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  • Writer's pictureBrantwijn Serrah

Playing Hard To Get

Dear Ms. Robyns,

Sincerest greetings from us all.

It has come to our attention that you've been doing some really extraordinary things in our city. You've impressed several of our governing members. We are currently seeking to fill certain positions in our establishment, and we believe you have the skills and determination we're looking for. We invite you to contact us at the number provided to schedule an interview with our recruiters.

Please be assured, Ms. Robyns, we seek only the best to join our growing team. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely Yours,

Daniel Nebuchadnezzar

Chimeran Protectorate League


I'm not interested in "team effort."

I crossed lightly from the roof of one tenement house to the next. The streets below me stood mostly quiet...but bad neighborhoods in New York are never really still. I'd been hunting around the city for six months now, but these particular slums were still new to me. I wondered if they'd managed to escape my notice because they were a rare place of relative peace, or if the troublemakers in these parts had simply been playing nice lately. Either way, something nagged me tonight. I itched all over from anxious, restless tension.

It's the letters.

I frowned, and hopped down to a lower ledge.

Ever since I'd moved to New York, I'd been happy working alone. I always hunted after dark—fewer people to see me—and I operated by my standards. I didn't want to work for anyone else. Especially not anyone who knows what I am.

Over the last two weeks, though, somebody had guessed. They started sending me letters...at home. Where my family lived. My family who also wanted to be left alone.

At the edge of the next roof I paused. My ear twitched at the sound of voices below, and I snaked down to the fire escape to investigate. Nothing nefarious, though: a couple of teenagers, heading home from the bodega with their arms full of groceries.

Out of habit, I followed them anyway. I stuck to the rooftops and kept silent. It would be no good for them to see me as I quietly babysat them from my perch. I'm not the most comforting thing to see on a dark street at night.

There are lots of words for my kind. The best is probably "manifest chimera." You can see right away I'm not normal. My green eyes glow—literally, like lamps—even in daylight. My ears are pointed, like those aliens in Star Trek. There are wild, complex, clannish markings all up and down my arms and shoulders. They're not tattoos. I have no idea how I got them. Best of all, though, is my tail. A full-length, tufted, and whip-like appendage.

This was why I hunted at night.

I kept an eye on the teens until they crossed one of the better-lit avenues and disappeared into an apartment complex. Satisfied they were now in good hands, I doubled back toward my original vantage point.

Halfway there, I caught the sound of voices again. This time, though, they were hard-edged and full of antagonism—and they came accompanied by the sound of heavy blows and a low groan.

A fight. I flexed my fingers and made a fist. I like fights.

I tracked the sounds another block, finding the scuffle in a dead-end alley. I hopped across the rooftops and perched, peering down. Darkness never bothered me; I have fantastic night vision.

Three men on one. Two of the attackers held their victim by the arms while the third worked him over. The man in the middle might have been drunk, or else he'd already gone boneless and unconscious from the beating. I scanned the rest of the scene. The alley ended in a brick wall a few yards behind the men's position. On the other side it opened to a lightless street—conveniently, the nearer streetlights were out. To my right, another fire escape led down. Couldn't have asked for a better set-up.

I crouched, closed my eyes, and willed my body to change. The sensation flowed over me: it was like fluid heat radiating from my bones, and my skin felt as though it turned to molten metal. My body reshaped itself, and the motion reached through me like a good, deep-down, delicious stretch. It's almost orgasmic. It all slipped back into place again in less than a minute, but everything was different. Everything.

Once the last warm ripple of energy faded and I settled back to rights, I dropped onto the fire escape. I made sure to let myself be heard. Below me, the men were startled. They searched for the sound, but I'd already moved, darting to the other side of the escape. I kicked the ladder as I vaulted the side, and the loud clatter made them shout.

I landed behind a huddle of trash cans and gave myself a good shake. A low growl rumbled in my throat as I finally prowled out before them.

"Holy shi—" shouted one. Another dropped back with a stammered yelp.

Oh, please. You'd think you boys have never seen a Rottweiler before.

