Dance of Souls
Best Intentions 2: A Ghost Cats Story
Paranormal Shifter Romance by Mandy M Roth
Some dances are downright deadly.
Mason Blackwolf doesn’t want much out of life. He’s easy going. He’s alpha of his pack of werewolves, best friends with a shape shifting cougar and the great-grandson of a powerful Native American Shaman. A normal day for him consists of dealing with inter-pack politics, seducing beautiful women and then, if he’s lucky, relaxing and not thinking about much beyond that. When it becomes clear his grandfather has sent him on a wild goose chase, Mason stops at a roadside bar for a beer. He gets more than he’s bargained for when a tall, sexy blonde enters the establishment. She catches not only his eye but the wolf’s attention as well. She’s also off limits. In a big way. To Mason, it’s simply another layer that adds to her appeal. She’s a temptation he doesn’t want to resist and if he has his way, she’ll be thoroughly claimed before the night is out.
Rating: Contains graphic sexual content, adult language, and violence.
Mason Blackwolf sat in the back booth of the bar he’d stopped at on his way home and watched the patrons closely. His ever vigilant eye had picked up on a number of oddities in the bar. Nothing that would send him packing but enough that Mason knew to be on his guard. He sat there, peeling the label off his beer, wadding the moistened paper into tiny balls and depositing them into the ashtray. He took another swig of the dark amber substance, savoring its rich brew but wishing it was stronger than it was.
Why his best friend, Brayen, and his grandfather, Running Elk, had sent him on a wild goose chase was a mystery to him. They had to have known that the rogue werewolf pack in Virginia had been captured and brought to justice. Everyone else seemed to know. The Virginia pack, who had contacted Brayen for help with the rouges, had come just shy of laughing in Mason’s face when he arrived. Why the hell did Brayen and Running Elk still send him? Sure, a vacation was nice but even he had to admit that he missed being home.
He hated to fly and had opted to drive instead. If the gods had intended him to fly, they’d have made him a werebird of some sort, not a werewolf. With a ridiculous amount of highway miles under his belt, Mason was ready to climb in his own bed and not look back. Unfortunately, he had a distance to travel yet before that could happen. The need to stretch his legs and relax had been great. The pull to this particular place had been all consuming—bordering on obsessive. He’d given into it and stopped. Now, he just had to figure out why.
Mason looked around, doing his best to put his finger on the problem. The smell of whiskey filled the air, coating it like a thin blanket of gasoline, no doubt as ignitable as the tempers of the occupants of the establishment.
Nothing in the bar seemed out of the ordinary. It was the same run of the mill, clean place with a gritty clientele he was used to. Though, his normal hang-out didn’t have humans roaming about it, mingled with supernaturals. This one did. That didn’t surprise him. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the places Mason went when he wasn’t home had them in it.
A row of pool tables flanked one side of the bar while a long bar ran the length of the other side. Tables filled the area in between and in the darkened back corner, sat several booths. The place wasn’t bad. It wasn’t extraordinary either. Mason couldn’t understand why he’d had the urge to stop here.
“Come on, baby. Give daddy some of that sweet ass,” a drunk called out from a table full of men.
Mason watched the brunette waitress who had caught his eye earlier as she did her best to ignore the heckling that had been going on since he’d first arrived. The bartender seemed to be leery about the group of men that had pushed several tables together and were now taking up a large portion of the center of the bar. If he had any clue what the hell the guys truly were, he’d have kicked their asses out long ago.
With a rifle loaded with silver bullets in his hands no less.
The music, pumping out of a jukebox up near the stage, varied from country to classic rock. It served to drown out some of the ruckus. Unfortunately, not enough to give Mason the peace he so desperately sought. Was it too much to ask for a break? Apparently so.
“Jeanie, you okay?” the bartender asked as he served an older man at the bar a beer.
Of course she’s not all right. The woman is being harassed by shifters, jackass!
The woman nodded as she went to collect dirty glasses and empty bottles from the table full of rowdy men. “I’m fine.”
“Yes, you certainly are fine,” a man with short, sandy brown hair said as he reached out and grabbed her ass. “Mmm, come on, sugar.”
She pushed away from him and scurried towards the bar. Mason groaned as he set his beer down. As much as he wanted to enjoy his time off, he wasn’t about to let a woman be manhandled by a group of drunken assholes. Shifters or not. The fact they were supernaturals only meant he could fight them head on and not have to hold as much back.
It’d be a real shame to kill one of these assholes. He snorted. A real shame.
