What begins as an interview with a hot shifter named Keeton becomes so much more...
Welcome, dear readers, at long last I’m off on another quest! Er, interview, I mean. Where to, you ask? Well, my intrepid travelers, today I am in Southern Georgia, doesn’t that sound so divine? Of course, with my usual luck, it’s snowed here for the first time in ten years! If I’m not careful, someone will think I’ve brought it with me, and that maybe I’m cursed, but that’s far from the truth. At least I hope it is.
Today I am going to be talking to Keeton Taylor. He’s a graphic artist, and is doing the character panels and the cover art for the graphic novel, Quest, which is being penned by well-known writer B. Isaacs. As I pull up to the address I’ve been given—hooray for Mapquest—and hike up the long, long, long gravel drive, I take stock of the house, which seems very nice, glancing around me curiously. Not that there are any other houses to see – we’re rather isolated here. In fact this place could easily pass as a ski lodge. Why did I have to think of the Overlook Hotel? One good thing, at least I’m prepared to dress for the weather, which I think a lot of the natives aren’t. I hug my long black coat around me, as I mount the stairs and ring the doorbell, wondering what this guy will be like, and hoping he has something hot to drink. I’d kill for some hot tea right about now.
The door opens almost immediately, and I'm a little taken aback at the bouncing man on the other side. Looking over the gelled blond spikes, eyeliner, mascara, and red and silver fingernail polish, I smile and wait for him to speak.
"Hey interviewer, lady. What are you doing out in the cold?"
He offers his hand, and I shake it, yelping a little as he tugs me through the doorway. He closes the door behind us and nods his head toward the kitchen for me to follow.
"I'm taking a break. You hungry? Want something to drink? Can you believe all this snow? I don't like the snow much." His head tilts to the side as he enters the kitchen. "I don't really like nature at all." He waves a hand in dismissal. "I'm Keeton Taylor by the way. You can call me Keeton, or Kee, or Mr. Taylor, or Great Demon Slayer, doesn't much matter to me."
He motions toward one of the kitchen chairs. "Just throw your coat anywhere. We're not particular around here. My manservant will pick it up. So, how about that drink?" He grins widely, practically vibrating with energy.
“I’d love something hot,” I admit, gratitude filling my voice as I follow him into the kitchen. Why have my eyes fallen to his ass? I hastily raise them, removing my coat to give me something to do. I set it on the back of a chair before I set myself into it. “Is tea any problem? Kee?” I hastily add. “Oh, and do tell me about being the Great Demon Slayer, if you would?” I have my tape recorder out and on the table where he can readily see it—not like I’m trying to trick him or anything—watching his every movement. He’s about my height, I think, harder to tell since he’s barefoot and I’m not. He isn’t my usual type, I have to admit, but that’s alright too, I’m not here to date him, after all. And he is rather cute. Why are all the cute ones gay, I think with regret. Makes a girl wish she were better equipped to play with the other team.
He taps his chin, his eyes narrowing in thought. "I think we have some teabags." He smiles apologetically. "Sorry, nothing fancy here, but we do have some honey and lemon. I'll boil some water." He moves gracefully around the kitchen, preparing the water, and pulling things down from the cabinet. "Well, I was really just joking about the Demon Slayer thing. Logan hooked up with this tramp a few months ago. Before we met," he adds quickly. "She turned out to be a soul-sucking demon, and I mean that literally." He waves his hand in dismissal. "Anyway, some bad stuff went down, and a lot of people got hurt. She's gone now and things are as back to normal as they can be."
He sets a hideous looking coffee mug on the table, filled with hot water, and slides a small saucer with teabags, lemon slices, and packets of honey beside it. "Jackson's having some issues with his family, but no one tells me anything around here." He huffs indignantly, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Because it's none of your business, angel." A very large, very muscled, very yummy man enters the kitchen and sidles up to Keeton, wrapping his arms around him tightly. He places a small kiss on the top of Keeton's head, then looks up and smiles. "Hi, I'm Logan. Don't pay any attention to my little mate here. He tends to be a bit... dramatic. It's nice to meet you...." He trails off, lifting an eyebrow in question.