I advanced, bristling, hoping they had a good view of the teeth. Of course even as the Rottie, my eyes burned like ghostly lamps—no real beast had eyes like mine. The two men holding their victim now dropped him as they grasped for weapons.

The leader, though, simply pulled a gun.

I caught sight of the barrel swinging my way and lunged back behind the bins. To my sensitive ears, the shot rang out so loudly I yelped in startled pain. When a man fires a gun at an animal, though, he expects the animal to run.

I didn't.

Rushing out from between the bins again, bowling them over in my wake, I charged at the trigger-happy one. My teeth closed on his hand as he fired a second time, and the shot skewed away. It ricocheted off the bricks.

Pulling a gun on me forfeited his right to any benefit of the doubt. I bit down hard, and wrenched his fingers with merciless canine jaws. He screamed and tried to shake me off.

Sure hope you weren't planning on playing any piano concertos anytime soon, pal.

I pulled at him, tugging at his arm to drag him down. Rotties are damn strong dogs. Without warning, though, a sharp agony hit my rear leg, and I released my prey with another yelp.

One of his friends had a crowbar. I tried to duck, but before I could he struck me again, whaling a blow at my hindquarters. I jumped at the pain, and started to back away.

"This your dog, buddy?" the one with the crowbar asked the man they'd beaten. "'Cause I'm gonna break her spine and bash in her head."

I snarled defensively, limping against the wall. The one with the gun stooped to retrieve it, and clutching his bloodied hand to his chest, he rebounded on me as well.

"Gotta put down a dog who bites," he grated. He shook badly, though. I doubted he could make a killing shot.

I glanced about for the third mugger. He hadn't drawn near me, but he'd grabbed himself an old wrench and held it at the ready. I had a choice. I could flee—I still had an ace up my sleeve, after all—or I could go for broke. Seeing their huddled victim behind them, noticing he seemed to be talking madly to himself, I decided I had to stay.

I closed my eyes again. My body surged with the familiar molten heat, and I surrendered.


I swelled in size, and the men shouted again, angry and bewildered. The one with the gun stumbled and fell on his ass. When my vision cleared once more and I sensed my soul settling into its new frame—a giant of the north, a Kodiak bear—I rose up on hind legs...and I roared.

"What the fuck?" screamed the one with the wrench. He didn't wait for an answer; he spun and ran for the street. The one with the crowbar, though, decided to be brave. He raised it over his head and charged at me. Sweeping a great paw out at him, I sent him careening back, and then I advanced, lumbering for him.

With an ear-splitting crack, the gunman's third shot took me in the flank. Bright, hot pain drilled into my side and I couldn't stop the low bellow of anguish from escaping me.

On top of shooting me, then the son of a bitch actually threw his gun at me.

It wouldn't have hurt—I wouldn't even have noticed—except the shock of the bullet had already stolen my focus. I lost my grip on the shapechange, and the power slipped rapidly back into the earth beneath me. When his pistol hit me, it struck my own small, human body. With a whuff, I crumpled to the dank blacktop.

For a long moment, none of us moved. I lay there, squeezing eyes shut against the pain, while the two men stared. It wouldn't take them long to figure out what had really attacked them. Not a dog. Not a bear.

A freak.

Clutching my bleeding side as they surrounded me, I managed to mutter, "You ass... I'm gonna...have a bruise in the morning."

"You're gonna be dead in the morning," the gunman sneered. Funny how he seemed to forget the bloody mess of his hand all of a sudden. "Fucking gump bitch."

How original. Gump. Their derogatory term for genetically modified person. I spat at him.

"We're called chimeras, jackass."

His pal with the crowbar whacked it at my knee. I heard the sharp snap—the bone shooting out of place—and I bit my tongue in an effort not to scream.

"You're a goddamn lab monkey, is what you are." He wound up for another shot. "You shouldna left your cage. We're gonna beat you bloody and then string you up from a lamppost."

"Sorry," I coughed. My mouth tasted tangy with blood. "I outgrew my cage...seems like you could use one, though."

Typical, Brooke. Can't you keep your mouth shut for once?


