Dark Waters** is released by Silver Publishing today - and with the most gorgeous cover by Reese Dante!
Buy link HERE
This is a shifter tale with a difference, more traditional in some ways. It's set in an historical, semi-mythical Scotland where the Elder gods haven't quite left the lands.
Flein is a wanderer by instinct and need, roaming the known world as the fancy takes him. In the Highland village of Glenfinnan, women have been raped and brutally murdered. The killer is a waterhorse, a monstrous shapeshifter by all accounts. But when Flein meets Donnchadh, first in its equine form, then its man-shape, he knows the waterhorse is innocent. Flein is drawn to the shapeshifter, but he finds it difficult to acknowledge it's more than a monster.
Donnchadh, though wary, shares the same attraction. They join forces to hunt for the real murderer, but time is short. They must find the killer before more women die. Then suspicion is turned on them and the hunters become the hunted.
"Incubus!" the hermit howled, springing to his feet and holding the crudely fashioned cross before him. The shaft was a spike of forged iron, not sharp but enough to pierce the creature's flesh. He'd finally found the strength to deny it and since dawn he'd waited for the beast to come to him so he could banish or destroy the unnatural enticement. Now it was here, in the perfect man-shape that mocked every belief the hermit held and was everything he himself was not.
It stopped in its tracks at the edge of the small corrie in front of the hermit's cave, its head thrown up in surprise, long black hair flowing in the breeze. Layers of firm muscle shifted under a hide glowing amber in the noon sun as if fashioned from the light, and it was naked. Naked and profligate, flaunting its apparent youth and potency, its overwhelming vitality, like the Satanic spawn it was.
Even now, it lured him, silently called to him to reach out and stroke at last the warm silk of its skin, its unbound hair. As it had called to others before it killed and devoured them. Although he knew what the thing was and what he had to do, he could not stop his traitorous body from responding to its sorcery.
"What is—incubus?" it asked, puzzled.
"You!" In his bespelled madness, he'd taught it human speech, the Gaelic, convincing himself that if it did have a soul then he could turn it from evil to Christ's mercy. But the sinful dreams that afflicted him at night, leaving him sullied beyond cleansing when he awoke, could no longer be ignored. The memories of them welled up as clear as if they had been reality. It would kneel before him and part his robes, its eyes wide and dark as it gazed on him with awe. It would worship his body with hands and mouth and wicked tongue, and beg him to save it from evil, to purify it with his touch.
Arousal shuddered through him, heat pooled in his loins, and his penis was throbbing between his legs, rising as if it had a mind of its own, and he was close, so close to that dazzling peak of ecstasy. But the coarse wool of his robe chafed on his turgid flesh, dragging painfully on the gathering dampness there, bringing him back to himself—and the hermit knew that he was irrevocably damned and it was all the beast's fault.
He'd lost count of how often he'd been awakened by the echoes of his cry of release, to find he was alone with his own seed smeared on his belly, and the terrible—wonderful—images fading away. Every time he'd scrubbed himself raw with twists of heather, but still he knew himself defiled even though he had resisted all temptation to touch it in reality.
He'd thought he could tame it, bring it humbled and penitent before the house of the One God. But he'd been deluded, he knew that now. The monster was a soulless fiend that preyed on humankind, and he was a presumptuous fool to think he could do anything other than combat it. He could not have it, but he could destroy it.
"You are foul! Evil!" He raised the cross like a dagger and threw himself forward.
Even as he plunged the holy weapon toward the creature's broad chest, the hermit knew he had failed. He'd forgotten how swiftly it could move. In less than a heartbeat the man had gone and in its place was a daemon in the shape of a bay stallion with laid-back ears and bared carnivore's fangs. It reared and the last thing the hermit knew was the crushing impact of the monster's hooves.
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