“Julie,” I hastily reply, as I quickly throw the teabag into the water to steep, rising at the newcomer’s entrance, my eyes feasting upon him. I hope that’s all they’re doing. It’s so obvious to me that these two are together, and they look so cute that I envy them. I don’t even know who Jackson is, or what he means to either one of them, but for some reason I trust this Logan’s judgment implicitly.
“Julie Hayes,” I actually manage to finish my entire name this time, as I realize he probably has no clue as to who I am or what I’m doing here. “Kee was kind enough to allow me to come here to interview him,” I smile. “You’re welcome to join us, lf course.” As I speak, I stand. It’s only polite, after all. I do have some manners, even if I’m openly ogling this luscious godlike creature.
“So you once dated a demon?” I half-joke, I take it that’s nothing you plan on ever doing again? Especially not with that pretty boy you’re holding there in your arms? I mean, if he has anything to say about it. And I assume he does….”
I hope I’m not babbling as much as I think I am. Still getting the hang of this interview thing, I’m afraid. It’s easier to talk to someone over the internet then face to face. Especially when they’re as cute as these two.
Logan chuckles, squeezing Keeton a little tighter. "Oh, I'm sure he'd have a lot to say about it. And, he'd say it pretty loudly, as well."
Logan chuckles, squeezing Keeton a little tighter. "Oh, I'm sure he'd have a lot to say about it. And, he'd say it pretty loudly, as well."
"You bet your sexy ass I would." Keeton wiggles out of his lover's embrace and slaps the part of his anatomy currently in question. "Go away. Me and Julie are busy, and you're cramping our style."
Logan looks like he's about to argue, but Keeton just leans up on his toes and kisses his lips. "We'll play later." Apparently, this is good enough, because Logan smiles like a fool, gives a little wave, a mumbled, "Nice to meet you," and hurries out the back door.
Keeton watches him leave, smiling indulgently. "He's an idiot, but I love him, ya know?" He shrugs innocently before coming over to take a seat at the table. "In his defense, he didn't actually know she was a demon until after they broke up." He stretches his arms over his head, his tight white T-shirt stretching over his lean muscles, before dropping his hands to the table. "So, what do you want to know?" He spreads his arms wide and winks. "I'm all yours."
“If only,” I can’t help but laugh, blushing even as I do so. I remember that I’m actually making tea, and finish doing that, adding both honey and lemon, taking an appreciative sip of the hot brew. “Tell me about your artwork,” I begin, as I settle comfortably in my chair, fastening my eyes on Keeton. “How and when did you get started, and who would you say your major influences are? Artwise, anyway?” It’s obvious to me who influences his love life, in a big way.
"As far as influences, I'd have to say J. Scott Campbell. The guy is a freakin' genius. Have you ever seen any of his work?" He waves his hands around wildly. "Don't worry, I'll show you some later, if you want." Setting forward in his chair, his eyes seem to soften and he smiles wistfully. "I wish I had some great story to tell you about how I got started, but it's pretty simple. I always liked art, drawing and painting, just couldn't get enough of it. I even took a few classes down at the Community Center. Didn't think I'd ever do anything with it, though. Then Braxton comes up to me the day after high school graduation and says he wants to write. He starts spouting off all these ideas he's got for a great graphic novel, and will I do the illustrations?"
"Thank mercy he said yes." A soft voice floats into the kitchen just ahead of a small man, maybe even smaller than Keeton. His dark hair looks freshly washed, and his green eyes shine with amusement. "I can't draw a damn stick person to save my life."
Keeton laughs and gestures the man over. "This is the brains of the operation, Braxton Carmichael. His readers will know him as B. Isaacs." He snorts at this, and Braxton flips him off before turning and offering his hand. "Yeah, I'm Braxton. You must be Julie. It's nice to meet you."
