GENRE: Gay Fantasy Mystery Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 58,821 words
Caiden McNeil is a special being, a metamorph who can become any human necessary to stop the criminals his elven boss Zander sends him after.
Caiden is also a loner, unable to trust anyone on an emotional level. He has reason to feel this way: in his over eight-hundred years, he has learned that caring for someone only leads to despair. After all, how could a human accept him for what he really is, an immortal who will never seem to grow older than his apparent age of twenty-eight?
Then two men come into Caiden's life -- Leander, a cougar shifter, and Theirn, a half-elf. Either may betray Caiden and his belief that their feelings for him are real. On the other hand, is one of them willing to fight to prove love is possible, if Caiden will only give it a chance?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
"Again?" Caiden sighed after receiving a call from Zander that he had another job for him. He loved what he did, and knew his skills, for lack of a better word, were necessary, but there were times when he wished he was a normal man working a normal job. Selling shoes, being an accountant, even flipping burgers. He had actually 'become' an accountant for a job a couple of years ago, and quickly scratched that off his list of jobs he might consider -- were he just a regular person.
When he arrived at Zander's office, Caiden found his boss staring at the computer screen. Zander acknowledged Caiden presence with a brief nod then returned to what he was doing.
Caiden took a seat, waiting. Finally Zander turned away from the screen and looked at him.
"This is one of those cases where you're going to have to be a woman," Zander said in preface.
Caiden didn't exactly cheer, but he did reply, "I can handle that."
"I know you can. The man you'll be working on knows a great deal about the person we're after, and is his sworn ally and friend. Getting those facts out of him will take all your skills -- and you have only two days to do it." He smiled -- barely. "I know this is going to be hard, but you have to start on this like yesterday."
Caiden chuckled. "Going back in time is not one of my skills."
"Would that it were." Zander handed him a packet of information then turned the computer monitor so Caiden could watch some downloaded pictures and films of the woman he would become. The woman was the wife of the man Caiden needed to gather information from -- not the subject of the investigation, but his friend.
After studying her for a few minutes, Caiden nodded, taking a dress Zander gave him. Zander said he had gotten it from the woman when he convinced her she wanted to go off on a trip to visit her family. Bribery or fear of prison will make almost anyone help the organization when necessary.
Taking the dress, Caiden went into the lavatory down the hall, morphed into an exact replica of the woman, donned the dress, and returned. Then he went through the information in the packet, committing it to memory. "Okay," he said when he finished, "I'm as ready as I can be."
Zander handed Caiden the keys to the woman's home, and her car, telling Caiden where it was parked.
After Zander wished him "God speed,” Caiden took off.
Two mornings later, Caiden returned to Zander's office -- as the woman. He had gotten the needed information, but at a cost. His – well, her -- arm was in a cast.
"Someone," Caiden said sourly, "neglected to tell me the man is an abuser, especially when it comes to sex. Inflicting pain turns him on. Still ... it did give me the key to getting the goods on his friend. The man you're really after. When he broke my arm he went from abuser to bawling child, swearing he'd do anything to make it up to me so that I, his 'darling' wife, wouldn't leave him again." Caiden smiled sardonically. "So I asked. He didn't want to but I insisted and in the end he gave up the information, papers, discs, the whole nine yards. After that, he took me to his personal doctor, who wasn't that surprised to see me -- well, me the wife. I think," Caiden said tightly, "we need to do something about the man, as well as about our subject. For his wife's sake."
Zander agreed, and called the organization's doctor to tell him they were on their way to his office. A necessity since Caiden couldn't morph back to himself until the cast had been removed. Caiden got his clothes, which he'd left behind two days earlier, and while they drove to the doctor's, Zander debriefed Caiden.
As he was one of the very few who knew what Caiden was, the doctor cut the cast off the 'woman's' arm then waited until Caiden had morphed back to himself and dressed before putting a fresh cast on it.
When they left, heading back to Zander's home, Zander asked Caiden how long it would take for his arm to heal.
"According to the doctor who originally took care of it, about six weeks. Of course he said that because he thought I was a normal human. In actuality, I suspect a week at the most."
"I'll give you two weeks before bringing you in on another job," Zander replied. "Just to be on safe side."
"Thanks." Caiden smiled dryly. "I can use the time to finally do something about my unfinished basement."
"Just kidding. I know it takes two hands to put up drywall and lay carpeting."
"You could hire someone, you know," Zander pointed out.
"Now where's the fun in that?"