Monday, November 8, 2010

Prescription For Love by Tina Gallagher

Chapter One

“Kate, your dad is on the phone.”

Kate Grady finished counting the pills in her tray and spilled them into an amber vial. “Thanks Amy,” she said to the counter girl. Taking in a deep breath through her nose, Kate let it out slowly through her lightly glossed mouth. After her father’s fall and subsequent broken hip, Patrick Grady wasn’t adjusting well to his temporary lack of mobility. He called her at least twice an hour just to make sure she wasn’t running his pharmacy into the ground.

“Hi Dad.” Kate tried to sound cheerful, but as this was probably the hundredth call of the day, her patience was wearing thin.

“Hey Katie, I forgot to tell you when I called before,” Patrick said, “I hired a new delivery boy.”

“What’s wrong with Kevin?” Kate smacked her hand on the counter, nearly spilling her coffee. She lifted the mug, took a sip and placed it out of harm’s way.


“Does Kevin know?”

Their current delivery “boy” just celebrated his seventy-second birthday. A retired firefighter, Kevin Finnerty had been running deliveries for Grady’s Pharmacy for the past ten years. He was reliable and efficient, and Kate didn’t want to step on his toes.

“He knows.” She heard her father sigh and could picture him dragging his thick fingers through not-so-thick white hair. Before she could ask another question, Patrick cut her off. “Look Katie, Kevin doesn’t want everybody to know, but Lizzie isn’t feeling so good.”

“Oh.” Kate didn’t know what else to say. She cleared her throat. “Well, who is it?”

“Who’s who?”

She rolled her eyes, thankful her father wasn’t able to see the childish gesture. He’d reprimand her despite the fact she was a full grown woman.

“The new delivery boy.”

“Oh right,” he said and cleared his own throat. She wondered if he was thinking back to when her mother first got sick. “Remember little Johnny O’Brien?”

“From next door?”


The child in question flashed through her mind. The last time she’d seen Johnny, he’d been skin and bones topped off with a mass of white-blond hair. A mouth full of braces and coke-bottle glasses didn’t help his appearance.

“How old is he?” she asked. “Can he even drive?”

“He’ll be graduating from Penn State in December.”

“I bet that went over well,” Kate chuckled. In the Minooka section of Scranton, PA where she grew up, you couldn’t throw a stone without hitting a Notre Dame fan.

“Yeah well, you just raise ‘em and hope for the best,” he grumbled. “They don’t always do things you’d approve of.”

Kate flinched. Just when she thought things were getting back to normal with her father, he made a comment like that. He’d been upset when she took her freshly printed pharmacy degree to Philadelphia and set up house with her boyfriend, Thom Chambers.

She still wasn’t sure what upset him more, the fact that she’d left home or “lived in sin”. Patrick hadn’t spoken to her the entire time she and Thom were together and it was only since her mother’s death two years ago, they’d had any semblance of normalcy in their relationship.

“Anyway,” her father’s voice sounded gruff, “Johnny said he’d stop in today to set up a schedule. He’s on summer break, so his hours are pretty flexible.”

“Okay, Dad.” She made sure he didn’t need her to bring anything home, hung up the phone, and picked up the next prescription.

Kate hated when her father withdrew, but she didn’t know how to seal the rift. Once upon a time, she’d been a real Daddy’s girl. Unfortunately, as soon as she’d chosen to follow her own path instead of taking the road he’d so carefully mapped for her, Patrick had cut Kate out of his life. Her mother’s illness had brought her back home, and it was Megan Grady who reminded her hard-headed husband that life was too short to hold grudges. Sadly, he forgot that lesson every once in a while.

Still, Kate had walked Patrick Grady’s definition of the straight and narrow for over two years now. How much longer could he hold on to his disappointment? She cringed at that last thought. Considering her father’s stubborn Irish pride, probably forever.


Kate sank onto a wobbly stool, slid her strappy sandal off and rubbed her instep, groaning out loud. Thank heaven it was nearly closing time. Her sound of pleasure still hung in the air when the bell over the door signaled a customer’s arrival.

Slipping the sandal back on, Kate stood and rounded the corner. She nearly tripped at the sight of the man walking toward the counter. Finger-combing blond hair off his face, he looked around the pharmacy. His profile had been hot, but full on his face took her breath away. With perfectly chiseled features, high cheekbones, and a hint of a dimple in his chin, the man could be a movie star.

When she realized she was staring, Kate blushed to the roots of her hair. “Can I help you?” she asked, adding an extra bit of professionalism to her tone, hoping to make up for the fact that she’d shamelessly ogled the man.

