy Spoon Diner, slid two steaming coffees in front of them. Last time I saw a Were with a face that long sitting at my counter was when Pearl came in after she and Rex got together. Dave stood on the other side of the counter, hands braced on its top. And while Vamps usually have the market cornered when it comes to gloomy, you look like someone hit you with a sad stick then stole your last dollar. Dont hold back now, will you, Dave. The coffee mug was hot as Rob wrapped his hand around it and took a swig, refusing to let the pain show on his face when the scalding brew hit his tongue. Daves eyebrow went up in surprise. Oh, come on, Rob. You usually give as good as you get -- what bug crawled up your ass this morning? At least Pearl had a good reason for looking glum with a magical pregnancy and all. Its not like you met a mystery woman over the weekend and ended up magically mated now, is it? Daves eyes flicked back and forth between them, as neither he nor Jak said a thing to confirm or deny, which became confirmation in itself. Youre kidding me, right? That kind of lightning cant hit twice, surely?

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Youd think so, wouldnt you? Jaks reply sounded as morose as Rob felt. So, youre saying Rob nodded in confirmation to Daves half asked question. Both of you? Jak nodded this time. Huh. Whatre the chances of that, then -- both of you finding mates at the exact same time? Not mates, plural, but mate, as in the singularsort of. Rob watched Dave frown as he attempted to fathom just what that meant. His face went slack as the situation became clear, and he leaned forward to question in a low voice, Waityou mean you both have the same mate? Both he and Jak harmonized as they agreed together, Yeah. Huh. Dave paused, the cogs in his brain visibly going into overdrive as he thought. So, if your mate is his mate, then that means you guys are mated to each other too then? I wouldnt put it quite that way. Rob was studiously ignoring that essentially he was now mated to another man as well as a woman. Ho-leee shit. Dave reached for the stool he kept behind the counter and flopped onto it. He seemed gob-smacked, boneless with shock. So whos the lucky girl? Rob choked back a slightly hysterical laugh. To his left, Jak dropped a deep meaningful sigh. Guys? Daves spine straightened with alertness -- he might take the incongruous form of a bobcat when shifted, but he was no slouch when it came to sniffing out his prey. Who, exactly, is she that shes got you two all clammed up? Rob gritted his teeth in frustration before biting out, Shaun.

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Shaun? Daves eyebrows rocketed toward his hairline. Pearls Shaun? Cute little goth-girl, Shaun Ingelstead, who lives to annoy the living shit out of you -- that Shaun? Faced with Daves disbelief, Robs temper got the best of him, and he spat out his reply. Yeah, that Shaun. Did Dave have to rub it in? Daves laughter started quietly enough. His shoulders shook, and he shoved his fist to his mouth as he tried unsuccessfully to muffle the sound. One more look from him to Jak and Dave lost what little control he had and dissolved into gales of frenzied laughter. This is priceless! You and Shaun and Jak? All three of you? Dave gasped out, followed by a highpitched, Seriously? Seriously, Jak said, deadpan in the face of Daves incredulousness. Tears poured down Daves face as he cackled. Oh, this is too perfect! He bent double, his hands pressed against his belly, and howled at the hilariousness of it all. The stool wobbled, and caught up in his frenzy of amusement, he toppled to the ground as the stool slipped out from underneath him. Jak stood up on the rung of his stool and bent over the counter. You always get this much shit from your pack, Alpha? Rob breathed out the sigh of a condemned man into his coffee mug. I get no respect around this place. He gulped the last of the liquid down. No fucking respect at all. Dave, still huddled on the floor in ball of laughter, only howled louder.

Shaun paused at the door to the Greasy Spoon and watched the three men at the counter. It looked like Dave was getting a kick out of whatever Jak and Rob were telling him. She had a sneaky suspicion it had something to do with her. Dickheads. She muttered under her breath, Hope the bastard falls off his damn chair. Dave swayed as his chair wobbled, and Shaun sucked in a short gasp as Dave fell to the ground, just as she'd envisaged. Just like the tree branch collapsing the night before

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What the hell was going on? Why were little things she thought coming true -especially those she felt particularly emotional about? A quiet excuse me came from behind her, and Shaun blushed from being caught peering in the window. She moved away from where she blocked the doorway. Dave's next group of customers made their way into the diner as she procrastinated a little longer, watching Jak's and Rob's backs as they hunched over the counter. Her eyes drifted down their backs and settled on their asses. Coming or going, Jak and Rob had assets rather worth ogling. Jak was leaner than Rob; maybe a little taller, too. She was fairly short; half the world was taller than she was, which made it hard to guesstimate anyone's height. Besides, both were so filled with presence; they seemed so much larger than life that shed never really noted what their differences in height might be. Or maybe its just

that theyre just so full of themselves, she thought with a wry twist of her lips.
Rob was stockier through the chest than Jak. Shed seen Robs cousin, Jacob, in his jaguar form. As a cat, Jacob was solid through the chest but sleek through the hips, and as a human Rob had a good thirty or forty pounds on the younger man. Her brief glimpse of Rob the night before hadnt given her much to go on, but if this reflected a change in the size of his animal form, Robs beast must be a formidable sight. No wonder he was Alpha. Of all the members of the pack shed met, only Rex -- as a Were Bear -- was bigger than Rob. But Rex was really a teddy bear. She didnt doubt he could -- and would -- defend his own if needed, but he didnt exude quite the same aura of potential menace that Rob wore so easily. Like a kid staring in a candy store window, she almost drooled. Heat boiled in her belly, and the fire that had never really died down from the day before blazed back into life with a whoosh. Her mouth watered as Jak stood on the rung of his chair and bent over the counter. More than one woman turned and eyed his ass as if theyd like to own it.

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Shauns eyes narrowed as one of the women made to stand, her eyes locked on her prize -- Jaks ass. Dont you even As the woman stood, her full coffee cup tipped, spilling dark, hot coffee down her pristine cream-colored skirt. A sly grin slipped out, even though Shaun held back her laugh.

Served the woman right; her skirt was a size too small anyway. But a movement from the
other side of the diner caught her attention, and she frowned. The other single woman whod been happily enjoying the view now wore a splash of egg yolk down the front of her crisp white blouse.

Uh oh.
Both men turned to look as the women made small cries of dismay. Then they looked at each other before turning to look out the window, catching her looking in. Their gaze settled on her and Shaun held her breath. Clenching her thighs together, she tried to hold back the rush of liquid heat that surged through her center, but her body wasnt having any of it. Her skin tingled as the pair of men stared, their gazes like electricity across her body. The power and lust she saw on their faces was formidable, frightening -- a total turn-on.

Need air! Struggling to control herself, Shaun took a deep, supposedly cleansing breath
through her nose, only to choke on it as the pair moved as one, sliding from their seats to prowl across the floor and to the front door. She blinked and there they were, looming in front of her looking all delicious. The diner door closed with an overly loud snick in the exaggerated early morning silence. Shaun. Jak. Shaun turned her gaze slightly to the left. Rob. Shaun. Then silence reigned again.

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Iahthat is Lost for quite what to say, Shaun gave up trying to say anything. The word fuck came to mind. But she couldnt figure out if it was a fuck you! or please fuck

me, or just a plain old, pissed off fuck! All three versions worked for her in this particular
moment. Youre up early. Rob sounded growly, his voice lower and rougher than normal. I couldnt sleep. Shaun shrugged as if it was nothing unusual, when in fact she hated getting up early. Especially when the reason she hadnt been able to stay asleep was a dream about them as they watched her from the tree outside her window. So I thought Id come down for an early breakfast. With too much sexual tension in her system, shed walked. The exercise hadnt worked to dull her desire as she had planned. We have to talk. Jaks voice wasnt quite as rough as Robs. I know. She didnt really want to talk, but there came a point in everything where you had to choose to believe or die lying to yourself. She wasnt above lying to herself about the little things -- bad haircuts, cottage cheese thighs, and that her cooking wasnt that bad -- but the last few days? She couldnt bury her head in the sand any longer. It was time to face the facts. Her life wasnt just about proving the supernatural existed; she was now a full-fledged member of the weird and kooky club. We havent eaten yet. Ill grab some takeout from Dave, and, Rob, since Shauns walking, why dont you take Shaun with you to my place. Ill meet you there and we can sort a few things out. Jak shoved his hands in his pockets and rocked on his feet. Sound good? Desperately trying not to look at the large bulge in the front of Jaks now tight trousers, Shaun nodded her agreement as her mouth watered. God, how I want a piece of that! Robs body heat washed over her as he crowded her into turning around. The mans a

furnace! Shaun paused a moment, enjoying the warmth in the cool, early-morning air, and
Rob stepped up behind her, pressing his front to her back. His very obvious arousal dug into her lower back, and when, for just a second, he pulled her into his body, she wiggled and

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enjoyed the possessive growl that rumbled up from deep in Robs chest. Mmm, Ill take a

piece of that, too.


As Rob herded her toward his car, Shaun thanked the maker of her pale, blushcovering foundation, and wondered if this was the reason shed tried on three pairs of pants before settling on a skirt -- potential for easy access.

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Chapter Nine

Rob didnt know if his heart could take any more. Shaun was finally going to kill him. Only this time it wasnt because she was a pain in his ass, sticking her nose in where he didnt want her to; it was going to be because his brain was about to die of blood and oxygen starvation. He doubted his dick had ever been as hard in his entire life. Never. And especially not over Shaun Ingelstead. He didnt know if his heart could handle the irony.

At least if I die of heart failure, the guys and girls at the morgue will be impressed with the size of my hard-on.
She sat beside him as they drove, lookingwell, looking like Shaun. Compared to him, she was a tiny thing. Her hair was dark -- not dyed black, but a natural, deep-blue black. Her eyes were a stunning clear blue, and she played up her eyes and hair with her dark eye makeup. Her skin, already a lovely creamy pearl, was lightened slightly by her foundation. She was elegant goth, not the grungy punk or shock rock Marilyn Manson version. Shed look stunning with long hair swept up and away from her face, bloodred rubies around her neck and wearing a full corseted dress from centuries before. Instead her hair was short, with a longer sweep at the front.

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Hed never quite understood why she dressed the way she did, though. Like hed said to Jak, she just wasnt anywhere near depressed enough. Rob mentally shrugged. Guess I just

dont get it.


Any idea what Jak wants to tell us?

Things I dont want to hear? I have a couple of good guesses. Although he didnt
think they were guesses at all, more like actualities. And And what? God, he was an ass. But he couldnt help baiting her. You are such an ass, Rob. Huh -- so they agreed on something. How delightful. Its something I excel at. Under her breath she muttered, Damn straight. He was sure he wasnt supposed to have heard her -- shed learn soon enough that not much slipped by an alert Were. So? Shaun turned in her seat, her knees brushing up against his hand resting on the gear stick. Are you going to tell me what you guess? Ierr He so didnt want to go there yet, with the whole mated deal. Now I know

how Rex felt, but at least Pearl wasnt as young as Shaun. No.
Shaun humphed, and turned her attention back to the front. It wasnt really fair to use her age as an excuse, even if it was only just to himself. Shaun wasnt young and flighty, and despite her goth affectation, she was a responsible, hard-working, attractive twenty-five year-old woman. But damn it, he was nearly forty. It just wasnt right to have a hard-on the size of the Eiffel Tower for a woman nearly fifteen years his junior.

What does that make Jak? Cradle snatcher extraordinaire? Shaun looked at him
sideways as he smothered his bark of laughter. Having already passed through the gated entranceway that separated Jaks version of Bag End from the rest of the world, it took them another ten minutes to come up on the

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house itself -- if you could call a home that was built under a hill a house. He still wasnt sure on that. He stopped the car in front of the hill, and Shaun fairly bounced out of her seat and up to the big, round green door. Youve really wanted to see inside this place, huh? What? Shaun turned toward him as he walked up behind her. The Burrow Oh! She smiled. Yeah. Ive read all of Tolkiens books numerous times. Ive wanted in this place ever since I knew about it. I liked the movies, but then I never did read the stories. Just never got into reading fantasy. Shaun chuckled, low and sweet. I guess when youre a living fantasy story it loses some of its impact. She turned back to the door and ran her finger lovingly around the brass door handle. His cock jerked as he followed the tip of her finger around and aroundand around. God only knows what made him do it -- sexual frustration, maybe -- but he grabbed her hands and trapped them up against the door. Then, much like he had at the diner, he pressed his front against her back. Shaun? Yeah? Even as he pressed her closer to the door she did her best to resist him. Ever been fucked by a Were? Oh, God. With a shiver and a moan, all the steel went out of her spine, and a rushed exhale later they were plastered all over the damn door as if they were the green paint. Then he startled himself by saying, What about two men, Shaun? Ever dreamed about being fucked by two men? The magical part of him that was his beast purred rather than snarled at the proposition.

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With a wild cry and a nearly debilitating wash of pheromones, Shaun went wild beneath him. Rob ground his cock against her as he kept her pinned, but his domination backfired on him when Shaun pressed her ass back just as hard. The pressure on his cock hurt so damn good. He freed her hands and pushed away long enough to flip her around in his arms. He wasnt quite sure if she climbed him or he lifted her, but her ass was in his hands and her legs wrapped around his waist as their mouths collided in a hard, rushed frenzy of a kiss. She bombarded his senses with the tang of her toothpaste, the wild heat of her mouth, and the taunting stroke of her tongue over his lips. Shauns head banged against the door, and their teeth clicked as they ate at one another. Fingernails scraped along his skull as her fingers burrowed into his hair and tugged, yanking him even closer. His fingers flexed on her ass, pulling her onto his cock as tightly as he could with them both dressed. Her legs worked and she moved on him, up and down, as he twisted his hips side to side, grinding against her. His dick had gone from hard to iced steel, ready to shatter at the slightest touch. Her tore his mouth away from her and bit his way down her neck -- little nips of his front teeth that left her in no way uncertain of who was in charge here. When he moved lower, he opened his mouth wide, and with a deep growl, bit down with his canines on the soft, fleshy area of her shoulder.

