Please welcome DC Juris and
Everything changed for werewolf Calliph after the Shifter War. Now nothing more than a slave and plaything to human Prince Obyn, Calliph finds himself on the Golden Magus, sailing across the sea with his owner. But fate has something more in mind for Calliph in the form of Ship's First Mate Mateo—who just happens to be Calliph's Omarati—his soul mate... and a werecat.
Heartbroken, Calliph knows he can't stay with Mateo—he is forced to follow wherever Obyn leads. Years later, when an attack at sea lands Mateo in the hands of vicious pirates, the cat discovers that, though time has changed some things, his bond with Calliph is eternal.
Previously published by Noble Romance.
"I see no wheel," Obyn observed.
Calliph followed Obyn and Captain Ba'Tal up the walkway to the deck of the Golden Magus. His nostrils twitched, catching a hint of something. Crisp and clean, he could have mistaken the smell for simply the sea itself. There were undertones, though—subtle hints of sweat, musk, and the sharp tang of manhood. The scent mingled with his own, blended harmoniously, nearly drawing a growl from his throat. The smell of a mate, another shifter, but not one of his own kind. No. A cat. And no little tabby, either. The pheromone belonged to a panther.
"No," Ba'Tal said. "These damned elf ships are all controlled by magic nowadays."
"Yes, well, you still need someone to keep her on course."
Calliph looked toward the owner of the voice...the owner of that heavenly scent. The most beautiful man he'd ever laid eyes on. He was short—Calliph had a least a foot on him—with a slender, lithe body, and long dark hair. Strong, firm muscles rippled beneath sun-tanned skin.
"That there'd be my First Mate, Mateo," Ba'Tal said. "This is Obyn and his wolf, Caliph."
"Calliph is not my wolf."
Ba'Tal inclined his head in apology. "Begging your pardon, my Prince. I thought the Queen said he was a shifter."
"He is a shifter." Obyn looked Calliph up and down, upper lip curled into a sneer. "However, wolf is a term reserved for the free of his kind, and he is not free. He is merely a dog."
Calliph swallowed down the words he knew he'd regret.
Mateo turned. A dizzying, hot wind swirled around Calliph as his eyes locked with the man's amber gaze. Time seemed to halt, as the deck seemed to spin in a lazy circle, Calliph in the middle. His head felt heavy and wobbly; his neck and shoulders lacked the strength to support it.
Calliph struggled to make sense of what was happening as a jolt of recognition raced up his spine, even though he'd never met Mateo. His feet seemed to move of their own volition, carrying him forward—answering a call he heard in his heart and felt deep in his bones. Made no sense, yet Calliph kept walking.
"Where do you think you're going?" Obyn demanded, tugging sharply on Calliph's leash.
Calliph's head snapped back and his steps faltered. Obyn. Somehow, he'd actually forgotten about his Master. "To see how it works." He recovered quickly. "With your permission, I'd like to learn the steering mechanism in the event danger should befall our voyage."
Obyn's eyes narrowed and he glanced at Mateo. "Fine. I expect you below deck in an hour."
Ba'Tal lead Obyn away, and Calliph closed the distance to Mateo. "May I?" He nodded toward the steering column.
"Be my guest." Mateo guided Calliph's hand. "Magic controls the orb. Feel that?"
Calliph felt something, but nothing to do with the ship. Mateo's hand on his burned. He fought against the desire to pull Mateo close and smother him with kisses. "What is it?" he asked, not referring to the mechanism.
"You're connected. The magic regulates the pitch of the ship. Left and right—back and forth. Keeps the deck level. Simple, really. You just have to get the feel of it." Mateo pressed his hand down on Calliph's and moved them both slowly from side to side. "There. See? Just a slow, soft touch."
Calliph wasn't interested in the orb—wasn't even looking at it. Mateo tilted his head toward him, bringing their lips inches apart. Calliph's mind reeled. Mateo moved closer; his grip tightened, his breathing quickened. He felt it too. Calliph's gaze dipped to Mateo's lips, parted ever so slightly. Mateo must've licked them a moment ago, because they looked moist. Calliph imagined those lips were soft and warm as well. Oh, so soft and warm. Gods, he wanted to kiss them. Calliph's cock twitched and hardened and he marveled, almost having forgotten what an erection felt like.
Something nudged Calliph's leg and he looked down. A tail. Mateo moved his head; his hair shifted, revealing the sharp upward curve of his ears. Cat though he might have been, Mateo's tail should've been nonexistent, and his ears should've been human ears. Calliph noticed other things then: the fine dusting of dark fur on the back of Mateo's hands, the not quite feline but not quite human shape of his nose and his eyes.
"They're permanent," Mateo interrupted his perusal, obviously used to being questioned.
"How?" Calliph swallowed hard. He knew of only one explanation.
"Alchemists." Mateo hung his head.
Calliph snarled, his suspicions confirmed. "It's nothing to be ashamed of. Can you shift?"
"I can but not for long. The transformation is painful and leaves me exhausted."
That Mateo shared such a fact with him thrilled Calliph. He gestured between the two of them. "You feel it too?"
Mateo's face flushed red; he was panting, trembling. "I do. We're Omarati."
Omarati. An ancient term. No common translation existed; the best Calliph knew was soul mate. Far beyond that, Omarati were shifters who were created—literally—for each other, drawn together by a bond unbreakable, unending. Animal, age, gender—none of that mattered, for Omarati were compatible by design, made to accept and overlook any flaws in favor of their bond. Their hearts and their souls knew each other already, even if their minds had a bit of catching up to do. A connection like this, as far as Calliph knew, existed between no other beings. Mateo's small hand slid into his.
"What are we going to do?" Mateo asked.Calliph ran a finger under his collar. What indeed.
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About the author:
Romance author, sci-fi fan club Captain, cosplayer, reigning Queen of Monkeyland, and random menace. Yep, we're talking about DC Juris. She’s a cupcake-making, football-watching, rubber-duck-collecting, drag-show loving, full-of-fabulous-with-a-capital-F kinda gal. She's also an ordained minister and an amateur photographer. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband, three dogs, and three cats. When she's not writing, you can find her in her favorite chair watching Star Trek and Supernatural repeats on Netflix, or surfing the web for porn. Er…research. Surfing the web for research. She may speak softly but she lives and loves loudly. Just ask the neighbors. ::wink::
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