He hit me again with the crowbar, swinging low for my ribs. I groaned and rolled onto my side. The other man pulled a knife from his belt, and I realized he'd noticed my tail. As if sensing imminent danger to itself, the damn thing lashed wildly.

Shit...and I don't even get workman's comp for this.

The men were focused on me now, so they didn't see what I saw behind them. The man I'd assumed to be drunk or unconscious slowly stood, rolling his head from one side to the other, as if he were limbering up. He cracked his knuckles, and when he looked up from under the brim of his beat-up old cap, I saw a pair of eyes so deep, bright green, they were almost a match to my own.

The sight of him puzzled me so much that for a second I forgot the thugs about to amputate my tail and lynch me. I cocked my head to the side, my brows drawing together, as I stared. My expression must have tipped off the bruisers, because they both spun to see what had caught my attention. Two large hands closed over their heads.

"Aw, c'mon, guys," the not-quite-so-beaten man said in a smooth, pleasant voice. "Weren't we having enough fun without dragging some poor dame into the mix?"

Without waiting for an answer, he lifted them both off their feet, then brought their heads crashing together. I winced at the sound of their skulls colliding. How could he toss them around so easily?

As he dropped them back on their feet, he threw a deep right hook at the one holding the crowbar, and I heard bones break. The green-eyed man then seized the thug by the shoulders and head-butted him hard enough to throw him across the alley and into the opposite wall.

"No way," I croaked.

Turning on the one who had first shot me and then had been about to take my tail, the man wound up for a haymaker. He caught his opponent hard in the chest—and the thug flew through the bricks behind him. Red clay and dust rained down.

The first thug—bleeding, clutching the side of his face, and limping—managed to regain his feet and stumble away. The one who had gone through the wall...well, he lay still.

I stared, first at the splayed-out mugger half-buried in brick, then after the one running away. Finally, my eyes landed on my rescuer.

"There now, kid," he said, kneeling beside me. He spoke with a tone too hearty and cheerful for what we had both now witnessed. "Didn't your daddy ever tell you not to go picking fights with the bigger children?"

I snorted. I hurt too much to do anything else.

He smirked. He had an irritatingly charming smirk. I wanted to rip it off his smug face. He gathered me up into his arms—I tried not to groan at how quickly I'd gone from daring avenger to clichéd damsel—and scrutinized my injuries.

"Well, they really fucked you up, didn't they?"

I glowered. "If you don't mind, I've been shot. Because I tried to help you." I winced at the pain as I tried to work myself out of his arms. "It would have been nice to have some warning you were a chimera, too."

"Hey," he replied. "It's not my fault you put your cute little ass in the middle of my play, sweetheart. Now hold tight just a second. We're going to take care of your bullet problem."

I opened my mouth to ask what he meant, but before I could, he twirled a finger before us. At first it seemed like nothing happened, until I noticed a slant of strangely displaced air. Some sort of...rift. My unexpected rescuer took a step forward, into it.

When his foot came down, we stood in a sleek high-rise apartment, dark except for the ambient city light casting reflections of color and shadow in through a great picture window making up one wall. I peered up at him, wary. I'd known chimeras who could teleport, but not ones who could teleport and sling full-grown men through brick walls.

"It's your lucky night," he said. After allowing me the requisite time to admire the view, he carried me to a low, dark table—a coffee table. As he sat me down on it, I uttered a soft sigh of weary satisfaction. The wood had a rich, sweet scent: expensive and regularly cleaned with orange oil, I guessed. Shame I had to go and bleed all over it.

"I don't usually take healing powers along with me," he continued, shedding his jacket and rolling up his sleeve. "I'm strictly a fighter unit on most shifts. Tonight, though, I had this nagging feeling I might need to save a pretty girl."

I hissed at him, though it didn't come easy through the pain. He rubbed his hands together.

"Gonna have to lift up your shirt, darlin'."

"Is...everything you say...just incredibly sexist?" I muttered through clenched teeth, struggling to slide my halter top up so he could get to the wound.

"Nice outfit," he said, without irony. He inspected the scrolled leather with careful scrutiny.