Ohmigod! Shauns head thumped against the door again. He released his hold then
licked over the indents hed left before inspecting them with pleasure. No broken skin. Not that it really mattered, with magic having done its thing, a piercing Were bite was the least of their worries. Would be his luck though that Shaun was capable of being changed. Hips thrusting into hers, he pinned her to the door and moved his hands to Shauns shirt. He wrangled with the fabric until hed pushed her shirt up and over the top of her bra.

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He brushed back the fabric of her long, dark skirt, running his hands up her thighs and under the elastic edge of her panties, pushing them to one side. Only a fraction farther and his fingers dipped into her cleft. The heat of her cunt burned his fingers even as the slick wetness smoothed his way into her core. Damn, you want me bad, dont you? Jesus, Deidrickson. Suave much? Damn you, Rob! Fingers curled, yanking on his hair as Shaun took exception to his words, but the pain only spurred him on. Another thing for Shaun to learn about Weres -- a little rough went a long way. Rob ignored her protest to his overly arrogant statement and latched his mouth onto her nipple through the lace of her bra and sucked. Hard. The ripe little berry pulsed against his lips. Not happy with the contact, he released her nipple and grabbed the lace with his teeth, wrenching it down. Her breast came free, and he grabbed the tight little nub with his teeth, teasing it before sucking it back into his mouth and worrying it with his tongue. She was such a tiny thing it didnt take much to stretch his fingers forward to graze her clit in retaliation for the rough treatment of his hair. Her protesting snarls of anger changed in a heartbeat to a needy mewl as her hips hitched against his fingers, pulling that sensitive little button out of his reach.

Responsive little beastie, isnt she? The magic of his animal was so close to the surface,
and a purr of pleasure rolled up his throat at the thought of just how well that worked for him. Her breath came in struggled gasps as he pushed her hips back down into the cradle of his hands. As soon as he stroked her again she jerked, but he had her trapped this time. I can smell it on you, pet. You cant fake that you dont like it. You want me bad, and you want two men loving you even more, dont you?

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You bastard -- she broke off midswear as he nipped her breast in retaliation. Yes! Energy gathered in her body, ready to burst. She sobbed out, her voice hoarse, Damn you,

yes. I want you. Both of you!


He stroked her once, twice, and as he freed his cock from his pants and thrust into that wet, scorching heat, she tipped over the edge with a desperate scream that nearly rent his eardrum in two. Her pussy grabbed at his cock as he flexed his hips. Desperation rode him hard as he thrust over and over into Shauns orgasm-tight body, and she clutched at him, shaking and making unintelligible noises. His beast ripped free of his control, and he let loose a wild, feral cat scream of his own as he climaxed. He was rough as he took Shauns mouth again, but gentility was beyond him. As he emptied himself into her, each involuntary spasm of his hips made Shaun whimper. He took every panting breath as his own as he fought to keep them upright against the door. Gravity was a cruel, fickle bitch at times like this. Shaun clung to him, her body still shaking as the kiss broke. Her forehead dropped to his shoulder as she gulped in air, and for long moments all he heard was their harsh breathing. Thats my guess. What? Shaun looked up, dazed and confused. In the car, you asked what my guess was. She frowned as she tried to get her postcoital hazed brain around the statement. I think the damn ghost is right, and not only are you my mate but youre Jaks Intended, which means, my dear, that little fantasy that gets you so damn hot is going to become your reality. Oh, shit.

He couldnt have said it better himself.

What the hell had just happened?

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Sure, shed been horny, and yes, shed had her little fantasies about Rob, and last night, about Rob and Jak. But, damn! Howd she end up, back against the wall, being fucked into oblivion by Rob? And what glorious oblivion it was. A scuff of shoe leather on pavement made her look up, and her eyes got big as she saw who stood there. Oh, God. Fucked by Rob

while being watched by Jak.


Oh, good God. What had she done? There should have been birds chirping and wind in the trees, but it was preternaturally still as all three of them stood just as motionless. Nice view? Rob didnt bother turning toward Jak. Shaun figured hed sensed Jak somehow -- smell, sound maybe? -- even though she hadnt. I cant say your ass is the prettiest sight in the world before breakfast, but the rest of it? Yeah, Id say it looked pretty damn fine from here. Except Jak moved, a long, predatory, never-hear-a-sound movement that brought him closer. The view wouldve looked a lot better with me in it.

If I close my eyes and wish really hard, will it all turn out to have been a dream when I open them back up? Or would she still be in the embarrassing position of being backed up
against a green door, her pussy still filled by a thick cock and a vampire watching her with way too much heat in his eyes? Shaun opened her eyes and her view was filled with Jak. Guess I didnt wish hard

enough.
It wasnt difficult to make out Jaks features in the half-light of dawn. He was a handsome man, but desire and arousal had hardened the shadows on Jaks face until they were sharp planes, not the smiling curves shed seen before.

Dawn! Jak, the suns almost up!


So it is. Rob agreed with a grunt.

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But youre a vampire, youll go poof! As awkward as their current situation was, she didnt want Jak gone gone. Jaks eyebrows went up. Poof? Shaun blushed on top of her blush -- no foundation ever made was going to cover the post-sex flush of color and acute embarrassment. You dont go poof then? Rob chuckled. While hes been accused of being a bit of a poof at times, he wont burst into a ball of flame. Another one of those Hollywood-got-it-wrong things then? Seriously, someone needs

to throw a Girl's Guide to the Paranormal my way before I say something really dumb. No
turning into a bat, either? Jak shook his head. Huh. None of the good stuff seemed to be real. Are we really discussing this right now? Jak waved an elegant hand to encompass the tableau the three of them made. Oh, right -- green door, penis, vampire watching. Talk about having a big slice of

mortified pie. Shaun swallowed hard.


Rob, you can let me down now, she mumbled. Id be happy to, pet, but to do that, you really need to unlock your legs from around my waist. Oh. Chagrined, Shaun released her feet from where shed caught them at the small of Robs back, and he lifted her up, his cock sliding from her pussy leaving her with a vague sense of emptiness and a certain squishy feeling. Her skirt slithered down her thighs and settled around her calves as her feet hit the ground. Rob reached for her bra and shirt, fumbling a bit as he set her to rumpled rights, belatedly showing his gentlemanly side.

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She looked up as the big round green door rattled some. Jak had opened a cunningly hidden normal-sized door inset in the larger door. He held the door open and waved her through. If you need it, theres a bathroom two doors down on the right. Shaun nodded, but didnt meet his eyes, knowing just what the man was politely suggesting. Shed been stupid enough to have sex with Rob with no protection, and there were some aftereffects. Jak didnt exactly seem to be the kind of man to baldly state she probably had cum running down her leg and could she please clean that up before she sat on his furniture. As she made her way down the hall, she thanked goodness for long skirts and oldworld politeness.

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Chapter Ten

Jesus, Rob. My front door? Jak berated. Wasnt like I intended it to happen right there, right that moment. Rob sounded resigned. She held an amount of appeal before all this -- even though she pissed me the hell off -- but now, after all the sparkly magic shit, shes like freaking catnip. Irresistible.

Really? Shaun filed that little tidbit away for future reference, not feeling the least bit
bad for having not opened the bathroom door to step into the hallway. Shed talked herself out of her earlier embarrassment, and compared to public sex, eavesdropping was penny-ante stuff. There was a deep sigh. Who the hell am I to talk? I stood there watching and all I could think was lucky bastard for beating me to her instead of wanting to beat the shit out of you for fucking my Intended.

There was something significant in that. She was sure there was; she just didnt know
enough about Vamps yet to know what. Someone moved, making an awkward scuffing sound in the silence. Son of a You knew I was there, didnt you? Yeah. Rob sounded somewhat abashed.

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Christ. She imagined Jak anxiously running his fingers through his hair. Yeah. What if it hadnt been me? Jak questioned. I would have ripped the fucker's head off. Rob sounded so heated she didnt doubt he would have done it, too. Hell. Yeah. What a stunning postcoital conversationalist Rob was. You know what this means, dont you? Ive been trying not to think about it. Well, doesnt that make a girl feel all warm and

fuzzy inside? Men were pricks, they really were. Let them fuck you once then they treat you
like shit. Shes your mate and my Intended. There was an emphasis on the and. A one-inGod-knows-how-many-billion occurrence, which means for all intents and purposes were mated to one another. Shaun blinked, then with her eyebrows a mile high in surprise, she managed to blink again. Well, there was the something significant. While she had no idea about Vamps, shed not seen one trio grouping in the Huntingdawn Pack, and shed heard of only two pairs of mated males. When shed asked about them, sad faces had told her they preferred their privacy. They were exiles from another Pack -- one that had not tolerated homosexuality -- and although Huntingdawn had happily welcomed them, they werent ready yet to believe that they were accepted as equals in the Pack. Yeah. Shaun didnt even try to guess what Robs face looked like as he agreed. He sounded quite dejected. I mean, how the hells it supposed to work? We all live together? You get her at night; I get her during the day?

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Shaun gasped at that comment. How dare they try apportioning her out like she was some pet being argued about by a divorcing couple! Shaun?

Uh oh. Caught At least it was with her pants on this time.


When she opened the door, she was met by Jak. He stood in the doorway, legs spread with his hands on the top of the doorframe, blocking her exit. Theoretically, with what shed just heard, she should have been angry. Instead, her brain switched off, and her traitorous body decided that the big, strong man looming over her would make a nice tasty piece of sex pie. After all, if one piece was good, two would be better, right? Sex, the least fattening dessert of all. Shaun held her ground and gave Jak a slow once-over from top to toe, pausing at all the interesting spots before starting all over again. As her eyes moved, the tension in Jaks body increased until he all but vibrated. See something you like? Jaks eyes blazed, hot and intent as their gazes caught. Pie. Pie? Jaks surprise was evident, and there was a snort of smothered laughter from out in the hall. Piping hot apple pie, with whipped cream on top. And man, was she craving a piece. Shaun took a step closer to Jak and pressed so close to him her feet were in line with his as she stood between his spread legs. She wiggled her hands into the pockets of Jaks jeans and tilted her head up, resting her chin on his chest. He held his place, not moving an inch other than to run his tongue slowly over his bottom lip and to blink. Were supposed to be talking, love. Figuring out -- Shaun licked her lips in reply and was outrageously pleased when Jak lost his train of thought -- stuff. Are we in a big hurry? As the question came out coyly and huskily, Shaun wondered where the hell her good sense had gone. First Rob, now Jak? When her fingers found their

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prize deep in Jaks pockets, she felt the same tingle and a mini rush of a sense of other like she had in the cemetery, and knew magic was at work. She felt her way along Jaks cock, impressed with the length and breadth of the hard flesh, and knew magic was the least of her worries. She wanted him, regardless. Despite his powerful stance, Jak gulped like a schoolboy. He didnt say anything but shook his head to answer her question. Hah! Men. They were so easy to play with. Sooo, say if a girl was feeling a little greedy having already had a piece of some very tasty pie, and wanted anotherwed have time for that? She didnt get a reply -- not a verbal one at least. Jaks arms came down off the doorframe and with a groan, he pulled her in tight, his hands unerringly finding her ass and lifting her up. Her legs automatically went around his hips, and the bathroom door banged against the wall as they stumbled against it, reminiscent of her and Rob earlier. This time it was Jaks lips and tongue doing wicked things to her mouth and the hard length of his cock grinding against her as she moaned into his mouth. This pie was just too damned tasty. Jak tore his mouth away. Im not doing this against a bloody door when Ive got a perfectly good bed across the hall. Shaun clung to him, sealing her lips back on his as he lifted her away from the door. Their shoulders bumped the doorframe as Jak stumbled his way back into the hall. He broke away from the kiss and hitched her higher around his waist as he took long steps along the hallway. Ive no problem with that whatsoever. Jak shook his head at her and laughed. He stopped outside another large round door and reached for the handle with one hand, keeping her propped up with the other. Figured you might not. Shed tucked her face into the crook of Jaks neck as hed carried her, but something made her raise her head and look back over Jaks shoulder.

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Rob.
Robs eyes bored into hers with an intensity shed only seen once before -- when shed looked over Robs shoulder only minutes ago to find Jak watching them with the same intense look. His face was hard, his lips nearly a snarl as he watched Jak haul her to his bedroom, but he didnt stop them. He prowled silently behind them, his eyes so hot they glowed vibrant, sparkling green and his body so tense she thought he might snap. She lost her connection with Rob when her butt banged against the half-open door as Jak used their bodies to force it wider. She counted four long strides before Jak dumped her onto his bed then fell down on top of her, pressing her into the comforter. Her back and neck arched as she bent her body to get closer, and the heat of Jaks breath on her neck followed by the delicate scrape of his teeth along the oversensitive skin brought both a rush of desire and a parade of goose bumps that had her nipples at hard attention. The clothes have got to go. No sooner than hed said it, Jak had her top off over her head and her skirt down over her hips. A girls got to love an efficient man. He reared back, and she felt every inch of his inspection as he looked her over every bit as intimately as she had him before bending back to his task. Little soft scrapes of lips and teeth made their way up her thigh; then he breathed hot humid air onto her clit through her panties. He used his tongue over the fabric, teasing her with the indirect contact as the satin dampened, both from his mouth and the wetness of her pussy. It wasnt nearly enough contact. Jak, stop teasing me. She reached for her panties, but her wrists were caught in a pair of large hands and raised above her head. She looked up and almost wished she hadnt. Rob knelt on the bed behind her, shirtless, as he held her hands out of Jaks way. Let the man work, pet. I -- Just as she went to scold Rob, to insist he let her go, Jaks tongue snuck under her panties as he pulled them down. Aahh

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Great googly moogly, the man knew his way around a girls lady bits. She couldnt find
it in her anywhere to care in the slightest that Rob held her hands down. Her eyelids dropped as she let the sensations wash over her, enjoying the little sparkles at the edge of her vision as Jak sucked and licked at all her important little places. He drew her clit into his mouth, and the sparkles turned to stars. Her body flexed into a tight arch as she fought against Jaks hold on her hips and Robs on her wrists. She couldnt hold it in and let loose with a guttural cry that hurt even her ears. As she flopped back onto the bed, unable to feel half of her body, Jak came up over her, scooping her legs up and over his arms. When did he lose his clothing? The graze of his cock over the inside of her thighs was unmistakable, and as he slid up the valley of her pussy she hissed when he rubbed his cock over her still supersensitive clit. Now, now, pussycat, were just getting to the good stuff. Jaks hands were still free since Rob had her hands, and even with her legs over his arms, he was able to reach around her and loosen her bra. He couldnt remove it with Rob holding her arms, but that didnt seem to worry him in the least. He just pushed the lace to one side and suckled hard on her nipple. She felt the rasp of his long eyeteeth on her breast even as his front teeth worried the bud, and more sparks of pleasure filled her body.