His smile revealed perfectly straight, white teeth and twin dimples.

She’d always been a sucker for dimples.

“Katie? You cut your hair.” Twinkling blue eyes met hers.

He seemed to know her, but Kate would swear she’d never met him before. He wasn’t the kind of person a girl would forget.

“Excuse me?”

“Your hair,” he said, unnecessarily pointing to her head. “Last time I saw you, it hung to the middle of your back.”

Kate studied him, trying to figure out where she may have seen him before and still drew a blank. And since she’d just cut her hair six months ago, his comment didn’t offer her much of a time frame.

“Do I know you?” she finally asked.

He chuckled, a deep rumble that went right through her, touching every erogenous zone in her body.

“We grew up next door to each other,” he said. “I was a couple years behind you, but...”

Kate gasped. She actually gasped out loud.

“Johnny O’Brien?”

The last time she saw him, he’d been so skinny a light breeze could have blown him over.

“I grew a little bit.”

Kate cringed when she realized she’d spoken that thought out loud.

“I can see that.”

Had that sultry tone come from her mouth? The surprise that flashed across his face told her it had. Interest flashed in his eyes, scaring the hell out of her. His gaze shifted from her eyes to her mouth and back again. Definitely interest.

Kate had to nip this in the bud. The last thing she needed was to turn into a modern-day Mrs. Robinson.

“My dad said you’re going to be our new delivery boy. When can you start?”

His lips curved into a smile. “When do you want me to start?”

Deciding to ignore his double entendre, Kate picked up a clipboard and flipped through its pages searching for the weekly employee schedule.

“Kevin is in at ten tomorrow.” She clutched the clipboard hoping to hide her shaking hands. “Why don’t you come in then and he can show you the ropes?”

“Sounds good.”

“Great. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He looked like he was about to say something, but stopped. With a wave, he turned and walked out the door, his cologne lingering on the breeze created by the closing door.

Kate dropped onto the stool.

Johnny O’Brien

She remembered the day his parents brought him home from the hospital. Remembered the gawky little boy with huge horn-rimmed glasses riding his bicycle past her house. And God help her, she remembered the perfect shape of his ass as he walked out the door.

Dark Leopard Magic by Sapphire Phelan

Chapter One—Dev

In the Beginning

I’d always been different. I had a rough life, too. Well, not for the first part of it, when my mother was still alive.

I don’t remember my birth, but then what child does? Not much afterwards, either, not until I was three years old. Mother told me some details, and about my father. It seemed that he wasn’t like her and me. He wasn’t a shapeshifter, but human. He also was an American—she originated from India.

Guess you could say that I am a half-breed—half human, half wereleopard. I took after my mother and was born a leopard, remaining a cub until I turned one year old, and made my first change to my human body, just like most shapeshifters.

The only things I inherited from her were my ink-black hair and amber-yellow eyes (wereleopards have these color eyes). Everything else—my pale skin, height, and muscular shape—came from my father. I even inherited the darkness that lived in his soul, as I would learn later on.

My father wasn’t in my life, ever. Before I’d been born, Mother had killed him. He had been beating her as he always did when he came home drunk, and that last time was the final straw for her. She described with relish the look of horror in his eyes as she revealed what she really was before she killed him. Though she never said it to me, I suspected that—like the black widow spider—she’d feasted on her lover’s remains, too.

We never went back to her country, India. When I asked her why, she would say, “I had my Dreaming the next night after I had just killed your father and saw my wereleopard mate was in India, but he had been killed by hunters.” She gave a sad little smile. “I would have killed myself when the Dreaming let me know, for when one mate perishes, the other does not want to live. But then, I found I was pregnant with you. The last time the human raped me before I killed the bastard, his seed had managed to take root in my womb. You kept me alive, my darling son.”

I could never get her to tell me anything else. The subject remained closed.

We also never hung around other wereleopards in America, or any other kind of shifter, either. We lived in a cabin in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. She allowed me to attend school, but that was it. I was not allowed to have friends over or visit them. It wouldn’t do for the humans in the nearby town to discover the monsters living among them. The kids at school didn’t understand why I didn’t associate with them and they began to call me names. Names like retard, dummy, and when I grew into my preteens, two other names took over: Mommy’s little lover and homo.