"Specialized," I said. We'd figured out leather proved the best material for a shapeshifter like me—it is animal skin, after all. It also takes ink, like tattoos. We'd inked mine with markings identical to the ones on my back and shoulders, with ink made from my own blood. So in a way, my clothes were my 'second skin,' which meant they came with me when I changed shape. Nice not to have to worry about being naked every time I returned to my human form.

He laid his palms on either side of my belly—and I gasped. The sensation swelled through me: warm, pleasurable, mildly dizzying. Like pain meds administered straight into my skin.

"There now," he said. "Feel better?"

"What sort of chimera are you?" I managed to ask.

"A little bit of everything, actually. A mimic."

His left hand massaged the site of the bullet wound, which created a sort of yin and yang of stinging pain and delectable pleasure. I groaned and turned my head away as I distinctly felt him working the slug out with the energy in his palms. It took long moments—even chimeras with healing abilities can't yank a bullet free without causing more trauma—and as he worked, he talked.

"I copycat abilities from other chimeras, through touch. I can't load more than a few at a time, though. So I have to be careful what I prep for."

"Ah," I said. "Suppose it explains the rift-walking, too. And the punch that crushed a thousand bones?"

"Kinetic assimilation. I let them whale on me because it allowed me to collect and store the energy. Then I threw it right back at them."

"Uh-huh." I closed my eyes. God, his healing fingers felt good...a little too good.

"So you didn't even need saving." I gave a dry laugh. It brought back some of the sting, making me flinch.

"Nope." He gave a quick little wriggling tug and worked the slug free. Done with the bullet, his hands traveled to the waistband of my pants. "Gonna have to slide these off so I can get to your knee now."

"Go ahead," I mumbled. I might have cracked the secret to shifting clothes to keep up with a shifting body, but leather panties seemed a bit excessive and bloody complicated, for my line of work, so...I simply did without. At this point I couldn't afford to be very modest about it. He carefully worked the pants off, raising an eyebrow at my nudity, but feigning innocence after the tiniest bit of ogling—which he made sure I saw. He popped my kneecap back into place, and I practically moaned with relief at the sheer drop in agony. His hands went to work, massaging the leg with slow attention, and I couldn't help the sound of pleasure escaping me.

He paused. I glanced up to see a devilish smile on his face. I realized the longer I let him keep this up, the more likely I would simply melt.

"How's that?" he whispered.

I didn't answer. I ran a hand through my hair, exhaling heavily. As it turned out, "that" was amazing.

"Who are you?" I asked. My whole body had started to buzz from his attentions.

"Justin Knight," he replied. "And you aren't going to want to hear this...but I've been scouting you."

I shot up. "What? Are you—are you the guy sending me those letters?"

Without looking up from his work, he gently nudged me down with his right hand. The contact spread more sweet sensation through my chest and shoulders, and I shivered.

"No," he said. "But do I work for the Chimeran Protectorate League. Don't worry. I'm not going to start pitching you when you're lying half-naked on my table and I'm ever-so-expertly working my way into your pants."

I cocked an eyebrow at him. "I hope you mean so you can get to my knee."

"Maybe." His voice dropped to a husky rumble. I shivered again.

"Listen, thank you for helping me with the bullet...and my leg. But I'm not interested in enlisting. I don't want—"

"Sh," he said, kneeling to put a finger to my lips. Sliding between my thighs, he reached out to replace the finger with his lips. Like his hands, his mouth spread that delicious warmth all through me, and without meaning to I pressed back into his kiss.

Then I remembered where we were, and pulled away. "I'm...not sure I'm familiar with this particular method of recruitment."

"I don't want to talk about work." He ran those wonderful hands down my arms. I could tell he'd started to let the healing fade, but even so, his natural touch proved equally welcome. "See, when they asked me to track down the Alleycat, I didn't realize she'd be so damn good-looking. I'll be going a little 'off-book' here."

"The Alleycat?" I asked. "You call me the Alleycat?"

"Uh-huh," he said. "Does it bother you?"

"Sounds mangy."