So much for relaxed.


She was caught between a rock and a hard place, quite literally, sandwiched between Jak and Rob. Jak curved her up and over, her legs caught by his arms as his hands, flat on the bed, held him over her. There was no escaping Jak, not with Rob holding her hands and blocking any avenue to freedom with his body. She had a momentary flicker of fear as Jak worked the long length of his cock slowly into her pussy. She was trapped. Held down with no way to free herself, her free will taken way. But

was it, really?

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Jaks head lifted, and the suction of his mouth still strong on her nipple stretched out her flesh just to that point of pain that was delicious. Her nipple pulled free of his mouth with a light pop, and as Jak tilted his head to see her reaction, her fear dissipated. He wasnt into hurting her; he wanted to please her. Pleasing her was a long, long leap away from causing her pain and humiliation. While she wasnt inexperienced, shed not known that she liked that little bit of bite, and she shyly asked, Againplease? But Jak had already moved back. Gaining leverage, his hips began to flex as he worked his cock inside her. Each stroke dragged across a spot so tender she had to bite her lip to not make her distress known. She didnt want him to stop -- it hurt too good to want it to ever stop. What idiots had she been sleeping with that she hadnt known about this? But then no man had turned her into a pretzel before to try. Unbidden, she remembered her klutzy fall at the cemetery. The mens heated looks as she tried to right herself now took on a whole new meaning. As Jak pumped into her, another set of fingers worked their way down her arms, soothing any aches from being held in such an odd position. They didnt stop at her shoulders but carried on down. Rob murmured low words into her ear. Can I trust you to keep your arms right where I put them? Letting her actions speak for themselves, she caught her hands together to show shed try. She couldnt trust her voice, not with the way Jak so expertly moved his hips to grind down not only into her pussy but against her clit.

The things she was learning about herself today


With both his and her hands free, Rob worked at her bra. The scrape of elastic and lace over her skin was torture, and Rob made the most of it by dragging the lace across her

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nipples over and over before pulling the bra up and off. Rob seemed pleased when she reclasped her hands without being prompted. Good girl, Rob crooned. You asked so demurely I dont think Jak heard you, but I did, and Im happy to fulfill your request, pet.

Request? What request?


Rob moved away and Jak pulled her to the edge of the bed, moving to his feet, somehow not once losing his stroke. How he knew what Rob had planned she didnt know, but as hed stood up, hed moved her legs up onto his chest, and now Rob leaned over and used his mouth on one breast and his fingers on the other. He pinched and sucked, tweaking and pulling as he worked her flesh with a low, rumbling growl that reverberated through his mouth and into her body.

Oh, yes! That request.


It was a triple hit -- Rob pleasuring her breasts, Jaks cock pounding at her pussy, and now fingers spearing through the curls around her pussy and pinching her clit between them. Rob captured her clit between two fingers and tugged gently, pulling the little bud away from her body as his fingertips curled and rubbed the now overstimulated area above her vagina. Her cunt rebelled, going into sensory overload, the friction and pressure just too much to handle. Ohmigod! Her cry was frantic as her body twisted, trying to escape, even as she crowded closer to the source of her painful pleasure. Jaks teeth clamped down on her ankle, in the soft flesh just below her calf, but there was no pinch of broken skin. The pinch came from Rob as he nipped her breast with his teeth. The beautiful pain of release came as Jak slammed into her pussy one final time, and Rob tweaked her clit between his fingers. A scream ripped through her; there was no way to control or temper it. It was hoarse in her throat as her climax held her in its grip, the two men working her body so exquisitely to draw out the sweet agony of her orgasm. Jaks hips flexed erratically as he groaned; he

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thrust deeply one last time as his cum released in a hot wash into her body. Her body trembled and ached for the pleasurable agony to be over but also cried out, greedy for more. Robs grip on her breast had nearly reached the point of pain as he moaned against her belly, his hips working against the bed. But she didnt complain. She couldnt; her voice was gone, ripped away by a release she couldnt have even contemplated. Shauns hands broke from their self-exile, and her arms fell across her face as she sobbed for the breath theyd stolen from her and vainly attempted to hide the tears that flooded her eyes. Momentsmaybe hours later, Jak and Rob moved. Jak moved her legs gently, dragging them to one side before pulling her over to him and scooping her into his arms to cradle her. Its okay to cry, love.

No, it wasnt. Crying was bad. Crying let people know they affected her more deeply
than just pissing her off enough so they got the sharp side of her tongue. Come cuddle, pet. Let us help you. She didnt dare move her hands from her eyes to see if their faces matched their words. It would just be too embarrassing to be the only one so affected. There was a swish as the covers were pulled back. She sensed the bed dip as Jak knelt on the edge. He put her in the center of the bed carefully, moving her onto her side and curling himself around behind her. Rob moved into place in front of her and pulled her head into the crook of his arm, petting her hair while Jak caressed her hip. Both men made nonsensical soothing noises as she sputtered and sniffed, slowly coming down from her overly emotional high. Her last thought as she drifted off to sleep was to wonder just how smugly unbearable the pair of them would be for having been the ones to sex her up so well theyd made her cry.

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Chapter Eleven

Jak woke to a pleasantly well-used feeling -- the kind you get after some sort of satisfying physical exercise. Sex definitely counted as exercise, but sex with Shaun was so much more. Jak smiled contentedly as he remembered just why he felt so well abused. He hadnt intended to drag her into his bedroom like some Neanderthal. Hed fully intended to sit down with her and Rob and try to make sense of the mess they were in. In spite of that, after watching her and Rob up against his front door, hed taken one look at her coming out of his bathroom and lost his head. Or more exactly, hed watched the way shed cruised him head to toe with only one idea in mind, and his little brain had jumped to attention with a rush that had left his big brain reeling from the blood loss. His thoughts were interrupted as the bed moved, rocking him side to side and reminding him that he wasnt alone. Doubly not alone, as it wasnt just a willing woman in his bed -- Rob was there too. I suppose Ill have to get used to your ugly mug in the morning. Jak kept his voice purposefully low, knowing Robs acute hearing would pick it up just fine.

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Yours isnt much to write home about either. The bed rocked again, and there was a groan of discomfort. I think sleeping on the floor would have been softer. What the hell is this thing? Plywood covered by a sheet? The bedsprings pinged, and Rob sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. He worked his shoulders, and with his fists in his lower back, hyperextended until his spine clicked. I vote we move this party to my place, with my nice comfy, soft bed. It makes more sense for you and Shaun to move in here. Jak replied. It did make perfect sense. His home had plenty of space for all of them, and most of all was purposely built with UV-blocking glass and other amenities to make his life easier. And the bed stays -- it helps my back. Oh, poor didums. Robs sarcasm was evident. What about my back? I think our backs are likely to be the least of our worries. Rob harrumphed, his resignation obvious. Like I said earlier, Im trying not to think about that. Will you two shutthefuckup? With her head buried facedown in the pillow, Shauns shout was fairly muffled. Her head turned and he got the hairy eye. She groaned as she lifted her head and swung it Robs way, and judging by the way Robs eyebrows went up, he must have gotten the unholy-stare-of-imminent-death as well before she turned back toward Jak. What the hell are you two arguing -- Clarity dawned on her face, and she sat bolt upright in the bed. What time is it? Jak turned his wrist so his watch was face up. Just about six. Six what? Monday morning? Shauns eyes were wide with horror. No, Sunday night. Rob waved at the west-facing window where it was obvious the sun was going down.

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Oh. Shaun then collapsed face first back into her pillow with an oomph. About five seconds passed before she bounced back up again. Oh, shit. Clarabell! I was supposed to get with Jacob today to tow her back home. Dont worry; I took care of the rust heap yesterday morning while you were out with the fairies. Rob turned, crooking his leg and lifting his knee up to rest on the bed. I had it towed to Jacobs so he can find out why it wont start. Oh. As she flopped back to the bed with no smart remark for Robs fairy comment, it became pretty obvious Shaun did not wake up well. Waitwhat were you guys talking about before? Houses or beds or something? The question was muted as Shaun was still facedown in the pillow. Jak crooked his head to the side, curious. Must be kinda hard to breathe like that. We were arguing about whose house -- or bed at least -- would be preferable in the future, Rob replied. There was a snort of irritation and Shaun sat upright, although this time she pulled the covers around her and crossed her legs. She was obviously up for good this time. That again? What do you mean, again? Jak didnt remember discussing anything of the sort. She was listening at keyholes, remember? Rob rolled his eyes. I was not. Irate and indignant looked cute on her as she shook her head and moved her hands, gesticulating as she spoke. No way was Jak about to say so, though. She might stop and realize the covers had slipped, and that would really ruin what was left of his day. You two were talking loudly, and I just chose not to open the door. Not a keyhole in sight. Neither he nor Rob said a thing, just nodded. Ironically in time with the gentle bounce of Shauns breasts. I wont be fought over like some old moldy bone neither of you really quite cares enough about to let go of, just because.

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His head went up at that, as did Robs. Somewhere along the way shed gotten the wrong idea. She couldnt be further from the actuality of it all. What gave you the idea we dont care? Rob asked. Shauns smudged yet still pretty little pixie face looked perplexed as she thought for a second. Might have been the Ive been trying not to think about it thing, then the whogets-me-when debate that tipped me off. Pet, when I said I didnt want to think about it I was talking about Jak and me, not you. You heard what Jak said, didnt you, about you being both his Intended and my mate? Shaun nodded, still frowning. Now think about it, really think about it. Of all the people in the world -- Rob pointed a finger between them -- can you really think Id be totally kosher with being mated to another male? And on top of that, being a Pack Alpha mated to a vampire? Most Vamps and Weres are friendly, love, but not that friendly. Shaun pouted just a little before pulling her lip back in and nibbling on it. Oh. Jaks cocked throbbed, wanting those teeth on him, her lips wrapped around his shaft. Damn Rob and his little morning peepshow. From the moment theyd met, Jak had been hankering after the woman Rob had been blind to seeing as his mate. Finding out from Gertie she was his Intended had definitely thrown him into a tailspin of what-ifs that centered on the fact that there would be three people in the relationship, not just two. Hed been able to govern his arousal somewhat around her until hed seen the pair of them fucking. Somewhat, my ass -- you jumped her on her kitchen floor, pulled off a Peeping Tom

act, and then jerked off in a tree! Just one look from her after that and hed been reduced to a
thick headed -- no pun intended -- fool. There were so many things to think about, so many situations to resolve -- prophecies, mates, and Intendeds, the how and when. What they needed was less of him thinking about fucking her and more of them sitting down and working through it all.

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Jak sat up and pulled himself back until he could lean comfortably against the headboard, then pulled Shaun around and up beside him. How about we do some of that talking we were supposed to do earlier, okay? Jak tucked the sheets around her, covering her up to remove the obvious temptation -although as his Intended she could be wearing Eau de Swamp Water and hed still want her. Rob sprawled out, his left elbow on the bed as his hand cradled his head. He wasnt lying on Shaun so much as reclining against her, close enough that she could reach out and stroke him if she felt so inclined. Rob looked somewhat relaxed and boneless -- not unlike a happy cat thatd just gotten the cream -- and Jak felt a tug of jealousy for the way it would feel to be petted by Shaun when Rob was in his fur. Sowere all stringing bits and pieces together, and I dont think any one of us has the story straight. Jak rearranged himself a little more comfortably in an effort to hide the aftereffects of thinking about being petted by Shaun. And just for the record, I care very much about what happens to you, and to me and Rob. If I didnt, youd still be backed up on my front door, but with that sweet little pussy of yours filled with my cock while Rob got to watch. Shaun didnt say anything, but her eyes got big, and she just nibbled at her lower lip some more. There were a few quick inhalations before she nodded. But then a sly little smile crept up. I dont think I wouldve minded that too much, considering what came after your attempt at chivalry. Rob lost some of his languor; no doubt like Jak's, his attention caught by Shauns little smirk. Saucy little pixie. Ill fuck you any way you like, anywhere you like, love. But no matter how much my cock wants me to rip those covers off and have at you, we need to figure some things out. Shaun looked startled by his outburst as she nodded in compliance. Rob tilted his head, acknowledging Jak made sense.

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We know there is a prophecy, he started. And we know that its the continuation of the same prophecy that Rex and Pearl are caught in, Shaun pointed out. Thats a good point. We should see if theyve got any hints for us. Hed only heard secondhand reports of the Moonstruck Prophecy, and had never heard it in its entirety from the source. Ive been thinking on how they link. Rob paused. What I came up with is a bit radical, but logical really. Logical how? Gertie has made it very obvious that we three are who the prophecy speaks of -- the triad of influence. But I think the last line is misleading unless you take the first stanza of the prophecy and team it with the first and last line of the second. Shaun probably remembers this too, but in the first stanza it says something along the lines of they shall take into their bodies and from them we shall bloom, which is a direct reference to the first line of what Gertie made you memorize, Jak. As flowers bloom so shall change-- I could be wrong, but I think its another reference to Pearl being pregnant. Youre right. I dont know why I didnt see that, Shaun muttered. I have to admit, I didnt think of looking at them as a whole, either. Jak fell back into the pillows. So much for my researching skills. Im sure theyll prove their worth before long. Shaun smiled as she patted his knee. The heat from her palm burned through the covers and into his leg as she stroked. I hope. Jak shrugged his discontent off. Hed had three hundred years to learn to roll with the punches. That doesnt seem too much of a stretch; whats so radical about it? You know how it says the three will join as one, and the magic born of that will be used against our enemy. Shauns nod echoed his own, encouraging Rob to go on.

