Goddamnit, Caleb needed a
good, hard fuck.
He didn't have a particular preference for what the woman
should look like. Hell, he wasn't picky; he enjoyed them all.
As long as they loved the act of fucking just as much as he
did, he found them all beautiful, and he never had any difficulty
getting his dick up for the task. Lately, though, he'd just
been so damn busy he hadn't had the time. A man ought not
go six months without sex; it just didn't seem natural. And
if that man also happened to have demon blood coursing through
his veins, well, that made the celibacy that much harder to
tolerate. Testosterone fueled Caleb Hawkins's demon blood,
beyond that of the most potent human male, demanding that
he mate, vigorously and often.
He intended to satisfy that desire tonight.
It was nearing midnight when Caleb pushed through the doors
of The Roundup, a rowdy bar that filled to capacity on the
weekends when a rodeo stopped in Bozeman. This weekend, one
had. Satisfaction slid through Caleb's insides as he thought
about the rodeo, a place where he had finally earned a spot
as a stock contractor on the minor league PBR tour. After
three long years of networking and making his face known to
ownership, five months ago they finally gave his bulls a chance
to compete. Between that, and his portion of the family ranch
back home, Caleb hadn't looked up or taken a breath since.
Tonight, that would change.
Excitement hummed through Caleb's body as the blast of live
country music hit his ears. He stepped inside the dimly lit
bar and the smell of smoke, beer, and perspiring bodies assaulted
his nose. Another lovely gift of his demon heritage,
his senses heightened to acute sensitivity after making a
blood kill to sustain his life. Having no choice in the matter,
Caleb had hunted and killed a coyote just a short while ago.
Because of that, the blood coursing through his veins felt
particularly alive, making him horny as hell. He knew, when
he sank into a woman tonight, it would feel even more like
heaven than normal. All of his sharpened senses would be in
full play, and the pleasure in his orgasm would surely knock
him out for at least a week.
Christ, his cock already twitched in his jeans. Caleb couldn't
Just as he moved toward the crowded dance floor, and honed
his focus in on a shapely brunette shaking her sweet ass all
by herself, Caleb's hearing tingled with awareness. A strangely
familiar sandpaper-rough voice reached his ears. Caleb turned,
listening for the distressed tone that cut right through the
layered din of laughing and raucous crowd noise. He searched
for someone who needed assistance, even though everyone around
him continued to dance and laugh as if everything were okay.
Doing his level best to ignore the other sounds in the building,
Caleb moved down the length of the long bar. He picked up
speed as the gravelly voice rose in volume, enough that Caleb
didn't need his sensitized hearing to find the owner of the
familiar voice in the crowd.
Caleb took in the scene before him: a beefy guy hauling a
cowboy bodily out of the bar, with the cowboy cursing up a
storm and fighting all the way. Caleb could not believe his
eyes. Quiet, solitary Jake Chase, getting thrown out of a
bar. Caleb could not stand by idly. His sister-in-law Risa
would kill him.
Cursing to himself under his breath that he had no business
involving himself, Caleb threw himself into the fray. "Hey,
hey. What are you doing to him?" He grabbed the bouncer's
arm. "Let him go."
The big man shook off Caleb's hold, pushing him back a few
feet with a rough shove. "Back off, asshole. You wanna
try throwing a swing at someone? I'll throw you out too."
Caleb's gaze slid to the cowboy again. Although, he guessed
cowboy didn't exactly fit. Jake Chase must be at least forty,
if not a few years older. Belligerent green eyes met Caleb's,
more fire burning in them than Caleb had ever seen in this
man. "Jake." Caleb walked backward to keep up with
the bouncer hauling Jake toward the exit. "You all right,
"I'm fine." Jake's rough voice snarled the words,
his mouth twisting as he said them. "I can take care
of my own damn self." Jake pulled at the hold the bouncer
had on his arm, and when that didn't work, his other arm swung
up from the side.
Caleb threw himself in and grabbed that fist before it made
contact with the giant man's jaw. "Hold on there a minute,
buddy," he said to Jake. "You don't want to do something
that's gonna land you in jail."
Caleb slipped his hold from Jake's strong fist up to his equally
hard forearm, and tightly wrapped his fingers around the straining
muscle. As he manacled himself to a fuming Jake, Caleb turned
and looked up, up, to the bouncer. "Listen, I know this
guy a little bit, and I can tell you that he's not a troublemaker."
Caleb did his damnedest to play peacemaker, although he didn't
know why. Jake was a big boy, who likely wouldn't welcome
it. At the same time, Risa, a part-time bull rider on the
tour, had taken the solitary man under her wing over the last
few years while on the circuit. She would strangle Caleb if
he walked away.
Caleb put every ounce of charm he possessed into his voice,
took every shining glint of arrogance out of his gaze, and
tried talking to the bouncer again, all with Jake struggling
against both holds -- and not helping his cause one bit. "I
can see that my friend is drunk, and I don't want him to get
hurt any more than you want to hurt him. Why don't you let
me take him out of here and sober him up? I promise I won't
let him back in this place for the entire weekend that the
rodeo is here." Jake worked for another stock contractor
on the rodeo circuit, so he wouldn't have any reason to stay
in Bozeman after that. "Will you let me do that? Please?"
