Thanks for letting me come on your blog today! Trickster is my first M/M shifter story, and was originally intended to be a short story submission for Evernight’s Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition anthology. Unfortunately, I wound up having the plague for most of November, and thanks to the various medications I was on the story just wouldn’t gel properly in my head. After three failed attempts I gave up and stuck all three versions in the “maybe someday” file.
Fast forward to January. As I worked on another project, I decided to take a break and flip through my “maybe someday” file as a palate cleanser. When I found the most advanced version of my Alpha shifter story, I thought, “Hmm, this really is kind of a cool concept. If I expand it I can submit it as an ROTG story. I’ll just add a little more on, then go back to my original project.”
Ha. The next thing I knew, it was four days later, my sleep cycle was completely flipped, I was knee deep in corporate espionage and the complications of M/M human/shifter mating when neither of them are gay, and I’d gone straight past ROTG length and was closing in on 20K. Plus my shifter was no longer an Alpha (which actually worked better, considering one of the other characters really needed to be the Alpha), and I came up with a novel way to send Morse code in an office environment. The result is Trickster, and I have to say that I am very, very pleased with the way it all turned out. (And yes, the plot may have been influenced by my career in various tech companies. Oh, the stories I could tell you…).
Delaney Smith, coyote shifter and Trickster Technologies executive, thinks humans are bland, boring, and undateable. So he gets the shock of his life when he comes back from vacation and scents his mate in the Trickster offices — a mate who is not only male, but quite human.
Mark Fellowes is taken aback when the CTO at his new contract job makes a pass at him, and even more surprised at his temptation to respond. Straight and dating a career-minded businesswoman, he’s never even thought about kissing another man — until now.
When Mark is attacked by thieves trying to steal company files, Delaney must put aside his preconceptions to protect his mate. But will a criminal bent on destroying Trickster Tech separate them before he can stake his claim?
Delaney cleared his throat. Mark yelped and spun, bumping into the dresser next to the bed. The towel around his waist started to slip, and Delaney caught a glimpse of pale, muscled hip before he yanked the terrycloth back into place.
Panting, he glared at Delaney. “Jesus Christ, what is wrong with you?” he yelled. “Do you even know how to knock?”
“I did,” Delaney said, trying to sound innocent. “You didn’t answer so I got worried. Didn’t know you were in the shower until I came in here.” And you were coming in there.
Without his glasses, Mark’s resemblance to a furious faun was even more striking. “God. I do not need any more of this tonight,” he growled.
“You, sneaking around and following me everywhere.” He scowled at Delaney’s groin. “Especially with another fucking hard on.”
For some reason, that cheered the shifter. “You noticed, huh?”
“Helen Keller would have noticed it, all right? Does it ever go down?”
“Not since this morning. I can’t help it, babe. I smell you and I get wood.”
“Oh, Jesus.” Mark edged next to the bed, clutching both towels now and looking hunted. “Look, I’m tired. I just want to put on some pajamas and crash, all right? I’ve had a really bad, weird day, so how about we can talk about shapeshifters and,” he waved vaguely between them, “that other thing in the morning.”
Delaney ignored the slap of disappointment and nodded. “Okay. We’ll talk later when you’re not tired.” Although you weren’t too tired to jerk off in the shower.
Mark’s cheeks blazed to life. “You listened to me?”
Oh, shit, he can hear my thoughts already? “I didn’t mean to, but coyotes have really good hearing,” Delaney said defensively. “At least you got off. My balls are aching so much I can barely walk straight.”
“So go to your own damn bathroom and rub one out there!”
“It’s not about getting off, dammit!” Delaney yelled back, before catching himself. “Okay, it’s not just about getting off. God, I really wish you were a shifter. Then you’d understand.”
“Well, I’m not a shifter,” Mark snapped, “so you’re just going to have to explain it to the stupid human.”
“I — Jesus.” Delaney sucked in a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down and find the right words. “Being drawn to a mate, it isn’t just physical. It’s emotional and spiritual as well.” He gestured at his groin. “Yes, I want to fuck you. That’s pretty damn obvious. I also want to know you. I want to talk to you, find out everything about you—where you grew up, what your family’s like, whether you like sports, what your favorite food is, your opinion on Steven Moffat, what you want to do with the rest of your life, all that. And I want you to get to know me, too.”
Nicola Cameron is an expatriate Chicagoan who has lived in England, Canada, Holland, and Sweden, and keeps a confusing amalgamation of languages in her head as a result. Currently located in the clavicle of Texas, she has finally mastered the proper use of “y’all,” much to her Chicago family’s dismay.
Despite a healthy interest in sex since puberty, it wasn’t until 2012 that Nicola decided to try writing about it. As it turned out, the skills she picked up during her SF writing career transferred rather nicely to erotic romance. When not writing, she wrangles cats, smooches her husband, makes dolls of dubious and questionable identity, and thanks almighty Cthulhu that she doesn’t have to work for a major telecommunications company any more (because there’s BDSM, and then there’s just plain torture…).
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