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Well, if Gerties mad little hints are anything to go by -- and I still dont believe Im working with the ramblings of a ghost, FYI -- its not one of us, or more exactly Shaun, holder of the worlds hope, that will be the holder of that magic. Robs next words came out in a rush. If shes right, I think we three are supposed to conceive a child that has the power of hope, and the strengths of a Were and Vamp. A child that will team with the child of the first stanza to defeatwell, whatever it is we have to defeat. A sound halfway between a sob and a groan escaped Jak and drowned out Shauns snort of magical baby disgust. Robs reasoning was sound, but it tore at his gut that Rob must be wrong for the one reason thatd taken him decades to get over. But -- Their faces turned toward him. I cant have childrenno Vamp can, not even those with an Intended. There was a look in Rob and Shauns eyes that wasnt quite pity, but the compassion there was damn close to it. Ive had quite a few years to get over it, so dont look at me like that. Both of them gave a nod of acknowledgement, but the room stayed silent as each was lost in their own thoughts, contemplating Robs theory and how Jaks information affected it. You know, I still dont know how Vamps come into existenceor is that how they're made? Shaun said. Shauns question was logical enough, but how to answer it? Me, specifically, or Vamps in general? Lets start with Vamps in general. Jak could see that Rob was still pondering the prophecy question and had tuned them out. Jak wasnt worried; Rob had heard it all before, anyway. Vampirism both is and isnt like whats found in fiction. The main difference is that were not deadwere just different. Vampirism is essentially a virus, a disease with no cure, if you will. How you contract the disease is similar to the made-up stories -- a vampire drains his victims blood but then gives his own in replacement. The host body no longer has any

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way of fighting the virus off; the virus replicates itself exponentially, and soon after the body cannot function without the virus. Wow. Shaun frowned. So if you bled on me, I could catch the virus? No. And this is the weird bit: The virus isnt strong enough to defeat the white blood cells of a healthy human. Its not until the body has been depleted of nearly all those cells that the virus can overtake them. Shaun seemed to think about that for a second. But if youre not dead and all that, where does the whole sun thing come in? Remembering the whole poof conversation of earlier, Jak let himself smile. Its more like Im allergic to the sun. The virus doesnt get along with the UV found in sunlight -Vamp scientists think it has something to do with the way the body makes vitamin D via sunlight exposure. So, you dont drink much milk then, huh? Trust Shaun to come up with a droll remark to make him laugh. Well, not the vitamin-added kind anyway. How come I havent seen you snacking on anyone? I dont have to drink blood to eat. I only get a fix once a week or so. Sort of like topping off the tank. Shaun looked at him with a huh-what-you-talking-about expression. They figured out that the virus inhibits the production of blood at the lowest level, so we only take blood when we need it. Best way I can describe it is that it's like getting dehydrated. If I let it go too long, I have to take a lot of blood. But if I top off once a week, then I dont need much at all. You know, in its own freaky way, this is kind of fascinating. Jak was just about to fill Shaun in on rabid Vamps when Rob interrupted. What if its not about sperm?

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What? Shaun choked out. She looked horrified at the change of topic. Id figured that thered be some sort of magic mixing of sperm, right Rob rolled off the bed and stood. He began to pace, tapping his forefinger on his lip as he thought-talked. But what if its more than that, what if its about mixing what we are at a much more basic level? Jak studied Rob as he paced and wondered where his friend -- now his mate -- was heading. But how? Like I just said to Shaun, the Vamp virus is all bad. Surely, its not expected for me to pass it on to a child? Rob stopped midstride and turned. What if the prophecy is not about a vampire, but just about you, Jakov Pieter, the Shadowman? You lived in the shadows long before you became a Vamp. Jak had hunted as the Shadowman from his late teens, and had continued using those same techniques until the fateful night in his midthirties when a rabid Vamp had sneakily gotten the best of him and taken his revenge by making him everything he fought against. That makes sense, but how? I refuse to give Shaun the virusand besides, it would render her sterile. Robs suggestion was valid, but the mechanics just werent there. That I havent figured out yet. Shaun popped upright, her hands upraised. Just hold your horses, folks. What if I dont want to be some magical baby incubator? Im getting the feeling this is some sort of wham, bam, knock you up maam deal where you guys get all the jollies, and I get left with stretch marks and a kid to raise. There were times Jak forgot just how young Shaun was because she had the air of someone older than her years. But sometimes her youth showed through. Rob snorted and rolled his eyes. Shaun, pet, youve seen Rex and Pearl. Even when they didnt know one another from a bar of soap, did you think there would be any way Rex would leave Pearl as a struggling solo mother?

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Shaun winced slightly before falling back against the headboard. No, I guess not. She ducked her head to cover her blush at sounding silly. But there are mated pairs in the Pack that cant seem to stand the sight of one another. I dont want to have a relationship like that. Robs face softened, and he moved to Shaun, tilting her head up with a finger beneath her chin. Relationships need to be worked on, and Were matings are no different. You and I might rub each other the wrong way at times, but I doubt there will ever be a day I will come to hate you, pet. I think I like you just a touch too much for that. Rob dropped a light kiss to her lips before he continued with his pacing. While he was sure Rob would still deny it with his dying breath at this point, Jak could see Rob was well past like when it came to Shaun. Probably had been for a while now. The way they annoyed each other was the classic teasing-the-object-of-your-affections-to-getthem-to-notice you deal. Hopefully, his relationship with Shaun would be a little lessvolatile. A Vamp cant walk away from his Intended, either. It would be worse than going rabid via sun sickness. He'd met a Vamp whod lost his Intended. It hadnt been a pretty sight, and hed found out not long after that the Vamp had chosen to take his life rather than go on. Rabid? Its what we call Vamps whove spent too much time in the sun. Basically, the virus begins to break down, and the body cant handle it. It drives the Vamp insane, like heroin withdrawal to the power of ten. Well, that blows, Shaun said, softly. Ill take no tan over going poof any day. Both Rob and Shaun laughed, breaking the tension as hed hoped would happen.

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So, where does that leave us then? Besides being stuck with one another in the middle of this damn prophecy and not knowing what the hell it means? Shauns question was more than valid, but he didnt have a great answer. Research. Research is what were left with, and pumping certain ghosts for info. He didnt have the heart to disappoint them by telling them their research would be done the old-fashioned, painstaking, eye-tiring way -- not with the help of a few Intel processors and Google. Gertie! Oh, Lord, Id forgotten all about her. Shaun looked slightly horrified. Shit, do ghosts get pissed off, and what do they do if they are? Jak shrugged as Rob replied, Hell if I know. I never met a ghost until two days ago.

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Chapter Twelve

Gertie? Shaun questioned the air in the room tentatively. Remembering the last time theyd called Gertie, theyd all cleaned up and shifted location to Jaks living room. About time someone thought to check in on the feeble old woman. Gerties voice came from nowhere. Gertie, I doubt youve ever had a feeble day, alive or dead, Jak lobbed back. Twisting so she could see all the way around the room, Shaun couldnt find the apparition of her grandmothers ghost anywhere. Why cant weoh. The suns still up. I did warn you about the whole daylight issue. And while Jak has some of that newfangled glass that lets him sit quite comfortably in the sun, Im not so lucky. Jak reached out to the coffee table, picked up a book-sized touch screen remote, and punched a few buttons. The curtains beside the large round picture window began to move, dimming the room, and Gertie's apparition began to solidify -- as much as a ghost could. Seriously!? She grabbed for the remote and had a total moment of tech envy as she petted all the buttons. Oooh, shiny! Oh, man, its the one remote to rule them all! Jak and Rob groaned at her bad pun, while Gertie chuckled.

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Jak tussled with her for a few seconds as he attempted to remove the remote from her covetous hands. You can drool to your hearts content later. She stuck her hands behind her so her inner gadget whore didnt reach for it. So Gerties voice drifted off in that questioning way that went along with a winkwink, nod-nod. Is this the cozy day after? Indignation, in a variety of forms, came from around the room -- Shauns cry of Gertie! being the loudest. What? Gertie was doing her best who me impression. Shaun barely stopped herself from rolling her eyes. Just what I need: a matchmaking ghost. She went to scold her grandmother more, but a flash of her and Rob against that damned green door popped into her head, and she swallowed what she was about to say. Oh, I say. Is that a little bit of a blush I see? Shaun sniffed. She so wasnt going to dignify that with a reply. Especially when a reply would implicate her. Gertie, leave her alone. Surprisingly, it wasnt Rob jumping to her rescue, but Jak. A ghosts got to have her fun where she can. Gerties lower lip jutted out for a second, before she sobered. In all seriousness, you all do need to get on with fulfilling the prophecy. Rob came to her defense this time. Gertie, once we figure out how to fulfill the damn thing, we willor, at least well seriously think about it. For Gods sake, we dont even know what it is these kids are supposed to be fighting against. Thinking about it is not good enough, Robert Deidrickson. Look, just stating we need to knock Shaun up so the baby can save the world then live happily ever after is not good enough, either. Shaun bit her lip as Rob stood, moving toe to figurative toe with Gertie. There are three lives at stake here, four if you count the child

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we're supposed to conceive. Dont you think we should be making life-changing decisions -world-changing decisions -- based on something more than just we were told to? Gertie stood her ground and glared right back. Its fate, not something you get to decide to do, young man. No baby, no transference of the power of hope to your daughter along with the strengths shell need from her fathers, and no fulfilled prophecy equals

BOOM, end of us all.


Jak spoke up and broke the standoff to ask the all-imperative question, Especially when theres this little pesky detail of how a kid can have two biological fathers. An impossible feat at the best of times. What do you mean? Gertie frowned, confused, and obviously not all-seeing at this moment in time. Finally! Guilt assailed her as soon as she thought the spiteful remark -- it wasnt like Gertie had much choice, either. It cant be all that fun just hanging around for three hundred years or so until the planets aligned etcetera, etcetera. Vamps cant have kids, Gertie, you know that. In reply to Jak, Gerties mouth made a small silent O. Well, that pokes a stick in the spokes, doesnt it? It took her a moment or two to figure out what Gertie meant. While Gertie would have seen all the modern inventions develop as a ghost, when shed been alive the horse and carriage would have reigned. A stick in the spinning spokes of a carriage would definitely have been a derailment of epic proportions. It was very odd to listen to Gerties strange blend of very old terminology and very new slang. Soooo Shaun hedged. If I was onboard with the whole baby-making prophecy thing because it will save the world, have you got any suggestions on how we could facilitate things?

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As soon as it came out of her mouth, she wanted to slap herself upside the head. Both Jak's and Robs eyes turned to her, their gazes full of lust and heat, while Gertie wore a big, toothy, purposeful grin. With her eyes skyward as if begging for divine intervention, she pleaded, Errforget I said that. Thankfully, even though Jak and Rob had given the game away with their sexy looks, Gertie let the moment pass. I hate to say it, but Ive got nothing. The prophecy has been handed down in my family for generations -- the same way the power of hope transferred to the first daughter born of the first daughter -- with the instructions that when one of us met the Shadowman we were to ensure that he knew the prophecy inside and out. Even with the magic I did have then, Id not foreseen the vampire problem. Gertie shrugged, her smile wry. The prophecy is old; it wouldnt surprise me if some of the instructions had been lost along the way. Gertie turned to Jak, a semiserious smile on her face. Maybe you were supposed to become a vampirealthough maybe not in the manner you did Jak colored up, his cheeks going beet red. It didnt take a Nobel Prize winner to see there was a story there. One Jak didnt want for public consumption. Interesting. How -- But Jak talked over her with a terse Later. But why wasnt I told of the prophecy? Im a descendant. After all these years of wondering if the paranormal existed, she felt gypped that she hadnt been let in on the deal. Once imparted to the Shadowman, our job as the deliverer of the prophecy was done, and we were to speak of it no more until such time as he might need our help. What they hadnt known was that I would not be around to assist the Shadowman to fulfill the prophecy, nor that he would become a vampireor at least I didnt understand it to be so. Id certainly not envisaged that I would pass into my current realm to await the time I would be needed. I guess fate had a plan she hadnt imparted. While being a ghost has allowed me a

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much greater understanding of everything -- Pandoras Jar, the prophecy, and magic -- it reallywell, sucks. Gerties shoulders slumped. Its pretty lonely being a ghost, you know. Is it really like they say? Shaun asked softly. A bright tunnel of light calling you. It was. Gertie looked sad. But as I went toward the light, I was pulled to the side, pushed maybe, by what felt like a great gust of air, and here is where I ended up. Waiting. Gertie, Im so sorry. Jak reached for Gertie, but pulled back when he remembered she was not the corporeal woman he remembered, but her ghost. They looked at one another sadly for a moment, before Gertie broke into a smile. Dont be, Jakov Pieter. Ive waited a long time to help you fulfill the destiny I saw in that stubborn young boys face all those years ago. Gerties palm grazed along Jaks cheek, leaving a haze of delicate sparks in its wake. Youve become all the man that I could have hoped for. I dont begrudge you the wait. There was a long, slow silence, broken by Jak as he thrust his hands in his pockets and made for the door. Time to hit the library, I think. Its as good a place as any to start. Shaun took this to mean she and Rob should follow. The library? Hows the library going to help us? Not just any library. Like ducklings behind a mother hen, they all followed Jak down the large hallway, through a large, windowed anteroom that would face the rising sun, and into a cavernous room that by Shaun's reckoning stood around two stories tall and a football field long. It must be built totally under the hill. Cool! There were only a few sparse lights that dimly lit the expanse of the room, and Shaun gaped as she peered into the darkness, unable to truly gauge its contents. My God, what is this place? This -- there was a click and low, clear lighting flooded the room from floor to ceiling -- is my library.

