Series: Avian Shifters , Book 2.0
By: Kim Dare | Other books by Kim Dare
Published By: Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Published: Oct 03, 2012
ISBN # 9781607355892
By: Kim Dare | Other books by Kim Dare
Published By: Resplendence Publishing, LLC
Published: Oct 03, 2012
ISBN # 9781607355892
Word Count: 76,888
Available in: Epub, HTML, Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket (.mobi), Palm DOC/iSolo, Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.prc)
Everet has found his perfect place in the nest. As a raven, he’s ideally suited to his new role in the nest’s security flock. Some of the jobs it entails have been far more enjoyable than others, but when he’s called to retrieve a magpie who’s got himself into trouble in a local human club, it becomes a truly life changing experience.
Magpie shifters have always been looked down on by other avians. Just as attracted to shiny things in their human bodies as they are in their avian forms, everyone knows they’ll do anything for money—and they’re not above stealing what they can’t get by more honest means.
Kane knows what being a magpie means, and he’s got the bruises to show for it. When Everet rescues him from his latest scrape, Kane knows better than to believe the raven will actually take an interest in him and his welfare, but it’s just possible that Everet is different from any other man Kane has ever met.
Reader Rating: (40 Ratings)
“They’ve cornered the little bastard in the back room.”
Everet didn't really need the bouncer’s help to work that out. The sound of fists slamming into flesh traveled very well through the otherwise silent nightclub, and Everet had no doubt who played the part of the punching bag tonight.
With the establishment already closed, there were no dancers or drinkers to get in Everet’s way as he strode quickly toward the door the bouncer had pointed out. It was set at the end of a long, curved bar. On the other side of the sleek metallic counter, a man stopped restocking with bottles of cheap vodka and tracked Everet’s progress. If human senses were able to pick up the sounds of the beating taking place on the other side of the door, the bartender betrayed no sign of it.
The hairs of the back of Everet’s neck prickled as he felt the guy run an assessing eye over him. He tensed, automatically working out if the man should be considered a threat. It was the kind of club where bartenders probably doubled up as dumb muscle when required, and the man was as big as a bloody albatross.
Everet’s brain whirled. His survival instincts screamed at him to get out of there, but his footsteps never faltered. He reached the door and quickly pushed it open, knowing that any sign of weakness or hesitation might sign two death warrants.
In a split second, Everet took in every detail of the scene before him.
Four humans. One avian.
Four attackers. One poor sod curled up on the floor taking a pounding from them all.
“That’s enough,” Everet’s words cut cleanly through the sound of a human’s boot meeting the prone avian’s ribs.
Just as he expected, they were all shocked enough to temporarily stop what they were doing. Four faces turned to toward him, the boy on the floor momentarily forgotten. They had the look of men who did as they were told—who were used to delivering a beating in the dispassionate manner of those who simply had a job to do.
Everet’s eyes narrowed. He looked past the guys who’d been throwing their fists around. His suspicions proved correct. There was one more human in the room—a man who sat slightly away from the action; far enough to make sure he wouldn't get any nasty blood stains on his expensive suit, but still close enough to ensure he’d see every blow land.
He appeared to be in his late forties or maybe his early fifties. He flicked ash off the end of his cigarette as he studied Everet in return. It didn't take a huge leap to place him as Crenshaw, the owner of the club, the man who’d demanded someone come there and retrieve an avian who’d disgraced his kind.
“I assume you’re from the nest?” Crenshaw bit out.
Silence descended upon the room, demanding to be filled. Everet made no attempt to add anything to his answer. He already knew what kind of human he was dealing with. He wasn't worth wasting words on.
“You’re not the same class of shifter as that thing was.”
Crenshaw didn't glance toward the avian on the floor, neither did Everet. The hush was good for something. Everet could just about make out the sound of the boy’s labored breathing. He’d made it there in time. It wasn't appropriate to apply the past tense to the shifter’s life, not yet.
Crenshaw’s lips thinned when Everet failed to offer him any information.
The bodyguards, or bouncers, or whatever the hell they were, seemed to be well-tuned to their employer’s moods. Each one shifted their stance and figuratively rolled up their sleeves, ready to make Everet their target the moment the order hit the air.
