Two men desire you. Do you run, or go with the flow?
Three years ago, over the course of a summer, best friends and half-blooded shapeshifters Nathan and Lena went from friends to lovers. Now just friends again, they come to realize that their brief fling set the groundwork for the fantasies that haunt them.
Nathan's current lover, Armand, is another half-Therian who has had his fill of poly relationships. But watching Nathan and Lena together, Armand dreams of once more being drenched in love and desire from all sides.
Their aching cycle of longing and retreat goes on, unfulfilled--until summer heat brings out the animal in them all.
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February 26, 2008
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Excerpt from Shifting Passions by Xakara
His heartbeat sped up but he wasn't sure why. He and Armand had been talking about kids lately. But he didn't think his biological clock was ticking quite so loudly that even talk about someone else having a child should do that to him.
"I have no idea if he's right Nathan. I got the hearing and some damn good night vision, even a little strength when it counts. But as attracted as I am by scents, I can't pick up fertile cycles and all that crap. Do I smell all fertile and ready to breed to you?"
She lifted up to look at him. Her eyes narrowed and he immediately schooled his features and spoke as if he wasn't being scrutinized.
"Your hair smells great and so does the vanilla and honey body wash you used. But neither of them tells me anything. I don't think I'm sniffing about the right end to check for what you're asking."
Lena sat up fully. "This is a Canid thing, isn't it? You're looking for some excuse to do the whole bottom-sniffing thing. I gotta tell you, Nate, that is just weird."
"Hey, you're the one who asked me if you're going to be sitting on the neighbor's fence yowling to the heavens waiting for some tomcat to come and ease you through being in heat. I'm just trying to help a Felid-sistah out."
Deep but feminine laughter rang out and Nathan knew he'd done his job. She'd forgotten about wallowing over the lost promotion and it was now about the two of them again.
With the clean, easy, grace of her breed, she straddled his thighs and placed her hands on his chest.
"Can you really tell if I'm fertile and going to go baby crazy in the next fifteen months? Have you ever been able to scent that on me?"
She was still smiling but he could tell it was a serious question. He covered her hands with his own.
"Have you been thinking about children a lot lately and not sharing?"
Nathan blinked. He hadn't expected such an abrupt and direct answer. Although he wasn't sure why, abrupt and direct were Lena's hobbies. "What kinds of things have you been thinking?"
She shrugged and looked at their hands instead of his eyes. "I don't know. Lots of things. Random things mostly." Her gaze nailed him suddenly.
"I've still got dibs on your spermy-guys, right? You said it was still a valid contract from college. And Armand didn't mind the last time we talked."
Nathan didn't even think to joke. Promise of healthy genetic material was not a joking matter among Therian females, even if they were only half-Therian. He'd learned that secondhand from the size of the bruise once left on his brother-in-law's face by his older sister. Nathan planned never to be on the receiving end of a firsthand lesson.
"Yes, you still have dibs. And Armand didn't just say it was okay, he offered his own as well."
She laughed again and nodded. "He said I could happily have it as a direct deposit for however many times it took to be successful. I remember."
Her laughter grew but it didn't have the same uplifting effect on Nathan this time around. She laughed because she didn't think Armand was serious, but Nathan knew better. He just didn't know how to explain that to Lena.
Armand had been in a short series of strict monogamous relationships right before meeting Nathan and both men had taken to that with each other. But it wasn't Armand's natural inclination. Before those few relationships, he'd been in a long-term poly-relationship that practiced poly-fidelity. Coming from a near all-Therian neighborhood and being raised in a poly-household, it was all Armand had known.
He had abandoned it only after being terribly hurt. After ten years, it had come to bear that the two people Armand had so desperately loved, didn't love one another the same way. There had been no way for them to leave each other without leaving him, too. Too bitter to consider facing that again, he'd stopped dating humans, stopped dating women, and stopped looking toward the idea of poly-mating.
Last year, that changed. Nathan had shared the truth of his feelings for Lena. The dreams and fantasies that hadn't left him after two years of being just friends. Armand had countered with a few dreams and fantasies of his own.
"Earth to Nathan." Lena snapped her fingers near his ear. "You gettin' signals from the mothership or something? You completely spaced on me."
His eyes closed and he tried to force the tumble of images from his mind.
"Hey, now you're not even looking at me. What do I have to do to keep your attention? Juggle?"
He cracked an eye open. "You can juggle?"
Lena grabbed one of the small accent pillows behind his head and pulled it free to beat him with. He grabbed a pillow of his own and the struggle was on. Fighting to keep her seat, Lena moved upward and came into contact with his growing erection.
Nathan stopped cold at the contact.
"Ooooooh. Mm, hm. You were thinking about Armand." She drew his name out as if she were adding extra syllables. Nathan covered his face with the pillow in his hand.
"Oh, no you don't. No sense having shame in your game now. It's out. Tell me what you were thinking. Come on and--" She stopped and lifted slightly. Without preamble, she reached down, slid her hand into his briefs and rearranged him until there was a smooth arch, with the head of his growing shaft bumping his belly. She then settled back against him and continued her comment as if there'd never been a break. "--give it up. What were you thinking?"
His words came out with a slight hitch. "That you're trying to kill me. But you've been doing that since senior year of high school. Don't stop now just because I'm old and can't take it."