*****

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Nada. Nothing except another case of bad eyestrain. I swear, Jak, Im sending you my optometrist bill. Rob didnt much blame Shaun for her complaint. After the first two nights of studying texts, many of them in archaic English or foreign languages, hed hit up the pharmacy for a pair of cheap reading glasses to reduce the eyestrain. Hed never ever admit it, but getting older sucked. He sure as hell wasnt over the hill yet. He was just getting to the good stuff, considering a Were could expect to live about twice as long as a regular human -- barring extreme sickness or accidental, or indeed not so accidental, death. Weres were hardy, but they werent foolproof. Rob pulled the reading glasses from his nose and dropped them on the table. He stretched, arching over the chair back, and rubbed his tired eyes. I cant believe with all the books youve stashed away in here weve found nothing. I know we cant be totally sure with the foreign works, but nothing about the prophecy at all? At least we found that reference to Pandoras Jar. Ah, yes. That was one success at least, even if it was a small one. Late the third night Shaun had found a small paragraph in a translation of some obscure Greek text that paraphrased to The women will hold hope safe in their hearts until their youngest calls it forth to battle her enemies. Its nearly as obliquely worded as the damn prophecy. Jak looked up from the book he was hunched over and peered at them. Gertie suggested parts of the instructions about handing down the prophecy might have gone astray over time. What if what was missing was that the source of your familys magic is that they are the receptacle of Hope? Shaun contemplated that idea with her brows furrowed and her lips pursed. Sounds as logical an explanation as any, I guess.

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All things considered, Shauns big confab with Gertie about their family being witches had gone well. Shaun hadnt believed a word until theyd listed all the little things that had happened just in the last week alone. Shed finally been convinced when shed scoffingly declared get outta here and he, Gertie, and Jak had done exactly that, dematerializing and reappearing on her back lawn. Neither he nor Jak had taken the experience well and had rushed to fertilize the garden with their last meal. Ironically, itd been an easy sell after that. But why? Shaun questioned. Hed been thinking along much the same lines, but the why of it all still eluded him. Frustrated him. It was an Alpha of the Pack thing -- he didnt like not knowing. Why are the two linked? If Shaun already has the power of Hope, which she would pass on to her daughter in turn, why is there all this prophecy crap about a triad of influence and all the rest of it? Saying the question out loud sparked something. Can I see the paper again? Jak handed over the paper hed written the two verses on. Struck by the moonfour legs and twoteach them wellflowers bloomtriadcrap. Whats wrong? He had Jaks attention for sure now. Who, exactly, told us Pandoras Jar and the prophecy were linked? Raising his head, Rob looked at his friend and his lover. It says 'In the light of the new moon they will be

bound as one -- their union blessed by the spirits of those passed over. The magic born from the power of three will be the downfall of those who seek to betray us.' It doesnt say
anything about Hope. Errme, I guess? Jaks reply echoed the perplexed look on his face. And Gertie told us no baby, no hope, we go boom? And how did you two know that? Ive no ideaGertie told me I guess. The vampire didnt look happy.

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It does make sense though. That to combat betrayal youd need hope? Shaun questioned. It does, but at this point its pure conjecture. The prophecy doesnt even use the word hope. It could all be coincidence. Rob studied the paper, willing the answers he needed to magically appear. What if, like with the first verse, theres a third? He flapped the paper. More verses when we cant find anything out about the ones weve got? Could he be any more depressing? Shaun rolled her eyes at Jak. Possibly. Jaks response got him a snarky tongue poked out at him from Shaun. Their lack of answers, combined with an unholy amount of horniness was wearing thin on Rob. After speaking with Gertie Sunday night, theyd gone their separate ways as they all had work the next morningor at least he and Shaun did. Jak didwell, he did whatever it was that Jak did. Something with the stock market. And even though they had met up each night since and spent long hours into the night trapped in Jaks library searching through books, thats all theyd been doing. Reading. No touching, no kissing, and certainly no spreading Shaun out over the desk and fucking her senseless happening, either. Mated Weres werent designed for long periods of abstinence. His balls were surely blue. They felt blue. His dick was at least. Black and blue, from the way hed been abusing it every few hours trying to get rid of his ever-present hard-on. In an effort to get sex out of his head, hed been putting everything they knew together in every possible permutation and coming out withnothing. Abso-fucking-lutely nothing. He wasnt sure what pissed him off worse. Not finding the solution to the puzzle, or not getting any.

Sex. It was definitely the sex.

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The only good thing about it all was that Jak looked just as twitchy as he did. Apparently, when it came to Vamps and their Intendeds, they were no better off than Weres and their mates. Together, he and Jak had been able to resist their urges by teaming up with each other and cruising the streets looking for bad guys each night after seeing Shaun safely home.

Rabid Vamps and asshole humans beware, the Shadowmans a twofer package at the moment, and were just itching for a reason to beat your ass to a pulp. Pity that all seemed to
be quiet in Paranormal land. Not a ripple of bad juju to be found. Which made the whole have a baby to save the world thing a little scary. It didnt seem the world needed any more saving than it usually did. It was times like this he wished he wasnt such a chivalrous, caring, when-a-womansays-no-she-means-it kind of guy. Not that Shaun had said no, exactly, but she hadnt opened her arms wide and said have at her, either. Vampires, Werekind, humankind, magic, Shaun muttered to herself as she wrote the words over and over again on a piece of paper. He paced, she muttered and doodled, and Jak? He was much more disciplined and just knuckled down and read, and read, and read. OCD as all hell is what he is -- probably why

hes a gazillionaire and Im not. Eh, money was overrated.


Witches and Vamps and Weres, Oh, my! Shaun broke off from her inharmonious little ditty and looked up from her doodling to ask a question. Heywhy are there no vampire Weres? Vampire Weres? Yeah. Shaun was chewing on the end of the pencil shed been doodling with; only a piece broke off of the eraser and she sputtered it back out again. Pah! Eh, yuck! There was a pause as she flicked the last piece off her tongue. You told me about Vamps, and I sort of

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know about Weres, kinda -- cant say Im totally on board with the whole its magic deal everyone palms me off with. But where are the vampire Weres? Yes, vampire Weres, Rob. Cant say Ive heard of them before, either. Jak watched him expectantly, as if Rob held the secret to life, the universe, and everything. Chances were forty-two wasnt the right answer this time around. But again something niggled. Maybe they might finally be on the right track? The hell if I know, but this time I think I do know where we can find out.

*****
Alpha Deidrickson. Grande Dame Lydia Tytons butler stood as if he had a pole up his ass. Perfect posture, ramrod straight, shoulders back, and not a hair or item of clothing out of place. It was unnerving. Intimidating even. Geoffrey. Rob gave the man a brief nod that both accepted Geoffreys acknowledgment of Robs status as leader of the Pack, but also recognized that the other man was a strong Were in his own right. One he respected. Sort of. He was Pack Alpha, but Geoffrey could still make him feel like a troublemaker brought before the school principal. The Grande Dame should be expecting us. Indeed she is. If you would proceed to the small sitting room, she is waiting for you. As per normal, there wasnt a contraction to be found as Geoffrey spoke. Formality, thy

name is Geoffrey.
Geoffrey welcomed Shaun and Jak just as formally as they followed Rob through the front door with its heavy metal owl-shaped knocker and into the foyer. The Grande Dames Forest Estates home was the epitome of elegance, much like the woman herself. Geoffrey preceded them down the hallway and announced them. He was surprised to find the room more full than hed expected. Judge Gordon, Pearls father, and soon to be a grandfather sat beside the Grande Dame. Then, on another chair sat a beach ball-round Pearl with Rex standing guard behind her in his usual spot at her

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shoulder. Hed half expected the judge -- he seemed to be spending a lot of time with the Grande Dame -- but not Rex and Pearl. The judge took to his feet, and the Grande Dame rose to meet Rob with a polite kiss on the cheek. The judges grip was strong as they shook hands. Meanwhile, Shaun hurried over to hug her friend. Pearl! I didnt think Id see you today. She stood back to inspect Pearls very pregnant belly. I cant believe youve still got a month to go; youre huge! Rex made a strangled sound of a man in distress, and cowered like he was about to see Vesuvius explode. The oddest look of what-the-fuck crossed his face when Pearl wailed, I know! Im enormous, and the little beggars are beating me to a pulp from the inside out, too. It was a testament to how tired Pearl was because she was usually a very polite woman, only reduced to swearing when provoked -- which, now that Rex was her husband, meant she swore up a storm these days. I know you werent expecting a crowd, but Pearl and Rex stopped in to see me, and I thought a little extra brainpower wouldnt go amiss. Especially since were talking about prophecies. If theyve got anything to add, were open to all suggestions. Shaun spoke with Pearl about it all earlier in the week. Unfortunately, I didnt have anything useful to offer. Pearl said with regret. Although I will admit to having a little at-least-the-magic-wasnt-only-out-to-get-me moment. There was a low laugh from them all at that statement -- seven months before, Pearl hadnt been best pleased with her accidental Were conversion and magical pregnancy, either.

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Together, they filled everyone in on all they knew or had found out so far, and Rob managed to sit patiently through Shaun calling Gertie when Lydia expressed a desire to meet the ghost in the flesh, so to speak. Now with one apparition extra in the room, Rob finally got the chance to ask the question they had come for. Shaun asked me earlier about vampire Weres, and why we hadnt told her about them. But the truth is, neither Jak nor I could answer her question. Can you? Lydia didnt answer straight away. She thought for a moment before speaking. I can, although Im not sure how it applies. They werent sure either, but they had no other leads, no matter how threadbare and tenuous this one was. Vampire Weres dont exist. They cant. Essentially Vamps and Weres are allergic to one another. Or their blood is at least. Rob had an odd sense of dj vu as Lydia paused. Geoffrey wheeled in a trolley, this time not with after-dinner tea and coffee, as had been the case roughly seven months earlier when theyd come together to find out about the Moonstruck Prophecy, but with predinner cocktails. With unerring correctness Geoffrey served drinks -- the right drinks -- around the room. Once Lydia had a cosmopolitan in hand, she carried on. The way I understand it is that the magic in Were blood will attack the virus in Vamp blood and from there, things arent pleasant. With two medical degrees, youd think Id know that, wouldnt you? Judging by the look on his face, Rex was displeased with the gap in his knowledge. Rob sympathized. It seemed there was plenty lacking in his knowledge, too, and as Pack Alpha that pissed him off. Seriously, why does no one tell me this shit? This is stuff I

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should know. His outburst earned him a dirty look not only from the Grande Dame but also from the judge and Pearl. I think I understand now, Rex declared. How about you illuminate the rest of us? He was being snarky, but damn it, he was frustrated and horny. Neither one was a good thing at the best of times. Rex only raised his brow and stared back at him with a grin that said he knew just what his problem was. Stupid thing was, he probably did after the way he and Pearl had tried to do the get-to-know-one-another thing after their little accidental mating. Tried being the operative word. It hadnt been an easy adventure. We know that the Vamp virus is weak but virulent. Addictive, too. After all, it can only infect a human once the main source of a humans virus fighting ability is removed. Weres dont often get sick as the magic in their systems keeps them healthy, but its not foolproof, as the big plagues have shown us. So it would make sense that Were blood magic trumps the vampirism virus. But Ive drunk from Weres before, and had no effects. How much have you drunk? A few sips -- enough to keep the virus happy. Probably not enough magic to do anything significant, and it was taken orally. A fullbody transfusion might be a different kettle of fish. Rex moved from behind the sofa and took a seat beside Pearl, pulling her in close to his side. She tucked her head into the crook of his arm with a small, relaxed sigh, and Rob felt the ugly green monster called jealousy tap him on the shoulder. Not because he wanted Pearl but because he wanted exactly the scene he was witnessing in front of him. How the hell was he supposed to get that with two

partners?
He foresaw a long road and bigger couches in his future. Different how? It was Jaks turn to question.

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The Grande Dame answered. Ive seen reports of early experiments in the 1920s that tried to reverse the virus. They did a full transfusion of human blood, but the result was a disaster -- for the patient at least. They became rabid when their body was deprived of the virus. Basically, they went into such major withdrawal it killed them. Jak blanched an unhealthy shade of pale and ran a hand nervously through his hair. So, another dead end again, then. He and Shaun agreed in disappointed unison.

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Chapter Thirteen

It had been five days since their useless trip to question the Grande Dame. Five days of weirdness from Rob and Jak. Not that they werent odd at the best of times. Although, she could only comment on Rob -- she hadnt met Jak before all the happenings at the cemetery, so whether this was out of the norm for him she couldnt say. They kept popping up, being all accommodating and pleasant, with little touches and discreet caresses when she wasnt expecting it, and it was driving her toward a little state known as insane. Well, maybe not insane, but definitely a little bit crazy. Hey, everyone needs a little

crazy now and then.


Despite everything that it implied for her, and just how much it would change her life, shed come to the conclusion that there was little she could do to deny what had, or was about to happen. Theyd put Robs question about how Gertie knew Pandoras Jar and the prophecy to the ghost but had only received the totally unsatisfactory answer of It just is. Since the ghost was being stubborn, or just plain didnt want them to know she didnt know, theyd spent another three nights -- days as well for Jak, since she and Rob had to

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work -- doing their best to find something, anything, that might give them a clue. Not like they really had a choice not to, did they? Those blue sparkles were dangerous, after all -look at Pearl and Rex. Fate had conspired to put them together and because of the fulfillment of the Moonstruck Prophecy, Rexs family line had been taken off the extinction block. Heavy stuff, that. Stuff that only got weightier when stanza number one was teamed with the second. Shaun blew her bangs up and off her forehead as she dropped a yogurt into her lunch bag and wished for a caffeine drip. Since tonight was the first night of the new moon, and they still had no better solution than lets just roll with it and see what happens, shed decided to head to work with the birds so she could hit Jaks library early. Obscenely, ass-crack-of-dawn early and she usually werent the best of friends, but theyd struck an uneasy truce this morning. Coffee -- the stronger the better, preferably -would make the truce a solid pact. Unfortunately, her fix would have to wait. Her Mr. Coffee wasnt doing diddly squat without some beans, and she wasnt about to stoop to old-filterflavored, tinted water. Her pantry was lean pickings since shed been eating at Jaks. The mans housekeeper was a hidden culinary marvel. She flicked off the hallway lamp as she made her way from the kitchen, stopping just before the front door. How bizarre Shaun sniffed, then laughed at herself. Damn, I want that coffee so bad Im imagining I can smell it now. When she pulled open her front door, she found her nose hadnt been fooling her. Rob and Jak lurked on the opposite side with a carafe of freshly made joe in one mans hands, and a steaming mug of just poured in the others. What the? She fumbled with her bag, her lunch, and her keys as the cup was thrust into her hand.