Four in here, plus one guy on the door. Add in the one behind the bar. And there was no way Everet could guess how many other men were in the building. They were probably all humans. Still, at least six guys against one shifter. If nothing else, they’d be able to make Everet hurt.
“Species?” Crenshaw snapped.
A slight moan from the huddled figure in the middle of the room pulled everyone’s attention toward it. Everet could only risk being distracted for the briefest moment, but that was more than enough time for him to take in the pair of tiny silver shorts the boy wore. The rest of him was bare—all the better to display his bruises.
A lot of his injuries had obviously been inflicted long before the present beating began. Everet’s hand ached to form a fist at his side, but he pushed the instinct away. Six against one, and the boy might get hurt even further. That was unacceptable.
“Tell me, raven, is your breed as stupid as his?” More ash landed on the floor at Crenshaw’s feet.
“Ravens aren’t known for being fools,” Everet said, his voice completely emotionless. That much was true. For one thing, he was easily smart enough to know when to act like the same kind of dumb muscle Crenshaw employed. “My orders said you want to be rid of him as soon as possible.”
“Yes.” Crenshaw took a deep pull on his cigarette, making the tip glow brightly in the gloomy room. “I wonder, how do you bird-boys punish slutty little thieves?”
Everet didn't even blink. “Decisions like that would be made by avians far higher up the pecking order than—”
“Guess!” Crenshaw ordered. “I want to know what will happen to him.” He leaned forward in his chair as he spoke.
Everet quickly scanned the other men in the room as he considered his options. They stood around like men who were used to standing around waiting for orders rather than thoughts to arrive. They didn't look like the type to question the order to beat the hell out of anyone, but at the same time, Everet doubted they’d actually do it for fun.
Crenshaw however…yes, Everet saw the gleam in his eye. He was exactly the kind of man who wouldn't see the fun in hurting anyone masochistic enough to enjoy it. He’d do anything it took to make a man writhe in agony. Seeing genuine fear on his victim’s face would be like an expert blowjob to him.
“He’ll be punished for bringing avians as a whole into disrepute,” Everet said. “It’s a matter that every nest takes very seriously.”
Everet swallowed down a bitter taste that filled the back of his mouth and folded his arms across his chest. He’d be damned if he’d feed the bastard’s fantasies. “There is no set punishment. Species is taken into account.”
“All species have their talents and their weaknesses,” Everet said, speaking on something close to automatic pilot as he weighed his chances of either of them getting out of there alive. “Magpies have always loved anything that glitters and sparkles. Did what he stole from you fit that description?”
Crenshaw paused for a moment, obviously debating if he should tell the truth or lie just to make things worse for the boy.
Everet didn't give him the chance to speak either way. He had no interest in an unreliable witness. “The elders will decide what’s to be done with him,” he said again.
Crenshaw slumped back in his chair. Everet held his gaze for what felt like several minutes. Finally, the other man turned away. He waved a hand toward the curled up figure in the center of the room as he apparently realized he wouldn't get anything interesting out of Everet.
Crenshaw already appeared bored. The gesture seemed dismissive. Everet still held his breath, tensed and ready for anything.
Suddenly, Crenshaw jerked to his feet. “He’s all yours. Get rid of him however you see fit.”
Two of the guys who’d been delivering the beating filed out of the room ahead of Crenshaw, the other two followed in his wake. Bodyguards rather than bouncers then, not that it mattered now.
Everet watched them all walk past. He listened to their footsteps fade away. Finally, he sensed that he and his charge were alone in that part of that building.
The boy lay curled into a tight fetal position. He hadn't moved in several minutes. Everet approached, making sure his footsteps were loud enough to alert the younger man to his presence. He dropped to one knee alongside him.
“They've all gone. It’s just you and me.”
No response. If it weren’t for the shallow, shaky breaths the boy might have succeeded in playing dead.
“Uncurl yourself,” Everet ordered. “I need to check your injuries.”
While he waited for the boy to obey, Everet assessed what he could from his current angle. There were scars on the magpie’s back, some looked like they had been made by a whip, others were small and round—the same size and shape as the tip of Crenshaw’s cigarette.
