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Rookery Cove Volume 2

Rookery Cove Volume 2
by Stephanie Burke, Kira Stone, Michele Bardsley, and Jade Buchanan

Changeling Press

eBook BIN: 06018-01931

The Darkness by Stephanie Burke
Nothing will stop this Master from claiming his submissive, not even the Darkness that haunts them.

Monster Mash by Kira Stone
To advertise a new love potion, an incubus shares a cup with the Dark Elf who created it and learns how well it works.

Faun of a Time by Jade Buchanan
A search for the lost turns frolicking in the forest into a sexual conquest where both parties win.

Make Mine a Double by Michele Bardsley
No dragon can resist a jewel — even if the jewel finds two of them and wants them both.

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Chapter One
Faun of a Time by Jade Buchanan

“What do you mean, you lost her?” Mitch Whelan thought his words were very reasonable. Judging from the terrified expression on the face of the male in front of him — and the overpowering scent of fear filling the small lab — he hadn’t quite mastered the art of sounding reasonable.
Maybe it was the claws he couldn’t prevent from releasing. Or the throaty growl he’d been unable to hold in. Whatever.
Mitch shrugged, attempting to relax. The male looked like he was about ten seconds from pissing his pants. Wrinkling his nose at the acrid scent of urine — and the spreading stain on the front of Kro’s pants — he silently cursed himself and revised his ten second estimate. Mitch really did know better than to let his wolf out in front of people who were more accustomed to bean counters and diligent lab rats. Seriously, he did.
He just couldn’t understand how someone could lose a pixie. Sure, they were small, and yeah, they were known to be tricky, especially if you weren’t used to them. FYI, pixies lie… a lot.
But really, the workers in the QA lab should be used to the pixies by now. They’d been working with them for about three months. Just enough time to figure out how to deal with them.
Cracking his knuckles — and envisioning tearing Kro apart, piece by piece — Mitch turned his back, dismissing the male. He had to do everything himself. “Never mind. Which way did she go?” He said the last over his shoulder, pacing away. Kro could just damn well keep up if he wanted to keep his job and his head.
The horny little toad — literally — hop-skipped after Mitch, babbling frantically. “I’m not sure which way she went. I mean, she was headed for the forest, but you know how pixies are. She could be halfway to the mainland by now. I mean, she might have just decided to take off for good. That’s what she said she was going to do. Something about not getting paid enough. I mean, we all know she isn’t really getting paid to do this work. But she claimed she wasn’t going to sit around and let all the addle-brained, twelve-toed, muscle-hopped male pixies have at her like she was some kind of breeding machine. She isn’t going to get pregnant. I know as well as you that we inoculated all the pixies in the control group to make sure nothing happened to them, but –”
“Shut up!”
Ignoring the crash behind him, Mitch rubbed the bridge of his nose. “They don’t pay me enough to deal with this kind of crap. I had a real job before coming to the island, I really did. Sure, I didn’t want to stick around because I had no intention of breeding any of the bitches in my pack, but I never had to deal with things like this. Zwiffle is going to get his ass kicked next time I see him, I swear.”
“Boss? You talking to me?” Kro ran beside him, the only way his shorter stride could keep up with Mitch’s.
“Did it look like I was talking to you?”
“Well, I really wasn’t sure. I mean, you were –”
“Stop. Just point me in the right direction and I’ll take care of it.”
Kro pointed to the left, remaining silent.
“Keep an eye on the others. If I come back and find someone else missing, I’ll be forced to write up a fucking incident report to explain the toad remains splattered all over the wall of the lab. Trust me, you don’t want that to happen. I hate paperwork. Understood?”
Kro’s gulp was audible, followed by a frightened croak.
“Fucking toads.” Mitch shook his head. “They don’t pay me enough to deal with this.”
* * *