"I guess," he said. "So, kitten...do you mind if I help you the rest of the way out of those ruined clothes?"

I stared at him. "What brought this on?"

"I get pretty wild over a woman who can keep it together in a scrap like you did. I saw what you did to the thug's hand. And turning into a bear when they cornered you?"

"What choice did I have?"

"I'm scouting you, babe," he reminded me. "I know what you do. You shapeshift into all kinds of predators. Some of them can fly. You didn't bail, though—you stayed, even when you got shot." He smiled. "For me, right?"

"Only because I thought you were hurt!"

"Sure," he said, stroking a hand through my hair. "You stayed, anyway...that's what mattered."

"So now you—"

"Now, since you did get hurt on my account...I'm hoping to make it up to you."

He pressed his lips to mine again. By now, all the pain had gone, and I certainly didn't mind the sensations replacing it.

"You're not going to pitch this recruitment thing at me?" I asked between kisses.

"Not until after I've gotten you to like me, at least," he said. I could hear the smugness. I could also feel the weight of his...conviction. It pressed rather obviously against my thigh. He certainly did want me to like him. A lot.

I gave him the space of another kiss to decide. He slid one hand down my back, cradling me to him, and his tongue slipped into my mouth to dance with my own. He smelled so good—clean soap and pleasant aftershave—and my hips moved with his, ending the debate.

"It's a little bloody here," I whispered.

"No problem," he said. "It's treated. It'll wipe right off. In the meantime, though..."

He circled his arms around my waist and lifted me up. I had to wrap my legs around him to catch myself, and he carried me back into the bedroom. Like the living room, his bedroom had a wide picture window, allowing the lights of the city to stream in. Justin didn't bother turning on any other kind of light. He carried me to the bed and laid me down on a luxurious black comforter, leaning down to kiss me as he slid my top over my head.

"So," he said as his hands moved to my breasts. "What brings you to New York?"

"I thought we weren't going to talk about work," I said.

"I'm not talking about work. I'm getting to know you a little before I have my way with you repeatedly and without mercy. I understand a woman likes a guy to show some interest in her beyond sex, doesn't she?"

"Not me. Not with you."

"Ouch." He chuckled and kissed me again. "My precious ego."

I tightened my legs around him and tangled my fingers in his hair. I didn't care for small talk or meaningless chatter. His glorious touch had started my motor running, that was all. Given my failed hunt, the gunshot wound, the embarrassment of being rescued by him instead of the other way around, I could stand to end the evening with something more pleasant. It'd help soothe my aching ego, for sure.

"All right, then." He pulled away to strip off his own t-shirt. "My kinda gal."

I did my best to help him out of his jeans, tugging at them with my toes as he undid them. Apparently he didn't care for undergarments either. The corners of my mouth turned up at the sight of his erection standing up from coarse, dark hair.

"I do love a man with a demanding cock," I murmured.

"Good," he said. "Because I love a woman who can live up to the demand."

He planted one hand on my hip and with the other guided himself to rub against me. I arched to accept him, sighing.

"Need me to grab a rubber?" he rumbled. I shook my head. One absolutely terrific thing about being a chimera: we're highly resistant to almost all common human infections or viruses. As for other concerns regarding safe sex...

"I'm covered," I whispered.

"Such a pretty pussy," he teased, rubbing the pad of his thumb in a circle around my clitoris. The glow of the city framed him in warm orange light. I moaned softly in pleasure, rolling to his hand, making him chuckle under his breath. "Oh, you like it, kitten?"

"Stop with the cat jokes," I groaned. "My name is Brooke."

"I think I'll stick with kitten," he said, pressing himself closer, rubbing his cock sensuously against my pussy. "Since we're being all impersonal."

"Uhn," I murmured, basking in the sensation of his flesh against mine. "Oh, yes..."

He guided himself into me, sliding in slow and sweet. I wriggled and moaned loudly, tightening my legs around him again. Stretching arms over my head, twining fingers in the silky folds of the comforter, I welcomed him.