The bartender put his palms down on the bar top and glared at the group of men. It was clear to see the man would attempt to protect his waitress. He was just playing it smart—avoiding a conflict if at all possible. It’s what Mason had been trying to do but suspected his attempts were in vain. He smiled.
Oh, well, kicking the shit out of someone will help me sleep better.
The door to the bar opened and Mason’s heart stopped for a fraction of a second as his gaze ran over the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen. The woman had to be at least five-eight and at six foot two he liked to avoid having to bend nonstop to kiss them if at all possible. She’d work just fine.
The low-rise, boot-cut jeans she had on caught his attention immediately. Her toned abdomen showed, revealing a silver bellybutton ring. It was perfect. She was perfect. Gathering her up in his arms and spending the remainder of the night and most of the next day fucking her senseless chased his homesick blues away, replacing them with a rather optimistic outlook.
Long, shiny blonde hair stopped just before the small of her back. It was hair that a man would pay money just to be allowed the opportunity to run his fingers through and see it fanned out on the bed while sliding in and out of her. The very thought made Mason’s dick hard.
She smiled, making her classically beautiful face even more appealing. Her high cheekbones, narrow, slightly upturned nose and full rose-colored lips made his body throb with need. As his cock began to dig painfully into his black jeans, he instantly regretted not shacking up with the last hottie he’d crossed paths with. She’d been easy on the eyes and more than willing to have some fun but he felt compelled to get on the road and head home. Easy fucks weren’t something he normally passed on.
The bizarre urge to get on the road and head home had stayed with him and gotten stronger and stronger until he’d neared here. He’d given in to the compulsion to pull off, find a bite to eat and grab a beer. Somehow, he’d ended up here. It wasn’t as though the bar was close to the highway. No. Mason had driven a good distance off course before stopping. It wasn’t like he even had a choice. Something here had called to him. If he was right, it was the blonde.
“Hot damn,” a man at the table full of assholes said. “Take a look at the legs on that one. The rack isn’t bad either. How you doin’, sugar?”
Instantly, Mason found himself fighting the beast within, doing his best to keep the wolf caged. The urge to kill every one of the men for daring to look in the woman’s direction was so strong it shocked him. He clenched his fist, digging tiny crescent-shaped wounds into the palm of his hand and not caring in the least.
Jeanie went to the blonde quickly and Mason made sure he utilized every ounce of his supernatural gifts. First up, his ultrasensitive hearing. “Chan, you’re here. Ohmygod, I can’t believe it. When did you get in? Hey, I thought you weren’t coming until ten.”
The blonde smiled and his stomach did a flip-flop. If her flashing her pearly whites had that effect on him, he was screwed. Hopefully, in the literal sense if he played his cards right.
The blonde winked at her friend. “Hon, its eleven now. Don’t worry. I thought I’d head down and see if you needed a lift home or a little help?”
Her voice was every bit as smooth and sexy as she was. The need to hear her whispering sweet nothings in his ear while he fucked her left Mason fighting the urge to run to her and toss her over his shoulder. Fucking her was definitely something he would be doing before he left for home.
“Chandra Holbeck, are you telling me that you actually drove here for once?” Jeanie asked, sounding shocked.
Chandra. Chan. Mason let the name roll around in his head, taking more pleasure from it than he should.
Fuck, even her name makes me horny.
She laughed. He cupped his erection, praying for relief. When she spoke, she offered no such thing. “Uhh, please, Jeanie. You know me better than that. I didn’t drive. I walked. It’s gorgeous out. I can’t get enough of the fresh mountain air.”
Mason wanted to jump up and shout at her for being stupid enough to walk around at night, alone with shifters frequenting the area—drunk ones at that. Somehow, he managed to hold back. It wasn’t easy. Maybe the beast within him wanted to be fucking her tonight as bad as the man so it didn’t want to risk the opportunity by opening his mouth and inserting his foot.
Oh, we are so getting a piece of that tonight, my friend.
The woman slipped off the jean jacket she had on, leaving her in a tiny red fitted t-shirt. The cream-colored swells of her breasts showed due to the deep V-cut of it. Never before had Mason wanted to cover a sexy woman’s body from view but now he did. Wrapping her in a blanket and taking her home to peel back the layers and unwrap the prize inside in privacy was all he wanted to do. None of these men deserved to look upon her. She was special.
Special? What the hell am I thinking? She’s just another piece of ass.
