Were-hawk Ayah accidentally came through the portal in the back of Nocturnal Embers over a decade ago, and has yet to figure out how to return to her dimension. Admittedly, her desire to go home has faded since the bar hired a new, handsome, selkie DJ called Ronan to keep the music thumping in the lounge on Saturday nights. More and more often, she finds herself in the back of the lounge, watching and lusting over Ronan, and finds herself confiding in Tony more and more, often hearing the same thing—it’s a bad idea to mix with selkies. Still, she can’t help herself.
There’s a problem, though. Ronan belongs to a human who stole his pelt, a human Ronan cares nothing for and can’t leave. He knows about Ayah’s attraction to him, and has fought his own attraction to the sweet-natured were-hawk who comes to see him every Saturday night. However, the sea’s call to him is stronger than any other attraction; he can’t answer the call without his pelt, nor could he return Ayah’s affections without his freedom. If she helps him reclaim what was stolen, will he be able to live two lives? Or once she learns how to control him, will Ayah keep his pelt for herself?
As the room filled, Ronan searched for the hawk. Sure enough, she’d settled into her usual spot, looking both sexy and uncomfortable.
He shook his head and grinned to himself as he set up, tinkering with the computer, fade switches, and volume control. If the bass was too loud, the weres would pitch fits. If the tone was even slightly unbalanced, the sirens would come to the box and fix it themselves. It gave him more than enough incentive to triple-check that everything was perfect. Finally, he clicked open the program, made sure the audio interface was set and linking with the software, and let the first beats of Saturday night at the Embers escape into the club.
Immediately, the succubi were on the dance floor, bumping and grinding against each other in a little show just for him, but his attention was fixed on the hawk who wanted to be seen but not noticed. She moved in her seat, obviously a slave to the rhythm, too, but she kept her dark brown arms crossed over her chest. So demure. So vexingly pretty. Her eyes remained the color of liquid gold no matter what lights flashed over her stoic face. The shadows played against her high cheekbones and narrow nose, accenting those incredible eyes.
He sensed a longing in her, and he wished – imagined, even – she sensed his primal need for companionship, for love. For the sea.
When he’d finally had enough, he announced his break to a few flirtatious “Awws.” Rather than head straight for the bar, which he normally did, he moved through the crowd of scantily-clad women with a different destination in mind – Ayah’s table. On his way, he caught the succubi preening and giving him come-hither looks. A were-tiger trailed her tail up his behind, trying to raise the hem of his shirt. He widened his stride to get out of range. With a soft breath of relief, he perched himself in the seat opposite his lovely hawk, who blushed the nicest shade of pink.
It took her a moment to respond, obviously surprised he knew her name. “Good evening,” she trilled.
Her voice sent ripples through him. He couldn’t let this part of the conversation eat his nerves, though; he needed them for what was to come. Crossing his arms on the table, he leaned closer. “Care to talk somewhere a wee more private?”