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Drink the coffee. Her brows went up at the tenor of Robs voice. Who pissed in your Wheaties this morning? Rob growled back at her in reply. Jak just shook his head at their exchange. Really, Rob. Smooth. So smooth. I made her coffee, didnt I? Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Shaun gulped a few mouthfuls down. Sounds like you need it more than me. Dont need any damn coffee. Whoa. Kitty gets titchy in the morning. In the half-light of early morning, she looked Rob over closely. His face was fairly much in shadow since shed already turned off the lamp, but his eyes flickered an eerie green. Not an easy green, but a buzzing, bright green. Whats up-- Hey! Jak swept up her cup with uncanny timing, not spilling a drop as Rob hoisted her up and over his shoulder. The rest of her things didnt fare so well. Her lunch bag landed with a dull thud that sounded much like sandwiches being squashed under a can of soda and a tub of yogurt. What the hell do you think youre doing? General consensus on our end is taking you back to bed. As insensible as Rob was, Jak was the opposite. He stalked down the hall behind them, divesting himself of the coffee, her handbag as it slipped down her arm, and his clothing with orderly precision. Wait, what? His clothing? What the fuck? You see, weve struck a little problem. Jak was so cool as he worked at his pants zipper. Its been two weeks since we fucked you. Ten days, not two weeks. Shaun struggled against Robs grip on her ass, willing to take the hit of landing on her floor if she could only get loose. Whatever. Long enough. His zipper was down now and there was a hitch in his stride as he let the trousers fall and he stepped out of them. When had he lost the shoes? Much too long for both of us, considering how newly mated we are.

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Waitwe arent really mated. Neither of you has done any biting, or marking, or any of that crap. Jak tsked, and rocked his finger back and forth in admonishment as he walked in his boxers. The boxers had to go; she was a briefs girl all the way. What the hell was she thinking? Briefs or boxers -- sheesh. Focus, Shaun, focus. All those blue sparkles Gertie got slap happy with say different. Seriously? I mean -- The world spun as she was flipped back over Robs shoulder and tossed onto her bed. Shaun looked around in surprise. When had they gotten here? Seriously. Now shut the hell up and let us work. For the first timeokay, maybe the second, Rob had left her speechless. He spoke roughly and rudely, but the look on Robs face was anything but. His eyes, his face, his whole body was ablaze with lust, but his fingers worked with tenderness as he methodically began to strip her. Then it was Jaks turn to surprise her by elbowing Rob out of the way. Move it. Jak went straight for her shirt and tugged. Buttons flew left and right. Shaun blinked as one of them narrowly missed her eye. Hey! She yanked her shirt out of Jaks hands, only to hear it tear. Damn it all, I liked that

shirt.
The clothes have to go. Now! Jak finished what shed started and rent her shirt in two with one fierce tug. Her arms went one way, her legs another as they stripped her, and all too quickly she found herself naked, each man holding an ankle as they spread-eagled her over the top of her bed. She panted as she attempted to get her breathing under control, wanting her lungs full so she could yell and scream at them. Yet her protests stalled, died out inside her throat as she watched them at her feet.

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Both men stood so strong and proud, their cocks long and thick as they stroked themselves. Jaks fist slid from one end of his long cock to the other in a slow, unhurried movement that was almost hypnotizing. Whereas Rob gripped the end of his thicker cock tightly, twisting his fist roughly around his glans. Oh, my. Something in the way they held themselves, the way their faces were all sharp-focused angles made her hesitant to say anything. The same way a bunny might try to escape the notice of a hawk -- dont move and keep your mouth shut. They flipped her, and when she landed on her belly she made her move. She scuttled toward the other side of the bed on her hands and knees, slipping and sliding on the satin covers, but she wasnt fast enough. Rob pounced and pinned her to the bed. Oh, no, no, pet. No escaping us today. Rob spoke of him and Jak as a united front.

When had that happened? When had they become we, not just me and him?
Rob nuzzled her neck, sniffling and snuffling like she imagined he would in his jaguar form. It should have left her cold, but as he licked the sensitive skin behind her ear she only got more excited. Even as she wiggled underneath him to try to get away, she surprised herself by angling her neck to make his job easier. He lapped at her skin, soothing the trail left by the sharp points of his canines as he worked his way down her neck and across her shoulders. The primitive, raw way the two men were acting appealed to her, made her want more. Deep down inside, there was a curl of satisfaction at the rough readiness of it all, as if they didnt get a piece of her right now, they might self-combust. Getting away because she had to get to work didnt seem so important any more. She let Rob drag her back on the bed and pull her to her knees. The hot thickness of his cock slid down from its cradle between her ass cheeks, and the head of his cock notched into the opening of her pussy. He pressed forward, and she groaned her pleasure as he stretched her passage around the thick width of his cockhead.

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Work? What work?


Shoulders sinking down onto the bed, she steadied herself against the thrust and grind of Robs hips. She remembered now the luscious friction of his cock inside her as hed thrust up and into her against that green door. His penis was so thick around the top of the shaft her pussy ached as he stroked. In. Out. Desire worked its magic, betraying her as her arousal became so very obvious. Her fingers wrapped themselves up in the dark satin of the covers as she braced herself -- Robs slow lunges were deteriorating to a hard, solid, thumping stroke, as if he was determined to bury his whole self deep inside her. Her body responded in the most instinctive, carnal way possible as she pushed back into him, their flesh slapping together in a harsh crescendo toward their climax. To anyone walking in, it would probably look like Rob was fucking her like he might a stranger he didnt care the least for, but she knew different. Every snap of his hips that bounced his balls against her clit, every time he ground against her, even the hold on her butt where his thumbs pressed against the pucker of her ass were about her and his need to make her come even while satiating his need for her. He was being so tenderly brutal, and she loved it. The drag of his cock against the sensitive flesh of her pussy sent shafts of pleasure through her body. She clamped down around him, wanting more, needing to feel every throbbing vein as he pounded into her. Every jolt of pleasure made her arousal climb higher. The bed rocked, and Shaun opened eyes that she hadnt realized shed closed to find a pair of knees beside her head. One hand went to the back of her head, fingers gently and tenderly threading through her hair before it tugged with gentle sharpness on the short strands.

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I cant wait, love. I need you now. His thighs and stomach were rigid, his cock bouncing and painting a streak of precum on his belly as Jaks body strained just as hard as his voice. Just as frantic as them now, the call of magic-making demands she couldnt resist, she raised her head, going to her hands so she was on all fours. Her lips cruised along his thigh. A nip, a caress, a lick until she reached the crease of his hip. The sheen on his skin tasted slightly salty, his smell more refined than the wild jungle essence of Rob. So different, yet each held such power to drive her wild with lust. Jak was long, slender compared to the cock pounding into her from behind, such an elegant foil to Robs brutishness. His hand stroked in long, lean movements that spread the wetness gathered at the end of his cock along his length. Take me in your mouth, Shaun. She opened, letting Jak work his length into her mouth. He pressed in just shy of gagging her, his hand guiding her mouth as he enjoyed the unhurried pleasure of the heat of her mouth around his flesh. The flavor that was his alone spread over her tongue; his cum tasted of salt and musk. Not sweet, not savory, not even particularly tasty, just Jak. Oh, love, yes. His hips worked, his shallow thrusts becoming sloppy. And when he thrust deeper than he intended and she gagged she wasnt upset; she was perversely pleased at his loss of control. Thats it, love, take me right down.

Yeah, right. Not going to happen, but she did her best to accommodate, and smiled
smugly around Jaks cock when he lost his self-constraint and began making uncoordinated unh, unh sounds. With one man in front and the other behind, she was being fucked good and proper, and she loved it. There was no pretense, no empty gestures of fake instant love just to get her in the sack on the second date; this was about the down-and-dirty need for connection with another persons body -- a specific persons body -- and about bringing them and yourself release. Selfish unselfishness.

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Rob and Jak had started this little descent into glorious depravity, and despite her earlier hesitation, shed fallen in right along with them. Her body was winding up like an overclocked toy, just waiting for the moment it would be set free to spring into frantic action. Every slap of Robs balls against her clit sent a spiral of sensation into her belly. Her hips worked in counterpoint to Robs, the ride getting rougher and rougher. Hands surrounded her. Fingers touched her, digging into her flesh, pulling at her body, tugging at her hair as they arranged her. She gave as good as she got, using her teeth and tongue and lips, twisting her hips and clenching muscles to draw them into her body. No

easy, submissive ride here, boys.


Jaks mouth spilled drivel, more guttural sounds of pleasure, and from behind her there was a low, rising growl. The kind a cat might make when protecting its territory, but ten times as loud and menacing. She wanted to purr and rub herself all over Rob, tease him until he reacted in the extreme and punished her wickedly with his cock. Flesh slipped against sweaty flesh as Rob moved a hand around her waist. His fingers spread wide as they swept down, over her belly and across her mound before dipping into her pussy. She was super slick, so wet from the way they were taking her, excited at how they were manhandling her, fucking her, that his fingertips were smooth with fluid when he found her clit. She tasted more of Jak, a rush of his flavor as she relished the scrape of Robs fingers over the sensitive flesh of her clit. The vampire froze, both his hands behind her head holding her on his cock as it pulsed and the wash of his cum flooded over her tongue. She swallowed, savoring the way he cried out at the pressure of her mouth around his now supersensitive flesh. He pulled free and sank back on his knees with a whimper that became a groan as she licked her lips, biting her lower lip as she made a coy hum of pleasure. Oh,

man, when did I get so damned slutty?


She wouldnt have heard his whispered, reverent Oh, fuck if she hadnt been looking right at him. Her superslutty self was ever so glad she did, as her twinge of good girl guilt

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went running for the hills. She felt strong and desired -- essential. Womanly. They had given her that. A big hand in the middle of her shoulders pushed her down, pressing her shoulders back into the bed so that her ass presented better. Between the thrust of Robs cock and the weight of his hand, she should have felt trapped, dominated -- but every strum of his finger over her clit made her feel more free in a weird, waiting for the explosion type of way. With one final ass thumping thrust and one last pinch of her clit, Shaun surrendered to the snowballing power of her orgasm. She screamed into the bedspread, and Rob covered her, his chest to her back as his hips jerked, his cum spilling into her. Shaun lay there, tasting, feeling, sensing the essence of the men around her, and hazily wondered how shed gone from walking out her front door for work to being fucked senseless.

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Chapter Fourteen

That first encounter had set the tone for the rest of the day. Hidden away from the rest of the world by Shauns dark lace curtains and velvet drapes, they fucked and sucked one another into oblivion. Shaun had called in sick, sounding rough and raw from where Jak had so inelegantly fucked her throat that her boss had no problem believing she was ill. It must have seemed to Shaun that every time she would be given a chance to rest it was snatched away from her, as Jak or Rob had traded positions. Theyd raided her pantry, force-feeding her to keep her strength up, as neither man saw an end in sight. They were driven to fuck her, mate with hermake love to her as they never had any other woman before. Every touch, every movement, every word was building to something big. Out of Shauns hearing, he and Rob had discussed what. And just like with the prophecy, they couldnt explain exactly why -- only that it was the day of the new moon, and magic was playing them for fools. Around three oclock in the afternoon theyd fallen asleep, collapsed into a heap, pressed up against one another. Legs and arms akimbo, man pressed against man, who pressed against woman.

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Strangely enough, it didnt worry Jak -- too much. It felt odd, Robs hairy leg rubbing along his own. But other than a bizarre sense of satisfaction, it felt no different than if theyd brushed against one another under a restaurant dining table. Jak reached out with his senses. He lay on the left, with Shaun to his right, and Rob even farther to the right. Until Jak had moved, theyd slept Rob to Shauns back and him to her front but low down on the bed as hed snuggled against her belly. Twisted up, feet dangling off the end of the bed, he should have woken up with a protesting spine. But he felt limber and loose. All those fucking amazing orgasms, no doubt. God only knew how theyd managed to come as many times as they had and not been left as mindless blobs of matter on the floor. Magic, its a wonderful thing. Shaun moved restlessly, and he watched as Robs arm tightened around her, not letting her get away. It brought a smug, proprietary smile to his face to see his Intended protected, safesatisfied in her mates arms. Jak wondered if Rob would feel the same way in the reverse. A perplexed sigh slipped out, and Jak lowered his head, using his bicep as a pillow as he continued to study his loverlovers.