Even as the words entered his mind, Mason knew they were a lie. She was more than just a piece of ass—way more and that scared him. Thankfully, the very idea of having his dick sinking into her lush body more than turned him on. It managed to set him on the verge of a full-shift and with his position as alpha male and right hand to Brayen—the guardian of the wolves—losing control wasn’t a problem. He was stronger than that. Or so he’d thought. The blonde before him challenged the theory at an alarming rate.
Chandra glanced around the bar, seeming to soak it all in with a childlike wonderment that made Mason smile. “Man, I missed this place. It’s packed.” Her brow creased. “Bertin, where’s Diane?”
The bartender shifted awkwardly. “She never showed and I haven’t been able to get her by phone,” Bertin said, sounding anything but pleased. “It’s good to have you home, Chan. The place wasn’t the same without you.”
Something passed over Chandra’s face. She walked quickly to the bartender, slid her arm around his waist and sent spikes of jealousy ramming through Mason’s body. “If you’re worried about Diane, which I can tell you are, go look for her. I’ll take care of things here while you’re gone. And it’s good to see you too, Bertin.”
He wouldn’t dare leave two women alone to run this bar with those assholes here.
Bertin nodded. “Okay, I’ll be back as soon as I can. You sure you’ll be okay?”
What? Mason had to fight not to fall out of the booth from sheer shock. There was no way in hell any man in his right mind would leave two women with the likes of the characters in the bar. The man was clearly insane.
Chandra did a rather long, sensual blink that had Mason’s entire body reacting to it as if it were hard-core porn. If she could do that to him with no more than a look, imagine what she could do with a touch. The very idea left his cock throbbing.
“Go on, we’ll be fine. I promise,” she said softly.
Bertin smiled and Mason considered ripping his head off and pinning it to a dartboard. He’s noticed several of them on the wall nearest the pool tables on his way in. They’d work nicely.
“Thanks, Chan. Keep an eye on the big group. They’re a bit rambunctious tonight. Jeanie is nervous dealing with them and I think they know it.”
A bit rambunctious? They’re psychotic.
Chandra nodded and patted Bertin’s shoulder as she walked behind the bar to pick up where he’d left off. Bertin hesitated just a moment before turning and glancing directly at Mason. Their gazes locked. The slight nod the bartender gave him had Mason wondering what the hell was going on. Had the man sensed Mason wasn’t human? Did he know Mason could and would protect the women at all costs? How could that be? Mason wasn’t even positive about what was going on—why the need to protect the blonde especially was so great. How the hell could some stranger hold the key?
All he knew for sure was if one of those assholes so much as sneezed in the blonde’s direction, it would be the last thing they ever did. Mason raked his gaze over them, coming close to daring them to try something.
He felt like fucking the blonde until one of them passed out. Considering his legendary stamina, Mason had little fear he’d be the first one to fall asleep.
“Jeanie, how about something a little more upbeat? I really don’t want to hear some guy singing about losing his wife, job, dog and pickup truck tonight. It’s depressing,” Chandra said, as she leaned forward and put her hand over the older man’s at the bar. “Hey, Grandpa. How are you doing tonight? You’re not getting yourself into any trouble, are you? I’ve been worried sick that you’d go causing an uproar while I was gone.”
Jeanie headed towards the jukebox quickly and selected a new sequence of songs. The first one that came on was about a young girl having issues fighting the moonlight. Mason couldn’t help but smile. Being a werewolf left him having roughly the same problem, though he’d never once thought to write a song about it.
“Yeah, Grandpa,” the man who had been hassling Jeanie mocked as he lifted his beer in the air. “Have you been a good boy tonight?”
The old man glanced over his shoulder but said nothing to the group. He simply stared at them with a look that would have been intimidating if it wasn’t coming from a man who appeared to be pushing ninety.
I’m not exactly a spring chicken. Thank the gods I don’t look my age.
“Damn, Fred, that looked like a challenge to me,” a buzz-cut blond said. He sat next to the one called Fred and grinned from ear to ear.
Mason could no longer hold back. He eased forward in his seat, ready and willing to kill something. If he was lucky it would be a table full of assholes. After he was done with them, he’d take Chandra, get a room, and spend the night fucking her brains out.
His brashness made him cringe. Somehow, even thinking about her in terms like that, sickened him. You don’t make love to women, idiot. You fuck them. Get over the self-imposed guilt trip.
He locked gazes with the old man at the bar and an unseen force slammed into him. It stole his breath. Mason tried to stand, only to find himself pinned to his seat.
What the hell?
© copyright August 2011, Mandy M Roth
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author’s imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.