How Not to Date a Changeling by Stephanie Burke

How Not to Date a Changeling by Stephanie Burke

How Not to Date a Changeling

How Not to Date, Book 8
by Stephanie Burke

Changeling Press

eBook ISBN: 06461-02077

Lieutenant Colonel Taylor Martin only wants a place to rest and recover from his injuries in Afghanistan. But an eerie screaming filling the night makes him weary and curious. The one thing the ex Marine can’t abide is a mystery.

Cordelia Snow is a writer — and a changeling — and doesn’t have time for foolish mortals. But when Taylor tries to win her trust with chocolate and baked goods, she can’t resist the tall Marine with the bad limp.

But now that she has him, has shared her own dark past and learned of his own, shared the sensual delights and mysteries of their bodies, how can she ever give him up?

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Chapter One

“What the fuck?”
Taylor Martin nearly jumped out of his skin as a wail that could only be described as banshee-like penetrated the walls of his new home. The glass of Riesling he’d just poured cascaded over his fingers as he tried to control his shaking hands. “Alcohol abuse,” he murmured sadly, staring at the puddle of rich, sweet wine at his feet.
But the siren screech of a wail sounded again, and Taylor found himself turning to face the kitchen window. Was somebody murdering cats? Herding peacocks? What the fuck?
He grabbed a dishtowel to mop up the spill and winced as the odd sound echoed again. He rose to his feet and made his way to the kitchen window, watching as a mass of night birds took flight away from the darkened house next door as another wail sounded out.
The three-story monstrosity was painted a sedate dark green. There were no gardens to speak of, but the lush, green lawn was well maintained, the circular drive solid and practical.
Taylor, an ex-soldier by trade and now a photographer out of necessity, had been more than stunned to find such a great deal on his own two-story Hudson Bay home. He was beginning to understand why the house had gone up for a short sale.
One more wail sounded, this one not as intense as the others, and then total silence fell.
Shaking his head at his rotten luck, Taylor poured one more glass of wine and retreated to his master bath, where a tub of hot steaming water waited. It was one of the few treats he had promised himself when he landed stateside. Now that the wailing seemed to be over for the night, he was going to take advantage.
He placed his sweet wine on a small table next to the tub and shimmied out of his sweatpants. As he undressed, he looked down at the scars criss-crossing his body and wrinkled his nose at the sight. He was damn lucky he could walk, he reasoned, staring down at the keloidal scars that covered his legs and hips. He reached down and tugged at the soft skin of his testicles, knowing one of them was a prosthetic.
Shaking off his increasingly depressing thoughts, he settled himself into the tub, sighing as the heat permeated his skin. He felt his muscles relax as he settled back. He closed his eyes and gripped his dick. Erections for him were few and far between, some of it having to do with pain, some with the meds he was on, and some of it just pure depression.
But tonight — tonight was one of the good nights. With the wine warming his blood and the hot water seeping into his muscles, it was time for a little self-healing.
He closed his eyes and sank deeper into the tub, the lapping hot water creating tingles over his skin and a twisting in his stomach. His balls churned as blood filled his dick, his stroking hand helping it along.
He inhaled deeply, breathing in the steam and the scents of growing lust as he tightened his fist and ran his thumb over the plum-colored head of his cock.
Taylor had a pretty cock. He knew it, and several ex-lovers had commented on his favorite body part. It was thick but not veiny and a solid tan color from the base to the start of his head. Other men he had seen had a round ring around their dicks marking where they had been cut as children, but his scar was so thin it was barely noticeable.
His cock curved gently upward, something the women in his bed seemed to enjoy greatly when he found their g-spot and rode it like a cowboy. The gentle widening of his shaft convinced more than one woman to turn over and give anal a try.
Taylor was so happy to see it full, stiff, and radiating need that he could almost cry. Instead he took a firmer grip and slowly stroked the shaft again, his thumb rubbing a clear bead of precum around the soft skin of its head.
He groaned, allowing himself the pleasure of making the noise, letting it tighten his muscles as the sound added to his need. Yeah, he was home alone and mastering his domain. No one could say a damn thing about it, and if they had opinions, they had better keep them to themselves. Nothing was going to harm his rush.
He pumped his fist a little faster, biting his bottom lip as pleasure coiled in his stomach. His knees began to shake and his ass tightened on the next stroke.
“So good,” he moaned, clenching his teeth as a shaft of pure heat tightened his nipples and shot straight to his cock, making it throb harder. “Mmm.”
As he stroked, his hips began to thrust upwards, splashing and churning the water around him, but he paid it no heed. His balls were slowly drawing up, and his toes were curling.
It was perfect, and it was hot and it was so very wet. His fist was pounding now. His free hand went below the water to cup his balls, rolling them gently as he spread his thighs as far as he could within the confines of the tub.
Right now, his body was a sexual machine. With no scarring or pain to hinder him, he let his mind drift. God, to sink into some dusky-skinned beauty… to feel her legs wrap around his waist as her nails dug into his shoulders… And her voice, it would be deep and dark, filled with lust as she gasped his name.
Yeah, he could picture his dark-haired lover, her hips jerking up into each of his thrusts, her breasts bobbing wildly as he loomed over her, pounding her as hard as he could. He’d have her begging for more.