"Damn," I sighed. We rolled together slowly at first, getting accustomed to each other's bodies. "Oh, I have missed this..."

"Been awhile?" he drawled. Again, the urge to smack the smirk off his face. He slid in to the hilt then, his hands firm on my hips, and the swell of delight made me quiver from head to toe.

"A bit," I gasped. "A little too busy lately for play dates."

"Oh? How so?"

I opened one eye and glowered at him. "If you and your boss have been scouting me, you already have an answer, don't you?"

"I guess I do," he said. His words were distracted; he tormented me with languid, patient movements, giving me his beautiful hardness inch by terrific inch, as I lifted my hips to meet him, feeling the delicious friction of his head against that perfect spot. My tail swept wide arcs over the edge of the bed. Damn, he knew his way around a set of hips. He'd withdraw a fraction quicker than he'd entered and I'd groan, my loins bereft and yearning to be filled again.

"Oh," I sighed. "God..."

"Feel good?" he rasped.

"Hot damn, does it ever."

"You know, you have got the most gorgeous little set of tits..."

I arched and undulated with him. When I moved so, pressing my breasts to the sky, they almost disappeared. I didn't have the curviest curves, but slim breasts and hips, all lean lines. An acrobat's figure. I gasped as he leaned in over me, sinking deeper inside of me, and slid big, hot hands over my chest and down either side of my ribcage. He lifted my upper body up to take my peaked pink nipples into his mouth. When he seized first one, then the other between his lips, I gave a long, anguished cry and sank my fingers into his hair, holding him close. My breasts were tender to the point of aching, my body overwhelmed by my unexpected arousal, greedy for him everywhere. As his hot tongue dragged across each tip, a sharp throb of beautiful pain and yearning beat in time with my heart.

"Please," I whispered. "Do it...I need it..."

"Oh, do you?" He straightened, gripping my waist once more, sliding hands down my figure until he had a commanding grip of me. He thrust hard, in one smooth, demanding motion. It almost brought tears to my eyes, and I let out a long, lusty cry, arching my back so I practically bowed up off the bed. He wasn't slow anymore, but held me firmly to him as he found a heavy, needing rhythm, driving deep, grinding with delicious fervor. Each stroke nudged me higher, filling my hungry heat. My tail lashed wildly with pleasure.

"You like it hard, Cat?"

"Brooke," I corrected him, but my eager moan gave him answer enough. He lunged over me, planting one palm flat on the bed beside me while the other kept hold of my hip, and I gasped, hitching my legs a little higher on his body as he seemed to sink even deeper, reaching my core, igniting a voracious pleasure.

"Yes," I gasped, undulating. His fingers dug into me; I crossed my arms around his neck and sank my nails into his shoulders, clinging, wanting so desperately to come. Each thrust brought me closer, drove my body higher and higher—the climb was agonizing, and oh-so-beautiful. "Yes—oh, I can feel it...God, don't stop—"

"Fuck," he bit out. "Christ, you're hot, kitten. I wanna hear you...gonna make you scream—"

Hell, yeah, he was. I writhed. My legs shook; I rounded against him, lifting myself off the bed to pull my whole length to his, panting into his ear. "Yes," I huffed with every beat of our bodies together. "Yes...fuck, yes...Ohhhh..."

"Come, Alleycat," he urged me, his voice tight. "Come for me—come hard—"

I cried out as my body rioted, a wave of high, wonderful ecstasy surging through me. I sank my teeth into his shoulder, tail curling close, and now he arched, pinning me to the damp silk of the bed-cover, sinking in to the very hilt. I felt the swell of his cock as he came, pumping into me, and he held me there, arching and moaning as my pussy seized around his shaft and he pulsed deep inside me.

"Yes!" I gasped again. "Oh, sweet, holy hell, yes!"

He heaved against me, his breath hot and damp at my throat. The blissful contractions between us crested and faded, and the weight and shape of him, lying on top of me, became strangely reassuring as we lay in the dark, breathing hard. The sticky, wet heat of our combined orgasms trickled down my thighs to the cover beneath us, making me squirm with shameful but wicked delight.

