Authors: S.A. Welsh
Tags: #Gay, #werewolf, #Shapeshifter, #Glbt, #Paranormal, #vampire, #Adult, #erotic romance
Table of Contents
Jackal shifter Jake has always had an affinity for the sciences, but Trevor’s toxic mixture is way beyond anything he’s had to deal with in the past. How can just one jackal find the answer? Stranger things had happened...a lone jackal living in a coven of vampires, for one.
After a long struggle, Jake has finally done it—he’s figured out the solution to the blood poisoning and the drugging smoke Trevor used to dose both sides of the Blood Moon Pack Alliance. Excited, he calls the three mated pairs he knows who will appreciate the find most, starting with the two vampire elders that took him in when he was lost and gave him a home.
But things aren’t always rosy. Just because others are getting their happy endings—or beginnings—doesn’t mean he is any closer to his own. In fact, he may be further away than ever before.
On the other hand, Elders Lavi and Van take great advantage of the new cure and take Jacko on a flight to remember, while Ashlock and Zeke get creative in a tattoo studio. Remy and Skylar take a very expensive shopping trip, and Micah and Rylan deal with the repercussions of the intense power spike from the alpha pair completing the bond.
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What’s Your Poison?
Copyright © 2015 SA Welsh
Cover art by Scott Carpenter
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
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What’s Your Poison?
Blood Moon Pack Alliance
For the ones that finally find their ever afters.
Jake checked the results for the hundredth time, but they came back the same every time. The truth stared back at him as he looked at the evidence so long his eyes started to water.
“Oh my God. I did it,” he whispered.
No one could hear him. He was alone in his lab, and the guards the alliance had given him were waiting outside. It seemed if a guy had one toxic gas accident that stopped anyone who breathed it in from getting it up for a week, he was labelled a danger. At least the incident had gotten his shadows,
off his back. Having a massive shifter and an equally large vampire hovering over him every second of his waking day had been beginning to get old. Guarding the alliance territory borders would be a much better use of their time. He didn’t like people in his lab cluttering up the space and touching things. It made him twitchy.
Jake clutched at the vial of serum in his hand and set the synthesiser machine to begin creating more. The sample he had now would be enough for two doses. He grinned. He knew exactly who to give them to.
He picked up his phone from on top of his pile of notebooks and dialled the elders’ private number. The call connected and he waited nervously until someone picked it up on the third ring. “Is everything okay, Jake?”
“Everything is...fine, better than fine actually.” He was almost vibrating as he spoke, trying put into words his discovery. It was what he’d been tasked with figuring out for months, and in that time he’d gone through what must be thousands of different mixtures…which all failed. Now that he had one that worked, his animal was anxious for it to be out of his hands in case something happened to it.
“You mean…” Elder Lavi’s usually formal tone slipped into genuine surprise.
“I did it. All the tests have come back positive. I ran it over and over just to be sure. The machines are already making more, but I have enough made up now for two doses. I figured I’d give Jacko his birthday present early,” he added, feeling bold.
“We’ll be right there,” Elder Lavi said. A second later, the dial tone sounded in his ear.
When a vampire, especially an elder, said he’d be right there, they meant literally. Vampires could move so fast they were only a blur even to shifter eyes. It had been disconcerting at first, but he was used to it now, for the most part.
Living with vampires was odd for a shifter, but he’d made it work. After all, anything was better than his old pack, where the alpha’s idea of ruling involved keeping a sex pet chained to his side. Literally. When the old pet died from a mysterious illness the same time certain herbs had gone missing from his store at the pack lab, he knew the poor woman had ended her life. All because she’d become too familiar for the alpha’s tastes. After ten years at his side, she must have thought the bastard would mate her. Her death had meant the position as pet became vacant. Some pack members had volunteered, but none of them met the alpha’s standards until Jake had accidentally caught the man’s eye at a pack run. There was no way Jake was going to become a pet used for sex and kept on a chain until the alpha was done with him. So he’d run—left all his things and just run. Unfortunately, it hadn’t been fast enough.
A knock at the lab door shoved him off his path down memory lane not a moment too soon. He hated thinking about the past.
He twisted to see out of the little round window of the door and saw Elder Van leaning down to peer through it.
Jake pulled off his gloves and popped the lid of the trashcan with his foot, throwing the things inside.
Walking over to the door, he tried to go at a reasonable pace and not run like there was someone chasing him. The only demons on his tail were the ones in his head. He needed to believe that if he was going to remain sane and continue his work undeterred by fear.
As soon as he reached the door, he unlocked it at the keypad and pressed the release button that controlled the panel. It opened with a puff of air from the pressure seal, allowing the two elders entry.
“Is it true, have you really done it?” Elder Van stopped right in front of him, putting big hands on his shoulders while leaning down to look him in the eye.