Definitely on sensory overload now. Three hot men in one day. I feel as though I’ve won the lottery. “I am,” I smile, almost purring. “It’s very nice to meet you too. I loved Crusader very much. It was an awesme series, I can’t wait to read Quest.” I turn back to Keeton, answering his question. “I confess to being ignorant of J. Scott Campbell. I’d love to have you show me some if it, definitely.
My eyes dart back to the newcomer. “If you’re the brains of the operation, what does that make Keeton? And how did you know you wanted him to illustrate your work? Had you seen his artwork already? Or was it some sort of a hunch? Did you two ever date?”
I know, too many questions all at once, but I can’t seem to stem the flow of words, they’re bubbling forth, in my fascination with these two. Inside my purse, I even have a copy of Crusader, I blush to admit, that I’m hoping to get signed.
Both men gape in shock before bursting out in laughter. "Eww!" Keeton wrinkles his nose. "Hey!" he then shouts as Braxton cuffs him in the back of the head. "Oh, tell me you weren't thinking the same thing!"
Braxton chuckles and shakes his head. "We've been best friends since forever. I can't even remember a time we weren't friends. My parents died in a house fire when I was fourteen, and Keeton's family took me in. He's like my brother, so you can see why we'd be a little grossed out about the thought of us fu-- uh, dating." He blushes a little, shaking his head again. "We shared a room, and every inch of wall on his side was covered in his art." He snickers at this. "So, yeah, I knew he was awesome. The best I've ever seen."
"Aww, you're making me blush now." Keeton bats his lashes and makes kissy faces at Braxton. "Go on and tell her what my role is in this little duo. I can't wait to hear this."
Braxton rolls his eyes and snorts. "I just write the words, Keeton adds the flavor that makes it all come to life. You could say he's the cheese to my macaroni. Without him, I'd just be another wet noodle."
"Wow." Keeton looks across the table with a huge grin. "He loves me. He really loves me."
"Though, I can't imagine why." The deep, slightly accented voice belongs to the biggest man yet. A few inches taller than Logan, broader in the shoulders, darkly tanned skin, and long black hair. "You're a pain in the ass," he says to Keeton. His chest is bare, as well as his feet, and he looks like he just woke up.
"This is Xander, Braxton's mate and the pack alpha," Keeton says as he waves a hand at the newcomer. His eyebrows draw together and he frowns a bit. "Sorry about all this. Everyone's off work today and this is probably the room with the most traffic. We can go somewhere else if you want. I'm sure the rest of the pack will find their way through here eventually."
"Oh, I didn't realize we had company." Xander nods and smiles. "We don't get a lot of visitors way out here. It's nice to meet you, but if you'll excuse me." He picks Braxton up and tosses him over his shoulder. "C'mon, chulo." He slaps Braxtons upturned rear end and they both laugh as they leave the room.
Why are all the hot ones gay, I sigh, trying not to stare too openly at the retreating men’s asses, but it’s hard not to, you know? “Nice to meet you, Xander. You too, Braxton,” I call after them, and I think I hear a muffled response, but their voices seem to be rising, so I surmise that they have a busy agenda, and don’t care to be interrupted.
I turn back to the subject of my interview, who wears a bemused expression. “It’s like being let loose in a candy store and then told you can’t have any of the candy and not to touch it,” I can’t help but laugh. “Tell me something, Kee, how many of you beautiful men are there living in this one lucky house?”
Keeton puffs his chest out and preens, smoothing down his shirt and making kissy lips. "Oh, you think I'm beautiful?" Then he snorts and a fairly unmanly giggle escapes his lips. "To answer your question, though, there are seven of us here. Me and Logan, Xander and Braxton." He ticks them off on his fingers. "Logan's twin Talon. The baby of the pack, Jackson, and then Boston. My cousin, Blaise stays here sometimes, but he's off on one of his adventures right now."
He wiggles his eyebrows and grins mischievously. "Boston's not seeing anyone, and he likes girly bits too." Propping his elbow on the table, he rests his chin on his fist. "So, other than interviewing slightly neurotic gay artists, what is that you do, Julie?"
