Before I get chatting, I'd like to thank Carson for hosting me today! *hugs and smooches*
It`s funny how many people ask me "Whatever motivated you to write about a gay skunk shifter?" I'm not sure if it`s the skunk part, or the fact that Templeton is gay as well as a striper that confounds folks. I guess they`re not used to shifters being anything but big hunky wolves or bears. That is why I wanted to pen a tale about a nerdy skunk shifter who has a nose for trouble and wins the heart of that aforementioned hunky wolf, because it`s different. I rather like not taking my work and myself so seriously all the time! It`s great fun and makes for a wonderful world of mystical folk living, and loving, along the shores of Lake Erie.
An Erie Operetta Novella 2 in the Lake Erie series
Erotic M/M Shifter Romance
Templeton Reed, skunk shifter, is having trouble sharing a mansion with wolf shifters, even if one is his beloved Mikel, the alpha of the pack. Winter has settled over Lupei mansion and cabin fever is pushing the pack into rowdy behavior. To counter the boredom, and to instill some decorum into his fellow wolves, Mikel announces a trip to the opera is in order.
At first, Templeton is thrilled to be attending such a prestigious event. He is, after all, a lesser breed, and has never been privy to such glamorous entertainment. Sadly, what starts out as a night of opulence and refinement turns into a murder mystery when Templeton discovers a body in the cheap seats. Who, or what, has killed one of the elite of the Lake Erie shifter community? Who is the stranger that arrives to oversee the murder investigation and why is he insisting on staying at Lupei Manor? Will Templeton survive long enough to see act two?
Then, and only then, did I wiggle out of the side of the duvet to land on the cold bedroom floor on my hands and knees. I stood up quickly, my cock jutting out proudly. Mikel opened one sleepy golden eye, saw my erection, flashed me a smile filled with fang, then leaped off the bed. Toweringly tall, wide-shouldered and lean of waist, Mikel carried over three hundred pounds on his six-foot, seven-inch frame with magnificent masculinity. Even his damned toes were buff. I squeaked playfully and ran. This is a fun game for a lycan. Sometimes it's fun for me as well, as long as I know the wolf breathing down my neck will be fucking me and not gutting me. That is a major distinction for a prey animal.
I skittered around the bed, my hand on the tall poster that rose off the footboard. Mikel's big foot hit a small throw rug. He sailed past me, eyes as well as mouth wide, pawing in the air until his hand landed on his dresser. Cologne, a wristwatch, and a jewel box sailed off the top as the dresser lurched upward to try to support his weight.
I was giggling like a schoolgirl when I streaked out into the hall, my balls flapping in the wind. I had stopped and was in the process of turning to taunt the great hunter when a football slammed into my nose. I saw brilliant white flashes, a couple bright dots, and then blackness.
When I came to, I was back in bed with the blankets up to my chin and a cold compress on my nose. Three rather contrite-looking men stood at the foot of the bed. I placed my hand on the compress. I could taste blood on my tongue.
"How are you feeling, Templeton?" Mikel asked sheepishly, or as sheepishly as a wolf can. He had gotten dressed while I was in La-La Land. Jeans and a thick blue sweater suited him. I sat up. My head began throbbing violently. I lay back down, the icy compress on my tender nose.
"You were supposed to catch it," Dave said, holding the offending pigskin in one hand. "I mean, I did yell to you to be like Jerry Rice. Didn't you hear me?"
"No, I didn't," I said, then frowned. My nose was plugged with dried blood. I sounded congested. "Who the hell is Jerry Rice?"
"Oh man, he is like one of the most famous running backs in--"
I cut off Eddie with a sharp look. "I don't care about hockey!"
"It's football, not hockey," my lover gently corrected. The two goons in Levi Strauss and officially licensed team logo shirts looked down at their huge feet. "I'm just saying that if you're going to live among lycans, you should know the difference between football and hockey, Templeton."
"And you baboons should know how to behave inside! I know that the call of the wild is strong with you wolves, and that being cooped up inside this mansion isn't conducive to good behavior. But, on the other hand, we are not living in Norway with the Vikings. We are modern men, not slobbering pillagers intent on killing, raping, looting, and playing football inside a mansion!" I yelled, instantly hating how much I sounded like some medieval fishwife. I think I was haranguing. I did not wish to be a haranguer.