Everet ground his teeth together, but he kept his thoughts on that to himself. Bruises seemed to cover almost every inch of the other man’s body, but in truth it was hard to tell where the bruises ended and the dirt began. The floor hadn't been cleaned in a long time. There was now a circle of less grubby tiles where the magpie had rolled around trying to evade his attackers.
The boy remained curled into a ball showing no sign of having heard Everet.
Everet resisted the temptation to look over his shoulder toward the door, or point out that the longer they stayed where they were the more likely it was someone would join them. He wanted the boy cooperative, not more scared than ever.
“I won’t hurt you,” he tried.
Everet pushed a hand through his hair, disordering the thick black strands. It was impossible to tell how much damage he might cause if he simply picked the boy up and carried him out of there but giving him any more time would be too big a risk.
Everet placed his hand on one bare shoulder.
The figure twisted away from him, scrambling back on the floor. He kept his head down, making it impossible for Everet to see his face, but Everet didn't need to see his expression to know how much pain he was in, how afraid he had to be.
“No touching without paying!”
Everet mentally raised one eyebrow at the huddled figure, but at least the boy was conscious and able to talk. “What’s your name?”
“You said you were sent to fetch me.”
Everet looked toward the door for a moment, wondering how much cash he’d have to hand over to make the boy come quietly out to his car. Probably far more than he had on him. The guy was a magpie after all...
Reader Reviews (12)
Submitted By: craft13 on Jan 31, 2014Think I liked this one more than the first story. Kane tries really hard to turn himself around, but things just keep getting in the way. I liked the way the author portrays Kane, you can almost see his eyes being attracted to all the shiny objects around him. Good read and would recommend it.
Submitted By: old maid on Jan 22, 2014this was a great book,fun,well written i look forward to more books from this author
Submitted By: Luce on Dec 22, 2013I picked up this book because I'm a fairly big fan of the author's Avian Shifters' series. Kane and Everett's romance was slightly angstier than the one between Ori and Raynard. I was absolutely invested, however, in seeing Kane and Everett's relationship make it to the end. Even though at first Kane's brattiness had me shaking my fists at him, he eventually won me over and I could see why Everett fell for him. Great read for people looking for a new shifter romance.
Submitted By: alanakae on Jan 31, 2013I read this book before I read the first and still found it really good. It was so good, I had to go back and read the first and then reread this again. I enjoyed it more the second time. A very good series.
Submitted By: ardent_reader on Jan 29, 2013Really enjoyed it. A great follow-up to Duck. The characters are different enough that it's a new story though, and I did appreciate that in a sequel. Emotional with steamy sex- what's not to like?
Submitted By: taximomknits on Jan 17, 2013Make sure you start with Duck, the first in the series, because the world building that Kim Dare does there is amazing, and this book will be much more enjoyable if you've read Duck as the foundation. The characters are well developed and it's interesting to see them grow from book to book. These longer books don't come out as often as Kim's shorter stories do, but, they are so satisfying that it's worth the wait. Here's hoping there's a third Avian Shifters installment!
Submitted By: hex590 on Jan 11, 2013Clever story by a favorite author who consistently delivers interesting characters and a well-written plot.
Submitted By: JennieSignUp on Jan 9, 2013The second in Kim Dare's "Avian Shifters" series, it doesn't pack quite the punch as the original but only because she did such a good job establishing her world in the first. After burning out on various shifter stories I'm not quite sure why I picked up Duck (I'm sure that the fact that they were avians was a factor) but ever since reading it I've been watching for a sequel. This was another great story, driven by wonderful characters. I look forward to book 3.
Submitted By: theodorah on Jan 7, 2013This second in the series is my favorite of the two. Everet and Kane are great I just love them. This a a great series and I can't wait for more.
Submitted By: knutznboltz on Jan 5, 2013A must-read, even if shifter books aren't your favorite. Kim Dare writes in such a way that you are sucked into the world she has created. The emotions of both men are believable and the sex is hot. I've never read anyone else who could write BDSM the way Kim Dare does.
Submitted By: roula on Jan 2, 2013If you liked the first story of the avian series Duck, you are for sure going to like Magpie. Can't wait for a new pair of avian characters.
Submitted By: nnlh99 on Jan 1, 2013The storyline is a good one and I enjoyed being able to see a little more of the characters from the first book.