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A Shadow Of Wings

A Shadow Of Wings
linda gayle's a shadow of wings rainbow award finalist Publisher: Linda Gayle
Release date: February 17, 2013
© Linda Gayle
Cover by Angie Waters

Thrown out on the street by his homophobic stepfather, Dylan struggles to get his life together. Years of being used and abused have left him tough and determined to make it on his own. When he sees a dog getting beaten, his protective instincts drive him to rescue her. But as the attackers turn on Dylan, out of the shadows comes a hero. One with mysterious eyes and a shy sensuality Dylan can’t resist.

Cam Coburn can’t reveal his true identity to the man he rescues. Nor can he reveal that he’s a freak among freaks, a cockatrice shifter with an unwanted gift for seeking out conflict rather than treasure. Newly independent from his mentor, Cam sees in Dylan his first chance to test the limits of his human guise. Defying every rule, Cam succumbs to Dylan’s seduction for just one night. But Cam finds he can’t let his lover go, and Dylan breaks down every barrier. For he is the one human who can gaze in a cockatrice’s eyes without fear.

Yet even as their bond deepens, danger closes in on them from all sides, and Cam’s dark secrets may save them—or lead to their destruction.



"Do you…need anything?" Cam asked when Dylan hesitated. He sounded a little breathless. His hair hung in a black hank over his furrowed brow, and he'd crossed his arms over his chest and tucked his hands into his pits as if holding himself back from touching. This pleased Dylan for some perverse reason. Yeah, he was feeling a more than a little perverted right about now.

"Got an extra toothbrush? My mouth tastes like beer and blood."

"Yes, of course." Cam pulled open a drawer to Dylan's left. Dylan didn't move, which meant Cam had to nudge the drawer into his thigh. Cam bit his lower lip, and his breathing seemed to be coming short. He handed Dylan the toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste.

While his savior stood by, Dylan brushed vigorously, gargled, spat, wiped his mouth on his shirt. Uh, much, much better. Hovering by his elbow, Cam handed him the towel to use instead. Was he going to stand there while he showered too? Would Dylan mind if he did? Why, not at all. He pulled up his lip and peered at the chipped tooth in the mirror. It didn't look as bad as it felt with his tongue, but wasn't that always the way with teeth?

"You're…" Cam had to clear his throat to continue. "You're going to have a bruise on your back. They kicked you pretty hard."

Dylan twisted around, not too subtly in a way that would flex his muscles, and got a shot of pain for his effort. The twist pinched his sore ribs, but nothing felt busted. "Eh, it's not so bad. Good thing you came along when you did, Jackie Chan." He grinned, and Cam honest-to-God blushed. A modest ninja virgin. How sheltered could a guy be?

Too sheltered to be corrupted for favors. Staring at him, Dylan knew he couldn't carry through with his plan. He couldn't use sex to get Cam to feed him, house him… He took a step forward, intending to nudge Cam back into the bedroom so he could shut the door. And then he spied the bed. The big, fluffy, comfortable bed. Plenty big enough for two. Dylan slept now in an old sleeping bag on a cheap air mattress. A shudder racked his aching body, reminding him what a night in that bed could do for him.

And there Cam stood, dark eyes big and brown and vulnerable and needy. And downcast. Nearly submissive in a way that made Dylan's blood heat. The key to Dylan's comfort.

What was one night? Just one night.

Of course, nice guy that he was, Cam would probably let him sleep in the bed if Dylan just asked. But Dylan sensed, with that same instinct he had with animals, that Cam had a need. He hurt deep inside. The way he jumped and shuffled, like a whipped puppy. It wasn't right. Okay, so Dylan couldn't quite convince himself he deserved sainthood, but maybe he had something to offer Cam.

He paused a couple inches from his host, who stared at Dylan's feet, as seemed to be his usual. "Cam," Dylan murmured.

"Mm-hm." Cam's gaze rose as far as Dylan's throat.

Gently, slowly, Dylan trailed the back of one finger up Cam's chest to his chin and nudged Cam's face up. "Why don't you look at me when I talk to you?" He kept his voice low and soothing, as if he was calming a frightened pup.

Cam's black eyebrows came down. He tried to pull away, but with no effort at all, Dylan stilled him by putting his fingers alongside his jaw.

"Are you shy? I won't hurt you."

"I…I know that. It's just…my eyes…are weird. Some people don't like them."

Tipping his head down, he tried to catch Cam's gaze. "I think they're beautiful."

He felt Cam flinch against his fingertips. For fuck's sake, maybe this kid had been abused. Dylan's chest constricted, and a whole other part of his psyche kicked into gear. An angry, defensive part. If there was one thing Dylan couldn't fucking stand, it was abuse.

He stroked the backs of his fingers over Cam's cheek and down the side of his throat. Cam's pulse raced there. For the first time, Dylan noticed a thick gold chain hanging around Cam's neck, hidden by his T-shirt. "How old are you?" he asked.


"Let me see your eyes." He opened his hand and brushed his fingers over Cam's chest.

Cam swallowed visibly, his Adam's apple bobbing. His mouth tightened and twisted, and he shook his head.

Dylan's heart beat heavily, almost in sympathy to Cam's racing one, and he edged closer still, never stopping his stroking, raising his fingers to touch Cam's cheek again. "Close 'em, then. I want to see your face."