Strange as it may seem to others, my mother kept my emotions grounded. My world was just her and me. Daytime was spent in human skin, and nights of hunting beneath the stars in leopard form. Thanks to our hunting (mainly her, I was a lousy hunter when I was younger), deer, rabbit and squirrel meat provided our sustenance. The only time I ate cooked food was noontime at school when I bought my lunch.

One day that all changed. Mother died. She’d been hunting as the leopard when a pack of wild dogs jumped her and ripped her to shreds.

I was sixteen at the time. Afraid to tell authorities that I was alone, even making up some story that my mother had abandoned me or something, I continued to go to school. I kept to myself. My hormones wanted otherwise. I would use my hand at night, hoping that would bring relief.

It didn’t. I decided to get closer to the humans—in particular, one human, Daisy Sumpter. She was a geek who was always reading and got exceptional grades in school. She was also a virgin. I could smell it on her. I decided we would get rid of our virginity together.

It never happened. I got her to go on several dates with me. I supposed she was pleased anyone asked her out, even the bad boy that no one liked. One night I took her to this place where all the kids went to fuck. The odor of sex hung heavy in the air. Heady, my penis grew hard. I began to kiss her, slipped off her top, and fumbled with her breasts. Then it happened. My enthusiasm departed. When she saw my limp dick, she laughed.

Angry, I took the little bitch home. I tried other girls and the same thing occurred. Before long, the homo name stuck to me as the only one everyone called me. Unable to take their taunting and growing afraid of my anger and what I might do, I scrammed one night and left the area.

* * * *

I lived like a wild animal for a couple of years, sticking to my leopard form. Hunted fresh game at night and slept during the day in a large cave I found in the mountains. Without my mother to help me, I didn’t hunt too well. Nine times out of ten, my prey escaped. The easiest things to catch were the occasional rabbit and squirrels. Once, I ran down an elderly deer that hobbled more than bolted. I grew thin.

I thought no one knew a leopard lived in the mountains, or if they heard, thought I was a myth like the mountain lion. My idyllic life ended when I was captured by hunters a year later. I ended up in a circus, performing for countless humans. The other big cats they owned hated me. They knew I wasn’t natural, one of them. After a while, the circus people kept me in my own cage for my own protection. I guess I was too valuable to get rid of. Within two years, beaten down and past caring, I became a shade of myself—an eunuch in all but the literal truth.

One night, tired of what I had become and wanting only to escape, I shifted into my two-legged humanoid shape. Taking a hairpin I had found in the straw of my cage, I used it to pick the lock and fled. The pale light from the full moon splashed an unearthly glow to the area as I walked naked between the circus tents, trucks, cages filled with real animals, and the carny area of rides and games. I stuck to the shadows to avoid as much the humans as possible. I thought I had almost succeeded when I ran into Johnny Tripp, one of the clowns. He had just gotten out of his clown makeup and was as drunk as hell, lolling on the stoop of his RV. Clutching a bottle of cheap whiskey and swigging from it, he paused and peered toward the shadows where I hid. I remained motionless between his RV and the trailer next to it. Apparently, though, he wasn’t drunk enough that didn’t catch movement when I shifted from one foot to another.

Shivering from both the cold and now fear, I breathed in the stink of his dirty body. I ducked down behind a bush nearby, but most of its leaves had been stripped and the plant didn’t afford me much cover. I watched as he crashed my way.

“Who’s there?” he called out. “Come on, I know someone’s hiding behind that bush. I can see gleam of your pale skin.”

I rose to my feet and knew I looked pathetic, barely covered by the dark velvet of the night. My hands tightened into fists.

“Here I am.” My voice barely croaked above a whisper.

I was scared shitless. Who knew what would happen to me. Unlike my kind, I’d been a worthless shifter, unable to hunt well and defend myself much. A ping reached my ears and, looking down, I saw the shine from my claws as they sprouted from my fingertips. They cut into my palms and droplets of blood dripped to the dirt.

Johnny stumbled forward, the whiskey from his bottle sloshing and splashing onto the ground. Its fumes reeked. Nasty and cheap, it offended my senses.

Johnny grabbed me and yanked me toward him. His arms circled around me, and he held me tight against his form. I felt something growing hard against my hip. Worse, my cock began to lengthen and harden. My claws retracted as my arousal deepened.

“You smell sweet, naked man,” said Johnny, and then he kissed me.

His kiss deepened and his tongue found its way into my mouth. The tip traveled along the inside, teasing me with an erotic feather touch. I moaned and answered that kiss, my own tongue meshing with his. My organ grew harder. He slipped a hand down and touched me.

