I actually wrote this a few years back for an old contest but I thought I’d share it again as it fits the holidays and it brings back a few of my characters (which makes me want to write sequels to a few of these books!). For anyone not wholly familiar with which characters go with what books, I’ve included a list at the end. I toyed with the idea of updating this to include all of my characters but even my head started to spin when I considered that LOL! Enjoy 😉
The More Things Change by Jade Buchanan
Toby Madison wandered into the room, idly scratching his belly. Looking around, he snorted at the sight in front of him.
Laithe Gatti was sitting on the floor in front of the couch, his tail twitching back and forth. The guy looked a little pissed, Toby couldn’t really blame him, but Laithe wasn’t moving from his spot. His elegant chocolate brown mane was pulled back from his face, currently being worked into tiny braids by the two women sitting behind him. Laithe snarled at the black, furry, laughing man in front of him, exposing his deadly canines.
“Stop that right now. You like it and you know it, fuzz butt.” Rowan ran her palm down her mate’s cheek, pausing to place a kiss on the top of his head. She shared a smile with the furry guy — Fahd — both obviously enjoying the sight of their mate, Laithe, being used as a living doll.
“I can’t believe he’s just sitting there. I swear, my men wouldn’t let me do this to them.” Mel was having a hard time holding back her laughter. Her fingers were tangled in Laithe’s mane, and she was definitely enjoying herself.
“Melaina, you know us too well. If you even think of coming near me with those elastics I will tie you up until you can’t move.” Dougal smirked.
Toby shivered, he wasn’t entirely comfortable around Dougal yet. The man scared him. He wasn’t sure what it was, but there was something about the dark vampire that gave Toby the heebie jeebies. He quickly turned his head, avoiding the other man’s gaze.
Where was his mate when he needed him?
As if his thoughts had conjured the man, Cliff’s arms wound around his waist, pulling Toby back into his hard body. Toby relaxed, inhaling the spicy scent of his werewolf lover.
Tristan and Eric entered the room from the kitchen, both carrying large bowls of popcorn. They looked about as different as you could possibly get, although there were more than a few strange characters assembled here at the moment.
Eric’s green skin set him apart as something definitely not human, although that wasn’t saying much since the paranormal guys outnumbered the humans here by a huge amount. One of those humans, Thomas, was sitting cross-legged on the floor, a bowl of popcorn already in front of him. With his tongue between his teeth, he gingerly threaded the popcorn onto a piece of string. Garlands already lay strung beside him. Eric kneeled on the floor, running the pads of his fingers down Thomas’ back.
Tristan prowled across the room, setting his popcorn bowl down and sliding into the big easy chair beside Dougal. The brooding man pulled him close, hugging Tristan to his body.
“Are we almost ready to start?” Catan was just about bouncing. His entire body was quivering and Toby figured the only thing holding him in place was the arm his big Leo had around his shoulders. Asad was grinning widely, gazing down at his excited mate fondly. “Can I put the star on?”
“Go ahead, have fun with it.” Aella grinned at Catan, holding out the glittering star for him to put on the top of the huge evergreen tree in front of them. Stepping back, she stood between Damon and Pythias, brushing against each man. They were each holding a box filled to the brim with ornaments, ready to start decorating the tree.
“Crap, don’t move yet! I need to find my camera. Damn thing keeps getting lost.” Aaron scrambled for the kitchen, followed closely by Lev and Morgan. His voice carried from the kitchen, whispers and giggles telling everyone that one of the Felidae had him cornered. “Damn it! Not now, guys, we’re supposed to be working on the tree.”
Darren shook his head, sighing. “He shames the Coleman name. More interested in sex than Christmas. Honestly.”
“Does that mean you are more interested in Christmas than sex? I am sure I can change your mind.” Durai leered, placing his big hands on either side of Darren’s face.
Toby snorted, turning away. They were all pervs. It was why he liked them so much.
Corin and Mitch were talking to Zula and Jai in the corner, deep in some discussion. The werewolf had his hand on Corin’s back, toying with the strip of skin above his fur. Toby had to grin at the sight of the little plumber’s crack Corin was flashing everyone. The Faun was definitely nothing he’d ever expected to see before.
Mike Coleman was chatting with Usama, comparing stories about what they’d gone through in the past year. Rajiv was watching them, keeping his eye on his white Leo. Definitely possessive, that one was.
The room was almost too small for everyone to gather in. You practically couldn’t move without bumping into someone else. But, that’s what happened at the holidays, so Toby didn’t mind. It was nice being with everyone else, gathering together to celebrate.
“I can’t believe it’s been a year.” Rowan’s voice cut through the other conversations. Slowly, one by one, they turned to listen to her. “Seriously, think about it for a minute. Just a year ago, none of us knew each other. Well, okay, that’s not true, some of you knew each other.”
“It’s weird, isn’t it? How we’ve become a family in such a short amount of time?” Navin spoke up from the corner where he was rocking Beryl to sleep. The little girl had been wide-eyed all day, taking in all the activity around her. Right now she was nodding off, her fingers clutching the hand of her father, Isha. He had his other arm around Navin, holding him close.
Toby turned in Cliff’s embrace, smiling up at him. He opened his mouth to speak –
“Lev! Not here…” Aaron moaned, his voice coming loud and clear from the kitchen.
Laughing, Toby grinned widely. “The more things change…”
Cliff snorted. “I have a feeling it would take an apocalypse for these guys to go without.”
“Oh, right, like you’re so different?”
“Hush, baby. Catan’s putting the star on.” Cliff turned him around until he faced the rest of them again. He leaned down until his hair brushed Toby’s shoulder “The sooner we get finished here, the quicker I can take you upstairs.”
Toby tried to hide his smile. “Happy holidays indeed.”
In order of Appearance:
Toby Madison – Nut Cream
Laithe Gatti – Felidae 1: Laithe’s Pride
Rowan Gatti – Felidae 1: Laithe’s Pride
Fahd Morn – Felidae 1: Laithe’s Pride
Melaina Carey – Bound to Please
Dougal – Bound to Please
Cliff Bullen – Nut Cream
Tristan Donovan – Bound to Please
Eric Odhrán – Frog in the Room
Thomas Adler – Frog in the Room
Catan Lynxis – Felidae 2: Asad’s Mate
Asad Gatti – Felidae 2: Asad’s Mate
Aella – Siren’s Song
Damon – Siren’s Song
Pythias – Siren’s Song
Aaron Coleman – Felidae 4: Lev’s Discovery
Lev Gatti – Felidae 4: Lev’s Discovery
Morgan Laren – Felidae 4: Lev’s Discovery
Darren Coleman – Pridelands 1: Darren’s Surprise
Durai Steinsson – Pridelands 1: Darren’s Surprise
Corin Róg – Faun of a Time
Mitch Whelan – Faun of a Time
Zula Steinsson – Pridelands 2: Zula’s Stand
Jai Asher – Pridelands 2: Zula’s Stand
Mike Coleman – Pridelands 2: Zula’s Stand
Usama Gatti – Felidae 3: Usama’s Journey
Rajiv Citrakaya- Felidae 3: Usama’s Journey
Navin Citrakaya- Felidae 5: Navin’s Master
Beryl Rajendra – Felidae 5: Navin’s Master
Isha Rajendra – Felidae 5: Navin’s Master