There is something a little peculiar about Eli Tate. Oh, he appears normal enough on the surface, but he’s spent years trying to remember what happened to him - and why he doesn’t age. Then there’s the way he can shift shape. He doesn’t know what kind of being he really is or if there are any others like him. What he does know he’s been in the same town for thirty years and he needs to move on.
Returning to the Big Apple, Eli takes up residence in his old apartment. An evening walk turns deadly when he’s attacked by pure evil. He barely escapes with his life - thanks to a stranger named Rio who is a shape shifter like him.
Rio says he knows Eli and that he’s been searching for him for many years. Rio confesses they were once lovers. Eli has no memory of such a time, and now he’s out of options. To remember his past, and destroy the creature pursuing them, Eli has no choice but to trust Rio - and maybe fall in love with him again.
It was a good thing Eli wasn’t vain. He had the height people noticed. His dark hair showed no sign of graying, and his whiskey-brown eyes reflected his intelligence. He’d looked like this as far back as his memory stretched. It could be a lot worse.
Being clean would be a lot better. He stepped into the master bath and opened the taps to fill the tub. A good hot soak was in order, and after that, some food.
The agency had stocked the fridge and pantry when they opened and readied the apartment. Going back out tonight posed too great a risk and Eli wasn’t fool enough to take it.
He sank down in the tub to submerge his aching shoulders. Flying was strenuous work. With Vihal hunting him he needed to condition his muscles. Sooner or later Vihal would come back to New York.
The hot water surrounded his body with soothing heat. A wave of exhaustion rolled through him. He closed his eyes.
Eli jerked awake. The water was cold and he wasn’t alone. He rolled to his feet in a shower of droplets, intent on getting to the Sig Saur he’d placed in the nightstand drawer. He skidded to a stop in the doorway, heart pounding at the sight of the man in his bedroom.
Rio calmly sat in the wing chair beside the window. He smiled. “Eli. Coming here was a bit predictable, wasn’t it?”
He had to keep his wits about him. Rio had helped him, but for what reason? “Apparently. Do you mind if I get dressed while we chat?”
Rio’s interested gaze swept him from head to toe and settled on his groin, where it stopped. “Maybe I do.”
This was getting him nowhere. He wanted to get dressed and make a run for his Wyoming hideout - without Rio being able to follow him. Playing the game might be the only way to accomplish that.
“Okay, Rio. You’re sex on two feet. Is that what you wanted to hear?”
The man rubbed his forehead. “You don’t have a clue. This is a problem for me. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t want you to go into some sort of shock and vanish again. It’s taken me too long to find you.”
“Why were you even looking for me? C’mon. Help me out here. Level with me.”
“You’re a valuable prize, Elimian. Vihal would see you dead. I would see you live.”
Another fucking riddle, but this one contained a clue.
“You’re talking about two factions? Why would the other side want to kill me? Money? Glory? The thrill of the kill?”
“Maybe all of the above. Get dressed. We should leave.”
Eli raised an eyebrow. “We? There is no ‘we’. You’re going to get out of my apartment and I’m going to ponder my next move.”
He shook his head. “No. Your safe houses have surely been discovered.”
He’d sensed a presence just before he left Elizabethtowne. Had that been Rio and not Vihal? No. It had been Vihal. He was sure of it now. That worried Eli more than he dared to let show. It might have been pure luck on Vihal’s part he got that close to him in Elizabethtowne.
“I disagree. This Vihal found me because I returned to the city. He’s had years to locate me, and he couldn’t.”
“True. But since he did find you, he’ll be able to continue to track you. We need a plan. I can get you to a safe place and we can figure out what to do next.”
“I don’t trust you.”
Rio nodded. “Fair enough. But I’m begging you to come with me. Give me twenty-four hours to change your mind about me.”
“And if at the end of the day I say adios, you’ll be good with that?” The look of anguish that flashed across Rio’s face made him blink. Had he really seen it?
Rio’s voice gave nothing away. “If that’s your decision, I will abide by it.”
“Very well. Now go in the kitchen and make it look like I was cooking. I’ll get dressed.”
“Don’t bother with good clothes. We need to take on wolf skin and run.”
“Right. We’ll step out onto the street, shift, and just trot down Broadway.”
“I’ve always loved your sarcastic wit.”
He froze, his gaze locked on Rio’s. His heart pounded in his chest as the black void in his memory rippled and his skin washed cold. “What the hell did you say? How do… Do you…Did you and I know each other in the past?”
He watched Rio’s chest rise and fall. The muscles in the man’s throat moved convulsively. His voice was so low as to be tortured whispered.
“You really don’t remember me?” He took a quick step forward. “Elimian? Eli? Please remember me.” He laid his palm on Eli’s chest.
Eli shook his head, confused. What had he missed? What had he been forced to forget to survive? The memory of the taste of the man’s blood filled his senses. “I’m sorry. I don’t remember you. How do I know you?”
Rio cupped the back of his neck and pulled him closer. “We knew each other like this.”
Eli realized his intent a moment before their lips touched. He wanted to pull away but couldn’t. Rio held the key to his past...
Paranormal gay romance (shapeshifter)
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