Date of Publication: 11/1/2016
Word Count: 20000
Love conquers injustice.
Tiger shifter Dmitri loves his new home at Darque and Knight Rodeo, and he adores all of his new friends. His past as a circus animal remains strong in his memory, though, particularly when he sees inequality, like the hot little fox shifter who isn’t allowed on rodeo grounds unless he’s working.
When fox Isaac meets the handsome, burly tiger, the attraction is instant. He’d love to spend more time in Dmitri’s den, but as a contracted performer his access to the rodeo is limited. It doesn’t help that his greedy goblin boss refuses to loosen his grip.
Can Dmitri and Isaac find a way to be together, and to make a change for the better of everyone at D and K?
Dmitri wanted to go play. He started paddling toward the foxes, just easing over.
They were sharp-nosed and quick, almost a blur. Dmitri wanted to touch them, catch one in his hand and see if they felt as electric as they appeared.
He watched as they played together, the energy never faltering, never even hiccupping. He sank under the water a little more, floating close enough to see bright golden eyes and shocks of red hair. One wee fox man was braver than the others, floating closer, meeting his eyes.
What a warm, inviting man, all bright green eyes and twitching nose. Dmitri rose up to the surface, smiling. “Dobryy den, little one.”
“Mmm. Hello. You’re amazing.” The fox’s voice lilted, just like a song, dancing on his eardrums.
“Am I?” Dmitri peered down at his fuzzy chest, which was gray-and-black striped just like his tiger.
“Uh-huh. You’re a tiger, huh? Lots of stripes and teeth.”
“I am. And you are a fox?” He’d never met a fox shifter before.
“I am. I work the trick ponies. We’re acrobats.” The little fox glanced over at the kitties, who were beginning to gather behind Dmitri. “I should go. It was nice to meet you. You’re beautiful.”
“Come see me at the food tents.” Dmitri wanted to see this one again, hear his laugh. “I cook good.”
“Oh. I can’t. We’re not allowed in the gates without a ticket. Thank you, though!” The little one moved away, keeping a good distance between him and the pride, which moved in.
Dmitri frowned. That wasn’t fair. If they performed for the rodeo, the foxes should get to eat.
“Dmitri, come on. Come play.” Serena tugged at his hand, her lynx right at the surface. “Before everyone gets grumpy.”
“Why would they?” He let her pull him back to the other cats.
“They’re… they’re prey more than anything. They live on the outside. You can’t trust the skulks.”
“The skulks?” Dmitri frowned at Selena. “That is vermin, yes? That is not nice.”
“Sorry, but aren’t they? They’re not… they’re not ours, right?” The youngling looked unsure, worried.
Dmitri shook his head, smiling for her to ease her worry. “We are all in this together. We should have—how you say? Have each other.”
“Each other’s backs,” Denver corrected.
“Right. Each other’s backs.” He grinned at Denver. “You know this, yes?”
“Hey, man. I’m in the ‘be good to me, I’ll be good to you’ camp. Life’s too short for bullshit when there’s happy to be had.”
Yes. Yes, he did love how his friend Denny held himself open. They faced persecution and suspicion from the outside world. Why bring it inside, too?
Potts looked over, nose wrinkling. “So, why the rule about them not coming in then, eh? Why aren’t they welcome? Big boss bring it down?”
Denny shrugged. “I guess? Peter more than Cody, I would wager.”
“Denver isn’t the biggest rule guy ever.” Blaine peered over Denver’s shoulder, eyes twinkling.
Denver chuckled. “What can I say? You need tickets you just say.”
Dmitri’s eyes lit up. “Yes? I would like to see the little fox for a minute.”
Denver nodded and offered him a wild grin. Denver was happy, and he wished to make others that way, as well. It was one of Denver’s many good points.
Dmitri glanced at the foxes, cavorting on the other side of the water. He wanted to know their good points. Especially the brave one.
B.A. Tortuga Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy's Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she's not doing that, she's writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting, and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA's personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.