Johnny drew back and laughed. “Mmmmm, you’re a big one, aren’t you? When I have a man, I get first pick. My cock gets first hole.”

Suddenly things changed. He shoved me around and to the ground on my hands and knees. I heard the rustle of clothing, but didn’t dare to look back. Instead, I grew even more excited by the sounds. I could smell his arousal, too. Sweet, it tantalized my nostrils.

Deep into the erotic need, precum wet the head of my cock.

He dropped to his knees directly behind my ass, spread the crack with his work-roughened hands, and I felt something hard probing at the entrance there. It started to worm its way inside. It burned—hurting—then things grew better as I adjusted to it, even though I was dry.

He penetrated me like a man fucked a woman. Even though he hadn’t prepared me or lubricated me, it made me so excited that the change began. I glowed with my beast magic. Johnny apparently never noticed as he kept pounding away.

My human face was the first to go. Like putty, the skin over my skull moved and warped. Then the skull began to reshape itself, too, softening. Whiskers sprouted out of my cheeks. My gums receded and my teeth lengthened and sharpened. They became fangs, and made my small human mouth uncomfortable. To accommodate them, my mouth jutted outwards into a snout with a maw to match. Fingernails and toenails morphed into claws and hands and feet into paws. It wasn’t long before a happily fucking Johnny was pushing his cock into the asshole of a leopard, just under the swishing tail. When my tail brushed against his face, he stopped. I looked back at him and saw him looking down with a frown, as he tried to think with his alcohol-soaked brain. Then the moonlight glittered across my flesh of spots and I knew it also revealed my face. A look of shock, then terror, sketched in his eyes.

Screaming, he pulled out and leaped to his feet, his pants pooling at his feet. He couldn’t run and stumbled. Frightened, angry even, I whipped around and knocked him down. As I lay on him, I stared into his fear-fogged eyes.

“Oh, God, what the hell are you?” he cried. “How can a man become a leopard? I can’t stand you…you monster!”

His fear wafted into my nostrils and my own anger grew hotter. He had raped me and he called me a monster? Suddenly, the years of abuse broke me. With a snarl, I tore out his throat. Blood splashed my face. I rose off his body and knew he was dead. Knowing what that meant, I summoned my beast magic to rid me of the man’s blood and I spirited myself out of the area.

No longer a shapeshifter—now I was a monster for real.

* * * *

The next few years I kept going, taking short stopovers in cities to rest. I never stayed in towns and the country or small burgs, just big cities. I could lose myself among the steel skeletons of the skyscrapers. I would rent out a room at a cheap dive using leftover money I had earned along my journey, or stolen from lovers I’d left behind. When I had no money, I would bunk down at a homeless shelter. That was rare, for I couldn’t trust myself not to be caught doing the change. In a shelter, there was no room to be by yourself; instead you shared a room full of cots with others. The motels and flea-ridden hotels were much safer alternatives.

I found lovers, too—men at gay bars, desperate for rough sex. I gave it to them, reveling in fucking their asses hard or shoving my cock down their throats, almost choking them. I found I liked it like that, loved hurting a lot of the humans. That just gave me further proof that I was some kind of monster, even when not in my wereleopard form.

Unfortunately, one day I screwed up with the violence. I met this man, Tom. Slim, but smaller than me, he had long blond hair tied back in a ponytail. Soft gray eyes rimmed by long dark eyelashes glowed with pleasure when our eyes met. His gaze traveled over my body, stopping at the evident bulge in my jeans. He rose off his bar stool, glass of whiskey in hand, and sashayed over to me.

His lips at my ear, he whispered, “Are you happy to see me?” He palmed the bulge. “Or is that a...”

I grabbed his hand, warning, “Don’t say that tired old refrain. And yeah, I’m horny.” I placed my lips at his ear and flicked out the tip of my tongue, circling his ear with it. He shivered.

I laughed softly. “Forget all the niceties, lover. Let’s go to my place and just get on with it.”

We left the bar with my arm around his waist and my hand planted on his ass, heading for the cheap motel room I had rented earlier that day. The odor of fucking and poor quality wine and beer filled the room. Stains—some I could imagine where they came from, others I didn’t care to know—blemished the bed’s blanket and sheets. It didn’t matter to me, though. The place would do for a night of hard fornication.

I ripped his clothes from his body. He protested. Not much, as no doubt he couldn’t wait for us to get on with it. He crawled onto the mattress and lay on his back, his legs spread wide. His buttocks rose high, and he spread his cheeks to reveal his nice little hole.

