If you’ve missed the previous sections of this serial, I’ve got a cute little tab up top for the other parts. I’m all about helpful. Go catch up. We’ll wait.
So, the last few posts, I’ve been all: Enter the contest! Enter the contest! But I’m done with that, guys. You know you’re running out of time. You know it’s soooooo easy. You know it’d make me happy, and I’m looking at you with shiny, shiny, hopeful eyes. You know all that. So, I’m not saying anything in this post. Not. A. Word. I’ll just post the Rafflecopter below and if you feel…oh, I don’t know…inspired…if there were maybe a sign in your life saying, “Enter the contest,” you’d be able to do that.
But I’m not going to even suggest it.
I’m done holding your hand…mostly because that’s awkward, and my husband has asked me to stop. He says you’re too hot, and it makes him uncomfortable. (I’m just repeating what he said.) So, without any further comments on the subject…on to the dark beasts and their sweet, sweet love.
The Cold and Lovely Moon XII
Tiberius beheaded my fish for me—to rush me, I think, but he might be setting a precedent. Well, I did like to throw fish heads at him, so maybe not.
We were already running in the direction we’d been heading earlier when I heard the first tap, tap, tap of the helicopters. Damn, I’d really been hoping he was wrong, but losing track of us last night must’ve been the final straw.
I heard the rustle of bushes and grass beside us and saw a form keeping pace, but it didn’t seem to concern Tiberius. In fact, there was a low rumbling growl from beside us, and Tiberius switched directions and veered toward the other dark beast who then took the lead.
A few minutes later, we all crashed into a small clearing where a dozen other dark beasts were gathered prowling about. I slammed to a stop, but not before bumping up against Tiberius. He glanced back at me with a repressive look and then met the stares of the others. I tried to look both cowed and supportive of Tiberius. It was difficult, and he’d probably never appreciate how hard it was, but I was intimidated by the number of huge dark beasts around—so that part wasn’t tough to pull off.
Holy hell, there were a lot of them, and they were huge. They were roughly the same size as Tiberius, but I’d seen him as a human, and I could still see the humanity in him now. If I’d met even one of these guys prior to this whole business…I’d have been in a rubber room wearing a white jacket in no time flat—if I’d ever stopped screaming long enough to tell people what I’d seen. For some reason, all their fangs looked much sharper than Tiberius’s fangs.
They all looked male, but I wasn’t about to start examining them to be sure. Tiberius might take issue with that.
Tiberius jerked his head in a gesture toward the sound of the helicopters and snarled, baring his fangs.
The others nodded.
See! He didn’t have to be human to get the point across.
One of the bigger beasts nodded at me before turning his head toward the edge of the clearing. Get the little woman out of here.
I scooted closer to Tiberius and shook my head. Nuh uh. No way. I was staying. They’d have a fight on their hands if they tried to exclude me from this fight.
Tiberius glanced back at me and rolled his eyes. He rolled his eyes! Then, turning back to the others, he shook his head and actually managed to shrug. What can you do—the woman is trying to get herself killed.
Men are such pests. If they weren’t good for other things, their species would have died out long ago.
The rapid patter of helicopter blades got closer, and there was a flurry of nods and head jerks as they coordinated some sort of plan. I’d known they wouldn’t be running off. Odds of a bunch of violence-loving male monsters with nasty claws and jaws full of fangs letting humans encroach on their territory and intimidate them: nil. Tiberius took on a bear last night! A freaking bear! A load of foolish humans in a flying tin can couldn’t scare him.
Tiberius turned, and I jumped back before I realized he just wanted to give me a significant staring down. At first, I met him stare for stare before looked down submissively. Fine. He was in charge. I still wasn’t leaving, but he’d actually been paying attention to whatever the plan had been—I’d been gloating internally about being right.
Also, it was hard to pay attention while I was standing up. I should have laid down, but that probably wouldn’t have impressed the other monster men-folk.
Tiberius nudged my neck and nodded toward the far end of the clearing. Then, he paused and licked my neck where his fangs had marked me and bumped his head lightly against mine. Mmm. It was my favorite “go team” expression ever.
I followed him as he bolted through the clearing toward where half the dark beasts had gone. When we got there, he motioned me behind him and then nudged me farther out of sight when I didn’t go back far enough. I was tempted to growl at him to knock it off, but I could feel the gaze of all the other dark beasts and, okay, maybe I was finally getting what he was saying. If I wanted to stay, I probably should act like he was in charge, and I was his special groupie.