Presently, Justin propped himself up on his elbows, grinning down at me. "So," he said conversationally. "Thanks for the save out there."

I let out a hard, gasping laugh. Pushing him off of me, I rolled onto my stomach and stretched.

"Whoops, not yet, Alleycat." He climbed onto me, straddling my hips. I turned to eye him but then his big, warm palms closed on my shoulders—and he began kneading tight muscles.

"Oh," I murmured, melting away. His thumbs pressed into the back of my neck and I started purring.

"Whoa!" He let out a laugh, startled. "You actually purr?"

"Yes," I muttered. "What, your intel didn't tell you? I exhibit many characteristics of my beast forms."

I flicked my tail, swatting him on the back to make my point. He laughed again and went back to his massage.

"We haven't got as much intel as you think," he said. "When Nez noticed you in the slums, taking out gang members, he recommended you to the leadership. Not much to find out about you, though."

He couldn't see the doubtful expression on my face. I let him go on.

"We know you were a child soldier," he said. "Part of a radical group, trained from before your powers developed. Easier to pull in kids who are manifest chimeras. You defected, though...which is why I'm guessing you don't like the idea of signing up with us. We're not a militia, Brooke."

"I'm not interested," I said flatly.

"You're protecting your sisters," he continued. "Two gals who defected with you."

"You're not reassuring me any," I said. "The way you've gathered all this information on me. And them."

"Your sisters are masked chimeras. They can get along in normal society without being detected. We have no interest in disturbing them if all they want is to live normal lives. You, though...you don't have the same luxury."

"Sounds exactly like you're recruiting me into a militia," I muttered with a bit of a growl.

What he said next, though, surprised me.

"The Chimeran Protectorate League is a public entity. We don't hide. We're not planning any sort of overthrow. We mean to keep our kind safe. For manifest chimeras like you, protections are imperative."

"And you want me to sign up to fight for such protections."

"What exactly is it you're doing with your free time now?"

He moved his kneading down my back, and leaned in to kiss the back of my neck. Damn, he was good. Keeping me at ease so I didn't bolt.

"You would be safe," he whispered. "We have a facility. Fully equipped housing. Medical needs would be covered."

Workman's comp? I raised an eyebrow.

"You would be expected to help around the house," he said, moving his kiss a little lower. "Work with us in ensuring chimeran freedom and peace...but it doesn't have to be fighting. You can work with the hospital staff, lobby for us in government..."

"You'd want a manifest chimera in front of Congress?"

"Absolutely. Could use someone with obvious earmarks. Put a face to the ones most affected by violence." He slid back over my buttocks to sit on my thighs. His next kisses traveled down the line of my spine. "Of course," he murmured. "I think you are a fighter, through and through."

"I'm not interested," I repeated.

"Well," he said. "I'm not giving up."

"I'll bet you aren't," I muttered in annoyance. I moved to brush him off of me, ready to leave. He took the gesture and rolled with me instead, laying me on my side, his lips finding my neck and his hands closing over my breasts.

"Oh, kitten," he whispered. "You have no idea how persistent I intend to be."

"I said—"

He pressed his hips against me, and the firm shape of his renewed erection was impossible to ignore. My protest became a soft groan.

"So... persistent..." He continued to kiss my neck as one hand slipped between my thighs and raised my leg. His cock slid against my still-wet entrance, sending a fresh thrill through my body.

"Just because I fucked you," I muttered, "doesn't mean I'm signing up with you."

I did move with him, though. I couldn't help it—he felt so good.

"Fine, fine," he relented. "I give up. You win."

"Yeah, right," I said. He tilted my face towards him, though, and kissed me. At the same time, he reached down to guide his cock back into my yearning pussy.

I moaned into the kiss, tilting myself to accept him. He teased me, prodding me at first, letting his turgid head run back and forth across my opening, until he drew back and then glided all the way in, and I twisted from delight. He propped one of his own legs up and I rested mine on his, opening up for him fully. He dropped his hand to my clit and teased it with the pads of two fingers.

