Shunned by her family because of her sexual magic, Max leaves home and finds herself in a small New England town called Whisper. Feeding off sexual energy but having no hope of finding true love, Max considers her magic more a curse than a gift. Then she meets Cal.
The sexy owner of Dragon's Bar has supernatural secrets of his own. As an outcast sexshifter female who has chosen to live as a human male, Cal has found a home in Whisper. He knows Max is his soulmate but can these two unlikely partners learn to trust each other completely?
Praise for Dragon's Bar
"...a very unique short story with magical characters who don't conform to gender or sexual stereotypes. I liked this unique exploration of gender and sexuality and think other open-minded erotic romance fans will like it, too."
Whisper: Dragon's Bar
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2012 Kate Hill
This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.
Welcome to Whisper. Established 1650.
Max read the sign through the window of the bus as it glided into the quaint little town on the New England seacoast. The vehicle stopped and just as she stepped out, the rain started.
Drawing a deep breath, Max smiled.
People outdoors in Whisper square hurried along the sidewalks or ran across the streets, eager to get out of the springtime downpour on a Friday night. Unlike the others, Max strode slowly without burying herself deeper in her cotton shirt and without the protection of an umbrella.
Max loved rain, especially warm rain. It soothed yet invigorated her and made her feel hopeful and clean, as if anything could happen. It hadn't rained since she'd left home two months ago, so she took this downpour as a good sign. She needed to make a new start and something about this town felt right.
As much as she enjoyed the weather, she was now thoroughly soaked, not to mention thirsty and hungry. She noticed a restaurant across the street, but it looked pricy. Until she found a job, she was on a tight budget, living on her savings account. Also the people walking in and out of the restaurant were dressed up. Something told her jeans, scuffed boots and a cotton shirt and tank so drenched that she looked naked wouldn't be appropriate.
She walked a bit farther down the sidewalk and paused in front of a more welcoming establishment. Through the glass window of a pub, she noted the customers relaxing at the bar, booths and tables. She glanced at the menu taped to the window and saw a decent variety of food for reasonable prices. The name above the door read Dragon's Bar.
Why not? The placed looked friendly enough.
Max stepped in and a couple of people glanced at her, then returned to their food and drinks. She walked to the bar where an elderly gentleman and two younger men, obviously a couple by the way they never stopped touching, sat drinking beer. Her gaze shifted to the tall, bald bartender who stood with his back to her as he arranged clean glasses on a shelf. He wore a black vest with a green and purple fire-breathing dragon embroidered on the back. Muscles rippled in his powerful shoulders and arms.
Max squinted, straining to see his face in the mirrored wall behind the bar. She had expected heavy features and maybe even a scar or two, but his face was angular with a longish, well-shaped nose. A dark goatee outlined his chiseled lips and long lashes rimmed his dark, wide set eyes. Max's heart skipped a beat when his gaze locked with hers in the mirror. A faint smile flickered across his lips before he turned to her.
"Hey," he said, his voice a bit raspy. "What can I get you?"
"Greyhound please," she said. "And can I get something to eat?"
"Sure. Need a menu?"
"Read the one on the door. The tomato melt sandwich sounds good."
The bartender winked, his lips twitching upward in another faint smile before he glanced away from Max and gestured for a waitress. A young woman in jeans and a T-shirt approached and he gave her Max's order.
"You're new around here," he said.
"Yeah. Just got here tonight."
"Planning to stay a while or are you just passing through?"
Max held his gaze, wondering if he was simply making conversation or if he was possibly interested in her. It had been a while since she'd been with someone and her magic cried out for sexual energy. Back home she'd needed to keep her sex life secret. Though magical, the rest of her family didn't approve of her methods of honing her gifts. Having someone in the family whose sexuality was so closely tied to her magic embarrassed them.
What frustrated her most of all was that it enabled her to predict for others what she'd never have for herself -- a lifetime partner. Despite her hunger for sexual energy, she'd learned to let herself starve for as long as possible. When she hungered, her ability to foresee people on the verge of falling in love faded. Lately she just didn't want to know.
The bartender placed the drink in front of her and she took a long sip, then closed her eyes momentarily, as if that gesture could shut out her memories. She couldn't help what she was and she was tired of apologizing for it.
"You okay?" asked the bartender.
Again she held his gaze. Forcing a smile, she said, "Sure. I'm Max."
He narrowed his eyes slightly, as if trying to figure her out. Good luck. Her family didn't understand her and they'd known her all her life. Some guy she'd just met, who probably had no clue that magic even existed, didn't have a chance.
"Cal." He offered her his hand and she shook it. His hand was warm and his grip firm. He held it for slightly longer than necessary and their gazes locked. So it seemed he had some interest after all. Good for her, but maybe not for him, depending on what he wanted.
Most five-foot-two ladies would be risking their safety by contemplating a sexual interlude with a perfect stranger roughly twice their size. However most ladies didn't work magic by absorbing sexual energy. When it came to lovemaking, Max's partners flirted with danger.
"Well, Max, you haven't answered my question. Are you just visiting?"
"Maybe. I might stick around if I can find a job."
He shrugged and folded his arms across his gorgeous chest. "What kind of job? I know a lot of people in town. Maybe I can help you find something."
"I'll give just about anything a try. I'm looking for something temporary because once I get settled I'd like to continue my chosen career."
"I'm a massage therapist, but I need to get certified in this state. I've lived in California all my life."
"What made you come here?"
"Just wanted a change." That much was true enough.
She chuckled. "Who doesn't have problems, right?"
"True dat." He picked up a towel and wiped a few droplets of water off the polished bar top. "I'm looking for a waitress if you're interested."
Max nodded. Everything seemed to be going well. Even though her magic was weak at the moment, she sensed Whisper was the place for her. Though everything about it contradicted what she believed necessary to integrate with non-magical people, her intuition told her to give this place a try. The city was less than an hour away, so she could go there to fill her magical needs without sleeping her way through the entire town of Whisper. That sort of behavior had driven her away from home. Too many partners and not enough commitment.
Yet she couldn't bind herself to one person. No mere human could feed her sexual needs. Without meaning to, she'd kill them. Exhaust them. Drain them of their life force.
Max might be selfish and lacking in control, as her family accused, but she was neither a bitch nor a killer. She was tired of hiding and she'd done a lousy job of trying. Though she'd tried to disguise her affairs, traveling to different cities to seek out partners, her family had found out. Her meddling aunt Katrina was responsible. The woman used her powers of astral projection to spy not only on Max but on others as well. Why did the family explain away Katrina's invasions of privacy but consider Max out of control?
It didn't matter anymore. She'd moved from the west coast to the east coast and even Aunt Katrina's magic didn't stretch that far, or if it did Max no longer cared.
Oh, she kept in touch with her parents and sister. They even seemed happy when she called, but Max didn't doubt they were even more pleased that she'd decided to move away.
"Are you interested in the job?" Cal asked.
"I am. When do you want me to start?"