Corin Róg stood still, watching the ship sail out. He wondered where it was going. He’d asked Bernie once, and he talked about how the ship would meet up with another from the mainland, shipping the toys and such from the manufacturing plant on the island out to the head office in Halifax. It all sounded fascinating. So many lives interconnecting, all the different threads winding together until you couldn’t separate one from the other. Sometimes he wished he could go with them. It’d be nice to see something else, experience another lifestyle.
He shook his head. That would never happen, but he was okay with it. “Face it, Cor, this is your life. It’s not that bad, is it?”
He liked it here, really he did. Sure, sometimes he wondered what others did. But, it wasn’t as if he was alone. He got to visit with Bernie all the time, and sometimes Airk would come and visit him. Bernie lived in a cottage away from everyone else. Airk told him once there were rumors about Bernie being the old owner of Rookery Cove Aphrodisiacs but Bernie wouldn’t talk about it. He sure didn’t look like Airk or Corin, though. He didn’t have fur or feathers or anything.
Corin liked the bird man, he always told the best stories. Not as good as Bernie’s, of course, but pretty good all in all. Although, he didn’t visit nearly as often since he mated with Baen and Gavin. Airk was pretty important on the island. You could see him flying overhead often, making his rounds and keeping an eye on everything. He took care of the environment, and Corin reported directly to him.
Airk’s one mate, Baen, lived in the water but Corin had never met him personally. Baen was different from both Bernie and Airk. His body looked like water and he was even blue. Corin had seen him from a distance, although he’d never gotten up the courage to go speak to him directly. For awhile there Airk wasn’t speaking to him, and Corin didn’t want to upset his friend. Although, things changed when they met Gavin.
Gavin was human, and had only come to the island to work on a problem they’d been having in the breakwater. Airk couldn’t stop talking about him after he first met him. Corin was happy they found each other, really he was. Sometimes, he just wished he had someone like that in his life. Airk was so happy.
“What are you doing out here, little one?”
“Bernie!”
Corin turned, spying his friend sitting on a rock behind him. He paced forward, kneeling in the foliage at Bernie’s feet. Bernie reached out, roughing up Corin’s hair, and stroking one horn before letting his hand drop to his side. Corin giggled, tilting his head to the side.
“Aren’t you supposed to be working right now, Corin?”
Corin laughed again, a bright and cheerful sound. “I’m taking a break. Airk told me I was supposed to take a break every few hours. Said that’s what the workers do to keep from getting too tired and overworked.”
Bernie sighed, frowning. “I wish you’d stop asking Airk about the workers. They don’t do the same things you do, I already told you that. Besides, it’s best not to get too concerned with them. You’re unlikely ever to meet any of them. They don’t come over this way, and you’re never near the main complex.”
Tilting his head to the other side, Corin studied his friend. He’d never understood why Bernie didn’t want him around the others. He didn’t mind not having a lot of friends, but he admitted — if only to himself — that it made him curious to know why Bernie didn’t want him to mingle with the rest of the Rookery Cove Aphrodisiacs staff. He probably wouldn’t have anything in common with them anyway. It’s not like they were his kind. He’d asked Airk once and he’d admitted there weren’t any other fauns around. It was too bad, really. Corin would have liked to play with others like him.
“It doesn’t matter, Bernie. Don’t worry about it. I was just curious, that’s all.”
“Some day your curiosity is going to get you in trouble, little one. Mark my words.”
Corin wrinkled his nose. “I should get back to work. Essie’s building a new nest, and she needs more Virgin’s bower. I promised her I’d get some.”
“I don’t even want to know what Virgin’s bower is.”
“Bernie! It’s Clematis, of course. A plant.” Corin giggled, standing up. “I’ll see you later.”
“Be careful, Corin. I have a bad feeling about the forest today.”
“Oh, pish, Bernie. Nothing’s going to happen. You’ll see. It’s just like any other day.”
Ignoring the frown on Bernie’s face, Corin started to skip away. Bernie’s last words were so faint, he almost didn’t hear them.
“Don’t be so sure, little one. Don’t be so sure.”

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