Author Stephani Hecht
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The Sensual World of Stephani Hecht
|Posted on May 21, 2012 at 11:15 PM||comments (48)|
Shane jerked, both of surprise and the fact that he’d actually let himself be caught so off guard. That never happened to him. Or at least, it never used to.
He let out a sigh turning to study the annoyance that had dared to disturbed his daydreaming. While the rest of the coalition called the Fox shifter, Dr. North, Shane preferred to call him, the Devil, Mind-fucker or Dr. Evil. Of course, Shane never bothered to say any of those behind the guy. What fun would that be? No, he said it right to North’s face.
Damned it North had remained stoic through the whole thing and refused to show any emotion. Shane didn’t know whether to be pissed or impressed. In the past, he’d always managed to get everybody in his life to the pissing kittens stage of mad. Even Shane’s mate, Trevor, got angry at Shane and they were mates.
“Did you grow up in Japan?” Shane asked as he batted at a ball of yarn that was on the coffee table.
Other than that, the room was as bland as North’s personality. Hell, he didn’t even have the ink blobs pictures. Which would have been a nice way to break up the boring brown furniture, the burnt orange walls and the thick carpet that was…sigh…brown.
“We’re not here to talk about me,” North replied.
Shane went on as if he hadn’t heard. “The reason I ask is because it’s obvious that one of your parents was Japanese, while the other came from China.”
For the first time ever, a flicker of emotion passed over North’s face. It was so brief that had it been anybody else they would have missed it. But, then again, Shane wasn’t just anybody else. He’d been trained to notice things like that. In fact, the skill had saved his ass one more than one occasion.
“I gotta wonder how your grandparents felt about that.” Shane tilted his head to the side.
“I wouldn’t know. My father’s parents never contact us and my mother left right after I was born,” North replied.
While he may have been trying to keep his voice neutral, Shane could still hear the hurt. It made him feel bad. Again, something that never would have used to happen to him. Shit, while he loved having Trevor and Ava in his life, Shane hated how his new-found ability to love made him weaker.
He batted at the yarn as the guilt ate at him. Damn, it! When had he grown so soft? Next, he’d be saving starving kittens and crying that those Sarah McLachlan commercials.
“It could be worse, my mother sold me off to a sadistic monster,” Shane offered in way of repayment.
North sat forward, his forearms resting on his knees. Shane had to admit the guy was pretty hot, in the whole intellectual, I’m-smarter-than-you kind of way. The Fox even managed to make dress pants and a sweater look sexy. Not that Shane would ever make a move on anybody else. He had Trevor and there wasn’t anything that Shane would ever trade him away for. Shane just could see why certain members of the coalition had it so bad for the good doctor.
“How does it make you feel to know that your mother did that?” North asked.
Shane snorted. “I met the bitch, so I realize that I got the best side of the shitty, stick life threw at me. While my master may have been cruel and meaner than Gacey and Bundy together, it was still better than being with her. At least my master had invested in me, so it was in his best interest to keep me alive.”
“But, didn’t your mother save your life when she sold you in the first place? Otherwise, your father would have killed you before you were even a month old.”
“It was just a moment of softness on her part. I’m sure it was the first and only one she ever had in her short miserable life. I hold no delusions when it comes to her. Plus, there are some that would argue that killing me at birth would have been the more merciful option.”
“Do you believe that? That the world would be better off dead without you?”
Shane grinned down at the ball of yarn. “Have I ever told you about my first kill?”
It was really a hypothetical question, since Shane had never shared that story with anybody. Not even Trevor and Shane knew for a fact that nothing could ever make his mate turn on him.
“No,” North replied, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.
Shane had to give the guy some credit. He knew that he was being set up for something, yet he still insisted on pushing on.
“It was a human. Although some would call him a monster. He dealt in the slave market, but unlike most of the others he didn’t deal exclusively in humans or shifters. He bought and sold both. He only had one requirement, that the slaves in question be as young as possible.”
Shane pause, but North didn’t say anything. Rolling the ball of yarn in his hands, Shane continued, “The slaver made the mistake of taking the wrong kid. Which was really stupid on his part. Even somebody who knows little about how the shifter world works, realizes that it’s a huge mistake to mess with the only son of a Raven leader.”
“So, the Raven hired you to get his son back?” North asked.
“No, he hired my master. I was just the one sent to do the job. It was soooo easy, too. Even for a first time. I managed to sneak in and I gutted the guy before he could even cry for his guards.”
“How were you able to sneak in?” North pressed.
“I disguised myself as one of the slaves.”