Thwap! Thwap! Thwap! We all turned to stare across the clearing at the running lights of one of the helicopters. I could hear at least one other helicopter nearby. The ground directly in front of us snapped and popped as clumps of dirt and grass hopped up in the air as a spray of bullets peppered the ground.
Holy freak! I jumped back.
Yeah, they’d decided tranqing was soooo one moon ago. They were collecting blood post-mortem this time around.
All of the dark beasts bolted in different directions, and I followed Tiberius. Everyone seemed to be circling back to the other side of the helicopter. Maybe this was why you paid attention during the fight orientation meeting.
The helicopter got lower, and I saw eight humans in tactical gear aiming out toward us—oh crap, oh crap, oh crap…and then because my mate is completely mental, he snarled at me to stay put or something, and then he bolted straight for the helicopter. What the hell? Just before he reached the clearing, he leapt up into a tree…about two seconds before the ground all around where he’d been exploded with bullets.
I went to go after him, but this big, stupid, burly dark beast jumped in front of me and snarled at me. Oh no, he didn’t!
I snarled right back. Part of the plan was me dying if Tiberius died, and him being recklessly stupid didn’t take that into account.
Tiberius sprang from the tree directly into the helicopter, and my jaw dropped. And that is why he is alpha. He’d even out-alpha-ed all the other alphas in the clearing. It was like throwing an ornery, half-mad Doberman in a pen full of bunnies. He grabbed them with his jaws or claws and threw them out. Several dark beasts bolted toward the clearing and slammed through the disoriented snipers—who clearly hadn’t anticipated being thrown out onto their heads.
I sat there, somewhat stunned…and proud. If the shirtless chin-ups hadn’t already proven it, he was adequate.
The helicopter tipped violently as my mad-dog mate reached the pilot, and Tiberius jumped free seconds before it nose-dived down. That’s when I realized the lame idiot who’d stopped me earlier had gone running into the clearing to join the frenzy of beasts attacking the snipers. I ran toward Tiberius.
A sniper jumped in front of me, but I’m very goal-oriented…very goal-oriented. I picked him up and threw him like he was a fish head. He slammed into another sniper who’d been fighting a dark beast, knocking both of them to the ground in a tangle of limbs and guns. The humans never recovered from that—they were like cartoon character levels of threat. The dark beast watching them struggle to disentangle themselves looked over at me with his mouth slack-jawed.
If anyone asked, I was totally claiming that was on purpose.
The helicopter smashed into the ground and erupted in a fireball of smoke and screaming metal—that all the beasts and humans ran from. The rotors bounced up in a wild spin and flew off into the trees around the clearing like a kid’s whirligig gone mad. The others were so caught up in the fight already in motion that the second helicopter had snuck up on the fight unnoticed.
I sprinted at Tiberius and crashed into his side, knocking him out of the way as more bullets rained down from the second helicopter. He was only stunned for a second, but then he motioned me back into the forest.
No way! I was staying!
He snarled at me and then bolted toward the forest himself while watching me. Oh, I followed as more bullets beat the ground. We stopped just inside the trees and watched. I could see a few oozing scrapes on Tiberius, but no bullet wounds, and he was panting, but he seemed more exhilarated than afraid.
The other helicopter pilot apparently hadn’t been following the fight choreography up to this point because another dark beast grabbed one of the landing skids with an impressive vertical leap before tossing himself inside while shoving out the snipers.
The helicopter was low enough that snipers jumped out the other side as the dark beast took out the ones inside, and the helicopter bounced on the ground as the pilot jumped out before he was caught by the dark beast slinging snipers around.
Tiberius had looked much better when he’d done that.
I mean like really hot.
Possibly better than shirtless chin-ups.
So this was all very exciting and high-octane and Hollywood which is why I was surprised when Tiberius pushed me down and used my body to catapult onto a sniper who’d been aiming at me. I felt like an idiot for not even noticing…for about half a second. Then, it was like those fish that first time—Tiberius grabbed the sniper and slammed his head down on the ground. Boom!
I turned away before it became even more gruesome which is why I caught sight of one of the dark beasts being flanked by two snipers. Jumping to my feet, I sprinted toward them. I’d never been this fast before—and you could always count on me in a scrap. I bounced off a fallen tree, into the air, and tackled one of the snipers. His finger had been on the trigger, and bullets ricocheted off trees as I took him down.
Holy freaking bloody morning!
The gun jammed, and the sniper attempted to pound me with his gun.
Boys should never fight girls. For many reasons. But, first and foremost, we have no problem with hitting below the belt. And hitting below the belt with claws after you’ve just been nailed upside the head with a gun barrel….