“Y-Yes,” he stuttered nervously, praying that he hadn’t imagined the test results and called the busy elders here on a daydream. He lifted up the vial he still held as proof. “I have enough here to give to both of you.”
The elders shared a look and Jake pretended not to notice. They did it all the time. He didn’t understand how someone could want to be in someone else’s head or have them in their own. His thoughts were for him and him alone. Luckily, apart from the elders picking up things here and there, it was only mates of vampires that had their minds open and spread out like the morning newspaper.
The short question wasn’t what he’d been expecting. Jake thought he would have had to break down the science of it all and show them the results. It didn’t sit well with him. What if he had been a traitor? He could be trying to give them anything.
“We know you, Jake and we trust you. You’re part of our coven even though you are not a vampire,” Elder Lavi said, clearly catching some of what Jake was thinking. Older vampires, he’d noticed, were annoyingly observant.
Jake ducked his head as his cheeks heated. “I have the bag of blood that Jacko donated in case of emergency for either of you. If I inject the serum into his blood and you ingest it, it should counter the poison lingering in your bodies and kick-start the part of your brain and genetics that was drugged. Basically, the poison in the bagged blood you were drinking for however long before worked as an anaesthetic to various parts of your vampire senses, mainly the ones that sensed and bonded with your Mon âme soeur sang. The blood cocktail will wake that up.”
Elder Van and Lavi continued to give him an interested but impatient stare.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
Jake spun on his heel and hustled over to the mini fridge where he stocked the blood samples and removed the blood pack filled with Jacko’s blood. He took it over to the bench and placed it on the rack before he reached down to unlock the drawer where he kept his sharp equipment such as scalpels and syringes. He took a syringe out and opened the sterilised packet.
“How will it work?”
He filled it with the serum from the vial, flicked the syringe and jabbed it into the top of the bag. Once the plunger was depressed all the way, he withdrew it, placed his finger over the stopper and squished it until he was reasonably certain the serum was mixed with the red liquid. It wasn’t the most sophisticated of mixing methods, but it worked. He squeezed it some more just to be sure and turned back around with the bag of blood in his hands.
The elders were still standing near the door, looking more agitated than before, and Jake realised they were nervous. After the declaration of trust, he didn’t think it was because they doubted what he was doing. So that left the only explanation—that they were edgy about finally being able to sense and fully claim Jacko.
Interesting. He hadn’t expected that.
Elder Van’s gaze darted between the bag and Elder Lavi, and even Jake could scent the spike of anxiety. Van was the strong, stoic one of the pair, so the unexpected insight into the vamp’s emotions surprised him. Usually the elders had their emotions under lock and key.
“You won’t even feel the serum working. As your body absorbs the blood, the serum will get to work and in a several hours, maybe a day, your mating senses should be able to narrow in on Jacko.” At least that was the plan. Everything was theoretical. The tests he’d run had confirmed his serum counteracted the poison that had been in the contaminated blood bags, but he wasn’t mated and didn’t fully understand how the process worked. It wasn’t as if he could just cut open one of his friends’ brains and dig around to see what was going on in there when they went gaga over their partner.
Wiggling the bag at them, he hid a smile when Elder Lavi’s eyes turned red. Red eyes meant anger or lust. Since neither elder had ever shown interest in his skinny ass before, he doubted he was going to get lucky. His jackal didn’t pick up on any signals of anger, either. They must be thinking about claiming their wolf.
“The sooner you take it the sooner you’ll be able to claim Jacko…”
The words had barely left his lips when the elders snatched the bag from his hands and sank their impressively large fangs into the packet.
Jake turned away, giving the elder vampires some privacy. It was for himself as much as them. The thought of drinking blood gave him the heebie-jeebies. The smell wasn’t appetising in the least, and he didn’t want to think about the taste. The imagined slurping sounds were in his head, but they were gross enough that he didn’t want to risk hearing them for real.
Thank God, he was a jackal. Sometimes he wondered if he was the only normal and sane one in this place. And
was a scary thought.
“We’re done,” Elder Van said from behind him, sounding short of breath like he’d run a marathon or chugged down a bucket of energy drinks. He heard the sound of the waste can opening and shutting as they presumably disposed of the empty bag.
Twisting to face them, he examined their appearance, noting the tiny beads of sweat forming on their foreheads, the rapid pulse at their necks and the way they seemed to vibrate even as they stood still. The-energy-drink-binge-analogy might not have been that far off.
Hesitantly, he stepped forward, taking in the thin ring of red still present around their irises before dropping his gaze away. Direct eye contact could be taken as a challenge. He didn’t dare meet their eyes usually just in case. He’d only done it now because he was curious. “How are you feeling?”