The big man assessed Jake, but came back to Caleb, and spent
an even longer beat drilling a stare right through Caleb's
forehead. Finally, he let go of Jake's arm and said, "Get
him out of here and sober him up, for his own good."
The man glanced at a still growling, stubborn Jake. "I'm
following you to the door. I'll be watching until I see you
leave this property."
Trying to dismiss the bouncer from his mind -- not to mention
the growing crowd of onlookers -- Caleb looked at Jake, just
slightly taller and thicker than Caleb's own six-foot frame,
and wondered how hard it would be to subdue the guy physically,
if Jake continued to put up a struggle. Christ, he didn't
want it coming to that. He hadn't put himself into the middle
of a fight in years.
Suddenly knowing what would work on him, Caleb leaned into
Jake's ear and said softly, "Risa would hate to see you
like this." He mentioned his sister-in-law by name, knowing
Jake had a soft spot for her. "If you hurt yourself doing
something stupid, it would break her heart."
Jake yanked his head back, his changeling green gaze finding
Caleb's. Recognition of Risa's name shone through, and so
did the first signs of something that looked like deep pain
and hurt. Unexpectedly, it tugged at Caleb's heart, and suddenly
he wanted to help the guy for himself, no longer because Risa
would want him to do it.
"Let me get you out of here," he said gently, and
started to tug Jake in the direction of the exit. This time,
Jake didn't fight; he just let Caleb lead him outside to the
Caleb walked Jake to his truck and put him in the passenger
seat, all under the watchful eye of the bouncer. He leaned
over Jake and secured his seat belt, momentarily shocked by
the body heat the man radiated, even half passed out drunk.
He almost moved closer for a second feel, but quickly stopped
himself and drew back, meeting that sad, sad gaze again. "Can
you tell me where you're staying?" he asked, hearing
an unnatural huskiness in his normally smooth voice. "Do
you have a key I can see, so I know where to take you?"
Without words exchanged, Jake fished a key card out of his
wallet and handed it over to Caleb. Caleb drove them to the
motel, and managed to get Jake inside his room. As Caleb flipped
on a light that barely cut the shadows in the musty room,
Jake lifted his hand to his mouth, uttered, "Oh God,"
and raced across the small space. In the darkness, Caleb heard
the first violent retching, the quick consequences of the
choice Jake had made in filling himself with booze this night.
"Damn it." Caleb shook his head. He assured himself
that he'd done enough and could go, but found himself moving
across the floor to the bathroom anyway. When he reached the
bathroom, he turned on the light, flooding the small space
with unforgiving fluorescent light. Jake's head hovered over
the toilet bowl, spitting and breathing heavily, exhaustion
evident in every line of his hunched body. Silently, Caleb
grabbed one of the plastic cups sitting on the sink and filled
it with water from the faucet. Squatting down next to the
suffering man, Caleb touched Jake's shoulder, bringing his
attention up from the floor. His mouth in a hard grimace,
Jake took the water and swirled it around his mouth, spitting
it out into the toilet. He repeated the process twice more
before setting the empty cup on the cold linoleum floor.
"She would be so disappointed in me," Jake said
softly, the words barely more than a rasp of sound. "I've
let her down."
"Nah." Caleb slid his arm around Jake's waist and
slowly drew the unsteady man to his feet. "Risa doesn't
think that way. And she won't ever hear about this moment
They got to the bed, and Jake tentatively sat down. "Not
Risa." He turned luminescent eyes brimming with wetness
up to Caleb, and Caleb almost lost his footing. "My wife,"
he said. "I've let down my wife."
Of course. Caleb could not believe he'd forgotten
that Jake was a widower. Empathy that Caleb normally reserved
for his small circle of family and friends welled up in him,
and he gently lowered the guy onto the bed. Jake went without
a fight, blinking his bright eyes up at the dingy ceiling.
Caleb drew the man's boots off and set them on the floor,
then unbuckled his belt and pulled it out of the loops of
his jeans, and set it on the floor too. Figuring he would
leave the man to sleep off the aftereffects of his drinking,
Caleb moved to the door to let himself out. Jake's next words
stopped Caleb dead, with his hand wrapped around the doorknob.
"I hate my life, and I don't want to live without Krista
anymore." An awful, strangled noise reached Caleb's ears,
making him shut his own eyes on the wave of pain that hit
him from all the way across the room. Then it got worse. "Six
damn years. Six, goddamned, fucking years since she went away
and left me alone. God, I hate her for dying. I hate her more
for not taking me with her."
Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. Caleb did not need to
hear this, and he for damn sure wasn't the guy with the right
words to help. He found himself moving back to the head of
the double bed anyway, and sitting down on the half that Jake
didn't already occupy.
Putting a flat pillow behind his back, Caleb leaned his weight
into the wooden headboard. "I think I'll hang around
for a bit," he said, not looking down at the body in
bed next to him. "Maybe watch some TV." He grabbed
the clicker off the nightstand and turned on the television.
Jake didn't answer, but Caleb knew he couldn't leave. If the
guy did something stupid and irreversible, Caleb wouldn't
ever be able to look Risa in the eyes again. She really did
have a great affection for the guy. Caleb had no other motivation
He thought about that brunette in the bar again, and then
took a quick glance down at the very different brunet next
to him in bed. A little bit of gray edging his hair, and a
whole lot more muscular than Caleb's usual bedmates. A whole
lot more desolate and lost too.
So much for getting laid tonight.