Cam did with a sigh. What had happened to this kid? Dylan knew loneliness when he saw it, the way he knew his own face when he saw it reflected back at him. He brushed the soft hair from Cam's forehead, then leaned forward and pressed his lips just above Cam's right eyebrow.

Cam trembled. Dylan pressed his fingers to his eyelids. "Shh. Keep your eyes closed."

A little whimper escaped Cam's throat. Dylan wanted to whimper too. His dick was like iron, the head pushing at the waist of his low-hanging jeans. His hips gave a jerk, his dick aching in sympathy with Cam's, which looked wicked hard beneath his jeans. Cam's eyelashes fluttered against Dylan's fingertips. He removed his fingers and replaced them with his lips, a butterfly kiss to Cam's right eyelid first, then his left, using a tiny bit of tongue, wetting those fluttering lashes.

Cam's lips parted. His breath came fast.

"Is this okay?" Dylan moved his head down to whisper the words into Cam's ear. He drew his scratchy cheek over Cam's smooth one and was rewarded when Cam leaned into him.

"Yeah," Cam breathed, a world of want in that one little word.

Dylan put his fingertips back on Cam's eyelids, felt his eyes moving beneath as if Cam were deep in a dream. He drifted his fingertips down Cam's cheeks, like tears, over his lips, following with his own lips, tasting the hot, rapid breath. Cam trembled all over just at the touch of Dylan's mouth brushing over his.

"Is that all right?" Dylan murmured. Oh fuck, if they didn't move faster, he'd fucking come in his pants. But he wouldn't go faster. Cam needed seducing.

"Mmm," Cam managed. He pulled his hands, finally, out from under his armpits and, eyes still closed, tentatively reached for Dylan. Dylan took his hands and put them on his waist.

"It's okay. You can touch." The feel of Cam's cool, shy hands on his bare skin was possibly the most erotic thing Dylan had ever experienced. Blind by Dylan's command, Cam traced his hands along the sides of Dylan's body, slid over his belly, pushed up his chest, to his face. His fingertips lingered on Dylan's lips. So shy. So sweet. Who was doing the seducing here? Dylan could melt into those hands. He kissed the fingertips, slipped his tongue over them.

"K-kiss me again," Cam whispered.

Dylan reached up and gently grasped Cam's hands, then leaned in and kissed him. Cam didn't respond much, not at first. His lips parted, and he just sort of…breathed Dylan in, then let him play. Dylan ran the tip of his tongue over Cam's lower lip, tasting beer and inexperience, then sucked on it a little. Cam's fingers flexed and tightened, interlaced with Dylan's. Then Cam tilted his head, and Dylan slipped his tongue into his mouth.

Cam leaned into him with a groan starting low in his chest. Without his hands, all Cam could do was focus on kissing, which was what Dylan intended. Dylan put everything into that kiss, making it sweet, seductive, slow, just enough sloppy-wet to get Cam thinking about other sloppy-wet things they could do together.

With a sharp inward gasp, Cam drew back and opened his eyes. They were gorgeous, bleary, glazed with lust, just the way Dylan liked 'em. He couldn't help a smug little grin. "Beautiful," Dylan murmured.

That seemed to remind Cam about his weird personal no-looking rule, and he tried to duck away, but with their twined hands, Dylan caught him under the chin. "It's okay. There's nothing wrong with your eyes."

"They don't…" He swallowed hard. "They don't frighten you?"

Surprised, Dylan blinked and looked into them. They seemed like perfectly serviceable, pretty green-brown eyes, shot through with gold, fringed with long dark lashes. The gold had a nice glow to it, like fireflies flirting in summer bushes, and the green was lush as late July grass. Like the kind he'd lie down in when he was a kid. Thick and cool, welcoming, safe to sleep in. And the gold was like sunlight glittering on the surface of a pond.

"Dylan?" Cam gave their linked hands a shake, and Dylan snapped to.

Dylan's entire body tingled as if his nerves had started to fall asleep. "Wow. Okay, maybe there is something special about your eyes."

Frowning, Cam dropped his chin immediately. Dylan released one of his hands and cupped his cheek. "I said special. Not scary. Why, what happened to you? Who told you your eyes were freaky?"

"It doesn't matter. I'm…just different."

"We're all different. You know that saying, you are unique, just like everyone else." He put a smile in his voice and was glad when Cam shyly met his gaze again. "I like your eyes. I like your mouth. I want it again." He pressed their bodies together with a low hum. "Give it to me, okay?"




linda gayle's a shadow of wings rainbow award finalist

This book is bloody fantastic. It got me from page one, from first paragraph and didn’t let me go till it ended. What a story, what a great plot and what amazing characters. And saying this was also one hot story, with some very heated scenes, would be the understatement of the year. Damn it, that pair of men had chemistry all over the place and you can feel it run into you while reading it. I loved how the author made it happen between them, the before and the after. Brilliant work indeed, and if there isn’t going to be a sequel for this I’m gonna be really, really disappointed. It has action, suspense, mythical creatures, conspiracy, hot guys and an epic love story. Strongly recommended!”—MM Good Book Reviews on A Shadow of Wings



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