I think that guy’s scream might have been louder if not for his helmet—and that might’ve made me feel bad. Maybe. It certainly gave everyone around us something to think about.
The two fights on either side of me paused, and the humans said some pretty foul stuff…that I could enjoy thanks to my great monster hearing. Their cursing wasn’t as filthy as Tiberius’s blue streak earlier, but I should probably expect Tiberius to do everything a little bit better than everyone else.
The dark beast beside me, who I’d taken a sniper from, let loose a roar that basically shattered any loyalty to the cause the snipers around us had. They jumped up and ran screaming toward a distant third helicopter I could barely hear. Any humans still alive followed after them.
I waited to see if the dark beasts followed them, but they all stared after the humans with matching looks of pride.
It was sort of fun to watch people running in fear of you while screaming.
Provided that you were on the winning team and were backed up by a bad-ass group of monsters who enjoyed violence.
The remaining helicopter’s blades slowed down without a pilot commanding it, and the crackling wreck of the other one shifted and sparked.
Tiberius appeared out of the smoky night air, nudging my side and motioning me back into the trees. This time, he waited for me to go before following me, glancing back the whole time.
A few of the dark beasts roamed through the clearing, taking a wide arc around the wrecked copter, looking for anyone still alive. The weather prior to the full moon phase had been rainy, and the ground wasn’t providing fuel for the fire, but I still saw a dark beast stomping out some of the flames slipping away from the wreck. Violent and environmentally conscious. These were my sort of people. Hopefully, they all knew how to use the word literally also.
I paced in circles around Tiberius as he stood watching and listening to see if more were coming. They’d been tromped—good and hard. Only total idiots would come back here. No one was paid well enough to put up with being clawed in their soft bits just before a monster snarled at them.
In my opinion.
I don’t mean to say I totally turned the fight in our favor—we were already winning—but I did save a few puny human’s lives…while also sterilizing the Darwin out of some sniper who’d be singing soprano forever.
Tiberius growled at me. Once again, it sounded just like “stop.”
I stopped and lay down.
He rolled his eyes again. Maybe a few more full moons, and I could emote frustration at his level.
A few minutes later, he cocked his head and looked at one of the other dark beasts. They both shook their heads. It was over.
Tiberius leaned down and nudged me with his snout. After I’d gotten to my feet, he circled me, eyeing me critically as if he was sure I’d managed to injure myself.
I snarled at him. I was fine. Hopefully, someone would mention I’d played human bowling earlier so Tiberius would know not to get too far out of line.
He motioned in the direction of the moon, and I followed him when he loped off that way.
Twenty minutes later, we reached a cabin, surrounded and camouflaged by the forest—you probably couldn’t see it from the air—which made me feel a lot better. It wasn’t a bear den, but bear dens didn’t smell all that great. Life is give and take.
Tiberius gave me a “heel, woman” look that I went along with because the adrenalin was gone, and I was actually tired. He circled the cabin slowly, sniffing and glancing around warily. Finally, he came back to me and nodded at the front porch. The front porch was enclosed but Tiberius shoved a door that swung inward with a hard push. He held the door open for me. It was sweet. Weird, but sweet.
There in the corner was the biggest dog bed I’d ever seen. Wow. Not bad digs for a monster. I went and stood beside it.
Tiberius stood beside me and grumbled at me. Lie down already, woman.
Okay. Fine. I can take a hint. Eventually. I laid down in the corner, and he curled around me—which was just what I wanted. Hopefully it wasn’t all codependent that I sort of needed him close after that fight. Several of the dark beasts had been limping around, and it looked like a few had maybe caught a bullet. They all looked alive, but I hadn’t done a head count once I counted Tiberius and me.
Plus, he’d jumped in a freaking helicopter tonight. A freaking helicopter!
First, he took on a bear. Now, a helicopter.
Hopefully, he’d peaked for taking on things bigger than him. Otherwise, I’d lock him inside this porch next full moon. But, for now, I needed him close.
Tiberius seemed sure I’d managed to hurt myself and was doing a more thorough examination when I just snuggled closer and closed my eyes. He didn’t even have to head-butt me into submission this time—which was good. I liked that. When he decided my neck needed to be nuzzled and licked—I liked that too. Mmm. Nice.
Copyright © 2013 by Wendy Sparrow
VAULT DOOR SLAMS CLOSED ON FINAL PART UNTIL OCTOBER FULL MOON
What? You feel like something is saying that you should enter the contest? *celestial chorus*
Here is more information: Click here, Sweetcheeks! *winks*