“I write,” I confess, feeling my cheeks turn into flames. He’s such a charmer. I just bet he’s the favorite of the house, the one they all protect. “I write in different genres, but primarily gay romances. I guess that’s why I find you guys so fascinating. You’re beautiful, built, and damn sexy, and watching you together is just… just… well, it’s damn amazing, if you don’t mind my saying so.” I find myself leaning toward him; he draws me in, like a beautiful snake.
“Boston does, does he? Maybe I’ll have to meet him,” I can’t help but grin. Maybe I can interview him next time?” I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but I find myself hoping there will be another trip to Georgia in my future.
“Tell me something, Kee,” I boldly add, hoping he won’t find my question out of line, “have you ever considered marrying Logan?” Not all gay men want to be married, I know, and many just want the right to be married, whether they actually do it or not. I’m just curious as to what depth their relationship has reached thus far.
He smiles sweetly, and his eyes mist a little. "Yeah, I've thought about it." Raising his left hand from his lap, he lays it flat on the table, showing off the beautiful silver band with tiny sapphire stones. "We're mated, and you can't get any more committed than that, but Logan says he wants everyone to know I belong to him. Not just the preternatural world." He continues to smile at the ring for a minute longer, before raising his eyes.
"So you write gay romance? That's really awesome! I don't read a lot, but Braxton has a huge library. He's going to pee himself when he finds out!" He cocks his head to the side. "I imagine Boston would be open to an interview. Technically, all the of the brothers are bisexual. I like to think Logan is Keeton-sexual now, though." He laughs at this before continuing. "They are rather gorgeous, huh? I walked around with a semi for months after I moved in. Can you blame me, though? Have you seen my man?"
He sighs happily, the sound very content. "You know, Julie, you have an amazing aura. It's all gold and green, with just a little pink around the edges. It's beautiful."
“No, I can’t blame you at all. A girl would be so lucky to be able to live here with you all. I’d think I’d died and gone to heaven!” He’s so damn cute, it takes my breath away. His comments on my aura floor me. I never even realized I had one, but I imagine everyone does. Right? “I do?” I grin at him like an idiot. “Thank you.” Is that even appropriate, to claim credit for something I have no control over whatsoever? At least I don’t think I do. “What do the colors mean?” I have to ask. “And why can’t I see yours?”
He shrugs adorably. "Most people can't see them. I've been able to do it since I was a kid. Not even sure how I do it." He shrugs again. "Everyone has a different set of colors. Yours just mean you're happy, genuinely a good person, and...well.." He smiles impishly. "Let's just say you may need a cold shower later." He winks and laughs, rising from his chair and offering a hand. "Come on, I want to show you those J. Scott Campbell works up in my studio."
I take his hand, my tape recorder going into the other easily—that’s the advantage of having a palm sized anything—and I rise bonelessly from my seat. Hell, I think I need a cold shower now, but I don’t mind. This is one day I’ll certainly never forget.
Right now, I think I’d follow Keeton anywhere. I’ll catch up with the rest of you when I’m done here.
Where can you find these lovely creatures? By the light of the moon, of course. No, literally.
By the Light of the Moon [Moonlight Breed 2]
by Gabrielle Evans
Siren Publishing – www.sirenbookstrand.com
Wildly flamboyant and proud of it, Keeton Taylor knows he’s a bit much for most men. Logan is everything he’s ever dreamed of in a partner, but learning they are destined mates throws him for a loop. Forever is a huge commitment.
Logan has spent years searching for his mate. He never imagined that fate would pick someone so perfect for him, though. His instant attraction to Keeton is more than just some shifter pheromone thing. It’s love at first sight.
His ex-girlfriend has other plans for the cursed shifter though. An Arsidian Demon in her mating heat, she is hell bent on having Logan as her own, and eradicating the competition…Keeton. Can Logan save his new mate before the full moon, or will he lose his angel forever?