"Yes, do that," I breathed. He kissed me over and over as he drew in and out. His other hand palmed my breast—then without warning, he tweaked my tender nipple and I cried out. "Hey!"

He chuckled against my neck, then pressed his lips to me again and again. Meanwhile, he continued to tug at the sensitive peak, making me squirm as sore pleasure bloomed.

After a few short moments, he set himself in and began rocking harder against me. Each thrust stroked right over the thrilling hot spot just inside my pussy, building to a sure climax. After my first orgasm, though, this one came slowly, and it left me to savor each delicious movement, the sensation of his hot, rigid cock driving into me.

I raised my own hand up, over my head, to grasp him by the hair. He bit at my throat, gripping hard before releasing me from the beautiful pain and kissing the flushed skin over and over, then biting again. As he climbed higher towards his own climax, his thrusts coming harder and faster, he nipped the pointed tip of my ear and I yelped. I loved it—oh, how he made my body quake.

"Say you want it," he teased me, plunging deep.

"I do," I whispered desperately. So hard to return his movements in this position. His hands on my tit and my clit held me helpless; all I could do was submit, prisoner in his arms, as he gratified my deep longing.

"Want it in you?" he whispered. I nodded frantically.

"Feels...so good..."

Better than good. He stirred a new sensation in me, something electric and frightening in its impending joy. It overwhelmed me—I wasn't sure I could contain it.

"Say it again," he demanded. "Say you want me to come deep inside you. Tell me how much you want it."

My brain spun with giddy, drunken pleasure. "Fuck, you bastard! Yes, I want it! I want you to come in me, come inside me right now."

"Bet I can make you come like you've never come before, kitten," he said. His fingers strummed my clit and I wriggled.

"Oh, yeah...I feel it," he taunted. "You're gonna come all over the place, baby. I'm gonna make you gush. Feel it? Oh, I think—"

My hands flew to my pussy; he snatched them away and pulled out of me, and I cried out as the first jet of wet cum burst from me, incredible and shamefully good. My legs spasmed to fly together, but he kept them apart, and I came again, and again, soaking the sheets.

"Holy fuck," I gasped. I hardly had time to register what he'd done to me before he plunged back inside of me, pounding this time, ratcheting up the rhythm so hard he made me come a third time, now hard and almost painful, moaning stupidly with too much unbelievable climax.

He pumped himself to a hot, hard climax, groaning loudly as he came, flooding me with his seed. He held there as the surging rhythm of his orgasm hit its peak, then began to fade. When he at last withdrew, I collapsed against the sheets.

"God," I finally managed. I shook all over, my legs so weak I didn't believe I'd be able to stand for quite some time.

He leaned on one elbow and beamed at me. As he trailed his fingers down my skin, I jumped and shrank from his touch. "Too much! Oh, goddamn... Too...much..."

"I like you, kitten," he said. He bent to kiss my earlobe. "Now, are you absolutely sure I can't convince you to at least come in and meet the leadership?"

"No!" I groaned. "I told you I'm not interested, no matter how many times you..." I sighed again, out of breath and trembling with delight. "...make me...come..."

"Aw, poor thing," he cooed. He stood and scooped me into his arms. "I've worn you out. What you need is a good, hot shower. Afterwards, we can talk a little more."

"No more talking," I told him. "I'm not signing up."

He grinned through the darkness and winked at me.

"Oh, honey," he promised. "You really, really underestimate how stubborn I can be."


Three nights later—after I finally stopped shivering at random intervals, recalling the wild decadence of my run-in with Justin Knight—I took again to the streets, ready to pick up my nightly routine. My sisters had noticed the lapse in my schedule and started wondering, so I hustled back to it to avoid their questions. I moved from rooftop to rooftop, looking for my usual friends: the street thugs, muggers, and gang members skulking about below for easy prey.

I crouched at the edge of a rooftop, tail swishing back and forth, peering down into an alleyway, when his familiar voice behind me sent shivers down my neck.

"Hey there, kitten."

I spun to see him. He leaned against the building's rooftop access, arms crossed over his chest and smiling his stupid, smug, winning smile.

"Can we...talk?"

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