Saturday, February 16, 2013

ROASTED by Declan Sands

ROASTED by Declan Sands

Blood-Hound Book Three

Giant snakes, hell-hounds, intergalactic police -- when can sexy shifters find time for love?

The brothers have their hands full trying to keep their boss at Bailey Bonds safe from the alien who wants to replace him on Earth. To make things worse, the same alien appears to have something to do with the infiltration of the Intergalactic Police and the deaths of many of Falen's friends and fellow officers.

As things unfold, the Blood brothers and their lovers quickly find themselves muzzle deep in lethal aliens, and it will take every skill they have to keep Bailey alive and dig out the truth of what's going on.


Blood-Hound 3: Roasted
Declan Sands
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2012 Declan Sands

This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

Matt looked at Falen. "Cliff told me you wanted to talk to us about something important? Something having to do with Bailey?"

"Not about Bailey exactly, but I think he might be mixed up in it somehow, whether he knows it or not."

Falen and Cliff shared a look. When the big shifter glanced toward Matt again, his gaze had darkened from its usual green to blue-gray. Matt had met other shifters whose eyes changed color with certain emotions. Marshal Falen seemed very worried about what he was about to tell them.

Matt was curious why. "Look, if Bailey's in some kind of danger..."

Falen shook his head and dropped onto the arm of the couch. Scruffy trotted over and jumped onto the couch, circling three times before curling up and going to sleep with a sigh. "It's not that. He is in danger, of course, but that's his own doing. He doesn't want to go back to Elitper, and there are people there who need to do something about that."

Matt nodded. "The lottery system? Yeah, I'd heard of that. I'm glad Eninac doesn't do that."

"What lottery system?" Rum asked.

Matt slid a warm gaze over his lover. Rum's distrustful frown had slipped away and had been replaced by a healthy curiosity about the purpose for their meeting. Matt reached out and clasped Rum's hand, squeezing it affectionately. He was rewarded with a heated look from his very own fairy.

"The planet Elitper is dying. Believe it or not, giant snakes can be pretty hard on an ecosystem. They're running short on water, and their sources of food are getting more and more scarce with every year that passes. For that reason, Elitperions are frantic to leave the planet for other, richer environments. The Elitperion leadership believes their people will overrun Earth if they don't control the migration. So they send their inhabitants here in ten-year shifts, drawn through a lottery. At the end of that time the shifters return to Elitper. Either voluntarily or through coercion."

No stranger to that type of forced control, Rum frowned. "What kind of coercion are we talking about?"

Cliff dropped onto the couch next to Falen, placing a hand on his lover's thigh. "If they have family or loved ones, they imprison them or worse. If they don't --"

"And Bailey doesn't." Matt lifted an eyebrow meaningfully.

"-- they send mercenaries to take care of the problem."

"And by 'take care of the problem' you mean kill?"

Falen shrugged. "If necessary, yes."

"What do we know about these mercenaries?" Matt asked his brother.

Cliff looked at Falen.

"I know you don't want to run up against them," Falen said.

Falen seemed to be studiously avoiding Cliff's gaze. Matt had to wonder why. "Shifters?"

"If you mean shapeshifters, not usually. Shapeshifters are too lazy. They just want to steal a living and settle in to do as little as possible."

Cliff laughed. "Mercenary work isn't for the faint of heart."

"No," Falen agreed. "It certainly isn't."

Matt couldn't shake the feeling that the big shifter was keeping something from them. "So if they're not shapeshifters, what are they?"

Falen sighed. "Your worst nightmare. And, if my suspicions are right, the one that's after Bailey is a member of the Intergalactic Police."

Shocked silence throbbed through the room. Matt and Rum shared a horrified look, and Rum swallowed hard. "A dirty space cop? Holy shit!"

Matt frowned. "Are you sure?"

"Not entirely, no. But I've been digging into it for several days and, though I've tried to find reasons for what I've discovered, there seems to be a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that someone inside the IP is working as a mercenary."

"Such as?"

"Shifters in protective custody keep getting killed, when nobody but the IP knew where they were being kept. And members of the IP are being murdered, methodically, rapidly."

"Falen's in danger," Cliff told his brother. "Everyone else has gone underground, but he refuses to hide." Cliff glared at his lover while affectionately stroking Falen's thigh. Matt didn't miss the mixed message. He was pretty sure the marshal didn't either.

"Somebody's got to find out what's going on," Falen explained with just a touch of defensiveness.

"I'm not sure why it needs to be you." It was obvious this wasn't a new argument between Cliff and Falen.

Falen stood suddenly, pacing with abrupt, angry steps. "Because there is no one else!"

Matt blinked and looked at his brother. "What does he mean?"

Sitting forward on the couch, Cliff slipped strong fingers through his hair, his golden eyes haunted. "Fifteen IP officers have been killed over the last two weeks."

"Fifteen of my friends," Falen added. When Matt looked at the big man he saw the clenched fists, the tight jaw line, and the pulse throbbing at the base of Falen 's broad neck. "All murdered. It's only a matter of time before they get to me."

"We need to find the assassins before they find Falen," Cliff told his brother. Their gazes met, clashed, and Matt saw his brother's legendary stubbornness settling into place. There was nothing left to do. Cliff wouldn't rest until they found the assholes who were killing his lover's friends and gave them a little shifter justice.

Matt nodded. "Okay. Then that's what we'll do." He clasped Rum's hand and pulled him close, wrapping an arm around his lover's narrow waist. "So where do we start?"


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