God. He had a male lover -- even if they never touched one another with sexual intent,
there was no doubt that they would often fuck Shaun together, as one unit working toward her climax. Dangly bits would touch, spare hands would help when cocks slipped, or Shauns clit needed a little extra finessing to take her over the edge. Was it inevitable they would experiment? Could he? Maybe Rob already had? Jak filed those particular thoughts away in the too-hard-to-think-about-for-now basket and settled for studying Shaun. Their relationship wouldnt be easy. No relationship was all that easy, but an Alphas mate as a Vamps Intended? Hell, no. It would be hard, complicated, and he was sure, worth

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every argument they were destined to have. They just had to figure it out; and that would take time and patience. Would it have made any difference if the prophecy hadnt existed? Would they have found one another just the same? Or would one man have won the prize, the other left to watch from the outside, knowing fate had been a cruel bitch? No point second-guessing,

weve got what weve got; now we have to make the most of it. Learn to love one another.
The prophecy said nothing about love, but he could see no other way of making this work. For as little time as hed known her, he knew he was already well on the way to loving Shaun. If he woke up tomorrow and she was gone, hed mourn her more than hed ever mourned anything -- even his human mortality. Shauns eyes opened, and though she looked right at him, he had the feeling her circuits hadnt yet connected and he was just a big blurry blob. She blinked, then blinked again, searching for focus. Jak abandoned his morbid musings and stretched up the bed a little to drop a kiss on Shauns nose. Time to wake up, sleepyhead. Huh? Her confusion was adorable, and he couldnt help but kiss her again, this time on her mouth. His foolishness became apparent as he coaxed her mouth open, darting his tongue in to tangle with hers. There was no way he could keep this kiss friendly, and neither would it be short-lived. He canted his head and took the kiss deeper, his hand drifting up and over her hip to her breast where he tugged gently on her nipple. She moaned into his mouth, moving her body so her whole breast fit into his hand. He took the hint and rolled and kneaded her flesh with his palm. Her hand came up behind his head and tugged him closer, her tongue taking no prisoners as it chased his, exploring his mouth equally as thoroughly as he had hers.

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His cock was hard again -- fairly much its usual state over the last couple of weeks -and to ease his ache he pressed his length along her thighs. His foreskin retracted, exposing his glans, and the rub of the hair on Shauns mound scratched gently at the sensitive area at the top of his shaft. As they humped against one another, Shauns leg came up. The warmth of her thigh burned along his leg as she moved to wrap her leg around his waist, opening her pussy up to the instinctual movement of his cock. He grabbed onto her thigh and was surprised to find Robs big hand already wrapped around her knee -- he must have shifted her leg. That

answers your question then, doesnt it? Rob was obviously as open to seeing his lover fucked
as he was to fucking her himself. Jaks hips jerked against Shaun once more, and excited as they both were, he slid easily inside her heat. He figured his fuck, yeah wouldnt be winning him any Pulitzers, but Shaun didnt seem to care as she made her own mewling sounds. She probably hurt. Theyd used her well, but he couldnt seem to stop himself now, any more than he could earlier. He did his best, though, pulling his cock out and instead using the head of his cock to rub over her clit. Nooooo. She broke away from their kiss, crying out and shaking her head. Im sorry, love, sssh; Im sorry I made you hurt. He tried to comfort her, but instead she huffed and growled at him. He drew back, unsure what was wrong. The only thing wrong right now, batboy, is that youre over there -- She roughly grabbed his cock and yanked. Pain! And not here where you should be. She both pulled him back into place, and tilted her hips so he sank deeper than before into the hot cavern of her pussy.

Pain? What pain?

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I dont know what got into you two earlier, but its catching. Shaun worked her thigh, flexing so she rode his cock. If you dont get them hips moving, Vamp-o-saurus, youll lose your chance and Lion-O here will get top billing.

What the fuck? Who was this person? Had aliens snuck in while they were asleep and
given Shaun a personality transplant? Shed been no wilting violet over the course of the day, matching them move for move, but shed not been vicious. If the look on Robs face was anything to go by, he was just as confused. His Intendeds mate was peering over her shoulder as if he might see a stranger instead of the girl next door. Shaun? Rob questioned from behind her, but Shaun didnt bother replying, just dug her nails deeper into Jaks ass with a snarl. Jak kept pace with her, rolling her out of Robs arms and over, so he lay on his back, Shaun impaled on his cock. The covers pulled tight as Rob sat up too. Oh, shit, its dark out. Jak, the new moons up. Jak looked past Shauns shoulder to the window where the golden glow of a sunny afternoon was missing from around the curtain edges. And that means what, exactly? Rob's groaned reply wasnt exactly eloquent -- Shaun had reached over and taken his dick in her hand and pumped. Her hands werent big, and even with her short, grape-colored nails her fingers didnt come close to circling the thickest part of his shaft. He gritted his teeth and spoke around them, answering Jaks question. Mated Weres get real frisky the night of the new moon. Jesus, Rob! You couldnt have told me that before now? Stand up! Shaun barked out the order with a voice that was rough and husky, as well used as the rest of her body. Rob wasnt a stupid man; he did as his mate told him. The innerspring mattress wobbled beneath his feet, but it was easy for him to reach for the roof with extended fingers to steady himself. Damn, the views good from up here. When

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he looked down, he got a bird's-eye view of the arch of Shauns lower back and her ass bouncing as she rode Jaks cock. Her breasts jounced as if she sat a trotting horse. The sight of all that flesh jiggling -- not that hed ever use that word to Shauns face -- fascinated him enough that he hissed at the shock of Shauns lips around his cock. It was almost obscene the way she slurped at him; her mouth was small so her lips stretched, and it was so fucking sexy he nearly lost it right there and then. But everything about this was rough -- too rough. Hed never seen any of the mated Weres become this frantic during the new moon before. Something was wrong, and it was his guess it had something to do with the damn prophecy. For days, hed held the leash on his senses so damn tight he might as well have been human -- hell, probably less than human. Hed latched his beast down so tightly he may as well have been wearing a choke chain. He loosened that figurative chain, and the magic that made him what he was flashed, the rebound flooding his senses to overload with a kaleidoscope of color and sound. He smelled everything. The fabric softener in the satin sheets, the candles on Shauns dresser, the subtle smell of her perfume that was almost lost beneath the scent of sex, sex, and even more excessive sex from the frantic day of mating, toothpaste, shoe polish, and even more stupid little smells. There was no stretching and unfurling of the magic that was the beast inside; it went wild as it tasted the spice of Shauns arousal. He lost any thought of finesse as he pulled Shauns mouth off his cock. Brute strength lifted her, midrise from Jaks lap. A feat of catlike agility brought them back down to the bed, Shaun now riding the thick length of his cock instead of Jaks. He growled deep and low in his chest as Shaun wailed with frustration. He took control as she flailed, her rhythm lost. His hands around her waist, he lifted her, slamming them back together as his hips rose to meet the downward movement of hers. They crashed

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together and Shauns angry cry fractured, changing to a short, needy yelp every time he brought their bodies together. He might have surprised her by taking control, wresting her away from Jak, but he soon realized the ballbuster he knew and loved was still there, just waiting in the wings, when her cries began to take more solid shape. More, damn it, I need more! Shauns head went up, and her eyes blazed fiercely as she turned to her other lover with a sharp cut of her head. Jak, fuck my ass.

What? Jak had been reaching for Shauns breast, but he halted, his eyes wide. If Rob
hadnt had his teeth clenched, trying to retain even the smallest amount of control, his would have looked the same. Women never asked for anal -- well, most women at least in his experience. They might be coaxed into it, or oops-Im-sorry-I-slipped into it; they might shyly suggest it, but demand it? Never. Have you even had anal sex before? No. You cant -- Yes, I can! She hurled the words at him. Theres so muchso much, God, of

something in me, its like Im going to burst open if I dont get more. I need it. Now!
Jak was no fool; his feet were already on the floor, and he stood behind Shaun. Shaun, are you sure? Considering the state Shaun was in, he probably figured it was really a done deal, so Jak wiggled his body down the bed so his legs hung over the edge. The she-cat on top of Rob didnt miss a beat. Just fucking do it, batboy. Shaun spread herself over Robs chest, using her teeth to nip at his pecs, his nipples, before she buried her head by his neck, her sharp little teeth seeking his earlobe.

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Fuckety fuck fuck. Jak banged into Robs leg as he moved, sounding a little panicky. Hold on a sec. Jak moved around the bed, going to the nightstand. He rattled around for a second or two before holding up a bottle and exclaiming, Yes! The cap clicked as the bottle opened, and then Rob heard the squelching sound of goo being pressed from a squeeze container. Moments later, the cool ooze of the lube dripped down and over his balls. Better safe than sorry, I guess. As Jak worked, Rob lay still, but Shaun rocked on his dick. Her hips tilted, rubbing her clit against the hair at the base of his cock, and all he could hear in his right ear were the little puffs of air Shaun made as Jak used his fingers to stretch her. Suddenly, Shaun moved, pressed up onto her hands and rocked back, hard. The pressure around his cock increased triple fold as he felt the length of Jaks cock enter Shauns ass. Hed only done this once before, and hed forgotten it felt so damn good. Although Shaun had taken care of the initial penetration, Jak still had to work his way in properly. He thrust back and forth fast enough to take it easy on Shaun but slowly enough to cause Rob his own fair share of agony. When Jak had worked himself deep enough that his balls finally touched the underside of Robs dick, Rob let the tension out of his body with a rush, waiting now for what would happen next. It killed him to hold, but in this position, he was really only along for the ride. It was up to Jak or Shaun to set the pace. Too slow, too slow, Shaun muttered, and she began to move, working both their cocks in and out at once. No gentle getting to know you, Shaun went from slow to full speed, working them in and out of her body recklessly, her face echoing her abandon. Yes, yes She threw her head back, presenting her breasts, and Rob wasted no time levering himself up to take advantage of her position. Despite his unease, he was pulled along with her in the mindless rush for completion. He suckled and nipped, rolled her nipples with his tongue before sucking as much of her

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breast into his mouth as possible. As he worked, Jak wormed his hand between Rob and Shaun, finding her pussy and working at her clit. Tension built in her body, in his body too, and he lost the tenuous control he had on his beast. Magic burst over them, a blue halo that balled around the three of them sparked with white and blue light as they fucked. The magic of the jaguar was in the forefront of his brain, demanding the right to mark its mate. The human was too far gone to see any reason why that could be bad. He lunged up, his incisors and canines lengthening, and he bit down into fleshy crook of Shauns neck. He closed his eyes against the flare in the magical sphere, its light close to blinding. Her essence flooded his tongue. The amount of blood was small but so potent, so essentially Shaun. As he licked the bite, wanting to soothe, the tang hit him, and his stupidity became so obvious.

Shaun was ovulating. And hed just bitten her. With so much magic between the three
of them, the chances of her becoming a Were in the same manner as Pearl was so high, it was no doubt a hundred percent. And at no point ever in the time theyd been having sex had they protected Shaun from pregnancy. She was now becoming a Wereand potentially pregnant.

Shes so fucking going to kill me for this. Hed care later, right after he came.
More weight settled and pushed Shaun onto his belly; he steadied his muscles to take the strain. Shaun jerked again, hissed as her body went rigid. It didnt take much more than opening his eyes to figure out Jak had covered Shaun, leaning on her as he reached for her neck. Taking Robs position on the opposite side of Shauns neck, Jak had gone not for the flesh of her shoulder but for the large vein where he took more than just the taste Rob had. Shaun went liquid between them, her body softening in total opposition to her early emotions. Her cries were soft and pleading as she fumbled for Jaks arm. She brought it to her

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mouth and tenderly licked the skin over Jaks inner wrist. But in one fractured instant she went from soft and malleable to brutal as she struck, driving her teeth deep into Jaks wrist. The Vamp reared back from Shauns neck and howled like a wolf as she took his blood. The scent of Shauns blood drew Rob back and he sank his teeth back into the mating mark hed left on her shoulder. Jak dipped his head again and did the same. Through all this they somehow still managed to move, fucking Shaun with everything they had even as they took her essence into themselves. They were linked, blood to blood, the Shadowman, the eyes of green, and the curious of nature. The orb of magic grew. He felt the power Shaun held fueling what his own small magic ability had started. Its light grew so bright that the pale blue now looked white. They came together, the orb exploding in a hail of sparks, the crescendo finding its peak, as he and Jak spilled their seed into Shaun, and Rob had no doubt their mating would bear fruit. He didnt think such strong magic would allow any other outcome. Carefully, Jak pulled himself free of Shaun, and they collapsed into a sweaty, hot, and sticky bloody heap of limbs, air ratcheting in and out of their lungs. Soft sobs whispered over his chest. Baby? Was she freaked by the magic? He didnt blame her really. Hed grown up with the woo-woo magic shit, and this was pretty heavy stuff even for him. But he had a feeling she didnt realize she had poured the most power of all of them into the bond. Or was it something else entirely? Did we hurt you? Yes!

Oh, shit. He and Jak were upright in seconds, gently moving Shaun, inspecting the bite
marks theyd made in case theyd torn at her skin, not just punctured. He hadnt meant to hurt her. Christ, hed rather cut off his left nut than hurt her. Where, pet? Everywhere. There was another plaintive sob. Nowhere.

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He and Jaks eyes met over Shauns body, eyebrows raised in silent question. Would he

ever figure women out?


Jak reached out and stroked the spikes of damp hair out of Shauns eyes and asked quietly, Love, what do you mean by everywhere and nowhere? I dont know. She sobbed and rubbed her eyes, smearing what was left of her dark eye makeup from the morning. It was just too much. Shaun sniffed again, hiding her face in the covers. Rob met Jaks gaze again. It was easy to see what the other man was thinking. Just a short while ago, this same woman had been telling them it wasnt enough, and now it was too much. A smile bloomed on both their faces as awareness dawned. The truth was, Shaun Ingelstead -- their much-too-curious-for-her-gothic-shitkickers, prickly-like-a-porcupine lover -- got weepy and sentimental after a really good orgasm. Rob chuckled to himself as he and Jak arranged themselves around Shauns form and comforted her. What a handy thing to know.

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Chapter Fifteen

So I wont become a Vamp, right? Cuddled up, she used Jaks arm as a pillow. No, love. Remember Jak twiddled with her hair, tugging gently as he wound strands around his fingers. I didnt drain you first, and besides, Rob bit you first. If the Grande Dames information is right, and if the damn huge flash of magic was anything to go by, he turned you. So we were on the right track then, when we went to see Aunt Lydia. Rob always looked at her funny when she called the Grande Dame Aunt Lydia, so she made sure to do it often. She loved that it perturbed Rob that even as Alpha he wasnt on as friendly footing as Pearl and now Shaun was by association. Looks that way. Rob agreed with Jak with a grunt, not moving from where he cuddled into her back. She could feel his breath on the back of her neck, and very small vibrations that felt much like a cat purring. Youre sure I wont become a Vamp? Believe me, after having been through it myself, youre not about to become a Vamp -- and Were magic trumps the Vamp virus, remember.