North swallowed hard, his face growing pale. “But, you said he only dealt in children.”
“Yes, I did.”
There was a long pause before North let out a soft curse. “How old were you?”
“Jesus, you were so young.”
Shane shrugged. “You want to know the really twisted thing about the whole thing. I didn’t feel bad about killing. In fact, I never have. I’ve been doing this for more than half my life, yet I never once gave a fuck.” He finally gave his full attention to the Fox. “Tell me, Doctor, how many session will it take to fix that?”
North just sat there, all deer-in-the-headlights. Shane got up and tossed the ball of yarn at him. North snapped out of it just in time to catch it.
Reaching for the door, Shane said, “Don’t feel bad. You’ve just realized something that I’ve known all along, I’m broken and there’s no fixing me. I’m a monster just like that human. Only I’m evil in other ways.”
Fixing him with a hard glare, North replied, “That’s not true.”
Shane smirked, “What makes you so sure of that?”
“Because a monster would never love Trevor and Ava. I see the way you look at them and I know they mean the world to you.”
Damn, how Shane wanted to believe that. Then he thought back to all the lives he’d taken. Sure, most of the victims had been evil in their own way, but they’d still had souls. So, Shane should feel at least a niggle of guilt. Yet as he searched himself, he found nothing.
Flashing his coldest smile, he said, “Well, as much fun as this chat was. I have a job.”
North shivered, no doubt realized what kind of duty Shane would be performing. Only this time instead of it being because of the orders of his former master, Shane would be doing it to protect the coalition.
“You do realize that you were around the same age,” North called.
When Shane cocked his head in confusion, North continued, “You and Ava. You were around her age when you first killed somebody.”
Letting out a small snarl, Shane snapped, “Ava is nothing like me and she never will be.”
Shane then slammed the door and walked away.
|Posted on October 12, 2011 at 5:09 PM||comments (25)|
Even in his wounded state, Shane’s body responded to the sensual way his mate moved. It was as all feline and graceful, yet sexy as hell at the same time.
All Trevor wore were a pair of black sleeping pants, the waistband hanging low on his hips so it revealed his body perfectly. Shane could see it all, the way Trevor’s abs were firm, without being too muscular. How his chest was sleek and tan, the skin just begging to be licked and sucked. Most of all, Shane could make out the way the fabric tented over Trevor’s groin, showing that Shane wasn’t the only one aroused.
That was one of the things that made Trevor so perfect of a mate. While others shied away when Shane showed up covered in blood and dirty from combat, it turned Trevor on.
Not that he liked to see Shane hurt. No, Trevor was damn protective of his mate. It’s just that he liked the warrior in Shane. Not for the first time, Shane realized just how damn lucky he was to have his Panther. That is until a wave of pain shot through Shane and ripped him back into reality.
Trevor frowned, his hand going out to touch Shane’s chest. “Shit, all this blood is yours. I hadn’t realized you were that hurt.”
“I’ve had worse,” Shane protested, even as he began to feel a bit lightheaded.
“You should have gone into the infirmary and had Jacyn or Doc Featherstone check you out.”
“Nah, they just want to stick me with needles. In fact, I have a sneaky suspicion those two get off on poking sharp objects into people. And yet everybody says I’m the sadistic one.”
When Trevor didn’t so much as smile, Shane knew his attempt at humor failed. Worse yet, the scent of arousal that had been coming from Trevor dissipated, to be replaced with the sharp bite of anxiety.
“Then you need to shift,” Trevor said, tilting his chin in that stubborn way of his.
Shane balked. After years of serving under the iron rule of his former guardian, it had been instilled in Shane that shifting was forbidden. Even though Edward was dead and no longer in charge of Shane’s life, he still found himself cowing to the man’s old rules. Which was just ironic, since Shane was known for not following orders. Of course, his current leader would never think of torturing Shane for punishment as Edward had. Plus, Edward had raised Shane from infancy and had brainwashed Shane and his foster brothers. It was only after they’d come to their current feline coalition that they’d finally had a taste of real freedom.
That still didn’t make certain things any easier. Shane had only shifted a few times since he’d come to the coalition and each time it had only been as a last resort.
There was yet another reason he didn’t want to shift, too. This one even more daunting than Edward. It was because Shane was a Leopard and that breed of shifter was despised and feared by all other felines.
Sure it was with good reason. Leopards had the well-deserved reputation of being bat-shit crazy and homicidal. The reason the species was almost extinct was because there was so much infighting that they all but decimated their own ranks.