"I would love to pillage," Eddie said with a grin that crinkled his scarred face and lit his gentle eyes. Dave agreed instantly, his eyes glowing with the ancient need to engage in bloodletting. Mikel cleared his throat, ending the wistful talk of the lycan homelands.
"They meant no harm, Templeton," the alpha repeated. I swear, I am going to get a t-shirt printed up for Mikel with that platitude printed on it. Both men nodded enthusiastically. "You're correct, though. I have been letting them run wild and it has to stop. The long winter is making us cabin-fevered and restless. Our minds are slipping, allowing our baser nature to come out."
"Exactly," I said. "What we need is some class, refinement, and decorum to remind us of what proper gents you three can be."
"I don't like ties," Eddie muttered under his breath.
"Suits make me chafe," Dave whispered to the side.
Mikel nodded in understanding. "Yes, I know, being confined in tight clothing isn't the way of the young lycan." He padded around the bed, removed my compress, then ran a hand over my head, smoothing my hair from my brow. "But this is something you must learn. Being civil and refined is our way of life now. So, to that end, I think I will call the opera house to see what production is coming next."
"Opera?" both subordinates moaned.
"Our carriage will be waiting," Mikel said. I nodded in understanding. The cold was bracing after the humidity of so many tightly packed bodies in the ship`s lounge. I inhaled to clear the overlap of perfume and cologne from my nose. We wasted no time in finding the Lupei carriage. It was a huge black and red carriage attached to four ebony steeds pawing at the cobblestone street.
"You higher breeds and your need to cling to the past," I said with a shake of my head as I climbed inside.
"It's not all of us," Mikel replied, sitting down beside me on a velvet-covered seat. "I would be just as happy to use a limo, but protocol must be adhered to. One does not arrive at the Osterman Opera House in anything less than a four-horse. It is simply not done." He mimed one of the old puma matriarchs we had chatted with during the boat ride. The way he wrinkled his patrician nose was quite adorable. I wanted to kiss him passionately, for his humor always appealed, but didn't. Dave and Eddie had seen us exchange goodbye pecks, but nothing more than that. I patted his thick thigh instead as I chuckled at the impersonation. The Halfling driver cracked a sharp-sounding whip. The carriage jerked as the horses took off into the night.
"Where exactly is the Osterman located?" I asked as we bounced along a road much older than I was. I knew that the opera house had been named after Oliver Osterman, one of the first of our kind to settle along the shores of Erie. Aside from that, I knew little, as it was intended. If we lessers knew nothing of the excesses of the aristocracy then we would not grow envious. Or so the elders had thought. Fools, the whole lot of them.
"If I told you I would have to kill you," the alpha replied. I turned my head to look deeply into his eyes. I quickly saw the humor.
"Funny," I said with a practiced eye roll. I removed my speckled glasses to dry them with my handkerchief.
"I try. Actually, I'm not sure of its exact whereabouts. I do know we're traveling north, but aside from that I couldn't say. Personally, I never cared to find out when I was younger. My father and mother were avid operagoer's who dragged my sister and me along to ensure we had culture to counteract our bloody natures. Thankfully, as I matured, I grew to love the classics."
Mikel grew wistful as he always did discussing his family. I knew enough to let him work out the taking of his sister's life in his own way. I did lean my head on his shoulder as I wiped my spectacles. He placed a kiss to my hair then fell into silence.
"So," I said to Dave and Eddie as I inspected my lenses, "you two are rather quiet. Did one of the cats get your tongues?" I snorted at my own wittiness.
"We don't fit in," Dave mumbled. I squinted at the two men across from us through highly smudged glasses. They looked miserable.
"Of course you do. You look quite dashing," I said as I rubbed a lens with more vigor. "Also, you're part of the Lake Erie pack. That gives you both standing far above what I have. Why, any wolven mama would be proud to mate her bitch pup to either one of you."
They were saved from having to reply by the slowing of the carriage. Cursing my need to wear glasses, I shoved the smeared spectacles back onto my face. The driver opened the door. Mikel waved off the man in fine red and black livery. I stepped down cautiously, not wanting to fall flat on my face in front of the famous Osterman...
"By the elders," I gasped when I lay eyes on the opera house.
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V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a flock of assorted goofy domestic fowl, and several steers: one named after a famous N.H.L. goalie.
When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, tsú, and GoodReads.
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