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Yeah. Shaun was enjoying snuggling with the two men. Just letting everything settle into her brain. How off the wall was it that she would have two men in her life who would fundamentally be her husbands? Pondering Rob and Jak reminded her, Hey, you never did tell me how you became a Vamp. Rob snickered into her back. Yeah, Jak. Tell her how you became a Vamp. Was it in a big battle or did some rabid Vamp get sneaky and take you by surprise? Robs laughter started as a low chuckle, but he rolled onto his back and started laughing hysterically. What? Surprised by Robs tone, Shaun sat up and gave Rob the eyebrow equivalent of the finger before turning back to Jak. He lay just as he had been for the last half hour, except now his forearm stretched across his face. He was hiding. Jak? Whats so funny? The bed rocked as Rob laughed, and heat crept down from Jaks cheeks along his neck and across the top of his chest. Shaun kicked out with her foot, hoping to hit Rob somewhere that would make him shut the hell up. He rolled over that extra inch where there was no bed any longer and fell to the floor with a yelp. Hey! No fair! Serves you right, dog breath, she muttered. She turned back to Jak to wheedle, Jak? You can tell me. VampsnuckuponmewhileIwashavingsex, he mumbled, running all the words together so she couldnt understand. What? Goddamn it, Shaun! His forearm came away from his face, and Jak glared at her, his mouth pursed, teeth gritted before he burst out with, I dont like having to admit it once, let alone twice! A bloody Vamp snuck up on me while I was having sex, all right? I was right in the middle of coming my brains out with Widow Winston when he jumped me. Oh. What do you say to that?

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She attempted to keep a straight face, biting her lip until it hurt to stop from giggling, but there was no way she was going to be able to keep a straight face. Im, uh, Im going to go take a shower. Shaun rolled off the edge of the bed, groaning when gravity took its toll on her overused body. As she tentatively made her way to the bathroom a yowl of catlike laughter came from the cheap seats on the floor. Jak tore his pillow from under his head and threw it over the side of the bed, hitting Rob with uncanny accuracy. Ow, man, no fair going for the balls.

*****
When she came back, Jak still lay on the bed, the sheet up to his waist. Rob sat on the edge of the bed in a pair of floppy knit boxers that didnt do him any justice. She needed to get the man some briefs. Nice ones that would hug that nice tight ass of his and make the most of what he had under the hood. Wait, what on earth am I thinking? Her shoulders slumped. Who was she kidding? Their lives were intertwined now, and there was no going back. She could see it now, her in the starring hausfrau role, looking frazzled as she dragged the kids around the supermarket before picking up half a dozen twelve-packs of briefs from the local clothing discount store for Jak and Rob. I wonder if

they wear the same size?


She was still trying to get over the skeevy idea of Jak and Rob sharing undies when she walked in on the tail end of what sounded like a conversation she should have been privy to. So you think the blood exchange fulfilled the prophecy then. We, or you more exactly, actually knocked Shaun up? Surely, you cant have missed that huge transfer of power once all three of us were linked by blood? I dont know that she knows she was the power behind that little display of pyrotechnics, but Gertie had it right. Had something right, at least. Whether it was the

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prophecy being fulfilled, or Shauns familys destiny to be the carrier of Hope I cant say, but something big went down, thats for sure. Youre sure it just wasnt her becoming a Were? I didnt see what happened with Rex and Pearl, but I got the idea there were pretty blue sparkles, not an explosion like a damn star going supernova. And theres no mistaking that shes knocked up -- she smells different. What? Two oh-shit-I-just-got-caught guilty looking faces turned her way. Her hand instinctively went to her belly. What do you mean? As Rob ran his fingers through his mussed-up hair he sighed. I didnt work it out until right in the moment, and by then it was too late. Her brain was working overtime, denying what she understood of what shed overheard. Work what out? That you ovulated tonight. He looked sheepish. The last few days have been hell, pet. I wanted you so bad I locked all my senses down until I was just about deaf, dumb, and blind, so I didnt sense the change in your hormones the way I should have. But my body has been reacting to them nonetheless -- so has Jaks. Because were linked, hes getting the fallout from me when I sensed you going into heat. Rob shook his head, taking himself to task. I lost it, totally, then I bit you and it all came clear. It all came clear She wobbled on her feet, still a little unsteady from the days excesses, and now with a dose of shock ladled on top. So you think Im pregnant? Rob leaped from the bed and grabbed her before she melted onto the floor. He laid her down beside Jak again. You said you can smell it? It might have just been my perfume gone badmaybe you were smelling Jak on me or something She sat bolt upright and held out her wrist to Rob. Sniff again. Make sure!

Please, please, please dont let me be pregnant. They hadnt figured out what the
prophecy meant, then there was the Pandoras Jar thing, and she didnt even know them

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very well yet. She wanted to, oh, man, she wanted to. Thered been so much more to what had happened over the day than just sex. But Rob didnt sniff her wrist; he leaned in to her neck and kissed the spot where hed left his mark. His tongue swirled on her skin, and she shivered, goose bumps racing over her from the pleasure he invoked. When he pulled away, his smile lit up his face. Oh, yeah. Theres a bun in that oven. Shaun fell back onto the bed, her hands clasped over her belly. There was an awed silence as all three of them stared at her stomach. Jak was the first to move, peeling back the towel shed wrapped around herself after her shower to place a reverent kiss to her belly. I dont really know how it worked, and I dont really care -- A teardrop landed on her belly. But you two, combined with this prophecy have given me something Id given up all hope for. Robs hand hovered over Jaks, an extreme look of fear on his face. Imweare going to be fathers.

Oh, man, I am so in for a rough nine months. Rex was driving Pearl to total distraction,
fussing, arguing, demanding she do everything his way for her own protection. But Pearl only had one Rex. Shaun had Rob and Jak. How the hell was she supposed to cope with two?

*****
Seriously? Wow! Pearl relaxed in one of the comfortable reading chairs Jak had sprinkled around his library. Pearl was due any day -- any moment, really -- and she looked it. Apparently, unlike their human counterparts, twin Weres felt no compunction to arrive early. Pearl was two days overdue and feeling every second -- or should that be pound -- of it. It scared Shaun to see where she just might be in nine months. And what about you? How do you feel about it all?

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Pretty stunned, really. I mean who would have thunk it. Me. Part of some ancient prophecy where Ill end up knocked up by a Vamp and a Were so my kid can help save the day. Pearl just looked at her with her brow raised ironically. You dont say. Shaun blushed. Of course, Pearl knew how it felt. Only nine months ago shed been in the same boat and was about to pop the twin consequences out her magical hoo-ha. And what about you, Gertie? I thought we would have had a touching fade to black scene by now. Gertie had been hovering around the upper shelves, seeing if any titles stood out to her. I really dont know. I was under the impression that once I was done being a cosmic matchmaker Id be free to go. Shaun studied her grandmother as she floated back down to floor level. She looked paler than normal -- if it was possible to say that about a ghost. She lookeddepressed. There has been a decided lack of bright white lights to go toward. Gerties usual sparkles of blue dulled more for a second before brightening again. Im sorry, Grandma. Gertie pshawed. Youve got nothing to be sorry about, girl. Gerties color picked up as she smiled. Maybe I was supposed to hang around for a while, greet the new generation, help you with your magic and all that. Her smile turned sly. Maybe my job as matchmaker to all Were and wonderful isnt done? Lord help whoever was next on Gerties list. The help with magic would be good, though. That she was a witch was still a bit of a sore point. She was trying to watch her tongue, but it was hard with idiot one and idiot two pissing her off at all hours of the day. Meshing their lives was not proving easy. Her parents were due in town next week, and she was coming up blank on how to tell them she was involved with two men, a ghost, a prophecy, and to top it all off, pregnant.

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The dull sound of thunder echoed through the library. They were hiding away from an afternoon storm of epic proportions, while Pearl sipped at raspberry leaf tea, a brew that was supposed to somehow help with labor. Rob had needed some help from Rex with some Pack business, so Pearl had been stashed safe and sound by her worrywart husband, in what Shaun had labeled Jaks underground batboy lair. The blood exchange theyd made the night of the new moon appeared to have satisfied the prophecy, but there was still so much left open for interpretation theyd decided to keep searching. Hoping that among all the books Jak had stashed over the years they might find something more. Anything in that book? They had chosen a shelf low to the ground so they wouldnt have to lug books up and down and were systematically working their way along. No, nothing. Pearl shut the book and rested it on top of her belly with a tired groan. The book bounced as a foot kicked it from underneath. One of these little beggars better be the next David Beckham -- I swear theyve kicked every organ I own until its purple. Shaun wasnt sure what she should say, or even if she was expected to say anything. Fear that soon that would be her made her gulp. Pearl heard her. Sweets, dont stress. While I might look like a steaming pile of crap right now, I really am looking forward to them getting here. Pearl reached out and patted her hand. Ive been there She wiggled her fingers over the bulge of her belly. Hello, magical conception number one here! The way she said it, emphasizing the woo-woo factor cracked them both up. They giggled, then laughed until Pearl pressed her hand to her side. Oh, man, no more laughing please. It hurts and I think I might pee myself. Shaun sniggered as she took the book from Pearl. Whale. Albino. Just you wait, goth girl, your time is coming.

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And didnt she know it. I really do wish youd pop those kidlets out. Before you were
preggers, I only had to watch out for bitchy Pearl about three days of the month. Har de har! You are so funny, not, Pearl lobbed back. No, she wasnt feeling quite as witty as usual. A kid on the way. A relationship to build with Jak and Rob. Not going stark-raving bonkers -- it was a lot to ask of a girl. She slid Pearls book back onto the shelf, but something blocked the way. Reaching in, she felt the edge of a small, thin book. Hey, theres something back here. It took a bit of maneuvering to get it out, but the cover made it all worthwhile. It was a work of art. Beautiful red leather was embossed and painted, and the title was presented in a swirling, curlicue font that rendered it close to impossible to make out. How pretty is that! Shaun sat down beside Pearl and inspected the cover under the reading lamp. I cant make out what the title says. A D? Maybe a P. I think thats an H? Open up and see whats inside. Lets see. She opened the little book carefully, not wanting to destroy any of the beauty of the obviously hand detailed cover. There isnt a title page, only an illustration. Shaun turned the book so Pearl could see. It was a fantastical depiction of night and day, a veritable jungle book of animals that resided in the dark or the light or both. Humans lazed alongside the animals on the day side, while on the darker side a human whose cape and hood were made of billowing shadows fought with another man who foamed at the mouth with long teeth bared. How odd. Oh my Pearls reaction was about the same as Shauns. Is it all illustrations? Shaun turned the book back around and gently flipped to the page over. No, theres writing here. She leaned in closer. Let me see Shaun began to slowly read aloud.

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To one struck by the moon shall be born a girl. She will be the first. She, and those like her, will become the rescuers of those who walk on four and stand on two, whose line flickers and wavers like a candle before its snuffed. Magic will lead their way to a new life. It shall burst on them like a flame, blazing blue as it burns brightly, and they shall take into their bodies and from them we shall bloom. Teach your sons and daughters wisely and well; make them sure of their place in the world for time may come to pass where one of the Moonstruck may lead us all.
Shaun looked across to Pearl, thunderstruck. She whispered, Its the prophecy. Pearl whispered back, equally as awed, Is there more?

As flowers bloom so shall change. A triad of influence, built on blood and power and strength will be born. By eyes of green, depth of shadow, and curious determination you will know them. In the light of the new moon they will be bound as one -- their union blessed by the spirits of those passed over. The magic born from the power of three will be the downfall of those who seek to betray us.
Oh, God, Rob was right. Theres another verse.

We are hidden, yet we protect those with no need to hide. Our fates intertwine, yet are fragile despite the joining. Beware the betrayers; they will be strong. Evil will fight hard to be set free to twist the threads of fate to its own end. One born to the beast: the largest of the forest, and one born from the magic of the jungle night will be our only hope if evil overcomes the binding wards and escapes back into the world. Trust everyone, trust no one, and look for safety from unexpected quarters, for fate will have to do more than intertwine, it must become one.

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Shaun slumped back into her chair, stunned and awed. Shed found it. Oh, my God, theyd really found it, and there was more, so much more! Oh, my God, Pearl. Now its all starting to make sense. You, me, Pandoras Jar Do you know what this means? She turned toward Pearl to find her midgrimace. Pearl? Something was wrong. Please dont take this the wrong way because Im excited as all hell that we found that book, but can we debate about what this means later? Pearl struggled up from her seat. There was a splattering sound of water hitting the floor. I think magical conception number one and two want out. Pearl managed to squat, bend, grab her belly, huff and puff, and groan all at once. Youre not kidding me, are you? Face red, her teeth gritted, Pearl shook her head in reply.

I really do wish youd pop those kidlets out. Oh, shit. I did it again. Shed really
wanted her friends misery ended, and yet again it came true. When will I learn? Shaun rushed to her friends side, taking her weight while Pearl struggled through a contraction. Rex is going to freaking kill me.

Anne Douglas
I started writing with the encouragement of my friends (who tell me I always have a tale to tell -- I think thats a good thing) to support my growing Erotica/Erotic Romance habit. Writing, along with the Handcrafted Boutique Childrens Clothing business that is my day job, is what my husband calls my excuse for not doing housework -- too right, mate! I am a transplant New Zealander currently living in Florida, so my American friends get a laugh out of translating Kiwi-speak to American for me -- car parkparking lotelevatorliftOy! Visit Anne on the Web at http://annedouglas.blogspot.com, or email her at annedouglas@comcast.net.

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