Climbing between his legs, I got myself comfortable as I kneeled. His musky odor aroused me and soon I got down to business, sucking his cock and fondling his balls.

I slid Tom’s rod to the back of my throat and began to massage it with my tongue across the length. He moaned and asked if he could play with me. I knew what he wanted and moved around so that he could get a good reach. I moved my mouth up and down his staff as he cupped my balls with one hand and caressed the length of mine with the other one. I took his balls and gave them a gentle squeeze.

He moaned, then kissed the base of my shaft. The more he kissed the soft skin tightly bound around the rock hard core, the more he lingered. He licked and kissed his way toward the head.

I dropped his prick out of my mouth. Oh hell, he’s good at giving head! I thought.

I sucked him harder, running my tongue around the ridge of his cockhead. With a flick, I pried his slit hole apart with the tip of my tongue. The salty taste of precum filled my mouth. I slid my tongue into the slit back and forth. This turned him on all the more and he moved his hips and, in one quick motion, slid my cock down his throat. Lust blossomed inside me, lighting a fire that raced through me all the way to my organ, causing it to grow thicker and longer. I fucked his face hard and fast. I had to give it to the man, he took it and gave it back to me as well as he was getting.

I grabbed the cheeks of his ass and pinched them, alternately sucking his penis and balls as, excited, I began the change. My teeth become fangs—using them, I nibbled on the skin of his rod. The pain apparently made him hornier, for he shoved his dick all the way down my throat until his pubic hairs tickled my nose. That was when he came, shooting his hot jism into my mouth.

Oh God, so tasty!

My fingernails became claws and I gripped his ass tighter, blood streaming from where the tips embedded into the skin. Unable to help it, my balls released their load and my seed slipped down his throat. The change complete, I snarled, still fully aroused, and bit him. The aroused monster in me kept gnawing on his penis until it was torn from his crotch. Then I rolled off of him and swung around, catching sight of cum spitting out of his mouth with the screams. He stared at his cock in my maw with horror, then down at the bloody mess between his legs. I slapped him with a clawed-edged paw. His head snapped back with a loud crack, and he went silent.

He lay there on the sheet, sodden with sperm and blood, his neck broken and the look of terror frozen in his eyes. In my human skin once more, I spit out his organ, right onto his chest.

I left him there. Without a backwards glance for the dead human, I magicked myself out of the building and to the darkened streets outside. I was glad I’d paid several days for that room. The managers wouldn’t check until time for my check out. They would find the body then, but I would be long gone. I could live without my clothes and the spare change I’d left.

The spilt blood and violent sex made me hungry. Though I had killed the man, I never ate humans. My soul wasn’t that dark.

I hunted. Letting my nose do the tracking, I caught the fresh spoor of a couple of feral dogs, just down the street. Staying out of the glow of the streetlights and hugging the shadows, I remained downwind of the mongrels so they couldn’t would catch wind of me. I paced into the alley where my prey hid.

I cornered the frightened beasts. They whimpered and cowered as they saw me. Raising a claw-tipped paw, my muscles bunching to strike, and suddenly I sensed humans behind me.

“Catch the filthy bugger,” said a voice.

No longer caring about the dogs, I whipped around and saw that I was cut off by about seven men. I snarled, hoping that would scare them off.

Instead, the biggest and tallest of the lot stepped toward me, carrying something in his hands. I flicked back my ears, growled, and backed up. Not too far, as my tail and butt found the fence.

Someone whistled. “Come on, Katie and Joe, you did your jobs.”

The dogs bolted past me and ran up to another of the darkened figures.

Stupid twit. The dogs were a trap set for you. Some fucking wereleopard you are.

Then I remembered the beast magic, and just as I was about to use it to get away, the tall one threw whatever thing he held in his hands over me. Made of metal, I figured it had to be a net. The metal burned my skin and I screamed in agony.

Damn it, it was made of silver!

Falling to my side and laying on the dirty cement, the pain felt so immense that I wanted to die. Let the damn humans kill me—at least do it quick. Spare me the silver poisoning, a slow, terrible death.

The tall man grinned down at me. “I was promised a lot of money for you, shapeshifter. Someone filthy rich wants your kind very much.”

Just as I thought that this was it, something very large erupted over the fence and over me, landing mere inches from the man. Taller than him, the thing drew closer, and the next second I heard the terrified screams of the man. With my night vision I saw the human drop to the ground and black wetness flooding from him into a big puddle. The smell of human blood along with urine wafted to my nostrils and I knew that he was dead.