Shane knew that every time he shifted to his Leopard form, it only served as a reminder of what he was. Not only to others, but to himself as well. Because, as cowardly as it sounded, Shane would have given just about anything to be another breed. Anything would have been better than to be so hated just because of what birth made him.
As always, Trevor seemed to read his mind. The Panther gently cupped Shane’s face. “Shift for me. I love you—all of you.”
An emotion shot through Shane, it was so uncommon and unexpected, he almost didn’t recognize it, but yet here it was—fear.
Trevor gave him a tender smile. “You should know by now that I don’t care that you’re a Leopard. You’re my mate, what’s more, you’re my hero. And nothing will ever change that. So, please, shift for me. It kills me to see you suffering like this. Not only that, but you’re getting blood all over the place and you know how I hate to clean that crap up.”
Shane let out a weak laugh. “Okay, I’ll do it. But only for you.”
Taking a couple steps back, Shane closed his eyes and let his Leopard take over. A bright light shimmered over his body as he seamlessly shifted. He only held his animal form long enough for the healing to take effect, before he transformed back to his human side.
Looking down, he saw that while his shirt was still stained with blood, there didn’t seem to be any fresh seepage coming through. Just to be sure, he ripped off his shirt and tossed it to the side. A sigh of relief went through him as he saw all that remained of the scratches were some faint red marks. Raising a hand to his face, he felt that those wounds had healed, too.
Trevor stepped in close again and pressed their lips together in a kiss so tender it made an ache build up in Shane’s chest. How Trevor could still want him, even after seeing the worst of him, still puzzled Shane.
“Stop thinking so much,” Trevor whispered between kisses.
Shane did just that, bringing his arms up to hold Trevor in a tight embrace. Breaking the kiss, Shane finally gave into one of his biggest urges and buried his nose in the nape of Trevor’s neck. Breathing in deep, Shane allowed the scent of his mate to wash away all the lingering ill feelings left over from the night’s events.
When Trevor brought his arms up to return the embrace, Shane felt as if he finally was free from all the terrors of his past, if only for that moment.
“You are the only reason I feel anything. Before you, I was just a dead shell,” Shane said, the words coming out rough because it was still hard for him to share his emotions that way.
“And I’m never going anywhere. I don’t care if you stayed in your Leopard most of the time.” Trevor chuckled as he nuzzled Shane’s cheek.
Shane returned the gesture, making it so they equally exchanged scents. That way any shifter who came within five feet of them would know that they were claimed and off limits.
Trevor finally pulled away, then took Shane’s hand. “Come on.”
“Where are you taking me?” Shane asked, even as he began to let Trevor led the way.
“No offense, but you’re still covered in blood and I’m not about to let you get into bed and mess up my sheets. I just got the stains out from the last time you pulled that stunt.”
Shane laughed as they walked into the bathroom. He stood still and let Trevor do all the work, the Panther slowly stripping off the remainder of Shane’s clothes. Even going so far as to kneel at Shane’s feet and unlace his boots.
Once Shane was nude, Trevor stripped, then turned on the shower. Taking Shane inside, Trevor tenderly washed every inch of Shane before trailing soft kisses over the nearly healed scratch marks.
They were both hard with need, but neither one made the encounter sexual. Rather, it was a tender moment of one mate tending to the other’s needs. It was something that just a few years ago, Shane never thought would happen to him. Yet, there Trevor was, treating Shane as if he were important and loved.
Afterward, Trevor turned off the water and carefully dried them off before leading Shane to the bed. They crawled under the covers and got into their usual sleeping position of Shane spooning Trevor in a tight embrace.
“How come I’m always the little spoon? I’m a couple inches taller than you,” Trevor grumbled good-naturedly.
“Because I can only sleep if I know I have you protected,” Shane replied honestly.
“You do realize I can handle myself in a fight. I may not be some highly trained assassin like you, but I’m one of the coalition’s best soldiers.”
“I know, I still haven’t gotten over that time you were captured though,” Shane admitted.
Only with Trevor could he lay himself out like that. Trevor let out soft sigh as he placed a tender kiss on Shane’s forearm.
“I’m not going anywhere so go ahead and fall sleep. I promise I will always be here when you get up.”
So many others had broken promises to Shane in the past, but he knew Trevor would never do that to him. Shane closed his eyes and let himself drift off.
He was so tired and he knew that he had a huge battle ahead of him. Lily was still out there and something told Shane that he would be tangling with the bitch sooner rather than later.
|Posted on October 6, 2011 at 7:53 PM||comments (21)|
|Posted on September 22, 2011 at 11:06 AM||comments (19)|