He grunted as white lights began to explode behind his eyes and fire shot down his spine.
She would be screaming now, yelling as her tight pussy clenched around him, milking him hard, her nails digging into his ass…
His hand slipped off his balls and sank farther back, caressing his ass, stroking the sensitive skin there and sending his hips slamming upwards.
“God, yeah,” he hissed, his eyes squeezing tightly shut as his balls slammed against the base of his dick and his dick swelled to its fullest.
Then he was shooting, spraying his load over the water and up onto his stomach, gasping as his body flooded him with hormones and made him shake as it was attacked with pleasure. He felt a shaft of pain in his left knee, but it all blended with the pleasure running over his body, making his blood sing and leaving him limp as a used dishrag.
“Oh, yeah,” he moaned as his body shook in aftershocks, as the still-hot water cradled him gently.
He loosened the grip on his dick, enjoying the lingering spasms of his orgasm. His other hand left his ass to softly pet his stomach, playing with the sticky seed that the water had not yet washed away.
He would have to change the water… but in a moment. Right now, he was too relaxed and —
“Sweet baby Jesus!” The wail returned, even louder, before it trailed off slowly and silence descended once more.
* * *
There would be no more nights like the last one. The next morning, Taylor mentally girded his loins and set out for the huge house on the slight hill next door. He was going to find out what was going on over there — satanic rituals, animal sacrifice… Whatever was making that god-awful racket in the night, he was going to find out what was going on, and he was going to politely try to put a stop to it.
No sooner had he placed his feet on the path to his loudly obnoxious neighbor’s house than a voice called out to him. “Sir? Oh, sir!”
He turned to see a small elderly lady, lavender hair tinted the same color as the toy poodle she had on a leash, gesturing desperately to him. “Sir, don’t do that.”
“Excuse me?” he asked, moving off the path toward her. “Don’t do what?”
“Go over there with that crazy woman.” She tilted her head in the direction of the house.
Taylor looked toward the property that had the elderly woman agitated. It looked just like any other house on the block, albeit a bit larger. It was a Colonial-style home with a rounded turret on one side and a peaked roof covered in copper. The front wrap-around porch sported several large, tropical flowers. The lawn was well maintained and the walk up was made out of stone. It looked like any normal house in this nearly suburban neighborhood in Baltimore City.
“Crazy woman?” Well, this was a new feature he wasn’t expecting when he’d bought his home — busybody neighbors.
“Oh, yeah.” She nodded, and absently he noted that she looked amazingly like her poodle, both of them nodding in the bright morning sunshine. “Crazy.” She gave one extra hard nod as if to prove her point.
“Um… How so, Miss…”
“Oh, my manners,” she stammered before offering him a big, dentured smile. “Abigail Winthrop, but people around here call me Miss Winnie.”
“Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Winnie.” He reached for the tiny, wrinkled hand she extended and placed a gentle kiss on her soft knuckles.
“Oh, my,” she tittered, pressing her hand to her chest as soon as he released it. “Such manners. You don’t see that in a lot of young people nowadays.”
“If thirty-two could be considered young,” he muttered softly, to the sweet-looking old lady in the floral-printed housedress. “Now, Miss Winnie,” he continued, “what can I do for you?”
“Oh, dear,” she tittered. “Young man, don’t go to that house.”
This was unique. Had the crazed owners been doing something to the neighborhood?
“Why?” Curiosity was moving him big time.
“Because that bat-shit crazy bitch will kill you, that’s why.”
Taylor had to stare for a moment. There was nothing else he could do upon hearing that. He blinked and looked down. Yes, still a sweet-looking old lady, but her mouth…
“Bat… shit?”
“Are you deaf? I said bat-shit crazy.”
“Well –”
“There are freaky things going on in that house.” Her sweet little granny voice dropped low as she stared intently at him. “Have been for years, ever since she moved into that place.”
“She?”
“Cordelia Snow. Some kind of writer, never leaves the house.”
“Then how do you know she’s crazy?”
“Are you disrespecting an old lady?” She cut her eyes toward him, and Taylor took a tactical step back.
“No, ma’am.”
“Then you had better do what I say and leave that crazy woman alone. But you aren’t going to listen to me, are you?” She glared at him, and Taylor swore he could feel the dog giving him an identical stare. “Some people,” she continued haughtily, “don’t know that shit stinks until they are neck deep in it.”
Taylor didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
“Go on, then. Go up there and see the crazy woman. And if it goes bad for you, well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.”
With a sniff, Miss Winnie turned on her slippered heel and strolled off, her color-coordinated poodle following along behind.
“Just where did I move to?” Taylor muttered to himself before turning back toward the house with the aforementioned bat-shit crazy lady. “This place is turning out to be some weird version of Scooby-Doo.”
It took mere seconds for him to make his way up the three steps to his neighbor’s front door, and before he could give the strange warning any more thought, he found himself knocking firmly.
He politely stepped back, waiting for… nothing.
Frowning, he advanced again and knocked once more only to wait in vain. Either there was no one home or his neighbor refused to answer his knock.
Shrugging, he turned and made his way back home. He had a lot of unpacking still left to do, and he could always try again later.
Unbeknownst to him, a pair of glowing yellow eyes glared through an abandoned-looking third-floor window… And they appeared to be anything but pleasant.

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