Darien Mackey wasn’t looking for an adventure. For ten years, he’d been happy living in Brooklyn, working as a butcher in the same job, living in the same apartment, dating some “nothing-special” guys. Until one night his buddy Jacob talked him into taking ayahuasca, the soul-changing drug. And Darien had a vision…of a wolf, its all-too-human eyes on him, its paws on his chest, its enquiring mind in his own…
Darien Mackey is changing. He’s more confident, more assertive, hungrier, hornier. And his world is changing around him – his job, his home, his beloved Mechanic’s Library all falling victim to the predations of unscrupulous developers, bent on demolishing the old Brooklyn he loves and replacing it with a forest of condos. But he’s no longer a passive observer of his own life, and as this thing, this power, grows inside of him, he resolves to fight back, to preserve the way of life he loves.
And he’s not alone in the fight. The Lipsius Preservation Society of Brooklyn stands ready to assist in the battle, even though it seems like a bit of a joke to Darien, with its King and its Duke, Marquess, Earl and Viscount.
But there’s nothing funny about his growing attraction to Albeus Finley, King of this mysterious Court. And when slumlords and condo-mongers start to die mysterious, violent deaths at the hands of savage animals, Darien begins to realize that something is afoot in Brooklyn – something supernatural.
And it’s afoot in him, too…
What a marvelous story! As someone that grew up in a Polish household, I loved all of the references that I recognized from my childhood. And definitely the language too. Many of the things said by Mr. and Mrs. Nowak were heard in my house. I enjoyed seeing Darien grow and change as he transformed into his true self. Albeus was a wonderful guide to help Darien over the hurdles along the way. I totally nerded out over the history in the story. I loved the accuracy, but yet how Brad took liberties where they were appropriate or holes in knowledge. I was fascinated by Albeus’ past and how he went from Captain to King. There’s definitely more story there that I hope we get to learn. But the other characters in the Court are intriguing as well. I want to know more about them too. I wasn’t sure if Albeus and Darien were going to make it because of their “differences in plumbing” but it was so beautiful, and of course sexy as hell, when they did.
Four and a half
Darien was kind enough to write a letter to his younger self. He gives himself some wonderful advice. Read and enjoy!
Dear Darien: Wow, where to start… There’s so much I want to tell you, but so much I don’t want to spoil for you. I know you’ve worked so hard to get where you are, to rise from apprentice to master butcher in Mr. Nowak’s shop. And I want you to know that this will always be your career. Maybe not where or how you think it will, but yeah, this is who you are and who you’ll always be. As Mom used to say, “nothing lasts forever” – good or bad. So just remember that when times get tough.
And I know you’ve never had a really deep relationship, and I know you’re starting to think, oh to hell with it. “We” always made bad choices in men anyway, and it always ends in tears, right? Better to date than to mate. Even from here, I can’t guarantee a HEA because hey, I’m only five years ahead of you. But, you know, if you meet someone you like some day, even you think there’s no way it’ll work out, just…hang out for a while. See what happens. Don’t plan the wedding but…don’t plan the breakup either, okay?
That’s all I want to say. There’s so much more I could tell you but…well, shit, you wouldn’t believe me anyway. All I’ll say is, be nice to ravens when and where you find them. Your pal, Darien.
The wolf’s eyes were lava-yellow with hate. His growl and his snarl were meant to terrify Darien, to freeze him in his tracks, prepare him for his death.
Then something rose up in Darien, rage, frustration, primal energy. And his own lips curled, his own growl met the enemy’s.
The Duke retreated a pace, taken aback. Darien felt sharp pains in his palms and looked down. Where he’d had fingernails, he had claws, long and sharp, and the fists he was making were digging them into his flesh.
He smiled, exhilarated, wild. He lunged and snapped at his enemy, knowing that his canines had become…literally that, elongated spikes ready to tear out a neck.
Darien’s ears were ringing, something surging in him beyond mortal feeling – like testosterone but stronger, more powerful, the smell of victory, immortality.
“The King is mine,” Darien declared. “And I am his.”
He knew he’d taken a step from which there was no turning back. He was the King’s man, the King’s consort. He would open to Albeus and take him, and be taken by him, and he would be alone no more.
He was one of the pack.
And it curdled the blood of men for miles around when he raised his face to the full moon, and howled.
Brad Vance writes gay romance, erotica and paranormal stories and novels, including the breakout hits “A Little Too Broken” and “Given the Circumstances.”
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