About Beauty and the Beast
Author: Sean Michael
Word Count: 10500
Page Count (pdf): 37
Date Published: September 2. 2017
Publisher: Sean Michael
Series name and number: Fairytale Shifters, Book 1
As a rhino shifter, Tromp knows that he’s not the sexiest beast in the world. In fact he’s clumsy and he can’t see very well, and that’s whether he’s in his human or animal form. Still, he enjoys going to the bar and watching the other shifters hooking up, especially the dancers. Then he sees a slinky kitty dancing on the little stage and he’s immediately smitten. He knows a sexy beauty like that would never go for him, but he’s happy just to watch and fantasize about what could be.
For his part, panther shifter Pepper might be gorgeous on the outside, but he knows most people see him as nothing more than a piece of meat and he’s had a hard past. There’s something in the way the big rhino shifter looks at him while he dances, though, that makes him feel special. So when his stint on the stage is over, he heads right to the rhino’s table.
Can Tromp and Pepper ignore the world’s expectations and find what they need in each other?
Tromp got his beer at the bar and made his way over to the table in the corner where he usually sat. It was an out of the way booth and afforded him a good view of the rest of the place. His thick bottle-cap glasses improved his poor vision enough that from here he could watch the pretty people hooking up—the slinky twinks finding each other or handsome older men to dance and laugh with. He was a bit too lumbering for dancing. Too clumsy and grumpy for easy pickups, too. In short, he didn’t really belong. Hence the out of the way table.
The music was loud and thumping, vibrating up from the floor, and his beer was cold. It was all he really needed after a long week of walking around the three warehouses he worked security on. He’d stay and watch for a while, then head home to the peace and quiet of his little cottage just outside the city.
Someone came out onto the tiny stage, one of the performers who danced in stretch jeans and open-front shirts. This guy had waist-length black hair, golden skin, and sharp features.
Tromp watched, utterly fascinated. He usually didn’t do more than admire the beauties who were out of his league, but there was something about this guy, something slinky and sexual that made him want in the best way. Or worst way, given that he never had a chance with the beautiful ones. Still, he could look his fill, couldn’t he? After all, that’s what the dancers were all about—looking but not touching.
The lean beauty spun around the pole, the action natural and easy. Tromp felt his body harden, and he shifted to make room for his growing prick. He’d have to stay where he was until his cock went down, which wasn’t going to happen as long as that particular dancer was up on the stage. So he settled in, gaze fastened on the sexy movements. Everything seemed less choreographed and more like breathing with this man, as if it was hardwired in at a cellular level.
Tromp sucked on his beer bottle, not really noticing that he’d finished it, just going with his instincts. At least he didn’t start humping the table, though God knew it was a close thing. Maybe too close, and he found himself staring, willing the pretty one to come to him. He wanted this one in a way he’d never wanted anyone before. It built inside him, like a wanton moan that would soon need out.
What was wrong with him?
He was a beast—rare, sure, but not in a sexy, slinky, fun way. No, he was lumbering and big, heavy, and clumsy. Slinky pretty men did not want men like him, and all his mooning about was only going to earn him disappointment. Still, it seemed as if the dancer’s bright gaze landed on him over and over. It made him want to beat his chest and show himself off. He wanted to rub his horn against the lovely body.
“Another beer?” The voice intruded into the lust-fueled wishes he entertained.
Frowning, he tore his gaze away and looked at the server, also slinky and sexy, but not like the dancer, not at all. “What?”
“Beer. Do you want another one?” The lad spoke slowly, carefully, like he was speaking to an idiot. Tromp supposed he was acting like one.
“Yes.” It would give him an excuse to stay longer. He remember his manners at the last moment and added, “Please.”
Go away, little guy. Move so I can watch.
The waiter finally did move on to the next table, and Tromp’s gaze went immediately back to the stage.
Oh. The pretty one was gone. No fair. He’d wanted to watch and fantasize a little longer. Just his luck. He’d drink his second beer quickly and go home. He sighed deeply; he didn’t belong with all the pretty people anyway.
The touch along his arm shocked him, the caress sliding up, totally unafraid. He swung his head around, his surprise increasing when he realized it was the beautiful slinky dancer. Of course, the movement knocked his beer bottle over. At least it was empty so there wasn’t any spillage, just the noise of it skittering across the table before falling to the ground and shattering into who knew how many pieces.
So smooth. That was him. He felt his cheeks heating—he’d wanted to impress this one so very much, or at least not make a spectacle of himself.
A soft, low chuckle sounded. “Oops.” Then there was a hot little man in his lap.
In. His. Lap.
He stared. Turned-on. Shocked. Amazed. And he wrapped his arms around the slender body automatically. “I. Yes. I didn’t. It broke.” Yep. Still Mr. Smooth. He was never going to be able to show his face in the place again.
His lap guest didn’t seem in the least put out, though.